Tell me what you think about this (from one of my favorite pastors, Dr. Ray Ortlund at Christ is Deeper Still):
“For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Behold, even today while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord. How much more after my death!” Deuteronomy 31:27
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
Moses ministered the old covenant. Paul ministered the new covenant. The difference is obvious. Moses looked at his people and said, “You sorry bunch of rebels, I’ve had to watch you like a hawk. And the moment I die, I know what’s going to happen. You’re going to run from God so fast . . . .” Paul looked at his people and said, “Sure, you have problems. But I’m not worried about you. In fact, you don’t even need me around any more. God is at work in you, and you’re going to be just fine.”
As a pastor under the new covenant, it is not my job to manage other people’s sanctification for them. They don’t need me to do that, nor am I qualified to do that. They do not need negative scrutiny; they deserve confident encouragement. Should problems be addressed along the way? Sure. But the main thing to communicate is new covenant confidence. God is at work in them.
I, frankly, agree with Dr. Ortlund on this point. The question I have is:
Does this seem to run against the current of some of what we’ve been hearing?
I’m not trying to stir something up (other than a good discussion). I think that maybe more thought and attention is needed to just what is the difference between the Old and the New Covenants.