Theology Unto Doxology: New Covenant Worship In Hebrews -- By: Barry Clyde Joslin

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 024:1 (Spring 2020)
Article: Theology Unto Doxology: New Covenant Worship In Hebrews
Author: Barry Clyde Joslin

Theology Unto Doxology: New Covenant Worship In Hebrews

Barry C. Joslin

Barry C. Joslin is Professor of Christian Theology at Boyce College of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. He earned his PhD in NT from Southern Seminary. He is also the Pastor of Worship Development and Discipleship, Sojourn Church Midtown, Louisville, Kentucky.


From the opening sentence of the sermon to the Hebrews, we can see that something is different. There has been a change—a change that is so great and so fundamental, that it requires a complete reorientation of how the people of God approach him in worship. Everything related to the worship of Yahweh has been affected by Christ, a line of reasoning that the writer of Hebrews carefully unfolds in a cascading argument of point after point, drawing his readers to an inevitable conclusion and to an inevitable choice: would they choose to return to the old covenant, with its limited and anticipatory cultus, or would they go with Christ “outside the camp, bearing his reproach,” and thus stake their claim as well as their lives and their eternal salvation on what this new priest has accomplished? Is he indeed able to “save forever those who draw near to God through him, by faith” (7:25; 11:1–16)? If so, it amounts to a complete reorientation of the worship of God’s New Covenant people.

Indeed, that is precisely the point that the writer of Hebrews makes. Through a complex and integrated argument rooted in the Old Testament (OT), he, as David Peterson asserts, “presents the most complete and fully

integrated theology of worship in the New Testament.”1 As such, this sermon is “truly essential reading for those who would establish a Christian theology of worship.”2 No other New Testament (NT) book says more about Christ’s role as the high priest, mediator, and sacrifice. There are no more imperfect and sinful priests who themselves need atonement. There is now one perfect High Priest. He does not offer animals for sin; He has become the perfect sacrifice for sin, never to be repeated. As our high priest, he always intercedes for his New Covenant people and reorients our worship of God.

Further, no other biblical book says as much about the New Covenant. Hebrews explains the coming of the New and the departure of the Old more than any other. The OT had foretold the fact that one day the God would bring a New Covenant in place of the Old. Covenants a...

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