A friend involved with the HRM movement shared with me, “Justification (salvation) is through faith by grace. Sanctification (holy living) is through the Mosaic Law.” Further, he explained, that although they acknowledge salvation is through Jesus alone, one must obey the Mosaic Law through the power of the Holy Spirit in order to continue in the faith so as to be considered righteous before God. He shared how in the Old Testament it was impossible to obey all the Law because they did not have the Holy Spirit indwelling within them. But now it is.
This explanation seems to be logical, until you really think about what Jesus accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection. 1 Peter 3:18-22 shares the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection for those who receive Him as their Lord and Savior. What Jesus did, His work alone, brings us to God the Father. This is also spoken of in Hebrews 7:18-19 where the Law made nothing perfect, but Jesus is the better hope through which we draw closer to God.
How do we stay close to God? This is also called righteousness, being right with God. Peter continues in 1 Peter 4:1-6 to share what God considers evil ways, a life apart from Him: living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, lawless idolatry, and debauchery. Then in 1 Peter 4:7-11, we are given how we are to live through the power and strength of God’s Spirit: in love and serving one another. There is no declaration here of how we must return to obeying the Mosaic Law in order to live a righteous life.
Actually, there are several Scriptures in the New Testament that tell us righteousness CANNOT be achieved through the Mosaic Law. Consider Romans 3:20-26.
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
We see here Christians have been imparted the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus, not only for salvation, but for sanctification (continuing in a holy life).
Romans 4:13 also speaks of dangers depending upon the Law to be made right with God…
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
I challenge you, reread Romans 4:13 again, slowly. Romans 8:1-4 declares Christians are no longer under condemnation! That is because we are no longer under the Mosaic Law. Through Jesus Christ, Christians have met the righteous requirement of the Law. Romans 10:4 says that Christ is the end of the Law for all who believe in Him. We are not to go back to what He has fulfilled and finished. For if we do, then we nullify all the work Jesus has done, Galatians 2:21.
Furthermore, Paul discusses what the righteousness of the Mosaic Law brought into his life in Philippians 3:1-8. Then in Philippians 3:8-11 he discusses his transformation with the righteousness given by Jesus and it its affect on his life. We can clearly see here the effects of the workings of the Law and of the workings of Jesus in a person’s life.
What was the work of the Law until Jesus? Galatians 3:23-26 – to be a guardian, a tutor, pointing to the promise of the Messiah to come.
What is the work of the Law for us now? To reveal to us we have sinned Romans 3:20, Timothy 1:9.
Why does the Law not apply to Christians? Because Jesus fulfilled the Law so we could have a new Law written on our hearts (Romans 2:15), the new Law from our new High Priest, Jesus Christ.