What is the Law Written on Our Hearts?

Law in our heartsSix-hundred years before Jesus came, the prophet Jeremiah spoke of a new covenant that God would make with his people:

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (Jer 31:33-34)

What is the law that God writes on our hearts and minds? Here are three things it is not:

  • It is not the law of Moses. As we saw in the last post, if God wrote the Ten Commandments on our hearts then Jesus died for nothing.
  • It is not a new and improved version of the law. It is not the new commands of Jesus or the New Testament. We cannot please God by keeping a new law any more than we could please him by keeping an old one.
  • It is not the knowledge of right and wrong that was bestowed upon us – against the Lord’s wishes – by Adam.

So what is this law that the Lord writes on our hearts and minds and embeds in our very being?

It is himself.

Let’s look at three things the New Testament says about the new law in our hearts.

1. The law of love

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

Under the old law covenant, love was demanded from you. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” But under the new covenant of grace, love is given to you – “As I have loved you” – and out of the overflow of Christ’s measureless love we are able to love others.

How does it happen?

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Rom 5:5)

God abundantly pours his love into our hearts by giving us the Holy Spirit, a.k.a. the Spirit of Christ. Do you see the difference between the old and new?

  • Under the old, the law was a rule for weak men to obey. Under the new, the Law is the Spirit of Christ given to us, loving us, and loving others through us.
  • Under the old, you loved others because you feared punishment. But under the new, you love because a Lover lives in you and it is his nature to love.
  • Under the old, you had to make an effort to obey. But under the new you have to make an effort to disobey. It’s a whole new way of life.

2. The law of the Spirit of life

It’s important that you understand the difference between the old law (a written code you can’t keep) and the new Law (Christ himself, living in you). Try and live by the old laws, as Paul did, and it make you miserable:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (Rom 7:24)

Paul couldn’t keep the old law no matter how hard he tried. He needed a new law and that new law is a Who:

Who will rescue me…? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 7:24-25a)

Do you see? The old law is a what; the new law is a Who. The old law ministers condemnation and death (2 Cor 3:7-9), but the new “law of the Spirit gives life” (Rom 8:2).

For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:6)

Who gives life? Not a set of rules, but the Spirit of Christ within you. The new law is a Who.

3. The perfect law of liberty

James wrote of “the perfect law that gives freedom” (Jas 1:25), which can be contrasted with the law of Moses that binds (Rom 7:6). What is the perfect law that gives freedom? Well, what is the implanted word that can save you (Jas 1:21)? It’s not the Ten Commandments or the Bible. It’s Jesus, the living Word who sets us free.

The perfect law of liberty describes what Jesus has done (perfectly fulfilled or completed the law) and the fruit he will bear in our lives (liberty) if we trust him.

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. (Jas 1:25)

Look into the mirror of Moses’ law and you will be miserable, for it exposes all your faults. But look into the perfect law which is Jesus and you will be blessed, for it reveals his righteousness.

“Don’t just listen but do what it (the perfect law of liberty) says” (Jas 1:22). In other words, allow the Spirit of Christ to convince you that in him you are righteous and holy. Don’t walk away from the perfect law and forget who you are in Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Look intently with an unveiled face and be transformed into his likeness.

The Law written in our hearts is Jesus

Jeremiah said those who had the new law written on their hearts would know the Lord and would no longer need others to teach them. This is describing your union with Christ. One with the Lord you have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). His Spirit dwells in you and teaches you all things (John 14:26).

Jesus in our heartsThe law of the Lord written into your members is your Father’s spiritual DNA. It is the seed of God birthed in you by the Holy Spirit. It’s Jesus himself.

How do you know he’s there? Because you are a new creation with new hopes and desires. You no longer want to sin. Your desire is to love God and others and that desire has nothing to do with old rules written in stone.

Christian, you are who you are because Christ lives in you. He is the new law written, by God, in your heart and mind.

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69 Comments on What is the Law Written on Our Hearts?

