“Freedom Is Our Mother” ( Galatians 4: 21-26, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


21 Tell me, those of you who want to be under the law, don’t you hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman. 23 But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery—this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.

God does not change His mind, but He does create two separate covenants with mankind – the first covenant, often referred to as ‘old’ provides the Law and for a long time, mankind lives under this Law. The second covenant, often referred to as ‘new’ provides the Grace and from that point on, mankind lives under this Grace. Once Grace arrives, the Law is no longer needed. In fact, the Law is nailed to a tree and is essentially fulfilled in the Life and Body of Jesus Christ, once and for all!

Putting oneself back under the Law once under Grace is like going back into Slavery once Freedom is obtained. Who does that?

Paul wearies over the church at Galatia, even saying he remains in labor pains until Christ is formed in them. He wonders how it is that they’ve lost their joy, covering themselves with once-removed burdens. He wants to change his tone, but he is bewildered and hurt that they’ve returned to Slavery unnecessarily.

Don’t make this mistake. Our mother is not Hagar but Sarah; and she is Freedom.

“Raised Up From” ( Isaiah 55:8-9, WYC ) by Carley Evans


In case you wonder why we don’t understand God, He tells us the reason. He says as far as the heaven is from the earth is similar to how far above us are His ways and His thoughts. God is beyond us, above us, raised up from us.

For why my thoughts be not your thoughts, and my ways be not your ways, saith the Lord. For as (the) heavens be raised (up) from (the) earth, so my ways be raised (up) from your ways, and my thoughts from your thoughts. 

Makes understanding the reason behind Christ’s entrance into the world a bit easier, however. If God is so far removed from us, then His coming as an infant – actually on the earth – makes perfect sense. How else are we to grasp who He really is? So much better is Jesus than Moses. So much better is the new covenant than the old – hearts not of stone, but of flesh and blood where God’s love is written directly by His Holy Spirit. 

That Jesus comes to earth is because God is raised up from us. Jesus descended to us so that we might live again.

“The Priest Is The Lamb” ( Hebrews 7:25, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Lamb

“But because [Christ] remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.”

Under the old covenant, the priest literally stands between the people and God. Annually, the priest offers an unblemished lamb as a sacrificial substitute for the people, their sins burning up along with the body of the lamb, the sweet fragrance satisfying the wrath of the Lord. The people come to God through the priest; God accepts them because of the lamb.

The author of Hebrews may as well shout. For under the new covenant — the better covenant — the priest “remains forever,” and “always lives to intercede for [the people].” Under the new covenant — the final covenant — the priest is the Lamb! And, the sacrifice is once for all. And, the Priest lives forever, always able to intercede for each and every one “who comes to God through Him.”

“Only A Shadow” ( Hebrews 10: 1-10, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“1 Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. 2 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, once purified, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said:

You did not want sacrifice and offering,
but You prepared a body for Me.
6 You did not delight
in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings.
7 Then I said, “See—
it is written about Me
in the volume of the scroll—
I have come to do Your will, God!”

8 After He says above, You did not want or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings (which are offered according to the law), 9 He then says, See, I have come to do Your will.He takes away the first to establish the second. 10 By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”

How are we sanctified? By the will of God through Jesus’ offering of His body once and for all. Why Jesus’ offering? Because God does not delight in sacrifices of bulls and goats. The blood of animals does not take away sin or the consciousness of sin. Jesus does not die on the cross to remind us of sin; He dies to cleanse our consciences of sin so we may approach the throne of grace without shame, in the boldness of freedom from guilt.

This is the successful Christian life — a life free of worry, guilt, self-loathing, hatred of others; a life full of mercy, compassion, kindness, self-respect and love of others.

“God Smites Us With A New Covenant” ( Isaiah 55: 1-3, WYC ) by Carley Evans


God is clear. He calls those who thirst and who are poor to come to Him. He asks rhetorically why those who are poor should spend what little they may have for things that do not satisfy? He says, “Come to Me.” And, He tells every one of us we need not pay. The covenant He “smites” us with is free!

“1 All that thirst, come ye to waters [All ye thirsting, cometh to waters], and ye that have not silver, haste, buy ye, and eat ye; come ye, buy ye, without silver and without any (ex)changing, wine and milk. (All ye who thirst, come to the waters, and ye who have no silver, hasten, buy ye, and eat ye; come ye, and buy ye, wine and milk, without any silver, yea, without any exchanging of money.)

