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. Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
Throughout the ages, it was not customary for subjects of a king or other authority to approach with boldness. Notable exceptions would be the children of monarchs who could come up to the throne boldly and approach the king.
We are children of the King of kings, and he is extended an invitation to us to come before him with boldness and confidence. He is waiting to extend mercy and grace to his children. Especially at the time that we need it the most. If this is true, why do so many of God’s children hesitate to come to him in their time of need?
Because of Christ
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12 (NLT)
To begin to understand why we can approach God boldly, we do not look at ourselves or who we are, but instead, we look to Christ. Christ fulfills many roles for us. Think of his various titles: prophet, priest, King, Savior, and so many more. Let us focus for a moment on his role as mediator.
Paul writes: For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 (NLT). In his role as mediator, Christ makes it possible for us to approach God and do so boldly. Think about that for a moment. We should be grateful that we are permitted to approach God at all because, as Paul said: Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. Ephesians 2:1 (NLT).
We Had No Standing
Paul went even further: In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. Ephesians 2:12 (NLT)
Jesus was the ideal mediator because he identified with us: This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)
Paul also said that we could come boldly to God because of our faith in him. But to Jesus, who is the source of our faith: We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)
Our bold approach to God is not because of anything we have done. It is a miracle that we can approach at all but boldly is incomprehensible.
Boldness with Humility
One of the dangers of being given a privilege is that we may forget we don’t deserve it. Jeremiah wrote: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22 (NIV). Entitlement breeds arrogance. Faith is not the golden ticket to wealth and prosperity.
The appropriate approach to God, even boldly, is always humility. He will respond when we approach in our time of need, but presumption places us on dangerous ground. We must come to God with the things that are nearest to his heart.
We must stay in balance. The writer of Hebrews reminding us that we can approach God boldly also cautioned: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28–29 (NIV)
We Are in This Together
For most people, the idea of being able to approach God boldly is not easily grasped. We can envision children in a situation of danger or uncertainty. One will say to the other, “I dare you to go in there.” In turn, he will respond, “I double dare you to go in.” This goes back and forth until they perhaps agree to go in together.
We may have the same reservations about approaching God, but we find something interesting about the expectations to go boldly before God. The New Testament writers never used the first person singular, “I boldly approach God,” or second person singular, “you boldly approach God.” Instead, they always said, in essence, “we can boldly approach God.” (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16, 10:19; 1 John 3:21)
The concept of approaching God together is a sound one. We know that God places each one of us in his body as he wills the Holy Spirit distributes gifts as he wills. We do not have the same strengths and weaknesses, nor are we gifted in the same ways. Each of us has a measure of faith, but to some in the church, the Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith. Great boldness sometimes requires great faith.
We can approach God boldly by working together with each other in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are in alignment with what God wants, there are no limitations to what he will do. This is the bold confidence we have before him: if we ask for something according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14 (BFE)
The fulfillment of God’s plans in this world requires us to come boldly before him. He will not let us down. Amen!