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Did Moses Think Sinners Could Keep the Law? // Ask Pastor John

A video published by Desiring God on June 29th, 2020

The Mosaic law requires obedience over and over again. Does that mean old-covenant believers earned their way to a right standing with God? Today we have a question from a listener named Max, who asks about whether or not Old Testament saints were under the impression that the Mosaic law was achievable by a sinner. “Dear Pastor John, I have been reading Deuteronomy, and 30:11–14 caught my attention. It states that the commandments in the Book of the Law are ‘not too hard for you.’ Thus, because obedience is attainable, they were forbidden from asking: ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us?’ ( Deuteronomy 30:12 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? ). That’s as anti-Christological as it gets. But I’m also aware that Paul uses this passage in Romans 10:6 6 But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:) –8 to explain righteousness based on faith. Based on the context of the beginning of Romans 10 Chapter 10 1 Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:) 7 or, Who shall descend into the abyss? (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: 9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus `as' Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same `Lord' is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: 13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So belief `cometh' of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18 But I say, Did they not hear? Yea, verily, Their sound went out into all the earth, And their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, With a nation void of understanding will I anger you. 20 And Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I became manifest unto them that asked not of me. 21 But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. , I am curious of your thoughts regarding whether God in chapter 30 of Deuteronomy was giving the Israelites the notion that their righteousness would be based on faith, or that following the commands of God perfectly was actually achievable, so achievable a savior wasn’t needed.” Pastor John, how would you solve this conundrum for Max? Read or listen to this interview at our website: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/did-moses-think-sinners-could-keep-the-law Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes: https://www.desiringgod.org/ask-pastor-john

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