The author of Hebrews wants to show the relationship between the beginning of Jeremiah 31:33-34 and its end. So he places those two sections together.
Now we can see clearly that God forgives his people’s sins (evil deeds) because of his new covenant with them. Here, the covenant means the promises that God has made because of Jesus’ death. Because of those promises, people can have a close relationship with God (Hebrews 10:22).
Here, we are thinking especially about God’s promise to forgive. That is one of the most wonderful things about God. He can forgive every kind of wrong thing that people do against him (Exodus 34:6-7).
When God ‘remembers’ something, that is not just a matter of his memory. The word ‘remember’ has a special meaning in the Bible. Nehemiah often prayed that God would ‘remember’ certain people (Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 6:14; Nehemiah 13:29). Really, he was asking God to act because of those people’s good or evil deeds.
So when God ‘remembers’ sin (evil deeds), he punishes. That is the special meaning of ‘remember’. But if God does not remember, that is the opposite. He forgives. And he forgives completely.
We must never imagine that God will forgive everyone. He only forgives those people who have joined in his covenant. In other words, he forgives the people who have received their relationship with him because of Jesus’ death. They are the people who have confessed their sins to God. They have invited him into their lives, and they allow him to rule their lives. They have put their trust in him.
In such people’s lives, God has made a wonderful change. Jesus said that they are ‘born again’ (John 3:3). God has forgiven their sins, and he has given them a new life (John 3:16).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.