What does it mean to live in the New Covenant? It is more complex than I will say here, but here are some points to ponder.
The Old Covenant was one where the Jews were called to follow God by obeying certain rules. One of the rules was that all men had to be circumcised. This was a sign that one was in covenant with God. In addition, they agreed to perform certain sacrifices, and to live pure lives. In exchange, God would bless them, and even reside with them. He resided in the Arc of the Covenant and in the Temple.
As we see in the Old Testament, the people did their best to live out the covenant, but in the end, because of sin, they were unfaithful. Thus, the prophets spoke of a new covenant, one in which the law would be written in our hearts. One that would convert our stony hearts, and empower us to live a life of freedom from sin.
Jesus came to institute this new covenant. He fulfilled the laws of old, and gave us the tools needed to live a life in conformance with the laws that remain – love of God and neighbor. It may sometimes seem like Jesus’ mission failed because sin still rules us to some degree, but this is not the case.
As with the Old Covenant, God resides with us. Once we are baptized, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his new temple, our bodies. It is no longer one human trying to live up to the standards of the law. No. It is about us striving for compliance and, at the same time, allowing the Spirit to bolster our efforts. It is about working with the Spirit to disentangle from sin, and to live more holy, Christ-like lives. It is about sacrifices of praise as preached in the Psalms. It is about trusting in the Spirit to lead us and guide us to more fulfilled lives in our times.
When we walk in the Spirit, we find ourselves more fully loving God and neighbor because we are in an ever deepening union with love itself. We experience greater gratitude and joy. We are led to humility, and the joy of being weak before a God who wants to provide everything for us.
Spend some time in prayer today, and reflect on your life in Christ. How is your walk with the Spirit? Do you allow him to guide you to a life of more joy and compliance with the law? Say a prayer asking him to show you where you can improve in your faith walk, and be open to the answer he provides. He promises you a life free from sin, but first, you must surrender to him so he can heal you of all things that hold you back from living a more Christ-like life.