The scribe knew from the Scriptures that the first commandment was to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind. But he did know that this could not be done without the Holy Spirit. And he did not know the Christ who bestows that Spirit.
How can the human heart love God while it knows that He is terribly angry and is oppressing us with earthly and endless distress? The Law always accuses us. It always shows that God is angry. God is not loved until we receive mercy through faith. Then He becomes someone we love.
Civil works (i.e., the outward works of the Law) can be done in some measure, without Christ and without the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, it seems that what belongs only to the divine Law (i.e., the heart's affections toward God), commanded in the First Table, cannot be done without the Holy Spirit. But our adversaries focus on the Second Table and political works. They don't care about the First Table. They act as though the First Table were of no matter. They require only outward fulfillment of the Law. They do not consider the Law that is eternal and placed far above the sense and intellect of all creatures. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart."
Christ was given, that forgiveness of sins might be bestowed on us. He was given so that the Holy Spirit might bring forth in us new and eternal life and righteousness. The Law cannot be kept unless the Holy Spirit is received through faith. Paul says that the Law is established through faith, and not made useless, because the Law can only be kept when the Holy Spirit is given. (paragraphs 7-11)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.