What a great subject. “The law is temporary”. “He has abolished the law”. “Until Christ has come” “Now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the law” “Those who are led by the Spirit are not under law”. “We are not under law”. There are many such quotes, but still people refer to the law as though they were its disciples.
If God’s Spirit is working on man, then the law is one of those agents he uses. “For we know the law is spiritual..” But it is a matter of context and relativity and understanding. ” The law is good if a man uses it lawfully…” “The law was not made for good men but for bad”. The law is called “The ministry of death”. Paul said “The law killed me”. So the purpose of the law “It was added because of transgressions UNTIL..” and Paul said “I would not have known sin if the law had not said …do not covet..” So the law was a teacher.
So the purpose of law, which in itself is a standard of right and wrong, is to bring forth a consciousness of sin, since all have sinned. The bringing forth and setting up this consciousness of sin was to prepare men to accept liberation from the law, which was to men, like a hard taskmaster, a slave driver. Law brings wrath, the fear of judgement. But law alone was unable to produce righteousness, because, of himself, man was hopeless and helpless with regard to righteousness.
We are set free from the law because of death. The death that Jesus had, and the death that we assign ourselves to, in recognition of our own death-worthiness, and recognition that he achieved that for us. So we don’t have to “put ourselves, or our old self, to death”, because that is what Christ did for us. Sin was judged in him, in his body. One man died for all, therefore ALL DIED. The old covenant of law is dissolved by death. The new covenant of the Spirit is here. The Spirit of life.
The “Wretched man” is set free by death, Christ’s death. This death, as a necessary redemptive act, was in reality the painful absorbing of sin by the Son and the Father, as love confronted non-love, or sin. Law was enacted in this operation, and it acted on behalf of man, doing something that he himself could never do, and that is remove his own sin by the action of love..
So Christians are “dead to the law”, because they are “dead in the law” and dead in Christ, just as they are alive in him. And the law no longer has jurisdiction over them. Those who wish to perpetuate the law inside Christianity, are those who wish to keep men in slavery to sin.
law is the residual of the commandment. the commandment is personal, law is detached.
later comment [‘He has forgiven us the law of sin and death’]