Heb 9:15                               The New Testament                                  5/12/2013

#1.       The Ordinances of the First Covenant (Heb 8:13-9:10)

 

 

 

 

 

·        Transition From the First Covenant to the New Covenant (Heb 9:11-14, Lev 17:11, Phil 1:6)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Mediator of the New Testament (Heb 9:15, 2Cor 4:4)

 

 

 

 

 

  • By means of death (Heb 9:15-17, 1Cor 2:2, Rom 4:25, Gal 1:4, Heb 8:12, Rom 3:24-25)

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Heirs of the Testament of God (Heb 9:15, 2Tim 1:9, Eph 2:6)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Too Many Books (Rev 20:12-15, 17:8, 13:7-8, Psalm 103:10-12)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 8:13 (2X). We are continuing our discussion of the Covenant of Grace, for this is a subject that troubles many. From past sermons we have understood that the Covenant of Grace is actually God’s last will and testament, where God bestows an infinitely great inheritance upon a large number of people whom He delighted to list as beneficiaries in His last will and testament. Last week we have seen from Heb 8 that the Covenant of Grace is manifested in two different ways, depending on which time in history we refer to. Before the cross the Covenant of Grace included that the saints also obey all the ceremonies of the Ceremonial Law. After the cross the saints are released from the Ceremonial Law, for Christ has fulfilled all the types and figures of the Ceremonial Law. Therefore, presently we are not only released, but we are forbidden to perform any of these ceremonies, and this applies to all mankind, both the elect as well as the non-elect. Christ has already come, and thus we may not by our actions proclaim that Christ has not yet come. In addition, for all the elect the Law has also been erased, for sin is a transgression of the Law, and if Christ has paid for all our sins, then there is no more sin that can be accumulated on our account. And so, both the First Covenant and the New Covenant refer to the same Last Will and Testament of God, and to the same list of beneficiaries in that testament of God, for there is only one death of Christ. Therefore we are not surprised by the fact that the word “Covenant” and the word “Testament” are actually the same word in the Hebrew text and in the Greek text. Today we will delve a little into Heb 9 and see what message God has for us there. The sermon today is titled, The New Testament (2X), because the word “testament” features very prominently in this chapter.

#1.       The Ordinances of the First Covenant (Heb 8:13-9:10)

Let us now go to Hebrews chapter 9, but let us start with Heb 8:13, for this last verse in chapter 8 actually clarifies the transition from the First Covenant to the New Covenant in Hebrews chapter 9. God says here in Heb 8:13,

Heb 8:13  In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

What is God saying here? This epistle was most likely written shortly after the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed. Some of the customs of the Ceremonial Law have not yet disappeared, for the Jewish Christians were still practicing it. They did not know what we presently know, for we have the whole Bible. But when God destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70 the Jewish Christians slowly understood that the Ceremonial Law had completely ceased to exist. By then that First Covenant, including the Ceremonial Law had completely vanished away. But now, before God transitions into the New Covenant, God reviews for them, and for us, the ordinances of the First Covenant:

Heb 9:1  Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.  2  For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;  4  Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;  5  And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.  6  Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.  7  But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:  8  The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:  9  Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;  10  Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

In verse 3 God speaks about the veil that separated the sanctuary from the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was located. This was the veil that was torn from the top to the bottom at the moment that Christ died. Into this Holy of Holies went the high priest, only once a year, with the blood of a bull for his own sins and with the blood of a goat for the sins of the people. Then verse 8 explains why the Ceremonial Law had not yet entirely disappeared. God says that by these rules of the Ceremonial Law the Holy Ghost was indicating that the way into the really holiest place of all, the way into heaven itself through the Lord Jesus Christ, was not yet revealed while the temple in Jerusalem was still standing. Only when the temple was destroyed was this way made clear to all the Christians, and was it made clear that the new temple of God, not made with hands, is in the souls of those whom God has saved. This spiritual temple is the real substance. All the others were only shadows.

