Lesson 332: Hebrews 8:12…
Hebrews 8:12 I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
A young man drove his car while drunk, and killed a young lady. Her parents were so distraught that they sued him for a dollar a week, for the next several years. Every week, as he wrote the check, they wanted him to recall what he did. In contrast, God not only forgives our wickedness but remembers our sins no more. This is especially helpful to those with a wounded conscience.
A young lady had an affair during her first year of marriage, and conceived a child. Her husband forgave her, loved the child, and never brought up the affair. But she was plagued by guilt, so she went to her pastor and explained that God kept bringing her sin to mind. The pastor explained that it was not God, but her wounded conscience, that was bringing her sin to mind. He explained that God had forgiven her sin, so she could forgive herself. And God had forgotten her sin, so she could forget it too.
Hebrews 8:13 By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete.
God announced his plans for a new covenant about six hundred years before the coming of Christ. The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, Know the Lord, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
This new covenant was initiated by Jesus Christ, the night before his death. [H]e took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you (Luke 22:20). The Old Testament laws are no longer binding because we are under a new covenant. By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete.
This is why it is no longer a sin to wear clothing made of blended fabrics, or to plant a field with two kinds of seed (Leviticus 19:19). It is no longer a sin to cut the hair on the side of your head, or trim the edges of your beard (Leviticus 19:27). And it is no longer a sin to order a steak medium rare (Leviticus 19:26). These laws were given to the nation of Israel to make them distinct from surrounding nations. But under the new covenant, these and many other laws are obsolete.
Sundials were a wonderful invention that helped the world run on time for centuries. But the invention of the pocket watch signaled the end of the sundial. It was more portable, easier to use, and even worked at night. The sundial helped for years, but the pocket watch made it obsolete. And By calling this covenant new, [God] has made the first one obsolete.
Hebrews 9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
Under the old covenant, the high priest entered the holiest room of the temple, once a year, with the blood of an animal sacrifice. This was surpassed by Jesus Christ who brought his own blood into the presence of God. He is not only our great high priest, but also our perfect sacrifice. The fact that he did it once for all means that it is sufficient for all who believe, and can never be repeated.
Since we have a great high priest, as well as a perfect sacrifice, it is no longer necessary to go to a temple. In fact, Jesus is also our temple. Forwhere two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20), he said. We do not have to go to a temple to meet with God; whenever we gather in Jesus’ name, God meets with us.
Jesus fulfilled the religious system of the Old Testament, and replaced it with himself. This is one of the reasons he predicted the end of the temple, with its priesthood and sacrificial offerings. Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down (Mark 13:2), he said. This happened in AD 70, when the Romans marched into Jerusalem and fulfilled Jesus’ words.
God ordained the temple system to point ahead to Jesus Christ. Then he sent Jesus Christ to fulfill the temple system. Then he destroyed the temple system because it was no longer needed. This would be impossible for anyone but God to orchestrate, and makes us confident of Jesus Christ and the Bible. How wonderful are his works!
Reflection and Review
Should Christians feel guilty after they repent?
Why is the Old Testament still important?
How does Christ strengthen our confidence in the Bible?