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December 17 Today’s Reading: Hebrews 9-10
“He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.”
This is a pattern of God’s work among the sons of men. — He takes away the first that he may establish the second. That which is first, once its purpose has been fulfilled, has to be taken away, so that that which is second may be brought in and established. Both in this world and in the world to come, the Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, gives the best things last. That is exactly what we are taught in Hebrews 10:9.
There are many, many examples of this mentioned in the Book of God. Let me just call your attention to four of them. — (1.) The earthly paradise has been taken away by sin; but the Lord God has given us salvation in Christ and heavenly glory with him (Psalm 69:4). — (2.) The first man, Adam, failed miserably as our representative; but Christ, the last Adam, has represented us perfectly, and still does (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 47, 49). — (3.) The first covenant, that legal covenant of works, has been broken and is forever cast aside; but the second covenant, the everlasting covenant of grace, has been brought in and gloriously replaces the first (Galatians 4:22-31; 2 Samuel 23:5; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Jeremiah 32:38-40). — (4.) The first temple, with all its symbolic glory and splendor, has been thoroughly destroyed; but there is a spiritual house being built by God our Savior, which can never be destroyed (Zechariah 4:6-10).
This is also the pattern of God’s work in the blessed experience of his saving grace. — “He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.” It is a painful thing to experience, but it is necessary. If God did not take away the first, he would never establish the second. Our first righteousness has been taken away by the conviction of the Spirit; but the righteousness of Christ is established by the same grace and the same Holy Spirit conviction (Romans 7:7-9). Our first peace has been dashed in pieces like a broken vessel; but we have found real peace in the Rock of Ages. Our natural, carnal joy he turned into bitterness; but now our dear Savior has given us the blessed joy of faith. This is joy indeed! What a joy it is to trust Christ, his blood, his righteousness, his providence, and his promises! Christ took away our endless, meaningless wandering and vain conversation; but he brought us into the way of life, gives us the direction of his Spirit, and holds us in the path of faith. Blessed be the name of God, our Savior! — “He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.”
And this is our hope of better things to come. — “He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.” This body of flesh is decaying and dying now. God is taking it away. But it shall be renewed in the image and likeness of Christ. “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49). This tabernacle of clay must be dissolved, that we may “have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). — “He taketh away the first that he may establish the second.”