Gone, But Still Applicable | Jon Cardwell

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13

It has been said by some, “Since the new covenant has been instituted by Christ, the civil and ceremonial laws of the Mosaic covenant have been abolished.” Have they? That’s not what our text says. The apostle tells us the old covenant is obsolete. The English words “obsolete” and “old” are translated from the Greek root word παλαιοω (palaioo). This word means “worn out” or “declared to be obsolete.” It doesn’t mean it has been completely eliminated, abolished or replaced. To replace it altogether actually would be antinomianism, a false doctrine. If Jesus fulfilled the law by His perfect sacrifice (Heb 5:9) and by His perfect priesthood (Heb 7:28), the law is not eliminated it but elevated.

Since we are in Christ, saved by grace and sanctified through the indwelling Spirit, the ceremonial laws fulfilled by Christ are still applicable to us— that is, spiritually speaking. As sacrifices were offered continually in the temple, we present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Rom 12:1). As incense was burned upon the altar morning and evening, our prayers rise as a sweet aroma before the Lord (2 Cor 2:15). As sins were confessed at the shedding of animal blood at the tabernacle and temple, now we confess our sins by Christ’s precious, cleansing blood (1 Jn 1:7). The temple ceremonies are obsolete; nevertheless, their spiritual application is in effect through personal devotion.

The temporal illustration gives way to its eternal importance because its commanded figure is infinitely valuable in Christ’s fulfillment. The details of its ceremonies are now expressed in our daily devotion to Christ, our Covenant-Giver.

The temple laws have been fulfill’d
In Jesus when He died;
No more need we goat’s blood to spill,
It’s done by Christ’s pierc’d side.

With love in Christ by God’s grace,

Jon

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