When God saves us by His Grace through the Spirit’s giving us faith in the Blood and Righteousness of the God Man Christ Jesus, we really haven’t a clue what this verse means. And so, we believe that Jesus has saved our soul and that we are to try real hard to do what He says we are to do. We strive to live like Christians are supposed to, so wanting to show how thankful we are to be saved out of our pit by being obedient, trying to do all the right stuff and think all the right thoughts.
We also usually operate under the illusion that God’s primary concern is to fix our stuff that makes us miserable. Sin of course is the primary cause of our discomfort, emptiness, lack of fulfillment, relational pain, and on and on. We see salvation in terms of ourselves. Have you discovered that if things are “going well” by your estimation, your communion with God, reading and meditation on His Word, fellowshiping with Him in prayer, seem to suffer? That is because of the basic flesh motivation that has driven us all of our life, that still functions mightily in the body of this death.
God has placed in His people a New Operating principle, His Holy Spirit. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, who walk not after the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
But therein lies the difficulty. We have operated according to the flesh all of our existence, and the body of this death has been trained well in the “flesh path”. We can count on our first response to life situations being a fleshly reaction. Even our responses to God initially are fleshly, we make resolutions, promise to better next time and on and on. And then we sin and start a whole new set of “resolutions”. Praise God for implanting His Spirit in the heart of every one of the redeemed. He begins to immediately teach us the difference between flesh and Spirit. I believe that is the operation described in Hebrews 4:11-16. The context is the “rest for the people of God”. The means God has ordained to bring His people into a peaceful, restful communion with their God is the Word of God by the Spirit of God. The Word of God by the Spirit does radical surgery on the soul of man. This operation dissects our actions, the very root of our behaviors and the motivation of our every external manifestation. He lays everything naked, in other words, causes us to see them as He sees them. That is the gist of vs 13, “and there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to Him to Whom we must give an account.
Perhaps you have heard Christians say, “I seem more sinful now that when I first trusted Christ”, or some such lament. That isn’t actually the case—it’s just that all the hidden flesh stuff is being exposed under the gaze of the Spirit through His Word. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we don’t have a clue as to how sinful we are, as to how far short of God’s Glory we are!
But Praise be to our God, He doesn’t just stop with this morbid unveiling. Vs 14-16 introduce us to the Person Who is our only hope as we see who we really are. This very unveiling is purposed to bring us to our great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God! We are not to be come disheartened by this truth about us, but are to hold fast the promise of the ultimate victory over our weakness (Romans 8:18-30). And our High Priest was taken from among men so that He could sympathize with all of our weakness, because He walked this earth in the midst and through all our temptations, yet without sin. And therefore, we are commanded to come boldly, (unlike the people who came to the tabernacle worship of the Old Testament, trembling for fear of death) to the THRONE OF GRACE, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The language here is very interesting and appropriate. Our Great High Priest has done all that the Holy and Just God requires in order for His people to dwell in His Presence. We always come to the Father through Him. And this coming to this throne is to be consistent and continual. This isn’t a 15 minutes and a prayer activity. It is a life lived in fellowship and communion with our God. The two “gifts” received at this Throne are very significant. We are come, first of all, to obtain mercy. I puzzled over that language a long time—"but I thought we had always received God’s Mercy?" It is God’s Mercy that He will allow sinners access into His Presence. It is interesting that the phrase “the sure mercies of David” is prophetic of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the Throne of the Father’s Right Hand that we might have this access! (Acts 13:28-41) We are not consumed and have actually have approach to God because He is Merciful. And as we remain sinful until the day of restoration of all things, we are in continual need of God’s mercy. Lamentations 3:22 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.” Given our continuing sinful condition, our daily walking in the dirt of this fallen earth, we need to obtain mercy for each day. We do a good job getting our “Mercy Coat” dirty each day! It's not that the Mercy of God runs out, but that we need to be constantly aware of "God be merciful to me a sinner."
The second “gift” is that “we may find grace to help in time of need.” It is after all, the Throne of Grace! Grace rules here! We have to leave all attempts, successes, getting better stuff, efforts to be good Christians outside. There is no place for that here! ALL IS OF GRACE! Everything that we need is of Grace—out of the fullness of God to our undeserving souls. As the Spirit does His work of showing us our true colors, we soon discover that our time of need is the present time. We are in continual need! Our life on this earth is a perpetual need for grace. This Throne is not a place for an occasional visit! It is where we are to dwell. The more we see our need, the more we make our home at this glorious throne! And here and only here is the Rest for the people of God. Our turmoil comes from separation from the Most High God. Our Rest is in dwelling in the Presence of the Most High God and He has provided a Throne of continual access through the Work of His Perfect and Beloved Son. So pull up the chair of your life and learn to sit where Mary sat—at the feet of Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42) THIS IS THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK THROUGH HIS WORD.