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Verse 19 starts with a word “Therefore,”. The author means “because we have the greatest high priest, Jesus”, he starts giving recommendations based on what he has taught so far. By the way, verses 19 to 25 are divided into 7 verses, but in Greek, this part is written as a series of sentences. It must be difficult of translating this long passage into seven sentences in an easy-to-understand way. Please read this passage comparing with different Bible translations. In the colloquial translation, it is roughly divided into two sentences. That is because verses 22 and 23 are connected by a colon. We can see that there are various attempts at Bible translation. The center of this series of sentences, which are also connected by a colon, is “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart” and “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess…”. In the flow of recommendations to approach God with a sincere heart, the author also recommends us to firmly confess our hope.
Now, as we understand the main message of this passage, these parts before and after could be add as a reason or some practical advices. Let us take a look at some of them. Verse 19 says,「Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,」We who believe in the cross of Jesus can boldly come before God. That is because, as Hebrews 9:12 says, Jesus “has obtained eternal redemption for us”. Jesus completed the work of redemption once for all, accomplishing the eternal redemption for us. For that reason, we are able to boldly come before God. This is our first reason why we are able to get closer to God.
Verse 20 says,「by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,」(Hebrews 10:20 NIV) In John 14: 6, Jesus said,「“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.」Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice, as a new way of life and paved the way for us to come in the presence of God. Jesus made a new way for us, this is the second reason why we can come before God.
Verse 21 states that Jesus is the one who governs the house of God. The house of God is the church, and Jesus is the head of the church and always supports us with intercessory prayers. Jesus is the great priest and the one who keeps us in mind. That is the third reason why we can come close to God.
Verse 22 says,「…having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.」This is the fourth reason. The blood of Jesus shed on the cross cleanses our hearts. We are baptized with faith. Through that baptism, God sees us as forgiven. For these reasons, the Book of Hebrews recommends us, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart.” We, Christians are able to draw near to God, accepting Him as someone close, living our lives with Him.
The author of Hebrews recommends such a way of life that approaches God and firmly confesses our hope. Verse 23 continues with the reason, “for he who promised is faithful.“ God is faithful, and for this reason we can confess our hope. And as a person who confesses his hope, the author makes specific recommendations. Verse 24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Isolated believers often feel weak. This passage recommends us to encourage one another and to build such a good relationship with each other.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart, confessing our hope, and to encourage one another. As we believe in the Second Coming of Christ, let us get together and to encourage each other, and to build a good relationship with one another.