“‘…I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more'” (Hebrews 10:16-17).
Earlier in chapter eight, the author of Hebrews began an extended discussion of the New Covenant based on a portion of Scripture from the book of Jeremiah. Now. our author will close that discussion with a reference to that same passage from Jeremiah 31:31-34.
You see, one primary aspect of Hebrews 8:8 to 10:17 involves a focus upon God’s internal work within us under the New Covenant. However, we can also find many examples of the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of other individuals throughout the Old Testament period as well. Some of those Biblical personalities included…
- Balaam (Numbers 24:2).
- Saul (1 Samuel 10:10).
- Azariah (2 Chronicles 15:1).
- Othniel (Judges 3:9-10).
- Gideon (Judges 6:34. We’ll read more about Gideon in Hebrews chapter eleven).
- Jephthah [Judges 11:29. We’ll also see more of Jepthah in the following chapter of Hebrews as well).
- Amasai (1 Chronicles 12:18).
- Jahaziel (2 Chronicles 20:14).
- Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20).
- Ezekiel (Ezekiel 11:5).
So how do we reconcile God’s Old Covenant work in the lives of these individuals in light of the New Covenant? We find the answer in something that they all held in common. In each of these examples, we’re told that the Spirit of God “came upon” those men to equip them for a specific work or ministry. Unlike the internal work of the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant, the Spirit came upon them in a manner that empowered them to complete a specific task (or tasks).
This represents an important difference between the Old and New Covenants. The difference is that we are not simply empowered to perform a work for God under the New Covenant. Instead, those who accept Christ by faith are recipients of a new internal nature according to the promise given to us in Jeremiah 31:31-34. That new, God-honoring internal nature serves to influence and empower our internal decisions and external actions each day.
The following passage from the New Testament epistle of Galatians underscores this idea…
“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).