Q. God says that I deserve eternal punishment for not being perfect, even though I couldn’t have been perfect in the first place! How can I be held morally accountable for not living up to a standard that I couldn’t have lived up to even if I wanted to and tried my very hardest to?
A. God did not arbitrarily choose the Laws to which He holds us accountable. These are standards His righteousness requires in order for us to stand in His presence and survive. He never expected that man would be able to live up to His laws. Their purpose was to make us aware of our inability to do so. Paul wrote, “Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law. Rather, through the Law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20).
And right from the beginning, God promised to provided a remedy for us. A redeemer would pay the penalty for our violations of His laws (1 Peter 1:18-20), which are called sins. At a time of God’s choosing He would send His Son to die, and His death would be a once-for-all-time sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:12-14).
Those who lived before the appointed time could have their sins set aside by sacrificing an innocent lamb when they sinned as long as they believed the Redeemer would eventually come and die for them. We who live after the appointed time have only to believe that the Redeemer did come and has died for us.
Therefore man is not condemned for his failure to obey the law, which no one can do, but for his failure to accept God’s remedy, which any one can do (Romans 3:21-24).
When the disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:26-27).