The New Covenant is the most important truth about living the real Christian life that almost no one knows about. It runs counter to most of the teaching and assumptions Christians have about being a better person, doing the right thing, being holy, being religious, pleasing the Lord, living the victorious Christian life and I’m sure a host of other good things we could mention in the same breath — all wonderful things — all totally beyond the reach of any one of us. The problem is, we don’t know they are beyond our reach, so everybody just keeps on trying, and the longer someone works at this, the more frustrated they get. The problem is, we all think there must be someone somewhere for whom this is working. We all even think we know someone like that even though we can’t quite recall the person’s name. Somebody, somewhere has got it all together. Just not anybody I know.
What I’ve described here is what I would call Old Covenant Christianity. It’s pretty much the way we all start out because it’s based on what is naturally human. It’s basically up to us to produce the successful Christian life. Sounds like a book title doesn’t it? That’s because there are probably hundreds of titles that sound just like that and you’ve probably heard them all.
So what is the New Covenant and how do we reactivate it? For that matter, when was it first activated so we can reactivate it? For that, we go back to the beginning of the church as we are doing with everything else. Remember after Jesus ascended into heaven, all the believers went back to Jerusalem? And what were they doing there? Waiting. That’s because Jesus told them to wait. Wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Imagine what that must have been like waiting for what you don’t know. What will it be? What will it look like? Have you seen anything? Imagine what a disaster it would have been if they had tried to start something on their own before the Holy Spirit came?
But of course when Pentecost came, there was no doubt. The church began in power, and the promise of the New Covenant was fulfilled. No longer were they to try and be religious — to try and obey laws written on stones — now the law was written on their hearts. Now the Spirit of God was alive in them and they had no need to wonder about what they would do and say because the Spirit would direct them and give them the words to say. From there it was an adventure to find out what the Lord had for them next.
Imagine the early Christians getting together to discuss one of the disciple’s new books on Successful Christian Living. Not! They were living it every day! The Spirit was alive in them, and they were listening to Him and counting on His power.
It is no different today. We have the same Holy Spirit; we have the same New Covenant; we have the same adventure. They didn’t really know what they were doing, they just showed up.
Indeed, showing up is one of the two important things about the New Covenant that we need to remember. One is: Everything from God and nothing from us. God is the one who works in and through us all to conform us to His will. And the other is: Show up. If the Holy Spirit is alive and working in you, all you need to do is show up and step out in faith and He will activate you.
When you get a new cellphone, you have to call your carrier to have it activated. We already have the Holy Spirit. Call on the Lord and have the Spirit reactivated in your life.
Then count on Him as being there, and show up!