June 28, 2004 • By Ed Wrather
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. - Hebrews 4:14-16.
My parents have had a little Chihuahua for years - he may be 14 years old. The dog's name is Pal. That dog is really happy every time I come to visit. But he has yet to let me pick him up and pet him. I think he wants to, but he shivers and shakes when I start to pet him and runs away. He will let me play ball with him. I’ll throw the ball and he will bring it back to me. He’s okay just as long as I don’t try to touch him. When I leave, he barks and throws a fit that I’m leaving. I have never seen a dog like that before.
Now compare Pal with their cat, Speedy. Speedy has never met a stranger and is the complete opposite of Pal. Speedy thinks that he is entitled to your attention and that everyone wants to pet him and most people do. Sometimes it is hard to walk because Speedy is lying on top of your shoes or rubbing against your legs. He demands your attention.
Many go from one extreme to the other in their approach to God. They may be like Pal at times and at other times, they are like Speedy. We may shake and shiver like Pal with an attitude that says, “God will never listen to me. He doesn’t want me here. What if I say the wrong thing, and He zaps me with lightning or something?” At other times, some act like Speedy sauntering into the presence of God with a list of demands and an attitude that says, “God, You should be so thankful that I’m on your side.”
Both attitudes are inappropriate and comes from the idea that somehow we can approach God on the basis of how good we are, of how worthy we are. The spiritual fact is that we can never approach God through our own holiness or goodness. We can never be good enough; we can never be righteous enough to come to God on the basis of how pure we are. Our righteousness, even at our very best point is like dirty rags to the absolutely holy, pure and righteous almighty God.
How then can we approach God with boldness and confidence (Ephesians 3:11-12)? Only through the goodness, holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is never about our goodness or the good works we have done. It is about the faithfulness of our Lord who was tempted at all points without sin. Only through the blood of Jesus Christ can we approach the throne of God. The apostle Paul puts it well in Galatians 2:20 when he writes, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Let us go boldly into the presence of God through the faithfulness of our Lord.