In the Old Testament, God said here’s the laws, keep them. But as we all know, we couldn’t do it on our own. So he instituted the feasts and sacrifices to purge us of our sins. The law is vital: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’” (Romans 7:7)
But even during the time before Christ, God reveled his intentions: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
Now we don’t keep the laws to get to God, to establish a relationship with him. We keep them because we love him and because God has come to us and put inside of us his law. We are saved, loved and now we obey. Our obedience is possible because he has written his law in our hearts and “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5) The Holy Spirit spurs us to want to obey the law and then gives us the grace to obey the law. He changes us from the inside out. It’s the ultimate behavior modification. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12, 13)
As we read his word, as we worship in our churches, as we pray in our homes, as we walk out his commands, our minds are being changed by Jesus. He is recalibrating us to God. You will find that the more you walk with him, the more sin isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Your heart will change and you will find you want to obey him. Not for the simple fact that you will be a good person. But because you are in love with the one that gave his life for yours.
God has given us a new nature and God’s ultimate desire—and the end result of the New Covenant, of Jesus’ death—was to have a personal relationship with everyone. He wanted to be the one teaching us his law and his way. I often see this at play. I will come off the stage and meet someone that was in the service. And I love it when they tell me God has been telling them the same thing all week long. We have the same Lord and Holy Spirit and he is teaching us all.