Summary: In Christ, the promise of God to Abraham has been fulfilled.
A New Covenant, Jeremiah 31:7-14, 31
It is a rather interesting thing to study the religious context into which Jesus descended. Indeed, apart from at least a cursory knowledge of the strict legalism into which Jesus was born, the full measure of the freedom and grace which is contained in His teachings, life, and work is easily missed. The impact that it had on the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus having healed on the Sabbath day, for example, cannot be felt unless one understands the minute detail to which the legalism of that time had developed in Jewish religious thought and practice. This point is well illustrated by the fact that according to orthodox Jewish tradition, there is only one day between Passover and Pentecost on which anyone may get married or get a haircut.
The grand Law of Moses disintegrated into such foolishness that it had to be replaced with the new covenant, written on the hearts of men. The New Covenant is not so much a completely new thing as it is a new work of God in this era, this dispensation, or period of human history, to restore the full meaning and measure of His covenant with Israel and to graft in the wild olive branch into the blessing and promise of the covenant that God made with Abraham, his physical descendants, and all those who would come by faith.
By faith in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus the Christ, the Christos, the “Anointed One,” the long foretold and promised one of God, you and I are grafted into the Abrahamic Covenant; the promise of God to faithful Abraham which, like all of the covenants of the Old Testament, find their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
We are a covenant people. The Bible is chiefly the account of God’s dealings with humanity through covenants; a covenant is something far greater than merely an agreement or a contract. This is primarily because biblical covenants find their roots not in the agreement of two parties of men, but in the sovereign will of God.
This morning, as we prepare our hearts to receive communion, we will look at the great promise of God to Abraham, the Abrahamic Covenant, and its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus the Christ. We will do so in light of the words spoken through Jeremiah the prophet; forecasting the New (renewed) Covenant.
The key point that I hope to make for you this morning is that we are a covenant people. My great desire is to give clarity to the nature and manner in which God works in the life of His people, the life of His Church, the Nation of Israel, and indeed throughout the history of humanity.
God works through the covenants which He establishes according to His sovereign decree. God always works within the confines of the covenants which He establishes with men during various dispensations, that is simply epochs or eras history. This is clearly illustrated in the very fall of Adam & Eve.
The Lord established a covenant with humanity that they would dwell in the garden, they would know God intimately and they would relate to Him perfectly, though as with all of God’s covenants, there were conditions; the fulfillment of the covenant always rests squarely on God’s sovereignty, though as a result of having been given a measure of free will so that our love for one-another and our adoration of God has the ability to be genuine, the covenants always have some requirement which is placed on us.
The sovereignty of God’s grace in our lives is not an “escape clause” for right living and the honest pursuit of holiness, it does, however, point us to the inescapable reality that we cannot keep any of God’s covenants or commands perfectly, so rather than not trying at all, we are all the more drawn to our knees in humble submission to God’s will so that we might be in a place to be flooded by His grace and thereby empowered unto every good deed and right action of the heart!
Adam & Eve chose poorly with regard to their responsibility in the covenant and immediately God outlined, according to His sovereign decree, the remedy for mankind’s inability to keep the covenant of works; He, even then in the garden, pointed to the Covenant of Grace; He pointed to the Cross!
Then God commanded Abraham to go to the place that He would give to him and his descendants, the Promised Land, the Holy Land. God outlines the details of the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16.
God often, more often than not I would suggest, to use the unlikely things of this world for His purposes in order to demonstrate His glory; not ours.