For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord…
New, as contrasted with old, means in Scripture that which is perfect and abiding. The old vanishes, the new remains. God gives us a new heart that we may love and praise Him for ever. The old covenant was temporary and imperfect. God findeth fault with it; for although the law was holy, just, and good, yet by reason of Israel's sin neither righteousness nor life could come through it. And as the purposes of Divine love could not be attained by the old covenant, so the character of God, as the God of grace, could not be fully revealed therein. Hence the promise of a new covenant, which in itself proves the imperfection and insufficiency of the old; and this new covenant is represented as a contrast, unlike the old; it is new, that is, perfect, everlasting. God is pleased with it because it shows forth the glory of Jehovah as the God of salvation. How great is the contrast between the old and the new covenant! In the one God demands of sinful man: "Thou shalt." In the other God promises: "I will." The one is conditional; the other is the manifestation of God's free grace, and of God's unlimited power. In the one the promise is neutralised by the disobedience of man; in the other all the promises of God are yea in Christ, and amen in Christ. In the new covenant Christ is all; He is the Alpha and Omega: all things are of God, and all things are sure and steadfast. The blessings of the new covenant are all based upon the forgiveness of sin. God promises to put His laws into our minds, and write them in our hearts, and to be to us a God, because He is merciful to our unrighteousness, and will remember our sins and iniquities no more. The forgiveness of sin is not merely the beginning, but it is the foundation, the source; it is, so to say, the mother of all Divine blessings. For so long as sin is upon the conscience, arid man is not able to draw near unto God, he is separated from the only source of life and blessedness. In the forgiveness of sin God gives Himself, and all things that pertain to life and godliness. To know God is the sum and substance of all blessings, both in this life and in that which is to come. Now, although the law manifests to a certain extent the holiness and truth, the justice and unchangeableness, the goodness and bounty of God, the law does not reveal God Himself, the depth of His sovereign and eternal love, the purpose which He purposed in Himself before the foundation of the world was laid. When in Christ we receive the forgiveness of sin, we behold God. Here is also the source and the commencement, the root and strength of our love to God. "We love Him, because He first loved us." We eve much, because much is forgiven unto us. The new obedience, the spiritual worship, the fight and victory of faith, the knowledge and fear and love of God, have their starting-point in the pardon of sin. And this is the new covenant blessing. True, the servants of God always knew this blessing. Of the Divine righteousness both the law and the prophets testify. David describeth this blessedness. The sacrifices typified, faith looked forward to the great atonement. But now that Christ has come, and that He died once for all, we receive forgiveness in a full and perfect manner: there is no more remembrance of sins; no repetition of sacrifice is needed; no yearly recurrence of the day of atonement; in Christ we have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. It is in giving this perfect pardon that God renews the heart, and writes in it His laws. We must needs contrast law and gospel. Yet let us not forget that the law from the very outset showed its temporary and negative character, pointed beyond and away from itself; sighed, as it were, after Him, who by fulfilling would take it away, and by taking it away would fulfil it in us, raise us to the still greater height of the new love! All spiritual life flows from Jesus as our Saviour. When we believe in Jesus we are not in the flesh but in the Sprit. His precious blood is not merely our peace, but our strength; and our strength because it is our peace. Justification and sanctification emanate from this one source. When Israel is brought in repentance and faith to the Lord, then shall be fulfilled the gracious purpose of God, which under the law was frustrated through Israel's sin and disobedience. Although God was a husband unto them, they brake His covenant. But now, forgiven and renewed, Israel will be in actual reality, and not merely in position, God's people, and Jehovah will be their God. And because He is God to them, source of light and life, they are His people. Not merely chosen and appointed; not merely called and treated collectively as God's people; but in reality, according to truth, according to their individual character and experience, the people in whom God's name is revealed, who show forth His praise, who walk m His ways and obey His will. For then each one individually shall know the Lord. "God is known in Judah," said the Psalmist. In their marvelous history, in the Divine messages sent by Moses and the prophets, in the types and ordinances, in the Judges and Kings, God had revealed unto His people His name. His character and will, and His great desire was that they should know Him. How touching is the complaint of Jehovah, that after all the signs which they had seen, and after all His mighty works of redeeming and guiding love, a d after all the words of light and of grace which He had sent them, His people did not know Him f So long had He been with them, and, erring in their hearts, they did not know His ways! What could be more grievous to the fatherly heart of God, yearning to be known, trusted, and loved? But when the Holy Ghost shall be poured out upon them they shall all know Jehovah, from the least to the greatest; though one shall encourage and exhort the other, yet they shall not need to tea h and to say to their neighbour, Know the Lord. In the Church this promise is already fulfilled. From Jesus, the anointed, all Christians receive the Holy Ghost; they have, according to their name, the unction from above. Hence. they possess the teacher who guides into all truth. Knowledge is within them. There is within them a well of living water. They are not dependent on external instruction. There is given unto them the Paraclete, who always reveals the things that are freely given unto us of God. The spiritual man knows all things — all the things of the Spirit, all that pertains to life and godliness. True, he does not know all things actually, or in any given moment; but he knows them potentially. There is within him the light which can see, the mind which can receive all truth.
Parallel VersesKJV: For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: