"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)
Travis Phillips did a great job last Sunday ushering us toward the mercy seat of Christ. As he spoke of the Old Testament offerings that provided the forgiveness we so desperately needed, my mind was holding onto the incredible mercy we have by One Who could sit on the judgment seat. He is Holy and worthy to do so. But He chooses to sit on the mercy seat, instead.
A Holy God, Who is righteous to judge us guilty—we who violated His perfect covenant and broke His law—He chooses to set His love on us and draw us back with mercy.
The mercy seat is where God meets with His people. If it were not for mercy, none could be in His Holy presence. This place of atonement where we are "at one" with God is not earned. It is not deserved. It is simply lavishly given. Not because God's standards lessened, but because He met those standards for us and made us to be in a covenant relationship with Him.
But sitting on the mercy seat is not a cushy job. No, the One Who chose mercy for His people had to obtain it first by choosing (with joy) to die for His people and take their place of deserved judgment. Grace and mercy are not cheap, friends. How ought we to live, then? You can read even more about the mercy seat here.
When I consider the mercy Jesus offers and so many who do not access it, my heart grieves. Faith gives us access and yet we can remain in judgment. Religion, deception and shame block our way. Salvation and forgiveness are offered for free—and the most joyful life to be lived, but it still has to be chosen. I talk about choosing joy this week on my ministry podcast (Choosing Joy). Joy does not just happen. Obtaining mercy and forgiveness does not, either. Come and see your need, friend. Don't be afraid. God will be there with you if you ask Him.
If you feel like you stumble too much to access this mercy, think again. I have felt like that, too, but stumbling has a purpose, too (Finding Purpose in it All - When Stumbling Becomes Thriving). The goal is faithfulness. Not perfection. Our perfect God has called us and He will be the One to complete the work He began in us—for His glory alone as we cooperate and stay in the flight!
Come and hang with me and God at the Mercy Seat. How do we do that? By getting into His word and reading. It does not have to look perfect. Just use a Bible Reading plan, app, 40 Days of Prayer Study or whatever tool helps you to get ushered into His presence. And then spend time in prayer, which is the focus of our series right now. God is not seeking perfect prayers. He is just seeking you.