Hebrews 8:1-7 (KJV) Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
1 God Has Always Dealt With His Creation Of Mankind Through Covenants. What is a covenant? Webster’s defines “covenant” as:
“a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement, a compact. (or) a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action”
a God’s First And Best Covenant With Man Was A Covenant Of Love.
- God loved Adam and Eve. God put this first couple in the Garden East of Eden to “dress it and guard it”. Our Heaven created fore-parents were placed in a sinless place to work a work that needed not be done.
Eden was not a covenant of works – it was a Covenant of Love!
God gave man but one command, do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good And Evil (Genesis 2:17). God said:
Eat whatever you want, Eat all you want
The world is your buffet,
But do not eat this one fruit!
If you love Me, keep My Command.
Someone asked me once why God put even one No in a Garden of Yes.
Because true love always has a NO.
Good and Evil are concepts to be decided by God, not by us. God is the Creator. God knows “Good” and God knows “Evil”. You cannot “be good for goodness sake”. That is gibberish. God alone is God, and God establishes right and wrong, not us!
Adam failed to love God, and broke the Covenant
But God loves us still!
God loved Abram. God came in a Covenant of Love to an old man named Abram. What did Abram have to do? Follow God. Love God. Hear God.
I love my wife. I go home to my wife not because I must. There is no law that make me care for her. I could walk away tomorrow if I wanted. But she is written on my heart, and I will go home to her, I will care for her, I am in Covenant of Love with her.
God was in a Covenant of Love with Abram. Abram’s name went from Abram to Abraham. Love changes things. My wife went from a “Carter” to a “Buffaloe”. Love changes things. When I married God He ceased being “God” to me. His Name changed. He became:
Prince of Peace
Ancient of Days
Alpha and Omega
The God of Knowledge
The Self Existent God Who Sees
Abraham followed God in the Covenant of Love. He did what God bid him do not because he had to, but because he loved God. Abraham believed God, and God counted it to him for righteousness (Romans 4:3).
God loved Israel. When God reached out to Israel it was with a Covenant of Love. Israel had nothing God could want. God told Israel:
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 (ESV) The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers …
God said “I love you, and keep My word”. It was a Covenant of Love that God offered to Israel. But Israel rejected the Covenant of Love. They couldn’t love God for 40 Days while Moses was in the Mountain. Why?
Because the fallen heart is deceitful.
Desperately wicked, who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
We are, at core, (as that old song once said) “born to be wild”.
We have a heart problem.
b Israel Rejected The Covenant Of Love, So God Gave Israel A Covenant Of Works On Mount Sinai. Israel rejected Love, so He gave them Works. The Covenant of Works says:
“Do this and live” (Luke 10:28)
It was a Covenant of Works, a Covenant of DOING. It was a Covenant of Priests sacrificing animals, animals that believers brought to them. It was Covenant of Blood. It was a Covenant that Found Fault.
Hebrews 8:7-8 (KJV) For if that first covenant (the Covenant of Works) had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with THEM…
The Covenant of Works was faultless, but the people who tried to do it were filled with fault. The Bible says that
“God found FAULT WITH THEM”
There is no fault in the Law.
The Law is good, and perfect, and holy.
It is a reflection of God.
A broken person cannot do a Perfect Law.
So Israel tried and failed. God cannot be pleased with an imperfect person. He kept finding fault with them.
You might be saying “I am good enough to go to Heaven”. No, you are not. When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount He showed us how impossible it is to live according to the Law.
Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV) If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
Matthew 5:33-34 (ESV) “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Jesus was not redefining the Law but He was showing us how impossible it us for US to fulfill the Law perfectly. The Covenant of Works said “do this and live”. But we could not fulfill it. Israel could not be perfectly in accordance with God’s Law.
We all need a heart transplant!
2 God Promised His People A Heart Transplant In The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The Writer of Hebrews quotes this Covenant in:
Hebrews 8:8-10 (KJV) For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 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 continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord;
I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
The Covenant of Works was given to show us that we need a Savior. The Covenant of Works was a School Teacher Who, showing us our badness made us despair. And in our despair we cry out to God for a New Covenant, a Covenant not of Works but of Grace. What is distinctive of the New Covenant.
a The Old Covenant Was Written On Tablets Of Stone. The New Covenant Which Comes Through Christ Is Written In The Heart By God.
Hebrews 8:10 (KJV) … I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MIND, and WRITE THEM IN THEIR HEARTS: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
I remember sitting in a meeting several years ago with men who were supposedly saved, born again by the Grace of God. These men were plotting together to cast someone out of the Church. The ringleader – Steve – convinced the others it was better to disassociate from this one man, a man against whom he had a grudge. Steve meant that this person would be cast out. I begged. I pleaded. I yelled at these men. I tried everything I could do to stop it. But they were determined. And when they did the wrong they did, and it hurt the Church as I warned it would, these men – craven cowards all – resigned their posts and left the Church.
The proof of salvation is that God has written His Word in your heart. Pastor John Piper wrote:
“Hebrews is teaching that, when we are born again, God gives us a new heart and a new spirit, and the result is that the law of God written in Scripture is no longer offensive to us. We are no longer hostile to it like Paul says in Romans 8:7. We are not hostile to the word of God, but rather, we are submissive. We delight to do God’s commandments. It doesn’t mean that we know them all by heart, because they are written on our hearts. It doesn’t mean that. It means that, when we read them in the word, the inclination to do them is in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This is a great work of the Holy Spirit, purchased by the blood of Christ called the new covenant.”
