Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep…
This everlasting covenant is the covenant of grace, or the gospel, made with Christ, as the Head and Representative of all His believing people. It is called "everlasting," in contradistinction to some transient outward forms of it that had already vanished or were vanishing away. God had made legal, ceremonial, national covenants, which were temporary — which had not the elements of permanency. But this covenant touches, embraces everything: reaches up to God's highest attributes, and down to man's deepest needs — over all the breadth of law, and along all the line of existence. Nothing can happen to shake it. Nothing can alter the disposition of Him who makes it. He foresees all changes. He overrules all events. He provides for all circumstances. We read of "everlasting love"; of "the eternal purpose"; of "predestination unto the adoption of children"; of being" chosen before the foundation of the world"; of "the mercy of God unto eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began"; and here we have "the everlasting covenant." Everlasting! I cannot fix a beginning, any more than an end. I can only think there never was beginning. Oh I it is a wonderful thought that God never began to love the world, that He never began to love you. And He will never cease to love. We go on now to the other term, "the blood of the everlasting covenant." That is the virtue of the death of Christ. It is that grand act of atonement and self-sacrifice by which He bore the penalty of sin for us, and secured the gospel as God's method in this world for ever.
I. GOD IS THE "GOD OF PEACE," WHO MAKES PEACE WHERE IT HAS BEEN" BROKEN, AND GIVES IT WHERE IT IS LOST. The God who makes peace between heaven and earth, between law and conscience, between Himself and sinful men. How does He make it? Through "the blood of the everlasting covenant." If there is a way between heaven and earth, an open way for hopes and prayers, for departing souls and descending angels; if troubled consciences are pacified and cleansed; if thunders of broken law are hushed into silence, it is because this blood was shed, because Christ died, "the lust for the unjust."
II. HE BROUGHT AGAIN FROM THE DEAD OUR LORD JESUS. He wrought that mightiest work that has ever been wrought in this world, the resurrection of Christ. How? Again, "through the blood of the everlasting covenant." The power of the death sprang into resurrection. The corn of wheat fell into the ground and died, and then, with a mighty vegetative force, produced this harvest of resurrection — this splendid flower-fact, which towers and shines above all others.
III. It is through the same act of self-sacrifice is death that He becomes "THE GREAT SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP." What kind of shepherd is needed by this wandering widespread flock of men, scattered over all the hills of earth and time? Is it one who will come and pipe to them while they pasture? Is it one who will speak to them, and call them all by name? Is it one who will lead them out and drive them home? Nay, the first and foremost requisite in the good Shepherd is, that He shall die for the sheep.
IV. Now, passing over the ridge of the passage, we come down upon the human side of it, AND WE HAVE THIS BLOOD OF THE COVENANT FULL OF EFFICIENCIES ON THIS SIDE ALSO. Here the first term that meets us is the term "perfect"; given us at once this high idea, the idea of perfection as a thing attainable now, by means of the blood and death of the Son of God. And this perfection is not merely a thing ideal and distant, not only a thing to be hoped for beyond earth and time, in heaven and glory. It is a thing to be striven for and realised in measure in daily life and service, as here — "The God of peace make you perfect in every good work."
V. Finally; in this illustration of the power of the Cross, we have the inworking of the Spirit of God in the heart of the man who is thus seeking perfection, "WORKING IN YOU THAT WHICH IS WELL PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT." This secures simplicity and spirituality — God working within by the Spirit — then all is right and good. The water is cleansed at the fountain, thought is touched as it springs, feeling purified as it begins to flow, affection lifted to its object, will bent to the will of God. Lessons:
1. Let us come to this blood of the covenant, or to the death, or to the Cross of Christ for cleansing. This alone cleanseth us from all sin. Here, on Calvary, is the open fountain.
2. Let us come to this blood for motive. Nothing will stir us so purely, nothing will stir us so much. Here is nobleness without a shadow, unselfishness without reserve, self-sacrifice without regret. Here is the love of God all in motion! The purpose of God in and for man, beginning to shine! Here is the everlasting model and example for new obedience!
3. Let us come to this blood for speech. The blood of sprinkling speaketh; and if we hear the utterances, we shall speak too, and tell out what we hear.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,