This is a common
theme in the songs we sing: come as you
What a wonderful
thing to be reminded of!
inclination is to believe the opposite: the
way we are disqualifies us from coming. Something drastic needs to change
before we could approach Him; before we could be in His presence without
wincing or cowering.
And although we can
find ample evidence within ourselves that that should be true, it isn’t! The
- We can confront
the lie that we have to clean ourselves up before we come to Him (because, as
we all know deep-down, that’s never gonna happen).
- We can encourage
one another that He is “near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18) and that He
“dwell(s)… with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit” (Isaiah 57:15).
- We can
open Scripture and hear it raising its voice, saying, “The one thing you need
to come to Him is nothing! So… come! And let nothing delay you!”
(Isaiah 55, Matthew 11:30)
But… WHY does it
say that? How can it be? God is holy (perfect, pure, unstained, altogether
“other”)! It’s not like God can dwell with
sin. It’s not as though He sees us in our sin and then shrugs it off because,
well, it’s not that big of a deal. No! We know that can’t be true. We know He
has a very deep hatred for sin and is always grieved by it. “God is light, and
in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
Here is the reason
why we see those invitations in the Bible: Jesus.
God didn’t, and
never will, wink at sin – there must be a consequence and punishment. “The wages
of sin is death,” we read in Romans 6:23. Because God is holy and just, He has
to have wrath towards sin! There has to be a separation between it and Him.
But, why don’t we
see Jesus separated from the “sinners” of His day?
“And as Jesus
reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came
and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.” (Matthew 9:10)
In fact, Jesus was
ridiculed for his friendship with the less than honorable citizens of his day.
Why did He choose to spend His time with them? Why did He reserve His harshest
words not for the “sinners”, but for the “moral”?
He also told this parable to some who trusted in
themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
“Two men went up
into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The
Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I
am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax
collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing
far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his
breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than
the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one
who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
It isn’t that Jesus is condoning sin
when He had dinner and built friendships with sinners! He called them, along
with everyone else, to repentance and saving faith. It’s actually that those
supposed “sinners” are the ones who are the closest to the truth! They know
better than the proverbial “Pharisee” that they need a Savior. They are well
acquainted with their sin and how deep down it goes. They are quick to confess
and repent. They are fully convinced there is no way for them to ever clean
themselves up enough to be in right relationship with God. And that’s why the broken, humble,
needy, messy, desperate, heavy-hearted “sinner” (which we all are!), is
welcomed and invited to draw near to Him! The invitation isn’t only to come; but to come through Him.
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that
in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
He made provision for us to draw near, as we are, because Jesus absorbed the wrath of God toward our sin
on the cross. It no longer prevents us from coming!
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed
through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession…
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may
receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14, 16)
That hunch we have that something needs to change in order
for us to come isn’t entirely wrong. Something did need to happen, and Jesus
did it. He bridged the gap. He made a way where there was no way. We hear the
verse “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,”
and can’t help but rejoice! We can come as we are, because Jesus was crucified
and buried in our place, and has risen and reigns forever, so that we might be
Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal