I wanted to share a thought I had from the study in preparation for my sermon this Sunday. [Sidenote: One of my best friends has a blog called “From the Study” which is really helpful for pastors and seminarians training to pastor and preach to read and check out.] The verse I was meditating on was Jeremiah 31:34 which says, “And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” So here’s the thought on the distinction between the new covenant and old covenant that should’ve been understood by those originally hearing/reading Jeremiah’s prophecy:
I found it interesting that as I’ve done a BibleWorks search on forgive/forgiving with sin/transgression/iniquity that there is no blanket statement like the one in the new covenant stated in Jeremiah 31:34 in the old covenant (Exodus-Deuteronomy). There are some statements on God forgiving sins of particular incidents, but no promise of forgiveness of all their sins with the tone of finality and wholeness found here. It is found in descriptions of God’s character [e.g. Exodus 34:7-8] but not declared to the people. After this new covenant declaration it seems to be declared a few more times in Jeremiah and then over and over again in the New Testament. This seems to be one of the distinctive points of the new covenant from the old covenant (the one given at Sinai), God will forgive the sins of his people, finally and wholly, in a way that while still living on earth before glorification they can know him in a way that not old covenant saints could.