I recently posted the 3rd of Ebenezer Erskine’s points on how God in Christ is a God of love, where he shows that God sits on a throne of glory, justice and grace:
1. Throne of Glory – Matthew 25:31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
2. Throne of Justice – Hebrews 12:22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all
3. Throne of Grace – Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
These three aspects of God’s throne must be taken together if the believer is to know God and approach him appropriately. It is worth thinking about what happens to our attitude to God when one or more of these aspects of God’s rule are missing:
The Fool: this person says “there is no God so there is no throne of glory, justice or grace.” The fool has no constraints on his behaviour. He glorifies himself or other gods, fears no judgement and so sins without restraint. He is self absorbed, self centred and lacks kindness as he has no grasp of grace.
The Worshipper: this person knows that the throne of God is a throne of glory alone. You’ll see this person at all the major worship events, with hands raised and spirit overflowing with reverence and joy. Outside the worship arena his life is unchanged, he sins with impunity and never asks for forgiveness, as he has no concept of God’s reign of justice nor of his grace.
The Moralist: this person knows that the throne of God is a throne of justice alone. You’ll see this person campaigning for social justice, strictly upholding the 10 commandments, seeking changes on the abortion law and tutting at the immoral. No joy in worship and no concept of grace, this person is cold, hard and moral.
The Open Sinner: this person knows that God’s rule is a rule of grace alone. Everything she does is under God’s grace and her forgiveness is all that matters to her. She has no idea that her behaviour could glorify God or that her sin is serious because of the judgement throne of God. This is the sort of person Paul had in mind when he wrote Romans 6.
The Legalist: this person is concerned about the glory of God and the law, because he knows that God sits on a throne of glory and justice. He will either be proud and arrogant because he thinks that his behaviour glorifies God or he’ll be sad and defeated because he knows he can’t stand before God’s throne of justice. Without the throne of grace his behaviour can never truly glorify God as God’s glory is seen in the grace of Christ in his death for our sin.
The Neonomian: this person is focused on his present condition before God which is based on a mixture of grace and works. He can only see the twin thrones of grace and justice and has lost sight of God’s throne of glory. Thus, he forgets that God has graciously given him the gift of righteousness through faith in Christ alone (Romans 4:5) for the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2). He doesn’t know that God has already glorified him (Romans 8:30). So, his attitude swings from confidence to uncertainty as his grasp of grace and his moral performance are mixed. In his own eyes, he’s only as good as his last game.
The Antinomian: this is what happens to the person who wants to glorify God by emphasising his grace and glory alone. This person refuses to accept God as judge and so will not humbly and submit to his commandments and statutes which God has given us for our good (Deut 10:12-13). This is especially true of western liberal Christianity with respect to sexual ethics.
The joyful obedience of faith: this is the sort of person Paul wanted the Romans to be when he wrote to them. Joyful before the throne of glory (Romans 15:13), obedient before the throne of justice and confident before the throne of grace (Romans 6:22-23), through faith in Christ alone (Romans 3:21-22). The complete Christian knows that God sits on a throne which draws us to him because he is glorious, just and full of grace and mercy.
For more posts like this see Transforming Grace Venn diagram posts