"But your iniquities have hidden you from God; your sins have hidden His face from you; so that He will not hear" Isaiah 59:2.
For as long as I've been a Christian I've heard this taught. God can't tolerate sin...at all. He's so holy and pure that He can't abide even a hint of sin in His presence. Therefore, Jesus is the man in the middle, the protective element between man and God. When the Father looks at us, it has to be through the blood of Jesus. We are too despicable otherwise. The blood hides our sins, even though the Bible says that God has already chosen to forget them. Without the blood God can't be around us. How that's possible since Jesus and the Father are one escapes me, but hey, I've taught this too.
If we look at this verse in Isaiah carefully we need to determine who is separating from whom? Contrary to popular teaching, it doesn't say God separates Himself from us. It does say that sin's impact on us is that we feel separated from Him.
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior." Col. 1:21.
Paul sees eye-to-eye with Isaiah on this. Sin clouds our judgment and distorts our perception of God causing us to believe He is now our enemy.
"For as he thinks of himself, so he is." Prov. 23:7.
We become who we believe we are. To put to rest the concept that God can't endure contact with sinful man look no further than the first few chapters of Genesis.
God already knew what Adam and Eve had done. However, that wasn't enough to make Him cancel his customary rendezvous with the pair. My Bible says they were the ones hiding from God and not the other way around. When He asked, "Where are you?" He didn't think He'd misplaced them or that they were somehow lost. When Adam and Eve finally emerged from their hideout the trio had a face-to-face conversation. They did have to leave the garden ultimately, but it was to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life, not to sever their contact with God.
To confirm this wasn't a special exception to God's rule, keep reading. God cared enough about Cain to step in and try to keep him from killing his brother. He even intervened after the deed was done to protect Cain's life. He recruited idol-worshiping Abram, who twice tried to peddle his wife as his sister to save his own skin, to be the blood line for the Messiah. Moses was a murderer but God still made him
deliverer and spoke with him face-to-face. God interrupted Saul of Tarsus' trip
to round up Christians for extinction, and transformed him to Paul the Apostle
who then went on to write most of the New Testament and evangelize the Gentiles.
Finally, twice in the book of Job we see God conversing with the Devil, the
inventor of sin and God doesn't have an apoplectic fit. If sin was no barrier then,
why would it be one now?
The good news of the Gospel is that God and man aren't enemies, and this is the message that He wants us to share.
"That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." 2 Cor. 5:19.
The only thing separating us from God are the imaginary walls we've mentally constructed. The solution is simply repentance, or-have another thought (that's what the word means).
How about you? Is it possible that God really does love you and not just tolerate you because of what Jesus has done? How does the truth that the only thing that's ever separated you from God has been the mindsets that convinced you that a barrier existed? Isn't the news that we're not on the outs with Him at all the best thing we can share with the world?