Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions for the folks at Shiloh for 2007. I came across Hebrews 10:19-25 and there I found three things I would love to offer as resolutions for our fellowship.

The first thing the writer to the Hebrews exhorts his readers to do is to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (10:22). I ask myself, “Have I come nearer to God during 2006?” Am I closer to God today than I was a year ago today? Has the past year found me stepping closer and closer to God? How about you? Can you identify a passion in your heart to come nearer to God? Some of you may say, “I don’t really know what you mean. I have never come near to God. I don’t know how to get close to God! Is it really possible for a human being to come close to God?”

The Bible tells us that it is not only possible for people to come near to God but that it is something that God actually desires for us! God created human beings in such a way that he could enjoy fellowship with us. In the Garden of Eden God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. God continues to desire a relationship with us and he urges us to come near to him. Think how amazing this truth is! It is a wonderful thing to have a wife or husband, a family, and friends who want to be near us, but how marvelous it is to realize that the Almighty Creator desires to have us come near to him! It is almost beyond comprehension!

The thing I find so sad is that God has to urge us to come near to him! The very fact that he must make such a request indicates how far away from him we have fallen! Ever since the first sin of Adam the gap between God and humans has increased as sin has increased. As we have slipped farther and farther into the darkness of sin God has been calling us to come near to him. But God is holy. In our sin we are completely helpless to turn around and draw ourselves near to him. It is our own sin that is the barrier. It is our sin that is the hindrance which keeps us from coming into his presence. If we are to come near to God then something has to be done about our sin!

Thanks be to God, he did do something about our sin! He sent his Son to earth so he might “save his people from their sins!” Those whose sins are forgiven by the work of Christ have had the barrier removed. Thanks to the work of Christ we are now able to come near to God. The writer describes this privilege of coming near to God in terms of the temple in Jerusalem. Once each year the high priest passed through the protective curtain into the presence of God in the Most Holy Place. He was only able to do this because he carried with him the blood of the goat which had been sacrificed. He was able to serve as the mediating priest between God and the Jews because he had been properly prepared. He had been consecrated and made acceptable to God. He had been touched by the blood himself and he had washed his body so he could present himself as holy to God.

The writer to the Hebrews uses this Old Testament picture to describe how God has made it possible for us to come into his presence and draw near to him. In verse 19 he says that we have confidence to enter God’s presence, not because of the blood of some sacrificed goat, but because of the shed blood of his sacrificed Son! The passage into God’s presence is no longer through a physical curtain but through Christ himself! (10:20) We no longer need an earthly high priest as a mediator because Jesus Christ is our great High Priest who intercedes on our behalf. (10:21) Those of us who believe have had our hearts cleansed of sin by the blood of Christ and have been symbolically washed in the waters of baptism. (10:22)

There is no need for us to be separated from God! We may come near to God with sincere hearts and the full assurance of faith. Those who come to God may only come with hearts that are true and genuine. They may only come to God through faith in the fact that the work of Christ was sufficient to pay for their sins. Apart from these things no man may safely enter into the presence of God.

My resolution and desire for the New Year is to spend more time in the presence of God. I want to come nearer to God. Christ has removed all hindrances and has provided the passageway. In 2007 let us all spend less time hanging around in the outer courts! Let’s fix our eyes on Christ and come near to God!


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