Grace For Your Day August 1

The Puritans had an unusual way of writing books because they would take one verse from the Bible and write 300 pages on it. They would take one small portion of Scripture and then publish an entire book on the subject which is what Thomas Goodwin did with the Book of Hebrews. He published an entire book on Hebrews 4:15 which says:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin.

Goodwin explains his reason for writing on this passage in the following words:

I have chosen this text, as that which above any other speaks [Christ’s] heart most, and sets out the frame and workings of it towards sinners; and that so sensibly that it does, as it were, take our hands, and lay them upon Christ’s breast, and let us feel his heart beats and his affections toward us . . . the very scope of these words being manifestly to encourage believers against all that may discourage them, from the consideration of Christ’s heart towards them now in heaven.

In other words, Goodwin wrote this book to encourage Christians. He wrote it so that he could build us up by showing us Christ’s heart towards those in distress because it says that Jesus can “sympathize with our weaknesses.” The Greek word for “sympathize” is sumpatheo which is a compound word from sum or “with” and patheo or “suffer” because it means that Jesus can suffer with us. He understands what we are going through because “He was tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin” (verse 15).

This passage also says that, in dying for us, Jesus made a way for us to come before “the throne of grace” which is another encouragement in this passage. It provides a further blessing for us because the Lord does not give us a throne of judgment now but He gives us a throne of grace. He does not bring us before a God of punishment but He brings us before a God of mercy all through His work on the cross which is why we can “draw near with confidence.” This is why we can come to God in the first place because Jesus paid it all.

All of this is even more encouraging when you remember the context for this chapter and that is the sin of Israel. Hebrews 4 was written to remind us of the Jews’ wicked behavior when they disobeyed the Lord in the wilderness and were forced to wander around there for 40 years because the author is reminding us not to repeat their mistake. We need to treat the Word of God more seriously than that. However, at the same time, he also wants to show us that, when we do sin, there is an answer for it and that is the cross. As verse 14 says,

Therefore, since have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

We do not have to give up hope when we sin because Jesus passed through the heavens for us which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church by looking at “The High Priesthood of Jesus.”  We are going to do that because we all sin from time-to-time and we are all prone to wander like Israel did when we hear the Word of God. In fact, if we were honest about it, we do not merely do this from time-to-time but we do it repeatedly. However, the good news is that that is not the end of the story. God knows our frailties and He understands our weaknesses and that is why He sent Jesus in order to save us.  

Please join us at 9:30 on Sunday morning as we talk about that. If you have sinned against the Lord this week and you are in need of some hope, this passage is for you. You do not have to be afraid. You do not have to be in despair. You do not have to give up the fight. You do not have to quit. You do not even have to give into the sin that is tempting you because you can overcome it knowing that Jesus is there to “help you in your time of need.” I look forward to unpacking that important truth with you.

  – Jeremy Cagle