Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, and not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Access. Do we have it? That’s a question that shapes our lives every day. Lack of access presents us with challenges. When we don’t have access to food, clothing, or shelter, we’re vulnerable. When we don’t have access to enjoyable and meaningful work, we’re discouraged. When we don’t have access to a group of friends, we’re lonely. On the other side, access changes our lives significantly. Imagine being the first person in your family to have access to a college education. Think about being given access to the locker room to meet your favorite player after the game. Consider the benefit of having lifelong access to loving parents. Imagine being part of a people group who finally receives access to the word of God in your own language. What should we think about someone who, when granted such access, refuses to draw near?
“I’m not going to college.”
“I don’t want to be in the locker room with my favorite player.”
“I don’t need my parents.”
“I don’t care about the word of God.”
Who shrinks back when granted life-changing access? That’s insane.
Remember, the author of Hebrews is shepherding people overwhelmed with the fear of a culture antagonistic toward their faith in Christ. As the cost of following Jesus becomes real, the prospect of cutting bait becomes more attractive. Are we ever overwhelmed by the darkness around us? Are we ever tempted to drift away (Heb 2:1), to harden our hearts (Heb. 3:7), and to “stay on the bottle” (Heb. 5:12)? When we feel these dynamics, we can be encouraged that we’re not alone. (Just read Hebrews.) But we also need to feel the urgency of these warnings. We’re basically saying, in different ways, “Lord, You’re calling me to draw near, but I think I’ll stay over here.” In the midst of fear and doubt and distraction, the Lord reminds us that we have access to Him. “Since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near” (Heb. 10:19-22).
Together, we draw near and remind ourselves of what Jesus has done for us, shedding His own blood that we might be washed clean and welcomed into His presence. Every Sunday is a glorious reminder that we, as the bride of Christ, have been given intimate access to the Lover of our souls. Do we realize that drawing near to God is a community project? Together, we “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). The enemy can pick us off one by one when we’re isolated, but when we’re united, we help one another remember our hope and His faithfulness. Do we realize that holding fast is a community project? Together, we “stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). A solitary spoon can only do so much stirring, but we’re a church full of spoons! Do we realize that stirring one another up is a community project?
By faith we have access to the Lord Jesus Christ…and to one another. If we’re neglecting to meet together, that looks like insanity. But if we’re drawing near, we will be eager to encourage one another, and all the more as we see the Day drawing near. Are we asking the Holy Spirit to give us courage to draw near, to hold fast, and to stir one another up?