  1. “The new law is a Who.”

    “Don’t walk away from the perfect law and forget who you are in Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Look intently with an unveiled face and be transformed into his likeness.”

    this is a good release of Gods grace! totally worth the wait. God bless you Paul.

    as some other who practice mix or doom and gloom, I was told not to get brain washed by hyper grace.

    if this is what hyper grace is about, how God loves me so much and how Jesus demonstrated that love, i want to be sweep away by His love. all glory to Jesus!

    God has indeed blessed you with these revelation.

  2. The law is not a set of rules but the person Jesus living in us. It’s amazing Paul. Blessings!

  3. Kingsley Adjei // April 23, 2015 at 1:46 am // Reply

    In fact am blessed by this message, these is the kind of message that can change a murderer, a thief, drinkers etc Paul, keep educating us.

  4. bingo,I was hoping thats where you were going,”we love because he loved us first.”

  5. Wonderfully accurately put. God bless. I so hope all who reads this wonderful post, be refreshed, believe and hope in love. “The law written in our hearts,” is better, easier, especially for me these days Paul as I’ve been on a hating spree lately. If it’s not the over bloated egocentric political parties that are politricking now for votes lol it’s also those who harm others. As I read this: “The ruthless human traffickers charging desperate migrants up to £1,300 each to cross the Mediterranean are separating passengers according to race and locking Africans below deck, it has emerged. They were often kept below the deck, deprived of water and sunlight. More than 1,700 people have died making the perilous voyage in the past week alone and those who survive have told of unimaginable horrors on ships, including starvation, beatings and murders. A teenage boy from Somalia said he wanted to be called Ali, after his friend who was pushed into the sea alongside other passengers. “The Libyans who got me to Italy are not human,” he said. “They speak with the gun not with words… they pushed eight Nigerians into the sea. And they pushed my friend into the sea. They all drowned.” telling how he was crammed below the deck with no windows. “They didn’t give us water otherwise we would have to go to the toilet,” he said.
    I imagined killing those greedy murderous lots today. Then you posted this wonderful post; it came just in time.

  6. I don’t want this sad story to take away from the beautiful message. I’m just saying, love is the answer and I cannot produce it in and of myself, it is through the Holy Ghost “for without me, you cannot do a thing,” John 15:5 I said to my daughter today Paul, after reading that dreadful news that Christ really is amazing. He died for all of us and he died for them included, no matter what someone does. Then the hatred I had for them started to subside. I was beholding Christ in his mercy and the Holy Spirit started the transformation. It may be a process for me to see but I have to believe that we already are, the love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and just to behold our beautiful Savior in all his majesty, there is more hope of us being transformed than we trying to do it ourselves. Wonderful post Paul. Pray for me.

  7. Arlene Cavers // April 23, 2015 at 3:21 am // Reply

    Excellent word, very true!

  8. Really enjoyed that Paul…thanks!

  9. I wanted to hit the “Like” button… but I just can’t find it! *aaargh*

  10. Amen!, Paul. I would only suggest the addition of “the law of faith” from Romans 3:27 because benefitting from His gifts of love, justification/righteousness and liberty in Him is predicated on the “law” of faith (believing) in Jesus and the finished work of HIs Divine Exchange – “apart from any works of the Law.” Without God’s grace through the “law” of faith, it is impossible to please or know God. We can’t “see” the evidence of Him and His unseen Kingdom without the the sight of biblical faith from first to last – or appreciate His whole gospel given to Paul as the power of God for salvation. (Romans 1:16-17)

  11. Oh, thank you! This explanation has woven together pieces I’ve been receiving through prayer, studying scripture (along with Hebrew and Greek), and reading commentaries. I’m so thankful to be given this revelation because even as much as I already understood about grace and that only Jesus could and DID fulfill the requirements of the law, I still thought that G-d’s law being written on my heart meant that G-d would embed the ten commandments on my heart. No wonder all the guilt and struggle I’ve still been going through!! Now my struggle will be to remain in the truth that the law written on my heart is Jesus!!!
    Shalom, Paul Ellis, and may The Lord our G-d bless you, your family, and all your readers.
    Janet

  12. Jerry West // April 23, 2015 at 6:03 am // Reply

    Perfect just like God’s love

  13. “Jesus is Gods law written on our hearts” Fabulous ! Fantastic! Freeing words again brother Paul! Thank you! Thank you!

  14. Very well said.

  15. Excellent! You did not disappoint. Already shared it on FB … Everyone should be so happy to hear this good News: the law written on our hearts is Jesus himself!

  16. Stewart Patrick // April 23, 2015 at 10:15 am // Reply

    Yes, Amen. And here’s another thought on this – “The word of God” is most commonly used for describing ‘Scripture’, but it is not. ‘The word of God’ is the living Jesus Christ within me and proclaimed. If ‘the word of God’ was Scripture, then why did the Apostles get into trouble for preaching ‘the word of God’? E.g. Acts 13:44-46

  17. Very good. I like the part that God used to demand love from us, now he gives it freely to us. And the who bit…. i am gonna remember that. You just solved another piece of the Law puzzle for me. Thanks!!🙂

  18. Hi Paul! I’ve been lurking and haven’t commented until now.

    The passage that speaks most directly to this is 2 Corinthians 3. The key verse is number 3: “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, wntten *not with ink*, but *with the Spirit of the Living God”; *not on tables of stone*, but on *fleshly tables of the heart*.” The latter phrase does not refer to the carnal (fleshly) heart, but is in reference to the promise of Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26 that God would take out the stoney heart and replace it with a heart of flesh.

    This clearly states that it isn’t the Law of Moses being written in the heart, for that was carved in stone. Note that the ink is the Holy Spirit, but the words formed by that ink collectively comprise an “epistle (letter) of Christ”.

    (By the way, the works that establishes one’s faith that James speaks of are NOT Works of the Law: One of the works is Abraham trying to perform a child sacrifice of his only Son Isaac, while the other is Rahab betraying her own country by helping the Hebrew Spies. One was a man who died before the Law of Moses was given, and the other did her work while she wasn’t a member of the covenant people. As a former Seventh-Day Adventist, I was taught the Law, and I don’t recall any of those being mandated by the Law of Moses.

  19. This article isn’t very good at all. You should read Dr. Michael Brown’s book, Hyper-Grace. In that book Dr. Brown gives a very balanced approach to how the new covenant believer relates to grace, the law, and obedience. This article by Paul Ellis is unbiblical nonsense.

    “You no longer want to sin. Your desire is to love God and others and that desire has nothing to do with old rules written in stone.”

    Except that the “old rules written in stone” define what loving God and loving others actually is–so the desire to love God and others has at least something to do with God’s definition of love expressed in His commandments. Good grief.

    “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:2-3

      • so there,come on Paul,get your act together, hehere

      • What about Romans 2:15-16

      • “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing now even defending them (Rom 2:14-15).

        This is not a reference to the new law written on our hearts by the Lord; it’s referring to our innate knowledge of good and evil. In fact, that’s what the word conscience literally means; with knowledge. When we do wrong, we know we’ve done wrong. If we don’t have the law of Moses to tell us, then our consciences will bear witness and accuse us. This is why it’s important to have our consciences cleansed by the blood of Jesus (Heb 9:14) and why Paul exhorts us to hold on to a good or clean conscience lest we shipwreck our faith (1 Tim 1:19).

    • Can you explain why Brown’s book contradicts so much of what the Apostle Paul taught regarding the New Covenant? I mean was Brown taught in a classroom somewhere, that he has more revelation about the Gospel of Grace than even Paul who referred to the Gospel as his Gospel? I mean why are 21st century Christians, with doctorates, writing books suggesting they understand the Gospel better than a man whose righteousness consciousness was so strong that even his shadow healed sick people on occasion? There are a lot of believers with degrees who write books who are simply misinterpreting the scriptures. Also ‘hyper grace’ is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard of one. Who can even set a limit or boundaries on the favor of God?

