In James 4:8 we read this invitation and promise: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” What a wonderful summons from the Word of God, and what an encouraging promise! In this worship service today, we are drawing near to God as a body to renew covenant with Him, and as we draw near we know that the Living God is drawing near to us.
But we should be mindful of how we draw near. Shall we draw near flippantly? Shall we draw near carelessly? Shall we draw near unmindful of one another?
We do well to remember the verses that come after James 4:8 –
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
In order to draw near to God rightly so that He will draw near to us to bless us rather than curse us, we must come to God through our Lord Jesus Christ and the blood of His cross alone. We can’t do that unless we hate our sin and lament over it when we confess it. We who are in Christ must indeed draw near – not to do so would be another form of presumption – but we are to do so with a whole heart that hates sin and loves righteousness and clings to Christ Jesus by faith. When we approach God with that humility, then we are confident that He will indeed lift us up.
And that is precisely what He will do today. Our Father is going to lift us up into His presence where he will assure us of His love and forgive us and accept our praise and comfort us and consecrate us. We are free to give our Lord our love. He delights in it, even though we are still unclean. By faith we are clean in Christ.
So we draw near to Him, and He draws near to us to bless us. Come, let us worship the Father through the righteousness of the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.