Now, Paul moves from the way of righteousness to the way of relationship. That is where he wanted his people, Israel, to come. He wanted them to come to a relationship with the Living God. They needed to consider Christ. Look at what he says here,
Moses describes it this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” (Romans 10:5)
Here is the problem with the Law. If you are going to base your salvation on keeping the Law, then you are applying to yourself a standard by which you will ultimately be judged and found wanting. That is what Paul meant here. If you practice the righteousness based on the Law, then you are obligated to live or die by that righteousness. You will be judged by how perfectly you kept the Law. However, the judgment is based on whether you kept it in its entirety without failing in any one point. It only takes one sin to be a sinner. Are you a lawbreaker if you break even one law? Yes. In addition, when you stand before Almighty God and present your case, if you are a lawbreaker, you stand condemned. Only Jesus Christ kept the Law perfectly, and the standard is perfection. That is the problem with Law.
Let me try illustrate this if I can. Let’s say you live in a State that allows you to “Turn Right on Red.” However, the municipalities can post “No Turn on Red” signs wherever they determine the interception is too dangerous to allow people to turn on red. Maybe it is a “tricky” intersection where the traffic comes from awkward locations, or for whatever they determine it would be too unsafe for people to turn right on a red light. Now, let’s pretend it is 4:00 in the morning and you are sitting at a red light where such a sign is posted.
You look to the left; to the right; look in your rear-view mirror and even down the road in every direction, and do not see nary a soul in the road. If you turn right, are you breaking the Law? Yes.
Now, the letter–of-the-law was indeed violated. The sign clearly said, “No Turn on Red.” However, you did not violate the “spirit”-of-the-law, the Law’s “intention” and “purpose.” Does that confuse you? Okay, let’s further pretend a Police Officer saw what you did. Does he have the right to pull you over and give you a ticket? Yep. You violated a posted sign, and you are “guilty as charged.” However, what was the purpose of that sign? To protect you. Now were you in any danger at 4:00 in the morning? Probably not.
Now, let’s apply that to our dilemma with Grace and the Law. I have used this example before, but it fits very appropriately here. You see, the Law stands there and says, “Obey!” It then stands there with its arms folded, staring at you. However, Grace says, “Obey!” Then bends down and helps you. See the difference.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome