“…I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”
Jeremiah 31:33 (NIV)
This is a promise from God that our fallible human nature, based as it is on self-protection and self-advantage, will be changed. With our acknowledgement of our own futility, with our knowledge and consent to the word of salvation, our limited mindset can begin to be replaced with something worthwhile, honourable, indestructible.
In this context, the word “law” is neither limited to nor necessarily based upon the Mosaic covenant, but is about alignment with God’s character (Matthew 5:21-22). Having the law of God is not only more than, but different in type from, keeping a ready memory of required abstinences and a well-entrenched habit of calculating sunset calendars and tithes (Matthew 23:23). Because while the Mosaic covenant was one expression of God’s principle of being, it does not encompass or define who God is (Exodus 3:14). Jesus had to be present in order to know who God is (John 14:8-9; 1 John 4:16).
How well aligned are you with God’s principle of being when confronted by decisions, obstacles, workplace politics, relationships and personal boundaries and habits? Maybe there are occasions when we consciously follow what we know is scriptural, but if we were honest, we don’t really like it at the time. Or maybe we wholeheartedly commit to God’s way but our instincts let us down in the event. Reassuringly, we find we’re not alone here: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do,” Paul wrote in Romans 7:15.
We are, however, a “new creation” in progress (2 Corinthians 5:17). In following Jesus we move, unsteadily perhaps, towards a place where God’s ways no longer feel like an imposition against our own principles and desires, but become fully internalised.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Study by Fiona Jones
Worldwide Church of God Perth Combination of house churches and monthly outreach service and lunch Gillespie Centre, Dunfermline, fortnightly House churches on other Saturdays