Saturday 21 October 2017

Bible Book:

"I will be merciful toward their inequities, and I will remember their sins no more." (v. 12)

Hebrews 8:6-13 Saturday 21 October 2017

Psalm: Psalm 106:43-48


The writer of the letter to the Hebrews incorporates asubstantial quotation from the book of the prophet Jeremiah 31:31-34, including these words. Thewriter is clear that a new covenant is needed between God and thepeople of Israel, that God has promised one, and that now it isestablished the first covenant is no longer effective. This newcovenant promises that God will forgive the sins of the people andremarkably will then choose no longer to remember their faults andfailings and wrongdoing. This is a very powerfulstatement. 

Human beings can be extra-ordinarily generous to each other andforgive all kinds of wrongs. But it is much harder to forget thewrong. Such memories can come flooding back unlooked for - we canbe surprised by a memory of a former hurt or failure when we areleast expecting it. 

But God is greater than us. God can forgive and offer us a freshstart with the promise that our failure, inadequacy or sinfulnesswill not held onto, nursed, or encouraged. These things in our pastthen need not dictate our future. Both the prophet Jeremiah andcenturies later, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, areconfident that this is what God can do. God can allow us to beginagain unencumbered by our mistakes. 

To Ponder

  • To what extent is it good for us to know that we are notlimited by our past behaviour? Or does it make usirresponsible?
  • Are there some behaviours, some acts which are unforgiveable?Should some things always be remembered? Can we separate outatrocities which must be remembered from perpetrators who can knowforgiveness?
  • The Truth and ReconciliationCommission in South Africa after the end of apartheidheard stories of great atrocities from victims; some of whom wereable to offer a willingness not to be bitter, but to move into anew future hope with their former persecutors. What do you thinkgives people in that position the capacity to be so generous?
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