Hebrews 4:16: A Different Perspective

I am the type of person that cannot stand it when someone tries too hard to come up with a “new” revelation on a particular scripture (or passage). I am convinced that many people, out of selfish ambition or just a desire to be heard, do anything and everything they can with a passage just to get someone to listen to them. That being said, this “different perspective” is nothing major, but rather, a subtle facet I have not picked up on before. Here is the verse:

Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

If you have been in an evangelical church for 6 months or more, you have probably heard this verse at least once if not multiple times.

If I am remembering correctly, every time I have heard this verse, it is usually employed in the following manner: For every person who has put their trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, all that Christ did and suffered on the cross is accepted on behalf of the person who has chosen to trust in Jesus. Therefore, you have the legal right, based upon the substitutionary work of Christ, to come boldly to the throne of grace in order to receive the help you need from Daddy God.

Considering the overall message of the book of Hebrews, there is little doubt in my mind that this is part of the meaning of this passage. However, there is something else this morning that God is communicating.

Look at the verse before:

Hebrews 4:15 NKJV
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Right before Christians are called to come boldly before God’s throne, the focus in the verse leading up to this scripture is that Jesus Christ can understand, feel, and ultimately identify with our human weakness as well as all of the areas we are unfortunately tempted. The Bible says He was tempted in “all” points as we are. In other words, nothing can come your way that Jesus, while on earth, was not subjected to in some form or fashion (I say “some form or fashion” because, though he could not have been tempted with something as specific as internet pornagraphy, he definitely would have had women throwing themselves at him due to his clout, power, and kindness).

Are you lonely?
Do you want to have sex but are trying to wait and do all of this God’s way?
Do hate someone no matter how hard you try to forgive?
Are you greedy?
Full of selfish-ambition?
Do you keep spiritual authority at arm’s length?
Have you accepted Christ but rejected the Church?
Do you neglect the Word?
Are you having problems receiving His forgiveness?

You need Jesus, and in order for you to come to Him, you need to know that the above list was not totally foreign to Him. He can identify. The fact that he was without sin is inserted not to scare you away, but rather, to encourage you that He has answer for you personally. He knows how to say no. He knows how to overcome.

All that to say, I believe that this particular passage is not telling us to be bold because Jesus has taken care of our sin (though this is required), but rather, because Jesus experienced weakness and temptation just like us. In other words, God is telling us, “Do not hesitate my child to run into my presence with your weaknesses, struggles, and even sin. I understand. I know it can be difficult. I know you will fail from time to time. But still come. I have experienced the same things in one way or another. I will not turn you away, so come boldly.”

We are sometimes forfeiting one of the great privileges of our faith when we do not pout out our hearts before him (Psalms 62:8). Jesus is waiting for some of us to give in to our weakness and fall into his chest.


Published by B.J. Condrey, PhD

Dr. Condrey holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Missouri-KC, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in Ethics & Practical Theology from the University of Edinburgh. He is ACSI certified. Dr. Condrey writes courses and teaches Psychology, Bible, and C.S. Lewis at Enlightium Academy, where he began working in 2016. He has served as a youth, young adult, and small group pastor in the local church, and currently teaches Ethics at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a book published by Wipf & Stock (Breaking Ground) along with other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing, spending time with his family, traveling, trout fishing, family hikes, and drinking coffee! He is passionate about helping young people construct a biblical worldview so that their faith involves both the mind and heart. He has been married since 2009 and has two children.

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