Author Greg Koukl
Published on 11/13/2017

Does God’s Law Demand Perfection?

Greg discusses the standard of God’s law.


There is a big problem that frustrates a lot of people when it comes to God and His demands on us, His law. And that is, it seems from what Christians say that God’s law demands perfection, and that’s just a little bit much. But I’m gunna let you in on a little secret: Every law demands perfection.

Okay, so we live in a community with laws, right? Tell me which law in our community that we can legally and properly violate with impunity without any expectation of legal recourse against us? Okay? Now sometimes the laws are not always enforced consistently, but that we figure, well we got away with that. But notice I said, “we got away with it.” Because we realize we should have gotten the penalty, probably, for what we did wrong, but we were able to slip through. The cop didn’t catch me, I was speeding, whatever happens to be, all right? There is no law that says, there is no system of law that says, okay, if you keep most of them or you keep more than you break, you’re okay.

So I got caught speeding once, right? And I couldn’t have said to the police officer when I was speeding on the freeway, “Well, you know what, you got me dead to rights, but before I got on the freeway, I stopped at four different stop signs like, not a California rolling stop but a solid, complete, no motion stop. So I kept those laws, so therefore you ought to be a little lenient on this one.” It doesn’t work that way, right? You’re not gonna keep the laws for five years and then get a letter from the district attorney and he says, “Man I noticed that you haven’t broken any laws. Why don’t you knock off a few gas stations on us. There’s credit in your account,” right? Doesn’t work that way, and it doesn’t work that way with God either.

So in James chapter 2 verse 10 it says any person who’s broken one law has broken the whole law. And the point is is that if you break one part of the law you’re a law breaker, whatever part it is. Let’s say you commit murder, you’re a law breaker. Oh, you don’t commit murder, good for you. You commit adultery, you’re still a law breaker. Or whatever it is. And it turns out if you go down the major ten we pretty much broken every single one of them on a regular basis. We are guilty before God. Even if the law is lenient, it still turns out we’re in tough shape, and this is why we need a rescuer. This is precisely why we need a rescuer.

You know, Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount, really quickly, gives all these different variations—they say, I say, they say, I say, they say, I say, and so you look at the law and say, I can keep that. He said no you can’t because look it, here’s another detail. And then He ends that section with you are to be perfect as my Father is perfect. Perfect? Yep, that’s what the law requires. Well nobody can do that. Right. Which means what? You need a rescuer. That’s the point. That’s the whole point. The law, like a teacher, drives us to Jesus, and we look at ourselves, and we realize how bad we really are. And we ask God for forgiveness. We beat our breast. We bend our knee. We say, “God have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus have mercy on me.”