GOD’S WAY TO MAKE CHRIST EVERYTHING,
THE CENTER AND THE CIRCUMFERENCE, TO ISRAEL
We have seen that the subject of Jeremiah is God’s carrying out of His economy through the chastisement of Israel, His elect, in love, with His tender care, compassion, and sympathy, and His judgment upon the nations in righteousness, to match His love, that Israel may manifest Christ, who is their divine righteousness as their centrality and universality, by their being made a new creation with the inner law of the divine life and the capacity of this life to know God (31:33-34). Concerning this, I would like to ask the following question: In what way does God make Christ everything, the center and the circumference, to the people of Israel? Someone might answer this question by saying that the way God does this is for Christ to be incarnated as the Shoot of David, to be crucified, and then to become the life-giving Spirit in resurrection. This, however, is the means by which God makes Christ everything to us; it is not the way in which God makes Christ everything to us.
God’s way to make Christ everything to His people involves righteousness, redemption, and the divine life. We have seen that Christ is made God’s righteousness to us. Now we need to see that this requires redemption. Without redemption Christ cannot be made righteousness to us. Apart from redemption God cannot give us anything. The basis on which the divine life is given to us is the redemption of Christ.
Redemption is implied in Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the new covenant in 31:33 and 34. The last part of verse 34 says, "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." According to Ephesians 1:7, forgiveness is equal to redemption. This verse says, "In whom [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses." Here redemption and forgiveness are in apposition, indicating that they refer to the same thing. This is our ground for saying that redemption is implied in the word regarding forgiveness in Jeremiah 31:34. God, in the new covenant, will forgive our iniquity. This is a matter of redemption.
God’s way to make Christ everything to His elect is by the way of righteousness and by the way of redemption. It is also by the way of the divine life. The divine life is given on the basis of Christ’s redemption through God’s justification, which is based on His righteousness. Life implies the law of life with its ability and capacity. These three matters—righteousness, redemption, and life—are fully developed in the New Testament. Although the way in which God makes Christ everything to us is developed in the New Testament, it is already revealed intrinsically in the book of Jeremiah. This means that in Jeremiah we see something of the New Testament.
Apparently Jeremiah is a book concerned with Israel’s sin and wickedness and with God’s chastisement of Israel. Actually this is not the case. The book of Jeremiah, like the Bible as a whole, was not written for this purpose. The Bible, including the book of Jeremiah, was written for God’s economy. It was written to show us that God wants to be increased, to be enlarged, in order to have a fullness for the expression of Himself. Since this is the subject and content of the entire Bible, why should the subject and content of Jeremiah be different? The basic element of the divine word in Jeremiah is not Israel’s sin and God’s chastisement; the basic element is God’s economy. This is a crucial matter that we all need to see.
(Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)