and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.Hebrews 12:24(NASB)
The Old Covenant was given, through Moses, to the nation of Israel and although it was good, it was unattainable. God chose Israel out of the sea of fallen humanity to be His special people, and God's perfect Law was given to imperfect Israel at Mount Sinai. It was given to separate them from the swamp of fallen humanity and show them how God wanted His people to live - it was designed to expose the imperfections of fallen man. It was given so fallen man would recognise His need to be redeemed.
The Law laid emphasis on the holiness of God and the need for God's people to be holy because HE is holy. It systematically set out the way God's people were to live, but it also detailed the terrible consequences of disobeying His commands. God knew that Israel was made up of sinners who needed salvation, and the Law was designed to show them their faults. The Law was a schoolmaster to point them to Christ... so they would acknowledge their sinfulness, recognise their need of a Saviour, and look for their coming Messiah Who would save His people from their sin.
While the Old Covenant was perfect, it was also unattainable by imperfect man. God knew that fallen man could never reach the righteous requirements of the Law. And so, in His grace, He purposed to give Israel a New Covenant - not like the Old, conditional Covenant that was unattainable, but a NEW, UNCONDITIONAL Covenant where GOD, not man, would achieve the righteous requirements on man's behalf - where the perfect God, not fallen Man, would carry out the righteous requirement of the Law as the representative of sinful man. All fallen man would have to do was to believe God's Word - to believe on God's Messiah.
The New Covenant, however, is seen to be far superior to the old. Although given to Israel, it is open and freely accessible to all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike. And although it is also unattainable in our own strength, God, in His grace, has caused it to become attainable to all who are 'in Christ' – for Jesus chose to die in our place and become a curse for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
God, in His grace, had ordained that His only Son would be born into the human race so that He could live a sinless life and fulfil all the righteous requirements of the Law on behalf of everyone who would believe on His name. He would then pay the price for our sin through His sacrificial death.
The blood of Christ shed on the Cross, confirmed the legitimacy of the New Covenant. Just as Moses was the arbitrator used by God to mediate between Himself and His people in the giving of the first covenant, it was Jesus, His dearly beloved Son, Who would become the Mediator of the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant was perfect, reflecting the goodness of God, but it was impossible for man to attain to the standard of righteousness that the Law demanded. And yet, that same impossible standard was fulfilled in every detail by the one and only perfect Man – the Man Christ Jesus. He was identified with our sin so that we might be identified with His righteousness.
The Old Covenant dictated a death sentence for imperfect humanity, for no one could ever be good enough to fulfil its unattainable demands and reach absolute perfection. The Old Covenant, therefore, placed every member of the human race under its eternal curse, for all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God. ALL are condemned under the curse of the perfect Law - for it identifies everyman as a condemned sinner.
The spilt blood of bulls and goats that were slaughtered on the altar of sacrifice during the pre-Cross dispensation of Law, could only cover the sin of the people. Sin could only be covered until the perfect, human sacrifice... in the Person and work of Jesus Christ came to pay the full and finished price for sin, when He cut the New Covenant in His blood - a covenant that will be ratified when Israel finally acknowledges Jesus as Lord.
The perfection of the new is infinitely superior to the old, for it offers life and light rather than death and failure. And this New Covenant is attainable to all through Christ, for its demands were met at the Cross in Christ so that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to all who believe on His name.
As such, the New Covenant has become the crowning glory of this age and the apex of excellence for all who are sprinkled with His atoning blood. The bloody sacrifice that Abel offered to the Lord to cover his own sins when he killed the firstling of his flock, was acceptable to God, for Able was a man of faith who trusted God’s promise of a coming Saviour... by sacrificing a lamb on an altar as a covering for his sin.
But the sacrifice of Christ is infinitely superior to that of Abel, for Jesus offered His own blood which paid the price for the sin of the whole world, including your sins and mine. He was the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. And God is satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on our account... and on account of all who live by faith.
It was by faith that Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain. The shedding of innocent blood covered Abel's sin, but the basket of fruit, the work of Cain's hand, could never cover sin - and so Abel obtained the testimony that he was righteous – for the righteous live by faith. And it is by faith that we too have been saved by grace - and like all the fathers of faith, our faith in Christ is credited to us as righteousness.
Praise God that we are sprinkled with the blood of a New and better Covenant – the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the one and only Mediator between God and man – and God is satisfied with us - IN Christ.
Loving Father I can hardly take in the significance of the New and better Covenant, but I praise and thank You that through the sprinkling of His blood on my stained and sinful heart, I have been cleansed of all my sins and have the Lord Jesus as my Mediator. Thank You, Father, for Your indescribable gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.