By S.C. Shaw
Taken from a sermon I gave.
-Let me start by giving you a quick definition of Old Covenant and New Covenant, incase you’re new to all this.
Old Covenant: Before Jesus came to earth. God’s law over the people of God. God’s law written on stone. Law that the people could never live up to. All man’s effort to atone for sin. Atonement, not perfect or permanent. The wrath of God hangs over us all.
New Covenant: Jesus has come and died for our sins. Making the old covenant obsolete. The gift of salvation brought to us by God himself by the works of Jesus on the cross. God saves us from himself. God’s law now written on our hearts, not stone. An atonement perfect and eternal.
Hebrews 9: Old Covenant
Verses 1-10 Foreshadowing of Christ.
Hebrews 9 starts with the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a glorious place. It was a tent created to be a place to worship God and be made right with God. But it wasn’t perfect. In the old covenant, in the tabernacle, the worship was every day, all day. Worshipers brought sacrifices to the altar in the outer courts one after the other. The tabernacle was separated into 2 sections. The first part was the “Outer room” or “Outer court” or “The holy place”. The second place was the “Holy of Holies”, “The Most Holy” place. Every week a new priest was chosen to serve in the first room, “The holy place”. They did a lot of work in the first room. But none even dared to look into the Most Holy Place. They would be put to death. They had no access what so ever. Only one priest once a year was chosen for that job.
The priest’s preparation started 7 days before that great day of atonement. It would be the hope of a priest to be able to partake in this once in his life. They went through rigorous preparation once chosen. They would stay at the temple night and day. The day of atonement was near and they took it seriously. They had the healthy fear of God that I think is missing in us today. They would practice what they were going to do, to make sure there were no mistakes. He would be sure to stay far away from anything that would make him ceremonially unclean. This was their way to God. And it was inadequate. All work by the hands of man.
The rituals taught the holiness of God and the depth of man’s sin, in that no one could enter Gods presence without the shedding of blood. There can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. Why? So we can see the seriousness of sin. Because the wages of sin is death. Because God is perfect and must punish sin.
The old covenant was man’s effort. Temple made by hands. Strict rules for the ceremonies and rituals to be right before God. A flawed man atoning for the sins of his people. Nothing about the old covenant was perfect or final. We can not be saved by the old covenant. We cannot be intimate with God in any way with the old covenant. Animal blood could never eternally save us, or bring us close to God.
One thing I see as good from the people of the old covenant is the reverence of God that most of us lack now. If we aren’t always meditating on the greatness, holiness, and awesomeness of God, then we tend to think of God wrongly. We are blessed that we don’t have to do all the things that these people had to do for atonement. But, how I pray we still have a healthy fear of our Father in heaven. God has not changed, and He demands perfection still. A perfection that we can never live up to. Sounds scary and hopeless right? But God has made a way out! Christ covers us with his sacrifice. The blood of Jesus makes us clean before the eyes of God. God has not changed, only his promises have. And thank God for that!
Pretend with me:
Let’s pretend. Take a journey with me. Let’s pretend we are all still in the old covenant. Jesus hasn’t come yet. Nothing about the world is different, but we are not justified yet. We are still waiting. We don’t even know who Jesus is. We must still provide our own sacrifices and do our own rituals. We have tabernacles and high priests. Our conscience is guilty because the temporary atonement of animals does nothing for conscience. We don’t know what it means to be able to come to God and talk to him. To pray and just ask forgiveness. We are left with God’s wrath over us. Christ’s blood hasn’t covered anything. God’s wrath being poured out all around us. The church (God’s people) are being heavily persecuted. We all could die tonight for worshiping God. This blog would be illegal and punishable by death, yikes.
Sounds terrifying, right? BUT, Jesus has come! Brothers and sisters, we have been justified through Jesus Christ! Thank God for the new covenant!
2 words every Christian needs to know:
-Justification: God’s act of removing guilt and penalty of sin and declaring a sinner righteous through Christs atoning sacrifice.
A once and for all act. God’s act, nothing from us. Removing guilt and penalty of sin. Not just guilt, or just sin, but covers all. Our conscience is clean. Paid our debt in full! But why? Well, first, so that He would be glorified above all else. But also making us righteous through Christ. Wow, God is good!
-Sanctification: Set apart for a special purpose. To be made holy and blameless.
We are sanctified and continue to be sanctified by Christ through the Holy Spirit. It’s a once and for all and continual act done by Christ through the Holy Spirit. We are set apart, chosen by God for his purpose. Who’s chosen? Whomever he wants. He is our God in heaven and He does whatever He pleases. How do you know if you’re chosen? Because you believe and follow Him.
None of this will be perfect until the second coming. But he is working this out in our lives now!
So with all that, now what?
Why is the new covenant needed?
Why didn’t God send Jesus from the beginning?
Why did Jesus have to die?
What really changed from old to new covenant?
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ: (The new and better Covenant) Or (Jesus is better than the old covenant)
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (Only the blood of God could save us for eternity). For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Animals did sanctify, but temporary and imperfect. Christ’s blood will, can and has covered all sin for all time. Sanctified for eternity).
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, (Christ stands before God and us, so that God sees Christ’s work of redemption instead of our sin) so that those who are called (Christ’s chosen, elect, predestined, adopted) may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant (We were under God’s wrath with the law). For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law, almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf (Mediator). Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, (Christ’s work was once and for all) as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (His children are waiting)
-In the old covenant, God’s law was written on stone. In the new covenant, God’s truth has been written inside us! His chosen people know His voice. The Bible feeds our soul because it is the truth and desire of the Holy Spirit inside us. The Word of God (The Bible) is like nutrients for our soul.
-The writer of Hebrews is encouraging his people. The church of Hebrews. They are being persecuted and they need to be reminded of the new promises of God. They are being tempted to turn away to an easier life. To turn from the true living God. But the writer cares for the souls of God’s chosen.
New Covenant: The Reformation
-Making the old covenant obsolete.
-Making all things new.
-Infinite valuable blood of Christ is enough to cover all.
-Ends all the sacrifices, ends all the priesthood, ends all the ritual, ends the tabernacle and establishes a new order.
-Christ enters into the holy of holies once and for all and makes the final sacrifice, which is himself, cleansing all his children from their sin for eternity.
-Eternal sacrifice, eternal redemption.
Christ in the new covenant is:
-The Better Purity
-He is our better Hope
Be encouraged by this chapter! We have the same promises that the original listeners had. Some of us live like we are still in the old covenant, trying to earn God’s favor, or make good for our sins, or to please God. It’s not going to work. The good is done. God has come! We have been justified! Now be sanctified, now, and forever more.
Jesus came and fulfilled God’s plan, so now what? What do I have to do?
If you’re asking yourself those Q, you’re missing the point. It’s not “what do I have to do?” It’s, “what has Jesus done?” There is an action from us yes, but there is no earning of your salvation. Jesus has given us exactly what we need. Nothing to add. We do have a job to do. Accept this gift and let the Holy Spirit guide our lives. We strive with His strength to serve Him and make Him known everyday! Be what Christ has already declared you to be!
Jesus Christ work on the cross in God’s perfect timing was the only way for our eternal redemption & for God’s greatest glory!
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.