How We Can Approach God with Confidence
The day I got married, I met a charming elderly man in the parking lot at the church. His name was Joe Bananas. He stood by his black Cadillac, wearing a black suit, patiently waiting to take my husband’s grandparents home after the reception. He greeted me with an Italian accent and kisses on both cheeks.
He wasn’t just a hired driver. He was an old family friend. I loved him instantly. I invited him to come inside the church and enjoy the party. He politely declined- and with a smile, he whispered into my ear saying, “I can’t go into churches. I’ll get struck by lightening.”
His eyes twinkled when he said it, and I laughed. But he never did set foot in the church that day. I’m 85% certain it was all an act.
That was nearly twenty years ago.
Of course, the whole getting struck by lightening thing is a joke. But how many of people actually do stay away from God because they don’t know of his grace? Are you waiting until you’re good enough to approach God? That’s not what the Gospel is about.
We’ve all sinned.
"Sin is looking for something besides God for your salvation." -Timothy Keller, Encounters with Jesus
Christianity is different from all other religions in that it’s not about what we do, to be accepted by God, it’s about what Jesus has already done. Why then, even in many Christian circles, do we still carry with us, an image of an angry God, ready to strike us at any moment when we step out of line?
Your moral performance can’t save you from your sins. Only Jesus’s work on the cross can do that. When we really understand this, and when we accept his forgiveness- our response is then one of gratitude and love. There is freedom, not obligation in this truth. Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection mean that we are no longer under the law but under grace.
“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?” 2 Corinthians 3:5-8
God loves you so much that he sent his son to die for you. Yes, he wants you to obey him, out of love, because it's what you were made for. He wants a relationship with you. He knows that you’ve messed up. He knows that you will continue to mess up. He loves you anyway. Don’t let shame keep you from God. Jesus has taken care of our shame. Grace means that we can approach God with confidence not fear.