The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe
"Old Testament and New"
Part 4 - Inside-Out
Israel of old was said to be "under the law" (the law of Moses - Galatians 5:23). Conversely, the New Testament declares born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to be inhabited by "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2).
Until the Lord Jesus made atonement for sin by His death, resurrection, and ascension, the Holy Spirit could not permanently inhabit human hearts. He worked in the saints of old who trusted God. He did not remain, however, which explains the prayer of David, "Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me" (Psalm 51:11). No Christian need ever pray such a prayer because the Spirit of God comes to stay when He enters the hearts of those who trust the Lord Jesus. "He shall be in you" promised the Lord to His disciples, who fulfilled such assurance when He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers on the day of Pentecost (John 14:17).
In the light and life of such grace, the Christian life must be viewed as in "inside-out" working of God, as opposed to the law of Moses that beckoned to Israel from "outside-in." This does not preclude the commandments of the New Testament that prescribe the life to which our Heavenly Father calls us in Christ. The epistles are full of mandates to be taken with great seriousness and the determination to obey. Indeed, the Apostle Paul commanded the Thessalonians that they were to "have no company" with professing believers who disregarded New Testament mandates (II Thessalonians 3:14). However, we must be certain that we view obedience to Scripture in a different manner than did the Jews of old. God called Israel to obey in order to live. "Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them" (Romans 10:5). Christians, on the other hand, live in order to obey, that is, we realize and affirm the indwelling life of Christ as the motivation, guide, and power of obedience. "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16). Or we might say, in the scope of God's grace in the Lord Jesus, obedience is always fruit rather than root. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
If we fail to understand the difference of dynamic between the old and new covenants, we will seek to make bricks without straw. This inevitably leads to personal frustration, or hypocritical judgmentalism of others, or both. Thus, we must be sure to understand the dividing line between the Old and the New. From "under the law," to being inhabited by "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." From outside-in, to inside-out. From do and live, to live and do. From the law written on tablets of stone, to the character and nature of God written in our hearts. From Christ will come, to Christ has come. These and many other delineations between the Old and the New help us to rejoice in the writer of Hebrews' affirmation of…
"Better things… a better hope… a better testament… a better covenant… better promises… better sacrifices… a better and enduring substance."
(Hebrews 6:9; 7:19 & 22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34)
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
Weekly Memory Verse
The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(I Corinthians 2:14).