Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
4:11-16 Observe the end proposed: rest spiritual and eternal; the rest of grace here, and glory hereafter; in Christ on earth, with Christ in heaven. After due and diligent labour, sweet and satisfying rest shall follow; and labour now, will make that rest more pleasant when it comes. Let us labour, and quicken each other to be diligent in duty. The Holy Scriptures are the word of God. When God sets it home by his Spirit, it convinces powerfully, converts powerfully, and comforts powerfully. It makes a soul that has long been proud, to be humble; and a perverse spirit, to be meek and obedient. Sinful habits, that are become as it were natural to the soul, and rooted deeply in it, are separated and cut off by this sword. It will discover to men their thoughts and purposes, the vileness of many, the bad principles they are moved by, the sinful ends they act to. The word will show the sinner all that is in his heart. Let us hold fast the doctrines of Christian faith in our heads, its enlivening principles in our hearts, the open profession of it in our lips, and be subject to it in our lives. Christ executed one part of his priesthood on earth, in dying for us; the other he executes in heaven, pleading the cause, and presenting the offerings of his people. In the sight of Infinite Wisdom, it was needful that the Saviour of men should be one who has the fellow-feeling which no being but a fellow-creature could possibly have; and therefore it was necessary he should actual experience of all the effects of sin that could be separated from its actual guilt. God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, Ro 8:3; but the more holy and pure he was, the more he must have been unwilling in his nature to sin, and must have had deeper impression of its evil; consequently the more must he be concerned to deliver his people from its guilt and power. We should encourage ourselves by the excellence of our High Priest, to come boldly to the throne of grace. Mercy and grace are the things we want; mercy to pardon all our sins, and grace to purify our souls. Besides our daily dependence upon God for present supplies, there are seasons for which we should provide in our prayers; times of temptation, either by adversity or prosperity, and especially our dying time. We are to come with reverence and godly fear, yet not as if dragged to the seat of justice, but as kindly invited to the mercy-seat, where grace reigns. We have boldness to enter into the holiest only by the blood of Jesus; he is our Advocate, and has purchased all our souls want or can desire.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace - "The throne of grace!" What a beautiful expression. A throne is the seat of a sovereign; a throne of grace is designed to represent a sovereign seated to dispense mercy and pardon. The illustration or comparison here may have been derived from the temple service. In that service God is represented as seated in the most holy place on the mercy seat. The high priest approaches that seat or throne of the divine majesty with the blood of the atonement to make intercession for the people, and to plead for pardon; see the notes on Hebrews 9:7-8
. That scene was emblematic of heaven. God is seated on a throne of mercy. The great High Priest of the Christian calling, having shed his own blood to make expiation, is represented as approaching, God and pleading for the pardon of people. To a God willing to show mercy he comes with the merits of a sacrifice sufficient for all, and pleads for their salvation. We may, therefore, come with boldness and look for pardon. We come not depending on our own merits, but we come where a sufficient sacrifice has been offered for human guilt; and where we are assured that God is merciful. We may, therefore, come without hesitancy, or trembling, and ask for all the mercy that we need.
That we may obtain mercy - This is what we want first. We need pardon - as the first thing when we come to God. We are guilty and self-condemned - and our first cry should be for "mercy" - "mercy." A man who comes to God not feeling his need of mercy must fail of obtaining the divine favor; and he will be best prepared to obtain that favor who has the deepest sense of his need of forgiveness.
And find grace - Favor - strength, help, counsel, direction, support, for the various duties and trials of life. This is what we next need - we all need - we always need. Even when pardoned, we need grace to keep us from sin, to aid us in duty, to preserve us in the day of temptation. And feeling our need of this, we may come and ask of God "all" that we want for this purpose. Such is the assurance given us; and to this bold approach to the throne of grace all are freely invited. In view of it, let us,
(1) Rejoice that there "is" a throne of grace. What a world would this be if God sat on a throne of "justice" only, and if no mercy were ever to be shown to people! Who is there who would not be overwhelmed with despair? But it is not so. He is on a throne of grace. By day and by night; from year to year; from generation to generation; he is on such a throne. In every land he may be approached, and in as many different languages as people speak, may they plead for mercy. In all times of our trial and temptation we may be assured that he is seated on that throne, and wherever we are, we may approach him with acceptance.
