Boldness At The Throne
By Charles H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)
Prayer occupies a most important place in the life of the Christian. A Christian’s vigor, happiness, growth, and usefulness all depend on prayer. It is because of the supreme importance of prayer that we find so much about it in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit continually encourages us to pray, by precept, and promise, and example; and one conspicuous example of that encouragement is the exhortation we are now to consider: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace…” (Heb. 4:16).
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, my place is not in the outer court, nor even in the court of the priests; I have advanced beyond them, and come right up to the throne of grace, so that I may there “...obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (v. 16). That is the position of all true Christians. I wish that all believers could realize the privileges to which they were born when they were created anew in Christ Jesus.
A Throne of Grace
In drawing near to God in prayer, we come to a King who sits on a throne of grace. Let us always remember that, when we pray properly, we deal with God on terms of grace, and answers to our petitions come to us, not according to our deservings, but according to His infinite mercy and grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Come here then, all you who feel your need of grace; do not be afraid to approach the throne of grace. Since Jesus Christ has taken upon Himself our nature, and suffered in our place, the throne to which the sinner is told to draw near is a throne of superlative, unlimited, reigning grace – grace that pardons, grace that regenerates, grace that adopts, grace that preserves, grace that sanctifies, grace that perfects and prepares us for glory.
Now, we have a qualifying adverb: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace….”
“Boldly” means that we may come unreservedly, with all kinds of petitions. Whatever it is that lies as a burden on your heart, come with it to the throne of grace. Do you really need some great thing? Then, come and ask for it. Or do you need some little thing? Then, come and ask for it. Do you have some care that is crushing you into the very dust? Come and leave it at the mercy seat. Come and tell your God all about it; cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). If you are a believer in Jesus, God is your Father, so speak to Him as you would to an earthly father, only have far more confidence in coming to Him than you would have in approaching the most affectionate earthly parent.
Once more, this word “boldly” means that we should come perseveringly, with a fervent persistence that will not be denied. God sometimes makes us wait for a blessing in order that we may value it all the more when we do receive it. He would have us ask, and seek, and knock again and again, and not be content until we obtain the blessing we crave. If we are sure that what we are asking is in accordance with the will of God, let us keep on coming, like the persistent widow came to the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8), until the desire of our heart is granted to us.
Reasons for Boldness
Now we have a reason given for boldness: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace....” There are a great many other reasons besides the one to which the apostle alludes to here; I will give them to you in brief before focusing on his reason.
First, we are invited to pray. God would never have invited us to pray if He had not intended to hear and answer us. No right-minded man would invite his fellows to a feast, and then send them away empty. So, the very invitation to us to pray implies that there are blessings waiting for us at the mercy seat: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace….”
Let us also remember the character of the King who sits on the throne of grace. He is infinite in mercy and love, and He delights to bless His creatures. He is infinite in power, and is therefore “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). He is infinite in wisdom, and is therefore able to give us whatever is best for us in the best possible way. He is altogether unlimited in His nature, and therefore we cannot exceed His power or His willingness to help us, let our requests be as large as they may.
Do you always remember, beloved, in coming to the mercy seat, that you are coming to a King, and to One who gives like a King? Do you always open your mouth wide, and ask great things of the King who is so ready to bestow them on you? Oh, when I think of what God is as He is revealed in Christ Jesus, and remember that it is He who sits on the throne of grace, I feel that I may well repeat the exhortation, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace....”
Remember also, oh Christian, your relationship to the King who sits on the throne of grace! You are not merely His servant, you are His child; an heir of God, and joint-heir with Jesus Christ. All that you ask for is already yours by right of inheritance, and shall be in your possession in due time. Shall a child tremble in his loving father’s presence? Shall a son act as if he were a slave? Shall I, with tremulous hand, present a petition to my own Father whom I love? If I have perfect love for Him, it casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). So, because we are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace….”
The Holy Spirit has been given to teach us how to pray. Now the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, and therefore He never moves us to pray for anything which God does not intend to give us. Prayer is often the shadow of God’s coming blessing. Before the divine decrees are fulfilled, they often cast their blessed shadow across the believer’s heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that, when the believer prays in the Spirit, he is only asking God to do what He has from all eternity determined to do. If we came to the throne of grace with petitions which we ourselves had prepared, we might well tremble, but when we come with a Spirit-written petition, we may well “come boldly unto the throne of grace.”
