Let us draw near with a true heart – Hebrews
What does it mean to draw near to God with a true
heart? After spending a couple of chapters explaining how the old
covenant was unable to actually take away sin, and how Christ has offered
Himself as the one true sacrifice for sin, the author of Hebrews exhorts us to
draw near to God with a true heart. This idea of truth in our worship is
not something unique to the book of Hebrews. We see it mentioned in
other passages like John 4:24 where we are told, that “God is spirit, and his
worshippers must worship him in spirit and truth,” or Psalm 51:6 which says,
“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts.”
When we hear the word “truth” our minds naturally go to the
idea of intellectual truth, or to put it another way, that which is the
opposite of falsehood. Now clearly that is part of what it means to
worship in truth. To worship the wrong God, or even the right God wrongly,
not according to His prescribed regulations for worship, is to worship
incorrectly. God has revealed Himself to us through His Son in the
scriptures. We are called to know Him, and this certainly involves
believing the correct things about Him, but to draw near to Him in truth
involves another aspect also.
John Owen summed it up nicely when he said, “In the mind,
truth opposes falsehood; in the affections, truth opposes hypocrisy.” It
is truth in the affections that is primarily at the heart of the command to
draw near to God with a true heart, and this means to approach Him without
hypocrisy. As we gather to worship the Lord, His focus is not on our
outward appearance or rituals; His focus is on our heart.
Think about the last time you spent time worshiping the
Lord. Where you really there? Was your heart focused on him, or
where you just going along with the flow of the Sunday service simply thinking
about other things? In other words, in your heart, were you drawing near
to him as you worshiped or were you still at a great distance from Him?
If you are like me, questions like this will serve to remind
you of how much you fall short even in your worship of our great Savior.
Thomas Watson once penned a sentence that virtually knocked the wind out of me
regarding this topic, he said, “Jesus Christ went more willingly to the cross
than we do to the throne of grace.” Even in our worship we can be great
The good news about the command to draw near with
true hearts, is the context in which it is found. As the author of
Hebrews is telling us to draw near to God in truth, he is telling us to do so
because there is forgiveness of sin in Christ. In approaching God with
true hearts, we do not merit our forgiveness. It is by understanding our
forgiveness that our hearts are moved to draw near to Him in worship.
This is why the verse continues by saying that we are to draw near with
a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from
an evil conscience.
Let the knowledge of forgiveness in Christ’s blood stir your
heart with joy. May it pull your attention away from all the
fleeting shadows of this world and draw you near to your Savior’s side
today. Even if your conscience has been troubled by your many
shortcomings this week, do not let it keep you from approaching the throne of
grace. An evil conscience is not the reason to stay away from the Savior,
it is the very reason we need to draw near to Him with a true heart.