“A Better Covenant” – Hebrews 8:1-13

November 18th, 2018

Hebrews 8:1-13

“A Better Covenant”

Possible Aux. Texts: Jer 31:31-34 &  Romans 8:1-11

Call to Worship: Psalm 51

 

Service Orientation: When we ask Jesus to save us, we are putting our hand on Jesus, as our covenant substitute; and then sticking the knife in Him as He dies for us as our sacrifice.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. —  Romans 8:3a

                                                                                                                                           

Background Information – Covenant:

 

–              Covenant with Adam (Gen 2:15-17; 3:15)

–              Covenant with Noah (Gen 9:9-17)

–              Covenant with Abraham (Gen 15:8-18; 17:1-14)

–              Covenant with Israel (Ex 19-24; Dt 29-30; Josh 23-24)

–               Covenant with David (2 Sam 7:12-17; 23:5; Psa 89:3ff; Isa 55:3ff)

 

 

 

  • Covenant = “come to terms”, “bond”, “partnership”, “fetter”, “to agree”, “pledge”, “promise”, “to put together”, to eat bread with”, “to keep the community of a meal with”. TDNT & Zonddrvan + International
  • For all normal uses the Greek word for an agreement is sunthēkē which is the word for a marriage covenant or bond and for an agreement between two states. Further, in all normal Greek diathēkē means not an agreement, but a will.  Why should the NT use this word for a covenant?  The reason is this–sunthēkē always describes an agreement entered into on equal terms.  The parties to a sunthēkē are on the one level and each can bargain with the other.  But God and man do not meet on equal terms.  In the biblical sense of a covenant, the whole approach comes from God.  Man cannot bargain with God; he cannot argue about the terms of the covenant; he can only accept or reject the offer that God makes.

The supreme example of such an agreement is a will.  The conditions of a will are not made on equal terms.  They are made entirely by one person, the testator, and the other party cannot alter them but can only accept or refuse the inheritance offered.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 91)

  • A “covenant” (diatheke) refers to a guaranteed agreement between two parties that was mutually beneficial to both parties. Each party agreed to responsibilities and sealed the covenant (many OT covenants were sealed with blood; see Gn 15; Ex 24).  If one party failed to fulfill the responsibilities, the covenant was broken.  Often these agreements were initiated by the stronger party (or victorious king).  In the OT and in this case, the covenant was initiated by God, who invited people to enter the agreement.  The old covenant fell apart because the people did not live up to their responsibilities (keeping the law).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 116)
  • In His covenant with Noah, God promised to never again destroy the world by flood (Gn 9:8-17), thus physically preserving humanity in order that He may spiritually redeem His chosen ones. Later, God covenanted with Abraham to make his descendants more numerous than the stars, to give him the Promised Land, and to bless all nations through him (Gn 12:1-3).  At Mount Sinai, under Moses’ leadership, the Israelites promised to obey God’s Law, thus agreeing to the conditional covenantal terms He had stipulated (Ex 24:3).  This temporary institution of the Law would help preserve Israel as a nation until the fulfillment of Abraham’s covenant.  God’s covenant with David expanded on the Abrahamic covenant, specifying that the promise of blessing made to Abraham would be mediated through the royal family of David (2 Sm 7:12, 16; 22:51).  And finally Jesus Christ, the Mediator of “a better covenant” (Heb 8:6), came as the One through whom all of the covenantal promises of God would ultimately be fulfilled (see Lk 22:20).  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 125)

 

Background Information on the text:

  • Now there enters into the picture a thought that was never far from the mind of the writer to the Hebrews. Religion to him, remember, was access to God; therefore the supreme function of any priest was to open the way to God for men.  He removed the barriers between God and man; he built a bridge across which man could go into the presence of God.  But we could put this another way.  Instead of talking about access to God we might talk about access to reality.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 87)
  • (v. 1) In typical Hebraic form, the writer’s choice of the phrase of the Majesty in heaven is a substitute for the word God. Jesus sat down in the place of honor:  at the right hand of God.  (William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 215-6)
  • (v. 3) Now look at Jesus our great high priest. He also had to have “something to offer,” but there is a difference.  In the Greek the form of the verb “to offer” used here is not in the present tense, as was the previous one, implying repeated and continuing sacrificing.  Rather, the verb form used here suggests that he offered only once.  This thought is reinforced when we see that the “something” he offered is in the singular, referring to an individual sacrifice.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 83-4)
  • (v. 5) The Greeks had a basic thought about the universe. They thought in terms of two worlds, the real and the unreal.  They believed that this world of space and time was only a pale copy of the real world.  That was the basic doctrine of Plato, the greatest of all the Greek thinkers.  He believed in what he called forms.  Somewhere there was a world where there was laid up the perfect forms of which everything in this world is an imperfect copy.  Sometimes he called the forms ideas.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 87-8)
  • (v. 5) The Greeks were fascinated by this conception of a real world of which this world is only a flickering, imperfect copy. In this world we walk in shadows; somewhere there is reality.  The great problem in life is how to pass from this world of shadows to the other world of realities.  That is the idea of which the writer to the Hebrews makes use.

