Q. What are the old and new covenants? Like Our Lord Jesus said the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets were in effect up to the time of John the Baptist, after which the good news is being preached. Does this mean that all the people after John the Baptist, won’t be judged by Moses’ Law but would instead be saved by Our Lord’s grace thru our faith in him and that all the people before John the Baptist would only be saved by Moses’ law and not their faith in the coming Messiah?
A. The Old Covenant was given to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai and consisted of 613 laws to be obeyed in order to maintain their special relationship with God (Exodus 19:5-6). It also included a worship system that was symbolic of the coming redeemer who would pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. The key word of the Old Covenant was “Obey.”
Although obedience to the Law was required to maintain their relationship, belief in the coming redeemer was also necessary for them to be saved. John the Baptist is widely regarded as the last prophet of the Old Covenant, sent to introduce the Lord Jesus to Israel.
The New Covenant is the basis for the Church’s relationship with God. It’s built upon the belief that Jesus is the redeemer to whom the Old Covenant pointed, and that His death purchased a pardon for all who choose to accept it, Jew or Gentile. We must only believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose again to attain eternal life (John 3:16). Living a life that’s pleasing to Him is our way of thanking Him for the free gift of salvation. The key word of the New Covenant is “believe.”
“For the law (Old Covenant) was given through Moses ; grace and truth (New Covenant) came through Jesus Christ “ (John 1:17).