Friday, December 26, 2014

Hebrews 8: Superior and Superseding Covenant

Heb 8:7-13 For if that first covenant had been faultless, no one would have looked for a second one. But showing its fault, God says to them, "Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. "It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, 'Know the Lord,' since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer." When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. Now what is growing obsolete and aging is about to disappear. (NET)

The author of Hebrews declares that the new covenant is not only superior to the old covenant but it also supersedes it. In other words, the new covenant "makes the first one obsolete" (v.13). Unlike the laws of Moses which could only govern outward conduct, the new covenant transforms the character by putting "my laws in their minds and... inscribe them on their hearts" (v.10). Conduct focuses on outward conformation to the written code, but character focuses on the inward transformation of heart attitudes and motives by the Holy Spirit. The difference can be compared to relying on a Street Directory to navigate around Singapore versus having the Spirit as our Navigator, personally instructing us in the way we should go. While the GPS may be much better than the Street Directory, it simply shows how to get where you want. On the contrary, the Spirit does not show you how to get to where you want but get you to where God wants.

So, under the new covenant, we have a Personal Navigator who knows God's travel plans and know how to get us there--if we are willing to obey Him. Unfortunately, even for many new covenant believers, we ignore the Personal Navigator and insist on going to places where we want, rather than going to places where God wants. Discipleship is nothing more than a commitment to obey the Personal Navigator inside our car, so that we can get to the destinations God wants for us.

There is no doubt which covenant is superior. Once we have experienced the Personal Navigator (a kind of customized and individualized GPS), we will never go back to the old way of checking the street directory. The new way gives us greater freedom to enjoy the ride, and not be worried about "getting it right" or worrying we have made the wrong turn. And the good thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is always there, always encouraging, always empowering.

Father, thank You for giving us a superior covenant in Christ that has superseded the old covenant. Amen.

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