All of Scripture points us to Christ. The New Testament proclaims His coming. The Old Testament prepares for His coming. From the Garden of Eden in Genesis (where God promised that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent) to the songs of praise to the Lamb in Revelation, we hear the good news of salvation in Christ.
Jesus is the glory of the covenants. He is the substance of all the shadows and types of the Old Covenant. The tabernacle and Temple—the sacrifices and festivals—all foreshadow the person and work of Christ. When Christ came in the New Testament and the full light of God’s revelation was made known in Him, the shadows of the Old vanished away (Hebrews 8:13). What was temporary and preparatory in the Old Testament is eternal and complete in the New Testament in Christ.
The difference between the Old and New Covenants is largely a difference in brilliance and clarity. It is not that there are two or more ways of salvation, or two or more gospels. There is only one gospel and one salvation—Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life in both Old and New Testaments.
But the view of this gospel in the Old Testament, seen through the Old Covenant with its types and shadows, is less clear and defined as it is in the New. It is like going out at night, before the dawn, and seeing a beautiful landscape under the starlight. The trees and mountains and lake—the scene is all in place, but largely, it can only be seen in outline and silhouette. There is much left in shadow; the details and color are still hidden. It lies before you, but your view is sketchy.
But as the dawn arrives, and the rays of the sun begin to break over the horizon, then your view begins to open. You can see more and more. As the sun climbs higher and higher, those details and colors that were hidden are revealed and illumined by the light.
The gospel as we see it in the Old Covenant is the dawn breaking—those first rays announcing the coming light. The gospel as we see it in the New Covenant is the full glory of the sun at noon day.
It is in the brilliance of the sun—God’s full revelation of His Son and the cross— that we now see and understand the gospel in its fullness and completeness. The Old is “outshined with Christ in view”!
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established with better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).
The following hymn was composed for the 2001 General Assembly of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA), that met March 6-8, 2001 at Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas. It celebrates the greater blessings and promises we now possess within the better covenant in Christ Jesus.
Within A Better Covenant
Within a better covenant
God’s people now abide,
Built on the finished work of Christ,
Accomplished and applied.
From ev’ry nation, tribe, and tongue,
The Spirit calls the bride,
Uniting in this covenant
Each one for whom Christ died.
All those within this covenant
Are quickened and made new;
From least to great, they know the Lord
And trust His Word as true.
The Spirit works and writes God’s Law
Upon each heart and mind,
That each will turn and flee to Christ,
His grace and mercy find.
For unto Moses, Jesus gave
His Law on Sinai’s hill;
The Law that one day He would come
To perfectly fulfill.
God’s Law fulfilled in Jesus Christ
Is holy, good, and right;
What once condemned us for our sin
Is now made our delight.
The Spirit seals the covenant
With each He sets apart;
A circumcision not of flesh,
But of the conquer’d heart.
For it is not by flesh and blood,
Nor by the will of man,
That Christ now builds and keeps His church
And causes it to stand.
The covenants that came before
Did then prepare the way,
As God progressively revealed
The glories of Christ’s day.
The types and shadows of the old
A foretaste did provide,
But old has vanished now away
As Christ is magnified!
In ceaseless service priests of old
Brought off’rings day by day,
But blood of bulls and goats could not
Take sin’s dark guilt away.
Behold, a better sacrifice,
The spotless Lamb who died!
Christ shed His blood once for all time
To cleanse and save His bride.
God made provision in the Old,
Its Temple, priests, and land;
An earthly nation He raised up
And strengthened by His hand.
But earthly shadows now have past,
Outshined with Christ in view,
Proclaiming now unto the church:
God’s Kingdom is in you!
Behold, the temple of the New,
Not made with bricks or stone,
Is now the gathered hearts of all
Whom Christ has called His own.
The sacrifices of our lips
We to this temple bring
That Christ be praised as all in all,
Our Prophet, Priest, and King.
Words ©2001 Ken Puls
Tom Wells (Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas) composed the tune for this hymn. Download the lyrics and free sheet music (PDF), including an arrangement of the tune GRAPE CREEK for classical guitar.
More Hymns and Songs from Ken Puls Music
More Hymn tunes arranged for classical guitar