Herman Hoeksema was the first editor of the Standard Bearer. This meditation is taken from the November 15, 1946 issue of the Standard Bearer.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
All important exhortation!
Let us come boldly, that is, with perfect confidence that we shall be received, to the throne of grace!
To this coming with boldness we are encouraged, first of all, by the very fact that the throne unto which we are exhorted to come is a throne of grace; and, secondly, by the knowledge that, in the sanctuary, where this throne of grace is established, we have a high priest that was in all points tempted as we are, and who, because of this, can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
Moreover, it is strictly necessary that we heed this exhortation.
Let us notice that this exhortation is final, occupies the last place in a series of admonitions, and must be regarded as the indispensable condition for all the other exhortations, and that, unless it is fulfilled, we cannot possibly give heed to the admonitions that precede.
There is a rest that remaineth for the people of God, the rest of God’s everlasting covenant, the rest from sin and corruption and death, and unto righteousness, light, and fellowship with God. Into that rest we must constantly labor to enter. We must strive to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our mind, and with all our soul, and with all our strength.” We must labor to “crucify our old nature, and to walk in a new and holy life.”
Moreover, we must “hold fast our profession.” With our flesh always tempting us to depart from our profession, in the midst of a world that is opposed to that profession, we are exhorted to maintain, to cling to, the profession that Jesus is Lord, and to realize that profession in all our life and walk in the world.
All this we will never be able to accomplish in our own strength.
To heed these exhortations we are in need of mercy, and of “grace to help in time of need.”
This mercy, and this “grace to help in time of need,” can be obtained only at the throne of grace.
Let us, therefore, come boldly!
The throne of grace!
How beautiful is the concept conveyed to our mind by this expression!
The term must not be interpreted as referring to the throne of Christ, as some explain it; neither as simply meaning “the throne on which grace reigns,” as others would have it, but indicates the throne of God, and therefore His absolute sovereignty, as it is characterized and motivated by grace.
God sits upon His throne.
Also this, we understand, is a figurative expression, for how could we ever know God, or understand anything about Him, except in figures and symbols? That He is enthroned in glory simply denotes His sole and universal and absolute sovereignty. He is the Lord. He is the Creator of the heavens and of the earth, who calls the things that are not as if they were, and who made all things according to His sovereign counsel and good pleasure. He is, therefore, the sole Proprietor of all things: the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein. His alone is the prerogative to do with them all according to His good pleasure. No one dare say to Him: “What doest Thou?” Moreover, He is the sole Lawgiver, who alone is above the law, and whose will is the sole criterion for every creature; the only Judge, who executes judgment in righteousness and equity. And He governs all things, upholding them by the Word of His power, and directing them, individually and as a whole, to the end that he ordained and purposed in Himself before the foundation of the world, so that no creature moves, and nothing betides, but by His will.
That is, God in His glorious majesty, His undisputed sovereignty, His absolute authority and universal power, His holiness and righteousness and truth.
But this throne of the only Sovereign of heaven and earth is a throne of grace!
For what else does it signify than this that in Him authority and love, holiness and lovingkindness, righteousness and grace, justice and mercy, are united in perfect and most blessed harmony?
Grace has different connotations in Holy Writ, and we need not call attention to them all in this connection. Let it suffice to say that here it refers to that attitude and disposition of favor in God that shines upon us through the face of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son our Lord. He is the revelation of the God of our salvation. In the face of Him who is God of God, Light of Light, who is eternally in the bosom of the Father, who reached down to us as the arm of the Lord, united Himself with us, assumed our flesh and blood, tabernacled among us, lay down His life on Calvary, was raised on the third day, and exalted above the heavens at the right hand of the Majesty on high—in Him we behold the face of the Sovereign of heaven and earth beaming upon us in everlasting grace, the Potentate of potentates as our Father in heaven, the Creator of all as our Redeemer….
The throne of grace!
It means that He purposed all things, that He created all things, that He governs all things, that He directs all things, that He judges all things, motivated by His grace over us in Christ Jesus.
It means that the revelation of His face fills us, to be sure, with awe and holy fear, because of His majesty, but now with the reverence of childlike love and confidence.
Let us come boldly to the throne of grace!
Let us come, that is, not merely in prayer—not, at least, if by prayer is meant an occasional approach to that throne of grace, in order then to return again and draw back into the night of our own existence, into the darkness and gloom and hopelessness of our death—though all our coming to this throne of grace, to this Fount of all life and blessing, is essentially an act of prayer. But rather, let us come, that is, let us enter into His fellowship; let us approach to the God of our salvation with our whole being, with all our mind and heart and soul and strength to worship and adore, to praise and to serve Him that sitteth upon the throne. Let us come to Him as the overflowing Fount of all good, to drink from that Fount to the satisfaction of our souls, to taste His marvelous mercy and grace, and to know that the Lord is good. Let us come, not to depart again, never to withdraw again into our own night, but to abide in His tabernacle all the days of our life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.
Let us come!
That spiritual act of coming to the throne of grace implies, first of all, a profound consciousness and acknowledgment of our own emptiness, of our sin and death, of our need of grace and mercy.
