It’s a great feeling to be able to enjoy something new. A new house, a new computer, or even a new friendship. Even if it is isn’t new, but is new to you, it can be a real blessing. I’m enjoying the blessing of all three right now. But I know that the new and exciting can grow normal and familiar.
So I’m struck as I read in the Old Testament and then in the New Testament about the New Covenant. Set in the context of thousands of years of anticipation, to finally be living in the era of the New Covenant must have been very exciting! But I suspect that I’m not the only one who sometimes takes the New Covenant for granted?
Think about the New Covenant blessings that we enjoy today, but perhaps we don’t enjoy enough. We have our sins forgiven, and there is no ongoing ritual in relation to our sin – it is dealt with. We have hearts of flesh instead of stone. We have the law written on our hearts instead of inscribed on stone. We have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit – all of us believers, from the moment of new birth, unendingly! Oh, and what about the notion of people truly “knowing the Lord”… personal, genuine relationship! The indwelling Spirit empowers us to fulfill the “new commandment.” Sins forgiven, indwelling Spirit, beating heart, personal relationship, love God, love others, it is all so relational and so very much, well, so alive!
The longest quote in the New Testament is about the New Covenant. I could fill up the word count for this post with Bible references alone. And yet how easily it becomes the Familiar Covenant for us.
To be honest, I understand the feeling of fresh fading into familiar, I go there myself all too easily. Sins forgiven, indwelling Spirit, a heart beating for God, yes, but the pulse can drop all too easily.
What I don’t understand is when Christians seem to almost forsake it and yearn for the Old Covenant. Why would we do that? Nostalgia? Misunderstanding? Recalcifying hearts? I suppose a retreat into the old allows for God to be kept at a safe distance, and for my spirituality to be about my own efforts . . . but why?
When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete (Heb.8:13). May God reignite our hearts with the thrill of the New Covenant!