“Take 5” (June 22 Hebrews 8) A daily Bible time studying the New Testament by chapters
Hebrew 8/ June 22
“And I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
Chapter 8 begins with a summation of what has been taught regarding the role of Christ as our High Priest, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,”. (8:1) When the author says “we have such a high priest” he refers to the closing of chapter 7, which says, “For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” (7:26,27)
We have the perfect high priest who offered the perfect sacrifice of Himself for our sins. In Christ the role of priest is met for eternity.
The writer of Hebrews now moves forward to the subject of covenants, v6 reads, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” (8:6)
Christ enacts for us a better covenant, one that is based on relationship and not works.
A covenant is an agreement between two parties, with the idea that if one does what they are supposed to do then the other party in like manner will do as they are supposed to do. The first covenant was based on the idea of mankind living according to laws and rules and thereby pleasing God- which is not how it worked out. In v9 we read, “not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.” (8:9).
The first agreement between God and His created ones was based on them living up to His standards- and the Hebrews continually failed in doing this.
Backing up to v7 we read, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.” (8:7) Had it been that the Hebrews lived up to the first covenant there would have been no need for a second one, but God’s created ones chose to live according to their own desires.
Mankind was unwilling to live faithfully by external laws, so what did God do? Picking up with v10, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, putting My Laws into their mind, and I will inscribe them upon their hearts; and I will be to them God, and they will be to Me for a people.”.
External laws were not enough. Sacrifices and offerings were insufficient to keep the created ones faithful to God. It requires God being on the inside of the believer.
In the days of the Old Testament, only a select few, the Levites, had communication with God- that was their role. But when God puts His Word in peoples hearts it won’t be limited to only certain individuals being privy to God, v11 teaches, “No longer will each one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (8:11), from the least to the greatest- all will be able to hear God personally direct them.
And for those who know Him personally, God promises, “For I will forgive their iniquities and will remember their sins no more” (8:12). Isaiah wrote, “I, yes I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25).
The chapter finishes with, “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” No longer is it possible to come to God through sacrifices and the ways of the Old Testament. There’s a better way of hoping to please God than in depending on ones’ own good works, that is shaky ground. Only by Jesus have we access to God, as we read in chapter 7, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (7:25) To come to God, come to Jesus. Right now.