Grace means that God does something for me; the law means that I do something for God. God has certain holy and righteous demands which he places on me; that is law. Now if law means that God requires something of me for their fulfillment then deliverance from law means that he no longer requires that from me, but he provides it. Deliverance from law implies he exempts me from doing it and that in grace he does it himself.
Now looking at Romans 7 we find that the trouble is that man in the flesh tried to do something for God. As soon as you try to please God in that way, then you place yourself under law, and the experience of Romans 7 begins to be yours. When I say the experience of Romans 7
I mean like Paul said “the good I want to do I don’t and the thing I don’t want to do is what I do.” You see when we step out and think we can please God in our own strength we place ourselves under the Law and the only result is failure and death.
The Law is not at fault. It is holy, just and good. The problem is us we have no ability to perform it. Romans 3:20 tells us the Law is what brings the knowledge of sin. Sin is only recognized once we try to obey the law. A sinner is a sinner without the law, but trying to obey it is what makes it known to us.
There is a story I once heard about a clumsy servant. If he just sits still and does nothing, then his clumsiness doesn’t appear. If he does nothing all day he will be of little use to you, it is true, but at least he will do no damage that way. But if you say to him; “Now come along, don’t idle away your time; get up and do something,” then immediately the trouble begins. He knocks the chair over as he gets up, stumbles over a footstool a few paces further on, then smashes some precious dish as soon as he handles it. If you make no demands upon him his clumsiness is never noticed, but as soon as you ask him to do anything his awkwardness is apparent at once. The demands were all right, but the man was all wrong. He was as clumsy a man when he was sitting still as when he was working, but it was your demands that made manifest the clumsiness which, whether he was active or inactive, was all the time in his make-up.
We are all clumsy sinners by nature. If God never demanded anything of us while God would know our clumsy sinnerness we wouldn’t. It is only when he makes commands of us that we become aware of it. So the law or commands of God are good because it is the means in which God reveals to us our inability to independently perform up to his standard.
Taken from Watchman Nee “The Normal Christian Life”