Summary: We often get carried away thinking everything is all about us & our own personal Jesus, but the Holy Spirit wants us to understand that we do not exist in isolation. Just as when we get to heaven we will be part of a huge family, there is a corporate side
Promises are made to be broken. That’s what it seems like in the world isn’t it? It’s what seems to be going on in scripture too. A Covenant is of course just a promise, like in the covenant of marriage, & it can be between human beings alone or God & human beings. A very important part of a covenant is that it is 2 sided, so a promises to do x & b in return promises to do y.
Whenever promises or covenants break down in the world it is often the case that there is fault on both sides. Often when relationships break up people say things like ‘we were both to blame’. The government recognised this & so the law changed so that finding & identifying fault & proportioning blame when people divorce is no longer required.
Sometimes though like in conflicts (i.e. World War 2, invasion of Iraq) it is obvious to everyone where the fault lies isn’t it?
But when we are talking about God’s promises & His covenant with us the fault is always on our side of the deal. Adam, Moses or us walk away & do the wrong things, but as we know deep down if we are in a relationship with God He is always faithful.
The problem is that it seems human beings fall away; which is why God instituted the incredible new covenant of Jeremiah 31.
But how will this be any different to everything that went before?
Well the obvious up front difference is that this covenant is written according to Jeremiah on our hearts, not on tablets of stone or parchment or paper.
Also remarkably God wants to proclaim clearly for the whole world to understand that He knows in advance that we are going to fall & so the impetus is not on our shoulders but on His. We do not deserve or earn God’s favour & never can. The good news is we do not have to. It is all about His loving kindness, His immense mercy & His amazing love & grace; these are the basis of relationship with Him.
Having recognised that we need to understand what our response to this offer is. All covenants are 2 sided, & if God starts our by saying He knows we have nothing to offer what is our side?
Well God wants you & me, all humanity to choose to be in relationship with Him. He doesn’t want to force people to love Him; indeed we all know you can’t force people to love. So it is a very lopsided agreement – we get to say yes to God & He does so much in return.
God instituted this covenant because He wants to be in relationship with us – for us to share with Him for all eternity in His kingdom of justice joy & peace. He wants us to enjoy Him, revel in Him, & sing in the choirs of heaven for all eternity. God’s vision for us is that we would share in the laughter of heaven for ever. He offers all of this & in return longs for us to get to know Him, for us to say yes to Him.
Saying yes to God, responding to God’s love, is something we have to do individually. No-one gets into the Kingdom of Heaven on the coat tails of another; there are no grand children in the heaven. The faith of our grandparents or spouse will not get us in, we need to respond personally.
It is vitally important that each one of us understands this simple gospel truth that God requires a response from us.
Not one person will ever be forced to enter into His family, so we have to respond to His love & say yes to Him. If you haven’t done that yet you can, you must do that today for you do not know whether there will be a tomorrow to make that choice.
But before we get all carried away with thinking this is all about us & our own personal Jesus, I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to understand that we do not exist in isolation. Just as when we get to heaven we will be part of a huge family, there is a corporate side to our commitment to God here on earth.
The scriptures tell us that we have to love one another & that if we cannot love our sisters & brothers we can see then we cannot love the Lord who we can’t. We need to understand this covenant as part of God’s call to being family.
The Bible says nothing about a solitary witness or as I once heard someone say there are no lone ranger Christian’s - & even he had Tonto!