LAW-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND FAITH-RIGHTEOUSNESS
ALTHOUGH the Church is not developed under a Law Covenant--neither the old Law Covenant nor the New (Law) Covenant--nevertheless it is being measured by the Divine Law standard; as the Apostle says, The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who are walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit.--Rom. 8:4.
The Jew under the Law Covenant was unable to be justified because unable to keep the letter of that Law, and because Moses, the mediator of that Law Covenant, had no merit or grace to contribute to the people which would excuse them from the letter of the Law and make the spirit of that Law available for their justification.
The New (Law) Covenant, like the old one, will require obedience to the letter of the Law of God, and not merely to its spirit. The rule of that Covenant will be, "He that doeth these things shall live by them." What advantage, then, will accrue under the New (Law) Covenant above and beyond that which the Jew enjoyed under the old Law Covenant?
We answer, The difference will be that the New (Law) Covenant will have the better Mediator, who will have the right during the existence of the Millennial Kingdom to instruct, and chasten, and reward, and assist, and uplift all who will be obedient to him, so that by the close of the Millennial Age all who desire eternal life, all who appreciate righteousness, or who could be made to appreciate it, will have been brought up to that perfect condition mentally, morally and physically which Adam enjoyed but lost by sin, and which Christ redeemed by the sacrifice of himself.
The mediation will last for the thousand years, and at its conclusion the world will be turned over to the jurisdiction of the Heavenly Father--Christ will "deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father." (1 Cor. 15:24.) They will be delivered up perfect, mentally, physically, morally, and be all that Adam was, plus the experiences received through the reign of evil and through the subsequent reign of righteousness. Thus the old Law Covenant and the New (Law) Covenant have special points of similarity, and we see the difference between the two to be, as St. Paul points out, that the New (Law) Covenant has the better Mediator, who is able to cancel the sins that are past and to take away the stony heart, and by restitution processes restore the heart of flesh. Additionally, he will instruct mankind to that condition where they can if they will keep the Divine Law perfectly, both in letter and in spirit.
This was lost sight of in the dark ages. The real object of this Gospel Age--the selection of the members of the antitypical Moses, the antitypical Mediator of the New (Law) Covenant--the mystery--became obscured. No future age for the blessing of Israel and the world was acknowledged. Instead the New Covenant was considered as but another name for the Abrahamic Covenant, to which, instead, it is to be an addition.
THE CASE WITH US IS DIFFERENT
The Covenant under which we become Abraham's Seed --i.e., the Abrahamic Covenant (the Sarah Covenant), had no law provision and no mediator. It was a one-sided Covenant, and needed no mediator. It was made with one who believed God, who was justified by his faith, and whose faith was tested by obedient works to the extent of his ability. To this tested, proved man, Abraham, God gave the great promise, "In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." This was the Covenant to which was added the oath of confirmation. That promise and that oath become our strong consolation, our anchorage of hope, because we have become united to Christ as his members--members of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, which is to bless natural Israel and the world by the long-promised New (Law) Covenant, of which we are being made able ministers or servants.
To Christ the original Covenant came with the Law "added," and he inherited by obedience to the Law. He is now accepting us separate and apart from the Law on condition of faith and obedience to the extent of our ability. To us the righteousness of the Law is counted as fulfilled when we walk, not after the flesh, but after [R4442 : page 229] the spirit of the Law, because we thus give evidence that if we had perfect ability we would keep the Divine Law perfectly. And we who have been accepted as members of the Body of Christ have entered into a covenant of sacrifice as respects the earthly nature, and to be copies of our Redeemer to the extent of our ability--in heart, in will, and, so far as possible, in deed.
After testing us thus, if found faithful, God will accept us fully and grant us spirit bodies like unto our Redeemer's. It is thus, as New Creatures in Christ, that we may be the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, and members of the Body of the great Mediator, the great Prophet, Priest, King and Judge, who during the Millennial Age, under the New (Law) Covenant sealed with his blood, shall establish righteousness in the earth, and lift up the willing and obedient of humanity out of sin, degradation and death to harmony with God and everlasting life.
Is it asked, Under what Covenant is the Royal Priesthood, the Church of the First-Born, justified? We answer, under no covenant. Our justification, like that of Abraham, is by faith. As it is written, "Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone that it (righteousness) was imputed to him, but for us also to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him who raised up Jesus, our Lord, from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." --Rom. 4:3,23-25.
St. Paul in this connection points out that Abraham was not justified because of his circumcision, for he was justified by faith and reckoned righteous before he was given the seal of circumcision. Likewise, he was not justified by the Covenant made with him, but the Covenant was made with him because of his faith, and his justification through faith. And thus it is also with all of us who are counted Abraham's Seed. After being justified by faith, we are granted the privilege of becoming dead with Christ, and thus becoming members of his Body, the spiritual Seed of Abraham, whose circumcision is that of the heart.--Gal. 3:29.