In the recitation of the daily Shema lies a promise of the new covenant. Deuteronomy 6:6 speaks in the future tense when it says, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6).
This means that we are to endeavor to keep the commandments by placing them on our hearts, but it could also be read to imply an assurance of the future. Jeremiah 31:33 promises that in the new covenant, God will write his Torah upon our hearts. He says, “I will put My Torah within them and on their heart I will write it” (Jeremiah 31:33). This means that God will actually change our nature, circumcising our hearts as it were, to remove from us the waywardness of our evil inclinations. Paul speaks of this transformation as “the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
In another passage, Paul says, “Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul points to the lives of believers as evidence of the new covenant when he says, “You are a letter of Messiah, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3). All of this happens to believers as a fulfillment of the promise of the new covenant. The Holy Spirit is responsible for writing the commandments of God upon our hearts:
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
But as of yet, we have not experienced this regeneration in its fullness. The completion of the promises of the new covenant awaits the coming of Messiah who is the “guarantee of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22). Paul tells us that God “gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge” (2 Corinthians 1:22). A pledge implies a down payment on a sum which will be paid in full in the future. The down payment is the Holy Spirit within us now. The amount to be paid in full in the future is the Torah written on our hearts.
Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. (2 Corinthians 5:5)
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
In that day, the words of Deuteronomy 6:6 will be true. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6).