"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which be bath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, and having a great 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 "-Heb. x. 19-22.
In these words we have a summary of the chief contents of this Epistle, and of the "Good News" about God's grace, as the Holy Spirit thus caused it to be presented to the Hebrews, and also to us.
Through sin, man was driven out of Paradise, away from the presence and fellowship of God. God in His mercy sought, from the beginning, to restore the broken fellowship.
To this end He gave to Israel, through the shadowy types of the Tabernacle, the expectation of a time to come, when the wall of partition should be removed, so that His people might dwell in His presence. "When shall I come and appear before God" was the longing sigh of the saints of the Old Covenant.
It is the sigh also of many of God's children under the New Covenant who do not understand that the way into "THE HOLIEST" has really been opened, and that every child of God may, and ought, to have his real dwelling-place there.
Oh, my brothers, and sisters, who long to experience the full power of the REDEMPTION which Jesus has accomplished, come with me, to hear what our God says to us about the opened Holy Place, and the freedom with which we can enter through the blood.
The passage at the head of this chapter shows us in a first series of four words what God has prepared for us, as the sure ground on which our fellowship with Him may rest. Then in a second series of four word: which follow, we learn how we may be prepared to enter into that fellowship, and to live in it.
Read the text with attention, and you will see that the words "LET US DRAW NEAR" are the centre of it all. This outline may be helpful.
I. WHAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR US
i. "The Holiest"-that is The Sanctuary: the Holy Place.
ii. The Blood of Jesus.
iii. A new and living way.
iv. A Great Priest.
II. HOW GOD PREPARES US FOR WHAT HE HAS PREPARED FOR US.
i. A true heart.
ii. Full assurance of faith.
iii. Hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.
iv. Bodies washed with pure water.
Read the text now with an eye on this outline. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into THE HOLIEST, by THE BLOOD OF JESUS, by A NEW AND LIVING WAY, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, and having A GREAT PRIEST over the house of God.
"LET US DRAW NEAR WITH A TRUE HEART, IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH, having our hearts CLEANSED FROM AN EVIL CONSCIENCE, and our bodies WASHED WITH PURE WATER."
I. WHAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR US
(1) "THE HOLIEST."
"HAVING THEREFORE BOLDNESS TO ENTER INTO `THE HOLIEST'-LET US DRAW NEAR."
To bring us into "The Holiest" is the end of the Redemptive work of Jesus, and he who does not know what "The Holiest" is, cannot enjoy the full benefit of Redemption.
What is this "Holiest"? It is just the place where God dwells: "The Holiest"-the dwelling place of the Most High. This does not refer only to heavenbut to the spiritual "Holiest" place of God's presence.
Under the Old Covenant there was a material Sanctuary (Heb. ix. 1 and viii. 2)-the dwelling place of God, in which the priests dwelt in God's presence and served Him. Under the New Covenant there is the true spiritual Tabernacle, not confined to any place-"The Holiest" is where God reveals Himself (John iv. 23-2S).
What a glorious privilege it is to enter into "The Holiest" and dwell there; to walk all the day in the presence of God. What a rich blessing is poured out there. In "The Holiest" the favour and fellowship of God are enjoyed:-the life and blessing of God are experienced; the power and joy of God are found. Life is spent in "The Holiest" in priestly purity and consecration; there the incense of sweet savour is burned, and sacrifices acceptable to God are offered. It is a Holy life of prayer and blessedness. Under the Old Covenant everything was material, the Sanctuary also was material and local; under the New Covenant everything is spiritual, and the true Sanctuary owes its existence to the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit a real life in "The Holiest" is possible, and the knowledge that God walks there can be as certain as in the case of the priests of old. The Spirit makes real in our experience the work Jesus has accomplished.
