September 16

…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. Hebrews 10:22

There may seem at first to be a contradiction in this verse, for how can anyone draw near to God with a true heart and full assurance if they have an evil conscience?  This contradiction illuminates the root problem that we think we must be good before we can come close to God.  This would be like a man trapped in a dark room pleading for someone to bring him light, only to be told that he must first drive the darkness out before light could be brought in!  We cannot be pure enough by ourselves to approach God – it is in drawing near that His Presence washes and changes us, first in our spirit and then even in our bodies.  So what is the “true heart” we are to prepare?  It is a heart that has realised its need and comes in brokenness and humility.  What is the “full assurance of faith”?  It is the faith that God is calling us and has prepared all things so that we can indeed draw near.  There is forgiveness and acceptance with God, no matter how deep the stains on our conscience.  The longer we allow guilt and shame to keep us out, the longer they will be our daily bread.  We must arise and receive the cleansing Presence of God, that dispels our darkness and transforms our lives.  The feeling of being excluded is an illusion, a lie of the devil.  God has accepted us, and nothing but doubting His faithfulness can keep us out of His life-transforming grace.  Once we have crossed the threshold we will wonder why we ever hesitated, for the welcome there is overwhelming.  All heaven is urging us to come, and every barrier has been removed.