The author of Hebrews delineates the champions of faith from the time before Christ, then says that although their faith allowed them to “obtained good report;” nevertheless they “received not the promise.”
“these all through faith obtained good report, and received not the promise,
40 God providing a better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
In order to obtain perfection, these Old Covenant saints needed us. What do we have that they don’t? The author says they have faith. What are they missing that is found in us? It isn’t as if God did not forgive sins during the Old Covenant times, it’s that it required the repetitive sacrifice of bulls and goats and lambs and doves – it required a great deal of shed blood.
What we have that the OC saints did not is – of course – the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the one and only sacrifice. His sacrifice is the promise we obtained; the promise they only looked for as through a glass darkly. The OC saints yearned for a better country – perhaps we should say – a better time, a better thing.