What is this standard that God has set before us that cannot meet? Of course it is the Ten Commandments. These were written on stone tablets by the finger of the Almighty and given to Moses for the tribe of Israel. Now, because we are impatient and totally disrespectful, and not to mention short-sighted, the nation of Israel formed a golden calf and began to worship it and throw a huge party at the bottom of the mountain. I mean, can Aaron’s explanation of the golden calf be more ridiculous: “I threw the gold in the fire and out came the golden calf.” Remarkable. I’m sure I have used a similar excuse about fornication. “I don’t know what happened. We were in her apartment and next thing I knew we were naked and fornicating.”
Now Paul explains the purpose of the Ten Commandments. There were not meant for us to be able to keep. It is not possible. The Law was meant to show us how deficient we are before God. We cannot keep His Law. The Law exposes us and shows us how much we commit sin. We may not always physically commit a sin but more often than not we are committing sin in our hearts and minds. This is where the Pharisees failed to see a distinction, and Jesus called them on their failure over and over again. The Law is good because anything that comes from God can only be good. It is us who are not good. And we cannot be truly good without the influence of God within us.
We can never be good enough on our own before God’s standard. We can pile up lots of good works but we will build a pile big enough to meet God’s standard. And this is a standard that has to be kept 24/7/365.25. We would never be able to slack for a second. That would be exhausting. This is why we need to trust in Jesus, the only One in history who was able to keep 100% of the law, and He did it so that we could be vicariously perfect before His Father.