“New Day” – Jeremiah 31:15-40 {23-34}

October 13th, 2019

Jeremiah 31:15-40 {23-34}

“New Day”

Aux. Text: Hebrews 8:7-13

Call to Worship: Psalm 25

 

Service Orientation: Without God, this world and our lives are hopeless.  With God, we always have a bright and glorious future.  God provided a new covenant in which He will do whatever needs to be done to love, protect and provide for us that glorious future.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. —  Jeremiah 31:33

 

Background Information – Covenant:

  • Covenant with Adam (Gn 2:15-17; 3:15)
  • Covenant with Noah (Gn 9:9-17)
  • Covenant with Abraham (Gn 15:8-18; 17:1-14)
  • Covenant with Israel (Ex 19-24; Dt 29-30; Josh 23-24)
  • Covenant with David (2 Sm 7:12-17; 23:5; Ps 89:3ff; Isa 55:3ff)

 

 

Covenant = “come to terms”, “bond”, “partnership”, “fetter”, “to agree”, “pledge”, “promise”, “to put together”, to eat bread with”, “to keep the community of a meal with”. TDNT & Zonddrvan + International

 

For all normal uses the Greek word for an agreement is sunthēkē which is the word for a marriage covenant or bond and for an agreement between two states.  Further, in all normal Greek diathēkē means not an agreement, but a will.  Why should the NT use this word for a covenant?  The reason is this–sunthēkē always describes an agreement entered into on equal terms.  The parties to a sunthēkē are on the one level and each can bargain with the other.  But God and man do not meet on equal terms.  In the biblical sense of a covenant, the whole approach comes from God.  Man cannot bargain with God; he cannot argue about the terms of the covenant; he can only accept or reject the offer that God makes.

     The supreme example of such an agreement is a will.  The conditions of a will are not made on equal terms.  They are made entirely by one person, the testator, and the other party cannot alter them but can only accept or refuse the inheritance offered.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 91)

 

Background Information on Jeremiah 31:

  • Expositors of all shades of conviction have written in glowing terms of the significance of this portion of the book. It has been acclaimed as one of the most important passages in the entire OT, signally validated against hypercritical doubts and theories (so Bewer et al.).  It is beyond dispute that the passage has had tremendous influence on NT doctrine.  Many expositors maintain that the concept of the new covenant is Jeremiah’s greatest contribution to biblical truth.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 574)
  • (from Hebrews 8: 8ff) If the author of Hebrews asserted that there had been a change in covenants with the coming of the Messiah, and if he asserted that this new covenant is superior to the old, he would need to back this up with solid Scripture in order to prove his point.

     This is why the writer of Hebrews quotes extensively from Jer 31:31-34.  His point is to demonstrate from the OT Scriptures themselves that the covenant under Moses was imperfect and required replacement by a new covenant that was faultless (Heb 8:7).  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 125-6)  

