Ed Ross' Joy In The Darkness

Mining For Gold

    Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel… , I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:31-33;

     A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes… Ezekiel 36:26-27

     After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood… 1 Corinthians 11:25.

     …you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 2 Corinth 3:3

Ed RossJesus, as he instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Table, identified the cup not only as representing his blood, but said that it was the New Covenant in his blood. This terminology does not come out of a vacuum. The term new covenant would have been known by anyone familiar with the Old Testament prophets. Through Jeremiah the Lord said, I will make a new covenant with them… I will put my law in their minds and write it upon their hearts. Through Ezekiel he declares that He would give us a new heart and put His Spirit in us. Jesus is first introduced to us by John the Baptist as the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.[1] Christ’s teaching consistently points us to the heart as that which needs transformed.[2]  He tells Nicodemus that he must be born again by the Spirit.[3]  He promises to send his Holy Spirit to dwell in them, and by that reality his people will have the communion of the Father and the Son.[4] On the day of Pentecost Joel’s prophecy, according to Peter, is fulfilled as the Lord anoints all his people with his Spirit, not just prophets, priests, or kings.[5] ‘Christ in you’ becomes the hope of glory for every believer.[6] They are all taught of God [7] and the truth sets them free.[8]

Paul clearly expounds the New Covenant as he insists that to be a true believer is to have truth written on the heart by the Holy Spirit in place of the letter engraved in stone.[9] Despite his authority as an Apostle, he instructs Timothy to consider what he said, and the Lord would give him understanding.[10] The writer of Hebrews twice quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 as being fulfilled in the reality of the New Covenant believer.[11]

If we miss the clear implications of this we miss everything. The entire dynamic of one’s relationship with God is totally reversed in the New Covenant.  This covenant is no longer an external document. Truth is no longer a set of external commands that we try to obey or to “internalize,” even with the “help” of the Holy Spirit. Our hearts have been fundamentally changed in regeneration. Christ, the Living Truth, is in us and we in Him. We know that we are His children because He has given us His Spirit.[12] His Spirit bears witness with our spirit.[13] His Spirit teaches us all things.[14]  Out of our inner man is to be flowing rivers of living water.[15]  We with joy are to draw water from the wells of salvation.[16] We are no longer to just “reflect” light, but to shine the light from within!

So, we might ask ourselves, “Is the written Word of any value to us in the New Covenant? If the truth is in us can we throw away our Bibles?”  Not at all!  The Word of God  continues to be indispensably precious to the child of God.

To illustrate, consider a gold miner going into a mine to extract gold. The first thing he needs is light. In the mine there is gold, but there are also dirt, rocks, water, bats, and snakes. He needs the light to discern the gold. Now for the believer, there is the precious gold of truth engraved upon the heart. But, not yet being glorified, he must still deal with the deceitfulness of the flesh. There are remnants of the world that still lie in his heart and darken his understanding.[17]  He needs light to see light.[18] The Holy Spirit uses the light of the scriptures to reveal, to expose the gold. And when the light hits the gold it shines brightly and appears precious to the believer. The Word of God also acts as the assayer of truth. The assayer examines the gold to make sure it is real, and of what quality; and in this mine there is an infinite mother load!

I am afraid too many Christians are applying old covenant dynamics to their new covenant life. They still view the truth of the scriptures as the external gold which they must labor to get into their hearts. Does the miner go to the assayer to get gold to put into the mine so that he can take it back out? Must we fill the well of salvation with water that we might then draw water from it?  The light of, and the testing by the Word of God is absolutely essential. But it is Christ in you who is the substance and reality of the New Covenant.  He is more precious than gold, and from Him flows out life and light to the glory of the Father. Child of God, the truth is written upon the heart!

“Thar’s gold in them thar hills –  so mine, baby, mine!”

Lord of the Mine,,

May we strike it rich every day!

Still diggin’,

Amen

_______________

References:  1. Mat 3:11 2. Mat 5:28; Mrk 7:21-23   3. John 3:1-16  4. John 14:16-18, 23  5. Acts 2:14-21; Joel 2:28-32;   6. Col 1:27  7. John 6:45; 1Thess 4:9   8. John 8:32  9. 2 Cor 3:3-18  10. 2Tim 2:7  11. Heb 8:8-13; 10:12-17  12. 1John 3:24  13. Rom 8:16; 14. 1John 2:27  15.  John 7:37-38  16. Isaiah 12:3  17. Rom 10:17; 1Pet 1:23  18. Psalm 36:9; 119:130

© 2010, 2015  E.J.Ross III,  Springwood Publications.

About Ed Ross
Ed Ross has been pastor of Springwood Chapel in York, PA for over two decades.  He and his wife, Lynna, have three grown children (a son and two daughters) who are all actively involved in the church and/or missions work. Having attended Millersville University (PA: 1969-1972), Maranatha Baptist Bible College (WI: 1977-1980 ), he received a bachelor of theology from International Bible Institute & Seminary (FLA). He was first ordained into the ministry in 1980, at which time he and his wife began an Independent Baptist church, remaining there for eight years. Ed has been bi-vocational at times, working in supervisory and management positions in the quality and manufacturing engineering fields. He is actively involved in missions work, having spent significant time teaching among the amaZioni peoples of southern Africa. Ed has written numerous tracts and pamphlets, and currently publishes Kingdom Challenge, a weekly e-devotional. He has also served as a city police chaplain for a number of years, and enjoys writing music/poetry, hiking, and traveling with his wife.