Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)
One of the most attractive, unadulterated and treasured words in the English language is the word GRACE. It connotes a wide variety of desirable attributes ranging from beauty, elegance, refinement, dignity and ease . . . to kindness, forbearance, responsiveness, mercy and compassion. To be a recipient of grace and graciousness is often a disarming, deeply impressionable and even transformative experience. Gracious actions by gracious people have a way of overwhelming us because graciousness is often undeserved and unexpected.
Grace takes on an even more transcendent meaning when understood in the context of the Christian faith. It is a word that is used over 150 times in the New Testament in a wide variety of applications but most importantly it is the term used to communicate God’s free gift of salvation and all its accompanying blessings that come to us through faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8)
In order to really understand grace and thereby experience it in its fullness, we must always start at the place from which grace proceeds – the throne of grace. The very phrase “throne” of “grace” seems strangely incongruous in marrying/linking two such seemingly opposing ideas of absolute authority and sympathetic compassion. And yet the writer to the Hebrews, in the context of his explanation of how Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Old Testament covenant in order to establish a new covenant, beckons us to that throne of grace with these words: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)
The key to comprehending the magnitude of this grace that flows from this throne is found in discovering more about the one who sits upon this throne. His name is Jesus and the very title of His throne reveals His sympathetic nature that embodies grace. His mission to earth including His life and ministry leading to His crucifixion, death and burial; culminating in His resurrection, and ascension into heaven to be enthroned at the right hand of the Father, all served to pay the price for and establish the supremacy and rule of grace over condemnation and judgment. “Therefore,” we are told, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25 NIV)
In the Old Testament the meeting place between God and man was in the Holy of Holies at a place called the mercy seat which formed the cover to the ark of the covenant. Only the high priest had access to God’s divine presence there, and it was restricted to once each year on the day of Atonement, in accordance with strict instructions requiring the priest to come “not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors (sins) of the people.” (Hebrews 9:7 KJV)
From the cross forward, where Jesus became both the sacrificial lamb and the perfect high priest, all the rules changed. Limited access became unlimited access when the veil of the temple was “torn from top to bottom” as Jesus breathed his last; this clearly indicating God from heaven removing the barrier to His presence. (Matthew 27:51) A way was made for anyone to come at any time under any condition. The rule of the law was replaced by the rule of grace, as the mercy seat on earth was replaced by the throne of grace in heaven. Thus, although “the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 NIV)
At the cross grace triumphed over every enemy blocking access to God’s presence. That means for us practically that grace triumphs over condemnation, guilt, failure, disappointment, disillusionment, spiritual attack, even disease and death! Nothing can “separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39 NIV) From the throne of grace, grace rules!
That is why the writer of the Hebrews urges us to come confidently! We come believing that grace awaits us. In fact we are told by Paul that we gain “access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:2) Faith is like the fuel that propels our prayers through the heavenlies into God’s presence to the very throne of grace upon which Jesus rules and reigns.
Prayer is like the rocket that carries our requests and burdens to the throne, the place of grace. And we are told that it is Jesus’ intention and commitment there at the throne of grace to dispense mercy, grace and help to meet our needs. What a glorious promise.
But there is more. We also know that in the spirit, we are actually seated with Christ, on that throne of grace in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:6) That has wide ranging implications. Not only are we recipients of God’s mercy, grace and help, but we are also in a place to dispense the same to others. The grace we have received, we can give to others who come to us and need it. Freely we have received, freely we can give. That is the essence of grace. Grace begets gratitude and gratitude begets graciousness! Grace is meant to come full circle, from receiving it to giving it.
And it all begins and ends with the one who sits upon the throne of grace, our Savior, Intercessor and Lord. Are you or others you know and love in a time of need? If so, you need to make your way in prayer to the source and place of grace. Do not hesitate to “confidently draw near to the throne of grace, that [you might] receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
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