Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.
- Romans 3:19
The Bible tells the story of a man who came to Jesus and said, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17). Jesus said, "You know the commandments: 'You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother' " (verse 19).
"I've obeyed all these commandments since I was young," the man replied. The Bible tells us that Jesus looked at this man and "felt genuine love for him" (verse 21). I wonder if Jesus laughed a little to himself. This man was arrogant. Identified as the rich young ruler, he was in a position of authority, but he was young. He had climbed the ladder quickly and was probably feeling very good about himself.
Jesus quoted the law not to justify this man, but to show him the truth. If he had been honest with Jesus, he would have said, "Oh, Lord, I have tried to keep these commandments, but I fall short, and that is why I am talking to You." But he didn't.
He failed to recognize that the commandments were not given to make us righteous; they were given to show us that we are not righteous. Romans 3:19 says, "Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God."
The law is like a moral mirror. It shuts our mouths and opens our eyes. It condemns but does not convert. It challenges but does not change. It points the finger but can't give mercy. And it drives us to Jesus, who has the answer we are looking for.