Nov. 30, 2017

God’s Covenant of Perfection


The major theme of the epistle to the Hebrews was written that they may persevere in faith in the incarnate Son Of God. Some of the new Jewish Christians were beginning to regress away from the centrality of Christ and turn back to the old covenant teachings Of Moses and Aaron. They had not received the revelation of the more perfect way in Christ Jesus, and there was intense pressure for the Jews to turn back to Judaism, thus the reason for this letter to the Hebrews. He offers a better priesthood, sanctuary, and sacrifice, for in worshiping Him we enter heaven therefore, we must faithfully hold fast to Him.

Hebrews also serves as a treatise on Christian liturgical theology. It shows how the new covenant fulfills and perfects old covenant liturgy, how new covenant worship “enters into“ heaven itself. For in the Eucharist, we participate in Christ’s once – for– all sacrifice (9:26-28). It is he who offers and is offered – the perfect priest and perfect sacrifice in the heavenly liturgy and sanctuary. As Christ enters into heavenly bodily, in His full human nature, so do we. The physical is in no way profane, but is truly sanctified. Paul expresses this synergy in His teaching concerning the gospel (Rm 6:1-11, 2 Co 5:17, Ga 2:20), Not just in a forensic way, but in an experiential reality in spirit and in truth.

As we come to know Christ and his work for and in us, we must stand firm and never reject God‘s grace; His uncreated Divine Energy working in us. We serve and please him through participation in his once-for-all sacrifice, tasting of the heavenly gift, sharing in the Holy Spirit. The Christian life is one of faith, love, and good works. If we neglect this gift, we crucify Christ afresh (Heb 6:1-6).

A brief outline from chapter 1 through chapter 10.

The superiority of Christ: The supreme revelation (1:1-4).

Christ’s authority is superior to the angels’ (1:5-2:18).

Christ is more faithful (3:1-6).

In Christ we must follow (3:7-19).

We must labor to enter God’s rest (4:1-13).

The heavenly high priest grants grace (4:14-16).

Qualifications for priesthood: Aaron versus Melchizedek (5:1-10).

Beware of sloth, pursue God‘s promises (5:11-6:20).

The founders of the two priestly orders: Levi and Melchizedek (7:1-10).

Contrasting two priesthoods (7:11-28).

Christ’s worship is superior to Moses’. Moses is the type; Christ, the reality (8:1-5).

The New Covenant (8:6-13).

The Heavenly sanctuary (9:1-14).

The Heavenly sacrifice (9:15-10:18).

Persevering toward the entrance and rest as we persevere and worship drawing near to God in spirit and in truth (10:19-39, Jn 4:24).

 * Now we will examine the highlights of chapters 8 through 10.

The requirement of perfect holiness is met in Christ, the only sinless one. He is more than mere man – He is the Son of God. (8:1) MAJESTY: Majesty is a typical name for God the Father. A high priests sitting on the right hand of the Majesty would have to be both human and divine. SEATED: no one but and equal six in the presence of a king – much less in the presence of God. 

(8:6-13) Christ’s covenant solves the problems that Moses’ could not. Both covenants come from God‘s grace and require man’s willed response. However, Moses covenant (1) is external to man and cannot solve the root of man’s problems, sin and death; (2) cannot reunite and re-integrate man’s soul; (3) is learned by teaching instead of revelation; (4) is heeded with fearful compliance; and (5) gives imperfect forgiveness.

Christ’s Covenant (1) is internal – it heals our nature; (2) unifies the inner man – heart and mind are joined in union with God; (3) is there for grasped intuitively; (4) is heated with welling corporation (synergy); (5) gives perfect forgiveness, even of those since the old covenant was powerless to deal with.

The most important detail in Hebrews is the inner veil, it separates the holy place from the most holy place, the holiest of all which contains the Ark of the covenant and into which only the high priest can’t enter, and only once a year. The inner vail forms the locus of the liturgical practice of the old covenant and reveals its imperfection. The people could not draw near to God. At His death, Christ Resolved this alienation (Mt 27:51) in order that the church of Christ may become perfect even as the heavenly father is perfect (Mt5:48). In the sermon of the mount Jesus describes the distinction between the imperfect old covenant and the perfect new covenant life of Christians.

(9:6-10) only the high priest could enter the most holy place in only once a year on the day of atonement. He entered with the animal blood of the atonement sacrifice, which was first for his own sans and then for the sins of the people. This annual sacrifice reveals the imperfect, temporary status of the old covenant. It deals mainly with the older man – it is superficial and cannot purify man’s heart and mind, let alone restore fallen human nature back to perfection. Jesus is emphasized this truth when he said to the Pharisees: “First clean the inside of the cup then it will all be clean” (Mt 23:26). In this context Jesus said: “I came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it“ (Mt 5:17). The old covenant deals mainly with the outer man – it is superficial and cannot purify man’s heart and mind, let alone restore fallen human nature. 

(9:15-20) for this reason he is the mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. As with a testament, a death is required to initiate the covenant’s conditions. This Steph is a death to see evening; the new condition initiated by the testament is that of the resurrection, the reformation of our nature as described by Paul in (1 Co 15). So blood, our mortal life, is offered to God, who is life, and establishes us in a new relationship with him through the blood/life of Christ. 

9:23-28) The old testament on the day of atonement brings the life of The covenantal people into God’s presence, it reconciles God and man. The final reconciliation, the eternal one of eternal life, is the presentation of Christ’s sacrificial blood (12:24) to God in heaven. And this way Paul could write that the new covenant believers are seated with Christ in heavenly places which the Christian of the new covenant of perfection may be experience through revelation (Eph 1:17-2:6). Based on the above scriptural teaching we can really understand why Paul thought that the work of the ministry is to bring the saints into perfection (Eph 5). Hallelujah!

End Note:

Hebrews makes it clear that only through the blood of Christ can we come into the perfection that Paul and Jesus talked. At the same time we cannot neglect the other teachings of Jesus and Paul concerning the will and work of the believer which works synergistically with the grace of God. See (Mt 7:13-20, Phil 2:12-13, 3:14, Ja 2, ect.)