“But this is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will; be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their family, saying, ‘You shall know the Lord.’ For everyone from the least to the greatest, will already know me,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness and will never again remember their sins.” Jeremiah 31:33-34
This is the new covenant in the Old Testament. It’s prophetic because it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s couched in terms of the nation of Israel since that is the only story of the Old Testament. But all the major points are echoed by Paul in 2 Corinthians indicating this is not just a prophesy for Israel, but for God’s ultimate plan for His New Testament church. The primacy of relationship is here (“I will be their God and they will be my people”), and the law no longer external, but written on the hearts and minds of His people (“I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts”), followed by the incredible grace and forgiveness of sins (“And I will forgive their wickedness and will never again remember their sins”). It’s all here, and it has all been fulfilled in Christ who ushered in the new covenant when he announced at the last supper, “This is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25) It’s here and it’s now.
I often wonder, however, how I could have been born, born again, and raised in one of the major evangelical churches in the country, and gone for four years to a premiere Christian college, and yet it wasn’t until I was 23 years old that I even heard about the new covenant — the same new covenant that was predicted in the Old Testament, ushered in by Christ Himself the night before His death, and installed by Him as part of one of the major sacraments of the new church He established. How is that? And how is it that most Christians, if they’ve heard of the new covenant, don’t know what it is or what it’s for? And that means, most of them, therefore, are living the Christian life the best they can on their own. That’s exactly what I did for 23 years. By the way, hearing and learning about the new covenant — yes, even teaching it — doesn’t mean you are doing it either. Living every day, relying on the Holy Spirit — everything from God and nothing from me — is not something we all automatically do. That is why we spend so much time on the new covenant here at the Catch, because we don’t know where else you hear this or how often. It should be every day.
You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:23-24
As our 21-day Challenge comes to a close, we encourage you to think seriously about these final questions. Thinking about these things should never be over because the new covenant is always the opposite of our natural way of doing things. It will always be a challenge to walk by faith and not by sight. Do let us know what new thing you learned and were able to apply to your life as a result of this challenge.
Questions by Marti Fischer
A clay jar is made to hold something. We were made to hold something; and that someone is God himself; the Lord of Lords, the Holy Messiah, the King of Kings! The glory of our humanity is that God designed us to correspond to his deity; and that His deity, with its fullness and wisdom and power should relate to and correspond to and be manifest through our basic humanity.
Take a minute and imagine the significance of this story for us.
- What would happen if we began to live the new covenant, acting and living Jesus as Lord in control of everything in our life and the life of the whole world?
- What do you suppose would happen to all the antagonists of Christianity? Would they would become disheartened?
- Do you think we would come to respect other individuals? Even if they had different faith systems? What about if they looked different than us? What if they were different because their identity was not the same as ours? What about if you found reason to blame or shame them? What if they did not indicate remorse?
- If we were made to hold God himself and the glory of our humanity is that God designed us to correspond with Him, the creator with His fullness and wisdom and power to be evidence of Him through our basic humanity: Would it be necessary to insist that we are 100% right all the time? Would we bring greater understanding among all the parts? Would we be able to step into conflict and bring about unity, even if we continued to disagree? Would we still be full of fear? Would we need to defend our beliefs?
- People see us as ordinary jars of clay – just like them. Even though there is nothing outstanding about us, do you believe that people see the extraordinary power that is not coming from us but recognize the power, fullness and wisdom as coming from God?