If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Today we are going to take a look at the promise that established the New Covenant, which for some reason we call the New Testament. This foundational pledge should cause Christians to shout with glee.
Based upon and expanding a promise made in Jeremiah 31:33, the writer of Hebrews says in Chapter 10 Verses 16 & 17: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Stop and think about that for a moment. Under the Old Covenant, the law was an external, written document. God was telling His people what they could and could not do.
What’s the first thought that crosses your mind when someone tells you not to do something? You immediately want to do it. That’s the nature of man. We all violate laws and instructions all the time. Telling us not to is ineffective, because it doesn’t change our propensity to do whatever it is.
Under this promise, God takes it upon Himself to change that propensity. He said He would put the laws upon our hearts. That means He will change our nature so that we don’t WANT to do whatever it is. I don’t know how to change a person’s nature, but I do know that passing laws doesn’t do it. That’s why we have so many prisons.
Fortunately, God does know how to change a person’s nature, and that’s what He promises to do. He promises to make us not want to sin.
Unfortunately, He doesn’t do this by waving some heavenly magic wand that will make us immediately perfect. What He does is change us a little bit at a time as WE allow Him to. He doesn’t force Himself on us, but He stands ready every moment to work in us to change our hearts as we submit ourselves to Him.
What does all this say about the law? Was it a failure, if God had to come up with a new covenant? Not at all.
He knew before the beginning of time that He would give Moses the law for His people to abide by. He also knew that human nature would doom that to failure and that He would have to do something that changed that nature. And He knew that what He did to change our nature had to be accepted by us on a voluntary basis. Else we would become robots and not the free-will beings He chose to have a relationship with.
So what function does the law perform in the life of the new covenant believer? It serves as a mirror. It shows us our sins by letting us see how we fail to live up to it. Then, as we see these sins, we can bring them to God, confess them, and receive His forgiveness and trigger His cleansing.
At the end of verse 17, He says, “. . .Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Does this mean God develops a faulty memory? Of course not. He never forgets anything, but when we confess our sins, He forgives us and removes those sins from His consciousness. He simply no longer brings them to mind.
This brings up the question of why we continue to dwell on stuff He’s already forgotten—but that’s a subject for another post.
David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He has just e-pubbed his devotional, Heaven Sent: 67 Stories of Godly Thoughts and Inspiration (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008CRL82M). His new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880 is underway. The first one is in the editing process, and he’s currently writing the second one.
Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx