But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:6-13
A covenant is an agreement between two parties whereby the two parties agree to do or not do something. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with the Israelites. He promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, and they promised to do all that He commanded. He promised to be their God, and they promised to have no other gods before Him.
In the New Testament, as mentioned in Hebrews 8:6, we see a new convenant. It is described as a better covenant established upon better promises. It also has a better mediator. In the old covenant, the mediator was the high priest. In the new covenant, it is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The new covenant’s promises are better than the old. Let us look at how these better promises are described.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:2-4
God has given us, the partakers of the new covenant, all things that pertain unto life and godliness. These promises are exceeding great and precious. These better promises allow us to be partakers of the divine nature and allow us to escape the lust that causes the corruption in the world. We inherit these promises through faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12).
If the new covenant promises are better than the old, and the way to enter into the new covenant is better than the old (faith in the new, works in the old), why would anyone want to go to the old covenant to claim its promises? The people of Israel demonstrated time and time again that they were unable to live up to their side of the covenant. They were never able to do all that God commanded them. They fell short. We are no better than the Israelites. We cannot do all that God commands us. We fall short. How can you tell me to claim an old covenant promise when I cannot fulfill the requirements to obtain that promise? Why would I even want to when the new covenant promises are better and available to me through faith?
The new covenant is better in every way than the old. Don’t point people to the old covenant promises. We cannot do what is required. Pointing people to the old is laying burdens on people that are too great to bear. Pointing people to the old only will produce Pharisees (who think they are fulfilling the requirements) or will cause people to give up because of the great weight.
Look unto Jesus, the mediator of a better covenant established upon better promises. In Christ we have all the promises of God. There is no mercy and forgiveness in the old, but we have mercy and forgiveness in the new (Hebrews 8:12).
Out with the old; in with the new.