The Christian message is remarkably simple. And powerful. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
Leave your religious deeds at the door, they’re not needed. Your good works, your financial gifts, your political affiliations, and everything else you’re relying on: leave them at the door.
Christ Jesus died for sinners, and the work of God is to believe in Him. Faith. A confidence and trust that names Jesus Christ Savior and Lord.
How can that be? Didn’t Paul just make that up? Isn’t that an invention of the early Christians around the campfire? Way too simple.
Actually, no. It was there all along. No surprises. What sheds light on this is a little known but oh-so-important chapter, Hebrews 8, arguable the most important chapter in the Bible. It’s the hinge that ties the Old & New Testaments together. It makes sense of the Christmas story and the Easter narrative. It explains John 3:16. It’s a powerful reminder that God’s Word is not an outdated collection of religious musings but a cogent and breathtaking declaration of the grace of God which brings life and hope to our weary souls.
Here’s the key verse: But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. That’s a loaded statement! In short…
There was a covenant God made with the Jews at Sinai. 68 verses summed up like this: behave, and you’ll be alright. 13 verses of ridiculous blessings for heartfelt obedience; a stunning 53 verses rehearse the curses for disobedience. In a word, performance based religion, entirely conditional.
But God also said through Jeremiah that a NEW covenant (promise, agreement), was coming. This one would be different. It wouldn’t be performance based or conditional. The most remarkable statement is the last one, For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Did you catch that?! It’s simple and overwhelming. God who knows everything, who is thrice holy, treats me as if I’d never sinned. HELLO.
In this new covenant, grace reigns. Complete forgiveness is offered. And it’s not based on Colin, it’s based on JESUS.
That’s why Christians, when they’re faithful to God’s Word, offer something massive and unheard of: a clean slate.
And it doesn’t stop at conversion. Grace is for every single day of our Christian life. Let me illustrate with this beautiful verse:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When I agree with God that I messed up, He offers not only to forgive but also to clean me up and send me on my way. Awesome. But don’t skip over two huge words: faithful and righteous.
To what is God faithful when He forgives me? He is faithful to HIS COVENANT! I will remember their sins no more. Do you see it?! Nothing in God’s Word is happenstance or arbitrary. God made a promise and Christ is the mediator of His new covenant that is enacted on better promises. That my friend is grace.
And how is God righteous when He forgives me?? He’s perfect. He’s holy. He doesn’t owe me anything. But ah – He made a promise and inaugurated a covenant. He promised He would choose not to remember my sins. How can this be? Simple. Jesus suffered for me. God’s righteousness was upheld because sin was punished. Only the one who took the blows was sinless. That’s the simplicity and wonder of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of the Bible.
For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
New covenant. New construct. New way of doing things. Faith, from first to last. All of grace, He gets the praise and we have a life worth living. Keep this in mind when you gather to worship tomorrow; it cost Him His Son, He is worthy of our praise.