Summary: Love is still at the centre of the command, but the degree of the depth of that love is what has changed
69. IN GOD'S IMAGE 69 - A NEW COMMAND
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
We have been looking at two points to bear in mind when we read Paul’s seemingly conflicting views about commandments and the law.
• 1) When Paul speaks about the commandments of God, he is not trying to slide the old law in through the back door. Rather he is focusing on the need for believers to develop those characteristics that reflect the nature and character of their heavenly Father.
• To summarize what we have covered so far, when we consider Paul’s statements regarding the law or commandments, we need to make a distinction between those laws that were futuristic and ritualistic and those that are eternal and reflect the nature and character of God.
• Whereas in the past, the focus of worship centered on shadows such as sacrifices, locations, days, foods, etc., now the emphasis is rightly focused on the One these rituals and laws pointed to, Jesus Christ.
• In addition, a New Covenant believer will strive to emulate the nature and character of their holy God and use those sections of scripture in both the Old and New Testaments which do this as their guide to develop God’s holiness in their own lives.
• 2) The instructions of holiness of the New Covenant are directed at those led by the Spirit, endowed with the new nature and have the mind of Christ.
• We saw back in 1 Timothy 1:9-10 how the old law was directed at those with the fallen nature.
• The death and resurrection of Jesus along with the coming of the Holy Spirit has brought about a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), with a brand new nature under the control of the “Spirit” rather than the “flesh” (Romans 8:5-17).
So under the New Covenant we are dealing with “Spirit” oriented believers with a totally new nature.
• As such, there is a dramatic shift in the way the “instructions in holiness” of the New Covenant are presented in contrast with the way the “commands of Torah” are presented.
• There is a decided shift in both the tone and language, and the expectations.
• No longer are the commands presented in the negative, “Thou shalt not” tone designed for the fallen nature, but rather as an appeal to the new nature to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
• Something remarkable happens to our old way of thinking when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts and mind.
• But now under the New Covenant, with the new nature under the guidance of Christ, whom Paul calls, the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) we see wonderful new possibilities not available under the Old, namely the characteristics of God Himself.
• Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
• The Holy Spirit as God, brings to our lives the very nature and character of the godhead.
• God does not need a law to direct His actions. His actions flow from His being. It is this same nature in us through the Holy Spirit that now directs our thoughts and actions.
This is why Jesus, in addressing His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion, gives us His new commandment to go along with the introduction of the New Covenant.
• John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
• This new commandment of Jesus was to reflect the dramatic change in mankind’s circumstances brought about by Christ’s saving work and the coming of the Holy Spirit.