“Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” (Hebrews 10:8–9, KJV 1900)
Often, when I was in management or leadership positions, I would ask employees to do something. Sometimes, they would do what I wanted, but reluctantly. It was like they did not want to do it, but would do it anyway and only because I ordered them. It was kind of like a teenager telling the parent, “Ok, whatever.” Yet there were other times when the employees were fully on board and obeyed because their hearts were in it. I could tell the difference in their attitudes. One type of obedience was purely an external exercise the other was through an inner desire. Which one do you think pleased me the most?
The author of Hebrews ascribes to Jesus a quote from Psalm 40:6-8, which he wrote in the preceding verses (v5-7). He indicated that when Christ came into the world, He recited this portion of the Psalm and then indicated Christ added, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” The Psalm from which the author quotes put it this way. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: Yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8, KJV 1900). God desires obedience from the heart, and His Son, Jesus, came with a heart purposed on doing the His will.
Jesus is the only one who perfectly obeyed the Father from the deepest part of His own heart’s desire. The sacrificial system of the law had unfortunately deteriorated for many or perhaps most into a form of externalism without heart. People did what the law demanded, but it was with the wrong attitude of heart. It was kind of like the teenager saying, “Ok, whatever.” The efficacy of the sacrifices under the law were only temporary, but even this temporary efficacy was nullified by attitudes that were contrary to the purposes of God. God desires heartfelt obedience over sacrifice.
Jesus set the example for true faith. True faith is something that works in the heart rather than the intellect. Oh, people can know what they ought to do and then legalistically do it. However, what God desires is obedience from the heart. In Jesus’ case, it meant going to the cross and shedding his blood. This He did because of His heart’s desire to obey. As a result, He initiated the New Covenant and did away with the Old Covenant. His sacrifice was efficacious because of the purity of His obedience.
We, who have truly believed have entered this New Covenant. It is a covenant that guarantees the believer so much. We have the promise of eternal salvation because of Christ’s obedience. We should be thankful. Moreover, we should examine our hearts to see the purity of our faith. Do we obey God without the devotion of the heart? If our hearts are not in our worship, can that worship be effective? If our hearts are not in our service, will our service be what God desires? We should spend some time examining our heart’s devotion to God. If we find ourselves wanting, we can seek Him in repentance, knowing that He is faithful to renew and restore our hearts toward him.