By Robert Halsey Pine
“And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,’ he also adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:11-25 NRSV).
St. Paul is here quoting from the prophet Jeremiah (31:31-34). The version of this from the text of Jeremiah ends a little differently. The Lord says, “No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘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 remember their sin no more.” (NRSV).
Paul goes on to say to the Hebrews, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We have a great responsibility to help each other to the Lord. God has done everything He can to bring us closer to Him without taking away our free will.
He informed the prophets of His intentions. He planned to remove the punishment that came with the law of Moses and bring His people closer to Him by forgiveness of their sin and restoration of the spirit in them. He accomplished this through the life and death of His Son Jesus the Christ. Paul warns the Hebrews that to ignore this overture from the Lord is to continue to crucify Christ. We can only imagine the wrath of God if we reject His attempts to bring us into His kingdom in this way. We are foolish children if we reject this sacrificial love from our Father.
Paul saw our need to come together as the Body of Christ and encourage each other to love and to do good deeds. Paul saw the need of the strength of Christian community. It is in community that we can overcome our temptations from the devil by supporting one another in the recognition of Christ crucified and all that it brings to the children of God. We remember again the word of the Lord as given to Jeremiah that,
“They shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest…” The Lord reveals himself through His children beginning with His Son Christ Jesus. We must follow the example of The Son of Man and be God in this world for each other.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.