For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. -Heb. 9:15 NIV
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Although the writer of the biblical book of Hebrews remain in doubt, what is not in doubt is its contents and its intention. Obviously written with the intention to let its readers, who most likely were adherents of the Jewish faith, which has its foundation in the belief in God through Moses, to see the better option they have in accepting the Christian faith, which has its foundation in belief and acceptance of the redemption works of Christ as the son of God, and all the other truths he represents. The reverse is a possibility as it could have also been written to convince those who were believers in the Christian faith that they have no reason to go back to the Jewish faith.
It is therefore relevant today to people on both sides of the divide, that is Christians and non-Christians alike, even though the non-Christians today may not just be Jewish faith believers only but believers in other religious denominations. Chapter 9 of this biblical book which is the foundation chapter for today’s scripture focuses mainly on worship and attempts to make the Jewish faith believers see the fact that the Christian faith is God’s improvement on his initial plan for worship by those who desire to worship Him.
Commencing with the main object of worship which is the altar, the writer of Hebrews reminds its readers that the altar in the time of Moses was split into two parts with the first part being the Holy place where Priests enter on regular basis to offer sacrifices on behalf of themselves and the people (Heb. 5:1-3) and a second part called the Most Holy Place where only the High Priests enter, only once in a year – Heb. 9:1-7. The writer of the book of Hebrews argues that, even though gifts and sacrifices were brought by worshippers and offered by the priests during those worship sessions, they were still insufficient to clear the conscience of the worshipper of sin thus making entrance to the Most Holy Place still restricted and rendering all that is brought for sacrifices just food and drinks and merely obedience of external regulations – Heb. 9:8-10.
He argues further that the coming of Christ improved the process in the following manner:
1. He was also a High Priest but operated, not in earthly tabernacles made with human hands but the tabernacle in heaven Heb. 4:14-16; 8:1-7; 9:11.
2. He entered, not with the blood of goats and calves but by his own precious blood – Heb. 9:12.
He goes further to argue that if the blood of goats and calves could provide external sanctification, then the blood of Jesus Christ will definitely do greater things including the cleansing of conscience and making human thoughts during worship, more acceptable to the Almighty God thus preventing the committing of acts that lead to spiritual death – Heb. 9:13-14. He concluded his arguments with the scripture today declaring that;
1. Jesus Christ is the mediator of a new Covenant different from any other that we may be aware of – Heb. 9:15a. God on previous occasions had made attempts to restore his people resulting in the Nohaic and Mosaic Covenants, but none was successful like the New Covenant that Jesus Christ mediated. It is a covenant that he sealed with his blood and in his position as High Priest was able to carry out in a once and for all sacrifice. Christians who believe in the success of this mediation do not entertain any fear again on hearing the voice of God like it happened in the garden of Eden – Gen. 3:10. The mediation brought reconciliation, which in turn provided unfettered access to God in prayer by the believer. The one who believes in this New Covenant does not need another mediator again in communicating with the Almighty God.
2. The Covenant allows those who are called to receive the promised eternal inheritance – Heb. 9:15b. Those who operate in this New Covenant operate in the confidence that they are part of the heirs to all that this covenant brings. This includes victory in all situations (Rom. 8:37), prosperity (Matt. 6:33), peace (Jn. 14:27) and eternal life (Jn. 3:16) amongst others. Absence of any of these could just be an indication of non-acceptance of the New Covenant.
3. The Covenant was sealed with his blood that was shed during his death, and which became a ransom to set those called, free from sins committed under the first covenant. Those who operate in this New Covenant cannot continue to experience the effect of the sin committed in the garden of Eden. The blood of the New Covenant cleared it all as it was used as a ransom to bring life back into the believer.
The arguments of the writer of the book of Hebrews are very clear and cannot be disputed, especially by anyone who claims to be a Christian. Believing in those arguments will not be by mere words of “I believe”, but living and manifesting a life of one who believes – Matt. 5:16. The fact remains that Jesus Christ came to the world for only that purpose and he was in no doubt successful in that mission – Jn. 17:1-5. He came, died on the cross, was buried and he rose on the third day, so that man can be restored to his Garden of Eden state. His coming became the final sacrifice made by God to achieve that purpose as previous attempts were unsuccessful.
The question to the Christian today will then be: which covenant are you operating in? The average Christian today without thinking twice will be quick to respond that he/she is operating in the New Covenant but the response to the question cannot be simply verbal. Claims to be operating in the New Covenant will require the manifestation of evidence similar to those earlier mentioned, in the life of such people. To operate in the New Covenant is to realise that whatever stopped the Almighty God from relating with you directly has being removed. You must live the life of someone who believes that the success of that mediation restored the broken relationship and so must feel free in his presence rather than hiding at his voice. To go into hiding at the sound of his voice is to avoid hearing the message of salvation and willingness to turn such occasions into other things that will render the moment ineffective. A soul that does not thirsting for the Word or is not desirous of hearing His Word cannot be operating in the New Covenant as he/she is still bound in sin.
Begin to operate in the New Covenant today so that you can overcome all hindrances on your path to enjoying your relationship with Him. May God help you to facilitate that in Jesus name. Amen.