A New Agreement
Read Hebrews 10:1-18
Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
Canceling the first covenant in order to put into effect a far better one meant doing away with the system of sacrifices contained in the ceremonial law. It didn’t mean eliminating God’s moral law (the Ten Commandments). The ceremonial law prepared people for Christ’s coming. With Christ’s death and resurrection, that system was no longer needed. A new agreement—God’s provision of salvation through Jesus—is now in place. And through Christ we can fulfill the moral law as we let him live in us.
If the Jewish readers of this book were to return to the old Jewish system, they would be implying that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t enough to forgive their sins. Adding anything to his sacrifice or taking anything from it denies its validity. Any system to gain salvation through good deeds is essentially rejecting the significance of Christ’s death and spurning the Holy Spirit’s work.
Through his death and resurrection, Jesus made believers perfect in God’s sight. We have been made perfect, yet we are “being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14). At the same time, he is making all believers holy (progressively cleansed and set apart for his special use) in their daily pilgrimage here.
We should not be surprised, ashamed, or shocked that we still need to grow. God is not finished with us. We can encourage this growth process by deliberately applying Scripture to all areas of our lives, by accepting the discipline and guidance Christ provides, and by giving him control of our desires and goals. What excites you or frustrates you about your spiritual growth?