Law and Grace -
the "old" and the "new" covenants
In Hebrews 8 we see two covenants. One is the
"old" -the Mosaic. One is the "new"-confirmed
in Jesus Christ. Galatians 3 & 4 contrasts the
above as "the law", i.e. the law of Moses...and
"the gospel..preached unto Abraham". The two
covenants are contrasted in Galatians 3v16,17-
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not,
and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before by God in
Christ (i.e. to be fulfilled in Christ), the law, which was four hundred
and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise
of none effect". The Abrahamic covenant was first in point of time, and
"the law (of Moses).. was added because of transgressions, till the seed
should come to whom the promise was made"- Galatians 3v19. (The Ab-
rahamic covenant was later "confirmed" in Christ - Romans 15v8..thus
it is called the "new covenant",whereas the Mosaic is the"old")."There-
fore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:
for by the law is the knowledge of sin"- Romans 3v20. "Moreover the
law entered, that the offence might abound"- Romans 5v20. The law of
Moses CONDEMNED THE SINNER. But the new covenant in Christ,
confirmed by His sacrifice, CONDEMNED SIN ITSELF- Romans 8v3.
This allows "forgiveness of sins" & "justifie(s) from all things, from
which (Israel) could not be justified by the law of Moses"- Acts 13v38,39.
This is "a better covenant, which was established upon BETTER PRO-
MISES"- Hebrews 8v6. "But that no man is justified by the law in the
sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith" (i.e. in the pro-
mises to Abraham). "And the law is not of faith: but,The man that doeth
them shall live in them"- Galatians 3v11,12. "Is the law then against the
promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which
could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith
of Jesus Christ might be given to THEM THAT BELIEVE. But before
faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which
should afterwards be revealed" - Galatians 3v21-23.
'Concluded' and 'shut up' are the same Greek word- link to 'leprous'.
There was a personal and a national benefit in keeping the law of Moses.
For example, read Deuteronomy 32v44-47; 28v1-14.
However it was not intended, and nor was it able, to confer eternal life.
This was the purpose of the Abrahamic covenant confirmed in Christ.
The mortal Levitical priesthood has now been replaced by
the immortal priesthood of Jesus Christ, "an high priest for ever after
the order of Melchisedec" - Hebrews 6v13 to 7v28.
In Galatians 3 & 4, the Apostle Paul draws a series of contrasts between
the law of Moses, and the Abrahamic covenant confirmed in Jesus Christ.
These are instructive, and demonstrate clearly that the law could never
accomplish, and nor was it designed to achieve, any lasting redemption.
Let us carefully consider these contrasts in the light of scriptural teaching.
Law of Moses Abrahamic Covenant
deeds which cannot save, ch.3v12 faith which can save, ch.3v11
a child or servant, ch.4v1 a son, ch.4v7
under authority, ch.4v2 an heir of God, ch.4v7
in bondage, ch.4v3 free, ch.4v31
born after the flesh, ch.4v29 born after the spirit, ch.4v29
Jerusalem under law, ch.4v25 Jerusalem of faith, ch.4v26
It will be of benefit for the reader to look at the pages concerning God's
promises, which explain this vital subject–link is below.
At the conclusion of these 3 pages, there are, as here, links to 'sacrifice'
& 'baptism', which also are essential doctrines we must comprehend.
On page 2 of this section, we present a numbered comparison of the
law of Moses, as identified by its ritual seventh day, and the Abraham-
ic covenant, as identified by its ritual eighth day. It is very enlightening
when we examine this subject in a methodical way, casting aside any
pre-conceived ideas, and being prepared to learn from God's holy word.
It is significant that the New Testament uses several examples drawn
from the growth of the student. See Galatians 4v2- "tutors and govern-
ors", 1st Peter 2v21- "example", signifying 'an outline drawing, or copy
book letter,to be copied by students'.Each school has its motto etc. Iden-
tiification for the law (the lower school) was the 7th day. Identification
for the Abrahamic covenant (the higher school) was the 8th day.
Galatians 3v24-26 sums it up:
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,
that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we
are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God
by faith in Christ Jesus".