It’s a Throne of Grace, not Groveling

There is never a reason for a child of God to respond to him as if you are a worm who must grovel in his presence:

 

Instead, the Bible says:

Let us then approach God’s 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.)

What is the time of need? The writer of Hebrews had just finished describing the ministry of Jesus as the one who helps people in their weakness and temptation. This passage then means you can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence even when you are in the depths of struggle with sin. Jesus knows what people are going through and can “empathize with our weaknesses, [because] we have one who has been tempted in every way.” (Hebrews 4:15.)

Worm Theology is Wormy Theology

Some will tell you that you are a worm who must grovel before God. Don’t listen to them. They are stuck in a mindset similar to the one the writer of Hebrews was trying to correct for his readers as well.

Hebrews was written to Jewish believers in Jesus, and the first few chapters are designed to show them they are much better off with Jesus than in returning to their old ways of exercising their faith. Jesus is superior to angels (Hebrews chapter 1), superior to Moses (chapter 3), and superior to any high priest (chapter 4). Jesus’ gospel of grace is a radical departure for them.

They had been taught their whole lives that their repeated sins required repeated sacrifices in order to maintain their right standing with God. While they knew God to be “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8), their heritage also taught them that a failure to follow the rules meant facing God’s wrath. That was a frightening prospect as their prophet Jeremiah learned.

Jeremiah on the Ruins of Jerusalem, Horace Vernet 1844 (Wikipedia)

The Lord is righteous,
yet I rebelled against his command.
Listen, all you peoples;
look on my suffering. …

I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long. (Lamentations 1:18, 3:1-3.)

To the Jewish readers of Hebrews, the idea that God’s throne is a throne of grace rather than a throne of wrath for those in sin must have sounded odd, even unthinkable perhaps. Yet throne of grace it is and one you too can approach confidently, knowing you are welcome there because of Jesus and all he’s done for you.

You are not to act like a groveling worm, forever in fear of God’s condemnation. That’s not who you are at all.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free … . (Romans 8:1-2.)

You are free forever and a beloved child of God who is instructed in Scripture itself to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, not groveling. Jesus welcomes you there.

That’s what Scripture says. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

***

Bold I approach the eternal throne …

***

 

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8 Responses to It’s a Throne of Grace, not Groveling

  1. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    So encouraging, Tim.

  2. Pastor Bob says:

    I see why this is posted, and we need it.
    Perhaps the counter pint should be brought out and examined (another posting idea?).
    That point is the believers who as servants make demands upon God that should not be made. A minister one time talked about how the man was not imploring, begging, oar asking – but DEMANDING (his emphasis) for his needs. The more he listened the more he heard ‘worldly wants’ not needs (new nice car, bigger house, more income, selfish as he called it). He even added this phrase, “Lord your servant beckons you come this moment.”
    How do we balance this? Time with Him listening.
    Should we consider what others have to say? Yes but go back to time with Him find the right balance.
    Sadly as these words are typed, we all know that some (many?!) will not take the necessary time.
    My hope is that these words are read, one more will take more time with Him.

  3. Maybe it is mistaking God an iron age or medieval despot, whose ego or political power depended on being grovelled to, but Jesus wasn’t like that. It’s not the form of leadership he modelled and he’s God. Matt 20:25 the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them…
    There are times when our human pride gets in the way, but God is much more interested in how we treat others than any attempt to appease him by grovelling
    Isaiah 58:5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the

  4. Anu Riley says:

    So many of us are USED to condemnation that it’s difficult to get rid of it as believers. And condemnation often produces groveling. It is all we have known, and sadly—-it WORKS. Condemnation (linked to God’s wrath) is often what people may WANT to hear, because (as the post indicates), the concept of grace is just too radical to swallow. And again, it’s so familiar to us that we embrace it far more easily and readily. Grace, however, is not so easily welcomed.

    I was once told that you can quote Scripture all you want, but that is purely intellectual knowledge. There are scholars and professors that probably know the Word better than many Christians! But It is NOT the same as living it out.

    The phrase “repeated sins required repeated sacrifices” reminded me of the verse in Hebrews claiming that there is no more sacrifice for sin. When I first read that, I think I felt a mixture of joy, relief—-but also tension. When I sin, there is nothing I can do to make it right.

    No amount of groveling—-trembling before what I assumed was an angry God, ready to strike me with His whip of wrath—-was going to undo what I had done. Only His sacrifice, applied to my sin, was going to blot it out.

    But knowing such Scriptures didn’t always mean that I lived it. It can take a lot of time for what should be the most WONDERFUL, welcoming news to sink into a skull as thick as mine.

    I had always lived with the fear of wrath. Now the Lord is telling me that His wrath was forever swallowed up by His Son, and because I am now in Him—He is forever done dealing with me on the basis of His wrath.

    Grace is also hard to swallow because it can open the door to be abused in ways that He never intended. I’ve listened to victims who were told to show grace to your abuser or attacker. Don’t condemn him or her. Don’t make him or her grovel before you in order to be forgiven. Be gracious as God is gracious to you.

    No true and sincere believer would EVER want to be groveled to, just as the Lord doesn’t want us to grovel before Him. Even by those that have victimized us, groveling is not welcomed.

    I can only speak for me, but the reason why is simple: it solves nothing, and it proves nothing. To me, groveling is an extreme form of behavior. Anyone who is truly repentant does not need to go such lengths in order to demonstrate real, Biblical repentance.

    Groveling (again, IMO) demonstrates a worldly sorrow that leads to death, while godly sorrow leads to repentance. Groveling does not necessarily demonstrate sincere sorrow for their sins. It does not impress the Lord at all. Frankly. you can express godly sorrow without shedding a tear. Crying is not a prerequisite to being forgiven.

    Approaching the throne of grace boldly (but not pridefully) is because God’s grace made that possible in the first place. Groveling in order to be seen by Him implies that the door is closed to you and you have to bang on it, pleading and crying, until He condescends to let you in. The door is already wide open. You already have free, unrestricted, limitless access.

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