A SUFFICIENT DRINK
Hebrews 10:19-22 – 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
I was sitting on my front patio this week and visiting with a friend when he said something that struck me. He was talking about an acquaintance of his who after years of service in a church setting had fallen far away from Christ. In trying to restore him from his place of heavy guilt, my friend simply told him that he needed to “trust the finished work of Christ.” His acquaintance looked at him and asked him what that meant. He had been a Christian for decades, served in countless ministries, and yet never understood the very thing that is the power of all we are, do, and say as Christians. Do you understand it? Do I?
We are on a journey together seeking the treasure that is beyond comparison, the pearl of unspeakable worth. God of course is the giver of this great treasure. We know it to be true. It’s why we pray. All good gifts come from above, right? He is the provider. It’s why we ask of him. However, on this journey, we are seeking as the Psalmist seeks. We are seeking with the truth that is written into the tiniest particles of creation and across the cosmos themselves. The creator is more than just the giver of the treasure; He, the one who speaks stars and galaxies and butterflies and the wind into existence, the one who created laughter and dancing and music, the one to whom all created things cry out, God, Creator, Sustainer, Father of Light… is the treasure itself. He is both the giver and the gift. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup (Psalm 16:5).
And yet we need to ask the very real question, how do we drink of the cup? How do we open the gift that is God’s presence? How do we not just treat him as the means to get what we want, and instead live out the life giving reality that he himself is what our thirsty souls truly long for? As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God (Psalm 42:1). The answer begins and ends with understanding and relying on the “finished work of Chrst.”
The tenth chapter of Hebrews stands as one of the most important chapters in all of the New Testament. It helps us understand the significance of the cross and what Christ accomplished there. To put it theologically, it helps us see the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for our entire lives. No other work is needed. No effort on our part is needed. When we place our faith in Christ, his sacrifice cleanses us from the guilt of every sin past and future.
We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10).
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14)
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. (Hebrews 10:17-18)
Pause and meditate on these verses. Let the truth pour into every guilt ridden nook and cranny of the soul. Every morning, what makes us right before God is not our behaviors from yesterday, but the sufficient sacrifice of Christ. It covers us. And this is key for our endeavor of seeking a deeper spirituality with God. Look at what the author of Hebrews goes on to say is the direct result of Christ’s finished work: let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).
Understanding and relying on the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice enables us to “draw near to God.” But to do this, we must pass through the curtain that is the broken body of Christ. Which means this, as you sit to spend time with God, start with recalling the sacrifice of Jesus. Understand that Jesus’ blood has purified you and now you have every right to know and draw near to God. The Creator Himself is not far away, he is available and near when through faith you “draw near to Him.”
The question is, what does it mean to “draw near?” The author of Hebrews gives an answer in the next chapter: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Do you hear the simplicity of that? Three simple steps to draw near:
Stir up your faith that Christ has forever made you clean.
Believe that God exists and is available to you.
Trust that he will reward you with his presence for earnestly seeking him.
Pretty simple, isn’t it? Drawing near to God does not require spiritual degrees and expertise, it simply requires faith and trust in Christ’s sacrifice and deep belief that God will reward you with his presence if you seek him. But that is the key. Until we come to understand the presence of God as the reward itself, then we will not experience the joys of drawing near to God. We will have available to us the treasure of the universe and yet walk away disappointed with our prayers. We will have our portion and our cup in hand, and yet leave our souls screaming for thirst for we long to drink from some other cup that will never satisfy. There is nothing God could possibly give us that will bring us greater joy than himself. He is the Giver and the Gift. He is the sufficient drink for our soul.
There is much here to think about and process. But start with these questions:
Do you truly want to experience the nearness of God? If so, then in what ways will you earnestly seek him tomorrow? Carve out a time and place to draw near to him in earnesty.
Search your soul in honesty. Examine how you spend your time and energy. What other things or persons do you find more valuable than the presence of God in your life? What treasures have you sought more earnestly than God himself? Repent where necessary. Know that the sacrifice of Christ sufficiently covers those sins and you are forgiven.
Examine your conscience. What past actions or sins have left stains that you have trouble accepting forgiveness for? Write down the word sufficient at the top of a journal page. List each stain that marrs your soul and beside it write the words, “cleansed and washed.” Spend time letting God speak the truth of his sufficient grace over your soul.