In the Old Testament, God’s presence is limited to a few select individuals. After Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden at the end of Genesis 3, intimacy with God was severed. Thus, God revealed himself to the forefathers of Israel, prophets and some leaders to guide and direct their paths. However, due to continued disobedience throughout several centuries, God decides go silent for 400 years serving as a transition for the New Testament.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded, James 4:8.
Before Jesus arrived on to the scene, priests were used as a mediator between God and mankind. To atone for sin, priests performed animals sacrifices with the shedding of blood to cleanse individuals, families and cities from their transgressions. Without practicing this biblical principle, forgiveness is not obtained. Therefore, drawing near to God can not occur unless repentance and contrition has been completed.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water, Hebrews 10:22.
The new covenant introduced to his disciples during the Last Supper, Jesus eliminated the need for the Old Testament practice mentioned above. Described as the Lamb of God, a perfect sacrifice without blemish, Jesus laid down his own life so that in Him, we too might have life. While worshiping God at a building, home or a temple is still a vital aspect of faith, you can draw near to God anywhere and anytime. As you draw near, God’s grace is a free gift available to all approach the Lord with a sincere heart, eager to forgive sinners as far as the East is from the West.
by Jay Mankus