‘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 … let us draw near.’
Access to God in Paradise was direct and easy. Nay, God Himself came there to man. But the tempter interposed, and made a separation between them. Through sacrifice, however, the intercourse was renewed. But even then access to God was not all that man needed, because of the inadequacy of his offering to God. Christ presented Himself to God for man and was accepted. Thus was Paradise regained.
I. The way into the holiest is opened.—In the Hebrew sancuary there were three degrees of approach to God. The outer court was for the general congregation; the holy place for the officiating priests; and the holiest of all for the high priest, and was so rigidly limited to him that neither priest in the holy place, nor worshipper in the outer court, must accompany him, or the glories of the Shechinah would have consumed him. But it is far otherwise now. Our ‘great High Priest’ has opened the way to the mercy-seat in heaven, and is now present at the right hand of God, so that any Jew or Gentile may at once enter into the Divine Presence, and with holy boldness or joyous freedom utter all he thinks to his reconciled Father.
II. The way into the holiest is consecrated.—It was sprinkled ‘by the blood of Jesus’; and He was the God-man; hence His blood is ever efficacious. This fact gives deep meaning to the words, ‘a new and living way.’
(a) A way that conducts to life.
(b) A way that imparts life.
(c) A way that perpetuates life.
III. The way into the holiest is established.—The high priest of the elder dispensation was permitted to enter but once each year into the presence-chamber of Jehovah. His service there was necessarily short; and when over, the entrance was closed against him until the revolving year brought round the same momentous day. But that imperfect economy is superseded by the perfect one, and Jesus is High Priest over the Church—the spiritual house of God. No priest so great or glorious. ‘He continueth ever,’ and therefore ‘hath an unchangeable priesthood.’
AN EXHORTATION TO PRAYER
The word ‘boldness’ is to be understood in the sense of ‘liberty’; for it is the boldness which arises from perfect freedom that the Apostle means.
I. The ‘throne of grace’ is not now guarded.—Prayer is no longer a priestly function or a Levitical ceremony, but the birthright of all those ‘born again.’ All who are in Christ are Gospel ‘Levites,’ a ‘royal priesthood’ and a ‘holy priesthood.’ Jesus Christ Himself having made them ‘kings and priests unto God.’ How cheering the truth to all saints that all can enter the ‘holiest of all’ by the ‘blood of Jesus.’
II. The new way of approaching God is simple, direct, and safe.
(a) This is a permanent way. It is a living way in contrast to the slaughtered victims which the ceremonial law demanded.
(b) This is a designed way ‘consecrated for us.’
(c) This is an opened way—‘through the veil.’
III. Christ is the High Priest over ‘the spiritual house,’ including the Church on earth and the Church in heaven. The prayers of the saints are not permitted to fall to the ground; they are heard by Christ and preserved in vials (Heb_4:14-16).
‘There was on exhibition a small key which is capable of opening 22,600 patent lever locks, each one with different ward-combinations; it is a master key, and before it all doors will fly. Prayer is such a key; the doors of heaven’s stores can be unlocked by it, and the treasures of grace, peace, and prosperity poured at our feet. We have only to use this key, and the wealth of God in Christ is at our disposal. The key can be used by the veriest child in grace; therefore let us use it.’