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... let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings... Hebrews 10.22

Assurance of what exactly? The author of Hebrews is referring to how sinful humans might approach God, who is holy. He poses the question in the confidence that comes from knowing the answer, which is: that through his personal and perfect sacrifice on the cross, Jesus has taken upon himself our sinfulness and reclothed us in his righteousness. So when we embrace Jesus as Saviour and submit to him as Lord, we become free to approach God. And we approach God with the same confidence a child approaches a parent, a confidence based on knowing that one is loved unconditionally - no certificates, bribes or gestures are required; the door is open; the way is clear.

Sadly that is not the experience of too many believers. Either we don't feel good enough, or we prefer the benefits to the Benefactor. It is easier to deal with the former objection - not feeling good enough - because that is often due to hang-ups in our up-bringing and, with counselling and/ or spiritual direction, that can be overcome. Less straightforward is the latter because it touches on the most debilitating human weakness - alongside pride - which is idolatry. And idolatry is all the more dangerous because it is often masked by what appears quite respectable. For instance, when we desire heaven more than God, we make an idol of heaven.

So to enjoy "full assurance" of faith, may our prayer today be that God would so fill our hearts with love for Jesus that all lesser desires are eclipsed and our every thought, word and deed becomes a confident and compassionate expression of that faith and love. Amen



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