THE OLD COVENANT—A FAILURE
We have to look at one passage carefully. Hebrews 8:8-9 says, "For finding fault with them He says, ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, and I will consummate a new covenant upon the house of Israel and upon the house of Judah, not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.’"
How did God establish His covenant with the children of Israel? He did so by taking them by the hand. It was something outward. The laws were written on stone tablets. They were outward. The result was that the children of Israel did not continue in God’s covenant, and God did not regard them. God’s commandments are one thing. Our obeying is another. The result of that whole experiment was a failure.
THE NEW COVENANT WITHIN
Now let us look at the second covenant. Hebrews 8:10 and 11 say, "For this is the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will impart My laws into their mind, and on their hearts I will inscribe them; and I will be God to them, and they will be a people to Me. And they shall by no means each teach his fellow citizen and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all will know Me from the little one to the great one among them."
Now the law is put within man. It is no longer inscribed on stones, nor is it recorded merely in the Bible; it is written upon our hearts. What is the good of having the law put inside of us? Ezekiel 36:27 says, "And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Please note the word "cause." It is a strong word in the Hebrew language. The result of God’s putting His Spirit within us is to cause us to be able to obey His ordinances and walk in His statutes.
Under the old covenant, man had to struggle to obey God’s commandments. Now the Spirit of God is in us. He causes us to obey. Hitherto God gave the commandments, and we supplied our own strength for their fulfillment. Now the commanding One is God, but the supplying One becomes God also. After resurrection, Christ came into us to become our life. The result is that we are enabled to fulfill God’s commandments. This is the gospel. Christ’s sufficiency has become our ability. Because Christ is living for us, all the problems are solved.
I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST
I turn the question now to you. Have you given up hope in yourself? Are you still trying to improve yourself and reform to a better status? I have completely abandoned any hope in myself! I am crucified on the cross. My goodness and wickedness alike are terminated. Now everything is Christ. This is the only way. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Do you believe that God has crucified you? Do you believe that your old man is nullified and that Christ is in you? If so, you have to substantiate all these facts. Then you will be able to say that henceforth it is Christ living in you.
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 14, by Watchman Nee)