MidWeek Message (Apr 29-May 5)

Midweek reflection by pastor Shawn:

A headline in the Washington Post today read, "The alleged synagogue shooter was a churchgoer who talked Christian theology, raising tough questions for evangelical pastors". (Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/05/01/alleged-synagogue-shooter-was-churchgoer-who-articulated-christian-theology-prompting-tough-questions-evangelical-pastors/ )

Horrifically, a young man walking into a synagogue in California and opened fire, killing one and wounding 3 others. This is a morally disgusting act, one that, in the USA, has become something we're at risk of growing numb to hearing about every few days. But there's an aspect of this story that should especially catch our attention as church people. From the story: "[He] appears to have written a seven-page letter spelling out his core beliefs: that Jewish people, guilty in his view of faults ranging from killing Jesus to controlling the media, deserved to die. That his intention to kill Jews would glorify God."

How does a seemingly devout member of a Christian faith community get radicalized into white nationalism? It's simply too convenient to try to detach his church background from his anti-Semitism that led to his heinous, sinful, murderous act. Whatever details emerge about this story, nothing will change the fact that the church didn't seem to make clear to him that racist hatred was incompatible with biblical Christianity. In fact, he seems to have laced his letter with relatively uncontroversial Christian teachings. Now, I very much doubt that his church would teach anti-Semitism. But I also wonder: if his church found out about his racist views, would they have started the process of church discipline—with the son of an elder—in response (Matt. 18:15-20)? Would the evils of racism even be part of the conversations they have? Would it even have come up? Did his church shape him to know that the Christian gospel demands anti-racism from us as part of our discipleship?

Anti-Semitism is a strain in Christian history, one that must be called out, repented of, and rebuked. Martin Luther, for all his contributions to Christian theology and to the church, has some writings that are disturbingly anti-Semitic. You can trace a direct line from his anti-Semitism to the propaganda that led to the Holocaust. This needs to be named, rebuked, and repented of.

Theology matters. What we teach and preach matters, and what we remain silent about matters.

MidWeek Message (Apr 22-Apr 28)

In October 1994 Moody Memorial Church in Chicago hosted a lively and important debate between two scholars with very different views of the resurrection.[1]  William Lane Craig of Talbot School of Theology and John Dominic Crossan of DePaul University debated about the historicity of the person of Jesus in the Gospels.

 The debate moderator opened with these words:

 The uniqueness of the scandal of the Christian religion rests on the mediation of revelation through historical events. Christianity is not just a code for living or a philosophy of religion. It is rooted in real events of history. To some people this is scandalous because it means that the truth of Christianity is inexplicably bound up with the truth of certain historical facts. And if those facts should be disproved, Christianity would be false. This, however, is what makes Christianity unique because, unlike other world religions, modern man has a means of actually verifying Christianity’s truth by historical evidence.[2]

Well, that set the terms for the debate.  And things quickly focused in on the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.  For Crossan the resurrection is a metaphor but not an historical fact.  Metaphors bear some truth, he claimed, but that does not mean that they must be based on real things happening in history.  He said that the Christian notion of the resurrection of Jesus may have come from visions or hallucinations or from beliefs springing from reading the Scriptures, but not from evidence in history.  Craig’s response reconfirmed his interest and expertise in the resurrection as a defensible historical fact.  He gives an excellent case for the resurrection.  I won’t repeat it here, but if you’re interested, it’s easy to find.   But what Craig effectively uncovered is that for Crossan, the absence of an historical resurrection makes no difference to his understanding of Christianity.  For scholars like Crossan, the resurrection simply does not matter.  It’s just a useful myth. 

But can we really call the resurrection nothing more than useful myth?  It’s noteworthy that this one event, this one claim to history, becomes the most objectionable.  Easter claims that God has acted in history.  What happened that Sunday long ago can be viewed as reliable basis for belief.  Christians believe in a God who acts in history and those activities must be taken as serious disclosures of his revelation to humankind.  Now, there is a very strong case for the reliability and surprising trustworthiness on the Gospel records.[3]  We are historically removed by 2,000 years, but we have amazingly strong testimony of the eyewitnesses.  John’s reliable account of the resurrection gives so many details.  The empty tomb, the placement of the burial clothes, the nature of Jesus’ resurrected body.  This is no fantasy.  This is a real man who can talk and be touched.  Divine events really do happen in history.  Frankly, the evidence is not lacking.   Believing it is reasonable. 

