Don’t Miss God’s Blessings!

The prophet Jeremiah wrote of a day when God would establish a new covenant with his people (Jeremiah 31.31-34).

In his sermon, the author of Hebrews quoted Jeremiah and declared that Jesus inaugurated the new covenant.

Today’s article answers the question, “What are the blessings of the new covenant that we don’t want to miss?”

Jeremiah and Hebrews first outline the problem of the old covenant.

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,

Not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors
on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt,
for they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I had no concern for them, says the Lord. (Hebrews 8.8-9)

Even though God acted like a Father and took his people by the hand while leading them from slavery in Egypt, they were not faithful to their agreement with him.

They were outwardly free from Egyptian bondage but were still slaves to sin.

Jesus taught about the reality of bondage to sin. “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8.34).

What the old covenant and sacrificial system were unable to do, Jesus did.

Jesus said, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8.36).

The Special Nature of the New Covenant

What does the new covenant do that the old was unable to accomplish?

(1) A new inside condition

The old covenant addressed observable behavior but did not transform the inner life.

The new covenant that was made possible by the crucifixion and resurrection of God’s Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit affects the inner self.

“This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people. (Hebrews 8.10)

The hopeful promise of Jeremiah was brought to fruition through the ministry of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Rather than having external rules and regulations that tell us what we must do, we have the Spirit in our lives initiating life-giving behavior from the inside out.

Paul described this phenomenon when he wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, new things have come into being!” (2 Corinthians 5.17).

The prophet Hosea highlighted how the failure of God’s people to follow the old covenant resulted in judgment. God used one of the prophet’s children to declare his message.

Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God” (Hosea 1.9).

The grace of the new covenant reverses that declaration and enables God to say, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (verse 10).

(2) Access to God

Knowledge in the Bible is far more than mental “knowing about” someone. Knowledge includes intimacy, experience, and relationship.

Jesus opened the door for humans to know God and experience a personal relationship with him.

“And they shall not teach one another
or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest. (Hebrews 8.11)

Rufus Moseley is one of my spiritual heroes. His greatest desire was to know God so thoroughly that he experienced union with him.

God granted Moseley the desire of his heart and he lived in an awesome experiential relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Moseley was a gifted author and educator. What is interesting about this unusual Christian man was that he was not alone.

Moseley spent a considerable amount of time with poor black Christians in the early decades of the last century.

God fulfilled the truth of Hebrews 8.10. Poor and uneducated black Christians experienced Jesus in profound ways that were similar to Moseley’s.

“From the least of them to the greatest” people are able to experience God in a very personal way.

(3) Forgiveness of sins

Serious rituals were performed before the high priest entered God’s presence. We will examine more of those in later articles.

The rituals of the old covenant highlight the need for a high level of morality when approaching God.

Our problem is that we aren’t as moral as we hope to be.

The benefit of the new covenant is God’s mercy toward our iniquities and the forgiveness of our sins.

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8.11)

We can be God’s intimate friends because of his abundant grace. Praise God!

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about Hebrews today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

I am indebted to Gareth Lee Cockerill’s commentary on Hebrews for the information contained in this blog.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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