Tuesday, February 13, 2018

David's Digest: Coming Boldly to the Throne

Heb 4:16 - "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

It seems to me this verse can be used to approach God in ways that we might approach just anyone, or in any way we might feel. And while the Bible declares God to be the friend and father of saints, I believe it cannot be forgotten that He is almighty God, holy King and majestic Lord! Would we approach an earthly king or even a civil magistrate just however we felt like it? I think not.

The following are some gleanings that I believe accurately reflect how we should and should not approach God, and for what reasons most importantly:

First, how did Esther approach her king and husband no less? Here is from Esther 4:15-5:2:

15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,

16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

1 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.

2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

Esther recognized the authority of her king over her in that she knew she was transgressing the law and that he could punish her to death for it, and she came in proper apparel fit for the presence of a king showing reverence. She and her people had also prepared themselves beforehand in humility.

I believe these show us we need to be dressed in Christ's righteousness to approach God, and only this way dressed shows reverence to His holiness and respect for His declared order (John 14:6 - "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."), and that approaching God belligerently or in pride ("God I have something to say to you!" under the guise that "Oh, God is big enough to handle it!") could very well bring down the King's wrath upon us.


The following is from JC Ryle on prayer, which you can read in full here, that discusses improper and proper prayer boldness:
(g) I commend to you, in the next place, the importance of boldness in prayer. There is an unseemly familiarity in some men's prayers, which I cannot praise.

But there is such a thing as a holy boldness, which is exceedingly to be desired. I mean such boldness as that of Moses, when he pleads with God not to destroy Israel: "Wherefore," says he, "should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains...Turn from thy fierce wrath" (Exo 32:12). I mean such boldness as that of Joshua, when the children of Israel were defeated before Ai: "What," says he, "what wilt thou do unto thy great name?" (Jos 7:9).

This is the boldness for which Luther was remarkable. One who heard him praying said, "What a spirit—what a confidence was in his very expressions! With such a reverence he sued, as one begging of God, and yet with such hope and assurance as if he spake with a loving father or friend".

Here also I fear we sadly come short. We do not sufficiently realize the believer's privileges. We do not plead as often as we might, "Lord, are we not Thine own people? Is it not for Thy glory that we should be sanctified? Is it not for Thine honor that thy gospel should increase?"


Finally, here is what Puritan commentator Dr. John Gill says about Heb 4:16, indicating the main reasons for coming before the throne of God:
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 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.

May God grant us a holy awe, fear, and reverence of Him, for who He is, and what He has done, His great works throughout time, the salvation of sinners, the revelation of Himself through Christ, Christ's righteousness, His infinite graces, mercies and love, and the gift of His Spirit; and may these bring us to humility before Him and cause us to love Him in return!

-- David