The reformers talked about 3 uses of the law:
1 - civil - to restrain evil people from doing bad things - this is law as it functions in restraining evil in society as a whole
2 - conviction - the law convicts us of our sin and points us to our need for Jesus
3 - correctional - the law of Christ teaches the Christian how to bring their attitudes and actions in line with Christ in order to please and honor the Savior they love
It is this 3rd use - correctional - one which some disagree. Some believe that any attempt at conforming to an external moral standard inevitably undermines the Gospel - that we cannot rest in God’s grace while we are seeking to keep a moral code. Everything must come from the Spirit within us.
To me, it appears the New Testament encourages the 3rd uses of the law as long as we recognize it is Christ in us - it is the Spirit - who enables us both to desire and to do what is truly good.
I Corinthians 11:1 - Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Philippians 2:5 - In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus
Philippians 2:12-13 - Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
What are your thoughts?
Its third function is to guide the regenerate into the good works that God has planned for them (Eph. 2:10). The law tells God’s children what will please their heavenly Father. It could be called their family code. Christ was speaking of this third use of the law when He said that those who become His disciples must be taught to do all that He had commanded (Matt. 28:20), and that obedience to His commands will prove the reality of one’s love for Him (John 14:15). The Christian is free from the law as a system of salvation (Rom. 6:14; 7:4, 6; 1 Cor. 9:20; Gal. 2:15-19, 3:25), but is “under the law of Christ” as a rule of life (1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2).”