Jeremiah 31:31-33. 31 “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, 32 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. 33 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.
There is no greater news than this. No greater hope in all of scripture. Jeremiah is describing something for Judah that goes way beyond just a return from exile. He’s describing something the Jewish people never dreamed of – a whole new covenant with God.
Our God is a covenant making God. He longs to enter into a relationship with us. We might say that the theme of all redemptive history is summed up in this phrase – I will be their God and they shall be my people. This relationship with us was the longing of God behind creation. It was the longing of God at Mount Sinai. It was the longing of God as he dwelt among his people in the Tabernacle and Temple. It was the longing of God when he spoke the greatest commandment – “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.”
But here we are with Jeremiah one thousand years after the Old Covenant. One thousand years of ignoring the heart of God and rejecting his presence. One thousand years of law breaking and idol chasing. One thousand years of immorality and injustice. One thousand years of failing to love God with the whole heart, soul, and strength.
He should cut his losses and walk away. Israel’s ceaseless covenant violations shouldn’t just lead to an exile; they should lead to an annihilation. But God doesn’t walk away. He actually does something so shocking, so unheard of, something no other king would ever do for those that have so blatantly rebelled against him.
He doubles down.
He strengthens his commitment. He makes even greater promises. He bets it all. He gives his people a do-over.
But isn’t this risky? What if Israel fails again? What if they break the covenant? What if God’s heart is broken like it has been so many times before?
And here is where we hear those glorious two words of the New Covenant – I will.
God will do it all. He will keep both sides of the covenant. God’s obligations and man’s obligation both perfectly fulfilled by God himself. A covenant not dependent on our love and obedience, but only on God’s love and obedience.
Jesus the Son of God came to earth as humanity, as Israel, not to destroy God’s old covenant, but to fulfill it. Jesus loved God with his whole heart and he loved his neighbor as himself. He proved this in his living but also in his dying. There was no greater act of love for God and neighbor than the cross. Jesus the perfect law keeper died as the ultimate law breaker. In love, he took upon himself the curse of the law and died our death that the law demands.
Now, by his death, he is the completion of the Old Covenant, thus making it obsolete (Heb. 8:13). And now, by his glorious resurrection, he is the mediator of the New Covenant. A covenant that you and I can never break. A covenant that, unlike the Old, can never condemn us. A covenant that is stronger than our sin and failures. Why? Because it is a covenant born from the indestructible life of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 26:28. this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
This is all our hope today – a relationship with God that you and I can never break. There is no exile from the love of God. Why? Because the God who says “I will” has done it all. The Old Covenant demanded much more from us than we could ever give. But the New Covenant offers everything to us, much more than we could ever hope or imagine.
“To live is Christ” is possible because we are graciously granted entrance into God’s New Covenant with mankind through the man Christ Jesus. A covenant of unconditional love. A covenant of unbreakable hope.
Are you living from new covenant promises today, or old covenant demands?
You in Christ
How does knowing that God’s promise of love for you is unconditional encourage you today?
Christ in you
What do you think living from new covenant grace would look life on a daily basis?
Check out Psallos’ brilliant musical rendition of the Old and New Covenants below.