Ephesians– overview of 2:14-18; Double Reconciliation, part 10 ~ The Law vs. the New Covenant.

Sunday July 7, 2019

10 ~ The Law vs. the New Covenant.


Laws cannot make a man virtuous as God is. Life is more than law.


Heb 10:19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,


Heb 10:20 by a new and living way which [entrance] He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,


The structure of the Greek sentence has “which” modifying “to enter.” The living way has always been. It is from eternity. It is the entrance that has been inaugurated.


Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,


Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.


Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;


Heb 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,


Heb 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.


What Paul does reveal to us is in the eleven times he mentions Christ in Phi 3:1-11 in reference to his current life at the time of writing. We follow a who and not a what. The New Covenant promised that we would all know God, and possessing the person of Christ, we all will. I will venture to say that even the confused and not so devoted Christians will as well. We have all been predestined to be conformed to His image, Rom 8:29.


Gaining Christ, possessing Christ’s righteousness, knowing Christ, having the power of Christ’s resurrection, experiencing Christ’s sufferings, being conformed to Christ’s death described Paul.


Paul references Christ eleven times in that short passage. Instead of trying to follow laws, Paul found that he had to follow a person as a regenerated, righteous person indwelt by the Holy Spirit, worshipping Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit.


“How do I follow the Person of Christ by means of the Holy Spirit, heading straight ahead in His righteousness, the power of His resurrection, the experience of His suffering and death?” is the question for us all. There is no formula for it, although many men have tried to construct one.


Being like Paul in spirit and having a heart concerned with the genuine welfare of others is to seek after the interests of Christ Jesus.


Notice how Paul describes Timothy in light of others.


Phi 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.


Phi 2:20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.


Phi 2:21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.


Phi 2:22 But you know of his proven worth that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.


Being like Paul in spirit and having a heart concerned with the genuine welfare of others is to seek after the interests of Christ Jesus. Their interests are not towards a law but a Person.


And so, Christ is the end of the Law to all who believe, yet they live far above that Law in the manner of Christ. Thus; the law fulfilled, the new man following Christ; the barrier is removed.


Paul echoes the sense, and in fact the very language, of the New Covenant prophecy in Rom 8:1-4.


Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.


Rom 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,


Rom 8:4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.


The Law belongs to the old age, the age of man’s spiritual powerlessness – described as “flesh.” The ineffectiveness of the Law was due to the inadequacy of the “flesh” – the weak human nature to keep it.


Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh. He accepted the form of death that the Law demanded in our place, as a true innocent Man, not breaking any commandment from the Father, so that we would be set free from the Law and made alive as sons in the family of God, receiving the promised Holy Spirit.


The Law that Israel failed to keep, that every man failed to keep, was brought to the level of heaven. 613 commands became an infinite number of commands, an external code became an inward principle. The will of God had not changed, but we changed. The form that God made us would have hearts upon which the law of God could be etched – written right on it. What was formally engraved on tablets of stone was now engraved on human hearts, the inward impulsion accomplished what the outward compulsion could not.


Paul said that as to the Law he was blameless, but this didn’t equal him doing the will of God from inward impulsion.


This is how we can know an infinite number of commands. Our hearts do what Christ does when empowered by the Spirit. We supernaturally know what to do and how to move and where to go. But not without the word of God. We were not made to take orders directly from the Spirit within in a way that we would not need the scripture. We would be unable to discern which voice was God’s and which was our own or someone else’s. God gave us the scripture so that we would have a sure guide, and something to always refer to, to go back to again and again to learn and re-learn the principles of truth, the principles that the Holy Spirit would empower us in.


The whole Law was summed up in two commands (love God, love your neighbor). The whole law of Christ is summed up in one command – love as He loved.


Gal 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.


Gal 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


Gal 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.


Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.


Christ said, “A new commandment I give to you.” He didn’t give us new commandments, but one – to love as He loved. This sums up the entire law of God; all the infinite number of commands. Love tells the heart what to do without referring to a specific command. Love is described for me in the Scripture. The Holy Spirit reveals to me the clarity of that definition. Love is pictured for me in the person of Christ, in Paul, Peter, John, Luke, and others.


Most of all, the love of God was poured right into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.


Rom 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


God is love. God is Spirit. God is life. O, the depth of it all.


What God has fulfilled in us is the oracle of the New Covenant of Jer 31, but also the companion oracles to it.


Eze 11:19 “And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,


Eze 11:20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”


Eze 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.


Eze 36:26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.


Eze 36:27 And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”


2Co 3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;


2Co 3:3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.


Doing the will of God is not a matter of conformity to outward rules but of giving expression of inward love, wisdom, and power, such as the Spirit begets.


This may lead a fleshly man to conclude that he has no outward rules in order to justify sinfulness. But what he fails to see is that the inward way of the life of Christ possesses an infinite number of commands, to which we are given guidance in the scripture. To us, the new creatures in Christ, the scripture is not a list of outward commands but the guide to our inward life. The word is the mind of Christ, His inward guide given to us so that we have concrete barriers to sin and deception. The word of God is written upon my heart in such a way that I would know exactly what is right to do in a situation I have never faced and know nothing about.


The written code of Moses killed because it declared the will of God without imparting the power to perform it. Yet the Holy Spirit gives life. The Law is holy, but its effect on man is death. The Spirit is holy and He makes men holy. He imparts the desire to obedience and light, and creates nothing less than the transformation into the likeness of Christ.


2Co 3:1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?


2Co 3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;


2Co 3:3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.


2Co 3:4 And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.


2Co 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,


2Co 3:6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


2Co 3:7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,


2Co 3:8 how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?


2Co 3:9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.


2Co 3:10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it.


2Co 3:11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.


2Co 3:12 Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,


2Co 3:13 and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away.


2Co 3:14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.


2Co 3:15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;


2Co 3:16 but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.


2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [life as opposed to law].


2Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

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