on Hebrews 4 :16
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.
on Hebrews 4 :16
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.
on Hebrews 4 :16
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.