Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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 4:14-16 – Scripture of the Day (March 13, 2014)
In the Old Testament, priests would approach God for worship and prayer after making sure that they were consecrated and clean from all physical blemishes (Lev. 21:17ff). This foreshadowed the spiritual blessing that all Christians would receive, for we all are priests (1 Pet. 2:9) who have been washed clean of our sins through baptism into Christ (Rom. 6:1-5; Acts 22:16) and who are continually cleansed by the blood of Christ as we walk in the light (1 John 1:7-9). As a result, we too can confidently draw near to God’s throne through prayerful worship. What an honor!
We enjoy this privilege because of our high priest, Jesus Christ. He ascended through the heavens to sit at the right hand of God after offering himself upon the cross to take our place (Heb. 7:26-27; 9:24; cf. Mark 16:19). He sympathizes with our struggle against sin, because he too was tempted in all the ways in which we are tempted…yet never gave into those temptations (1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5). This is why he is a high priest who is merciful to us and faithful to help us (Heb. 2:17-18), willing and able to save those who come to God through him and make intercession for them (Heb. 7:24-25).
Another reason we can approach God’s throne is because it is a throne of mercy and grace, as well as righteousness and justice (Ps. 89:14). We have no need to be afraid to penitently come to God in prayer, for God is a God of mercy and forgiveness to those who truly seek him. Granted, willful sinners who are rebelliously unrepentant will find no mercy on that final day (Heb. 10:26-31), but those of us who are humble and sorrowful over our sins and have washed them away through baptism into Jesus will find nothing but God’s forgiveness. Praise him for that!