·        Transition From the First Covenant to the New Covenant (Heb 9:11-14, Lev 17:11, Phil 1:6)

We need to understand that the Ceremonial Law was framed in signs and shadows, but the substance of all those signs and shadows is the Lord Jesus Christ. The physical temple in Jerusalem was a shadow of the spiritual temple of Christ in our souls, which is the substance. All the animal sacrifices performed in the Old Testament were shadows of the one atoning sacrifice of Christ, which is the substance. All the artifacts listed in verses 2 through 5 were shadows, but the substance is Christ. All the ceremonies imposed in ordinances as mentioned in verses 6 through 10 were only shadows, but the one atoning sacrifice of Christ was the substance of all these ordinances. All these signs and shadows were fulfilled at the time of the death of Christ. We read in Heb 9:11-14,

Heb 9:11  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;  12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  13  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:  14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Verses 13 and 14 give us a comparison as well as a contrast. The blood of bulls and of goats gave the Old Testament believers only a temporary relief. Their conscience was only temporarily set at ease, for the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sin. But Christ’s sacrifice has purchased an eternal redemption from all the consequences of sin. No single animal sacrifice was adequate to represent even a shadow of the sacrifice of Christ. Therefore many animal sacrifices were needed. The ashes of a heifer were to take away the defilement of death. Death means blood had to be shed. Therefore God wrote in Lev 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”. And into what holy place did Christ, the High Priest, bring His blood for a complete atonement of all our sins? After He died He brought it into the holy place in heaven, for the action of the High priest once a year to bring it behind the veil was only a shadow of what Christ was going to do at the time when He was crucified. When Christ died the curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom, which meant that the temple was no longer the holy place. Instead the most holy place was now in heaven. This was the substance of where the Ceremonial law directs us to.

When Adam sinned by eating from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God pronounced a curse upon the earth. The curse was that death must come upon Adam and upon all the earth, and the symbol for death was that blood must be shed, “for the life of the flesh is in the blood”. Therefore, when sacrifices are made to relieve the curse there was blood all over the place, because the curse demanded death, and death was preceded by blood. Therefore, when we speak of the blood of Christ, and that Christ shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, we are not focusing on the physical blood of Christ but on the life that He gave to give us eternal life. Besides, when Christ died and His sufferings were all over, most of His blood was still in Him. For when a soldier pierced His side much of His blood gushed out. So clearly, the focus must be on His life rather than on His blood. Christ gave His life. And thus when we read in verse 14 how the blood of Christ shall “purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God”, we realize that this speaks of our sanctification after the moment of our justification. Justification and sanctification are never separated. Those who are justified are certainly also sanctified, for “when God has begun a good work in you, He will also perform it (or complete it) until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). Let us focus on verse 15:

#2.       The Mediator of the New Testament (Heb 9:15, 2Cor 4:4)

Heb 9:15 ¶  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

    This is a verse overflowing with principles and doctrines. There are 10 subject matters in this verse

for discussion: #1, And for this cause. #2, Christ is the Mediator. #3, The New Testament. #4, By means of death. #5, The redemption. #6, Redemption of the transgressions. #7, Under the First Testament. #8, They which are called. #9, Might receive the promise. #10, An eternal Inheritance. We will try to cover all these ten points in sequence. Let us first ask ourselves what the meaning is of the statement, “And for this cause”. “And” means it is a plain statement that no new subject begins here. “And for this cause” means “Therefore”. Therefore, because of all these things, because of all these ceremonies that were looking forward to Christ and to His atonement for sins, and because looking back toward His blood that has been shed to free us from the curse of the Law and from the bondage to sin, and because looking back toward the blood that has been shed to purchase unto us an eternal weight of glory, therefore Christ was appointed the Mediator of the New Testament. Now we should not turn things upside down. Christ was not appointed to be the Mediator of the New Testament after “He had offered Himself without spot to God”, for that is turning things upside down. The Lord Jesus Christ was appointed to this task in the counsel of God before the foundation of the world. And since He must redeem His people by means of death, it was required that He took on a human body to fulfill this requirement. #2, what is a Mediator? A Mediator is one who stands between two warring parties with the purpose of reconciling the two parties. Before we became saved God was our enemy. We were totally in the hands of Satan who even controlled our minds so that we would not want to have anything to do with the true Gospel. Have we not seen this repeatedly in those to whom we bring the Gospel? We find that they are deaf and blind to the true Gospel, no matter what the Bible says. They are vehemently opposed to the Gospel that we are bringing, “for the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2Cor 4:4). And so, when we read that Christ has been appointed to be the Mediator between God and man, and we also see that only a remnant of mankind will want to have Christ as their Mediator, we understand from this that the work of Christ on the cross was done only for that remnant chosen by grace. The Lord Jesus Christ is 100% successful in all that He does, for He is God. Therefore, if many are not saved, it means that Christ never paid for their sins, for they are not drawn by the Father toward Christ. #3, “Christ is the Mediator of the New Testament”. In the previous chapter we read that Christ is “the Mediator of a better Covenant”, the New Covenant. And now we read in Heb 9:15 that Christ is the Mediator of a New Testament. We must bear in mind that in the inspired Greek text the words New Covenant and New Testament are the same words. Since we understand that the Covenant of Grace is the Last Will and Testament of God, we also understand that we may freely alternate between the words Covenant and Testament. This is what the King Jams translators have done. From this we know that the King James translators also firmly believed that the Covenant of Grace is the Last Will and Testament of God. We are not out there in left field with this interpretation. Six times do we read in this chapter about a Testament. And really a “covenant” made by God is a “testament”. If we go back to the Old Testament and we study the various “covenants” which God made with men, such as the covenant with Noah or the covenant with Abraham, it will be found again and again that they were declarations whereby God would promise good things unto men, which have more the nature of a “testament”. That which was a “covenant” has become to us a “testament”. The “Covenant” was made by God with Christ. By His death that which God pledged Himself to do unto the heirs of promise in return for the work which Christ would perform, is now bestowed on us as a free gift. And that is equivalent to a “Testament”.