[1] Full transcript in Copan, Paul, ed., Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Debate Between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).

[2] Ibid, p 24

[3] For example, see Richard Baukham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

MidWeek Message (Apr 15-Apr 21)

Midweek reflection by Rev. Ruth Lemmen:

Last week, our Lenten small group practiced lectio divina with Matthew’s account of the crucifixion. Some of the details that Matthew includes are three hours of darkness, Jesus crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, Jesus giving up his spirit, the curtain of the temple tearing into two, an earthquake with rocks splitting, and the bodies of holy people coming back to life. The centurion and others guarding Jesus were terrified. Many women who followed Jesus were watching from a distance.

As I imagined it, it seems like a scene from a horror movie. A dark sky in the middle of the day. Jesus’ anguished cries. The massive curtain that protected the holiest of holies, the place where Jews believed God dwelled, torn in half. The ground shaking beneath everyone’s feet. It must have been a disorienting, terrifying day.

And yet, in the middle of the terror, there is profound hope for us. Jesus hung on the cross and cried out the first line of Psalm 22: “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In pain and agony from bearing the sin of the world, Jesus lamented that this world is not the way it is supposed to be. He was hurt, betrayed, lonely, humiliated, abandoned.

The world is still not the way it is supposed to be. We also face hurt, betrayal, loneliness, humiliation, and abandonment. And despite the ongoing effects of sin in the world, we do not suffer alone. Hebrews 4 explains that Jesus is able to empathize with our weaknesses because he has been tempted in every way, just as we are. Jesus knows the agony of physical pain. Jesus knows the heartbreak of betrayal by a close friend. Jesus knows the loneliness of being deserted by his community, even those who had promised to stay with him no matter what. Jesus knows the humiliation of being bullied and mocked. Jesus knows the injustice of an unfair trial and systems that worked against him. Jesus knows the terror of feeling abandoned by God.

Because Jesus suffered on our behalf, we are not left alone in our suffering. Even when we feel that God has forgotten us, Jesus has experienced that pain. In this Holy Week, we remember Jesus suffering. We sit with it, even as we want to skip ahead to the joy of Sunday. I think sitting with the pain is a spiritual practice, even if we aren’t in particular pain right now. Sitting in the pain of Holy Week strengthens our spiritual muscles to wait in the pain with others who are suffering and to face our own pain honestly. We know that Jesus’ death is not the end of the story, and even Matthew drops a hint that death is not the end with the mention of dead people who came back to life. We live in a time of already-and-not-yet, when we will face pain and suffering, and we know that we do not face it alone, because Jesus hung on the cross and cried out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

MidWeek Message (Apr 8-Apr 14)

Midweek Reflection by Pastor Shawn:

In any story or narrative, you're supposed to feel and think certain things. For example, in most every romantic comedy, we as the audience are supposed to really want the couple to end up together. Or in an action movie, we're supposed to cheer when the bad guy gets his. We're suppose to identify with the protagonist and see ourselves as belonging to the 'good guys' in the story.

This is how it normally works in a narrative. So much so, that it's very powerful when that convention is overturned. For example, in the film "No Country for Old Men", (SPOILERS AHEAD!) the monstrous serial killer gets away. And not in a, "oh, they left a cliffhanger to set it up for the sequel" kinda way. No, in that film, evil prevails. Good loses. And it's such a jarring bucking of storytelling convention that it stuck with me for weeks after I first saw it. It made me probe and poke around at my expectations and moral assumptions about the world.

In the gospel reading for this Palm Sunday, we have another overturning of narrative convention, this time a theological one. We will read about Jesus' trial and execution. In this story there's a crowd that, in spite of Pilate's very reasonable pleading, demands that Jesus be killed. Now, we as the readers of the gospels are keenly aware that he is innocent, and so their cries for blood cut through to us. "This wicked crowd, demanding the death of an innocent-and the Son of God, no less!" We've figured out that Jesus is the good guy and these shouts come from some of the bad guys.

But then we are supposed to realize that there are many bad guys in this story. The Jewish leaders. The Roman leaders. His cowardly disciples. The crowd. And then something important should happen: we realize that in this story, at this moment, we actually aren't on team Jesus. Suddenly a loud voice emerges from that crowd, and it's ours. We're in the middle of it.

We realize that our sin cries out "crucify!" louder than the mob that day.

And then we realize that we are reading a most unconventional story.

MidWeek Message (Apr 1-Apr 7)

A few days ago, one of my children asked me, “Is God a man or a woman?”  She explained that she’s noticed how we use the pronoun “he” to talk about him and that we speak of him as the father.  So is God male?  It’s a good question, especially for a girl who’s starting to notice and push back against the patriarchy in her world.

Many have been wounded and oppressed by patriarchy, and far too often the failures and pains caused by earthly fathers can distort our understanding of our heavenly father.  And so, in some contexts, to call God “he” or “Father” might not sit comfortably.

Let me say very clearly that the abuse of women and the elevation of men is an ugly reality.  It runs through human history, starting when things went wrong in the Garden of Eden, and many today have the scars to prove it’s still alive and active.  So when our Bible calls God “Father”, what should we do?  Should it embarrass us?  Should we edit it out?  Should we replace it with “Mother”, or maybe with some other term like, “the One”? 

Well, I think answer is to use this conversation as an opportunity to reflect on what we’re doing when we speak about God.  The Bible uses both masculine and feminine language for God.  And that’s a big deal.

Sometimes Scripture speaks of God as a mother bird who protects and shelters (Ruth 2:12; Ps 17:8; 57:1; 91:4).  It speaks of God as a mother bear who ferociously protects her children (Hos 13:8), and as a human mother who comforts and nurtures (Isa 66:13; 49:15).  These and many others like them are clearly metaphors.  But likewise, pronouns like “he” and words like “father” are used metaphorically to speak of God.  God is beyond gender.  God is not male, but we can use masculine language to help us faithfully and truthfully speak of God, even though we quickly bump into the limits of human language.  God is not female, but we can and should use feminine imagery to help us faithfully and truthfully speak of God, who is yet always beyond our full understanding.  We must be careful not to confuse the reality of God with our limited, creaturely language of God. 

In the ancient world, ‘mother goddess’ cult worship was a liability for God’s people.  It was common in that world to use fertility, sexuality, life, and health in religious worship of various mother goddesses.  This is an idolatry that turns nature into the divine; it turns motherhood into a god.  In that context, it was not misogynistic for Scripture to avoid calling God “mother”.  Actually, the use of the language of Fatherhood for God along with the feminine imagery for God points to something radical—God’s utter transcendence over nature.  God is neither male nor female because those are creaturely things, and God is the creator.  Human words and concepts are all we have, but we must always be mindful that God cannot be held captive to them.  

MidWeek Message (Mar 25-Mar 31)

Midweek Reflection by Pastor Shawn Bawulski:

The gospel reading for this Sunday is the parable of the lost son from Luke 15. I’m excited about preaching on this text on Sunday, and as I’ve been preparing I’ve been reflecting on how to go about interpreting parables. Interpreting Scripture is both a science and an art, and one important factor is the matter of genre. Scripture contains many different genres: narrative, Hebrew poetry, wisdom sayings, didactic letters, and symbolic apocalyptic, just to name a few. And one of these genres is parable. Jesus uses them frequently; they use symbolic meaning to get at some sort of application for the hearer, either stated explicitly or implied. Parables illustrate in an artistic and educational way, usually requiring further reflection before the meaning becomes clear.

It’s always good for us to think about how we can become better readers of the Bible, so when it comes to reading and interpreting Jesus’ parables, here are some key points. (I am drawing from Craig L. Blomberg’s helpful book, “Interpreting the Parables” (Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP, 1990).)

• Every parable of Jesus contains certain elements which point to a second level of meaning and others which do not. Ex: In the parable of the prodigal son, the Father certainly points to God, but the ring and the robe that the father gives the prodigal son upon his return serve to speak about the wonderful reception the father gives to the son and do not stand for anything such as baptism or immortality (as was postulated at certain points in church history) (Lk 15:11-32).

• The key to interpreting the parables lies in recognizing what a small handful of characters, actions or symbols stand for and fitting the rest of the story in with them.

• The main characters of a parable will probably be the most common candidates for interpreting the parable, and the main points of the parable will most likely be associated with these characters.

