The Law doesn’t win. The Spirit does!
The Law sets external boundaries. Biblically, the Pharisees demonstrated that hardened human hearts can outwardly stay within legalistic boundaries (and believe that they are “good people”) while inwardly being so much of a mess that they could even embrace the evil and cruelty of killing Jesus and also mistreating “the least of these.” (Historically, slaveholders also demonstrated that.) In reality, it’s easy to live by “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” That’s why Paul said to “turn away” from a lifestyle of ceremonially hiding behind religious rules and self-justifications that have no power to heal, transform, and empower our hardened heart.
Paul was a transformed Pharisee who went from considering himself a champion do-gooder to a “wretched man” and “the chief of sinners.” He wasn’t changed by self-effort or by rule-following, but by a profound inner encounter and ongoing intimate relationship with the living Jesus that he called “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” That shifted him from a law enforcer (both on himself and others) to God’s Spirit-follower. “But as many as are led by the Spirit are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14.)
Being Spirit-led isn’t rule-following religion that satisfies itself with outward activities like ceremonialism, sermons, and studies. Being led by the Spirit means to let the risen Jesus ever live within and through you and to allow Him to personally direct all that you think, say, and do as His rivers of living water freely flow from your innermost being producing the fruit and releasing the gifts of the Spirit to reveal His “greater glory” that infinitely surpasses outward law-keeping!
I love to hang out with people who are visibly and sincerely excited about Jesus. Unfortunately, they are often hard to find. Perhaps that’s because church is too often like hospice care. It tries to keep Christians religiously comfortable until they die.