19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being  will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
(Romans 3:18-20 (ESV)
I’m just going to leave you with a little Bo Giertz this morning on this topic. It’s from his commentary on Romans that I have been translating.
“Yet, Paul has another argument at hand for those who want to say: this doesn’t apply to me. That is precisely what it does, he says. The demands of the law apply to everyone who hears them, all of them who have received the law and learned to know it. And at the very end, Paul gives a classic formulation of the law’s task and says something that has been just as surprising and shocking for people across the ages. The usual conceptions is that the law speaks so that we shall be good and righteous people and in this way come to God. People used to believe that if they seriously obeyed God and listened to him, then it must mean that they will become better and better. But the result is the opposite. In their own eyes they are the same. They see more and more wrong with themselves. They notice that there is much more missing than they had anticipated, and the law demands more than they can provide. And it is precisely this meaning, Paul says. Every mouth that excused himself, or bragged about this or that good property shall be stopped, and we all shall stand there in our guilt. “For by works of the law, no man is justified before God.” Good works of the law are precisely those works which the law demands, first and foremost love. No one is finished with these deeds. To be righteous means to be finished with all that God demands. And “no flesh” has done this, Paul says and means: no created being, not a single man. What the law accomplishes is that it lets us see our sin, and our guilt before God.”