Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 12

It is a serious matter to approach God

Hebrews 12:20

The author of Hebrews has urged Christians to have the closest possible relationship with God (Hebrews 10:19-22). But that is only possible for them because Jesus died to save them. They have invited him into their lives, and so they have become his holy people (1 Peter 2:9-10). Without Jesus, they could not have such a close relationship with God. Until God has forgiven a person’s sins (evil deeds), that person cannot come near to God.

We see that when God gave his commands to Israel. Three days before, he announced that he would come down to the top of the mountain called Sinai. The people had to prepare for that event. They camped round the mountain, but they could not go onto it. Even their animals would die if they went there (Exodus 19:12-13). Nobody should approach God, because he is too holy and perfect for them.

The people had a duty to kill any person or animal that went on the mountain. If they did not do it, then God himself would act against that person (Exodus 19:21-22). An unholy person – or even an animal – must not approach the place where God is present.

The people considered these instructions terrible; and they were very afraid. It is right to feel fear when God is present. We must respect him. He is holy and perfect. We are all guilty when he is our judge.

But God is very kind. He has made it possible for us to have a relationship with him. He has done this wonderful thing by the blood of Jesus, that is, by Jesus’ death. Jesus’ death gives us a new and living way to approach God (Hebrews 10:20). In fact, Jesus is the only way that we may approach God (John 14:6-7). We do not need to be afraid when God has forgiven us (John 14:1; John 14:20-21).

Next part: Moses’ fear (Hebrews 12:21)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.