I’ve known God for a while, for many years. Yet, as I read the Bible, I continue to be surprised by how kind God is. I shouldn’t be. But I always am.
Scripture itself is often written in a logical format. Romans, Hebrews, Galatians and other books especially build one point on top of another.
In the midst of this logical message, God’s kindness takes a sudden left turn. It is unexpected. It does not follow the usual pattern of Cause and Effect.
Let me show you what I mean.
Today I was reading Hebrews 8. The writer is comparing the old covenant with the new covenant. At Jesus’ last supper he told the disciples that his body and blood was establishing a new covenant…a new plan regarding God’s relationship with us.
In the old covenant, believers were to follow God’s law, meticulously. Every word. Faithfully. And, people failed. There was a priest who could take care of their sin, temporarily. But people continued to fail. It was a cycle of God commanding and people failing at God’s commands.
Jesus came to establish a new system, a new covenant.
I was reading Hebrews 8:10 where it talks about a new covenant and quotes God as saying, “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be there God, and they shall be my people.” How kind is that?! We would be able to think and love the way God wants us to, with internal motivation, internal insight that aligns to God’s ways.
So, as I’m reading this, I’m thinking…”There, that will fix things. People will have God’s laws inside of them, in their mind and heart. NOW people will follow them. It’s part of them. Natural to obey now. Good idea. Thank you, God!”
Hebrews 8:11 goes on in a logical way, that no one will need to tell another person, “Know the Lord,” for God says “they will all know me,” every person, “the least of them to the greatest.”
I’m thinking, “Solved.” We would have God’s laws inside of us, in our mind and heart, and we would know the Lord. Now we will obey God’s laws.
BUT…that is not why we can know the Lord and be close to him. Here is why. Here is the super surprise, in verse 12:
“for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
It isn’t that now we will finally live right before the Lord, FULLY obeying his ways. Yes, we are more inclined to do so, because he has entered our lives and brings his word, into our hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit leads us, convicts us of sin, corrects us, and gives us motivation to want to please God.
So, yes, we have ample resources to actually please God with our lives. But the fact that we know the Lord is not our “getting it right,” our righteousness. It is this: that he is merciful toward us, not holding our sins against us. He chooses to not remember our sins.
Hebrews 7:25 says, Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
God goes beyond bringing his ways into our hearts and minds, which by itself is so gracious. He goes further, and forgives when we still do not follow his ways. Jesus death on the cross for us. Jesus continuing to make intercession for us. We stand forgiven. He loves us.
I’ll end with Ephesians 1:7-12
“In him we have a redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth…so that we who were first to hope in Christ might be (live) to the praise of his glory.”