Convenient as it would be to claim that I had planned to take the last two weeks off and combine the passages into one post because they just work better that way, that’s a lie. I just lucked out that way, I suppose. I’ve struggled with these last few weeks of Bible study because it’s the core of our author’s argument, and so he’s going over things m-e-t-i-c-u-l-o-u-s-l-y … So I’m left saying, ‘Again, Old Covenant bad; New Covenant good,’ over and over and over.
One question has arisen in my mind a few times as he bashes away at the inadequacy of the Old Covenant rituals is whether the New merely completes the Old or overthrows and abolishes it. Verses 2-3 and 9 offer a convenient answer. It would seem that the law is proven insufficient because of its built in repetition, and this is because it was only meant as a reminder of sin, not an actual cleanser. I wonder how much this interpretation holds with the original verses that establish the Old Covenant law.* Verse 9 says that Jesus ‘does away with’ sacrifices and offerings and establishes a Covenant based more loosely on doing God’s will.
And so ritual stands for the author of Hebrews as it stands for us, a reminder of our relationship with God, a visible/tangible way to immerse ourselves in worship, but not an element of salvation. Got it? Good.
* A more diligent blogger would do the research; I’m just happy to get a post up this week, considering it’s the week that the blog turns 0ne year old!