“For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness, for the law made nothing perfect, but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced through which we draw near to God.”
This is one of those places in the Book of Hebrews where we see this contrast between what God was doing in the Old Covenant, in the Old Testament through the law and what Jesus has done for us in the New Testament, the New Covenant through his sacrifice for our sins.
Jesus, the perfect High Priest has come and laid down His life as a substitute. He has paid for our sins and conquered the grave. All who trust in Jesus can draw near to God.
The whole picture here is that the laws and even the Levitical priesthood from the Old Testament, this system of offering sacrifices for sins has been set aside, and why has it been set aside? Because it could not ultimately make anyone perfect, but, this is the beauty, on the other hand, verse 19 says, “A better hope has been introduced.” A better hope, and what is that hope? The whole picture here in Hebrews 7 is that Jesus, the perfect High Priest, has come. He has made sacrifice for our sins. He had no sin in him, so he had no sins to sacrifice for and his own life. Instead, he’s sacrificed for your sins and my sins.
This is the heart of the Gospel. Jesus has died as a substitute for you and me on the cross. He has paid the price for all of our sins, all of our transgressions against God. His blood has covered over all our sins. He has conquered sin through his resurrection from the dead, and as a result, all who trust in Jesus can draw near to God. That’s the better hope. That is a glorious hope.
Not all who are perfect in and of themselves can draw near to God. That would not be a better hope because if that was our hope, then none of us would have it. None of us would be able to draw near to God because none of us are perfect in and of ourselves. We’ve all sinned against God. We’ve all turned aside from his ways to our ways, but we have a better hope than hoping in ourselves and our ability to earn our way to God.
I was having a conversation with a guy in an Uber just two nights ago, and he’s basically saying, and this is somebody who said he was a Christian, and he said… I said, “Well, how do you know that you’re going to go to heaven?” He said, “Because,” and he starts listing all the things he’s done. He started listing all the ways he was pursuing holiness and righteousness in his life. I just said, “That is not a good place to ground your hope because you are not perfect, and God is, and you cannot make it to God in and of yourself through your righteousness, through your holiness, through your actions, through all you’re doing to try to even do good for others. It’s not enough.”
Most people I talk with are banking their eternity on the fact that they will be good enough to better than others and not too bad that God would let them into Heaven. It’s not true. Don’t put your hope in yourself. I assume most people who are listening to this podcast have placed their faith in Jesus, but I just want to encourage you, if I were sitting in a car with you right now, I would ask you, “How do you know you’re going to heaven? How do you know that if you were to die right now that you would spend eternity with God in Heaven?” and if the answer to that question anyway in your mind is “because I,” then you have missed the point. Don’t put your hope in you in what you have done.
Your only hope, my only hope is in what Jesus has done. I said to this guy in the Uber, I said, “If you were to ask me that, how do I know I’m going to heaven, I would say because Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and he has saved me, and he has drawn me to himself.” If I were to stand before God right now and he were to ask, “Why should I let you into heaven?” my answer would be, “Nothing in my hands I bring. Only to the cross I cling. My only hope is in Jesus.” He’s your only hope too. Please hear it from Hebrews 7. He’s a better hope. He is a better hope than you. He is a better hope than anyone, anything in this world. Put your hope in Jesus, and through him, draw near to God.
Oh, God, we pray right now, even this prayer we offer not based upon any inherent goodness in us, righteousness in us, effort from us when it comes to obedience to you. We pray in Jesus’ name, we pray based on what Jesus has done for us. Jesus, you are our hope. You have opened access to God, so we draw near right now. We draw near through you. We praise you. You are the better hope. You are the best hope. You are the only sure ground for hope. God, please keep us from hoping in things, in people, in this world. Please keep us from hoping in ourselves. Help us to put all our hope in Jesus. Jesus, you are the better hope, and by you, we draw near to God.
Even right now, we experience communion with you, oh, God, through Jesus, your son sacrifice for our sins, our hope. All our hope is in Jesus, and so we pray. We pray you’d help us to point others to the hope that is available in Jesus. Help us to share the Gospel of hope to others today. God, we pray for the Bakhtiari in Iran who don’t know this hope, like millions of people who don’t know this hope. There’s so much resistance in Iran to making this hope known among them. God, we pray for the spread of your hope to the Bakhtiari people in Iran and the people right around us even as we cling tightly to the hope we have in you. Jesus, we praise you. You are better hope, and through you, we draw near to God. In your name, we pray, amen.
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