“The Letter Killeth”

  • Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 
  • II Corinthians 3:6 “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

Have you ever noticed how people react to law? If there is a law to put on a seat belt, many won’t put their seat belt on. If the law says you may drive no greater than 25 or 35 or 45 or 55 or 65 or 75, man will buck authority and drive faster. 

What is man’s problem with laws? In short, our flesh. Our flesh is the reason for our text saying, “for the letter killeth”. When your flesh sees a rule, it rebels and brings death (Rom. 6:23). Even if someone wants to do right, they can’t on their own. “All… come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and we are too weak to obey the “letter of the law”. 

  • Romans 8:3 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,”

What many in our New Testament era seem to forget when interpreting Proverbs 22:6 is that God’s promise in Pro. 22:6 is unattainable by ourselves. Do you realize that Proverbs 22:6 is written to parents and children who are human, imperfect, and sinful beings? Knowing man’s failures, how could God make such a promise in Proverbs 22:6 of properly trained children not departing from God’s way? “Impossible”, many answer! “I know too many examples that prove otherwise,” counter many more! But, dear friend, you are missing the point. Yes, Proverbs 22:6 and every command and/or promise of God is impossible throughout Scripture if it depends upon us. Alone in our weak, sinful, selfish, proud flesh, “the letter killeth”. 

One big reason why so many children turn away from their parents’ godly teaching and training is that the letter alone killeth. Parents, teachers, and preachers can harp all we want on what is right and what is wrong, but the letter alone killeth. We can even read, study, memorize, and quote multiple Bible verses, but you must remember that “the letter killeth.” Mom and Dad, you need more than words. Christian, the Bible alone will not do. Believe you me, the Scriptures/the law is extremely powerful, but the problem is “that it was weak through the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Our flesh and parents’ flesh and our children’s flesh cannot make it alone. (Victory is just an article away! For more, view the next articles “The Spirit Giveth Life” and “The Nail in the Coffin (Grace)”.)