It seems there's increased criticism of Christianity and church the past decade or so. Some of it may seem justifiable based on an oft-quoted saying attributed to Gandhi, "I love your Christ, but I dislike your Christianity."
As with many cultural trends, great liberty is taken with some truth, then opinions get mixed in and are seasoned with a measure of ignorance.
The quote appears to be a distillation of Gandhi's thoughts where a veteran missionary to India acknowledges that the example of Christians may not match the life and nature of the One they claim to follow.
But, in a sense, all of this misses the more important issue. Christianity may be a major world religion, but its originator—Jesus Christ—had something very different in mind.
Christianity is not just a religious dogma or philosophy to follow or believe. Jesus always intended for His followers to be in relationship with Him by faith.
If nothing had been wrong with the first promise, no one would look for another one. But God found something wrong with his people and said to them,
“The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new promise to Israel and Judah. It will not be like the promise that I made to their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of Egypt. They rejected that promise, so I ignored them, says the Lord. [vss 7-9]
But this is the promise that I will make to Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my teachings inside them, and I will write those teachings on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will each person teach his neighbors or his relatives by saying, ‘Know the Lord.’ All of them from the least important to the most important will all know me because I will forgive their wickedness and I will no longer hold their sins against them.”
God made this new promise and showed that the first promise was outdated. What is outdated and aging will soon disappear. [vss 10-13]
(Hebrews 8:7-13 GW) [Context– Hebrews 8]
I will be their God, and they will be my people
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What does God say is coming and why does He say this?
How What did God find wrong with His people (Israel)? What did they do?
What are two important things we are told about this new promise of God?
How is this new promise better than the promise of the Old Covenant Law?
The Christian faith is too often minimalized to a prescribed moral code and acceptable behaviors, but that's a religious regimen, not faith.
The Old Covenant or Mosaic Law, inscribed upon tablets of stone, was a relationship with God based on required obedience to specific moral, civil, health, and religious or spiritual laws. Great blessings were promised by God for those who kept this covenant promise.
But His people failed to keep this covenant. So God established a new promise and a new relationship through Jesus Christ.
Jesus established this new promise by giving Himself as the perfect sacrifice upon the cross and guaranteed it when He rose from the grave. It is a personal promise based in relationship, not in obedience or good behavior. It is a relationship of faith, confident trust.
This new promise is called the New Covenant (or Testament). It replaces the Old Covenant Law because it is better and more powerful and more personal. It is written in our heart, our inner being, rather than on tablets of stone.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
Do you understand the difference between the Old and New Covenants?
Are you aware of how different relationship by faith is in contrast to religion?
Can you see how much more personal this new relationship with God is?
Have you personally experienced the Spirit of God writing the truth of God in your heart?