The law and the gospel
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10.
The moral law does not consider us as weak human beings at all, it takes no account of our heredity and infirmities, it demands that we be absolutely moral. The moral law never alters, either for the noblest or for the weakest, it is eternally and abidingly the same. The moral law ordained by God does not make itself weak to the weak, it does not palliate our shortcomings, it remains absolute for all time and eternity. If we do not realize this, it is because we are less than alive; immediately we are alive, life becomes a tragedy. “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” When we realize this, then the Spirit of God convicts us of sin. Until a man gets there and sees that there is no hope, the Cross of Jesus Christ is a farce to him. Conviction of sin always brings a fearful binding sense of the law, it makes a man hopeless—“sold under sin.” I, a guilty sinner, can never get right with God, it is impossible. There is only one way in which I can get right with God, and that is by the death of Jesus Christ. I must get rid of the lurking idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience—which of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection!
We only realize the power of the moral law when it comes with an ‘if.’ God never coerces us. In one mood we wish He would make us do the thing, and in another mood we wish He would leave us alone. Whenever God’s will is in the ascendant, all compulsion is gone. When we choose deliberately to obey Him, then, with all His almighty power, He will tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist us.