Sunday: A Better Covenant

Perhaps the greatest difference between the religion of the Old Testament and that of the New is the fact that the New Testament era was introduced by the coming of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. He was sent by God to be the Savior.

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Men could not ignore Him and expect to be saved. Only through the atonement He provided could their sins be forgiven. Only by the imputation of His perfect life could they stand before God without condemnation. In other words, salvation was through the righteousness of Jesus, and nothing else.

Old Testament saints looked forward to the blessings of the Messianic age and the promise of salvation. In New Testament times the people were confronted with the question, Would they accept Jesus of Nazareth whom God had sent as the Messiah, their Savior? If they believed in Him-that is, if they accepted Him for who He truly was and committed themselves to Him-they would be saved through the righteousness that He offered them freely.

Meanwhile, the moral requirements remain unchanged in the New Testament, because these were founded in the character of God and of Christ. Obedience to God’s moral law is just as much a part of the New Covenant as it is of the Old.

Read Matthew 19:17; Revelation 12:17Revelation 14:12; and James 2:10-11. What do these texts tell us about the moral law in the New Testament?

At the same time, the entire body of ritual and ceremonial laws that were distinctly Israelite-and were distinctly tied to the Old Covenant, and all pointed to Jesus and to His death and ministry as High Priest-were discontinued, and a new order was introduced, one based on “better promises.”

Helping both Jew and Gentile to understand what was involved in this transition from Judaism to Christianity was one of Paul’s principal aims in the book of Romans. It would take time to make the transition. Many Jews who had accepted Jesus were still not ready for the great changes that were coming.

What are some of your favorite Bible promises? How often do you claim them? What choices are you making that can stand in the way of having these promises fulfilled in your life?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons