The Need for a New Covenant
October 16th, 2018 | Hebrews 8:7-13
In the ancient Near East, a covenant was used to establish the relationship between two parties. In it, the suzerain (or lord) promised protection and blessing, while the vassal (or servant) promised obedience and loyalty. For Israel, the Mosaic covenant was the binding relationship between God and His people.
Yet, as we see in today’s reading, however good the old covenant was, it was also limited. A new covenant was needed, as first promised in Jeremiah 31. The problem was not with God’s Law but with the people’s inability to keep it. Despite God’s care and protection, He “found fault with the people” (v. 8) because “they did not remain faithful to my covenant” (v. 9). The new covenant would be better in several ways.
First, the new covenant is internal, rather than external. While the old covenant was written on tablets of stone and had no power in itself to enable obedience, the new covenant is different: “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts” (v. 10). This internal dimension of the new covenant, which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, not only tells us what to do but also enables us to do it.
Second, the new covenant has a universal scope. Whereas the old covenant was for Israel, in the new covenant “they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (v. 11; see Gal. 3:28). Third, the new covenant provides perfect forgiveness. Whereas the old covenant required repeated sacrifices to deal with the barriers of sin and death, Christ’s perfect sacrifice in the new covenant means God “will remember their sins no more” (v. 12). The new covenant truly is better than the old.
APPLY THE WORD
At the Last Supper, Jesus said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20). Through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, the promised new covenant is fulfilled. The next time you partake of the Lord’s Supper, think of all the covenant benefits Christ has secured for you, and give Him thanks.
PRAYER | PHILIPPINES
In the first quarter of this year, Open Doors was able to host literacy classes for at least 239 children, youth and adult Christians. The hope is that the participants will learn to read, understand and apply Scripture.
Today in the Word’s Devotion is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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