“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” -Heb. 6.19-20
If our lives are being tossed to-and-fro by the spirit of this age, if the opinions of others are swaying our thoughts and decisions, and if we are lagging in spirit and falling prey to discouragement and purposelessness, the chances are that we have lost or neglected our vital contact with the One who has entered “within the veil….. as a forerunner for us.”
If we have been instructed in the Scriptures to “abide in love,” to “walk in the Spirit,” and to “be holy just as God in heaven is holy,” how shall fallen and weak souls like us engage such realities, much less “live, move, and have our being” in them? The answer is both majestic and within reach, both transcendent and simple, both awe-striking and intensely practical. It touches the dust of who we are, waking us up to the glory of what we have become through the work of our great High Priest.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest…. -Heb. 4.9-11
There is a Sabbath rest for the saints, but abiding in that rest is not the automatic result of the new birth. He crashes into our world when we are born from above, introducing us to “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” but it is our own precious responsibility to “be diligent to enter that rest” day by day. We’ve got to take up our crosses and follow the Lamb daily, not relying on a weekly spiritual injection on Sundays, but resisting the “world, the flesh and the devil,” and entering into communion with the Lord as an abiding reality.
There is no entry into “that rest” without diligent pursuit, and there is no diligent pursuit of the holy until we have have learned to love and live in the holiest place of all, where God Himself is, and where the Son of Man has made mediation on our behalf.
We are not struggling to perform nice services. We are not falling short in organizational excellence and programmatic expertise. But scarcely do we see men who are walking with God; men who are accessing the holy place, abiding in the life of God, and leading others into that great life. No ministry is valid before God unless it first comes from the holy place, where the glory of God is the central and chief reality.
How shall we abide in the presence of God? How shall we walk with God as Enoch of old? How shall we dwell with “everlasting burnings”? Christ Himself has made the way for us!
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
…. let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” -Heb. 4.14, 16
This is the “anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” How can fallen vessels live, move and have our being in God? Though we’ve been redeemed by the blood, though we’ve become new creatures, we are still cognizant of our weaknesses and immaturities. How shall we ascend the hill of the Lord? Through Jesus Christ Himself. It is not through a mere profession, it is not only by articulating the doctrine of justification, but by literally entering into communion with the living God through faith in the finished work of the Lamb of God.
We enter through prayer and active relationship to the Son of God. Prayer is higher than any other ministry or calling, and any activity established in His name that has not come from this place of entry into His rest will invariably lead us further from the Holy Place. It will have the tone and feel of the world all over it. It will not sound that heavenly note that the true works of God convey. Abiding in Him is our great business, and Jesus is not just the Way in a categorical manner. He is literally the only One who lifts our souls into a life submerged in the knowledge of God.
There is no pastor or prophet, no program or plan, no song or book that can escort us to that place. They may stir or point us toward the Lamb, but they cannot escort us. We can only enter the rest of God through the Door that He has provided. We can only enter, in this age or in the age to come, through the Son of glory.
I suspect our faith is going to be tested. It is one thing to read what we now have before us to consider, but the real issue is whether we have the faith to believe it for ourselves. God has opened a new and living way by His blood; the veil is rent, and we are bidden to come and to enter because He has made a way once-and-for-all. We can come into the holiest place, and there He will meet with us. We can live out from that place because a High Priest has gone in before us to make a new and living way by which we can also enter and abide. Have we a faith to believe for that? That is to say, to actually enter in. A whole generation perished in the wilderness who could not enter for their unbelief. Yet God bids us enter, that is to say, appropriate and come into this place. The veil that kept the people out was rent from the top to the bottom. Are we accessing?
(Art Katz, The Melchizedek Priesthood, transcribed spoken message, http://www.artkatzministries.org)