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Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews: 018. Christ Superior to Joshua. Hebrews 4:11-16
TOPIC: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 018. Christ Superior to Joshua. Hebrews 4:11-16
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An Exposition of Hebrews
Christ Superior to Joshua.
The verses which are to be before us complete the present section of our Epistle, a section which begins at Hebrews 3:1 and which has two main divisions: the first, setting forth the superiority of Christ over Moses; the second, His superiority over Joshua. In the last six verses of chapter 4 a practical application is made of what had previously been said. That application begins with an exhortation for Christians to "labor therefore to enter into that rest." Both the nature and the place of this "rest" have been defined in the earlier verses. As the opening verse of the chapter shows, it is the "rest of God" which is, in promise, set before us. Beautifully has another said:
"But what did God mean by calling it His rest? Not they enter into their rest, but His Own. Oh, blessed distinction! I hasten to the ultimate and deepest solution of the question. God gives us Himself, and in all His gifts He gives us Himself. Here is the distinction between all religions which men invent, which have their origin in the conscience and heart of man, which spring up from the earth; and the truth, the salvation, the life, revealed unto us from above, descending to us from heaven. All religions seek and promise the same things: light, righteousness, peace, strength, and joy. But human religions think only of creature-light, creature-righteousness, of a human, limited, and imperfect peace, strength and blessings. They start from man upwards. But God gives us Himself, and in Himself all gifts, and hence all His gifts are perfect and divine.
"Does God give us righteousness? He Himself is our righteousness, Jehovah-Tsidkenu. Does God give us peace? Christ is our peace. Does God give us light? He is our light. Does God give us bread? He is the bread we eat. As the Son liveth by the Father, so he that eateth Me shall live by Me (John 6). God Himself is our strength. God is ours, and in all His gifts and blessings He gives Himself. By the Holy Spirit we are one with Christ, and Christ the Son of God is our righteousness, nay, our life. Do you want any other real presence? Are we not altogether ‘engodded,’ God dwelling and living in us, and we in Him? What more real presence and indwelling, awful and blessed, can we have than that which the apostle described when he said: ‘I live; yet not I, But Christ liveth in me?’ Or again, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Thus God gives us His rest as our rest" (Saphir).
Following the exhortation to labor to enter into God’s rest, reference is made to the living, powerful, and piercing character of the Word of God, and the effects it produces in regeneration. In the light of the solemn warning which follows in verse 13, the contents of verse 12 seem to be brought in for the purpose of enabling the Hebrews to test the genuineness of their Christian profession: sufficient is there said for them to discover whether or not they had been born again. Then the chapter closes with one of the most precious passages to be found in our Epistle, or indeed in the whole of the New Testament. It makes known the gracious provisions which God has made for His poor people while they are yet in the place of testing. It brings before us the sufficiency and sympathy of our great High Priest, in view of which Christians are bidden to "come boldly unto the throne of grace," that they "may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." May the Spirit of God condescend to open up to us this portion of His Word.
"Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (verse 11). As pointed out in the preceding article, this verse completes the sentence begun at verse 6. It is in view of the solemn fact that the great majority of those Israelites to whom the Gospel of Rest was first preached did not receive it in faith, and so perished in the wilderness, and hence because that only true believers will enter into God’s rest, the Hebrews were now enjoined to spare no efforts in making sure that they would not fail and miss it. This 11th verse is also the complement to verse 1.
The verb for "let us labor" is derived from another verb meaning "to make haste." It is designed to point a contrast from "any of you should seem to come short of it" in verse 1. There the word is derived from a root meaning "afterwards," and some able linguists declare that the word for "come short of" means, literally, "be a day late." We believe the Spirit’s designed reference is to what is recorded in Numbers 14. Israel had already crossed the wilderness, and had reached Kadesh-barnea. From thence Moses had sent the twelve spies to view the land of Canaan. They had returned with a conflicting report. Ten of them magnified the difficulties which lay ahead, and discouraged the people but Caleb said, "Let us go up at once, and possess it" (Num. 13:30). The congregation listened only to the ten, and "wept that night" and "murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us into this land, to fall by the Sword, that our wives and children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make us a captain and let us return into Egypt" (Num. 14:1-3).
