Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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When the old clock in my father's office died, he bought a new one and decided to hang it at a different spot on the wall. That other clock had hung in the same place for years, and when he noticed that I looked to where the clock used to be when I wanted to know the time, he exhorted me with this surprising comment: "If you walk in the Spirit, you won't look where the clock used to be."
God is a "now God", and when He changes, the wise among us change with Him – permanently. The wise do not worship God the way He used to be worshipped, or even look back longingly at "the good old days". With Jesus, these days are "the good old days". Because he knew this to be true, Solomon taught his son (Eccl. 7:10), "Say not, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? For you do not inquire wisely concerning this." God is a "now God", a living God, "a very present help in time of trouble"; therefore, the "nowadays" are the best days.
In a very famous scene, a Samaritan woman said to Jesus (Jn. 4:21), "Our fathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] worshiped in this mountain, but you [Jews] say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." But Jesus said to her, "Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father . . . An hour is coming, and is here already, when true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth". At that time, God was about to make a change from the symbolic, ceremonial worship of the Law to "worship in spirit and in truth". But who on earth would be humble enough to abandon the former ways and change with Him?
God once used ceremonies to speak to man, just as my father once had a clock hanging on the other wall. Are you among the many who are still looking in the old, empty spot – still baptizing in water, still observing holy days, still having religious meals, and still wearing special clothes for worship? Those who are in the Spirit are not looking to where God used to be. The Spirit of truth only looks to where God is now, "forgetting those things that are behind," and those who are led by the Spirit of truth do what the Spirit does.