    • ” Dr. Brown gives a very balanced approach to how the new covenant believer relates to grace”.

      You know, David, you make A good point there, combining What Jesus did, with what we do, to earn righteousness does require a balancing act. As a matter of a fact., you have given me a new talking point “works/grace preachers must be very good with selling a balancing act”.

      For me, there is no balancing act. The scales are totally tipped in Jesus’ favor.

      • Those who have ears, let them hear!…..any part of ours would mess things up completely. It takes perfection to make perfection and Jesus is the culmination of the Law and the Prophets. All things hang on those commandments to love God and your neighbor as yourself. That “love” is agape and it is not of this world. It comes straight from the throne of grace and we receive it and then it flows to others. Obedience to the faith(trusting in the finished work of Jesus) is what we are to trust the Holy Spirit to grow in us….we are the branches forever held up by the Vine that is Christ. I can do ALL things THROUGH CHRIST…..not of ourselves, so that no man can boast. We have this righteousness by grace through faith and not because of the good things we’ve done, but because of his mercy. Praise the Lord for the foolishness of the Gospel!

    • umm no what you the way you view grace is is unbiblical nonsense David when are you people going to learn WE DO NOTHING TO BE SAVED OR TO EARN IT THE BIBLE SAYS WE CAN NOT!! its only by Trust in Jesus through Faith that we are Saved not by any other means you need to read your bible some more and put away the other Books maybe that will help you

    • Galatians 3:8 And the SCRIPTURE FORESEEING that God would justify the GENTILES BY FAITH, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand. – The law of Moses was never designed for the Gentiles. Read all of Galatians 3 so you can have a full thought.

    • Dr. Brown is a moralist, not a believer.

    • I am a bit new to this perspective but I would say it has been very helpful as it cleared some of my questions.

      The verse “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” before sounded like a threat to me. Like, I had questions of “what if I can’t obey His commandments?” Then do I not love God enough?

      But through another post, I realized that what if this verse was not a threat but a promise? It’s like God promising us that when we are in Christ, He will give us a new heart, He will write an new law in our hearts. So that I will now be obeying His commandments from the heart. That is freedom, to know that it is not a threat, like I have to measure up to something. It is freedom to know I can live that out, will naturally live that out actually, without having to get high on a score card because Jesus did that for me.

      Indeed if there was still some measuring up to do, as if God’s grace had ifs and buts, then Jesus would have died in vain.

  20. Thank you!! I love the GRACE PLACE!! It is our true “home in Him”.

  21. Paulette C.J. // April 24, 2015 at 12:47 pm // Reply

    EXQUISITELY BEAUTIFUL!!!! ❤️

  22. This post is like gold! We have such treasure in this magnificent promise, and I personally have been savouring it for over a week! This is why!!:
    April 15 – In my journal I made comments from James 1 about meditating, and the mirror of the Word, seeing Jesus reflected, and ourselves as he sees us.
    April 16 – I ‘happen’ to read Jer 31:33-34. THEN read an email devotional on Heb 8:10-11 (coincidentally both the SAME words ‘I will put my laws in their minds…they will all know me”)
    April 17 – I read your blog about the law written on our hearts, & knew this was a treasure trail
    April 18-22 – I waited like those others in suspense anticipating your next blog, with a fair idea of the answer, but which you have articulated so well!
    April 23 – It arrived like much-awaited mail in the box…your comments above! Along with what you say about looking into the perfect law which is Jesus, rather than the mirror of Moses’ law which exposes your defects!! Shudder! …Different focus entirely!!
    (And that’s not to mention the second part of the passage ‘they will all know Me from the least to the greatest!’ – nobody excluded!) Thank you Paul!

