Sunday, July 14, 2013

CHRIST THE MEDIATOR - Hebrews 9:15


There are many truths stated in these verses. In fact, there are several truths stated in verse 15 alone. So let’s take a close look at verse 15.

Jesus mediates a new covenant
9:15

Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant. He did not come to work with the old covenant other than to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17) If you want a covenant with God, you must enter into the new covenant. And you must go to God through the one mediator, Jesus Christ, and no other. (John 14:6)

A mediator is one who brings two parties from separation to reconciliation. Jesus mediates the separation between God and man by making the effective sacrifice for our sins. That is what the writer says in 9:15 when he says “since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant”.

Why is Jesus the mediator of the new covenant? Because he revealed the new covenant to us and he served as a priest offering the sacrifice that brought it into force. His death is the death that occurred.

So, the writer uses two terms here. First, mediation, then redemption. Christ is qualified to mediate because he redeems. He removes the barrier between the parties. The barrier is sin. He removes the barrier through redemption, paying the price of our sins. Paul said “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus...” (Romans 3:23-24)

Jesus mediates the new covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. In the case of a powerful, greater, party making a covenant with a lesser party, the greater party imposes duties on the lesser party and offers rewards for fulfilling those duties. In the Old Covenant, God imposed the duties of the law on Israel. If they kept the law, he blessed them with land, prosperity, children, protection and a relationship. If they violated the law, he cursed them, bringing sickness, drought and ultimately expulsion from their land.

So, what about the new covenant? Well, this passage does not tell us what the duty of the covenant is, but does tell us what the reward is. The reward is the promised eternal inheritance. (15)

What is that inheritance? It is a place in the kingdom of God forever. The current Evangelical approach to eternity over emphasizes heaven and neglects the new earth. You are not going to stay in heaven forever. When God makes all things new, this earth will pass away and we will be living forever in the presence of God in the new earth.

Jesus gave John a vision of this new earth. He recorded it for us in Revelation 21. He said “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and were no more.” He then describes it in great detail.

Peter also described it in 2 Peter 3. He said the present creation will be destroyed on the day of judgment. Then, read what he said in verse 13: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells”. He says this is the promise we believe, just as Hebrews does.

Jesus told his disciples this as well in John 14. He said his father’s house had many rooms and he was going to prepare a place for the disciples. He said he would come again and take us to be with him. I believe the “house” here is just a metaphor for the new earth. When Jesus returns, he will resurrect believers who have died, gather the living, judge the earth, and create the new earth in which we have a permanent inheritance. It is what Hebrews called our “promised eternal inheritance”.

God does not change. He does things basically the same way, though he does not reveal all of what is going on and what he does reveal, he often reveals in stages. In the old covenant, he gave Israel a land and each individual an inheritance in it. The land was allotted by tribes, clans and families and they stayed in that allotment permanently. That is why there were laws about inheritance, and release of mortgages, and protection of widows and even the kinsman redeemer such as Boaz in the book of Ruth.

That land was the kingdom of God on earth at the time. Now, Israel broke the covenant and was cast away from their inheritance. The old covenant provided for that as a curse or result of their breach of the covenant. (Leviticus 26)

But the new covenant is better, because the covenant is eternal. Once you come into God’s kingdom, your inheritance in it is eternal and you cannot lose it. You cannot lose it because you do not keep it. God keeps it. 1 Peter 1:3 tells us this. It says “Blessed  be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused s to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.

Your inheritance is kept by the power of God for you. And it will be revealed in the last time (when Christ returns).

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