Yesterday we looked at the first part of this verse: “Let us draw near to God.” But how? Although He always hears us and we can always draw near to Him, sometimes our experience of drawing near to Him isn’t the joy and delight that we know it should be. The rest of the verse helps us.
First we need to have a “true heart.” Our heart needs to be sincere and honest. When we pray, it is not a religious duty but fellowship with our Father. Therefore, we can be real with Him. He knows our hearts so we don’t need to hide.
Second, we need to come “in full assurance of faith.” We need to believe the gospel and that God accepts us; we need to trust His promises that we can draw near to Him. The Lord still hears the believer’s prayer even when we doubt Him, but we don’t experience the joy of coming near to Him if we don’t come with that assurance of faith. That assurance will come through believing the truth and by asking the Holy Spirit to help you.
Thirdly, we need to come with “hearts sprinkled clean” and “bodies washed with pure water.” These are two illustrations from the tabernacle in the Old Testament. When the people of Israel entered into the covenant with God (Exodus 24), they were sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice. When the priest approached the presence of God, he had to wash himself in water as an outward sign of cleansing.
These two aspects cover justification (we are saved by grace alone, cleansed in the blood of Christ) and sanctification (being changed and growing in holiness). Again, we will struggle to enjoy the presence of God in prayer if we come with unconfessed sin. We need to come through Christ, trusting in His shed blood, and we need to come repentant, bringing our sins to Him, confessing them and trusting Him for His cleansing.
If we confess our sins, if we come trusting in Christ and His finished work, we come boldly into God’s presence, confident that He accepts us and we will enjoy meeting with Him.
So “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.”