THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE LAW
Monday, November 13, 2017
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“‘This is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” Jeremiah 31:33

Unlike the Old Covenant which was given externally on tablets of stone, the New Covenant works out internally by the Spirit of God. The content of the law stays exactly the same, but when we receive Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are born again by the inception of the Holy Spirit who writes upon our hearts and minds the laws of God.

God promises: “…I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27). Our obedience to God’s laws is no longer based on external impositions in which we are doomed to fail, but under the New Covenant, our response to the Law is generated from within us as a consequence of the presence and working of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God who instills in us an appetite for righteousness in which we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ.

To illustrate, there is a true story of a man in England who was converted to Christ in prison. He served a sentence for stealing, and upon his release, chose a church at random, sat in a pew and looked up to the front. Written on the wall, five on either side of the altar, were the Ten Commandments. This was the last thing he wanted to see because he knew reading them would only condemn him. Nevertheless, he began reading and to his surprise, he saw them in an entirely different light.

When he heard them before, they were stiff, regimented demands. "You shall not steal!" But that morning they took on new meaning. "You shall not steal," came across as a promise. Why? Because God has promised, "I will put my Spirit in you and I will move you to follow my decrees." This man discovered what used to be strict commands now became liberating promises imparted to him by the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel is not primarily about getting people out of hell and into heaven, but about getting God out of heaven and into people. The Law says you shall not kill, steal, lie, commit adultery, covet and we do not; not because we are more disciplined than before, but because the Spirit of God lives in us, and the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in those who do not live according to the flesh, which is their own ability, but according to the Spirit. What used to be commands become promises, and the response to a promise is not trying to implement it, but to say, "Thank You, God. This is your business in me by the Holy Spirit."

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the gift of Your indwelling Spirit who shapes my innermost being to be more like You, and is my means of keeping Your laws. Thank You, Lord.


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