Bible In One Year-Day 148 (Wednesday, May 28, 2014)
Commentary: Jer31-33. The activities of Israel and Judah clearly indicated that they had moved out of the covenant God had with their fathers. The old covenant which God had with their fathers was backed up by engraved laws on stones.
Romans 7:16 “If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good.”
The laws were not evil or bad (Rom7:16), the only problem they had was that they had no grace to fulfill them (Rom8:3-4).
Romans 8:3-4 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
They violated all available laws backing up the Mount Sinai covenant. Just as we discussed in the previous commentary, there is a great difference between being taught about God and experiencing God. The law was taught, they could memorize it and, of course, recite it without the heart following it, i.e. still in the flesh. There was no way they could please God in the flesh, Rom8:8.
Romans 8:8 “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
But experiencing God is a personal relationship with Him; no one needed to teach you any longer. For instance;
Luke 18:18-25 “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? …And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.…And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
This man was taught the law but his heart was far from God. According to rom8:5, he set his mind on the things of the flesh and so could not please God with his heart. He had an abstract knowledge (i.e. theoretical knowledge) of God not an experience. He religiously followed what he was taught as he grew up but his mind was set on his riches.
Romans 8:5 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
The real covenant was as stated in Exodus 6:7 “And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
In this statement, the word “know” is synonymous to “deep experience” just as that between a husband and the wife. God claimed them as wife;
Jer31:32 “…which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:”
The laws were the conditions for this covenant. Israel became an unfaithful wife, and, unfortunately, they violated all the laws and this warranted a NEW COVENANT;
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:”
This time around, the covenant was not going to be on stones anymore but on tables of the heart;
Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:”
The old covenant and its laws could not achieve the purpose of the covenant through the power of the engraved stone (letters) because the people were spiritually dead, Rom8:13.
Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
The new covenant, on the other hand, has the power to make them fulfill the law because they will be spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit in their hearts;
Ezekiel 11:20 “That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
Again, this is the same marriage vow as initially stated in Ex6:7. The token for that marriage was the law on stones instead of the mind and the heart. This is the same with giving a ring as token of love in wedding.
Marriage is about the soul (mind, emotion and will) of man joined with the Spirit of God through the spirit of man. That is, everything about the soul submitted to everything of the Spirit; mind, emotion and will. For the new covenant to be intact, the laws must be written in the heart but in submission to the spirit. By this, the need to teach to be faithful wouldn’t be necessary because of the personal experience, Rom8:10-11,14. If a friend is in the position to connect a man and a woman into courtship, as soon as they get married, he has to back off because the couple has “known” (experienced or have active knowledge) each other deeper, beyond what the friend could imagine.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
This covenant was fulfilled in Christ Jesus who said He had not come to break the law but to fulfill it. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit which was made possible by Christ’s sacrifice, engraves the law in the table of our hearts and the aim is to make us spiritually alive to the new covenant. The Spirit of God in us is our righteousness before God. Jer31:31-34 is the same as Heb8:8-12 but verse13 revealed a truth to us, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old (or obsolete). Now that which decayeth (becoming obsolete) and waxeth (growing) old is ready to vanish away.”
This simply means that the old covenant is irrelevant and would soon disappear because of the new one in place which is the Holy Spirit in us through Christ’s sacrifice. It no more becomes abstract but you will know, experience the presence;
Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
This change starts with forgiveness of sins (making the past to be over) by which there is no more fear but peace (Rom8:15), holy living (by the help of the Holy Spirit who brings God’s nature into us, Rom8:14) and good works (a product of a transformed life);
The book of Hebrews, which we first read in Bible In One Year (Days1-3), explicitly clarifies these two covenants by contrast. All the laws guiding the new covenant, according to Jesus, are summarized in two statements “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself” Only by the Holy Spirit could we hold the love of God and that of another in our hearts;
Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad (poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.”
The engraved stone is like a ring exchanged in marriage which could easily be broken as Moses broke the first one in anger. But when the word of God is engrave in the heart by the Holy Spirit, the love to prefer one another will be there. By the Holy Spirit, forgiveness will be easier. The first evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit and fear of God in a marriage is forgiveness and preference for one another. These two define genuine love (1Cor13). When a man loves God dearly and the woman loves God dearly by the Holy Spirit, to compliment, love and forgive one another will not be difficult. Marriage is not about joining two perfect human beings together but the joining of two imperfect humans and a perfect God. The token is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in our hearts is the certificate and not the rings on the fingers. God is Spirit and everything that has to do with Him should be done in the spirit. Whatever we sow in the flesh, even in the name of God, will have nothing to do with Him. But that which is done in the spirit in His name cannot be stopped but yield the fruit of the Spirit;
Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
When a marriage is instituted in the flesh, the works of the flesh will be evident therein, but if by the Spirit of God, the fruit of the Spirit will surely be the splendor. That which is by the Spirit is what the Bible refers to as “what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder”
Mark 10:9 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
The marriage God hasn’t joined together cannot stand together. Many marriages are not joined together by God but by the flesh and in such, there can’t be LOVE and affection but LUST and hatred. If by God, the Holy Spirit maintains the love necessary to glorify God in that home. But if of the flesh, DEMONS maintain the hatred necessary to break the home. The maintenance of cars, buildings and other assets isn’t the maintenance of a godly marriage but the maintenance of the relationship with a perfect God in the marriage. The maintenance of properties and assets is grace given by the perfect God in the marriage. Without this grace, the fire of trials can reduce them to nothingness. With God taking His rightful position in the relationship, the grace to be a GOOD father, mother, husband, wife and children is available because God is GOOD (the only one that is GOOD in the home and upon Him we anchor our individual imperfection). A solid Christian home starts in the Spirit, lives in the Spirit, walks in the Spirit and ends in the Spirit (the Kingdom of God).
Let us seek for the old path where we could find rest. Let us listen to the trumpet’s sound, wherewith we could escape the calamity to come. May His grace be sufficient for us. Reading for today is Jer34-36. Keep the fire burning and alive
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.