Has our fear of God diminished into mere casualness? Has our confidence morphed into spiritual cockiness? Do we barge into His throne room like we’re checking off our to-do lists, like we’re pandering to God or doing Him a favour? Has our boldness in approaching God devolved into brazenness?
Growing up in the eighties, I distinctly remember one of our rituals in elementary school. When the teacher walked into our classroom, all us students stopped what we were doing, rose from our seats and in unison greeted her with a ‘good morning’ or a ‘good afternoon’.
As a student, I had every right to be in that classroom – I had the school uniform, my parents had paid the tuition, I fit into the grade academically. I was confident because I qualified for my classroom. But that confidence didn’t make me dismissive about respecting the teacher.
While it’s not an air-tight analogy, I’d like to compare this little snapshot of my childhood with how we approach God’s throne of grace. Yes, we have absolute confidence to enter the Most Holy Place because Jesus paid the price for our sin (Hebrews 10:19). We can go to Him boldly because, by His grace, our filthy rags have been exchanged for robes of righteousness. But, like the students who belong yet are reverential, do we who belong to God also stand in awe and fear of Him?
Hebrews 4: 15 reminds us that ‘we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin‘. The author of the book then instructs us in verse 16 to ‘approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need‘.
Jesus, our Great High Priest, sympathises with our weakness. He was tempted just like we are. Yet, He was perfect in holiness. This sinless God invites sinners like you and me to confidently come before Him in our time of need.