  23. Ben fetcher // April 25, 2015 at 1:03 am // Reply

    waaaow… how i waited for this for a whole week,,,, christ is the answer. Thanx Paul. am eager to read the next post. I am new here and am already explosively changed by these. THANX E2R

  24. Love this post. Like a waterfall of Grace… so refreshing.
    The Old Covenant system, of which the Law written on stone was a part, was a shadow of something real that would come later. That something real, the New Covenant, is not a system but a person, a “who”. Jesus is the answer to every New Testament riddle we might wonder about… forgiveness, life, righteousness, sanctification, wisdom, joy, peace, and as you’ve so beautifully written – the law on stone of the Old is Jesus in our hearts of the New. He is in us and we are in him. The depth of which we belong to Him and are loved by Him is so grand that it will take eternity to explore. I’m convinced we’re only able to see the tip of the iceberg from here. Praise God! Thanks for the work you do Paul.

  25. “How do you know he’s there? Because you are a new creation with new hopes and desires. You no longer want to sin. Your desire is to love God and others and that desire has nothing to do with old rules written in stone.

    Christian, you are who you are because Christ lives in you. He is the new law written, by God, in your heart and mind.”

    We no longuer want to sin…and how does the bible define sin…1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgreseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
    We don’t keep the commandments of God to get saved, we keep them because we are saved.
    John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandmets.
    John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shal abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

    • No one can keep the old law of commandments. Therefore if you are trying to keep them you are still under a curse. The law kills; the spirit gives life. Those who are in Christ Jesus for imputed righteousness are not under law. Declared righteous forever by what Jesus did by reconciling us to the Father. We are sons and daughters who can never be ‘cast out.’ Sin has it’s own punishment as virtue has its own rewards. The sin that separates us from God is unbelief. We reap what we sow. We have been ‘justified FREELY’ but that doesn’t mean we no longer have the flesh to contend with.

  26. I’m beginning to realize the fundamental difference between the Old and the New Covenants is that the old is contingent upon what men do (which is always a recipe for failure ) but the New Covenant contains NOTHING of what men do but is in it’s entirety what God does: see Jer 31 and Hebrews 8
    It’s all what God will do and nothing depends upon what man will do “This is the covenant I will make with them… I will… I will …I will”
    Praise God the new covenant is entirely Gods “I will” and not man’s! Why it will never fail!

    • That’s precisely it, Barry. I actually have a post coming out soon (next week?) entitled, “What makes the new covenant new?” I think you will like it.

  27. Excellent.

  28. Good post, Paul!

  29. Great post Paul.
    how about doing a post on obtaining a better ressurection, your thoughts please.

  30. Since the advent of ISIS I’ve been full of murderous rage against Islam and fear for my country (not the US). I don’t feel peaceful, or loving, or any of the many other qualities of a saved person. I would very much WANT to love God, but doesn’t even know how that works or feels like. He seems to be so inconsistent and weak in the face of evil, or simply my ups and downs. I am tired of hearing all the rose-tinted Christian stuff from people with an income, a Christian wife/husband, a family and politicians/an army to protect them.

    • So is your faith in what the Lord says in the Bible is true…or are you putting your faith in governments and their ability to protect you? Psalm 91 doesn’t come with a caveat, that it only works as long as you have a strong government. And have you ever considered how many Christians, came from real humble beginnings? Or do you think that we are all trust fund babies? Might be time for you Nele to take your gloomy tinted glasses off and realize that many Christians are where they are today because they believed God’s Word. Why can’t the same happen to you? Or do you think that God is limited by your country, government or ISIS or any little evil group? And yea I wasn’t born with Abraham’s silver spoon in my mouth. I’ll tell you what though, since you mentioned it…my fiancés, my income was completely turned around when I learned to TITHE and sow offerings out of revelation. The same can be true for you Nele.

