If ever there were a people who would be transformed by the renewing of their mind, it would have been the Jews. They had the Word of God. They memorized it. They meditated on it. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest they tried really hard to obey it. But, they did not obey.
God’s people lived in community. If ever a people were to be transformed in community, it would have been God’s people, the Jews. If ever there were a tight-knit community of people who were trying to follow God, it was the Jews.
If ever there were a people who would have been transformed by worship, it would have been the Jews. The details of the worship they experienced were meticulously prescribed by God and carried out by God’s people. The temple worship was worship like no other. They experienced worship where God wrote the order of service. Yet, they were not transformed.
They were in community. They had the Word. They had worship. They had the discipline of God. They tried really hard. Yet, they were not transformed.
What was missing?
Is anything different today? What hope do we have of really living transformed lives if in the Old Testament we read of 2,000 years of mostly failure to live godly lives?
Much in every way. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV2011)
Get your hopes up! Abundant living really is possible. Get your hopes up, joy is available! The Kingdom of God is come. Joy to the world!
How is this possible? How is it possible to lay hold of the John 10.10, abundant Christian life? If for 2,000 years God’s people tried and studied Scripture and participated in the temple worship and all the rest, and were largely unsuccessful, how are we able to live this life?
The forgiveness of sins through the cross is part of the answer. But, Old Testament saints also enjoyed the forgiveness of sins. They didn’t have the privilege of understanding exactly how God would deal with their sins, but if they believed by faith that God would forgive, they were forgiven. I ask again, what is different now?
Perhaps it is the teaching of Jesus. That certainly helps. Jesus was the greatest teacher to ever live and His teaching is invaluable in transforming our thinking so that we can be changed. But, there is more to Christian living than trying really hard to follow the teaching of Jesus. What is different now?
The Holy Spirit.