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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Hearing God

The New Covenant, a New Relationship

The Old Testament saints had to stand at a distance, looking forward to the day when all would know God, "from the least of them to the greatest of them" (Heb. 8:11). In the New Covenant, a marvelous thing has happened. When we were baptized into Christ by the Spirit (I Cor. 12:13), we were joined to the Lord, becoming one spirit with Him (I Cor. 6:17). God effected a spiritual union that has no other parallel in the natural realm. Marriage, perhaps, is the closest type (Eph. 5:30-32), but even that does not give us the full picture of being joined to the Lord. The apostle Paul says it is a great mystery.

This union is the heart of our communication with God. It is spirit to spirit. "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). The union with God that we enjoy by the Spirit brings everything out of the realm of outward types, and into inward reality. This does not mean that God is not concerned with the outward--He is. But everything outward must flow from an inward relationship with God by the Spirit. In this relationship He will speak with us, and take the things of Jesus and make them ours (John 16:15). It is the anointing that will teach us (I John 2:27).

No matter how the Word of God comes to us, in the final analysis we are taught by God only through the Spirit. Apart from the Spirit revealing the things of God to us, we know nothing (I Cor. 2:12). It is important to note at this point that nothing natural will help us here. Read I Corinthians 2 very carefully, noting especially verses 9-12. In verse 9 we read, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard..." The hearing that we now know does not depend on the natural ear. If this were not true, then the educated and wise of this world would have an advantage, and God would be a respecter of persons. But I Corinthians 1:26-31 makes it very clear that the wise of this world do not have an advantage. On the contrary, their natural wisdom often gets in the way, for they tend to glory in what they know, or can do.

Our only glory is the Lord, and in the reality that He has freely opened up the way for all who will come in simple, childlike faith. This new relationship in the Spirit is something that was not known before the cross. We must see this clearly, or we will try to bring the old--that which God has done away with--over into the new. We will be listening with the natural ear instead of knowing by the anointing. We will miss some essential elements of this relationship if we are not careful, and it will seriously hinder our walk with God by the Spirit.