When it’s all you’ve known, you can’t really appreciate how it might be any other way. It’s kind of like trying to explain water to a fish (if you could explain such things to a fish). All they’ve known is water. It’s what they were born into, what they breath, that in which they live. If a fish were able to cognitively process such stuff, you’d still have a pretty hard time explaining to them what it’s like to live on land and breath air. Not many reference points, really. It would be pretty hard for them to get it. Unless of course, you took them out of the water, tossed them onto the beach, and said try living now.
But why, you might ask, is he talking about explaining water to a fish? Did he not get enough sleep last night?
I’ve been reading again in Hebrews 8 this morning and noodling on the wonder of the new covenant.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For He finds fault with them when He says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant . . . For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
(Hebrews 8:7-12 ESV)
The new covenant is the water to this fish seating in this chair. It’s what I was born again into. It’s all I have ever breathed since being brought into life from death. It’s the only way I’ve known to live as a child of God. Hard for me to really understand being “the people of God” any other way. Pretty hard for me to fully imagine what it was like to try and do life under the old covenant and honestly, I’m so used to being in water, that I almost never think about any other way of doing life, and life to the full.
What was it like to live under, “Obey and be blessed. Disobey and pay the price”? Don’t really know. Like I said, I was born again into the water of the new covenant.
I live and breath a reality dictated by an unconditional promised based on a once for all finished work which is sealed and sustained by an ever present Helper.
A Helper who puts God’s law into my mind, and writes His ways on my heart. All the while, reminding me that I have been adopted as His child forever. That God has purposed to be my God. And I, through no merit of my own, will be His people.
Because of His sovereign determination and His thoroughly, saving deliverance, while I may need instruction in fully understanding how to live in water, I don’t really need anyone to say to me, “Know the water’s Provider.” For because of the Spirit of God in me, I know the God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. Deep, deep within, I know Him, because of this water, this better covenant in which I live and breath.
Sure, I know what it is like to live outside of Christ, but that was in a state “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel,” a stranger to any covenant of promise, “having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). But as long as I have been with God, ever since I’ve no longer been a stranger, it has always been under the new covenant, the better covenant mediated by a better High Priest enacted on better promises (Heb. 8:6). That’s the only way I’ve known life as a child of God.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13 ESV)
In Christ Jesus . . . that’s my water. That’s the spiritual ecosystem this fish swims in. One founded on a better promise, one made possible by a better sacrifice, one perpetuated by a better, and more reliable, active agency, the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Oh, what a salvation!
Let us breath deep of the water of His grace.
Let us keep swimming by the indwelling Power He has provided for His glory.