April 2, 2021
No Longer Separated
SHALA W. GRAHAM
Lee en español
"For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time." Hebrews 10:10 (NLT)
There is a feeling I am all too familiar with. I've felt it at a work conference and at a church gathering.
It's the feeling of being separate. Not good enough. Not with the "in" crowd. Lacking access to critical resources or key people. Feeling like a wallflower.
Unseen. Unimportant. Unwanted.
I realize this feeling can be the result of my insecurities. Or perhaps it's just me being an introvert who is terrified when thrown into a big crowd.
Nonetheless, I live in a world that loves to separate people. The haves from the have-nots. The jocks from the nerds. The leaders from the followers. The experienced from the newbies. I get classified by my race, gender, education, career and socioeconomic status. Depending on where I fall on either side of an invisible line, I have access to the good stuff, or I don't.
We see a very clear separation or dividing line in the Old Testament. In the old covenant between God and Israel, there were regulations for worship and a place for worship, known as the tabernacle. The tabernacle had two important rooms: the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. These rooms, divided by curtains, were only for priests.
The Scriptures teach in Hebrews 9:6-7 that "... the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance" (NLT).
The Most Holy Place contained the ark of the covenant and the very presence of God. For 364 days, no one was permitted to enter that space - to have direct access to God. One day a year, only one person - the high priest - could cross the threshold of separation and go into the Most Holy Place to offer a sacrifice that would cover the people's sins. That was as close to God as any person could get.
Day after day, year after year, God's people had a physical line, a curtain, reminding them to stay separated from the Holy Place because they were not holy.
But from the moment sin entered the world, God had been working His way closer to us, longing to be with us and restore the spiritual intimacy lost in the garden of Eden. And on the day we call Good Friday, our good God finished His journey back to us when His Son, Jesus, offered one final sacrifice for our sins - Himself, on a cross.
"Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom" (Mark 15:37-38, NLT). Jesus became our forever great High Priest, tearing the curtain of separation in two as He hung on the cross.
"With his own blood - not the blood of goats and calves - he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever" (Hebrews 9:12, NLT).
"For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time ... For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy" (Hebrews 10:10, 14, NLT).
While I am acutely aware of my sin and often feel so unworthy, Jesus' sacrifice on the cross nullifies the consequences of my sin and overrides my feelings with truth.
And the truth is that by accepting Jesus' death on the cross for our sins, we are made holy, fulfilling God's desire for us! Because the blood of the perfect Lamb makes us holy, we can enter into the Most Holy Place to meet with God directly.
We are no longer separated. We are wanted. We are holy, forever united with God.
Father, Your extravagant love for us blows my mind. Thank You for Your grand plan to send Jesus to the cross to cover our sins. I'll never fully comprehend how we are made holy in Your sight, but I choose to receive it, embrace it, yearn for it and walk in it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 4:16, "So 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)
Hebrews 9:27-28, "And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him." (NLT)
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Need a reminder that God made you to be holy? Pin up this free downloadable poster where you can see it daily.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
The cross of Jesus makes us holy! How does knowing that truth help you approach God in confidence, especially as we enter into this holy weekend?
Let us hear from you! In the comments, add your thoughts about today's devotion.
© 2021 by Shala W. Graham. All rights reserved.