Unstaggering Confidence at the Throne of Grace, Part 4
- 2002 5 Feb
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. 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.
For the last few weeks, weve tried to combat our tendency to allow a sense of unworthiness to warp our perspective of the God we worship. Unless we understand that the throne we are invited to is a throne of grace, as Hebrews 4:14-16 shows us, well be crippled by fear and intimidation when we come before him.
Weve been reminded that the throne is of grace, not judgment or condemnation. Weve seen Gods predisposition to bless us, and weve marveled at the amazing abundance of grace hes stored up for us.
Now lets allow Hebrews 12:18-24 to challenge any inaccurate notions of the God we come to worship.
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
This passage is speaking about our new covenant relationship with God--the covenant made through the cross of Christ. The Israelites' experience of the Lord at Mount Sinai was terrifying. Essentially, the old covenant said, "Do not come near. Do not touch. Do not look." Even the things they heard evoked fear and trembling. The new covenant, on the other hand, says, "Draw near to the living God through the blood of Jesus. Look around and see the saints and angels in joyful assembly. Listen to the songs of angelic choirs and hear the blood of Jesus speaking."
The blood of Abel spoke condemnation to Cain. But now we hear the blood of Jesus speaking, "There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!"
What is your mentality when you come to worship? Do you view worship as if coming to a terrible, burning mountain, or into the joyful presence of a merciful God? Let us draw near the throne emblazoned with the word GRACE.
(We hope you have enjoyed this brief series from Mark Altrogge. Next week, Worship Matters begins a new series from Bob Kauflin.)
Mark Altrogge is senior pastor of PDI's Lord of Life Church in Indiana, Pennsylvania, where he has also led worship since 1976. An internationally known songwriter, Mark has published more than 150 songs with PDI, including the classic songs, "I Stand in Awe," and "I'm Forever Grateful." He has written on worship for numerous magazines, and is a popular speaker at worship conferences. Mark also writes and produces the Scripture memory series, Hide the Word (www.forevergratefulmusic.com).