(2) we "need" the privilege of coming before such a throne. We are sinful - and need mercy; we are feeble, and need grace to help us. There is not a day of our lives in which we do not need pardon; not an hour in which we do not need grace.
(3) how obvious are the propriety and necessity of prayer! Every man is a sinner - and should pray for pardon; every man is weak, feeble, dependent, and should pray for grace. Not until a man can prove that he has never done any sin, should he maintain that he has no need of pardon; not until he can show that he is able alone to meet the storms and temptations of life, should he feel that he has no need to ask for grace. Yet who can feel this? And how strange it is that all people do not pray!
(4) it is easy to be forgiven. All that needs to be done is to plead the merits of our Great High Priest, and God is ready to pardon. Who would not be glad to be able to pay a debt in a manner so easy? Yet how few there are who are willing to pay the debt to justice thus!
(5) it is easy to obtain all the grace that we need. We have only to "ask for it" - and it is done. How easy then to meet temptation if we would! How strange that any should rely on their own strength, when they may lean on the arm of God!
(6) if people are not pardoned, and if they fall into sin and ruin, they alone are to blame. There is a throne of grace. It is always accessible. There is A God. He is always ready to pardon. There is A Redeemer. He is the Great High Priest of people. He is always interceding. His merits may always be pleaded as the ground of our salvation. Why then, O why, should any remain unforgiven and perish? On them alone the blame must lie. In their own bosoms is the reason why they are not saved.
Margin throne of grace
Grace (imparted). Heb 12:15,28 Rom 6:1 2Pet 3:18.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,.... Either to Christ, who is before spoken of as an high priest, and who was typified by the mercy seat, to which there seems to be an allusion; and coming to him as a priest upon his throne is very proper: to him saints come for pardon and cleansing, and for a justifying righteousness, for the acceptance of their persons, and the presentation of their services, and for every supply of grace; and to him they may come "boldly", since he stands in the relations of a Father, husband, and brother, and from him they may expect receive mercy, since it is kept for him, and with him, and is only dispensed through him; and in him they may hope to find grace, since all fulness of it dwells in him; and help in every time of need, since their help is laid on him. Or else to God the Father, since Christ, the high priest, is the way of access to God, and it is by him the saints come unto the Father; who is represented as on a "throne", to show his majesty, and to command reverence; and as on a "throne of grace", to encourage distressed souls to come unto him; and to express his sovereignty in the distribution of his grace: and this coming to him is a sacerdotal act, for every believer is a priest; and is not local, but spiritual, and with the heart, and by faith; and chiefly regards the duty of prayer, and a drawing nigh to God in that ordinance with spiritual sacrifices to offer unto him: and this may be done "boldly"; or "with freedom of speech"; speaking out plainly all that is in the heart, using an holy courage and intrepidity of mind, free from servile fear, and a bashful spirit; all which requires an heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, faith, in the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, a view of God, as a God of peace, grace, and mercy, and a holy confidence of being heard by him; and such a spirit and behaviour at the throne of grace are very consistent with reverence of the divine Majesty, with submission to his will, and with that humility which becomes saints. The Jews often speak of , "a throne of judgment", and , "a throne of mercy" (u); and represent God as sitting upon one or other of these, when he is dispensing justice or mercy (w); and the latter they sometimes call, as here, , "a throne of grace and mercy" (x): and so they make the first man Adam to pray to God after this manner (y);
"let my prayer come before the throne of thy glory, and let my cry come before , "the throne of thy mercy".''
The end of coming hither is,
that we may obtain mercy; the sure mercies of David, the blessings of the everlasting covenant; particularly pardoning mercy, and the fresh application of it, and every other blessing of grace that is needful: and there is reason to expect it, since there is mercy with God; and it is with Christ, as the head of the covenant; and it is ready for those that ask it; and it has been obtained by many, and is everlasting.
