by Pastor Dick Cotton
Pastor Cotton served as pastor of Countryside from 2015 to 2023, after which he retired.
But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises…. By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:6,13)
When a computer becomes obsolete, it has to be replaced with a new one.
The book of Hebrews says that the Old Covenant is obsolete (6:13). It has been replaced by the New Covenant. The New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant (6:6). The New Covenant is superior because Jesus is superior and because its promises are better.
The Old Covenant is the Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. It was the Law given to Moses. At Sinai, Moses received the Ten Commandments, the dietary laws, the sacrificial system, the social laws, and the priesthood laws. God made this a conditional covenant with Israel. God promised to bless Israel IF they obeyed His Laws. God promised to curse Israel IF they disobeyed His Laws.
Israel failed. Even with all God’s blessings, His clarity, His help, they did not obey. And every one of us has the same imperfection. The Old Covenant revealed that we all fall short of God’s holiness (7-9, 12). The Old Covenant demonstrated that we are all lawbreakers.
The New Covenant is superior because it involves the God of the universe working inside the believer to produce righteousness. The New Covenant is not about an external list of do’s and don’ts.
The New Covenant is about what God will do. The Old Covenant focused on what we must do or not do. We fail. But God never fails.
I pray that we will all depend on God’s faithfulness to live right and abandon our attempts to win God’s approval by living right in our own power. In our own strength, you and I can try to obey the Law until we are blue in the face and we will never be perfect.
God offers to make us perfect by the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. God offers to make us perfect from the inside out.
“A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’” (Luke 14:16-20 ESV)
Jesus said these words to a man who said, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
Unfortunately, many will miss that glorious feast with our loving Lord because they just couldn’t be bothered to show up.
Jesus is calling all of us, all humankind to join him at his banquet table. Jesus is not willing that any should perish. Nothing would please Jesus more than having you and me, and everyone else he made in his own image, be present for the supper of all suppers.
But so many people just cannot be bothered with Jesus and his benevolent invitation. They have bought land and businesses and are too enamored with their own plans. There is no time for Jesus.
Others are enjoying their new trucks, cars, off-road vehicles, and other oxen-equivalents of our day. Church, the Bible, Jesus, and other Christian involvements have no room in their lives. Yet Jesus is calling them and weeping when they just keep going their own way.
Still others find themselves with friends who have no interest in the Lord. They are “married” to their crowd—and their crowd doesn’t devote any time to serving the King of Kings. So they go along—and miss the feast.
Would you please say a prayer with me? Dear Lord Jesus, I want to be a part of your kingdom forever. Open my eyes to any distractions that are keeping me from accepting your invitation. Touch my heart so following you is my greatest desire and use me to bring others into your kingdom. Amen.
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it - the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." (Romans 3:21-25a ESV)