God desires closeness to us. In the Garden of Eden, He actually walked with Adam and Eve, enjoying fellowship with them. However, that closeness was fractured when sin entered the utopian picture of Eden (Ge. 3). In the Bible God is described as perfect light. (I Ti. 6:16; I Jn. 1:5; Re. 21:23) Light scatters darkness. Our sin is described as darkness, wickedness, like witchcraft… and it separates us from God. Our rebellion shrouds what would be the blessing of His perfect will and peace for or lives. Darkness cannot share the same space as light (2 Co. 6:14), for even a little light will pierce through the darkness for all to see. The light of God’s Word became the Living Word (John 1:1-14) in God’s plan to restore the broken connection caused by sin.
The Bible tells us to draw near to God and He will reciprocate. He does not force himself on us; He gave us a will to respond to His enticements of love and care. The old covenant was one of distance. When Moses’ curiosity led him to the burning bush, Moses heard God say, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the ground on which you are standing is holy ground.” When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai, God commanded Moses to “…put barriers around the mountain, lest any who try to approach God die.” Temple worship also reflected this same distance caused by man’s rebellious and sinful ways: the majority of the nation could not even enter the outer court, and only the priests were allowed into the inner court; and the holy of holies was forbidden to all but the high priest who entered there only once a year.
God was demonstrating to the people that He takes sin very seriously; that sin was loathsome to Him… so much so that He treated them like lepers who were to be put out of the city. That ‘s the picture of how sin separates us so severely from a holy and just God. Yet, God’s heart was always to draw His children close to His heart… so He sent His one and only Son to become sin for us… to take the punishment we deserved upon the cross at Golgatha. It was at that moment that the warnings to stay at a distance became pleas to draw near.
The new covenant was established through Jesus Christ, Who invited all to come to Him. His invitation never stopped. His words enticed those who had fallen into the disrepair of sin to come near to Him – the mender of broken lives and hearts. “Come to me all who are weak and weighed down, and I will give you rest” is an unconditional announcement of availability. We who were distant now have access to God through the blood Christ shed for us on the cross. Indeed, He has broken down every wall, every barrier, every excuse, every doubt of unworthiness so that we might come freely to Him – as a child approaches a loving father, showing no reservation or fear (He. 10:19-22).
There will come a day of even closer fellowship, greater access to God. Heaven is described by the apostle John: “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.” Even so, Lord, come quickly.