Sin makes us want to hide from God’s presence. Here is the essence of unbelief among Christians: when we sin, failing God, we tend to run from His presence. We think He is too angry to want to commune with us. How could He possibly share intimacy with us when we’ve sinned so grievously?

So we stop praying. In our shame, we think, “I can’t go to God in this condition.” And we begin trying to work our way back into His good graces. We’re convinced we just need time to get ourselves clean. If we can stay pure for a few weeks, avoiding our sinful habit, we think we’ll prove ourselves worthy to approach His throne again.

This is evil unbelief, and it’s a crime in God’s eyes. When we confess our sin, including our besetting habits, God doesn’t interrogate us. He doesn’t demand proof of repentance, asking, “Are you truly sorry? I don’t see any tears. Do you promise never to commit this sin again? Go now, fast for two days a week, and pray for an hour every day. If you make it that long without falling, we’ll commune again.”

When Jesus reconciled us to the Father at the cross, it was for all time. That means that if I sin, I don’t have to be reconciled to God all over again; I’m not cut off from the Lord, suddenly unreconciled. No, the veil of separation was rent permanently at the cross, and I forever have access to God’s throne, through Christ’s blood. The door is never closed to me: “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12).

The Bible states clearly that if one of us sins, we have an advocate with the Father in Jesus Christ. We may stand outside the door of His throne room, feeling rotten and unclean. But if we stay there, refusing to go in, we’re not being humble; we’re acting in unbelief. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).