The Bible mainly talks about two covenants:
The Old Covenant was between God and Israel (Abraham’s descendants)
They had to be circumcised to enter the covenant and then obey all the commandments to be righteous.
Genesis 17 “10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
God gave Israel the command for circumcision and the ten commandments and 603 ordinances. They had to obey ALL the commandments of the Law to be righteous.
Deuteronomy 6 “25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”
Galatians 5 “3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.”
But nobody could do it. Nobody was righteous by the law because the law demanded perfection in obedience to the commandments.
James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
Galatians 3 “10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God,”
Romans 3 “There is no one righteous, not even one;…19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”
The Law could not make anything perfect or righteous!
Hebrews 7 “18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”
This is why God made a New Covenant through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus did all the work to make us perfect once and for all, forgiven all sin, sanctified, and holy by His death on the cross and His resurrection.
Hebrews 10 “9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Under the Old Covenant, they had to DO ALL the commandments to be righteous. But now that Jesus has ENDED the Law on the cross and His resurrection, we believe in Jesus to receive Righteousness freely.
Romans 10 “4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says:… 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.“
We receive God’s Sinless Righteous perfection freely by GRACE through FAITH in Jesus.
Romans 3 “21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”
We are made Righteous by Faith WITHOUT works because Jesus did ALL the work!
Romans 4 “4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness….God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
The Old Covenant was ALL about MAN’s WORKS that FAILED to attain righteousness.
The New Covenant is ALL about Jesus’s finished work that SUCCEEDED in making us Righteous by faith
This is why the New Covenant of Jesus is the opposite of the Old Covenant.
The Cross of Jesus is the opposite of man’s works.
Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is forgiven all sins, and righteous without doing a single work!