Don’t put me back under the old covenant

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.

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2 Responses to “Don’t put me back under the old covenant”

  1. I really think you are missing something on this issue. The Old Testament is 3/4’s of our Bibles – if we disregard the OT promises, we are missing out on a lot. I can understand what you are saying about the promises that depend upon our works (or to phrase it different, upon our daily living), but even in the NT we find many promises that depend upon our obedience and right living, such as this one about prayer:

    1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

    Or these ones about God’s presence and love being more prominent in our lives:

    John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

    In the OT, there are many many promises that directly apply to us today and are not based specifically upon some aspect of the old covenant.

    How about this one regarding peace:

    Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.


    Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.


    Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


    Psalms 23:1-2 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

    Renewed strength and strength of heart:

    Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

    Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

    A range of promises here:

    Psalms 37:3-6 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.


    Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood you – but I truly believe these and thousands of other OT promises are ours for the taking. In fact, the promises of the whole Word of God are ours to live by so that we may be godly and virtuous, and that we may escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

  2. Hi Jerry, I think I didn’t state it clearly. I was referring only to the promises found in the Mosaic covenant. I did not intend to dismiss the whole of what we call the Old Testament in our Bibles. Certainly, there are promises found in books of the OT that are still valid for us and you have pointed out some of them.

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