September 7, 2022

September 7, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
September 07, 2022

“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 is 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 our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:14-16

Note that Paul picks up that word grace twice in verse 16, and I want to focus on the matter of grace.

A few years ago I remember on an airplane flight sitting next to a man who had an IPhone in one hand and a Blackberry phone in the other hand. He was looking at both of those phones back and forth. I thought to myself, “I will never be able to engage this guy and talk to him about his soul.” But that proved me wrong because we got talking and he told me about his religious background. He was once a Roman Catholic and Curate and now he belonged to the Episcopalian church. He was wondering about getting his children baptized, his wife recently had twins. We were discussing different things and at the back end of our conversation I encouraged him to do one thing. I said to him, “If I were you, to really understand your Bible, go looking for this word called grace.” I was thinking of that statement that Dr. Packer makes, “Grace is the key to unlock the New Testament.” This past Sunday our brother Henry explained that word in concept in the Sunday school class in a very helpful way.

Here is a simple definition that has stood the test of time, grace is undeserved favor. Grace is not something we merit, and it is not something we deserve. You have that sharp contrast that Paul makes in the book of Galatians but also Romans, “We are not saved by works, but we are saved by grace.” That is why the reformers said, “Grace and grace alone.” Our salvation is from beginning to end a salvation of grace.

Electing grace is the start point from eternity past and right to the end to glorification. That final act of God is the final act of grace. Thankfully God is a god of grace and he never, never, never stops showing us grace.

When we come to prayer we are reminded of that in Hebrews 4 that we are coming to a throne of grace. We are coming to the God of grace, who sits on a throne of grace to receive grace. The fact that it is called a throne tells us that he is not just a gracious father, but he is a mighty king. I am sure you also know that that word grace as used in the New Testament 130 times. Eighty plus times it is used of the apostle Paul, that is why he is often called the apostle of grace. No one talks more about grace than the apostle Paul. He never, ever lost sight of amazing grace.

I hope as we grow in grace, as we grow as Christians we become more and more enthralled with grace, we are more amazed with the grace of God. What made Paul so mesmerized with grace? He never lost sight of who God was. God is the god of grace. Also because he never lost sight of who he was. He never lost sight of his depravity. At the back end of his life he said, “I am the chief of sinners.” The second thing he never lost sight of was his poverty. Remember what Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” If you recognize your poverty you never stop begging for grace. Along similar lines, he never forgot his weakness. He talks more about his weaknesses than about his strengths. In 2 Corinthians 12 remember he mentions the thorn in the flesh. We don’t know what that thorn was, it could have been physical, relational; but it made him very much aware of his weakness. This is what he says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Why do we pray? Grace, grace, grace. God of grace, throne of grace, and we desperately need grace. You and I cannot live the Christian life without grace. Past grace, present grace and future grace.