Impossible to Perfectly Keep the Law? No such excuse!

Ken Hamrick

Active member
It's often argued that 'Command does not imply ability;' and that God demands what is impossible for men. I find no such excuse in Scripture. The reason no man perfectly keeps the law is because no man wants to, and not because no man can. One Man wanted to and did (Jesus, of course). Perfection seems an easy objection, since who can be perfect? But perfection in this case is simply the total number of compliant acts and dispositions taken together, but made up of one individual decision after another. I challenge you to point out any single act, decision or momentary disposition in which you sinned but the sinning was not your willful choice in the matter or that your will was coerced and could not choose the right. I want to illustrate the difference between a natural and a moral inability, and that the latter provides no excuse.
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
This is not how Scripture illustrates our sin problem.

It says those in the flesh cannot please God, it is an impossibility. It says no one seeks after God, all inclusive. It says it is the evil living within that is sinning even when we wish to do the good. It says that by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified, an impossibility. None of that is deliberate acts of the will. There are sins that are deliberate acts of the will, but not all are, every second we don't love God perfectly.

The wicked go astray from the womb; they err as soon as they are born, speaking lies. (Psa 58:3 DBY)

The problem with the view that perfection is possible is that is based on a foundation of self-righteousness, and this is everywhere condemned in Scripture. If you propose people are inherently good, you violate the meaning of the work Jesus did on the Cross to put away the old nature, and you make the work of the Cross just a "touch up" to works salvation, instead of a completely new covenant of grace.

God bless and I hope and pray all see these things.
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
The reason that those in the flesh--in the sinful flesh-focused nature from Adam--cannot please God is because their hearts are evil, lacking the will to do rightly. No flesh--no humans derived from Adam and dwelling in his sinful nature--shall be justified by the works of the law because no flesh has the unrelenting will in their heart to do so. Sinful men have sinful wills and none with a sinful will can keep the law. Why can a sinful will not keep the Law? Because it does not will to do so. If not all sins are deliberate acts, then they are a failure of the will to deliberately act toward the right. Every sin is a moral failure of the will, and the only reason for any sin is the failure of our hearts in that moment to will what is right. As for sinning even when we wish to do the good, we would not sin if we wanted to do the good with all our hearts. The evil that is with us and prevents us is the evil in our own hearts and wills and not an external will forced upon us. It is we who will to do right or wrong; and while we may explain our failures in terms of inabilities and impossibilities, these are only true in the figurative sense of describing the certain outcome of a sinful will. Nothing but a sinful unwillingness stands in the way of our willing the right.
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
Nothing but a sinful unwillingness stands in the way of our willing the right.

This denies the sin nature. If there is no good thing in our flesh, our old man, our body of sin, then it can't do good. If we are by nature children of wrath, then it is the nature that brings the wrath. To have a sin nature—to be inherently inclined to the evil—is a sin in and of itself, before any deed has been done, because to be sentient is to have a spiritual attitude, and this will include a lack of perfect love and belief in God.

Romans 7 ends with "I thank my God through Jesus Christ," and not thanking his willpower.

This emphasis on willpower is nothing but legalism and will put a believer in the terrible bondage of always thinking they can do a little better if they try a little harder, plus it denies the Cross was necessary because it posits another method of salvation, perfection through self-works.

Through the law is the power of sin, and this is nothing but law.

For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

(Gal 3:21-22 NKJ)

Peace in Christ.
 
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ReverendRV

Well-known member
It's often argued that 'Command does not imply ability;' and that God demands what is impossible for men. I find no such excuse in Scripture. The reason no man perfectly keeps the law is because no man wants to, and not because no man can. One Man wanted to and did (Jesus, of course). Perfection seems an easy objection, since who can be perfect? But perfection in this case is simply the total number of compliant acts and dispositions taken together, but made up of one individual decision after another. I challenge you to point out any single act, decision or momentary disposition in which you sinned but the sinning was not your willful choice in the matter or that your will was coerced and could not choose the right. I want to illustrate the difference between a natural and a moral inability, and that the latter provides no excuse.
We always follow our strongest desire at any given moment Ken. I use this Tenet against Secularists who believe in the Many Worlds Theory; they use the example of the "Cosmic Cheeseburger". You want a Cheeseburger but decide for Pizza instead; so you meet your future wife at the Pizza Parlor. They say that two Realities are formed because of different desires; and so on, and so on, etc. But since we always follow our strongest desire in every given situation, there can never, ever be a divergence; so the Many Worlds Theory, and Molinism, cannot be true. Thus because of Peer Pressure, we are coerced to Willfully not choose what is Right...
 
