Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
I can still remember the first time I saw a friend use a mobile phone. It was about 30 years ago. The whole contraption (receiver and base the receiver was placed on) was about the size of a shoebox. It was only partially mobile since it needed to be plugged into the cigarette lighter in a car. Today that seems almost humorous, but back then that was cutting edge technology.
I’m sure today no one would want a mobile phone like that old one. That doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with that old mobile phone. Quite the opposite; it worked well and was a great advancement for its time period, but phone technology has rapidly moved on.
On Sunday mornings we have been studying the book of Hebrews. In encouraging these first-century Hebrew Christians to remain true to their faith in Jesus and not return to their former religious practices of the Old Testament, the author emphasizes how Jesus is so much better than the faith described in the Old Testament. One point he makes in chapter 8 (which I won’t have time to cover in this preaching series) is that God has replaced the Old Covenant with a New Covenant.
The Old Covenant, characterized by the Law God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, has been superseded by the New Covenant marked by God’s forgiveness for our sins through Jesus Christ (vs. 12). But we should never disparage or disregard the teaching of the Old Covenant. Like that old mobile phone, it served a great purpose for its time. As Paul writes in Rom. 3:20, God’s Law makes us conscious of sin. By pointing out how we should live, the way God created us to live, the Law makes us realize how often and how far short we fall of that.
The Law is still good in that it shows us the best way to live, but it was only a preliminary revelation of God’s plan for our redemption. By making us conscious of our sin through our inability to fully keep God’s Law, it helps us realize our desperate need for a Savior, someone through whom we can be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God.
And so, through Christ God has established the New Covenant with us. In this New Covenant God has promised to be our God and we will be His people (vs. 10). We could say that the Old Covenant diagnoses our spiritual illness, and the New Covenant provides the cure. They work together; the Old Covenant informs us and the New Covenant transforms us. The New Covenant fulfills what the Old Testament was pointing to. In light of the wonderful gift God offers us, “Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (4:14).
Grace and peace,