"…did Jesus support the law or undermine it? What was at stake was his implicit, and sometimes explicit, claim: that in and through his own work Israel’s god was doing a new thing, or rather the new thing, that for which Israel had longed. And when that happened everything would be different. Torah could regulate certain aspects of human behaviour, but ti could not touch the heart. That did not constitute a criticism of Torah; Torah operates in its own sphere. But when the promises of scripture were fulfilled, then the heart itself would be changed, and the supreme position of Torah would in consequence be relativized. What was at stake was eschatology, in the sense already argued, not a comparison between two styles or patterns of religion." – N. T. Wright Jesus and the Victory of God (380).
I found this section from Wright insightful. As I read it, I immediately thought of John Wesley’s heart warming experience. For years before this experience, Wesley had operated as a Christian. He did the right things, didn’t do the wrong things and tried hard to be holy. Yet, what he found was that he failed.
After May 24, 1738, Wesley found that he still struggled, but his heart had been changed. Instead of always being victim, he was victor! This is what happens when God grants us the gift of His grace. It isn’t about what we can do, it is about what God does within us. This led Wesley to teach that, for the Christian, sin no longer dominates. Instead the Holy Spirit empowers the believer so they can have victory over sins that at one time would imprison them.
As Wright explains, the Torah (Law) has its place, but when scripture is fulfilled (and it has been through Jesus), the consequence is that it is relativized. Now the transformed heart fulfills the role of the law. We fulfill the law not because we beat ourselves into submission by obedience, but because we live out the gift that God has given us; the power of true inner transformation.