by Lisa Hall
Guilt. A nagging feeling that can overshadow your life. But how do you get rid of the overwhelming sense of guilt and shame that separates you from the one you offended? Fortunately, God reveals his plan for this in the Bible. Because he is a God that values and initiates relationships, God chose the Israelites to be his people and for him to be their God. He also gave them laws — and a way to be reconciled to him when they violated those laws.
People came to the temple, God’s dwelling, to worship him and be cleansed of their sins. Because the punishment for sin was death, God enacted a plan by which the sins of the people could be removed every year through the blood of animal sacrifices. But temple sacrifice was always a temporary solution, for the blood of animals could never permanently absolve the people of their sin and guilt.
God’s desire was never to have a legalistic relationship with his people. The prophets foretold how one day God would write his laws on their hearts and would give them a spirit that longed to obey him out of love rather than obligation. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, God’s sinless son, the payment of sin was forever fulfilled. Instead of coming to God at the temple to offer the blood of an animal, all who repent and believe can be covered and forgiven through the blood of Jesus — God’s perfect sacrifice. At Jesus’ death, the temple veil was torn in two, allowing everyone access to the presence of the Father — not just the high priest once a year. People can now come straight to the Father to receive forgiveness and connection. The wonderful news is a personal and intimate relationship with God is now possible — through Jesus.