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ReverendRV

Well-known member
Ken Hamrick said:
Nothing but a sinful unwillingness stands in the way of our willing the right.
Just to support you a little, we certainly do have a Moral Inability. For you to be correct, I think you need to argue that our Moral Inability is the Lowest Common Denominator when it comes to our Inability; IE the Home Base, the Seat of our Inability. I don't think Moral Inability is the Lowest Common Denominator of Inability since the Totality of our Human Being is Depraved. Cognitively, we are Depraved too; right?

When you argue for Moral Inability, are you also arguing against Total Depravity?
 
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Ken Hamrick

Active member
Correlation is not causation. Merely because we always choose according to our strongest desire in any given moment does not establish that we cannot choose otherwise. Don't misunderstand me: I'm not arguing that anyone will choose against their strongest desire; rather, I'm arguing from the negative perspective of blame and excuse. More broadly, this has to do with what I mentioned in another thread: necessity v. certainty. Necessity says we cannot choose otherwise than our strongest desire; certainty says we can but will certainly not. This applies to many things. Can we act in a way that is not in accord with God's foreknowledge? Necessity says we can't; certainty says we can but certainly will not. Can the nonelect believe in Christ? Necessity says they cannot; certainty says they can but certainly will not. Can sinners understand the gospel? Necessity says they cannot--they are blind and deaf; certainty says they can but would not come even if they did--they are not literally blind but are rebelliously holding their hands over their eyes and stopping their own ears. Was it possible for Jesus to sin? Necessity says no; certainty says yes but He certainly would not. And to the point of this thread: can a man resist the temptation to sin, and do what is right in every particular moment? Necessity says no; certainty says yes he can but he will with certainty not do so. This is not the denial of the sin nature but the confirmation of it. Inclination is nothing if it does not involve the will.
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
Every man's conscience testifies to him in every point of conviction of sin that he could have and should have done otherwise. And the Bible supports this idea from cover to cover. Nowhere is sinfulness portrayed as a calamity and sinners helpless victims of a nature that they have no ability to act against. The Bible holds men accountable not only for what they do wrong, but for not doing what was right. The promise that with every temptation a way of escape will be provided was meant to be applied to every temptation, not only the ones successfully resisted.

I'll try to get back here tonight. Bye for now...
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
Correlation is not causation. Merely because we always choose according to our strongest desire in any given moment does not establish that we cannot choose otherwise. Don't misunderstand me: I'm not arguing that anyone will choose against their strongest desire; rather, I'm arguing from the negative perspective of blame and excuse. More broadly, this has to do with what I mentioned in another thread: necessity v. certainty. Necessity says we cannot choose otherwise than our strongest desire; certainty says we can but will certainly not. This applies to many things. Can we act in a way that is not in accord with God's foreknowledge? Necessity says we can't; certainty says we can but certainly will not. Can the nonelect believe in Christ? Necessity says they cannot; certainty says they can but certainly will not. Can sinners understand the gospel? Necessity says they cannot--they are blind and deaf; certainty says they can but would not come even if they did--they are not literally blind but are rebelliously holding their hands over their eyes and stopping their own ears. Was it possible for Jesus to sin? Necessity says no; certainty says yes but He certainly would not. And to the point of this thread: can a man resist the temptation to sin, and do what is right in every particular moment? Necessity says no; certainty says yes he can but he will with certainty not do so. This is not the denial of the sin nature but the confirmation of it. Inclination is nothing if it does not involve the will.
Well said...
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
Correlation... involve the will.

A bit of confused mumbo-jumbo in their with certainty and necessity.

Just because a person will choose a certain action does mean they could not have done otherwise, because potentiality will never be actuality by definition. Potentiality can be denied—this flattens out to determinism. But potentiality is not eliminated by actuality. The fact that I chose to write this post does not eliminate the potentially of a real and viable alternative I had—that is simply to deny the definition of autonomy.

Look again at the verse, if righteousness could come by any kind of law, this verse could not be written:

For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
(Gal 3:21-22 NKJ)


Any potentiality of a person keeping the law would allow the law at the very least to be a potential life-giver. The reason it is not, is because we are confined under sin, not because we cannot maintain a long series of potentially perfect actions like some circus balancing act.