  • The first twenty-eight chapters of Jeremiah are an exhaustive record of how Judah shattered the covenant and ground the fragments into dust. (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 467)
  • (v. 15) According to Josh 18:25, Ramah lay between Gibeon and Beeroth, five miles north of Jerusalem. Ramah is mentioned as the birthplace and home of Samuel (cf. 1 Sm 1:19; 25:1) in Mount Ephraim.  Ramah was also the place from which the exiles were sent to Babylon (Jer 40:1).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 572)
  • (v. 15) Sorrow and grief do not have the last word, either in Jeremiah or in Matthew. A mother may refuse to be comforted, but God will comfort her nonetheless.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 455)
  • (v. 15) Jeremiah could hear the sound of Rachel’s sobbing in Jerusalem, coming all the way from Ramah. Ramah was a transit camp for refugees (Jer. 40:1).  The Babylonians dragged their prisoners five miles from Jerusalem to a staging area at Ramah, where they were chained together for the long march to Babylon.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 455)
  • (v. 15) It must have been a place of utter despair–fathers chafing against their chains and mothers lifting their voices in lamentation. Their children, their babies, were gone!  Some had starved during the siege.  Others had been put to the sword during the invasion.  In the confusion of battle, still others had been ripped from their mother’s breasts, never to be seen again.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 455)
  • (v. 19) Rachel’s son Ephraim “came to understand” that he had strayed (Jer 31:19). In other words, he finally recognized his sin as sin.  In the same way, Jesus describes the Prodigal Son as “coming to his senses” (Lk 15:17).  Human beings are thinking most clearly and most sensibly when they recognize how sinful they are.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 458)
  • (v. 22) This is a difficult verse to interpret. The new thing God will create could mean 1)- The new thing God will create will be as unusual (in that day) as a woman protecting a man, 2)- it could be a foreshadowing of Christ in the womb, 3) – it could mean that the new thing God will create will be as unusual (in that day) as a woman addressing a man in marriage.
  • (v. 22) Some propose that the “new thing” is a woman who protects a man. Thus it describes a physically weaker partner surrounding and sustaining a stronger one (so Harrison).  A second proposal is that “Virgin Israel” returns to the Lord (so Hyatt).  A third one is that the words refer to the security Israel will enjoy so that the women will be able to protect the nation in case of attack, allowing the men to be occupied with their work (so Cundall).  A fourth view is that, though the Lord has embraced the woman Israel in love, the latter days will witness a situation in which the woman Israel will seek after and embrace her lover, the Lord (so Jensen).  A fifth view suggests that the woman will propose marriage to the man; that is, Israel will seek union with the Lord.  This requires the translation “a female will turn into a man”–viz., she becomes of manly character, no longer hesitant in returning to God but resolute in doing so (so Freedman).  A sixth view is that Israel will overcome the power of the Gentiles (so H.A. Ironside, Notes on the Prophecy and Lamentations of Jeremiah. . . ).  Finally, some interpret the verse to mean that Israel, weak as a woman, becomes superior to the strong Babylonians (so Calvin, though he agrees with the Fathers that it refers to the Virgin birth).  With such an abundance of  interpretations, it is foolhardy to be dogmatic about the meaning of these puzzling words.  On the whole, it seems best to take them as a proverbial saying about something amazing and hard to believe.  The meaning is beyond present solution (so Bright et al.).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 571)
  • (v. 22) It appears that what we have here is something of a reversal of roles. We might expect the strong man to surround the female, whether surround is taken as a reference to a sexual embrace and/or protection.  The reversal is likely the reason why it is called new.  But what does it mean?  Since Israel is likened to a woman in this oracle (Rachel; Virgin Israel), we might understand this as indicating that Israel has embraced God, thus expressing her repentant attitude that has turned from faithless wandering.  (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah, 208)
  • (v. 22) This imagery has caused difficulties and significant divergence for interpreters, as a perusal of commentaries will show. Contextually the emphasis seems to fall on the newness that only the Lord can create.  (1) This is indicated by the verb bara´ (to create), used in verse 22 to describe what the Lord will do.  This verb is used in Gn 1:1 to describe God’s creation of the heavens and the earth.  Of all the occurrences of this verb in the OT where the meaning is “to create,” God is the only subject.  (J. Andrew Dearman, The NIV Application Commentary: Jeremiah, 286)
  • (v. 24) One thousand years before this, (before the writing of Heb 8:8) in the days of Rehoboam, the kingdom had split apart, into Israel with the ten tribes and Judah with the two, and these two sections had never come together again. The new covenant is going to unite that which has been divided; in it the old enemies will be at one.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 92)
  • (vss. 31-34) Verses 8-12 (of Hebrews 8) quote Jer 31:31-34, which is the longest OT quotation in the NT. Jeremiah prophesied about a future time when a better covenant would be established, because the first covenant, given to Moses at Mount Sinai, was imperfect and provisional.  The Israelites could not maintain faithfulness to it because their hearts had not been truly changed.  This change of heart required Jesus’ full sacrifice to remove sin and the Holy Spirit’s permanent indwelling.  When we turn our lives over to Christ, the Holy Spirit instills in us a desire to obey God.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 118)
  • (v. 31) The phrase “new covenant” occurs only this once in the OT, although Jeremiah twice announces an “everlasting covenant” that God will establish with his people (32:40; 50:5). Several prophetic books refer to a renewal of the Mosaic (Sinai) covenant with Israel and Judah in similar terms.  Hos 2:14-23 speaks metaphorically of God’s bringing Israel again into the desert and reclaiming the people in a covenantal bond likened to marriage.  Ezekiel (Ezek 16:60; 37:26) and Isaiah (Isa 55:3) have references to an “everlasting covenant” that point to the same future for God’s people as Jeremiah.  (J. Andrew Dearman, The NIV Application Commentary: Jeremiah, 287)
  • (vss. 35-36) Ordinary unthinking worldliness sees nothing noticeable in them because they come uniformly. Earthquakes startle, but the firmness of the solid earth attracts no observation.  God is thought to speak in the extraordinary, but most men do not hear His voice in the normal.  (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Jeremiah, 334)
  • (vss. 35-36) Many times we are completely ignorant of God’s acting in our lives. A lot like media and sound people in a worship service.  If they are doing their job 100% effectively, you don’t ever notice that they are there.
  • (v. 36) Hence we see what our confidence should be. It should stand firm and changeless as the Covenant, and we should move in our orbits as the stars and hearken to the voice of His word as do they.  Let us see to it that we have faith to match His faithfulness, and that our confidence shall be firmer than the mountains, more stable than the stars.  (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Jeremiah, 335-6)
  • (v. 36) To seal his promises the Lord takes a majestic oath. The maker of heaven and earth, the one who established the laws of nature and keeps them, gives his word.  Only if nature itself and its laws, set in place by God, cease to function is there any possibility that the Lord will not keep his promise.  Only if one could measure out the vast expanse of the heavens and the secrets of the earth below, is there any chance that God’s promises could fail.  But they cannot fail.  The same omnipotence and might that made and upholds all things makes those promises secure.  You can count on them.  (David M. Gosdeck, The Peoples Bible: Jeremiah, 209)
  • (v. 36) The permanence of the nation is illustrated from the fixed arrangements in nature (v. 35). The survival of Israel through the centuries can be explained only on supernatural grounds (v. 36; cf. 33:20, 25).  Scripture knows no greater guarantee for the validity and permanence of the covenant than that stated here.  As unchangeable as the laws of nature is God’s covenant with the deathless nation.  The concept of nation carries with it geographical location, government, and other ethnic features to be fully realized in the end time.  In short, it is utterly impossible that Israel should cease to be a nation before God (v. 37).  National existence is assured, regardless of how God may have to deal with individuals in the nation.  God regards his promises rather than their demerits.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 578-9)
  • (v. 36) The survival of Israel is as certain as the laws of nature that God has ordained. Jeremiah added a second proof of Yahweh’s determination to preserve Israel.  For him to cast her off was as impossible as a person being able to measure the heavens or discover the depth of the earth.  (Max Anders, Holman OT Commentary: Jeremiah, 263)

 

The questions to be answered are . . . Why is Jeremiah now so hopeful in light of his first 28 chapters of doom and gloom?  What has changed his message?

 

Answer: Jeremiah understands that God will institute a new covenant with God’s people.  God will enact and fulfill the new covenant.  Because man cannot be trusted to fulfill his end of the covenant.