The earthly Temple is a pale copy of the real Temple of God; earthly worship is a remote reflection of real worship; the earthly priesthood is an inadequate shadow of the real reality of which they are the shadows.  The writer to the Hebrews even finds that idea in the OT itself.  When Moses had received from God instructions about the construction of the tabernacle and all its furnishings, God said to him:  “And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain” (Ex 25:40).  God had shown Moses the real pattern of which all earthly worship is the ghost-like copy.  So then the writer to the Hebrews says that the earthly priests have a service which is but a shadowy outline of the heavenly order.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 88)

(v. 5) The two words here used to express the idea–copy (hypodeigma) and shadow (skia)–both imply a deeper reality behind what is seen.  A copy of a great master-work of art is not the real thing but gives some idea of what the original is like.  The resemblance is incomplete and not until the original is seen is the full glory recognized.  Similarly a shadow cannot in fact exist unless there is an object to cast it.  There is some correspondence, but the shadow is inevitably a distorted and somewhat featureless picture of the real.  The writer’s purpose is not to reduce the glory of the shadow, but to enhance the glory of its substance.  (Donald Guthrie, Tyndale NT Commentaries: Hebrews, 172)

  • (v. 5) The Jews considered their priestly service as a copy, a tracing of what is in heaven; they would never think of it as a shadow. The concept of something earthly being a shadow of what is in heaven comes from Plato or Philo, whose ideas were prevalent in Alexandrian schools of interpretation.  The apostle Paul also shows this influence when he said that earthly Jewish ceremonies are a shadow of Christ, who is the reality (Col 2:17).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 114-5)
  • (v. 6) This “real sanctuary” belongs to the same order of being as the saints’ everlasting rest of chs. 3 and 4, the better country and well-founded city of 11:10, 16, the unshakable kingdom of 12:28. What its essential character is will appear more clearly in the course of our exposition.  (F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Hebrews, 182)
  • (v. 8) One thousand years before this, in the days of Rehoboam, the kingdom had split apart, into Israel with the ten tribes and Judah with the two, and these two sections had never come together again. The new covenant is going to unite that which has been divided; in it the old enemies will be at one.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 92)
  • (v. 8) The new covenant would bring together those who had been divided by bitterness and hostility: it was to be established with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. The promise of the reunion of Israel and Judah was symbolical of the healing of every human breach and the reconciliation of all nations and persons in Christ, the seed of Abraham in whom all the peoples of the earth are blessed and united (Gal 3:8f., 16, 27-29) because he “has broken down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14).  What God accomplishes through Christ is nothing less than the reconciliation of the world to himself (2 Cor 5:19ff.).  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 300)
  • (vss. 8ff) Note well who is speaking and who is making the covenant. It is the “Lord,” the God of grace who keeps his promises.  Four times the words, “declares the Lord” appear in this quotation from Jer 31.  Again and again in that quotation God declares, “I will make,” “I will put,” “I will be,” “I will forgive.”  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 87)
  • (vss. 8ff) If the author of Hebrews asserted that there had been a change in covenants with the coming of the Messiah, and if he asserted that this new covenant is superior to the old, he would need to back this up with solid Scripture in order to prove his point.

This is why the writer of Hebrews quotes extensively from Jer 31:31-34.  His point is to demonstrate from the OT Scriptures themselves that the covenant under Moses was imperfect and required replacement by a new covenant that was faultless (Heb 8:7).  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 125-6)

  • (v. 10) There is a significant stress on the pronouns their (autois) and my (moi). The Greek expresses it cryptically–“I will be to them as God, and they will be to me as people.”  The relationship is to be intimate and mutual.  (Donald Guthrie, Tyndale NT Commentaries: Hebrews, 177)
  • (v. 10) In Jeremiah’s words about the new covenant there is no mention of sacrifice. It would seem that Jeremiah believed that in the new age sacrifice would be abolished as irrelevant; but the writer to the Hebrews cannot think except in terms of the sacrificial system and very shortly he will go on to speak of Jesus as himself the perfect sacrifice, whose death alone made the new covenant possible for men.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 94)
  • (v. 11) When Gentiles are saved they become descendants of Abraham–spiritual descendants.  “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith, who are sons of Abraham.  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you’” (Gal 3:7-8).  The Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in each of us when we accept the single requirement of the New Covenant–faith in Jesus Christ.  “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal 3:29).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 214)
  • (v. 12) “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  This is the great fundamental promise and grace of the new covenant.  The house of Israel and the house of Judah, representing everyone else under the old covenant, had broken God’s covenant through their disobedience.  Nothing is said about any other qualification for the new covenant.  This first thing that is necessary is the free pardon of sin.  Without this it is impossible to take part in any other mercy, for while people continue under the guilt of sin, they are also under the curse.  So the reason given here, and the only reason, why God will give them the other blessings is, “I will forgive their wickedness.”  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 189-90)
  • We need to remember that the supersessionism described in Heb 8 has been misused at times to justify anti-Semitism, a cancer long-lived in the church and chillingly crystallized in Nazi Germany. (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 284)
  • In Heb 8 we have a synopsis of the new covenant in prophetic form. Since the new covenant is true Christianity, this passage, although not exhaustive, sums up the essence of what it means to be a Christian.  Thus as we move toward application, we do well to ask how our reflection on this passage might inform our thinking about the Christian faith and our explanation of that faith to others.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 286)

 

The question to be answered is . . . Since Creation, God has cultivated a relationship with mankind on the basis of a covenant.  So why do we need a new one?

