A fresh start

Start the day over
Have you ever wished you could just start over? The time you hurt the one you love, a relationship fell apart or a project that failed. We can’t change the past, and so often we repeat the same mistakes, so where can we look for a fresh start? How can we start again and know there will be a different outcome?

No way back
It’s hard to imagine that God’s own people Israel, could fail and write off God. Yet they strayed, rebelled and cut themselves off from their only hope many times, it’s a wonder we have a Bible at all! Even though God, created, rescued and gave them a special land, held their hand, fed them, blessed them, loved, cared and provided for them. Yet Israel threw it all back in God’s face, in exchange for manmade substitutes, and in doing so broke their promise to God. A point of no return described in Jeremiah 11:10-11

They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors…Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.

God’s goodness
So is that the end of the story? No, God is all about new beginnings and second chances, he is gracious, loving and with him there’s always hope. Without God death, destruction and sin are impossible to overcome, as tatters of our relationship with God hold no hope of reconciliation. That is unless God acts first.

The time is coming
So how can God forgive such an unfaithful and adulterous people? How can God repair this decimated relationship? God will do it by making a new covenant, an unbreakable and even more intimate promise? Jeremiah 31:32 says:

It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them

New from the ground up 
The new covenant is not like the first, because this one relies on God alone. The new covenant is not just the old one repackaged it is different. Where the old involved God’s law written on tablets of stone, now Jeremiah 31:33 says he will put his law deep within us, into our minds and on our hearts. In other words we can be transformed, so that we begin to love the things God loves and hate what he hates.

My God, my people
In the old covenant God called Israel to be his people, yet ultimately they rejected him. This time we will accept God and one day everyone will know who God is! Our neighbours, our family, no one will have to ask who Jesus is. We still need to share Jesus now, but one day when this promise is fulfilled everyone the poor and rich, the young and old, everyone will know God.

But how?
But how can God do it? Without replacing humanity, how can he pull it off? Isaiah 53 explains how God can do it through Jesus.

Surely he (Jesus) took up our pain and bore our suffering, we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

God can’t over look sin, so Jesus who had no sin, took our place, he took our sin on himself. 

What we need
I know I need this new covenant, this unbreakable relationship with God, where my sins can be forgiven and my past and future transgressions can be wiped away. I long for God to change my heart, to root out my rebellion and make me new. Until Jesus returns we all continue to battle sin, yet now we have the Spirit of God to help us live for him. We have a new heart, a new desire to live for God instead of ourselves.

The most intimate relationship
If God was like a Father to Israel, holding their hand, drawing them close like a husband, then we have something better. We are in Christ, and he lives in us, we are inextricably linked by an unbreakable bond. We are safe, recreated and reborn. That is what it means to live a resurrection life, that is what the new covenant offers anyone who comes to Jesus. It is amazing!

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