 

The covenant God makes with his people is an agreement that has two parties, promises, and a condition.  The parties are God and his people.  The promises are:  “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts,” says God, “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10).  And the condition is faith.  (William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 202)

 

Now a covenant is an agreement between two parties so that if one party does his part, the other will do his also.  God had made a covenant with the nation of Israel based on the people’s obedience to the Law.  They would be His people and He would be their God as long as they obeyed His commands (Ex 24:1-8).  In other words, the relationship was based on obedience.  But now through the gospel, God offers a new covenant, between Himself and individuals.  This new covenant is based on His love for us and Jesus’ perfect sacrifice.  Compliance with the Law is no longer the basis of fellowship with God.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 157)

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Hope

 

Hope is the very stuff of life; it keeps the farmer on the tractor, the prisoner alive, the student at the books, and the patient watching for the morning. Hope fills present sacrifices with joy and keep us at worthy tasks even though rewards are small and those who say “Thank you” are few.   This hope is not whistling in the dark nor is it activated only by spring flowers.  Rather it is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  —Fred Craddock

 

How can we find hope in a hopeless world?:

 

I-  God provided a new covenant because things were hopeless after we broke the Old Covenant.  (Jer chps 1-28; see also: Rom 3:1-20; 8:3-7; Gal 2:15-21; 3:21-24; Eph 2:12; 1 Thess 4:13; Heb 7:11, 18; 8:8; 10:11)

 

The old covenant which God made with Israel had proved a failure.  At its establishment they were most ready to promise, All that the Lord hath said will we do and be obedient.  But how soon was the covenant forgotten and the promise broken.  They had undertaken what they could not perform; the vow and the purpose availed nothing without the strength.  In course of time God promised to establish a new covenant, and in it to provide for what had been wanting, for the power to obey, and so to keep the covenant.  It would be a covenant of life–giving that new life into the heart, out of which obedience would naturally spring.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 248)

 

The covenant was broken even before it could be ratified.  By the time Moses came down from the mountain, the people had cast a golden idol in the shape of a calf.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 466)

 

The Old Covenant was flawed, not in what was spelled out in the Law’s requirements, for the Law was good (cf. Rom 7:12), but it was “weakened by the sinful nature” of the people (Rom 8:3), because “the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Rom 8:7, 8).  Because of this, it could not deliver on its wonderful promises.  But the New Covenant was founded on “better promises,” both because of their extent and because of the covenant’s ability to bring them to fulfillment in the lives of sinful humanity.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, 217)

 

The transition from the old covenant to the new covenant is motivated not by some flaw in the old covenant, but by the inability of God’s people to keep it.  They broke the covenant.  Their breaking of the law of the covenant is what has required the prophets, including Jeremiah, to preach judgment against them.  Heightening the perversity of the rebellion of the people of God, is the fact that God has acted toward them like a husband toward a wife.  The marriage metaphor of the relationship between God and his people emphasizes his love and caring concern for them.  In spite of that, they have spurned him (see Ezek 16; 23; Hos 1; 3).  (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah, 211)

 

The covenant which God made with Israel through Moses was an honest, legitimate deal.  God was ready to bring the nation unto Himself in a special relationship and protect her against her enemies.  He even promised to heal her people of their diseases.  It had numerous material benefits.  In speaking of the Law, the covenant under which the Jewish people enjoyed these benefits, the apostle Paul said it was “holy, righteous and good” (Rom 7:12).  The truth is, it was perfect.  But that is what created the problem.  It was a perfect Law given to imperfect people.  Had the people been sinless it would have been an ideal arrangement.  Had they been faithful, it would have been great.  But Israel was unfaithful.  She turned to other gods.  She broke God’s Law right and left.  Since it was based on obedience, the covenant was broken soon after it was made.  Now the new covenant, of which Jesus is the mediator, is completely different.  It is NOT based on our obedience at all, but our faith in Jesus’ perfect obedience.  This new covenant, made available to man through Jesus, is far superior to the old one.  It is based on better promises.  What those promises are, our writer will tell us shortly.  What is unique about the new covenant is that it is offered to INDIVIDUALS.  “Whosoever will” may put his trust in Christ and come under the new covenant.  The program initiated by this new covenant is called CHRISTIANITY.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 171)

 

In Jeremiah 31 God refers to “the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt” (v. 32a).  For Jeremiah, therefore, the Old Covenant meant the covenant God made with his people at Mount Sinai.  The Mosaic Covenant was for a people already saved by grace.  “God spoke all these words: ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’” (Ex 20:1-2).  Once they were saved, God’s people had to keep God’s covenant in order to receive God’s blessing.  They had to worship God alone, keep the Sabbath holy, preserve the sanctity of human life, tell the truth, and obey the rest of the Ten Commandments (vv. 3-17).  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 466)

 

The old covenant, with hundreds of commandments, statutes, and ordinances, was addressed to a people with hard, unregenerate hearts.  They were obligated to keep the stipulations of this covenant whether they felt like it or not.  The motivations to obey were external consequences in the form of rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience (Dt 28).  In stark contrast, however, the new covenant involves an internal transformation by which the laws are written on people’s hearts.  Submission to God and His will comes as a result of faith and love, not fear of judgment.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 126)

 

The old covenant was replaced, not because it was imperfect and riddled with flaws, but because it was inadequate and incomplete, only preparatory.  God’s covenant through Moses was basically law and as such had two deficiencies.  It revealed sin, but could not remove it.  It demanded perfect obedience, but could not give the power for it.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 86)

 

The observation that the old covenant is obsolete and aging [and] will soon disappear was visually demonstrated just a few years after this book was written when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

     The “new covenant implies that the “old” covenant and its way have now passed.  Old systems, old sacrifices, and the old priesthood now have no value in securing God’s approval.  “Hang on to the old covenant if you will,” warns Hebrews, “but you’re hanging on to a shadow, a bubble ready to burst, a moment passing into history.  The old covenant has served its purpose and will soon be just a memory.  You can’t live in the past, so your real choice is clear: accept the new covenant or none at all.”  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 121)

 

A renewed covenant demands a renewed Jerusalem.  It will be greatly enlarged and permanently settled.  The rebuilding is not for themselves or for secular purposes but for the glory of the Lord.  It will be dedicated and separated to him (cf. v. 40).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 579)

 

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. —Woody Allen

 

The law by itself kills off any hope of rightness and righteousness through human ability and effort, but it kindles hope in God ever brighter as we walk in the law through Christ in us the hope of glory (Col 1:27).  (Dallas Willard; Renovation of the Heart, 214-5)

 

To paraphrase Roosevelt, in modernity’s story, there is nothing to hope for but hope itself.  (Ken Myers, Mars Hill Audio Newsletter, July 2007)

 

If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless.  But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again.

    . . . Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness.  It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know that they need any forgiveness.  It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power–it is after all this and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.  When you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. (C. S. Lewis; Mere Christianity, 38-9)

 

II-  A new day of hope will come as a result of the New Covenant. (Jer 31:23-30; see also: Jer 32:40; Mt 2; 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11: 23-25; 2 Cor 3; Heb 7:19-22;  8:6-13; 9:15; 10:14-18; 12:24; Rv 21:5)  

 

The “fault” of the old covenant lay, not in its essence, which, as we have said, presented God’s standard of righteousness and was propounded as an instrument of life to those who should keep it, but in its inability to justify and renew those who failed to keep it, namely, the totality of fallen mankind.  The new covenant went literally to the heart of the matter, promising man, as it did, a new and obedient heart and the grace truly to love both God and his fellow man (Ez 11:19f.).  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 297-8)

 

The New Covenant.  Several passages in the prophets, but most explicitly in Jeremiah, speak of a new covenant in the messianic age (Isa 42:6; 49:6-8; 55:3; 59:21; 61:8; Jer 31:31, 33; 32:40; 50:5; Ez 16:60, 62; 34:25; 37:26; Hos 2:18).  If God’s promises were eternal, then even if historic Israel failed and suffered the curses of the broken covenant, the promise of God could not fail.  There would be a remnant in whom, by way of judgment and repentance, God would honor His promises.  He would make a new covenant, not new in essence, but new in fulfillment.  His law would be written on hearts of flesh.  In that day the throne of David would be occupied by one of David’s line and the people would enjoy an everlasting covenant of peace (Isa 55:3; Jer 23:5f.; 32:37-40; Ez 34:23; 37:25f.), in which the nations would also share (Isa 42:6; 49;6; 55:3-4; cf. Zec 2:11; 8:20-23; 14:16; etc.).  In those days worship would be purified (Ez 40-48), true theocratic government would be established, and peace would be universal.  It is very evident that in this picture the original Near Eastern metaphor has been completely transformed.  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. One, 792)

 

The old covenant spoke of a great physical deliverance from Egypt through the blood of lambs and the power of God; the new covenant proclaims a great spiritual deliverance from sin and death through the efficacious blood of the Lamb of God and the power of God.  The Passover Feast memorialized the first; the Lord’s Supper memorializes the second.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 575)

 

Theologians have struggled to explain the eternal duration of the covenant.  The Biblical covenants often sound like contracts, as if God does his part and we do our part.  But of course we never keep our end of the bargain, and so the covenant ought to be null and void.  Yet the mystery of God’s grace is that he continues to keep covenant even when we break it.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 473-4)

 

The Westminster Larger Catechism asks, “With whom was the covenant of grace made?”  Answer: “The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed” (Q. & A. 30).  In other words, the New Covenant is not a bargain between God and us.  If that were the case, the New Covenant would be no better than the Old.  Rather, the New Covenant is a blood bond between God the Father and God the Son on our behalf.  Jesus Christ makes and keeps the covenant for us.  We are in the covenant because we are in Christ.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 474)

 

A HOPELESS CHRISTIAN IS A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS.

                   

 

A-  There will be cultural reconciliation: Shalom.  (Jer 31:24-25, 28-30, 34b; see also: Ezek 18:1-31; 36:8-11)

 

Judah’s economy, both farming and shepherding, will be reinvigorated.  There may well be significance to the fact that farmers and shepherds, who often compete over the use of land, will get along together in the restored Judah.  (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah, 209)

 

B-  There will be spiritual reformation and renewal.  (Jer 31:33b, 34; see also: Ezek 11:19; 36:25-27;  Zech 13:1)

 

The new covenant will be written deeply into the wills of the Israelites, who will obey it by choice rather than by compulsion.  Past apostasy will be replaced by an attitude of fidelity to God, so that never again will the nation be in bondage to others.  Jeremiah insists that apostasy is at the root of all Israel’s troubles.  (R.K. Harrison, Tyndale OT Commentaries: Jeremiah, 137)

 

Jesus’ resurrection is to be seen as the beginning of the new world, the first day of the new week, the unveiling of the prototype of what God is now going to accomplish in the rest of the world.  Mary supposes Jesus is the gardener; that’s the right mistake to make because, like Adam, he is charged with bringing God’s new world to order.  He has come to uproot the thorns and thistles and to plant myrtle and cypress instead, as Isaiah promised in his great picture of the new creation that would result from the Word of God coming like rain or snow into the world.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 239)

 

Good news, you’re a sinner!  Sin is the best news there is. . . because with sin, there’s a way out. . . you can’t repent of confusion or psychological flaws inflicted by your parents —you’re stuck with them.  But you can repent of sin.  Sin and repentance are the only grounds for hope and joy, the grounds for reconciled, joyful relationships. (John Alexander; The Other Side: Leadership Summer 2000, 75)

                   

If I am a mistake (evolution) if it is irremediable . . . If I made a mistake I can correct that.  But if my being is a mistake then there is no hope because there is something inherently wrong with me.  —John Bradshaw

 

C-  There will be relational restoration.  (Jer 31:33c; see also: Ez 11:19-20; Hosea 1:11; 2:22-23; Zech 8:8; 2 Cor 5:19-21; Gal 3:8ff; Eph 2:14;  3:1-7)