 

Answer: Because a covenant is a contract, or a promise based upon the agreed upon requirements of both sides of the relationship.  Since Creation, God has always kept His end of the bargain and mankind has failed.   God desired to keep this new covenant with mankind intact by fulfilling both sides of the agreement.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Covenant

 

Why did God establish a new covenant?:

I-  The fulfillment of the shadowy copy of the Old Covenant was dependent upon perfect human obedience. (Heb 8:7-8;   See also: Rom 3:1-20; 8:3-7; Gal 3:21-24; Heb 7:11, 18; 10:11)

 

As far as completeness and perfection and permanence are concerned, our physical world is less real than the eternal.  The Old Covenant and all its rituals and ceremonies and altars and sacrifices and tabernacle and temples, were but shadows and types, pictures and reflections, of the realities of the New.  These all had heavenly patterns.  Earthly worship, even the most sincere and godly, is only a remote reflection of what worship is like in heaven.  The earthly priesthood is only an inadequate shadow of the real priesthood.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 209)

 

The old covenant was replaced, not because it was imperfect and riddled with flaws, but because it was inadequate and incomplete, only preparatory.  God’s covenant through Moses was basically law and as such had two deficiencies.  It revealed sin, but could not remove it.  It demanded perfect obedience, but could not give the power for it.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 86)

 

The “fault” of the old covenant lay, not in its essence, which, as we have said, presented God’s standard of righteousness and was propounded as an instrument of life to those who should keep it, but in its inability to justify and renew those who failed to keep it, namely, the totality of fallen mankind.  The new covenant went literally to the heart of the matter, promising man, as it did, a new and obedient heart and the grace truly to love both God and his fellow man (Ezek 11:19f.).  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 297-8)

 

A shadow has no substance in itself, no independent existence or meaning apart from what it is a shadow of.  It exists only as evidence of the real thing.  A copy, of course, can be a helpful thing.  A copy of a contract, for example, can be helpful in many ways–for checking out the names, the dates, the terms, and such that were agreed on.  But in a court of law, only the real contract is valid.  A copy is good for checking the terms, but only the real contract can enforce them.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 211)

 

The Old Covenant was flawed, not in what was spelled out in the Law’s requirements, for the Law was good (cf. Rom 7:12), but it was “weakened by the sinful nature” of the people (Rom 8:3), because “the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Rom 8:7, 8).  Because of this, it could not deliver on its wonderful promises.  But the New Covenant was founded on “better promises,” both because of their extent and because of the covenant’s ability to bring them to fulfillment in the lives of sinful humanity.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 217)

 

The observation that the old covenant is obsolete and aging [and] will soon disappear was visually demonstrated just a few years after this book was written when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

The “new covenant implies that the ‘old’ covenant and its way have now passed.  Old systems, old sacrifices, and the old priesthood now have no value in securing God’s approval.  “Hang on to the old covenant if you will,” warns Hebrews, “but you’re hanging on to a shadow, a bubble ready to burst, a moment passing into history.  The old covenant has served its purpose and will soon be just a memory.  You can’t live in the past, so your real choice is clear:  accept the new covenant or none at all.”  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 121)

 

The first covenant could not produce this reconciliation; it could not produce that perfecting atonement.  Telling again and again what could happen but without causing it to happen only increased the frustration and disappointment of the worshipers.  That was its great fault–impotency, nonperformance.  (Louis H. Evans, Jr., The Communicator’s Commentary: Hebrews, 151)

 

The Old Covenant symbol is not bad, and was never bad.  It had a beautiful, God-given purpose.  It pointed to the Son, represented the Son, foreshadowed the Son before He came to earth.  But now that the Son has come, the symbol has no more purpose, and God means for it to be discarded.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 217)

 

The covenant which God made with Israel through Moses was an honest, legitimate deal.  God was ready to bring the nation unto Himself in a special relationship and protect her against her enemies.  He even promised to heal her people of their diseases.  It had numerous material benefits.  In speaking of the Law, the covenant under which the Jewish people enjoyed these benefits, the apostle Paul said it was “holy, righteous and good” (Rom 7:12).  The truth is, it was perfect.  But that is what created the problem.  It was a perfect Law given to imperfect people.  Had the people been sinless it would have been an ideal arrangement.  Had they been faithful, it would have been great.  But Israel was unfaithful.  She turned to other gods.  She broke God’s Law right and left.  Since it was based on obedience, the covenant was broken soon after it was made.  Now the new covenant, of which Jesus is the mediator, is completely different.  It is NOT based on our obedience at all, but our faith in Jesus’ perfect obedience.  This new covenant, made available to man through Jesus, is far superior to the old one.  It is based on better promises.  What those promises are, our writer will tell us shortly.  What is unique about the new covenant is that it is offered to INDIVIDUALS.  “Whosoever will” may put his trust in Christ and come under the new covenant.  The program initiated by this new covenant is called CHRISTIANITY.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 171)

 

People of the old covenant had forgiveness of sins (see Ex 34:6-8; Mic 7:18-20), but they had experienced an incomplete, unlasting forgiveness as determined by the incessant need to make sacrifices for sins.  In the new covenant, sin and its effect of separating people from God are eliminated.  God wipes out memory of sin and renders sin as if it had never occurred.  Sin’s impact is completely overcome, making it possible for believers to receive the promised blessing.  There is no longer any barrier to our relationship with God.  We have received once-for-all cleansing.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 121)

 

If people’s sins are remembered by God, his holiness must take action against them; if they are not remembered, it is because his grace has determined to forgive them–not in spite of his holiness, but in harmony with it.  Under the old sacrificial system, there was “an annual reminder of sins” (Heb 10:3); if there is no such recalling of sins to mind under the new covenant, it is because of a sacrifice offered up once for all (7:27).  (F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Hebrews, 192)

 

