Few realize the vast difference between the Old Covenant with its 613 Mosaic laws and the New Covenant which is free of such things. The old one was based on human effort, “Thou shalt and thou shalt not…” There were 365 commands on what NOT to do and 248 commands on what Israel had to do to keep this covenant with God. It was all on man’s shoulders and human abilities to keep them. All of them had to be kept perfectly or “Cursed be he that confirms not all the words of this law to do them” (Deu. 27:26). You cannot pick and chose when it comes to law keeping.
The New covenant is not based on the works of man at all, but on the work that Jesus has done for us.
But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10 KJ2000)
We who belong to Jesus were reconciled to God by His death, but we are saved by His life! “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”
Jeremiah and Ezekiel both saw this change coming—the change that is based only on the works of God in our behalf through His Son, not on our own works.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I WILL make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I WILL make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I WILL put my law within them, and I WILL write it upon their hearts; and I WILL be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I WILL forgive their iniquity, and I WILL remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 RSVA – emphasis added)
For I WILL take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I WILL sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I WILL cleanse you. A new heart I WILL give you, and a new spirit I WILL put within you; and I WILL take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I WILL put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:24-27 RSVA – emphasis added)
God announced even back then, hundreds of years before Christ began His earthly ministry, that Israel broke that covenant and that He was about to replace it with a covenant that cannot be broken because it was no longer based on the obedience of men to a set of laws, but rather on the power and the grace of God Himself. God swears that:
- He will be our God and we will be His people
- He will give us new hearts
- He will put His law within us and write it upon our new hearts
- We will not need human teachers
- He will forgive us our sins, cleanse us and remember them no more
- He will put His Spirit within us
- He will make us obedient to Him
- He will gather us from all nations into HIS land, His kingdom and give us a singular common identity, Jesus Christ (see Galatians 3:2-29)
From 613 “thou shalt’s and thou shalt not’s” to eight New Covenant changes that God makes by the power of His might and Spirit for us who believe in the completed work of His Son. These eight acts cover everything we need in Christ to become citizens of God’s eternal kingdom and conformed to the image of His Beloved Son. They are all internalized by the power of our heavenly Father; none are external commands written on stone for stony hearts that are too weak to keep them. This is what Zachariah saw in his vision (see http://awildernessvoice.com/Grace.html) in chapter four and it was summed up with the words, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.”
Peter said that the law was a yoke and a burden that no man could carry (see Acts 15:10). Paul called it a yoke of bondage (see Galatians 5:1). Paul went on to write in Romans:
For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice]. (Romans 8:2-3 AMP)
“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJ2000).
He described those who enforced the O. T. law this way:
“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23:4 KJ2000)
So what is the goal of this New Covenant? Is it so we can live lawless lives? Not at all, but rather that we would be empowered by God to live lives that reflect His Son here on earth. John wrote,
Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 KJ2000)
Paul wrote, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
“The greatest characteristic a Christian can exhibit is this completely unveiled openness before God, which allows that person’s life to become a mirror for others. When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors. You can always tell when someone has been beholding the glory of the Lord, because your inner spirit senses that he mirrors the Lord’s own character. Beware of anything that would spot or tarnish that mirror in you. It is almost always something good that will stain it— something good, but not what is best.” `~ Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”
Mere religious observations are considered “good” by men, but do not require a changed heart, and often end in pride that isolates us from God. He requires a complete transformation that makes those who are His into new creatures, no longer dependant on the outward observations of religion. Seeing Jesus as He is is the key.
Nevertheless when one shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 KJ2000)
As we behold Him with all our hearts, the Spirit changes us into the same image. It is a matter of beholding Him and then the Spirit does the rest. When the eye is single the whole body will be filled with His light. The New Covenant is never about outward observations and conformity to rules, but rather an internal change wrought by the power of God as we yield to Him.
thankyou for this post–it is so sweet!
