- Sadly, something must be said here as well. My systematic theology professor also tried to use this verse as a proof text of how Jesus had a possibility of sinning when He was a man. I’m sorry, Dr. Smith, you cannot say that. All you can actually say from this verse is that he didn’t sin.
- So could he? Well, if He was fully God and fully Man as the Scriptures teach, that means he had “hypostatic union. He was both God and man at the same time. Because He was God, he could not sin. There is a bit of a debate on if he had a pre-Adamic nature so that He was without our sin nature because He had no earthly father, and I think that may be true, but you cannot use this verse as a proof text to say that Jesus could sin or that He could not. All we can say from this verse is that He did not. To do so is to inappropriately and inaccurately handle the word of truth.
16: Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- Because He can sympathize and because He can understand, we are strongly encouraged (exhorted) to make our approach with confidence, because He will not turn us away when we approach His throne. He will not reject us when we go to Him because as sinners we need His grace in our lives.
Now isn’t it nice that we have all that? Jesus, our great High Priest after a different order than the Levitical Priesthood, sympathizes and will offer us His grace when we turn to Him.
That should read IF we turn to Him. IF we will actually repent, that is turn from our sins, changing how we think about our sin; and IF we will believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead because the Father was pleased with Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, and considers it enough to pay for all the sins of those who will ever believe that His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient for the purpose! This implies (v.10) that we lay down our own works and start doing His by living for him.
I remember when I was first saved, I very quickly learned that everyone was happy for me that I had become a Christian, as long as I wasn’t living according to His word and obeying what it said. When I started doing that – well, things got a lot harder. I needed more of His grace – but I could go boldly into His presence in a spiritual sense through prayer to get it, no matter what had happened. I remember when my first real love as a Christian dumped me. We had been talking about how many kids we wanted, and what colour to paint the bathroom (yellow was out). We were making plans as a couple. And then she told an itinerant minister that she never did any of that with me. What, I made that up? No, she lied, and I’m the one that paid for it for the next 5 or 6 years. I had friends that knew the real story, and that itinerant minister was one of them (his name is Tim). His advice was to just let it go, and turn to God for His grace. I did, because I didn’t know where else to turn, frankly. And then one day, in my sorrow, I read the following verse in my regular meditations – Psalm 30:10-12 – ““Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me; O Lord, be my helper.” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” I began to sing a song, each line growing stronger because I began to believe it and really sense its truth in my life, maybe for the first time – “Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin – How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin? Taking away my burden, giving me liberty – the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.” From that point, I began to live like verses 14 to 16 here were true.
And you know what? Some people didn’t like it. My former love certainly didn’t, and she went through her own rough time, which I hope ended well. I don’t know, because we lost touch after I became engaged to my wife. Some of the church leadership didn’t like it, because they had me pigeon-holed as the proverbial weaker brother because I just couldn’t get into the “rejoicing” around me (it wasn’t real rejoicing). Everyone was fine when I was just sitting in the back row not saying anything. Nobody liked when I started to preach the truth about how our “church” had become like Ephesus or Sardis, and that I knew firsthand we weren’t like Philadelphia at all. But I was no longer looking for their approval, and I’m not now. I play for an audience of One. And if you don’t like it, that’s too bad, I feel sorry for you. Repent and believe the Gospel.
And that’s chapter 4. next time, chapter 5.