It is most significant that Christ here connects the “new” covenant with His “blood.”  We at once think, as doubtless the disciples thought, of the transaction described in Ex 24:7, when Moses “took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people,” indicating God’s undertaking on behalf of His people and what He required of them; “and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken will we do, and we will be obedient,’” thus taking up their part of the contract.  Then comes the ratification.  “Moses took the blood [half of which had already been thrown on the altar] and threw it upon the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (v. 8).  The blood was sacrificial blood, the blood of the animals sacrificed as burnt offerings and peace offerings (vv. 5f.).  The one half of the blood thrown on the altar tells of the sacrifice offered to God, the other half thrown on the people, of the virtue of the same sacrifice applied to the people; and so the covenant relation is fully brought about.  Christ, by speaking of His blood in this connection, plainly indicates that His death was a sacrifice, and that through that sacrifice His people would be brought into a new covenant relationship with God.  His sacrifice is acceptable to God and the virtue of it is to be applied to believers–so all the blessings of the new covenant are secured to them; the blood “is poured out for you” (Lk 22:20).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. One, p. 795)

 

The need for a second covenant implies that the first covenant was faulty.  Does this mean that God ordered Moses and Aaron to begin a way of worship that was mistaken or poorly contracted?  No, but the old covenant was in every way preparatory for and pointing to the dynamic of the new covenant (see 7:11-19; also Rom 3-4; 9-11).  In that way, the old covenant was not faultless, for without the new to complete the task, the old would not have been adequate.  The old covenant was replaced because it was not eternal, not sufficient to completely deal with sin, and could not provide sinful humanity with a relationship with God.  In its time, however, the old covenant was necessary.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 117)

 

The Hebrews were convinced that no matter what sort of new covenant was promised, the first one should continue in force, which meant that the church was obliged to carry out all its institutions of worship.  This was the heart of the disagreement between the apostle and the Hebrews.  The apostle knew that the conviction the Hebrews held would destroy the faith of the Gospel, and ruin their own souls.  So he presses home his arguments about the ending of the first covenant.  In this verse he drives home a new argument to demonstrate the necessity and certainty of the abolition of the old covenant.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 190)

 

With the coming of Christ, the old covenant became dated.  It you are trying hard to deal with your sin and appease God with charitable deeds of generosity and human care, you are old-fashioned.  If you go about the chore of getting yourself and the family to church every Sunday because it’s expected, you’re out of step.  If you’re trying to obey with mere force of willpower and human effort, you’re behind the times.

It’s time you woke up to the new covenant and enjoyed a new relationship with God won by Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 119)

 

From the fact of one covenant being established, he infers the subversions of the other; and by calling it the old covenant, he assumes that it was to be abrogated; for what is old tends to decay.  Besides, as the new is substituted, it must be that the former has come to an end; for the second, as it has been said, is of another character.  But if the whole dispensation of Moses, as far as it was opposed to the dispensation of Christ, has passed away, then the ceremonies also must have ceased.  (John Calvin, Commentaries: Hebrews, 193)

 

The old covenant, with hundreds of commandments, statutes, and ordinances, was addressed to a people with hard, unregenerate hearts.  They were obligated to keep the stipulations of this covenant whether they felt like it or not.  The motivations to obey were external consequences in the form of rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience (Dt 28).  In stark contrast, however, the new covenant involves an internal transformation by which the laws are written on people’s hearts.  Submission to God and His will comes as a result of faith and love, not fear of judgment.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 126)

 

How could God’s interaction with his people, his provision for a covenant with them, be seen as less than magnificent, even if it was provisional?  Although his sermon is polemical, calling for an increased appreciation for new covenant doctrine, the author of Hebrews does not mean to suggest that the old covenant activity of God was base or useless, he is no Marcionite.  The OT revelation was, after all, a form of God’s speaking to humanity (1:1-2) and, for the author, a primary source of authority.  No, it is the moon in relationship to the new covenant sun. In the darkness of the OT era it shone brightly, giving insight to the holy, loving God of the universe; but this true, older light has now been eclipsed by the full intensity of revelation in God’s Son.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 283-4)

 

One way of more greatly valuing what God has done in his Son is to begin by reflecting on the tremendous importance of what God did in the old covenant.  Remember, the original hearers of Hebrews probably were drawn in some way to the desirability of the Judaism of their day, and it is in that light they are addressed in Hebrews concerning the much greater value of the new covenant in Christ.  We miss the intended impact of Heb 8 if we fail to grasp the value of traditional Judaism.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 284)

 

II-  The superiority of the New Covenant lies in its Divine fulfillment.  (Heb 8:10-12 see also: Isa 42:5-7; 49:6-12; 54:10; 55:3; 59:20-21; 61:8; Hos 2:17-23; Mal 3:1-4; Jer 31:31-34; 32:40; 50:5; Ezek 16:59-62; 34:25; 37:26; Hos 2:18; Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20; Rom  3:21-26; 4:1-25; 4:13-17, 20-21; 8:3-7; 11:26-27; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 1:20; 3; Heb 7-12 – especially 7:18-28; 8:6-13; 9:15)

 

Covenantal restoration, according to the NT, occurs only through a man’s identification with the righteous life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (Mt 3:15; Phil 3:21; Col 1:27; 1 Pt 2:24; cf. Jn 14:6); and this fact applies equally to the saved of all ages, to those of the Old as well as of the NT (Heb 11:40).  OT Israel stood quite literally under the blood (Ex 24:8; Heb 9:19), and the effectiveness of the blood lay not in bulls and goats (Heb 10:4) but in its anticipation of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (v. 12).  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. One, 1004)

 

Once again, how do we obtain this double blessedness of the law of God written in the heart, and the presence of God filling our life?  There is no way but utterly ceasing from ourselves, dying to self, and waiting in absolute dependence and deep humility upon God.  Christ’s priesthood is not of earth but of heaven.  All means and ordinances, all thoughts and purposes in man are but the shadows of the heavenly things.  It is from God in heaven that the heavenly life must come, through Christ who brings us nigh to Him.  And Christ cannot bring us nigh to God, cannot make our drawing nigh acceptable in any other way than by working in our heart a faith, and love, and obedience which are pleasing to Him; that is, by His fulfilling, as Mediator of the new covenant, its promises within us.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 278)

