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When Hope Replaces Fear: a New and Better Covenant (Hebrews 9:15-28)

Hebrews 9:15–28 - 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, we see a major shift: in his sacrifice, Jesus starts a new covenant, making the old sacrificial system unnecessary (vv. 15-17). He died not just for our current sins but also for the sins of all believers for all times, making a way for us to receive eternal blessings. The writer compares the old customs of animal sacrifices to Jesus's one-time sacrifice (vv. 18-22). Before, priests repeatedly offered animals' blood for people's sins. But Jesus, with His own sacrifice, changed everything once and for all, offering a permanent solution, not a temporary annual one. Then, the focus shifts to Jesus’s unique role (vv. 23-26). Unlike priests who constantly entered the holy places with animal blood, Jesus entered heaven itself with His blood, securing our redemption forever. The passage wraps up by looking ahead to Jesus’s return (vv. 27-28). Unlike His first coming, which was about dealing with our sins, His next visit will be to save those eagerly waiting for Him, completing what He started. How can I apply Hebrews 9:15-28 to my life? Living out our spiritual lives is far from the monotony of everyday routines; it is more like discovering a new horizon every day. Think of it this way: there's a world of difference between doing something because you've always done it and doing it because you understand its profound significance. This is where the essence of our faith truly lies. It is not anchored in the mundane but thrives in a deeper, more meaningful engagement with God. This passage isn't just a side-by-side of what was against what now is; it is a vibrant call to action. It urges us to examine our spiritual habits, questioning their depth and authenticity. Are we merely skimming the surface, or are we diving deep into the waters of true faith? The old rituals, while they hold historical importance, act as a mirror, reflecting the sometimes mechanical nature of our devotion. We must always ask ourselves if our connection with God rooted in genuine interaction, or is it lost in the shadow of empty traditions? In this light, the shift from the old to the new covenant isn’t merely doctrinal. It is transformational, going to the very core of our being. It invites us to reassess our spiritual disciplines, ensuring they're not just acts we perform, but heartfelt expressions of our relationship with God. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Live in Light of the New Covenant with God (vv. 15-17): These verses go to the heart of today’s passage. Our relationship with God is no longer governed by the old, stringent rules of the Law. Now, we're embraced by a new, liberating covenant mediated by Christ and rooted in grace. This isn't just a minor thing; it is a fundamental change. It ushers us into a reality marked by grace rather than by our failed attempts at perfection. Gone are the days of slavish adherence to rules we could never perfectly fulfill. Now, we step into a realm of grace, where our confessed sins are met with mercy, and our attempts at holiness are powered by the Spirit, not by our feeble human efforts. It is not merely about church attendance or ticking off 'good Christian' tasks. It is about a heart transformation that spills over into every area of our life. How we talk, the way we treat our neighbor, our responses to setbacks - all these reflect whether we truly grasp the essence of this new covenant. The challenge then is to let this new covenant reality become the basis of how we live out our faith. It is about moving past an identity rooted in good works and the Law, guilt, or inadequacy. In embracing our new status, we find the freedom to live authentically, empowered by God’s grace, and not hampered by Satan’s accusations of inadequacy. We need to let the full reality of the new covenant of grace guide our choices, our interactions, and our very sense of self. This is not about discarding moral standards, but rather, about understanding the true basis of our relationship with God: not our merit, but His mercy (Galatians 4:4-7, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 8:1-4, Hebrews 8:10-12).

Food for thought: How can understanding the new covenant change your daily life? What steps can you take to live more fully in the freedom and grace it offers?

  1. Find Confidence in Christ's Perfect Sacrifice (vv. 18-22): These verses now draw us into the heart of the transformation inherent in the new covenant. Once, blood and sacrifice meant repeated actions and temporary fixes for a perpetual problem. But now, Christ’s sacrifice changes everything. His offering, unlike any other, is once and forever. The completeness of His sacrifice for us is beyond comprehension. Here’s where confidence is born — not from our fleeting attempts, but from His unending, unchangeable sacrifice. It is like stepping out of a recurring dream into a vivid dawn. The old ways, with their constant cycle of offerings are gone. In their place stands a promise, solid, and sure. This isn't just history; it is our story, our reality. Christ's blood has rewritten the terms of our relationship with God. Our daily walk, our every decision, should be driven by this amazing gift. It is a journey from shadows of things to come into the light of Christ, from uncertainty to the sure ground of grace. As a result, our lives become an expression of gratitude, not a chase after the unreachable. We can become our authentic selves, living in harmony with a love that is greater than all our sin (Hebrews 10:22, Romans 5:1-2, John 1:29).

Food for thought: What does living in the confidence of Christ's sacrifice look like in your routine? How can this assurance reshape your approach to challenges and relationships?

  1. Experience the Power of Christ's Eternal Redemption (vv. 24-26): In these verses, we learn another profound truth: Christ's entry into heaven itself was a singular, transformative event, eclipsing the repetitive and symbolic rituals of old. He didn't just pass through a man-made sanctuary, a mere shadow of the true one, but into the very presence of God, securing our redemption once and for all. This fact isn't just theological jargon; it represents a fundamental change in our relationship with God. Our redemption, bought at such a cost, is not a fleeting moment but an enduring state. This should become the foundation of our daily lives, filling our actions with purpose and hope. When faced with choices, large or small, we can lean into this eternal redemption, letting it guide our steps and decisions without fear. This doesn't mean that life suddenly becomes easy. Challenges will come, but the perspective we have in Christ’s sacrifice changes everything. The knowledge that Christ has permanently secured our place with God enables us to face life's ups and downs with a steadiness rooted in eternal assurance. Our calling extends beyond personal peace. We are to embody this redemption in how we interact with others, how we serve, and how we speak. Our lives need to reflect the change Christ has made in us, showing the world a different way to live — one marked by forgiveness, perseverance, and hope. Our lives, touched by Christ’s redemption, become part of the narrative of His work in the world. As we live out this reality, we join in His mission, bringing light to dark places and offering hope to those who have yet to experience the power of His love and sacrifice (Romans 5:1-2, Colossians 3:1-4, Ephesians 2:4-7).

Food for thought: Consider the permanent nature of Christ's redemption. How does this change your view of your current struggles or challenges? How can you demonstrate the stability and hope of your redemption in your daily interactions and choices?

  1. Anticipate Christ's Second Coming with Eager Expectation (vv. 27-28): These verses speak a clear truth: as certain as death stands for each person, so too is the promise of Christ's return. Unlike His initial coming, focused with the task of sin's atonement, His next will usher in unbridled salvation for those who have held fast to hope. This isn't merely a future event to passively await but a catalyst that should actively shape our present life. It should transform our daily walk. It is not about looking skyward every second or crafting escape plans from worldly duties. Rather, it's living fully, deeply, in the now - with one eye on the eternal horizon. Our actions, words, and choices begin to mirror this dual awareness. They become filled with purpose, knowing that each moment, each interaction, carries weight in light of His impending return. This perspective doesn't just alter our personal lives; it extends outward, touching those around us. There's an urgency, a fervor to share the truth of the Gospel, to extend the hand of fellowship, to embody grace. We become living testimonials, not of fear or dread, but of hopeful anticipation for the world to witness. This waiting is active. We engage more deeply, love more openly, and forgive more readily, understanding that these are the marks of those eagerly awaiting their Savior (James 5:8, 1 John 3:2-3, Matthew 24:42-44).

Food for thought: Reflect on how this active anticipation of Christ’s return can reshape your approach to life's challenges. Consider how your daily actions can reflect a life lived in eager expectation of His coming. Jesus's sacrifice ushers us into a transformative, enduring relationship with God. This isn't just a minor detail; it's the cornerstone of our beliefs and the basis of our hope. It should reshape our perspective on everything, influencing our approach to daily challenges and our understanding of our eternal future. This singular act of love and obedience performed by Jesus has the power to alter the trajectory of our lives, providing a renewal and a different approach to how we live. His sacrifice purifies us, liberating us from our historical burdens and building our confidence as we face the future. With the anticipation of His second coming, our lives should have renewed significance and direction. We are not merely biding time; we are purposefully navigating life, aware that our decisions and actions have eternal weight. As we move forward, these truths should shape our daily routines. We should use the, to inform our choices, influence our interactions, and instill hope in every circumstance. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for the blessings of the new covenant in Christ that these verses teach me about.  Your gift of this covenant through Jesus's sacrifice is something I hold dear. I pray that I would walk each day fully in the light of this new reality. I pray that You would help me to let go of outdated rituals and instead welcome the freedom I have in Christ.  I pray that You would help me to trust in the fullness of the grace I have in Him.  When I face those days filled with self-doubt or uncertainty, I pray that Your Spirit would fill me with Your comfort and assurance in Christ’s finished work on the cross. May His sacrifice serve as the foundation of my life and the source of my strength. Never let me lose sight of the fact that my redemption is from what He has done and is in no way of my own doing. Help me to live in the anticipation of His return, not stagnating but being a light for Him in a very dark world. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Hebrews 9:28 – “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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