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Believers are not intended to walk within the Law for their righteousness, for it is only Christ and His work that brings one to rebirth and which imputes His righteousness! Surly there is nothing more hindering to Christian spiritual growth (but not to receiving salvation itself) than to misapprehend the intention of the Law concerning its purpose and application (which knowledge will probably not become common enough in Christendom until the translation of the Church)! It has been accurately stated that “The New Testament is "enfolded" in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is "unfolded" in the New! It must be well understood though, that this has only to do with the individual identification and purpose of each system, and that neither have application to the other beyond the types and shadows of what God will do and has done concerning the salvation of believers.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” does not design the motive that the Law is fulfilled in the believer, but that the righteousness—to which the Law directs—“condemn sin” and deliverance in Christ (which “the Law could not do” - Ro 8:3—NC), is fulfilled in the believer! The Law was not intended for deliverance (not even for Israel to whom only it ever applied) but only to identify and reveal guilt of sin, and rather direct one to deliverance (Gal 3:24). It was in the sacrificial ordinances and not obedience to the Decalogue that forgiveness was obtained (Num 15:24-31); which ordinances had only Christ’s sacrifice in mind, and it is here where deliverance is “finished” or completed! The purpose of obedience to the Decalogue was to manifest faith in God and His commands, especially concerning the ordinance of the sin-offering, which alone brought forgiveness.
The same applies to Christian obedience, because obedience does not deliver but manifests there has been deliverance, for there must first be deliverance before than can be true obedience, because it requires the right heart in the obedience (new nature after Christ’s nature - Col 3:10). One walking “in the Spirit” with the “new man” or new nature, glorifies God in manifesting that salvation has been applied to the soul only because of what Christ has done, and this provides for us to ask God for faith in His Son and His work.
Also, please excuse the excessive cementations below, due to what I feel are issue-pertinent, thanks!
“Even so through the obedience of One” (Rom 5:19). This was our Lord’s death, as an act of obedience: “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross” (Phl 2:8). He was of course always obedient to His Father, but it cannot be too strongly emphasized that His life before the Cross—His “active obedience,” as it is called, is not in any sense counted to us for righteousness. “I delivered to you,” says Paul, “first of all that Christ died for our sins” (1Cor 15:3).
Before His death He was “holy, guileless, undefiled and separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26). He Himself said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (Jhn 12:24). Do you not see that those who claim that our Lord’s righteous life under Moses’s Law is reckoned to us for our “active righteousness; while His death in which He put away our sins, is, as they claim, the “passive” side, are really leaving you, and the Lord too, under the authority of the Law?
“Justified in His Blood,” and of that alone, reveals the direct lie to the claim that man must have an “active righteousness” (self-works—NC) as well as a “passive righteousness” (Christ’s works—NC). The specious assertion is, that “inasmuch as we have all broken the Law (even though God says that Gentiles were ‘without law’—and those in Christ are not under it) and inasmuch as man cannot by his works himself recover his righteous standing, Christ came and kept the Law in man’s place; Then He went to the Cross, and suffered the penalty of death for man’s guilt so that the result is an ‘active righteousness’ reckoned to man—that is, Christ’s keeping of the Law in man’s place; and second, a ‘passive righteousness,’ which consists of the putting away all guilt by the Blood of Christ.
Now, the awful thing here is the unbelief concerning man’s irrecoverable state before God (self-works being applied for redemption and not because of redemption is the same as demonstrating works-salvation. It’s Christ only, as our works should show—NC). For not only must Christ’s Blood be shed in expiation for our guilt; but we had to die with Christ. We were connected with the old Adam; and the old man—all we had and were in Adam, must be crucified—if we were to be “joined to Another, even to Him that was raised from the dead” (all of which are far from the workings of the Law – Ro 8:3—NC). Theological teaching since the Reformation has never set forth clearly our utter end in our death with Christ on the Cross (which answers to the reason why so much attention is given to the admixture of Judaism and Christianity, i.e. the Judeo-Christian concept. This is acceptable if the meaning here is proselytizing from Judaism to Christianity, which was the initial intent of meaning. But to conceive of amalgamating the two systems would result, if were possible, in detracting force from both—NC).
The fatal result of this terrible error is to leave the Law as claimant over those in Christ: for “law has dominion over a man as long as he liveth” (Rom 7:1). Unless you are able to believe in your heart that you died with Christ, that you old man was crucified with Him (Rom 6:6), and that you were buried, and that your history before god in Adam the first came to an utter end at Calvary, you will never get free from the claims of Law upon your conscience. Such is the plight of Reformed theology. Both Calvinists and Arminians think that the flesh (old man; Adamic sinful nature of one’s spirit—NC) is not so bad that it cannot be acted on for God by Christ using the Law of God and giving it power through the Spirit (I am still researching if these two doctrines believe this claim—NC).
The ascended Lord Jesus Christ is our righteousness. His earthly Life under the Law is not our righteousness. We have no connection with a Christ on earth and under Law. We are expressly told in Romans 7:1-6 that even Jewish believers who have been under the Law were “made dead to the Law by the body of Christ, that they might be joined to Another, even to Him who was raised from the dead” (Rom 7:4).
It is only the desperate legality of man’s heart, his self-confidence, that make him drag in and cling to the Law—even though Christ must fulfill it for him (leaving self out of any credit for salvation is the only true faith within Christ-only-salvation—NC)! Vicarious Law-keeping is Galatian heresy! Christianity begins with the resurrection (spiritual resurrection from sin and death—NC).
- W R N (William R Newell 1927–1992)