Q15: Since no one can keep the law, what is its purpose?

A: That we may know the holy nature and will of God, and the sinful nature and disobedience of our hearts; and thus our need of a Savior. The law also teaches and exhorts us to live a life worthy of our Savior.

Scripture Reference 
Romans 3:20 “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

The big question: Why would God put laws in place that no one can keep? It seems different than our human laws. People could keep the speed limit, if they wanted to. People could keep from hurting one another or shoplifting, if they wanted to. Wait… maybe our human laws are just like God’s Laws… we could keep them, if we wanted to. Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you could take back what you just did, because you knew it was wrong? For instance, maybe you yelled at someone in a moment of rage because they didn’t do something the way you thought it should have been done. How did you know you were wrong in that instance? Did you feel it? Did you remember something God said about love and how we should treat each other? If you had never known how God desired for you to act, would it have changed your regret?

God’s Law, just like our human laws, is to point out things that are wrong. If you didn’t have the law that says you could only go 30mph in a school zone, then you would just be driving along, ignorant of the fact that going faster than 30 is putting kids who cross the road in danger. The law not only protects those kids, but it protects you. Without the 30mph sign, you are not breaking the law, but as soon as it goes up, you are held to that standard.

The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?

God created laws to make us aware of the things that we choose to do that are harmful to ourselves and others. Harmful to us because each time we disobey we are ignoring God and saying that our way is better. This is what sin is, and it’s what separates us from our Creator. We might think that it’s unfair for God to tell us we cannot do something, but just like the speed limit, it is for our own protection. He loves us, and that’s why He gave us rules. He wants us to be with Him forever, and sin keeps us from being able to enter His presence. That is why Jesus was such a gift to us from God. There is only one human, that has ever lived, that never broke one of God’s Laws – Jesus Christ. He was given to us as a way to be made right in God’s sight, taking away the punishment for us breaking God’s Laws, so we are no longer separated from Him. This should cause us to celebrate how much God loves us!

  • Romans 5:6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
  • Romans 3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
  • Romans 4:7-8 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?

Does this mean that people who do not know God’s Law are cleared from sinning against Him? God has said in the Old Testament, as well as in the New, that He has placed His law in all men’s hearts, so that they will also be held accountable. You can find proof of this by watching a person react to their circumstances. They want what is right – but how do they know what is right if they don’t know what is wrong? God is working in them to show there is a better way, and you have been placed in their life to give the truths of Scripture and to show them the Good Shepherd.

  • Romans 2:14-15 “For when those, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them…”
  • Romans 5:8-10 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
  • John 10:7-11 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?

When you have the opportunity to share with someone about God’s love for them, teach them about what God requires. Tell them it is to remind us how much God cares and desires that all people come to that saving knowledge of Christ. There is no better way for a person to understand their need of God than to understand they cannot uphold His requirements without Him. And as you think of all that God has done for you remember that His law is there to protect you, and that it is something to be thankful for.

Romans 8:31-32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”