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sermon: The Doctrine of Israel (Part Two): The Old Covenant

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Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 07-Dec-19; Sermon #1519; 73 minutes

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God made the New Covenant because Jacob's offspring did not have what it took to fulfill the terms of the Old Covenant. Abraham modeled for all of us what the New Covenant would require, namely believing God and willingly obeying what He commanded. The Old Covenant subsumed many elements of the Edenic, Noahic, and Abrahamic covenants, including the Decalogue (with its Sabbath Commandment which was in force since Creation and remains in force in the New Covenant), as well as circumcision of the heart. God offers participants in the New Covenant extra help in keeping the Commandments, namely, the earnest payment of the Holy Spirit. The essential difference between the Old and New Covenants is that God writes His eternal, inviolate laws on the hearts of signatories, not on stones. The terms of the Old Covenant were not 'impossible' to follow, but the carnal mind is hostile to God's law, leading our forebears to go continually astray. Even before Israel ratified the Old Covenant, she fell into faithless rebellion. Abraham's mindset of unreserved trust and willingness to obey—a covenant of faith—did not change as the Covenant transitioned from Old to New. God did not change His original objective of a royal family and a kingdom of priests one iota.

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