You and I live in a world of access codes, security measures, digital barriers, and restricted use. We need ID cards to enter certain buildings, we need thumbprints to access our smartphones, we need passwords to retrieve particular computer files, and we need PIN numbers to get money from our bank accounts. In fact, as I thought about restricted access I was reminded of an exclusive golf club in Dallas that I got to play a while back with some friends. Preston Trails Golf Club is a private mens only golf club! To play on this great course you have to be a member or in the company of a member. Not only that you have to be male, and not only that you have to be a male over 21-years of age. While there, one of the members told us that the native Texan and PGA player Jordan Spieth, even though a winner of the Master’s before he was twenty-one, had to wait until he was twenty-one to play Preston Trails.
Life is rife with barriers, boundaries, and restricted access!
Now what is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world. Up until Jesus' death, man had been barred from direct access to God’s immediate presence. Because of Adam’s sin man had lost access to God’s presence (Gen. 3:22-24). This loss and restriction are especially seen in the worship of the Temple within Israel. Everything about the Temple preached access denied and pictured the inaccessibility of God. Think about this, if you were a normal Israelite your access to God was limited to the outer courtyard of the Temple. If you were a priest you might be fortunate enough to enter the Holy Place, the area surrounding the Holy of Holies, for one week out of your life. But even then, you were still an outsider to the Holy of Holies separated by a thick curtain. That was the place on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, where the High Priest of Israel entered to spend a few awkward and amazing minutes in the presence of God on earth. Interestingly, it was two cherubim who guarded the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies, and it was cherubim that were embroidered on the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place (Ex. 25:18-22; 26:31). The Holy of Holies and the symbolism of the cherubim were a glaring reminder that sin had separated man from God and that access into His presence was denied (Gen. 3:22-24).
Fast forward now to the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary, and the renting of the Temple veil (Mark 15:38). What a moment and what a message! The message being communicated was that Jesus is both High Priest and sacrifice, and what He did on the cross by means of His substitutionary death has opened the way for men and women alike to enter God’s presence once again (Heb. 6:19-20; 9:3, 8; 10:19-20). The separation our sin created has been bridged in the death of Christ and now we have access to God through faith in Christ (Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:13; 3:12). The tearing of the veil was God saying through Christ, “Come on, on, in.” There is access to God through Christ and you and I can come to God about our sins, sorrows and struggles (Heb. 4:14-16).
Because of Christ, the God of heaven keeps an open door policy (John 10:7; 14:6)!