2. NOT UNDER THE LAW Now I think it is important for us to state here that, as Christians, we do not believe that we can be justified by the keeping of the law of God. The problem is not that there is something wrong with the law. The law is perfect. Keeping the law of God is doing good. The problem lies with us. Paul reminds us in Galatians 3, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” And James, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” So if we are trying to be justified by works, if we are trying to earn favor with God and get into heaven by doing the works of the law, we will fail if we break one commandment. You have heard people when they are asked why they should be allowed in heaven or if they are a good person say things like, “well, I’ve never murdered anyone,” or “I’ve never cheated on my boyfriend,” or “I always pay my taxes.” What are these people doing when they say this? They are appealing to the law. I don’t murder, I don’t commit adultery, I don’t lie. But if you are going to use keeping the law as your defense then you have to keep the law perfectly. Otherwise, you are under the curse of the law which is eternal death for the lawbreaker. Even before we get into the details of loving your neighbor a problem has arisen. If all I tell an unbeliever is that they must love their neighbor as their self, what have I just done? I’m telling them that they must keep the law of God, which of course they cannot do. Why would I tell an unbeliever they must keep a law they cannot keep and put themselves under a curse that will most certainly come upon them? Would it not make sense instead of encouraging unbelievers to love their neighbor, to explain to them that they cannot and have not loved their neighbor and therefore are doomed to eternity in hell? After all, isn’t that what the prophets and the New Testament writers do? They point people to their failures to keep the law and call them to cry out to God for mercy. Can I, as a saved Christian who is justified by grace through faith in Jesus, tell another Christian that they must love their neighbor as themselves. Yes. Loving your neighbor is good and holy. It is what Christians desire to do. We do it out of our love for our Heavenly Father and out of genuine love for our neighbor. We understand that we will always fail at loving our neighbor until we are made perfect in the presence of Jesus. But that doesn’t stop us from growing and maturing and desiring more of the good things of God. We ought to encourage our fellow believers in doing good. Keeping the moral law of God is good.