Once again we see here a huge difference between biblical Christianity and all the other faiths out there. Everyone else gives you a list of rules and says “DO!” Our Savior offers something very different. Let’s look at it.
At the beginning of the Covenant instituted at Sinai, Moses and the people of Israel were given a set of laws and rules. And let’s be clear: There was nothing wrong with the rules. Unlike all the other sets of rules in history, this was literally straight from God. And anyone who disparages the Law of Moses needs to come to grips with the fact that the best aspects of Western Civilization are built on that foundation.
I need to emphasize this: The problem was not with the set of rules. The problem was with the people. Jeremiah also had a passage talking in similar terms about the New Covenant, in which he promised the Lord would write his law on their hearts, as opposed to the Old Covenant in which he wrote his law on tablets of stone.
You see, that’s what has to happen. All of us are born with a sinful nature inherited ultimately from Adam, and this nature hates God and his law: “The mind governed by the flesh [the sinful nature] is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
Governments can write all the laws they want, but I guarantee you they won’t come up with anything nearly as good as what God gave us. So their laws are not nearly as good as his, and they still haven’t solved the problem.
But the Lord, through his prophet here, is promising that the days are coming in which he’ll be cleansing them from their sin (which the Old Covenant sacrifices never could do) and will take out their heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. And he'll put his Spirit within us and move us to follow his decrees and keep his laws.
That’s a major part of the New Covenant which we experience right here and now as Christians. If you’ve been a believer for any length of time then you know what I’m talking about. You want to obey and please your Father. You want to feel his smile, not his frown upon you. You want to see his name being glorified, right?
If not, there’s a problem.
You can squelch the voice of the Spirit in your life, but he’s always whispering in your ear, and he’ll give you no more peace until you listen and obey. And if you continue to ignore him, he’ll start speaking in louder and less pleasant ways.
Most importantly, if you don’t see this change in your desires which leads to a change in your lifestyle, then you need to examine a much darker possibility. Maybe you’ve been fooling yourself with false assurance. Based on 1 John’s warnings, I’ve written on this before (see the link above to "Assurance, Part Two").
But I’d like to move past the negative warnings to the positive promises. He's promised that he would, and he did. He’s forgiven us our sins and is in the process of cleansing them from our lives. He’s given us his Spirit and taken out the heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. He’s moved us to please him, and made it pleasant to do so.
Take a moment to thank him for all this, will you?
Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, One-In-Three, you've done so much for me. Thank you so much for what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and for what’s to come.
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