A stout man shouted down a very lengthy stone hallway, “Leave now. You do not belong here!” My fellow college intern and I had casually strolled into an architecturally interesting building having finished touring the nearby Tower of London. Curiosity had led us to open the massive door and step inside.
There would be no answers. There would be no access. Being cast out was unsettling.
While being denied entrance is never enjoyable, sometimes it is inconsequential. Sometimes it is tragic.
Three times in the New Testament Paul described the basis for our access to God. Repeatedly, it is Christ who enables us to come before God.
In Ephesians 2:18 we learn that Christ announced peace to the Gentiles and to the Jews “so that through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18). Jesus provides the means for us to go to the Father.
We are not surprised. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus’ sacrificial death provides the one source of atonement for our sins. Accordingly the Hebrews’ author describes Jesus’ blood as opening a way for us into God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-20).
Having penned Ephesians 2:18, Paul pressed further into explaining Christ’s role. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12 KJV). Again it is Christ who makes available the basis for entering God’s presence.
This brings us to Romans 5:1-2 where we discover Paul’s third use of access. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, …” Once again, Jesus provides the foundation enabling our access into the undeserved gift of being at peace with God.
Being denied entrance into an architecturally interesting building is unimportant. There are however words that will rip through anyone’s heart who hears them and that event would be utterly tragic. “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
Jesus is our one hope for gaining entrance into God’s presence. Jesus counsels us to be wise and not foolish in preparing for that day in order that we might enter. No one can afford to be denied access on that day.