“But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” (Gal. 3:12)
Paul is quoting from Lev. 18:5 and he does the same thing in his letter to the Roman church (10:5). He explains what he means a little clearer in the Roman letter. “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says…” (verses 5 and 6).
The law requires works, which includes absolute obedience to every aspect of the law. There were sacrifices that continually stood for disobedience but they did not nor could they have eternal consequences. God made it clear that it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin in the eternal sense. The blood of the perfect lamb, Jesus the Messiah, was the only acceptable gift for eternal atonement. To have that blood apply to an individual the individual had to believe in Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice. Once that was done, the blood of Jesus made the sinner believer clean. Thus, the sinner’s new-found righteousness came about as a result of believing and acting on the good news that God was reconciling men to Himself through His Son.
The law did not offer faith because it was based on keeping the commandments of the law and relying on its sacrifices. Under the law, believing was not the answer in and of itself. Obedience was necessary and obedience was very difficult to come by. This was made impossible by creating the breaking of one law equivalent to breaking the entire law. The law did not contain the grace that the gospel did. The law did not provide the means of faith in Jesus as the gospel did. No, the law was alone in its covenant requirement and it was hard and difficult. All men who sought God through the law were destined to fall short of His glory.
Task for Today: There is no faith in works unless the works are the product of faith. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not try to find your own way. He has your salvation in His hand and gives it freely through His Son. Live by faith and God will count it as righteousness to you.