We have an opportunity to choose between judgment or grace.
11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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.
There is a lot of “therefore” statements in Hebrews, isn’t there? Whenever we see this, we have to remember that it indicates that the next statement is dependent upon the previous. The author spoke about the consequences of unbelief: eternal damnation and life without the presence of God. However, as the author notes, this isn’t the only option. As the author continues, we see that it is important to strive towards the rest the God offers (which is opposite from damnation). Yes, it is something that we can strive for.
Many times we see an unbalanced image of God’s righteousness portrayed. It’s either fire and brimstone for all or love and grace for all, but never both. Here we see the balanced (and much more accurate) image of Christ: His words are like a double-edged sword yet He sits on a throne ruling with grace and mercy. In the last post I shared what the book of Revelation says about Jesus’ appearance: that of majesty with a sword as a tongue. I think this is part of the reason why people avoid reading the bible. It cuts them to the heart as they read the revelation of God’s truth. Others simply don’t agree with it so they neglect what it tells them. That’s ok, because they have the opportunity to approach the throne of grace as well.
In verse 16, I noticed a phrase that I think we misunderstand and it has actually shaped our Christian culture. Maybe not everyone is going back to this verse to justify their actions, but let’s make sure we don’t get it wrong this time. The author says that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need. When is our time of need? Is it when we feel guilty about our sins? Is it when we need to pass a big test and we forgot to study? Is it when we made a mistake and we are facing a lot of trouble? Our time of need is always. We always need grace and mercy from our loving Father. Paul wrote to the Romans, 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. We all need and continue to need the power of Jesus’ blood on the cross; this is why many authors of the bible implore their readers to stand firm in the faith.
Yet, we subscribe to cheap grace time and again and only come crawling back to daddy when we can’t do it on our own anymore. How much better would our lives be if we used God as our first resort instead of our last resort? This mercy and grace isn’t just about forgiveness of our sins, it’s about having an intimate relationship with God and living out His design and purpose for us fully. Yet we take for granted what has been offered for us and only approach the throne of grace when we remember that double-edged sword. Oh how we have missed the point!
How often do you approach the throne of grace? Do you approach it once in a while, once a week, once a day, or do you camp out there and bask in the presence of God? What is holding you back from realizing your full potential and the purpose God has given you?