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“The New Covenant is never about outward observations and conformity to rules, but rather an internal change wrought by the power of God as we yield to Him.”
Amen, Michael! That is so freeing, isn’t it…? Your article is a great exposition on the BIG difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, my dear brother. 🙂
With Jesus as our Lord it is no longer about trying to do the impossible (law fulfilling) on our own, but about giving up all our own ideas of HOW and WHEN changes in us might ever happen. Usually, the Lord leads us into situations in which we do not know what to do and where we could easily despair due to our helplessness. But in the midst of chaos and confusion, if we cry out to Him…. behold, He will be there and accomplish the impossible transformation of our hearts and minds so that they become more and more receptible of the light of heaven through which we may behold Him better and better, slowly changing into the image He so brightly reflects.
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Yes, Susanne it is so freeing! He who is free IN Christ is free indeed (John 8:36). We are set free of the keeping of the law and of sin by being made a new creation by His transforming power. As Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJ2000). ALL things are become NEW! That, my dear sister, if freedom! Thanks for sharing your insight which I know you have gained by experience and not just religious speculation. You are a blessing, Michael
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Quote :- We who belong to Jesus were reconciled to God by His death, but we are saved by His life! “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”
We do not belong to Jesus! We belong to God.
It was God who accepted Jesus’ self sacrifice.
His free will offering.
We are bought with a price. The price “bought” our salvation with God.
Christ could not sacrifice himself to himself.
Our prayers are to our Father not to Christ.
As being reconciled to God we are become owned by God the Father.
please consider ?
We are brothers and sisters of Christ. Not slaves of Christ or owned by Christ.
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Dear Vic, You wrote, “We do not belong to Jesus! We belong to God.” I would like to address this first by quoting Paul on this matter:
Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:22-23 KJ2000)
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:22-23 RSVA)
Look at what is before your eyes. If any one is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that as he is Christ’s, so are we. (2 Corinthians 10:7 RSVA)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s descendants, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:28-29 KJ2000)
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24-25 KJ2000)
Vic wrote, “We are brothers and sisters of Christ. Not slaves of Christ or owned by Christ.” Again I would like to quote scriptures in this regard:
For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. (1 Corinthians 7:22 RSVA)
Paul, a servant [Grk. dulos – slave] of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God
(Romans 1:1 RSVA)
Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant [Grk. dulos – slave] of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 RSVA)
Ep’aphras, who is one of yourselves, a servant [Grk. dulos – slave] of Christ Jesus, greets you, always remembering you earnestly in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12 RSVA)
Jude, a servant [Grk. dulos – slave] of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: (Jude 1:1 RSVA)
Thanks for your thoughts,
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Please read all Rom 8 especially v10-23 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
please note joint-heirs with Christ; sons of God.
Thanks, Vic. This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.
Very appropriate verses! For future reference, these came to mind (we are Christ’s, given to Him by the Father):
John 17:11 “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
John 17:24 “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
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Michael, I remember early 2008, I was mere months into this journey after running for nearly 25 years from a broken and legalistic family. I was under many burdens of misconceptions and just knew I needed to get back to church (ahem) but couldn’t bring myself to do such a thing (still can’t). I found an online Christian forum so I could be around other believers. As I started to manuever and read I was aghast. Harsh, critical, self-righteous words abounded. But this is what I ran from, I can’t be part of this again. I will not! I got up from the computer desk, grabbed my unread Bible, and sat down at my kitchen table. I didn’t know what I was doing, or what I was looking for, but I needed something and God knew exactly what. In my flipping I stopped and read, by an accident of grace, Matthew 23:4. I couldn’t believe it. This was God right there in my kitchen with me, showing me Himself different than what I had been shown. I’ve been hooked to Him ever since.
