As I stood before God this morning…

Every morning I can imagine myself being ushered into God’s presence and there I stand before him. Scripture tells me what he sees, too. He sees me as both son and sinner. I’m his son (John 1:12, Galatians 3:26, 1 John 3:2); I’m also a sinner (1 John 1:8).

He sees us from two points of view. We’re still helpless sinners in constant need of rescue and forgiveness (Ephesians 2:1-5), but we’re also “holy and blameless in God’s sight,” and it’s a pleasure for him to call us his children (Ephesians 4:4-7). I see both, then, just as God does, when entering his presence. I accept the fact that, being his adopted child already, I’ve already got his full love and mercy; but I also accept I’m still a sinner so I need his mercy every day, too.

It brings to mind why Jesus died for us. It wasn’t only to rescue us from our sins (Colossians 1:21-22), it was also to make us God’s children (Ephesians 1:5-7). It’s for both reasons he died for us, so we take both with us when entering God’s presence.

To focus on only one of them messes things up for us, because how can we stand before God with confidence if we think God only sees us as sinners? But just as important – how can we stand before God with confidence while taking sin lightly? God certainly doesn’t take sin lightly. Instead, he exalts the humble, like the publican in Luke 18 who readily admitted he was a sinner in need of God’s mercy when he came before God in prayer, and he “went home justified before God” (Luke 18:14). He left God’s presence feeling utterly reassured.

We can enter God’s presence with confidence, then, when we see ourselves as sons and sinners. Not just as sons because that could get us thinking, “So what if I sin? I’m God’s son, he loves me regardless of what I do” – which is true – but using sonship to excuse away my sin makes entering God’s presence embarrassing. On the other hand, seeing myself only as a sinner doesn’t help either, because that could get me thinking, “So what if I’m his son? No Father could love me the way I am” – which is also true, God hates sin – but using my sin to say God is unable to love me as a son, how can I ever enter his presence with any kind of confidence thinking that?

God’s Word is clear, however. We are sons despite our sin. We are also sons who can admit their sin. It’s accepting that we’re both sons and sinners that enable us to enter God’s presence each morning knowing we’re utterly welcome.

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