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. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31: 33-34)


This Old Testament text, usually read on Reformation Sunday, is interesting.  It connects knowledge of the law with knowledge of the Lord, and knowledge of the Lord with the forgiveness of the Lord.  It is also an Old Testament prophecy of Jesus Christ, who “forgives our iniquities and remembers our sin no more”.  


I was watching a movie called “Time Changer”.  The movie asked the question, “Can you be moral without Jesus?” In one scene, the professor caught a young girl stealing a hotdog  and asked, “Don’t you know it’s wrong to steal, young lady?”  Her response was. “Says who?!?”


To the professor, the answer was obvious.  Jesus says it’s wrong to steal.  But, if the little girl didn’t know Jesus, how would she know it’s wrong to steal?  Even if she knew it was wrong, why would she care?  What would make her obey someone she didn’t know?


Can you lead a moral life without Jesus?  I believe you can, but the real question is, “Will you?”.  We all know the difference between right and wrong.  Like Jeremiah says, “the law is written on our hearts”.  But without Jesus, all we have is knowledge of right and wrong.  We have no reason or motivation to choose right over wrong.  In fact, without Jesus, we will choose what is pleasurable even if we know it’s wrong.  Paul calls it “living by the flesh” in Romans 7.


But if we know the Lord, if we truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; then we will try to do what’s right.  Not only will we know the law that is “written on our hearts”, we will want to follow that law.  Can you lead a moral life without Jesus?  I believe you can, but I believe you will lead a moral life (although not a perfect life), if you know Jesus.


But remember, knowing Jesus is more than knowing about Jesus.  Many say they believe in God, but they don’t have faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  In Jeremiah, the Lord says, “all will know me Lord, from the greatest to the least”, because “I will forgive your iniquities and remember your sin no more”.  Think of that.  Jeremiah connects our knowing God with God’s forgiveness; and God forgives us, by sending His Son Jesus to a cross. 


Apart from Jesus, and His forgiveness on the cross, we don’t really know God.  God is hidden in many ways.  But, God chose to reveal Himself in Jesus Christ.  In Jesus Christ, we see a God who loves us enough to die for us, so He can forgive us.


It is this knowledge of Jesus and His forgiveness, that makes us want to be moral, and do the right thing.  Can we be moral without Jesus?  Yes we can.  But when we know Jesus and His forgiveness; we will want to be moral. 


Your friend in Christ,  Pastor Ron