“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)”
What does the writer of Hebrews mean when he says that we should have a “bold or confident” approach to God in prayer”? Certainly, he does not mean that we should come to the Lord in a way that is prideful, entitled, self-absorbed, or self-righteous. But rather, he means that we should come confident in Christ. Not confident in ourselves, but confident in the Lord’s grace. Have you ever felt that you could not pray because maybe you had done something that was displeasing to Christ? Have you felt yourself to be unworthy to call out to Him? Have you ever felt that you were too insignificant, too sinful, or too fleshly? If so, then you need to hear and fully embrace the wonderful truth found in Hebrews – “let us approach the throne of grace with confidence.”
In ancient times, the throne of the King was a frightening thing. It was a seat of justice, of judgment, and of wrath. It was a terrible experience to come before the throne of the King. Yet for those who are in Christ, the throne is not a seat of justice. It is a seat of grace. Because of the cross, we now approach the King’s throne, not as a criminal, but as an heir. The throne is not a seat of fear; it is a seat of delight! And so we are called to approach Christ with a tremendous confidence in His goodness.
This is a happy and free confidence that God delights in us because of Christ. It is confidence that God doesn’t owe us any good thing, but that He cheerfully desires to give us all good things. It is confidence that because of Jesus, we can approach our God without fear, that we can boldly cast ourselves into His arms, that Christ has nothing but favor for His Beloved, nothing but love, nothing but fullness, nothing but pleasure at His right hand. It is confidence that we are beautiful to God because we are drenched in the image of His Son.
And when we pray, it is praying with a confidence that that we are attractive to the community of the Godhead. That we are not repulsive to Him, but that we are lovely in His eyes! It is praying with a confidence that God beckons us into the loving dance of the Three in One. Confidence that though our sins are as black as night, we will be freed to dance in the noonday sun, that though our filth clings to our flesh, it will be fully washed away in the waterfall of His grace. It is confidence that even our smallest blemish will perish before His great pleasure. It is confidence that we can jump into our Savior’s arms like a child who leaps into a refreshing pool. It is confidence that His presence is our comfort, that His thunderous laughter is our resting place, and that His loving heart is our home.
So Surfside church, if you belong to Christ, don’t withdraw from the Son of Love! Don’t shy away. Don’t retract in shadowy shame. Leap upon the throne of grace! The King is yours, Beloved! You wear His glorious name!