Advent Day 18 – The New Covenant

???????????????????????????????“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

When God delivered the Hebrew people from bondage in Egypt, he made them a holy nation, establishing his law among them and thus providing the guide for living a godly life. With this covenant agreement, God’s promise of his goodness and presence was met with the people’s promise to receive the law gladly and to obey the one who had liberated them. Yet once again, sin became a stumbling block to their obedience turning the peoples’ hearts and minds away from God and his law.

Even as the people disobeyed God, he did not give up on them. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God calls out to his people with compassion, promising to establish a new covenant to replace the one broken by human sin. Through this new covenant, God would establish the means to remove their sins and inequities forever. As the Psalmist states, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11-12).

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this covenant; he is the one through whom God delivers his people from their sin. Living among God’s people, teaching them according to the law and the prophets, and having not sinned, Jesus fulfilled the obligation of obedience for a people who could not remain true. Through his suffering and death, the selfless giving of his life, Jesus provided the final atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Through his death Jesus accomplished what the law could not; he saved God’s people from the consequences of sin.

With the New Covenant, God makes us His people through our baptism into Christ. Reborn through the water and the Word, Christians are joined with Christ in this covenant agreement established by God in order to save His people from sin. Sealed by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s law is written upon our hearts and we are marked with the cross of Christ forever. We give thanks for this most gracious blessing received through Christ, for through Him, God remembers our sin no more.

Gracious God, we give you thanks for your fulfillment of the promise of your covenant through Christ Jesus. Fill our hearts and minds with the joy of your salvation and bring us to life everlasting in your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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