Romans 4:13-15 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
Paul is explaining to the Roman Christians that seeking to be righteous by works of the Law, that is, living Jewishly by observing special days, eating certain foods, and keeping social laws, will not happen. Why? Keeping the works of the Law nullifies faith and voids the promise of God (Romans 4:14). Keeping the works of the Law will not bring righteousness because no person can keep all the Law. If a person breaks the law at one point, then he has broken the entire Law (Romans 3:23; James 2:10). A person trying to be righteous by doing works of the Law will only experience God’s wrath (Romans 4:15a).
Paul writes to Timothy, the pastor of the Ephesian church, that “the Law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8). The Law is good when used to set forth the standard of God and convict people of their sin (Romans 4:15b; 1 Timothy 1:9-11). Listen to Paul’s teaching in Romans 7:7 “…If it had not been for the Law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’” The Law reveals our sin, just as dusting powder reveals fingerprints or litmus paper reveals acid. The Law is powerless to make us righteous, but powerful to convict us of our sin and need for Jesus who saves us from our sin.
Jesus kept the entire Law without sin. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sin when He died on the cross. Peter tells us what Jesus did for unrighteous people in 1Peter 3:18, “For Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God, being put to death in the body, but made alive by the Spirit” (That is, raised from the dead. Some translations refer to “in the spirit”, but the context makes it plain that “by the Spirit” is the correct translation). When we believe that Jesus died on the cross for us, rose from the dead on the third day and is Lord, then we are pardoned from our sin. Have you believed? Or are you trying to live a good life to receive eternal life? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved from the penalty and power of sin.