Christ Covenant Church
Rev. Marq Toombs
13 May 2018
God Promised to Restore His People in Christ
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Intro — Recap series
Covenant of Grace = the Story of God’s Promise to Redeem the World in Christ.
As we have seen, the eternal covenant is a gracious oath sworn by God, secured by the blood of his Son, and sealed with the Spirit for the salvation of his people in space-time history.
One covenant of grace revealed incrementally through God’s covenants with —
Adam – Promise to Rescue the world in Christ
Noah – Promise to Remake the world in Christ
Abraham – Promise to Reward the world in Christ
Moses – Promise to Reconcile the world in Christ
David – Promise to Rule the world in Christ
Finally, the one covenant of grace reaches its fulfillment in Jesus Christ – Promise to Restore the world in Christ
Sermon Text — Selected Readings from Hebrews 8-9
Hebrews 8:6-13 Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says:
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
God found fault with the people, not the covenant. They were unfaithful. They did not abide in the covenant. They broke faith and committed spiritual adultery against their Husband.
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
So God established a new covenant with his faulty people that is ensured by a better mediator and enacted on better promises.
+ In Christ we have the True and Better Promises of the New Covenant.
Standing on the Promises? What are they?
The promises of the new covenant are set forth in Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8.
They are Mediated to us through Jesus Christ. As the WCF says,
“It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King…Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father, who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.” (WCF VIII.1,3)
(1) Jesus Christ initiated and established the new covenant with his people as the one true King. What are the promises?
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel…
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people” declares the Lord.
God made a promise to build a house for the seed of David, and God kept that promise in Jesus Christ, the Son of David.
By the House of Israel, the Spirit does not mean the Jews only. No, the House of Israel includes both Jews and Gentiles who wrestle with God by faith, who walk in the footsteps of Abraham’s faith, who worship God by faith, who wait upon the Lord by faith.
Not for individuals only, but for individuals in community with other individuals
(2) Jesus Christ initiated and established the new covenant with his people as the one true Prophet. What are the promises?
“I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts”
“And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.”
God promised to raise up a prophet like Moses from among the people, and he kept his promise in Jesus Christ.
Jesus etches and engraves his law and gospel not tablets of stone, but deep down in our hearts. — not with chisel and hammer, or even pen and ink, but with the finger of the Holy Spirit.
All covenant members (including the least infant child and the greatest elder adults) shall know the Lord their God. Knowing God is eternal life — much better than just knowing trivial facts and details about God.
(3) Jesus Christ initiated and established the new covenant with his people as the one true Priest. What are the promises?
“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
God promised to raise up a priest like Melchizedek (not Aaron!) from among the people, and he kept his promise in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the one who stands before God on behalf of sinful man, who bridges the gap between the holy and the profane, who seals our pardon with his blood.
He is able to help us when we are suffering temptations to sin because he suffered when he was tempted. (Heb. 2)
He able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses because he has been tempted as we are yet without sin. (Heb. 4)
He is able to deal gently with He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward because he himself was beset with weakness. (Heb. 5)
In Christ, God shows us mercy and scrubs his memory of our sins because of the blood-sacrifice and faithful service of Christ our high priest.
The new covenant will never be made null and void; it will always be in effect.
“I will remember their sins no more.”
It is an eternal covenant of grace.
+ In Christ we have the True and Better Mediator of the New Covenant
9:11-15 But when Christ appeared…he entered once for all into the holy places in heaven…by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.For…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Jesus was able to do what no prophet, priest, or king was ever able to do.
He entered the most holy places by means of his own blood and he secured eternal redemption for his people. // not a perennial redemption as on the day of atonement, but an eternal redemption as in once for all at the cross
He offered himself without blemish (without sin, stain, or shadow) to God through the eternal Spirit and now he purifies our conscience from the dead works of sin so that we might serve the living God // That is, so that we might offer ourselves to God without blemish by the Spirit.
The dead works mentioned here are all the sins, transgressions, and iniquities we committed by breaking God’s Law.
Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant.
— why? to what end and purpose?
so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance
— how? on what basis?
since one death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
+ In Christ we have the True and Better Hope of the New Covenant
9:24-28 For Christ has entered…into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Not to offer himself repeatedly…for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world.
But as it is, Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
The Roman Catholic Church — not to be confused with the one holy apostolic and catholic church — gives the impression that Christ is crucified repreatedly as often as their Mass is held. But their actually view is that Christ was crucified and remains crucified in the eternal present. That is the mystery of the Mass.
There are all sorts of biblical-theological and philosophical problems with that view. Suffice it to say for now that Jesus was crucified one time for all time. He is not presently being crucified; he was raised up from the dead, ascended into heaven, and he is presently seated at the right hand of God waiting for all his enemies to be made a footstool.
As it is written:
Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Those who are called by him eagerly await for him.
At his first advent Jesus dealt with our sins once for all at the cross. At his second advent Jesus will not deal with our sins but deliver us safely in the presence of God.
To deal with our sins at the second Advent would be a violation of the covenant of grace: “I will remember their sins no more.” To deal with our sins at the second Advent would make God a promise-breaker.
So, we who have fled to God for refuge in Christ here and now have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us then and there. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf. (Heb. 6)
SIGNS AND SEALS
“And I do not have time to tell about the signs and seals of the new covenant — baptism and the Lord’s supper in this sermon.
In Christ, we have the true and better hope, the true and better mediator, and the true and better promises of the new covenant.