A Better Word
From Gospel Translations
“To Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb. 12:24).
- Hebrews 12:24
In the beginning, Adam and Eve enjoyed fellowship with God and His creation. They delighted in each other and in the wonderful world that God had made (Gen. 1–2). They experienced the privilege of walking with God in “the cool of the day” (3:8).
However, when our first parents fell into sin, all of this changed. The ground became cursed, and strife entered the relationship between man and woman (vv. 16–19). Moreover, God cut off mankind from direct fellowship with Him in the Garden (vv. 22–24).
However, God did not purpose to leave us outside the Garden forever. He chose to set His love upon His people and deliver them from slavery in Egypt so that they could enjoy fellowship with Him again.
Yet under the old covenant, God did not do all that was necessary to bring us back to His presence. He spoke to us in types and shadows, speaking to us of our need for a final redemption. Under the old covenant, His people looked forward to this salvation (Heb. 11).
Two thousand years ago, God accomplished this salvation. He sent His only Son to die for our sins and open up access into the presence of God for us (Heb. 10:19–20). Under the new covenant, we are in a much better position than the old covenant believers who had no such access into God’s presence.
As a result, we must cling to Christ. We must not be like the original audience of the epistle to the Hebrews that was considering abandoning their confession under persecution. For like them, we have not come to a mountain that cannot be touched; rather, we now, by the Spirit, join with the company of heaven in unceasing adoration of the great Judge of all things (12:18–23).
As today’s passage teaches us, we have come to Jesus who is the Mediator of the new covenant. And because of this privilege, we must never forget God’s great mercy and the gratitude we owe to Him. On this point, John Calvin writes, “for the higher the excellency of Christ’s kingdom than the dispensation of Moses, and the more glorious our calling than that of the ancient people, the more disgraceful and the less excusable is our ingratitude, unless we embrace in a becoming manner the great favour offered to us, and humbly adore the majesty of Christ which is here made evident.”
Because of the new and better covenant that we are privileged to live under, we must live in gratitude for our salvation and strive for holiness even more than the old covenant saints. Take some time today to thank the Lord for your salvation, and pray that you would never be ungrateful to Him.
Passages for Further Study
Pss. 7:17; 30:4; 100
Luke 7:36–50; 19:1–10
Covenant of Works II Devotional
Covenant Article Law and Gospel Article by Michael Horton