I read Hebrews chapter 8 yesterday and was very fired up and excited at how clear this chapter opened up to me; one of those experiences where you feel like this is the first time you read it. This morning when I read it again to prepare my post I had to laugh when I was done because I had almost the entire chapter hi-lited.
We established yesterday in Hebrews chapter 7 that there is a New Covenant; and that the first Covenant was flawed. This struck me curious yesterday as I read it again in chapter 8, but now today it is very clear. The first Covenant was not flawed because of anything God did (God ALWAYS keeps His promises); the first Covenant was flawed because His people did not keep it:
Hebrews 8:9 NOT ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS IN THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; BECAUSE THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DISREGARDED THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
In the New Covenant there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, man or woman; we are all one IN CHRIST:
Galatians 3:22-29 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The New and Final Covenant is simple:
We are all sinners deserving of eternal death, but God being rich in Mercy, Grace and Love for His Creation has provided a Way of Redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ, for all who will repent and put their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior.
How joyous are you that the New Covenant is that simple? Would you rather have the Old Covenant and be saddled with the burden of Levitical Law? The New Covenant is as simple is it gets to understand, but the road is difficult and narrow:
Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Why is it so difficult? I thought Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light?
Matthew 11:29-30 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
His yoke is easy, and His burden is light; however, the way is difficult because men like their sin too much:
John 3:18-19 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
God's people did not continue in the first Covenant, so He showed no concern for them. In the same way, those that do not receive the New Covenant, will not enter His rest and will not enter His Kingdom.
It is interesting that Jesus followed up His statement about way being difficult with warning about false prophets. The false prophets, false teachers and false religions want to paint a different picture than what Jesus did. The false prophets want to say things like, “say this prayer and you are in God's family”. The false prophets will distort, twist, add to and take away from God's Word; they will offer “fine sounding” arguments and only offer a small piece of the overall puzzle of the New Covenant. That is why we are warned throughout the Word:
Matthew 7:15-21 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: "BEHOLD, THE DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH—9 NOT ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS IN THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; BECAUSE THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DISREGARDED THEM, SAYS THE LORD. 10 FOR 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 MIND AND WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 11 NONE OF THEM SHALL TEACH HIS NEIGHBOR, AND NONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST OF THEM TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. 12 FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE." 13 In that He says, "A NEW COVENANT," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.