Monday, May 23, 2016

The Veil

Yesterday in church we were in John 16:5-15.

The pastor brought in a correlation that really got me thinking.

In this passage Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, coming to them once He departed this world. He explained what the Spirit's role is in the world. Verse 8, "When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment," The Holy Spirit has the job of convicting people of their sin. (Not condemning, convicting.) This is the work of the Holy Spirit, among other things. It is not our work. It is His. It is not in the job description of humans to convict others, now please understand me, as a believer I am called, I am commanded, to call a spade a spade. I am commanded to call out sin and injustice, but not in a way where I lord myself over that person in condemnation. We are called to point out sin, but it is the job of the Holy Spirit to CONVICT that person of sin.

Scripture says In 2 Corinthians 3:14, "but their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ." What this is saying is that the only way for people to see their sin for what it truly is, to understand Scripture for what it truly says, is through the power of Christ, not on their own. A few verses earlier in chapter 3 it talks about the Israelites not being able to look upon Moses after he had been in the presence of God. He had to veil his face to shield their eyes from His glory.

This is a scripture reference back to the Old Testament, Exodus 34:29-35. After Moses had entered the presence of God, he physically radiated the glory of God, so much so that the Israelites were afraid to look upon him and he had to veil his face. The people could not gaze upon the Glory of God, even if it was just a reflection, an after-burn if you will, of His glory.

Just like the physical veil Moses put on to prevent people from seeing the Glory of God, those who are not in Christ have a spiritual veil over them, preventing them from seeing the Glory of God. This veil can only be removed by the power of Christ.

This thought brought to mind Matthew 27, recounting the death of Jesus.

50-51, "Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom..."

The curtain that is mentioned here is the curtain in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies, where God's presence rested, with the rest of the Temple. The curtain was there for a reason, because any person with unconfessed sin, who gazed upon the actual Presence of God would instantly die. As mere humans we did not have direct access to God. But when Jesus, who is God in physical form, died on the cross, He took on every sin of the world, past, present and future. You see, a blood sacrifice has to be made for the redemption of sin, but not just any blood would provide permanent reconciliation. Only perfect blood could do that. So, God chose to come and take it on Himself. When Jesus died, taking on all the sins of the world, the curtain--the veil--was split, signifying that through Christ we could have direct access to God, not be separated by a veil. Christ's death and resurrection provided the way for the physical veil of the temple to come down, but it also provided the payment for the spiritual veil of sin to be torn away.

But what is our role in all of this? Well, I want to look back at Exodus 34 and 2 Corinthians 3 again. It says when Moses entered the presence of God he physically radiated from the experience. In 2 Corinthians it went on to say that the glory that shown on his face would fade as time passed and he was away from God's presence. Here's a few of things I gleaned from yesterday's message:

1) If you have truly encountered God, if you have truly entered into His presence, people will notice. There will be a change. It may frighten some people (the Israelites were afraid to look upon Moses). It may confuse or even anger some people. But, there will be a significant change. A true encounter with Jesus brings about change.

2) It will be a lasting change. 2 Corinthians 3 goes on to say in verses 8-11 that the glory shown on Moses' face was temporary, the reason being he could not continually be in the presence of God. However, the glory shown on the face of those who put their faith in Christ will be an everlasting glory, through the Holy Spirit. Through the power of the cross we can now have direct access to God, and once you have entered His presence, through the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you. You are continually in the presence of God. And that glory never fades.

3) Our role? To allow God's glory to radiate through us, allowing others to see what a true encounter with the Savior means. Our role is to radiate the Glory of God through our everyday, personal walk with Him. When we do that we allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish His role through us.

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