Read Jeremiah 31:31-34 and answer the following questions:
1.Who instigates the covenant?
2.Whose law is being talked about here? What law is this?
3.Which verses stress the relational aspect that God wants with His people?
4.What act of God in behalf of His people forms the basis of that covenant relationship?
It is clear: The new covenant is not something much different from the old covenant made with Israel on Mount Sinai. In fact, the problem with the Sinai covenant was not that it was old or outmoded. The problem, instead, was that it was broken (see Jeremiah 31:32).
The answers to the above questions, all found in those four verses, prove that many facets of the “old covenant” remain in the new one. The “new covenant” is, in a sense, a “renewed covenant.” It is the completion, or the fulfillment, of the first one.
Focus on the last part of Jeremiah 31:34, in which the Lord says that He will forgive their iniquity and the sin of His people. Even though the Lord says that He will write the law on our hearts and place it within us, He still stresses that He will forgive our sin and iniquity, which violates the law written in our hearts. Do you see any contradiction or tension between these ideas? If not, why not? What does it mean, as Romans 2:15 puts it, to have the law written within our hearts? (Matthew 5:17-28).
Looking at the verses for today, how could you use them to answer the argument that somehow the Ten Commandments (or, specifically, the Sabbath) are now made void under the new covenant? Is there anything at all in those texts that makes that point? On the contrary, how could one use those texts to prove the perpetuity of the law?