If we are observant, we can see that there are protocols or systems that need to be followed if a person wants to have an audience with a king or a queen, a president, a mayor or a company head or anybody in authority. We cannot just walk in unannounced to be able to meet or talk to them. These are all human beings like us and yet we follow the rules if we want to meet or be near to them. Therefore, it is understandable that to be near to God, our Creator, there are conditions to be met, requirements that should be followed by a person wanting to be in the presence of God.
If mere human authority imposes protocols and conditions on anyone who wants to have an audience with him, more so our God. It is very important that we know the conditions set by our Heavenly Father if we want to be near Him. What are the conditions given for those of us who wish to draw near to God? Hebrews 10:22 has the answer: “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.” [ESV]
The Scriptures taught us three requirements to be met if we want to draw near to God. What are they? A true heart, an assured faith, and a clean conscience. Let us study it one by one.
A TRUE HEART
What is the proof that a true or pure heart is a requirement if we want to be near to God? In Matthew 5:8 the Lord Jesus has the answer: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” [ESV]. It is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said that those with a pure heart are blessed because they will see God. A person who sincerely wants to be near to God must decide for himself that he wants to acquire a pure heart. How does the Scriptures describe a person with a true or pure heart? Psalm 24:3-5 describes: “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” [ESV]. The verse is clear, a person with a pure heart has clean hands, does not side with evil or falsehood and does not swear deceitfully. Are we like this? Are we siding with the truth always? Are our hands not smeared with blood? Are we not being used to propagate falsehoods? Are we not condoning evil acts by our inaction and silence? Standing in God’s presence requires a pure heart. A sincere and true heart is not contaminated or polluted. Please remember the promise of the Lord, a person with a pure heart will receive blessings and salvation from God.
AN ASSURED FAITH
Aside from a pure heart, we also need faith if we want to be near to God. What is the proof? Hebrews 11:6 has the answer: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” [ESV].
Faith is necessary if we want to draw near to God. It is impossible to be near Him without faith. We must believe that God exists. God gives rewards to those who seek Him, to those people who are trying to please Him and be near to Him. Without faith, it is impossible to be near to God.
What is the description of an assured faith? An assured faith is a confident faith, one that completely trusts God and His Word. In Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Let us not trust in our own understanding. In all our ways we must acknowledge God and He will direct or make straight our path. An assured faith is living and active. Having a pure heart and an assured faith will enable man to obey God and be near to Him.
But how can we acquire a clean conscience? How can a sinful man possess a clean conscience to meet the final requirement to draw near to God? The final requirement is beyond our control, possessing a pure heart and an active faith require our conscious effort but having a clean conscience is God’s gift to us. Why? Because shedding of blood or atonement is the only key to a clean conscience.
A CLEAN CONSCIENCE
In the Old Testament, we can find the proof in Leviticus 1:3, 9: “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord… And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.” [ESV]
To make one’s conscience clean is through the blood of an animal without blemish sprinkled by the priest on the altar. Thus, making atonement for the sins committed.
How about in the New Testament? How can we have clean or pure conscience? Hebrews 9:11-14 has the answer: “But when Christ came— appeared as High Priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” [ESV]
In the New Testament, it is the blood of Christ which makes atonement for one’s sins. The blood of Christ purifies our conscience. The blood of Christ Jesus makes our conscience clean. Through His blood, we can now draw near to God coupled with a pure heart and a strong faith. It is very clear therefore, Christ is the ultimate answer, He is the key if we want to be near to God. On our own, we cannot have pure heart and strong faith without Christ’s help.
But how can this truth about pure heart, true faith and the blood of Christ that makes our conscience clean be known to man who desires to be near to God? How can this good news be known by ordinary people like us? For example, if we want to see the president, it is the president who will set the process and requirements so that we can meet with him, we need to approach the secretary and bring our credentials and make an appointment. In a nutshell that is how we approach a person in authority.
