(Access to God)
In the previous verses God speaks of the work of Jesus Christ. He tells us that his Son’s sacrifice was perfect and provides complete forgiveness for eternity to those who receive him as Saviour. God continues to provide additional assurances of this:
15. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16. This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17. And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
One of the things that I learned when I was a juror on a felony criminal trial was that it is important to judge the reliability of witnesses. We see that the Holy Ghost is a witness to the things said in the verses above. Verses 16 and 17 refer to Jeremiah 31:33-34 (words clearly attributed to God). Verse 15 says that the Holy Ghost said these things. This tells us that the Holy Ghost is God (who cannot lie).
18. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Remission is pardon (freedom from the punishment of sin). God requires that a price be paid for every sin. But when that price has been paid, and accepted as payment for sin by the wrongdoer, it would be foolishness to think that it must be paid again.
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;
Once a person has been saved by the once-for-all and once-for-ever sacrifice of Christ, they can have boldness (confidence, assurance) to come into God’s presence at any time that they wish. God has always been omnipresent (present everywhere) but in the days of the tabernacle, God chose to be ceremonially present in the holiest place, and access to the holiest place was greatly restricted. The doorway was covered with a veil. As we learned earlier in the book of Hebrews, only the high priest could enter into the holiest place, only once a year, and only with the blood of the sacrifice.
We are also told that the holiest place represents heaven, where God dwells. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, the veil was torn by God from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51) signifying that Christ’s sacrificial death and shed blood is that which gives access to God and his mercy.
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.
There are many instances in the Bible where the sprinkling of blood symbolizes cleansing of sin by the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In verse 22 above, God is calling our attention specifically to the sin in our hearts. It seems to me that the washing of our bodies with water symbolizes the cleansing of our outward life by God.
23. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
We can trust God. We can see his infinite power and knowledge in the created universe. We can see his love in the cross. He is faithful.
24. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The root words for the Greek word translated “provoke” have to do with “sharpness” and “nearness”. In the scriptures, this particular sharpness is mostly associated with the sword of God’s word or the “sickle: of God’s judgement. “Exhort” means to beseech, implore, or even to comfort. Sometimes God’s people need to “poke” one another to help them to follow the Saviour; other times a more gentle approach is all that is needed.