Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need —Hebrews 4:16 (KJV).
….Boldness and faith go together; fear and unbelief go together. “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (Isaiah 7:9 NIV). It is always want of faith that is at the bottom of all fear. “Why are you afraid?” is the question for those of little faith. So, in order to come boldly, and therefore joyfully, all we need is more faith in the great high priest who sits upon the throne of grace.
Now, do not sigh, “Ah, I wish I had more faith!” It will not come to you by languid lamentations about your want of faith. “It is the gift of God.” And if you knew this gift of God, and who it is that only waits to be inquired of, that he may give it to you, surely you would ask of him! For he “gives generously to all without reproach” (James 1:5 ESV) — not even with all your neglect of him and his gifts. Just ask! and he says, “It shall be given you” (Luke 11:9). “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). And let the least glimmer of dawning faith in your heart lead you to go on asking, and to pray continually, “Lord, increase our faith.” Then you will be able to come boldly; for ‘in Christ Jesus our Lord ... we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12).
People do not come for what they do not want.…If you have never yet felt that you could sincerely say, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (or, as the Greek has it more emphatically, “to me, the sinner”), and therefore have never yet felt particularly anxious to come to the throne of grace to obtain it, I would urgently entreat you to pray, “Lord, show me myself!” When the Holy Spirit answers that prayer, you will be eager enough to come and obtain mercy! It will be the one thing then that you will be particularly anxious about.
Obtaining mercy comes first; then finding grace to help in time of need. You cannot reverse God’s order. You will not find grace to help in time of need till you have sought and found mercy to save. You have no right to reckon on God’s help and protection and guidance, and all the other splendid privileges which he promises to “the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:26), until you have this first blessing, the mercy of God in Christ Jesus; for it is in Jesus Christ that all the promises of God are yes, and Amen. But he is “rich in mercy,” and “delights in mercy.” All who have come to the throne of grace for it, “are now the people of God, which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:10). And then no less surely will they, and do they, “find grace to help in every time of need.”
About the author and the source
Frances Havergal (1836–1879), the author of such well-known hymns as “Take My Life and Let it Be” and “I Gave My Life for Thee,” also wrote several devotional books, each having a month’s worth of thoughts. One, Royal Invitation, considered each day one of the Bible’s many appeals to come.
Havergal, Frances Ridley. The Royal Invitation, or Daily Thoughts of Coming to Christ. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1887.