Newsletter November 2017
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
From the time that the first humans turned away from God to follow their own ways, God sought to restore that special relationship which they had broken through their disobedience. God took the initiative by calling Abraham and promising that He would bless all the families of the earth through him (Genesis 12:3). When Abraham’s descendants Israel find themselves enslaved in Egypt, God remembers his covenant with Abraham and comes to their rescue. He leads them out of slavery into the land He had promised Abraham. However, before they are ready to enter that land they must know God who has chosen and delivered them. He leads them to Mount Horeb, where He reveals to them His purpose for their lives: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ (Exodus 19:4-6) Israel are to enter into a special relationship with Him, the Creator and Ruler of the universe.
Yet God’s chosen people do not keep their side of the covenant. They disobey their Deliverer and turn to other gods. For this reason, He allows them to be conquered and oppressed by their enemies. At the time of Jeremiah, their capital Jerusalem is captured, the temple destroyed and the people carried away into captivity in Babylon. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God declares His judgement on His people, but he also speaks to them of a time of restoration in the future. They have broken the covenant relationship He made with them at Horeb, but one day He will make a new covenant. This time He will transform them from the inside out by putting His laws in the hearts and minds. He will live in their hearts by His Spirit so they can all know Him intimately, from the least to the greatest.
For this to be possible, however, God had to deal with the sin that had separated his people from Himself. He had to provide a perfect substitute who would die for their guilt so they could be declared righteous. Therefore He sent His Son Jesus into the world.
As we approach the Christmas season, we focus on the miracle of the Incarnation. God Himself came to earth in the form of human flesh. He became one of us in order to bring us back to Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world to demonstrate God’s power and love as He announced God’s kingdom and set people free from the power of Satan. The rulers of this world rejected Him and executed Him on a cross, not realising that by His death He was fulfilling prophecy: For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.
Jesus’ coming into the world was the beginning of a new era. Through His sacrifice on Calvary we are forgiven, and by the Holy Spirit we are made new. God writes his law in our hearts so we can live in perfect relationship with Him as Jesus did while on earth. So that we can glorify God and enjoy Him forever. (Westminster Confession).