Jeremiah 31:33,34 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

     This new covenant means a new day for all people.  It heralds a closeness with God that hasn’t existed since the Garden of Eden.  We won’t need to talk and teach about God because we will know Him.  At last we will be free and clean and live like it!

    Matthew Henry describes this new day and new deal accordingly; “In Hebrews 8:8,9 , this place is quoted as the sum of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Not, I will give them a new law; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by the finger of the Spirit, as formerly written in the tables of stone. The Lord will, by his grace, make his people willing people in the day of his power. All shall know the Lord; all shall be welcome to the knowledge of God, and shall have the means of that knowledge. There shall be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, at the time the gospel is published. No man shall finally perish, but for his own sins; none, who is willing to accept of Christ’s salvation.”

     What kind of church would reflect the glory of this new covenant?  What kind of fellowship would  arise out of the character of the new covenant?  What would this church’s ministry be to a hurt and broken world?  There would be unity and universality.  Every member in this congregation would agree because the agreement is written by the very hand of God in every heart.  There would be no need to minister within as God himself has restored each and every member of His body. Every assembly under the new covenant would be an outward church – ministering and teaching the poor, the broken and the fallen in the world.

     Matthew Henry depicts the power and outreach of the church under God’s new covenant; “This is the foundation of the covenant; and when this is laid, duty will be done wisely, sincerely, readily, easily, resolutely, constantly, and with comfort. A plentiful outpouring of the Spirit of God will make the ministration of the gospel so effectual, that there shall be a mighty increase and spreading of Christian knowledge in persons of all sorts. Oh that this promise might be fulfilled in our days, that the hand of God may be with his ministers so that great numbers may believe, and be turned to the Lord! The pardon of sin will always be found to accompany the true knowledge of God. Notice the freeness of this pardon; its fulness; its fixedness.”

     Sadly, there can be  a contrast between the church we know and the church God has made.  Worldly and carnal churches still preach to the old covenant order of priestly classes and externals in ritual and doctrine.  Far too often priests step in and place themselves between the people and their legitimate leader – Jesus Christ.  The worldly priests are taught by academics and become academics and teach the academics of religiosity.  It doesn’t work very well.  When a broken prideful world makes it’s own church and religion we should not be surprised when it is broken as well.  How can we contend with it?

     We find good advice in Matthew Henry’s directions for self-assessment regarding the ministrations of the church we sit in; “Let us search whether we are taught by the Holy Spirit to know Christ, so as uprightly to love, fear, trust, and obey him. All worldly vanities, outward privileges, or mere notions of religion, will soon vanish away, and leave those who trust in them miserable for ever.”  Take a good look around – do you see defeat and misery where there should be joy and overcoming?  Do you see privilege and vanity where there should be humility and service?  Are the teachers at the front or is He established firmly in the heart of each and every believer in the pews?

     If this self-assessment finds your assembly missing the mark, rejoice you have found your mission field.  If you find yourself lacking, rejoice the Holy Spirit is always there to teach and give you what you need to step into the new covenant.  Jesus promised us no less; “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)

     Come Lord Jesus
 

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