Believer in Jesus Christ, have you liberty to enter, and abide in "The Holiest"? As one who has redeemed, it is a fitting thing for you to make your home there, and not elsewhere; for Christ cannot, elsewhere, reveal the full power of His redemption. But there, oh! there, He can bless you richly. Oh! understand it then, and let the object of God and our Lord Jesus be yours also. May it be the desire of our hearts to enter into "The Holiest," to live in "The Holiest," to minister in "The Holiest." We can confidently expect the Holy Spirit to give us at conception of the glory of entering into a dwelling in "The Holiest."
(2) LIBERTY THROUGH THE BLOOD.
Admission to "The Holiest," like "The Holiest" itself, belongs to God. God Himself thought of it, and prepared it; we have the liberty, the freedom, the right, to enter by the Blood of Jesus. The Blood of Jesus exercises such a wonderful power, that through it a son of perdition may obtain full freedom toenter into the divine Sanctuary-"The Holiest." "Ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh the a blood of Christ " (Eph. ii. 13).
And how is it the Blood exercises this wonderful power?
Scripture says "the life is in the blood" (Lev. xvii. 11). The power of the Blood is in the worth of the 1ife. In the Blood of Jesus the power of the divine dwelt, and worked; the Blood has already in I-lire. almighty and unceasing power.
But that power could not be exercised for RECONCILIATION until it was first shed. By bearing the punishment of sin, unto death, the Lord Jesus conquered the power of sin, and brought it to naught. "The power of sin is the Law," by perfectly fulfilling the law, when He shed His Blood under its curse, His Blood has made sin entirely powerless. So the Blood has its wonderful power, not only because the life of God's Son was in it, but because it was given as an atonement for sin. This is the reason Scripture speaks so highly about the Blood. Through the blood of the everlasting covenant God has brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus (Heb. xiii. 20).
Through his own blood he has entered into "The Holiest" (Heb. ix. 12). The power of the Blood has entirely destroyed the power of sin, death, the grave and bell; so that our Surety could go out. The power of the Blood has opened heaven so that our Surety could freely enter.
And now we also have liberty to enter through the Blood. Sin took away our liberty of approach to God, the Blood perfectly restores to us this liberty. He who will take time to meditate upon the power of that Blood, appropriating it believingly for himself, will obtain a wonderful view of the liberty and directness with which we can now have intercourse with God.
Oh, the divine, wonderful power of the Blood! Through the Blood we enter into "The Holiest." The Blood pleads for us, and in us, with an eternal, a ceaseless effect. It removes sin from God's sight, and from our conscience. Every moment we have free, full entrance, and we can have intercourse with God through the Blood.
Oh, that the Holy Spirit might reveal to us the full power of the Blood! Under His teaching what a full entrance we enjoy to intimate fellowship with the Father. Our life is in "The Holiest" through the Blood.
(3) NEW AND LIVING WAY,
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into "The Holiest" by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, i.e. his flesh," the Blood bestows our right of entrance. The way, as a living and life-giving one, bestows the power. That He has consecrated this way by His flesh, does not mean that this is merely a repetition in other words of the same thought as "through His blood." By no means.
Jesus has shed His Blood for us: in that particular we cannot follow Him. But the Way by which He walked when He shed His Blood, the rending of the veil of His flesh, in that way vie must follow Him. What He did in the opening of that way, is a living power which draws and carries us as we enter " The Holiest." The lesson we have to learn here is this---the way into "The Holiest" is through the RENT VEIL OF THE FLESH.
It was so with Jesus. The veil that separated God and us was the flesh. Sin has its power in the flesh, and only through the taking away of sin, the veil may be removed. When Jesus came in the flesh, He could rend the veil only by dying; and so to bring to nought the power of the flesh and sin, "He offered up the flesh, and delivered it to death." This is what gave to the shedding of His blood its worth and power.
And this remains now the law for each one who desires to enter "The Holiest" through His Blood-- must be through the rent veil of the flesh. The Blood demands, the Blood accomplishes, the rending of the flesh. Where the Blood of Jesus works powerfully, there follows, always, the putting to death of the flesh. Ile who desires to spare the flesh cannot enter into "The Holiest." The flesh must be sacrificed, given over to death. In proportion as the believer perceives the sinfulness of his flesh, and puts to death all that is in the flesh, he will better understand the power of the Blood. The believer does this, not in his own strength, he comes by a living way which Jesus has consecrated; the life-giving power of Jesus works in this "way." The Christian is crucified and dead with Jesus, "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh." It is in fellowship with Christ that we enter through the veil.
