Agonizomai: Heb 9:15 - Christ - The Message

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heb 9:15 - Christ - The Message

Heb 9:15 - Christ - The Message

Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

On account of all these things - the inferiority of the law and the ceremonies and its inability to purify the conscience - the Son of God came from heaven and took on humanity, offering himself up as the spotless sacrifice with eternal and infinite value, by which men are truly and forever reconciled to God. All who believe will be saved.

He alone is the mediator (which was the role of the old priesthood) between God and man. This is why there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved. If you aren’t trusting in what God has done in Christ then you are lost and the wrath of God abides on you still.

But now read closely what is being said here. Christ is mediator so that those who are called may receive eternal life. Remember, eternal life is not simply living forever. It is a quality of life that receives its character from the indwelling Spirit of God. To know God is to have eternal life, when the word "know" is the same as the biblical concept of "knowing" a person - an intimate loving relationship.

So what does "called" mean here? Are all men called? Do all hear the gospel? Has God said that those who never hear it will be saved some other way? Well obviously not all men hear the gospel. Think of the countless pagan lands that were not evangelized until the last 250 years or so. People lived and died in those lands every day without hearing about Jesus. Were they called?

The church has traditionally divided the concept of the call of God into two categories, namely:
1) The general call which goes out to all who fall under the preaching of Christ. Anybody to whom Christ is properly preached is called under this general call. This does not mean that all hear the gospel, or that all will be given a chance to hear it, nor yet that those who do not hear it will be given a pass.

2) The effectual call which refers to the people among those hearing the general call who actually believe. When they do believe, it is because God has regenerated them by his Spirit and this is why it is called the effectual call. God does not regenerate people because they believe but, rather, people believe because God has regenerated them.
In this particular passage the proper inference is the simplest that those who hear the gospel preached may (through believing it) receive the promised eternal inheritance. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the preaching of Christ. {Ro 10:17} The gospel is the Power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. {Ro 1:16}

The preaching of Christ is, then, God’s ordained means by which men receive the promises of God - which are life eternal, in fellowship with him. Now, it is not just having the words said or even having the sounds falling on the eardrums of people that saves them. That is not how the power of God works. It work by the facts about Jesus life, death and resurrection being received through the mind, and changing the life of a person by renewing his heart. The power of the gospel is not in the diction, nor in the speaker, but in the meaning as conveyed by one animated by same Spirit who is able to renew the heart of the hearer. God is all in all.

Having heard and having received, the children of faith rest in the finished work of Christ, believing he is their eternal mediator. In other words, His work is of eternal value, having been done once and for all. He now ever lives and is ever in the holy of holies in the heavenlies, at God’s right hand, representing all who believe. And even though those who believe still commit transgressions - some of them very grave indeed - it is not their transgressions that characterize their relationship with God but their abiding in Jesus Christ by faith. Faith and not the individual’s moment to moment victory over the sinful nature is the hallmark of the redeemed.

This sermon is specifically to the Jews. But the old covenant of law has some application to the Gentile. All men have a conscience, and all many will try to justify themselves to whatever power they assume controls or influences their lives. They do this by carnal and dead acts of worship or sacrifice. They try to reach up to their higher power and make things right. Christianity says that this is impossible. Men cannot act rightly in order to be reconciled to God - rather, they must be reconciled to God in order to act rightly. This is what Christ has done for all who believe. He has reconciled them so that they may act rightly towards God and man.

Whatever "covenant" a man fell under before Christ there is no doubt he was a sinner {Ro 3:23} with transgressions that need to be paid for. No animal sacrifice could actually do that. Christ did it by giving His Own life. He paid for the sins of His people. God did not overlook sin (He never does that) - He laid the penalty upon His Son.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the gospel is the only thing in this life that sounds too good to be true-but isn't.

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the preaching of Christ." We are truly blessed to live in a place where we can freely read the Bible and listen to sermons as often as we like. Yet in other countries where strong persecution goes on,, the Christians believe more than we do. They have to rely upon the Lord for all things, and they do. May we all be of the same steadfast spirit and believe in these promises until we meet with the Lord.

9:03 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...


It's an interesting observation and I believe you are right about how God uses persecution to winnow the church.

But, in the end, I think the playing field gets leveled by the wisdom of God.

Which is a harder thing - to be faithful in want or persecution, or to be faithful in plenty and ease? Which requires more of the grace of God?

I think the answer is "both" or "neither". Each requires its own peculiar manifestation of God's sustaining grace.

I can't know personally how I will react if my place is "swapped" with Christians in other circumstances - but I can know and hope in the God of all grace who is able to sustain me in ALL circumstances.



9:22 am  

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