An acquaintance in one of the theology groups I hang out in asked what a Christian’s view of the Law should be. I put a little time into a response, and it seems worth sharing here:
The Law is holy and just and good, just like the man said. Sometimes we have a hard time seeing that, and that’s a good occasion to pray for God to open my eyes, that I might see wondrous things in His Law.
The Law was the rule of communal life for Israel, and as a Gentile it compels me to come and marvel: Who has such wise laws as these? It’s an inspiration. As a voter with a voice in public policy in my Gentile nation, I can’t simply seek to bring Israel’s law over wholesale, but if I’m at the city council meeting or the voting booth asking WWJD?, how dumb would it be to ignore the one time God explicitly set up a civil law code?
The Law is principally for the sinner, not the righteous, but it’s also Scripture, and all Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. The Law can sanctify in the sense that it set Israel as a nation apart from her neighbors (and that’s not nothing), but it can never sanctify in the sense of making me more like Christ. However, to the extent that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, I will fulfill the Law truly, because Jesus leads me to love God and my neighbor, and in so doing, I cannot help but fulfill the Law.
Trying to use the Law in check-box fashion to gain God’s favor — either for admission to heaven or to gain his approval in this life — sets the Law against faith and against the Spirit, but faith is not against the Law. It’s faith that moves Paul to call the Law holy and just and good, faith that moves the Psalmist to meditate profitably on the Law, faith that allows me to participate in Christ, who fulfilled the Law for me and — through love of God and neighbor — fulfills the righteous requirement of the Law in me.