These are the verses I’ve been waiting patiently to get to since we started this series. These may be some of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. The concept contained here is so transformational. I hope you’re excited!
Hebrews 10:19-22 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
Since we have confidence to enter the most holy place. Confidence? Why do we have confidence? Well, it’s because our hope is anchored to the finished work of Jesus and not on the old covenant. We are confident because Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He offered himself once for all. Our confidence is based on the completeness of what He did and not on our works. Our boast is in Jesus, not our achievement.
We can enter the Most Holy Place by this new and living way that was opened for us through his body. It’s a pretty literal picture. Paul says in Romans 6:4-8 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
We were buried with him through baptism into death in order that we can be raised with Him in the same way Christ was raised. The way into the Most Holy Place is by embracing the same kind of death that Christ suffered – giving his life for others. It’s almost as though we climb through the wounds of His flesh, get covered in the blood and made perfect and come out clean on the other side. As gruesome as that may be, it’s the only way into that which we were made to enjoy – God’s presence. And since we have this great High priest over the house of God (we are the house), let us…
Draw near to God. The author has been taking us on a journey and we’re still not yet at our final destination. But, all that stuff about Moses is what we were designed to experience. Remember how Moses went up the mountain and his face was glowing after being in God’s presence and it freaked the Israelites out? Well, that’s what you and I are supposed to experience in our relationship with God.
We draw near to God, not just with confidence, but “The full assurance that faith brings.” We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place, and we have the full assurance of faith. The word for full assurance is ‘Plerophoria.’ Which means full assurance, conviction. But it comes from the word: ‘Plerophoreo’ which means to carry through to the end, accomplish. The author is starting to prepare us for his teaching on faith. Like he has done all throughout the letter, he sprinkles in the idea before he gets too deep into it. We have the full assurance that faith brings. Doesn’t that seem a bit contradictory? How can you have full assurance with faith? We’ll get into that more next week. But, it is possible. In fact, it is the only real way to walk with Christ. Draw near to God with full assurance, conviction and completion.
Notice this: “having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” We are the place where God’s Spirit dwells. If the Spirit lives in our heart, then our hearts have to be purified. So, the external cleansing ritual that used to be so important is now internal. It’s not something done with human hands but with the Spirit of Christ because the sanctuary wasn’t built by human hands, the sanctuary was built by God himself who formed us in our mother’s womb.
Where as the external regulations cleansed people externally, covering their sin so that they were acceptable to God, Jesus’ cleansing purges sin from our hearts, making us suitable to be the dwelling place of His presence. Christ can enter our hearts where we can draw near to Him and dwell with God himself because of the work Christ did for us. We don’t enter the replica through the veil that was torn, we enter the real sanctuary through Jesus’ flesh that was torn.
So, enter in. Our guilty conscience has been cleansed. We have the right (and responsibility) to enter into the presence of God. Now that Jesus is our Great High Priest, we have the right and responsibility to enter into God’s presence for ourselves. That thing that was limited to one guy is now open to every one of us. Now, God expects us to go into the Most Holy Place and spend the kind of time with Him that makes our faces glow.
2 Cor. 3:12-18 “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
We have the right and responsibility to enter into God’s presence. That’s the only way we are transformed. Literally the word Paul uses here is transfigured, as in the thing that happened to Jesus on the mountain. Wait a second, mountain? Yes. That’s the mountain we are supposed to ascend. We are supposed to go up on that mountain because of Christ, be transfigured like Christ and glow with God’s presence. And, unlike Moses, we are supposed to leave our faces exposed so that the light of Christ is on display in our lives. We don’t hide the glory, we display the glory. In fact, we are the glory of Christ.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes detective novels, was a practical joker. One time he sent a telegram to twelve famous people in London whom he knew. It read: “Flee at once. All is discovered.” Although all twelve were upright citizens, they all quickly left the country.
We have been cleansed of a guilty conscience. No matter what accusations are thrown our direction, there is no need for us “flee at once.” Our hearts don’t condemn us because Christ has renewed our hearts. And since we have been cleansed of a guilty conscience, anything that might hinder the shining of God’s light in our lives has also been dealt with. There is no need to hide behind our mistakes and use them as justifications for why we shouldn’t glow with the presence of God.