The relationship between the old and new covenants of the Holy Bible have confused many theologians for the past 2000 years. Some scholars believe the old and new covenants represent two separate plans of salvation for Jew and Gentile. Others see no difference between the two and have a difficult time separating the mosaic laws from the eternal law of God. In reality, there is only one major difference between the original covenant given to Adam and Eve after the fall and the covenant given to us by Christ after the cross.
Here are some points to ponder concerning the simple and yet profound relationship between the old and new covenants:
1. There is only one plan of salvation provided to human beings.
2. The original covenant began with Adam and Eve after the fall and looked forward to what Christ would accomplish, while the renewed covenant looks back on what Christ has accomplished.
3. All human beings are saved because of the blood that Christ shed on the cross. If Christ had not been the once for all sacrifice for sin then every human being to ever live would be doomed to eternal destruction.
4. The laws given to Moses for the nation of Israel were only binding on those living within the borders of Israel and did not add or subtract from the original covenant with all of humanity. The Moral Law of God, the 10 Commandments, was written by God and summarizes the eternal law of God for the human race that was violated in the Garden of Eden and for which Christ died.
These four points are evidence that every human being who is saved will be saved by grace through the atoning blood of Jesus. The same blood that was shed for us who were born after the cross saves those who lived before Christ.
The major difference between the covenants is the original covenant promised a future messiah who would save His people from sin, while the renewed covenant fulfills that promise and identifies Jesus as the divine son of God who shed His blood as the once for all sacrifice for all people, for all time, and for all sin (Hebrews 10:1-18). The notion that those who lived before the cross were saved by law and that New Testaments Christians are saved by grace is false. There is only one plan of salvation for all humanity—the blood of Christ that was shed once for all.
Stephen Beagles (2019)
Founder of Gospel Adventist Ministries