Monday, April 18, 2016

Nigh to God

One day, in my Bible reading, I came across Hebrew 7:19, about drawing nigh to God. This verse made me curious about other references to drawing nigh to God. I was surprised that there weren't many references. But, the verses that there are have a powerful message!

For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?  Deuteronomy 4:7
Before and after this verse in Deuteronomy 4 is a reminder to keep God's laws. For Israel, the nearness of God was contingent on their obedience to Him. If they kept His laws, He was nigh to them.

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.  Hebrews 7:19
For New Testament believers, we can draw nigh unto God because of the "bringing in of a better hope." This verse alone explains that the law, given in the Old Testament, given to Israel, was never able to make the doer perfect. However, this "better hope" (which, in context of this passage, is Jesus Christ) is able to make one perfect. This "better hope" is what draws us nigh to God, not our ability to keep His laws.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  James 4:8
The two verses prior help us to get the full picture of this verse: "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:6-7)
We are given the promise, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you." But how does one draw nigh to God? I believe that Hebrews 7:19, linked with James 4:6-8, gives us the answer:
1) We can draw nigh only through Jesus Christ and His cleansing
2) We can draw nigh only through humility--acknowledging that I cannot do it by my own works and ability
3) We can draw nigh only through submission--realizing that I can only draw nigh by the process which God has placed before me

Drawing nigh to God is not based on the works that I do (the more good works I do, the closer I'll draw nigh). Rather, drawing nigh to God is based on submitting to His way of drawing nigh: through humility, acknowledging that I cannot, of my own self, draw nigh to God. Through submission, realizing that I must come under Christ's blood to draw nigh to God.

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