A striking instance of Scripture’s potency to convict us of our sin is described in Ezekiel. Ezekiel is first shown a vision of the heavenly temple. Then the prophet describes the great and awful majesty with which the glory of the Lord enters this sanctuary. So, after multiple chapters of tedious description of the various dimensions of this temple, the fine details of the wood carvings, the number of doors, the Lord tells Ezekiel to show the vision of this house to the house of Israel. The reason for showing Israel these blueprints? “That they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern (Ez. 44:10).”
The architectural blueprints of this temple were to be the means of provoking the Israelites to shame. When God sets out to convict us of our iniquities He sets before us the perfect pattern of His household. His people are to be provoked to shame by this. The shame arises from either building their own house to the neglect of building the house of God; or worse yet, trying to build God’s house according to their own preferences.
We still do this when we leave out things God tells us to include, or by including those things God tells us to leave out. When we do this, it’s like we’re trying to build a house of straw during a California wildfire. God, however, sets before us the blueprint of His house. That blueprint, of course, is embodied in our Lord Jesus. The vision of God’s perfect house should provoke us to shame for all the hard commands we’ve left out, or the sinful shortcuts we’ve sought to smuggle in. Our life is to be conformed to the pattern of God’s house, as displayed in Christ. So, what Ezekiel told Israel, God says to His church now: measure the pattern.