Home > Covenant Theology > The Covenants-Chapter 8b- The Old Covenant and the New Covenant

The Covenants-Chapter 8b- The Old Covenant and the New Covenant

No part of the old covenant failed of its purposes. The law, and the prophets, were designed, as we have seen, to bear witness to Christ. When that office was performed, their mission was ended. Therefore, said our Redeemer, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” They were fulfilled. Messiah finished his work. The old covenant existed no more. The dispensation of Moses terminated. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Faithfully were all these truths taught in the days of the apostles, and yet it was then, and it is still difficult, to withdraw the minds of even intelligent Christians, from the observances of the old covenant, and fix them unwaveringly upon a present Messiah. They “cannot steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.” “Their minds are blinded.” The disposition is perpetually manifesting itself, “to engraft Judaism upon the gospel of Christ.” To all such Christians Paul addresses himself thus:- “It is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond maid, the other by a free woman. But he of the bond woman was born after the flesh; and he of the free woman by promise. Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; the one [the law, or old covenant] is from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar; for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem that now is, and is in bondage with her children.” The other [the gospel, or new covenant] is from Mount Zion, which gendereth to freedom, which is Sarah; for Sarah answereth to “Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and which is the mother of us all,” who believe. In other words, Ishmael, although the son of Abraham, could not legally inherit his father’s estate, because he was born of a slave, and was, therefore, himself a slave. So Israel after the flesh, were the children of Abraham, but were not on that account entitled to the gospel inheritance. “The children of the promise,” not of the flesh, “were counted for the seed.” Under the law, the children of the flesh, were the sons of the covenant of Sinai, and remained in bondage. Therefore, when introducing the gospel, John the Baptist said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, that God is able of these stone; to raise up children unto Abraham.” Isaac was by promise. He was the son of a lawful wife, answering to the new covenant. He was free, and the legitimate heir of all. As he was, so are all true Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles—the children of promise. For with God their is no difference; “no respect of persons.” They are free. They are the true “heirs of God, and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ,” of all that constitutes the kingdom of glory. Among the many that are found in the epistles, I will offer but one other apostolic exposition of the “two covenant;” and which will also serve to show the abrogation of the law, and the independent, and effective character of the gospel:- “Christ hath obtained a more excellent ministry [than that of Moses] by how much also, he is the Mediator of a better covenant [than that of the law, and] which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. But finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make [bring into visible administration] a new covenant, with the [spiritual] house of Israel, and the [spiritual] house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, [the old covenant] when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they continued not in my covenant, [did not obey it] and I regarded them not [cast them off] saith the Lord. For this is the covenant [a gracious gospel 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 heart; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, 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.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

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