"By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be Justified..." Rom 3:20.
The apostle Paul is simply stating a fact that every Jew of his day would have realized, and that so few people today, Jew and Gentile alike, are unaware of, and that is, if someone “INTENTIONALLY” violated the heavenly Father’s Law, that is the Law that He gave to Moses at Mount Sinai, there was - nothing - that person could ever do to be forgiven.
Allow me to explain. According to the Torah, that is the Law that Yahuweh gave to all of Israel at Mount Sinai, if someone sinned “unintentionally” (or accidentally, in ignorance) by violating that Law, they could and would be forgiven for that sin by offering up a sacrifice.
Lev 4:13-20: If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally…. they shall offer up a sacrifice…“and they shall be forgiven.”
Lev 4:22-26: If the leader sins unintentionally… he shall offer up the sacrifice…. “and he shall be forgiven”
Lev 4:27-31: if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally… he shall offer up the sacrifice… “and he will be forgiven” (Lev 4:31)
(See also Numbers 15:22-25, 27-28)
But if someone sinned "intentionally" in violating that Law by committing a sin unto death there was nothing that person could do in order to be reconciled back to the Father, that person was completely and utterly cut off among Yahuweh’s people, Israel.
Num 15:29 'You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them.
Num 15:30 'But the person who does anything defiantly, intentionally, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming Yahuweh; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.
Num 15:31 'Because he has despised the word of Yahuweh and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.'"
Many sins contained in the Law carried the death sentence of which there was no forgiveness for. Anyone who “intentionally” sinned a sin unto death was completely and utterly cut off from among Yahuweh’s people, with no hope of ever being reconciled back (Num:15:30-31). Such sins as:
For instance, if someone intentionally violated the 4th commandment, the Sabbath Day, by working on that day (Exo 20:8-11) that person was to be put to death, with no hope of forgiveness (Exo 31:14-16),
If someone cursed their father or mother they were to be put to death, with no hope of forgiveness (Lev 20:9),
If someone blasphemed the Name of the heavenly Father Yahuweh that person was to be put to death, with no hope of forgiveness (Exo 20:8; Lev 24:16)
If a person was caught in the act of violating the Law intentionally, that is committing a sin unto death, they would have been immediately put to death (Ex 31:15-17; Deut 28:15, etc), that person was completely cut off from among Yahuweh's people Israel (Num 15:29-36; Rom 6:23). And according to the Law there was absolutely NOTHING that person could do to be forgiven. The penalty wasn’t an animal sacrifice, it was death.
We're told numerous times throughout the Scriptures that all men have intentionally sinned (Psa 130:3; Psa 143:2; Ecc 7:20; Rom 3:23) at least once in the course of their lives, meaning all men (mankind) are under the death sentence. And as we read above according to the Law they could never be justified (Num 15:30-31). No matter how perfectly they obeyed the Law after committing an intentional sin it was impossible, according to the Law, to ever be forgiven. In other words “"by the deeds of the Law (no matter how perfectly someone obeyed it) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Rom 3:20; Num 15:29-31).
Since there was no possibility of forgiveness under the Law for a sin committed intentionally all a person could do who was under the sentence of death was to live righteously in obeying the commandments (Deut 6:25; 1 John 3:5-10) and trusting that the heavenly Father Yahuweh would make a way for that person, you and I, to be reconciled back to Him, for the sins we committed unto death. In other words, all any person could do was to “live by faith" (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 2:20 etc), trusting Yahuweh would make that Way “outside the Law“ for us to be reconciled back to him. And he made that way.
Yahuweh sent his only begotten Son, the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, who we know today as Yahoshua the Messiah, into the world to die for the sins of His People Israel, and those that would join themselves to Israel (Rom 9:1-4; Rom 11:16-25; Eph 2:11-13). He died to justify us from that which we could not be justified from according to the Law. And that is exactly the message the apostles preach throughout their ministries -
Act 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man Yahoshua is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
Act 13:39 And through him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Yahoshua the Messiah fulfilled the 'requirement of the Law,' that being death, on our behalf (Rom 8:3-4). That is those of us who “died to ourselves” (Matt 10:38; Mar 8:34; Luke 9:23) and allow the Savior to live his life in us and through us (Gal 2:20; 1 Pet 4:1-2; 1 John 3:4-6)
Can you imagine the horror of standing in front of the Messiah on that final day (Act 17:30-31) and hearing the sentence of death pronounce against you (Matt 7:23), before being thrown in to the 'Lake of Fire?' Can the 'Death' sentence be turned aside? Can anyone argue, as I'm sure some would try to if they were able, to 'justify' themselves by weighting their 'good' deeds against their sins? Would our obeying the Law perfectly for the rest of our lives have canceled out the sins that we committed? Paul answers that question in a language that would be hard to misunderstand:
"Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Rom 3:20; Num 15:29-31).