Oh! glorious way, "the new and living way," full of life-giving power, "which Christ has consecrated for us!" By this way we have the liberty to enter into "the Holiest" by the Blood of Jesus. May the Lord God lead us along this "way," through the rent veil, through the death of the flesh, to the full life of the Spirit, then we shall find our dwelling place within the veil, in "The Holiest" with God. Each sacrifice of the flesh leads us, through the Blood, further into "The Holiest."
(NOTE.-Compare further, with care, i Peter iii. 18, "Christ was put to death in the flesh"; iv. 1, "Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, but living in the Spirit"; iv. 6, "Condemned sin in the flesh.")
(4) THE GREAT PRIEST.
"And having an high Priest over the house of God, let us draw near."
Praised be God, we have not only the work, but the living person of Christ, as we enter "The Holiest" ; not only the Blood and the living way, but Jesus Himself, as "High Priest over the House of God."
The priests who went into the earthly Sanctuary could do so only because of their relationship to the High Priest; none but the sons of Aaron were priests. We have an entrance into "The Holiest," because of our relationship to the Lord Jesus. He said to the Father, "Behold here am I, and the children whom thou hast given me."
HE IS THE GREAT PRIEST. The Epistle to the Hebrews has shown us that He is the true Melchisedek, the Eternal Son, who has an eternal and changeless priesthood, and as Priest is seated on the Throne He lives there to pray always, therefore also He is able "to save to the uttermost them that come to God through him." A great and all-powerful Priest.
A HIGH PRIEST OVER THE HOUSE OF GOD, He is appointed over the entire ministry of "The Holiest," of the House of God. All the people of God are under His care. If we desire to enter "The Holiest," He is there to receive us, and to present us to the Father. He Himself will complete in us the sprinkling of the Blood. Through the Blood He has entered, through the Blood He brings us also in. He. will teach us all the duties of "The Holiest," and of our intercourse there. He makes acceptable our prayers, our offerings, and the duties of our ministry, however weak they are. What is more, He bestows on us heavenly light, and heavenly power, for our work and life in "The Holiest." It is He who imparts the life, and the Spirit of "The Holiest." Just as His Blood procured an entrance, His sacrifice of His flesh is the living way. As we enter, it is He by whom we are kept abiding there, and are able always to walk well pleasing to God. As the sympathetic High Priest He knows how to stoop to each one, even the weakest. Yes 1 that is what makes intercourse with God in "The Holiest" so attractive, we find Jesus there, as a "High Priest over the house of God."
And just when it seems to us as if "The Holiest" is too high, or too holy for us, and that we cannot understand what the power of the Blood is, and how we are to walk on "the new and living way," just then, we may look up to the living Saviour Himself to teach us, and to bring us Himself into "The Holiest." He is the Priest over the House of God. You have only to cleave to Him, and you will be in "The Holiest."
"LET US DRAW NEAR," seeing we have "The Holiest" where God waits for us; and the Blood which gives us liberty; and the living way which carries us, and the High Priest to help us. "Let us draw near," yes! "let us draw near." Let nothing hold us back from making use of these wonderful blessings which God has designed for us. It is into "The Holiest" that we are to enter; our right has been obtained for us by the Blood of Jesus; by His own footsteps He has consecrated the way. He lives in His eternal priesthood to receive us in "The Holiest"; to sanctify, to preserve, to bless us. Oh! let us not any longer hesitate or turn back. Let us sacrifice all for this one thing, in view of what God has prepared for us "let us draw near," by the hand of Jesus, to appear before our Father, and to find our life in the light of His countenance.
And do we desire to know how we can now be prepared to enter ? Our text gives us a glorious answer to this question.
