The Central Statement of Jeremiah

“If you return, O Israel, says the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your abominations from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,' in truth, in justice, and in uprightness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory” (Jer 4:1-2).

Whenever we take Jeremiah's calls to Israel to repent out of the larger context of the Book of Jeremiah, and use them as our calls to people to repent, our message becomes a man-centered, flesh-empowered, human effort to make our lives right with God. Like Israel then, people today, including believers, must replace idolatrous addictions to the things of this world (“abominations”) with a white-hot, passionate love for God. But let us not forget that Jeremiah's call went completely unheeded, and pre-exilic Israel ended up suffering the terrible consequences of covenant disobedience. Likewise, today, when we tell a person to stop loving sin and to start loving God, it may go utterly unheeded.

By God's Power

Jeremiah's continuous calls for repentance, however, are transposed into God's promises of repentance because of the new covenant, which sits smack dab in the center of the book (Jeremiah 30-33). Its structural location highlights its theological significance: the heart of Jeremiah's message is the promise of a completely new, Spirit-empowered, Torah-filled heart!

No doubt, we must call the people of this world (and believers sometimes) to repent, but we must also point them to the power of God that will get them to this destination.

We must assure them that all of us can and will start loving God with all our hearts just as soon as we realize that God FIRST loved us with all of his heart, namely, by giving us his Son! Otherwise, our message may be seen by some as discouraging.

“‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the LORD, ‘I will put My Torah within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people'” (Jer 31:33).

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezek 36:26-27).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:22-23).

Show the world you are One for Israel!

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