Studying the Bible is the best way to deepen and develop your relationship with God because this is an act of servant-hood.
God requires nothing from us to love us, however, it pleases Him to have His children seek after Him.
In my previous column I broke down for you some of the differences between the Old Testament and the New. Synonymous with the word covenant, we learned that the New Testament is a new agreement between God and His people through the acts of His son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Prior to Jesus, man was separate from God by sin and there was no way around it. There were the 10 Commandments and an additional 600-plus rules the Jewish people had to follow to be considered pure.
Once a year they were absolved by high priests of their sins, and had to give sacrificial offerings to pay the price. The scriptures often refer to the law as a way to increase sin. Why would God send down laws to make more sin?
I heard a story one time of the poor Jewish man. He had traveled his yearly trek to have his sins absolved, only being able to enjoy the feeling of forgiveness for a short time because by the time he and his wife got out of the parking lot, he had lost his temper and cursed at her.
That would be me for sure, I chuckle every time I think of it.
Why did God make it so hard? The Old Testament depends on man being good for God to be good. And we couldn’t. He wanted us to be able to admit we need a savior.
When Jesus came into His ministry, He told of new ways to be free that abolished the 613 laws.
The New Testament is about God being good, whether or not man is good. There is only one commandment in the New Testament. Love others as God loves you.
John 13:34-35: “But I am giving you a new command. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know you are my disciples.”
Why is the New Testament so simple? It’s nearly as easy as the Old Testament was hard, yet seemingly as hard to follow. How does this make sense?
Instead of the yearly sacrificial offerings, Jesus made a one-time offering that ended the payment plan all together. The debt was paid in full. So there is nothing that needs to be done for you and I to receive forgiveness of sin because it is already done.
All Jesus asks from us is to admit we need a savior, Him. Sincerely asking Him to come be the guide of your heart and life is all that is necessary. It is finished.
So why is there still sin, and do we still have to obey the old 10 big ones? There is still sin because not everyone believes in Jesus, and even many of today’s Christians haven’t truly evolved into Christ consciousness.
Their relationships with Him still revolve around human needs and wants before what Jesus’ will has in store for our lives.
We would be so surprised if we would just give up our own selfish desires. How much more abundantly He would bless us. But we are fearful and weak. He, however, is always patient and loves us wherever we are in our walk with Him.
Do we still have to follow the 10 commandments? If we were to follow the John 13 command, we could never again break another of these old commandments.
Following Jesus changes our desires. Fear and anger turn into love and acceptance. There is a shift of wanting to help those who are hurting and lost; we begin caring about others more than ourselves.
So, no, the 10 Commandments are not lost. If Jesus and the Holy Spirit are leading us to right thinking and right action, we will have no problem keeping them.
There are many Christians who would rather try to keep the 613 laws than to totally give their hearts. We sometimes like the feeling of self-effort, we want to do it ourselves and haven’t the first clue how to let go of that control.
I was in this place for years, I thought I was living in God’s will but I also thought God needed my help. That I needed Christian works to be saved.
Self-effort is a truly exhausting life. The idea that I could actually do something with a better outcome than what God had prepared was the lie that Satan wanted me to believe.
I pray you have already come to this place in your life. If not, I pray this article shines some light into your heart.
(Rhonda Sexton is an author and inspirational speaker. She lives in Neosho with her husband and children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 417-389-1222.)