Let's review the source of the conceptual construct. My pilgrimage led me to observe several shocking changes in God's presentation of Himself and His law. First, we noted that Abram was to focus on PROMISE - and that made it a God focus. (Genesis 15:1ff.) COVENANT ALWAYS does that - it always started with "I WILL MAKE and I WILL DO" - thus being guaranteed by the initiator - in this case God Himself. By the way - that is the OLD COVENANT. BUT - someone says - what about the Mosaic covenant? Well - Paul explained that the LAW (Mosaic) was ADDED, and our first question is - to what?
Galatians 3:19 and the context talks about this subject quite fully. I leave it to you to check out the whole chapter - which basically tells us that the LAW had nothing to do with our getting righteousness. That's not the purpose of LAW. Paul first of all claims that the Law - which came 430 years after Covenant, cannot void the Promise (Galatians 3:17). Then Paul explained that the LAW came to lead us to Christ - act as a Tutor (until Christ came) to make mankind more aware of sin. (Verses 19 - 24). HOWEVER - Paul also claims that being led to Christ was for the purpose of being justified by FAITH.
Don't forget, Jeremiah prophesied in chapter 33 that God would make a totally NEW covenant, not like the first one. (Well - actually Jeremiah is simply repeating God's words on the subject.) Paul picked up on this concept in Romans 3 as he claimed that the new idea was "FAR APART" from the Law - even though it is attested to by the Law and Prophets, (Romans 3:21) and then Paul explains that there is NOW a righteousness by focus on the Messiah - verse 22 (yes, that is totally new) and also would focus on all people who believe. Paul explained that this is because ALL have sinned and now ALL can be righteous through the redemption in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23 - 24). That concept is explained in verse 24 to the end of the chapter plus chapter 4- 5. (This is a section that MANY in Christendom just do not know much at all.)
Now - that concept is at the center of my pilgrimage and I had to ask myself and others - what is this concept that is SO DIFFERENT from the Old covenant position? Since so many have made a LAW out of everything - it is a hard thing to study.
Studying the first covenant is a problem as well - because most folks JUST focus on the Law of Moses as the Old Covenant - that is simply a mistake. Paul plainly says the Law was simply an addition to the covenant to Abram. So - if we don't start with that idea - how can we have a correct concept at any point in our study?
So - let's start there - Old covenant was to Abram - and was a faith in God's Promises kind of Covenant - the LAW was added to get us ready for Jesus. God through Jeremiah said the first covenant was BROKEN, even though God upheld HIS end of it. So - why not use that idea as the beginning of the NEW concept - broken covenant - not able to happen in the NEW ONE? WOW - how could THAT happen? Well - the prophecies about Jesus give us a hint and an understanding. Jesus was sent for a covenant - HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE - (that is what "covenant" originally was sent to offers us - a way, truth, life - under the Protection of the covenant head) Isaiah 42:6; 49:8 at least are inferred by Jesus.
So - to make a long story short - JESUS came and kept covenant and Law - and then offered HIS performance to us to be received BY FAITH (harmonious with Romans 3 and Galatians 3) so the New Covenant is totally DIFFERENT from the Old - in that we get KEPT COVENANT - in Christ. HE really is THE way, THE truth, THE life - and HE gets ALL preeminence in this regard. If we don't see that concept, many verses like 2 Corinthians 2-6 (especially 5:19 - "God was IN CHRIST, reconciling the word to Himself") and those other verses (including the whole book of Colossians) about being IN CHRIST have little meaning to us. We then mistakenly still think the focus is US - not JESUS.
BUT - taking the focus off of us is ONE way the New Covenant is totally different from the OLD. More about that - later