    • Where are you Nele? You sound like a believer in Christ? You can’t just throw bombs like that and run away from the claims that you’ve made about the veracity of God’s Word? Step up brother. You’re not challenging any believer on here…you’re actually challenging the Lord on whether what he said in the Bible is true or not. And if Father Abraham could leave home and whip 4 heathen kings, THANKS TO THE LORD giving him and his 318 untrained servants the victory….I don’t want to hear about Al-Qaeda or ISIS or anyone, being a roadblock in the Lord’s word coming to pass. Step up SON of God.

    • Prayed for you Nele, not sure what circumstances you are in, but Jesus is able to deliver you, don’t lose hope. The Gospel is not we loving God. but God loving us and He wants us to believe and rest in His love, which was demonstrated at the cross.

    • I sympathise with Nele’s predicament: the New Testament plainly warn us that we will be persecuted, and there are no mitigating factors promised at all, just “run if you can, take it on the chin if you cannot, and die for MY glory!” To say that “Jesus will be with you during your suffering” ignores the doctrine of Jesus’ physical body being physically present with God the Father, located “only God knows how many” millions of light years from this planet. I have a poor father image from my dad, and this physically real “aloofness” and distance doesn’t help my image of Jesus, who comes across as “when the going gets tough, you’re on your own”. The only member of the Godhead that I have a sincere respect for, and very deeply love, is the Holy Spirit, who I know is in my spirit and heart, and thus is actually here, in the dirt and mud and sin and pain with me and everyone else. Beyond the Spirit, I can’t honestly say that I truly “love” Jesus or God the Father.

      I’m sure you, Paul, have blogged about persecution and suffering, and sorry about the wierd angle I’m coming from, but could you provide a link to those posts?

      • Gilbert // May 8, 2015 at 7:36 pm //

        love this…bless u Paul

      • The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Christ. Jesus is now at the Father’s right hand, far above all principalities and power only because He is carrying us in Him. We are always and forever in Christ. He is also there for us as our righteousness, holiness before God always and forever. and so we are accepted before God forever and close to our Abba Father forever.

      • To John, May 12, 2015: Perhaps I have not made myself clear. The members of a Syrian Christian church is lined up against a wall by the ISIS terrorists that Nele is fretting about and are shot dead. Question: Does Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead, FEEL THE PAIN? Does he feel the bullets tearing through their bodies, the agony of their deaths? Does he say “ouch!”? Does he, or does he not? Literally and actually? What about the Christian in the United States dying of terminal cancer, wracked with pain that can’t be relieved with painkillers? Does the Physical Jesus physically feel his pain, or doesn’t he?

        If he *actually* does not, then all this talk about being “one with us” and “feeling our pain” is on the same level as the church member who James castigates for saying “Go your way, be warmed and be filled”, without actually doing anything substantial (James 2:15-16). Really, is it too much to ask Jesus to step up to the same standard being asked of us?

        Honestly, I don’t know if the Physical Jesus actually and physically feels the pain, although my suspicion is that it gets shunted to the cross in a divine form of “I paid at the office”. What I DO know is that the Third Person fo the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, DOES feel it, being one spirit with us. however, the James 2:15-16 issue remains, although my suspicion is that part of the problem is that we are believing wrongly about the Holy Spirit.

        A more pertinent question regarding persecution: Does OUR PERFORMANCE while being persecuted determine our salvation?

    • I believe many are deceived by what the word ‘love’ means. Love does not tolerate wrong to himself or his neighbors. Self-defense is a god-given right. Only those living under the old covenant law were not to defend themselves against the Romans because God’s plan was to take place as prophesied. We are not living in the old covenant world/age but should seek justice for all people. Killing those who kill is jusifiable homocide.

  31. Brian Midmore // May 8, 2015 at 8:26 am // Reply

    Laws written on stones or hearts is a metaphor describing the change from a Jew who is one outwardly to one who is one inwardly. Rom 2. 28-29. The one who has God’s laws written on his heart fulfills the law v 27. Love is the fulfilment of the law and Jesus is the Goal of the law. Do we make void the law by our faith. No, No, No, we fulfill it. Rom 3.31.