Then, beloved, there is one sweet thought which should always encourage you to “come boldly unto the throne of grace,” and that is, the many “great and precious promises” in the Scriptures. If we had to ask for unpromised blessings, we might come tremblingly; but there are promises in God’s Word to handle every emergency. “...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). “…As thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut. 33:25). “…Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you” (John 15:16). I might go on quoting promises for hours on end, but it will be more profitable for you to search them out for yourselves, especially if you remember what Paul writes concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1:20). These promises are all the more precious to us because they are free promises, not made to us because of our merits, but solely because of God’s grace; and all the promises are made by that faithful God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and by that almighty God who is able to fulfill the promises as He was to make them; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace….”
If we want any more reasons to encourage us to come boldly to the throne, let us remember that God has already given us His dear Son, and let us ask again the question that Paul asked so long ago, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). You and I, if we are believers in Christ, are already saved with an everlasting salvation; then, after God has given us this greatest of all blessings, will He refuse to bestow on us the lesser mercies? Brothers and sisters in Christ, since the Lord has already done such great things for us, He cannot turn a deaf ear to our petitions, especially when they are inspired by His own gracious Spirit; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace….”
Besides, some of us have had many years’ experience of the power of prayer. Some of you have had fifty years of soul-enriching commerce with God at the mercy seat. Do you not remember many times, when you were in deep trouble, and prayer brought you deliverance from it? Do you not remember some times of terrible depression of spirit when prayer brought the sunlight back again to you? Do you not recall that time when you were bereaved, and when, as you stood weeping by the open grave, prayer brought you sweet relief, and dried up your tears? Do you not remember, when you were in poverty, and prayer obtained food for you? The ravens did not bring it, nor did a widow woman sustain you, yet you were fed by the God of Elijah in answer to your earnest supplication. What is there that prayer has not done for us? Oh, the multitude of examples when prayer has unlocked mercy’s door which come to our memory, and they all say, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace….”
Our Great High Priest
Now I will close by briefly referring to the reason which the apostle gives why we should come boldly unto the throne of grace. I have given you many good reasons, but this is the best reason of all: “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. 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. 4:15-16). That is to say, we are to come with boldness to the throne because there is pleading for us there a man who is also God, to whom every petition raised by those who trust in Him is a very precious thing, which He, as the great representative man before the throne, presents to His Father, for He is God’s own dear Son. Yes, He is one with the Eternal, and His will is the will of the infinite Jehovah to whom we address our prayers in Christ’s name.
This glorious God-man Mediator continually presents before His Father His one great sacrifice for sin. There will never be a repetition of it, and it will never need to be offered again, “for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14), that is, those who are set apart for Himself. He perpetually pleads this one sacrifice before the throne, and our prayers therefore ascend to God with the merit of Christ’s atoning blood giving them acceptance with His Father. So they must have power with God, for they come before Him signed, as it were, with the name of His well-beloved Son. He lays His hand on each petition, and so leaves the print of the nails on it, and therefore it must prevail with God.
Remember, too, that this same Jesus Christ was once a man on earth like ourselves except that He was “without sin.” When your prayer is broken through grief, remember that He also knew what a broken-hearted prayer meant. The sighs and tears of Gethsemane taught Him that. He was made perfect through suffering that He might perfectly sympathize with all His suffering saints. Do not imagine that you can ever get into any condition in which Jesus Christ cannot comprehend you, and consequently cannot sympathize with you. He knows all about your present experience, and also knows how to deliver you out of it. If you seem to be altogether deserted by God, and do not know why it is so that you have to cry, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” that is an experience through which Jesus Himself passed. Yes –
In every pang that rends the heart
The Man of sorrows had a part; –
so that we have, before the throne of God, a High Priest who is as sympathetic as He is powerful; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace….”
Remember, too, that every blessing which you have a right to ask for through Christ is yours already, for all things are yours – “…things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:22-23). Every right prayer that you offer is only putting in a claim for what is rightly yours through your union to Christ, “therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace” because you have such a Pleader to appear there for you, and such a plea to urge with God through Him.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us begin to pray more boldly for sinners; let us pray more boldly for our city; let us pray more boldly for our country; let us never cease praying to the Lord to send a great revival throughout the whole world.
Come to the throne of grace, and ask for His grace to help you in your time of need, and you shall surely have it. God has not stopped being a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God, so come to Him; yes, let us all “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
– Adapted from a sermon. Charles H. Spurgeon was a Baptist minister in London known as the “Prince of Preachers.”