by Mike Ratliff
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22 (NASB)
In v22 (above) the phrase “let us draw near” translates the Greek first plural verb προσερχώμεθα (proserchōmetha) the present tense, middle voice, subjunctive mood case of προσέρχομαι (proserchomai) which means “come to, go to, approach.” It is usually used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew qerab, which also means to come near or approach but also pictures the idea of closeness to the object being approached.
The Greek likewise pictures such closeness. This word appears in Matthew 4:11, for example, where the angels “came and ministered unto [Jesus]” after Satan tempted Him and them departed. Jesus’ disciples also “came to Him” often (5:1; 8:25; etc.) showing their closeness to Him. Of special note is 1 Timothy 6:3-5, where Paul writes that we should withdraw ourselves from anyone who does not “consent” to (i.e, accede or agree to) sound doctrine.
So, what does it mean biblically to draw near to God?
First, and foremost, drawing near to God means having a sincere desire for truth. Back in v22, The words sincere heart translate ἀληθινῆς (alēthinēs) καρδίας (kardias). It could also have been translated as “true heart.” Both the English word truth and the Greek behind it ἀλήθεια (alētheia) speak of that which is absolute, incontrovertible, irrefutable, incontestable, unarguable, and unchanging. The specific form of the Greek here also refers to “sincerity.” The Heart καρδία (kardia) refers not just to the emotional nature, but also to the reason, and to the faculty of intelligence.
While many today say such things as, “I want to be near God,” or “I want to get close to God,” when confronted with the absolutes of God’s Word, they rebel. That is a staggering contradiction! They do not want to draw near to God at all. They are like the Israelites, of home Isaiah wrote:
13 Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, Isaiah 29:13 (NASB)
Yes, they say the words, but when it comes down to real truth, they reject it and live according to their own ways. The most important thing that drawing near to God means is that we sincerely want to hear, receive, and obey God’s truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!