Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
It is not uncommon to be afraid to approach God. It’s one of the effects of the original sin. When Adam and Eve rebelled they hid themselves from God. They were afraid to come near to God. Their guilty consciences held them back. But God provided an animal sacrifice to cover their sin so that they could be reconciled to him (Genesis 3:21).
Now, God has done that permanently through the giving of his only Son to be once-for-all sacrifice for sin. Therefore, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you have been reconciled to the heavenly Father, and can approach his throne. There you “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
The author of Hebrews encourages you to draw near to him “with confidence.” The reasons you may do so are explained later in the same New Testament letter.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-20)
Here, two reasons are given to draw near to God.
First, Jesus paved the way to God with his shed blood. He tiled a “new and living way” [literally, “a newly slain way”] into God’s presence. He did this “through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.” By enduring the wrath of God for three long hours of darkness (Luke 23:44, 45), Jesus met the righteous demands of our holy God. By offering the veil of his flesh to be torn, he ripped the veil of the temple in two. By paying the death penalty for sin, he threw open the door into God’s presence.
Second, Jesus is better than all other priests. The author calls him a “great priest” because he did not bring a foreign sacrifice to God, but instead offered himself (Hebrews 9:26). Only absolute purity would do. Only the spotless Lamb of God could satisfy God’s justice, and mediate for sinners (1 Timothy 2:5). As the sinless God-man, Jesus could be both the sacrifice and priest at the same time.
Three days later, God sealed and advertised this new access by raising Christ from the dead (Romans 4:25). Therefore, in Christ, you have a great High Priest who “always lives to make intercession” for you (Hebrews 7:25).
Are you drawing near to the throne of grace?