is a figure of speech, indicating the reign of grace. Grace is
personified, as if it were a person. The text is in Hebrews 4:16: "We
may be coming, then, with boldness, to the throne of grace, that we may
be obtaining mercy and finding grace for opportune help". The The
phrase, "that we may be finding grace to help in time of need", King
James Version, expressed the thought admirably.
The passage is more misunderstood than may at first appear. When we are
in prayer, we are where Grace is supposed to be reigning---where Grace
is Sovereign. Yet many of us ask timidly, because we know that we are
not worthy, in our own right, to receive the blessings. I suggest that
the reader answer this question honestly: If we are required to be
worthy of the blessing before we get it, why does the writer call it a
throne of GRACE? If the blessing is based on our worthiness, it is NOT grace; it is a debt God owes us for making
ourselves so good.
If God's plan for answering prayer were a store where blessings are sold
to those who have the worthiness with which to pay for them, then those
who are worthy---if there be such---are the only ones who could come
with boldness. If I go into a store with a pocket full of money, I am
very bold, for I know that I can demand, and pay for what I want.
But suppose I were without a cent, and had no way to secure any money,
and knew of a store where merchandise is given to the poor but where the
merchant absolutely refuses to accept money, or to sell to those who
have money. In that case, I could walk up to the counter with boldness,
while the millionaire would come timidly to try to buy. I would have
assurance, while he would be full of doubt.
Do you know what grace is? Do you know what it is for? It is the favor
of god. It is ALONE for the unworthy. No one who is worthy---if there is
any such person---need apply. God will not SELL blessings. He GIVES
them. This is grace.
A sovereign who cringes and fails to do what he is supposed to do, is
NOT a sovereign. In this passage, Grace is pictured as a Sovereign on a
throne. It is personified, as if it were a person. What is Grace on the
throne for? To bless those who have not earned blessings. If Grace says
to them, "I will not bless you, because you are not worthy," that very
statement would dethrone him. He would not be grace any longer. In that
case, Grace would be dead.
This does not mean that we are to deliberately TRY to be unworthy. We
are not to engage in sinful things, in order to qualify for the throne
of grace. The truth is, when we are doing the best we can we still have
not made ourselves worthy. We have not brought God under obligation to
Deliberate wrong doing may hinder our prayers, according to Peter. If
this is true of the Circumcision, it can hardly fail to be true of us,
also. In the first place, we are apt to be reticent about praying when
we know we have been deliberately doing wrong. This is one of the
weaknesses of humanity. We hesitate to approach the Lord when we feel
that we are guilty of intentional wrong doing. The reason we hesitate
is, our faith, or lack of faith, makes us think God is not willing to
hear and answer us. We become almost afraid to pray.
In the second place, our weak faith, or lack of faith, causes us to have
no expectation that our requests will be granted. If we pray under these
circumstances, we are praying without faith. Faith is a prerequisite for
a favorable answer to prayer.
So, in writing about our unworthiness, I am not referring to a
deliberate sin, in order that we may be unworthy. UNworthy means NOT
worthy. It does not refer to a positive act of sin. It merely speaks of
the fact that we have not EARNED any special consideration. Christ say
that after we have done what we should, we are still unprofitable
servants. Merely doing your duty does not make God you Debtor.
The word, "then", in the text has the force of "therefore". It means
that, because of what has just been said we may be coming boldly in the
throne of grace. What has just been said? "We have not a Chief Priest
not able to sympathize with our infirmities, but One Who had been tried
in all respects like us, apart from sin". Here Christ is called the
Chief Priest, and we are assured that He sympathizes with us. Special
mention is made of the fact that He sympathizes with our infirmities, or
sickness. If we are suffering, he is concerned.
The distance we have gotten from the scriptures is appalling. If we had
a revised version to accord with what is in the mind of the people, we
would have this: "Not on bread alone shall man be living, but also on
drugs, and a small bit of the declarations of God", Matt. 4:4. The
correct rendering, of, course, is: "Not on bread, alone, shall man be
living, but on every declaration going out through the mouth of God".
Bread means food, and also includes drink. God's provision for our
sustenance is food and His word.
