Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No more… (Hebrews 8:7-13) 150409

Yesterday, I went to renew my road tax for my new second hand motorbike. It was only after an inspection of my motorbike, and then I was allowed to renew my road tax for one more year. After I renewed the road tax, my old road tax became obsolete. In other words, I will have to remove my old road tax certification and put on the new one. If I continue to displace my old road tax certification, I will be caught and fined.

This is the kind of illustration and commentary the author of Hebrews uses to explain Jeremiah 31:31-34 in today’s passage. According to many commentators, this Old Testament (OT) quotation is the longest in the whole letter of Hebrews, and the commentary or explanation given by the author is only a very short one, found in verse 13. This is how George H. Guthrie explains:

After such a long quote — indeed, the longest quote in the New Testament — one would expect extensive commentary. However, the author surprises with a brief comment on one word from Jeremiah: the word “new” (kainos).

But of course, as we continue to read Hebrews 9 through 10, we should bear this OT quotation and significance in mind, just like the author probably has it in mind as he writes this section of Hebrews.

Remember that the book of Hebrews is a book of ‘better’ ( In other words, are we as New Testament (NT) Christians totally ignore the OT? Why do we still bother to keep the OT in our Bible? Isn’t having NT is sufficient? I think the point here is that the author of Hebrews wants his readers to understand and appreciate the work and effect of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection, in the context of OT. He wants them to see the continuity of OT to NT, seeing how is it that Jesus is better than all that is mentioned in the OT. N.T. Wright phrases it this way:

What we have is good, but God is doing something better. What we have is true, but it isn’t the whole truth. What we know at the moment is important, but the most important thing we know is God is planning to do something more. And the whole letter is written in order to say: the ‘something more’, the ‘whole truth’, the ‘better thing’, has now arrived in Jesus; so whatever you do, don’t go back to the old things.

Do not go back to the old things, because the old things cannot give us what we can get from Jesus. And as I meditate upon this idea, I am drawn to verse 12 and the phrase: And I will remember their sins no more. God will remember my sins no more! This is it! No more. God doesn’t remember my sins; it is me who keep remembering my own sins. God has remembered your sins no more, and you also do not have to remember your own sins. And Leon Morris’ comment on verse 12 is that:

"For" shows the important point that it is God's forgiveness that is the basis of what has gone before. It is because sins are really dealt with that the blessings enumerated earlier become possible. And those sins really are dealt with. God's wrath no longer rests on the sinner and God does not bear his sins in mind. They are completely forgotten. We might get some of the force of all this by reflecting that the men of Qumran saw themselves as the men of the new covenant.

The problem with us is that, we believe and know that God remembers our sins no more, but because we remember our sins, either because of our good memory or some other people good memories, we think that God still remembers our sins. This is a lie. God has chosen not to remember our sins, so that He will not hold us guilty for our sins. God has only chosen to forgive all of our sins. This is the only reason for Jesus to be on the Cross.

Therefore, no more.


No comments: