Israel needed a new testament because the old could not justify, save, sanctify, or empower them to fulfill God’s purpose to have dominion on the earth.
The law cannot help sinful people to have life. It sentences them to die. The law cannot empower sinners to serve God. It can only condemn them.
Who is sufficient to save Israel and cause them to serve God? A better question may be who is sufficient to save the rest of hopeless humanity and enable them to serve God?
Answer: God is sufficient for all of these things. We can know how through the revelation of the mystery of Christ.
God’s Sufficiency to Israel
God promised a new and better testament to Israel whereby he would give them his Spirit to cause them to do his commandments.
“And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” – Eze 36:24
The old was insufficient. The new testament is God’s sufficiency toward Israel.
Where Israel failed under the old testament because of their incapability, the new testament would succeed through God’s sufficient ability.
The old testament to Israel would be replaced with a better testament to Israel. The difference being the ministry of the Spirit of God operating in Israel to fulfill the new testament.
John wrote about this ministry of the Spirit working in new testament Israel helping them to keep the commandments.
“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” – 1 John 3:24
The sufficiency is of God by the ministry of his Spirit.
God’s Sufficiency to the Church
Whereas the new testament exhibited God’s sufficiency to Israel, the preaching of the cross is God’s sufficiency toward us as strangers from Israel’s covenants.
The mystery preaching of the cross explains that faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection is sufficient for our justification and sanctification without the law (Rom 3:22-24).
Our works are not only unnecessary for our salvation, but forbidden so that the sufficiency would be completely of God through Christ and not of us (Rom 4:4-5).
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” – 2 Cor 3:5
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” – Titus 3:5
The Spirit and God’s Sufficiency
God’s sufficiency to save and sanctify is performed for both Israel and the church by the ministry of the Spirit.
The Spirit would fill Israel and cause them to walk according to the new testament laws. The Spirit’s ministry changes to the church which is Christ’s body.
We are not even under the law, and are strangers from the covenants. However, the Spirit of God baptizes us into Christ and changes our identity the moment we believe (1 Cor 12:13).
By the Spirit we are no longer living in our old man, who is now dead. Instead we are living in Christ freely by his grace (Rom 6:3-6, Rom 6:23).
What the law could not do, the Spirit does on our behalf, which is to declare us righteous in Christ by faith in the gospel (2 Cor 5:21).
The ministry of the Spirit according to the mystery declares the sufficiency of God’s grace in all things (2 Cor 12:9).
In every dispensation, the sufficiency is all of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
For Israel, the Spirit was promised to empower them to do God’s law under the new testament.
But now, the Spirit crucifies our old man with Christ, and gives us a new life not under the law (Rom 6:14, Gal 2:20).
Able Ministers of God’s Sufficiency
When Paul asked the Corinthians, “who is sufficient for these things?” the answer he gave was God’s sufficiency through the ministry of the Spirit (2 Cor 2:16).
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” – 2 Cor 3:5-6
God is sufficient to fulfill Israel’s promises by the ministry of the Spirit according to the new testament, and to fulfill salvation freely to all by the ministry of the Spirit according to the mystery.
The old law and the old man were insufficient for these things, but God is always sufficient.
Only the Spirit of God can deliver us from the condemnation of sin, death, and the law, and give us righteousness, peace, and life.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” – Rom 8:2
Both Israel and the Church need to understand the lesson of the law: we are insufficient in ourselves and need God to sufficiently save and sanctify by his Spirit.
“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” – Romans 7:6
Understanding the mystery of Christ makes us able ministers of God’s sufficiency.