Privileged Access to the Throne of Grace

We, who have been granted new life in Christ and are privileged with access to the throne of grace, have a responsibility concerning such a privilege. Have you given thought to what was involved in obtaining this right, this access? Romans 5 tells us it was the sacrifice of the Christ, God in human flesh. He came down from His throne laying aside His glory and taking on the role of a servant. He suffered a brutal torture and was nailed to a cross to die a slow inhumane death. He conquered death and ascended back to his place of supreme ruler. For what purpose? To reconcile fallen man with God; to grant us access to the Father God, specifically to the heart of God.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1–2)

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10–11)

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14–16)

I have to occasionally remind myself not shirk such a privilege and even the sense of duty to pray for others. It is because of Christ’s ransom that I have the ear of the God of the universe, and there are needs, pains, sorrows, and souls that need enlightened to the saving gospel. And God has invited me to participate in what He wants to do in the lives of men, women, children, families, churches, communities, and nations with prayer being a tool to be used in the Maker’s plan. Indeed, I am in awe of such a privilege to co-labor with the Maker, and I also need to take serious the opportunity to pray for others.

Charles H. Spurgeon, who always said it more directly and with more of a punch that anyone else, said,

“The mercy-seat under the law was overlaid with pure gold to foreshadow the costliness of its antitype. It cost the death of Christ to erect a mercy-seat for men. To neglect it is a shameful ingratitude to God, and a wanton rejection of one of his costliest blessings. If there were no throne of grace, men might die of despair because they could not approach to God; but now that God has prepared a way of access for all who desire to approach him, the refusal to draw near must rank among the grossest and most wilful of rebellions. There is no conceivable excuse for the prayerless. A man who dies of starvation with bread before him, and perishes with disease when the remedy is in his hand, deserves no pity; and he who sinks down to hell beneath the burden of his sins because he will not pray, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” deserves all that damnation means. Pardon, life, salvation, heaven, are all to be had for the asking; and if he that asketh not receiveth not, who shall blame either the justice or the mercy of God?” [i]

Go ahead and give yourself a moment to recover from that punch, but don’t shake it off completely, it’s the kind that is good for you.

Okay, better now? Like so many saints through the years I enjoy Spurgeon’s blunt articulation of truth and wisdom, even though I have to nurse a bruise now and then. But the man has it right, as usual, we shouldn’t neglect such a privilege and duty as prayer. With a motivation of love let us answer the call to draw near to God for mercy and grace for the needs of others as well as for our own daily bread.

[i]       Spurgeon, C. H. Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, Distilled and Dispensed. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883.

Behold the throne of grace!

John Newton is one of those saints who contended earnestly for the historical, living faith of the early church. He is most widely known for the hymn, Amazing Grace, but he was much more than a composer, author, and puritan pastor. John Newton was a man who knew a thing or two about prayer. He would pen poems and lyrics to teach his congregation biblical truths, often times giving them, and us, glimpses into his sacred times with His God. Below is but one verse that shares the simplicity and joy that he found in prayer before the face of the Savior.

BEHOLD the throne of grace!

The promise calls me near,

There Jesus shows a smiling face,

And waits to answer prayer.

Isn’t it obvious that John Newton came to discovered that prayer is far more than a plea for help or a call to God for forgiveness? For John Newton prayer was a place of love and also a holy exercise with holy implications creating a holy atmosphere. It is where the Holy One and His praying child find grace as well as mercy, find peace as well as a refreshing. And yet one of the beauties of prayer is that it is both more simplistic than we imagine and more influential than anything that we try to compare it with in this natural realm. It is not difficult to understand how all of this could be so, for what else should you expect when the Most High God, the Sovereign Creator and Sustainer, calls you into His presence, out of your glory-less mortality and into His infinite glory?

Because of the Gospel

The Gospel is why God listens to prayer. Meaning, it is because of who Jesus Christ is and what He did. It has nothing to do with a person’s piety or way of praying. If you have been persuaded that God will not listen to your prayers because you are not good enough for Him, YOU ARE RIGHT. God does not listen to you because you’ve earned His favor. You can agree with the thoughts that you are unworthy, because you are unworthy … IF … you are expecting the Father God to accept your prayers because of your own goodness and merits. You have God’s favor solely because of Jesus Christ. It is necessary to understand and accept that the requirement to be accepted by God is perfection. Jesus Christ is the only one who has met that requirement. He offers that perfect righteousness to whoever will give us their self-righteousness and put their trust in Him, and His righteousness.

Sorrow for Sin

Thomas Brooks, an old English puritan, said it well, “That sorrow for sin that keeps the soul from looking towards the Mercy Seat, and that keeps Christ and the soul asunder, or that shall render the soul unfit for the communion of saints, is a sinful sorrow.” This is what illegitimate guilt, shame, and regret will do. But godly sorrow cuts the heart and press the soul unto repentance. This is the sorrow described by the apostle in 2 Corinthians 7:9–10

9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

We sing: “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Yet our minds are beaten down and held captive by guilt, shame, and regret deceiving us into believing that the blood of Jesus did not “wash away my sins” thoroughly enough to keep them forgiven. We hear the lies and begin to be persuaded that somehow our past sins can come back, overcome the power of the blood of Christ, and make us guilty again. I do not deny that these thoughts can be loud and powerful, but they are lies. For it is written, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).” Concerning that previous “you” who was alienated from God, it is written: “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).” And concerning the accusations of your past, those sins which were cast away from you and from God as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), it is written: “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us [Romans 8:33–34 (NLT)].