Then it was that the wrath of Jehovah was kindled against His unbelieving people, saying, "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation which murmur against Me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against Me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness" (Num. 14:27-29). But instead of bowing to the Lord’s solemn sentence, we are told, "And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised" (verse 40). Moses faithfully expostulated with them, "Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten." But they heeded him not: "They presumed to go up unto the hill top... Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah" (verses 44, 45). They were a day late! They had delayed, they had failed to trust the Lord and heed His voice through Caleb the previous day, and now they "came short" of entering the promised rest of Canaan.
It was in view of Israel’s procrastination at Kadesh-barnea that the apostle admonished the Hebrews, "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." As we pointed out the word "seem" regarded their walk: let there be nothing in their ways which gave the appearance that they were halting, wavering, departing from Christ. For Christians to seem to come short, be a day late, in laying hold of the promise "left" them of entering into God’s rest, means to sink to the level of the ways of the world, to settle down here, instead of going forward as "strangers and pilgrims." It means to look back to and long for the flesh-pots of Egypt. Ah, my reader, to which does your daily life witness? to the fact that you have not yet entered your "rest," or that you have found a substitute for it here? If so, heed that solemn word, "Arise ye, and depart for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy, even with a sore destruction" (Mic. 2:10).
Having then warned the Hebrews in verse 1 what to avoid, the apostle now tells them in verse 11 what to essay. They were to "labor" to enter into that rest. As stated above, the Greek word is derived from another verb meaning "to make haste;" the one used here signifies to "give diligence" and is so rendered in the Revised Version. In 2 Timothy 2:15 it is translated "study." "The word ‘labor’ is equivalent to ‘eagerly and perseveringly seek.’ The manner in which the Hebrew Christians were to ‘labor to enter unto that rest,’ was by believing the truth, and continuing ‘steadfast and unmoveable’ in the faith of the truth, and in the natural results of the faith of the truth" (Dr. J. Brown). It is human responsibility which is here being addressed again, and Hebrews 4:11 is closely parallel with the exhortations of 1 Corinthians 10:10-12 and 2 Peter 1:5-10.
Our real "rest" is yet to come, it is but "promised" (verse 1); in the meantime we are to press forward to it. "This world is not a fit place, nor this life a fit time, to enjoy such a rest as is reserved in heaven. Rest here would glue our hearts too much to this world, and make us say, ‘It is good to be here’ (Matthew 17:4). It would slack our longing desire after Christ in heaven. Death would be more irksome, and heaven the less welcome. There would be no proof or trial of our spiritual armor, and of the several graces of God bestowed on us. God’s providence, prudence, power, mercy, could not be made so well discerned. This rest being to come, and reserved for us, it will be our Wisdom, while here we live, to prepare for trouble, and to address ourselves to labor: as the soldiers in the field and as the laborers in the daytime. Yet withal to have our eye upon this rest to come; that thereby we may be the more encouraged and incited to hold out to the end" (Dr. Gouge).
"Lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." To enforce the previous exhortation the apostle points out the danger and damage that would follow a neglect thereof. The "rest" is a word of caution and calls for circumspection as a preventative against apostasy. The "lest any man" intimates that this care and circumspection is not to be restricted to one’s own self, but extended to our fellow-pilgrims. The word "fall" signifies to fall utterly: it is used in Romans 11:22. Professors may fall away; many have done so (see 1 John 2:19, etc.); then let us be on our guard. The "example" of others having fallen through unbelief should make us wary.
"We may well observe from this exhortation, 1. That great oppositions will and do arise against men in the work of entering into God’s rest . . . But notwithstanding all these difficulties, the promise of God being mixed with faith will carry us safely through them all. 2. That as the utmost of our endeavor and labors are required to our obtaining an entrance into the rest of Christ, so it doth very well deserve that they should be laid out therein. Men are content to lay themselves out to the utmost and to spend their strength for the ‘bread that perisheth,’ yea ‘for that which is not bread.’ But the rest of the Gospel deserves our utmost diligence and endeavor. To convince men thereof is one of the chief ends of the preaching of the Gospel" (Dr. John Owen).
