At the risk of jumping into waters that are too deep for me to swim…
The promise of the new covenant is that God would write His laws on our hearts and minds (see Hebrews 8.8-13). Over the last few days, I have looked at these words from a variety of perspectives. I have noticed that the new covenant is fundamentally different from the old in that there is a new birth from within and we are new creations. I have noticed that access to God is now open to all and not just the religious elite. But his morning, I began to ponder another depth.
The continuum between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man has puzzled mankind since the days of the apostles. On one hand, no one can come to faith in Jesus unless God draws them into faith (see John 6.44). On the other hand, whosoever wants to come can come. On some level we choose Jesus, but on another level, we choose Jesus because we have already been chosen by God. Is our free will an expression of God’s transforming work in our souls or does our free will bring about God’s transforming work in our soul?
As I have wrestled with this, I am still of the mind to think that the truth lies in the tension. The Scriptures seem to teach both truths, just like it teaches that God is one and yet there is a plurality in the oneness of God. I may never understand this mystery, but that does not surprise me because of the limited capacity of my mind to understand so many things (like mortgage backed securities, the formula for the QB ratings, and how aspirin works). The fact that these things are knowable, just not by me, reminds me that the spiritual things I don’t understand will one day be knowable, too. Most likely, after the trumpet blows.
In the new covenant, God gives us a new gift. The weakness of the old covenant was that the people could not remain faithful to the laws, rules, and regulations. So, in the new covenant, he put His laws in our minds and in our hearts. In the new covenant, He gave us a new mind and a new heart. While I question why that “new heart” is a work in progress and not a complete work, I do rejoice that I have been given the beginnings of something that I so desperately need: a new heart and a new mind. Now, as it grows and develops like every other living organism in God’s creation, I take comfort in the fact that who I am becoming would have never been possible without the hand of God doing something in my soul/mind that I could never have done for myself or by myself.
That is the good news of the new covenant!