There are two important theological phrases that Paul uses that most theologians don't understand. They wrongly interpret them to mean that 'the Law is no more.' The first phrase is that we are no longer 'under the Law' (Rom. 2:12; 3:19; 1st Cor. 9:20; Gal. 3:23; 4:4-5, 21; 5:18). Paul is not saying that the Law is wrong, or done away with. He's coming against a false understanding of what it is to believe in Messiah Yeshua. And the second phrase is, 'the works of the Law.'

When we die to self, symbolized in water baptism (Rom. 6:1-7), we die to the ability of the Law to (rightly) condemn us to Hell. Due to our Adamic nature, the Law pointed out our sins against God and prescribed the punishment of death (the curse of Dt. 27:26). Now though, in Messiah, we are dead to self. The Law has no legal authority to condemn us any longer. This is what Paul writes in Rom. 7:1-8:2, when he speaks of a woman who is married to her husband and she marries another. She's an adulteress, condemned by the Law. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry. The Law cannot condemn her for marrying another after her husband died. Perhaps another example is in order.

If a man murders a person and is caught by the police, he is brought to trial and justly condemned to death (according to the Law of God; Lev. 24:21). But if he dies just after he is caught, the Law can do nothing to punish him. The Law's just or righteous condemnation stops at death. He has already received the just punishment of the Law. And the Law has no jurisdiction over him now, to condemn him any longer. He is no longer 'under the (jurisdiction of the) Law.'

We now, by faith in Yeshua, have died to self, and are no longer 'under the Law'. Because we are dead 'in Messiah' the Law has no legal jurisdiction over us, to condemn us any longer. Yeshua has taken our just punishment and has met the righteous requirement of the Law (Rom. 8:4). The Law can still convict us, showing us where we are 'in the flesh' but it can never condemn us to Hell.

'Under the Law' is a theological phrase that means one has the Law as their judge and condemner on the Day of Judgment. The carnal nature also uses the guilt of condemnation to condemn us now. If one is a believer in Jesus they should not be in this position. This is what Rom. 8:1

-2 explains, following Romans six and seven. And this is what we walk out in our spiritual life as we battle our Adamic nature. We overcome it by realizing that we are dead to self and alive to Messiah. As we feel condemnation from sins committed, we should look at ourselves pierced to the tree with Him, dead. Condemnation has no power over a dead person.

The second phrase, 'works of the Law' (Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10), is someone who performs the Commandments (works), to earn salvation. There are two problems with this. One, God never says that the keeping of His Commandments will earn eternal life. This was a false teaching of the Rabbis in Paul's day, as well as ours. Salvation or deliverance for the Hebrew slaves in Egypt came via the death of the lamb. After that, the Law came as a way of life and guideline for what God sees as right and wrong (Ex. 15:26; Deut. 4:2; 6:18; 12:8, 25, 28, etc.).

And two, anyone thinking that they can earn salvation by looking to the Law to justify them, will be very disappointed on Judgment Day as the Law can only condemn them for their sins. And the punishment of sin is death (Dt. 27:6; Ezk. 18:4; Jn. 8:24). In this case, eternal death.

One point I want to add here has to do with the Law not being able to be kept (without sinning). Most Christians will say that no one can keep the Law, so why even try? But most don't know which law(s) can't be kept. Just ask a few: 'What law can't be kept?'

The law that can't be kept is the first Commandment, to be one with God and to love Him with all one's heart, soul and strength (Deut. 6:4-5; Mark 12:29-30). If one doesn't keep this one, it doesn't matter if they seem to keep all the rest. Who can say that they have always kept this Commandment? But, and this is the reason I bring it up now, it's the first Commandment in Christianity too, whether a Christian acknowledges the validity of the Law of Moses for us today or not. And what Christian can honestly say that they have always kept the first Commandment?

Therefore, to rhetorically say, 'No one can keep the Law!', as a justification for not obeying any of the Law, is a false perspective. For well might we say, 'Who can keep the first Commandment?', meaning, 'Why should we even try to do anything?' But we know this is false, and so is the implication that because one can't keep the whole Law, why should anyone even try?

Eternal life is Messiah Yeshua and it's by faith in Him that eternal life comes to us, not by the 'works of the Law'. Paul rightly comes against this deceitful illusion in Galatians (and Romans), when he asks who bewitched them, to rely on the Law for justification (Gal. 3:1; 5:4). But he is not coming against the Law as God's standard and guideline as to what is pure and holy, and what is sin (Rom. 3:31; 7:7, 12, 14; 1st Cor. 7:19, etc.).

'Works of the Law' is a phrase that means one is basing their salvation on performance of the Commandments, and therefore, not trusting in Yeshua even if they say they believe in Him. It is a perverse understanding as no where in Scripture does God equate eternal life with the keeping of His Commandments.

The two phrases overlap and a person who walks in one will be in the other also. If one is using the performance of the Commandments to try and obtain salvation ('works of the Law'), they will necessarily be placing themselves 'under the Law' and be righteously condemned by God's Law. They have not relied on what God has done for them in Messiah Yeshua, but on themselves. And no flesh will be justified before God.

We keep the Law, not for justification (salvation), we are already justified by Messiah (Rom. 3:24, 28). We are not 'under the Law' because we are dead to self, and we are not doing the 'works of the Law' for salvation because Yeshua has delivered us from the Kingdom of Satan by His death and resurrection (not by the doing of any Commandments).

We keep the Law because this is the Will of God for all His people, both Jew and Gentile, who love Messiah Yeshua (Matt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31; Rev. 14:12, etc.). We keep the Law because it is God's definition of the first two Commandments: how to love Him, and how to love our neighbor. And Yeshua said, 'On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 22:40).