Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,/ Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;/ Because Thy promise I believe,/ O Lamb of God, I come.’1
Read Hebrews 8:7–13
7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said[a]:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
10 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.
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”[b]
13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs it easy for you to take responsibility for your failings or do you find yourself blaming others or the situation?
The ‘blame game’ is as old as Eden. Adam pointed a finger at ‘the woman you put here with me’ (Genesis 3:12, NIV); and she, in turn, accused the serpent. But whenever we point a finger at someone, three fingers point right back at us!
A superficial reading may suggest that the old covenant needed replacing because it was flawed (7a). But then we read, ‘God found fault with the people’ who ‘did not remain faithful to My covenant’ (8,9). There were no design flaws in God’s covenant. The inauguration of a new covenant didn’t repudiate the old. The heart of the covenant remained unchanged; but the central focus of the new covenant is changed hearts (10). The goal is not merely compliance with laws, but a conversion to love.
Augustine said: ‘Love and do what thou wilt: … let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.’2 Only a love relationship with God (10c) can awaken in us the desire to be holy; only the indwelling Holy Spirit makes such holiness possible.
1‘Just as I am,’ Charlotte Elliott, 1835.
2St Augustine, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII, ed. Philip Schaff, Cosimo Classics, 2007, p504
Jesus said, ‘If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit’ (John 15:5b, NIV). How faithful and how fruitful have you been lately? What might need to change?
Spirit of God I need you, not just to change my outer actions, but to transform my heart to be like Yours.