22nd August 2023
Read (Hebrews 10v11-18)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
First posted 12th November 2022
One of my earliest Ballynahinch memories was chatting to an elderly man who was brushing up leaves outside his home. I remarked that he was doing a good job only to be told rather grumpily that "Sure I'll have to do all again tomorrow." He was right. Brushing leaves is one of those jobs that is never truly done.
The priests of the old covenant period knew all about repetition. Every day they would stand at their service offering repeatedly the same sacrifices. Did their work ever end? No. The sacrifices they offered could never take away sin (v11).
On the other hand Christ is no longer offering sacrifices. He offered a single sacrifice for sin (v12) and by that single offering He has brought perfection to those who have trusted Him and are currently being sanctified (v14).
Christ is the true priest whose sacrifice has met the demands of a Holy God. The one who trusts in Jesus will never be put to shame because He has paid the price and has satisfied the law’s requirements. This truth is underlined by Christ’s current posture.
The old covenant priests stood at their service every single day but when Christ completed His work, He sat down at the right hand of the Father (v12). When you sit down at the end of a hard and long day it is a statement that your work has finished and you can now put your feet up. Christ no longer stands offering sacrifices because His work of redemption is finished indeed. There doesn’t need to be another cross, Calvary was enough and now Jesus sits at the right-hand of the Father.
Christ was the one and only priest of the new covenant. What is the new covenant? The new covenant is the covenant of grace which was preached to Satan in Genesis 3v15, it was promised to Abraham in Genesis 17 and it was made new in Christ. The new covenant therefore isn't brand new but instead it is made new or fulfilled in the finished work of Jesus.
It is this new covenant that the Holy Spirit proclaimed in Jeremiah 31 which the Apostle quotes in today's passage “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds...I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” (v16-17)
The new covenant is the covenant of grace made new in Christ and under the terms of the new covenant we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. The Lord no longer writes His commands on tablets of stone but instead on hearts and minds of flesh. Indeed sin offerings are no longer required because the Lord remembers our sins and lawless deeds no more.
All of this has been accomplished by the once and for all finished work of Christ. Where is Jesus now? Sitting at the Father's right hand because His Word still stands..."It is finished!"
Q24 How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet? Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.