Comparing and Contrasting the Old and New Covenants

by Rick

We have been in this series for a few months, and we are now just a couple of weeks away from Resurrection Sunday. I have been sharing messages with you about the importance of the cross and how Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection changed everything! Today’s message will flow in that same vein.  

Yesterday we looked at Galatians 3:15-20. Let’s continue in this chapter and see what else Paul teaches us about this.

(Galatians 3:21,22 NLT)  

Is there a conflict, then, between God’s Law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the Law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Paul asks, “Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises?” In other words, is there a conflict between the Old and New Covenants? Paul answers himself, “Absolutely not!” It’s not that there is a conflict; it’s just that there is a difference.  

The Old Covenant served its purpose for its time. As a matter of fact, many New Covenant truths can be seen in the types and shadows of the Old Covenant. In many ways, the New Covenant is concealed in the Old, and the shadows of the Old get revealed in the New. Furthermore, if we did not have the Law to violate, we would not acknowledge the error of our ways nor call out to Jesus as our Savior from sin.        

Paul continues, “If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it.” Once again, Paul is driving home the major difference.  The Old Covenant could not make us right, but the New Covenant surely does. And finally, Paul goes on to say, “But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.”

So what does this mean for you today?  I know this is a lot to process for those who are hearing this for the first time. So I am taking my time, and I will give you several quick thoughts on this today. The more I explain, I pray, the more clarity you get concerning it.

1. The primary purpose of the Law was to show people their sin and, in turn, their need for a Savior

2. The Old Covenant was never intended to be an enduring covenant. It expired once the New Covenant was introduced. 

3. Many of the New Covenant truths can be found in the types and shadows of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is concealed in the Old. 

4. Just like the New Covenant is concealed in the Old, the Old Covenant is revealed in the New. You get the full picture of what God always intended when you see Jesus and the Covenant of Grace He died to usher us into.  

5. As a believer, you must understand both Covenants. If you did not have The Law to violate, you would not acknowledge the error of your ways, nor would you call out to Jesus as your Savior from sin. If we never had rules to break and I came to you and said, “You need to be saved.” You would ask, “Saved from what?” God introduced rules to show us how flawed we are. Without the rules to break, we could not sin. If God had never told Adam NOT to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then Adam could eat of that tree freely without sinning because he would not have been breaking any rule. But once the rule was in place, eating it was a violation of God’s will. So, in short, the rules were not introduced to show us we are right. The rules were introduced to show us we are wrong and we need a Savior. Paul said it this way, “The Law gives sin its power.” (1 Cor 15:56).            

6. Paul calls the 10 Commandments, written on stone tablets, “the ministry of death” (2 Cor 3:7). Under the Old Covenant, you are a prisoner to sin, with no way out. The New Covenant gives you access to freedom from sin by exercising faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. The Law made you acknowledge that you were a sinner and the New Covenant gave you a way out. The way out is found in a person. His name is Jesus!

7. If you rely on the Law to make you right with God, the Bible says you are living under a curse.

8.  If you take a portion of the Law, even just a tiny portion, the Bible says you must then attempt to live in accordance with the entire Law.  If you do, Paul says, “you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4), because you are trying to be justified by the Law.  Not only is this approach incorrect, but it is also a futile endeavor because you won’t be able to comply with the Law.  Jesus was the only human to ever do it (see Deuteronomy 27:26, James 2:10, Galatians 3:10).

9. The Bible says that no one who relies on the Law is justified before God (Galatians 3:11). So, if you attempt to live under the Law, just know what you are getting yourself into.

10. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He traded places with us!  So why would you willingly go back into something Christ redeemed you from?  Embrace God’s grace and walk in the freedom wherewith Christ Jesus has made you free.

11. Those who live by the Law, focused on keeping a set of rules, live very different lives from those who live by grace and faith. One group lives by external rules—the other lives by the internal Holy Spirit

12. The Law-minded believer is attempting to please God with his/her performance, keeping a set of external rules focused on what he/she CANNOT do. The 10 commandments are too perfect. No human (outside of Jesus) has ever fulfilled The Law.

13. The Grace-minded believer is seeking to live a life of faith, having been forgiven of the rules he/she has broken, he/she accepts forgiveness and seeks to be led by the Holy Spirit to perform the will of God on the earth. This person knows the Father is looking for them to believe what He believes about them, not to be perfect. God is not looking for us to live under performance-based religion. He desperately wants us to walk with Him in a divine relationship. This is the only way the supernatural will become natural to us.

14. Under the Law, we were unquestionably condemned. But Jesus gave up His righteousness to take on our condemnation. In turn, the Father gives us the righteousness of Jesus when we accept Him as Lord and give Him our sin. The Father MADE Jesus sin! God MAKES us righteous!  He PUT our sin on Jesus and PUT His righteousness on us!  That’s what Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are all about!    

15. Through Jesus, the Blessing of Abraham is now imputed on non-Jewish Christians. So we have the Blessing of Jesus and the Blessing of Abraham.  We get to enjoy spiritual blessings (Jesus) and natural blessings (Abraham).  We get to make it to heaven and still ENJOY THE RIDE on the way!

We are still two weeks away from Resurrection Sunday. I will continue to flow in this vein. I pray this is helping you understand what Jesus died to give you.

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, I thank You for taking the time to teach me about Your amazing Grace.  I now understand the purpose of the Old Covenant.  The Old Covenant was designed to show me the error of my ways; how I was a sinner in need of a Savior.  The Law served its purpose in my life.  I acknowledged my sin and my need for a Savior.  I called out to Jesus as both my Savior and Lord.  I repented of my sin.  I have given my life to Jesus, and I was Born-Again.  

Now, as a Born-Again, Spirit-filled, and faith-focused believer, I am no longer under the Law but under Grace.  I embrace Your Grace, and I resist every attempt of the enemy to get me over into condemnation.  If I sin, I am quick to fess up, give it up, get up and move on!  I quickly repent, receive forgiveness, forgive myself, and press forward down the path to my purpose.  Sin has no power over me.  Jesus delivered me from sin and death, and I refuse to live under the condemnation of the Old Covenant.  

I am not focused on external rules.  I live my life by the leading of the internal Holy Spirit.  I now know You are not looking for me to earn Your blessing or to deserve Your goodness.  You are not asking me to be perfect, but You do require me to believe.  I declare that I have the faith to believe what You believe about me!  No matter how big the assignment may seem in my eyes, I believe and receive it by faith.  Not because I am so good, but because You are so good!  Living this way, GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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