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Freedom from the Curtains of Guilt and Shame

The guilt, shame and fear that accompanied sin caused us to run and hide, but God was right where He’d always been. —Jeff Turner, Saints in the Arms of a Happy God

Perhaps the guiltiest conscience in all of literature belongs to Pip, Charles Dickens’ main character in Great Expectations. Scholars have suggested Pip might be a reflection of Dickens’ own guilt—as the author was engaged in an affair while writing that book. A guilty conscience spills over into life.

As we read Hebrews 9, it’s clear the author has a great understanding of the temple’s construction. But moving beyond the blueprints, the author focuses on the décor—an elaborate set of curtains.

The curtains hung between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, serving to separate God’s holiness from human impurity. Only the high priest could pass through the curtains—and only once a year.

But when Christ died, we are told the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).

The barrier between God’s holiness and man’s impurity was destroyed. Access to God was now available to all! Intimacy is ours for the experiencing!

But let me ask you: Is that unlimited access to God’s intimate presence a part of your everyday life?

See, I believe there are two sets of curtains that have kept mankind from the presence of God. The first was the curtain God hung in the temple and later destroyed, so that curtain is no longer in play.

But the second curtain is one that we hang—the curtain of conscience. We hang it up in our minds as a separation between the Holy God and our feeling of being unholy. We hang it up, hoping to keep our guilt and shame to ourselves.

So my question to you is this: How free would you be if you allowed Jesus to destroy your curtain of conscience in the same way He destroyed His curtain of holiness?

Let Him shred your guilty conscience, so nothing holds you back from His presence.

Lord, I had no power to destroy the first curtain in the temple, and I have no ability to destroy the second curtain in my own mind. I invite You to have Your way in my thought life, for the sake of my free, abundant life in You. Amen.

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