Hebrews 12:18-21 describes how God originally gave his law. It is a frightening description. Even Moses was trembling because of his fear.
God gave his law then to people who did not want to obey him. He wrote it on tablets (solid blocks) of stone (Exodus 32:15-16). Perhaps he chose stone to show that his law never changes. But stone became a word-picture for the hearts (attitudes) of people who refuse to obey God (Ezekiel 11:19). Like the stone, their attitudes never change.
We cannot change ourselves, but God can change us (Mark 10:27). We cannot make ourselves into the people of God, but God can do it, by his great kindness (1 Peter 2:9-10).
And that is what God did in his new covenant. That is, the new relationship between people and God, that Jesus established.
Hebrews 12:22-24 describes the new covenant, and it is a wonderful description. God has brought about the kind of relationship that he always wanted to have with his people. It is the kind of relationship where people love him with their whole hearts (Deuteronomy 6:5). In fact, they love him with every part of themselves. And they show their love for God in all that they do (Mark 12:28-33).
Such a relationship cannot be something that we achieve by human effort. Only God could achieve it, by means of Jesusí death on the cross. But we must have the right reaction to his kindness. We must not refuse Godís invitation (Hebrews 12:25). We must accept him into our hearts and lives (John 14:23).
Next part: How do Christians know God? (Hebrews 8:11)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.