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Can We Approach God In Our Time Of Need? | God Is Merciful #4

Many people come to God thinking they deserve something from Him. But all our efforts and achievements do not make us more deserving. Pastor Lutzer reflects on how we can have the unique privilege of accessing God’s throne from the book of Hebrews. Our confidence in approaching God must rest in His character. This episode was originally published March 25, 2019 as “The Attributes of God | Week 12: Merciful.” 

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

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Transcript: Hi, welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you joined us today, because we are studying the attributes of God. And as you have heard me say, it is always important, when we contemplate God, that we are rebuked; we are encouraged; but always we should end up worshiping. 

Today’s attribute is the mercies of God, and the passage of Scripture is taken from the book of Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 16: “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.” The imagery is actually a priestly imagery. You know, the whole book of Hebrews explains how that the Old Testament, the book of Leviticus, and other passages are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

But now the writer wants us to understand that we can come to the throne of grace. And that of course, symbolically speaking, was typified in the Old Testament when we talk about the Holy of Holies, in which the priest could go in only on one day a year. Now in the Holy of Holies, you have that box, the ark; the top of it overlaid with gold. You have two cherubim who are there, symbolically speaking, to worship God. But right there on the lid, you have the manifest presence of God. Now, of course, God exists everywhere, but He was localized there. And that’s why, when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies, he had to take care. He took blood with him, because what he wanted to do is to make atonement for people. Symbolically speaking, he did that. And that, of course, was fulfilled at the cross. But now you and I have the privilege of going into the Holy of Holies. The veil has been torn away, and we have the privilege of coming to that throne to receive grace and to receive mercy in time of need. What a wonderful privilege.

You know, there is a story that comes to us from the days of Napolean. Apparently, a mother once interceded for her son, and said to Napoleon, “I want you to give my son mercy.” Her son had committed some infraction of the law. Napoleon said, “Your son doesn’t deserve mercy, because this is the second time that he has broken the code of honor that we expect.” She said, “I know he doesn’t deserve mercy. As a matter of fact, if he deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy.” You see—and apparently Napoleon relented—but the point is this: that mercy comes to us without us deserving it. 

You know, one of the great mistakes that we as Christians make is we come to God and we think, “Oh, you know, I deserve something from you, God. Because look at the way I live; look at what I’ve tried; look at what I’ve done.” No—when we come to God, we come with an empty hand to receive mercy. You know, when David said in Psalm 51, “Have mercy upon me”—and of course, that was after his sins of murder and adultery—”Have mercy upon me.” What he was saying is, “Oh God, do me a favor. Don’t treat me the way I deserve to be treated.” Just out of the blue, so to speak; “Give me a favor that is totally undeserved.” When you and I come to God that way, the text makes a promise that we will receive grace and mercy in time of need. 

Today, draw near to God—with confidence! If you come in the blood of Christ, it says that—with confidence. And if we could come to the throne of grace with confidence, we would see there, perhaps, of our eyes were open—we’d see angels and so forth. But we see Jesus. Our intercessor. Our High Priest. That’s what the verse, actually, that precedes the verse that I read—that’s what it says. Come to receive mercy. Our High Priest is there, and He invites us to join Him. What a marvelous, marvelous privilege we have. Thanks so much for joining us today. Today, go with God, and I hope to see you right here next time.

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