“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
There was a period of time in my life that I was not living as I should. Everything spiraled downward and the blur of those years caused much guilt and shame later on in life. Although it was a short hiatus in my young life I struggled to get past a few events that happened in my late teens and early twenties. Every time I moved on with the Lord after that, it seemed the devil threw this stuff in my face to remind me of that shame. Each time I felt unworthy of the Lord and wanted to run and hide from Him instead of running to Him.
My pastor at one time shared an illustration about Satan and His minions being the best videographers around. They love to catch footage of our sin and replay it over and over for us. Hounding us so as to remind us that we mess up even when we call ourselves Christians. They glory in causing heartache and guilt over past events that are done and over with. This illustration came to a profound climax when He explained that Jesus takes this video footage and erases it by His blood. Then when the footage is played back it is blank with no condemning evidence.
Only when you understand the complete forgiveness from sins can you have confidence to enter into the presence of God and boldly draw near to the throne of grace. The only thing that keeps you from fearlessly approaching God is your consciousness of sin. But sin is not an issue with God because Jesus has made perfect provision for you, making you holy and blameless sanctified by His blood.
So as believers we should not have a sin conscience. The writer instructs that we can enter in to God’s presence to receive mercy and find grace when we need it. Even in the midst of struggling with sin. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t. Mercy is not receiving the punishment for our sins. Grace is receiving forgiveness being restored to a state where it is as if we had never sinned in the first place. One drop of Jesus’ blood was more than enough to cleanse and wash us clean. If we hold on to the memory of our sin then we will never enter in to find this help and understanding from God.
Trouble comes when we don’t understand this amazing truth. I constantly dealt with the guilt and shame of my actions because I had no comprehension of the depth of His grace. I had taken over the playback of this video footage and each time it was erased I recreated it in my mind. It held me captive for many years and kept me from progressing into a deeper understanding of the Lord.
Freedom came when I saw the depth of God’s love for me through the eyes of Jesus. I finally saw what He sees, not what I played back in my mind. He does not see a sinner saved by grace, He sees a woman who is righteous, holy, forgiven, loved, blameless and set apart. He does not see the sins that have been paid for and removed from both of our presence. He sees the blood of His Son, which has purified and restored.
I have taken the words of I John to heart, “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (I John 3:19-21). If ever I struggle with guilt then I remind myself of the truth from God’s Word and suddenly my heart experiences the peace of God. The things that previously held me captive cannot hold me anymore. The Lord has done an amazing work in my life, even the memory of several events are but a faint echo of what was. Not only has He erased the guilt and shame I experience but He has all but erased the memory of it as well. Now I can look at myself through His eyes and see as He sees. This gives confidence to boldly approach God’s throne and be at rest in His presence.
“Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]” (Hebrews 4:16 AMP).