• Elements other than the main characters will have metaphorical referents only to the extent that they fit in with the meaning established by the referents of the main characters, and all interpretation must result in that which would have been intelligible to a first-century Palestinian audience. Ex: some have speculated that the innkeeper in the parable of the Good Samaritan stand for the apostle Paul (Lk 10:25-37). This does follow from the main symbols in the story, and certainly Jesus’ original audience could not have known about Paul’s ministry several decades before it even happened.

• The meanings ascribed to elements in a parable must be ones which the stories’ original audience could have been expected to grasp in their historical setting.

• While the parables do present largely lifelike portrayals of first-century Palestinian Judaism, key details in them are surprisingly unrealistic and serve to point out an allegorical level of meaning. Ex: the excuses given for not coming to the banquet in parable of wedding feast (Lk 14:16-24).

• The triadic structure of most of Jesus’ narrative parables suggest that most parables may make three points, though some will probably make only one or two.

MidWeek Message (Mar 18-Mar 24)

Midweek Reflection by Pastor Shawn:

The Lord’s Supper and Union with Christ

There is much happening when we partake in the bread and the wine—the act is rich with meaning.  There’s a particular significance to the act that I’ve been ruminating on lately: our union with Christ. 

Scripture repeatedly speaks of us being “in Christ” or “united with Christ”.  When in faith we partake of the signs—bread and wine—, the Spirit ‘feeds’ us with the thing signified: Christ the God-man, with whom we are united.

In salvation, we are united to Christ and thus we are born again, regenerated, brought to spiritual life.  In salvation, we are united to Christ and thus we are not guilty for our sin before God—we are justified.  In salvation, we are united to Christ and thus we are made to be like him in sanctification—and this is increased through the grace of the Lord’s Supper.  The meal is a means of sanctifying grace, one way that the Holy Spirit makes us more and more Christlike.  One day, when we are resurrected and glorified, we will be fully and perfectly united to Christ—and the Lord’s Supper is a beautiful, precious foretaste of that day.  Every time we partake in the bread and wine, we are ordering off the menu of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

In the Lord’s Supper, God the Holy Spirit strengthens our union with Christ.  It is a gift from God for our nourishment.  Like a caring parent, he provides for us in ways that we need and can receive.  As creatures, the material bread and wine of the sacrament satisfy our true hungers.  At communion on Sundays at COGS we state that “these are the gifts of God for the people of God.”

In the Lord’s Supper we focus on God’s action.  Certainly we must come to the table in faith, but the big story is what God does in us with the bread and wine.  This meal is for us even when our wills are weak and our faith is fickle.  If I’m being frank, my faith has good days and bad days, and more bad days than I’d like to admit.  But this table is for doubters, for sinners, for the weak, for the sick, for the battered, for the weary.  My faith doesn’t make it what it is, but my faith does receive it for what it is.  In faith I simply come to this table for healing, for holiness, and for true happiness.  And when I eat and drink, all of this comes to me through union with Christ.  This meal is not something we do, but is a gift of God for us.  

And it’s something we do in community—the Lord’s Supper brings us out of our private rooms into the shared dining room, together.  We are co-heirs at the family table of God.  We dine together.

MidWeek Message (Mar 11-Mar 17)

Midweek Reflection by Ruth Lemmen:

We’ll be focusing on the Psalm reading this Sunday, and Psalms are essentially songs.  The book of Psalms is the prayer book and hymn book of the Bible.  Like contemporary songs and poems, they give voice to a variety of emotions and experiences in ways that prose is unable to.

One of the ways that I observe the church year in my life is through music.  As we walk through the seasons of the year, I change some of the music I listen to.  In the last week, I have pulled up my Lent playlists.  My earbuds are now full of slower tempo songs in minor keys, drawing me into the themes of this season of the year.  On Easter, I will pull up the Easter playlist and rejoice with upbeat songs in major keys.  But for these weeks, I am letting the music help me slow down and reflect.  Here’s a few of my favorites (hopefully available wherever you get your music, if you want to take up this practice, too).