Think of it another way. If you can have the ability to choose any single righteous act, all on your own steam, than that act in isolation will be no different than the cumulative potential of any number of righteous acts. Perfection would be an actual possibility, but it's not a possibility.

There is ONE who is GOOD.

One!
 

Ken Hamrick

Active member
Winman used to espouse the doctrine of "Hypothetical Perfection."

I never could convince him that billions of failures should really convince us...
Can you really not dizern that I'm not arguing that anyone will act perfectly, but rather, I'm arguing that we are so bad as to sin even when we do have a choice? I'll be back later...
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
Can you really not dizern that I'm not arguing that anyone will act perfectly, but rather, I'm arguing that we are so bad as to sin even when we do have a choice? I'll be back later...

The Bible says perfection IS NOT POSSIBLE. That is what is not being "dizerned" here.

The rest is philosopeak.
 

brightfame52

Well-known member
It's often argued that 'Command does not imply ability;' and that God demands what is impossible for men. I find no such excuse in Scripture. The reason no man perfectly keeps the law is because no man wants to, and not because no man can. One Man wanted to and did (Jesus, of course). Perfection seems an easy objection, since who can be perfect? But perfection in this case is simply the total number of compliant acts and dispositions taken together, but made up of one individual decision after another. I challenge you to point out any single act, decision or momentary disposition in which you sinned but the sinning was not your willful choice in the matter or that your will was coerced and could not choose the right. I want to illustrate the difference between a natural and a moral inability, and that the latter provides no excuse.
Man is spiritually dead by nature, and cannot please God, and cannot be subject to the law of God Rom 8:7-8

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
The reason no man perfectly keeps the law is because no man wants to, and not because no man can.
This is the fallacy of Begging the Question. The Pharisees of Jesus' day were notorious for their piety. He uses them as the standard of righteousness, and points out that unless one can exceed their righteousness, they cannot enter the kingdom. In other words, it's a given that one can keep the commandments, but even that's not good enough.
I challenge you to point out any single act, decision or momentary disposition in which you sinned but the sinning was not your willful choice in the matter
This verges on comical in spotlighting the profound ignorance of the fundamental distinction between intentional and unintentional sin presented in the Mosaic law. Moreover, sacrifice was never the remedy for intentional sin, but only for unintentional sin. The gospel writer boldly places Jesus upon the cross as he says, "Father forgive them for they known not what they do".

The examples are practically endless, but I'll provide you with a few. The bible gives the example of the axe coming loose from the handle and blinding someone else. This is an unintentional sin according to the bible. After the offender has provided the injured party with monetary restitution for the value of an eye for an eye, they may then offer a sacrifice.

In my old age, I'm becoming a bit feeble minded, and m reflexes are nowhere near what they used to be so as I was breaking up some boards to burn them, I noticed a nail protruding from the one I was about to break with my foot. The problem was that the message to stomp on the board with my foot had already left my brain, and the message from my eyes that there was a sharp nail underneath my descending foot was too far behind to abort the earlier message. I literally watched my foot stomp on that protruding nail, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it from happening. No one in their right mind would stomp on a nail with their foot. My ability and will were useless in preventing me from doing what I had absolutely no intention of doing in the first place.

A few years ago while running a chain saw, I stumbled and accidently gouged my knee requiring stitches. Technically this is a sin against myself, and God because it is a sin to mar one's body. Again, it was purely unintentional.

A few years before that, I was working with some other people, and one guy shoved a camper shell onto a utility trailer, and as he did it caused me to lose my balance and sharp shards of glass ripped through my arm requiring stitches.

People have accidents all the time. People make mistakes all the time, and none of them are willful. The bible clearly defines these acts as sin, and they are the only sinful acts that are remedied with sacrifice.

Intentional sin was NEVER remedied with sacrifice.

or that your will was coerced and could not choose the right.
As a child my will was coerced into going to church and profaning the Sabbath, and violating the dietary laws, My choice was to honor my parents by obeying them, or keep the Sabbath and dietary laws. I chose the former because I had no alternative.
I want to illustrate the difference between a natural and a moral inability, and that the latter provides no excuse.
I wish you the best of luck.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
The Bible says perfection IS NOT POSSIBLE. That is what is not being "dizerned" here.

The rest is philosopeak.
Perhaps it's a matter of translation, but my bible says, "Be perfect like your father in heaven is perfect". It also points out that God does not tempt anyone beyond what they're capable of resisting.
 
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