Has our Boldness in Approaching God turned into Brazenness?

Susan Narjala   |   August 18, 2020 

Growing up in the eighties, I distinctly remember one of our rituals in elementary school. When the teacher walked into our classroom, all us students stopped what we were doing, rose from our seats and in unison greeted her with a 'good morning' or a 'good afternoon'.

As a student, I had every right to be in that classroom – I had the school uniform, my parents had paid the tuition, I fit into the grade academically. I was confident because I qualified for my classroom. But that confidence didn’t make me dismissive about respecting the teacher.

While it’s not an air-tight analogy, I’d like to compare this little snapshot of my childhood with how we approach God’s throne of grace. Yes, we have absolute confidence to enter the Most Holy Place because Jesus paid the price for our sin (Hebrews 10:19). We can go to Him boldly because, by His grace, our filthy rags have been exchanged for robes of righteousness. But, like the students who belong yet are reverential, do we who belong to God also stand in awe and fear of Him?

Hebrews 4: 15 reminds us that 'we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin'. The author of the book then instructs us in verse 16 to 'approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need'.

Jesus, our Great High Priest, sympathises with our weakness. He was tempted just like we are. Yet, He was perfect in holiness. This sinless God invites sinners like you and me to confidently come before Him in our time of need.

But in appropriating the confidence that Jesus paid for, has our fear of God diminished into mere casualness? Has our confidence morphed into spiritual cockiness? Do we barge into His throne room like we’re checking off our to-do lists, like we’re pandering to God or doing Him a favour? Has our boldness in approaching God devolved into brazenness? Have we become entitled about our place in the throne room?

As we read through Leviticus, we see lists of rituals about how the Israelites were to approach God. God wasn’t giving them hoops to jump through because He delighted in spiritual callisthenics. He delighted in preserving a people for Himself. He was revealing to them His absolute perfection and instructing them to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 11: 45).

Perhaps, we read these rules and dismiss them as specific to a time period before Jesus came as the once-for-all Lamb. And while that is true, our God is still the same God. He is perfect in holiness (1 Peter 1: 16). He is high and lifted up (Isaiah 57: 15). He is exalted above the nations. He is enthroned on high (Psalm 113: 4-5). He is far above every rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name (Ephesians 1: 21)

That alone should cause us to fall to our knees in awe and wonder.

But that same Almighty God allows, even welcomes, us into the Most Holy place. Sinners like us have the right to come to a Holy God. That astonishing privilege should fill us with a holy reverence for God.

The fear of the Lord is not rooted in anxiety – it’s not about us cowering in trepidation. It’s a fear that is stunned that God invites us into His presence. It’s a fear that trembles at God’s splendour and majesty and holiness. It’s a fear that is overwhelmed by the startling privilege of communing with a perfect God.

As we humble ourselves before Him, as we see that we have confidence that we didn’t earn on our own accord, let it fill us with a holy awe. When we understand that Jesus paid the price of securing our boldness to commune with God, let us repent of our pride and brazen entitlement, let us fall to our knees and cry out 'Holy, Holy, Holy God', let us delight in fearing His name.

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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2 comments on “Has our Boldness in Approaching God turned into Brazenness?”

  1. Hi Susan, i am a regular reader of your writing and really appreciate your ever-reflective, introspective thoughts. As to this current article, i am curious what was the germ of it, what made you think about this?

  2. Hi Princy, I have been reading through the book of Leviticus and have been pondering on the holiness of God. It got me thinking of how casual I have become in approaching God. So, that was really how the article came about. I feel like we can lose our awe of a Holy God unless we ask Him to guard our hearts from that callousness.

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