It implies, secondly, the spiritual apprehension of His fullness, of the riches of righteousness and life, of blessedness and glory that are in Him as He stands revealed to us in all the beauty of His grace in the face of Christ Jesus.
It signifies, thirdly, a deep longing for His fellowship, a thirsting after God as the hart, escaped form the chase, thirsts after streams of living water.
And it means, finally, that with confidence of faith we appropriate all the spiritual blessings revealed unto us, promised us, by the symbol of that throne of grace.
Let us come boldly!
Not, indeed, with a boldness that is devoid of holy fear, for the throne of grace is still a throne, and that, too, the throne of the most high Majesty in the heavens; nor with a carnal confidence that is based on our own worthiness, for God resisteth the proud, while He giveth grace to the lowly; but solely with a confidence that is inspired only by that throne of grace.
The boldness of faith.
The confidence that, for Christ’s sake, He that sitteth upon the throne will not cast me off, but receive me, even though all things testify against me.
Blessed throne of grace!
Seek, and ye shall find!
Ask, and it shall be given you; knock, and it shall be opened unto you!
Come boldly to the throne of grace, pray without ceasing, let your whole life be an approach to that marvelous throne, that you may obtain mercy, and grace to help in time of need, and mercy and grace you shall surely find and receive.
For him that comes to Him He will in no wise cast out.
Mercy and grace you will find.
They are closely related, yet they may be distinguished, and are distinguished in the text. Mercy is God’s will to bless, to bestow bliss upon us in His fellowship, to render us blessed even as He is blessed. It means that God is filled with holy, eternal longing to lead His children into the glory of His everlasting tabernacle. With a view to our present state of sin and death, it denotes that virtue in God, that disposition of the divine heart to usward, according to which He longs to deliver us from the misery of our sin into the state of perfect righteousness, to raise us out of the deep darkness of our death and alienation from Him to the glory of eternal life, and to the heavenly fellowship of His everlasting tabernacle with men. Grace is the power by which all this is accomplished, the marvelous power whereby He redeems us, bestows upon us the forgiveness of sins and perfect righteousness, makes us partakers of the adoption of children, regenerates us, and calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light, gives us faith and hope and confidence and love and all the riches of grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy, and to find grace to help in time of need.
Constantly approach that throne of grace!
For always you are in need of mercy, and constantly you need grace to help.
Mercy and grace are not gifts that are once bestowed upon you, say in the moment of your regeneration, and that ever after you possess in yourselves, apart from the God of your salvation. They are a constant stream that flows into your soul from its source, the throne of grace. They are rather to be compared to the golden glory of light that radiates from the sun, and in whose brightness you may rejoice as long as you remain in the sphere of its radiation, but which you cannot take with you into the darkness of a mountain cave. Not for a moment can you withdraw yourselves from the throne of grace without forfeiting the blessings of mercy and grace as far as your consciousness of them is concerned.
Hence, the time of need is now.
It is an ever-present time.
Mercy and grace you need today and tomorrow, and forevermore.
Besides, you need grace to help, to help in time of need that is now and constantly.
Help you need that you may daily enter into God’s rest, that you may put off the old, and put on the new man, that you may put on the whole armor of God, fight the good fight of faith, and be able to stand in the evil day; help to hold fast your profession, not to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, nor to be seduced by the pleasures and treasures of Egypt, nor to be intimidated by the fury of the powers of darkness.
And your only help is in God’s grace.
Without Him you can do nothing.
Now is the time of need; now you must obtain grace.
Come, then, always come, to the throne of grace.
That you may obtain mercy, and grace to help.
In time of need.
Be not afraid!
Approach with confidence, and let not even your infirmities induce you to stay far from that throne of grace.
For, as you approach that throne, you are met, in the sanctuary of God, by a High Priest that is over the whole house of God, that intercedes with Him that sitteth upon the throne, and that is able to sympathize with all your infirmities.
O, they are many, but He knows them. They include all our present sufferings and death, of soul and body, of mind and spirit; they are our trials and temptations in the world, our tribulations which we suffer for Christ’s sake, as we hold fast our profession; they include our temptations from within, through the sinfulness of our flesh, and from without, through the seducing influence of the world; they are our weaknesses, our sins, our inclination to stumble in the way.
He, our High Priest, who intercedes for us with the Father, is able to sympathize with them all.
He is acquainted with the weakness of our flesh, for He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, though without sin. He knows all our suffering and all our temptations, for He was tempted in all things even as we are, though in all His temptations He never once stumbled. He knows what it is to be utterly amazed at the justice and wrath of God against sin, and at the presence of His holiness, for He bore it all upon the tree, and entered into our death and hell. He knows by experience what it means to be tempted by the wicked machinations of evil men, for He endured all the contradictions of sinners against Himself. Never is your path of suffering and temptation so deep that you do not find there the imprint of His feet.
And He has the right and the power to sympathize with your infirmities, and to obtain mercy and help for you in time of need.
Fear not! Look upon your sympathizing High Priest!
And come to the throne of grace, boldly!
Your reception is assured!