Elder O. B. Mink
Now In Glory

In Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” (Ephesians 3:12)

The saint needs to take note from the text that his “boldness” is in Christ, and not in himself. Christ is the saint’s true object of faith, and as his faith in Christ grows, so does his boldness toward the denunciation of evil grow. We read of Christ’s disciples at the time of His arrest in Gethsemane, “They all forsook Him, and fled,” (Mark 14:50). After the resurrection of Christ the faith of the disciples soared to new heights. They were delivered from their base fears, and stood undaunted before the High Priest, Elders and Rulers of Israel, declaring boldly, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) In the next verse we are given one of the conclusions of this Jewish high court, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus,” (Acts 4:13). Some may see in these words an admission of Christ’s resurrection by the Jews, but whether or not this is the case, the poor struggling saint knows that time spent with his risen Lord works wonders for his faltering faith.

The Term “boldness” Used In A Bad Sense

Of recent date, there have been some men who are considered by thousands to be leaders in theological scholarship, casting this superlative term in a bad light. Commenting on Hebrews 4:16, John R. Rice, quoting Bob Jones, Sr. approvingly, states, “I am not a stranger. I am at home in my heavenly family. I just pull my chair up to the table and say, ‘Pappy, please pass the biscuits,” STEPS FOR NEW CONVERTS, By John R. Rice, page 23.

When Paul says in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace he does not mean we are to equate God with earthly fathers, who not only often look the other way when their little darlings sin, but who, also many times due to sentiment and ignorance, place approbation on the sinful actions of their children. Such a postulate as Jones and Rice puts forth impugns the holy character of God, and serves to diminish the respect children should have for their earthly parents. No true parent can be a tyrant in the home. Neither will the true parent allow his affection for his children to be abused by them. Rashness and irreverence are incongruous to the nature of filial love, and this being true in the natural realm it is all the more true regarding the believer’s relationship to his heavenly Father.

Boldness” as used by Paul in Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16 and Hebrews 10:19, does not mean children of God can barge into His presence irreverently or unconscious of the great price that has been paid for their access to His awesome presence. Paul has in view a noble boldness, a boldness that does not forget with Whom he has to do, a boldness which is reverential and not presumptuous and daring. Mr. Jones and Mr. Rice could have learned a lesson from the Psalmist as to the correct approach unto God, he said, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker,” (Psalms 95:6). Or by observing Daniel, who, “kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before His God” (Daniel 6:10). We read of the beloved Son of God, in approaching the Father, “kneeled down, and prayed” (Luke 22:41). And Paul, the boldest of the bold, said, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:14).
There are great liberties and privileges connected with the believer’s sonship in Christ, but they do not include the right to address God haughtily, and say, “Pappy, please pass the biscuits.”

The Term “boldness” Viewed In Its Proper Light

The word “boldness” translates a Greek word which denotes freedom of speech. True liberty of speech is not to say what we please, but what we ought to say. “For so is the will of God that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God” (I Peter 2:15-16). Christ is the one Mediator and official Spokesman in the presence of God for all believers. Therefore, their every acceptable utterance unto God is channeled through Him, (Hebrews 9: 24, John 14:6, I Timothy 2:5). Thus, it is, the term “boldness” as used by Paul in our text, and in Hebrews 4:16, and Hebrews 10:19 bespeaks the liberty which believers have to approach God directly through their Advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous. The term as used by Paul in the above references indicates more than liberty of approach, it also evidences the absence of restraint in the believer’s approach. The one thing that hindered the Israelite’s entrance unto God under the Mosaic economy was fear, fear that his sacrifice would be rejected by God, “They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die” (Leviticus 22:9). The difference between the entrance of an Old Testament Israelite and that of a New Testament believer is, the Israelite’s sacrifice was typical, and could not eternally stay the condemnation of sin (Hebrews 10:4). Christ is the anti-type of Israel’s sacrifice, the eternally perfect and all sufficient sacrifice, and by the virtue of His shed blood the believer has liberty void of fear to enter the presence of God. Under Judaism the Israelites were debarred or precluded from the presence of God, even the Levites which ministered in the tabernacle were strenuously shut out from the holy of holies. Only the high priest was permitted behind the veil, and that only once a year, (Exodus 30:10, Leviticus 16:34, Hebrews 9:7). The High Priest entered the holy of holies with the utmost caution, and with ultimate religious awe. Being acutely aware of his own unworthiness and knowing his sacrifice may be rejected by God gave birth to tormenting fear that held his whole essence and being under arrest. If the sacrifice was rejected it meant there was sin in the camp which was un-repented of, the consequence being, divine chastisement. The fear of rejection and divine rebuke held the people in bondage year in and year out for fifteen hundred years. But today, the believer’s High Priest is the sinless Son of God, Who has consecrated for us a “new and living way” and delivered “them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15, 10:20). In view of the foregoing, Paul says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22).

The believer by virtue of the sacrificial blood of Christ has perpetual access to the throne of God apart from any earthly intermediaries, and for the believing heart the craven fear of being rejected has been vanquished. The New Testament grants the believer a measure of boldness toward God, yet nowhere in the Bible are believers encouraged to approach God without that high and holy fear which is the ground of true worship and wisdom, “Fear God, and give glory to Him ... and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea and the fountains of water” (Revelation 14:7). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). So while boldness toward God is inculcated in the New Testament; it is a boldness that excludes lower and baser fears, but it is also a boldness which is ever conscious of the infinite holiness of God. It is not a reckless boldness, but one that is careful in speech and conduct. It is a boldness that joyously owns its limitations. It is a boldness which has abolished the fear of being rejected at the judgment (I John 4:10), and it is a boldness which gives confidence that we will not be ashamed at His coming (I John 2:28). Yet, this glorious boldness does not now, nor shall ever afford us the right to approach God apart from holy and reverential fear. Even the Christian home should have more respect for its dining table, that to allow one of the children to barge in at its leisure, and say to the father at the head of the table, “Pappy, please pass the biscuits.” All things are to be done decently and in order in both the church and the home, and surely, decency and order will be the decorum in glory.

Let all the earth fear the Lord: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” (Psalms 33:8)

(Sovereign Grace Advocate - February, 1978)

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