by Barry Newton
The question was a simple one. Which one would you prefer? Because the desirable answer was so obvious, instinct warned, “somehow this must be a trick question.” Sitting on the table side by side were two computers in pristine form, albeit the Commodore 64 belonged more appropriately in a museum. Its competition was the latest incarnation of advanced technology. If given a choice to freely take either one, which would you prefer?
The author of Hebrews confronts us with a similar choice. Meet God’s Commodore 64. At Mount Sinai God extended to Israel a covenant possessing regulations governing her worship in a physical and precisely designed earthly sanctuary./1 According to Hebrews, the nature of that worship involved “external regulations” incapable of penetrating to resolve issues of the conscience./2 Such prescriptions of the covenant were merely a shadow of the good things which were to come in the new order with its worship./3
To complete the metaphor, meet the latest and always greatest technology. Christ’s new covenant not only creates a new community of God’s people who have better promises, but it replaces such worship physicalness as being centered around the city of Jerusalem and within a prescribed physical building following a series of external regulations./4 Rather, both this new superior worship as well as those worshippers whom God seeks are characterized as being “in spirit and in truth.”/5 They conform to God’s teachings, but with Christ having completed the requirements of the physical sacrifice, these new guidelines direct worshipers to revere God by offering spiritual sacrifices from their lips as well as living out a life of love toward others in service to God./6
So which would God have us choose? The outdated and superseded or the best and forever greatest? On one side sits physical location, incense, and musical instruments, while its competition involves the church of the Firstborn meeting everywhere with hearts turned toward God in prayer and song? Going backward to satisfy personal taste and desires does not move God’s people forward in serving God’s will, nor does it assist in worshiping better.
by Barry Newton