Last time we spoke of the liberty that every follower of Jesus has to enter into the presence of the true and living God. Next, let’s explore the kind of entrance that is ours. We enter “by a new and living way”. It is a new way of entrance. Some matters are not intended by “new”. It was not a new invention of God, because it always was part of his eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; Revelation 13:8). A growing Christian will investigate and rejoice in what the Bible says about God’s eternal purposes. Neither was it newly revealed. God had promised this way in the Old Testament Scriptures (Jeremiah 31; Isaiah 53).
Why is this entrance called “new”? “Because it comes after another [kind of entrance], as the apostle teaches us to argue, Hebrews 8:13” (Traill). This was the entrance of Jesus into heavenly majesty as our great high priest. The new covenant could not be put into effect until the Lord Jesus entered heaven for us. It is also new “because it is always new and never gives place to another”. Consider Hebrews 13:20.
It is a living way of entrance. [First four points are from Traill; last is from Hughes]
- “In opposition of the old way of the law, which is not able to give life.” Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:7
- “In relation to Christ’s resurrection, who, though he were put to death, yet was he raised again, and ever lives, Romans 6:9.”
- “In regard to the end of the way, which is life….” John 14:6; 1 John 5:12
- “In reference to the effect of it. It puts life in us” and makes us alive. John 11:25; Galatians 2:20
- In conformity with the fact that this way is a person—the person of “our risen, dynamic, ever living Redeemer.”
Our entry into God’s presence is based on his entry, and our entry “takes place only because by divine grace we are one with him.” [Hughes]
How do we exercise this blessing of entrance into God’s presence? We enter “by the blood of Jesus”. This requires us consciously to recognize Christ’s better sacrifice of himself as the only basis of our acceptance with God. We are not saying that we do this by a perfunctory or unthinking voicing of the words, “In Jesus name. Amen.” Those words can be very meaningful or totally mechanical and irreverent. You and I must always act reverently, whether in public or private prayer, or in prayer before meals, and during any other times of prayer! Instead, by the blood of Jesus we come thoughtfully and reverently into God’s presence, realizing that our access to God is only on account of Christ and his saving work.
Reflect on the hymn “Rock of Ages”: Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling; naked, come to Thee for dress, helpless, look to Thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly, wash me, Savior, or I die!
There is no alternative to this way. We cannot approach God except by the blood of Jesus. Many sing and pray and attend church, but they have never once drawn near to God in his appointed way, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). For example, sometimes you might read on a statement that payment must be made in US dollars. The only payment that the living God accepts is the sacrificial death of Jesus the Messiah on the cross. So then, you must answer this question: “What gives me the right to approach the living and holy God?” Are you relying on your works? Are you depending on your religious experiences? Do you trust in church membership? God will not receive you unless you rely only upon the Lord Jesus Christ and his shed blood.
Please note this. The existence of this new and living way “brings us nothing until we have boldness to enter in. Why stand we without [outside]? Jesus brings us near, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Let us not be slow to take up our freedom, and come boldly to the throne” (Spurgeon). If we entered a house as a thief, we would not enter boldly but would fear being caught. You and I might enter a stranger’s house, without invitation, but we would feel no boldness there. We might even enter as guests, but we would not feel sufficiently bold to walk to the host’s bathroom and look into their medicine cabinet. However, we do not enter the Most Holy Place as housebreakers or as trespassers or as guests on a visit. We come in obedience to God’s call to fulfill and to enjoy our calling. We come as righteous and as sons in Christ. When we trust in Jesus and his better sacrifice of Himself, we are immediately “at home” with God. “Where should a child be bold but in his father’s house?” [Spurgeon] Believer in Jesus, enjoy your entrance into God’s presence!
Grace and peace, David