When we read through the Old Testament, we see an interesting contrast between Abraham and Moses. While Abraham is portrayed as a sort of ideal man of faith, Moses is described as the lawgiver. Faith versus law.
In Genesis chapter fifteen, Abraham was declared righteous by God due to his faith: "And he brought him outside and said, 'Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness" (Gen. 15:5-6). Take note that Abraham's faith, not his works, led to God declaring him righteous. Abraham's greatest act of obedience (his willingness to sacrifice Isaac) came long after Genesis fifteen.
Meanwhile, Moses the lawgiver is not allowed into the promised land because of his lack of faith. In Numbers chapter twenty, the children of Israel again complain about not having water. God instructs Moses to tell the rock to yield its water (20:8). However, in 20:11 Moses does not tell the rock but rather strikes it. In response to this God says, "Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them" (Num. 20:12). God did not block Moses' entrance into the promised land due to his disobedience; rather, it was because "you did not believe in me." It showed a lack of faith on Moses' part.
Turning to the New Testament, Paul spells out for us that Abraham was righteous because of his faith. In Romans 4:1-5 we read the following:
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.
It is the faith of Abraham that God desires in us. In contrast, it is not the lawkeeping of Moses.
In light of this, why do so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ turn back to the OT law for church life? It is the Spirit who gives life, not the law. For those of us in the New Covenant, the law no longer has any power. To turn back to it makes no sense.
As the New Covenant is significantly different from the Old, church life is far different from the life of the nation of Israel. The life of the church is a life of faith. Let's live for Jesus in the freedom our Lord provides.