By Pastor Wayne Moore
High Point Baptist Church
Do you remember your first day in high school, your first date, your first job interview, or the first time you had to appear before a judge? Did you wonder what you should wear, how you should act, and what you should say? Did you wish you had a guide in your hand to answer all your questions?
It is appropriate to be concerned about how to enter such situations. And since the manner in which we enter into the presence of other people is important, how much more should we give thought to the way we enter God’s presence!
Think about who God is. He is the creator of everything visible and invisible. He is the provider for every living plant, animal, and person. He is the highest authority who rules over heaven and earth. He is holy. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always present everywhere. He is without sin, fault, or flaw. He is incapable of making a mistake. His standard is absolute righteousness. How can we—sinful, weak, and ignorant—enter into His presence?
Thankfully, the Bible tells us how in Psalm 100:4. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Thanksgiving and praise are twins born of a grateful heart. They are the two feet that carry us into His glorious presence. They are the two offerings that we carry in our hands. We praise God for who He is, and we thank Him for what He has done. Praise exalts His greatness; thankfulness acknowledges His goodness.
Our thanksgiving and praise are the greatest of blessings to the Lord. Our ungratefulness and scorn are the greatest of offenses. Gratefulness is Christ-like. Ungratefulness is Satan-like. In the epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” Satan recognizes God’s greatness and goodness. He knows he should be grateful, but instead sees it as a burden to be scorned. Milton puts the following words in Satan’s mouth:
“What would be less than to afford him praise, the easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, how due? Yet all his good proved ill in me, and wrought but malice. Lifted up so high, I disdained subjection, and thought one step higher would set me highest, and in a moment quit the debt immense of endless gratitude, so burdensome, still paying, still to owe; forgetful what from him I still received; and understood not that a grateful mind by owing owes not, but still pays, at once indebted and discharged—what burden then?”
For the child of God, it is no burden but a joy to offer endless praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. As Christians from the past, like Adam Clarke and Charles Spurgeon, affirm, we should begin thanking and praising Him for the permission to enter His presence. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Thanksgiving and praise come easy when we recognize the value of being in God’s presence. It cost Jesus everything—His very life—for us to come before God. “By His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12, emphasis mine)
Not only do we have permission to enter God’s presence, the Bible invites us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:12, emphasis mine) How wonderful that we can bring our needs to God, but let us not do it with a spirit of entitlement but with a spirit of thanksgiving. “By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6, emphasis mine)
Why not stop right now and enter God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise, both for the permission to come before Him and for what it cost Jesus to make it possible. If you know that you cannot come into His presence because you are still in your sin, then turn from your sin and surrender your life to Christ.
Romans 10:9 tells you how. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Once you do this, you will have something to thank and praise God for. Please seek a faithful church that will help you grow in faith and serve the Lord.