Chapter 2

Approach God Through A Mediator

Mediation was God’s idea. He knew we had a problem trusting Him. But He could not ignore what we were doing. So God offered mediation. To resolve the differences that had come between us, He sent One who could understand and be sympathetic to our condition while at the same time representing the interests of heaven.

This Mediator so identified with us and became so involved in our problems that He ended up crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mk. 15:34). Yet, 3 days after that inexpressible moment, it became clear that the Mediator had been victorious. Through His great sacrifice, our Mediator had removed the barrier that had disrupted our relationship with God.

We would still sin. We would still be blinded by our own desires and stubborn pride. We would still find ourselves filled with regret. We would still become confused about what God was doing in our lives. But never again would we have reason to doubt the Father’s love for us. Never again could it be persuasively argued that the Father didn’t care, that He wasn’t touched by our problems, or that He had left us to die in our circumstances. Never again would we have to approach God in prayer without the assurance that He wanted to talk with us far more than we wanted to talk to Him.

Without this mediatorial work, we might have wondered if God would even listen to us when we prayed. We might assume from our circumstances that He didn’t care. But now memory of what happened on the Mediator’s cross can restore confidence in us whenever we approach God in prayer. Now we can take courage in the fact that we don’t have to approach God in our own sin-stained reputation. We don’t come to Him in our own name. We don’t approach Him with our own carefully chosen words. We come to Him in the merits of the One who paid for all of our sins with His own blood. We come to God in the name and interests of His own and dearly loved Son, Jesus Christ.

Confidence In A Past Sacrifice. This manner of approach has always been in God’s mind for us. Long before our Mediator’s arrival, the design for such an approach to God was illustrated in the tabernacle and temple worship of Israel. For many centuries God had made it clear that His people must approach Him on the basis of a blood sacrifice. But only in the coming and suffering of Christ do we see that those sacrifices illustrated the violent suffering and death of God’s own Son.

There was in the same temple, in a place that signified the very Presence of God, an altar of incense. This burning incense, by its fragrance and ascending motion, symbolized prayers that please God. Significantly, this incense was lit by a coal from the altar of sacrifice (Ex. 30:7-10). In God’s mind, there is a connection between the sacrifice and the prayers by which we approach Him. This link between sacrifice and prayer is what our Mediator secured for us. He offered a sacrifice acceptable to God. Then He encouraged us to go into the presence of God in His own name. Of this basis for confidence, the author of Hebrews wrote:

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:14-16).

Being in the presence of God is described in this passage as like being in a throne room. In Europe and the Middle East, the throne rooms of kings were ornately and elaborately decorated and filled with attendants. Common people felt inferior and intimidated—the very feelings we might have as we approach God in prayer. But through the mediation and understanding of Christ, we can walk confidently into the presence of God without feeling like an unwanted intruder. We come in the name and merits of the Son of God, and that gives us access to the Father at any time. We have an invitation stamped with the royal seal to pray at any time, under any conditions, whatever our circumstances or needs, because this is a “throne of grace.” Grace is undeserved kindness. Grace is unmerited assistance. This is the kind of help our Mediator has secured for us.

Confidence In A Present Advocate. There’s more! We can come to “the throne of grace” with confidence in our Mediator because His work for us continues. Even now He is at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf (Rom. 8:34). On the merit of His sacrifice, the Lord Jesus is our Intercessor. He is with the Father in the throne room, speaking on our behalf. The apostle John expressed it this way:

If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation [the atoning sacrifice] for our sins (1 Jn. 2:1-2).

Why do we hold back? How could we feel hesitant or unworthy to pray when Jesus Christ Himself, on the basis of His sacrifice, is right now with the Father interceding for us?