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, 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 (Hebrews 10:19-25).
The author of Hebrews is unknown. But what is known to us and clear to us is that the book of Hebrews is the very Word of God, written to us. And God speaks to us today through Hebrews, as he does all the Scriptures. He says to us, press on; be faithful to declare with our mouths and believe with our actions.
In this passage, he tells us of the great confidence we have to enter the very presence of God, because we have been cleansed from all sin. The logic is simple; if our sin is truly removed and cleansed, and forgotten, then there is no need for another sacrifice for sin.
What does this mean for us? It’s clear that because we have been cleansed from sin, we can approach the presence of God with confidence. In the Old Covenant, the High Priest approached the holiest place behind a magnificent curtain, once a year on the Day of Atonement, with bells on his robe and a rope around his ankle. He wore a rope tied to his ankle so that if he was struck down, he could be pulled out from the presence of God without another unclean person entering the holiest place of the temple, the epicenter of God’s presence. This all changed with Christ, the greatest High Priest.
Because of Christ’s perfect once-and-for-all priestly work, we are told staggering and incredible news! We have been given behind-the-curtain access. We are invited to enter into intimate communion with our Creator. Our sin, shame, and uncleanness, which separated us has been cleansed and expunged. We are given access that gives us not only access, but confidence to live all of life in his presence.
Let’s live in view of this reality! We are invited to live in the presence of God. Coram Deo is the Latin phrase for this; to live every day in the presence of God. When you go to bed, when you get up, when you go to work, when you go to school, when you feed your baby, take out the trash, greet your neighbor, or show hospitality to strangers; everything in the presence of God.
This is the reality we cling to. We are invited not to enter behind the curtain on an annual basis, or a weekly basis, but an hourly, minute-by-minute, second-by-second basis. We struggle sometimes to see this. It’s an invisible reality, so we need each other. We need to be in regular community, pressing into each others’ lives, so that we can encourage each other to press on, and step into the life that God has for us, to live each and every day in his presence.