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Becky, I am so glad that after all you went through at the hands of legalistic and judgmental Christians you were able to find our compassionate Jesus Christ. There so many who claim His name who would rather strain out a gnat in what you say or write and still miss the whole point of what the REAL message IS that God gave you to share. I would rather spend my time dealing out my bread to the hungry and breaking every yoke and letting the oppressed go free than get in an argument over words. It is still true that the letter kills (the legalistic meanings of the scriptures as if it was a law book in the hands of these self-appointed judges), but the Spirit gives LIFE.
YES, I WILL NOT BE PART OF THAT Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil ever again! OURS is the Tree of LIFE!
It was interesting how Jesus used Matthew ch. 23 to show you this great contrast between law and grace and that HE is the One who STILL loves us and sets us free! So glad that you are hooked on Jesus and His great love! Me too!
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Thank you for this wonderful piece.
Pat, you are welcome, dear sister!
Thank you for this liberating teaching.
Dear Anna, it is always good to hear that something I have shared from my heart is liberating to one of God’s saints. Know that I will be following both your blogs closely from here on out. You write very powerful and concise articles and I have enjoyed them very much (though I found your latest one “One in Every Five” http://avoicereclaimed.com/2014/12/07/one-in-every-five/ very disturbing for I know a dear sister in Christ who was also gang raped at about the same age that this young girl was under very similar circumstances). Keep up the good work, dear friend.
Please forgive my tardiness to this conversation, but there is such a stirring within my spirit to go back to your posts concerning “the Law.” I treasure the Scriptures you quote in your piece here as they are true reassurance of our liberty and freedom that only comes from Jesus, our LORD and Savior.
There is such “a pull” from the Christian religious sect to lure us back into certain Laws that guarantee our outward appearance of being saved. And these types of people are so convincing with their speech and presentation, that I find myself just sinking and cowering when I compare myself to their “Biblical knowledge.”
Dear Precious LORD, I pray that you will help us and guide through the power of your HOLY SPIRIT, to stand our ground in giving an appropriate answer when necessary, and to not be bond servants of man, but of You, Jesus.
I respect and identify with Becky’s experience concerning legalism within the structured “church.” Friendships and relationships are often strained when those who believe in their hearts that they are “witnessing” to you, the newcomer to their ship, telling you what to believe and what to do, can be suffocating at times. Life under legal religious authoritarianism can cause such harm, to the point of where I have to run to the local wildlife refuge with my Bible and commune with our LORD through His Word, with absolutely no distractions. This is a place where I find true worship and edification through the life changing power of His Spirit. And truth is always revealed through God’s Word, not mans. Praise Him.
Lately, there has been such conflict, as many within our religious community desire to go back to certain, cherry picked Mosaic Laws. One particular Law deals with our eating requirements and the other, the Sabbath. Through persuasive communication techniques, I am led to believe that we are not to eat pork for it is an “unclean” animal, and that we are commanded to only “worship on the Sabbath” as the Jewish people still do. And when I choose to disagree using Scriptural support found under Jesus, our New Covenant, with regards to eat and drink as well as Jesus fulfilling and literally being our Sabbath rest, I am met with this response and I quote, “Well then, if you cannot understand, we will not cast “our” pearls before swine.”
So now I am considered a “swine” for not appealing to their laws, really? What about all of those other laws left unpracticed in their lives….are they wearing clothing of only one fiber for example; are they out there stoning the adulterers for example, are they truly honoring “the Sabbath” by not lifting a finger to work, the examples are few here, but you understand my point.
The conversations have been staggering concerning the works and pride of man, and there is one observation that screams of self righteousness. And that is this…in every church where “works” are highly encouraged and praised, the tongues of man brag and boast of the wonders of his own works by his own hands, “See Lord what I have done,” “See and hear, congregation, of what I am doing for the Lord,” and “See and hear all you people, of how much money we are giving to this church.” But in gatherings where “works salvation” is not taught, only our LORD is given the Glory, Praise, and Honor, that rightfully belongs to Him, for each individual is a living stone, a royal priesthood, who knows within their own soul that without Christ, they are nothing.
