Throne of Grace

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

There are two challenges that we as Christians face in our walk of faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Christian life is a life of perseverance, as we are in opposition with our own flesh. We are born into a sinful nature, a brokenness between us and our Creator. The purpose of God is to provide a way that can restore that brokenness we have and restore our fellowship with Him. It is a battle that we have between our spirit and our flesh that requires that we persevere in our daily struggle. The author of Hebrews teaches us that we must hold fast to our profession of faith that we have in our Lord. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14) By holding fast we never let go, we live in that profession, as without it we cannot find life. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17)

We must also persevere against the exterior evil forces that come against us in the society in which we live. The world is constantly pulling at us to turn us away from the path homeward that we are on. Satan lays his tempting snares in our path each day and we must persevere and not let them pull our focus off of Jesus who is calling follow me. We are living in a world of spiritual warfare in the heavenly places that seek to steal, kill, and destroy us and our testimony. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Jesus gives us good warning in the Gospel of Mark that we must be firmly grounded in the Word of God. We don’t seek Him when we are in times of trouble, we seek Him before the times of trouble that we can avoid most of them all together. If we do not plant His Word it good soil, but soil that still has the roots of sinful nature imbedded within, then when affliction and persecution come upon us we can be easily be uprooted from our faith. “In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.” (Mark 4:16-17)

The other challenge that we have in our Christian walk is that of our prayer life. The prayer life of Jesus was constant between Him and the Father and is the example of what our prayer life should be also. The Apostle Paul tells us that we should always be in prayer. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Our line of supply from God is initiated and received by prayer. It is through prayer that we are equipped for the trials and tribulations we face in life here in this world. Our adversary will do all in his power to keep us from prayer with our Father. We must not allow ourselves to live in the mindset of the microwave society that we live in. God answers prayer in His perfect time. It is easy to become discouraged and quit praying, cutting ourselves off from the very help that we need. When we become discouraged, when we feel like quitting, that is the very time we should be in prayer. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

The author here is telling us we can come to the throne of grace with all confidence. This is because Jesus, who is fully God, is also fully man. Jesus lived here amongst us on earth and performed the good works of the Kingdom, He lived the righteous life that we through Him might face God the Father, He suffered the cross that we might be forgiven, and He lived completely in the will of His Father God the Creator. Jesus was tempted in every way by Satan. If Satan could have caused Jesus to sin, then He would no longer be a righteous God, He would no longer be the Lamb of God, and we would find no salvation from the wrath of God. Jesus was God suffering as a man that He would sympathize with us and understand our weaknesses. Jesus who is our mediator between us and God understands our sufferings and gives the comfort of His good counsel. “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18)

In the ancient world the throne was not the place most people would want to find themselves. The throne was the seat of power and authority over the nation which it represented. The throne was a place for judgment and was good for some and a place of terror for others. The throne was not a place that one could go at their leisure but had to be summoned or invited. Those who attempted to approach the throne in any improper way usually found themselves executed. Therefore, most people would not gladly go to the throne on their own accord.

Here in the book of Hebrews the author refers to the throne as a “Throne of Grace.” A place where men can find favor in the judgments of God. This is not the way of the world. I have never been closer to a throne than a court house and for me that was close enough. I was involved in a court case in which I was my own defense, a foolish thing to do. But we as followers of Jesus have an advocate that pleads our case before God on our behalf. Unlike Satan who accuses us night and day, (Revelation 12:10) But we have Our Lord and Savior who petitions God the Father on our behalf. The Author of Hebrews calls God’s Throne the Throne of Grace and we His children are welcome there, as we can approach by the blessing of our personal relationship with Jesus.

It is not that we can’t come to the throne of grace for idle chat with our Heavenly Father, as He is interested in every area of our lives. And we do not approach the throne because we think that we have it pretty much together because we don’t. We come in the same way that we worship the Lord in humbleness and truth. We come to the throne of grace because we are weak and our Lord can sympathize with our weakness. (Hebrews 4:15)

We come to the throne because we have seen by our lives that we are broken people and in need of repair, or, restoration. It is not that we think that we can get by most of the time but that we know that thinking is only a ruse. We come because we know that without the Lord to govern our life we are powerless on the battlefield of life. If we are to serve in His Kingdom, then we need His power in our life. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) We find our welcome there at the throne of grace from a Heavenly Father who loves His children.

All the riches of the world will not alleviate the spiritual need we have for solace from our Heavenly Father. None are without need and the Lord knows that which and He will give us satisfaction. One reason that people fail to pray is they try first to go it alone. I do that often as I have that “I got this” attitude. The truth is a fix or patch is not near as good as the perfect solution. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father why settle for anything less. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17) The truth is that God is our provider from the breath of air we take in to the food in our freezer. In this world that we live in which is heavily influenced by evil spiritual forces we are playing on a field in which we are over our heads. The need that we have is not just sometimes or a few times in is all the time. The need we have of our Lord is total. This truth drew Paul to this conclusion, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

It has been my observance that many go to the pastor to have him pray for them. That’s okay as in times of distress we should ask people to pray for us. But often I feel that people have enlisted me to do for them what they should be doing for themselves. Perhaps it is just a pet peeve of mine. The truth is God does not want us to feel the need to go to the local priest to pray for us but we through our High Priest Jesus Christ can have a direct connection to the Godhead. The whole purpose of God is to have fellowship with His Children. He desires to converse with us individually. The author says “Let us draw near.” This means you and I should pray in our own stead.

Let us remember that we serve a Lord that sympathizes with our weakness and knows our needs. The Lord is so much better to pray to than any other human as know human can know us better than the Lord who created us and has known us before the foundations of the earth. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

We do not have to go through a priest to approach the throne of grace but we dare not come on the merits of our own righteousness. We can approach the throne of grace with confidence because our High Priest Jesus shed His blood for the remission of our sins. Even so we still are not righteous enough but through His righteousness we are able to boldly approach the throne of grace. “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” (Ephesians 3:11-12)

The text closes with this promise. “So that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This is an amazing promise. Times that I had failed, times that I had been disobedient, and times that I had let my father down, were the times that I did not want to have to approach him and work it out. I would receive my lumps and try to do better. My father was loving and merciful, but his expectations were high for me and many times I left feeling less than understood. But we have this promise for God that at His throne we will find mercy and His all sufficient grace. By His grace God will help us through the trials and tribulations of our life.

Paul often went to the throne of grace as his life was filled with opposition from the Jews during his ministry to the Greeks. It is believed that Paul had physical affliction in his later life as well. These together would certainly present one with the temptations to leave the calling that God had placed upon his life. But at the throne of grace God provided all that Paul needed. “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) We serve a Savior who was mightily tempted by Satan and knows the trial and is sympathetic to our need. “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18)

When the storms of life come upon you as it often does for the disciples of Jesus cry out to our sympathetic High Priest at the throne of grace. There you will find mercy and God’s grace to help you, as He will never leave us alone. We have this promise from Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 15, 2016

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