The New and Better Promise

Apr 22, 2014Janet Wingard

As a child I learned early that obeying the rules my parents set, and adhering to the established curfews and codes of behavior made for an easier path. Bucking the system, ignoring family expectations and forgetting the spoken and unspoken familial decrees, met with swift and sure consequences. Perhaps those early lessons were the foundation of my sense of self-worth and the need to please God with hard work and rule keeping.

When I became a Christian, I entered a new covenant---one of grace and mercy. But, those old patterns die hard, and I still battle with the notion that I can perform my way into God’s heart.

This scenario is a modern-day example of how the Hebrews wrestled with conflicted hearts. Although they failed miserably at keeping the laws, they still were reluctant to embrace the new covenant. Old habits die hard. The Hebrews wanted to remain under an inferior covenant arrangement that relied on their obedience (law and merit) as a condition for blessing, rather than place themselves under the new covenant of grace and mercy.

This new covenant, however, is superior to the old, because of the better promises (8:6).

Renewal of our hearts

Under the old covenant, God's commands were written in stone. Under this new covenant, God has written them in our hearts and minds.

God will put His laws in their minds and write them on their hearts (8:10).

Relationship with God

Under the old covenant, God constantly reminded the people to maintain a relationship with Him. Under the new covenant, God's people have the Holy Spirit and seek a loving relationship with Him.

I will be their God, and they will be My people (8:10).

Knowledge of God

Under the old covenant, God spoke to the people of Israel through the prophets. Under the new covenant, each person, from the least to the greatest, can approach God through the Mediator, Jesus.

They will all know Me (8:11).

Forgiveness from God

Under the old covenant, sins were covered by many sacrifices. Under the new covenant, God sacrificed His Son once for all, giving all believers a full pardon.

I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (8:6)

I believe God likes hard work and wants us to obey Him, but His unconditional love is not dependent on anything we do. By His grace and mercy this new covenant literally makes us children of The King. Why would we ever want to cling to an inferior way?