Ever wonder if God’s Spirit has left you? Find confidence in God’s faithfulness and in His love for you, in this short teaching. In this article we will quickly take a look at some of the differences in man’s relationship with God under both the Old and New Covenants.
Psalm 51:10-11 (ESV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
A tension that can be seen in the scriptures is easily visible in these two passages. One scripture the author writes “take not your Holy Spirit from me.” The other passage quotes a word from God saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” In the Amplified version of the bible it reads, “Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” Wow! God is trying to get a point across here in this passage from Hebrews, when He says it THREE times, “I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you“! So why is there such a large difference between in the message between this Old Testament passage and this New Testament passage?
Whenever we study the word, we must rightly interpret the scriptures. The best way to do that is to follow these five Bible interpretation rules:
- Know who was speaking
- Know who they were speaking to (ie. Jews, Gentiles, or Born-Again Christians)
- Know when it was written (Before the cross, or after the cross)
- [Know the context] Ask yourself “is the way I am interpreting or understanding this passage agree with surrounding scriptures?”
- [Know the context in relation to the big picture] Ask yourself “is the way I am interpreting or understanding this passage agree with the whole of scripture?”
Another thing to take into consideration when studying the word is that although all the scriptures are true, not everything that was said about God was true. Not everyone who was recorded in the scripture of speaking about God and who is He is, was necessarily accurate. “Why?” you might ask. Because people are people, and people are imperfect. A New Testament passage says this, “and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” (1 Cor. 14:32 ESV). Meaning that the Holy Spirit working through a prophet is subject to that man or woman’s imperfections. Prophets communicate something they see or hear by the Spirit in the best way that they know how, and sometimes their best isn’t always the best. So we have to study the word to see the bigger picture and understand the nature of God and his plan in a better way.
Some things to take note of about this tension we see in the scriptures, is that the first scripture is pulled from the Old Testament while the later scripture is pulled from the New Testament. Under the Old Covenant man was in a sinful fallen state, because of Adam’s original sin. Man’s spirit by nature was separated from God because of sin. But God still wanted to be a part of mankind’s life. The Holy Spirit under the Old Covenant would rest upon man’s flesh, His presence would accompany them or appear to them, but He was not within man because of man’s fallen condition. Because God wanted to bless His people even though their spiritual standing was broken, He set some rules for man to follow. If they followed the rules, in the strength of their flesh, the blessing could rest on their life, if not the curse would take over. We see this written in Deuteronomy 28. This was the reason for the sacrifices under the Old Covenant. The relationship between God and man under that Old Covenant was based on a Law or a contract.
Under this Old Covenant the people did not want to lose the blessing of the Lord. They wanted the blessing to work in their life. So they were always mindful of it. They never wanted the Spirit of God to leave them, or depart from them. When the blessing was removed, sickness, disease, poverty, and lack moved in. That was not something anyone wanted.
We see that when the priests under the Old Covenant went into the Holy of Holies, they tied dried-out Pomegranates to their ankles. When they walked they sounded like rattles. They also tied a rope to the priest. Why? Because if he had any sin in His life when He entered the presence of God, He would drop dead. When the people on the outside heard the rattles stop, and possible thump on the floor, they would pull on the rope to retrieve their sinful friend!
Under the New Covenant Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice that covered all of man’s sin, past, present and future. He made a new and living way that wiped out the sin nature. While the Old Covenant was based on the Law and works of the flesh, the New Covenant is now based on Grace and Mercy. Under this New Covenant, we are no longer in a contract relationship with God, instead we are in a “father – son/daughter” relationship, we are family. God accepts us and loves us not because we deserve it or because we’re perfect but because of our faith in Jesus.
As sons and daughters, the Spirit of God now dwells within man’s own spirit. We see this all throughout the New Testament, particularly in John 3 when Jesus said, whatsoever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Children of God have a spirit that is born of Holy Spirit, we are new creatures in Christ, we are no longer separated by sin, we are reunited and restored by the Spirit of God indwelling. Under these circumstances we can rest in God’s promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Not too mention what Jesus also said about Holy Spirit taking up permanent residence in us as recorded in the Gospel of John.
John 14:16-17 (ESV)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
We don’t have to live in fear like those under that Old Covenant. We know that He is with us, and will remain with is forever. Now, that does not mean “once saved always saved.” Although He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, that does not mean we cannot leave Him. He promised not to leave us, but if we play around with sin too long, eventually it can lead us down a path that separates us once again from God. No, outside force can separate you from God, and He will not separate Himself from you, but you can separate yourself, because you have been given a free-will.
The Law was all about man’s performance. Grace is all about Jesus’ performance and man’s faith. You cannot mix the two. Yet many Christians are still trying to bring the old way of doing things under an Old Covenant, into this new era of Grace and Mercy where faith is the only way to connect with your salvation.
If you have not received Jesus as Lord, and you have not known Him as a loving, and faithful friend and saviour, you can today. Just call on His name in faith and ask Him to be your Lord. He is just waiting for you to turn to Him, so He can show you His great love for you as His son or daughter.
Pray this prayer with me today.
“Heavenly Father, I come to you today. Turning from my old way of life, I choose today to lay aside all of my sin, and I ask for your forgiveness. Jesus, I turn my life over to you today, and I ask you to be the Lord of my life. Teach me how to walk in your ways, and how to follow you in this life. Help me to find my God-given purpose, and fulfill your plan for my life, in Jesus name, Amen.“
If you prayed this prayer, please let us know by contacting us today, we would love to talk to you and help you to grow spiritually in your faith journey. You can contact us by visiting our Contact Page. God-bless and have a wonderful day in Him!
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Pastor Jesse Knight has served for close to 18 years in ministry. He has a vision for awakening in Canada and a heart for God’s people, including pastors and the local church. Pastor Jesse has worked with multiple churches, traveled as an itinerant minister and traveled nationally and internationally teaching and preaching the kingdom.