 

This new covenant, not like the covenant made with the people through Moses, would be of grace, not of works; radical, not external; everlasting, not temporary; meeting man’s deepest need and transforming his whole being, because from beginning to end it would be the work, not of man, but of God himself.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 300)

 

Formerly God’s law was given on stone tablets and was to be written on wrists and foreheads and doorposts as reminders (Dt 6:8-9).  Even when the old law was given, of course, it was intended to be in His people’s hearts (Dt 6:6).  But the people could not write on their hearts like they could write on their doorposts.  And at this time the Holy Spirit, the only changer of hearts, was not yet given to believers.  Now, however, the Spirit writes God’s law in the minds and hearts of those who belong to Him; in the New Covenant true worship is internal, not external, real, not ritual (cf. Ezek 11:19-20, 36:26-27; Jn 13:17).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 215)

 

The writer is saying, “Look what your own Scriptures have to say about the advantages of the New Covenant.  You should have known that it would be superior to the Old.  One of your own greatest prophets told you this hundreds of years ago.”  Yet millions of Jews even today are hanging on tenaciously to the Old Covenant, even though their own Scriptures, through their own beloved prophet, have been telling them for well over 2,000 years that a new one was to come.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 212)

 

More than just memorizing Scripture, this means having a new “heart,” and with it a new sense of intimacy with God where he is known as Father (Abba) and where Christians are known as children of God and heirs.  This new heart will bring the people’s relationship with God to a personal level (not just through intermediaries).  Having these laws written on our hearts means that we will want to obey God.  If our hearts are not changed, we will find it difficult to follow God’s will and we will rebel against being told how to live.  The Holy Spirit, however, gives us new desires for God (see Phil 2:12-13).  With new hearts, we will find serving God to be our greatest joy.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 119-20)

 

Because the new covenant provides motivation and power, we can have confidence that God’s Spirit within us can overcome our weaknesses and inadequacies.  We remember that trusting and obeying Him isn’t done in our own fleshly strength.  God works in us to shape our desires and accomplish what He wills (Phil 2:12-13).  We’re not asked to conjure up halfhearted obedience performed with a begrudging grin, but God himself produces spiritual fruit through His abiding Spirit–“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).  We love and obey Him from a transformed heart, giving Him the glory, honor, and thanks.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 128)

 

Christ’s sacrifice is all-sufficient; that is, all sins are covered in his once-for-all offering to God.  Therefore, his role as priest, his sacrifice, and his service to God all surpass the plan under the old covenant.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 113)

 

In the old covenant God agreed to forgive people’s sins if they brought animals for the priests to sacrifice.  When this sacrificial system was inaugurated, the agreement between God and man was sealed with the blood of animals (Ex 24:8).  But animal blood did not in itself remove sin (only God can forgive sin), and animal sacrifices had to be repeated day by day and year after year.  Jesus instituted a “new covenant” or agreement between humans and God.  Under this new covenant, Jesus would die in the place of sinners.  Unlike the blood of animals, his blood (because he is God) would truly remove the sins of all who put their faith in him.  And Jesus’ sacrifice would never have to be repeated; it would be good for all eternity (Heb 9:23-28).  The prophets looked forward to this new covenant that would fulfill the old sacrificial agreement (Jer 31:31-34), and John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 118)

 

Verses 8-12 quote Jer 31:31-34, which is the longest OT quotation in the NT.  Jeremiah prophesied about a future time when a better covenant would be established, because the first covenant, given to Moses at Mount Sinai, was imperfect and provisional.  The Israelites could not maintain faithfulness to it because their hearts had not been truly changed.  This change of heart required Jesus’ full sacrifice to remove sin and the Holy Spirit’s permanent indwelling.  When we turn our lives over to Christ, the Holy Spirit instills in us a desire to obey God.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 118)

 

The new covenant brings a new relationship between people and God.  Intermediaries (priests) who were vital under the old covenant, have changed roles under the new covenant.  No longer is God’s truth apprehended and applied through priestly mediation.  Rather, the new covenant made each believer a priest (1 Pt 2:5, 9).  Every believer has access to God through prayer.  Every believer can understand God’s saving promises as revealed in the Bible because he or she has God as a living presence in his or her heart.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 120)

 

To live in God’s presence and fellowship two things must be clear:  the thought of sin must be put away out of God’s heart, and the love of sin out of our heart.  These two blessings are together secured in the new covenant.  First, the forgiveness of sins so complete, that He remembers them no more forever; they never more enter into God’s heart.  And, second, the renewal of our heart and will so complete, that the law of God is written there by the Holy Spirit, so that the will of God is our will.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 279)

 

The New Covenant.  Several passages in the prophets, but most explicitly in Jeremiah, speak of a new covenant in the messianic age (Isa. 42:6; 49:6-8; 55:3; 59:21; 61:8; Jer. 31:31, 33; 32:40; 50:5; Ezk. 16:60, 62; 34:25; 37:26; Hos. 2:18).  If God’s promises were eternal, then even if historic Israel failed and suffered the curses of the broken covenant, the promise of God could not fail.  There would be a remnant in whom, by way of judgment and repentance, God would honor His promises.  He would make a new covenant, not new in essence, but new in fulfillment.  His law would be written on hearts of flesh.  In that day the throne of David would be occupied by one of David’s line and the people would enjoy an everlasting covenant of peace (Isa 55:3; Jer 23:5f.; 32:37-40; Ezk 34:23; 37:25f.), in which the nations would also share (Isa 42:6; 49;6; 55:3-4; cf. Zec 2:11; 8:20-23; 14:16; etc.).  In those days worship would be purified (Ezk 40-48), true theocratic government would be established, and peace would be universal.  It is very evident that in this picture the original Near Eastern metaphor has been completely transformed.  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. One, 792)

