The Law . . . has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things.
Popular Christian writer Max Lucado confessed that he was a slob most of his life. His reasoning: Why make up a bed if you are going to sleep in it again the next night? Why wash a dish after just one meal? Why not leave your clothes beside the bed so they are ready when you wake up? That was his attitude for years. But then something changed–he got married. Suddenly he discovered the joys of hanging up his shirts and putting the toilet paper on the dispenser in the bathroom. He started these new habits, but then the moment of truth came: his wife went out of town for a week. The first day, he reverted back to his old habits, but something was different. He no longer felt comfortable in his old way of living. He could not stand to see an empty potato chip bag on the floor. What had changed? He had been introduced to a new standard of living.
Christianity offers a new standard of living that is different from any other religion in the world, including Judaism, as the writer of Hebrews said. The Old Testament system could reveal sin, but it could never remove our sin, and it certainly could never remove our desire to sin. What was needed was a way that would provide for the elimination of our sins, the eradication of our guilt, and the transformation of our hearts, and that is exactly what Jesus Christ offers. The book of Hebrews shows us that Christ alone can provide what we need most: the elimination of our sins, the eradication of our guilt, and the transformation of our hearts.
The heart of the message of the book of Hebrews is in chapters 5-10, about the superiority of Jesus Christ. The writer showed, first of all, that Jesus is a superior priest. He was superior to the Old Testament priests in so many ways. Second, Jesus has a superior ministry. He has a better covenant, a better promise for us. And finally, Jesus Christ offered a superior sacrifice. That is what chapters 9-10 are about. Hebrews 10:1-18 contains the author’s closing arguments about the superiority of Jesus Christ. Let me explain what he was doing using this illustration.
Suppose you are a small business owner. For years, you used a particular cell phone provider, but a few years ago you decided to switch to a different company because of what you felt like were better promises they offered. You have been using the other carrier for several years, and a company salesman calls to get you to renew your contract. Before you sign on the dotted line you tell him, “I am thinking about going back to my previous provider.” What is that salesman going to do? If he is a good salesman, he will remind you of the limitations of your previous company, and then he will point out the superiority of his company. That is exactly what the writer of Hebrews was doing. His audience was a group of Jewish Christians who had left Judaism because they believed that Jesus Christ offered a better way to God, but because of persecution, they were considering switching back to Judaism. So the writer said, “Before you do that, remember the limitations of the old covenant and the superiority of the new covenant.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why The Old Way Is The Wrong Way To God” 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.