Friday, October 26, 2012

Hebrews 8

Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant. The author of Hebrews argues that the old covenant was based on externals and ritual behavior. Laws to be remembered, rules to be followed, sacrifices to be offered were the basis and expression of the old covenant. Quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34, the author shows that God is bringing a new covenant. It is a covenant that is internal (laws in the minds, written on their hearts {10}). It is a covenant that is relationship focused -- "for they shall all know me (11)". And it is one that is expressed in mercy and grace "I will be merciful toward their iniquities and I will remember their sins no more (12)."

It is the difference between religion and Jesus. Religion is about following rules and rituals so as to become presentable and to be found righteous before God. Jesus came to say that God has already made us righteous -- we can't earn it, we don't deserve it, it is a gift. The focus is not on correct behavior (although behavior changes) the focus is on right relationship. It is about knowing God through Jesus. A more excellent covenant, indeed.

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