"And then I met Amy..."
"And then she said 'Yes'..."
"And then she looked at the ring and said 'Yes'..."
"And then she jumped on the bed, waving the stick and shouting 'It's blue'..."
"And then she pushed one last time and we heard his healthy lungs..."
The story of my life has a lot of "then's" in it. Great moments, turns, twists, markers and milestones.
Big things happen after "then's." Especially in Scripture.
In Hebrews 4, the author of Hebrews says "let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we might receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." The "then" here is crucial.
Lots of people feel confident approaching the throne of grace. They feel confident because they think their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. They feel confident because God is a loving God and a forgiving God. They feel confident because they don't realize that the throne of grace is a throne, that God is the King of kings, and that they've never approached a throne like this one.
Hebrews tells us to approach the throne of grace with confidence. This is an imperative. We are supposed to do it. We are implored to do it. But it's important to know why, to notice the "then."
Our confident approach to the throne of grace is the next natural step from our vision of the great high priest who was tempted just like us, but who didn't sin. Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses. The person sitting on the throne understands.
And this, then, makes all the difference.