“Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.'”
Yet the law is not of faith,
The law does not find its origin in faith but in works because the very nature of law is the opposite of faith. Law and faith are mutually exclusive ways of salvation. They are contradictory systems.
but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5 to prove that only perfect obedience to the law is acceptable to God. The law demands that we live up to its directions perfectly. God’s standards are perfect. Any failure collects a curse.
If we choose to live under the law, then we must live by their perfect norms. That is why we cannot combine the two systems of grace and law. If we cannot comply with the law, then we must go to grace and rely entirely on the cross of Christ. God does not care whether I believe the law is right when it comes to salvation. He wants to know whether I comply with it.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them ‘” (Romans 10:3-5).
Since no one can perfectly keep the law, God puts all those who try under the curse based on their own premise. If they fail at any point, they fall under condemnation.
Law and faith are diametrically opposed ways of salvation.
The law cannot save a sinner or set up the standard for the Christian life. Those who attempt to keep the law as a works system fail to meet God’s standard for salvation. We cannot work at the law enough because it would not be of sufficient quality or quantity to satisfy the absolute standard of who God is. God cannot tolerate sin to the slightest degree. It is a religious fairy tale to believe someone can measure up to God’s standards. God does not hold out this expectation for us.
If we commit one sin, that precludes us from fellowship with God. He must be consistent with His own standards. If we follow the law but do not keep it, how can it save or sanctify us?
We may get off to a good start in keeping the law, but somewhere along the line, we incur an infraction. The person with a score of 40% is no worse off in God’s eyes than a person who gets 99.9% (which is impossible). If you miss the plane by one minute or one hour, it makes no difference; you missed the plane. All of us come short of the absolute standard of God (Romans 3:10,23).
If we choose the law as a system of salvation, then we will stand before an absolutely perfect God based on the law. The law will curse us before an absolute Being. After trying to keep the law all your life, what do you have in the end? A curse.
Note the logic of verses 10 through 12:
Major premise–The just shall live by faith.
Minor premise–The law is not of faith but works
Conclusion–No justification by law.