 

(From Heb 8: 8) The new covenant would bring together those who had been divided by bitterness and hostility: it was to be established with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  The promise of the reunion of Israel and Judah was symbolical of the healing of every human breach and the reconciliation of all nations and persons in Christ, the seed of Abraham in whom all the peoples of the earth are blessed and united (Gal 3:8f., 16, 27-29) because he “has broken down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14).  What God accomplishes through Christ is nothing less than the reconciliation of the world to himself (2 Cor 5:19ff.).  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 300)

 

In acclaiming this new form of covenantal relationship both Jeremiah and Ezekiel saw that it changed the older concept of a corporate relationship completely by substituting the individual for the nation as a whole.  One immediate corollary of this situation was that a man could no longer blame his misconduct upon inherited traditions or current social tendencies.  Instead, under the new covenant he would have to accept personal responsibility for his own misdeeds.  (R.K. Harrison, Tyndale OT Commentaries: Jeremiah, 140)

 

Jeremiah pictured Judah as a silly girl, flitting from lover to lover, and now summoned to come home.  (He used this image before.  See 2:1-2, 20; 3:1-11.)  According to the law, a daughter who prostituted herself should have been killed (Lv 21:9; Dt 22:21), but God would do a new thing: He would welcome her home and forgive her!  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 150)

 

It is after making this strong expression of the internal nature of the new covenant that God then proclaims, “I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  This is the covenant formulary.  It expresses the covenant relationship in a nutshell.  A memorable moment when God uses this formulary is Ex 6:6-8, where it becomes the basis for why God will bring the people out of bondage in Egypt and into the land promised to Abraham.  (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah, 212)

 

By blending together these domestic images of a home broken and disturbed by the loss and departure of children and the rejoicing at their return, the prophet portrays the intensity and nature of God’s love for his people.  If human beings behave in such a fashion when lost children return to their home, how much more must this be true of God, who has created these human beings to be capable of loving in this way.  If God so deeply wills the return of his wayward children, then how secure and certain must be the hope of that return, since its possibility is grounded in the very nature of God’s love.  (R.E. Clements, Interpretation: Jeremiah, 186-7)

 

Worship Point: Worship the God Who does what we cannot do to make life wonderful for us. No other god can do this.  No other god would do this.  (Gn 15; Ex 15:11; Dt 3:24; 2 Sm 7:23; 1 Chr 17:21; Ps 35:10; 77:13; 89:6, 8; 113:5; Dn 3:29)

 

This new covenant, not like the covenant made with the people through Moses, would be of grace, not of works; radical, not external; everlasting, not temporary; meeting man’s deepest need and transforming his whole being, because from beginning to end it would be the work, not of man, but of God himself.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 300)

 

Gospel Application: Jesus established and fulfilled the new covenant through His blood by His work on the cross.  We can confidently enjoy the hope of a glorious future because of the work of Christ in our hearts, confirmed by the sign of Rachel’s weeping.  (Gn 35:16-20; Jer 31:15-17; Mt 2; 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11: 23-25; 1 Tm 1:1; Heb 8:6-13; 9:15; 10:14-18; 12:24)

 

Originally, covenants were agreements between two parties.  Each party had certain obligations and responsibilities.  If either side failed, the covenant was broken.  Jesus provided a way to guarantee the acts of both parties.  He guaranteed the people’s part by providing a perfect sacrifice.  This ensured that the people would always be righteous before God.  Jesus also guaranteed God’s part by securing God’s permanent forgiveness and presence.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 105)

 

The basis for the new covenant is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Mt 26:27-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20).  Because the church today partakes in Israel’s spiritual riches (Rom 11:12-32; Eph 3:1-6), anyone who puts faith in Jesus Christ shares in this new covenant (Heb 8:6-13; 10:14-18).  It’s an experience of regeneration, being born again into the family of God (Jn 3:1-21).  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 152)

 

True repentance is a gift from God.  Ephraim never could have repented like this on his own.  He prayed, “Restore me, and I will return” (Jer 31:18), because he knew that the initiative for his change of heart had to come from God.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 459)

 

Any plan for the betterment of human society that ignores the sin problem is destined to failure.  It isn’t enough to change the environment, for the heart of every problem is the problem of the heart.  God must change the hearts of people so that they want to love Him and do His will.  That’s why He announced a new covenant to replace the old covenant under which the Jews had lived since the days of Moses, a covenant that could direct their conduct but not change their character.  (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 151)

 

The superiority of the New Covenant lies in its Divine fulfillment (Heb 8:10-12 see also: Isa 42:5-7; 49:6-12; 54:10; 55:3; 59:20-21; 61:8; Hos 2:17-23; Mal 3:1-4; Jer 31:31-34; 32:40; 50:5; Ez 16:59-62; 34:25; 37:26; Hos 2:18; Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20; Rom  3:21-26; 4:1-25; 4:13-17, 20-21; 8:3-7; 11:26-27; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 1:20; 3; Heb 7-12 – especially 7:18-28; 8:6-13; 9:15)

 

Covenantal restoration, according to the NT, occurs only through a man’s identification with the righteous life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (Mt 3:15; Phil 3:21; Col 1:27; 1 Pt 2:24; cf. Jn 14:6); and this fact applies equally to the saved of all ages, to those of the Old as well as of the NT (Heb 11:40).  OT Israel stood quite literally under the blood (Ex 24:8; Heb 9:19), and the effectiveness of the blood lay not in bulls and goats (Heb 10:4) but in its anticipation of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (v. 12).  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. One, 1004)

 

If you have not a new heart, go to your chambers, fall upon your knees, and cry to God for it.  May the Holy Spirit constrain you so to do, and while you are pleading remember the new heart comes from the bleeding heart; the changed nature comes from the suffering nature.  You must look to Jesus.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 216)

