Our Where’s God? Easter drama reached its climax when the veil in the temple was torn by Christ’s death on the Cross. All three of the synoptic gospels record this—
At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:51; also see Mark 15:38 and Luke 23:45)
This was so significant in answering the question “Where’s God?” The veil prevented anyone from going into God’s presence (except the high priest on the Day of Atonement). This made God’s presence something of a mystery: Does God see me? Does He care about me? How do I get to God? Can I even approach Him? Would He receive me or would He reject me?
The best way to remember the definition for atonement is like this: at-onement.
In one moment, when Jesus said, “It is finished,” all that separated us from God was removed! And we can now live forgiven! We can now be at onement with God!
The veil not only literally and physically hung in the temple, but it figuratively and spiritually hangs in our hearts. This is what the Apostle Paul writes—
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)
Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross allowed the Heavenly Father to tear apart the physical veil in the temple. Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to tear apart the spiritual veil in the temple of your heart? Here’s how you can know that the veil has been torn apart—you can notice that you are being transformed more and more into Christ’s likeness.
That’s the significance of the torn veil! That’s the power of Christ’s atonement!
If you missed any of the message in our Where’s God? series, you can find them all here.
June 14, 2012 at 2:06 am
Amazing! I had just read on a friends profile the following: ‘ God does not want to be holy’ and the scripture quoted ‘Luke 23v45’. What she said bothers me! The reason the veil was torn, was just as u said….to allow us to come to God ourselves, without having to go through a priest. I loved the way u put it! And what aso entered my mind when I read her post, was ‘ at this moment there is a multitude of angels circling the throne, singing ‘Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty’. Please clarify this for me. Does God NOT want to be holy?
Kind regards, a sister in Christ Jesus
June 14, 2012 at 9:34 am
Great question, Leilanie!
The whole point of the Christ’s death and resurrection was to bring you into a personal relationship with Himself. He is longing for this! The New Testament talks quite a bit about our “old nature” being stripped off and our “new nature” being put on. This is, in the words of your question, the process of us becoming holy. God wants you to be the “you” He created you to be, but you cannot do that by yourself… He helps you!
There’s a couple of big words theologians have come up with that may help. The first is atonement. I remember the meaning of this word by saying it “at one-ment.” When Jesus paid the price for our sins, and by faith we accept that payment, we are made at one-ment with Jesus.
Then (here’s the next theological word) we are now justified in God’s sight. I remember the idea of justification by saying it’s “just as if” I had never sinned. That’s how God views you! You are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, so you look totally clean to God (just as if you had never sinned)!
But you and I both know that even though our heart’s desire is to stay clean in God’s sight, we often blow it. We slip up and we sin. This is where the Holy Spirit helps us. A great chapter to read is Romans 8. Here you see another theological principle at work called sanctification. Again, I say this word “saint-ification,” because the Holy Spirit is making us into saints. He is helping us get rid of the old and put on the new; He’s helping us see that we can be holy in God’s sight; He helps us know that even when we sin, God does not condemn us; He helps us pray better; and He helps us know that God is working everything together for the good and that in that process, nothing can separate us from God’s love.
So when the veil was torn, it made the way possible for us to be justified by faith through the atonement. And then we show our gratitude to God for this access to Him by staying involved in the Spirit’s sanctification process. No matter how much time it takes, He will not give up on you! He continues to make you into the “you” He planned for you all along. He loves you as if you were the only person in the universe to love. And out of a heart of thanks to Him for that love, don’t you want to strive toward holiness? I do!
I hope this helps answer your question. Please let me know if there’s anything else that I can help explain.
April 5, 2022 at 7:23 pm
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