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Hebrews 10:19-22 • How to Draw Near

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
    —Hebrews 10:19-22 (NASB)

One of the things I believe we’ve in general lost sight of is how we’re supposed to come together before the Lord, prepared instead of seeking to BE prepared or motivated. In the way that modern church services are carried out, the planners of such services see it as part of their responsibility to get the crowd in the right mood, to use music and such to change whatever attitude the congregants came with into something more suitable. I dare say that most congregants these days expect it to happen this way as well. But the biblical teaching, established first in the Old Testament and confirmed in the New is that each person is supposed to be living faithfully to such a degree that when they come together, they’re already properly prepared to worship and engage Him from a right heart.

In this particular instance the three conditions are to “draw near with a sincere heart…of faith…[a] clean…conscience…and…washed…pure“. These express the expectation that one’s heart, mind, and soul, having been properly given over to God the rest of the week, will therefore be found in the right spiritual condition when coming together before Him. This is very similar to Paul’s teaching of what it takes to develop biblical love…

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
    —1 Timothy 1:5 (NASB)

Christ didn’t become our High Priest and eradicate the barrier to the Holy of Holies simply for supernatural purposes, but to allow us to come before His very presence with the proper attitude of every part of our being. How can you come with “a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” if not practicing that faith? How can you come with a clean conscience if you’re not putting His Word into practice to the degree that it daily changes your behavior? How can we arrive already pure if allowing our Christianity to live side-by-side with sin? We’re not supposed to “get right” with the Lord when we wander into church once a week, but living faithfully each day to the degree that when we come together it’s a celebration of personal faithfulness.

The problem with the current approach to Sunday services is that one can be made to feel good temporarily so as to forget what should really be taking place in our daily walk.