II. HOW WE ARE PREPARED.
Let us draw near.
(I) WITH A TRUE HEART.
This is the first of the four demands made on the believer who wishes "to draw near." It is coupled with the second demand, "FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH," and it is chiefly in its union with the second, that we understand aright what "a true heart" means.
The preaching of the Gospel begins always with repentance and faith. Man cannot receive God's grace by faith, if at the same time sin is not forsaken. In the progress of the life of faith this law is always binding. The full assurance of faith cannot be reached without " a true heart "-a heart that is wholly honest u with God, that is surrendered entirely to Him. "The Holiest" cannot be entered without "a true heart," a heart that is truly desirous of seeking what it professes seek.
Let us draw near with a true heart." A heart that :: ly desires to forsake everything, to dwell in "The Holiest"; forsaking everything, to possess God. A heart that truly abandons everything in order to yield itself to the authority and power of the Blood. A heart that truly chooses "the new and living way" in order to go through the veil with Christ, by the rending of the flesh. A heart that truly and entirely gives itself to the indwelling and lordship of Jesus.
"Let us draw near with a true heart." Without a true heart there is no entrance into "The Holiest."
But who has a true heart? The new heart that God has given is a true heart. Recognise that. By the power of the Spirit of God, who dwells in that new heart, place yourself, by an exercise of your will, on the side of God against the sin that is still in your flesh. Say to the Lord Jesus, the High Priest, that you submit, and cast down before Him every sin, and all of your self life, forsaking all to follow Him.
And as regards the hidden depths of sin in your flesh, of which you are not yet conscious, and the malice of your heart-for them also provision is made. "Search me, O God, and know my heart." Subject yourself continually to the heart-searching light of the Spirit. He will uncover what is hidden from you. He who does this has a true heart to enter into "The Holiest."
Let us not be afraid to say to God that we draw near with a true heart. Let us be assured that God will not judge us according to the perfection of what we do, but according to the honesty with which we
yield ourselves In la-r aside every known sin, and with which we accep conviction by the Holy Spirit of all our hidden sin. A heart that does this honestly is, in God's sight, a true heart. And with a true heart " The Holiest " is approached through the Blood. Praised be God ! through His Spirit we have a true heart.
(2) IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH.
We know what place faith occupies in God's dealings with man. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." Here at the entrance into "The Holiest " all depends on "the full assurance of faith."
There must be "a full assurance of faith" that there is a Holy Place where we can dwell and walk with God, and that the power of the precious Blood has conquered sin so perfectly that nothing can prevent our undisturbed fellowship with God; and that the way which Jesus has sanctified through His flesh is a living way, which carries those who tread on it with eternal living power ; and that the great Priest over the house of God can save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him; that He by His Spirit works in us everything that is needful for life in "The Holiest." These things we must believe and hold fast in "the full assurance of faith."
But how can I get there? How can my faith grow to this full assurance? By fellowship with "Jesus who is the finisher of faith" (Heb. xii. 2). As the great Priest over the house of God, He enables us to appropriate faith. By considering Him, His wonderful love, His perfect work, His precious and allpowerful Blood, faith is sustained and strengthened. God has given Him to awaken faith. By keeping our eyes fixed on Him, faith and the full assurance of faith become ours.
In handling the Word of God, remember that his faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Faith comes by the Word and grows by he Word, but not the Word as letter, but as the voice of Jesus ; only " the words that I speak unto you "are spirit-life, only in Him are the promises of God "Yea ad Amen." Take time to meditate on the Word nd treasure it in your heart, but always with a heart et on Jesus Himself. It is faith in Jesus that saves. 'he Word that is taken to Jesus in prayer, and talked ver with Him, is the Word that is effective.
Remember that "to him that hath shall be given." Take use of the faith that you have; exercise it; declare it; and let your believing trust in God become he chief occupation of your life. God wishes to ave children who believe Him; He desires nothing o much as faith. Get accustomed to say with each prayer, "Lord I believe that I shall obtain this." As you read each promise in Scripture say, "Lord I elieve Thou wilt fulfil this in me." The whole day through, make it your holy habit in everything-yes, everything-to exercise trust in God's guidance, and God's blessing.
