Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Better Covenant

Hebrews 8:8-12 contrasts the Old Covenant (Old Testament) with the New Covenant.  What was the problem with the old covenant?  We were the problem.  The covenant required that we comply with its requirements, that we follow the revealed laws of God.  In this it required somethat that was impossible.  At the end of the book of Joshua, Joshua challenges the people to "choose this day whom you will serve", and they say, "We will serve The Lord."  To this Joshua replies, "You are unable to serve The Lord."  Just so.  Any covenant that requires us to unswervingly love and serve God will not work, not because it is itself an unfair covenant, but because we will never keep our side of it, unless we are changed from within.  

The New Covenant is better because it does not require the impossible, but rather provides it.  "I will put my Laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts."  The whole rest of the paragraph shows that what is promised here is a change in nature, a change in the heart.  Whereas formerly we hated th law and saw it as foreign, now we shall love the laws of God and be drawn to Him and them by our very hearts.  

This is the only way to God.  He must change us.  He must change me.  I despair of my old selfish nature which repeatedly disappoints me.  If I am ever to have fellowship with God, it will be because he has reached in and actually, actively changed my heart and the kinds of things I love.  I cannot make myself love the things I do not love.  But God can and does.  This is the new birth and the new nature that is spoke of elsewhere in scripture.