2 Why weigh ye (out) silver, and not in loaves, and your travail, not in fullness? (Why spend ye your silver, but not for loaves, and the fruits of your labour, but ye be not fulfilled?) Ye hearing hear me, and eat ye (that which is) good, and your soul shall delight in fatness.

3 Bow ye [in] your ear, and come ye to me; hear ye, and your soul shall live; and I shall smite with you a covenant everlasting (and I shall strike with you an everlasting covenant), the faithful mercies of David.”

“Shadows Of What Is In Heaven” ( Hebrews 8: 5, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Everything created for the tabernacle in Moses’ day is created as a perfect pattern of Jesus who is the mediator of the new covenant — a covenant “superior to the old one, and […] founded on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6) The old covenant between God and the people of Israel has “something wrong” with it, “for if there is nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place is sought for another.” (Hebrews 8:7) A new covenant is needed because “God finds fault with [His] people.” (Hebrews 8:8) Because His people are incapable of obeying the rules and regulations established in that first covenant, God provides a means of “putting [His] laws in their minds and writing them on their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:10) God knows His people can not “remain faithful to [His] covenant” so that He must necessarily “turn away from them.” (Hebrews 8:9) God provides a new covenant — one which is not like the old. “No longer is a man to teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know [God], from the least of them to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:11)

God says, “For I forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12) This is the answer — not that we love God, but that He loves us.

“To Put Away Sin Once For All” ( Hebrews 9: 26, ESV ) by Carley Evans


How many times does Jesus die? How many times is He nailed to a cross? How many times does Jesus suffer? I’m sure the answer is obvious — once. “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sin of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” (Hebrews 9:28)

How many times do Levitical priests enter the holy places to make sacrifices for the sins of many? Not once, but “every year with blood not [their] own.” (Hebrews 9:25) Their sacrifices are repetitive and only temporarily effective. On the other hand, Jesus “has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Hebrews 9:26) In putting away sin, Jesus solves the problem. He ends the separation of man and God, becoming “the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15) “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)

There is no need to crucify our Lord again. Sacrifices offered year after year only remind us of sins; they do not permanently take them away.  Jesus enters “heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Hebrews 9:24) What or who is able to do more for us than this? What self effort or effort of others is able to save us so completely as Jesus Christ?

“Simply The Good News” ( Hebrews 9: 15, ESV ) by Carley Evans


The English Standard Version of Hebrews 9:15 reads, “Therefore He [Christ] 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.”

The King James Version of Hebrews 9: 15 reads, “And for this cause He [Christ] is the mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

The Holman Christian Standard Bible version of Hebrews 9:15 reads, “Therefore, He [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

Our redemption from the transgressions committed under the old or first covenant occurs because of a death. The death of Jesus makes Him the perfect mediator of a new covenant under which we — who are called by the Holy Spirit — are given our promised inheritance. That inheritance is guaranteed by the seal of that same Holy Spirit, who is known to us as the third person of the triune God.

Everything is purified by blood under the old covenant, and so also under the new testament. But, rather than the blood of bulls and goats, our purification is purchased by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, He said, ‘ Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but a body have You prepared for Me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the Book.” (Hebrews 10:5-7)

In doing God’s will, Jesus fulfills the Law. Jesus “does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:9-10)

“Once For All” ( Hebrews 9: 12, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Christ, as High Priest, “enters once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Christ enters the holy places one time; that event is the only one required to “secure an eternal redemption” “for all” and a new covenant. “A death — [Christ’s] — occurs that redeems [us] from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9: 15) Simultaneously, Christ “does away with the first in order to establish the second.” (Hebrews 10:9) “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4) Instead, “Christ offers for all time a single sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:12) “By [this] single offering He perfects for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14) And so,”where there is forgiveness of [sins and lawless deeds], there is no longer any offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:17,18)

“The Obsolete Covenant” ( Hebrews 8: 6-7, NIV ) by Carley Evans


Sometimes, we forget that the new covenant “is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.” (Hebrews 8:6-7)

“If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come — one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.” (Hebrews 7:11-12)

The law was changed and necessarily.

“The time is coming, declared the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers… This is the covenant I will make… I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8: 8,9,10,11-12)

Notice the “blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14) Christ came to be the “mediator of a new covenant” because no “external regulation” was able “to clear the conscience of the worshiper.” (Hebrews 9:15; 9:9) The old covenant of “external regulations” is “obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13)

In order to serve the living God, our consciences must be clear. Christ “died as a ransom to set [us] free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15) “He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Hebrews 9:26) “He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” (Hebrews 9:28)