“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Given the context, however, the author of Hebrews probably has one particular temptation uppermost in his thoughts: the temptation to break with one’s commitments under severe suffering. In 2:18, a verse that foreshadows the one under consideration, the author writes, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted.” In a related passage (5:7–8), a text that might be called “Hebrews’ Gethsemane account,” he adds: “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” For Jesus the ultimate temptation—and the one to which his response would have vast implications for the rest of humanity—was the temptation to try to get around his persecution unto death and to turn his back on God’s will, which was leading him to a Roman cross.
“Jesus’ compassionate disposition invites us to intimacy with God and makes that intimacy possible. The exhortation “let us approach” translates a present tense form of the verb, indicating that drawing near to God constitutes an ongoing aspect of the Christian’s relationship with God: “let us constantly approach.”
Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,”
“Furthermore, because it is a throne of grace to which we come, God is ready to grant our requests. He is glad to provide our needs, to give us strength to persevere through trials. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). So we are not afraid to ask of God, we who are so needy in this life. Why do we come? One commentator explains, “Man needs mercy for past failure, and grace for present and future work.… Mercy is to be ‘taken’ as it is extended to man in his weakness; grace is to be ‘sought’ by man according to his necessity.”
“Christians, therefore, should draw near to God with unabashed openness since God alone is the true source of mercy and grace. Because of these provisions we can expect God will “help us in our time of need.” Literally this phrase reads that mercy and grace result in “timely aid.”
“The key to everything is the ‘in him.’ All that we may rightly expect from God, and ask him for, is to be found in Jesus Christ. If we are to learn what God promises, and what he fulfills, we must persevere in quiet meditation on the life, sayings, deeds, sufferings, and death of Jesus. It is certain that we may always live close to God and in the light of his presence, and that such living is an entirely new life for us; that nothing is then impossible for us, because all things are possible with God; that no earthly power can touch us without his will, and that danger and distress can only drive us closer to him.”