To enter into "The Holiest" "full assurance of faith" is necessary. "Let us draw near in full assurance of faith." Redemption through the Blood is so perfect and powerful; the love and grace of Jesus so overflowing; the blessedness of dwelling in "The Holiest" is so surely for us and within our reach-"Let us draw near in full assurance of faith."
(3) THE HEART CLEANSED.
Let us draw near, having "OUR HEART CLEANSED FROM AN EVIL CONSCIENCE."
The heart is the centre of human life, and the con- again is the centre of the heart. By his conscience man realises his relationship to God, and n evil conscience tells him that all is not right between God and himself ; not merely that he commits sin, but that he is sinful, and alienated from God. A good or clear conscience bears witness that he is well pleasing to God (Heb. xi, 5). It bears witness not only that his sins are forgiven, but that his heart is sincere before God. He who desires to enter "The Holiest" must have his heart cleansed from can evil conscience. The words are translated "our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." It is the sprinkling of the Blood that avails. The Blood of Christ will purify your conscience to serve the living God.
We have already seen that entrance to "The Holiest" is by the Blood, by which Jesus went in to the Father. But that is not enough. There is a twofold sprinkling -the priests who drew near to God were not only reconciled tbrough the sprinkling of Blood before God on the altar, but their very persons must be sprinkled with the Blood. The Blood of Jesus must be so brought by the Holy Spirit into direct contact with our hearts that our hearts become cleansed from an evil conscience. The Blood removes all self-condemnation. It cleanses the conscience. Conscience then witnesses that the removal of guilt has been so perfectly completed, there is no longer the least separation between God and us. Conscience bears witness that we are well pleasing to God; that our heart is cleansed; that we through the sprinkling of the Blood are in true living fellowship with God. Yes, the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, not only from the guilt but also from the stain of sin.
Through the power of the Blood our fallen nature is prevented from exercising its power, just as a fountain by its gentle spray cleanses the grass, that otherwise would be covered with dust, and keeps it fresh and green, so the Blood works with a ceaseless effect to keep the soul clean. A heart that lives under the full power of the Blood is a clean heart, cleansed from a guilty conscience, prepared to "draw near" with perfect freedom. The whole heat, the whole inner being, is cleansed by a divine operation.
"Let us draw near, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." Let us "in full assurance of faith, "believe that our hearts are cleansed. Let us honour the Blood greatly, by confessing before God that it cleanses us. The High Priest will, by Ibis Holy Spirit, make us understand the full meaning and power of the words-"having the heart cleansed by the Blood"; the entrance to the Holy Place prepared through the Blood ; and further, our hearts prepared by the Blood for entrance; oh! how glorious then, having the heart cleansed, to enter into, and to abide in "The Holiest."
(4) THE BODY WASHED.
Let us draw near, having the body washed with dear water.
We belong to two worlds, the seen and the unseen. We have an inner, hidden life, that brings us into touch with God; and an outer, bodily life by which we are in relationship with man. If this word refers to the body, it refers to the entire life in the body with all its activities.
The heart must be sprinkled with blood, the body must be washed with pure water. When the priests were consecrated they were washed with water, as well as sprinkled with blood (Exod. xxix. 4, 20, 21). And if they went into the Holy Place there was not only the altar with its blood, but also the laver with its water. So also Christ came by water, and blood (z John v. 6). He had His baptism with water and later with blood (Luke xii. 50).
There is for us also a twofold cleansing; with water, and. blood. Baptism with water is unto repentance for laying aside of sin, "Be baptised and wash away your sins." While the Blood cleanses the heart, the inner man, baptism is the yielding of the body, with all its visible life, to separation from sin.
So "Let us draw near, having our hearts cleansed from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." The power of the Blood to cleanse inwardly cannot be experienced unless we also cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh. The divine work of cleansing, by the sprinkling of Blood, the human work of cleansing by laying aside sin, are inseparable.
