It is important to remember that it is neither our righteousness nor our faithfulness that forms the basis for our confidence in approaching God’s throne. Rather, it is God’s righteousness and God’s faithfulness. The first epistle of John expresses this thought: “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him” (1 John 3:21–22).
Any attitude that thinks we have some kind of righteousness or claim in ourselves to approach God results in our approaching Him without full confidence because there is ultimately nothing in ourselves. We have no righteousness of our own. Our confidence cannot be based in ourselves.
We must also come to the place where we do not allow our hearts to condemn us—where we are trusting not in our own righteousness or our own wisdom but in God’s faithfulness. And that produces confidence. Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). In the remainder of that chapter, Paul painted the most glorious picture of a life that is filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, enumerating all the blessings, privileges, and benefits of that life. But the entry into that chapter—and into that kind of life—is presented in that first verse above. We must lay aside all condemnation.
One requirement for a right approach to God is coming in the name of Jesus. When we come in Jesus’ name, we have assurance that our prayers are heard because of Him. It takes our attention off our own lives and works. When we come in the name of Jesus, we believe that our sins have been forgiven and that we are accepted by God as His children. This pleases God. It is how He wants us to come.