In his letter to the Hebrews, the writer exhorts the brethren, and by extension us, to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16, KJV). Most of us are familiar with this verse and it has served us well in our prayer lives. It is a wonderful thing to know that we do not have to feel intimidated or be afraid to approach the throne of grace. Not only are we invited to approach it boldly, but we are assured that there “we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
In reflecting on some of the reasons the child of God may feel a sense of fear or reluctance in approaching God, it occurred to me that this is a direct result of our awareness of our shortcomings and failures. At least this has been the case in my own life. Despite our best intentions, we are not always where we long to be in our walk with Him and there are times when feelings of guilt and shame overwhelm the words “come boldly.” Lost in the process is the realization that God knows us exactly for who we are and despite what He sees in us, He still says “Come.”
In looking closer at our reference text, the writer makes such an argument. He writes, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 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” (vv. 12-15). The realization that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” serves to demonstrate that not only are we invited to come boldly, but we can come as we are.
Having been tempted as we are being, Christ understands our humanity. He understands our failures. David said of Him as God, “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). There is nothing about us that will surprise Him; nothing we can tell Him that He doesn’t already know. Therefore, “come boldly.” It is an invitation I gladly accept; one I find powerfully liberating. It is my prayer that you will too.