Monday, August 7, 2023
"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 led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, 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 laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, 'You should know the Lord.' For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness,and I will never again remember their sins."
And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, "This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."
God has entered into a new covenant with us in Jesus and through the work of the Holy Spirit within us as Jesus' disciples.  We celebrate this new covenant sealed by the blood of Jesus each time we share in Communion.  Paul was breathtakingly clear when he wrote his prophetic declaration that the new covenant has come and we are no longer serving under laws carved in tablets of stone or commands written on a page.  When Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon and into us, the Spirit cleansed us and began the work of transforming us to become like Jesus. We don't need written laws. God's laws are written in our hearts and put on our minds by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit transforms us to become like Jesus, something far greater than any law!
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us... can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like [Jesus] as we are changed into his glorious image. 
When the Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Hebrews,  the Breath of God (the Holy Spirit) made a very similar point to Paul's prophetic teaching. He adds:
When God speaks of a "new" covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. 
Does this mean the Torah, the Old Testament Law, is no longer important? NO! The Torah, the five books of Moses, the Law, reveals the righteous ways of God and helps us discern what is important to our Father in heaven about morals, marriage, who a person is, and how we should treat others (including the widows, fatherless, foreigners among us, and the poor). Jesus summed these laws into two commands, love God with all we are and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. 
The Spirit taught (in Hebrews 8), and Paul declared (in 2 Corinthians 3) that God has given us a higher standard that shows us the intentions of His Law: Jesus! Jesus fulfilled the Law.  Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on us when we came to Him. The Spirit empowers us to develop the fruit of godly living.  As the Spirit transforms us to become more like Jesus, we fulfill God's intentions in the Law and also reflect the righteous character, gracious compassion, and faithful justice of God demonstrated by Jesus!
In other words, those days promised in Jeremiah 31:34-37, and quoted by Paul and the author of Hebrews, have come! We lean into the freedom and grace of this new way of living by knowing Jesus and seeking to display Him in every area of our lives as the Holy Spirit is at work transforming us!
Father, Creator, almighty Lord, thank You for Your righteous character, gracious compassion, and faithful justice. Jesus, thank you for delivering us into the freedom and promise of the new covenant. O, Holy Spirit, I invite you to do Your work of transformation, sanctification, and conformation to Jesus in me. I praise You, God, for all You have done and Who You are! May my life reflect Who You are. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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