Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 9:16-23

“Where a will exists, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will is valid only when people die, since it is never in effect while the one who made it is living. That is why even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. For when every command had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.’ In the same way, he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the articles of worship with blood. According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done something wrong? Actually, let’s go ahead and change up that question to: When was the last time you did something wrong? I mean anything wrong. I’m not talking about just the big stuff. Big stuff, small stuff, medium stuff, all the stuff. When was the last time you did something for which you needed to be forgiven? As the author of Hebrews continues to unpack in more detail how the new covenant in Christ was made, he says something here about how forgiveness happens that should get our attention. Let’s take a look at it together.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:13-14

“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who use only name-brand products, those who use only off-brand products, and those who really don’t care. Off-brand products are designed and intended to give you the look and feeling (or flavor) of the name-brand without their cost. But while some off-brands can get pretty close – close enough that even a picky eater or fussy dresser can be satisfied – the honest truth is that there’s a difference. In most cases, the name-brand products are the name-brand products for a reason. We are walking through an explanation of how the new covenant came to be here in Hebrews 9. What we see here is essentially a brand comparison. The new covenant versus the old covenant is a little like a name-brand product versus an off-brand product. Let’s dig into this together.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:11-12

“But Christ has appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), he entered the most holy place once for all time, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Last time, we talked about the fact taht the old covenant ministry, rooted as it was in the law, never really accomplished what we most needed it to accomplish. We’ll address that point a great deal more directly in a couple of weeks, Lord willing, as we get into chapter 10. That revelation, though, prompts a rather nagging question: How can we get our hands on what we most need? The author of Hebrews begins to answer that question here. Our next several conversations are going to be all about how the new covenant was made including, next week, a three-part look at specifically why it is better than the old. And rather than taking it in big sections like we bit off last week, I’m going to do my best to break it down into smaller bits. Let’s talk about the new covenant God made with us in Christ and how it came to be.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 7:11-22

“Now if perfection came through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the law), what further need was there for another priest to appear, said to be according to the order of Melchizedek and not according to the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well. For the one these things are spoken about belonged to a different tribe. No one from it has served at the altar. Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah, and Moses said nothing about that tribe concerning priests. And this becomes clearer if another priest like Melchizedek appears, who did not become a priest based on a legal regulation about physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life. For it has been testified: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. So the previous command is annulled because it was weak and unprofitable (for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. None of this happened without an oath. For others became priests without an oath, but he became a priest with an oath made by the one who said to him: The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever.” Because of this oath, Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever upgraded your phone? I suspect so. Wireless companies will leave you alone for a little while, but then the pressure begins to ratchet up until you just about can’t avoid it. You can try to hold out just to stick it to them, but sometimes it’s easier to bite the bullet and play their game. I held out on even joining the smart phone revolution until the fifth generation iPhone released. I went from that to an 8 Plus, and from there to the 12 I currently have. I am not at all the kind of person who looks to upgrade to whatever the latest model is. I try to use one device until it just about doesn’t work anymore before stepping up. Either way, when you get a new phone, my guess is that you don’t continue using your old phone at all. It has been replaced by something better. The odds are good that your upgrade came with the condition of the trade-in of your old one. Once you do that, it’s gone and you’re never going to see it again. The author of Hebrews here is talking about the transition of the old covenant to the new with the appointment of Jesus as high priest. The whole thing works a little like upgrading your old phone. Let’s join the conversation to try to wrap our heads and hearts around his argument.

Continue reading “Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 7:11-22”