God does not need the law - He is righteous without it. His righteousness is an attribute that sets the standard for human behavior.
The law which defines that standard is a witness of that righteousness, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” (Romans 3:21). The prophets also bear witness because they foretold that God’s righteousness was to become manifested in man.
Created in God’s Likeness
Man is not righteous by nature, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10). According to the Genesis account the nature of man is a mixture of good and evil. It was corrupted by Satan who could not accept that man, created less than the angels, was destined to be greater (Hebrews 2:6-11). God the Father and the one who later became Christ (John 1:1-3) had created man after their own likeness, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). They formed man physically in their resemblance, yet to be completed in spiritual likeness.
The physical body with human nature is a temporary stage in the process of developing spirit beings that will be like God. The human mind requires time and experience to be spiritually perfected prior to the final stage of receiving eternal life. Although Satan’s attempt at sabotage has caused a lot of pain and suffering for man it has not forestalled God’s plan. In order for man to be fully created in the image of God, human nature, corrupted or otherwise, needs to be renewed by the pure righteous nature of God. That is the standard that He set and nothing less is acceptable.
In order to achieve His purpose God has provided the means to success through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very essence of God’s nature which is implanted within an individual upon repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). In this way the individual receives the pure righteousness of God, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;” (Ephesians 5:9).
When planted in the human mind the Spirit develops as it is exercised by obedience to the law to reproduce those same righteous attributes in man. It opens the mind up to the things of God (I Corinthians 2:9-16) working to perfect those attributes until the individual is fully formed in the likeness of his/her creator, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13).
We are the Work
This is the work of God being performed by Christ through whom God the Father creates all things (Ephesians 3:9 and 2:10). The prophets foretold that God’s Spirit would be made available to all of mankind, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28). Also, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). The law is a witness of God’s righteousness because it defines the standards to be manifested in man through God’s Spirit as predicted by the prophets.
Christ did not come to do away with the law as many would have you believe! He came to fulfill law and to make it possible for the law to be fulfilled in man, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18).
The scribes and Pharisees went to great lengths to keep the law, but Christ said that their righteousness was not sufficient for salvation, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (verse 20). It was not sufficient for salvation because the law on its own could not produce the pure righteousness of God. Although the law defines the standard to be achieved it still requires the attributes that can only come from having God’s Spirit to be perfected by obedience to the law. The scribes and Pharisees lacked that Holy Spirit.
Process of Conversion
There is a process of conversion, from the human nature to the divine nature. That is why Paul talked about being transformed by the renewing of the mind, “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2). And about becoming a new man created in righteousness like God, “…renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24). In the image of God, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” (Colossians 3:10).
All things have been created so that man can be resurrected to the glory of God through the renewal of the physical by the spiritual to eternal life, “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (II Corinthians 4:14-3:1). This is the purpose and work of God through His son Jesus Christ by whom He creates all things.
That is your destiny - to be created in the image of God and perfected in his righteousness as witnessed by the law and the prophets. You are the work of God - you are the work!