In Jeremiah 31, the Lord says he is going to make a new covenant with his people. It will not be like the old one in that it won't be written on Stone Tablets like the Ten Commandments or relating how to cleanse sins as explained in Leviticus. All people will come to know the Lord, not just the Jews or a particular nation, but all people will come to know the Lord. At that time the Lord will write the law on their hearts. He states that our sins will be remembered no more.
Many people will say that when the Lord writes the Law on our hearts, we are referring to our conscience. But I propose to you it is more than that. I believe that our conscience is not based on just what the Lord teaches us is right or wrong but on what we have been taught is right throughout our life. That means it is not based on God's desires as much as it is based on what we as humans learned from others to be right and wrong. It is based on what our culture teaches us and what we have reasoned out or filtered through our own experiences.
For example, there was a time that committing adultery was a sin. People in the Bible were stoned for committing the act. In Pennsylvania divorces were filed on people because they broke the law by committing adultery. But as it became more common and people became more accepting of it, the courts were getting backed up. They created a "no fault." Today people get divorces all the time, not because they are God's will or in God's plan but because society has accepted them. I am not saying those who are divorced are going to hell. I am saying that it was not God who changed the rule; it was we.
In our society today, we have created loopholes to the law, which God never intended. Our consciences when we commit these sins are accepting of sin, not because it is right and what God desires but because our culture has accepted it. Therefore, we don't feel guilt or pain when we do it. After all, everyone does it. People argue that we need to interpret the Bible in the culture of the people in our day, just as people did in Jesus' day.
The Bible is the best tool we have to know the desires of God. When we read it and seek out what the Lord wants through his Spirit, we should desire to live it. The Bible does not just tell us what the Law is; it also speaks to us about grace, forgiveness and how much God loves us by letting his son die for our sins. He redeems us not by what we do but what we come to believe in our hearts.
When we allow the Spirit of God to help lead us and guide us as we read his Holy Word, we have our Spirits and Souls renewed through the forgiveness of our sins. Our burdens of guilt are lifted away. We are motivated not by the law but by the love of God in a relationship we share. The sins we have committed are taken away, and they are remembered no more.
- Behrens is the pastor at the Loyalsock-Wallis Run United Methodist Charge