Paul writing to the church at Ephesus to both Jews and Gentile Christians, Jeremiah’s prophecy is found in his teaching as part of the New Covenant that Jesus established in his death, resurrection and ascension.
Jeremiah’s prophecy Chapter 31 verses 31-34. “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
God’s covenants and promises were between God and the nation of Israel. The first covenant stemmed from Abram’s relationship with God that from him and Sarah a great nation would emerge and through him all the families (nations) on the earth would be bless themselves. Genesis 12: 1-3
Paul informs the Ephesians that the Gentiles had no covenants with God.
Jeremiah verse 31 ““Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”
Paul in his letter emphasises to the Gentile Christians that before they came to faith in Jesus that the Gentiles had no covenants with the God of Israel. “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2: 11,12.
God revealed to Paul his purposes and plans, “How the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Jesus has enabled those whose faith is in him to attain the promise of receiving eternal life. Paul reveals that this news had now been made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places. Ephesians 3: 3, 6
Jeremiah’s prophecy verse 32 “Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke.” Jeremiah’s prophecy refers to the incident when God met with Moses on the mountain and gave Moses two tablets of stone on which God had written ten commandments. When Moses returned to the camp at the base of the mountain, he found the people worshipping an idol of a golden calf. In his anger he threw down the stone tablets and broke them. Moses later returned to meet with God on the mountain where he received again the commandments.
Paul reminds both the Jews and the Gentile Christians at Ephesus not to include any gods that they used to worship in their former way of life. Paul writes, “And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2: 1,2.
Gentiles in the first century worshipped more than one god, often believing in the one god that was the supreme god and all the other gods under his rule. Today, many people hold the same view and incorporate the spirituality of different deities along with their god-fearing beliefs.
Verse 32 Jeremiah’s prophecy speaks of God being a husband to Israel. “Though I was their husband, says the Lord.” Apostle John records in his gospel, the incident when the Pharisees brought before Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. They asked Jesus what should they do to punish her? In his response, Jesus pointed to Jeremiah’s prophecy of a New Covenant. John’s narrative, the woman I believe represents Israel, the wife of God. Jesus, wrote with his finger twice on the ground, representing the two tablets on which the ten commandments were written, and were broken when Moses brought them down from the mountain into the camp where he found the Israelites worshipping the idol. When Jesus asked those present for those without sin to cast the first stone at her, they were convicted of unconfessed sin in their lives and walked away. They were convicted from the heart of the law of commandments written in their hearts. Jesus I believe endorsed Jeremiah’s prophecy. John 8: 1-11. Matthew 5: 17-19
Verse 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts.”
In the temple at Jerusalem there was a dividing wall separating Jews from Gentiles. On the Jewish side is where the rituals and sacrifices took place. Jesus having made the final sacrifice for sin and had fulfilled the rituals observed by the Jewish law for both Jews and Gentiles. As a result, he removed the wall of separation making peace.
Paul wrote, For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” Ephesians 2: 14-17.
The New Covenant abolishes the commandments and ordinances that took place at the temple at Jerusalem and removes the barriers from knowing about God to knowing God in a personal way. The cross becomes like a bridge, where we pass over from eternal death to eternal life. It is through our repentance, and by Jesus taking our sin upon himself on the cross and dying in our place. His body broken and his blood shed for forgiveness of sin. So, the cross is where we die to sin and death and receive God’s forgiveness and raised in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection. The Holy Spirit acts upon our faith in Jesus and as a result, a change takes place within a person’s heart. The commandments are not kept as a set of rules, instead they become part of our nature, written in the heart. Ezekiel 11: 19,20. 2 Corinthians 3: 3
Verse 33 “And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and soul and mind. This is the first and great commandment. Jesus continued saying, And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37-40 Paul endorses this commandment, “There is one body and one Spirit; just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, (Jesus) one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4: 4-6
One God- three persons in the one God. Paul teaches: one Spirit, one Lord Jesus, one in the Father who is above all and through all and in all.
Only the perfect sacrifice from God himself could make us right with God. Jesus the Son of God made peace between God and humanity through his one sacrifice of himself and at the service of Holy Communion we remember Jesus establishing the New Covenant in his death and resurrection and in his ascension unifying heaven and the earth.
Jeremiah’s prophecy verse 34 “And no longer shall each man teach his neighbour and each his brother.” It is by example we love our neighbour and brother as ourselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit
God’s covenant with Moses enabled a Jewish person to earn their righteousness through doing good works and keeping the law. The pharisees and lawyers loved God but added laws to justify earning their righteousness by doing good deeds.
Paul writes in Ephesians teaching them of a change in the New Covenant Chapter 2: 9,10 “Not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Christians have entered God’s Sabbath day of rest; we cannot work towards earning our place in God’s kingdom. Jesus has secured a place in God’s kingdom in response to having faith in him.
Ephesians Chapter 4: 25-29 “Therefore, putting away falsehood, let everyone speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”
God’s love in the heart working in every believer by demonstrating their love for their neighbour by acts of kindness and doing charitable deeds that God has prepared for them to do.
Chapter 5: 5 Paul writes, “Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is covetous (that is an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Chapter 6: 1,2. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise). This commandment has the promise of living a long life on the earth.
Jeremiah’s prophecy Verse 34 “Saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” Paul writes, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,(the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us.) 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1: 17,18.
Personal testimony – I made my commitment to follow Jesus nine years prior to receiving the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands at a prayer group meeting. Afterwards, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that God was my Father and I felt one with creation. I realised that God had added substance, reality to my faith because I knew spiritually that the gospels gave a true account about Jesus. Since that wonderful day: I know Jesus is God revealed in the flesh and Jesus is the word of God clothed in the flesh and that he is the Son of God and I know the commandments are written in my heart, the Holy Spirit revealing God’s love and I discern his guidance, revealing Jesus through the word and prompting action through stepping out in faith.
Jeremiah’s prophecy verse 34 “Says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Paul writes, “In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us.” Ephesians 1: 7,8. Jesus’ redemption includes sin done in ignorance and generational sin.
Paul writes, “Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4: 22-24
Jesus added a new commandment to ‘love one another.’ Agape love.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians writes, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3: 17-19. God reached to the depths of a person’s sin and forgives. Paul writes, God has blessed every Christian with every spiritual blessing in the highest place, heavenly places, in Christ.
Paul’s example of forbearance when writing this letter to the Ephesians, “With all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love.” Ephesians 4: 2
Paul points out the necessity of being trueful, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Ephesians 4: 15
Jesus dying in agony to fulfil his Father’s will, “Therefore be of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” Ephesians 5: 1,2.
Love fulfils the commandments loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves.
Today, a Christians’ love for God, enables God’s love to flow through his Church, Christ’s body. Christ’s love reaching out to love our neighbour and making Christ known to them by sharing the gospel and by faith in action doing charitable deeds.