The Old and New Covenant
“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… Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers… because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make… 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.” (Hebrews 8:10-12)
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
God found fault with the first covenant. It did not satisfy Him and He had much more in mind for His people than what they were experiencing. So here in scripture God is expressing His plans for His people under a new covenant. The obedience that God designed man to have was going to be fulfilled.
This is wonderful news! God has promised us that He will write His law within our hearts and cause us to walk in this law by the power of His Spirit at work in us. To all who delight to obey and please God, let us believe these powerful words. God is willing and able to produce in us perfect obedience to His law. We must believe it! If we fail to believe it, this truth will have no power in our lives and we will only find defeat and bondage. Saints, let us believe in God’s perfect plan to make us obedient.
This obedience is beyond the work of man. It is an obedience accomplished only by the Spirit of God within us. He must “cause you” to walk in His ways. We cannot cause ourselves to walk in His ways—not to the degree God is after. Many of the Old Testament saints were very zealous and obedient to God as far as they could be and that was acceptable to God for the time being. They were full of faith in response to what was available to them. But here in these scriptures God is announcing His great desire and plan to bring in a better, more perfect way of walking with Him. The saints of old desired this, but never got to walk in it. As Jesus said: “Many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Luke 10:24) “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
It was not God’s plan to allow the faithful saints of old to walk in all the promises of the new covenant that were prophesied during their day, so they cannot be faulted for their level of obedience. But to us we are told: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” (Hebrews 2:3) “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Hebrews 2:1) “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1)
The level of love and obedience that Jesus came to produce in us by the Spirit is far beyond that of the first covenant. We need to take heed to the promises, lest we find ourselves deceived into thinking that we are pleasing Christ and obeying Him in fullness when we really are not. We are expected to go deeper because a deeper walk with God is available to us. As the scripture says, “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Hebrews 7:18-19) Notice here that the law made no one perfect. It did not accomplish God’s intentions. But we have the blessed privilege of drawing near to God in greater depth than even the most honored saints of the old covenant. This privilege we must walk in if we are to be the holy people of God.