The foundations of faith in God too often give place to the technicalities and trivialities of living the Christian life. Jesus fully understood and taught the importance of building on a firm foundation (Matthew 7:24-27) and pointed out the flaw of “doing things” to the neglect of the weightier matters (Matthew 23:23). Getting the right direction from the start makes all the difference as to where one ends the journey.
Having stated this, one does not take the position that Divine particulars are not important but, rather, prioritizes the order to which these principles must adhere in order to be approved of God. For instance, the fact that baptism is to be administered in water (Acts 8:38) deep enough for a burial (Colossians 2:12) in order to be saved (1 Peter 3:20-21) is built upon a faith (Romans 10:17) that understands what the medium (water) and procedure (burial-rising activity) represent. Without that essential faith-foundation, baptism is just getting wet.
However, the only way this faith can be useful, productive and rewarding is if there exists an honest willingness to submit to the truth (Acts 18:8); this is the heart part. Without this integrity, all religious expression (no matter how visibly impressive or convincing) is rank hypocrisy. So, Jesus would go to the heart and soul of the matter when asked what the greatest commandment was (Matthew 22:37-40), placing emphasis on the mental motivation, “without leaving the others (physical actions) undone.”
The misunderstanding that the Old Testament was all physical and the New Testament is all spiritual misconstrues God’s message. He has forever and always will desire, first and foremost, that we be committed heart and soul. What we do matters to God but what we think, what is in our inner-most being, is of first importance; one cannot obey God by just going through the motions.
It would serve us well to see God’s unchanging consistency from the Old through the New Covenant. “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God” (1 Chronicles 22:19) and “set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).