Now once at the consummation of the ages [Jesus] has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Imagine for a moment that the government said, “We realize we need to overhaul the tax system, so we have implemented a new tax system, and this is the way it works. First, you get to pay a one-time tax. You pay it one time, and you never have to pay another tax again. Second, that one-time tax you pay is going to be equal to your net worth. When you calculate the value of everything you own and add it up, that is your one-time tax. But here is the good news. The government is running such a surplus with trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars that we are going to pay that one-time tax for you.” How many of you would go for an agreement like that? It is inconceivable that anyone would say, “I guess I could try that system, but I like the old way better.” I can’t imagine anybody doing that. The only thing harder to imagine is that somebody would say to the government, “Yes, that is a great idea–pay the tax for me,” and then a couple of years later say, “You know what? I sure miss the old way. I miss searching through shoeboxes looking for receipts to turn in. I miss paying thousands of dollars to a tax preparer to prepare my return. I really miss writing out those checks to the Internal Revenue Service every year. I think I will opt out of that new system and go back to the old way.” Who would do that?
That is a good analogy of the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. Under the Old Testament, the way you were made right with God was through the sacrificial system. But there were a few problems with that sacrificial system. First, the sacrificial system was costly. You had to pay for your own animal sacrifices. It was a costly system. Second, it was a complicated system. If you want to see how complicated it was, just read the book of Leviticus–if you can stay awake through it. The system was extremely complicated. And third, it was continual. You had to offer sacrifices day after day, week after week, year after year.
Then Jesus Christ appeared and said, “I offer you a new agreement that is sealed in My blood. If you would like, I will pay the price for your sin. I will make a one-time offering of Myself that will forever make you right with God.” Amazingly, most people refused that system. They refused the offer that Jesus made. Even more amazingly, some people accepted Jesus’ offer, but after a couple of years they said, “We miss the old way. We are thinking about going back to the old agreement, the Old Testament, which had endless, complicated, and costly sacrifices.”
That is where the book of Hebrews comes in. The book of Hebrews was written to these Jewish Christians who had opted for the new agreement but because of persecution were considering going back to the old way of trying to make themselves right with God. And the theme of this letter is this: Why would you go back to the old way? Jesus Christ is the superior priest who offered the superior sacrifice to obtain a superior salvation.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Where There Is A Will, There Is A Body” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.