Hebrews 7:19, comparing the Old Testament Law with the better hope we have in Christ, says: “(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Those last words, “draw near to God” are a good way to describe the great benefit of what God has done for us in Jesus. What do we get as a result of His ministry? It is not just “heaven”, or “streets of gold”, or even that we are forgiven, but that we get to “draw near to God”!
Fellowship with God is what we were designed for — just as Adam & Eve walked with God in the garden of Eden. But our sin separated us from that intimate fellowship with God. Isaiah writes, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.” (Isaiah 59:2) When Jesus came, He died on the cross to forgive our sins — not merely as an end in itself, but that we might, as Hebrews says, “draw near to God” again.
That is the ultimate blessing of Christianity. It is not that we will one day walk on streets of gold, or enter heaven through pearly gates. The great blessing is that we will draw near to God Himself, and fellowship with Him forever, whose very countenance will satisfy us (Psalm 17:15) and in whose presence we will experience joy and pleasure eternally (Psalm 16:11). And fellowship with God is not reserved for heaven only; we can begin to experience it now. I John 1:3 says “we have [present tense] fellowship with the Father”! In worship and prayer we get a little “foretaste” right now of what is waiting for us in heaven. This is just what Hebrews says that Jesus came to provide for everyone who would trust Him: through Him, it says, we may “draw near to God”!