Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Have you ever attended an event, such as a concert or a sporting match, for which you received an “all access pass?” I never have. But if you are fortunate to have an “all access pass,” you are entitled to some special privileges. You not only can attend the event, but as the name of the pass implies, you have access to much more. If it is a concert, you can go back stage before or after the concert and meet the performer and mingle with the musicians. If it is a sporting event, you can go down on the court or the playing field and talk to your favorite players, and these days probably take a “selfie” with them. With an “all access pass,” you are not restricted to some far-away seats where you can only watch from a distance and then go home.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have received an “all access pass” that far exceeds any other. During the Old Testament period, even though the Jews were the chosen people of God, they did not have free access to God. In the Jewish temple was the Holy of holies, which was home to the Ark of the Covenant and signified the very presence of God. However, only the high priest could enter the Holy of holies, and that was only one day a year to make atonement for the people’s sin. While God was with His people, they did not enjoy an intimate access to Holy God.
Heb. 4:14-16 reminds us that since the coming of Jesus, the perfect high priest who offered the perfect sacrifice for our sin – His own perfect life – we now are offered a deep and personal access to God. The passage reads: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, 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 empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
We can with confidence approach God’s throne of grace, for first of all, Jesus lived as a human being and so was tempted even as we are, so He can empathize with us in our struggles. Second, while tempted as we are, Jesus never gave in to sin, and so the blood He shed for us cleanses us from all our sin. Thus, Holy God welcomes and receives us into His presence.
Having been offered this great gift of access to God, let’s make sure we are taking full advantage of it – spending time with God in prayer and reading His Word, seeking to live under His guidance day by day, crying out to God for help when we need it, confessing our sin so we experience the freedom of forgiveness, expressing gratitude to God for His daily blessings, and simply communing with God throughout the day who graciously draws us near.
Grace and peace,