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Last time, at Christmas service, I talked about the birth of Jesus at the right timing of God. Matthew 1:17 says,「Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.」
The first person’s name or event in each of the three categories is related to God’s covenant. Those covenants were fulfilled by Christ. That’s what we have learned last week. Let’s look back on that one more time. The first covenant was between God and Abraham, and as Genesis 12: 3 promises that “all peoples on earth will be blessed though you.”, which was fulfilled by Christ.
The second covenant was between God and David, which was written at 2 Samuel 7:16. “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” This promise ‘your throne will be established forever’ was also fulfilled by Jesus, and by the establishment of the church. The third one is the event of the exile to Babylon, which has one aspect of God’s judgment on the Israelites who failed to keep the Old Testament law. As a result, the era of the New Testament began, in which they are justified by faith, and it set them free from the Old Testament law, instead of being saved by deeds. The new era, the era of the New Testament was fulfilled by Christ. Today, we want to focus on the redemption and learn together about the work of Christ as the mediator of a new covenant. Now, please read Hebrews 9: 1-28.
In the whole Chapter of 9, the redemption of the old and new covenant are being compared. Verses 1-10 describe the redemption in the old covenant. In the Old Testament, the rules and regulation of worship is the work of redemption. In order to receive the forgiveness of sins, they offered animals, kill them, shed their blood, which is a part of worship. Of course, giving other offerings for gratitude is also an important act of worship. Hebrews 9:9 states that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. Nor can we be confident that we have been cleansed by the decision not to eat unclean animals. As verse ten states that they applied until the time of the new order, the way of worship in the Old Testament was incomplete and only for temporary. In fact, we live in the New Testament era, and we are not bound by the Old Testament worship provisions
The redemption of the new covenant by Christ is written in verses 11-14. Verse 12 says,「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.」(Hebrews 9:12 NIV)
It is emphasized that the sacrifice of the cross of Jesus, the Son of God, is a one-time, eternal redemption. In verse fourteen it is written that the sacrifice of Christ is to cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God. The cleansing of the Old Testament is temporary, but the cleansing of the New Testament is permanent. I believe that Christ’s death on the cross was also for the forgiveness of my sins. I also believe that Christ cleanses me. Believing that, I am deeply grateful to Jesus for doing the work of redemption on the cross. This Jesus has accomplished the eternal redemption in the holy of holies. I’m really thankful for that. We can pray to God at any time even for the forgiveness of our sins as we believe in this truth.
Verses 15-22, it is written that Christ is the mediator of the new covenant. It’s hard to understand, but just as the Old Testament was established with death, it is explained that the new covenant by Christ, like the will, will be valid by the death of Christ. Hebrews 9:22 says,「In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.」
Christ is the mediator of the new covenant, and with his own death, brought us the forgiveness of sins.
Verses 23-28 explain that the atonement of Christ is completed perfectly. Christ has completed the work of redemption at the cross only once and that brought us the forgiveness of our sins. He was born for that purpose and he will come back again for the completion of our salvation. This promise is written in verse 28. He will come back again for the completion of our salvation. Believers are able to live with this hope.
Now we are offering weekly worship services. We no longer have to sacrifice animals and approach God as people did in the Old Testament. It is because of the precious sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as a mediator. We give our praise to God from the bottom of our heart. And even with good actions of serving people, we praise God. The appearance and nature of worship has changed. That is expressed in Hebrews 13:15-16.
「Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.」