Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P19 (07-06-21)
Faith is one of those words used or heard but do we know what it means? Hebrews 11 defines faith as confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This “hope for” is not a “hope so”, but a firm trust in what God has guaranteed us in His Son. We put our trust in what God accomplished for us in Christ Jesus, in what his death, burial and resurrection accomplished for us.
But not everyone has heard or understood what Jesus accomplished for us. You can know that Jesus is God, and that he lived, died and did certain marvelous things, but you have not put your faith in what He has given you, which is eternal life. I once was asked, “Would you like to be saved?”. I had never heard such a strange question before. “Saved from what?” I knew about Jesus dying on a cross. You see a picture of that in the church I grew up in all the time. And I knew something about Jesus rising from the dead. You at least hear about that in a holiday called Easter. Some churches prefer to avoid that and observe Resurrection Sunday.
So many people when asked what their understanding of salvation is would respond by saying, “Jesus died for my sins”, or “Salvation is getting your sins forgiven.” In a Catholic church, if you sinned during the week, many would be required to go to confession, where sins are confessed to a priest, where presumably your sins are forgiven. In a Protestant church, it is not uncommon for a pastor to tell the congregation that you need to keep short accounts with God, to confess your sins directly to God when you sin, in accordance with what he has interpreted 1 John 1:9 to mean.
So how do you find out what is true? Why do I have to keep doing something to get my sins forgiven? The Jews do not even have a sacrificial system any more, and it was also destroyed in 70 A.D. We read that John the Baptist pointed people to Jesus saying that He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. That is new revelation to them who were still under the Old Covenant, where the blood of bulls and goats only covered sin, called atonement. Well, you read about this New Covenant in contrast with the old one, and that it replaced it, in the book of Hebrews. We are told what the gospel is by the apostle Paul in so many of the epistles, and in particular in 1 Corinthians 15 and the book of Romans with more detail.
The gospel is what Jesus alone accomplished for us by His death, burial and resurrection. If we add to that, such as a Jew going back to that old sacrificial system of bulls and goats, then they are depending on what they do to get their sins forgiven. Hebrews tells us clearly that such sacrifices are a continual reminder of sin. But what people do today, among all kinds of religions, Catholics and Protestants included, is we add our sacrificial systems, whether it is a sacrifice of a mass, a confessional booth, quoting 1 John 1:9 as a bar of soap to cleanse you of sin. We have not understood the finality of the cross and have added to what Jesus said when He said, “It is finished”, or “Paid in full”We are, in essence, calling God a liar, saying that He forgot one sin, that His blood shed on a cross was not enough to take away sin. People say there are positional or experiential sins. Others say there are mortal and venial sins, and then they make up these systems to somehow take care of those certain sins that God did not take away, as if, for example, God only took care of the positional ones. That is adding to what God has said and calling God a liar, insulting the blood of the covenant that sanctified you, and insulting the Spirit of grace.
We quite possibly have not heard or understood the truth that Jesus shed blood was a propitiation, a complete satisfaction of the wrath of God against sins for the entire human race, that it took away all sins back to Adam and forward to eternity, from the eyes of God. Now, you heard the truth. You cannot believe both your man-made system and what God has said He accomplished for you by His Son. You have to let go of the one to grab a hold of the other. If you do not then that is why this passage in Hebrews 10:26-31 addresses those who are sinning against the knowledge of truth.
What is the knowledge of truth? God tells us in Hebrews concerning what Jesus did for us. Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more and where these have been forgiven there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Recall that in Hebrews 9:22, there is no forgiveness of sins without the forfeiture of life. But for it be an eternal sacrifice, and an acceptable sacrifice, it must the sacrifice of a human being without sin, and that is only possible by God Himself taking on flesh and becoming sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We could not do it. We could not make ourselves righteous by obeying the law. We were born dead, and a dead person needs life. Jesus died to take the cause of our death, so that we can be out from under that impossible system of law, and be put under a new system, which is liberty or life in Christ Jesus. The forgiveness of sins was a necessary preparation for life to be given, for until sin is taken out of the way, the next time man should sin he would die again. But the totality of the cross, paid in full, allowed God to offer mankind what He wants to give us, His very life to be put in us, that we walk in the new way of the Spirit, walking in faith in God who says, “I did this all for you. Will you just believe in Me for what I did for you?” Salvation is not getting your sins forgiven but receiving new spiritual life.
