SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- A "covenant" is an agreement or vow between two parties, especially between God and people. In the Old Testament God established a covenant with people. Later Jesus came and ushered in a new covenant. This chapter compares and contrasts the two covenants, and shows why the second is far superior.
- The first covenant emphasized obedience to rules and animal sacrifices to cover sin. (We learn in the New Testament that part of the reason God did this is to show people that they were incapable of following rules -- and therefore needed a Savior -- and to establish the idea of a sacrificial death taking the punishment for rule-breaking, to prepare the world for what Jesus would do for us on the cross.)
- The second covenant centers on trust in Jesus and his sacrifice that takes away sin. While the first covenant pointed forward to Jesus, the second covenant actually takes away our sin through Jesus' sacrifice, and brings people into relationship with God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Why does God focus so much on sin? Lots of reasons. One is that when we sin we are settling for less. God loves us and doesn't want our lives to be less than they could be. Another reason is that sin is rebellion against God. It's like our statement of independence from God. And it separates us from him in this life, and after this life. That is why Jesus dying for us is so important: it removes our sin and connects us to God. It's more than just a ticket to Heaven, it brings us into relationship with God so we can start to experience Heaven now.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- How do you feel when you realize you've sinned against God? Does it hurt because you know sin pulls you away from God? Do you have gratitude that your sin won't be counted against you because Jesus died for it? And how do you think about being "saved"? Like it's nice to know that you'll go to Heaven someday? Or like it's overwhelming to think you get to have God everyday and to start experiencing real life with him now? Take some time to pray about all this.