By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington
Focal Passage: Hebrews 8:1-13
Nothing lasts forever. When is the last time you shopped at Woolworths, bought gasoline at a Sinclair station, or tried explaining an 8-track player to someone under 30? Contracts, covenants, and sure things come and go. In today’s world is there a place that is permanent or a person who can truly transform? The writer of Hebrews answers yes when he challenges the readers to see Jesus as the Superior High Priest of the New Covenant.
Verse 1 tells us the priesthood of Christ is real and permanent, while the Hebrew economy was temporary by nature. Christ has been exalted to honor and glory in God’s presence at His right hand. The right hand was regarded as a place of great honor. To be at the right hand of God means that He is exalted to the highest honor in the universe. Of course God has no hands as we do, but the language conveys that He is nearest to God in love and affection.
Then verses 2-5 contrasts the heavenly sanctuary where Christ serves and the Hebrew sanctuary where the high priest served. We are reminded that the earthly temple with its rituals and sacrifices are nothing more than a shadow of the true reality in heaven. All the furniture and furnishings were symbolic. The articles, such as the lamps, bread, basin, etc., were part of a divine pattern, but it is incredibly different in heaven. It is no longer the high priest but Christ who is making intercession for us. He offered Himself as a sacrifice on the altar. This altar was not in the temple, but at Calvary. There the most precious Lamb ever was slain for the sins of all mankind. After this sacrifice He appeared in the sanctuary of God with the atoning blood. He was not a priest after the line of Aaron so He had to go to another temple. He ascended to heaven, entered the true temple, and He now carries on this ministry perpetually in the Holy of Holies.
Verses 6-13 speak about the transforming power of Christ’s new covenant. There are three blessings in this new covenant.
(1) God’s law is now written in the heart. Because the Law was in a sacred place the people forgot it and worshipped false gods. The new covenant places the Law in the heart and its constant presence keeps believers from sin and produces the fruit of righteousness.
(2) There is special spiritual knowledge given (v. 11). By prayer and meditation on Scripture we enter into a deeper understanding of His guidance. This understanding is not available to the unbeliever, but only to those who have entered the new covenant.
(3) Forgiveness is freely given (v. 12). The blood of the new covenant cleanses all sinful stains and produces divine peace. This is its greatest blessing which brings the greatest transformation. It releases us from the condemnation of all sin. It disarms Satan’s accusations and lifts the believer’s eyes so they can look for the glory of the Lord.
Have you ever gone to a garage sale or antique store looking for a bargain? To the untrained eye much of it looks like rubbish. But the experienced eye sees treasure in disguise; items that need to be loved, cleaned, and polished. Well God is the expert with the trained eye. The enemy may say you are worthless, but God sees a person who can be transformed. When He is on the throne of your life, you are walking in the new covenant. He will enable you to overcome your past, resist temptation, and start seeing a new you. He wants to restore.