The Old Testament has many helpful and pertinent things to say about God’s best for us—shalom, or the way God originally intended things to be, how to walk with God and in wisdom, and God’s nature and character. However, while God never changes, He did change the contract by which He relates to mankind. A line was drawn in the sand through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection so that things are now very different.
The problem with the old way is that after showing us our sin, the law offers no real solutions. Unfortunately, many of God’s people seem to think Jesus is for their salvation and the law is to guide their relationship with God. This is not supported by Scripture (see Romans 7:4, 6:14, 6:7,10:4; Galatians 2:19, 3:25).
As a follower of Jesus, my relationship with God is not defined by my behavior. I am not walking with God based on behavior or a set of rules to act as a compass, guide, or help toward spiritual growth. We are called to discover a personal relationship with God based on unconditional love, resulting in acceptance and the opportunity in the newness of being adopted and the freedom that the Spirit leads us into. As Paul writes in Galatians 5:18: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
We put off the old self, no longer seeing ourselves as we once were. We see ourselves as we really are—new creations in Christ. We begin to want to put on new ways of behaving and being so that we are increasingly being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
We are transformed through the joining together of the Word and Spirit when we learn to behold who we really are (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). And, when we present ourselves in humility to God as living and holy sacrifices (see Romans 12:1-2). This is how the world sees and experiences the reality of Jesus through us. We are not called to behave a certain way to become something we are not. Through oneness with Him, God invites us to know who we already are in Christ and to think and live accordingly.
Click here to learn more about the book Radically Restored to Oneness with God: Embrace the Relationship with God You Were Made For by Peter McHugh.