History of Redemption: Blog Post 18
“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. But 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 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 (ESV)
Covenant - “an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship” - Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, p.515.
God had made a covenant with His people Israel. This was the Mosaic covenant, or the “old covenant”. This covenant was “a series of detailed written laws given for a time to restrain the sins of the people and to be a custodian to point people to Christ” (Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, p.521). God’s “old covenant” was good. It was merciful and kind. It was given out of God’s steadfast love, to be “our guardian until Christ came” (Galatians 3:19). And God’s people broke this covenant. The people of Israel have broken it. We have broken it.
So God, in His infinite mercy, now declares a new covenant, an everlasting covenant. And this covenant is a covenant of grace. The foundation of this new covenant is that He will be our God and we will be His people, and this shall be carried out through God’s forgiveness of our iniquity, remembering our sins no more. We learn two chapters later in Jeremiah more details of how God will carry out this beautiful and gracious covenant. “In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 33:15-16).
Those whom God has chosen to save, now understand with confidence that this “righteous Branch” is Jesus Christ. He is “the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15). God is infinitely holy. Therefore, to allow a sinful people to stand in His presence and be His people, we must first be redeemed from our transgressions, and it was through the blood of His Son, Jesus, that this was accomplished. For “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). God is faithful, and He has carried out His everlasting covenant.
In this new covenant, Christ is the King, which Israel was longing for (John 1:49). In this new covenant, Christ is the priest who atones for our sins (Hebrews 8:1-2). In this new covenant, Christ is the Savior who redeems faithless Israel from her unrighteousness, her wickedness, her harlotry. Praise be to our great and merciful God!
Thank You God that we now arrive at this turning point in the history of redemption, where You, in your infinite wisdom, have established a covenant, by which we, your faithless bride, are made faithful again. Let us pour out our affections for You in thanksgiving, as we remember that You, through the blood of Your Son Jesus Christ, have forgiven us, and redeemed us, and saved us. Thank You for this covenant of grace that You have freely offered to us. Praise be to our great God forever.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gatherings, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24).