By Tyson Thorne

January 11, 2018

We are nearing the end of our seven part series on the seven editions of divine law. Today we examine the sixth edition, which is written on our hearts. As we discussed a couple episodes ago, this compares to the second edition of divine law, our conscience. While these two may appear to be one and the same, they are actually quite different. The heart leads a person to make decisions while the conscience convicts us of bad decisions after the fact, prompting us to make things right. The writer of Hebrews understood this difference when he wrote:

"For whenever the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things required by the law, these who do not have the law are a law to themselves. They show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend them, on the day when God will judge the secrets of human hearts, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus." — Hebrews 2.14-16

So God's law is visible in nature, in Jesus and in the lives of believers, and is written on the hearts of all people, in the conscience of all people, on the tablets of Sinai and in the Scriptures. According to Biblical tradition (both Jewish and Christian), the Law is divine in origin and good, yet limited. Like a school teacher, it shows us what one must do, but does not provide the strength to do it. Because of our sin — which it cannot remove — it became a law of bondage. Even so, the Law remains the first leg on the journey to the kingdom of God. It prepares humanity with conviction of sin for conversion to faith in God and his Messiah.How is the Law written on our hearts? The Old Testament prophets did not have this edition of the law. Indeed, they prophesied about a day when the law would be written on the hearts of men:

“Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord. “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people. — Jeremiah 31.31-33

This edition of the law is special, for it brings with it not only conviction, but the strength — through the indwelling Holy Spirit — to obey it. When the Spirit of God seals the believer for the day of redemption, the seal is placed upon our heart and that seal is the divine law (Ephesians 1.13)The power of God's law has been seen and felt from the first day and continues through today. The empowerment of the law, and the revealing of the law has been progressive over time. What God revealed in nature, was made clearer in the person of Jesus, and clearer still in the written Word, our Bible. Our duty to the law, besides obedience to it, is to make it clearly visible in our own lives. This is no easy task for many. In Western culture it is uncomfortable to reveal our hearts. Yet if the divine law is written on our hearts, then share our heart we must!