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Sin and the Law (16 of 47)
Paul has previously established that the law cannot save, it cannot sanctify, and that it can no longer condemn a believer. What is does is that it can convict both the believer and unbeliever of sin as we saw last week. Today we shall see that the Law cannot deliver from sin, and finally the law can be fulfilled only by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
By the time of Jesus, Jewish Rabbis had summed up scriptural law in 613 commandments, comprised of 248 mandates, and 365 prohibitions. The mandates related to such things as worship, the Temple, sacrifices, vows, rituals, donations, sabbaths, animals used for food, festivals, community affairs, war, social issues, family responsibilities, judicial matters, legal rights, and obligations, and slavery. The prohibitions related to such things as idolatry, diet, vows, agriculture, loans, business, slaves, justice, and personal relationships.
To those scriptural laws the rabbis had added countless adjuncts, conditions, and practical interpretations. The attempt to fulfill all the laws and traditions became a consuming way of life for legalistic Jews such as the Pharisees. At the Jerusalem Council, Peter described that extreme legalism as "a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear" (Acts 15:10).
As an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul reiterated the truth that "for as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them'" (Gal. 3:10; cf. Deut. 27:26).
So, the question comes why would God give the people something so impossible to live by? It is simple! God gave the law to reveal the sinfulness of the person to the person and how utterly impossible it is to live by the Law without the power of God. The Old Testament makes clear, "the righteous man shall live by fai ...
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