Journal Heb 8 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “…Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the Old (Covenant) as the Covenant he mediates is better (since it is enacted on better promises). For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second…
For he finds fault with them when he says:
Behold days are coming (declares the Lord), when I will establish a new Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not like the covenant that I made with their fathers….
For this is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days (declares the Lord):
I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, “Know the Lord”, for they shall ALL know me (from the least of them to the greatest); for I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Excerpts from Heb 8:6-12
Observation: What are the characteristics of people covered in the New Covenant vs. the Old?
Analysis: What does a believer look like?
The Writer of Hebrews makes a biblical distinction, using the words of the prophet Jerimiah. Doing it that way makes it an objective statement (the Word of the Lord) rather than a subjective statement (the word out of my mouth). The reference is a statement of Judgement, both Evaluative (critique) and Criticizing (disapproving).
There is such a difference in “man-pleasing” or “eye-wash” religious conduct and “word-burning in minds and heart” conduct. This stuff can’t really be evaluated from the outside by man, but only from God (who sees the heart). However, most folks can use the smell test and get a clue. Remember the story of the Pharisee and the tax-collector at Temple…
Whether I can tell about someone else (or not) is not the question concerning this scripture; it is being fiercely transparent to the face in the mirror AND to others.
The “and to others” is as important as transparency in confession to the Holy Spirit. I think it is like this: I can be transparent to the Holy Spirit because I can’t escape His holy notice. However, I can continue to fool those around me UNLESS I confess my faults—including what I know about my heart—to others. It is humility in baseline action—the LEAST of what I am accountable for before Him.
I blew my top at my wife this afternoon. I lost all semblance of self-control. I became the poster-boy of why I need the Gospel daily because that one outburst (without the Gospel) consigns me to the Wrath of God against Sin.
I am crushed still. I HATE sin. I desperately want what Jerimiah prophesized that His Law will be my heartbeat and will be written on the stony tablet of my heart. This must be the desire of hearts. It is why I must acknowledge the Blood of Jesus for my sin every day.
Prayer: Why, o why, dear Lord, do I go through the dance of putting one step forward and then two steps back? Sounds like the hokey pokey.
Father: change my heart so that my conduct (both seen and unseen) is pleasing to You—not for purposes of acceptance, but for the only reason that I want You to be pleased with me. AMEN