As was the case with the contents of verses 9, 10, so we are assured there is a double reference to the words of verse 11: a general and a specific. The general, refers to the future and perfect rest of the Christian in heaven; the specific, being to that which is the emblem and type of it, namely, the weekly sabbath. This, we believe, is why the Holy Spirit here says, "Let us give diligence therefore to enter into that rest," rather than "into His rest," as in verse 1. "That rest" designedly includes both the eternal rest of God, and the sabbath rest, spoken of in verse 10. This we are to "give diligence" to enter, not only because the sabbath-desecration of worldlings is apt to discourage us, but also because there are professing Christians who loudly insist that there is no such thing as a "Christian sabbath." Beware lest we fail to heed this word of God, and "fall through the same example of unbelief" as Israel in the wilderness, who failed to listen to God.
"For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (verse 12). The first word of this verse (which has the force of "because") denotes that the apostle is here furnishing further reason why professing Christians should give diligence in pressing forward to the rest which is set before them. That reason is drawn from the nature of and the effects produced by the Word of God. This verse and the one which follows appear to be brought in for the purpose of testing profession and enabling exercised souls to discover whether or not they have been born again.
"Let us give diligence therefore to enter into that rest . . . For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." It should be evident that the first thing emphasized here is that Christianity consists not so much of external conduct, as the place which the Word of God has within us. The Word of God "piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit" is the effect which it produces, under the application of the Lord, when a sinner is regenerated. Man is a tripartite being, consisting of spirit and soul and body. This, we believe, is the first and deepest meaning of Genesis 1:26, "And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." God Himself is a Trinity in Unity, and such He made man to be.
The "spirit" is the highest part of man, being the seat of God-consciousness. The "soul" is the ego, the individual himself, and is the seat of self-consciousness; man has a "spirit," but he is "a living soul." The "body" is his house or tabernacle, being the seat of sense-consciousness. In the day that man first sinned, he died spiritually. But in Scripture "death" never means extinction of being; instead, it always signifies separation (see Luke 15:24). The nature of man’s spiritual "death" is intimated in Ephesians 4:18, "alienated from the life of God." When Adam disobeyed his Maker, he became a fallen creature, separated from God. The first effect of this was that his "spirit" no longer functioned separately, it was no more in communion with God. His spirit fell to the level of his soul.
The "soul" is the seat of the emotions (1 Sam. 18:1, Judges 10:16, Gen. 42:21, etc.). It is that part of our nature which stirs into exercise the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." The unregenerate man is termed "the soulical man" (1 Cor. 2:14), the Greek word there being the adjectival form of "psyche" or "soul." That is to say, the unregenerate man is entirely dominated by his soul, his lusts, his desires, his emotions. Spiritual considerations have no weight with him whatsoever, for he is "alienated from the life of God." True, he has a "spirit," and by means of it he is capable of perceiving all around him the evidences of the "eternal power and godhead" of the Creator (Rom. 1:20). It is the "candle of the Lord" (Prov. 20:27) within him; yet has it, because of the fall, no communion with God. Now at regeneration there is, literally, a "dividing asunder of soul and spirit." The spirit is restored to communion with God, made enrapport with Him, "reconciled." The spirit is raised from its immersion in the soul, and once more functions separately: "For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit" (Rom. 1:9); "my spirit prayeth" (1 Cor. 14:14) etc.
The first consequence of this is intimated in the closing words of verse 12, "And is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." The Word of God now exposes his innermost being. Having eyes to see, he discovers, for the first time, what a vile, depraved and hell-deserving creature he is. Though, in the mercy of God, he may have been preserved from much outward wickedness in his unregenerate days, and so passed among his fellows as an exemplary character, he now perceives that there dwelleth "no good thing" in him, that every thought and intent of his desperately wicked heart had, all his life, been contrary to the requirements and claims of a holy God. The Word has searched him out, and discovered him to himself. He sees himself a lost, ruined, undone sinner. This is ever the first conscious effect of the new birth, for one who is still "dead in trespasses and sins" has no realization of his awful condition before God.
