Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Who would ever have conceived such an incredible notion that doing away with the Old Way meant that now everyone could have equal access into the holiest by the shed blood and the broken body of Jesus. The writer is so bold in breaking down the holy exclusivity of the access to God being limited to just the Levites, and then only the family line of Aaron, and then only once yearly. Yet now God Himself has determined that not only those of Israel, but the entire world can enter into fellowship with the Father. A passage in Hebrews enlightens us as to how we draw near to the Father now that the way is made clear;
Hebrews 10:22 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.
‘Let’ – the beautiful New Testament word describing the posture of gentle action, neither slothful nor pushing with force of self, but that happy flow of restful work, of gracious effort, working with empowerment ‘without sweat (human effort)’. ‘Drawing near’ leans on the word ‘let’, too. To draw near is to find access with ease, not forced entry. The term we sometimes hear – ‘storming the gates of heaven’, implies we are attempting to break through the unwelcoming portals of God’s home. It says we are resisted from above, and if we exercise enough force we can break in. This idea really is not supported from Scripture. We simply draw near on the power of Christ’s blood and crucified flesh, the supreme sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
The criteria for nearness to the Lord, a true heart, is being real with ourselves and God. We must be authentic, honest and without hypocrisy before the Lord. The conscience can be good or evil, working with God or the devil, working for us or against us. We must develop the mental strength to accept forgiveness and reject the accusations of a conscience that demands punishments and consequences, when all that God’s justice required has been satisfied through the blood of Jesus.
Our bodies have been baptised in water, cleansing us from the world. It is our bodies that place us in contact with all that defiles, through eyes, ears, hands, feet etc. Being separated to God enables us to enter the consecrated pathway into the Holiest drawing near to God Himself fulfilling the ultimate intention of God, fellowship with His people.