Thursday, November 3, 2011

Approaching God

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 KJV)

When we hear the word "boldly" in America, we think of striding in without fear or concern.  The definition of "boldly" is "fearless or daring" or even "brazen or impudent".  But that is not what the writer of Hebrews intended.  More modern translations use the word "confidently", but even here our American culture gets in the way.  You see, we like our rugged individualism.  We like to assert our own personality and will.  We call it freedom, but it is really just the sin of pride.

In order to understand this verse, we first need to keep in mind what is said in Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." When we approach the throne of God, our confidence is not in ourselves or our position before God.  It is not because we are walking close to God or because we attend the right church.  Our confidence is based solely on the nature and character of our savior, Jesus Christ.

For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.
(Hebrews 4:15 NET)

Our confidence is in the fact that Jesus understands our weaknesses and temptations.  He has experienced our pain.  We know that as we approach a holy, all-powerful God who is a righteous judge that Jesus Christ intercedes for us and gives us comfort and forgiveness when we repent of our sins.

 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. (James 4:10 NET) 

So we should not approach the throne of God flippantly or arrogantly, but with humility and confidence in the finished work of Jesus Christ and the compassion he has for us.  Much like a child approaches his father with respect when making a request, so we too should approach our heavenly Father with reverence and fear but with full assurance that He cares for us and will hear our prayer and give us the help that we need.

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