By: CVM Missions Mobilization Coordinator
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16 NIV
So how does one confidently approach God’s Throne of Grace? It is a good question. One that can be easily overlooked though. Human nature is to focus on the benefits, like receiving mercy and grace, instead of considering what it takes to get there. Bt if I really think about approaching God’s throne, the immensity of the proposition starts to sink in. It could actually be considered terrifying. Consider Moses, a man who is called God’s friend, who talked with God “face to face”, yet adamantly warned the people to have fear and trembling before the LORD. So how do I draw near? I believe part of the answer lies in three little words, “Let us then.”
Phrases like “Let us then” or words like “therefore,” should make us pause to consider that the forthcoming statement is based upon a preceding foundational truth about God or our relationship with Him. That truth is meant to grab our souls and bring about a heart change that is to God’s glory and our good. The following passage that precedes Hebrews 4:16 is meant to be just that.
“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight, everything will be uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him who we must give an account. Therefore, since we have a Great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Let us then…” – Hebrews 4:12-15 (NIV)
The background stage for our text is God’s warning for us to not be like the Israelite nation who were kept from entering the Promised Land (God’s rest) because of their rebellious ways. Our text then declares how God will expose our heart’s and thoughts and attitudes – whether we want it or not. But there is Hope; Jesus, our great high priest!
When Christ grabbed hold of me, God’s Spirit uncovered and laid bare things in my life that needed to be dealt with; first with God and then with those I had affronted. One example was that I needed to call a former landlord to ask for his forgiveness for permanently “borrowing” some of his tools (called stealing). God dealt with me kindly as my landlord graciously forgave me, accepted the return of his things and then asked if i had “gotten Jesus.” Though I felt terrible for being who I am, “the worst of sinners,” I also felt an incredible releasing, cleansing and empowering from God saying that His goodness is now mine IF I am willing to snuggle up to Him, trust in Him and follow Him. There was a huge weight off my heart and I could come near to God with confidence because I had seen and experienced what an amazing God He was and is!
In the same way, the author of Hebrews is telling us to take seriously God’s day of reckoning where our heart’s thoughts and attitudes (our rebellion and sin) will be exposed. We have a choice, either we invite God to enter our life now (restorative) or He will do it later (destructive). Why not now? The author then shares the message of HOPE! We have a Great High Priest (savior) who forgives us, cleanses us and restores us. In Jesus we have One who understands our shortcomings, our rebellious ways, and our temptations. He not only understands them but empathizes with them. He has suffered everything yet was without sin showing Himself perfect. So all the excuses we can possibly come up with for not accepting Christ have been decisively dealt with. We are left bare. Christ has swung open the narrow gate into an enormous entrance for us to walk through into His peace and restoration. We have been wonderfully saved! We can give God everything in our life – all the “good” and all the “ugly.” We are at peace! And in that peace His perfect love has taken away any inappropriate fear so that we can draw near to receive all He has for us – His mercy compelling us to live for Him and His grace empowering us to do so.