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The Two

Christianity has been fragmented into all too many camps. Two of the most prominent of these camps are what we might call the Old Covenant camp and the New Covenant camp.

Those who do not understand the true gospel make up the Old Covenant camp. These believers will have attitudes and beliefs that are diametrically opposed to those who do understand the true gospel and who make up the New Covenant camp.

The table below, therefore, is good food for meditation in that it helps us to identify the camp that we are in.

If you feel that you are in need of a gospel refreshing then we invite you to read the free E-Book, How Can I Live Forever, at our outreach website.

The Old Covenant Attitude

The New Covenant Attitude

Characterized by a people who had not realized the sinfulness of their own hearts and their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God's law.

Characterized by a people who realise the depravity of human nature, and who appreciate their desperate need of a Saviour who would save them by grace alone.

Obey and live

Believe and be saved

Provisional and temporary

Changeless and eternal

Covenant based on salvation by works

Covenant of Grace (unmerited favour)

Made between God and Israel

Made between the Father and Jesus

Made at Sinai

Made before creation

Ratified by the blood of a sacrifice

Ratified when Jesus died

Because the blood by which this covenant was sealed was shed before the blood of the second covenant, it is called the first or `old' covenant.

Called the second or `new' covenant because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant.

An arrangement to help Israel to realise their utter helplessness and their need of divine aid: and to reveal to them God's power and mercy, that they might be led to love and trust Him.

An arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the divine will, placing them where they could obey God's law - not so much out of obligation, but out of love and gratitude to God

Offers pardon in exchange for an obedience that man is not able to offer

Offers pardon and the assisting grace of God for future obedience through faith in Jesus

Also contained the promise of redemption on condition of fidelity to God's law - a fidelity motivated primarily by fear and by pride

Promises eternal life on condition of fidelity to God's law - a fidelity that is motivated by love for and gratitude to God

Is the vain hope of salvation by works

Is the hope of salvation by grace through faith

We trust in ourselves and in our own righteousness for salvation

We trust in Jesus for forgiveness, for righteousness and salvation

Man strives to provide a righteousness of His own

We accept the righteousness of Jesus, that is put to our account in exchange for simple faith

Man's reaction: `All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.' (Ex 24:7)

Man's reaction: `God be merciful to me a sinner.' (Luke 18:13)

We strive to make peace with God, and to earn forgiveness, by presenting Him with our filthy rag righteousness

His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted by God as though it were our obedience. (SC62)

Maintains the authority of God's law in that the law of God is the basis of this covenant

Maintains the authority of God's law in that the law of God is the basis of this covenant

This law was engraved on tables of stone

This law is engraved on the tables of the heart

The Promises

`Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, ``We will do everything the Lord has said; We will obey.'' ' (Ex 24:7)

`By His perfect obedience He has satisfied the claims of the law, and my only hope is found in looking to Him as my substitute and surety, who obeyed the law perfectly for me.' (1SM396)

`What the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, . . .

. . . God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.' (Romans 8:3)


`Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as it were by works.' (Rom 9:31-33)

`The Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith.' (Rom 9:30)

`The spirit of bondage is engendered by seeking to live in accordance with legal religion, through striving to fulfill the claims of the law in our own strength.' (1MR121)

`No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.' (Rom 3:20)

`Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Gal 3:3)

`Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law.' `By faith in His merits . . . [we are] free from the condemnation of the law.' (Gal 3:13; 1SM 396)

`You who are trying to be justified by [keeping the] law have been alienated from Christ.' (Gal 5:4)

`We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. (Rom 3:28)

Under law. We are under the impression that our rigid adherence to a cold and lifeless law can save us.

Under grace. We understand that we are saved by God's infinite kindness, poured out in limitless measure, upon us, His totally undeserving children.

`A man is not justified [absolutely forgiven and declared to be righteous and to have always been righteous] by observing the law.' (Gal 2:16)

`A man is . . . justified [absolutely forgiven and declared to be righteous and to have always been righteous] . . . by faith in Jesus Christ.' (Gal 2:15)

`You who are trying to be justified by [keeping the] law have been alienated from Christ, you have fallen away from grace.' (Gal 5:4)

`If you are led by the Spirit you are not under law' for `Christ [has] redeemed us from the curse of the law.' (Gal 5:18; 3:13)

`No one is justified before God by [keeping the] law.' (Gal 3:11)

`His righteousness . . . answers all the demands of the law.' (1SM 396)

Justification only takes place when we, in our own efforts, reach a certain stage of perfection.

`The moment true faith in the merits of the costly atoning sacrifice is exercised, that moment the sinner is justified before God, for he is pardoned.' (3SM 195)


`Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ``Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?' '' (Mt 19:16)

`All that a man can possibly do toward his own salvation is to accept the invitation, ``Whosever will, let him take the water of life freely.'' ' (6BC 1071)

`One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves.' (Gal 4:24)

`But the Jerusalem that is above is free and she is our mother.' `You are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.' (Gal 4:26, Gal 4:7)

The Son of Man came to seek and to save the righteous.

`The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.' (Luke 19:10)

Salvation is God's obligation to us.

Salvation is God's gift to us.

The inheritance depends on obedience to the law. (Gal 3:18)

The inheritance depends on God's promise. (Gal 3:18)

The primary focus of his religious experience is on receiving Christ, coming to Him, trusting in Him, committing the keeping of the soul to Him, submitting to God, determining to keep His commands, etcetera.

The primary focus of his religious experience is Jesus who endured the penalty of the law and who perfectly obeyed its precepts on our behalf.

The sanctuary teaches him about himself and what he must do to serve God and to ultimately be saved.

The sanctuary teaches him about Jesus, about His death, life, and mediation on our behalf.


Feeling that our righteousness can save us, we have a very dim view of the character of God - and also a very dim perception of the malignity of sin.

`As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.' (Isa 55:9)

God is a stern judge

God is an infinitely kind Father

The Holy Spirit

The Old Way of the Written Code

The New Way of the Spirit. (Rom 7:6)

`Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law?' (Gal 3:2)

`By faith we . . . receive the promise of the Spirit.' (Gal 3:14)

The Works of Man

`They were very punctilious in the observances of the church, very rigorous in following their forms, but they were destitute of religious devotion.' (1SM 386)

`Where faith is, good works appear. The sick are visited, the poor are cared for, the fatherless and the widows are not neglected, the naked are clothed, the destitute are fed.' (1SM 398)

`This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation, and has built our synagogue.' (Luke 7:4-5)

`Lord, . . . I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you.' (Luke 7:6-7)

`They had been performing many and burdensome works in order to recommend themselves to God; and they were ready to hear of any new observance by which they could secure greater merit. Their question meant, what shall we do that we may deserve heaven.' (DA 385)

`The price of heaven is Jesus. The way to heaven is through faith in the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.' (DA 385)

Always striving to do `good.'

`You must be good before you can do good.' (MB 128)

`The proud heart strives to earn salvation but; . . .

both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ.' (DA 300)

We consider church and personal devotions as the journey of religion.

We consider church and personal devotions as merely the filling station of religion.

`Some . . . were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.' (Luke 18:9)

`Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst.' (1 Tim 1:15)

`Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ``sinners'' '. (Matt 9:11)

`I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.' (Matt 9:13)

`The boasting of what He has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world.' (1 John 2:16)

`May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' `I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses.' (Gal 6:14; 2 Cor 12:9)

`The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. ``God I thank you that I am not like other men . . . I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'' ' (Luke 18:11-12)

`The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ``God have mercy on me a sinner.'' ' (Luke 18:13)

`They insist on being saved in some way by which they may perform some important work. When they see that there is no way of weaving self into the work, they reject the salvation provided.' (DA 280)

`Our great need is our only claim on God's mercy.' `The idea of doing anything to merit the grace of pardon is fallacy from beginning to end.' (DA 317, FW 24)

`Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.' (Rom 10:3)

`But now a righteousness from God, apart from [keeping the] law, has been made known' - `a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.' (Rom 3:21; 1:17)


The purpose of the church is to minister to the needs of the church members.

