NOT OF THE LETTER, BUT OF THE SPIRIT
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, he says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…” (Hebr 8: 7-10)
The first covenant, into which God entered with us, was “not faultless,” – not by any fault of God’s, but by our own. The first time around, we had tended to “miss the point” of His written Law, perceiving it as this external object in “our” exclusive possession, which we sufficed it to follow according to the external “letter.” What God intended by that covenant, however, was to share Himself with us, and for us to respond to that Self-offering and manifestation of His grace, by continuing “in” it, willingly handing ourselves over into His possession, as His people.
But the second time around, God “went deeper” with us, by introducing us to His Son, Who offered Himself to us entirely, as one of us. And this “new,” more intimate Way of God’s entering into a “covenant” with us, is not just “engraved in letters on stone” (2 Cor 3: 7), but cries out to us from the Cross, with His hands outstretched and embracing all of us, inviting us to join Him, as He has joined us. So this morning let me embrace the life-giving, Self-offering Spirit of Christ, in some heartfelt prayer, however insufficient I am before Him. Because His Spirit can and does transfigure me where I can’t, in my heart. “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3: 4-6)