“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude.” ― Katherine Mansfield
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through' narrow chinks of his cavern.”
― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Jesus Christ is able to be our go-between who can speak to God on our behalf. We can then "draw near to God through him" (Hebrews 7:25). The prophecy about Christ stated that "He himself bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).
It stands to reason that someone who is in much the same position as ourselves, someone who needs an intercessor as much as we do, is not qualified in his own right to intercede for us. Only Jesus and the Holy Spirit are qualified to be our intercessors. (Romans 8:26,34).
Fortunately God taught us something in Scripture that will free us from this highly responsible, performance mind-set, so that we could see God again and deeply enjoy our relationship with him. There is a huge principle in Scripture that is throughout Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, 1&2 Corinthians…it’s all over the place.
Here it is: God does not demand perfection in you. God is not expecting you to measure up. God never thought that you could live the Christian life, nor does he expect that you could actually meet his holy standards. If he thought that you could, he wouldn’t have come to earth to die for you. But he did.
Jesus said to the crowds, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” So, it is true that God’s laws, his commands, require perfection. And if we were to be accepted by God based on living up to his commands, we would have to be perfect. No wonder Jesus came to save us from the penalty of our sins!
God is aware of the gap between his perfection and your sinfulness. Even as Christians, there is a constant tension within us to try to close that gap, so that we feel more comfortable, so that we feel closer to God. Some will try to close the gap by trying to lower God’s standards: “God doesn’t really mean…” Others will try to close the gap by trying to raise their performance: “I’ll try harder…”
What does God say about this gap? It’s there and it will always be there. But you, who have put your faith in Jesus, received him into your life, have been forgiven, declared righteous, precious in his eyes, held in his hand of care. You are completely his and he loves you unconditionally, in spite of the gap.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5: 1-2
There is only one priest among men who can go to God in his own right and intercede for us, who himself does not need an intercessor. That man is Jesus Christ. That’s one reason why he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Since we have been forgiven of our sins through the blood of Christ, we also come boldly in prayer in Jesus’ name. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are praying based on the work He has done and not on our own merit. It is in His powerful name that we are saved and baptized, and in His name we live, speak and act.
Thoughts by Elder Larry Brown, Head Elder of the Los Banos SDA Church in California.