 

But how can these words be reconciled with Jesus’ words in Mt 5:17-19, where he says he had not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it?  When Jesus said he came to “fulfill” the OT law, he meant that: (1) He would exemplify the full meaning of the law and prophecy, because it all pointed to him, and (2) he would also bring the law and prophecy to their intended completion.  Jesus’ fulfillment of the law was the means of setting it aside.  When all the terms of a contract have been fulfilled, it is no longer needed.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 121-3)

 

Before Christ, the high priest could only enter a special place, the Most Holy Place, to come into the presence of God.  Today, through prayer, we can enter the throne room of heaven, and we will one day eternally live in that presence.  By extension, then, the “old” way through the Jewish priesthood no longer exists, replaced by Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 113)

 

God created man to find his blessedness in Himself.  This is the nobility and the greatness of man, that he has a heart capable of fellowship with God, a heart so great that nothing less than God can really satisfy it.  This is held out to him as his highest blessedness through eternity.

There is but one thing can hinder the fellowship, and that is sin.  Where there is no sin, the creature lives in the Creator as naturally as a bird in the air, or a fish in the water.  For this reason the two promises of the new covenant go together as cause and effect:  I will write My law in their hearts, and, I will be to them a God, and they shall know Me.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 275)

 

God will effectually work that obedience in us which the law requires, for “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 188)

 

By the grace of the new covenant there is a durable impression of God’s law on the wills and affections of men, through which they are able to carry it out since they have a living principle of it living within them.  This work has two parts, namely, the removal from the heart of what is contrary to God’s law and the implanting of the principles of obedience to God’s law.  So, in Scripture this double action is described.  Sometimes it is called a “taking away of the heart of stone,” or “circumcising of the heart,” and sometimes the “giving of a heart of flesh,” the “writing of the law in our hearts,” which is the renewal of our natures to God’s image in righteousness and holiness of truth.  So in this promise all of our sanctification, its start and its progress, in its work on our whole souls and all their faculties, is comprised.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 188-9)

 

What is promised under the new covenant is knowledge of God.  “They will all know me.”  No duty is more often commanded than this is and no grace more frequently promised.  “You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink.  I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD your God” (Dt 29:6); “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 189)

 

The new and better way is the covenant of grace–Christ’s offer to forgive our sins and bring us to God through his sacrificial death.  God did not offer to renew the old covenant; instead, he replaced it with a new covenant.  This covenant is new in extent–it goes beyond Israel and Judah to include all the Gentile nations.  It is new in application because it is written on our hearts and in our minds.  It offers a new way to forgiveness, not through animal sacrifice but through faith.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 118)

 

God calls us to himself without effect as long as he speaks to us in no other way than by the voice of man.  He indeed teaches us and commands what is right, but he speaks to the deaf; for when we seem to hear anything, our ears are only struck by an empty sound; and the heart, full of depravity and perverseness, rejects every wholesome doctrine.  In short, the word of God never penetrates into our hearts, for they are iron and stone until they are softened by him; nay, they have engraven on them a contrary law, for perverse passions rule within, which lead us to rebellion.  In vain then does God proclaim his Law by the voice of man, unless he writes it by his Spirit on our hearts, that is, unless he forms and prepares us for obedience.  (John Calvin, Commentaries: Hebrews, 188-9)

 

If is the fruit of the covenant, that God chooses us for his people, and assures us that he will be the guardian of our salvation.  This is indeed the meaning of these words, And I will be to them a God; for he is not the God of the dead, nor does he take us under his protection, but that he may make us partakers of righteousness and of life, so that David justly exclaims, “Blessed are the people to whom the Lord is God” (Ps 144:15).  (John Calvin, Commentaries: Hebrews, 190)

 

The meaning of our Prophet is the same when he introduces God as saying, They shall know me.  For God does not promise what is in our own power, but what he alone can perform for us.  In short, these words of the Prophet are the same as though he had said, that our minds are blind and destitute of all right understanding until they are illuminated by the Spirit of God.  Thus God is rightly known by those alone to whom he has been pleased by a special favor to reveal himself.  (John Calvin, Commentaries: Hebrews, 192)

 

The God who establishes the new is the same God who made the old.  Since God is the author of both, each is good and glorious, though the goodness and glory of the latter far surpass the goodness and glory of the former (cf. v. 6; Rom 7:12-16; 2 Cor 3:7-9).  And it is the same law that is associated with both old and new covenants.  Though the Christian believer is not justified by the works of the law, but by the law-keeping and self-offering of Another on his behalf, yet the law of God is the standard of holiness required of him; only now he is enabled to love and obey the commandments of God which before he hated and disobeyed.  The promise, “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts,” is fulfilled in his experience.  Thus there is no suggestion of antinomianism here or anywhere else in the NT, which is the book of the new covenant, nor is there any antithesis between law and love.  Love, indeed, love of God and love of man, is the summary of the law (Lk 10:26f.; Rom 13:8-10), and our love for Christ is demonstrated precisely in the keeping of his commandments (Jn 14:15).  Loving obedience, accordingly, should be one of the distinctive marks of genuine Christianity.  As the law is a signpost to the will of God, so the concern of the Christian should always be to honor God by walking joyfully in the way of his will.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 301)

 

