I reflected recently on the new hearts we received through the finished work of Christ.
Our new hearts are pure and right, filled with love for God and all that pertains to Him. The New Covenant placed us in union with God, which means we can live from Him as our source of life. Concerning the things of God, our former “have-tos” have become our “want-tos”, because His desires are now ours. Thankful for all He has done for us, we believers share a core desire to live in a way that brings glory to God.
But the question is … how do we accomplish this?
How do we live so others will praise God as they see Him at work in us? The answer might surprise you. Many sincere believers mistakenly think keeping the law will bring glory to God. You know, things like:
following the Ten Commandments
doing what looks good
avoiding what looks bad
That certainly sounds like a great idea …until we consider that God NEVER intended us to be good, but to live from His goodness. Think back with me to the Garden of Eden, where God placed two trees. The first was the tree of life, from which man could freely eat. But the second was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (right and wrong), from which God told Adam he must never eat or suffer certain death. By warning Adam about that second tree, God made it clear that He never intended us to even know what good and evil, right and wrong, are. And he never intended us to live with right and wrong as our standard.
God created us to know and be consumed with Him, not our behavior toward Him.
He designed us to live from Him and His own goodness, not to manufacture our own counterfeit goodness.
When Adam disregarded God’s command and ate from the tree of right and wrong, he plunged all mankind under the law.
Consequently, people from Adam to Moses lived with an instinctive drive to do what’s right and avoid what’s wrong. But because there was no external standard that defined right and wrong, everyone played the role of ‘god wannabe’ and determined right and wrong based on their own distorted perspectives.
God did the world a favor by giving His law as the standard for what it means to be good.
He provided a powerful display of thunder and lightning to capture the people’s attention and show them His law. It was as if God said, “Pay attention, this is what it means to be good!” The problem is that no one can keep God’s perfect law. No one can ever be good apart from God, because only God is good.
That is why Paul called the law a ministry of death and condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:5-9).
Our inability to fulfill the goodness demanded by the law points out we were dead in sin, separated from God and His goodness. By killing and condemning us, the law drove us to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who reconciled us to God through His redemptive work in the cross. He then took up residence within us by the Holy Spirit. And His Spirit in us now expresses the goodness of God’s own life through us, which brings glory to God.
The ministry of the Spirit has a greater glory than that of the law.
In fact, the glory of the law is nothing compared to that of the Spirit. How could words carved into cold, dead stone ever have a glory to compete with the glory of God Himself? In 2 Corinthians 3:10, Paul made a summary statement that settles this issue once for all. He wrote,
What once had glory (the law) has come to have NO GLORY at all, because of the glory that surpasses it (the Spirit of God dwelling in man!)
Beloved, the way to bring glory to God is to live by the Spirit.
Be done with the law forever, because that marriage ended when we died in Christ (Romans 7:1-4). We are now married to Jesus and placed in union with His own Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). It’s only when we live in, with, and from the Holy Spirit that we fulfill our hearts desire to bring glory to God. Because God dwells in absolute perfection, only absolute perfection can give Him glory. And because He has the market cornered on perfection, only He can glorify Himself.
Anyone who offers anything to God, other than what originates from God Himself, will utterly fail to bring Him glory.
This is the marvelous privilege of living in the New Covenant. Because God lives in us by the Holy Spirit, we are able offer Him the only thing that brings Him glory …
His own life lived through us.
Wow! And again, I say, WOW!
Live from Jesus and bring glory to His name.