When the High Priest once a year entered into the second tabernacle within the veil, it was, we are told in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 'the Holy Ghost signifying that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest.' When Christ died, the veil was rent; all who were serving in the holy place had free access at once into the Most Holy; the way into the Holiest of all was opened up. When the Epistle passes over to its practical application (x.19), all its teaching is summed up in the words: 'Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest, let us draw near.' Christ's redemption has opened the way to the Holiest of all: our acceptance of it must lead to nothing less than our drawing near and entering in. The words of our text suggest to us four very precious thoughts in regard to the place of access, the right of access, the way of access, the power of access.
The place of access. Whither are we invited to draw nigh? 'Having boldness to enter into the Holiest.' The priests in Israel might enter the holy place, but were always kept excluded from the Holiest, God's immediate presence. The rent veil proclaimed liberty of access into that Presence. It is there that believers as a royal priesthood are now to live and walk. Within the veil, in the very Holiest of all, in the same place, the heavenlies, in which God dwells, in God's very Presence, is to be our abode -- our home. Some speak as if the, 'Let us draw near,' meant prayer, and that in our special approach to God in acts of worship we enter the Holiest. No; great as this privilege is, God has meant something for us infinitely greater. We are to draw near, and dwell always, to live our life and do our work within the sphere, the atmosphere, of the inner sanctuary. It is God's Presence makes holy ground; God's immediate Presence in Christ makes any place the Holiest of all: and this is it into which we are to draw nigh, and in which we are to abide. There is not a single moment of the day, there is not a circumstance or surrounding, in which the believer may not be kept dwelling in the secret place of the Most High. As by faith he enters into the completeness of his reconciliation with God, and the reality of his oneness with Christ, as he thus, abiding in Christ, yields to the Holy Spirit to reveal within the Presence of the Holy One, the Holiest of all is around him, he is indeed in it. With an uninterrupted access he draws near.
The right of access. The thought comes up, and the question is asked: Is this not simply an ideal? can it be a reality, an experience in daily life to those who know how sinful their nature is? Blessed be God! it is meant to be. It is possible, because our right of access rests not in what we are, but in the blood of Jesus. 'Having boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near.' In the Passover we saw how redemption, and the holiness it aimed at, were dependent on the blood. In the sanctuary, God's dwelling, we know how in each part, the court, the holy place, the Most Holy, the sprinkling of blood was what alone secured access to God. And now that the blood of Jesus has been shed -- oh! in what Divine power, what intense reality, what everlasting efficacy, we now have access into the Holiest of all, the Most Holy of God's heart and His love! We are indeed brought nigh by the blood. We have boldness to enter by the blood. 'The worshippers, being once cleansed, have no more conscience of sins.' Walking in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses in the power of an endless life, with a cleansing that never ceases. No consciousness of unworthiness or remaining sinfulness need hinder the boldness of access: the liberty to draw near rests in the never-failing, ever-acting, ever-living efficacy of the Precious Blood. It is possible for a believer to dwell in the Holiest of all.
The way of access. It is often thought that what is said of the new and living way, dedicated for us by Jesus, means nothing different from the boldness through His blood. This is not the case. The words mean a great deal more. 'Having boldness by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near by the way which He dedicated for us.' That is, He opened for us a way to walk in, as He walked in it, 'a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.' The way in which Christ walked when He gave His blood, is the very same in which we must walk too. That way is the way of the Cross. There must not only be faith in Christ's sacrifice, but fellowship with Him in it. That way led to the rending of the veil of the flesh, and so through the rent veil of the flesh, in to God. And was the veil of Christ's holy flesh rent that the veil of our sinful flesh might be spared? Verily, no. He meant us to walk in the very same way in which He did, following closely after Himself. He dedicated for us a new and living way through the veil, that is, His flesh. As we go in through the rent veil of His flesh, we find in it at once the need and the power for our flesh being rent too: following Jesus ever means conformity to Jesus. It is Jesus with the rent flesh, in whom we are, in whom we walk. There is no way to God but through the rending of the flesh. In acceptance of Christ's life and death by faith as the power that works in us, in the power of the Spirit which makes us truly one with Christ, we all follow Christ as He passes on through the rent veil, that is, His flesh, and become partakers with Him of His crucifixion and death. The way of the cross, 'by which I have been crucified,' is the way through the rent veil. Man's destiny, fellowship with God in the power of the Holy Spirit, is only reached through the sacrifice of the flesh.
And here we find now the solution of a great mystery -- why so many Christians remain standing afar off, and never enter this Holiest of all; why the holiness of God's Presence is so little seen on them. They thought that it was only in Christ that the flesh needed to be rent, not in themselves. They thought that the liberty they had in the blood was the new and living way. They knew not that the way into true and full holiness, into the Holiest of all, that the full entrance into the fellowship of the holiness of the Great High Priest, was only to be reached through the rent veil of the flesh, through conformity to the death of Jesus. This is in very deed the way He dedicated for us. He is Himself the way; into His self-denial, His self-sacrifice, His crucifixion, He takes up all who long to be holy with His Holiness, holy as He is holy.
