The writer of Hebrews begins the next section with the phrase, “Therefore, brethren.” Writing to believers, he is saying that all believers now have access to God, or an open invitation, to enter the holy place and to do it with confidence. This verse is reminiscent of Hebrews 4:16, which says, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.” The reason for the confidence wasn’t due to anything on their part, but, rather, because of the blood of Jesus. He calls this confident access to God, “a new and living way.” It is new because Jesus’ sacrificial death for us has created a completely new situation. It is living because this new way is connected to our Messiah Jesus who has risen from the dead. He is alive!
Under the old Levitical system, that privilege was reserved only for the high priest and only on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, after a series of very specific sacrifices were made for the priest, for his family, and for the people of Israel. But our great priest is not a Levitical high priest, but, rather, our Great High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, and He sits at the right hand of the Father, “over the house of God.” In view of all that has been done for us, the writer of Hebrews gives a three-fold exhortation of how every believer ought to be responding. Each one of the exhortations begins with the phrase, “Let us.”
The first exhortation states, “Let us draw near.” This phrase describes a posture of worship, of drawing near to God, which is done by drawing near “with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” The writer is describing a real devotion to God from a mature faith and uses two descriptive phrases to explain how that is possible. “Having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience,” uses the sprinkling of blood imagery from the Levitical sacrifices. It pictures justification in which believers are declared righteous and free from guilt or a guilty conscience. Second, “Our bodies washed with pure water,” is sometimes said to be speaking of baptism, but more likely it is the progressive sanctification cleansing that begins at salvation and continues through the work of the Holy Spirit.
The second exhortation states, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” This exhortation to hold fast to our hope is emphasized in this epistle. Our blessed hope is the fact that Yeshua is the Messiah and He promises to return for us and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is an exhortation to persevere in the midst of very trying circumstances. The writer adds “for He who promised is faithful” as the basis of our perseverance. Regardless of our circumstances, we need to hold fast to our hope, our blessed hope, because of the faithfulness of our Messiah.
The first two exhortations were geared to the individual; the last exhortation is geared more toward the body of believers. “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” The context suggests that some believers were abandoning the faith. Therefore, we, the body of Messiah, are to carefully consider how we might cause one another in the body, through love and concern for one another, to live godly lives for Him, do good deeds, and uphold faithfulness to our Messiah. This type of love is communal in nature and cannot be done apart from other believers. We must encourage one another to fellowship with other believers and not to be isolated. As this is done, we must be mindful of the reality that we are getting closer and closer to the end of days and, therefore, should recognize the urgency of the exhortation. He is coming soon!