  32. Kathy Falk // May 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm // Reply

    This blog, and the one preceding it, finally gives an answer that makes sense to me! I have been asking everyone what this law is that is written on our hearts, and I have received two main answers: (1) the moral law of Moses and (2) the Law of Christ which is “Love the Lord with all your heart…” Neither one of these satisfied me, because both are laws which we cannot keep. There is one thing I question, Paul, and it is this statement: “Under the old, you had to make an effort to obey. But under the new you have to make an effort to disobey.”It is the second sentence which I have some trouble with. Would that it were true! In a way, I understand, because I no longer desire to sin. But I still struggle with some sins, like overeating, which I surely don’t have to make an effort to do. Could you give me your reasoning behind the statement?

    • Hi Kathy,
      You should know that I write some things without thinking. I get in this groove where the words just flow and later I look back and I am surprised by what I wrote. This was one of those times, but I kept the phrase because it felt right to me, even if I had never heard it before. But now you’ve called me out on it and I have to think about it. My brain has to figure out what was resonating in my spirit. So here goes…

      Under the old covenant we kept the law in the power of the flesh – our own strength, resolve and understanding. But in the new we’re to walk in the Spirit, a walk which is characterized by restful trust. When we don’t walk in the new way of the Spirit but the old way of the flesh, we are relying on our own effort again. This is why I say the law is hard work, but genuine faith is a rest. As for overcoming sin, aren’t we supposed to reckon ourselves dead to it? There is nothing more effortless than being dead.

      To quote Jim Richards, “All lasting change is effortless. If change comes about by our efforts, then that change will last only as long as we put forth the effort. The moment we stop putting forth the effort, the change we made will stop.” What is hard, though, is changing our thinking, which is why the Bible exhorts us to strive and make every effort to enter his rest (Heb 4:11).

      • the example of dead that stuck with me was by Jesse Duplantis, he said you can do what you want to a dead man cause he’s DEAD, KICK HIM, SHOOT HIM, DRAG HIM AROUND,HE DONT CARE,CAUSE HE’S DEAD.

      • I find this post helpful but still I’m finding it hard to grasp that our life in Christ is all of God’s doing, like what a comment above states. Hopefully, I would get to understand it eventually. If it won’t be too much to ask, could you elaborate on this? Because I’m also thinking that we respond to something initiated by God, which somehow leads me to thinking that we have a part to play as well, but that it starts and ends with God.

    • I agree with you. We still have the flesh and it’s desires to contend with. It’s a battle of mind over matter.

  33. Very liberating! Thank you God for giving us your beloved, one and only Son Jesus! I am set free from slavery to obeying, and now a joyful follower of you Jesus, your beauty, love, peace, and rest!

  34. Paulette Dumas // August 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm // Reply

    The law of Christ does bring about keeping the 10 Commandments. According to Romans 8: 4 it says the righteounsess of the law might be fulfilled ( brought about) in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.Also when you love God with all your heart, soul and mind you will automatically keep the commandments according to the bible. Grace of God thru the Holy Spirit is the enabler. The law of the Spirit is all you mention but it does not make void the 10 Commandments. The law of circumcision, and animal sacrifices is voided and done away with because it was a teacher to show us Christ and to let us know that we need a savior.

    • Check out Deuteronomy 4:13, 9:9 and compare it with Hebrews 8:8-13. Just that comparison totally changed my original thoughts about the 10 commandments.

    • I find that Christians who share your thoughts are similar to flying trapeze artist that will not let go of one swing (law) to sore freely on the next swing (Christ/Grace/Spirit). Instead they are dangling in the middle above the net with one hand on both swings. It’s simple: the law (10 commandments included) is for the lost world, the flesh! Saved, born again, resurrected people have something much better – Jesus! God, himself, living in us through His Spirit! It’s not that the law is “void”; it’s just that as we grow in Christ, the law becomes more and more unnecessary and irrelevant as we live from a new source – Grace and all that flows from God’s love for us. When people say that Grace and the Spirit empower us to keep the law – they are implying that the goal is to live according to the law. So sad. Grace and the Spirit of Grace are ours to FREE us from the small life of the flesh and it’s bondage to the law, so that we can live a BIG life of LOVE. Until we let go of the law, the best we can do is imitate a Spirit lead life…. God wants us to experience the real thing – Enter Jesus into the world!

