“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
~ Jeremiah 31:31-34
In the past two days we’ve been looking at God’s covenants that He’s given to a single man with each of those covenants speaking of a great inheritance to come. Here in Jeremiah 31 we see a covenant that God has made with His people of Israel and the grace that is to come. This humanity altering covenant is what we have come to know as the New Covenant.
This passage is one of the most significant passages in Jeremiah and maybe in the entire Old Testament. We see the New Covenant come up later on in Scripture as it is quoted in the New Testament in places like Hebrews 8:8-13 and Hebrews 10:15-17. Beyond the direct quotes of the covenant itself are allusions to or partial quotes of the New Covenant that are scattered all through New Testament in places like 2 Corinthians 3:3:
“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered 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.”
The theological weight of the New Covenant is unmistakable. This covenant is no longer marked with words on stone but by God’s Word inscribed on the hearts of man. No longer will God be solely “known” in the intellectual sense of the word. Through work of God, man may “know” Him in the most deep and relational sense possible. The sacrificial blood of Jesus is what makes this remarkable relationship possible:
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ~ John 17:1-3
The high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 echoes back to the New Covenant in Jeremiah. Christ had come that those who abide in the Son will truly know God and have eternal life. This abiding in Christ means that we believe in Him, trust Him and obey Him in response to His Lordship and His grace.
The beauty of this salvation is that God is making men new through regeneration and wiping their sins clean through His justifying work. That premise is such a beautiful reality of being placed here in Jeremiah. He gives this promise of the remission of sin to a Jewish people who were so disobedient that God led them into the Babylonian captivity because of their sin.
Yet to those wicked people, God gave the promise of the New Covenant. That He will put His law in them. That they shall be His people. That they shall know Him. That He will remember their sin now more. The disobedient people of Israel still received gospel promise.
So on this day, on the other side of the Cross – know the same is true for you. In Christ, your sin has been wiped away. All the guilt and all the shame – GONE. As Romans 8:1 reminds us that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Celebrate that today! Know that the King has already come and taken on the sins of the world for all who believe.
Take time to pray of the sins of your life. Pray that you would put to death the deeds of the flesh and that you would no longer wallow in shame of your sin any longer. Celebrate the fact that you can know your Heavenly Father in a way that wasn’t possible before the coming of our King.