So Hebrews 10:26-31 is talking to the lost, to those who have received the truth but have rejected it. For those, the consequence is quite severe. If you are holding onto your man-made systems of sacrifice, your religion, then there is no more sacrifice for sins that remains except the fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that consumes the enemies of God. That means you will go to hell, persisting in such unbelief after receiving the knowledge of the truth. You have rejected the only provision for your salvation, life in Christ Jesus, through His work alone, which you cannot add to or subtract from.
The world’s sin is unbelief in what Jesus provided for you. That is the only sin attributable to man is the sin of unbelief, for all other sins have already been taken away by the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus, shedding His blood on a cross. He did not consult us in salvation or in creation. He just did it, because we could not do it. It is impossible for man to save himself by anything he does. So come to receive the new life God wants for you, eternal life, the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus placed in you. Place your faith in what Jesus alone accomplished for you by His death, burial and resurrection. His death took away sins from the eyes of God, His burial proved His death so a New Covenant can be made with men, that depends nothing of man but only God to keep it. Then the empty tomb testifies of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead so that if you have His life in you, He always lives to intercede for you. You are no longer under the law of sin and death but of life in Christ Jesus. Will you swallow this spiritual food, this truth, and hold onto it firmly, not wavering in unbelief?
We are in Chapter 6: Obstacles to Faith in our study of A Closer Look at the New Covenant. Turn to Hebrews 11 for a definition of faith and what pleases God.
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
What is it that pleases God? Faith. I said so many times it is like swallowing. You can swallow to live. That makes sense until you think about it. You realize that you could also swallow poison and die by the same mechanism you use to swallow food to live. It is not swallowing that makes you live. It is swallowing food that enables you to live. Swallow poison and it will cause you to die.
It is not faith that pleases God, just faith in faith. It is faith in Him, in what He came to do. You do not just put faith in a name, like I have faith in Jesus. Satan also believes in Jesus. But to put your faith in what He came to accomplish for you. It is not that I put faith in this man, and I do not know much about Him, and do not care much about Him. I might quote John 3:16 and have a little verbiage there. But who was Jesus? Who is Jesus? What did He come to do? That is what you put your faith in. What did He come to do to provide for you and me?
Hebrews 10 is a passage of scripture twisted by legalists, and where people have one of those hindrances to faith. Those legalists put people under guilt trips to keep them under condemnation.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
If we deliberately keep on sinning, after we have received the knowledge of truth. That phrase, “keep on sinning” to most people comes to mind the breaking of the ten commandments. In other words, I am sinning. But that is not what it is talking about. As a matter of fact, Jesus when He took away the sins of the entire world and took that away, there are no more sins accountable to man.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
If this deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of truth was talking to the filthy five, the nasty nine and the dirty dozen, then you would have to say that Jesus forgot some at the cross, or He did not mean what He said when He took it away. What did Jesus say the world’s sin was?
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me
What does that mean? Does that mean people just say that I just do not believe Jesus was here? Jesus is saying that “do not believe in me” means they do not believe in Me, God, in what I did. I took away the sins of the world, and they do not believe that they are dead spiritually, so they never came to Me for spiritual life. What Jesus came to accomplish is what they do not believe in. It is not just that they do not believe in a person but I do not believe in what that person accomplished for me.
That is the world’s sin. So let us put that in the context of Hebrews. If I keep on sinning, functioning in unbelief, after receiving the knowledge of truth. What knowledge of truth? About what Jesus came to do. Just a few verses prior to this is the spelling out this New Covenant.
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”[Jeremiah 31:34]
18 And where these have been [ not will be ] forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
In other words, man, there is nothing you can do to keep yourself forgiven. To the Jew, who had tried to keep himself forgiven through the sacrificial system, the killing of a bull and a goat, called atonement, Christ did not come to atone for sin. People who use that word are putting the blood and the life of Christ Jesus on the same par as the blood of a bull and a goat. He did not come to cover sin. He came to take away the sins of the entire world from the eyes of God. It is a done deal. It is finished.
He says that where their forgiveness has taken place there is no more sacrifice for sins. To the Jew listening to that, that would automatically say, what about my sacrificial system? It is finished. There is no more sacrifice for sins. But we have been doing this for years. What have you been doing that for? To get my sins forgiven. But I just got through telling you they are forgiven. So if they are forgiven there is no more sacrifice to be made.
Did all of the Jews accept that? No. They kept the sacrificial system going, somewhere between 33 -35 A.D. until 70 A.D when Titus came in and destroyed the temple. There has never been a sacrificial system since. How they keep themselves forgiven from 70 A.D. to today, only God knows. There is no more sacrifice for sin. So in order to carry that out is why Titus destroyed the temple. There is no more sacrifice. The Jews say, “yes there is and we will see about that”, and when the temple is destroyed there are no more sacrifices. But they made other arrangements. My generosity will cause forgiveness. My charity will cause forgiveness. Now, if I do more charity than I do bad works then God will forgive me. They built their own system. They got rid of God’s because God got rid of it. But one day the temple will be rebuilt again to build that sacrificial system. But the issue is it is over and it is finished. So they just come up with their own systems.
