This passage found in the New Testament book of Hebrews is a quotation from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, chapter 31. It speaks of God’s desire to make a new covenant with the “house of Israel” that will be written on their hearts. The author of the book of Hebrews now proclaims this new covenant has been established in Jesus Christ.
The term “covenant” has very deep roots in the religious life of Israel. The word is derived from the sphere of international politics and refers to a treaty drawn between two sides making mutual commitments to one another. Such a covenant would establish peace between the two parties and usually the weaker of the partners in the treaty would make the larger pledge. But such is not the case with the Old Testament covenant where God pledges divine presence and guidance if only Israel will remain faithful.
Israel has so radically broken the old covenant as to render it null and void. Jeremiah foresees God’s offer of a new relationship, based not on the keeping of external laws, but established upon an entirely new internal and personal relationship. Jeremiah 31:33 states, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts.”
This new covenant or new testament is now realized through Jesus Christ. What had been foretold in ancient times is now a promise fulfilled. Christ has come to offer us salvation as we confess our sins and enter a spiritual relationship with Him. And we are promised that God will remember our sins no more. That is the good news of the Lenten season.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us, for we are sinners. Help us to deepen our relationship with you and follow you more closely every day of our life. Amen.