One of the ways I have been taking in Scripture is listening to it during my commute to work in the morning. The last few days I have been in Deuteronomy. You can’t listen to the layout of God’s Law without being overwhelmed by it. The Law is a comprehensive and unapologetic laying of God how expects the Israelites to live, work, relate to people, treat people, love people, worship Him and how to handle it when they did not. Certainly grace was woven into it. But let me tell you when you are listening to 7-8 straight chapters of Law, if you are really listening you will quickly come to the conclusion that there is no way to keep it. Not because it was flawed, or unjust, or because it asked too much. There is not any one thing in there that is beyond our capacity to understand and do. I just know that I could not have kept it.
I am very glad that Peter felt the same way. When the question came up in the early church about whether to make Gentile Christians follow the Law, Peter stood up and said,
God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? (Acts 15:8-10, NLT).
I am so glad that we are saved by grace. The Law tells how God wants us to live. That is good. But the Law also tells us that we don’t live up to it. What is worse, the Law is unable to enable us to keep it. It shows what is right, and reveals that we are not. It reveals our brokenness and our need for grace.
I am so glad that God not only met our need to know how the righteousness that He requires, but also met our need for grace that our unrighteousness requires.