Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 9

Christís death makes the covenant certain

Hebrews 9:16-17

In this passage, the author mentions three reasons why Christís death was necessary:

        Christís death was necessary so that people can have a relationship with God Ė Hebrews 9:14.

        Christís death was necessary so that God can forgive our wrong deeds Ė Hebrews 9:15.

        Christís death was necessary in order to establish a permanent covenant (agreement) between God and his people Ė Hebrews 9:16-17.

When families or nations make a peace agreement, they hope to establish a permanent relationship by it. The two sides may have been enemies for many years, or even for many centuries. But when they make their agreement, the war has ended. They hope that their children will never kill each other again.

For the first few years after the agreement, the two sides cannot really trust each other. They behave as friends do. But they remember how bitterly they fought each other. So they cannot be sure that the other side is sincere.

Something important happens at the death of the person who made the original agreement. There is a change in the relationship between the two sides. They are no longer dealing with someone who once was their enemy. And for the dead manís family, the peace agreement becomes a matter of honour. If they are not loyal to that agreement, they bring shame upon themselves and their dead father.

Although the reasons are different, Christís death had an effect like that. His death established the new covenant between God and his people. His blood made the covenant certain and sure (Luke 22:20).

We have no reason to be afraid that God might not carry out his promises to us. Christís death makes our hope certain (Hebrews 6:18-20).

And we have no reason to be afraid that God will not forgive. His Son died so that he can forgive us. So it is a matter of honour for him. We must confess our wrong deeds to him; and we must invite him into our lives.

Some people are afraid that God is angry. And they are right to feel fear. Godís anger is a terrible thing (Hebrews 3:10-11; Hebrews 12:25). But there is no reason to suffer Godís anger, because Christ has died. And his death establishes our peace agreement with God. In other words, God wants to be our friend. In fact, he desires even better things than that. He is adopting us into his own family, as his sons and daughters (Hebrews 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:5-7, Galatians 4:1-7; Romans 8:23).

Next part: Whose blood made the first covenant definite? (Hebrews 9:18)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.