New Covenant vs. Old Covenant obedience

Vaclav's picture

Numbers 15:37-41,
"The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner. These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the Lord’s commands and obey them and not prostitute yourselves by following your own heart and your own eyes. This way you will remember and obey all my commands and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the Lord your God.”

How radically different is the New Covenant from the Old Covenant way of obedience to God. In the OC the law was written on the tablets of stone and God's people needed a reminder of blue cords on their garments to obey God's commands.

In the NC God has put his Holy Spirit in his people and has written the law of God on our hearts, so we may not forget him but love to obey him from the heart.

Jeremiah 31:31-33 says, “Look, the days are coming”— this is the Lord’s declaration — ​“when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt ​— ​my covenant that they broke even though I am their master” ​— ​the Lord’s declaration. “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” ​— ​the Lord’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."

The New Covenant promise of God to his people is that he will put his teaching within them and write it on their hearts.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances."

And again the prophet says that in the days to come under the New Covenant God will give his people a new heart, a new spirit, a heart of flesh (a living heart and not of stone), and he will place his [Holy] Spirit within them.

And Hebrews 10:16-17 says, "This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, the Lord says, I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds, and I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts."

And here the apostle interprets the promises of God and says he will put his laws on their hearts and write them on their minds.

So in the OC God's people were not to trust their untrustworthy hearts. In the NC our hearts are being transformed daily as we behold the glory of the Lord Jesus in the gospel.

"Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)

OC believers' hearts were veiled. NC believers' hearts are unveiled and we see God's glory in his Son Jesus Christ and are transformed from within.

"But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over." (Romans 6:17)

We were slaves of sin, but now we obey from the heart the good news about Jesus finished work the Father gave him to do in our stead.

So my friend, are you in Christ or outside of Christ? Are you living in the Old Covenant or in the New Covenant? Do you love to obey your God from your transformed heart? Or do you feel like you need a constant chaperone to watch over your straying heart to bring you back from a life of sin to God? Let each one of us test ourselves sincerely before God. Come everyone to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, because he always welcomes sinners with mercy and grace and you will receive a new heart of obedient faith.