Imagine the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were able to freely walk with and in the presence of the Almighty God who had just created the heavens and earth — until they sinned. With innocence lost, they now realized they were naked … physically and spiritually. They knew they were no longer acceptable to be in the presence of a holy God so they sewed some leaves together to cover themselves and hid from God. (Gen. 3)
God’s Solution: confronted their sin; condemned their sin; covered them with animal skin which required the shedding of blood
Imagine how despite man’s sinfulness, God still called a people to Himself (Gen. 12-50). While in Egypt the people grew in number as He had promised which became a threat to the Egyptian king who made them slaves. “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob” (Ex. 2:24) and He delivered them out of Egypt guiding the way with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Despite many visual demonstrations that God was with them, they continued to rebel, blaming their leaders, blaming God Himself, and making their own god of gold.
God’s solution: judgment of their sin; put them under the jurisdiction of the ten commandments and the sacrificial law in which animals would have to be sacrificed for the atonement of their sin (Exodus, Leviticus); journeyed with them in the tabernacle which had to be made to His specification and in which was a Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, where once a year the high priest would enter with “blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance” (Heb. 9:1-7)
Imagine that God still wanted to reign in their lives even though they desired to be like the people around them and have an earthly king. He nonetheless sought to make His presence known among them, allowing them to build a permanent dwelling for Him among them, the Temple, in which He would dwell, which also contained the Most Holy Place into which a high priest could enter once a year as Moses had commanded. Yet, the people would still follow after other nations and their gods.
God’s Solution: exile for His people and 400 years of silence from God due to their sin and then the entrance of Jesus into this world to die once and for all for the sin that has separated people from the presence of a holy God.
Today we are no longer under the law. We do not need to offer animal sacrifices to make us right with God. Because of Jesus, our high priest, the veil is torn in two, and we can now “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb. 4:14-16).
Imagine God with us (Immanuel) in the person of Jesus, dying on a cross and rising again so our sin could be forgiven. “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who would receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (Jn. 1:10-12). This Jesus had to return to heaven, to no longer be with His disciples.
God’s solution: the Holy Spirit to not only be with us but in us (Jn. 14:17)
Despite God’s repeated attempts to make a way for people, sin kept getting in the way of them enjoying and knowing the power of His presence in their lives. Today, we have the Holy Spirit within us so we can experience the presence of God unlike those who have gone before us. Will we “live by the Spirit” so we do not “gratify the desires of the sinful nature?” (Gal. 5:16)