The End Of The Old

Jeremiah-31

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “When I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them,” says the Lord. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:7-13)

The End Of The Old

When the end of a year comes it becomes a time to look back and see what was done in the previous year and challenges overcome. There is always a spirit of change with anticipation of greater things in the coming year. The changing of a calendar invokes a deeper introspection of life. After 365 days the value of change invigorates the soul to look for better promises, a better source of hope and a better way to live. Promises or resolutions are made to make health decisions that will bring about greater happiness. Decisions of the previous year help to motivate the coming year as a time of greater heights with more noble aspirations. There is something emotional about the end of year resolutions that paint a brighter picture in the coming year with everything in the spirit of newness. Each new year is a new page unspoiled by the yesterdays that remain unchanged in the memories of what could have been. Two thousand years ago there was a new day dawning for humanity that first had to bring about the end of an old era. When God created the world He ordained the Sun, Moon and stars to inhabit the heavens as signs and seasons for days, months and years. After the fall of man in the garden, a promise was made for a seed to come and through that Seed, a new hope would arise. In time the world was destroyed because of sin with only Noah and his family left on the face of the earth. From the lineage of Noah came a man called Abram who would be the father of a great nation in whom the promised Seed would come. Israel became the chosen people of God as a nation above all nations. The Hebrews were given a law that would help preserve the promise of the Seed until the grace of God brought Jesus into the world. This law was given only to the Jews who lived (unlike the Gentiles) under the penalties of the Law of Moses. When Israel rejected God and was punished for their rebellion, the Lord sent a prophet named Jeremiah to tell the Hebrews that a day was coming when the Law of Moses would be taken away and a new law would be given unlike the first. There would be a new era in the history of man that would dawn with the coming of the Christ and new hope with new promises would be ushered in through the blood of the Son of God. That promise came when God sent His Son into the world as a sacrifice for the sins of all men. Included in the grace of the Father to send His Son was a new covenant or new law. The dawning to a new promise came alive in Jesus Christ.

The book of Hebrews is a treatise written to early Jewish Christians who were in danger of giving up their hope in Christ for the trappings of the old law – the Law of Moses. Hebrews is a message of great promise for those who could clearly see the blessings of the blood of Christ over the blood of bulls and goats. It was hard for many Jews to see how God’s grace had given them the Law of Moses but contained in the prophetic words of men like Jeremiah, the Lord had promised a new law when the Law of Moses would be taken away. If the Law of Moses had been without fault, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. Yet, the Lord Himself declared a day was coming when He would make a new covenant with man unlike the Law of Moses. What made this law different is no man would ask his neighbor to teach him to know the Lord because he would have already known who the Lord was. Under the Law of Moses, a person became a child of God simply by the act of circumcision. This was done on the eighth day of life before the formulation of a mind to know and understand the law. According to the promise given to Abraham and the covenant established through the word of God, a Hebrew became a child of God at eight days old. As they grew up they would be taught the word of God and come to know who God was. This would not be the way a person would become a child of God under the new law. In the law of Christ, a person could not be a child of God without first knowing God. He must first believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and then obey the command of Christ in the waters of baptism. Then, and only then, will he become a child of God. This was unlike the Law of Moses.

The Hebrew writer shows the Jewish Christians the coming of the new law was like the coming of a new year. When God spoke of a new covenant, it meant He had made the first one obsolete and it was out of date soon to disappear. What had been done in the Law of Moses served a purpose but it was obsolete like the passing of an old year. A new hope arose on the horizon with better promises based upon a better sacrifice through the grace of God. The law of Christ would be written on the hearts of the people and all shall know the Lord. Two thousand years ago a new year began with the taking away of the old covenant and the measure of salvation as the Gentiles found. All men must come to Jesus Christ as the only truth, the only way and the only life. Salvation as a law to self could not save (Gentiles) and serving the Law of Moses (Jews) would not bring redemption. The new year of God’s grace is found only in Jesus Christ as the new dawn of a new day with the only hope man can find. As the old year passes to the pages of yesterday, the Law of Moses passed to the ages as a reminder of God’s love and mercy coupled with His judgment and wrath. When resolutions are made in the coming year, the greatest promise to make is to serve the new covenant and come to know God. In this new covenant, the Lord said that He would forgive their wickedness, and He will never again remember their sins. What a new year this will be.

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