Discover His heart: He forgives and forgets our old life and gives us a new way of living
Countless plays, movies, and television programs have told the story of the old family patriarch who dies and the greedy heirs that gather at the family estate for the reading of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased. Whether portrayed with humor or drama, the story is usually filled with murder and mayhem until the so-called deceased dramatically reappears having faked his death to observe who really deserves his treasure in the future. The Jews in the book of Hebrews were dealing with a death of sorts, and in our reading today, the writer was reading the Will.
@ Hebrews 9
For centuries the Jews had looked to the Temple and the High Priest for the forgiveness of their sins. Now that Jesus had come, the apostles were telling them of a new way to receive forgiveness, a new covenant, and many were having difficulty accepting that the old covenant was really dead. “But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance…So Christ has now become the High Priest…He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven…With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.” (7,11-12)
I, for one, would have been thrilled to know that the bloodbath around the Temple each day had ended, but the Jews were still looking at the Temple and all it represented for their redemption. Even though the writer had told them the old way of redemption was dead, they could still see the Temple, the old patriarch so to speak, was standing before them. Further explanation was given, “Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect.” Hebrews was a statement of proof that the old man, the old covenant was dead through the death of Jesus on the cross.
The provisions of the Will were as follows, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then he says, ‘I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds. And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.’” (10:16-18) Not only is the old covenant dead, but also dead are our sins and lawless deeds. Dead, forgotten.
Sometimes we find the results of our old way of life staring us in the face just as the Jews viewed the Temple and its former importance. In our old life, we may have attended church and loved God, but after accepting Jesus as our Savior, we entered a new way of living. The old way of living is dead, buried and forgotten by God. We can go ahead and dig up the old man and make him reappear if we choose to do it, but as said, “The will goes into effect only after the person’s death.”
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place…For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (10:19-20,22) Praise God! The old man is dead, the Will is in effect, and we don’t have to even remember old what’s his name!
Moving Forward: Some days we just have to reread the terms of the Will. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The old man is dead!
Tomorrow @ Numbers 33-36