Called to Worship – Issue #9
by Phil Mershon
Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
I spent two years in the marching band in high school. During one half-time show, I started getting very woozy (no, I hadn’t been drinking). The stands started becoming blurry and I wasn’t sure I could finish our routine. So I started making my way toward the sidelines and sat down on the bench until the band finished.
Whether imagined or real, I heard uproars of laughter coming from the stadium. Who was this loser who just stepped out of the band? What’s the matter with him?!
I wanted to run. I didn’t want to go back into the stands—especially not alone. I didn’t want to face my director. I wanted to blend in and disappear. I was embarrassed and ashamed.
That’s the way we feel after we’ve sinned. I don’t remember how my director responded to me (though he didn’t kick me out!), but I do know God promises he will never reject us. Because Jesus faced temptation of every kind imaginable, we can boldly approach God’s throne to ask for grace.
If you’re like me, that idea of a sinner boldly asking for grace seems troubling. Don’t picture the arrogance of a hardened mafia lord who approaches the judge knowing that he owns the system. God’s promised acceptance doesn’t embolden us to sin again.
But we also aren’t to be afraid to approach God. The author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus fully paid the price for any sin you could’ve committed. Our confidence comes from knowing Jesus—the author and perfector of our faith. We can approach God because Jesus already approached God for us.
Should we feel guilty and ashamed for our sin? Of course. But that shouldn’t prevent us from seeking grace with a humble confidence. We know we don’t deserve God’s promised grace, but we seek it based on Jesus’ faithful promise.
John Newton wrote The Look as a reflection on how Jesus would look upon us if we had seen him hanging on the cross.It offers a compelling picture of Jesus’ promise of grace. I love Bob Kauflin‘s new arrangement of it.
If you’re feeling burdened by sin and have been too ashamed to go to God, I encourage you to pray this song: Jesus, I Come by Indelible Grace.
Jesus, I don’t deserve your grace, but you offer it freely—though it cost you everything. Forgive me for doubting your promises. I hide behind my shame in unbelief that you really love me. Break through my pride and help me see the glory of the cross. Release me in joy to tell the world that I am free. Amen.
Can you relate to this article? If so, in what ways?