How do you approach the throne of God? We have lost much general respect and honor in our casual society. The workplace is business casual at best, we make and break plans on a whim, and we are so preoccupied with our own thoughts, rights and opinions that we never stop talking to listen to the wisdom of those who have gone before or those around us. I work out of a warehouse and wear exercise clothes to work most days, and I am not saying all is lost in the world because we no longer wear coats and ties to the office, but I am saying that our general societal worldview of entitlement and casual approach has created a void. We berate our teachers and professors for bad grades instead of respecting their education and wisdom. We get angry at and disrespect the police and military instead of obeying the law and honoring their right to keep us accountable. We sue one another for minor infractions or inconveniences just to get rich. We seek our own best interest, often to the detriment of others.
This is reflected in our Spirituality as well. We no longer recognize God as the all powerful creator of the universe who will judge us for all our actions, but as our cosmic daddy who should give us whatever we ask of Him – and we get mad and pout when He fails to come through. We proclaim that “God loves you just as you are” and tell people to run to Him without any consideration of His holiness and expectations. Yes, it is true that God gives life to Spiritually dead people and we cannot clean ourselves up enough to become presentable to Him before salvation. When we come to God the first time, for salvation, we have to come with open hands – just as we are – and without pretense because God alone can enable us to begin the transformation of righteous living. However, once we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, His love is very much conditional. If we continue in sin, He will condemn us (Heb 6.26). If we have a problem or irreconciled issue with our brother, God will not hear our worship (Matt 5.22-24). If you mistreat your spouse, God will not even listen to your prayer (1 Peter 3.7). God does not save us to leave us in our sins, He saves us to transform us and begin a new work in us (Phil 1.6).
We have tricked ourselves into believing that making God so casual and approachable will encourage people to come to Him more quickly and consistently. Unfortunately, this is not reality. Like anything else we get used to and devalue, the newness and shine wears off quickly and we place Him on a bookshelf while we look for the next great adventure, pleasure or distraction. We have at our fingertips access to the sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent creator God and we can hardly remember to pray before meals or bedtime – let alone submit ourselves to His will and direction.
“Christ went more willingly to the cross than we do to the throne of grace.”
– Thomas Watson
Christ did in fact go more willingly to the cross than we do to God’s throne. Even though, we have been promised that there is no condemnation remaining for those who are in Christ (Rom 8.1), and granted access to the throne of grace without fear (Heb 4.16), we neglect this privilege because we have made our faith about us and what we can get out of it. However, when we truly encounter Jesus, when He transforms us and saves us from our sins, and when we recognize the holiness of God, we cannot remain indifferent. We cannot be left unchanged. We cannot have a laisez faire attitude about His work in us and the world.
It would be like Lazarus – a good friend of Jesus who died and was buried for four days and then resurrected from the dead – considering Jesus just another guy he knows. It would be like Paul – a man dedicated to the murder and destruction of the church, blinded by God and then healed and sent away to the desert to learn the truths of the Gospel for three years – continuing about his daily life, looking for a nice house, success in business and general comfort in life. This, of course, sounds absurd because it is absurd.
We no longer long for or expect Lazarus or Paul-like encounters. We are more like the rich man who asks Jesus what we must do to be saved and when Jesus tells us to sell what we own, give it to the poor and follow Him, we walk way sad. We are more like the crowd who received the food from the miracle of the five loaves and two fish – wanting to get our bellies filled without having to work, but not wanting to be held responsible to do anything.
Has Jesus rocked your world? Or are you part of the crowd? He is in the business of raising the dead to life, not feeding our fat bellies. When we have been raised to life, Spiritually, we cannot overlook Him. We cannot put Him on a bookshelf. We cannot continue about life in a normal fashion because Jesus has raised us from the dead. He has given us sight. He has completely altered the trajectory of our lives and put us on the that narrow path that leads to eternal life with Him. Let’s get to know that Jesus. Let’s live that life. Let’s boldly, continually and without doubting approach the throne of grace and follow Jesus.
– John 12.26