As the Christian life progressed through Asia and Greece and into Rome, we again developed our own sacrificial systems. It was not based upon the death of a bull and a goat. It was based upon our keeping short accounts with God, our developing a priesthood where you went to a priest to get forgiveness. Then, in the Protestant world, you can go directly to God to get forgiveness while God is up there saying it is finished. “What is wrong with you people?” It would be no different than what He would have said to the Jews who kept up with their sacrificial system, “What is wrong with you? I said it is finished, crying out from the cross, ‘paid in full’, but in your arrogance you say, ‘It is not finished. It is not paid in full. There is still more forgiveness to be executed.”
There is no difference in going to a priest to get forgiven or going directly to God to get forgiveness, except you think you are not forgiven, otherwise it is insanity. You are saying out of one side of your mouth, “yes, I am totally forgiven”, then out of the other side of your mouth saying “I have to do something to get forgiveness, including going direct to God.” But God is saying, “It is a done deal. It is over. I have dealt with sin. I judged sin at the cross. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death and My Son took it all, all of it, and there is none left for you.”
So what people are doing, and by misinterpretation of this passage is saying, “By golly I am going to keep my systems in effect. Do not tell me that I do not need to go to a priest to get forgiven. And do not tell me, a protestant, that I cannot go directly to God to get forgiveness. Or the Jew, do not tell me not to go back and do a sacrifice, which some day will be again.” Yes, I am telling you that all these things are man-made things you have dreamt up because you refused to believe the Son of God.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left
What are you sinning against? The knowledge of truth. What is the knowledge of truth? Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more and where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins. No sacrifice for sin is left. “If you are not going to put your faith in one final sacrifice of Christ Jesus, My Son, where there He who knew no sin hung on a cross and became sin for you, so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him.”, there is no more sacrifice for sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Someone says, “No. No. I will keep my sacrifices going. You do not have to have a blood sacrifice to have a sacrifice.” If you are asking God to forgive you at any juncture in your life, He would say, “Where is your sacrifice? For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” If you do not know what the bible says, and are sitting in your ignorance, why then you are sitting there fat, dumb and happy and I will just do what someone tells me to do. God did not tell us to do that.
12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
God never intended us to lay on the operating table after giving birth and to stay on that table the rest of your life as a baby. He wants you to grow. In order to grow you need food. The food for the Christian is the bible, the truth He came to give us.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[Deuteronomy 32:35] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
If you are not going to accept the sacrifice that came from God. This is God’s sacrifice, not ours. He did not consult us saying, “Would it be okay for you guys if I sent My Son to die for you?” He did not consult us in creation nor in salvation. This is His work. There is no sacrifice for sins left.
We should sit back in total appreciation and say “I don’t want any other sacrifice. I do not want Jesus to have to die again. And a bull and a goat, I figured out a long time ago, will not take away my sins from the eyes of God. Only human sacrifice and the life of God can do that, and I am not going to ask Him to do it again.”
This is what the scripture says. I am merely reading the scripture to you, and it is very severe. If you are going to keep on going back to your systems, saying in essence to God, “I am sorry God but your Son did not complete His work. In fact, I am not even totally believing He died on a cross for my sin. He may have died for somebody but not necessarily mine.” If you are not believing that sacrifice, there is no sacrifice for sins left. The only thing you have to look forward to is a fearful expectation of judgment and the raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. That is severe.
What He is not saying to you and me, that if you keep on committing adultery, keep on breaking the ten commandments. No those sins were put on the cross and paid in full. But if you are going to reject what Jesus did for you because Jesus did for you what you could not even do for yourself. You do not even have a chance in the world to accomplish what Jesus accomplished for you.
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
When you are dead, you are dead. If Christ came, did it for you, and came to give you life, and you refuse that life, and you refuse that sacrifice of His death for you, and you come up with your own, and you keep doing your own after you received the knowledge of truth. Those listening to me today have now heard the knowledge of truth. There is no excuse for a listener. Maybe an excuse for a person that says I never knew that. How God judges that, that is up to Him. But once you have heard the knowledge of truth, there is no more sacrifice for sins left, and the only thing you have to look forward to, the only expectation is a fearful one, and that is to go to hell. I do not like to think of that, the thought of man going to hell, but what is going to send you there is your religion. Your religion is going to send you there, a religion that teaches that you have to go to a priest to get forgiven. A religion that teaches you need to keep short accounts with God with a misinterpretation of 1 John 1:9, or you have to be baptized to be saved, or you have to speak in tongues to be saved, or anything else you have added to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Because your faith is not in Him and what He is doing but your faith is in what you are doing and in what you did.
