The New Covenant

Jeremiah 31:31 “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. 34 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.”
Time and time again, the Israelites failed to live according to God’s covenantal requirements for them. The Israelites were supposed to follow the commands of God, and God would in turn protect and guide them (forever). God desired to be in covenantal relationship with the Israelites in order to bless them, but the Israelites desired to find their blessing through other avenues. Due to their unfaithfulness, God had every right to end His covenant with them and judge them for their iniquities. Yet, God in His everlasting mercy and grace, tells the Israelites that He indeed will make a new covenant with them.

This new covenant has been fulfilled by Christ and is sealed in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this new covenant, the Lord is the one to put the law into the hearts of people, and the Lord is the one to teach them his ways. In this new covenant, God forgives people of their iniquities. He will protect and guide them (forever).

This covenant is not like the former covenants, because this covenant is one in which God does all the work. There is no requirement for action in the new covenant on the part of humans. All of the work is done by the Lord as seen when in verse 34 it says, “and no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord.’” The new covenant is completely built upon the work and promise of God, and not on the work and promises of humans.

The only reason why the new covenant was necessary was because the Israelites were adulterous in their relationship with God. In verse 32, God identifies himself as “their husband” because this covenant was a relationship not just between two parties, but an intimate relationship between spouses. The only way in which this covenant was nullified was because Israel failed to remain faithful to their husband.

The new covenant has only this requirement; that the people of God remain faithful to God. The question is, "do they want to be in relationship with Him?" God will not force people into covenantal relationship with Him, and He has even completed all the necessary work needed for the relationship through the cross. He is simply asking, "Do you want to be in relationship with me in which I will protect and guide you forever?"

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