Williams begins Chapter 12 with a discussion of the question of what is new about the new covenant, carefully balancing the themes of continuity and discontinuity, making much of Jesus’ rootedness in the Old Testament.
This sequence of quotes is taken from pp. 210 – 219: ”In truth, we find continuity and discontinuity, and it is important to mark the nature of each. … The internalization of he law — a religion that comes from the heart — had always been the goal of the covenant. … While the covenant most certainly includes legal and obligatory aspects, the obligatory always serves the relational. … Thus, Scripture displays a substantial element of continuity between Sinai and the promise of the new covenant. … What is new is that God is going to address the issue of Israel’s inability to keep the covenant. He will cure the disease of sin. … A careful understanding of the relationship of the new covenant to the old enhances our appreciation of the faith of the Old Testament believers. … The old covenant believer experienced the same union and communion with God that the new covenant saint does.”
“Jesus is the goal of Old Testament faith. Failure to confess Christ, the New Testament insists, is a failure to confess Yahweh. … What is new about the new covenant is that the entire covenant story must now be seen in Christ” (221).
“Yet in the coming of Christ, the end times have begun. The cosmic drama in which God has promised to end Adam’s rebellion has begun the episode of fulfillment” (222).
Williams also provides a helpful discussion of the New Covenant and the Law (232-240): ”For some groups such as the New Testament-era Pharisees, law keeping took on redemptive significance as conformity to the law became the mark of belonging to the people of God. … Paul argues that the old covenant was a temporary arrangement meant as a guide and tutor for the people of God until Christ. The law was to lead to Christ. … It is an argument from the lesser to the greater, from the glorious to something even more glorious. … The power of the indwelling Spirit makes it possible that the requirements of the law may be met by people who live by the Spirit.”