Word for Word 6/13/18

Rev. Ron Pederson
Rev. Ron Pederson

Pray with Confidence

The writer to the Hebrews says: “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 without 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” (Hebrew 4:15-16).

I remember when I was about five or six years old and wanted to be sure that I confessed my sins the right way. I prayed to God confessing my sins but I didn’t feel like I was doing it the way God wanted me to. I especially didn’t feel like I was sincere enough or felt sorry enough for my sins. Finally I decided that the next time I got hurt and started to cry, then I would confess my sins to God; then I would be truly sorry for my sins in the way God wanted me to be. And so that is what I did. But I was disappointed. It didn’t seem to help much.

Maybe you can relate to this struggle in your own life. You pray to God but you feel like you’re not doing it the way God wants you to, so you try to be more sincere when you pray or pray harder or longer or repeat your prayers several times. But it doesn’t seem to help.

The question really is: how can I stand before the holy and righteous God, whether in prayer or in confessing my sins. How can I be sincere enough? How can I approach God with all the right and pure attitudes that God requires of me?

We can’t stand before God in our own name and our own righteousness but we can stand before God in Jesus’ name and His righteousness.  Jesus became guilty of all our sins including our imperfect, sinful motives and attitudes.  That’s why He suffered and died on the cross. God was punishing Him for all our sins. In Jesus we now have the forgiveness of all our sins.

Jesus “was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.” And He offers us His perfect life to claim by faith.  Then God sees us as He sees Jesus, perfect and sinless. By faith in Jesus we can stand before God with all the right attitudes and motives.  Then don’t have to put on show before God trying to impress Him with how sincere and righteous we are in ourselves. We can’t stand before the holy and just God in our own name, but we can stand before God in Jesus’ name.  In Jesus’ name, claiming His righteousness we can pray with confidence.

Rev. Ron Pederson
King of Grace Lutheran Church (ELS-WELS)

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