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…
I. It will be well — nay, it is all-important — that we understand THE MEANING of the apostle when he bids us " come boldly to the throne of grace." We are not, then, to approach the throne of grace doubting; we are not to draw near as if we thought that we should not be received there gladly; we are not to come as though we expected to be sent away without being heard, for then the weakness of our faith in Christ is at once made manifest. In short, to draw near with the persuasion that God will not hear our prayer is to insult rather than to respect and honour Him. We must guard likewise against a rash, presumptuous approach, because, as sinners guilty and polluted, it is impossible that we can have anything wherewith to appear before the Lord. Such boldness as this can never become those who come to obtain mercy and grace. The boldness which we are authourised to use is that which arises from a knowledge of our own vileness and the sufficiency there is in Christ to His people's wants. Here is our confidence, here is our hope; in Christ and in Him crucified we find both power and willingness to help.
II. THE REASONS why we are to come to the throne of grace are two, namely, that we may obtain mercy, and grace to help in time of need. And oh! what need have we to pray for mercy! Let us for one moment call to mind the many and grievous sins which we have committed against a pure and holy God. Let us remember also that we must very shortly give an account to God for every word we have spoken, every thought we have conceived, every deed we have done. Let us think for one moment of these things, and surely we shall not delay to cry for mercy; surely we shall earnestly and at once cry out with the publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner." We are to come also for "grace to help in time of need." Although salvation is not of debt but of grace, although it is the free gift of God through Christ Jesus, nevertheless we must be made meet to receive it. Holiness, be it remembered, will not entitle us to heaven; it will only make us like those who are accounted worthy of it. Every moment, therefore, of our lives must be under the guidance of Divine grace.
III. And now let me remind you of a few SEASONS WHEN WE GREATLY STAND IN NEED OF GOD'S ASSISTANCE.
1. The time of prosperity is a "time of need." When the world smiles upon us we are in a situation of great difficulty and danger. We are then apt to put our confidence more in the creature and less in the Creator.
2. The time of adversity is a "time of need." When the hand of God presses heavy upon us, how ready are we to question His loving-kindness! how disposed are we to give way to despair and to indulge in immoderate grief! to doubt those gracious words, "All things shall work together for good to them that love God"!
3. The time of death is a "time of need." It is an awful thing to contend with the prince of this world for the last time. It is an awful thing to know that we are about to enter upon eternity and to appear in the presence of the living God.
(John Wright, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.