18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:18–19, NKJV)
The “former commandment” is “the law” given at Mt. Sinai to Israel. God annulled (set aside, abolished) that law because it was powerless to perfect (complete) the one who comes to God. The law served its purpose of identifying sin (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:19). It sought to rein in Israel’s sinful conduct by teaching her holiness and the divine blessings that come from obeying God (Deut. 4:13-14; 8:1). But that covenant was temporary and “made nothing perfect” (Gal. 3:19-25). The law did not have the power to redeem souls from sin; it could not save the lost (Heb. 10:1-4, 11). It was a “shadow of the good things to come” in Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:1). Christ and His gospel (not the “former commandment”) bring a better hope to those who draw near to God for forgiveness. We dare not go back to the law of Moses to justify our worship and service to God today. To do so forfeits the grace that is in Christ (Gal. 5:3-4; 1:6-9). Remember, we are not saved by the “shadow” (the first covenant) but by the “substance” of the covenant of Christ (Heb. 10:1-4, 10-12).
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—” (Hebrews 8:7–8, NKJV)
We are not under the Old Testament law today. The first covenant (the Sinai covenant God commanded Israel) “made nothing perfect” (Heb. 7:19). That is, the law given through Moses, with all its animal sacrifices and offerings, could not “take away sins” (Heb. 10:1-4). In this sense, it was weak and unprofitable (Heb. 7:18). This was not the law’s fault, for it was not designed to be the sinner’s mean of justification and redemption. If it were, then Jesus died in vain (Gal. 2:21). The law (first covenant) was a “tutor” to bring sinners to Christ, to be “justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). It was added to the Abrahamic promise “because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:17-19). The first covenant exposed the sinfulness of sin, and by doing so, turned men to God for divine mercy (Rom. 3:20; 7:13; 11:30-31). Now, Christ has mediated a “better covenant,” established on “better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The new covenant (the New Testament) dispenses merciful forgiveness and an eternal inheritance (Heb. 8:12). Here is a fundamental reason why we are not under the Old Testament law. It was a shadow of what has now been accomplished in Jesus Christ. It has passed away (Heb. 10:1; 8:13).