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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 46 - Hebrews 4:16 - Bold Access to the Mercy Seat Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




Bold Access To The True Mercy Seat.


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



     Let us note-(1) The throne of grace; (2) The bold approach; (3) The blessings obtained.

     I. The throne of grace.-This is the apostle's interpretation of the Old Testament word 'mercy-seat,' which was the covering of the ark in the tabernacle. It was of gold, to signify that it was holy, divine, and glorious. It was in the holiest of all; sprinkled with blood; covered with incense; overshadowed by the shekinah or glory; the place where the cherubim stood, and over which they stretched their wings. Such was the symbol of 'the throne of grace.'

     (1.) It is the seat of authority and power.-As a throne, it is necessarily such, the place of royal dignity, from which come forth royal words, royal messages, royal blessings, in sovereign power, and with almighty efficacy. Irresistible and omnipotent are the sentences which issue from it.

     (2.) It is the seat of royal favor.-'Grace' is the foundation and the substance of the throne. It is radiant all over with the free love of God. It is not the throne of judgment, but of grace. There are no terrors here; nothing to repel, or alarm, or forbid. All is grace,-unmixed, unconditional, boundless grace; grace that has found its way to us through the sprinkled blood of the great Sacrifice. The blood did not buy or create that grace, but it provided a righteous channel for its outflow to us. Thus God and the sinner meet at this throne; the golden scepter is here held out, that all, without exception, may touch it.

     (3.) It is the place for presenting requests.-God has erected this throne for the special purpose of receiving petitions from the sinner. From every other throne the sinner would be turned away, and his requests unheeded. But this is just the very place for his petitions. Here he may lay them, and here God takes them up and answers. Lay your requests on this throne, and of necessity a favourable answer must be given. For the throne does not say merely, You may come, and perhaps you will get an answer; but, You are sure of an answer. The nature of the throne, as a throne of grace, pledges the answer. Were God to refuse, He would be dishonouring the very throne which He has erected, repudiating the purpose for which it has been prepared, and wronging the High Priest there.

     (4.) It is the place of invitation.-The throne itself invites. It waves its banner of invitation to all. He who understands its meaning, feels that he, as a sinner, is invited to it. There is a loud and urgent voice coming out from it to sinners. It speaks, and says, 'Come.' Its gold says, 'Come.' Its blood says, 'Come.' Its incense says, 'Come.' The cherubim upon it say, 'Come.' The overshadowing glory of Jehovah says, 'Come.' The sympathizing High Priest says, 'Come.'

     (5.) It is the place of universal access.-It is open to all without exception. The veil is rent. There is no hedge, no barrier; there is no exception made of any. The throne stands open on every side. All may come. Too many cannot come. The throne will receive all; the High Priest will welcome all.

     II. The bold approach.-'Let us come boldly,'-not simply with confidence and expectation, but without fear; not shrinking, nor trembling, but without dread of the throne or of Him who sitteth thereon. Certainly, doubting should give way at the sight of such a gracious throne; but it is not of assurance mainly that the apostle speaks, it is of simple boldness in the presence of God, which may co-exist with many misgivings as to our getting answers. I do not depreciate assurance, or confidence, or expectation; but I would say, that it is simply to the casting out of fear that the apostle speaks. The worshipper at such a throne ought to feel that he is in no danger from his approach; that the God to whom he comes does not inspire terror. The sinner coming to it has his fears quieted, his anxieties relieved, and he himself brought into calmness of spirit, as the throne, by its very name, assures him that there is no danger in drawing near. God has erected such a throne as disarms all trepidation; the sight of it cheers the comer; for it says, 'Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid.' Even when crying, 'Help my unbelief,' let us come 'boldly.' Even when troubled with misgivings as to getting the very things we come for, let us come 'boldly.' Job was speaking and coming boldly, when he said, 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.' Habakkuk was very bold when he said, 'Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit in the vine, yet will I be glad in the Lord.'

     III.  The blessings obtained.-These are summed up in the words 'mercy and grace,'-'needful help.' Minute blessings are not specified, but the wells of salvation are presented to us as open and full. We come to the throne without fear,-this is the first thing. We come to obtain mercy,-this is the second. We come for seasonable and suitable grace,-this is the third thing. And how much do these blessings imply and include! All that 'mercy' can do for us as 'sinners,' and all that 'grace' can do for us as 'needy ones,' are here set before us. Every sin is covered by this mercy; every want is covered by this grace. And this grace is described as 'seasonable' or opportune; always at hand, always ready at the time we need it, and for the want felt; so that there is always abundance of all blessings for us, the whole fullness of Christ being placed at our disposal. Why, then, be empty? Why lack anything, either great or small? The sinner, at first, may come and get all he needs, and the believer, to the last, may come and get the same. Each day, each hour, each moment brings out new exigencies, new sins, new burdens, new troubles, new sorrows. Let us go with all of them to the throne. The love that sent the Son is there; the love that shed the blood is there; God's free, unconditional, unmeasured love. And the great High Priest is there! Therefore, says the apostle, let us come. He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, therefore let us come.