  • By means of death (Heb 9:15-17, 1Cor 2:2, Rom 4:25, Gal 1:4, Heb 8:12, Rom 3:24-25)

Heb 9:15 ¶  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

We have now arrived at the fourth item in this verse. #4, By means of death. The Lord Jesus Christ is not only the Mediator of the New Covenant, or the Mediator of a New Testament, but just like in a human testament He is also the Testator of His own gifts. The Lord Jesus Christ is God, and thus He was also responsible for drafting this Last Will and Testament of God. When Christ died the Testator of the Will died and the Will now stands firm and unchangeable. The next two verses bear this out that Christ as the Testator of the Last Will and Testament of God confirmed the testament.

Heb 9:16-17  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.   For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

You see that God wants us to fix our gaze on the cross of Christ, and see there that what had up to that day been understood as a “covenant” must now be understood as a “testament”. It does not mean that this testament of God dates only from Calvary, for God’s Last Will and Testament was designed from before the foundation of the world. It also means that all those whom God in His Last Will and Testament had listed as beneficiaries must first be redeemed.

And so we have arrived at point #5, The redemption. There seemed to be an obstacle in the way of bestowing these gifts to God’s list of beneficiaries. The obstacle was our inherent sinfulness and our accumulation of sin, which according to the righteousness of God required the payment of Hell. The cause of this was Satan’s doing in the Garden of Eden. But God used this sin of Adam and Eve to accomplish His purposes. Through this sin the cross of Christ was necessary, and therefore the death of Christ was necessary, and the death of Christ was necessary to make the redemption of His beloved people possible, and the death of Christ was necessary to confirm God’s Last Will and Testament which He had planned long before Satan tempted Adam and Eve. Can we see the glorious sovereignty of God? Can we see the glorious counsel of God before the foundation of the world who designed a Will with us as the beneficiaries, and leading up to an incredibly glorious end? And can we see the awesome providence of God, or the hands of God, which powerfully and infallibly worked throughout history to accomplish the goals which He foreordained from before the foundation of the world? We stand amazed at such a pinpoint accuracy and harmony of God’s counsel and His providence. All these things are in view when we read in 1Cor 2:2,

1Co 2:2  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Here at Calvary the world in their own wisdom did not see more than a victim of the envy of the Scribes and Pharisees. But here at Calvary WE stand in awe of the almighty power of God for orchestrating such an event that would reflect the infinite sovereignty, and wisdom, and love of God.

#6, The redemption of the transgressions. What is this? Why did God not write, “The redemption of the transgressors”, rather than “The redemption of the transgressions”? Did Christ purchase sins? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 4:25 (2X). Did Christ redeem sins? The reference is to Christ’s atonement for His people’s sins. These sins were debts, and Christ’s suffering and death was a discharge of that debt. The discharge of a debt is a buying it out. Therefore “to redeem sins” is not more strange than what we read in Rom 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offenses”. And likewise we read “Who gave Himself for our sins” in Gal 1:4, or we read “to be merciful to their unrighteousness” in Heb 8:12. That is then the explanation of Christ redeeming sins.

Now we come to #7, Under the First Testament. When we read in Heb 9:15, “for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament”, it means that, the sins that were committed in the Old Testament dispensation were also taken care of at the cross. Please turn one page back in the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 3:24 (2X). In their time the Old Testament saints were promised that their sins would be remitted. But it did not actually come to pass until April 3 in the year AD 33. The death of Christ was necessary not only for the future sins of the New Testament saints, but also for the sins of the saints whose souls have already gone to heaven. The atonement of Christ on the cross was not limited by the time frame of Christ walking on this earth. God specifically identified this action in Rom 3:24-25 where He says,

Ro 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Ro 3:25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God

Verse 25 says, “for the remission of sins that are past”. This refers to the forgiveness of the sins of the Old Testament saints who have died and whose souls have been taken up to heaven where God patiently waited until Christ would have atoned for their sins “through the forbearance of God”. Let us continue in Heb 9:15. Please turn again to Heb 9:15, and consider the heirs of this Testament of God.

