Hey guys, remember that “Approach the Throne” blog post series I was going to do regularly? Well, it hasn’t been as regular as I hoped, but it’s baaacckk!
Today we’re moving into the second part of the study. In the first part we looked at who God is, and now we’re going to start discussing who we are. These are the two realities we are confronted with when we approach God’s throne. We’re starting our discussion of God’s grace towards us by focusing on His forgiveness – and our confidence in it.
When we first accept Christ as our Savior, we have to an extent “become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20, NIV). We realize that we are sinners in need of redemption and specifically, we want the redemption offered by Christ. This is what prompts us to come to Him, and when “we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV).
The more time we spend with God and in His family, however, the more conscious we become of our own sinfulness. We realize that the depravity we recognized when we first repented is immensely deeper than we realized: if you want to know how bad you are, consciously try to do good and see how often you stumble.
God’s intention is to make us more conscious of our sin so that we might repent of it and let Him purify us. But very often, something else happens: we start to feel that God’s grace and Christ’s blood are not enough. We think that the righteousness of Christ that we have been clothed with (see Isaiah 61:10 and Galatians 3:27) is transparent, showing our ugliness beneath Christ’s beauty.
The more we see of our sin, the more we feel obligated to walk around with our heads bowed in shame, as if in penance – as if any penance we can offer is more sufficient than what Jesus accomplished for us. Somehow, we assume this is the way to honor God: by holding onto our guilt and pulling away from Him. We feel the weight even of forgiven sins, even though “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12, NIV).
I have fallen into this trap far too many times. So often I have thought of Jesus’s return, and while I want that to happen, my strongest response tends to be fear. What happens if I didn’t get everything right (as if anyone can)? What will He say to me? Will He be ashamed to look at me, as I often feel ashamed of myself?
Dearest, Jesus opens our eyes to our shame so that He can take it away. We do God no credit when we refuse to release our sins to the sufficiency of Christ’s blood – all we do is tell God we don’t believe Him. Holding onto sin and guilt is not holiness, but pride and unbelief hiding under false humility. It’s us trying to say, “I’m a sinner, but somehow I can atone for it myself, if I just embrace the guilt long enough.”
The greatest gift you can give God is to believe Him. You will never have an intimate relationship with Him as long as you let yourself doubt the sufficiency of His sacrifice – and how can you tell others to put their faith in God’s redemption if you don’t truly believe it yourself? This is where the rubber meets the road, where you have to trust God enough to stake your eternal destiny on His promises. If He says you are forgiven and covered with Christ, then so you are! If He says you are destined for heaven, THEN IT IS INDEED SO!!!
Beloved, if you do not believe Jesus’s sacrifice to be sufficient, then what sacrifice is left (see Hebrews 10:26)? What more could He have done for you? What Lamb could have been a more perfect offering?
Do not believe the devil’s lie that you must remain in the dark with your sin, lest God should see what you really are. He always knew what you were, better than you ever have. Only in the light are we healed and freed: “‘And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God'” (John 3:19-21, ESV).
In his gospel account, John is refers to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2, ESV). At first glance, this might sound presumptuous. But John knew how Jesus saw him. He never described himself as sinless, but He was confident in the sufficiency of Jesus and His love.
God wants you to be bold, my friends. He wants you to dare to believe Him. The Gospel is astounding, even ludicrous in its message: a sinless, omnipotent God sacrificed Himself as a perfect sacrifice to save His creation. Dare to accept what God has been telling you all along.
I leave you with these verses from John’s first letter:
“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:16-18, ESV).
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, ESV).