The New Covenant

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.”

Jeremiah 31:31

In Jeremiah 31, the prophet reveals God’s vision for the future of his people. This vision peers beyond their immediate circumstances and exile in Babylon. It foresees the time when the Lord will restore his people, returning them to the land of promise.

In that day, the Lord will establish a “new covenant” with his people (31:31). “This covenant,” he says, “will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of Egypt” (31:32). Thenew covenant will not be inscribed on tablets of stone, but on the hearts of God’s people (31:33). Thus they will not need to teach each other or urge each other to know the Lord. Indeed, everyone will know the Lord, and he will forgive their wickedness and forget their sin (31:34).

This new covenant, of which Jeremiah prophesied, was begun through the ministry of Jesus, especially his death and resurrection. At the Last Supper, Jesus took a cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” (Luke 22:20). By dying on the cross, Jesus made a way for our sin to be forgiven and, in a sense, even forgotten by God. Because Jesus took upon himself the penalty for our sin, we can enjoy a new covenant with God, that is, a new committed relationship with God. This relationship is not based on the law, but on God’s gracious forgiveness in Christ.

Thus, we are people of the new covenant because we know God through Christ . Like the people of Israel and Judah, we have a special relationship with the Lord. When we receive his grace by putting our faith in Christ, we receive the gift of God’s Spirit, who dwells within us, teaching God’s truth to us, and helping us to desire that which honors God. When we fail to walk in God’s ways, we have confidence in his forgiveness because of what Christ has done for us.

As people of the new covenant, we do not take our relationship with the Lord lightly. We realize how costly it was for him to inaugurate this new covenant, and how blessed we are to know him intimately. Thus we seek to live each day as new covenant people, following the lead of God’s Spirit and allowing the grace of God in Christ to renew and redirect our lives as we live for God’s glory.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What difference does it make that you have a covenant relationship with God? How does God’s forgiveness make a difference in your life?

PRAYER: O Lord, how blessed I am to be a member of your new covenant people. Thank you for writing your law on my heart through the Spirit. Thank you for granting me forgiveness through Christ. Thank you most of all for being my God and making me one of your people.

Help me, dear Lord, to take seriously the covenant that you have made with me. May I give you proper place—first place—in my life. May I rely on your guidance and count on your forgiveness. May I seek to honor you in all that I do, not in order to earn your favor, but because your favor has already been given to me through Christ.

All praise be to you, Sovereign Lord, for instituting a new covenant, and for allowing me to participate in it. I pray in the name of Jesus, who has opened up to me the new covenant through his blood. Amen.