The New Covenant is the opposite of the Old Covenant
The Old Covenant demanded righteousness by works.
- A sinner was one who broke just one out of 613 laws.
- The righteous was the one who obeyed all 613 laws (only Jesus did this).
- People who realized their inability to obey the law were righteous by faith in the hope of the Messiah (Jesus)
The New Covenant gives us the gift of righteousness by faith.
- Sinners do not believe in Jesus Christ but trust in their works.
- The righteous believe in Jesus and do not trust in their works.
- Christ, Himself is our righteousness.
Hebrews 8:8-13 “For finding fault with them, he said, “Behold, the days come”, says the Lord,
“that I WILL make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they didn’t continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them,” says the Lord. “For this is the covenant that I WILL make with the house of Israel. After those days,” says the Lord;” I WILL put my laws into their mind, I WILL also write them on their heart. I WILL be their God, and they will be my people.
They will not teach every man his fellow citizen, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all will know me, from their least to their greatest. For I WILL be merciful to their unrighteousness. I WILL remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.” In that he says, “A new covenant”, he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.”
The old covenant was all about God telling man – “You shall do this and you shall not do that” and man constantly failing (Exodus 20-24).
But the new covenant is all about God telling us: “I will do it”. Jesus died on the cross and therefore God tells the believer these truths:
“I WILL FORGIVE your sins and remember them no more”
“I WILL BE your GOD and you will be my people”
“I WILL write my love in your heart and cause you to do good works”
We are eternally forgiven and righteous because Jesus did all the work.
2nd Corinthians 6:16,18 “What agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Even as God said, “I WILL dwell in them and walk in them. I WILL be their GOD and they will be my people…. I WILL be to you a FATHER. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty”
“I WILL dwell in you and walk in you”
“I WILL be your FATHER and you will be my children”
Under the old covenant, man was unfaithful by his failures.
But in the new covenant, we are righteous because God is faithful through Christ.
Hebrews 12:18-24 NIV “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
Under the old covenant, the people could not even dare enter the presence of God because the angels would punish them for every violation of the law (Acts 7:53, Hebrews 2:2, Galatians 3:19). There was great fear of punishment under the law.
But in the New Covenant, we come to a joyous assembly of angels in the presence of our loving Father in heaven (Luke 15:10). This is because the blood of Christ cries out that we are forgiven! The New Covenant is all about joy, peace, and forgiveness in Christ.
The new covenant is completely about Jesus Christ’s work and not ours at all.
This is why Paul said that his self-righteous performance in the flesh was garbage.
Philippians 3:3-10 “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I yet more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless. However, I consider those things that were gain to me as a loss for Christ. Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith, that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death,”
Paul wanted to know Christ instead of trusting in his works. He wanted nothing to do with the performance of his flesh but only the intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ and His love and grace! He had zero confidence in his own performance!
He only wanted to be righteous by faith in Christ and not by relying on his performance, even many years after being an Apostle!