by Robert Traill
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace, to help in time of need." Heb 4:16
THE main drift of the blessed apostle, the Holy Ghost’s penman, in this excellent epistle, is to set forth the pre-eminence of our Lord Jesus Christ, first, in his divine person, far above all angels, who are bid worship him, even when dwelling in man’s nature. If the god-head of our Lord Jesus Christ be hid from the readers of this epistle, it must be a special power of the God of this world on their unbelieving minds, 2 Cor. 4:3, 4. Will blinded men forbear to call the Son God, when the Father speaks so? chap. 1:8. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. Then the apostle speaks of his incarnation, chap. 2:11, &c. And therewith speaks of his priesthood, chap. 3. The apostle compares Christ with, and prefers him above Moses, chap. 2.; then above Aaron as a priest, chap. 7.; and compares him with Melchizedec, an eminent type of Christ. By this epistle we may know what Paul’s reasonings with the Jews were, Acts 9:22 and 17:2, 3 and what is the right way of dealing with the Jews at this day. Till Christ’s divine person, and righteousness, and priesthood, have more room in the religion of the Gentiles, Christianity is not like to leaven the Jews. This doctrine of Christ’s priesthood, and of the sacrifice of himself he offered in that office, the apostle doth often intermix, with suitable exhortations from it; as in the context, ver. 14. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, (all the Old Testament high-priests were but types and shadows of him, and were but little high-priests), that is passed into the heavens, (no high-priest but Christ went farther than the holy of holies, for the people’s advantaged), Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. The dignity of Christ in his advanced state, as well as his grace in his humbled state, lays Christians under a strong engagement to cleave to him with stedfast confidence. Yet for as great as this person is, and for all that he is in heaven, and in unspeakable dignity and glory there, you must not think, that he in heaven, and we on earth, can have no communion: ver. 15. For we have not an high-priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; (Though now he hath none of his own, yet can he feel those of his people, and his feeling engageth speedy relief. The reason the apostle gives for this sympathy of Christ with his people, is from Christ’s experience when on earth); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. The apostle delivers the mind of the Holy Ghost about Christ’s sympathy negatively, We have not an high-priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities: in which manner of expression he reflects on the meanness of the Levitical priests, to whom it was impossible to know and feel all the infirmities of the people, for whom yet they appeared before God; and he implies the affirmative strongly, We have an high-priest which can be (and is) touched with the feeling of our infirmities. How a sinless man as Christ ever was, can be touched with the feeling of the infirmities of sinners, and many of these infirmities sinful ones; how a glorified man, as Christ now is, exalted to, and possessed of the highest glory and bliss, can be, and is touched with the feeling of all the infirmities of all his people, is what the word plainly reveals to be believed; but it is not to be fully known till we come to heaven. But he is the head, and all his people are his body, his members, of his flesh, and of his bones, Eph. 5:30. A marvellous word! Can the flesh be torn, and the bones be broken, and the head not feel it? Though he be glorified above what we can conceive, he is a living, sensible, and compassionate head; and as nearly and closely united to all his members now, as when they saw with their eyes, and heard with their ears, and with their hands handled the word of life, 1 John 1:1. There is nothing ails a poor believer in Christ, there is no groan riseth from his distressed heart, but it is immediately felt at the tender heart of the Lord Jesus, at the Father’s right-hand. We would groan and sing with the same breath, if we believed this firmly.
In my text, there is a most blessed exhortation, from this same ground of Christ’s sympathy in heaven, unto a bold approaching to the throne of grace. The nativeness and strength of the inference, is obvious to the most ordinary attention. The exhortation is unto the improving of the greatest privilege, an erected and revealed throne of grace; and that in the practice of the greatest duty, believing approaching unto his throne, or unto God sitting on this throne of grace.
What I would take up in, and handle, in speaking to these words, shall be the resolution of four weighty questions, which should be in the hearts of all worshippers of God.
1. The first great question is, Where may I find God? This was Job’s question and wish: Job 23:3. O that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! And that this seat was a throne of grace to Job, is evident from ver. 6. This text tells you, God is on a throne of grace: a fit place for God to be sought in, and where only he can be found graciously by a sinner.
2. The second question is, How should we come to God on this throne? Let us came boldly, saith the apostle. The original word signifieth, coming freely; with free, open, bold speaking, pouring out all our hearts and minds to him. Let us come, without making use of saint or angel to introduce us to this throne. Any poor sinner may come himself alone to this court, and that boldly, without fear of being repulsed.
3. The third question is the hardest, What ground hath a sinner for this boldness? The ground the apostle gives for it, is hinted in the word therefore, which relates to ver. 14, 15 because of Jesus the Son of God, our great high-priest in heaven. If we had not such an high-priest, ministering in glory at the high altar above, no sinner could come boldly to the throne of grace on earth. So he argues, chap. 10:19, 20, 21, 22.
4. The last question is, What shall we get, and for what may we come to this throne of grate? The apostle speaks fully to this in the text: Let us come, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. These precious things, mercy and grace, are scattered round this throne. Any poor needy creature should come for a saving alms from this throne, and may have it for the coming.
Table of Contents
Sermon I - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon II - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon III - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon IV - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon V - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon VI - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon VII - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon VIII - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon IX - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon X - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon XI - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon XII - Hebrews 4:16
Sermon XIII - Hebrews 4:16