Feb 21, 2009

The New Covenant of Grace: A Holy Spirit Covenant : A heart of flesh with the spirit


I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.  (Eze_36:26-27)

The new covenant is about grace, as contrasted with the old covenant, which is about law. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (Joh_1:17). The connection between grace and the Holy Spirit can be seen in various scripture passages on the new covenant, including this glorious prophecy. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." The first verse in this prophetic promise concerns regeneration, spiritual new birth. Through faith in the Lord, our original, hard, lifeless heart is removed, and a new, pliable, living spirit is given to us. 

The second verse pertains to transformation, the ongoing development of this new life. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes." The developing of a life that increasingly complies with the will of God depends upon the work of the Holy Spirit within us. We know that unredeemed humanity has no hope of living a life that is pleasing to God. Yet, many Christians could be unaware that even the new creature in Christ cannot please God on his own resources. The Spirit of God must be the heavenly cause that produces a heavenly lifestyle in believers. 

What is promised here is not an automatic experience. The life of many Christians does not consistently match what is described here in Eze_36:27. The reason is that they are not relating properly to the Lord in humble dependence. Yes, these two relational realities (humility and faith) also determine whether or not the Spirit of God is our resource, just as they were determinative concerning grace. 

Two statements by Jesus expound upon this fact. "You have no life in you . . . It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (Joh_6:53, Joh_6:63). We do not innately possess life as God intends it to be lived. Natural human resources are of no benefit in developing a godly life. Such revelation is very humbling. If we embrace Jesus' evaluation of our personal inadequacy, then we are willing to relate to God in humility. Further, there is truth in which we are to place our trust. "It is the Spirit who gives life."  As we count on this truth, we are relating to the Lord in faith. The result of such humble reliance is God's Spirit becomes our vitality for living godly.

O Lord, the source of true life, thank You for establishing such a gracious arrangement as the new covenant. I praise You that Your Holy Spirit is my heavenly dynamic for godliness. I confess that my fleshly attempts to please You are so inadequate. I humbly ask You to cause me to walk in Your good will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.