Christ, the Chief Priest, is interested in man's welfare. He has made
provision for it. It is simple. He is yet interested in man. Having
experienced the pangs of suffering that we experience, He can sympathize
with us. His grace includes doing what is necessary for us. His
provision means literal food and spiritual food. The latter is His word.
We are dependent on Him for both.
We may freely eat food, but His hand must first supply it. Then He must
enable us to digest and assimilate it. He must cause it to result in
actually feeding us. he has supplied His word, and we may read it. But
in order for it to be profitable to us, he must breathe life into it for
our spirit. "Every sacred writing, God-breathed also, is profitable".
It is largely by these means that God takes care of us. We may use them
and not be benefited, unless He makes them beneficial. You've seen
people almost starved, although they ate plenty. But you've never seen
this if God was blessing it to its intended use. You have seen people
who read the Bible a great deal, but who never seemed to receive
spiritual strength and understanding. The scriptures we read must be
God-breathed for us, in order to have spiritual life for us.
Not only so---As it is in spirit that man is in the image of God, so
must the spirit nourish and strengthen the body. If the body is to be
ministered to in case of disharmony of physical functions, (called
sickness), it is far better to minister tot he spirit, and, through it,
In giving Faith-Vision treatments, I prescribe scripture reading. I do
not do this indiscriminately, but seek the direction of God. Sometimes I
remain in prayer for a long while, before it is indicated to me, just
what passage or passages I should prescribe.
Let us suppose that it is indicated that I should prescribe Romans 1:17,
"The just shall live by faith". I explain that to be just is to have the
right attitude toward God and man. I tell him that the living means his
daily experience of joy, satisfaction, success, and usefulness to God
and man; and that faith means belief in God. Then I pray with him, and
then read the passage to him again. The prayer is a request of God to
make this passage alive to him, so that he shall be able to believe it,
and revel in it. Then I ask him to keep the passage by him, and read it
many times a day. I tell him to take time to be treated, not sandwiching
it in between other interests, but to make it his CHIEF interest.
Usually it is indicated that a longer passage should be given to him in
addition to the verse. Let us suppose that the longer passage is
Philippians 4:4-9. I read this to him, going over it slowly in
explanation, and ask him to read it just before meals three times a day.
The more he reads these passages, or others, if indicated, the more his
spirit will take hold of it, pre-supposing that God makes it alive to
him, and before long his spirit is enlivened, and he begins to feel
better physically. This continues until he is well. I do not forget to
remind him to pray, and to assure him that I am expecting any praying
that God will bless all this to Him and heal him.
These are proper things to say in a discussion of The Throne of Grace.
We are dependent on God for healing. However, there are many phases to
healing. There are domestic troubles, financial problems, and bothers
galore. All of them ought to be taken to the throne of grace. When the
spirit is never ministered to , it is no wonder that people flounder
about in search of some drug that will cure them. I think we have been
remiss in our teaching on this score.
I see no difference between ministering to the spirit in order that man
may be more spiritual in that he is a better "Christian", and
ministering to it in order that the body may become stronger. For a
strong body is necessary for the best "religious" service. Paul
recognized this when he said, "For all I am strong in Him Who
invigorates me, in Christ". Christ invigorated Paul so that he was
strong enough to do the things he had just mentioned. He was strong
enough to be contented whether he had much or little. Being strong he
was initiated into the secret of satisfaction with life. A weak, sickly
person cannot be thus. He was strong enough to be seeking fruit that
would be increasing to the account of the saints, instead of seeking a
gift for himself. He was strong enough to be grateful for the gifts they
had sent to him. This passage---Philippians 4:10-20---is not the word
picture of a weakly, fault-finding man. It pictures a robust one.
Paul's own version of the throne of grace is given in Philippians 4:6,
7. We are not to be worrying; we are to be praying and petitioning; we
are to be giving thanks; we are to state to God just what we want, and
request Him to give it to us..
EXPLAINING, BUT NOT COMPLAINING
behind with the Messenger. It seems unavoidable. There is no one to do
one errand for me. Everything out of the home, and much in the home,
falls to me to do. All this in addition to my ministry and the
publishing of the paper.
I am not COMplaining. I am merely EXplaining.