After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the major spiritual conflict portrayed in the New Testament is the choice between the law and grace as the basic avenue of approach to God. The Mosaic covenant and the work of Christ were at odds with one another.
The Purpose of the Law
God’s covenant with Moses was not meant to compete with the grace of God shown through Christ. It was meant to prepare the people of the Mosaic covenant for the grace of God revealed in Christ. The Mosaic covenant could be compared to a tutor readying a young pupil for more advanced spiritual realities (Galatians 3:24). Christ lived and died to bring people of God their adult liberty.
The Mosaic covenant foreshadowed and prophesied the atoning death of Christ and the free access to God. His forgiveness provides for those who receive it by faith (Hebrews 9-10). The prescribed offerings for sin reminded the worshipers under the Mosaic law that sin requires a blood sacrifice. The repetition was meant to teach that no final solution for sin had yet arrived.
The Purpose of Grace
When the Son of God entered human flesh through the virgin birth and died in the place of all people, He opened the way to heaven, not just to an earthly tabernacle or temple (Hebrew 9:24). His sacrifice of Himself need never be repeated; all sin has been atoned for, and that atonement operates for all who receive it by faith. Previously, only the high priest one time a year could enter the holy of holies, which symbolized the presence of God, but now all who trust Christ can enter God’s presence with confidence at any time.
“The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The Mosaic law reveals the holy and righteous standards of God. It functions as a straight edge alongside which the crookedness of human hearts and actions become painfully evident (Romans 7:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-10).
The unattainable standards of righteousness in the Mosaic law remind believers in Christ that they must live by faith as well as we are redeemed by faith. They will never attain the righteousness of the law by their own efforts (Romans 8:2-4). The Mosaic law also convicts unbelievers of their sins and points beyond itself to Christ as the only final solution to moral failure (1 Timothy 1:8-10). We cant’ do it without belief in Jesus Christ!