A New Covenant

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 THE principles of the Law were formerly given to Israel they were written in stone. The Apostle Paul, referring to this fact, says that those stone tables well expressed the “letter” of the law, which did little to change men’s hearts. As a result mankind continued to die even though the Law seemed to offer life. He referred to it as “the ministration of death written and engraven in stone.”—II Cor. 3:6,7

In this same context, Paul, by way of contrast, looked forward to a ‘more glorious’ “administration of righteousness.” He calls it a ministration of the Spirit which “giveth life.” (vss. 6,8,9) And he infers that the instruments being prepared now to teach men how to acquire life in the future will be more effective than those of the past, because, rather than being inscribed on stone, they are written on the “tables of the heart,” and the engraving is being accomplished by the Holy Spirit of God.

The apostle declares that these are people—people who are taught to understand and apply the righteous principles of God’s Holy Law, even under the very adverse circumstances of the present life, and in this way they are prepared to be “able ministers of the New Testament [Covenant].”—vs. 6

Another important difference that will make life a possibility under this new administration of God’s law is mentioned in Jeremiah 31:29 of our scripture lesson: “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” This prophetic statement has a wide application in the experiences of the human race, father Adam being the first to sin and by heredity inflicting the result of his transgression upon his children.

The Apostle Paul explains that by one man’s disobedience sin entered into the world and death by sin, so death has passed upon all men because all have sinned. (Rom. 5:12,19) This is Paul’s way of describing in literal language what Jeremiah illustrates by the proverb of the sour grape as it has applied in times past, and still applies today.

But Jeremiah assures us that this will not always be true, that a time is coming when each individual who transgresses the divine law will himself be the one to suffer, and that the result of his own sin will not be passed on to his offspring. This complete reversal of human experience is to be brought about during the Millennial Age through the administration of the laws of Christ’s kingdom, the result of Adamic sin having been set aside by the redemptive work of Christ.

And that will be the time also, when the Lord, in fulfillment of this promise, will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. The making of the New Covenant with Israel and the world will be a work requiring the thousand years of Christ’s reign, for it involves the writing of God’s law in the hearts of the people.

Adam was in covenant relationship with the Lord before he sinned. There was no written law at that time, but being in the image of God, the divine law was a very part of Adam’s being. So it will be with restored Israel and the world at the close of the thousand years of Christ’s reign, and thus they will have entered into full covenant relationship with God. How better can this be expressed than by the words of our Key Verse: “I … will be their God, and they shall be my people.” What a blessed hope!

The church of Christ will serve together with Jesus as mediators, or as the apostle states it, “able ministers of the New Testament [or Covenant].” (II Cor. 3:6) The preparatory work looking toward the inauguration of the New Covenant began with the first advent of Jesus. It will be his blood that will seal that covenant, and each one of his followers is being trained for the high position of joint-heirship with him in administering the terms of that covenant.

When the work of making the New Covenant is complete, the knowledge of God’s righteousness and glory will fill the whole earth, and no one will need to say to his neighbor, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know him. His law will then come to reside in the hearts and inward parts of everyone.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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