Q&A: New Covenant as New and Improved Version of the Old

New Covenant as New and Improved Version of the Old

Does the author of Hebrews consider the new covenant to be a covenant renewal or something completely new?

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Answer

When we look at Hebrews 8 and we see the idea of a covenant and a new covenant, it really is a good question, is it a new one or is it just sort of reformatting the old one? There's a sense in which the answer is both. But ultimately, it is a new covenant. It builds on the previous covenant, and that's why it has a sense of being renewed or reformatted. But it's new on a number of levels. It's new because it has a different group of people who are being addressed in that covenant. You move from just the people of Israel to all who would have faith in Christ, so you have a different participant there. The mediator of that covenant is now specifically Christ, which changes it. And even the requirements of the covenant change. Certainly, faith was what gained salvation even for the Old Testament saints, but the requirements of the covenant, because they were so nationalistic for Israel as a people, were different for the requirements of us as God's people who are scattered throughout the world and throughout his kingdom. So, it is a new covenant, but it is built on the previous covenant with similarities, but, you know, a new and improved version, if you will.

Answer by Dr. Dan Lacich

Dr. Dan Lacich serves on the pastoral team of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Orlando FL