Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT)
A Call to Persevere
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death,(lit. through His flesh) Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
V19, In OT times the people were kept at a distance; now in Christ we are brought near through the blood of His cross. Therefore we are encouraged to draw near.
This exhortation assumes that all believers are now priests because we are told to have boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. The common people during the Jewish economy were barred from the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place; only the priests could enter the first room, and only the high priest could enter the second. Now that is all changed. God has no special place where only a special caste of men may approach Him. Instead, all believers may come into His presence by faith at any time and from any place on earth.
V19,Therefore recalls the therefore of 4:16. The author has spent five chapters explaining the superiority of Christ’s priesthood to the Levitical priesthood and the superiority of the New Covenant to the Mosaic covenant. Unlike the Israelites, who approached God at Mt. Sinai with fear and trembling (Ex. 20:18–21), believers can approach God with boldness (see 3:6; 4:16; 10:35) because we possess Christ’s righteousness and not our own. The Holiest refers to the very presence of God. On this earth, most of us do not have immediate access to a president or monarch. But through Christ’s blood, we have perpetual access to God Himself.
V20, Our approach is by a new and living way. New here may have the meaning of “newly slain” or “newly made”. Living seems to be a reference to Jesus in resurrection, therefore, to a living Saviour. This way was opened through the veil, that is, His flesh. This clearly teaches that the veil between the two compartments of the tabernacle was a type of the body of our Lord. In order for us to have access into God’s presence, the veil had to be rent, that is, His body had to be broken in death. This reminds us that we cannot draw near by Christ’s sinless life, but only by His vicarious death. Only through the mortal wounds of the Lamb can we go in. Every time we enter God’s presence in prayer or worship, let us remember that the privilege was bought for us at tremendous cost.
V21, We not only have great confidence when we enter the presence of God; we also have a great High Priest over the house of God. Even though we are priests (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6), yet we still need a Priest ourselves. Christ is our great High Priest, and His present ministry for us assures our continued welcome before God.
V22, Let us draw near. This is the believer’s blood-bought privilege. How wonderful beyond all words that we are invited to have audience, not with this world’s celebrities, but with the Sovereign of the universe! The extent to which we value the invitation is shown by the manner in which we respond to it.
There is a fourfold description of how we should be spiritually groomed in entering the throne room.
1. With a true heart. The people of Israel drew near to God with their mouth, and honored Him with their lips, but their heart was often far from Him (Matt. 15:8). Our approach should be with utter sincerity.
2. In full assurance of faith. We draw near with utter confidence in the promises of God and with the firm conviction that we shall have a gracious reception into His presence.
3. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. This can be brought about only by the new birth. When we trust Christ, we appropriate the value of His blood. Figuratively speaking, we sprinkle our hearts with it, just as the Israelites sprinkled their doors with the blood of the Passover lamb. This delivers us from an evil conscience.
4. And our bodies washed with pure water. Again this is symbolic language. Our bodies represent our lives. The pure water might refer either to the word (Eph 5:25, 26), to the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39), or to the Holy Spirit using the word in cleansing our lives from daily defilement.
We are cleansed once for all from the guilt of sin by the death of Christ, but cleansed repeatedly from the defilement of sin by the Spirit through the word (see John 13:10). Thus we might summarize the four requisites for entering God’s presence as sincerity, assurance, salvation, and sanctification.
What a great and awesome privilege granted us – to get to…we get to…enter into the very presence of God. Let’s humbly think about this and reverently worship Him for this honor.