Finding Grace

Finding Grace

Daily Reading: (Hebrews 4:16):

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

“Let us therefore”, this means that something that comes before this text has led to a drastic change. In the Old Testament when people used to live under the Law, they would not have any confidence at all when they would bring their petitions before God. Unfortunately, some believers who are still trying to live under the Law are the same way today. When you do not realize that Jesus fulfilled the Law on your behalf, you will try to work for what you have been freely given in Jesus.

No one could come directly before God except the High Priest and only one time a year during atonement. He did not come boldly- he came fearfully because if he did anything wrong or didn’t properly purify himself he would die. How effective was that? Ok, your sins are removed, but the next day at work you mess up royally and the High Priest isn’t going back in there for another year. Temple sacrifices and stuff but people could never be sure how they stood in their relationship with God before Jesus. Just listen to the way David wrote – a man after God’s own heart.

No one came before God except the High Priest and only one time a year during atonement. He did not come boldly- he came fearfully because if he did anything wrong or didn’t properly purify himself, he would die.

If the High Priest sinned, he brought guilt on his nation, and God would reject the entire nation no matter how law-abiding the people were or how faithful they were in bringing their sacrifices.

Conversely, if their High Priest was without fault and acceptable to God, God would accept the whole nation even if the people were sinful.

Unfortunately, the High Priests of Israel often failed because, like any human being, they were imperfect.

What changed?

 “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (Hebrews 4:14).

We have Jesus as our High Priest. As our High Priest, His standing before God is always right. Jesus is always acceptable and pleasing to the Father. Therefore, we can never lose our acceptance with God because as our High Priest, Jesus only brings righteousness on His people.

In the Old Testament, people would bring their sacrifice and the priest would examine it. During that time the priest wasn’t looking at the person who brought the sacrifice, the priest only looked at the sacrifice.  And today that’s the same thing. God doesn’t look at us, He looks at the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. God looks at Jesus. If Jesus is accepted, you are accepted. If God sees Jesus perfect, then He sees you perfect. If Jesus is righteous, then you are righteous. And we know that Jesus our High Priest is good, accepted, perfect, and righteous, which means that that is how God sees us! That’s not fair, that’s not deserved, that’s not earned. That’s called grace and that is why, “since we have a great High Priest “Let us [therefore come boldly] unto the [throne of grace].”

Why a throne of grace? Confused people who think our sacrifice is what pleases God, will see a throne of judgment. If you put your faith in Jesus you get to come boldly unto God because you know that the perfect Sacrifice has been made for you and you will find yourself before God’s throne of grace.

Because Jesus is our High Priest something else happens when you pray in your time of need. In Leviticus 1:14-17 we see what happens when we pray as we understand what the High Priest in the Old Testament did with the burnt offering of a bird.

The birds what they represent are our prayers “flying” to the Lord Jesus because we pray to the Father in Jesus’ name. What the High Priest did with the bird sacrifice is He would remove the bird’s feathers after killing it. Jesus removes all that is unclean from our prayers, such as unbelief and self-centeredness.

Then, just as the High Priest offers the bird as a burnt sacrifice, a sweet aroma to the Lord, Jesus our High Priest adds His perfection, beauty, excellence, and fragrance, which the Father delights in, to our prayers. That is how He presents our prayers to the Father. That is how He lives to make intercession for you.

You don’t have to run to a church leader for them to pray “more powerfully” for you. You can pray for yourself. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). You are the righteousness of Christ Jesus so take advantage of Jesus’ intercession for you and know that the promise is that you “find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

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Gracekillers: Bitterness

Bitterness 

Daily Reading: (Hebrews 12:15):

“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

How do we make sure that no bitter root grows up in us? Because what this verse is telling us is that a bitter root will cause trouble not just for the individual that it grows from, it will also negatively impact many.

The answer to this question and also how do we “see to it that o one falls short of the grace of God”, is in the text. We just have to break it down and I am excited to do that with you today.

“See to it” in the Greek means to look upon or be aware “that no one falls short of the grace of God”. This is a message for church leaders that those who are saved might continue and not fail to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What makes bitter roots grow from a person’s life is trying to live under the Law. We will see this as we progress in the text. In fact, someone who tries to live under the Law will cause trouble and defile many by trying to get others to do the same. The word defile is a word picture (miainō): to stain. It is like taking a single drop of ink and letting it go into a bucket of water. You cannot mix grace with the law.

This is why Paul wrote to the Galatians: “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

So how do we make sure individuals don’t fall short of the grace of God?  Another way to say it is, “how do you spot a counterfeit?”  You know what experts in currency do so they can detect a counterfeit bill,they study the original. They know the original so well, that they can easily spot when something is not supposed to be there.

One year I was gardening and I had planted a lot of new perennial flowers.  The next year when the perennials started to return, I didn’t know what the original was supposed to look like. So, I faithfully was watering one plant that was actually a giant weed. Thanks to a gardening friend, I was told I was cultivating a weed. Long before someone becomes bitter, that person fell short of the grace of God. That is why the example of a root and growing up is such a marvelous illustration for us. If you don’t receive the grace God gives through Jesus Christ, then the seed is set for the root of bitterness to grow. 

How do people fall short from the grace of God?  

When you fall from grace, Christ becomes of no effect.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). This is not a threat but describing a fact. And when the New Testament writers exhort us to “be holy,” they are calling us to live out our true Christ-borne identity. When Jesus said, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), the word for “perfect” means complete or full grown. He was calling us to the life that is His.” But there is more in the progression of the text that will take us to an Old Testament figure in the Bible.

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son” (Hebrews 12:16).

We have a contrast of what receiving grace produces versus what it looks like for a person who lives apart from grace.

  • The person develops a deep-rooted issue with bitterness
  • The person is challenged in the area of sexual immorality, e.g. lust, porn addictions, affairs.
  • Their speech is profane.

Whereas the grace of God produces:

  • Peace with all men
  • Holiness which is wholeness, health in soul, body, mind.

How do you know you have fallen short of grace?

You are law-conscious meaning performance-conscious. The story of the prodigal son teaches us that as soon as we turn back to grace (Luke 15:24), we become “a full-grown son with privileges,” able to access the abundant life that God has prepared for us.

Whenever life’s demands flood your mind, see Jesus’ supply of grace upon grace instead. Receive all that you need from Him.