For Christ [ is ] the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Well, not really! There are a few factors involved here that most people don't usually think about when reading these words of Paul's. First, the context: the apostle was writing to a specific audience at a specific time in history. Previously, he wrote 'For they ( speaking of the Jews/Judaizers ) being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God'. He was reminding them, his first-century audience, that their Messiah was the Righteousness they sought; it was by accepting His Righteousness that they would be saved, not by works of the Law!
Secondly ( this follows right along ), Paul was not saying that the Law had been terminated ( though the Greek might lead one to believe thusly ), just that their reliance on it for righteousness had been terminated! Paul wrote elsewhere, 'Therefore the law was our tutor to [ bring us to ] Christ, that we might be justified by faith' ( Galatians 3:24 ). From this, we can see that the Purpose of the Law was to [ bring us to ] Christ; that is what Paul meant when he wrote to the Church in Rome, 'Christ [ is ] the end of the law'! Not that the Law was terminated, that now they could be lawless, but that the Law had fulfilled its Purpose, that of pointing them to the Christ, or Messiah!
One might ask how the Law of Virginity ( Deuteronomy 22:13-21 ) is fulfilled in Jesus; this is a valid question! How could a loving God sentence a woman to death for not being a virgin when she married? Here again, we must allow for several different factors, most importantly context! Moses wrote this Law, at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to a people ( children ) who were to be pure, set apart & wholly unlike their neighbors around them. In our modern American culture, it has become almost a badge of honor & quite the norm in most societies to lose one's virginity BEFORE any vows are made! 'Testing the waters', so to speak, is almost looked at as the wisest course in this day & age, but in that culture & at that point in history, to lose one's virginity outside of marriage was not only a shameful matter, it could end in death!
This is not to say that such laws are no longer applicable to the people of God, for we are still to keep ourselves pure, holy & undefiled, even within the bonds of marriage! However, since we DO live in a different culture & especially since our Righteousness is found in the Creator God Himself ( not some Law written in Stone ), we cannot keep ourselves pure, holy & undefiled simply by following the Letter of the Law. By following the Spirit of the Law, as found in Jesus the Christ, we remain pure, holy & undefiled, even though our bodies have been ravaged!
The Law of Virginity as found in Deuteronomy 22 does not require an American women to be a virgin when she marries! Nor does it require her to be stoned ( put to death ) if she is not; that Law was made for a certain ( special ) people at a certain time & for a certain purpose. That purpose, as we have seen, was to point them to the Righteousness of the Spirit, not the Letter. Fulfilled in Jesus the Christ, that Law, as the Law of Love, is also fulfilled in us who have sought our Righteousness in the Christ alone, in the Spirit!
Though it may still in some sense have application for the People of God today, the Law no longer brings condemnation for the follower of Jesus the Christ ( Romans 8:1 )! The Virgin of Israel was kept pure, holy & undefiled, not by her adherence to & reliance on the Law, but by Him who was the End of the Law, its Purpose, its Goal! In the same way, we are kept pure, holy & undefiled, not by remaining virgins till we are married, but by finding our Righteousness, our Virginity in our Relationship with our Heavenly Father!
As we live today in the End of the Law, we should realize that though our righteousness does not come by the Law, the Law is our Heavenly Father's House Rules! If we willingly & thankfully follow those House Rules, things tend to go well for us! For example, if we remain a virgin until we become One with our Mate, things tend to go more smoothly, then if we have left a trail of broken hearts behind us before we 'settled down'. Though this is almost unavoidable in our day & age, even if we do succumb, we are not condemned for it by our Heavenly Father, though we may receive judgement for it at the hands of the injured parties!
The Law remains in effect! Though the Christ, or Messiah, was proven to be the End, or Goal of the Law & the Law was/is fulfilled in Him/us, the Law remains; it is still there! Though we are still judged by it ( we reap what we sow ), we are not condemned by the Letter of it. That Jewish Economy in the first century received their just judgement ( condemnation ) because they ( who should have known better ) rejected their Messiah! For them He was the End of the Law, the Culmination of Creation; He brought about the Marriage of Heaven & Earth. For us who live in the Fulfillment of that Blessed Reality, who constitute this New Heavens & New Earth; we now dwell in the Fulness of Him who is the Culmination, the Consummation of the Law!
Charles Haddon Shank