Why the Law Cannot Save

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law… for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

Many Christians fall into the error of believing that the reason the Law cannot save is because no one can keep it perfectly.  Scripture asserts, however, that even if one kept the Law (i.e., any system of works) perfectly, it cannot justify a fallen creature before God.

All men since Adam are born (even conceived; cf. Psalm 51:5) under the condemnation of God.  This is because, in the Garden, all men sinned in Adam (Genesis 3:6; Romans 5:12).  Adam was not merely our representative or federal head, he was our seminal head (Cp., Hebrews 7:9-10); this is even true for Eve because of the way God took her from the “rib” of Adam (Genesis 2:21-23), which is why all men are condemned “in Adam”, not “in Eve”.  It is for this reason that it is impossible that fallen man could be justified by keeping the Law (Romans 3:20); even if he refrained from sin perfectly from the moment of his birth until the time of his death, he would still stand condemned before God for his participation in the primeval sin of Adam (Romans 5:18).  No system of works or law-keeping can ever erase this past event of history, in which all descendants of Adam participated, and for this reason salvation must be by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 1:6-9).

Consequently, any denial that the Fall was a real, historical event must be rejected as anti-Biblical.  Such a view is not merely error, but heresy—it strikes at the very heart of the Gospel of Grace.  By denying that the sin of Adam was a real, historical event in which all men participated, the basis of the universal need for a Savior is destroyed, and works-based righteousness (in contrast to salvation by grace) becomes a theoretical possibility.  BUT THIS SCRIPTURE CATEGORICALLY REJECTS (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:20)!

Man’s need is for a new Head.  Just as “in Adam” all men are sinners and stand condemned before God, “in Christ” we can be seen by God as being just as righteous as He is (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:19).  We are born “in Adam”; being placed “in Christ” as our new Head is accomplished by the new birth (John 3:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17), appropriated by faith in Christ (Romans 2:24-25).  Have you put your faith in Christ and been born again?  If not, you stand condemned in Adam, for “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

About The Paleofundamentalist

The Paleofundamentalist holds graduate degrees in engineering, Bible and theology, with formal training in classical Latin and Koine Greek. He teaches the Bible and Biblical subjects weekly at his local church. View all posts by The Paleofundamentalist

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