When our own conscience accuses us, worshipping God is not only difficult; it can be downright frightening. Without a means of being cleansed, we are left with only two approaches. We either cry out with Isaiah that we are unclean and undone and stand in jeopardy of death in the face of a holy God or we harden our hearts and allow our conscience to be seared. Our heavenly Father has given us the blood of the Son so that we need not do either. Christ died unto sin once that we might be alive unto God. Our former, sin-bound lives are to be sealed in the sepulcher of His death. No longer are we to be slaves to sin, but servants of righteousness, cleansed and made ready for use by the precious blood of the Lamb. He sets us free from the dead works of the flesh to serve the living God.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
We need a clear conscience to enter in. And the blood of Jesus not only gives us access; it gives us access with boldness! This boldness means a freedom and frankness in speaking. God wants to talk with us face to face! The blood of Jesus allows us to speak with our Father honestly and openly because our sins have already been dealt with. In all of this, it is fellowship that God is after. How sad to think that we could be saved and forgiven and then fail to come home to fellowship with the Father.
One enters the holiest of all to serve God. When we speak about being “in the ministry” or even “doing ministry,” more often than not we are envisioning horizontal duties: the “love your neighbor as yourself” side of the law. But serving others is not our primary Christian duty. Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is. Any ministry that we do toward our fellow man is to be an outflow of our relationship with our heavenly Father. We are to worship and serve the Master of the work, not the work of the Master. Jesus told the Ephesian church, “I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love.” Pouring our love out on Him allows Him to pour out His love through us onto others.
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works…
It is the sprinkling of the blood on our hearts that allows us to draw near to God, and drawing near to God (verse 22) precedes the love and good works we are to show one another (verse 24). Approaching the throne comes first; good works come second. If we are doing the good works to earn our way before the throne, then we’ve got it all backwards. We are back in dead, religious works. It is our time spent in the throne room that enables us to do the good works. Once we have communed with the Father we are then able to encourage one another and say, “By the blood of Jesus Christ, we can do this.”
It is not our talent, pedigree, education, stamina, looks, or anything else but the blood of Jesus Christ that gains us an audience with our loving Father. Only the accomplished work of Jesus Christ allows us into the holiest of all. Any other work is filthy blood; it is as a menstrual cloth to God. It is unfit blood to Him. My righteous deeds are nothing unless I have gone into the holy of holies by the blood of Jesus Christ and communed with the living God. Then I can encourage myself to do good works. Why? Because I have full assurance of faith. I am moving and being motivated out of acceptance, grace, and benevolence—not out of judgment or trying to win approval, but because I know I have approval.
Jesus, knowing who He was and what was going to happen to Him and being fully assured that the Father had sent Him, divested Himself, put on a towel, and washed the disciples’ feet. Did He do this because He was trying to earn their love? Was it a ploy to win God’s affection? No, He did it to show them love, and His ability to minister to them in such an abasing fashion arose from His sure knowledge that God was pleased with Him. His ministry to the disciples flowed from His relationship with the Father.