Sunday, April 6, 2014

The throne of Majesty, the throne of Grace

I was listening to a S. Lewis Johnson sermon on Hebrews 4 the other day. He was expounding on the following verse-

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 4:16)

The Queen of England in 2004 delivering a speech.
Cleveland Plain Dealer photo
Thrones are usually seen as majestic. Thrones are large and high-backed, stately, usually covered in finery, adorned with jewels, and lifted up. Of course the Lord's is no different, it is THE most majestic throne of all! This verse from later in Hebrews attests to its majesty and the one who occupies it.

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. (Hebrews 8:1-2)

In the Hebrews 8 verse we see the throne of majesty and the Lord performing His holy duties. It is such a comforting picture, to think of Jesus administering His holy duties! However such a throne would not be so approachable.

The protocols surrounding meeting the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, are formal and strict. Only the politest of questions are suggested, such as "Is Your Majesty enjoying the performance?" She is to be referred to as Your Majesty, and Ma'am thereafter.One does not turn one's back to the Queen, and curtsies are expected. One does not touch the Queen, and if she extends her hand, one must not grip it or pump it. These are indicators of respect and obeisance to the Sovereign.

The photo below is of Pope Benedict on his throne, richly adorned and atop marble steps. It is not an approachable throne.

Pope Benedict
Though man tries to emulate a sovereign throne of majesty, they all pale in comparison to the one described in Hebrews. Such majesty the Lord's throne must emanate! I can see Him in my imagination through the biblical description as Priest performing His duty. Isaiah was given a sight of this:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-5)


Now THAT is a throne of majesty!!! One would hardly dare to approach in confidence and boldness as the Hebrews 4 verse says!

So the Lord in His mercy and wisdom inspired the writer of Hebrews to encourage us, when we need to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need, to approach the throne of grace.

In the times where we have a need, we are encouraged to approach with confidence not the majestic throne, though it is, but to draw near to the throne of GRACE.

How merciful is our God, who demonstrates again and again his wisdom and His mercies! When we need Him, His throne is one of grace, approachable and ready for us to receive His gift. It was S. Lewis Johnson who pointed to that distinction between the Hebrews 8 throne of majesty and Hebrews 4's throne of grace.

I hope you ponder the majesty of our Holy God and also delight in His throne of grace, which stands ready to be approached by us, His little children, to weep for help and to be the beneficiary of His grace in our time of need. He is a tremendous God! Praise Him today, with your mouth, in your songs, and by your heart with love to Him the Worthy One.


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Further Reading

S. Lewis Johnson bio


2 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm a member of Believers Chapel. Thank you for posting this article and thanks for posting the links.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're wecome! Thank YOU for hosting this incredible resource for the edification of the Bride!

    ReplyDelete

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