Ere passing on let us earnestly press upon the reader what has just been before us, and ask, has the Word of God thus "pierced" you? Has it penetrated, as no word from man ever has, into your innermost being? Has it exposed the workings of your wicked heart? Has it detected to you the sink of iniquity which dwells within? Make no mistake about it, dear friend, the thrice holy God of Scripture "requireth truth in the inward parts" (Ps. 51:6). If the Word of God has searched you out, then you cried with Isaiah "Woe is reel for I am undone" (Heb. 6:5); with Job, "I abhor myself" (Heb. 42:6); with the publican, "God be merciful to me the sinner" (Luke 18:13). But if you are a stranger to these experiences, no matter what your profession or performances, no matter how highly you may think of yourself or Christians think of you, God says you are still dead in sin.
Let it not be supposed that we have attempted to give above a complete description of all that takes place at the new birth; not so, we have confined ourselves to what is said in Hebrews 4:12. Nor let it be thought that the language of this verse is to be restricted to what occurs at regeneration, not so, that is only in initial reference. The activities of the Word of God therein described are repeated whenever a Christian gets out of communion with Him, for then he is dominated to a large extent by his soul rather than his spirit. It should not need pointing out, yet the terrible ignorance of Scripture prevailing today makes it necessary, that when a child of God is walking in communion with Him, His word does not come to him as a "sword"; rather is it "a lamp" unto his feet. If the reader will compare Revelation 2:12 and Revelation 19:15 he will obtain confirmation of this.
The relation of this 12th verse to the whole context is very striking, and its contents divinely appropriate. It brings out the dignity and Deity of "The Apostle" of our profession. It shows the sufficiency of His Word. It is striking to note that just seven things are here said of it. First, it is the "Word of God." Second, it is living, or "quick." Third, it is mighty, "powerful." Fourth, it is effectual, "sharper than any two edged sword." Fifth, it is penetrating, "piercing." Sixth, it is regenerative, "even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit." Seventh, it is revealing and exposing, bringing to light the "thoughts and intents of the heart, etc." The reference to the Word piercing to the dividing asunder of "the joints (external) and marrow" (internal) tells of its discriminating power over every part of our being. The more we submit ourselves unto its searching and convicting influence the more shall we be blest.
"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (verse 13). The rendering of the A.V. here is faulty, the opening "Neither" being quite misleading. The Revised Version gives "And there is no creature that is not manifest in His sight" etc. Thus the first word denotes that a reason is being given for the power and efficacy of the Word, a reason which is drawn from the nature of Him whose Word it is, namely, God; who being Himself the Searcher of the heart and the Discerner of all things, is pleased to exercise that power in and by the ministry and application of His Word. The two verses taken together supply a further reason why Christ’s voice should be heeded, even because, as God, He is the omniscient One.
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession" (verse 14). The connection between this and what has gone before is most blessed. The closing verses of our chapter contain precious words of encouragement. They tell of the wondrous provisions of God’s grace for His people while they are still in the place of testing. They assure us that none of those who are really the people of God shall, finally, miss the perfect and eternal rest.
The Revised Version reads, "Having then a great High Priest"; Bagster’s interlinear gives, "Having therefore a High Priest, great." The general reference is back to what was said in 1:3, 2:17, 3:1: the Divine sonship, the incarnation, the exaltation of Jesus, our High Priest, is the supreme motive for holding fast our profession. The particular reference is to the apostle’s main point in this chapter: if the question be asked, What hope have we poor sinners got of entering into God’s rest? The answer is, Because Christ, our High Priest, has already entered heaven, and we also must do so in and by Him. The immediate reference is to what had been said in verses 12, 13: we shall be assuredly found out if we fall from our profession, therefore it becomes us to hold it fast.
