The Old Testament (Covenant) was founded on the blood of animals, which provided a mere temporal atonement for sin. As the New Testament book of Hebrews teaches us, “And every [Old Testament] priest [stood] daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which [could] never take away sins” (Hebrews 10:11).

In addition to providing a mere temporal atonement for sin, the Old
Testament also, much to the consternation of many, was all about getting man lost, not saved. As the Apostle Paul taught in the New Testament, God’s giving of His law in the Old Testament was meant to be our schoolmaster, teaching us not only the utter hopelessness of us ever making ourselves acceptable to God by living up to His law, but also our dire and desperate need of a Savior to save us from sin and reconcile us to God, from whom sin has separated us (Galatians 3:24).

When the Rich Young Ruler came to Christ requesting eternal life, Christ curiously asked him about his obedience to God’s law (Mark 10:17-23).Surely, our Lord, like the Apostle Paul, knew that no sinner can acquire eternal life by living up to the sinless perfection demanded by God’s law (Romans 3:20). Why, then, did Christ question this seeker of eternal life about whether or not he had kept God’s commandments, when Christ knew that he, like all other sinners, had fallen miserably short of perfect obedience and sinless perfection. Was it not to convince the Rich Young Ruler of this fact, as well as to convince him that his only hope of eternallife was to receive Christ by faith as his Savior?

No man will ever be convinced of his need to be found (saved) until he is convinced that he is lost (in need of salvation). It is God’s law that convinces men of how helplessly and hopelessly lost they are, as well as of their dire and desperate need of a Savior, someone to do for them what they can never do for themselves. Thus, as the Apostle Paul taught the Galatians, the Old Testament—God’s giving of His law—was our schoolmaster teaching and preparing us for the New Testament—God’s giving of His Son. Only those convinced of how lost and undone they are by God’s law will ever turn in faith to God’s Son for their salvation.