July 4 I Wednesday
“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” —2 Corinthians 3:6
The contrasts between the Old and New Covenants are vital. One is external, written on stone, the other internal, written on our hearts; one is imposed from the outside, the other empowers from the inside; one condemns, the other liberates; one kills, the other gives life.
Paul refers to the New Covenant as a ministry of the Spirit that is written in human hearts. It does not involve a rewriting of the law, but a relocating of the law. Ezekiel 36:27 says, “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” How does this work? Paul tells us, “I have become its servant [the church] by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-27).
Jesus Christ is the only one capable of keeping God’s law, and His presence in us is the essential ingredient that brings us from condemnation to life. By His Spirit, He lives in our hearts, and by His Spirit, we are moved to keep God’s laws. This means the demands God imposed under the Old Covenant become promises under the New Covenant. Paul writes, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us…” (Romans 8:3-4).
The Old Covenant came with glory, but the New Covenant imparts glory. When God says, “You shall not steal,” we do not steal, not because stealing is wrong, though it is, but because God is not a thief. Neither will we bear false witness, covet or commit adultery because God does not lie, He is not greedy and God is faithful. We will still sin because there is the old nature battling against the Spirit, but in Christ, we are
“...being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory…” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is a process that will go on for the rest of our lives, but “Christ in us” is our hope of glory; that is, attaining to the moral character of God. What used to be commands that brought condemnation and death now become promises in Christ that bring liberty and life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I always draw upon your Spirit in me when tempted by the old nature. Keep me day by day conforming to your likeness. Thank You, Lord.