“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
In the book of Jeremiah, we enter a landscape in which the Israelites have persisted in their sin for years on end. The prophet Jeremiah is called to announce God’s judgment: while God has warned the Israelites time and time again, at last, he is going to exile Israel from their land for 70 years. But Jeremiah also proclaims hope for the future. In light of the fact that Israel cannot keep the current covenant, the agreement between them and God to be faithful to one another, God says he will one day make a new covenant!
At the heart of this new covenant is a personal relationship with God: knowing him not just as a God but as my God; not living off second-hand information about God but by my own experience with Him. God says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people…They will all know me.”
It is out of this relationship that obedience will flow! God says he will write his law on his people’s hearts, giving them the desire and power to obey him. God also says under this new covenant, the power and guilt of sin will no longer have a hold on his children.
In Luke 22, Jesus is speaking to his disciples about his impending crucifixion and says,"This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." Here we see that Jesus is the one who establishes the new covenant! He died and rose again so that the promises of Jeremiah might come to fruition. Through Jesus, people can know and belong to God, and they receive the power to obey God and find freedom from their sin.
Given the establishment of the new covenant in Christ, do you ever wonder why our lives don’t always reflect its realities? We know God, but why do we still sin and feel the weight of shame?
The truth is, Jesus didn’t set us free from the struggle, but to struggle. And the way we make headway in this struggle is by coming back to the heart of the new covenant: our belonging to the Father. In other words, we grow by bringing our lives in line with our identity: a loved child of God.
Deepening into our belonging to God leads us down the path of obedience and freedom from shame. For example, we won’t search to find our identities in things like achievements or acceptance from others because we’re secure and loved in Jesus. Or, we won’t sit in the disintegration and alienation of shame, but we’ll draw near to our loving Father.
Are you living out the reality that belonging to God is the core of who you are? What God wants is for you to rest secure in the message of Jeremiah 31: “I am yours and you are mine.” He is inviting you to live out from this truth.
RESPOND: Take a moment to go to God and ground yourself in your identity as his loved child.