If children have learned a thing by heart, rather than merely by memorization, they have made it their own, and it remains with them.  A man with whom God the Holy Spirit deals is one who does not have to go to Ex 20 to know what the law is.  He does not need to stop and ask concerning most things, “Is this right?” or “Is this wrong?” but he carries within him a balance and a scale, a standard and test by which he can try these things for himself.  He has the law of his God written upon his heart, so that, almost as soon as he looks at a thing, he begins to perceive whether there is evil in it, or whether it is good.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 209)

 

Any conception of Christianity, therefore, that neglects the idea of sin and forgiveness has departed from the understanding of covenant expressed in Heb 8 via the prophet Jeremiah.  So the new covenant, in essence, has to do with a relationship with God established by the forgiveness of sins lived out by the internalization of God’s laws, and conceptually set against the backdrop of God’s working through the people of Israel.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 286)

 

 

Worship Point:  Worship the God Who is so loving, so kind, so forgiving, so gracious and so merciful that He spares no expense to have a relationship with us; in spite of our sin.  (Lv 26:45; Nm 23:19; Dt 4:31; 7:8-9; Ps 89:28; 145:13; Bk of Hosea; Jn 1:29; 15:13; Rom 5:8-10; bk of Hebrews – especially Heb 6:17; 10:23; 11:11-13, 39)

 

One of the most fulfilling experiences of the human heart is to be embraced with such tenderness and strength by someone we have hurt that it is as though nothing had ever stood between us.  Even though one may be able to reach back in the memory bank and say, “Yes, I remember when you did this or that, but I have forgotten it,” nothing remains in the emotions.  Such a forgetting allows the future to unfold without the restraints of the past.  Emotions of intimacy and love flow unhindered.  This forgetting makes all things new.  Scarlet sins are made whiter than snow; those that are red like crimson will become like washed wool (Isa 1:18).  No promise to the human heart is more satisfying and liberating.  This promise of such complete reconciliation is the meaning of covenant faith.  (Louis H. Evans, Jr., The Communicator’s Commentary: Hebrews, 150-1)

 

When you understand what a covenant (promise) breaker you are and the serious damage you do to your relationship with God and others each and every day; and at the same time, when you realize what Christ has done to repair that damage to others and with God so you can have relationships, then your worship will be amazing and electrifying. — Pastor Keith

 

“I will be their God” means he gives himself to us.  And “they will be my people” means he takes us to himself!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 219)

 

Gospel Application:  Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice Himself in order for God to demonstrate His love for us is unnerving.   God’s love is gracious, merciful, forgiving, and inspiring . . . but unnerving.  (Mt 3:15; Acts 13:38-39; Phil 3:21; Col 1:27; Heb 9:14; 1 Pt 2:24)

 

 

By what figure could God have demonstrated his commitment more graphically to Abram?  How could it have been displayed more vividly?  The only way would have been for the figure to become a reality, for the ever living God to take on human nature and taste death in the place of the covenant-breaking children of Abram.  And that is precisely what God did in Jesus Christ.  On the cross, the covenant curse fell completely on Jesus, so that the guilty ones who place their trust in him might experience the blessings of the covenant.  Jesus bore the punishment for our sins, so that God might be our God and we might be his people.  (Iain M. Duguid, Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality, 59)

 

The old sacrificial system actually was over when the veil was split in two and Christ’s sacrifice was complete (Mt 27:50-51; Mk 15:37-39; Lk 23:44-46).  At that time, Christ’s unique, never-to-be-repeated sacrifice was finished with the result that all men in Christ had direct access to God (1 Tm 2:5-6).  The destruction of the Temple completed the closing of the Old Covenant–by removing the place of sacrifice that no longer served a purpose.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 217)

 

Because the new covenant provides confidence and assurance, we can cast aside our doubts and uncertainties regarding assurance of salvation and our place in His family.  If you’ve doubted, with trembling knees, whether you’re worthy enough to be His, stop.  None of us is worthy, but He has invited us into His family forever–not based on our worthiness, but on the worthiness of His Son.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 128-9)

 

If the Temple were still standing, “He would not be a priest at all,” thus Jesus could not minister for us on earth under the terms of the Old Covenant.  During His earthly ministry, Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, preached on the hillside and in the synagogue, forgave sins, and called Himself God’s true Son.  But He never claimed the right to minister in the Temple.  He did not venture one step closer to the inner sanctuaries than any other Jew of His day who was not a priest.  He was not of the priestly tribe, and therefore was not qualified for the old, earthly ministry.  God never mixes the shadow with the substance, the type with the antitype.  Jesus could not minister the old offerings in the old, earthly sanctuary.  He ministers the new offerings in the new, heavenly sanctuary–built by God, not men (v. 2).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 210-1)

 

As circumcision signified the covenant made with Abraham for his descendants, so baptism signifies the covenant made with Christ for his.  But here is the key difference:  Christ through his body bore the guilt incurred in the first covenant and ratified the second.  Thus, when we enter the covenant, our baptism signifies the work that Christ has already done to fulfill its conditions.  It is a sign that points us to the finished work of our Redeemer.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 175)

 

Meanwhile Isaiah, in the latter part of his life, carried forward the internal portion of Hosea’s revelation.  In his messages of comfort to Judah, subsequent to the devastating attacks of Sennacherib in 701 B.C., he spoke of the deliverance that would be accomplished through God’s “Suffering Servant” (Jesus Christ, Lk 22:37), and specifically, of how the future b’rith would be embodied in Him:  “And I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles,” (Isa 42:6; 49:8 KJV).  That is, what had so far been considered as a legal disposition is summed up as a Person.  Jesus Christ is not only the everlasting Son of God who establishes the testament, but He is the priest who at the same time officiates at the death (52:15).  He is also the testator, the offering that dies (53:8), and He becomes Himself the living blessing of reconciliation; indeed, He is the inheritance that is bestowed:  “that thou mayest be my salvation” (49:6 KJV).  Christ, in other words, is the Testament.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. One, 1012)

