It was my first time in the principal’s office (that I remember, anyway). I wasn’t there for a good reason. A friend and I had a disagreement and decided to settle it in a “manly” fashion — with our fists. It may have been a long walk to the office, but the conversation behind the door was short. “Did you get in a fight with Mike?” “Yes.” “Why?” I shrugged. What could I say? There was no good reason. I was guilty and I had been caught. “Bend over.”
I suppose there are times when a student can go with confidence and happiness to a meeting with the principal, but that certainly wasn’t my experience that day in the tenth year of my life!
It is my observation that many adults feel that way about going to God. It is as though they have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar (or their fist in another’s face), and they are about to meet their Maker for their divinely administered punishment. To believers in Christ who are fearful, ashamed and timid to go to God, here is a great encouragement:
“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16; NASB)
There is no more need for fear. Fear is removed not because of what we have become or done (sin is still sin, and it is still all too frequent), but because of what Christ did. He came. He lived. He experienced the allurement of temptation. He willingly placed Himself on the cross in our place. And He did it all without sin.
Therefore not only are we permitted to approach God, but we may do it with confidence and freedom. The word pictures someone who is able to be bold in the presence of someone of superior rank — a recruit, bold and confident before a four-star general. And here is even greater news. In the Old Testament, to do this was to invite death (even the high priest went into the Holy of Holies only once a year and even then only after great ritual preparation had been made). In the New Testament, to not do this is to invite disaster!
And arriving before God’s throne, what does the believer receive? Mercy and grace to meet us in our need. God relieves our misery and gives us His favor to cover the full extent of all of our need(s). The context suggests that we have failed and fallen into sin (again). Yet still we come with confidence, because God is a God of mercy, withholding the punishment we deserve. And giving us every spiritual resource so that we need not fall again.
In a time of temptation, weakness and sin, we will always find help to minister to us because of the work of Christ.