Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for us. He took the penalty for our sins. He is our High Priest to the Father. God has now made a new covenant or contract with us. Hebrews 10:16-17 “’This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days’, says the Lord: ‘I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them’, then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” As Christians and children of God, we have a wonderful position before God. He has put His laws into our hearts and minds and He will not remember our old sins and lawless deeds. How then do we proceed? The writer of Hebrews gives us direction in Hebrews 10:19-25 “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Let us consider what this passage of scripture tells us.
First, we can be bold and draw near to God. Under the old covenant, in the tabernacle or temple there was a holy place and a most holy place. God said that He would appear in the most holy place (Leviticus 16:2). The common people could not enter either place but must depend upon priests. Only the Levitical priests could enter the holy place to offer sacrifices and only the High Priest could enter the most holy place once a year. The High Priest entered the most holy place with fear and trembling because if he did not do everything just right as he entered the presence of God, he would die. There was a veil between the holy place and the most holy place to limit the access to God. When Jesus died on the cross, this veil was torn. Matthew 27:50-51 “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” I believe that this signifies that you and I now have free access to God because of the sacrifice of Jesus. We are no longer separated from God. We can boldly draw near to God through Jesus, our High Priest. Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We now have the privilege of direct communication with God on His throne through Jesus as our mediator. We are encouraged to be bold in our approach to God because of what Jesus has done for us.
“Draw near (to God) with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” This concept of drawing near to God describes the close relationship God desires to have with us and that we should want to have with Him. I believe that we draw near to God when we spend much time in humble prayer, when we meditate on His word, and when the Holy Spirit lives within us and produces His fruit. James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” But our hearts needs to be pure and true in worship of God. It is with faith and trust in Him that we can draw near. Our hearts no longer have an evil conscience so that we no longer need to condemn ourselves for the evil deeds we committed in the past nor desire to now commit. We have been washed with pure water in baptism so that our sins have been washed away (Acts 22:16).
“Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” To waver is to go back and forth like a flag whipped by the wind. Sometimes we are with God and obeying and trusting in Him but at other times we are away from God in our lives. Back and forth we waver. But to hold fast is to be like a load on a truck that is tied down with a tight rope. The load cannot shift or move because it is held fast by the rope. We have a faith in God and a hope in His promises. We need to hold these fast without wavering.
“Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” Not only do we have a responsibility to draw near to God and hold fast to our faith and hope, but we also have a responsibility to our fellow Christians. How can we help them in their walk with God? We are told to find ways to stir up their love and good works – to exhort and encourage them. Since we do not all live together, the assembly is a time where we can exhort and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should not be “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” As the day of Jesus’ return inevitably draws nearer for each of us, we all need to watch and be ready. We don’t forsake the assembly of ourselves together because our brothers and sisters need us and we need them. We encourage and exhort each other to be faithful and make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).
I encourage you to be bold and draw near to your heavenly Father. Do not waver in your faith and hope of His promises, but hold them fast. Then consider one another to stir up love and good works.