Boldly Approaching God
Hebrews 10:19 is a powerful verse:
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus (NET).”
We often use it to communicate our access to God’s immediate presence as a believer. This is totally true, and the reason given is because of the “blood of Jesus” and his role as a “great priest,” a reference to the High Priest. The High Priest is the one who was able to enter the Most Holy Place or Holy of Holies once a year for the Day of Atonement. A day where all of Israel would repent and their sins would be forgiven for that year.
The author of Hebrews tells us Jesus is the High Priest, who entered the heavenly temple and offered the sacrifice there. What is so cool is that the author of Hebrews also tells us that Jesus was the sacrifice as well. We see in the full letter that Jesus is essentially taking over the Old Testament’s entire sacrificial system and, by doing so, achieves something even more significant for humanity. He achieved complete forgiveness of sin once and for all and has given all believers full access to God’s very presence.
But in verse 19, there is actually a super important word that we miss, “since.” The author of Hebrews tells us that because we have this access through Jesus, there is something we ought to be doing. In fact, verses 19-25 is one sentence in Greek. Talk about a run-on sentence!
Following this introductory summary of our direct access to the presence of God through Jesus, we’re given three commands.
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near (NET).”
So because we have direct access to the presence of God, we should be:
Drawing near to God. The verb is in the active present tense, meaning we are to come to Jesus continuously and repetitively in worship. The reason why is because our hearts are now clean because of Jesus, and we are now pure-hearted. Think about the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:8, the pure-hearted are blessed because they will see God.
Holding unwaveringly to our profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The reason is that Jesus is faithful. His promises are true.
Deeply caring for one another. As a church family, we are to be caring for one another. The purpose of our caring is love, which is tangibly seen through good works. This takes place in the confines of community. So we must not forsake meeting, but rather encourage each other to keep meeting. The danger of the audience of the letter was that they would just dissolve back into the general life of their Jewish communities, but as believers, they were called out by Jesus to be separate. Back to Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus started a new community, a new people, and we as believers are a part of this new community called the church. Therefore, like the author of Hebrews wants his audience to know, we need to continue to meet as a church.
Community is essential to the church. It’s important to Jesus. He formed a new community, and we are a part of that community! The author of Hebrews gives one final encouragement to his audience, telling them to really focus on meeting together because Jesus is coming back soon. This letter was written before 100 AD, meaning we are a lot closer to the coming of Jesus than they were. So, I want to encourage you to live out those three commands moving forward. Spend time worshipping Jesus individually and corporately, hold on to your faith because Jesus is faithful, and be in community with other believers.
For His Glory,