Praise Jesus today, for joy fills my heart and my cares and burdens have been released to Him. There is thankfulness in my soul for the ekklesia found here and the love shared amongst the brethren.
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It is so good to hear from you again. There is nothing to forgive, dear sister. I have thought of you often since you wrote about how you were ostracized by your church, while they sought to keep your husband and rejected you. Such an amazing Satanic attack from church leaders when the scriptures from start to finish say that a man and a wife are ONE and not to be divided. You just wrote,
This reminds me of the man who was healed by Jesus of being blind from birth. The religious know-it-alls in the temple KNEW that nobody can be healed of their blindness who is born blind! But there was solid proof standing in front of them that they were wrong! So they brought in his parents and they didn’t want to get into the fray and left, telling them that their son was of age, ask HIM! Finally, we read of his interrogation by the learned Jewish leaders and scholars,
Ann, as we read here, what has happened to you is an age old offense that the religious hypocrites do to God’s little ones. They try to destroy the faith of the person who dares to question them and their authority (“The King has no clothes!”) and then divide them from their families. Yet, we see this simple man showing them their own sin of unbelief while they were clinging to their own traditions. Finally, after he was cast out of the temple (a permanent banishment, BTW), Jesus finds him and establishes him in his faith in Christ! This is another parallel of what happens to those who are HIS and are cast off by these religious power-brokers who claim to represent Him. Jesus seeks offended ones out and comforts them and establishes them in HIM so that they no longer need that system or its false shepherds for they have found the ONE Good Shepherd for themselves… no more human mediators between them and God, only Jesus Christ and HE is enough!
Dear Ann, you have gone through the ringer with these legalists that are in love with the shadows and copies of the Old Testament, but hate Him of whom the shadows and copies speak (please prayerfully read all of Hebrews chapter 8 to 10 and look for the words “copy, copies, true and shadow”). And you are right, you cannot pick and choose from the O.T. law and plug it into the New Testament. To try and keep any part of the law without perfectly keeping ALL the law is to put yourself under a curse! Paul wrote,
Whether Jew or Gentile, law and Sabbath keepers are missing what it means to walk by faith and not by that which is seen which all shall be done away with. It is not what goes into a man that defile him, but what comes out of his mouth… the issues of the heart. I would not want to be that person called you a swine. As Peter found out we are not to call unclean what God has sanctified (see Acts ch. 10).
You might be interested in an article on our website along the line of what you have been dealing with, “The Insult of Grace, a Debtors Mentality.” http://www.awildernessvoice.com/InsultofGrace.html
Yes, my dear sister, we have a sweet fellowship here among those who have found Christ as their All in all who are HIS living stones and HIS royal priesthood. Feel free to write and share on here any time.
Your brother IN Christ,
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And just a side bar here…..I still enjoy a good pork chop and I still love visiting our son’s pigs over at his barn…..and I will not be guilty for saying this.
Oh, how liberating!
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I find your quote by Oswald Chambers very powerful Michael, for so often the law is hidden within those things we claim to be accomplishing for God. We may call it a “testimony” but often its just pride in our own efforts and goodness and what we deem to be our own spiritual giftedness. How many times have I ran in vain due to my own unwillingness to wait under His hand and direction for the fruit that would remain.
What I find even more powerful is this promise: “I will do it.” When a soul fully grasps the depth and meaning of these words, I doubt they could ever be the same again, nor return to lesser things. Only those who fear the cost more than God Himself would retain that which would only burden them. We know this now, and I appreciated the manner in which Ann spoke above and the concern for her persecutors. They may or may not ever choose to be free, but their judgment stands with the Almighty and not with us. Her words reminded me of Psalm 91 which paints a beautiful picture of those who confidence is God alone and whose trust remains in Him.
So it was with Jesus…..and ultimately for us as well…..”For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”…..”because He (and he and she) has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him (and them); I will set Him (and them) securely on high, because he (and they) has known My name”
Well said, Michael F.