How about our Lord God? How can we know His requirements that of having a pure heart, assured faith and the blood of Christ that gives clean conscience? We know that the words of God are in the Scriptures. God is talking to us through the Scriptures. What must we have so that we can understand fully the words of God, so that we can have an intimate audience with Him, so that we can be near Him, so that we can have that confidence and proof that we are really near to our Father in Heaven? In James 1:21 this is recorded: “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
What should we have so that we can hear the words of God, the implanted word that can save our souls? The answer is very clear, we must receive the words of God with meekness. Therefore, if we want to be near to God, what must we do? We must be meek, humble and obedient. We must be willing to admit our mistakes, repent, change, and transform by renewing our mind into the mind of Christ. Meekness is a solid trait that we must have. When we are meek and humble person in the sight of God we will know His words and will be able to follow His commandments, thus the meek person will have a pure heart, a strong faith, and a clean conscience. Why? Because we are atoned by the blood of Christ making our conscience clean, making us qualified to be near to God.
What is the process set by God so that those who are meek can hear His words? How can God speak to the meek? How can God be heard by the humble? In the Book of Haggai 1:13, this is the answer: “Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord's message, ‘I am with you, declares the Lord.’” [ESV].
God is speaking to the meek, to His people through His messengers, like Haggai during the time of the prophets. The message of the Lord through His messenger is clear, I am with you. From the Lord’s statement, it is very clear that God’s people are near to Him because He said I am with You. We must have this assurance in our hearts. We must be sure that God is with us. Deep in our hearts, when we are alone, we must have that confidence, we need to hear God’s voice telling us, my child, I am with You.
How can we hear the words of God today? In Luke 10:16, the Son of God declares: “The one who hears you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and the one who rejects Me rejects Him—[God] who sent me.” [ESV].
In the New Testament, who must be heard? Christ must be heard. If we listen to the one sent by Christ, we are listening to Christ; if we reject the one sent by Christ, we are rejecting Christ; and if we reject Christ, we are rejecting God who sent Him.
We are taught so well through God’s commissioning to listen to His messengers. We know the importance of this link to Christ and to God. But majority of us who are taught so well forget the word meekness, majority of us cling to the word fear, fear of expulsion, fear of persecution, fear of oppression and all sorts of fear that a coward person is thinking.
What is it that we must remember? What we must remember is to be meek to receive the implanted word of God. God through His written words, the Scriptures has commanded us to expose the evil works of darkness and stay away from wicked leaders, we must be meek to accept the command of God. We must be obedient and not let our fear rule us.
Ministers or pastors who are aligned with the teachings of God and Christ should not be rejected. We must recognize them and accept the words of God that they are implanting on our minds. But by submitting and obeying to leaders, does it mean we will obey without complain? Of course not, we must use our God-given discerning mind.
Are there leaders or ministers that we must reject? Yes, there are. What we must reject are those ministers who are doing evil deeds and those who are participating in the works of darkness and those ministers who are preventing God’s people to get out from the human organization whose leaders are no longer following God. The words of God must prevail, not the pride of ministers nor members. We are not establishing a new church because the spiritual Church, the Body of Christ is not tied up to wicked leaders. We are part of the third group that is being tested right now. We are now the gold that came out from the testing. That’s why we are the very small remnant. That is why the advice for us is to be meek, but we should be meek in receiving the words of God.
We must not be meek in the face of a corrupt and wicked leader or preacher. We must be meek in following the words of God. Let us always remember, a preacher will take into account his ministry before God on judgement day, he will be judged by God according to his conduct. A true minister will always approach his ministry with love and humility. But a true minister will not also hesitate to point out things that are going wrong and not in accordance anymore with God’s principles.
Let us all be meek in following the words of God. Let us be bold and courageous in our roles to expose wickedness. Let us be loving to all people. Let us be wise and cautious who we trust. How can we be loving to all if we will not trust everyone? We can be loving to all by not harming anybody. But we must select our friends. We forgive and love our enemies but we are not mandated nor expected to be friends again or close again to those who harmed us. We forgive even if they are not asking forgiveness so that we can have peace of mind, so that the hurt and the anger will be removed from our body.
Let this day be the start of a new perspective for us. Let us be meek in the sight of God. Let us bow our heads and ask God, dear God, create in me a pure heart, grant me a strong faith. I am very sure the blood of my Saviour has redeemed me from my sins, through His precious blood, my conscience is clean. I am now drawing near to You dear God, please do not cast me away. Please tell me today, my child, I am with you. I will never leave you.