I read this in a book about a week ago and would like you all's thoughts on it. Do you set rules and regulations for your life, but then judge yourself very harshly when you do not live up to your expectations? Do you feel close to the Lord when you are doing something religious, but distant when you are not? Many people today are living in this manner-they lack assurance that they have pleased God. The Bible says that you and I have been accepted by his grace, which can be defined as God's kindness toward us without consideration of any merit on our part. In the Old Testament, the ark of the covenant - whichsymbolized God's presence - was kept in a secure place in the Tabernacle called "The Holy of Holies." Acces to this divine place was permitted only once per year and was restricted to the high priest.The Israelite people never were able to get anywhere close to the ark. A personal relationship with God was unthinkable. Instead, their whole concept of relating to God involved living up to laws and achieving acceptance on the basis of performance. The forgiveness of their sin was based on a literal animal sacrifice. Jesus came in order to die for our sins and be a permanent, one-time substitutionary sacrifice. Forgiveness was only part of the plan; He came also to initiate an entirely different lifestyle from what the people of God had been experiencing. On the day of His crucifixion, the veil hiding the ark of the covenant was split from top to bottom, symbolizing that God opened the door to an intimate relationship with Him. He has made it possible for us to talk directly to Him and know we are being heard. That change in relationship reflects the difference between grace and law. Jesus' death and resurrection settled the basis of our acceptance once and for all. Though our conduct some times is not what it ought to be, we are noetheless embraced as children of God. In order to enjoy the Christian life, we must view ourselves the way He sees us. People trying to live up to an impossible, invisible standard never know when they have pleased God. If life is a matter of rules and regulations, we will never have any peace or contentment. We have a choice to make. We can set rules and live by legalistic domination, fear, and uncertainty, or we can choose to live in the wonder acceptance that comes by the Cross. The life of grace - lived in His eternal grip - is available to everyone who will call upon Him.