We continue with our series looking at” the Promise Keeping God” this time looking at how the New Covenant is superior to the Old
Just like a car struggles for traction on an icy incline and starts to slip back, so the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were in danger of slipping back into the clutches of the Old Covenant. They had experienced the salvation of the New Covenant, but they were gradually slipping back into the tentacles of the Old by seeking their sanctification through obedience to rules and regulations.
Alternating between the two covenants is still what some believer’s do today, convinced that they have been saved by grace, yet at the same time living out their Christian lives, not in the freedom of the Spirit, but under slavish rules and regulations (Galatians 5 v 4 & Romans 8 v 2.)
Challenge – Which covenant are you operating under?
In seeking to prevent such spiritual slippage the writer offers three reasons as to why the New Covenant is superior to that of the Old, it being based on:-
1 – A Superior Priest (v 1.)
Jesus is superior to any Old Covenant priest because of :-
A – His Perfection.
Jesus is morally perfect and is therefore able to help us with our weaknesses and temptations (Hebrews 4 v 15); whereas human priests because they are fallen and sinful can only do their inadequate best.
B – His Position.
Jesus is now seated and enthroned in heaven (Hebrews 4 v 14 & Psalm 110 v 1) having completed his once and for all sacrificial work on the cross; whereas human priests serve on earth and are never seated, let alone on a throne, because their work is never finished.
2 – A Superior Place (v 2 – 5.)
Jesus was unable to serve as an earthly priest because he was not from the tribe of Levi (Micah 5 v 2.) But he now serves as a priest in heaven, where he offers not sacrifice, but prayer on behalf of his people (Hebrews 7 v 25); whereas human priests serve in what is only a “copy” and a “shadow” of the real thing.
3 – A Superior Promise (v 6 – 13.)
With the arrival of the New Covenant, that is based on” better promises” and mediated through Christ (Hebrews 9 v 15 & 12 v 24), the old has been made “obsolete” (Galatians 5 v 1.) These better promises are itemised by Jeremiah (see chapter 31 v 31 – 34) who declared that the New Covenant would be:-
A – A Powerful Covenant.
Unlike the Old which was external, the New Covenant would be internal, written on the heart and mind, with the desire and dynamic of the Holy Spirit to aid obedience (2 Peter 1 v 3 – 4.)
B – A Personal Covenant.
No longer would people need to use the likes of Moses as a go between them and God; instead there would be direct access to his presence enabling each to “know the Lord.”
C – A Purifying Covenant.
The Old Covenant remembered sin, but there was no remission for sin (Hebrews 10 v 3 – 4); whereas under the New Covenant sin would be forgiven on the basis of grace and mercy.
D – A permanent Covenant.
The Old Covenant did indeed disappear, swept away by the Roman army in AD 70; whereas the New Covenant is eternal and will last forever.
So for these three reasons the New Covenant is “simply the best!”
Theme: “Simply the best!”
Reading: Hebrews 8 v 1 – 13
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Marion Brenchley