by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
It is high; thou canst not attain unto it!
Paul reminded his contemporaries that Moses in giving the law to the Jews had said, "The man which doeth those things shall live by them" (Romans 10:5). That may be translated thus: "Anyone who can perform it shall live by it." God ... had said, in effect, "If you keep all that, you will have followed my commandments. That is what I demand. That is the only way of pleasing me."
What is that way? Look at it. Consider it deeply...; consider what we should have to do. Can man atone for his own past sins and misdeeds? Can he blot out his own transgressions? Can he sharpen his conscience and cleanse his memory? More than these, can he live in the present in a manner that truly satisfies himself? Can he withstand temptation? ... Can he control his thoughts, his desires, inclinations, and imaginations as well as his every action? ... By his very greatest efforts can he, and does he, succeed in really living up to his own standard of life? Then consider God's standard. Read the law as given to the children of Israel, the Ten Commandments, and the moral law which St Paul, with all his zeal, could not keep when once he saw their true meaning. Then read the Sermon on the Mount and our Lord's various statements about the holiness of God. Then ponder His own perfect life. That is what we have to do....
Can any man do it? Can all the good intentions, and all the sincerity, and all the zeal of which anyone is capable ever provide sufficient power to scale such heights? That is the mount which we should have to climb&mddash;the mount of the holiness of God.... Is there anyone who is capable of producing such holiness? Is the power in the little engine of our life sufficient to take us to such a height? Ask St Paul. Ask Augustine, Luther, John Wesley. Ask all the noblest souls that the world has ever seen...; with one accord they answer saying, "Not the labors of my hands Can fulfill Thy law's demands...." And if they have failed, who are we to succeed? ... Our best, our all is not enough.
Truth Unchanged, Unchanging, pp. 68-70
Comments on D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, A First Book of Daily Readings
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