“All religions are alike.”
That statement probably bothers me more than any other misguided view that I hear.
It’s one thing to not like the Christian faith; it’s another to not understand it. Any enlightened critic must know that Christianity is different–way different.
Jeremiah’s New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) may do more to show the differences between Christianity and other religions than any other passage.
What makes the Christian faith different? Let’s look at the first of at least four distinctive teachings found in this passage of Scripture. Please view tomorrow’s post to look at the other distinctives of the Christian faith found in Jeremiah’s prophecy.
First, the work of God in Christ not only calls us to live differently but also shows us how. The difference is in what God does to make us new and to change our hearts. As for as I know all religions expect something from their followers, but our life in Christ shows us how to produce the expected change. God put it this way: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” God said that this new covenant would not be like the old precisely because the old covenant could not be carried out. The new covenant would be carried out because God would make it part of our heart and mind.
No longer would the law simply be on tablets of stone, external to the individual. In Christ, God’s instruction (the best interpretation of the Hebrew word Torah) would be internal and active to provide a way to do what God wants. This is a major difference from other religions. In a similar passage of Scripture the prophet Ezekiel gave even more explicit understanding of what Jeremiah preached: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
This is a source of immense hope. God will produce the change that He wants in our lives. What could be more hopeful or helpful? We can live as God wants as we open our hearts for Him to produce new life within us.
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