Peace be with you!
In an instance, your world can change: having a baby, being paralyzed from a car accident, hearing the good news of Jesus Christ for the first time, or [whatever “it” is] that changed your way of thinking for better or worst. It is a moment, which changes the way you think, behave, and interact with others.
God has a moment while leading the Israelites back to the Promise Land. The old covenant does not allow the Israelites and God to have the relationship he wants. It is too resistive and does not take into account the Israelites live in the world where they are tempted by sin. God realizes he needs to make a new covenant with Israelites, which will provide them with forgiveness to take into account their human nature.
God finds a way to love the Israelites again, even though they sinful nature has gotten in the way before when having a relationship with him. God rethinks how to go about having a relationship with the Israelites. In a sense, God learns to love the Israelites again to restore his relationship with them.
To be holy, God gave the Israelites laws, including the Ten Commandments, to follow and to keep. Because the Israelites are human, which are a broken race, God realized he could not keep the Israelites to such high standard. If God wanted to be in a relationship with the Israelites, then he had to change the old covenant.
The new covenant offers forgiveness to the whole nation of Israel, though it still has the laws and the Ten Commandments of the old covenant. By doing so, God is writing the laws on the Israelites’ hearts and minds (Jeremiah 31:33) to make them his people again.
The new covenant is also a promise of the future as God will lead the Israelites back to the Promise Land from the exile. God realizes he has not kept his promise to protect Israel from its enemies, because the Israelites kept breaking laws, and therefore they broke their relationship with him.
Once the Israelites are back in the Promise Land, God promises to create a new covenant with them. The promise is in the present: God has not abandon the Israelites forever and will continue to protect them. God will be the loving God he promised to be and will love his children despite their faults. The promise is also for the future: God will create a new covenant with the Israelites upon back in the Promise Land (Schifferdecher 2011).
As Christians, we understand the “already and not yet” promises. For instance, God promised forgiveness through the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are forgiven of our sins by having a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And God promises that Jesus will come back to deliver us from this world to his kingdom. We will see the Triune God again.
So as we celebrate the Reformation – in remembrance of Martin Luther boldly nailing the ninety-five thesis’s to the door of the Catholic Church, we also remember God renewing his relationship and his promises with us. Luther started the Reformation to restore the church and reintroduce the members to the doctrine of salvation by faith through grace. He rediscovering a treasure the church seemed to have lost (Schifferdecher 2011).
In a sense, Luther wanted to reconnect the church with God of grace through a new but old promise of forgiveness, love, grace, and salvation through faith. His boldness is why we have an understanding of God’s grace, love, and faithfulness to us as his people. Let’s us not forget that God loves us unconditionally.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for renewing your promises with the Israelites and us. Help us to remember your love, grace, salvation, and faithfulness. Thank you for Martin Luther for rediscovering your promises. Amen.
Schifferdecher, Kathryn. Jeremiah 31:31-34. June 5, 2011. http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?lect_date=10/30/2011&alt=2 (accessed October 31, 2011).
Please feel free to answer the reflective questions through comments. Please agree to disagree and be respectable to each other. Please take a moment, if you have not already, to sign the covenant. You can answer all or just one of the questions.
1. Which of God’s promises mean the most to you?
2. How do you rediscover God’s grace on a daily basis?