Is The Old Covenant Still Binding?

Much error has been taught in the world due to the failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Some see little need to distinguish between the Old and New Covenants. They are as likely to go to the Old Covenant for authority as to the New.

However, we must continue to faithfully teach that we must rightly divide the Old from the New and to follow the New and not the Old Covenant. We must teach that the New Covenant is our guide and authority. We learn from the Old Covenant (Romans 15:4), but it is not our guide and authority. We must teach this because the Bible clearly teaches it.

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		Why We Should Follow The New? 
	<p><strong> New Covenant promised. </strong> “Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah’” (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Hebrews 8:8</a>). The Covenant would be new. The Greek word translated new is KAINOS (kainox, 2537), which, according to Vine, “denotes new, of that which is unaccustomed or unused, not new in time, recent, but new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old.” The New Covenant is a different form, quality and nature from the Old.</p>

The different nature of the Old Covenant is seen in 2 Corinthians 3:6 where it is contrasted with the New Covenant. “Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant not the Old. “To Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24 is new (neos) compared with the Mosaic, nearly fifteen hundred years before; it is new (kainos) compared with the Mosaic, which is old in character, ineffective, 8:8, 13; 9:15.”

A New Covenant was needed because the Old was faulty. “For if that first Covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second” (Hebrews 8:12).

Christ came to take away the Old to establish the New. “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9-10). How much plainer could He have been? “He takes away the first that He may establish the second” is as clear as any statement found in the scriptures! Certainly no one can misunderstand!

Old was to be cast out. Paul uses the story of Abraham’s two sons born of bond and free women to show the difference between the old and new (Galatians 4:21-31). The bond woman represents the Old Covenant which kept mankind under the bondage of sin while the free woman represents the New Covenant which provides a way to free ourselves from the consequences of our sins. His concluding statement “So, then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman” shows which Covenant in now in effect.

Old nailed to the cross. “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Acts 15:10). The Old Covenant was given to the nation of Israel to show them that they could not save themselves; they needed a Savior.

Paul said that it was “wiped out.” Vine gives the following definition, “EXALEIPHO (exaleifw, 1813), from ek, out, used intensively and aleipho, to wipe, signifies to wash, or to smear completely. Hence, mataphorically, in the sense of removal, to wipe away, wipe off, obliterate; Hebrews 8:6).

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		Why We Should Not Follow The Old 
	<p><strong> We fall from grace. </strong> “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Galatians 5:4</a>). Justification cannot be gained from following the Old. If we depend on it, Paul says emphatically that we are not saved!</p>

We are in spiritual adultery. “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another — to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:1-4).

Paul uses marriage to illustrate the consequences of trying to follow both the Old and New law at the same time. He states that when the marriage bond is broken by death, the wife is free to marry another man, but if her husband is still alive and she remarries, then she is an adulteress. Therefore, he says that when Christ died they were freed from the Old law so they could be married to the New.

It makes Christ’s death vain. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2:21). People had the Law (Old Covenant) before Christ came and died. If the Law could have saved them, then Christ would not have had to come, be humiliated, rejected by men, tried unjustly, and die upon the cross. To hold to the Old Covenant makes Christ’s death useless!

	<p>The Old Covenant is not our law today; we have a New and better Covenant.</p>