Hebrews 8:6-7, 10-13 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. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. . . This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
Today I would speak on why we give thanks for the new covenant. This is after all what the reformation is about. Throughout history God has raised up faithful people to speak his word, in the Old Testament, we called them prophets, in our time, they are likely to be pastors. Over 500 years ago, Nov. 10, 1483 Martin Luther was born. He went to university to study Law, but ended up studying the Holy Scriptures. God was at work, opening his mind to understand what had been written, and he asked a very simple question, Why had the church departed from what the scriptures clearly teach? And it came to pass that on Oct 31, 1519 Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. The central issue in the whole thing was, Why had the church departed from what the scriptures clearly teach? And as the people heard what the scriptures taught, they too, began to say, Why had the church departed from what the scriptures clearly teach? Now if we had been under the old covenant, the law in place would have been that which we know so well, Deu 5:9-10 "I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." What was wrong with the first covenant? It is simple and basic, men broke the covenat with God by sin, and men were unable to repair what they had broken.
How will people be saved, if they are punished for the sins of their fathers, unto the 3rd and 4th generation? Someone must teach them "Know the Lord". Someone must lead them in the way of repentance. Someone must bring them to their Savior. And if there is no one who acts responsibly, then things can turn from bad to worse. And people can fall deeper and deeper into sin, so deep that could becomes so outraged, that he would come and destroy that city and its people, just as he did to Sodom and Gomorra. And while it may seem that the world gets more evil and wicked with each passing year, there is a difference, for people have a choice, people can know write from wrong, they canít blame it on the sins of their fathers, for we are under the new covenant, and God has come and written his law on the hearts of all people, and God has given to all people a knowledge of him, and what he expects - namely that they should turn from sin and keep the law. This is the natural knowledge of God, it hold people accountable, but does not show them the way of salvation.
Under the old covenant, many could perish because no one came to them saying "Know the Lord" thus calling them to repent and showing them how they could find peace with God. Under the new covenant God promises to come to each person. Godí promise: "I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts." And: "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." All this God has done in Jesus Christ, a free and complete salvation awaits all people. But if they do not know of the gift of God in Jesus Christ, how can they receive it? So God has called for workers in the harvest of souls, God has invited us to become ambassadors for Jesus Christ, sharing with all whom we meet what God has done for us, forgiving our sins, and giving us like and peace. And sharing with them, that God would do all this for them as well.
As people hear of the gift of God in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, the old will begin to pass away, and we look forward to the coming of a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness where we will live with God in peace, harmony and in perfect joy for ever and ever.
What we give thank for is that God has made new, what we could not repair. God in Christ forgives our sins, and calls us to live the new life He has given us. We give thanks that there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ our Lord, and this comes to us not of works, but by grace through faith.