Access to God

How do we get access to God?  In my travels around the world I’ve seen all kinds of attempts by people to, gain access to or, gain the favor of God.  While I have always wanted the favor of God I’m not sure the God I grew up being taught about was someone I wanted to get close to.  That God was out to get me when I messed up so I was just trying to avoid His attention.  You know, fly under the radar, don’t be too noticeable (not too good, not too bad).  After receiving Christ as  Savior while a college student my view of God began to change.  Amazingly, I learned that I could pray directly to God and didn’t have to go through different saints or Mary.  Still, my fundamentalist training put so much emphasis on what I did, my success, or how I once again miserably failed that I was  never quite sure if God was hearing me.  Ultimately, I exhausted myself trying to be a successful Christian.  Then I came to understand that all my efforts to achieve acceptance and live in relationship with God didn’t change the fact that my Abba was waiting for me with open arms, desiring intimacy with me.  You might be wondering how that can be?  How can God receive us when we’ve tried to keep all the rules, act like a good Christian and failed miserably?  Because true Christianity is all about  Christ!  It isn’t about our performance, good or bad, but His perfect performance on our behalf.  Let this verse sink deep into your soul.

Romans 5:2 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Most of my Bible believing Christianity taught me what to do and not do.  I wore myself out trying to get right and stay right with God.  Being justified by faith, in the finished work of Jesus, is the only source of access to the Father.  It is only through Him that you and I have access.  He did it all and made it available for us to enter in through faith in Him.  All this focus on what the Christian does and doesn’t do is a distraction from His incredible grace.  Are you ready to experience intimacy with God?  Direct access to the King of Kings?  It begins with simple trust in Him.

Direct access to God is our great privilege.  Access in the Greek language is, “prosagoge,” which can be translated, “Access or the right to enter.”  You don’t feel like you’ve got the right but, none-the-less, you have the right because of His grace.  Access to God was something the Jewish mind couldn’t grasp.  They thought the  only way to God was through mediators or priests but then there was always the problem with sin.  In fundamentalism we put more emphasis on our sin than the sacrifice.  Through His atoning sacrifice Jesus, God the Son made God the Father, accessible to all who come to Him in faith.  Because Jesus is our mediator we need no other.  We have instant access to God Himself, the God of all grace.  Think about this.  Most of us are not movers and shakers in the world.  We don’t even have access to most politicians let alone the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  But listen to this!  We have access to the living God by faith.  We have access to Him for everything we need.  Whatever trial we face, whatever danger we find ourselves in, however the enemy might try to destroy us, we have direct and unhindered access to Him.  We don’t deserve access to God but the result of  being justified by faith through grace gives us access to the living God.

Grace is the only way to intimacy with God.  Remember that grace truly is unmerited favor, but it is also a person – Jesus.  We aren’t far away from Him either,  but are partners in life with Him.  We have access to continued grace with Him.  He lives in us and we in Him.  You won’t experience intimacy as long as the focus is your performance.  The Law robs you of intimacy because it reveals what an incredible failure you are.  It puts the focus on you.  Grace moves the focus of Christianity to Christ, not the Christian.

Grace enables us to stand.  Grace enables you to stand in the midst of pressures, problems, trials, and difficulties.  Nothing can hinder your access because it comes by His grace.  He gives you continual acceptance because of the Son.  We stand in the place of divine favor by grace.  We stand firm and immovable because of grace.  Grace is God’s favor to those who really deserve His wrath.  Grace is getting what we could never deserve.    Grace is behind God’s entire plan of redemption.

Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,”

Hebrews 10:22 “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

We are called to be a people who rejoice.  Rejoice – not because life is without conflicts or trials but because Jesus is for you at all times.  Rejoicing isn’t to be artificial or insincere.  It isn’t pretending to be happy when you aren’t.  Rejoice in God, He is your justification, the One who makes you right for eternity.  Rejoice because despite your weakness you have unhindered access to God based on what Jesus accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection.

Rejoice for the glory of God.  We are looking to the glory of God both now and in the future.  Christianity becomes toxic when it is about  good behavior of  Christians.  When men see themselves as good through self-effort they glorify themselves.  True Christianity focuses on Christ.  He alone is worthy of glory.  The glory of God refers to the radiance of His splendor.  He is glorified when we experience His character in us and through us.  God is glorified when His light is allowed to shine through us.  Our behavior is transformed by actively yielding to His indwelling life, not by trying to improve it.

I hope you’re having a great week.  I’m praying for you.  Thanks so much for all of you who helped by parking off the lot.  It gives our visitors a spot.  Be asking the Lord to give you someone to bring with you to church on Sunday.

You are loved!

Pastor Tim