God’s covenant with Israel
At Mt. Sinai, God wrote His covenant and His Moral law on tables of stone: “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone” (Deuteronomy 4:13). And He also gave the Mosaic law which was written in a book: “So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished… “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you” (Deuteronomy 31:24, 26).
God’s law written in the heart
The Israelites were satisfied to have these laws simply as an outer law and their keeping a matter of external obedience. God offered His people the experience of a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), but they were content with only a surface religion. God did not desire that His laws should be thus kept.
When the Jews rejected Christ and crucified Him, “the kingdom of God” was taken from them (Matthew 21:33–43). And the Christian church or spiritual Israel (Jews and gentiles) became the recipients of God’s covenant, promises and responsibilities that once were given to literal Israel. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26, 29).
The Lord intended that His laws should also be written on the hearts of the people. “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” (Hebrews 8:10).
Under the new covenant men’s hearts and minds are changed: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Victory through Christ
Men can have victory over sin, not by their own strength, but because Christ dwells in the heart, living out His life in the believer. Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Believers are born of the Spirit and bear the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). The transformation can take place only by God’s power: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Only God can “put” His law in the hearts of His followers, though, with man’s acceptance and cooperation (Revelation 22:17).
In His service,