John 1:17. The Law was given by Moses, but grace came through Jesus Christ.
That’s pretty much Paul’s thesis in Galatians. Learning to distinguish between law and gospel, that is between death and life, is the essence of the Christian life. Those of us who want to do “to live is Christ” must be experts on distinguishing law from gospel. The Law is putting us to death, while the gospel is bringing us to life. That is the primary purpose of the law- to destroy.
And the primary purpose of Christ is to rebuild us into his image.
You cannot have law without gospel and you cannot have gospel without law. We are not rejecting one for the other. We are learning to distinguish them, not extinguish law. We need the law- it is right, and good, and holy in its ministry of destruction. By it we see our glaring sins of self-righteouness and their futility.
We also must never confuse law and gospel. Law can never save us. It can only condemn. Only gospel can save. Only grace can change our hearts. Only love freely given and received without merit can produce love in a dead heart.
If it is worded as “do X to get Y” – that’s law. If it is worded as “this amazing thing is going to happen to you in spite of what you do” – that’s gospel. In Galatia the wording might have been “you have X now do Y to keep it.” That’s also law. Law for Christians. Many Christians believe that they are saved by grace, but now they live the Christian life by law keeping- NOPE.
As we will see as we move forward, living from Christ’s life has become the new source of our strength and power in our weakness. The law no longer motivates our faith and obedience. Christ’s life and love do.
Galatians 2:19. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.
Isn’t living for God and living for the law the same thing? NOPE. Now that I’m saved, doesn’t God empower me to obey the law? NOPE. To live is law? NOPE. To live is Christ.