“I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.” (Psalm 119:93)
For many people, words like “law”, “precept” and “commandment” have a negative connotation. Laws limit their freedom and therefore feel confining. Psalm 119 has a different tone. It says that God’s precepts are life-giving. They are like a fence that guards us from sin and its harmful consequences.
However, the Bible shows that we cannot “earn” eternal life by obeying God’s commandments! We simply don’t keep all of them 100% of the time. The apostle James says that if we fail in one point of the law, we have become guilty of all of it (James 2:10). In other words, our obedience only suffices if it is perfect. But there is nobody on earth who ever manages to keep the law perfectly. We will always fall short of God’s standard of perfection.
So, because of our sinfulness, the law is not able to save us. But it is nevertheless good and useful! It functions as a mirror to show us how sinful and imperfect we are.
The law thus teaches us that we cannot save ourselves, and motivates us to search for a different solution to restore our relationship with God.
Do you know which alternative solution God provides?