(Scripture underline and bold emphasis mine)
Hebrews 8:7 (NLT)
If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.
This portion of Scripture states that God himself found fault with the old covenant and thus annulled it and introduced a new covenant to replace it! Why?
In short, because the old covenant depended on the individual’s ability and effort to keep God’s laws in order for them to enjoy God’s blessing and favor in their lives; So as long as one kept God’s prescribed laws, he or she enjoyed the blessing and favor of God ― If he or she did not keep God’s laws, then they did not enjoy the blessing and favor of God in their lives (see Deuteronomy 28).
So the fault God found with the old covenant was the people’s inability to keep His laws (the perfect standard of a perfect God), and not the commandments or laws themselves!
To better understand this verse, we must also realize that there are two covenants mentioned, two not one! And God did not introduce a mixture or blend of the two as a new covenant, but He replaced one with the other!
A biblical covenant can also be defined as a "method of operation" before God (or the prescribed way to relate to God by God Himself). Such covenants consist of rules and regulations (laws) and, provided that these laws are kept, then the promises and blessings of such covenant come to pass in the life of the one who keeps them.
The two covenants being spoken of here are the old and the new. In other words, the methods of operation (relating to God) before the Cross and after the cross. The apostle Paul helps us understand this better in:
Romans 6:14 (NLT)
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
In essence, the apostle Paul is telling us that the "operating system" of the old covenant is "living under the requirements of the law" while the "operating system" of the new covenant is "living under the freedom of God’s grace".
Under the old operating system the experiencing of God’s blessing and favor was in direct proportion to the satisfying and fulfilling of God’s law (commandments)! That is to say: How much of God’s blessing and favor one experienced was in direct proportion to the effort and adherence he or she put into satisfy the requirements of God’s law. Thus one earned and deserved the blessing and favor of God!
The "operating system" of the new covenant is described as "living under God’s grace". Grace is defined as God’s unmerited blessing and favor. In other words, there is not a single thing one can do to earn or deserve God’s blessing and favor! They are extended to us without limit or reservation, not because of what we do or don’t do, but because of what God did for us in Jesus Christ! (through His work of redemption).
Look carefully at the following verses:
Galatians 5:4 (NLT)
For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from Gods grace.
Romans 3:20 (NLTse)
For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
Living under grace does not make one "lawless" or give him a “license to sin” (not that anyone ever needed one!);
Living under grace does not mean that one rejects or ignores God’s law (otherwise known as antinomianism);
Living under grace simply means that one no longer operates under the system of having to continuously try to earn and deserve God’s blessing and favor, but under a system of God’s unconditional love, blessing and favor, and that outside of their merit, performance or lack thereof, because Jesus qualified them (since He was the only one who was perfect enough to do so).
You see, we are saved by grace and remain saved by grace, contrary to popular "mixed-covenant" teaching that says that we are saved by grace but blessed by our law-keeping! ― That would be like saying that we are saved outside of our merit, but we remain blessed after salvation by our merit! That just makes no sense!
Beyond the cross, it was never God’s intention for anyone to live by a mixture or blend of law and grace, but simply by His grace. God did not give us his law to show us how to live and his grace to empower us to fulfill it! ― Jesus fulfilled the law for us because, in our fallen and imperfect humanity, we could never do so.
Grace is for the underserving, thus trying to earn or deserve God’s blessing and favor by our merit and performance nullifies God’s grace in our lives and places us back under the law. It also negates the work of the cross in our lives!
Not once does God’s Word instruct us to live under an operating system of mixed or blended covenants.
You are loved, blessed and favored, not because of what you do or don’t do, but because of what God did for you in and through His Son Jesus! ― Realizing and knowing this causes one to naturally live a life that is pleasing to God and one that reflects His nature and character!
Copyright 2013 © New Creation Church, San Antonio
Marco A. Bravo
Copyright 2013 © New Creation Church, San Antonio