In the beginning Adam and Eve had a face-to-face relationship with God. They they sinned, creating a gap between them and their creator that was renewed each time a human broke God’s law. God was still there, but we kept moving farther and farther away.
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Is. 59:1-2)
Throughout the time period covered by the Old Testament books, it appears few people had a relationship with God. In every case, that relationship existed because God stepped across the gap and initiated the relationship. He called Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into covenant with Him. He spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. He chose David as king over Israel. He called the prophets individually.
Today, God also has to take the first steps in any relationship we have with Him. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6) and also, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). To have a relationship with Yeshua we must be called by the Father, and to know the Father we have to go through Yeshua.
Several months ago, there was a handout at my Messianic congregation with a “Thought Of The Week” printed on the back talking about just this topic. It started out discussing Jacob’s ladder, then human attempts to bridge the gap between God and man by building things like towers. Such attempts are futile, but
The same might be said of all our religious impulses. The stars are always beyond our reach. God is far distant. Man’s best attempts to bridge the gap fail. … If we are to ascend to God, we must ascend upon a ladder that He Himself has extended to us from above.”
We can’t do anything that will make us worthy of God’s attention. All our “religious impulses” — going to church every week, singing worship songs, preaching, or even doing works like healings — aren’t going to make Jesus let us into the kingdom (Matt. 7:22-23). The only thing we can do is respond when God extends us a way to know Him.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed (Rom. 3:23-25)
Jesus is the ladder “extended to us from above” by God the Father. He “came down from heaven” (John 6:38) to pay the price for our sins and “draw all men to” Himself (John 12:32). Because we could not reach Him, he came to us.
The Hebrew word for “bless” also means to kneel. No matter how many good works we climb up on or how hard we stretch toward heaven, we won’t reach God. Yet He blessed us by kneeling down to our level and welcoming us into a relationship through Jesus Christ.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom. 5:1-2)
Because of what Jesus has done and is doing, we can reach God. Through Him, we “have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18). We can come to Them with absolute confidence that They love us and want a relationship with us. They’ve proved that time and again throughout history by making covenants with people, building friendships with men like Abraham (Jas. 2:23), pleading with Their loved ones to come back, kneeling down to die in our place, and now living and walking with us.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:14-16)
Jesus bridged the gap once and for all with His sacrifice that “perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). He gave us access to God and “boldness to enter the Holiest” by making us holy (Heb. 10:19-22). “Now we are children of God” (1 John 3:2), and we can come to Him just as a child who knows their loving Father always has time to pick them up and listen to their concerns.