Why can’t you keep the law through the law?

Have you ever wondered why Christians teach we can’t be good enough for God by ourselves?

If you think about it it seems like theoretically we should be able to meet the requirements of the Law of God. We have the rules, we have the capacity to choose, to will. It seems like if we just managed to put in that little extra effort we could fulfill the requirements. After all if Christ could do it why couldn’t someone else?

As I mulled this over it occurred to me that the whole idea of just putting in that next level of effort is logically flawed. The idea of keeping the Law by modifying our behavior through an act of will is inconsistent, doomed from the beginning.

Here is the logic:

The whole Law is summed up in the two great commands to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.  What that means is it requires Love to keep the Law.

If we try to keep the Law through the Law, i.e. as a set of rules, we are off the track before we even begin. Said another way, modifying our behavior to meet a standard violates the standard we are trying to conform to. We don’t modify our behavior to meet the letter of the standard, the Spirit of the standard modifies our behavior as the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.

Since it is clear* we must believe that God is both loving and just for us to have the love with which we may love our neighbor as ourself, it also follows that God must first love us. So we must first receive grace before we can even begin to keep the Spirit of the Law.

So when the Bible says in Romans 3:20 and Galatians 2:16 that no flesh will be justified by the works of the law, it is being logically consistent. We simply cannot be good enough on our own.

It just makes sense.

* If there is no God of Love there is no Hope or Faith to sustain our love of our neighbor.

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