Your Question # 35
[#35] Why the sequence of `...that we may (1) obtain mercy, (2) find grace.... (3) to help` in time of need in Hebrews 4:16?
Thank you, that's a very insightful question.
Looking at this verse in context, we first see we have a High Priest, the Lord Jesus who represents us before the Father. As children of God we have free, unhindered access into the presence of God to make our requests known to Him through prayer to find help, provision, and deliverance from the trials and tribulations we encounter here on earth.
Verse 15 says that Jesus knows our weaknesses, and is sympathetic to us to provide for us and to be there in any of life's difficult situations. He understands the danger and nature of temptations: 1 Cor 10:13 "No temptations has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God if faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (NKJV, highlights, mine).
Now to your answer, we are FIRST invited to come to the Lord boldly, (like a small child who can burst in on his dad, the King, any time he wants even if the King is in the middle of state affairs.) The King sits on a 'throne of grace'. Let me give you a little background on this. In the O.T. there was the Tabernacle. The Priest had to go behind the veil to the Ark of Covenant with a blood sacrifice and sprinkle the blood on the 'mercy seat'. The lid on the Ark covered the 'ten commandments', (the law). When God saw the blood OVER the law, He was able to provide mercy for the people. In O.T. time there was no mention of grace. Grace does not hide behind the veil, it is 'freely given'. When Jesus died on the cross, remember the veil was torn in two, allowing all born again children, free access into the presence of God's holy throne room without the need to bring another blood sacrifice, WHY? Because Jesus paid man's sin offering in His blood, ONCE FOR ALL.
One commentator said, 'if there was NO mercy seat (lid over the law), because of the absolute justice of God, He would see His perfect law broken by man, time and again, and He MUST execute judgment, because He is Holy, and His Holy nature would require it. BUT because of the blood sacrifice He can grant mercy to the sinner. This had to be done year by year, up until the sacrifice of Jesus who died once for all and no other offerings would be required. Still with me?
Now in N.T. time, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, there is no more veil to keep man separated from God, "Come boldly to the throne of grace", see the grace?
Now the order. Because of Christ, mercy is what we need first from God. Mercy means we do NOT receive what we deserve due to our sins - judgment and death. Mercy comes first, then grace. Grace means we are able to receive what we do not deserve from God's good hand to His children....Favor, Forgiveness, Blessings, Gifts, Deliverance, Peace, and a multitude of other blessings. And lastly, God is able and willing because of what Jesus has done for us to give us all that we need in times of distress. Phil 4:19 "And my God shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
“For a throne to be a throne it must have one in authority upon it, a king or a deity. Many kings have sat on their thrones, some as vicious tyrants, and others as benefactors from family or estates. But there is no throne in which a mortal king has occupied that can ever be called the throne of grace. Our loving God is so bent towards grace that He actually seats Himself upon it and surrounds Himself by it. His throne is the only throne of grace”. (Grace Anthems)
I pray my answer has helped. Sorry if I got too technical. If you have further questions, please send a follow-up. I also prayer that you have received God's mercy and forgiveness of sin and asked Jesus to be your Savior.