If you take the law as your rule of life—and holy, and just, and good it is—remember that as many as are of its works, upon that principle, are under the curse, as the Apostle Paul said (“of its works” i.e. trusting its works or any works for forgiveness - Gal 3:10; “under the curse,” because man could not perfectly obey the law, which was intended to establish the necessity of Christ to change one’s heart - Jas 2:10—NC). It is only when man puts himself under the law that he forfeits everything, for then God must allow him to prove how much he can claim on the ground of his sown works.
You find neither pilgrim nor stranger-ship in your rule, and that may suit you; but you find no glories of the new creation in it either; nor does it speak to you as a heavenly people, sanctified, and sent into the world as the Father sent His Son. All this is nowhere; the Christian’s place no higher than the Jews (still law not grace—NC); the standard of walk no different; for, of course, if the law is your rule of life, as was the Jews’, there cannot, and ought not to be any difference between you walk and his; your position in the Lord Jesus and its privileges gone, for of these the Jew knew nothing (the Jews chose not to advance from being a people of God under the prior Covenant, to being children of God under the present Covenant, as the indwelling of Christ is required to be an “heir” in the child-ship of the Father - Rom 8:17—NC).
But “if any man be in Christ he is a new creature’ old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (2Cor 5:17 – and all remains new daily - Lam 3:23—NC). What does this mean: “a new creature”; a new sort of creature, as the Word implies? Do you go back to Adam, the pure and innocent man in the garden which God set him in to dress and keep? Nay, that would be no creature new in kind! Adam, even pure and good before his fall, was yet “of the earth, earthy” (but God’s plans were of a greater “heavenly” position for man, providing a closer fellowship of, not just being with Him on earth but being in Him in heaven, via His Spirit - 1Cor 15:47-49; Jhn 14:16, 17—NC). Is the Lord Jesus but the first man set up afresh? Never! He is “the second Man, the Lord from heaven” (v 47).
Let men cavil as they please, He is a heavenly Man; a second, another sort (first with the new body in heaven—NC); a “last Adam,” seen and accepted before the Father, “in the Beloved.” “As is the earthy, such are they also that are heavenly.” The image of it we have not yet, true (e.g. the new body and sinless state—NC). That will be ours in the day of His coming. The thing we are (eternal child of God in Christ—NC)!
Do you and I know what it is to look into those heavens, where the Son of God sits in glory all His own, and see and recognize in Him what we are before the Father, “as He is,” even “in this world” (1Jo 4:17)? Can we say quite confidently, each for themselves, “Yes, we are identified with “Him who is our Life” before the face of the Father (Col 3:4); as He is, in whom no spot was ever found, nor can be (impeccable—NC), after the Father’s own heart wholly”? That is to be in Christ, a new creature. Our rule is to “walk in Him” (Col 2:6), as being what we really are: heavenly citizens, pilgrims and strangers upon the earth (all are pilgrims on this present earth because it will “pass away” - Rev 21:1. I do not think Christians will dwell on the new earth, but rather rule it with the Lord Jesus from the new heaven; and the new Jerusalem possibly being the meeting place of fellowship between the earthly and heavenly dwellers (Rev 21:2—NC).
All the rest the Cross has ended for us. We have died with the Lord Jesus out of our old Adam position; our old man was crucified with Him on the Cross (Rom 6:6). The flesh is in us still, indeed, but in us a foreign thing. We are not in it before our Father, nor identified with it in anywise (concerning its damnation, dominion and ungodliness – Rom 8:1; 6:14; Tit 1:15—NC), but with Him in Whom it was never found. We are in Him as He is and where He is. Can we own this, and seek to get on in a world (i.e. get together with the world—NC) that crucified the Lord Jesus; a world to which we are crucified and it crucified to us (Gal 6:14); a world whose prince and god is Satan (Jhn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2Co 4:4), and friendship with which is enmity against God (Jas 4:4)? Can we take up the law with others, when our Father has shown us grace? Not I, “for I, through the law, and dead to the law, that I might live unto God” (Gal 2:19).
— Wm Kelly (1821-1906)