The first few chapters of Jeremiah tell the story of unfaithful Israel, and it is interesting to look at what God had to say about it all, because God looks upon the modern apostate Church with the same eyes and with the same attitude. His people committed two evils; they forsook Him, the fountain of living water and instead, hewed out broken cisterns that can hold no living water (2:13); in other words, they turned from the living God to religion. Hasn’t the Church done the same?
Paul wrote of this to the Romans, that Israel did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God but instead, established their own system of righteousness (Romans 10:3). Hasn’t the Church done the same?
Having established Israel as a choice vine with a seed of faithfulness, He saw them turn away from Him and turn instead to the degenerate roots of an alien vine; i.e. the world (2:21); Isn’t this also true of the Church?
This led to the priests’ ruling on their own authority and the prophets prophesying falsely (5:31); and worst of all; His people loved it that way. Parallels with the Church are inescapable.
From the prophet to the priest, all deal falsely, saying “peace”, “peace” when there is no peace (6:13-14). He laid stumbling blocks before them (6:21) in order to draw them back to Him, but they did not listen and so they became “rejected silver”; the refining work was in vain and their wickedness was not drawn off in the refining fire (6:29-30).
God’s word to His people was to not trust in deceptive words, such as those claiming “we are the temple of the Lord”, “we are the temple of the Lord”, “we are the temple of the Lord” (7:4). This is rather like the Church proclaiming that it is the Body of Christ; but assertions matter not one whit; it is reality that matters; the true Body of Christ reflects the character and nature of Christ and mirrors His obedience and faithfulness.
God warned Judah that they were trusting in these deceptive notions to no avail (7:9). Despite what the priests may say, it is not possible to live unrighteous lives and come to the house of God, the Church that is called by His name, and claim deliverance (7:9-10). Consequently God will cast out the house in which His people trust (7:15); He even warns Jeremiah not to pray for His people caught up in false religion (7:16).
He tells them to eat the sacrifices themselves (7:21); He didn’t demand sacrifice and offerings from Israel when He led them out of Egypt, a type of the world (7:22); instead, He wanted them to obey His voice; only on that basis could He be their God and they His people (7:23). The Law and its sacrifices only came in after they had refused to listen to Him.
It is a great mistake to think that God has altered in any way as a result of the New Covenant; He is the same and so are His demands. Christians who rely on latter day heresies that we may go on living unrighteously or sinfully with impunity because we “believe” in Jesus Christ are at great risk. They, like Israel, are listening to deceptive words and will be cast out of His sight.
Our souls are directed by one of two drivers; the flesh or the Spirit. There is nothing else which can direct the soul, which has a neutral character and reflects the state of the individual’s life. It is all a matter of where the soul dwells; in Christ Jesus, which means the continuous consciousness of His presence; or in the flesh, which is the absence of the continuing consciousness of His presence.