Unlawful law keeping, it’s a matter of where to get our righteousness
1 Tim. 1:7-11 “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”
So many who teach the Old Testament laws today fall in this category. They are confused because of teachers of the law they listen to or desire to be this kind of teacher themselves.
Paul begins this passage saying they do not understand the laws purpose. He explains the law is not made for a righteous person.
So the first question that comes up is, who is a righteous person, how do they become righteous?
If we go to the New Testament teaching on saints in the Old Testament we find that Rom. 4:3 tells us “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Then Paul says immediately after, v.5 “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
Faith has always been the crucial axiom to God, but in the New Testament faith is no longer in the law and accompanied in what you do, it is in a person and His work, what he did for us. It is “Faith in Christ”
Rom 5:17 God gives us a “gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
Paul in Rom. 9:30-32 juxtaposes two groups of people, the Gentiles and the Jewish people (Israel), he writes, “That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness , even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.
The law required works (just as from grace comes our accompanying works). If we go back to Rom. 3:21-22 Paul tells us that this righteousness does not comes from the law, but from faith in a person and his work. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”
When we read Rom 10:3-5 Paul tells us plainly “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness , and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them."
Christ is our righteousness, He is the one who fulfilled the law and everything required by it. He is the one we trust, not ourselves.
Rom 3:25-26 “to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Here we find our new beginning, a clean slate given to every believer
2 Cor. 3:9-10 “For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
Now if one reads the scripture, we started with understanding the laws purpose, to condemn, to make us aware of our moral sins. It had glory, but the ministry of Christ, of his righteousness has a greater glory.
Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." Look at what Paul has stated carefully, that the law does not give righteousness. If it did that Christs death is annulled.
Gal 3:21-25 “For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. V.25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
When you say you must keep the law then you are denying your righteousness has come by faith in Christ.
Righteousness is included in the fruit of the Spirit. Eph. 5:9-10 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ (Phil 1:11)
When we focus on Christ the law is no longer an issue, it is not a point of contention nor something we insist must be practiced because we have the one who kept the law for us and we follow Him and he has given us his righteousness because of our faith.
2 Peter 1:1-2 To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Maybe you don’t like these answers from the Bible on the law and where righteousness comes from? It bothers you because you have been told something very different. I suggest you do a study in the New Testament only on faith and righteousness and see if what I’m saying it true. May the Lord bless your pursuit of the truth.