Originally Posted by Nick M
He spoke against keeping the law.
Why would Paul speak against keeping the law? Do you believe Paul did not want people to keep the commandment, “Do not murder”? Of course, Paul wanted people to keep the commandment, “Do not murder.” He certainly didn’t want people going around murdering each other. What Paul didn’t want was people keeping the commandment as a way of obtaining righteousness, for doing so results in death. Once you seek to establish righteousness through the Law, you put yourself under the jurisdiction of the Law. But because of sin, the Law will ultimately find you guilty and will result in death for you.
People continue to live that way today. They believe that if they are “good enough” then they will gain entrance into a blissful afterlife. They find life, not in God alone, but in their own efforts. What they don’t realize is that they will inevitably be found guilty by the very law in which they are trying to gain life.
he Lord Jesus Christ said;
...But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.
Yet Paul said;
And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.
Good point. Why would Jesus tell the rich man to keep something that could bring death to him? So, let’s look at a couple commandments. If you keep the commandment to not murder, does keeping that commandment kill you? Of course not. If you keep the commandment to not commit adultery, does keeping that commandment kill you? Of course not. So, why does Paul say that the commandment brought death to him? Paul tells us why: “for sin
, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me
” (Rom. 7:11). We see here that it was not the Law or commandment that killed Paul; it was sin
. Had it not been for sin, the Law would not have been able to find him guilty. So, Paul isn’t saying, “Don’t keep the Law,” Paul is saying, “Don’t keep the Law as a way of obtaining righteousness
(i.e. life, cf. Rom. 7:10, 10:3), for doing so will only result in death because of your sin. Stop putting your hope in the Law, stop putting yourself under its jurisdiction, because you will be found guilty. So, keep the Law but don’t rely on your ability to keep the Law to justify you
. Again, if you rely on the Law to justify you, you put yourself under its jurisdiction and you will be found guilty. So, if life is not found in the Law, where is life found
Going back to the rich man. When Jesus said, “If you wish to enter into life keep the commandments,” he could not have
meant that one obtains life through the law or in keeping the commandments. We know this because it is made very clear how one obtains life
John 3:15 whoever believes in him
have eternal life
John 3:36 he who believes in the son
has eternal life
John 5:24 he who…believe Him
who sent me has eternal life
John 5:40 come to me
so that you may have life
John 6:40 everyone who beholds the son and believes in him
will have eternal life
John 11:25 he who believes in me
will live even if he dies
John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You
, the only true God and Jesus Christ
whom You have sent
John 20:31 by believing
you may have life in his name
By the way, Paul, too, tells us that those who do not keep the commandments will not see life:
(1 Cor. 6:9; Eph. 5:5) “You shall have no other gods before me” “You shall not make for yourself any carved image”
(1 Cor. 6:9) “You shall not commit adultery”
(1 Cor. 6:9) “You shall not steal”
(Eph. 5:5) “You shall not covet…”
edit to add: Another commandment Paul confirmed:
Honor parents (Eph. 6:1-3) "Honor your father and your mother..."
Although Paul says
those who do not obey the commandments will not see life, he also tells us that it is not through Law keeping that one obtains the promise of life
. For the promise
to Abraham and his descendants was not through the Law but through righteousness of faith
, in order that it be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants (Rom. 4:13, 16).
So, Jesus and Paul are in agreement that those who obey the commandments enter life and those who do not obey the commandments do not enter life. And both are in agreement that it is not through Law keeping that one obtains the promise of life. Jesus says life is found in knowing him and his God
and Paul says that the promise of life is through faith
in accordance with grace.
So, if life is not obtained by law keeping, why
did Jesus say tell the rich man to keep the commandments if he wants to enter life? I believe Jesus met the man where he was at so that Jesus could work with him from the inside out
rather than from the outside in. The rich man asked Jesus what he
to obtain eternal life. The man was already of the mindset that he could establish his own righteousness through the Law
(i.e. obeying the Law would make him clean). Instead of telling the man how backwards he had it (i.e. being clean stimulates obedience to the Law), Jesus chose to go along with this man’s perception so that on his own
he could recognize his misplaced trust in his efforts in relation to the Law. Convictions are more effective when they come from within rather than from without.
Jesus tells him, okay, you seek to establish your own righteousness, then keep the commandments. After all, those who do not obey the commandments will not inherit life (1 Cor. 6:9). The rich man says, oh, but I do obey all the commandments. But with further dialogue it is revealed that the Law he thought justified him has found him guilty (i.e. he is greedy). It was a setup so that the man could, on his own, come to the realization that he cannot establish his own righteousness
. He walked away without hope. As the Spirit worked on him, perhaps he later came to a place of humility and contriteness of heart, turning to God for life rather than the Law.