The Inability of the Law

For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (Heb 7:18-19)

God reveals through His word that His law has a strategic inability. There is an arena in which the the law has a “weakness and unprofitableness.” The law demands perfection, but it offers no perfecting resources. This incapacity is not due to any oversight on God’s part. Rather, this inadequacy is related to that which God never intended for His law to accomplish.

The law tells us what God wants to see in lives, but the law provides no resource to effect the necessary changes.

God’s law was not given to man as a means of being perfected, that is, of being spiritually changed. The law tells us what God wants to see in lives, but the law provides no resource to effect the necessary changes. Thus, attempting to begin or to develop a relationship with God by dependence upon our best performance will always be a hopeless venture.

Anyone who desires to approach a holy and perfect God must have a more effective expectation than one’s best personal performance, measured by God’s holy law. Anyone who wants to get to know God, to walk with Him, to live with Him through time and eternity, must find a better hope than the law of God.

The law of God cannot give us an initial standing before God, that is, it cannot justify us. The law is also unable to develop an ongoing walk of godliness before the Lord, that is, it cannot sanctify us. For either of these precious blessings of God, a “better hope” is needed. God’s grace is the “better hope” that allows us to “draw near to God,” initially in new birth and continually in a maturing intimacy.


Holy Father, You are perfect in character. Your law is perfect in standard. Your law rightly demands perfection of me. Father, I ask that You remind me often that I cannot live up to that divine requirement on my own resources. Bring to my remembrance this inability of Your law. Stir my heart to trust in that better hope. Lord, I desire to walk clodely with You. Thus, I trust in Your grace as the only sufficient hope that will allow me to draw near to You, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Copyright © 2004 by Bob Hoekstra. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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