We like warranties – is big part of business. Implied warranties, extended length warranties, businesses devoted to providing warranties on equipment; can get a warranty on just about anything. Warranty raises confidence level, eases anxiety, gives courage to make decisions and take action. Kind of warranty offered sometimes determines selection we make – go for the item with better guarantee.
But… if you buy something with Lifetime Warranty, what does it really mean? It will never break? wear out? fail to function as designed? Not really! No mortal has the ability to make that happen. Best anyone can do: if it breaks, when it wears out, if it fails to function as designed, guarantee to repair or replace. Oh, makes you feel much better! But what if they stop making that particular item? or one comparable? or they go out of business completely? Now what? Not a huge deal if it’s a hand tool, electric can opener, something simple that your life really doesn’t depend on.
Lots of things in life far more significant than socket wrench or can opener. Even some things that have consequences in both this life and next one! What kind of warranty do they come with? And is there something or someone of substance to back up the warranty?
On authority of what Sovereign Lord of Creation said in his Word, answer is unqualified “Yes”. Is a “better hope” founded on “better covenant” guaranteed by Jesus himself. Have tangible reminders of the covenant, the one who guarantees it before us on the Lord’s Table. Have our text that instructs us how this is a better hope, a better covenant, a better guarantee.
Just to get up to speed from Part 1: Jesus not descended from Aaron and Levi, so his priesthood has none of limitations Aaron’s did. Unlike every other priest… who died, Jesus has credential of eternality – no beginning, no end, no interruptions. Even though the God-Man experienced physical death, the Son of God could not be overcome by death or held by it. Jesus was installed in office by highest authority, God the Father himself, and his appointment made certain by promise and oath. In order for Jesus to fail in High Priestly office, God could no longer be God.
Then there’s Jesus’ credential of suretyship – made himself legally liable for the debt owed by all those participating in the covenant. And… has satisfied that legal obligation by paying off the debt in full, guaranteeing no hidden clauses or fees, no surprises… ever. Remember:
By the testimony of Scripture alone, we are saved by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
Stuart Townend, song lyrics, “In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song.” If we are to truly possess that better hope, established on a better covenant, it must rest on Christ alone. Because of who he is – eternal Son of God and our High Priest, and what he has done – conquered sin and death by his once-for-all sacrifice (death and resurrection), we can have firm assurance faith in Christ is not misplaced. Jesus told Jewish leaders who challenged him:
John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.I and the Father are one.”
Aside from fact Jesus was God in flesh, what gave him the right to make those kinds of claims? What gives us assurance Jesus can make good on his claims, and promise of a better hope? The credentials we addressed last week, plus these: his priesthood is unchanging; he has the ability to save; his work of intercession is continual; and the one that exceeds all the rest – his perfection and prestige.
E. an Unchanging Priesthood (23-24)
many have had experience of outliving your doctor (Dr. Bonjour) or at least his time of practicing, maybe more than one! – know the pain and suffering of breaking in a new one
what does that do to confidence? starting from the beginning again, slowly rebuilding trust and assurance over time
and what about all those things your old doctor knew about you but didn’t write down? how long will it be before you feel free to share “those” things with new doctor? and how awkward / embarrassing will that be?
here’s where it gets serious: some of those things doctor knew but didn’t record were essential to your good health… and you don’t remember, may not even know what they were
new doctor somewhat in the dark, missing information, handicapped in how well they can meet your needs
now let’s move those concepts over into spiritual realm – you get the picture, don’t you, where this is going?!
