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Entries in old covenant (4)

Friday
Sep142012

"Don't apply that to your life."

If you don't know you have a new-hearted identity in Christ, the following passage from the Old Testament will be understandably troubling for you:

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  [Deut. 8:2]

If I had read that passage ten years ago, I would have drawn some horrible conclusions about my heart - wrongly assuming that:

"There is possibly something in my heart that I shouldn't trust - something that could prevent me from following his commands."


God's audience at that time was not new-hearted, Spirit-indwelled:

Why did God need to "test" something he already knew?  His omniscience would have told him what was already in their hearts.  They were not yet new hearted, Spirit-changed people.  Jesus had not come to bring them that yet.  That would be later in history.

Perhaps it was the people themselves that needed to know what was in their hearts, and experience the futility of living under a broken [ill-functioning] heart?  People often need to feel the crushing burden of living as a self-indulgent corpse before they are ready to live as a free-hearted and alive son or daughter.


What we need to know today:

Secondly, the primary point of Jesus' rescue of us is to give us a heart that loves God and leaves no room for doubt as to its allegiance.  And, being an in-Christ person, that faithful heart is already in you.  When you enter friendship with Jesus, he surgically removes the wandering heart and replaces it with a heart that is aligned and allied with God.

You can trust the faithfulness of your new heart.

 

Tuesday
Jul102012

From borrowed righteousness to actual righteousness: That's the point.

Many Christians end up thinking that the goodness they possess doesn't really belong to them -- that it's only Jesus being good within and through them that counts; as if Jesus dwells within them, but alongside a still faithless or tainted heart.  

They assume that they themselves couldn't possibly be good:  It's just Jesus indwelling that makes them so.   The hope is that they're simply banking on Jesus' righteousness within them: because all the faithfulness and purity appears only on Jesus' side of the ledger and none on their side.

While our goodness is exclusively the gift of Jesus to us, and must always be the result of grace, his goodness has become our actual goodness.  That's the point of the New Covenant.

The Old Covenant system of sacrifices could not do two things:

1.  It couldn’t take away a person’s sin or wash the guilt away.

2.  The Old Covenant sacrifices could only lend the person a temporary and outward righteousness:

“The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.”

“The law … can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they [the sacrifices] not have stopped being offered? For the worshippers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.” “…because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Heb. 10: 1,2,3,4)


Under the old way of relating to God, the worshippers borrowed righteousness through the sacrificial system, but it never really made them righteous.  Because of your union with Jesus, his goodness has become your goodness. 

We have shifted from borrowed to actual. 

Monday
Nov232009

LISTEN NOW --new podcast - 'The Heart and the New Covenant'

Joel Brueseke, who hosts the Growing in Grace Together podcast, is a good friend and a guy who really gets the good and noble heart.  Joel interviewed me today for a two-part series.  Here is part one.

Listen in for some great conversation about why Christians tend to walk around in guilt and shame, and why there seems to be such a focus in the church on behavior management and sin management - and how living with a New Covenant mentality rather than an Old Covenant mentality, as well as a proper view of the new heart, will overcome all of that.

Monday
Sep212009

A better way to read the Old Testament - without shame

For decades, the manner in which I read the Old Testament only furthered my shame.
 
I had forgotten to make the critical shift from the Old Way to the New Way--  the old heart to the new heart.  For example, if you read an Old Testament passage like the one below, and forget that something has changed inside you as a result of Christ's work, what would you feel?

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  - Psalm 51:10

My reaction would be:  "Wow, maybe I should be feeling what David is here; I guess I'm supposed to be confessing my sin, examining my selfish heart and repenting about something.  It sounds pretty spiritual and pretty important.  What, exactly, am I supposed to be feeling bad about?  I'm not sure, but I'd better get to work on this repenting thing and ask God to fix my heart."

The problem with that sort of reaction is that it is out of date.  It is an Old Covenant response to a problem that was solved for you in the New Covenant.  Meaning....David's cry for a clean heart has already been answered in the work on Jesus for you.  You've been given a new and pure heart already because you said 'yes' to him.  (Ezekiel 36:26 -- "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you...") 

As we read the Old Covenant, we must now read it from a new heart perspective (you now have a clean heart that does want what God wants).  We make the shift from guilt and shame...to restoration and freedom of heart.

.................................

For more on this, my book Recover Your Good Heart goes into more detail on what Scripture says about our new hearts.