Some of my friends and I were talking the other day about some of the passages in the New Testament which seem to indicate that the Law, the Torah, has passed away, even though Jesus said that it would NOT pass away until ALL was fulfilled. One of the most troubling was Galatians 3:23-25:
"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. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
To me, the key word is JUSTIFIED. Justification is about how we obtain RIGHT STANDING to stand before God. The Pharisees thought, misunderstanding Moses, that they could obtain RIGHT STANDING by obeying the law. That they misunderstood Moses about this point, Moses himself said:
"Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them [Canaanites] out before you, saying, "It is because of MY RIGHTEOUSNESS the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’ [i.e., established His covenant with them]; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you. It is NOT because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart …" and that which follows is a long list of their sins since leaving Egypt, LOL. Deu 9:4-5
When I saw this, I realized Moses preached the same gospel that Paul preached: we stand before God because of the BLOOD COVENANT, not because of OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Paul says over and over that by works of the law no man can be JUSTIFIED. The writer of Hebrews said that the law never made anything perfect (Heb 7:19, and I believe from the context, he was talking about our obedience to the law making us perfect enough to stand before God).
In Galatians, Paul was upset because "some who trouble you … want to pervert the gospel of Christ." Gal 1:7. What is the gospel of Christ? That JUSTIFICATION is by faith in Christ, and not works of obedience to the law!
When we read Paul, bringing to him our assumptions of what he must mean, then it is easy to misunderstand him. But when we read him, letting his own words, and the context of his letters, speak for themselves, then we see that he is not advocating throwing the law out the window, but he is advocating the law be relegated to its proper place: not as a means of salvation or justification, but merely a tutor to teach us the definition of love, of honor, of holiness, of right, of wrong.
Paul himself assumes in Gal 3:23 that those who come to faith in Christ were first RAISED in the knowledge of Torah as a guardian and tutor. Before they came to Christ, they already knew everything the Torah said about right and wrong, what love means and what honor means, and how to approach a holy God. Now that they have come to faith in Christ, the Spirit of God dwells in their hearts, where the law of God is now written. So if the law of God is written on your heart, how will you act? In accordance with the law. And this point he makes over and over again (Gal 5:16 and following, as well as in all his other letters).