Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hebrews 8: Christ Is Priest Of A Better Covenant

Theme: Remain Confident in Christ

A) Reasons

2) Because He is a better priest (4:14 - 10:39)

B) Priest of a better Covenant (8:1-13)

Verses 1-5 conclude Christ is a better priest because His work is a finished work, and because He ministers in the heavenly tabernacle rather than the one on earth (2-5). More will be said about these facets of Christ's priesthood in the following chapters. Verse 6 introduces the subject of chapter 8, i.e. Christ is priest of a better covenant.

There are several reasons the promise of the New Covenant is Christ mediates, is better than the MOSAIC covenant of Law.

1) Because it changes your heart (8-11). 

Romans 7 indicates the OT Law cannot incline you to obey God. When you hear God's will in the Law, it compels your fallen nature to rebel.  This shows your inability to meet God's standard in the strength of your flesh, and that you deserve condemnation. As such, Galatians 3 says this Law was a tutor to lead us to Christ so we could be justified by faith rather than personal merit. Under the New Covenant, God imparts a new regenerate nature (2 Cor. 5:17). When you trust Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells you, and faith in Christ's death and resurrection empowers you to yield your members as instruments of righteousness to God (Rom. 6:1ff.)

2) Because it gives you understanding (11).

1 Cor. 2:6-16 says the Holy Spirit takes spiritual truths from the word of God and reveals them to the understanding of those who trust Christ. As such, every believer, under the New Covenant, has "the mind of Christ" (16 NAS). This is better than the Old Covenant, which required the people to "teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, 'know the Lord' (Heb. 8:11).

3) Because it removes guilt (12). 

The Law reminded people of sin as the offerings had to be repeated day by day. As such, you could not serve God with a conscience clear from guilt. By contrast, the New Covenant includes a provision whereby God "will remember their sins no more" (12 NAS). Christ's once for all atonement satisfies all God's righteous demands against all sin of all time (1 John 2:2), giving God a righteous ground for forgetting one's sin altogether. To forget sins does not mean that God has no recollection of them, but that He no longer holds them against us, because Christ's death satisfies all His righteous demands against them. As such, the New Covenant enables you to serve God with a clear conscience.

God has declared the Old Covenant obsolete by introducing the New Covenant, which changes the heart, imparts understanding, and removes guilt. Christ is a better priest because He is priest of this better covenant.

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Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).

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