`The Saviour has given His precious life in order to establish a church capable of ministering to the suffering, the sorrowful, and the tempted.' (MH 106)

`The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposing sacrifice, proclaim that the doer of these things regards himself as righteous, and as entitled to heaven; but it is all a sad deception. Our own works can never purchase salvation.' (DA 280)

`Not in idle mourning, in mere bodily humiliation and multitudinous sacrifices, is the true spirit of devotion manifested, but it is shown in the surrender of self in willing service to God and man.' (DA 278)


`Many who profess His name have lost sight of the fact that Christians are to represent Christ. Unless there is practical self-sacrifice for the good of others, in the family circle, in the neighborhood, in the church, and wherever we may be, then whatever our profession, we are not Christians.' (DA 504)

`If we are Christians, we shall not pass by on the other side, keeping as far as possible from the very ones who most need our help. When we see human beings in distress, whether through affliction or through sin, we shall never say, This does not concern me.' (DA 504)

We see everyone, barring a few close friends, as worthy of condemnation.

We see all as sinners redeemed by God's great love.

We are convinced that Jesus came to judge the world - hence we feel justified in judging others. Pointing out the sins and mistakes of others is our solemn duty.

We rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus came not to judge the world but to save it. Thus we work with Him in pointing fellow-sinners to the cross and to the loving Cross-bearer.

We are convinced that Jesus came to call the righteous and not sinners, thus we blindly cling to our self- righteousness and have great difficulty in confessing our sinfulness.

We rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus came not to call the righteous but sinners - thus we lay claim to His righteousness through faith and we eagerly confess our sinfulness.

We strives to find a reason to bring `sinners' under the curse of the law.

We rejoices in the knowledge that Jesus has freed all the world from the condemnation of the law.

Being convinced that our righteousness is acceptable to God, we cannot discern the extent of our guilt, and we thus consider ourselves better than others. As such it is hard to forgive and easy to judge.

Understanding the extent of our guilt and the forgiveness that is ours through faith in Jesus, we are ever ready to forgive others and to forget their mistakes and wrongs.

We will give Bible studies to others, but they will focus on Christless doctrines. Our studies will prove how right our doctrines are and how wrong the rest of the religious world is.

We will give Bible studies to others, but they will focus primarily on Jesus and His perfection. Our studies will prove how right Jesus is and how wrong we all are.

Having converted our new candidate on the strength of the correctness of our doctrine, he falls in love with the church, and He becomes but another `rich . . . and do not need a thing' legalist.'

Having converted our new candidate on the strength of God's love, he falls in love with Jesus, and he devotes His life to the Lord and to the service of others.


You will know them by their gifts and by their strict adherence to the tenets of their religion.

`By their fruit (character) you will recognize them.' (Matt 7:16 - see Gal 5:22)

Inclined to be gloomy and full of criticism.

Inclined to be cheerful and full of words of encouragement.

We take pride in what is seen. (2 Cor 5:11)

We take pride in what is in the heart. (2 Cor 5:11)


We must strive to be obedient to the commandments.

`It is God Himself whose power creates within you both the desire and the power to execute His gracious will.' (Phil 2:13, Weymouth.)

We strive to obey the commandments in order to satisfy the demands of the law.

We respond to God's graciousness and we become obedient, not in order to satisfy the law, but because Jesus suffered our punishment and thus satisfied the law on our behalf.

Obedience is our outward compliance with the law of God.

`Obedience to God is liberty from the thralldom of sin, deliverance from human passion and impulse.' `Obedience [is] the service and allegiance of love.' (MH131, SC 60)

`To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the un-renewed nature as it was in the days of the Jewish teachers.' (AA 387)

`The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.' `No one can live the law of God without ministering to others,' for `love is the fulfillment of the law.' (Gal 5:6; DA 584, Romans 13:10)


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