As the priesthood of Christ will, D.V., come before us more fully in the chapters that follow, we shall offer here only a few brief remarks on the verse now before us. First, it is to be noted that the Holy Spirit here designates Christ the "great High Priest"; no other, neither Aaron nor Melchizedek, is so denominated. Its use emphasizes the supreme dignity, excellency, and sufficiency of our High Priest. Second, He has "passed in (Greek "through") the heavens." "This word signifies to pass through notwithstanding any difficulties that may seem to hand. Thus it is said that an angel and Peter ‘passed the first and second wards’ (Acts 12:10). Our Lord Christ having assumed our nature, passed through the virgin’s womb; and being born, in His infancy, childhood, and manhood, passed through many difficulties, temptations, afflictions, persecutions, yea, death itself and the grave; after His resurrection He passed through the air and the stellar heavens, entering the heaven of heavens. Thus we see that nothing could hinder Him from that place where He intended to appear as our Priest before His Father" (Dr. Gouge).
"For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (verse 15). Most blessed is this. The third thing said in verse 14 of our exalted High Priest is that He is "the Son of God." Well may poor sinners, conscious of their unworthiness and vileness, ask, How may we, so weak and worthless, approach unto and seek the mediation of such an One? To reassure our poor hearts, the Holy Spirit at once reminds us that albeit Christ is such a great and glorious Priest, yet, withal, He is full of sympathy and tender compassion for His afflicted people. He is "merciful" (Heb. 2:17), as well as omnipotent. He is Man, as well as God. He has Himself been tempted in all things, like ourselves, sin excepted.
"But was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," or literally, "who has been tempted in all things according to our likeness, apart from sin" i.e. in spirit, and soul, and body. "He was tempted—tried, exercised—for no more doth the word impart. Whatever is the moral evil in temptation is due to the depraved intention of the tempter, or from the weakness and sin of the tempted. In itself, it is but a trial, which may have a good or bad effect. He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Sin may be considered as to its principle, and as to its effect. Men are tempted to sin by sin, to actual sin by habitual sin, to outward sin, by indwelling sin. And this is the greatest source of sin in us who are sinners. The apostle reminds us of the holiness and purity of Christ, that we may not imagine that He was liable unto any such temptations unto sin from within as we find ourselves liable unto, who are never free from guilt and defilement. Whatever temptation He was exposed unto or exercised withal, as He was with all and of all sorts that can come from without, they had none of them in the last degree any effect unto Him. He was absolutely in all things ‘without sin’; He neither was tempted by sin, such was the holiness of His nature; nor did His temptation produce sin, such was the perfection of His obedience" (Dr. John Owen).
The Man Christ Jesus was the Holy One of God, and therefore He could not sin. But were not Satan and Adam created without sin, and did not they yield to temptation? Yes; but the one was only a created angel the other merely man. But our Lord and Savior was not a created being; instead, He was "God manifest in flesh." In His humanity He was "holy" (Luke 1:35) and, as such, as high above unfallen Satan or Adam as the heavens are above the earth. He was not only impeccable God, but impeccable Man. The prince of this world came, but found nothing in Him (John 14:30). Thus, He is presented before us not only as an example to be followed, but as an Object upon which faith may rest with unshaken confidence.
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (verse 16). This verse sets before us the second use we are to make of the priesthood of Christ. The first is named in verse 14, to "hold fast our profession"; here, to "come boldly unto the throne of grace." In relation to the whole context this verse makes known the wondrous and blessed provision God has made for His wilderness people. Herein, too, we may behold again the immeasurable superiority of Christianity over Judaism. The Israelites were confined to the outer court; none at all save the high priest was permitted to draw near to God within the vail. But all Christians, the youngest, weakest, most ignorant, have been "made nigh" (Eph. 2:13); and in consequence, freedom of access to the very throne of Deity is now their rightful and blessed portion.
