Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
There is No One Righteous
9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
James 3:1-2 “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all.”
So the law can not be a means of justification. It can only be the means of the condemnation of all mankind before God.
Why do some apologists for Islam, e.g. Paul Williams, speak of the law as if it could justify us before God? By quoting verses such as:
|… You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person
does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD. …
//biblehub.com/leviticus/18-5.htm – 17k
|… And I gave them my statutes, and showed them mine ordinances,
which if a man do, he shall live in them. …
//biblehub.com/ezekiel/20-11.htm – 17k
|… Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against
your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they …
//biblehub.com/nehemiah/9-29.htm – 20k
|None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. … be remembered
against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. …
//biblehub.com/ezekiel/18-22.htm – 18k
|… However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary,
“HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” …
//biblehub.com/galatians/3-12.htm – 17k
|… rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they
rejected mine ordinances, which if a man keep, he shall live in them; and my …
//biblehub.com/ezekiel/20-13.htm – 21k
Does “live in them” or “live by them” mean have eternal life through them? This is where I think apologists like Paul Williams read too much in to the text. He reaches and performs his own eisegesis on the text. No, I don’t believe that we can say that these verses mean that man can earn eternal life through keeping the law. The word “live” does not mean have eternal life. In the context it just means staying alive during the exile and remaining within the promises of restoration for an earthly Israel, but not, in my view, any more than that. The burden of proof is on those who take this word “life” to mean eternal life in this context. It means nothing more than deliverance from the judgement that God’s people were going through in the land of Babylon and returning to a restored land with a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem once again at its epicentre.
Those to whom the words of Ezekiel 18, for example, were given were already under condemnation and judgement. They were in the middle of being punished for their unfaithfulness by being taken captive and sent to Babylon. So how could they earn eternal life through keeping the law after they had already broken it with the rest of the people of Israel?
Even our Muslim friends would not argue, I suppose, that a man can justify himself through the law without some means of forgiveness. No man can be justified alone through the law without being forgiven for his sins in some way. Do our Muslims friends agree with me on this?
What about the rich young man and the lawyer who tempted Jesus to deprecate the law? Didn’t Jesus tell them that they could earn eternal life through keeping the law? No, I don’t think so. Why? That is a subject for another post.