we’re talking about eternal souls here, not just bodies and physical health – hard to get used to new pastor/priest, same-o, same-o
but what about our High Priest, the one who truly knows every last detail about you – knows where you’ve been, where you’re going, what is perfect solution to your need at all times
you will never outlive Him, never have to deal with new High Priest – this one, Jesus, is beside you and will always be present with you…forever
this incredible foundation of assurance not only for us individually – applies to his church: since “He continues forever”, so will his church
examples abound: local churches that have not survived departure of a pastor – happens for many different reasons
but what about Christ’s Church? – have his ringing declaration: “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it.” (Matt. 16:18)
since Jesus is head over all things (Eph. 1:22), head of the church (Eph. 5:23), forever and unchangeable, his Church will endure
remember this: our confidence in staying power of Christ’s true church is in Lord Jesus, not federal or state Constitutions, not in sanction or support of governments, not in power of influence at voting booth
F. Ability (25a)
most everyone at some point in life has desire to perform a task: craft a piece of furniture, paint another Rembrandt, hit a home run, invent a cure for some awful disease, discover a new planet
the thing at top of your list might be different, but decide to chase the dream anyway – pursue for a time, then slowly realize just don’t have ability to achieve the goal
not a big deal in some ways – not a do or die situation; many times there are other options – buy the item or service, simply do without
what about when is matter of life and death – miners trapped miles underground; passenger jet that goes missing; highly risky medical situation
amass most helpful resources, most highly skilled individuals, do everything up to limits of human ability; and if don’t succeed… rest in assurance “did all we could”
but…we’re talking about matter of eternal life and death, not just temporary stuff associated with this life – what then?
there are no real alternatives, is no option to simply do without, can’t really find any comfort in knowing did best we could
God assures us: Jesus has ability, power to completely deliver from all enemies and penalties those who come by faith in Christ
not just talk, Jesus’ promises not simply words – he has absolutely all necessary qualifications and resources to accomplish his promise – to save those who come to him…completely
no part of our salvation left undone, none escapes Christ’s provision through his active and passive obedience
no burden of sin or depravity too great for Jesus to bear; no detail or expectation missed that we must try to address
nothing we have ability to add to work of our salvation, nothing we need to try and add; ours is to rest in finished work of Christ, applied to us because of God’s amazing and wonderful grace
G. His Continuing Intercession (25b)
Arise, My Soul, Arise penned by Charles Wesley – captures both nature of what is described in v25b, and its significance to us
Arise, my soul, arise, Shake off thy guilty fears:
The bleeding Sacrifice In my behalf appears:
Before the Throne my Surety stands, My name is written on his hands.
He ever lives above, For me to intercede,
His all-redeeming love, His precious blood to plead;
His blood atoned for ev’ry race, And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Five bleeding wounds he bears, Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers, They strongly plead for me;
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry, Nor let that ransomed sinner die!
My God is reconciled; His pard’ning voice I hear;
He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh, And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.
is because of Jesus’ ongoing uninterrupted intercession we are forgiven, God is reconciled to us, He pardons us, God declares we are indeed his child, God takes away our fear, God gives us confidence to draw near to him
H. His Holy Person (26-28)
Heb. 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus was one of us, “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us”, yet in most important respect Jesus was absolutely unlike us
“He committed no sin” (1 Pet. 2:22) and “in him there is no sin.” (1 John 3:5) “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
in God’s eyes, was fitting, was proper for us to have that kind of High Priest – one who is holy, innocent of sin, undefiled by sin, separate from sin, victorious over sin by offering himself a perfect sacrifice for sin
Jesus a perfect man, perfect High Priest, perfect Sacrifice, perfect intercessor, perfect mediator, perfect Son of God
no one else dead, living, or yet to live can match Jesus’ credentials – Jesus alone is Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8), the origin of all things and the goal of all things
as such Jesus deserves all our worship, our devotion, our loyalty, our obedience
I. a Better Hope (19)
v.19 tells us “a better hope is introduced” – from our 21st century perspective, Jesus is our only hope – not only a better hope, the sole source of hope if we are to be fully and finally delivered from sin
is a fool’s errand to look anywhere else for hope, especially since God has graciously provided the best, Jesus, specifically to give hope to all who trust in him
our first duty – to hope in God, come to God by faith in Christ; our second duty – bring as many as we can along with us as we draw near to God
are surrounded by people without genuine hope – we have real deal, God can use us as instruments to guide them to that same hope
Remember: Salvation is of the Lord. Is because of the marvelous and amazing grace of God that we his children are what we are – sinners redeemed by the blood of Christ, reconciled to God and adopted into his family.