NCC 13 – Can Anyone Keep the Law of God Perfectly?

The thirteenth question of the New City Catechism asks if anyone can keep the law of God perfectly. It should surprise no one reading this blog that the answer is an unequivocal and definitive NO. This can be determined by simply looking at the Ten Commandments. Have you ever been angry with another person? The Bible says that you are guilty of the sin of murder (Matthew 5:21-26). Have you ever wanted something that belonged to another person? You are guilty of breaking the tenth commandment. Have you ever put anything before God? You are guilty of breaking the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:34-40). Furthermore, Scripture teaches that any failure to keep any particular law is a failure to keep the law as a whole: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it (James 2:10).” That is not to say that by breaking one command, we have broken them all; but rather, the law of God is a package deal. Imagine for a moment that a friend made a plate of brownies. They share the brownies with their friends, but before everyone eats they explain that their sink was not working so they used toilet water to make the brownies. There is no way tease out the impurities of the toilet water and so a choice must be made to accept the brownies (toilet water and all) or to reject the brownies (even the good parts). We do not get to pick and choose the laws of God we will follow or reject, but by rejecting even one law means we reject all of God’s law. Therefore, no mere human will ever be able to obey the law of God in its entirety every minute of every day of every year that he or she is alive.

Since the fall, no mere human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly, but consistently breaks it in thought, word, and deed.

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