God is not messing around with us. He did not send us something else to do after we have failed for thousands of years in the Old Testament to accomplish what He told us to do. He is not impressed with what we are doing or not doing. What He is impressed with is His Son. What pleases Him is when we put our faith in His Son. Apart from that faith, not faith in faith, faith in religion, faith in Old Testament, but faith in Jesus Christ. Until we put our faith in Him, we are not pleasing to God. Why? That is whom God sent to save us, and we are messing around with the plan of God who came to save us.
Do not get mad at me. I am the messenger boy. I am reading out of the scripture, not out of the Quran.
28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
That is rejecting what Moses wrote about the law. Moses was the writer but God was the initiator. This was merely doing what God told him to do.
29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves [it does not say he will, but deserves] to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot,
What is being talked about here? The New Covenant says “I will remember your sins no more” and “where these have been forgiven there is no more sacrifice for sins”. What did Jesus have to do in order to pull this off? Suffer, die, be tortured, beaten, ridiculed and everything man could do to another man Jesus took so you and I could be free. When I am coming up with another system, a system where I can go and sit and get forgiveness, a little dinky system where I can flash 1 John 1:9 to get forgiveness, you are trampling the Son of God underfoot.
29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
This is the Covenant that has set you apart. Like a rose trampled to the ground is what we did to Jesus. For my sins he died. We are trampling that underfoot saying all you have to do is go to a priest and get forgiven. All you have to do is go directly to God. So you have the arrogance of the Protestant world. You have the error of the Catholic world. Do not say I am anti-Catholic. I am not anti-Catholic or anti-Protestant. I am just telling you what is taught in Catholicism and in Protestantism. We are both the same, we just have taken different paths to get forgiveness. God is in heaven crying out, “What in the world do you think I did for you guys at the cross? Have you lost your mind? You cannot add to what I accomplished. When I cried out from the cross, ‘Paid in full’, I did not mean paid in part. When I cried out ‘It is finished’, I didn’t mean it is almost finished. I mean it is done. It is over. There is no more sacrifice for sins.” When you keep going back, whether you realize it or not, you are just trampling God underfoot. You are treating as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him. What is that covenant? We just read it. Your sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.
You are treating that as an unholy thing, and in fact, you do not even like it. I have heard people say, “It feels so good when I ask God to forgive me.” Think how good it would feel if you knew you were already forgiven. Why don’t you put your faith in what Jesus did instead of faith in what makes you feel good. That is not faith. It is presumption. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
You are treating as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? How do you insult somebody? You say, “You do not know what you are talking about.” Someone makes a statement, “You do not know what you are talking about, Bob?” That is insulting. That is what you are doing, insulting the Spirit of grace.
30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[Deuteronomy 32:35] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
These are scary passages but they are not scary to a person who is walking by faith. Certainly it would be scary if someone was trying to gain their salvation through their works. This is plain that God put into effect where man is out of the equation. God cannot give you something to do to respond to. “Either respond by faith which pleases Me or unbelief, which does not. If I gave you something that you had to do in this equation you would mess it up, just as the people before you for thousands of years messed it up. Not a one of them could ever be declared righteous in the sight of God by obedience to the law.”
Folks, this passage is so severe. This passage is so important to us. Get into the book of Hebrews. Read it. You will find the first chapter is talking about superiority of Jesus over Moses, over Abraham, Melchizedek, all of the Old Testament patriarchs, that people were so enthralled with, that talks about Jesus being a superhero. The covenant He has now ushered in is superior to the old one.
6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
So what are we holding onto the old one for? There are many people I know today claiming to be Christian, but quite frankly, would rather be a Jew than a Christian. They are hanging on to old traditions that point to Christ. If they are celebrating them as pointing to Christ then have you ever come to the one they are pointing to or are you still worshipping the shadow.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Have you ever come to just walk in that newness of life, to enter into that Sabbath rest. What this passage is trying to get us to do is to get into the Sabbath rest, resting in the Sabbath rest, resting in the fact that I, by the mercy of God, am a forgiven person. I did not deserve it. I cannot earn it. God just did it for me. He made me clean. He took away my sins from the eyes of God for eternity. It is finished. Now believe it and be happy.