A NEW COVENANT
Although Scripture speaks of several covenants, the inspired New Testament
speaks of only two that concern our study - the old and the new. And the new is
far superior to the old. If the first had been faultless, there would be no use
for a new and superior one.
The first covenant was between God and Israel alone (Deuteronomy 5:2,3; 2
Chronicles 5:10). Paul reminds us that non-Jews had no part in this covenant
(Ephesians 2:12). The Law was the covenant written in stone. It was in effect
for a limited time, until faith came, to bring people to Christ. In Galatians
3:18-29 Paul explains both the purpose and the limitations of the first
covenant, showing that our inheritance comes not through the law, but through
faith in Jesus Christ. When the new covenant of faith was established, release
came from the custodianship of the Law, and through obedient faith in Christ we
become spiritual children of Abraham and heirs of the promise. Read Gal.3:27-29.
The prophet Jeremiah predicted the coming of a new covenant that would be
different from the old (Jeremiah 31:31-34). It would not be written on
tablets of stone but upon human hearts and would provide forgiveness of sin.
Many other passages show the differences in the two covenants: Hebrews 7:18-22.
Jesus made a better covenant with a better hope, setting aside the first
because of its weakness and uselessness - for it could make nothing perfect!
Hebrews 8:6-13. The new is more excellent than the old, built on better
promises, and thereby making the old obsolete. If the first had been faultless,
there would be no need of the second.
Hebrews 9:9-16. The first had services and regulations imposed until a time of
reformation - when the new would be founded on the shed blood of Christ (and
not that of animals ) and thereby promising an eternal inheritance. Hebrews
10:1,4-18). The first covenant was a mere shadow or type of the one to come (Colossians 2:17 ). Because it is impossible that animal blood could take away
sin, Christ shed His own blood to inaugurate a new covenant that provides
redemption and the remission of sins (1 Corinthians 11:25 ; Ephesians 1:7 ). 2
Corinthians 3:2-18. The new covenant, written by the Spirit on the heart, gives
life - while the old, written on stone, kills!! The old is described as the
dispensation of death, while the new is labeled the dispensation of the Spirit.
According to Paul, many who hold on to the old are spiritually hardened and
blind. It is only in Christ that this veil is removed and we are transformed
into His glorious likeness.