“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. 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. 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.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 ESV
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:23-29 ESV
Danny’s first parents hadn’t been able to take care of him because of some problems they had when he was a baby, and for several years Danny lived in four different foster homes. Finally the Phillips family adopted him. When they brought him into his new home, they taught him the rules of their house and family right away, but Danny didn’t want to follow their rules. He was always finding ways to disobey his new parents, and it made them sad and angry that they had to discipline him so often. After awhile, Danny ran away from home. He got lost in the city he lived in, and soon he was cold and hungry and scared. His mom and dad called the police for help, but they also went out themselves and looked for him everywhere. When Danny’s parents found him, he was ready to go home with them. They held him and comforted him and fed him, and Danny started to realize that they loved him, and he started to be able to love them back. They didn’t have to remind him of their rules all the time anymore, and he started to obey his parents because he loved them and wanted to please them. Danny started to have a new and happy life with his family because his heart toward his parents had changed.
Jeremiah talked about a similar situation with God’s people. The Lord had made a covenant with them and given them his laws to obey, but the people had rebelled against his laws again and again. God loved his people very much, and he compared his love to the love a husband has for his wife. It made him sad and angry that they were always going their own way and breaking his covenant through their disobedience. But the Lord gave Jeremiah a wonderful promise for their future. He was going to make a new covenant with them. He would give them new hearts, and they would know and understand his laws and want to obey him because they loved him. Most importantly, God would forgive their sins and forget about all the ways they had run away from him in the past.
God sent Jesus to bring about this new covenant. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to give us new hearts and lives. We don’t have to be afraid of God’s anger, or constantly worry about trying to please him by keeping his law. Instead, we are free from God’s judgment and free to love and serve him. God makes us his children when we are baptized, and teaches us his law and his ways. He helps us to follow his will, and forgives us every day for the times we fall short. We love him because he loved us first, and we follow him with love and joy.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving us and sending Jesus to die for us. Please forgive us our sins and help us to love you and follow you every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.