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The Way to Get Close to God

Sometimes we read the Bible too quickly. In our hurry to read a chapter or stay on a schedule or cram a few verses in before we fall off to sleep, we miss something really big and important. Let me point out a verse of Scripture we must not miss or read hurriedly or skip over lightly. The verse is Hebrews 7:19 and here is what it says: "for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God." If you read all around that verse of Scripture you will fmd the inspired author of Hebrews saying some incredible things! He is out to convince his original readers (almost certainly of Jewish background) that Jesus Christ and the salvation He accomplished by means of His incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to God's right hand has given New Testament Christians privileges and opportunities no Old Testament saint of God every enjoyed. Exodus 19 (and 20:18-20) and many other places in the Old Testament make it clear the average Old Testament saint (Israelite) could not get very close to God! Even after the Tabernacle was constructed and the Old Testament priesthood instituted and installed, the Law of Moses laid it out that only Aaron and his sons and priests from the tribe of Levi could actually enter the part of the Tabernacle known as the Holy Place. And only the High Priest could enter the part of the Tabernacle known as the Most Holy Place where the ark of the covenant was, and he could do that only one day each year (see Leviticus 16). It was a system filled with spiritual types and shadows and symbols, designed to remind people that God was holy, that they were not, and that they needed God's help to become holy. Anyone who presumed to enter His presence without due reverence and respect for His law paid a severe price (see Leviticus 10:1-2). The truth is the Law of Moses severely limited approach and access and nearness to God. A better way was needed. All of this is in the mind of the author of Hebrews as he writes and pleads with Christians of Jewish background not to turn back to that Old Testament way of worship. "Don't do it!" he says. "If you do you are going back to an inferior way of worship. A way that (while it had its place and time and purpose) prevented direct approach to God and provided very limited access and nearness to Him!"

Jesus brought us a better way. He provides a "better hope" than the Mosaic law and its inferior priesthood ever could, since now, through Jesus, every child of God can "draw near to God" (7:19). All of this is based on a "better covenant" with "better promises" and "better sacrifices" (7:22; 8:6; 9:23). Later the writer will invite and encourage us, because of the power and effectiveness of Christ role as our High Priest, "Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith" (10:22). Because of Jesus, you don't have to stay back from God! You don't have to go to a certain place and you don't have to have a priest or pope or preacher in order to draw near and gain access to God. There is a way to get close to God - and Jesus is His name (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Are you close to God? Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