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. (Jeremiah 31:33, ESV)
Throughout scripture we see multiple occasions where the Lord establishes a covenant with His people. Our verse this week is Jeremiah’s prophecy of the New Covenant which was to come through Christ.
Before this time, the Law had been written on stone tablets and the people had broken the law repeatedly. The new covenant says the law, which would be fulfilled by Christ, would no longer be external – it was in them, on their hearts (minds and will). A few weeks ago, Pastor Joby helped us understand Ezekiel 36:26, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Having the law written on our hearts helps it to become part of our instinct, it causes us to desire to do God’s will. As Pastor Joby said, “God was to remove the rock-hard heart of stone and replace it with a heart that is obedient to the Lord and responsive to His word.” (A spiritual heart transplant, if you will).
The other beautiful part of this covenant is the precious promise of an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord… “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Christ will fulfill the law, and His Holy Spirit will come to dwell within us, empowering us to love Him and obey.
Just this week, my four month old cousin, Annabelle, has had her opportunity at life transformed by the medical miracle of a lung transplant. Hours after birth the medical team began to notice her distress in breathing, prompting the onslaught battery of testing leading to the diagnosis that her only chance for life would be a lung transplant. She had old lungs and knew what to do with them, but couldn’t breathe on her own. Her lungs were broken. It wasn’t until a new set of lungs were planted within her that she had the capacity to breathe and experience life. The Israelite people knew the old covenant law, but couldn’t keep it. In the new covenant promise, Christ fulfills the law and plants His Spirit within us giving us the capacity to know Him personally and the desire to obey Him… And since the Lord never breaks His covenant with His people, we can trust this relationship for eternity.