You Shall Be My People

KEY VERSE: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” —Jeremiah 31:33

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 31:27-34

WHEN God gave the nation of Israel the Law Covenant at Mt. Sinai, it was given as an expression of the spirit of his law and how it should be manifested in works by his human creation. The Jews endeavored to keep the letter of that Law but found it was impossible because of their fallen condition. The Apostle Paul expresses the thought: “Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.”—Rom. 3:19,20

In Galatians we are told why God gave the Israelites the Law even though, by his foreknowledge, he knew they could not attain to its high standard: “Wherefore then serveth the Law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. … Wherefore The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”—Gal. 3:19-24

Under the Law Covenant there was no provision made to help the fallen race (represented by the Israelites) develop to the point where they might be able to keep the perfect standard set before them. It was their constant failure that demonstrated their sinful condition and the need for a better arrangement if they were ever again going to be accepted into God’s favor.

The New Covenant is to provide the needed better arrangement. The Apostle Paul states, “Now hath he [Christ] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” (Heb. 8:6) It is a better covenant for many reasons, but probably the greatest single benefit will be the fact that Satan will be bound for the thousand years of the kingdom. (Rev. 20:1-3) He will not be permitted to deceive the people during this time. As a corollary to this, Christ and his church, together with the Ancient Worthies, will be instructing and assisting the people so that under favorable conditions the people of the world will learn to obey God’s laws.

This will be a time of judgment for the world of mankind. They will have had a lifetime of experience under Satan’s rule of sin and corruption and by contrast they will have an opportunity to make an equitable choice, and it is our belief that the majority will choose righteousness and live. The prophet speaks of this time “when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness,” (Isa. 26:9) and again, “with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.”—Ps. 98:9

In Hebrews the eighth chapter, the Apostle Paul continues by quoting from Jeremiah’s prophecy, “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” (Heb. 8:10) It is significant that the Lord states that the first step in the process is to put his laws into the people’s minds. This is in contrast to the condition that exists today with the many religions, such as Islam, Shinto, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and within these broad groupings many divisions and outgrowths. The Scriptures say, “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” (Isa. 11:9) and again, “They shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.”—Jer. 31:34

Then the prophecy as quoted in Hebrews 8:10 states that after teaching the people concerning God’s laws he is going to write them in their hearts. This means that by experience, example and correction God’s laws will become a part of each person’s character and that to live in harmony with them will be the natural and desired way of life. The world will be God’s people when they can say in their hearts, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.”—Ps. 40:8

Dawn Bible Students Association
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