How does one begin to claim that he knows the heart of God? Only by drawing close enough to Him that you can feel both what pleases Him and what disappoints His great loving heart. We can read the sacred writings and expostulate about them until the cows come home and still miss what our Father is saying (see John 5:39-40) unless we have become like David. God said, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13:22 RSVA). I had to go through a heart change to see the things I share with you in this article. I used to study the Bible to justify myself and to get “ammunition” to condemn others. I soon found that Jesus was right—with the same measure of judgment I was doling out to others, I was getting the same judgment heaped back on me. That heart had to go.
Just what has been on the heart of God from the beginning of time? We see a hint of what He wanted in the earliest writings of the Bible narrative. “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him.’” (Genesis 2:18 NLT). God had made Adam in His image and likeness right down to making him a lonely man, lonely like Himself. “He [Adam] gave names to all the livestock, birds, and wild animals. But still there was no companion suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:20 NLT).
God created man to be His companion. He walked and fellowshipped with Adam in the Garden of Eden. As we read further in the Old Testament, we find Him speaking of a wonderful intimacy that He desired with man:
Go and shout in Jerusalem’s streets: `This is what the LORD says: I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. (Jeremiah 2:2 NLT)
But Israel, the nation He chose to manifest His love for man, was unfaithful to Him and so, undaunted by their coldness toward Him (for Israel had become a harlot chasing after other lovers (see Deu. 31:16, Ezek. 6:9 and Hosea 2:1), He started speaking of a New Covenant with a new people.
This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:32 NLT)
Where the people of the Old Covenant were a people with stony hearts toward Him (thus their commandments were also written on tablets of stone), He would now create a new people and give them new hearts that would be faithful to Him as their Husband.
For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:24-27 RSVA)
Yes, this people would be given a new heart and a new Spirit, His Spirit, and be gathered out of all the nations unto Him as His faithful Bride. God proved that all the law keeping efforts of man were futile. Unless God does a miracle, puts a new heart in each one of us, and puts His Spirit within us, there will be no lasting change. We will continue on as bankrupt lovers, unable to keep our hearts fixed on our heavenly Husband.
This, my friends, is the message of the New Covenant. Our Father has made for Himself a new people with new hearts that long to be with their Bridegroom, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We who are His are caught up unto Him and devoted to Christ as our loving husband, not some religious counterfeit.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:2-5 RSVA)
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:9-10 RSVA)
So many Christians today still have not seen that God makes all things new! We have been given a New Covenant unlike the old one based on the works of the law. His righteousness dwells within us, not our own. We are made perfect in Christ. Why? Because we who believe have put on Christ and He is our only identity!
…for ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as were immersed into Christ, did put on Christ. There exists neither Jew nor Greek, there exists neither bond nor free, there exists neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28 WAS)
As Paul quoted, “it is in Him we live and move and have our being.” There are no longer any walls of separation among us after the manner of this fallen world or men’s religions (see Eph 2:14-15). In Christ we no longer look on one another and think of ourselves in divided terms like Jews, Gentiles (or any other form nationalism or religion). We no longer think of ourselves in class distinctions and social stratum (bond nor free). And here is a big one, men! We no longer think of ourselves as better than our sisters in Christ, because in Christ God has made all things new and all the old divisions and curses that are a result of the fall of man are passed away and all things have become new (notice I said in Christ, not in ourselves).
How does this new found unity in the New Covenant work? What is the life transforming power that makes us not only see one another as new creations (see 2 Cor. 5:17), but that binds us together as a cohesive unit? What makes us the very Body of Christ in unity with Him as our only Head here on earth? In Hebrews we read:
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchiz’edek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. (Hebrews 7:11-12 RSVA – see also Hebrews 8:1-7)
Jesus told us what this new commandment that goes with the New Covenant is. As we see in the above passage, with Christ as our Great High Priest after the order of Melchiz’edek, a new law came. What is that new commandment that Jesus has given us? He said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35 KJ2000)
So now, dear saints, we have come right back to where we started. God requires and also provides us with new hearts and fills them with His love, first for Him and then for one another. This is the love of the Bride of Christ. It is a love for Him and as a result a love for everyone He loves.
If you still cling to the Old covenant law, read Paul wrote:
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10 RSVA)
If you can’t believe Paul, then believe Jesus:
And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 RSVA)
Love! It is a heart issue that God is concerned with in man and always has been, not about the legalistic enforcing of rules and regulations. Jesus warned the judgmental law keepers of 2000 years ago who judged His disciples, “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.” (Matthew 12:7-8 RSVA).
It keeps coming back to love and mercy, not law keeping and condemnation. God is gathering a bride for His Son out of all nations, and she will be madly in love with Him, not focused on her own righteousness. His love is in her heart because her heart is His heart. Her spirit is His Spirit. His commandment to love one another as He loves His bride is her commandment. In this the world will know that we are a New Covenant people, that we have His love for one another. Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly… in us.