"And having such a High Priest in heaven, can we lose courage? Can we draw back in cowardice, impatience, and faintheartedness? Can we give up our profession, our allegiance, our obedience to Christ? Or shall we not be like Joshua and Caleb, who followed the Lord fully? Let us hold fast our profession; let us persevere and fight the good fight of faith. Our great High Priest in the highest glory is our righteousness and strength. He loves, He watches, He prays, He holds us fast, and we shall never perish. Jesus is our Moses, who in the height above prays for us. Jesus our true Joshua, who gained the victory over our enemies. Only be strong, and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. In that mirror of the Word in which we behold our sin and weakness, we behold also the image of that perfect One who has passed through the conflict and temptation, who as the High Priest bears us on His loving heart, and as the Shepherd of the flock holds us in safety forever more. Boldly we come to the throne of grace. In Jesus we draw near to the Father. The throne of majesty and righteousness is unto us a throne of grace. The Lord is our God. There is not merely grace on the throne, but the throne is altogether the throne of grace. It is grace which disciplines us by the sharp and piercing Word, it is grace which looks on us when we have denied Him, and makes us weep bitterly. Jesus always intercedes: the throne is always a throne of grace. The Lamb is in the midst of the throne. Hence we come boldly.
"Boldly is not contrasted with reverently and tremblingly. It means literally ‘saying all,’ with that confidence which begets thorough honesty, frankness, full and open speech. ‘Pour out your heart before Him.’ Come as you are, say what you feel, ask what you need. Confess your sins, your fears, your wandering thoughts and affections. Jesus the Lord went through all sorrows and trials the heart of man can go through, and as He felt affliction and temptation most keenly, so in all these difficulties and trials He had communion with the Father. He knows therefore, how to succor them that are tempted, how fully and unreservedly, then, may we speak to God in the presence and by the mediation of the man Christ Jesus!
"The Lord Jesus is filled with tender compassion and the most profound, lively, and comprehensive sympathy. This belongs to the perfection of His high-priesthood. For this very purpose He was tempted. He suffered. Our infirmities, it is true, are ultimately connected with our sinfulness; the weakness of our flesh is never free from a sinful concurrence of the will; and the Savior knows from His experience on earth how ignorant, poor, weak, sinful, and corrupt His disciples are. He loved them, watched over them with unwearied patience; prayed for them that their faith fail not; and reminded them the spirit was willing, but the flesh is weak. He remembers also His own sinless weakness; He knows what constant thought, meditation, and prayer are needed to overcome Satan, and to be faithful to God. He knows what it is for the soul to be sorrowful and overwhelmed, and what it is to be refreshed by the sunshine of Divine favor, and to rejoice in the Spirit. We may come in to Him expecting full, tender, deep sympathy and compassion. He is ever ready to strengthen and comfort, to heal and restore, He is prepared to receive the poor, wounded, sin-stained believer; to dry the tears of Peter weeping bitterly; to say to Paul, oppressed with the thorn in the flesh, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’
"We need only understand that we are sinners, and that He is High Priest. The law was given that every mouth may be shut, for we are guilty. The High Priest is given that every mouth may be opened . . . We come in faith as sinners. Then shall we obtain mercy; and we always need mercy, to wash our feet: to restore to us the joy of salvation, to heal our backslidings, and bind up our wounds. We shall obtain help in every time of need. For God may suffer Satan and the world, want and suffering, to go against us; but He always causes all things to work together for our good. He permits the time of need, that we may call upon Him, and, being delivered by Him, may glorify His name" (Saphir).
"We should come therefore with boldness to the throne of grace" (Bagster). Then let us do so, in the full confidence of our acceptance before God in the person of His Beloved (Eph. 1:6). The verb in Hebrews 4:16 is not in the aorist tense, but the present—let us "come" constantly, continually; let us form the habit of doing so. This is the first of seven occurrences of this blessed word in our epistle: the other references are Hebrews 7:25; 10:1, 22; 11:6; 12:18, 22. To "obtain mercy" is passive, and refers to past failures. "Finding grace" is active, and signifies that we humbly, earnestly, and believingly seek it. To "help in time of need:" this is daily, yea, hourly. But whenever the need may be, spiritually or temporal, grace all-sufficient is ever-available. May it be ours to constantly seek it, for the unchanging promise is, "Seek, and ye shall find."