Joel posted a comment on his blog post entitled "The letter of the New Testament - Part 2" that reminded me of a story I read several years ago. I don't remember where I read the story or who told it but I think it perfectly illustrates Joel's comments.
Joel said, "All of these things truly are the heartbeat of Jesus. I don't think He ever meant us to live by rules, but from His heart beating with ours. As we grow in grace and as we look at these New Covenant commands (and as you say, even the Old Covenant laws), and find that our lives aren't beating along with His heart, we don't need to feel condemned and we most certainly don't need to begin to start working on trying to follow the rules and commands, but we simply realize that we've been following the flesh and we turn our hearts and minds back to trusting in the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit." All of these things Joel refers to in the first sentence is a list of New Testament commands he had given in his blog post.
The man telling the story had been watching a television program of a surgeon performing a heart transplant. When the patient was ready to receive the new heart, it was removed from the container where it was being held and laid on a table. As the storyteller watched, he could see the heart beating. Then, the surgeon removed the patient's heart and laid it on the table next to the new heart so that they were touching. That heart was also beating but, as he watched the two hearts, they began to adjust themselves until they were beating together.
That's a picture of our union with Christ. Our heart adjusting itself until it beats with His heart. As our understanding of this union grows and as we rest in it, we'll find that our heart will begin to beat together with His and we'll automatically be changed to reflex more of His nature with no effort on our part. Perhaps, that's why He chose to live in us instead of being a distant God who issues orders from somewhere outside of His people. It's only because of our union with Him that this wonderful transformation can take place.