Does obeying the Old Testament Law make a person righteous?
To answer this question we will turn to a man who apparently knew the law and worked very hard at obeying it to the letter before he was a Christian, the Apostle Paul.
Paul addresses this in almost every letter he writes.
Concerning the obeying of the law:
2 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV)
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
Apparently the letter kills. The Spirit gives life.
He also writes something similar concerning what the law does for a person in Galatians.
Galatians 3:21-26 (KJV) 21 “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
The law concludes all under sin. Jesus concludes that faith makes you justified and righteous.
The Apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost states that the Law is a schoolmaster to teach us of who Christ would be and to show us our need for him, but once you have put your faith in Christ you are not supervised by the Law. You have the perfect Christ inside of you, guiding you.
There are many people that would tell you that the law shows you how to please the Lord, but it doesn’t. Faith in Christ alone pleases the Lord and the law is not of faith (Gal. 3:12). Faith will then produce the works (from the heart) that are on the outside, but nowhere in the New Testament after Jesus died does the Bible say that this is referring to the Old Testament Law.
If you are thinking that obeying the law, that was given strictly to the Children of Israel is what pleases the Lord then you are trying to obtain your own righteousness. Let’s see what God has to say about that:
Romans 10:2-5 (KJV)
”For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.”
So what then makes us right with God?
Faith in Jesus makes us right with God.
Do not go about to establish your own righteousness. Trust the righteousness that God has given through his Son. He makes us right. To say our own righteousness pleases God is a slap in the face to the Gospel.
His righteousness was not just imputed to your account up in Heaven where some would assert that it has no practical value for the here and now.
God’s righteousness was imparted to you.
We through the Gospel are now partakers of God’s nature through Jesus.
2 Peter 1:4 (KJV)
”Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Following Jesus and looking to his finished work will help us to grow in the unmerited favor of God. This is what produces love and fervor for God in a pure way.
The law will condemn you, that was it’s original purpose. Jesus sets you free. That is His purpose.
As a Christian, you can either put your faith in your ability to keep the whole law or you can put your faith in His ability to have accomplished and fulfilled it for you. The choice is yours. I’m choosing Jesus.