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(Note: I revised this a bit since I posted it this morning.)
I'm curious as to what you think about how well an analogy holds that I've been thinking about for a couple of years, primarily regarding Romans 13:8-10 (although other texts either support this idea or say virtually the same thing):
8Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

My analogy is that the Law is like a portrait of the most beautiful woman (or man--switch genders as appropriate for your own gender) in the world; the painting itself is beautiful, and it represents something in real life that is beautiful, but in itself, not actually real. The portrait even could be so beautiful that it makes a man fall in love with the painting itself, but, try as he might to love the painting as he would a real person, his best efforts would be futile.

If, however, the actual woman of whom the painting was made came into the life of the man who had fallen in love with her, a real, genuine relationship with the woman might ensue. Then, when everything is said and done (for example, with a marriage between the woman and the man), the man finds that he loves the painting of the woman even more than he had originally. For example, he might put the painting in the place of greatest honor in the couple's new home. This is not, of course, because the painting itself has become something better, but because he appreciates the painting all the more for the person behind it.

My argument from the analogy would be, then, that genuine love wrought by the Holy Spirit would be the reality, with the Law being merely the painting. In other words, the law itself is a picture of how a Spirit-filled person would live; the goal, however, is not to live up to the law if that means trying to do it apart from the Spirit. Not only would such a goal be impossible to attain, but it would also miss the point that the law is only a means to an end (the end being glorifying God). Using the metaphor of circumcision, Paul writes:

25For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Romans 2:25-29)

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