  • The Heirs of the Testament of God (Heb 9:15, 2Tim 1:9, Eph 2:6)

Heb 9:15 ¶  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

#8, “They which are called” is in the Greek text actually “those having been called”. Consider again that this Testament of God was written before the foundation of the world. The beneficiaries have been named and their names have been called out a long time ago. As a result of God’s action to make them born from above, the character of those that have been called stands out from among all other people on this earth. God does not refer here to the general call of the Gospel which goes out to all mankind. This refers to the special call of God to each one of His elect. For example when we look at the call of Abraham, we see that the consequence of the mighty workings of divine grace in Abraham’s heart was that he turned his back upon the world and the things of the flesh, and entered into the path of faith and obedience to God. This then is the like response of the special call of God for every one of His people. Only those possessing these marks of faith are the spiritual children of Abraham. They have been “called with a holy calling”, according to 2Tim 1:9.

2Tim 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Which tells us that His own purpose and grace was given us before the world began. It was not His salvation and His holy calling which was given us before the world began, but it was His purpose and grace. And thus, Christ was not crucified before the foundation of the world, but His counsel that included that Christ must be crucified was specified by God before the foundation of the world.

#9, Might receive the promise. Let us consider these words. We recognize the absolute freeness of the grant of it. The promise is everywhere opposed unto everything that is of works. The promise is 100% of grace, and if it is of grace then it is no more of works, or else grace is no more grace. Grace is unmerited favor. We cannot merit unmerited favor, which means that we cannot mix a little bit of work and still call it grace. The God of the Bible distributes His grace to whomsoever He will, and not to whomsoever we will. When we read or hear about “The Well Meant Offer of the Gospel”, we should be aware that it is a false gospel. It refers to Christ offering the Gospel to every one in the world. They claim that Christ has atoned for all the sins of everyone in the world, and now it depends on us if we want to accept this offer for which Christ has already done all the work. On what do they base such a works gospel? For example, they find verses in the NIV, which I believe is a Gnostic Bible where the deity of Christ is put in question, and where the sovereignty of God is made very little. We need to be on our guard for all those concepts where “The Well Meant Offer” is offered to all the people in the world, and which begins with the atonement of Christ for all the sins of all the people in the world. This is a works-gospel, it is a false gospel, it is a do-it-yourself-salvation, and it portrays a false god who is more generous than the God of the Bible. We must recognize this as a false god, and worshipping this god is nothing less than an accursed idolatry.

#10, An eternal Inheritance. By this we understand God’s great salvation, considering it in the most comprehensive sense, including justification, sanctification and glorification. It is that blessed state which Christ has purchased for His own elect chosen by grace. It is called an inheritance to remind us that it comes not by any merits of our own, but it comes freely, like an inheritance is received freely. We can recognize two parts of this inheritance: “Grace and Glory”. In this life we have already received eternal life. Eternal life begins now. But the character of our eternal life now is dominated by grace. All those who are the called according to God’s purpose have or shall receive eternal life. But grace in this life is only the beginning of glory. Even though we read in Eph 2:6 that we presently are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, we do not really feel it. We do not yet experience the glory. But remember what the ruler of the wedding feast said when he had tasted the water that Jesus turned into wine: “Thou hast kept the good wine until now”. If we apply these things to the time of the great wedding feast in the New Heaven and the New Earth we can interpret these words as, “the best “wine” is reserved for the time to come”.

When we read the remainder of this chapter 9 in Hebrews, from verse 16 to the end of the chapter we see that it is written from the perspective of a Last Will and Testament. For example, three times does God emphasize that the sacrificial death of Christ must occur only once. And thus, when we think of this Covenant of Grace, which is God’s Last Will and Testament, we are convinced that it would be a very thick document, written before the foundation of the world.

#3.       Too Many Books (Rev 20:12-15, 17:8, 13:7-8, Psalm 103:10-12)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 20:12 (2X). The scene of this passage that I am going to read is the scene on the Last Day before the judgment throne of God. This

is the day when God has created the literal Hell, which is described symbolically as a "lake of fire".

