When you get right down to it the Christian faith is about nearness with God. Certainly we are in need of salvation. We are in need of forgiveness. We are in need of the strength that only God can provide. But when we look objectively at faith (and life) we begin to see the innate need each of us has for nearness to our Father.
And I believe this is a struggle for many. Because God seems so very distant.
As God descends upon Mt Sinai He does so in power. He had delivered Israel with power out of their slavery in Egypt. There was no doubt to any of them that He alone was God. As He leads them to Mt Sinai to engage in covenant with them He establishes a boundary around the mountain. No one was to come near. They were all to be kept at a distance. The glory of God encompasses the mountain in thunder and lightening and fire and trumpet blast. The mountain shook violently. Smoke billowed from the mountain “like a furnace” (Ex 19:18). “To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain” (Ex 24:18). “When the people saw the thunder and lightening and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear” (Ex 20:18). And they stayed at a distance….
However in Christ we have a different reality. If we’ve learned anything from the Gospel of Jesus, anything from what God has accomplished through our Savior, anything from the cross and resurrection of our Lord, it is that our Father desires closeness with us. He wants us near. He has come near to us in Christ and so desires for us to engage Him in a close, intimate relationship in this life.
Read these powerful, comforting words from the Hebrew writer of our present reality in Christ: “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.’ The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant…” (Heb 12:18-24).
Our reality in Jesus is of a God who brings us near.
Glory to God!