“Let us approach 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” (Hebrews 10:22).
I can remember being about 4 years old when my friend and I roamed the neighborhood. This would never happen these days, but back then, it really was a thing – kids freely roamed the neighborhood without fear. The style of the neighborhood was to have a wooden front porch. Well, one afternoon, one of our neighbors had just painted their porch red. My friend and I thought it would be cool to walk on their porch with our little bare feet and leave our mark in the paint. Obviously, we were just little kids and didn’t think things through.
In Hebrews 10:11-25, St. Paul reminds the congregation of the new covenant God made with his people – “I will remember their sins no more…When there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.” (v. 18). What Paul is saying is that the people no longer have to bring a sacrifice to the altar for their sins. In fact, many times the sacrifice would be a lamb. Jesus is now the lamb of God sacrificed for us! Jesus flips everything upside down! With this in mind, how then are we to approach the altar? Paul tells us: “Approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” I believe the word “conscience” is important. The reason is because if we are not guilty of our wrong doings, we cannot repent and come clean!
The owner of that home came to our house and told my mom about the two children who had walked on his newly- painted porch with their bare feet. I immediately went and hid behind my mom. I remember feeling horrible about what I had done. My mom didn’t think I would do such a thing, but the neighbor said, “Whoever did this will have red paint on the bottom of their feet.” I learned at a very early age to learn how to apologize and what it felt like to have done something wrong. Our conscious is a feeling. Guilt and shame is a feeling that can eat at your soul that has the potential to take away your life.
Jesus gave us a way out of that feeling and opened to us an opportunity to move forward with our lives and rejoice in the life He has given us!
Let us pray…Jesus, our Lord and Savior, you have opened the way for us to approach you – to come to you with an assurance of faith, knowing that you forgive us – knowing what to forgive us for before we even know. Sprinkle us from an evil conscience and wash our bodies with pure water. Show us the Life you Intend for US! Amen.