I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
We are to be holy as God is holy. We should desire to follow the law because it pleases God. We should want to obey because obedience is a way of showing our love for the Lord. And we should want to obey God because sin hurts our relationship with God.
We should not obey the law of God because we believe that we are better people because of it however. This was the major problem of the Pharisees. They believed that they were righteous because they followed the law. They compared themselves to others and saw that they were better people.
Instead of seeing the sin in their lives – even if it truly was less sin than the average person – they were blinded by their own perceived self righteousness. Being a better person than someone else isn’t good enough if our sin is still unforgiven.
We should obey God out of love, not because it is what we’re supposed to do. The Pharisees obeyed because they thought it was what they were supposed to do, not because they actually wanted to do it.
If we were capable of being righteous on our own, Jesus didn’t have to die. In claiming to have upheld the law, the Pharisees and others like them claimed that Jesus wasted His time and His life. We need Jesus because we can’t keep the law. But we continue to try to keep the law not out of duty but of love for God.