In the Old Testament the people of Israel had the law and they knew what God was asking them to do. But they didn’t have the power or strength to obey. They knew what to do, but they didn’t have the capacity to live as God commanded and to love God as He desired. God’s commands in the mosaic covenant were essentially a life of external rules.
But the law was not God’s last word. Through his prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, God spoke of a new covenant to come:
“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31: 31-33)
I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit in you. I will take out your stony and stubborn heart and give you a tender and responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)
In the new covenant, God’s law would be written on the hearts of His people rather than on stone tablets. He will put his Spirit inside His people. In this way, He would give them a love for His will and His ways, and a distaste for sin. His people would finally be able to love His will and walk in His ways because they desire to do so rather than doing it out of obligation.
The new covenant says “You’ve broken my law beyond your capacity to fix it, so I’ve done everything for you through Jesus Christ. Enter into Him and live in eternal security.” Everything God demands of us he also provides for us, freely and forever, through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Prayer – Lord Jesus, you have taken away my stony heart. Your Spirit has implanted within me a distaste for sin and a longing to please you. I pray that you write your instructions deep within my heart so I may fulfill your will for my life and follow your ways to the glory of your holy name. AMEN.
Song: Pat Barrett ~ Hymn Of The Holy Spirit
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.