I love the entire Scripture, but I’ve always been especially partial to the book of Hebrews. It’s partially because I long for a close, approachable relationship with the Father, and it’s (in part) the book of Hebrews that taught me to seek that, taught me that God himself seeks it.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way opened for us through the curtain of His body, and since we have a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold resolutely to the hope we confess, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:19-23)
Let us draw near.
And if you know God wants something, it’s a good bet that Satan opposes it.
We know God wants our righteousness. We know Satan opposes that. Some corners of the church are bizarrely allergic to teaching this heavenly priority to their congregations, instead preferring endless “power and promises” stuff that keeps butts in pews. But it’s not about living your best life now. It’s about growing up, becoming more like God. I’m grateful for a church whose teaching pastors stand on this, who speak unabashedly about our call to righteousness and aren’t particularly concerned who might be walking out the doors because of it.
But another important matter is what we do once we sin. Because we will, and we’ll need to know how to handle it postmortem.
Too often, our instinct is to hide, as Adam and Eve did. We imagine God saying, “Get out of my sight. I don’t want to see you right now.” It’s certainly good to bear some humility towards God, and too often we let it drive us from God. We have this ingrained belief that we should hide from a God greater and holier than us,
That’s letting the devil win twice.
He tempts us to sin, then seeks to use that sin as a wedge between us and God any way he can. A diabolical one-two punch, the second half of which we don’t often even register.
Contrast it with David’s approach to repentance:
God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)
David seeks more of God in this time, not less. This is the guy who just will not shut up throughout Psalms about the greatness of God’s presence. Instead of slinking away from God’s presence and trying again on Thursday, he actively repents and seeks God’s intervention in his heart.
Don’t sin. But when you do, turn to God in that very moment. Repent and ask him to change your heart. Draw near.
Near. To the God whose mountain could not even be touched, whose very face made Isaiah fear for his life, who routs armies before him and changes the heart of kings.
That God wants me near.
I think I will accept his offer.