About two years ago I became acquainted with Christian Quakerism through the writings of the founder, George Fox. The first work I read was, Some Principles of the Elect People of God Who in Scorn Are Called Quakers. In it, Fox writes,“The same Light makes manifest the Saviour from whence it comes, And makes manifest Christ to be the Covenant of Light and Life through which you may come to have Peace with God.” The Light Fox speaks of is the Light of Christ within the believer. I was caught off guard by the idea that God’s covenant was Christ within. Vaguely, I thought of the covenant as an agreement out there in the metaphysical ether. The Spirit bore witness to what Fox said but I honestly didn’t have a reference for his concept of covenant.
While I was sitting with the Lord the other night, Fox’s words returned to me. I began thinking about Christ within being the covenant as opposed to some contract written…somewhere. The Lord brought to mind Hebrews 10:16–“This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws on their hearts and write them on their minds….” This is a clear statement of Christ, the covenant within. The law was the old covenant, the agreement written on stone tablets which laid out the obligations between God and man. Saying the law is written on the heart is covenant language. I had read this verse (and the verses in Jeremiah which are quoted) a hundred times. But I still conceived of the covenant as some sort of spiritual contract rather than the Person of Jesus in me.
The old covenant was a contract on stone we had to adhere to. The new covenant is Jesus living in me. Under the old, I approached God by my works and sacrifices. Under the new, Jesus is my approach; He is my connection to the Father. God and man maintained the old covenant by adhering to mutual expectations. Jesus, the God-man, maintains the new covenant because He fulfills both sides. He is God’s provision to man and man’s provision to God. This is the One I am in, who is also in me.
Another verse the Lord brought to mind as I considered these things was Ezekiel 36:26-27: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.” Again, covenant language is used here. God’s people follow His statutes and ordinances by a new heart and by the Spirit within. The promised covenant consists in Christ the new heart, Christ the Spirit in people.
I hardly know how to explain this shift in perspective or why it’s so significant to me. I hope the Spirit is able to do what I am not and make this plain. I only know that as God reveals His Son in me, I see the scriptures and God Himself in a new light—the light of life (John 8:12).