because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.Romans 3:20(NASB)
For over two chapters, Paul has been laying the logical foundation that the whole world stands guilty before a holy God: "For there is none righteous, - not even one," for all have gone astray, all are under condemnation, all are deserving of death, and all are in need of salvation.
The Gentiles refused to acknowledge the Lord despite the glorious testimony of His magnificent creation and in spite of the inner witness of their own God-given consciences, for man was created with a mind to think, a free-will to choose, and a conscience with which to inform his decisions.
And despite the advantage of being God's chosen witnesses on earth to spread God's blessings to all humanity; despite being those who were entrusted with the holy Scripture and the vehicle through whom the Redeemer was to be born, God's chosen people, Israel, were also incapable of being made righteous through their own human efforts.
The God-given Mosaic Law was not equipped to MAKE people righteous, but only to identify their unrighteousness and offensiveness to God. The perfect Law was not given to justify a person, but to produce an awareness of sin. Neither the Mosaic Law nor any principle of law could ever render a sinner righteous, but only emphasise their desperate need of a Saviour.
Jew and Gentile alike have equal need of a Redeemer, for no one can be justified or made righteous before a holy God through his own effort, good works, human merit, or by attempting to keep any form of law. The Law was given to produce a consciousness of one's own sin and not one's own righteousness!
For no person will be justified and made righteous by law. Neither can one's sins be acquitted nor can one be judged acceptable in God's sight by observing works that have been prescribed by the Law. The real function of the Law is to make men recognise their faults and come to an understanding of the nature of sin and its dire consequences. The function of the Law is to point us to Christ, which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character.
Heavenly Father, for too long I have striven to make myself righteous in my own eyes through my own merit. I have been attempting to do my own good works and have been trying to keep the commandments in my own strength. But I recognise that there is nothing that I can do to make myself pleasing in Your sight, except in and through the life of Christ dwelling in me. Thank You that in Christ, I am justified, redeemed, and clothed in His righteousness. Help me, I pray, to live as You intended me to live, in utter dependence on You and not on myself. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.