March 21, 1999, used, posted

The New Covenant

Hebrews 8:8, 9.

I was discussing this passage with someone the other day, and I found it too good to pass up as a message.

For time's sake, we will not look at all the passages covered in this message; we will only cover the ones easily found in chapters 8, 9 & 10. After this message, let me urge you to read these three chapters. My goal as pastor is not to read the Scriptures for you, but to equipt you to read and understand them yourself.

The book of Hebrews was written to show the Hebrew converts to Christ that Christ was better than the old animal sacrifices that were required for sin. It was written to show the new converts that Christ replaced the sacrifices. It was written to show that Christ replaced the old priesthood that was required to offer the sacrifices.

In 8: 8 & 9, we see the two covenants mentioned.

Covenant--a contract, agreement or an arrangement between two people. It can be an agreement between authority and those under that authority, or between two nations. Many times, covenant is translated testament in Scriptures. There are many covenants mentioned in Scripture, but we are only going to deal with the one mentioned here in our text --- the covenant as pertaining to sin and the conscience, 9:9, 14, &c.

From the beginning in the Garden, the law of God required death for anyone who violated the word of God. God told Adam that the wages of sin is death. After Adam sinned, God provided a blood sacrifice to cover Adam's and Eve's sin. God made Adam and Eve coats of skins to cover their sinful condition. When he did this, he established Hebrews 9:22 -- without the shedding of blood there is no remission, or PARDON, of sin.

10:1-3, the basis of the old covenant was the blood of bulls and goats applied to the outside. In the Old Testament, or under the old covenant, God agreed that when man sinned, he could offer an innocent victim in his place to cover his sins. Because the old covenant consisted of the blood of bulls and goats applied to the outside, it could not remove sins --- it only covered sin until the perfect sacrifice would come. The old covenant could not change man's nature. The old covenant could not clear the conscience.

The continual yearly sacrifice reminded the people of their sins, and reminded them that there was a better sacrifice yet to come.

10:10, 22, the basis of the new covenant is the blood of Christ applied to the heart. Under the new covenant (New Testament), God agreed that the sinner could place his faith in Christ as the substitute to take the punishment for his sins. Because the new covenant consists of the blood of Christ applied to the heart, it removes sin. The new covenant gives man a new nature. The new covenant clears the conscience.

The Covenant

First, 10:5-10, under the old covenant, the sinner had to offer an animal sacrifices in his place for his sin --- he trusted that sacrifice to cover his sin until the perfect sacrifice would come.

Under the new covenant, the sinner places his trust in Christ to offer his own body as the sacrifice in his place for his sin.

Second, 8:10, under the old covenant, the commandments were written on tables of stone. Under the new covenant, the commandments are written on the heart.

In other words, the sprinkling of Christ's blood on the heart gives a new inward desire to obey the commandments and to please God. The individual is CONVERTED. When he is converted, his attitude toward God and God's commandments is converted -- he now loves God and he loves to do God's will as revealed in his word. He wants to know God's will and gladly accepts it.

In his first epistle, John is very clear that genuine Christian conversion changes one's attitude toward God's commandments, toward God and toward other people. If one does not love God's law, if he does not hate sin, if one does not have the desire to do righteousness, and if he hates his brother, he is not of God. (1 Jn. 3:9, 10, ch. 5.)

Third, 9:9, under the old covenant, though the sinner faithfully offered the animal sacrifice to cover his sins, that sacrifice would not purge the conscience of sin. 10:2, if the old sacrifices could solve the problem of the conscience, Christ would not have had to die.

10:22, Under the new covenant, we have full assurance that sins are forgiven, and the conscience is clear. We can now approach God in prayer and serve him with a clear conscience.

The Conscience

1 John 1:8, 10, writing to God's people, the Apostle John tells us that only liars say that they have no sin. But he does not leave us hanging under the guilt of sin. He tells us that if we will face up to our sin, confess and forsake that sin, we have forgiveness from God, v. 9. (Pro. 28:13, 14.) Upon confession of sin, fellowship is restored, and we again have boldness, or liberty, to enter into the presence of God. (Heb. 10:19.)

Considering what the Author of Hebrews says and what the Apostle John said, we must reach three conclusions. (The following conclusions do not take into consideration many other points about the conscience, particularly that it can be corrupted in both the saved and unsaved --- it is not infallible, so it cannot always be trusted.)

First, if one can sin and the conscience does not bother him or her, that is an alarm of an unconverted condition:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Eph. 2:1.)
This is a strong statement, but it is the word of God. If someone has been confronted with sin yet he continues with no remorse nor desire to change and make things right, that person is dead in trespasses and sins.

Second, when a Christian can sin and his conscience not bother him, he is in serious danger of the wrath of God.

Hebrews 3:12, 13 warns the people of God of the deceitfulness of sin -- that is, becoming so hardened in sin that sin no longer bothers us. He warns of the serious results, saying, Take heed, brethren.

When the fact of sin is denied and the conscience does not bother the person, the warning is clear:

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:26-31.)
Third, a person may be convinced he is saved, and even define sin according to John as a transgression of the law. (1 Jn. 3:4.) Yet when he sins, he confesses and forsakes the sin, but the conscience will not let him alone. According to Hebrews 9:14, the person is not saved. All the good works a person might do to try to clear the conscience of the sin will not do the job. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse the conscience. (10:22.)

Hebrews chapters 8, 9, 10 make it clear. Only the blood of Christ cleanses the conscience. And only the Christian can have the clear conscience. The outside may be perfect, but the individual knows the truth of the matter.

How does one react to sin:

Conscience pricked and sin must be dealt with.

Confession and forsaking brings relief -- then probably saved.

Confession and forsaking brings no relief -- then probably not saved.

No conscience of sin? The person is either not saved, or is hardened to the point he is in serious danger of the hand of God against him.

Where are you?