From heart of stone to the Spirit

Though sounding so great a mystery, that is the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ

GOD commanded light to shine out of darkness. Though sounding so great a mystery, that is the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ. Let us look at how this unfolds in setting captives free. We know that leaving the traditions of the Old Testament to the true worship under the New Covenant can be very challenging for those who have not accepted the Grace of God or the finished/accomplished work of Christ.

Scripture is clear through the mouth of Jesus in Luke 5:39: "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new; for he saith, the old is better." There is a nostalgic pull. However, diligence is needed in handling this. It can be understandable for someone naturally born a Jew to struggle to transition from tradition to life in the Spirit. However, it is mind boggling to see the Gentile world forcing themselves to bondage of the Law never meant for them spurning the gift of salvation.

The Old Testament itself had already pointed us to the New Testament in Ezekiel 36:26: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh." As you can see, it is God the Father who says, I will. The Doctrine of Christ, the Gospel of Christ, the Grace of God, the Glad Tidings of our Lord Jesus Christ or the Good News of Jesus Christ does not rely on our performance for us to be saved or born again.

It is unmerited, undeserved, unearned and humanly unattainable favour. We are not signatory to the New Covenant. God would not put success of such precious promises in the hands of humanity who could wake up one day on the other side of the bed. He knows what happened in the garden of Eden. By divine foreknowledge, the New Covenant is between God the Father and the Son and we are called to enjoy by simply receiving and accepting the Gospel of Christ.

In talking about the switch from the Old Testament to life in Christ, Apostle Paul uses strong language in Philippians 3:8: "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."

He calls his obedience to the Mosaic Law dung. The Greek transliteration says feces. Let us look at his resume in the Old Testament. We read Philippians 3:4-6: "(4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more; (5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

In his obedience to Law, he was blameless. That is not a light confession. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:20: "For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Apostle Paul would pass this test.

After receiving salvation by grace through faith, he said all this was loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. He says in Philippians 3:7: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." Real circumcision is of the heart. We have repeatedly stated on this platform that real worship under the New Covenant is spiritual with no physical elements whether they be water, oil, bands, salt, wine, bread or anything tangible but of course we are not removing the physical Bible.

He warns us in Philippians 3:2: "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision (mutilation)." This is strong language. We should be careful not to follow heretic teaching that advocates reaching out to God the Father through elements. True worship is of the spirit. Philippians 3:3 reads, "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit (Spirit), and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

Jesus had told us in John 4:23-24: "(23) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

Apostle Paul's focus was Jesus not laws written on stones. He continues in Philippians 3:9: "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." This is the true righteousness not of human effort or works.

Apostle Paul is the same who wrote Ephesians 2:8-9: "(8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast."

You would do yourself favour by reading the whole of Philippians 3. I close with Philippians 3:16: "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."

This debunks Philippians 3:12: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." The high calling of God in Christ should fully persuade us from entanglement to the Law.

Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.

  • All Bible quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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