Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 9

A covenant, a mediator, and a death

Hebrews 9:15

A covenant is a peace agreement. It makes enemies into friends. Each side makes promises, and because of those promises, there is peace.

Because the two sides were enemies, they cannot even speak to each other. That is why there must be a mediator. A mediator is the person who arranges the peace agreement. He speaks to each side in turn, on behalf of the other side.

It is not easy for enemies in war to agree peace. Often, they have done terrible things to each other. There is a price for peace. So, often, a death must happen before there can be peace.

One example is in 2 Samuel 20:14-22. Shebaís death was necessary so that the city called Abel could have peace. Otherwise, Joabís army would have destroyed the whole city. Sheba had to die because he had opposed King David. In 2 Samuel 21:1-9, several members of Saulís family had to die. That was the cost because Saul had refused to obey promises in an ancient covenant (Joshua chapter 9).

God made a covenant with his people. And he made wonderful promises to them. But the people refused to obey his law. In fact, all people have done wrong things against Godís law (Romans 3:9-23).

Without a new covenant, nobody could benefit from Godís promises. But God said that he would make a new covenant with his people (Hebrews 8:8-12). They had become his enemies, so there had to be a mediator. That mediator is Christ.

And there had to be a death, too. People had offended against the laws that God had made under the first covenant. Everyone is guilty, so everyone deserves to die (Romans 6:23). But God does not want his people to die. He wants to give them life, so that they can benefit from his wonderful promises to them.

So God decided that he himself would provide the sacrifice for peopleís wrong deeds (Genesis 22:14). A sacrifice is a gift that God considers valuable. And the sacrifice that God provided was his own Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). It was Christís death that established Godís new covenant. It is by Christís death that God can forgive our wrong deeds. And it will be by Christís death that we shall receive all the benefits of Godís promises to his people.

Next part: Christís death makes the covenant certain (Hebrews 9:16-17)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.