As we learn in the book of Hebrews, Jesus offers us better hope, better promises and more.
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.Hebrews 6:9
What was the point of Jesus coming to our sinful world? And how did He accomplish everything we needed in order to be reconciled to God?
We get answers to these questions in the book of Hebrews. And it starts in Hebrews 6:9 — “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.”
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What are these better things, though?
- Better hope – “For the law made nothing perfect; but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:19)
Jesus is first introduced as a better hope in Hebrews 7:19. He is compared to the law, which ‘made nothing perfect,’ but he, the better hope, is the way in which we can draw near to God. His priesthood, as opposed to the priests of the Old Testament, gives us the ability to be made perfect, through His death and resurrection (not by our own works).
- Better covenant – “This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.” (Hebrews 7:22)
The first covenant, which came with the law, could not be perfectly upheld, because the priests and followers were themselves not perfect. But Jesus can save the ‘uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:25) because of His perfection and sacrificial death and resurrection. The covenant that included the law was good but ultimately impossible to uphold, but the new covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25) is perfect because God Himself (Jesus) fulfills every requirement.
- Better promises – “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6)
We are also told in Hebrews that this new, better covenant was ‘enacted on better promises.’ What does this mean? Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 37:26-28 both show that within the Old Testament was the expectation of another covenant. This new covenant promised that He would “write his law on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33), all His people would know Him and He would no longer remember their sins against them (Jeremiah 31:34), it would be “everlasting” (Ezekiel 37:26), and He would live among His people (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
- Better sacrifice – “For then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”(Hebrews 9:26)
Jesus died after living a perfect life, which allows His death to stand once and for all as a saving sacrifice. Before, in the old covenant, there was a requirement for spotless animals to be sacrificed over and over again, with no end in sight. But Jesus’ perfect sacrifice allows us to rest in His finished work.
- Better possession – “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”(Hebrews 10:34)
Our possession — which is eternal life through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection — is infinitely more valuable than any possessions we could have on Earth. In this verse, the writer of Hebrews is saying that nothing in this world is worth giving up the possession we have of eternal life in Jesus. The writer calls it ‘lasting.’
- Better country – “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”(Hebrews 11:16)
Does this mean that Jesus gives us a great country here on Earth? No! We receive a heavenly country in the future. Jesus offers us a perfect community — though the church is not perfect here on Earth — in heaven to look forward to.
- Better resurrection – “Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.”(Hebrews 11:35)
This whole chapter is really God’s definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1, 6). It reads like the evidence log of God’s courtroom, into which He has entered men and women who trusted Him enough to overcome the world by their faith (1 John 5:4). Several of them seemed to supernaturally know details that would only be revealed in the New Testament. In the case of the martyrs this chapter mentions, it seems God has revealed the message of 1 Corinthians 3:11-15to them: they looked forward to work that would survive the fire of testing.
Jesus is the ‘something better’ that we are all looking for. If you want to learn more about Jesus, including the miracles He performed, the prophecies He fulfilled and more.
Pray this week:
Lord, show me how to trust you to be the perfect sacrifice for me. Thank you so much that you have done what I could not — follow the law perfectly — and then be sentenced to death for my sins. I praise you for your resurrection, Jesus, and for how your work on the cross and in the grave has saved me from destruction. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.