Have you ever seen a sign that said, “Wet Paint Don’t Touch”? What’s the first thing that comes across your mind? If you are honest, I would say that most people think about touching it. How about “Don’t Walk on the Grass!” Makes you want to walk on the grass. We call it human nature. We’re curious. But we’re also rebellious.
The Bible says that law arouses the sinful passions (Rom. 7:5). Any law will do that; even one as simple as, “Don’t Touch Wet Paint.” The difference is this little sign has no penalty other than the potential of a little bit of paint on the end of your finger.
The Old Testament Law was more than Ten Commandments
God gave the law to Israel (Lev. 27:34). It was an indivisible unit. In other words it was more than the Ten Commandments. It had ceremonial rules. It had civil rules. And it had moral rules. Some say there is a total of 613 commands. They were enforceable because there were penalties for breaking them.
Four things the Law cannot do
1. It cannot save you from the penalty of sin, eternal condemnation. The law given to Moses was never a way of salvation (Rom 3:20). One would have to obey the whole law perfectly. “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
2. It cannot justify anyone; “…for by the works of the law, no flesh shall be justified” (Gal. 2:16). Nobody can ever claim to have earned a righteous position by following the law.
3. It cannot make anyone perfect. “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect…” (Heb. 7:19).
4. It cannot give life to the spiritual dead nor can it produce life in the believer; “for the letter (Law) kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Cor. 3:6). The law only brings death. It’s referred to as the ministry of death (II Cor. 3:7).
The problem is not with the law, because it is holy, just, and good (Rom. 7:12). The problem is us. We can’t keep the law perfectly. We are sinners by nature and by practice. The law shows us our problem and leads us to the only solution – the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:24). “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him“ (II Cor. 5:21).