In my Theology of the New Testament class we were going through what true worship looks like. Ironically enough were looking at it in the Old Testament.
One of the most fundamental issues we have as sinful human beings is the “Issue of Access”. How can we as sinners have access to a holy and pure God? Fact: We can’t… sort of… There is nothing we can do on our own that would make access to God possible. There is nothing we can do in our own power to have a relationship with God.
This goes all the way back to the garden; the epitome of perfection. There was perfect access to God (walking in the garden), and perfect relationship with Him (Talking with him). After the fall of man this access was taken away and the relationship broken. We have an issue of access now.
In the OT God came and helped us with this issue. He had the Israelites build the tabernacle so God could dwell with man (this was a precursor to the temple). That’s what God wants; He wants to be with us. Yet, in order for someone to come and have relationship with God a sacrifice had to be made.
The point of the sacrifice wasn’t just the shedding of blood. God doesn’t delight in the shedding of blood (that would be sadistic). However, justice has to take place. Propitiation has to be made.
The point of the sacrifice then was for the sacrificer to place his sin upon the animal. He was to recognize that He was a sinner in need of a savior in order to have right relationship with God. He knew that His sin needed atonement. Christ ultimately is the “True” atonement for sin that the animals were also a precursor to (or a type of the one to come).
My point with all of this, is that God desires true relationship, based upon true repentance. In the OT someone could come to God to sacrifice and do it out of legalistic robotic motions. In order to have access to God, their heart needed to be right before God, more than their actions.
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
In order for them to have access to God sacrifice had to be made, yet they could make sacrifice and not have relationship. God wants our hearts to be broken in the understanding that what was being done to that animal is what should be done to us for our sin.
How often do we as people in the church take for granted our access to God? How often do we come and not realize that it is because of Christ’s sacrifice that we can come and worship in church? That we can pray? That what was done to Christ was done on our behalf? It should have been done to us. We deserve so much condemnation, but because of Christ we can have access to God.
Next time you pray, next time you read your bible, or when you go to church, remember that Christ died so you didn’t have too. God wants our hearts to be broken over our sin, not our circumstances.
Don’t take coming before God as a light thing. It took His Son’s death for it to be possible.