Why do most Christians have the impression that in some measure they can keep the law?

Understanding the purpose of the law and the reality of sin in the flesh is essential for Christians to experience true freedom in Christ. Those who seek to use the law as a “guide for Christian living” do so by watering down its requirements. There is a reason that Sinai was surrounded with gloom, and no one was allowed to approach it on pain of death. Moses, who spoke to God “face to face” as a friend, said he was full of terror at the giving of the Law.

Often, someone who believes that the Law is a guide on “how to live in a way that pleases God” has not actually encountered the law in a way that awakens their conscience to the terror of its judgment. The Law was given as a diagnosis of man’s condition, not a recommendation for its cure. It is there to show the ruin of the fall, and to show that there is no way for man by hHis own efforts to qualify himself for any the blessings of someone who has right to God’s presence. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and sin’s only remedy is the redemption that is in Christ.

Legalistic teaching may acknowledge the redemption of Christ and, in some measure, the grace of Christ, but does not put the law in its proper context. Rather, there is an incoherent mix of law and grace in this teaching. Scofield said it this way in his introductory notes to Galatians:

“Protestant theology, alas, is for the most part, thoroughly Galatianized, in that neither law nor grace are given their distinct and separated places, as in the counsels of God, but are mingled together in one incoherent system. The law is no longer, as in the divine intent, a ministration of death (2 Cor. 3:7), of cursing (Gal. 3:10), or conviction (Rom. 3:19), because we are taught that we must try to keep it, and that by Divine help we may. Nor, on the other hand, does grace bring us into freedom, for we are kept under the law (see Rom. 6:14).”

This only leads to bondage and the false belief that we can earn things from God that are only secured as a free gift through justification. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, and it is through Him that we are made righteous, holy, and blameless in the sight of God.

To stand before God with a clear conscience and experience the blessings available to justified and regenerated sons and heirs, we must maintain our faith in Christ. Through His work, Christ has become our righteousness (qualifying us to stand before God), our sanctification (manifesting our union with God and producing fruit), and our reward (our eternal enjoyment and inheritance). All of this is only enjoyed by faith, through the supply of the Spirit, not by the works of the law (Gal 3:1-6).

I. Introduction

  • The purpose of the law and the reality of sin in the flesh are essential for Christians to experience true freedom in Christ (Romans 7:7-8)

II. The Law

  • The Law was given as a diagnosis of man’s condition, not a recommendation for its cure (Romans 3:20)
  • By the law is the knowledge of sin, and sin’s only remedy is the redemption that is in Christ (Galatians 3:24)
  • Legalistic teaching does not put the law in its proper context (Galatians 3:10)

III. Grace

  • We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Through His work, Christ has become our righteousness, our sanctification, and our reward (Galatians 3:13-14; 1 Cor 1:30, Genesis 15:1.)

IV. Conclusion

  • To stand before God with a clear conscience and experience the blessings available to justified and regenerated sons and heirs, we must maintain our faith in Christ (Romans 5:1-2)

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