Heb. 10:19-22¶ Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…
Jonathan Edwards wrote a book (considered by experts as a masterpiece) in defense of the Great Awakening called Religious Affections. The premise of the book is that the very nature of the Christian faith deals with the heart; or our emotions, preferences, and feelings about spiritual things. He taught that true faith was more than mental ascent, our heart has to be deeply effected by the love of God. It wasn’t just Edwards that took this position, it was actually part of the Christian tradition that Edwards was raised in. He was a Puritan, raised by a Puritan pastor (his father), and served his first ministry position under his Puritan pastor-grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. True conversion converts our hearts, the result is that our hearts are impassioned for the Lord. John Owen was another Puritan pastor from England in the 1600’s. Here are his thoughts from today’s verse.
“The main qualification of the people exhorted to draw near to God is to have a sincere heart, literally, a “true” heart. In a special way, God requires inner truth. “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place”. This is particularly the case in worship. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth”. In the mind, truth opposes falsehood: in the affections, truth opposes hypocrisy. In the first case all false worship is rejected, all means of worshiping God in ways he did not intend. But the truth of the heart, which is meant here, is the sincerity of the heart that is opposed to all hypocrisy. From this it follows that the heart is what God is most interested in when we approach him, and that universal, internal sincerity of heart is required of everyone who comes close to God in holy worship.”
If you think about it, where does this true heart come from if our hearts are desperately wicked? A true heart is the fruit or testimony of grace. The Lord attracts our hearts, our affections are awakened by Him. As we draw near, our hearts are consumed with His love. So let’s give heed to today’s word in Hebrews. Let us draw near with a true heart, a heart fully consumed with love for Jesus.