Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,…
1. I would first lead you to consider for a moment the term "brethren": "Having, therefore, brethren." There was a strong feeling of brotherhood amongst the Jews, not only on account of their original stock, but on account of their separation from the rest of the world; but the term here denotes the spiritual brotherhood of believers in Jesus Christ. It is not merely that believers are united by natural affections, without any intervening medium; but they are united to each other in Jesus — and that is the closest tie which the soul of man can ever know. What a difference it would make in our treatment of each other, if we could recognise with a loving heart our brotherhood in Christ Jesus! How many jealousies it would remove; and how many of those heart-burnings, which eat as a canker into our spiritual life!
2. Notice, in the next place, the term " boldness." This is put in contrast with the fear under the law, which deprived the worshipper of all confidence; and it marks the holy liberty of the child of God, compared with the bondage in which he was held under the law. One of the great snares of Satan is to endeavour to beat men off from this point, as if it were presumption, But read the Word, and see for yourselves what is said upon the subject. "He suffered, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God."
3. But still observe — it is by the blood of Jesus, because "without shedding of blood there is no remission." It is the blood of Christ alone that annihilates the distance between the believing sinner and God; there is no approach but through that blood, and "those who are afar off are made nigh" by it.
4. This is called " a new and living way," because it is peculiar to the new covenant of grace, and because it is always new and efficacious; it does not wax old, as did the first covenant; that was for a time only, till "the times of reformation," we are told, but this is for ever. And it may be called living, because it is the only way of entering into life.
5. But the apostle goes on to say, that our Lord has consecrated for us this way "through the veil, that is to say, His flesh." The meaning of this expression appears to be, that as when the veil was rent at the death of our Lord there was no longer any hindrance to entering into the holiest, so Christ's flesh being rent by His death, a way was opened to all believers, by the sacrifice which He offered, into the very kingdom of heaven. There is very much instruction for us here. Every other priesthood but the priesthood of Christ has the effect of keeping the worshipper at a distance from God; but His priesthood is put before us as a motive to draw near.
6. Another expression is made use of, which is full of point. "In full assurance of faith." Faith is needed in God's service, because "without faith it is impossible to please Him." "Full assurance" is to be understood of faith in the priesthood of Christ. It is the superiority of that priesthood which the apostle aims to establish throughout this Epistle. And the " assurance of faith" does not respect the assurance which a man has of his own salvation, but of the efficacy of Christ's priesthood, and the sufficiency of His atonement and intercession, as opposed to all other ways of access.
7. But the apostle goes on to say — "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." This is a consequence of our having a "full assurance" of the efficacy of Christ's priesthood, that we get delivered from the burden of an evil conscience. The conscience of every man has been defiled by sin, nor could the offerings under the law perfect a man with respect to it; but the blood of Jesus can, and when applied to the conscience takes away the condemning power of sin, as respects the guilt of it.
8. Another effect is, that the man desires to "perfect holiness in the fear of God"; which is just what we are taught in the last phrase of the text — "our bodies washed with pure water." This denotes purity of life and conversation. Thus must we be careful to cultivate holiness of life, if we would approach Him with acceptance; as the former clause, "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience," had reference to our justification, so this latter clause has reference to our sanctification, or to our growth in grace and conformity to the image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
(J. W. Reeve, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,