A Better Way
"I am the way." John 14:6a (NIV)
Are there times when you are hesitant about going to God? Maybe because of unkind words you've spoken. Things you've done. Unforgiveness you've harbored in your heart. Do these things ever make you feel guilty and unworthy to enter into the presence of our holy God?
The Old Testament law forbid Jews from ever being in the presence of God. According to Jewish law, the glory of God resided in the Temple in a room called the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter into that room. God hand-picked this man and appointed him to enter into the Holy of Holies one time a year to make a sin offering for the forgiveness of the people.
Why? Because sin had created a barrier between God and man. So, the High Priest made sacrifices on behalf of the people, since a blood sacrifice was required, to remove the barrier erected by sin. But, the people didn't just sin once a year. They sinned daily, and this system of sacrifice continuously reminded them of their guilt.
Can you imagine living with this constant reminder of your sin?
I can. Not too long ago, I realized I was living this way. Every time I lost my temper, disrespected my husband, held on to unforgiveness, I erected a wall between God and me. I felt shame and guilt because I could never get it right. I would tell God how sorry I was, and then within days, I would do it again!
But I...you...we...do not have to live like the Old Testament Jews.
With Jesus, God made a new way. He sent the Great High Priest; the One Who is the better way. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus' sacrifice does not need to be repeated every week, every month, or even every year. Christ made one sacrifice that once and for all removes any sin that ever was committed or will ever be committed. By shedding His own blood, Jesus forgave our sins and made us pure and holy in the eyes of God.
Jesus says "I am the way." His death on the cross made a way for you and me to be in His presence, to boldly and confidently come before Him with our every need, even when we feel the weight of our sin.
When we sin, we can simply come before God with a sincere heart, ask forgiveness, receive that forgiveness and our sins are gone.
Never again do we need to be filled with shame and guilt. Sweet friend, we have been set free! In Jesus, God gave us a better way!
Dear Jesus, thank You for leaving Your heavenly throne to live among Your people. Thank You for being my Great High Priest. Thank You for making a way for me to receive forgiveness of sin. Give me the courage to set aside my shame and guilt, to come boldly before Your throne and receive that forgiveness, and live confidently in it now and forevermore. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Are there times when you fear going to God? Maybe because of unkind words you've spoken. Things you've done. Unforgiveness you've harbored in your heart. Do you ever feel ashamed and guilty, unworthy to enter into the presence of our holy God?
Read Hebrews 4:14-16. Rewrite it using "I" and "me" in place of "we." Read it outloud. What does this mean for you in your life today?
Jesus calls us to "come boldly" to the throne of grace. Will I do that today? Today I'll spend some time with Jesus today. It can be in car pool line, on my lunch break, or anywhere else I can find to be alone. Then whatever it is that is on my heart, whatever it is I'm afraid to bring to Him, I'll bring it to Him today. Sit quietly before Him. Pray. Listen.
Leviticus 5:13a, "Through this process, the priest will purify those who are guilty of any of these sins, making them right with the LORD, and they will be forgiven." (NLT)
Hebrews 4:14a, 16, "So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus....let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." (NLT)