 

For God to remember our sins no more is the same as for him to forgive them; obviously, sins effectively dealt with in this way, fully forgiven and put out of sight (so different from the situation under the Levitical system), have no need of further propitiation.  The all-sufficient propitiation has been made, once and forever (1 Jn 2:2).  At last the longing of the centuries has been satisfied:  true forgiveness of sins is provided by Christ’s one perfect sacrifice of himself on the cross.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 404)

 

In the old covenant God agreed to forgive people’s sins if they brought animals for the priests to sacrifice.  When this sacrificial system was inaugurated, the agreement between God and man was sealed with the blood of animals (Ex 24:8).  But animal blood did not in itself remove sin (only God can forgive sin), and animal sacrifices had to be repeated day by day and year after year.  Jesus instituted a “new covenant” or agreement between humans and God.  Under this new covenant, Jesus would die in the place of sinners.  Unlike the blood of animals, his blood (because he is God) would truly remove the sins of all who put their faith in him.  And Jesus’ sacrifice would never have to be repeated; it would be good for all eternity (Heb 9:23-28).  The prophets looked forward to this new covenant that would fulfill the old sacrificial agreement (Jer 31:31-34), and John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 118)

 

You may be saying to yourself, “I don’t think I can ever live the Christian life”–and you are right!  But a new heart, the expulsive inner power of new affection, will make it possible.  The sense that you cannot do it is precisely why you should come to Christ.  In fact, it is the qualification!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 25)

 

The old sacrificial system actually was over when the veil was split in two and Christ’s sacrifice was complete (Mt 27:50-51; Mk 15:37-39; Lk 23:44-46).  At that time, Christ’s unique, never-to-be-repeated sacrifice was finished with the result that all men in Christ had direct access to God (1 Tm 2:5-6).  The destruction of the Temple completed the closing of the Old Covenant–by removing the place of sacrifice that no longer served a purpose.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 217)

 

Her sons were lost, but not forever.  God would find them and bring them back home.  Surely Matthew had this clearly in mind when he quoted Jeremiah’s prophecy.  He wanted to show that the coming of the Messiah meant salvation for God’s people, even for the babes of Bethlehem.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 460)

 

When God told Rachel to dry her tears, he was not just saying, “There, there, it’s all right.”  He was promising to make things all right.  The comfort God offers is real comfort, and the joy he promises is real joy.  Weeping will last only for the night; then morning comes, full of song.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 463)

 

The Bible is honest about the misery of the human condition, but it never gives in to it.  Even those losses that seem inconsolable can be consoled.  Not in this life perhaps, for we carry some griefs to the grave.  Yet by quoting Jeremiah, Matthew wanted us to know that the Messiah came to bring comfort and joy, even to the Rachels of the world.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 456)

 

The apostle Paul understands the gospel of new life in Christ to be a fulfillment of the hope expressed in Jeremiah’s prediction of the new covenant (2 Cor 3:1-18).  As an apostle, Paul describes himself as a servant of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit (3:6).  His emphasis on the work of God’s Spirit shows that he understands Jeremiah’s prediction of a transformed heart to be the work of God’s Spirit in the life of a Christian.  Nevertheless, the coming of Christ and the gift of the Spirit do not exhaust the promises made in the new covenant; the complete transformation of God’s people is still in the future.  (J. Andrew Dearman, The NIV Application Commentary: Jeremiah, 289)

 

The Old Covenant symbol is not bad, and was never bad.  It had a beautiful, God-given purpose.  It pointed to the Son, represented the Son, foreshadowed the Son before He came to earth.  But now that the Son has come, the symbol has no more purpose, and God means for it to be discarded.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 217)

 

Rachel’s lament symbolized a parent watching her rebellious children punished by being carried away captive.  She feared they would never again be a nation.  The historical Rachel died, having given birth to Benjamin.  She named him Ben-Oni or “Son of my trouble” (see Gn 35:18).  Rachel’s agony in the birth of Benjamin later became a symbol of Israel’s waiting painfully but patiently for the Messiah while in exile in a foreign land.  (Max Anders, Holman OT Commentary: Jeremiah, 261)

 

Only the Holy Spirit can change a heart.  A Christian whose heart has been regenerated by God’s Spirit knows how to please God and does not need to pull out a Bible every time a decision needs to be made.  The Law written on the heart helps the Christian know what to do instantly and instinctively.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 470)

 

The reason the New Covenant is so much better is because “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant” (9:15; cf. 12:24).  The New Covenant offers full and final satisfaction for the curst of God against every kind of covenant-breaking.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 473)

 

The way the New Covenant deals with the problem of sin is through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  The sins of God’s people were forgiven and forgotten at Calvary.  When Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples, “He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Lk 22:20; cf. 1 Cor 11:25).  Jesus was claiming that all the promises of the New Covenant find their fulfillment in him.  Jesus is the New Covenant.  The New Covenant is established by his blood shed on the cross for our sins.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 472)

 

Without Jesus we face a hopeless end.  But with Jesus we have an endless hope.

