Bible Reading: Genesis 3:1-13
I still remember the day really well: My siblings and I were all pretty young at the time. My mom had plantain frying in palm oil in the kitchen. One of my brothers slipped away from everyone in the living room into the kitchen, stole two or three hot slices of plantain, thew it in the chest pocket of his pyjamas and was trying to walk past everyone to the room and go and feast on his loot. I remember my mom calling him and asking what he took.
‘Nothing’ he says, obviously lying.
’Nothing?’ She calmly asks.
‘I didn’t take anything’
It is quite a picture that I still remember clearly. The dude’s chest was burning. He was totally struggling to bear the heat. His whitish pyjamas had a bold undeniable palm oil print right in front and he was denying taking anything. He was jittery, trying to get away. Defeated, really.
Pretty much our human story. We’re trying to stand before God and have a relationship with Him, but the stain and burning of sin is so deep in our nature. No matter how hard we try to ignore it, there can’t be any relationship between us and a Holy God who can’t stand sin.
For some, we live in denial like the stain isn’t there. We’re burning and dying, but put up a performance that is so plastic and not in any way real. We can be in the House of God everyday, but we know deep within us, that we can’t look the God of the House with boldness and stand in relationship with Him.
Sin stains and stamps us and takes away our boldness.
On the flip side, we can take Adam and Eve’s approach and try to run away. We can do everything so as to not ever be confronted with the guilt of our sin. We can, like Adam and Eve, run and try and hide in a myriad of activities or acquisitions. We can try and hide in habits or even in work. We simply don’t want to be anywhere close to a thought of God. Or like Jonah, we can try and run away to a different country to get away. Change everything.
There are things that don’t move though: the guilt of man, the Holiness of God and that wide gap of separation between us and God.
When Jesus comes and introduces himself as the way to life, and as the door to life and as the One that can put us right in back standing before God by paying the price of the sin that we committed. It is such a beautiful picture:
God stays God, in the full essence of His holiness, and doesn’t compromise His stand.
The penalty of our sin is paid for by the death of Jesus.
We are forgiven, and are made people who can stand before a Holy God without fear or hiding.
When we put our trust and faith in Jesus, we have an invitation to come near. God’s ultimate is not just to say that we’ve found forgiveness in Jesus, but He invites to live in the boldness of relationship that we now have access to.
God is not like some earthly father that leaves you walking on egg shells all around the house. He invites you to be deeply aware of a right standing that you have with Him and not to live panicking. How many Christians are simply panicking to pray, hoping to impress God; panicking to do what is right, hoping that God will notice, and so on. But God sets us right and tells us to know it so well, so that we can live right.
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:16 AMPC
As we wait on God today, let your heart come near. Come near to God. Come near to the people of God. Come near to God’s word. Come near to God’s cause. Come near to the house of God.
Don’t hide today in guilt or condemnation from God or His people.
Boldly come near like one who has been forgiven, not like One who was merely pitied or is looking to be pitied. Your price was paid. Hear the voice of a father inviting you, not one scaring you away. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we can stand before God everyday with relentless gratitude, not with relentless fear.
Something to Pray
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus Hebrews 10:19 NKJV
Pray today for a boldness in your heart about your relationship with God. Pray that you live this year drawing near, not second guessing or drawing away from God.