God’s Perspective of the Old Covenant

In every covenant there are two parties involved. The very foundation of a covenant is the commitment of each party that it will faithfully perform its part.

The Old Covenant was weak.  It was not weak on God’s side.  His Nature requires that He is forever faithful.

I will offer up just one scripture regarding God’s faithfulness.  Obviously, there are many others I could have referenced.

It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

No.  The Old Covenant was not weak due to God’s involvement but, rather, because of man’s involvement.

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,…….. (Romans 8:3)

The word “weak” in this verse literally mean “powerless”.  The Law did not have the capability to be upheld because man was powerless to be faithful.  The “if” of the Old Covenant was for man to obey.  “If you obey My Voice; then I will be your God.”  Man was to live up to the standards set by God in their own power/ability.  This was Man’s part of the covenant.  But, Man was incapable of doing so due to the weakness of the flesh.  The flesh, by its very nature, does not have the wherewithal to obey.

Fortunately, what man could not do; God did!  How wonderful that His strength is perfected in our weakness.

But, wait a minute!  Why would God make a covenant with Man that He knew that they could not keep?  That seems a bit unfair.

The answer to this question is found in the differing perspectives / ideas between God and Man regarding the actual purpose of the covenant.  The answer opens up the true nature and object of the Covenant.

God’s desire was to have His people truly KNOW Him.  We see later in John’s Gospel, (17:3) knowing Him is eternal life!

All education is based upon the fact that grasping the lesser is essential to the attainment of the greater.  This is why we have varying degrees of education.  i.e. pre-school, kindergarten, elementary, high school, undergraduate college, masters, doctorate, etc.  In order to obtain higher levels, the lower levels of education must be mastered.  The Old Covenant is God’s basic level of education regarding their SIN and His HOLINESS and the gap between.

Before graduating to Christ and His salvation, the faculties of man’s conscience, heart and will  had to be stirred and awakened in order to eventually understand and appreciate God’s workings .  The law took men into its training, and sought to make of them the very best that could possibly be made through external instruction.  It was not the full work of a loving God that had further intentions for His people.  It was types and shadows that were designed to prepare men to enter the fullness God desired to bring to them.

Its work was profitable according to Father’s purposes. Under the law, administered by the grace that ever accompanied it, there was trained up a number of men whose great mark was the fear of God, and a desire to walk blameless in all His commandments. And yet, as a whole, Scripture represents the Old Covenant as a failure. The law had promised life; but it could not give it (Deut. 4:1; Gal. 3:21).

In conclusion, I submit the following paragraph from Andrew Murray’s writings on the subject.  He expresses

The real purpose for which God had given it was the very opposite: it was meant by Him as “a ministration of death.” He gave it that it might convince man of his sin, and might so waken the confession of his impotence, and of his need of a New Covenant and a true redemption. It is in this view that Scripture uses such strong expressions–“By the law is the knowledge of sin: that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may become guilty before God.” “The law worketh wrath.” “The law entered, that the offence might abound.” “That sin by the commandment might appear exceeding sinful.” “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.” “We were kept under the law, shut up to the faith, which should afterwards be revealed.” “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The great work of the law was to discover what sin was: its hatefulness as accursed of God; its misery, working temporal and eternal ruin; its power, binding man down in hopeless slavery; and the need of a Divine interposition as the only hope of deliverance.


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