The redemption of the world through Jesus of Nazareth is called a new covenant by Jesus, and most believe it is the new covenant promised in Jeremiah 31. Even though it is called a new covenant, the text reads more like a re-newed covenant, rather than a new one entirely. God will forgive their iniquity and they will be His people; they will all know God and not need others to teach them the word of God because it will be written on their hearts. This, as has been observed by others does not describe a new covenant, but what God has always wanted for humans and those who would be his followers – that they would be His people, living most fully as the images of God they were made to be.
God has been so committed to the welfare of people that He has not allowed Man's faithlessness to frustrate the plan He has for a planet populated by those who would live as cosmic lovers, living as Jesus modelled.
In God's pursuit of his desire to bless His images with a world of lovers, He has repeatedly sought His people to restore them to Himself. This effort of God's is reminiscent of a parent's desire for their children who have left home and lived similarly to the Prodigal Son. The parents let the child live as they wish for a while and then they go to find that child or reach out to the child through friends, family, and today, social media. All the parent wants is to find the child and bring them home. Images of reunions with running, hugs, and tears spring to mind. What doesn't come to mind is a listing of things the child has to do before they can come home; the parent just wants them home again. There are expectations - the child is expected to behave, to use more mature decision making, and to not be disrespectful, but these are not demanded before the hugs and tears. As we watch this unfolding scene, we understand that the parent has already forgiven the child – has let go of the hurt they may have felt before.
If we can appreciate this dynamic, we can better understand God's approach to sinful people and the salvation "process." Forgiveness is already available; God has already made himself ready to simply accept you, if you want to come home. No begging, no justifying yourself, no wondering whether God will accept you. God stands ready for you to come home; all you have to do is come home. Are there things expected of you? Well yes there are, but God doesn't require them prior to opening the door for you. What are those things? Well, they are to submit to the goodness of God, to agree to live as the image of God on the earth, to acknowledge God as the provider of all good.
These are not new things; these are not "new" but are the same things God has expected of people throughout history. The newness of the New Covenant are not Man's response, but the universality of the offer and the perfect sacrifice of Jesus as the final and most complete sacrifice.
Want to come home?