 

Jesus is described as “mediator” of this new covenant.  In Hebrews, the word “mediator” is always used in conjunction with the new covenant (see 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).  The new covenant needed a new mediator–a “go-between” who could ensure that both sides fulfilled their part of the agreement.  As High Priest and Advocate, Jesus ensures God’s acceptance of us; as the one who sacrificed himself for our sins, Jesus ensures our acceptability before God.  “For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human” (1 Tm 2:5).  More of how Jesus mediates the new covenant is found in Mt 26:27-28; 1 Cor 11:24-25; 2 Cor 3:6; Heb 9:15; 12:24.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 116)

 

In Judaism, the concept was commonly held by this time that there was in heaven a spiritual tabernacle (“sacred tent”) that corresponded to the earthly one (see Ex 25:40).  The language, however, suggests that this heavenly tent is a spiritual sphere (in the presence of God himself) in which Christ, the heavenly High Priest, now ministers (see 9:11).  We might ask, what is Jesus doing there?  He is not offering additional sacrifices, because Jesus’ death on the cross was the final sacrifice for sins (7:27).  Nor is he trying to convince a reluctant God to accept the sacrifice as atonement for sin.  Jesus’ sacrifice fully met God’s demand for holiness.  Jesus serves by taking his rightful place as our Savior and Mediator.  His ministry represents transcendent reality, not an earthly copy.  His place in heaven secures our place there.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 112-3)

 

Their wickedness with its resulting guilt God will forgive.  Not that he ignores or overlooks it.  God forgives it because he has dealt with it through the atoning sacrifice of his Son.  Nor does he keep files or dredge up sins sporadically from the past.  He wipes them completely from his memory by the blood of his Son.  They are forgiven and forgotten by the God of all grace.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 89)

 

Our great High Priest has His sanctuary in the heavens; there He dwells, there we find Him; there He receives us, there He introduces us to meet God; there He proves that he is a Priest who abides continually, and who gives those who come to God through Him the power to do it too–to abide continually in His presence.  The nearness to God and fellowship with Him I cannot partake of except through my heart.  My heart is my life, is myself; my only blessedness is in the state of the heart.  And therefore Jesus as High Priest cannot do His priestly work of bringing me near to God except as He dwells in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit.  All our thought, and faith, and adoration of Him in heaven brings us back to the riches of the glory of the mystery–Christ in you.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 265)

 

As the writer to the Hebrews saw  it, only Jesus can lead us out of the frustrating actuality into the all-satisfying real.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 89)

 

They are not to fix their expectations on mundane shadows but on the heavenly reality.  Jesus our forerunner has opened for us the way, hitherto barred, into the sanctuary of God’s presence and favor.  The eternal rest which the Israelites in the wilderness failed to achieve belongs to us who trust in him (4:1ff.).  For he who is now enthroned above is still ours.  His ascension was indeed a return to the glory from which he first descended (cf. Jn 7:33; 8:14; 13:3; 17:5); but it was a return with a difference.  He left as the Son of God.  He returned both as Son of God and also, by reason of the incarnation, as Son of man.  He left as Lord.  He returned both as Lord and also as Minister on our behalf in the presence of the Father.  He left as King.  He returned both as King and also as High Priest and Intercessor for those whom he is not ashamed to call his brethren (Heb 2:11).  He left as Sovereign.  He returned also as Savior.  He who sustains the whole of creation is now also the pioneer and the guarantor of our redemption (Heb 1:1-3; 2:10; 12:2).  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 283)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  You dare not hear the Gospel without being motivated, inspired, and desirous of becoming like Jesus.  To be callous in light of this kind of love is to spit into the face of the most loving Being in the Universe and justifies your rightful damnation.

 

So What?:  What you do with the love of Jesus and His satisfaction of your covenant obligations to Him your Creator, will determine your eternal destiny.  

 

If you have not a new heart, go to your chambers, fall upon your knees, and cry to God for it.  May the Holy Spirit constrain you so to do, and while you are pleading remember the new heart comes from the bleeding heart; the changed nature comes from the suffering nature.  You must look to Jesus.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 216)

 

The worst judgment that can happen to any people is that they should be separated from God’s special care after they have broken his covenant.  (John Owen, Crossway Classic Commentaries: Hebrews, 187)

 

We will indeed and choose freely; but our will is carried away by a sort of insane impulse to resist God.  Thus it comes that the Law is ruinous and fatal to us as long as it remains written only on tables of stone, as Paul also teaches us (2 Cor 3:3).  In short, we then only obediently embrace what God commands, when by his Spirit he changes and corrects the natural depravity of our hearts; otherwise he finds nothing in us but corrupt affections and a heart wholly given up to evil.  The declaration indeed is clear, that a new covenant was to be made according to which God engraves his laws on our hearts, for otherwise it would be in vain and of no effect.  (John Calvin, Commentaries: Hebrews, 189)

 

It is one thing to keep your end of the bargain (covenant).  It is another thing to go way beyond the terms set for yourself to keep the covenant relationship.  God has gone way beyond His own responsibility to keep the covenant relationship intact.  He has actually fulfilled BOTH sides of the covenant in order to maintain a relationship with us.  Why would God do that?  Because He loves us.  (Hosea – Gomer) — Pastor Keith

 

JESUS:

THE COVENANT

KEEPER

 

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