Since we can not be justified by the Law does that mean we no longer have to obey the Law? Absolutely not! Paul tells us that "we establish the Law through faith - Roman 3:31.
Consider the following example:
Let's say that a man is found guilty of stealing and he's sentenced to ten years in prison, he can indeed be justify by serving out his time. After serving his 10 year sentence he would have fulfilled his obligation and would be completely 'justified' under the Law. In the same manner a murderer given a fifty year sentence could be justified "under the Law" by serving his fifty years. But suppose that instead of fifty years the sentence was death. Can the prisoner 'justify' himself by serving time? Would fifty years of being a 'model' prisoner 'justify' him under the Law? NEVER! If he worked a 100 years at hard labor it wouldn't matter, the sentence wasn't 10, 50 or 100 years the sentence is DEATH.
And as we've seen above the same is true according to the Torah, Yahuweh's Law. The wages of sin, is not 5, 10, 15, or even a life time of good works, the "wages of sin is DEATH." (Num 15:29-31). This is why a sinner can never be 'saved' by the 'works of the Law.'
"...that soul shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity (sin) shall be upon him" (Num 15:29-31).
Since no one could not be justified by the deeds of the Law all a person could do was to live by faith, trusting that Yahuweh would make a way. And he did make that way. He sent His first born, his only begotten Son, Yahoshua our Messiah, into the world to suffer and die for that which we could not be justified for according to the Law.
Act 13:38 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
Act 13:39 and through Him everyone who believes is justified from all things, from which you could not be justified through the Law of Moses.
It was the Messiah Yahoshua that fulfilled the requirement of the Law on behalf of all those would surrender their lives to him:
Rom 8:3-4, "For what the Law could not do (that is 'justify' us from intentional sin) Yahuweh did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. That the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Who no longer walk after the flesh but according to the spirit."
Romans 8:6-7 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of Yahuweh, for it is not even able to do so,
You see the heavenly Father Yahuweh had two choices in doing away with sin.
1) He could have eliminated sin by doing away with His Law (1 John 3:4; Rom 4:15) OR
2) Yahuweh could have sent His only begotten Son in to the world to be mocked, spit at, tortured by being beaten with a whip made of broken glass and bone, by having his beard plucked from His face, thorns driven into His head, and finally left hanging naked on a tree to die, to pay the penalty for the times that you and I violated the Father's Law - that is when we "sinned." Rather then doing away with His Law, The Father chose the latter, and His Son paid the price, so that the Father's Law might stand.
Think it through for a moment. Yahoshua die for sin, that is the times we violated the Law (1 John 3:4). Sin demanded the death sentence. If the law could have been annulled then the penalty of sin would have been done away with as well.
"For where there is no law, there is no transgression (sin)." Rom 4:15
But so strong was the authority of the unchangeable law that Yahuweh Himself would not abolish it, not even to save His own Son. It cost something to uphold the Law and pay the maximum penalty. No one will ever know how much it cost the Heavenly Father in having to watch His Son suffer and die in order to redeem those that would come to him. But how thankful we should be that His love was as perfect as his justice. The Savior in his own body bore the penalty of sin in order to fulfill the requirement of the Law, that is the death sentence we were all under. That's if we turn from our sins by stop violating God's Law and allow the Messiah to live his life in us. (Gal 2:20; Gal 6:7; 1 Joh 2:6).
In all the universe the heavenly Father, Yahuweh, could not have displayed a more convincing and irrefutable argument in favor of His Law. Many today fail to understand that the Law is a reflection of His holiness and righteousness, and it will never be done away with.
In conclusion let me say that the heaven Father Yahuweh, who we’re told does not change (Mal 3:6) “did not” change His mind concerning His perfect holy and just Law (Rom 7:12).
Friend if you have been misled in to thinking that God's Law no longer has to be obeyed 'wake up'. It's not to late "for you to change your mind" because "Yahuweh is not changing His"
If anyone has any questions as to something I've said here, or if you feel I've overlooked something, please let me know and I'll be sure to included it in an updated article. Or if someone has any questions concerning the feast days (Lev 23; Deut 16), food laws (Lev 11; Deut 14), the Sabbath day (Exo 20:8-11; Deut 5:12-14), or passages that people often times misunderstand such as Romans 14:5, Act 10:9-17 - Peter's vision on the roof, please ask. If I don't already have an article posted on the site I will type one up and list it with the others.
In the Hard Sayings of Paul Part 3 we'll take a look at the "New" Testament and the Law. I think many will be surprised to learn what the "New" Testament says concerning the Law.
May Yahuweh bless the honest heart that is seeking to serve Him in spirit and "truth".