Q13: Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly?
ANSWER: Since the fall, no mere human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly, but consistently breaks it in thought, word, and deed.
If you worship with us at Christ the King, you may recognize some of the language in this week's question. You're probably thinking, "I've heard this before in church." And of course, you have. The Anglican General Confession, which we recited just this past Palm Sunday in service, reads:
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker and judge of us all: We acknowledge and repent of our many sins and offenses, which we have committed by thought, word, and deed, against your divine majesty, provoking most justly your righteous anger against us.
We are deeply sorry for these transgressions.
The burden of them is more than we can bear.
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may evermore serve and please you in newness of to the honor and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The reality of the Fall is central to Christianity, and we accordingly keep it central to our Anglican worship service. We know that despite our best efforts, we fail weekly--and even daily--to keep God's law, both in our outward actions and in our inward dispositions. The need for confession and forgiveness is a constant reality of the human condition. And it is a reality that seems rather depressing--or at least it would be were it not for the further reality that there is One who was able to keep the law of God perfectly, the One whose Passion we remember this Friday and whose glorious bodily resurrection we celebrate this Easter Sunday.
Christ obeyed the Father's will perfectly; as Paul writes, he became "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." When we understand ourselves, and the reality of our own fallenness, the promise of Christ's faithfulness to His Father and to us becomes all the more central to our lives. We need Him--without Him we are left with our catalog of failures and inadequacies, of disappointments and limitations. This Holy Week, as we remember our fallenness, our lack and our need, let us also remember of the glorious gift of forgiveness and grace that we receive through faith in Christ.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.