Friday, 8 February 2019
…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. Hebrews 10:22
The words, “let us draw near,” are connected to the “boldness to enter the Holiest” of verse 20. The author is imploring his audience to draw near to God (who resides in the Most Holy Place, symbolic of heaven itself). It is reminiscent of the words of Hebrews 7:19, where the author speaks of “the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Believers have that hope, and they are to have boldness in that hope. James spoke in this manner as well –
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
In the surety of our hope, and in displaying boldness in it, we are to “draw near with a true heart.” The author has already used the word translated as “true” twice in relation to the true tabernacle (meaning typical of Christ where God resides), and the true Holy Places (speaking of heaven). He now uses it one more time in the book in relation to the heart of the believer. The word “emphasizes the integrity of what is true, down to its inner make-up (reality, ‘true inside and out’)” HELPS Word Studies. Vincent’s Word Studies goes further by saying, “The phrase means more than in sincerity. Sincerity is included, but with it all that enters into a right attitude toward God as revealed in our Great High Priest, – gladness, freedom, enthusiasm, bold appropriation of all the privileges of sonship.”
With such a true heart, the author notes that we are to draw near “in full assurance of faith.” The words are similar to verse 6:11, which spoke of the believers, “full assurance of hope until the end.” The faith is in the truth of what is presented, and it is the very basis for any proper relationship with God. That then leads to the full assurance of hope. When one possesses the full assurance of faith, their full assurance of hope will be rightly grounded and directed. And in this, the author then speaks of “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.”
Here the author speaks of the internal, spiritual aspect of man in his relation to Christ. The heart is that which relates to “the affective center of our being” (HELPS Word Studies). Though the heart is spoken of more than eight hundred times in the Bible, it never speaks of the physical organ itself, but it is used figuratively in relation to the mind, will, intention, and inner being of man. Thus, having them “sprinkled from an evil conscience,” looks to the cleansing power of the blood of Christ as it cleanses man from his moral impurity while purifying his mind. This symbolic cleansing is referred to by David in the 51st Psalm –
The purging with hyssop was a purification by the sprinkling of a blood mixture. David wasn’t referring to being externally cleansed, but internally. This is made clear in his words later in the psalm which say, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10). This is the purification referred to now by the author of Hebrews.
From there, the author continues with, “and our bodies washed with pure water.” This is the external aspect of the body. As the inner hearts of men are to be purified to draw near in sincerity, the external body is to be washed in symbolic agreement with that inner change. The Greek, however, reads in a specific manner –
There are many people; there is one body. The church is one, but Israel collectively is one as well. The Jews and Gentiles who have been brought into the church are cleansed, but the nation of Israel has not yet been so purified and cleansed. This then is referring to Israel, the people, as was prophesied in Ezekiel 36:25 –
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.”
There was a time prophesied by Ezekiel in which Israel as a collective people would be brought from among the nations and brought back into their own land. In that time, the Lord promises that He would cleanse them. That time is yet ahead, but it is surely coming. They have been brought back, and they are once again in the land being prepared for their cleansing. The pure water then is the word as referenced in Ephesians 5 –
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27
Jew and Gentile are one body in Christ, but Israel as a collective whole is not yet purified in this manner. This will occur at some point. It is this that the author is referring to here. Individual Jews are to be purified, and the body as a whole is to be cleansed.
Life application: There is one gospel, there is one church (though made up of many “churches”), and there is one way to be brought into that church. It is through the blood of Christ and the cleansing which He provides. Israel (the people) is a part of what God is doing, and He has not rejected them. The truth of this matter continues to be seen in the particular words chosen by the author of Hebrews in order to reveal this.
Yes Lord! Through You we have full assurance of properly directed faith. Through You our hearts are sprinkled, thus cleansing us from a guilty conscience. And through Your word our body is made holy – washed with pure water. Because of You, we stand acceptable to God the Father. What else can we do but shout! Hallelujah and Amen!