God said “I will put MY LAWS into their minds”. Those who come to God through the New Covenant understand the Law of God and acknowledge that it is good. Their minds, once darkened, are now changed. “Their foolish heart was darkened” – but now no more. The mind of the lost is darkened to the Word of God. The mind of the saved is the mind of Christ. We have the mind of Christ. The Apostle highlighted the difference between those under the New Covenant and those under the Old Covenant when he wrote:
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 (ESV) Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Those under the Covenant of Works had the Law written on stone and on animal skins. Those under the Covenant of Works even today have the Law written only on paper. Some of those are liberal, people who do not accept the Word of God but reject it. Some of those are conservative, like Pharisees were conservative. They memorize the Law, God’s Word, but do not know the Author. Neither liberal nor conservative that is under the Covenant of Works will ever fully understand the things of God.
Not so the Child of God, born again of His Spirit.
The Child of God who receives Christ (for Christ is the Gospel) has the Law of God written in their hearts. We who are God’s Elect read and believe His Word. We do not argue with God, but His Spirit speaks that Word to our hearts. The Old Covenant saint had a High Priest who ministered in the Tabernacle, and served in the shadow of Heavenly things. But we who are of Christ have a High Priest who …..
Hebrews 8:1-2 (KJV) … is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle …
The Old Testament Priest mediated a covenant that was but a shadow of greater things to come. But Christ is the …
Hebrews 8:6 (KJV) … he is THE mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
The Spirit of God comes to His people in the New Covenant, the Covenant of Grace. God said I will place My Laws in their minds, and write them in their Hearts. I cared nothing for God’s Word when I was lost. To me it was a fabrication of old dead men, a fable, a foolishness. But once I met Christ He put a love for His Word in my heart. So it is with every Child of God.
The drunkard now despises the drink that once owned him.
The womanizer now realizes that once he once desires destroys not one but two.
The homosexual does not revel in his desire, but his desire is to God.
The murderer now sees that life is a gift from God, too precious to waste.
The Holy Spirit writes the right and the wrong in every heart, and those who are His find themselves agreeing with both Prophet and Apostle. Whereas we were at war with God under the Covenant of Works, now we are at Peace. God is in us, and God lightens our eyes.
The work of the New Covenant is not just to save us from Hell,
but to put Heaven’s Law in our hearts.
And God does the work!
What does the Scripture say?
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Salvation is entirely a work of God in the New Covenant. It is salvation “by Grace”. What does this mean? The text goes on to say in the next verse …
 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We are not saved by works, but now saved we work in one accord with one another and with our Jesus.
b The Old Covenant Did Not Bind The Soul To God, But The New Covenant Does. We read:
Hebrews 8:10 (KJV) …. I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
God does not force Himself on any to save them, but if a person hears and receives His Gospel then God promises:
I will be to them a God
and they shall be to Me a people
There is a love between the saved and their Savior that cannot be denied.
When Israel was saved from Egypt and led out of harsh bondage
– slavery and torment – by God Himself.
When God led them out by Pillar of Fire and by Pillar of Cloud.
When God destroyed the Egyptian Army by crushing it beneath the Red Sea.
You would have thought that these people would have loved God and followed Him no matter what. Yet they did not. Moses was not gone from them 40 days before they had Aaron the High Priest smelting a golden calf to worship. How dare they?
But God was not in their hearts.
I remember when I was at another Church one of it’s “members” (a Secret Service candidate, for she was never in Church) contracted a terrible abscess in her back. She was going to die. Every other day for 6 months – 6 MONTHS – I drove 45 minutes one way to go and pray with her and her husband. She told me “When I get out of here – if I ever get out of here – I’m going to come to Church”. At the end of that six month period the Lord saved her. She was healed, though the doctors who were treating her gave absolutely no hope for her recovery. A month later she attended Church.
And never came back again.
You would think that she would be in Church praising the Lord, thanking Him for what He did. But she and her husband built a golden calf and worshiped it instead. “I think I’m all right with God. I’m a moral person. I’ve not done anything wrong, not really. Surely I deserve to go to Heaven when I die.”
If you think you deserve Heaven because of what you have done, you are probably going to go to hell. You are under not the Covenant of Grace, but the Covenant of works.
There was another man whose name was David. He was not saved when I first met him. He contracted cancer – the bad kind – liver cancer. I visited him in the hospital, prayed with him, and told him about Jesus. Two weeks later he received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I remember I heard that he joined a Church near where he lived, and was baptized. I walked in the hospital room some time after his baptism. As he lay there, tubes coming out of his body, he turned, looked at me, and smiled like a lighthouse shining brightly. As we talked he told me that he knew Jesus was going to heal him – if not here, up there. And this precious man was at perfect peace. I helped bury his earthly body a few weeks later, and he left this planet with a smile on his face.
I will be to them a God
and they shall be to Me a people
The New Covenant – found only in Christ – binds us to God and God to us. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant.
3 Has God Touched You? Are You Going To Heaven Under The Covenant of Works, Or Under The Covenant Of Grace?
Let us pray.