Written on Our Hearts
Jeremiah 31:31-34 NIV
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
What is a covenant? In short, it is a lot like a contract in our modern times. A covenant is a mutual agreement between 2 or more parties, wherein both promise to fulfill some sort of task. This Covenant relationship is called fellowship. God had many covenant relationships over time. The biggest covenants He had are known as the new and old testaments. However, I prefer to call them the new and old covenants for reasons that I don’t have time to explain in this post.
In the text above, we read that God is going to make a new covenant with His people. This text is during the time period of the old covenant. The law of Moses (Genesis, but particularly Exodus-Deuteronomy) is not the old covenant, but only part of how the God of said covenant would facilitate His promise. The old covenant begins with Adam and Eve unofficially; when God prophecies about Jesus. However, officially, the old covenant starts with Abraham; when He says that through him, He would have a people more numerous than the stars; made up of every nation. God would facilitate this promise via the Jews.
When Moses came into the picture, he was to lead Abrahams descendants into the promised land so that they could form a nation that would bring salvation to all the nations. He led them across the Red Sea (the baptism of Moses, 1 Cor. 10), through the wilderness, guided by a pillar of fire (God), giving the law on the mountain, crossed the Jordan, and entered the promised land. There was a problem, though. They couldn’t keep the law of Moses. This law written on stone was impossible to perfect. The law was to teach them how to be perfectly holy as God is holy, but they couldn’t do it. The law, instead, just taught them what sin was. Who could ever obey such a law and cause God’s people to be blessed?
This is where Jesus the Christ, Messiah, and Anointed One comes in. Though He was God with all of the power and authority of God, and though He was there in creation, He became part of the created. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Through one man sin and death was brought into the world but through One Man eternal life in made possible. The life of Jesus tells the story of Israel as if they were perfect. Jesus was born in a hostile time when boys were being murdered. Jesus was hidden in Egypt by Miriam. Jesus was baptized. Jesus went into the wilderness; led by the Spirit. He was tempted in the same ways Israel was tempted, yet was without sin. He taught the law from the mountain. He lived according to the true purpose of said law. He was a light to the nations and holy as God is holy. Now He lives forever in that eternal promised land that Abraham longed for (Heb. 11).
During the time of the old covenant, Joel (chapter 2) builds off of Jerimiah 31. He says that in this new covenant, God will pour out His Spirit on His people. Our minds and hearts will have the character of God’s holiness written on them like the law. Not a law of stone, but of Spirit. And this is possible through the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in John 14-16 that the Spirit will be even better than having Him physically there, because He will no longer be God with us, but God IN us. Peter says in Acts 2 that this promise is for everyone who trusts in the message of Jesus. The Christian covenant is all about conforming to the heart of Jesus by the Spirit. The Spirit comes by grace through trust. Trust in what? That there is a covenant, and the maker of said covenant keeps His promises. If we make ourselves willing vessels, trust in God’s grace, and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5) then we will be matured into the likeness of Jesus day by day (2 Cor. 3). Scripture is inspired by the Spirit and helps us understand God’s will, but the law of Christ-likeness, the core of His will, is written on our hearts! – Jesse