What Was the Main Weakness of the Sinai Covenant?
What was the problem with the Sinai Covenant? Most people assume that the problem was in the laws God gave to Israel, that they were flawed and that Jesus Christ came to abolish or annul them. But does this square with the Scriptures?
Hebrews 8:7 tells us that yes, there was a flaw with that covenant: "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another" (NIV).
So where was the problem? The next verse tells us: "But God found fault with the people and said: 'The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah'" (verse 8, NIV).
The primary weakness of the Sinai Covenant was not in its laws but in the people's lack of a willing heart to obey them. Because they were not given the Holy Spirit, Israel's citizens were incapable of understanding and performing the full intent and purpose of God's teachings.
Here is how Paul summarizes that fault: "But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away" (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).
The people of ancient Israel, like most people today, simply could not grasp the full spiritual value of the teachings God gave through Moses. The reason is plain: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV).
How thankful we can be that God, under the terms of the New Covenant, allows us to receive a new spirit that enables us to obey God's laws! As God promises in Ezekiel 11:19-20: "Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God."
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