Saturday, 1 December 2018
…by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Hebrews 7:22
The words here reflect a sentiment similar to Hebrews 1:4 –
“having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
The author is slowly and meticulously showing the superiority of the various aspects and ministries of Christ in comparison to those of other entities. Here, he says, “by so much more Jesus has become the surety of a better covenant.” This is based on the words which show He was made a priest by oath. Thus His priesthood is vastly superior to that of Aaron. He has also now further defined the “better hope” of verse 4:19, calling it a “better covenant.”
There was a hope in the Old Covenant which was found in Leviticus 18:5, which said concerning its precepts, “if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” That hope was indeed found in the Mosaic covenant, but it was one which was unattainable by fallen man. The only actual hope that it displayed was in Christ to come. Only He could “do” the things of the law. In the doing of them, He fulfilled it. This is the better hope which is found now in the “better covenant.”
The word “covenant” is the Greek word diathéké. It is introduced now, and it will be used 9 times in chapters 8 and 9. It signifies, “a set-agreement having complete terms determined by the initiating party, which also are fully affirmed by the one entering the agreement” (HELPS Word Studies). The author has, as he has repeatedly done in Hebrews, introduced a word or concept which he will then expand on as he continues with his instruction.
The word translated as “surety” is an adjective found only here in the Bible, egguos. It signifies “under good security,” and thus it is a guarantee. Jesus is that guarantee. Meyer’s NT Commentary states of this, “For Christ, the Son of God, had become man in order to proclaim this covenant upon earth, had sealed it by His sufferings and death, and had been mightily accredited by His resurrection from the dead as a Founder of the Covenant who had been sent by God.” This is correct, and it is expanded on with the thoughts of Albert Barnes. He states, “He is the pledge that we shall be saved. He becomes responsible, so to speak, to law and justice, that no injury shall be done by our salvation, though we are sinners.”
The word says that Jesus Himself is our surety. It is an absolute statement of the doctrine of eternal salvation (once saved always saved). If we put our trust in Christ as stated in Romans 10:9, 10, we are – at that moment – sealed with the Holy Spirit according to Ephesians 1:13, 14. That is an eternal guarantee. But it is based on what Jesus has accomplished. Our faith in Him is that of a surety because the Holy Spirit has sealed us. It is not based on what we have done, but it is only by faith in what He has done. If our salvation is to fail, it means that Jesus, not us, has failed. Such is an impossibility.
As a point of doctrine, and of surety of what is stated here, it should be noted that over the past two verses the author has shown that the priesthood of the New Covenant was made with an oath. This was something which was lacking under the Old Covenant. This oath was actually recorded in the times of the Old Covenant in the Psalms – through the hand of David. In ways such as this, the Bible confirms itself and all of its contents.
Historically, the Bible is a reliable reference for what has occurred. Archaeologically, no evidence has ever been found to refute a claim made in its pages. Rather, archaeology – again and again – supports the biblical record. Philosophically, what can be determined about the nature of God from the created order is fully supported by what the Bible records. Internally, it reaches back and forth, confirming itself in various ways. Nothing is left unanswered when properly researched.
Because of these and so many other assurances, when we see in Jeremiah that a New Covenant is promised and that it will be an eternal one, we don’t need to second guess what is being alluded to. Instead, we simply need to see what the Bible declares about it. This is the purpose of the epistles, including Hebrews. And Hebrews, again and again, demonstrates several truths: 1) Jesus is “greater than” each point or person to whom He is compared in the Old Covenant; 2) Jesus is the focal point of both adoration and worship, to the glory of God the Father; and 3) what is proclaimed in the New Covenant sets aside the Old Covenant in its entirety.
Life application: If you are bound in a legalistic environment which attempts to mingle the unattainable requirements of the Old Covenant with the New, or if you are in a sect or group which exalts any name above “Jesus” as Lord, or if you believe that you can lose your salvation after being saved by Jesus, then you have failed to receive the simplicity and grace of Jesus Christ – the “surety of a better covenant.” Come to Christ, rest in Christ, and do not be led astray by false doctrines which would steal your joy in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lord Jesus, we bow to you in adoration. You are majestic in splendor and beautiful in holiness. To You we give thanks, praise, and exaltation! Fill us with Your Spirit and lead us in paths of righteousness as we grow in Christian maturity. In Your perfect name we pray! Amen.