My Laws In Their Hearts- Hebrews 10:15-16
As we continue in our study of Hebrews 10, we come upon the conclusion of the first section of the chapter. The author has thus far expounded upon the once for all nature of the sacrifice of Christ, and how that sacrifice provides for the sanctification of the believer. The term sanctification refers to the believer’s being set apart unto Christ, both as a point at which the believer is sanctified once and for all in their identity, then as a process, in which the believer is sanctified in a lifelong process in their behavior. In verse 15, we find the writer stating that the “Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this”, meaning here both that the Old Testament bears witness to the believers sanctification (in the passage he quotes in verse 16) and also that the indwelling Holy Spirit will also bear witness to the believer regarding whether or not his life is bearing the fruit of the Spirit, is becoming more Christlike. The verb “testifies” here is used in the present tense, pointing to the ongoing nature of the testifying, of the continual work of the Spirit in the process of sanctification, of His continual reminding the believer of when they have come short of what Christ would do. We then find, in verse 16, a quote of Jeremiah 31:33, which refers to a “New Covenant”, one which would come in place of the Old one. The covenant is mentioned here in the context of sanctification, for the reference is to laws to follow as members of the covenant people, and not with how to become one of the covenant people. The change in covenant here, then, refers to a new means through which the Lord would lead and guide His people in their interactions with the world around them. The previous covenant provided laws and rules to follow, it featured an external guidance system written on tablets of stone, providing specific rules designed to deal with specific situations. The New covenant would no longer function this way, for while it does not make the “laws” of the Old invalid (it is still wrong to steal or commit adultery), but expands on them, and the way in which it does so is given in the OT quote of verse 16, His laws are first put “in our hearts”. Now the word heart used here has a rather wide range of meaning, but (due to the mention of the mind in the second part of the quote) here likely refers to the deepest innermost desires of a human being. It is likely used here in a way very similar to what Jesus did in Matthew 6:19-21, in which he tells us that where our “treasure is, their will our hearts be”. What we treasure is what is most precious to us, what we desire above all else, and the New Covenant brings the believer to the place in which he or she desires to do the will of God above all else. This new desire would, however, remain incomplete without the second part of the provision provided by the New Covenant,that He will take His laws and “write them on their minds”. Having given us the desire to do His will, He also gives us the means to know His will, and He does so as we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). Our minds are renewed as we interact with the Word of God, and our thinking begins to line up more and more closely with His “laws”, we begin to think more like Jesus thought, and as a result, begin to do more and more what Jesus would do. So we will now conclude this post with a plea to every believer, to all who claim the name of Christ, to spend more and more time interacting with the Scripture, for it is only as we do so that we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and conformed to the image of Christ, that His laws will be our minds and in our hearts.