We must be clean, to enter into "The Holiest." Just as you would never dream of entering in to the presence of a king unwashed, so you cannot imagine that you could come into the presence of God, in the Holy Place, if you are not cleansed from every sin. In the Blood of Christ that cleanses from all sin, God has bestowed on you the power to cleanse yourself. Your desire to live with God in "The Holiest" must always be united with the most careful laying aside of even the least sin. The unclean may not enter "The Holiest."
Praised be God, He desires to have us there. As His priests we must minister to Him there. He desires our purity, that we may enjoy the blessing of "The Holiest." That is, His Holy fellowship; and He has taken care that through the Blood, and by the Spirit, we may be clean.
Let us draw near, having our heart cleansed, and the body washed with pure water.
"LET US DRAW NEAR."
The Holiest Place is open even for those in our congregations who have not yet truly turned to the Lord. For them also the Sanctuary has been opened. The Precious Blood, the living way, and the High Priest are for them also. With great confidence we dare to invite even them-"Let us draw near." Oh, despise not, my friends still far from God, oh, despise no longer God's wonderful grace-draw near to the Father who has so earnestly sent this invitation try you ; who at the cost of the Blood of His Son, has opened a way for you into "The Holiest"; who waits in love to receive you again into His dwelling place, as His child. Oh! I beseech you, let us all draw near. Jesus Christ the High Priest over the House of God is a perfect Saviour.
"LET US DRAW NEAR."
"Let us draw near." The invitation comes especially to all believers. Be not satisfied to stand in the porch. It is not sufficient to cherish the hope that your sins are forgiven. "Let us draw near," let us enter within the veil, let us in spirit press on to real nearness to our God. "Let us draw near" and live nearer to God, and wholly take our abode in His Holy Presence„ "Let us draw near," our place is the innermost Sanctuary.
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith." He who gives himself sincerely and entirely, to God will through the Holy Spirit experience "the full assurance of faith" to take for himself, freely and gladly, all that the Word has promised. Our weakness of faith arises from duplicity of heart. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance" that the blessing is ours. The Blood has so perfectly atoned for and conquered sin, that nothing can hold the believer back from free admission to God.
"Let us draw near, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Let us receive into our hearts faith in the perfect power of the Blood, and let us lay aside every thing that is not in accord with the purity of the Holy Place. Then we begin to feel ourselves daily more at home in "The Holiest." In Christ, who is our Life, we are also there. Then we learn to carry on all our work in "The Holiest." All that we do is a spiritual sacrifice well pleasing to God in Jesus Christ. Brethren, "let us draw near" as God waits for us in "The Holiest."
"LET US DRAW NEAR."
That call has special reference to prayer. Not as though we, as priests, were not always in "The Holiest" but there are moments of more immediate fellowship, when the soul turns itself entirely to God to be engaged with Him alone. Alas ! our prayer is too often a calling out to God from a distance, so there is little power in it. Let us with each prayer first see that we are really in "The Holiest." Let us with hearts perfectly sprinkled from an evil conscience, in silent faith appropriate the full effect of the Blood, by which sin as a separation between God and us is entirely removed. Yes ! let us take time till we know that, now, I am in "The Holiest" through the Blood and then-pray. Then, we can lay our desires and wishes before our Father, in the assurance that they are an acceptable incense. Then, prayer is a true "drawing near" to God, an exercise of inner fellowship with Him; then, we have courage and power to carry on our work of priestly intercession, and to pray down blessings on others. He who dwells in the Holy Place through the power of the Blood is truly one of God's saints, and the power of God's Holy and Blessed presence goes out from him, upon those who are round about him.
Brethren, "let us draw near," let us pray for ourselves, for one another, for everyone. Let "The Holiest" so become our fixed abode that we may carry about with us everywhere the presence of our God. Let this be the fountain of life for us, that grows from strength to strength, from glory to glory, always in "THE HOLIEST" BY THE BLOOD. Amen.
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