Now after the Fall, because of Man’s inability to be without sin and his inability to seek God, Man is in desperate need of a savior. This savior is promised in Genesis 3 in the midst of God’s curse on Creation. What this tells us is that the Gospel was not a backup plan for God. It isn’t as if Man ruined God’s plan. But Man did ruin himself, God’s Creation, and, most significantly of all his relationship with God.
The result of this Fall is that death reigns, sin reigns, and mankind is purposeless in his own devices. But God, being rich in mercy, continues to reveal Himself to various men throughout the Old Testament. Graeme Goldsworthy, in his book Gospel and Kingdom, talks about the covenants God makes with His people. They consist of three elements: God people, in God’s place, under God’s rule. Starting with Adam, throughout the OT, we see that God makes covenants with His people giving them a place to be, and laws to govern them, and His protection as His people, and yet they continually turn away.
So when we come to Jeremiah 31:31-34, we should see great significance in words of God:
“Look, the days are coming”—[this is] the LORD’s declaration—”when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 [This one will] not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant they broke even though I had married them” —the LORD’s declaration. 33 “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the LORD’s declaration. “I will place My law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying: Know the LORD, for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them”—the LORD’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.”
So whereas the signs of the prior covenants would be primarily external, and the laws of the covenant were external, and the inclusion into the people of God was external (from birth), in the New Covenant this changes to a primarily internal covenant. It isn’t that this covenant is focused so much on the individual (we are still “a people”) but rather that the inclusion in the covenant will now dependent upon the law being written on the heart, making it impossible for those who have entered the covenant to leave.
(to be continued…)