The power of access. Does any one shrink back from entering the very Holiest for fear of this rending of the flesh, because he doubts whether he could bear it, whether he could indeed walk in such a path? Let him listen once more. Hear what follows: 'And having a Great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near.' We have not only the Holiest of all inviting us, and the blood giving us boldness, and the way through the rent veil consecrated for us, but the Great Priest over the House of God, the Blessed Living Saviour, to draw, to help, and to welcome us. He is our Aaron. On His heart we see our name, because He only lives to think of us, and pray for us. On His forehead we see God's name, 'Holy to the Lord,' because in His Holiness the sins of our holy things are covered. In Him we are accepted and sanctified; God receives us as holy ones. In the power of His love and His Spirit, in the power of Him the Holy One, in the joy of drawing nearer to Him and being drawn by Him, we gladly accept the way He has dedicated, and walk in His holy footsteps of self-denial and self-sacrifice. We see how the flesh is the thick veil that separates from the Holy One who is a Spirit, and it becomes an unceasing and most fervent prayer, that the crucifixion of the flesh may, in the power of the Holy Spirit, be in us a blessed reality. With the glory of the Holiest of all shining out on us through the opened veil, and the Precious Blood speaking so loudly of boldness of access, and the Great Priest beckoning us with His loving Presence to draw near and be blessed, -- with all this, we dare no longer fear, but choose the way of the rent veil as the path we love to tread, and give ourselves to enter in and dwell within the veil, in the very Holiest of all.
And so our life here will be the earnest of the glory that is to come, as it is written -- note how we have the four great thoughts of our text over again -- 'These are they which came out of great tribulation,' that is, by the way of the rent flesh; 'and they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,' their boldness through the blood; 'therefore are they before the throne of God,' their dwelling in the Holiest of all; 'the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall be their Shepherd,' the Great Priest still the Shepherd, Jesus Himself their all in all.
Brother! do you see what holiness is, and how it is to be found? It is not something wrought in yourself. It is not something put on you from without. Holiness is the Presence of God resting on you. Holiness comes as you consciously abide in that Presence, doing all your work, and living all your life as a sacrifice to Him, acceptable through Jesus Christ, sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Oh, be no longer fearful, as if this life were not for you! Look to Jesus; having a Great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near. Be occupied with Jesus. Our Brother has charge of the Temple; He has liberty to show us all, to lead us into the secret of the Father's presence. The entire management of the Temple has been given into His hands with this very purpose, that all the feeble and doubting ones might come with confidence. Only trust yourself to Jesus, to His leading and keeping. Only trust Jesus, God's Holy One, your Holy One; it is His delight to reveal to you what He has purchased with His blood. Trust Him to teach you the ordinances of the sanctuary. 'That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the House of God,' He has been given. Having a Great Priest, let us enter in, let us dwell in the Holiest of all. In the power of the blood, in the power of the new and living way, in the power of the Living Jesus, let the Holiest of all, the Presence of God, be the home of our soul. You are 'Holy in Christ;' in Christ you are in God's Holy Presence and Love; just stay there.
BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.
Most Holy God! how shall I praise Thee for the liberty to enter into the Holiest of all, and dwell there? And for the precious Blood, that brings us nigh? And for the new and living way, through the rent veil of that flesh which had separated us from Thee, in which my flesh now too has been crucified? And for the Great Priest over the House of God, our Living Lord Jesus, with Whom and in Whom we appear before Thee? Glory be to Thy Holy Name for this wonderful and most complete redemption.
I beseech Thee, O my God! give me, and all Thy children, some right sense of how really and surely we may live each day, may spend our whole life, within the veil, in Thine own Immediate Presence. Give us the spirit of revelation, I pray Thee, that we may see how, through the rent veil, the glory of Thy Presence streameth forth from the Most Holy into the holy place; how, in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of heaven came to earth, and all who yield themselves to that Spirit may know that in Christ they are indeed so near, so very near to Thee. O Blessed Father! let Thy Spirit teach us that this indeed is the holy life: a life in Christ the Holy One, always in the Light and the Presence of Thy Holy Majesty.
Most Holy God! I draw nigh. In the power of the Holy Spirit I enter in. I am now in the Holiest of all. And here I would abide in Jesus, my Great Priest -- here, in the Holiest of all. Amen.
1. To abide in Christ is to dwell in the Holiest of all. Christ is not only the Sacrifice, and the Way, and the Great Priest, but also Himself the Temple. 'The Lamb is the Temple.' As the Holy Spirit reveals my union to Christ more clearly, and heart and will lose themselves in Him, I dwell in the Holy Presence, which is the Holiest of all. You are 'holy in Christ' -- draw near, enter in with boldness, and take possession -- have no home but in the Holiest of all.
2. 'Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it.' He gave Himself! Have you caught the force of that word? Because He would have no one else do it, because none could do it; to sanctify His Church, He gave Himself to do it. And so it is His own special beloved work to sanctify the Church He loved. Just accept Himself to do it. He can and will make you holy, that He may present you to Himself glorious, without spot or wrinkle. Let that word Himself live in you. The whole life and walk in the House of God is in His charge. Having a Great Priest, let us draw near.
3. This entrance into the Holiest of all -- an ever fresh and ever deeper entrance -- is, at the same time, an ever blessed resting in the Father's Presence. Faith in the blood, following in the way of the rent flesh, and fellowship with the Living Jesus, are the three chief steps.
4. Enter into the Holiest of all, and dwell there. It will enter into thee, and transform thee, and dwell in thee. And thy heart will be the Holiest of all, in which He dwells.
5. Have we not at times been lifted, by an effort of thought and will, or in the fellowship of the saints, into what seemed the Holiest of all, and speedily felt that the flesh had entered there too? It was because we entered not by the new way of life -- the way through death to life -- the way of the rent veil of the flesh. O our crucified Lord! teach us what this means; give it us; be it Thyself to us.
6. Let me remember that my access into the Holiest is as a Priest. Let me dwell before the Lord all the day as an Intercessor, offering, unceasingly, pleadings which are acceptable in Christ. May God's Church be like her of whom it is written, 'She departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.' It is for this we have access to the Holiest of all.
 So near, so very near to God,
 'Christ suffered, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit.' 'Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind.' The flesh and the Spirit are antagonistic: as the flesh dies, the Spirit lives.