The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is constantly calling us to “Come!” He wants to draw us nearer to God’s presence. But sin separates. Let me be more specific and more personal: My sin can make me believe I can’t come closer to God.
In Psalm 99:8, notice how the psalmist focuses first on God’s forgiveness, and then on His punishment. It’s as though he is saying, “Yes, God punishes sin, but He is first and foremost a forgiving God”—
…You were to Israel a forgiving God, though You punished their misdeeds. (Psalm 99:8)
God is slow to anger, but He must punish sin. His punishment is always to encourage reconciliation. He wants to remove the sin that separates us. This has always been His focus since the very first sin.
In fact the next psalm celebrates coming into God’s presence with joy—
- Shout for joy
- Worship with gladness
- Come in with joyful songs
- Remember that God made us and we are His
- Enter with thanksgiving
- Enter with praise
- Come give Him thanks
- Praise Him
- He is good
- His love endures forever
- His faithfulness never diminishes
This should encourage me all the more to quickly confess my sin and repent from it, so that I can once again answer the Holy Spirit’s call to come deeper into God’s presence.