Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:9-10)
Last week we were privileged to enjoy the preaching and presentation of our Missionary to Brazil, Mike Creiglow. In the coming weeks, two more of our missionaries will be with us to talk about their mission fields and how our mission offerings are at work in other places of the world. I was very much encouraged by Bro. Creiglow’s messages because I thought they were timely for our church and were good reminders that every member of Berean needs to be involved in ministry.
Our ministry, as well as theirs, is to reach people with the gospel of Christ. No matter where we go in the world, the need is the same; the hearts of people are the same, and the eternal destiny of every soul without Christ is the same. The remedy for their dead spiritual condition is nothing different from what we have learned. Salvation is in Jesus Christ and is never dependent in any way on our abilities. Christ’s death on the cross accomplished everything it was intended to do, which leaves nothing for humans to add.
You may wonder what this has to do with the two verses quoted above. This is actually the crucial point of the writer’s intent. The covenant of law given to Moses at Sinai was not kept perfectly by any person at any time. This was a conditional covenant of obedience which would never work for salvation because there are no perfect people. If salvation comes by the keeping of commandments, they would have to be kept perfectly in every detail. Man’s fundamental problem is his imperfection coupled with his insistence that he can be right with God by his own works of righteousness. Since these always fall short of God’s perfect standard, another covenant without this condition must be established. In Christ, we have an unconditional covenant. This is the covenant of grace that does not depend on our perfection, but on Christ’s. He is God and therefore is perfect in all His ways. His covenant will not fail because it is grounded in His perfection not ours.
The tenth verse speaks of the salvation of Israel and how God is the one who alone is active in impressing the heart and mind with the divine truth of the gospel. It has a view towards the coming kingdom in the millennial age when Israel will be restored to prominence. At this point, it is good to recognize verse 11 because Israel is not the only nation included in the gracious unconditional covenant. It also comprehends people from all nations, from all races—people of every kind. The verse says, “All shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”
The gospel of Christ is cross-cultural. It is not the “American gospel.” It is the gospel of God’s kingdom. We send missionaries because there are people in all parts of the world that God has determined by His sovereign grace to admit into His kingdom. All of them gain admission one way—belief in the gospel. The missionary is the human instrument that delivers the good news wherever these people are found. This is true for people thousands of miles away, or even those a few steps from your door. You are also God’s missionary and you do not have to get out of town to do His work!
Pastor V. Mark Smith