All too often, we Christians want to complicate Christianity. We come up with rules we think must govern what it means to be a Christian. We make up rituals and rites and all manner of complication that have nothing to do with the Christian life.
We’ve worked our way through the covenants of the Old Testament to give some background for the rest of the series. Now we’re getting into the meat of Christianity and how it affects our everyday lives.
At the time the New Covenant was given to Jeremiah to proclaim to the people, they were living under the Mosaic Covenant, which contained laws governing every little thing that could arise in the people’s lives. Living under all those laws must have been like living in a straight jacket. Compare that with the simplicity of the New Covenant, as stated in Jeremiah 31:33 & 34:
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
“. . .they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
This covenant is repeated in Hebrews 8:10-12. Stop and reflect on this for a moment. Under the old covenants, God gave the people a lot of rules to follow to try to appease Him enough to earn their way into heaven. He knew that no one could be good enough to earn salvation, but He had to prove it to them and to us.
Under this covenant, we do nothing. It’s all His doing. Under the law, He put all his rules and regulations in writing for the people to follow. Under the New Covenant, He puts His rules and regulations on our hearts. Instead of telling us what we have to do, He makes us want to do right.
Obviously, this last statement is an oversimplification. If it worked exactly that way, we would be perfect, and there would be no sin. That’s not true, because we still have our fallen nature, and Satan is still at work.
Those two factors mar our perfection, but our drive toward perfection comes from within rather than from a bunch of written laws. Moreover, He says he will forgive our iniquity and no longer remember our sins.
Of course, God has perfect recall. He never forgets anything. What this means is that He chooses not to call our sins to mind. When we’re covered by the blood of His Son, He sees the image of Jesus when He looks at us instead of seeing our old nature and all the sins we have committed.
This should come as good news to us as Christians. We don’t have to wear our hair just so or wear certain clothes. We don’t have to refrain from this or that. We don’t have to say “Hail Mary” or perform any sort of religious act. God does it all.
How did God transition us from all the rules and regulations of the old covenant to this marvelous new covenant? We’ll begin looking at that next week.
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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