Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Life Shape Prayer & Discipleship Module 2: New Creation Realities Block 6: Access


Romans 5
1 ¶  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.


When God first created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, it was God’s intent that they should have unrestricted fellowship together with Him. The Bible says that God walked with them in the cool of the day. Later sin entered the picture and mankind lost rights of access to the presence of God. From that point forward contact was very limited and then accomplished mostly by heavenly messengers who made man to understand the will of God and worked with man on God’s behalf.

Angels provided the communication link between heaven and earth seeing that mankind were sinners and no sin could stand in God’s presence. God loved, missed and longed for relationship with His creation. For this reason He established a ritual through which a man’s sin could be temporarily covered allowing God’s Spirit to descend upon the earth without threat of consuming all flesh.

The ritual of sacrifice was instituted and a Tabernacle was constructed according to strict instructions after the heavenly pattern. This Tabernacle was consecrated by the continual sacrifice of bulls and goats. The daily sacrifice also reminded God and man of the sin which separated them and the hope that one day a greater sacrifice would restore relationship and grant man unrestricted access to God’s presence and even to His throne.

The Temple which was built in Jerusalem was patterned after the Tabernacle in the wilderness. They both had three distinct areas of sacrifice and service. The outer court was the largest of the three allowing everyone to bring a sacrifice for sin and receive temporary reprieve. Many other rituals were performed in the outer court which were but shadows and symbols of a greater day to come in which Messiah, the Lamb of God, would take away the sins of the world forever.

The Inner Court was only accessed by the Levitical Priests to do service and minister to the Lord and then only entered after passing through several steps of ritual cleansing so as not to appear before the Lord’s instruments of worship unclean and unworthy to perform the service – this could cost them their lives. Daily prayers were offered in the Inner Court and lifted heavenward in the smoke from the Altar of Incense. This was a holy duty indeed but still demanded that communication cross the great gulf between heaven and earth to reach the presence of God.

The third area of this earthly replica of God’s heavenly Temple was the Holy of Holies. This sealed inner sanctuary which was covered a thick curtain called “the veil” held the Ark of the Covenant and represented the very throne room of God’s presence. Only the High Priest of Israel was allowed to enter one time each year, humbly and fearfully reaching out to God on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat, and then only after meticulous preparation had been made. Nothing more symbolizes the future hope of Messiah than this event.

The great curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from view and denied access to God stood as a veil between God and man. However, on the day when Jesus was crucified, along about the sixth hour of the day, the sun grew dark and Jesus cried with a loud voice and said, “It is finished”, then He died. At that instant the earth shook and the veil of Temple guarding entrance to the Holy of Holies was torn by the hand of God from the top all the way to the bottom. Access was granted by the blood of Messiah.

Jesus made a way for us that we might enter into the presence of God. He broke down that middle wall of separation and thereby created new access to God having made atonement for all who would come through Him. Now, those who are “In Christ” have that access to God and are accepted in the beloved. Therefore we come boldly to the throne of grace that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in the times of need.

Key Scripture:
Ephesians 3:12  In Christ we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

Ephesians 2:14  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.

Ephesians 2:18  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Hebrews 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The bold approach spoken of in Hebrews is best understood when we rightly define this particular concept of boldness. The term “boldly” herein means:
·        With openness; honesty; clean heartedness
·        Without fear; deception; ambiguity
·        With humble assurance and cheerful courage
·        Confident in our approach

Important Points
1.   The blood of Jesus abolished the veil of separation between God and man.
2.   Mankind now has open access to God through Christ Jesus.
3.   Those who are “In Christ” can approach God’s throne with confidence.
4.   Ephesians 1:6  To the praise of the glory of God’s grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

Let us remember, God did this all through the sacrifice of His Son because He wanted to, not because He had to. This is God’s grace; we have access.

Supporting Scriptures
·        Matthew 27:50-51      
·        Hebrews 9:3
·        Hebrews 10:20
·        Hebrews 6:19-20