 

We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus because we have hope. (Rom 8:31)  

Nothing can separate us from the Love of God.  (Rom 8:30)

 

In Matthew 2 we are pointed to Jesus as the one upon whom the OT’s lines converge: the Christ (Mt 2:1-6); the true Son, with the true Exodus to accomplish (Mt 2:15); the greater than Moses (Mt 2:20 echoing Ex 4:19); the nēşer (“branch”, Isa 11:1) suggested by the name Nazarene (Mt 2:23); and at Mt 2:17-18, the one whose disturbing presence brought yet another draught of suffering to a tragic people.  The mothers of Bethlehem, like Rachel the mother of the Joseph tribes, could only weep; yet our passage tells us that Rachel’s tears were not in vain and not for ever (31:16-17).  Did the gospel’s allusion to it hint at the same long view?  “There is hope for your future, says the Lord, and your children shall come back. . .” (17)–these to a better country than they had lost.  (Derek Kidner, The Bible Speaks Today:  Jeremiah, 109)

 

It is most significant that Christ here connects the “new” covenant with His “blood.”  We at once think, as doubtless the disciples thought, of the transaction described in Ex 24:7, when Moses “took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people,” indicating God’s undertaking on behalf of His people and what He required of them; “and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken will we do, and we will be obedient,’” thus taking up their part of the contract.  Then comes the ratification.  “Moses took the blood [half of which had already been thrown on the altar] and threw it upon the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (v. 8).  The blood was sacrificial blood, the blood of the animals sacrificed as burnt offerings and peace offerings (vv. 5f.).  The one half of the blood thrown on the altar tells of the sacrifice offered to God, the other half thrown on the people, of the virtue of the same sacrifice applied to the people; and so the covenant relation is fully brought about.  Christ, by speaking of His blood in this connection, plainly indicates that His death was a sacrifice, and that through that sacrifice His people would be brought into a new covenant relationship with God.  His sacrifice is acceptable to God and the virtue of it is to be applied to believers–so all the blessings of the new covenant are secured to them; the blood “is poured out for you” (Lk 22:20).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. One, p. 795)

 

Meanwhile Isaiah, in the latter part of his life, carried forward the internal portion of Hosea’s revelation.  In his messages of comfort to Judah, subsequent to the devastating attacks of Sennacherib in 701 B.C., he spoke of the deliverance that would be accomplished through God’s “Suffering Servant” (Jesus Christ, Lk 22:37), and specifically, of how the future b’rith would be embodied in Him: “And I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles,” (Isa 42:6; 49:8 KJV).  That is, what had so far been considered as a legal disposition is summed up as a Person.  Jesus Christ is not only the everlasting Son of God who establishes the testament, but He is the priest who at the same time officiates at the death (52:15).  He is also the testator, the offering that dies (53:8), and He becomes Himself the living blessing of reconciliation; indeed, He is the inheritance that is bestowed: “that thou mayest be my salvation” (49:6 KJV).  Christ, in other words, is the Testament.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. One, 1012)

 

If you don’t see the absolute holiness of God, the magnitude of your debt, the categorical necessity of God’s just punishment of your sin, and therefore the utter hopelessness of your condition, then the knowledge of your pardon and deliverance will not be amazing and electrifying! — Tim Keller

 

What remains for sinners, that they may be personally and savingly in covenant with God, is not, as parties contractors and undertakers, to make a covenant with him for life and salvation; but only, to take hold of God’s covenant already made from eternity, between the Father and Christ the second Adam, and revealed and offered to us in the gospel.  (Samuel M. Millan, The Complete Works of the Late Rev. Thomas Boston, Vol. 8, 430)

 

What is a tomb?  It’s the place where hope ends, where dreams end, where life ends, where everything ends.  The tomb is the place of the end.  But in God, the tomb, the place of the end, becomes the place of the beginning.  (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, Day 65)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Endeavor to never forget the glorious future we have in Christ.  That Spirit will empower you to repent and thus live your life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  (Ps 30:11; Gal 5:22-23; 1 Tm 2:25; 1 Jn 3:3)

 

If the enemy can get you to lose hope, he can get you to stop living by faith. (Jentezen Franklin, The Spirit of Python, 16)

 

More than just memorizing Scripture, this means having a new “heart,” and with it a new sense of intimacy with God where he is known as Father (Abba) and where Christians are known as children of God and heirs.  This new heart will bring the people’s relationship with God to a personal level (not just through intermediaries).  Having these laws written on our hearts means that we will want to obey God.  If our hearts are not changed, we will find it difficult to follow God’s will and we will rebel against being told how to live.  The Holy Spirit, however, gives us new desires for God (see Phil 2:12-13).  With new hearts, we will find serving God to be our greatest joy.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 119-20)

 

Because the new covenant provides motivation and power, we can have confidence that God’s Spirit within us can overcome our weaknesses and inadequacies.  We remember that trusting and obeying Him isn’t done in our own fleshly strength.  God works in us to shape our desires and accomplish what He wills (Phil 2:12-13).  We’re not asked to conjure up halfhearted obedience performed with a begrudging grin, but God himself produces spiritual fruit through His abiding Spirit–“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).  We love and obey Him from a transformed heart, giving Him the glory, honor, and thanks.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 128)

 

THE CHRISTIAN’S PERSONAL IDENTITY:

I believe that in Christ Jesus my sins have been fully and freely forgiven, and I am a new creation.  I have died with Christ to my old identity in Adam.  I have been raised with Christ to a new life.  I am seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  God has given to me the full righteousness of Jesus Christ.  I am joined with angels, archangels, and all the saints in heaven.  God is my Father, and if He is for me, who can be against me?  Because of who I am in Christ, I am more than a conqueror.  In fact, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.  Christ Jesus is my life!  Everything in my life here on this earth is working out for good according to the purposes of God.  Christ Jesus Himself dwells within me.  I have been called according to the purposes of God.  These things I believe and confess, because God, my Father in heaven, says they are true.  Amen!  (Don Matzat; Christ Esteem, 96)

 

There is today a very common misconception that thinks of men and women of faith as so occupied with the future that they sit around, twiddling their thumbs, doing nothing now.  A very trite saying describes these types:  “So heavenly-minded they are no earthly good.”  That unfortunately is the common concept of faith.  But that is not faith; that is fatalism!  Faith works!  Faith is doing something now, in view of the future.  If you are folding your hands and waiting for the Second Coming you are not living the life of faith.  The life of faith is that which will occupy till I come, as Jesus said.  It acts now in view of that coming event.  (Ray C. Stedman, How to Live What You Believe, 156)

