In the last post we contended that the law that is written in the heart is not referring to the letter of the law, but instead the principles behind the law. Those principles are love. We might not steal because we are afraid of the consequences and don’t want to go to jail. But, when God has taken a hold of our heart we don’t steal because we love and respect our fellow humans. This is what Jeremiah 31:31 is talking about and is fulfilled in the experience of born again Christians.
We have mentioned many times on this blog that the role of the law is to condemn us. When we examine our lives in relationship to the law we see, just as Jesus illustrated when He spoke about adultery and murder, that no matter how much we try we are always condemned by our natures. So the law written in the heart cannot be a call to perfection, but to love.
When asked, “’What is the greatest commandment in the law?’ He said to him, ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your HEART, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it ‘You shall LOVE your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37-40.
Paul writing in Galatians reminds us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
James tells us, “ ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself ‘, you are doing well.” James 2:8
John states, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” John 15:12
“This I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:17
“For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” 1 John 3:11
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:5
If we read the above texts carefully it becomes clear that it is not the letter of the law that is being talked about. But, instead it is the law of the Spirit of Christ working in love that guides us.
“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. 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, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.” 2 Corinthians 3:6-13.
When you and I accept Jesus into our hearts we are transformed. We no longer want to live the old life of sin and rebellion against God. Instead we long to live in harmony with God and we are filled with joy and celebration. The love of God “in us” spills out to others and we become witnesses of God’s love by loving others. This is truly what it means to have the law written in the heart. Paul makes it clear that the letter of the law kills but the Spirit gives life.
Think about this for a moment. When you have assurance of salvation everything in your life changes. You enter into an abundant life of God’s blessings. We are not filled with the letter of the law that condemns and leads to death but instead we are filled with the Spirit and the Spirit leads to love. And that love is the embodiment of the law.
“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, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-5
So many of us have struggled in life because we have focused on our sins and our failures, instead we need to focus on the cross. When we accept the love of God into our lives we enter the world of the redeemed and the law has no power over us because it could only condemn.
Now we are under grace and the law of love is written in the heart. Instead of striving to be good enough, do enough or fulfill all the requirements of the law we fall at the foot of the cross and confess our helplessness and inability to be all that is required. We throw ourselves on the mercy and grace of our loving Father and He welcomes us home. We find true freedom when Jesus is in our heart and His love flows through us.
A new covenant Christian knows the law is written in the heart through the indwelling of the Spirit and their life reflects it through loving God with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves.