The law was God’s gift to his covenant people. By obeying the law’s commands Israel would express their faithfulness within covenant relationship. But the law has been taken captive by the powers of darkness turning it into an oppressive power. Sin and Satan work through the law turning people towards religious self-effort resulting in proud self-righteousness. On the other hand, law also reduces others to crushing bondage in guilt and shame. In these ways the law becomes “the strength of sin”, as Paul puts it.
Jesus was an Israelite “born under law” and as a faithful Israelite he fulfilled all the righteous demands of the law. He did so, not in mere conformity to legal requirements, but rather in love and faithfulness towards his Father. He always lived in trustful obedience to his Father and did so on our behalf so that he is our righteousness. Furthermore, in trustful obedience he was always moving towards the cross with the aim of setting us free from the curse of the law by bearing the curse in himself.
The Spirit of Jesus now lives in us so that the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled in us who walk according to the Spirit. We now live in a new way as the new humanity free from law and yet free for God. “We are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7: 6).