Re 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Re 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Re 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Re 20:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

What do we see here? We see books that contain all the works of man, works that deserve Hell as payment to satisfy the righteousness of God. We also see one Book that is called “The Book of Life”. Does this seem to be an important Book? Absolutely Yes! From verse 12 we understand that it is a Book that is more important to us than anything else, other than God Himself. From verse 15 we understand that this Book of Life contains all the names of all those whom God wanted to be saved. Please turn a few pages back to Rev 17, Rev 17:8 (2X). In Rev 17 God introduces us to the apostate church at the end of time. Don’t let anyone convince you that the corporate church, the externally visible church will be victorious over the Beast, which is Antichrist. The true church will not increase but decrease as we approach the end of time. It means that the corporate church will go apostate to such an extent that God calls her “Babylon”. And God warns us in Rev 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

In other words, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life shall not wonder after the Beast. It means that the majority of mankind shall wonder after the beast. This Book also has the list of names of all those whom God intended to save. And God specified that this Book was written from the foundation of the world, and therefore all those who are named here have been named before they could have done any good or evil, in order that the purpose of God according to election might be very clear. Please turn a few pages back to Rev 13:7 (2X). The scene here is the emergence of Antichrist, the Beast that comes up out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns. And look at the power of this Beast. God says in Rev 13:7-8,

Re 13:7  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Re 13:8  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

What do we see here? We see another Book that is called, “The Book of Life of the Lamb”. And only those whose names are written in this Book of Life of the Lamb shall not worship the Beast, but they alone shall worship the only true God. Again this is a list of names that were written in this Book from the foundation of the world. When we study this subject matter in the Bible we come away with the notion that God has too many Books that are totally redundant. There is a Book of Life, and there is a Book of life from the foundation of the world, and there is a Book of Life of the Lamb, and then there is also God’s Last Will and Testament which must also be a very thick Book. And in the Gospel of Luke 10:20 we discover that our names are written in heaven. Is that again another Book? And all these Books contain the same list of people whom God elected from before the foundation of the world. Could it be that all these are actually the same Book? And that is indeed so. God does not need an entire library to keep track of who His elect people are. Come to think of it, before the foundation of the world there was only God; nothing else. There was no ink, and there was no paper to write on. God had to do it all from memory. Can God do that? Of course God can. And God used one list of names, which are the remnant chosen by grace, and God placed their names in the mind of God the Son, who is also called Christ, the Anointed One.

Now, is it possible that we presently can know if we are in this Book? How can we know if we are on the list of God’s favorites? We can know it by our faith. If we believe the Bible from cover to cover because God has spoken these words, and if we believe what the Bible says hat Christ has paid in full for all our sins, and if we find in ourselves an urgent desire to serve Him and to do those things that are pleasing in His sight, we can be assured that God has begun a marvelous work in us, and He will continue to perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ.

But now we have to ask if the Old Testament and the New Testament were mislabeled, since the Covenant does not represent a time period, but it represents God’s Last Will and Testament. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 103:10 (2X). These are words from God, through the pen of David, where he exalts the Lord for His abundant forgiveness and mercy. First we need to understand that the Bible is a reflective Book. For example, every healing of the blind, the deaf, the dumb, and the lame are also pictures of our salvation. Let us now read Psalm 103:10-12,

Ps 103:10  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.  12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Consider what God revealed to us here: “So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Suppose we would be living in the year 400 BC and we read this, can we read our name there? Well, do we fully believe what God wrote there? Yes! Then we can identify ourselves with these words. Then we can say, “God has not dealt with me after my sins”. In fact you can put your name there where you see two times in verse 10, the word “us”. Put a circle around the word “us” and write your name there. And again in verse 11 do you indeed believe that you fear God, which means you reverence Him and you stand in awe of how great and almighty our God really is. Then you can put your name where God says “them”. And I can conclude verse 12 saying, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed my transgressions from me”. And so, the Old Testament is really a Book where I can find my name there, and for the same reasons I can find my name in the writings of the New Testament where we can also identify the word “us” and “me” with our own name. This Bible is the Book of Life and this is the Last Will and Testament of God where my name is written.

Thank You Lord that You have given us the faith to believe all that You have testified, both in the Old Testament time as well as in the New Testament time, and that You have given us the faith to believe the whole Bible from cover to cover. Thank You Lord that You have given us a love for the words You have written in the Bible. Thank You Lord that You have given us a loving and compassionate heart for our fellow man. By nature we are not loving and compassionate at all for our fellow man. By nature we are cruel and uncaring for others, because by nature we came into the world as emissaries of Satan, the prince of the power of the air. By nature we were cruel children of the wrath of God, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, has made us alive together with Christ, and that is why we were saved by grace, for we were not present when Christ was made alive.

Amen.                   Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.