Cleansed Once For All- Hebrews 10:2-4
As we continue in our examination of Hebrews 10, we must keep in mind the proper context of the passage, for the verses we come to now depend on verse one for their context. We must keep in mind that verse one dealt with “drawing near to worship”, that the passage here is dealing with the topic of man being able to enter into the presence of God. In the verses at hand, the writer is dealing with exactly what prevents man from entering into God’s presence, and how that issue is dealt with under the Old and New covenants. So what exactly does keep man from entering into the presence of God? The answer is defilement. Man’s sin results in his defilement, and this defilement acts as a barrier between man and God . The topic at hand is how both the Old and New covenants deal with this defilement and how man can approach God. Each covenant provides a means through which man may be cleansed of his defilement and enter into the presence of God. In the Old covenant system, cleansing was provided for by both water and blood, the water which cleansed the body of its defilement and the blood which cleansed the soul. We find here, in verse 2, that it is the consciousness of defilement which keeps the worshippers from drawing near to God. The Greek translated as “felt guilty” in the NIV is “to exein suneidesin”, literally “had consciousness of”, or was aware of. In the context of this passage, sin here is defilement, and it is man’s awareness of his defilement which somehow prevents him from approaching God, from drawing near to Him. The point which the writer makes here is that the Old covenant system of cleansing only dealt with the defilement externally and temporarily. This system served to remind man of his defilement, as an “annual reminder of sin”, but the New covenant system serves to bring about the removal of defilement. The Old covenant system of the blood of “bulls and goats” served only to cover over defilement, while the blood of Christ in the New Covenant serves to take it away. The Old Covenant system cleansed from defilement only once a year, man could only enter into the presence of God (the Most Holy Place) once a year, and only with blood. The new covenant system cleanses from defilement permanently ,and man may now approach God any time and any place, not just once a year and not just at the temple,. In Christ, the barrier between God and man has been permanently removed, and man may now approach God any time, anywhere. May we all take advantage of this opportunity which Christ has provided and boldly draw near to the throne of grace anytime, anywhere.