Carl’s Cogitations: The Covenant of Reconciliation


Over the past few weeks, we took a brief look at how God is a God of covenants and how He is also the God of the promise. The two of these factors collide in Jesus the Christ, who was the fulfillment of God’s promised Seed which would be established a new and better covenant. Note the words written by the writer of Hebrews. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6). The ‘He’ in this verse is Jesus and as you can see from what is underlined that what has been established by Christ is more excellent and better. In fact, words like this are used throughout the epistle of Hebrews in reference to the covenant that Jesus purchased with His death.

The covenant that God had made with Israel, and the Mosaic Law which it contained, were limited in the scope of what it could accomplish. The Hebrew writer illuminates this point throughout the text. Note these excerpts from Hebrews 10:1,4,11.

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never, with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect…For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins…And every priest stands ministering daily and repeatedly offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

Putting all together, what the Hebrew writer provides tells us that the Old Covenant could never make one perfect and could not possibly take away sin ever. Hebrews 10:12 informs the reader that the sacrifice of Jesus was sufficient to take away sin forever. Hebrews 10:14 reads, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” The once for all sacrifice of Jesus also is sufficient to fill in our imperfections and make us perfect in the sight of God.

One of the best areas of scripture that clearly and concisely relays the wonderful plan and power of God to achieve reconciliation through the covenant purchased by Christ’s sacrifice is found in Colossians 1:19-23.

For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

In just two sentences, Paul encapsulates the great accomplishment that God achieved in the sacrifice of His Son. Everyone can be reconciled back to God and presented holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Yet, like with other covenants God has made in the past there are conditions to be met on our part…that is what follows the big ‘if’ at the beginning of verse 23. And we must continue to remain faithful to God and to Christ. We must stay firmly grounded in the gospel. Not that Paul uses the definite article ‘the’ here and does not say a gospel.’ There is only one true gospel, and this is what I must stand firmly on; not some watered-down, contorted, twisted, altered version of the gospel. And while we often want to separate the gospel from the doctrines of the Church, we can’t as the Bible informs us that they are intertwined tightly together.

and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. (1 Timothy 10b-11)

Either Paul was misleading Timothy, or sound doctrine is according to the gospel…they are inseparable. If we truly want to gain the reconciliation offered in the covenant that Christ secured, we must be true to all it contains. Let me leave you with the warning Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:14-17.

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they also do the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked…

(Carl Hartman is the Minister at Main Street Church of Christ in Lockney)

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