SO long as there are evil deeds done in the world, so long, for the sake of society, must there be punishment, severe, certain, unsparing. So long as there is a flesh in man, disposing him to those evil deeds, so long, for the sake of the man himself, must there be a law denouncing that punishment against him, making him feel that he is liable to it. So long as there is an evil Spirit prompting that flesh, so long must law and punishment go on, as a witness that the righteous God, and not the Evil Spirit, is Lord of the universe.
The Spirit of the Gospel, which is the Spirit of God, aims at the extirpation of evil, has not the least more tolerance for it than the Law has. It leaves the evil nature, the flesh of which St. Paul speaks, to the Law, its terrors, its vengeance. It offers itself to that spirit in man, which wrestles with the flesh, which is contrary to it. It promises to that spirit emancipation. It says, "Sin shall "not have dominion over thee; for thou art not under the Law, but under Grace."
Nor could the cravings of our hearts be satisfied, if it were otherwise. They do not ask for mercy upon the evil which is in them. They count it their enemy; they desire to be raised out of it. The Gospel of God meets them with the assurance, that what they desire has been accomplished, that God has redeemed them in His Son, at once from the dominion of the flesh, and from the curse of the Law, which inseparably belongs to it. "What the Law could not do," it says, "in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Those, who walk after the flesh, are elsewhere described as disobedient, rebellious; therefore they are under the Law. The Law condemns their inclinations, and therefore condemns them. Those, who walk after the Spirit, are those, who yield themselves to God's guidance, who boast of no powers or energies of their own, but seek to be possessed and directed by the Divine energy. In other words, such persons confess themselves to be under Grace. They acknowledge that they are wholly and absolutely dependent on the Grace of God, for all their powers to act, to suffer, to be. They live by faith, that is, by trust in the living God, not in themselves. They look up to Him to overcome the powers which are striving with them, and to which they would be naturally in subjection.--The Church a Family, p. 55.