Change is never easy. A tradition-bound, first-century Jew like Saul of Tarsus would not abandon the Law of Moses to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ without compelling reasons.
In the most practical of terms, the apostle Paul states the extraordinary reasons for rejoicing over Christ’s death and the concurrent death of the Law of Moses at Calvary: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4).
Condemned by the Law of Moses because of my own sins and shortcomings and thus enslaved to the law of sin and death by my failure to consistently and righteously resist temptation, God permanently solved my helpless state by sending Jesus to condemn sin in the flesh and fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law. What a glorious “two-fer”!
What makes God’s brilliant plan such good news are the do-ableness of the gospel’s conditions: 1) Be in Christ Jesus and 2) Do not walk according to the flesh (and thus return to the tyrannical law of sin and death) but rather walk according to the spirit. “(T)o be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
Righteousness in this life is imputed, not merited. Eternal life is inherited, not earned. When properly understood, the gospel of God’s grace does not encourage sin; perish the thought (Romans 6:1-2). Rather, God’s power to salvation provides a path by which a slave of sin and death can be freed from sin’s guilt, sin’s slavery, and sin’s scars.
What peace! What a life! What hope!
Thank God: “we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6).