19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
22 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.
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
My middle name is Aaron. That’s right, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I was named after the first High Priest of Israel, Aaron the brother of Moses. I am not a Levite by birth, just a small-town guy from the Midwest, and to be honest, I spent most of my life avoiding churches. I didn’t exactly live up to the name. Of course, I don’t feel so bad coming to God so late in the game: Aaron didn’t become a priest until God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. At that time, because the Israelites needed someone to stand before God and speak for them and make atonement for their sins, and because they needed that someone to tell them the Word of God, the Lord appointed Aaron and his sons to be the first priests, the first men to minister in the tabernacle. (Exodus 28:1) Of course, even Aaron wasn’t permitted to enter the presence of God in the holy of holies at just any time, only once a year for sacrifices on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 16)
But as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, the veil in front of that holiest place has been torn, and a new way has been found into the presence of God.
37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
The veil was torn from top to bottom. Just to put that in perspective, that inner sanctuary was 20 cubits high–approximately 30 feet. Someone would have to climb up a VERY tall ladder to tear that curtain from the TOP. Unless, of course, the One doing the tearing was God Himself.
The veil having been torn, there is now nothing between us and God. Nothing, that is, except our sin. However, now we have a “new and living way” into the presence of God through the flesh of Jesus Christ. Back during the days of the tabernacle and the temple, the high priest would have to make atonement for HIMSELF before he could make sacrifices of atonement for the people of Israel. (Leviticus 16:6) Jesus was the perfect, sinless Son of God, and so He never needed to atone for any sin of His own. (Hebrews 4:15) And so, Jesus having sacrificed Himself for all of us, we ourselves are now washed in the water of life–which is the blood of Jesus–and are sanctified to enter the holy of holies ourselves.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Look at verses 19-21 in today’s Scripture. That is all one sentence, but, for all those clauses and conditions, it boils down to one simple but bold statement:
“Therefore, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”
Having been sanctified by the blood of Jesus, having our hearts purified from evil by the presence of the Holy Spirit, having our bodies washed clean by the waters of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, having a perfect High Priest who has made atonement for us, and having the full assurance of our faith in Jesus’ atoning work as our High Priest and Savior, let us draw near to God.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
God will draw near to us because we are now holy and sanctified through Jesus. He who was without sin became sin for us “that we might become the righteousness of God IN HIM.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Ephesians 1:7a, 11a, 13-14
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood
11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
In Jesus Christ, we have the assurance and boldness of our faith. In Him we have our hope of the promise that was delivered to us through the gospel. And that promise of God is absolutely sure for two reasons: God cannot lie, and God is holy and mighty enough to keep such a promise. (Hebrews 6:13-18) Therefore, we CAN ” hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.”
I may not be the Aaron of the Old Testament–who, just like me, had some serious failings now and then–but because of the blood of the spotless Lamb of God, I can stand before the throne of grace and know that I stand in the righteousness of Jesus Himself. I can draw near to God because a new and living way–not a dead lamb or bull or goat, but the resurrected Son of God–stands before me to give me access to God Almighty. That knowledge, that faith, that evidence of things not seen is what gives me confidence to speak to the Lord my God and know He will hear from His holy place and forgive me and act to deliver me.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Dear friends, there is One who has entered the presence of God on our behalf to wash us clean with His own blood. There is One who alone was sinless and yet suffered for OUR sins. There is One who has delivered us from the famine of faith to bring us the full promise of the peace of God. There is One who alone is the new and living way to eternal life. There is One who is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. (John 14:6) That One is Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, let us hold fast the confession of our hope in that Jesus, and let us draw near to the Lord our God in full assurance of the salvation and sanctification that has been granted us through God’s own mercy and grace.
Holy Lord God, the Psalmist wrote “Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.” We DO hope in You, O Lord. We do pant for You as a deer pants for water in a dry and thirsty land. We crave Your presence in our lives. I praise the holy name of Jesus Christ, because by that name, by the blood of Your holy Son, I am able to stand with boldness before You and know the fullness of Your love. Help me, Father, to always draw near to You, to never doubt that I have obtained the salvation You have promised, to never waver in my hope nor in my faith. Let me be strengthened in You, precious Lord, that I may serve You all my days. Amen.