 

To live in God’s presence and fellowship two things must be clear: the thought of sin must be put away out of God’s heart, and the love of sin out of our heart.  These two blessings are together secured in the new covenant.  First, the forgiveness of sins so complete, that He remembers them no more forever; they never more enter into God’s heart.  And, second, the renewal of our heart and will so complete, that the law of God is written there by the Holy Spirit, so that the will of God is our will.  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 279)

 

When Paul wrote his great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, he didn’t end by saying, “So let’s celebrate the great future life that awaits us.”  He ended by saying, “So get on with your work because you know that in the Lord it won’t go to waste.”  When the final resurrection occurs, as the centerpiece of God’s new creation, we will discover that everything done in the present world in the power of Jesus’ own resurrection will be celebrated and included, appropriately transformed.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 294)

 

If you are hoping and trusting in the Lord, and suddenly your health, wealth or future are taken from you and your hope is gone.  Then, you need to confess that it was not the Lord you were hoping in.  It was what you have just lost.  Hope in the Lord NEVER disappoints.  Romans 5:4-5?

 

The God who establishes the new is the same God who made the old.  Since God is the author of both, each is good and glorious, though the goodness and glory of the latter far surpass the goodness and glory of the former (cf. V. 6; Rom 7:12-16; 2 Cor 3:7-9).  And it is the same law that is associated with both old and new covenants.  Though the Christian believer is not justified by the works of the law, but by the law-keeping and self-offering of Another on his behalf, yet the law of God is the standard of holiness required of him; only now he is enabled to love and obey the commandments of God which before he hated and disobeyed.  The promise, “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts,” is fulfilled in his experience.  Thus there is no suggestion of antinomianism here or anywhere else in the NT, which is the book of the new covenant, nor is there any antithesis between law and love.  Love, indeed, love of God and love of man, is the summary of the law (Lk 10:26f.; Rom 13:8-10), and our love for Christ is demonstrated precisely in the keeping of his commandments (Jn 14:15).  Loving obedience, accordingly, should be one of the distinctive marks of genuine Christianity.  As the law is a signpost to the will of God, so the concern of the Christian should always be to honor God by walking joyfully in the way of his will.  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 301)

 

Spiritual Challenge Questions:

  1. Modern culture almost universally agrees that man must have hope for him to “have a life”. And yet, almost as universally accepted (among secular philosophers) is the fact that mankind, if he really thinks about his life without God, has no hope.   How does a thinking person reconcile these polar opposite positions?  What must one do to “have a life?  
  2. If hope is necessary and there is no hope without God, then we should see widespread hopelessness among those who are without God. Do we see evidence today of hopelessness within Western Culture that is becoming increasingly secular?  Where and how?
  3. Why do Christians sometimes appear so hopeless? Are they?  What can they do to correct this error?

 

So What?: There is no rational way any fully, thinking, sane person, who is in touch with reality can live their lives with confidence, security, hope, joy and peace without Christ.  To live with hope and a future without the promises of Christ, you must either believe in an illusion, be smoking something that is not legal or be living with an all-encompassing distraction.  (Ps 42:5, 11; 43:5; 62:5; 65:5; 71:5, 14; 119:49; 130:7; 146:5; Rom 5:1-5; 15:4, 12-13; Eph 1:18; Col 1:27; 1 Thess 1:3; 1 Tm 4:10; 6:17; Ti 2:13; 3:7; Heb 6:18-20; 10:23; 11:1; 1 Pt 1:3-9, 13, 21)

 

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.  —William Hazlitt

                   

Paul Quinnet in Pavlov’s Trout writes:

     “ It is better to fish hopefully than to catch fish.

     Fishing is hope experienced.   To be optimistic in a slow bite is to thrive on hope alone.   When asked, “How can you fish all day without a hit?” the true fisherman replies, “Hold it, I think I felt something.”   If the line goes slack, he says, “He’ll be back!”

     When it comes to the human spirit, hope is all.  Without hope, there is no yearning, no desire for a better tomorrow, and no belief that the next cast will bring the big strike.”

 

Hope is one of the Theological virtues.  This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.  It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.  If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.  The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.  Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”:  aim at earth and you will get neither.  It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters.  Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you.  You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more–food, games, work, fun, open air.  In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object.  We must learn to want something else even more.  (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 118-19)

 

The hope of dying is the only thing that keeps me alive.  —Vance Havner

 

The heavenly hope is reflected in the depiction of believers as already possessing a heavenly citizenship (Phil 3:20), with the result that they are sojourners in this world (1 Pt 2:11) awaiting their summons to a better land.  A similar outlook characterized the OT saints whose faith gave them assurance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1, 13).  Christ’s followers are in the world but not of it (Jn 17:14).  This does not imply isolation from unsaved society, making witness impossible, but only a determination not to be conformed to its ideals and manner of life.  Believers belong to the (coming) day, so they are challenged to live a life of sobriety and alertness, ready for participation in eschatological salvation (1 Thess 5:4-11; Rom 13:11-14).   They are expected as well to be sufficiently informed about the implications of their faith to be able to explain their hope to those who inquire about it (1 Pt 3:15). (Geoffrey W. Bromiley; The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol Two, 753)

 

For a long time I allowed contemporary culture to talk me out of meditating upon the hope believers have in eternal life in heaven   I was convinced that to be that heavenly minded was to be of no earthly good

     But, I have since thought it out and have come to the conclusion that we are of more earthly good when we are motivated by the prospect and significance of heaven.  Therefore, until we are motivated by the reality that what earthly good we do in this world is significant for eternity we may not be much earthly good. — Pastor Keith

                   

Hope is the banner of the faithful.  (H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Isaiah, 175)

 Man’s way leads to a hopeless end!

God’s way leads to an endless hope!  

 

JESUS:

NEW COVENANT

AUTHOR 

 

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