Jesus is greater than all human priests. The author calls Him a “great” priest because He did not bring a foreign sacrifice to God, but instead offered Himself. “Once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9:26). Only absolute purity would do. Only sinless flesh could satisfy God’s justice and mediate for sinners. As High Priest, Christ entered the holy place not made with hands to offer one sacrifice, one time, for all people. As a result,
He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see (1 Tim. 6:15-16).
Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:22).
Is it inconsistent for the Bible to teach that God dwells in “unapproachable light” while at the same time exhort us to approach Him? If God dwells in the white-hot light of His holiness, how can sinners like you and I ever hope to take even one baby step toward Him? If God is so pure, so completely undefiled, so sharply separate from sin, how can we approach Him? Indeed, He is unapproachable.
Yet, the author of Hebrews strongly encourages us to not only approach God, but to do so with confidence. How can this be? Is this not contradictory? It would be if it were not for two words, “since” and “since.”
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh (Heb 10:19-20).
The first reason why it is possible to approach the unapproachable God is because Jesus paved the way to God with His blood. He tiled a “newly slain way” into God’s presence. How did He do this? “Through the veil, that is, His flesh.” Through suffering and death, Jesus opened the door to God.