Here is a word of good advice for every Christian: Expect great opposition.
Our text, Hebrews 4:14-16, orders us to hang on for dear life to all we have in Christ. The desperateness with which a father might cling to the coat of his child, as the little fellow slips at the bluff’s edge, should be the believer’s attitude toward spiritual matters. Not the desperateness of despair, but the determination of, “I will never let you go, O Christ, Savior of my soul.”
In Jesus’ parable of Matthew 7 the same trials of rain, flood and wind beat upon the good house on the rock foundation as against the foolishly-constructed house on sand. There will be the deluge of evil from one’s surroundings, the response of wrong desires within – which “war against the soul” (I Peter 2:11) – and the constant press of Satan against each believer. (Study Luke 22:30-34.)
All of this sifting process serves to winnow the family of God. The chaff must be separated from the wheat. But not one of the great Shepherd’s true sheep is lost. He knows them and promises them everlasting life. To keep us – despite our weakness – requires gracious help from God.
May God encourage your hearts as we now study His wondrous provisions of grace – planned exactly for our desperate needs. Open your Bible to our text, beginning at Hebrews 4:14.
- A GREAT HIGH PRIEST
“We have a great high priest.” How cheering those words! To have One so high and mighty as our representative keeps the fires of hope burning brightly. Notice that He has passed “into the heavens” or as the NAS translation puts it, “through the heavens.” This emphasizes that nothing now separates our Mediator from the very presence of God the Father.
What a striking contrast this view of Christ in glory makes with His bloody death in the shame of Golgotha! Now, he has utterly defeated the powers of darkness that struck out against Him, Colossians 2:15. He has “led captivity captive,” Psalm 68:17 and following. Hallelujah!
Our text verse identifies our Lord, the High Priest, as “Jesus the Son of God.” As Son of God, He stands before us as Deity. He is God the Son. But the very ordinary human name “Jesus” reminds us that He is also truly man. His feet walked where we must walk.
Don’t overlook the double negative in verse 15. To emphasize his point, the inspired writer tells us what kind of a heavenly priest we do not have. We do not have an untouchable one! We do not have one who simply cannot understand our struggles. Sweetly, gently we are drawn to understand that we have a Savior who has personally experienced in His own body, mind and feelings what we must endure – “yet without sin.” Praise God, the unfailing Christ is ready to be our Deliverer.
Let me illustrate how this thought helps. Suppose two men – Joe and Jim – are trapped in a deep excavation of some kind. Jim is so badly injured that he is about to give up and die, but Joe struggles free and calls back to his partner. Poor weakening Jim opens his eyes and catches sight of his friend ‘way up there at the top edge of the shaft. Hope is recovered. “I’ll be back with help at once,” Joe calls. “Take heart!” That is how it is when we in our temptations and discouragements look up to Jesus gone “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us,” Hebrews 9:24.
Be sure to understand that God is not here telling us that since Jesus knows our weaknesses we may continue to sin as we wish. The exact opposite! Since our Savior knows and sympathizes with our struggles, we are assured of His sufficient help. No need then to drag on in sin and defeat.
II. THE GRACIOUS INVITATION
Now, read on and fill your heart with the truths found in the final verse of our text. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
We are to respond to God’s grace – not take advantage of mercy, drifting with each wave of desire. To what are we invited? To the “throne of grace.” The word throne reminds us of our Lord’s authority over all things, whereas grace assures us that He is willing. Walk Confidently into My presence, Jesus Christ directs; you will gain a favorable hearing.
There before His throne in prayer, it is first promised that we shall obtain or rather, receive, mercy. The wording is to indicate that we are only taking what is already prepared for us. If you have deep inner needs, do not let spiritual poverty continue in the presence of such riches!
Next, you and I are assured that our Savior awaits our coming with “grace to help in time of need.” A good definition of this term “help” might be: “aid extended upon desperate cry for assistance.” Notice, too, that it is seasonable, i.e., right at the time of need.
In this connection, read Revelation 3:14-22.
It is clear that our real problem after all is not our weaknesses, but rather our failure to come to Jesus Christ for help.
Recently, a young pastor told of his childhood ambition to be a major league ball player. To his great delight, a famous professional star scheduled a visit to his town. Quickly, the lad finished his Saturday job, hoping to make it to the local park in time to see his hero and receive pointers on the sport. On arriving, his heart sank. Too late. It was all over. Just then he saw the great athlete heading for the locker room, so he dashed toward him. Again, too late, the locker room door closed. He was shut out.
Now, it is never so with God’s children. Come in boldly, He invites. Friends, leave your dark fears and come to Jesus Christ for help. Never come to Him with that sense of no-hope felt by the unbelieving.
Come with a confident heart. Fear, shame, discouragement are forbidden in the King’s presence. “Where the word of the king is, there is power,” (Ecclesiastes 8:4) and He says, Come.