And find grace to help in time of need; the Syriac version renders it, "in time of affliction"; which is a time of need, as every time of distress is, whether from the immediate hand of God, or through the persecutions of men, or the temptations of Satan: and help at such times may be expected; since not only God is able to help, but he has promised it; and he has laid help on Christ; and gives it seasonably, and at the best time; and it springs from grace, yea, it is grace that does help; by which may be meant, the discoveries of God's love, and the supplies of grace from Christ: which may be hoped for, seeing God is the God of all grace; and he is seated on a throne of grace; and all fulness of grace dwells in Christ: to find grace often, signifies to find favour with God, to be accepted by him, as well as to receive grace from him.
(u) Targum in Psal. xxix. 10. T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 3. 2. Zohar in Gen. fol. 38. 3. & in Numb. fol. 91. 2. & 93. 2.((w) Megillat Esther, fol. 95. 1.((x) Raziel, fol. 32. 1.((y) lbid. fol. 3. 1. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Come - unto (προσερχώμεθα)
oP., often in Hebrews, and commonly in the same sense as here - approach to God through the O.T. sacrifices or the sacrifice of Christ. Paul's word προσαγωγή access expresses the same idea. See Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12. The phrase come boldly expresses a thought which the Epistle emphasizes - that Christianity is the religion of free access to God. Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:12, 2 Corinthians 3:13.
Unto the throne of grace (τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς χάριτος)
The phrase N.T.o. Throne of glory, Matthew 19:28; Matthew 25:31 : of majesty, Hebrews 8:1. In Revelation throne occurs over forty times, either the throne, or his throne, or throne of God. Once throne of the beast, Revelation 16:10. Throne of grace expresses grace as the gift of divine power.
Mercy - grace (ἔλεος - χάριν)
Mercy for past sins; grace for future work, trial, and resistance to temptation.
To help in time of need (εἰς εὔκαιρον βοήθειαν)
Lit. for seasonable help, or help in good time; before it is too late; while there is still time to seek God's rest. Others, however, explain, when it is needed; or, before temptation leads to sin.
16. come—rather as Greek, "approach," "draw near."
boldly—Greek, "with confidence," or "freedom of speech" (Eph 6:19).
the throne of grace—God's throne is become to us a throne of grace through the mediation of our High Priest at God's right hand (Heb 8:1; 12:2). Pleading our High Priest Jesus' meritorious death, we shall always find God on a throne of grace. Contrast Job's complaint (Job 23:3-8) and Elihu's " If," &c. (Job 33:23-28).
mercy—"Compassion," by its derivation (literally, fellow feeling from community of suffering), corresponds to the character of our High Priest "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb 4:15).
find grace—corresponding to "throne of grace." Mercy especially refers to the remission and removal of sins; grace, to the saving bestowal of spiritual gifts [Estius]. Compare "Come unto Me … and I will give you rest (the rest received on first believing). Take My yoke on you … and ye shall find rest (the continuing rest and peace found in daily submitting to Christ's easy yoke; the former answers to "receive mercy" here; the latter, to "find grace," Mt 11:28, 29).
in time of need—Greek, "seasonably." Before we are overwhelmed by the temptation; when we most need it, in temptations and persecutions; such as is suitable to the time, persons, and end designed (Ps 104:27). A supply of grace is in store for believers against all exigencies; but they are only supplied with it according as the need arises. Compare "in due time," Ro 5:6. Not, as Alford explains, "help in time," that is, to-day, while it is yet open to us; the accepted time (2Co 6:2).
help—Compare Heb 2:18, "He is able to succor them that are tempted."
