For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.Romans 10:5
Paul begins this chapter by declaring his desire for ethnic Israel to be saved. His concern is that so many of them think that they are made right with God through their own established rightneousness, not understanding that under God’s standard they are guilty.
In verse 5, Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5.
Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.Leviticus 18:5
There is a righteousness that could be attained by the law. That righteous is attained by perfectly keeping the law without a sin nature. The problem is that everyone who has ever lived is a sinner by nature, and eventually by action. We know that a dog doesn’t bark to be a dog, but rather a dog barks because he is a dog. We sin because we are sinners.
Has any parent ever had to teach their child to be selfish, lie, or steal to see that the child acts like a typical child? No! Even non-believing people spend enormous effort trying to teach kids to share, tell the truth, and be considerate. To do the right thing they must be disciplined. There must be boundaries. But those boundaries don’t make us righteous, rather they reveal our unrighteousness.
The Lord Jesus Christ was born without a sin nature, being born of a virgin, and kept the law of God perfectly.
Our problem is that we can not live by the law completely. We break the law, and in breaking one law we break them all.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:Romans 3:10
As believers, this passage reminds us of our own futility in trying to be made right with God strictly by our works. We break God’s law, and our good works can never be made up for by our bad works. It is the righteousness of Christ that gets imputed to our account through faith that makes us right with God. What’s true for may salvation is true for my sanctification as well. For me to be right with God takes God’s grace and submission to God’s indwelling Spirit in me. In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. I need God’s help to live a righteous and holy life. When I sin, I am not condemned once I am in Christ, but I still confess it and forsake it with God’s help.
For those who don’t know Christ, you must know that on your own you have no shot. You have broken God’s law, and if he were to judge you by that law you would be found guilty. The law does not save. The law reveals your need for a Savior.
For believers, Ask God to help you live for Him today through the power of the Holy Spirit.
For unbelievers, repent and turn to Christ by faith as your only hope for salvation.