This week’s Lesson – The Covenant

“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah’ ” (Jer. 31:31, NIV).

“The [Israelites] did not realize the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God’s law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, ‘ All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.’

“The terms of the ‘old covenant’ were, Obey and live: ‘If a man do, he shall even live in them’ (Ezekiel 20:11; Leviticus 18:5); but ‘cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.’ Deuteronomy 27:26. The ‘new covenant’ was established upon ‘better promises’—the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law. ‘This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. . . . I will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sin no more.’ Jeremiah 31:33, 34.
“The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth the ‘fruits of the Spirit.’ Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts.” 1
“What you need to understand is the true force of the will. . . . Everything depends on the right action of the will. . . . You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. . . . Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.”2

1. Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 371, 372; italics in the original.
2. White, Steps to Christ, p. 47; italics in the original.