I recently re-read the book of Hebrews, which should be required reading for every Christian on the planet. In fact, Hebrews is one of those epistles that should be revisited every few months (by even seasoned Christians) until the truths therein are permanently written upon the tapestries of one's heart - and revisited occasionally thereafter, if only to refresh the spirit on those eternal teachings. It is a masterful document.
During this most recent reading, The Lord pointed something out that I'd read a thousand times (or more) over the years - a quote from Jeremiah the prophet (Jer. 31:33):
"This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." Heb. 8:10
Read that carefully and ask yourself how that statement from Almighty God (so vital for New covenant understanding that it was mentioned more than once in scripture) falls into agreement with the greasy-grace / sloppy agape message that is being spoon-fed to the Body of Christ in so many quarters today.
According to the Author of our Salvation (and thus the New Covenant), What exactly is written on the heart? Grace? Kindness? Grace and kindness are indeed fruits of The Spirit and are a seminal part of Christian life - but to answer the question accurately, please read that verse again.
Jesus said (during the days of His flesh) that "not a pen-stroke" would fall from the law - that He had not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. If you own a red-letter Bible, you'll find those words in red. Yet so many are being taught that the laws of God are no longer relevant to Christians - provided one professes belief in Jesus.
But when a preincarnate Jesus was speaking these words to His prophet Jeremiah (as "The Word of The Lord"), what did He say would be the salient difference between the old and new covenants? His laws would not be abolished or replaced - but would (rather) be WRITTEN IN OUR MINDS and ON OUR HEARTS.
This distinction is so vital for understanding that I feel the charge of minutia to be well worth the risk. Father God was telling Jeremiah (and us) that He was NOT going to retract a single WORD of what He had said before - in fact, He was going to DOUBLE-DOWN! The change that He would make would be to write those laws within us through (a) atonement by His Holy Son, and (b) through the indwelling of The Great Holy Spirit.
So here's how it breaks down (for easy understanding):
Any Old Testament law that pertained to sacrifice or ritual for the remission of sins was fulfilled ENTIRELY on the cross with Jesus when He made atonement, once for all. THESE LAWS WERE FULFILLED and no longer hold sway over those who believe on Jesus and accept Him into their hearts (thus being born again).
ALL OTHER LAWS REMAIN INTACT.
If we truly know Jesus, these are written in our hearts - and (by His Grace) we are daily sanctified so that we can remain in perfect obedience with each and every one.
The ten commandments - God's edicts about righteous living - the avoidance of sexual immorality - the commands to walk straight paths before Him and to love one's neighbor as oneself... These are OLD TESTAMENT laws that Jesus CONFIRMED.
"Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:9
It should be noted that there are some laws which were given specifically to the Jews (such as sabbath edicts and feasts), and remain for the Jews alone. These were never passed on to Gentile Believers as requirements. Don't get me wrong - I think it's entirely right and proper that gentile believers acknowledge a day unto The Lord, but when you read the words of Paul and the commands that were given to the first gentile churches (in Acts), nothing was mentioned about keeping the sabbath.
"Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord."
That's much different than sabbath laws, yes? Where one could be removed from the assembly or even killed for desecrating the day? Clearly, the gentiles were never given these regulations.
And what of Galatians, you might ask? It's very simple: what Paul scolded the Galatians for was reinserting rituals of the law into their lives that Christ fulfilled on the cross. Paul was battling the encroachment of a spirit of religion among the brethren - but he was NOT telling them to turn away from the eternal laws of God. Reading the entire book of Galatians in context illustrates this perfectly.
If you attend a church that teaches folks to ignore the laws of God - or one that teaches that repentance is a thing of the past (there are many that do this) - Leave immediately. Flee. Find somewhere else to worship.
Jesus summed it up in the Gospel of John thus:
"Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." John 14:23-24
"You are my friends if you do what I command." John 15:14
Your brother and servant in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Mark Scott Grimmett GoldenLight Ministries www.YeshuasArmy.com