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IN TOUCH WITH GOD   by Edward Heppenstall

Fellowship With God FEBRUARY 21


A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another. John 13:34.

Is this a new commandment? John also writes, "Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning" (1 John 2:7). The same commandment to love was given to the children of Israel (see Deut. 6:5). What is meant, then, by its being new?

The New Testament Greek has two words that are translated by the word "new" in the English. One means new in time. That is, it has not been known or given before. The other means "anew, renewed, restored to newness." The second word is used in the scriptures quoted above. The commandment is an ancient one, the same they had from the beginning. But when Christ comes into our lives all things are renewed. We are a new creation (see 2 Cor. 5:17). This is God's way of stating what Christ does when He comes into our lives. We become new men and new women. We are in one way the same person, in another sense we are renewed. So it is with the commandments. Some people would like to replace the Decalogue with a new one, but there is no such thing. It is the same law, but renewed, restored to its freshness in Christ.

This great truth is emphasized throughout the Bible. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; . . . so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Ps. 103:25). God's love and mercy are "new every morning" (Lam. 3:23). They are extended afresh to us every day. Isaiah speaks of the coming of the new earth. It is the same earth that God created, but it is restored to its original purity and perfection.

The Bible speaks of our being "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). Christ redeems us. He restores and renews spiritual life in us. Nothing significant will happen until Christ makes us new. Suppose we have a revival? In what would it consist? The discovery of truth we have never known before? Not necessarily. We should experience spiritual renewal that would make our whole lives new, our homes new, our relationships with people new. This is what God offers us.

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