This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:10-12
Several years ago we studied the glorious Book of Hebrews on Sunday mornings. It was incredible to see the majesty of Christ portrayed so clearly chapter after chapter, verse after verse. It’s hard to choose any one section or passage as superior to any other, since they are all so radiant in their displays of the superiority of Christ. But for me personally, no portion of Hebrews has brought me such joy as considering the elements of the New Covenant laid out for us in Hebrews 8.
In that marvelous passage of Scripture, the author recites the longest single quotation of an Old Testament passage by a New Testament writer, Jeremiah 31:31-34. In that passage, the Lord had given through the prophet Jeremiah the greatest encouragement He could at one of the darkest moments of Israel’s history—the time of their exile to Babylon because of their sins. In the New Covenant alone, God solves the root issues that led to that exile. In making this prophecy, Jeremiah also gives hope to every generation of the human race. This hope comes only by faith in Christ, in whose blood the New Covenant is written. Look at the three glorious elements of the New Covenant:
A Transformed Heart:
God says, “I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts.” In the Old Covenant, the moral requirements of the Law were written on tablets of stone and stayed external to the hearts of the people. They stood over the people and commanded them to love God with all their hearts and to love their neighbors as themselves. But they could not actually produce the changes in the hearts of the people that were necessary for salvation. The New Covenant, however, promises a direct action of God on our hearts, implanting His word within us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel likens it to removing our hearts of stone and giving us hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He compels us by His Spirit to walk in His ways and delight in His paths
An Intimate Relationship with Almighty God:
“I will be their God and they will be my people….They will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” This is the goal of our salvation: perfect intimacy with God forever. Scripture uses two great images to describe this intimate and permanent relationship: adoption, and marriage. We are the adopted sons and daughters of the living God. And we are the bride of Christ. These two great images give us the sense of the perfect relationship we will enjoy with God in heaven. There we will see His face and His name will be on our foreheads, and we will serve Him forever (Revelation 21-22).
Total Forgiveness of All Sins:
“I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” This is the one thing that the animal sacrificial system could never achieve, for the blood of bulls and goats can never atone for sins. Actual forgiveness of sins can only be accomplished by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ. And by faith in the blood of Christ, we have actual and total forgiveness of all our sins. Without this, none of the other blessings of the New Covenant could have been possible. God’s wrath would have consumed us and we would have been destroyed by it.
These three great blessings of the New Covenant were bought at the cost of the blood of Jesus Christ. They are infinitely valuable and we should be joyful in them every single day of our lives!