11/08/2010

The New is Superior to the Old Covenant (Heb. 8)

Hebrews 8-10 declares the superiority of Jesus priestly ministry:
  • through a better covenant (Heb. 8:1-13)
  • in a better sanctuary (Heb. 9:1-12)

  • by a better sacrifice (Heb. 9:13-10:18)
Jesus is the High Priest of a better covenant, for he is the eternal ultimate high priest ministering from heaven in a better heavenly tabernacle/sanctuary (Heb. 8:1-6).Jesus' new covenant is better, because it is able to do what the old covenant--the law--couldn't (Heb. 8:7-13). Even though the law was "holy, righteous and good" (Rom. 7:12), it could not itself empower obedience (Rom. 7:18,19), as the quotation from Jer. 31:31-33 makes clear.

How does the new covenant work? Heb. 8:10 says, "I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Unlike the law's sacrifices, Jesus' death cleanses the conscience (Heb. 9:9-14), so that we do the will of God (Heb. 10:36; 13:21). Heb. 8:12 says, "I will remember their sins no more." The sacrifices according to the law were an annual reminder of sins (Heb. 10:3). Only Jesus' offering and sacrifice of himself brings forgiveness, holiness and perfection once for all (Heb. 10:10,13,18).

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