“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
It’s Sunday morning and the worship leader is deep into his third song, “God, we need more of you! Please! Fill this place with your Spirit! Come down and let us know you’re here! We want to feel your presence!”
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with what he’s just said. But if you understand the New Covenant, it’s wrong all the way through. With this type of speech, he’s no different than someone dancing around a campfire, begging a god for rain or to join their people group.
According to the New Covenant, we don’t need to call down God to join us or to make His presence known. Instead, our spirits are in God, and God’s Spirit is in us–in full–and even better, nothing can alter this! Paul uses the example of being joined with a prostitute:
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:16-17)
Paul’s example of conjoining with God’s Spirit is good, but it still doesn’t describe it perfectly. Not to be too graphic here, but when sexual intercourse happens, a man is inside of a woman. The woman, however, is not inside of the man. This would be the difference in how we and God are one. We believers are in God and God is in us! (See Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Here’s another example: Our oneness with God’s Spirit would be the same as taking food coloring and pouring it in a cup of water. Afterwards, there is no distinction between the food coloring and the H2O, they have become one. Yet, at the same time, they are still separate on a molecular level. This is what happens with our spirit and God’s Spirit from the first moment we believe Jesus saved us from our sins! God is poured into us and we become one!
When this happened, you might have felt something, and then again, you might not have. Salvation isn’t based on our feelings but on a fact of faith. Yes, a fact of faith. You read that correctly. Our salvation is based on a knowing, and this knowing happens one time (see Hebrews 10:10, 14).
Therefore, we don’t need to keep asking God to “come down into this place” or “join us” or “show up!” like they did in the Old Testament. If you are in church, He’s there! He’s inside of you! If you are in the grocery store, He’s there! He’s inside of you! If you are putting on your pants after having an affair at the Holiday Inn, He’s there! HE’S INSIDE OF YOU!
“Matt! How can you say that last part?! He won’t go with you into a hotel to cheat on your spouse!”
Well what does He do? Wait outside? Friend, no…He goes in there with us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us, ever! (See Hebrews 13:5). No matter how terrible our actions and attitudes may be, He stays committed to us!
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!…The New Covenant. The Old Covenant, which was based on God coming and going according to how well a person followed the Mosaic Law, it’s now obsolete. Look:
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete (see Hebrews 8:13)
Jesus’ blood created a new contract between God and mankind–a covenant is a contract. What happens when a new contract is written up? The old contract is no longer valid. So now, the Old Covenant is only enforceable against non-believers in Christ.
We, Christians, are dead to the Law and alive in Christ! We’ve died to the Law so that we can be alive in Christ! You can’t have a mixture of both! (See Mark 2:22, Romans 7:4-6, Galatians 2:19, 5:19).
All of the Jews who attempted to live by the Old Covenant failed miserably. ALL OF THEM. The only ones who thought they were doing well were the liars and hypocrites. That’s why the rich man went away sad, and that’s why the Pharisees and teachers of the Law killed Jesus. He stepped on their toes, to say the least. Their identity was in their behavior–not in faith–not in their complete reliance on God’s grace. This continues today with many churches.
Even before the New Covenant was put in place by Jesus, righteousness with God was still based on faith alone not by way of Law observance. So the New Covenant is older than the Old Covenant. Don’t believe me? Here, just look:
Clearly no one who relies on the Law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)
For all who rely on the works of the Law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10)
Continue to do everything? Wow! There’s not just 10 rules in the Law, but 613! Are we starting to understand how impossible it is to behave our way into right standing with God? It’s absolutely impossible! The Law is an all or nothing proposition. If you fail at one, you fail at all of them. James, the brother of Jesus, explains how it works:
“For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
The only reason the Law was brought in by Moses was to point out sin in even greater ways. It was meant to be a mirror showing us the dirt on our faces but it never had the ability to clean us up! Humanity already knew what sin was, right and wrong is written on our consciences (see Romans 2:15). All the Law did was literally spell sin out and then make it impossible for anyone to live a perfect life!
The Law was supposed to reveal our desperate need for a Savior. It was meant to corral us through a narrow gate of grace (see Matthew 7:13-14). Paul told the Romans exactly what the Law is useful for:
“The Law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” (See Romans 5:20)
SO! According to the New Covenant–a will which was brought in by way of Jesus’ perfect blood (see Hebrews 7:22, 9:22)–God doesn’t look at the believer’s sin as a gauge of whether or not He’ll stick around. He stays with us no matter how many sins we commit. Why do you think the gospel means good news? But at the same time, because He never leaves us, His Spirit always points us away from sin (see Romans 2:4).
We can still choose to sin but it will never feel right permanently because we have God living in us and our new spirits don’t even like to sin. We might get a quick, flash-in-the-pan fleshy thrill from sin, but afterwards, we know we weren’t made for it (see 1 John 3:9, Romans 6:1-2,11). That’s why God doesn’t want us to sin in the first place! And honestly, why we don’t want to sin either! You don’t like sin! You are a heaven-ready, completely forgiven, holy saint! (See Colossians 1:22).
So today, my friends, know this: As Christians, we have God in full! This New Covenant is based on a promise between God and God, that is, the Father and the Son! They could not swear by anyone greater so they swore by themselves! (See Hebrews 6:13-20). Our promise to them means nothing! Our promise to them is a joke! The true gospel is about their promise to us through each other! We are simply the beneficiaries to this new contract! We didn’t create it, we can’t sustain, and we can’t make it better! EVERYTHING WAS FINALIZED AT THE CROSS! (John 19:30). Our only job is to receive it and say, “Thank you!”…So rather than beg God for more of Him, or ask Him to come back–or worse, work hard to get Him to come back–just keep thanking Him for being in you in full. Soon enough, you’ll begin to live Him out, organically, but only after you realize He’ll never go away.
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching me the truth of the New Covenant, that you and Jesus came to an agreement for all of humanity at the Cross. It took me a long time of trying harder and harder to earn your approval to finally realize what happened at Calvary actually worked! THANK YOU! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them have been taught that you come and go based on what they do and don’t do. Let them know that’s called Judaism, and that faith went away when Jesus died and was resurrected! Reveal your commitment to THEM, rather than their commitment to YOU! The enemy wants them focused on what all they do for you so that you’ll stay with them, yet, the New Covenant doesn’t work that way–it’s the opposite! It’s YOUR goodness and commitment to us that leads us away from bad choices, NOT your wrath. Your wrath was satisfied in full, in Christ’s murdered body. LET THEM KNOW HOW SECURE THEY ARE IN HIM! Let them know they can always EXPRESS you more, but they can’t possibly get any more of you! You’ve made your home in them forever and nothing can change this! Not even THEY can change this, once it’s happened! Your Word says so in 2 Timothy 2:13 and Hebrews 7:25! REVEAL THE TRUTH OF WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR THEM! In His name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!