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace - The allusion to the high priest, and his office on the day of atonement, is here kept up. The approach mentioned here is to the כפרת kapporeth, ἱλαστηριον, the propitiatory or mercy-seat. This was the covering of the ark of the testimony or covenant, at each end of which was a cherub, and between them the shechinah, or symbol of the Divine Majesty, which appeared to, and conversed with, the high priest. Here the apostle shows the great superiority of the privileges of the new testament above those of the old; for there the high priest only, and he with fear and trembling, was permitted to approach; and that not without the blood of the victim; and if in any thing he transgressed, he might expect to be struck with death. The throne of grace in heaven answers to this propitiatory, but to this All may approach who feel their need of salvation; and they may approach μετα παρῥησιας, with freedom, confidence, liberty of speech, in opposition to the fear and trembling of the Jewish high priest. Here, nothing is to be feared, provided the heart be right with God, truly sincere, and trusting alone in the sacrificial blood.
That we may obtain mercy - Ἱνα λαβωμεν ελεον· That we may take mercy - that we may receive the pardon of all our sins; there is mercy for the taking. As Jesus Christ tasted death for every man, so every man may go to that propitiatory, and take the mercy that is suited to his degree of guilt.
And find grace - Mercy refers to the pardon of sin, and being brought into the favor of God. Grace is that by which the soul is supported after it has received this mercy, and by which it is purified from all unrighteousness, and upheld in all trials and difficulties, and enabled to prove faithful unto death.
To help in time of need - Εις ευκαιρον βοηθειαν· For a seasonable support; that is, support when necessary, and as necessary, and in due proportion to the necessity. The word βονθεια is properly rendered assistance, help, or support; but it is an assistance in consequence of the earnest cry of the person in distress, for the word signifies to run at the cry, θειν εις βοην, or επι βοην θειν. So, even at the throne of grace, or great propitiatory, no help can be expected where there is no cry, and where there is no cry there is no felt necessity; for he that feels he is perishing will cry aloud for help, and to such a cry the compassionate High Priest will run; and the time of need is the time in which God will show mercy; nor will he ever delay it when it is necessary. We are not to cry to-day to be helped to-morrow, or at some indefinite time, or at the hour of death. We are to call for mercy and grace when we need them; and we are to expect to receive them when we call. This is a part of our liberty or boldness; we come up to the throne, and we call aloud for mercy, and God hears and dispenses the blessing we need.
That this exhortation of the apostle may not be lost on us, let us consider: -
1. That there is a throne of grace, i.e. a propitiatory, the place where God and man are to meet.
2. That this propitiatory or mercy-seat is sprinkled with the atoning blood of that Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
3. That we must come up, προσερχωμεθα, to this throne; and this implies faith in the efficacy of the sacrifice.
4. That we must call aloud on God for his mercy, if we expect him to run to our assistance.
5. That we must feel our spiritual necessities, in order to our calling with fervency and earnestness.
6. That calling thus we shall infallibly get what we want; for in Christ Jesus, as a sacrificial offering, God is ever well pleased; and he is also well pleased with all who take refuge in the atonement which he has made.
7. That thus coming, feeling, and calling, we may have the utmost confidence; for we have boldness, liberty of access, freedom of speech; may plead with our Maker without fear; and expect all that heaven has to bestow; because Jesus, who died, sitteth upon the throne! Hallelujah! the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
8. All these are reasons why we should persevere.
4:16 Let us therefore come boldly - Without any doubt or fear. Unto the throne of God, our reconciled Father, even his throne of grace - Grace erected it, and reigns there, and dispenses all blessings in a way of mere, unmerited favour.
4:16 Let us therefore come boldly.
Because our high priest can be touched by our infirmities.
Unto the throne of grace. The Jewish high priest interceded before the mercy-seat. We may come boldly to the mercy-seat, knowing that our loving Elder Brother is our high priest in the heavens. Hence we may always have confidence when we ask for
grace to help in time of need. The practical lesson of the chapter is that the True Rest promised remains. It was not the Sabbath day, nor was it Canaan. It is the heavenly rest of which these are types. Unbelieving disobedience excluded the Israelites from the typical rest of Canaan. So, too, it will exclude those who have started to enter into the heavenly rest if they refuse to hear Christ through unbelief. The believing Joshua and Caleb entered into Canaan. So, too, the true and faithful believers who follow Christ will enter into the rest above.