New City Question 13: Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly?
February 2, 2022 Speaker: Josh DeGroote Series: New City
Topic: Sin Passage: Romans 3:10–3:12
Question 13: Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly?
Answer 13: Since the fall, no mere human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly, but consistently breaks it in thought, word, and deed.
Remember question 7 asks what does the law of God require? The answer is “Personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience. That we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.” The first part again. Personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience to love God and neighbor. God is perfect in all his ways, or the all-encompassing word the bible uses - HOLY. God is holy. We are not. Because of the fall, we are born with a corrupt nature, sinful to the core. As such, we are not able to keep God’s law perfectly, but consistently break it. And I think this is true not just of non-Christians, but of Christians as well. Of course this is not all that is true of Christians. We are able to bear fruit for God’s glory as well. But we consistently battle against temptation and sin and will all our days.
Which is why we need the alien righteousness of Christ credited to our account. By alien I simply mean a righteousness that is not our own. We need the perfect obedience of Jesus to be counted as ours. That is the glory of the gospel. Jesus is no "mere human"; he is the God-man, the eternal Son of God who took upon himself our nature. Through faith in Christ, his spotless, active obedience whereby he did all the law required, is counted as ours. The NT word used is justification. Just as if I’ve never sinned AND just as if I’ve always obeyed - through faith in Jesus Christ. But if we are honest, we know that we still sin - we still do what we shouldn’t and don’t always do what we should. In other words, we don’t and cannot keep the law of God perfectly.
For the Christian, there is a Latin phrase which Martin Luther coined that helps us understand how we can be considered righteous in God’s sight and yet still struggle with sinning. The phrase is “Simul justus et peccator” - at the same time righteous and sinner. We are righteous in Christ because his righteousness is counted as ours and yet in ourselves we are still sinners. There is the gracious gift of Christ’s righteousness and the ongoing battle with sin. The unbeliever, however, is only under sin and in the grip of sin as described in the scripture passage for question and answer #13.
Romans 3:10-12 - None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.
So, Christians, the gospel is the good news of God’s gracious gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.