New Year: A Fresh Start

Day 3 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Living with New Access to God

At the moment of Jesus' death, God did something game-changing. The curtain in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies was "torn in two, from top to bottom."

Though this was an actual, physical event, the real significance is what it symbolized. The Holy of Holies was off-limits to the Hebrew people. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. Even then, there were strict protocols that had to be followed. The Holy of Holies was so special because it was the place where God dwelt in a tangible way.

The Ark of the Covenant was housed in the Holy of Holies, and the covering of the Ark was called "The Mercy Seat." Hovering above the Mercy Seat was the "Glorious Presence of the Lord." Entering the Holy of Holies meant you were in the very presence of God. No one had access to the Holy of Holies. Even the High Priest would enter backward rather than face "The Presence."

The death of Jesus on the cross changed all of that. Instead of the imperfect sacrifices of animals to temporarily atone for sin, Jesus was the whole, perfect, and complete sacrifice offered once for all. As such, He is our perfect High Priest who has provided the perfect sacrifice, enabling us to have continual access to God. There is no longer a curtain separating us from the presence of God. Through Jesus, we have full access to God.

Hebrews 4 tells us this new access to God is life-changing. We have access to God's mercy and God's grace. We can boldly, with confidence, approach God's throne, knowing there will be mercy and grace. We don't have to enter backward like the Hebrew High Priests had to do. We have new and different access to God!

Paul says in Romans that we have been adopted into God's family, and John clarifies those who trust in Christ are "children of God."

These passages give us so much hope. We don't have to hide from God like Adam and Eve did after they sinned. Discovering access to the new mercies of God can give us a fresh start to a new life all year long!