He is aware of the positive function of the Law: It is one of Israel’s privileges (Rm 9:4), “the Law of God” (Rm 7:22); it is summed up in the love of neighbour; 155 it is “holy” and “spiritual” (Rm 7:12,14)
Paul becomes acutely aware that the coming of Christ demands that he redefine the function of the Law. For Christ is the “end of the Law” (Rm 10:4), at once the goal towards which it progressed and the terminal moment where its rule ends, because from now on, it is no longer the Law that will give life – it could not do so effectively anyway 153 – it is faith in Christ that justifies and gives life. 154 The Christ risen from the dead transmits his new life to believers (Rm 6:9-11) and assures them of their salvation (Rm 10:9-10).
Henceforth, what is to be the role of the Law? Paul struggled to give an answer. According to Ph 3:6, the Law defines a certain “justice”. On the other hand escort services Anchorage, the Law automatically opens up the possibility of a contrary choice: “If it had not been for the Law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the Law had not said ‘you shall not covet’” (Rm 7:7). Paul frequently speaks of this option inescapably inherent in the gift of the Law, for example, when he says that in the concrete human condition (“the flesh”) “sin” prevents mankind from adhering to the Law (Rm 7:23-25), or that “the letter” of the Law, deprived of the Spirit that enables one to fulfil the Law, ends up by bringing death (2 Co 3:6-7).
Contrasting “the letter” and “the spirit”, the apostle sets up a dichotomy as he did in the case of Adam and Christ; he places what Adam (that is, the human being deprived of grace) is capable of doing against what Christ (that is, grace) brings about. Indeed, for pious Jews, the Law was part of God’s plan where both the promises and faith also had their place, but Paul wants to speak about what the Law can do by itself, as “letter”, that is, by abstracting from providence which always accompanies the human being, unless he wishes to establish his own justice. 156
If, according to 1 Co , “the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the Law”, it follows that the Law, insofar as it is letter, kills, albeit indirectly
Consequently, the ministry of Moses could be called a ministry of death (2 Co 3:7), of condemnation (3:9). Nevertheless, this ministry was surrounded by a glory (splendour coming from God) so that Israelites could not even look on the face of Moses (3:7). This glory loses its lustre by the very fact that a superior glory (3:10) now exists, that of the “ministry of the Spirit” (3:8).
45. The Letter to the Galatians declares that “all who rely on the works of the Law are under a curse”, for the Law curses “everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the Law”. 157 The Law is opposed here to the way of faith, proposed elsewhere by the Scriptures; 158 it indicates the way of works, leaving us to our own resources (3:12). Not that the apostle is opposed to “works”. He is only against the human pretension of saving oneself through the “works of the Law”. He is not against works of faith – which, elsewhere, often coincide with the Law’s content – works made possible by a life-giving union with Christ. 159