With the pending destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah observes that the Old Covenant did not work. He says, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant” [Jeremiah 31:31].
Both the Old and New Covenants are based on blood sacrifice. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” [Hebrews 9:22]. Nothing less than an atoning death can wash away the stains on the human conscience that says, “I feel so guilty I could die.”
The Old Covenant was only skin deep. The author of Hebrews says, “For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” [Hebrews 9:13-14]. The promise of the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ comes with the promise of a new grace that reaches deep within the rebellious human heart, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” [Jeremiah 31:33].
That is why we can pray, “For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we delight in your will, and walk in your ways” [BCP p.360]. It is by faith that we are able to seize the promise and trust that He will do as He has said.
Here is a hidden danger. There are spiritual sociopaths who are so dead that they do not know that they are guilty. Jesus didn’t come to call the self-righteous sociopath; but only the sinners who knew their guilt. But know this; even dead sociopaths can be awakened by the proclamation of the Gospel.