Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence (Ephesians 3:12).
I don’t know what it is about the waiting rooms in doctors’ offices, but it seems they all come with a stack of outdated People magazines. Apparently, the best way to calm people’s minds before their impending colonoscopy is to offer them reading material about the secret lives of celebrities.
As I thumbed through a few issues (you know…for science!), I got to see photos of George Clooney’s fancy new estate in the Italian Riviera. Then there was an entire story updating everyone on the status of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s marriage. And, of course, there were multiple pictures of celebrities doing such exciting things as grocery shopping and even walking along the beach with their kids.
None of these photos looked to be welcomed or endorsed by the celebrities. Rather, they were all taken from far away with a telephoto lens. In fact, some of these celebrities have made it quite clear that they don’t want such intrusions in their private lives. According to the story on George Clooney, he made an agreement with the local police to fine anyone who ventures too close to his house with a camera. I think it’s safe to say that most people are not welcome into the presence of famous people.
Now, I understand not wanting the paparazzi to follow you around spying on you everywhere you go. I’m not saying these celebrities are wrong at all for desiring to maintain some sort of private life in spite of the media intruding on them constantly. If someone started taking pictures of my family for TMZ, you can bet that I would surely respond the same way.
Imagine though, if George Clooney and Kim Kardashian have such a problem with people trying to gain access to them that they need to separate themselves through legal boundaries, how much more attention does God receive from everyone trying to get to Him? You would think if anyone was going to wall themselves off from the hordes of fans and followers trying to get too close, it would be God.
In one sense, that is how it used to be. Prior to the cross, there was a thick curtain separating the room where God dwelled (the Holy of Holies) from the rest of the temple—and from the world. If anyone other than the high priest dared to go behind this curtain into God’s presence, they would have died instantly. This was such a serious deal that even the high priest had to go through a ceremonial cleansing process to make sure his sins had all been removed before entering. In addition, the other priests would tie a bell and a rope around his ankle. If the bell went silent, it meant the high priest had died and his corpse would need to be dragged out from behind the curtain. This may all seem harsh, but it’s the reality of what happens to an unrighteous person who enters into the presence of God’s holiness.
God, however, wanted to make a way for us to become welcome in His presence, and He had a plan to solve the problem. He sent Jesus to pay for our sins with His death, which immediately tore the temple curtain in two, proving to us that the separation is now gone. We’ve been invited into God’s presence.
The moment you became unified with Christ, you were made holy and righteous because of your faith in Him. It’s as if you were transformed into the same position as the high priest, only now you’ve been purified permanently. You can be so sure of this, that you don’t even need to tie a bell on your ankle. Thanks to Jesus, you can now come into God’s presence with boldness and confidence, any time you wish.