19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Verse 19 begins a new hortatory section of Hebrews. The Holy Spirit has finished a long doctrinal section (7:1–10:18). From this point Hebrews shows how to apply doctrine to experience.
Verses 19–39 contain the fourth warning in the book of Hebrews. This warning follows the doctrinal section that sets forth the High Priesthood of Christ. Verses 19–25 give the admonition to act on the privileges of having a High Priest.
Beginning with verse 19, the Holy Spirit turns to how to apply the doctrinal section presented from chapter 7: first doctrine, then duty; first creed, then conduct; first privilege, then practice.
In verses 19 and 20, the believer has two things:
—confidence to enter the presence of God, v. 19
—a Great Priest over the house of God, v. 20
What we believe has implications on what we do. By accepting what Christ has done, we appropriate our privileges that He affords us. This “therefore” harks back to the preceding doctrinal discussion of privileges given by our High Priest.
This is a term of affection for the readers (He 3:1, 12; 13:22). What follows is true only of believers.
having boldness [confidence] to enter the Holiest
The Holy Spirit uses the analogy of the Levitical system to illustrate implications of the Christian way of life.
Because of what Christ did by bringing the New Covenant, believers should have the confidence to enter God’s presence. The word “boldness” means free confidence without any hang-up. It carries the idea of freedom. What Christ did for the believer gives him freedom with God (He 3:6; 4:16; Ga 5:1). Christians have open access to God because of our Lord. Boldness has a new sense of acceptance by God because Christians have their sin paid by Christ.
The “Holiest” refers to the very presence of God. The Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and temple was where God’s presence was located. The high priest of the Old Testament could only enter the “Holiest” once a year; the believer today can enter into direct fellowship with God as many times as he wishes.
Having something from God always precedes the idea of “let us.” This is motivation from within, not without. “Having” marks privilege, whereas doing results from “having”; this is production.
by [in] the blood of Jesus,
The basis for our confidence is the shed blood of Christ to pay for our sins. The word “by” is literally “in.” The ground of fellowship with God is the sacrificial blood of Christ for our sins. Our title for entering fellowship with God is the blood of Jesus. We do not enter by our character, religion, personal status, or any other human means. This is the source of our confidence with God. Every blood-bought believer has certain rights before God. No further sacrifice is necessary for sin.
Christ’s death gives every believer access to God.
The blood of Christ is our merit for salvation; personal merit does not save our souls. Jesus removed every obstacle in our fellowship with God. He forever removed any future penalty for sin.
The Christian has direct access to God’s presence. We have it in prayer, but in heaven we will fellowship directly with Him. Our bold approach to God is not a matter of irreverence; rather, it is the freedom to relate to God. We have this privilege from positional status with God; it was Jesus who won that right for us. We can appropriate this privilege in time as well as eternity.
The believer has confidence on account of what Christ prepared for us. We can enter fellowship with God without any qualification. God knows all our foibles, fallacies, and sin yet He lets us into His presence. He knows everything about us; we cannot fool Him, but He welcomes our fellowship. We can fellowship with Him without concealing anything. We have absolute confidence that our Lord will accept us without conditions. Direct fellowship with God is not only for some future day; we can have it now. We can have it this or any day.
The relationship that confidence offers in human motivation is great. Confidence is at the foundation to achievement. Human effort by itself will fail. It is by co-sharing what we do with God that biblical success will occur. God works by giving promises to believers. Confidence always comes from biblical conviction that God will provide.