Under the Law the Jews status was as a people of God but not children of God, which came later (believing Jews first) by being in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! God used the Law to draw a people unto Himself (Hebrews and Jews). Those (Jews) whom He knew would believe in His Son, He worked within to move them from a law Covenant made between them and Himself, to a Covenant made between Himself and His Son. Thus the final “Covenant of Redemption” made between Him and His Son became the “Everlasting Covenant” for all believers in the Son of God (Heb 13:20, 21).
The Law was only a “shadow” and “image” of that which makes one complete (Heb 10:1) and was not intended to bring one to righteousness, but rather direct one to righteousness (Gal 3:24, 25) in Christ; who the sole source of righteousness (inherent), which must be imputed to the believer, for man has no personal righteousness (inherit). I believe it’s instructional to note the differences between “not justified by the works” (Gal 2:16), and “by works a man is justified” (Jam 2:24). In the prior passage “justified” is defined as “to make one righteous,” and in the latter “justified” is defined as to manifest or show one is righteous.
Our Gracious Calling
The Christian is on larger, higher and firmer ground than that on which Israel after the flesh stood (“flesh” – carnal or physical ordinances (Heb 9:10) which only represented heavenly positions and was not the very Thing itself—NC), or rather fell. Never do you hear the law say, “Let the stealer steal no more” (Eph 4:28); its voice must be, “Let him die” (Eze 18:4, 20). The law is good if a man use it lawfully; and its lawful application is expressly not to form, guide and govern the walk of the righteous, but to deal with the lawless and disobedient, ungodly and sinful, unholy and profane, and in short, with whatever is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim 1:9, 10). [Note on Poster’s opinion: Lawful use of the law would be to obey it perfectly in which only Christ was intended to manifest; and not that obedience effects righteousness but that obedience manifests One is righteous, for one must be righteous before he can obey. Obedience doesn’t produce righteousness but righteousness produces obedience. In knowing man cannot obey the law, it can only condemn him, apart from the forgiveness obtained via the sin sacrifices for the Jews, until Christ—NC).
“Sin”, we are told in Romans 6, “shall not have dominion over” Christians, “for ye are not under the law, but under grace;” and this in a chapter where the question is the holy walk of the saint, not his justification as Covenant theologians insist. Yet in the face of this, the clear and uniform teaching of the NT, the tendency of most in Christendom, habitually is to go back to law, especially where there is feeble separation from the world. But it is easily understood. For the world does not receive nor understand the grace of God, whereas it can appreciate in the letter the righteous law.
Hence, when the world and the saints are mixed together, the will of man soon takes the upper hand; and as the saint cannot elevate the world to his standing, he must sink to that which he holds in common with the world. Thus both meet once more on Jewish ground, as if the Cross of Christ had never been, and the Holy Spirit were not sent down from heaven to gather believers out of a mixed condition into the Body of Christ, apart from the world.
Even for the individual Christian, as well as for the Church, and most of all for God’s truth, grace and glory, the loss has been incalculable. For the ordinary walk has been reduced to a string of negatives (e.g. shalt and shalt nots which are unnecessary for Christians - Gal 5:23), save in public acts of philanthropy, religious activity, or ritual observances, which a Christian might share with any and everybody that will join him. It is not occupation with good according to God’s will; still less is it suffering for Christ and for righteousness from a world which knows them not. This is not Christianity, though it is the state and system of most Christians (which God of course is working to resolve in every believer—NC).
Did the Lord Jesus ever obey from the fear of judgement? Was not His life a surrender of Himself to the holy will and pleasure of His Father? So our souls are to be occupied with the Father’s grace in His Son, if we are to find strength in pleasing Him. The mere avoidance of evil, the not doing this or that, is below our calling (“ye need not that any man teach you,” for our learning is from the Word - 1Jo 2:27—NC). Do we indeed desire to know and to do His will as His Children (which will be permanently evident in everyone reborn – Phil 2:13—NC)? Are we zealous in learning to do well, no less than careful to cease from each evil way (not willfully serving any sins—NC)? If not, the day will come when we may begin to do evil again, and with a conscience the less sensitive, because we have learned truth which we do not carry out.
To talk about the Ten Commandments as the rule for the Christian’s walk is to go back from the sun which rules the day, to the moon which rules the night; it is to eclipse the Lord Jesus Christ by Moses under the delusive profession of doing God service (attempting the errant admixture of a Judeo-Christian concept—NC). In general what the law exacted from those under it on the principle of right, the Christian is responsible on the principle of grace to exceed in every way (Mat 5:20; 2Co 3:7-11—NC). Such is the unquestionable teaching of the Word for the Christian; it is darkened, undermined and denied by those who insist on judaizing the Church by putting the Christian under the law as his rule of life. Truly, they “understand not what they say nor whereof they affirm” (1Ti 1:7).
—Wm Kelly (1821-1906)