      In love,
      Jason

      • Hello Jason, I find great truth in all these letters I have read, & as you said the law is not void, as Jesus clearly said till (heaven & earth pass) not one jot nor tiddle will pass from the law. So it seems for all a great juggling act on how & were does the law fit into the Grace & all have there opinions.. I read he’ll place the laws in our heart, What laws? If yo love me keep my commandments & they are not burdensome. Yes it is all done through his spirit in us, not from external worldly self, I must, for by Grace I am saved not any act I preform nothing I do can bring me closer but what I do reflects his life in me.
        I liked you message but it seemed to elude away from the commandments, (which do not save us) but reflect God in us, Perfect Love fulfils the perfect law.

  35. Another great post!

    Always wondered how I’d know that He is in me & I am new. And here I find the answer:

    “How do you know he’s there? Because you are a new creation with new hopes and desires. You no longer want to sin. Your desire is to love God and others and that desire has nothing to do with old rules written in stone”

    Was “living” the answer all along (new hopes and desires, no desire for old self and just want to love/peace), just never knew “the changes” was an indication of Him being in me. I am pleased. It feels like I can now “move-on” and grow even more, I kind of got “stuck” in a zone, because I was unsure.

    Thank You Lord.

  36. Brent Hillenga // February 26, 2016 at 7:01 am // Reply

    Is it any wonder why the first tablets were broken by man (so was perfect creation) and the second tablets were hewed out by man but written by the hand of God. It is a picture that only the God/Man, Jesus Christ, could fulfill the ‘old’ and then usher in the new. He is the pinnacle for all civilization. The Trinity enters a person (John 14:17,23) in the new creation (1 Cor. 5:17) which is the spiritual birth (John 3:3) and then we are supernaturally joined together with the the Lord in a spiritual union. (1Cor. 6:17) I also feel the true rest (sabbath) for man is to “come unto Me all you that labor and heavy laden and I will give you rest” and that can be any time of the week for any period of time because you are living with the Eternal One. Thanks for adding these thoughts Paul as there is no other way that we could ever experience going glory to glory in 2Cor. 3:18!!!

  37. The church is not Israel. This verse is speaking about the nation of Israel (vs 33 should have been a clue). The letter written to Hebrews (Israel) is to them, that is why it is called “Hebrews”. And the Hebrews understand that God is making a new covenant with them, where the laws are now fulfilled in Christ (Gentiles never had the law). They are no longer bound in covenant where they fail to keep the law (Heb 8), but are now in covenant with Christ and the law fulfilled in them. Therefore God is just to remember their sins no more.

  38. brother in christ, God bless u so much, i realy love ur post

  39. Stuart Smith // May 26, 2016 at 10:39 am // Reply

    Dear Paul,
    I am in Oregon, USA. In the course of writing a book on reckoning in Romans 6:11 I came upon your blog with much delight. I love your following statement, as it is precisely on point with my own understanding of the believer as a new creation in Christ:
    How do you know he’s there? Because you are a new creation with new hopes and desires. You no longer want to sin. Your desire is to love God and others and that desire has nothing to do with old rules written in stone.
    Christian, you are who you are because Christ lives in you. He is the new law written, by God, in your heart and mind.

    The Holy Spirit changes our desires so we learn to hate sin and adore Jesus Christ. If you have the time, you can check out some of the free pages now available on the Amazon site. The title is Dead to Sin, Alive to God.
    I will soon have a website up that will include my ongoing exposition of the book of Romans.

  40. thank you

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