Keeping Christmas Well: Approach God with Boldness
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
If we’re sinful people, how is it possible for us to come into the presence of a sinless, perfect God? And if we’re permitted to approach God, how should we come before him? Should we cower in shame? Or can we approach God with confidence? Hebrews 4:14-16 helps to answer these questions.
In years past, I have examined the second chapter of Hebrews on this topic. There, the Incarnation laid the foundation for our salvation and for the offer of Jesus’ empathy. Because he suffered and was tested, he understands our struggles and is able to help us.
Hebrews 4:14-16 reiterates the good news of Hebrews 2. Because Jesus is a human being, he is able to be “a great High Priest who has entered heaven” (4:14). As our High Priest, he has offered a uniquely effective sacrifice for our sins. But Jesus, as High Priest, also relates to our human frailties: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (4:15). Thus we have in Jesus one who has opened up a way to God for us and who knows what it’s like to be human.
This makes all the difference in the world in our relationship with God. In light of the High Priesthood of Jesus, Hebrews 4:16 proclaims, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Because of who Jesus is and what he has done, we know that God has forgiven our sins and that he understands our struggles. Therefore, we do not have to wallow in guilt when we approach God. We do not come before him begging for a hearing and fearful of his rejection. Rather, we come “boldly,” telling God everything on our minds and hearts. When we come before God in prayer, we know in advance that we will receive God’s mercy and grace … not because we deserve it, but because of what Christ, our High Priest, has done for us.
Keeping Christmas well means receiving the gifts that come from the birth of Jesus. It means freely and frequently coming before God’s throne in prayer and worship. It means approaching the King of kings with boldness because of what Jesus, the Word Incarnate, was able to accomplish as our Great High Priest. Keeping Christmas well means having confidence that God understands our weaknesses and is eager to lavish his mercy and grace upon us.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you come before God in prayer, do you come boldly? Why or why not? What keeps you from feeling free before God? What helps you to pray with abandon?
PRAYER: What an amazing privilege to approach your throne, O God! More amazing still is the invitation to come before you boldly. Thank you for making yourself available to us. Thank you for the High Priestly work of Jesus. Thank you that he understands our weaknesses because he was truly human.
O Lord, how I thank you for all the times and ways you have poured out your mercy and grace upon me. You have been there when I needed your help, again and again.
May I continue to approach you with boldness, O God, not because there is anything special about me, but because there is everything special about Jesus, the Word Incarnate, my Great High Priest, my Savior. In his name I pray, Amen.
Mark Roberts is the author of eight books, including No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer. He lives in Boerne, Texas, with his wife, Linda. Their children spend most of the year away at college on the East Coast. Send a note to Mark.
Best Of 2014
How do you measure a year? Days? Cups of coffee? Celebrations? Goodbyes? In 2014, something we’ve noticed at the High Calling is more and more people engaging with the message that God cares about everything in life—even the most mundane moments.
In the end, we consider 2014 a success if we have served you well, Reader. Some may consider it a strange way to show love: typing on a keyboard and submitting content into the faceless void of the Internet. This is why your actions matter so much to us. When you spend a few minutes reading an article, when you share a video or a Facebook post, we know you were inspired. When you send us a short note, you give us an opportunity to listen to you.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for spending time with us. We hope you enjoy the Best of 2014 (thehighcalling.org/tag/best-2014)!