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 an high 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. Hebrews 10:19-22
Do you want to know Jesus? I’m not talking about the sinner’s prayer that people pray in their youth. There is a new and living way, and I have spent my life looking for it. Like a deer pants for water. Hunger and thirst. A mix of restlessness and desperation that drives me to call out to Him. I know Jesus is my only hope. There is no other way.
I see the way more clearly today, having spent the week searching this chapter of Hebrews. The author and time are obscure, but the audience is not obscure. They are the ones who were deeply entrenched in a system of sacrifice and priestly ritual that left people at a distance from God. We 21st century Christians have invented our own ritual of Christian living. We go to church. We honor marriage and family. We are honest in business, and occasionally help those less fortunate. And that is the sum of Christian life for those who know no more than the prayer of youth.
The Hebrew writer invites us beyond the moment of salvation. I hear him say, “Come into the Holiest Holy of Holies.” What? There is more than the sacred Day of Atonement? I loved that day. I was full of joy and the burden of past sin was washed away. I cherish the memory! God has given me the free gift of salvation. I’ll stay at a distance.
“Come through the Holiest veil,” he says. I cautiously draw near. You must have a true heart, full of faith, deliverance from a tormenting conscience, and your body washed in purity. There are no sin lovers invited to this new and living way. It is the only way that leads to heaven. The beginning of the way is through the Holiest Veil, which the Hebrew writer explains is the very flesh of Christ. Now I understand more fully His suffering. His flesh was torn as the veil of the temple was torn. Ripped open, blood flowed, cleansing offered. It is the Holiest veil.
A warning follows. If you go through the veil, and are justified by the blood of Christ, you must give your life to the new and living way. It is a paradoxical way of suffering and glory as you follow the way Christ chose. If you say it is too hard, and go back to the old system of bulls and goats, and a high priest who “takes care of things” on the Day of Atonement, you will find yourself facing the fiery indignation and judgment of God.
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.” (vv. 26, 29)
Modern Christianity offers an option to go back as well. We go to church. We grow old raising a family, conducting business, and occasionally helping those less fortunate. But our hearts do not burn within us to know Him.
Be bold, my reader. In full assurance of the mercy and free grace of God, step through His flesh. It is the holiest holy of holies. But know you have not committed a mere moment. You have just given a life. There is no turning back.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (v. 38)