And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
By Gary Wilkerson
The Old Covenant consisted of a set of rules that said, “If you do this or that, God will give you life, but if you don’t, you’ll miss God’s blessing.” Of course, the people constantly fell short of God’s standard because his law was holy, and as a result, their lives were dogged by guilt and despair. When God gave us his New Covenant, however, he did not set up a new system with a new set of rules. Instead, he sent us a person.
God’s Old Covenant did not need to be changed in any way because Jesus himself came as the covenant — the blessing of grace! As the embodiment of the New Covenant, he shows us the impossibility of our ability to keep God’s law; in fact, his first act of ministry on earth was to make God’s law even more difficult for us. He did this in order to show us how we could never keep it without his grace and power.
In what is commonly known as The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke regarding the commandment not to commit murder: “Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22). He did the same regarding adultery: “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (5:28). But in this same sermon he explained what it looks like to walk as his followers and live a life of blessing and victory.
Under the New Covenant, God’s law was no longer an external standard to strive for. Instead, his law would be written on our hearts, through the Holy Spirit: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). We are filled with the Holy Spirit — the very life of God himself — and because of his great gift, we are enabled to live for him without guilt or shame.