“Dust We Are And Shall Return” (Lent)—Brilliance
“From dust we've come / and dust we are / and shall return
Be still my soul / And let it go / Just let it go”

“Always Good” (Resurrection Songs: Prologue)-- Andrew Peterson
“Well it's so hard to know what You're doing / Why won't You tell it all plain?
But You said You'd come back on the third day / And Peter missed it again and again”

“Beautiful Things” (Beautiful Things)-- Gungor
“You make beautiful things out of the dust / You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of us”

“Barton Hollow” (The Civil Wars)-- The Civil Wars
“I'm a dead man walking here / But that's the least of all my fears / Ooh, underneath the water
It's not Alabama clay / That gives my trembling hands away / Please forgive me father”

“Have Mercy” (Psalms)-- Sandra McCracken
“Oh help my unbelief / Oh help my unbelief, O Lord 
Have mercy, O Lord / Have mercy” 

The Messiah: Part 2—Handel (performed by many groups)
“He was despised and rejected of men, / a man of sorrows and acquainted with

MidWeek Message (Mar 4-Mar 10)

A Sermon for Ash Weds
Dr. Shawn Bawulski
Delivered at COGS, 03-06-2019

When I lived in Phoenix my church did a children’s lesson every week during the service.  Usually just a few minutes long, the pastor would call all the kids to the steps up front, sit down at their level, and talk them through a lesson.  One Sunday the lesson was about heaven, and a 4 year old kid raised her hand.  “Yes?” said the pastor.  In a loud and serious voice, this kid said, “Before heaven, first we all have to die.  We’re all gonna die, you know.”  All the adults in the room chuckled.  Maybe the timing was inappropriate, but the kid wasn’t wrong.

We’re all gonna die, you know.

Life is serious and risky business, and no one gets out alive.  Our time in this dusty body is short.  And we do not know when it will end.

My first point this Ash Weds is that you are mortal.  In just a few minutes each of us will hear this when ashes are rubbed on our foreheads: “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  We all live with this truth hanging over us.  We seek out things to preoccupy our minds to distract us from it.  Sometimes we act out in desperation from it.  The existential anxiety of our “dustiness”, so to speak, is something all humans experience.

Today, as Christians, we speak this truth out loud.  We put it on the forefronts of our minds and mark it on the forefronts of our heads.  We are creatures of dust.

You are dust, and you will return to dust.  It is important to sit in that truth during the Lenten season.  Easter is the Christian promise that while we return to dust, we won’t stay there forever.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Remember that you are mortal. 

My second point this Ash Weds is that you need forgiveness.  Sometimes on this day people say, “Repent, and believe the gospel.”  We need forgiveness, and we need to hear this, for two reasons.

Reason 1: We need to hear this because we are sinners.

We are sinners because we are born in sin.  Our sinful condition can be traced back to the beginning of human existence.  It is like a spiritual disease, passed on from our parents all the way back to our first parents.  As we will soon read in Psalm 51 verse 6, the psalmist says, “Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, a sinner from my mother's womb.”  We are sinners because we are born in sin.  We are also sinners because each one of us ratifies our sinfulness with our own sins that we commit.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Paul writes in Romans.  All of us.  Sin has corrupted every aspect of our being: our minds, our wills, our emotions, our relationships, our bodies, our words, and our actions.  We sinners need forgiveness.

Reason 2: We need to hear that we need forgiveness because we must repent.

God has told us that his forgiveness requires our repentance.  What is repentance?

Repentance is a change of mind, a change of heart, a change of life direction.  To repent is to turn away from sin and turn towards God.  Repentance begins when we first come to faith in Jesus, but it doesn’t end there.  It is an ongoing process and posture for the Christian. 

What does repentance require?  Several things:

Most importantly, it requires God’s openness.  If God isn’t into it, the whole thing would be futile.  But he is open and willing that we should repent.  Joel 2:13 says that the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.  In fact, God is so open and willing that for our sake God made Jesus—who knew no sin—to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21).  We can repent because God has provided the opportunity and the ability for us to repent.  He is open to it, and Jesus commands us to do so.

Repentance also requires an awareness of sin: we ask ourselves, what do I need to turn away from?  This requires careful self-examination, which is a focus of the Lenten season. 

Repentance requires genuine contrition, which means truly being sorry, not just sorry we got caught.  This speaks to repenting with the right motives.  In the gospel reading today, Jesus speaks about bad motives for our piety: being seen and getting social recognition.  If we our repentance is true, then it will be directed towards God, not towards the recognition of others.   

