Gospel Truth #6
The new covenant is God's one-way promise to write His law in our hearts, and to give us everlasting salvation as a free gift "in Christ." The old covenant is the vain promise of the people to obey, and "gives birth to bondage." The spiritual failures of many sincere people are the result of being taught old covenant ideas, especially in childhood and youth. The new covenant truth was an essential element of the 1888 message, and even today lifts a load of doubt and despair from many heavy hearts.
Ellen White Proclaimed This Same Good News
"You are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you [this is what Paul means when he says that the old covenant 'gives birth to bondage']. . . . What you need to understand is the true force of the will. . . . Everything depends on the right action of the will. . . . You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve him. . . . Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him" (Steps to Christ, p. 47).
"The ten commandments, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not, are ten promises, assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe" (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1105).
"There is not a negative in that law, although it may appear thus. It is DO and live" (idem).
"The terms of the 'old covenant' were, obey and live. . . . The ‘new covenant" was established upon ‘better promises'—the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God's law" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 372)