If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. Hebrews 8:7-13
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Both in Old Testament times and at the time when Christ came to earth, God’s people ended up far removed from what God intended. This fact gives us some insight into what the Hebrews passage above is talking about. The old covenant gave in great detail all that God desired (the law) for his people Israel. But the fault of the old covenant was that it could not empower people to carry out the intentions of God it contained. The new covenant Jesus came to establish is all about the good news of grace which does empower people to carry out God’s intentions. The new covenant makes the old covenant obsolete and it reveals the religious system of the Pharisees and Scribes for what it really is, a worthless system of works that made no one truly righteous.
Rather than make its adherents righteous, it allowed its adherents to appear righteous and appear like they were carrying out God’s intentions. Of course in reality they were anything but what they appeared to be. The new covenant that Jesus came to put in place leaves no room for the old covenant or the "old ways" of the Pharisees and Scribes. Their religious practice is all about outward appearance. As long as they "look" righteous they don't have to worry about "being" righteous. Jesus says that someday they will be exposed for what they are, frauds. Everything they covered up from public view and kept hidden and secret will be revealed and it won't be pretty.
The new covenant in Christ is all about the free and undeserved grace of God and not about a system of works and pretending. What a blessed gift it is to be recipients of the new covenant. The new covenant is all we will ever need. The new covenant brings a simplicity of devotion to Christ and his indwelling presence through the Holy Spirit and this is a beautiful thing. We are the redeemed. Christ lives in us by his Spirit. We know him intimately, we enjoy him wonderfully, we are transformed by him triumphantly, we walk with him powerfully, and we live for him fully. Surely, true righteousness is the outcome.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for your love and grace that rescued me from man-made religion and immersed me in the actual experience of your love and grace. You are awesome, magnificent, and amazing. I exalt you, praise you, and magnify you, Lord. Receive my worship and devotion as I bow before you in surrender and absolute dependence. Amen!
Posted on Thu, June 16, 2016
by Alan Porter