Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (NIV)
In my airport volunteer work, I have security clearance to go to some areas of the airport closed to members of the public. Then again, there are some areas I can’t enter. I have no right to be in some places, I have no business there. Only a select few can be in certain locations.
So isn’t it remarkable that entry into the very presence of a holy God is possible for each of us. Our natural shortcomings mean God can’t accept us into his presence. But he wanted to overcome this and so sent Jesus to take away the stain and guilt of those shortcomings. Those who recognise their need of forgiveness and accept Jesus’ offer of it, are entitled to enter the presence of God without shame or fear.
The writer of this passage uses imagery from Old Testament practices to highlight the privileges we have in Jesus. Whereas only the High Priest could enter the “inner sanctum” beyond the curtain of the temple once a year, all those who trust in Jesus can enter God’s presence at all times. There are no more high priests. Jesus represents us before God and guarantees our right to be with God.
Let’s not shy away from God through shame or feelings of unworthiness. The door is open for all who have helplessly depended on Jesus for forgiveness. Meditate over the next few days on simply being in God’s presence and believe he smiles on you because he sees your trust in Jesus. Jesus is our right of access to this special place. We have a right to be there: we have business there. And yet, let’s not just use this privilege to transact business with God. Delight simply in the sheer privilege of resting in his everlasting acceptance.