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 By Curtis Pugh

            Two questions: does God command things that are impossible for men to do and if so, why? The reason these questions are important is because many people assume that if God commands something men must be able to do what He commands. Let us examine the Bible and determine whether or not men and women are able to obey God's commands.

            First of all, God commands men to be holy or sinless. Peter wrote, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” (I Peter 1:16). But honest men admit that it is impossible to be holy: without sin. Jesus said , “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” (Matthew 5:48). No man can be perfect like God is!  Furthermore, God gave His law to the Jews, knowing that they could not keep it. Man's inability to keep God's law was stated by Peter in Acts 15:10 where he calls the law of God a “yoke:” saying, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Peter makes it clear that those Jews in the first century who thought the Gentile Christians were to keep the law were wrong. Nobody ever kept God's law!

            Why, then, did God give the Jews His law? His law was perfect: nothing wrong with God's commandments. “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful,” (Romans 7:12-13).God commanded the keeping of His law in order that “”sin...might become exceeding sinful.” God has given commandments that are impossible for men to keep in order to show men that they are sinners and helpless to do anything about their condition.

            It is the nature of men and women to think that they are able to please God by doing something. God has given various commandments that are impossible for men to keep so as to force them to “butt their heads on the brick wall,” of His Word, as it were. In this way they find out by experience that they cannot please God as Paul wrote: ”...they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” (Romans 8:8).

            When men are enabled by the Holy Spirit to see that their sin is “exceeding sinful” - that they have offended the Holy God to whom they must answer, it is then that they are afflicted with godly sorrow. Paul wrote of this saying, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death,” (2 Corinthians 7:10). And so men are brought to repentance, the thing the Lord Jesus commanded saying: “...Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” (Matthew 4:17).


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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