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.
Waggoner Caught the Bible Idea
"The covenant and promise of God are one and the same. . . . God's covenants with men can be nothing else than promises to them. . . .
"After the Flood God made a 'covenant' with every beast of the earth, and with every fowl; but the beasts and the birds did not promise anything in return (Genesis 9:9-16). They simply received the favor at the hand of God. That is all we can do—receive. God promises us everything that we need, and more than we can ask or think, as a gift. We give Him ourselves, that is nothing. And He gives us Himself, that is, everything. That which makes all the trouble is that even when men are willing to recognize the Lord at all they want to make bargains with Him. They want it to be an equal, 'mutual' affair—a transaction in which they can consider themselves on a par with God" (The Glad Tidings, p. 71).
"The gospel was as full and complete in the days of Abraham as it has ever been or ever will be. No addition to it or change in its provisions or conditions could possibly be made after God's oath to Abraham. Nothing can be taken away from it as it thus existed, and not one thing can ever be required from any man more than what was required of Abraham" (ibid., p. 73).
"These two covenants exist today. The two covenants are not matters of time, but of condition. Let no one flatter himself that he cannot be bound under the old covenant, thinking that its time has passed. The time for that is passed only in the sense that 'the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries' (1 Peter 4:3, KJV)" (ibid., p. 100).
"God's precepts are promises; they must necessarily be such, because He knows that we have no power. All that God requires is what he gives. When He says, 'Thou shalt not,' we may take it as His assurance that if we but believe Him He will preserve us from the sin against which He warns us" (ibid., p. 77).