Finally, repentance requires us to do it together.  Some sins are corporate sins that we’ve all committed together.  We inherit them, we carry them, and we continue them.  Just to name a few: racial injustice, gender based violence and discrimination, and the destruction of the earth’s ecosystems.  And there are so many more.  Corporate sin requires corporate repentance.  Our reading from Joel chapter 2 talks about how, in public, we repent together for the sins we’ve done together.


We need forgiveness, and we must repent from our sins.


On this Ash Weds, we remember that we creatures of dust are mortal, and that we need forgiveness.

So today we ask, “What do I need to turn away from?” and “What do we need to turn away from?”  

MidWeek Message (Feb 25-Mar 3)

Midweek reflection by Pastor Shawn Bawulski:

For this upcoming Sunday, the OT reading is Exodus 34:29-35 and the epistle reading is 2 Cor. 3:12-4:2 (see http://lectionarypage.net/YearC_RCL/Epiphany/CEpiLast_RCL.html ).  In both passages, there’s a bit that might seem odd to us: what is going on with the face veiling? 

To make sense of this, we need to understand the old covenant and the new covenant.  A covenant is a solemn, binding agreement.  Here we are talking about covenants between God and humans.  It’s like a contract, only much more personal, more like wedding vows.  God is a God who covenants with humans.  There are several covenants in the Bible, but two are important here: the old covenant given through Moses and the new covenant in Jesus Christ.

The old covenant was when God established rules for his forgiven, delivered people.  Having come out of Egypt, God’s people were to live and work together differently.  They were to be a people who reflected God’s character and who were a light to all the peoples of the earth.  But even as Moses was up on the mountain with God, receiving instructions from on high, the people were down below trying to capture God in a golden calf they had made.  Things did not get off to a good start in this covenant.

The hard-heartedness of God’s people continued on through Israel’s history.  Yet God was nonetheless faithful and promised a new covenant, one that would address the main problem: the people’s stone-cold hearts towards God.  The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke of a day when God’s law would be written on his people’s hearts, and they would be spiritually alive for faithful obedience.  This new covenant is founded in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And this new covenant has power because the Spirit of God is now in us, in we who believe.

The law, which was written on stone, is fulfilled in us because the Spirit of God enables us to observe his law.  God the Spirit turns our hearts of stone into living hearts of flesh.  The problem wasn’t with the Law of Moses itself, of course.  The law is perfect; the law expresses the character of God.  No, the problem was with the sinful hearts of God’s people.  And because of our stone-cold hearts, the law can the kill us.  We need the Spirit.  In some ways the Law of Moses was like why little kids need training wheels on a bicycle: the problem isn’t with the bike, it’s with the one using it.

This framework about the old and new covenants helps us grasp the NT epistle readings for this Sunday.  Paul is talking about the glory of God, comparing how that worked in each covenant.  When Moses came down from the mountain, the golden calf idol-makers couldn’t look at the glory of God in Moses’ face.  They had the law of God without the Spirit of God—and the absence of the Spirit kills.  So as an act of mercy, Moses hid his face with a veil because God’s glory would have brought an end to his spiritually stubborn people.

Things are different in the New Covenant.  His glory is more fully present because God’s Spirit has changed our hearts and has brought us life.  Moses’ ministry had outward signs of God’s glory but it brought death.  The Spirit’s glorious ministry lacks outward signs but it brings life!

This is what Moses’ veil was all about.  Because the Spirit is at work in us in the New Covenant, the apostle Paul is bold and free, unlike Moses.  Paul’s ministry doesn’t need a veil because now, in the New Covenant, God’s people are by definition under a new disposition, one radically changed by God the Spirit.  In the New Covenant anyone who turns to the Lord has their veil removed by the Spirit. 

The moral transformation of God’s people is the difference between the old and new covenants.  Transformation is big business on TV.  Several reality shows are about transformation.  There are the home makeover shows that turn an ugly room or a dilapidated house into something on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  Then there are the “get fit” reality shows like the Biggest Loser that transform people’s bodies.  These make for popular TV, but the problem is that the transformations are external and they usually don’t last once the TV show is done.  The transformation in the New Covenant is internal, forever changing us from within.