Summary: Since Christ is our High Priest, we have full access to the God of the universe. We must push through the veil of our sinful nature to enjoy the relationship with God that He intended.
I’m sure all of us want to get closer to God. Today I’m going to discuss how we can get deeper in our relationship with the heavenly Father. I have some complex things to talk about, so if we need to discuss a concept, please don’t hesitate to ask. This can be pretty heavy stuff, so bear with me. I hope that the message isn’t hindered by my stumbling or inability to explain something.
I’m going to use some material from my favorite author. Some of you may have heard of A.W. Tozer. He’s in glory now, but he is still viewed to be a modern prophet who brought powerful messages to Christ’s church. I encourage you all to read anything by Tozer. Today’s lesson is based on Chapter 3 of his book, "The Pursuit of God."
We see here an important statement from an early church leader. His name was Augustine and this quote is attributed to him; “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”
I begin with this quote because of all the things written outside of the scriptures, this is probably one of man’s most important quotes in all of our history.
Augustine, who was born in 354 AD, gives us in this short quote, our whole reason for being. It is the answer to the question that men have sought for centuries. This quote is so important because it gives us that insight into understanding our relationship with God.
What we’re talking about is a “right” relationship with God. And this right relationship isn’t a one-way relationship. We are so created that we experience deep joy and peace when we are close to God. And it’s joy that Augustine was talking about when he said we find rest in Him.
Before disobeying, Adam was in a right relationship with God. But then sin entered. As A.W. Tozer puts it, our “foul revolt” broke this communion and man now lives alone outside of the “manifest Presence” of our heavenly Father. The manifast Presence is what Adam tried to hide from, and what Peter ran away from, after their sins. According to Tozer, being in the manifast Presence is that communion with a God “so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.”
The sin that entered caused a barrier to be placed between man and God. That barrier needs to be dealt with through the blood of Christ. But, before Christ, there was the sacrificial system of the Jews. This had it’s focus in the tabernacle and later in the temple of the Lord. God instructed that a veil be hung to separate the holy court in the Temple from the Holy of Holies where the Arc of the Covenant was kept and where God’s Presence was.
This veil (along with all of the Temple details) represented the separation between God and humanity because of our sins. No one was permitted to pass through the veil into God’s presence except for the High Priest, and only once a year (the Day of Atonement), with the blood of an unblemished goat for the sins of the people.
The veil before the Holy of Holies was made of 72 squares of fine woven cloth. It was blue, purple and red with cherubim embroidered on it. It was about 60 feet by 30 feet and four inches thick. It took 300 men to lift it. Today, we ascribe meaning to the colors of the veil. The blue stands for the deity of Christ. The red symbolizes the blood of Christ. The purple represents the royalty of Christ. Also of note, purple is made by blending equal part of red and blue—-symbolizing that Christ was fully God and fully man. Through this symbolism, God is teaching that we are not acceptable to Him because of our sins and our need for an atonement.
Like the people of Israel, we needed to put ourselves back into a right relationship with God—-to remove the separation between us. This is necessary because, as Tozer puts it, we needed something to, “undo the tragic effects of that foul revolt and bring us back again into right and eternal relationship with Himself.”
We no longer live under the old law. This was the result of Christ’s atoning work on the cross at Calvary. Scriptures record for us that at the time of Christ’ crucifixion, immediately after He cried out “tetelastai (it is finished)”, the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom (Matt 27:51). The rending of the veil in the Temple was at least symbolic. It communicated a very clear message from God to man. The way into God’s personal presence is now open for all; as long as we come through the death of Jesus. His death fulfilled what the old animal atonement laws could only symbolize. Christ actually “paid” the penalty for our sins against God and removed this barrier.