Hebrews 4:16 — LET US DRAW NEAR WITH BOLDNESS
“ 16 Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us In time of need (or ‘timely help’).” (Hebrews 4:16)
In the first two chapters the true divinity and the real humanity of our Saviour were set before us, as the very foundation of our faith and life. In the two verses we have just been considering these two truths are applied to the priesthood of Christ. “Having a great High Priest who hath passed through the heavens” (Hebrews 4:14) and having an High Priest who is able to sympathize; let us draw near. The one work of the High Priest is to bring us near to God. The one object of revealing to us His person and work is to give us perfect confidence in drawing near. The measure of our nearness of access to God is the index of our knowledge of Jesus.
“Let us therefore,” with such a High Priest, “draw near with boldness to the throne of grace.” The word translated “draw near” is that used of the priests in the Old Testament. it is this one truth the Epistle seeks to enforce, that we can actually, in spiritual reality, draw near to God, and live in that nearness, in living fellowship with Him, all the day. The work of Christ, as our High Priest, is so perfect, and His power in heaven so divine, that He not only gives us the right and liberty to draw nigh, but by His priestly action He does in very deed and truth, so take possession of our inmost being and inward life, and draw and bring us nigh, that our life can be lived in God's presence.
“Let us … draw near.” The expression occurs twice; here and Hebrews 10:21. The repetition is significant. In the second passage, after the deeper truths of the true sanctuary and the rent veil and the opening of the Holiest have been expounded, it refers to the believer's entrance into the full blessing of a life spent in the power of Christ's heavenly priesthood, in the presence of God. Here, where all this teaching has not yet been given, it is applied more simply to prayer, to the drawing nigh to the throne of grace, in a sense which the feeblest believer can understand it . It is as we are faithful in the lesser, the tarrying before the throne of grace in prayer, that we shall find access to the greater—the life within the veil, in the full power of the Forerunner who hath entered there for us.
“Let us therefore draw near … that we may receive mercy.” This has reference to that compassion which we need when the sense of sin and guilt and unworthiness depress us. In drawing nigh to the throne of grace, to the mercy-seat, in prayer, we first receive mercy, we experience that God pardons and accepts and loves. And we find grace for timely help. This refers to that strengthening of the inner life by which He, who was tempted in all things like as we, meets us and enables us to conquer temptation. Grace is the divine strength working in us. "My grace is sufficient for thee; my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). The believing supplicant at the throne of grace not only receives mercy, the consciousness of acceptance and favor, but finds grace, in that Spirit whose operation the Father always delights to bestow. And that grace is for timely help, literally "well-timed help"—just the special help we need at each moment. The infinite mercy of God's love resting on us, and the almighty grace of His Spirit working in us, will ever be found at a throne of grace, if we but come boldly, trusting in Jesus alone.
And now comes the chief word, "Let us therefore draw near with boldness." We have already been taught to “hold fast our boldness” (Hebrews 3:6). We shall later on be warned, “cast not away therefore your boldness” (Hebrews 10:35). And the summing up of the Epistle will tell us that the great fruit of Christ's redemption is that we have “boldness to enter” in (verse 19). It is the expression of the highest form of confidence, in the unhesitating assurance that there is nothing that can hinder, and in a conduct that corresponds to this conviction. It suggests the thought of our drawing nigh to God's throne without fear, without doubt, with no other feeling but that of the childlike liberty which a child feels in speaking to its father.
This boldness is what the blood of Christ, in its infinite worth, has secured for us, and what His heavenly priesthood works and maintains in us. This boldness is the natural and necessary result of the adoring and believing gaze fixed on our great High Priest upon the throne. This boldness is what the Holy Spirit works in us as the inward participation in Christ's entrance into the Father's presence. This boldness is of the essence of a healthy Christian life. lf there is one thing the Christian should care for and aim at, it is to maintain unbroken and unclouded the living conviction and practice of this “draw[ing] near with boldness.”
”Let us, therefore, draw near with boldness.” Jesus the Son God is our High Priest . Our boldness of access is not a state we produce in ourselves by meditation or effort. No, the living, loving High Priest, who is able to sympathize and gives grace for timely help, He breathes and works this boldness in the soul that is willing to lose itself in Him. Jesus, found and felt within our heart by faith, is our boldness. As the Son, whose house we are, He will dwell within us, and by His Spirit's working, Himself be our boldness and our entrance to the Father. “Let us, therefore, draw near with boldness”!
1. Do take hold of the thought that the whole teaching of the Epistle centers in this, that we should so be partakers of Christ and all He is, should so have Him as our High Priest, that we may with perfect boldness, with the most undoubting confidence enter into, and dwell in, and enjoy, the Father's presence. It is in the heart that we partake of and have Christ: it is Christ, known as dwelling in the heart, that will make our boldness perfect.
2. Each time you pray, exercise this boldness. Let the measure of the merit of Jesus—yea more, let the measure of the power of Jesus—work in you and lead you on to God. Let it be the measure of your boldness.
3. What tenderness of conscience, what care, what jealousy, what humility, this boldness will work, lest we allow anything for which our heart can condemn us, and we so lose our liberty before God. Then it will truly be our experience—
“So near, so very near to God,
More near I cannot be.”