Hebrews 4:16

Pondering Grace: The Mercy-Grace Connection

hebrews416I don’t know if you think about things and find yourself turning them over and over in your mind at different times, but I do. Hebrews 4:16 continually surfaces, and I find myself captivated by its lavish display of love and grace.

Therefore, let us confidently approach the throne from which God gives grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 CJB

Here I am, a woman who often falls fantastically short of perfection, who often does the wrong thing because I can be tempted to lean toward the selfish and self serving end of the spectrum. There’s benefit there (or so I think in the moment). And li’l old me is hoping to approach the Holy God to have a chat? Could I possibly do enough good things to outweigh my striking imperfection in comparison to God’s complete perfection? Could I ever really walk into the presence of God with my own list of accomplishments and wow him?

The One who sits on the throne is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. If he created all things and knows all things, who am I? I stand in stark contrast to who he is in many ways, but I am encouraged to come close to God with boldness and confidence. Really? Is that possible?

I love that, by approaching God with confidence, mercy and grace is gifted when I need it. And I need it often! In my hurried and harried moments, I make knee-jerk decisions and go with emotionally-charged behaviors that are just not who I want me to be. It’s not who my heavenly Father wants me to be, either. When my buttons get pushed or a goal is blocked, my response can be to quickly strategize and regain control of the other person or the situation (though, I’m really focusing more and more on self control these days). In less than stellar moments, I desperately come to my Abba Father—and he grants mercy! The Holy God does not have to respond in mercy. He doesn’t have to; he chooses to. In love, he grants mercy. He doesn’t give me what I truly deserve for my miscreant behavior; he chooses love over any other option.

He gives mercy; we find grace. There’s that sweet fragrance wafting by again. Grace. I didn’t get what I rightfully deserved; but more than that, I received what I never really deserved. That’s unmerited favor. I couldn’t buy it, earn it, coerce him into giving it, or sneak in the back door when he wasn’t looking to receive it. This is the lavish gift I receive. Really?!

This verse as a standalone is mind-blowing and encouraging; but placed back in its original context, it starts to make more sense.

Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:14-15 HSC

I think most of the above is self explanatory. (There is a discovery to be made in connection with “confession” in verse 14, but that might be a whole topic in itself.) Catch the bigger theme for now: Jesus, the high priest, who can sympathize with us in our struggles because he lived this difficult life facing every kind of temptation, lived it without sin.

The flow of the text directly indicates the reason we can approach God with bold confidence is because we have Jesus, the Son of God, as our “great high priest” making all the difference. Isn’t that pretty amazing?

Li’l old me is feeling pretty special and very loved right now. I hope you do, too.

Thanks for reading along. I’d love to read your thoughts, so please feel free to share.

~Jennifer

Photo Credit: Bible Verse 101