Doing a study on grace and the fulfilment of the Law at present, and wonder if someone can assist: some texts definitely state that it is not humanly possible to perfectly keep the Law. Thus Paul in Romans 7:14-23, 9:31-32, Peter’s words in Acts 15:10, that the Law was a burden that the Israelites could not bear, etc.

However, other texts seem to indicate that keeping the Law was possible.
For instance, concerning the Law and the choice between obedience and disobedience proffered to the Israelites, Moses says (Deuteronomy 30:11),

‘Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.’

In other words, they have no excuse for disobedience.

Also, in Philippians 3:6 Paul, in giving his credentials as an impeccable Pharisee, avers that he was, ‘as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.’
There is also the argument and thrust from Romans 7 to 8 that, as heeding of the Law is not possible, the solution is through the power of the Holy Spirit (thus 8:1-4).

A related query might be, then: did the OT Israelites for over 1,000 years go through the same sense of guilt, frustration, and inability to keep the Law as did Paul (cf. Romans 7), because of absence of the indwelling Spirit?

This would seem unfair, but would be in line with the Romans 7 theology of difficulty in keeping the Law. However, how would this square with Moses’ parting exhortation that the Law was ‘not difficult’ (Deut 30.11)?

A thought: might Paul's (and Peter's) comments perhaps have something to do with an attempt at perfectionism, which is attested in the Talmud among first century rabbis?

  • Remember, the law had built in sacrifices for atonement and so people who stood righteous before God were not people who didn't break the law they were people who did what was required of them when they broke the law – Adam Heeg Dec 21 '19 at 1:30

This can be resolved by reviewing the context of each passage. In the Old Testament, God gives a Law, a divine moral law, to be kept by His chosen people. By saying, 'these are not beyond your reach, but you are able to keep them,' He speaks of a relative keeping of the Laws, not an absolute and unequivocally perfect keeping thereof, since, "there is no just man upon earth, that doth good, and sinneth not." (Eccles. 7:20).

However, in St. Paul's context, he adduces the fact that absolute keeping of the Law would be necessary if we are to ignore the grace that is the forgiveness necessary to make anything less than a perfect keeping of the laws possible. Therefore, the cross is preached, "that he himself may be [shown to be] just, as well as the justifier of him who is of the faith of Jesus Christ" (Rom. 3:26). Refusing the Gosple is refusing your lifeline, because it is by the gospel that all your tripping and faltering in the keeping of God's law are accounted and provided for.

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Is it possible to keep the law of Moses? Yes, if you are Jesus. No, if you are not.

The law had specific purposes. A few include: 1. Shows the Holy character of God. 2. Identifies what is and what is not sin. 3. Reveals to us our need for a Savior. While the law identified sin, it was inadequate to make a man obey or be righteous.

When Paul said he was blameless. The question that must be asked is "blameless in whose eyes?" He either referring to being blameless in His own eyes or the eyes of others. He was not referring to being blameless in Gods eyes.

Romans 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

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