The Difference Betwixt the Two Covenants of Works and Grace
Hebrews 8:8
For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord…

The covenants of works and grace do differ in the particulars following.

1. In the different consideration of the Author of the one and the other, which are in the first God's supreme sovereignty, and in the latter His rich mercy.

2. In the procuring cause of them, which was of the former God's mere will and pleasure, of the latter pity and compassion.

3. In the manner of making the one and the other. The former was without a mediator; the latter with one

4. In the time: the former was made before man had sinned; the latter after his transgression.

5. In the occasion of making the one and the other. The occasion of the former was to try man's faithfulness in that integrity wherein God made him. The occasion of the latter was to show the necessity of man's continual dependence on God.

6. In the confederates or parties with whom the one and the other was made. The former was made with all mankind; the latter with the elect only.

7. In the particular good that was promised. In the former a reward was promised upon fulfilling the condition by man himself (Romans 10:15). In the latter was afforded —

(1)  A Surety for man (chap. 7:22).

(2)  Ability to do what God would accept (Ezekiel 36:27).

(3)  A better reward in man's communion with Christ (John 14:3; John 17:23, 24).

8. In the duties required by the one and the other. Perfect obedience was required by the former; faith and repentance by the latter.

9. In the order of God's accepting. In the former God accepted the person for the work; which is thus expressed, "If thou do well, shalt thou not be accepted?" (Genesis 4:7). In the latter the work is accepted in reference to the person.

10. In the ratification. The former was ratified by word, promise, and seals. The letter was further ratified by oath (Hebrews 7:20) and blood (Hebrews 9:16, 171.

11. In the issue of the one and the o her. The former was violable. It might be forfeited, and was forfeited. The latter is inviolable and shall never be broken (Jeremiah 33:20, 21).

12. In the matter of the one and the other. These two covenants do so far differ in the very matter and substance of them as they can no more stand together' than the ark of God and Dagon (1 Samuel 5:3, 4). The apostle doth so far oppose works and grace in the case of justification and salvation as they cannot stand together (Romans 11:6). This difference betwixt the covenant of works and grace giveth evidence of God's wisdom in working by contraries and bringing light out of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6) and good out of evil, as He brought "meat out of the eater" (Judges 4:14). For man's sin and misery that fell thereupon caused this better covenant. This is an especial instance to prove that "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28).

(W. Gouge.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

WEB: For finding fault with them, he said, "Behold, the days come," says the Lord, "that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;

The Difference Between the Covenant of Grave as it is Styled Old and New
Top of Page
Top of Page