One reason for the negativity is that God is dealing with sinful human beings. We know how to do wrong! We were born with the knowledge of good and evil, as promised by the devil to Adam and Eve. One of my favorite illustrations of original sin is when a child becomes a toddler. If you have any doubts about the reality of sin, just find a two-year-old and spend some time reacquainting yourself with the 'terrible twos.' Human beings need correction throughout life, especially during the early years.
The law was intended to keep us from doing wrong, similar to a parent dealing with a two-year-old. Our propensity to sin is a reflection of our sinfulness and God's holiness. But behind each of the commandments is a positive principle, grounded in the person of Christ. For instance, "You shall not murder," is based on the principle of the sanctity of human life. He takes no delight in the destruction of a soul. His grace goes even further, "God is not willing that any should perish..."
Behind the principle stands the person of Jesus Christ, Who is Life. So the commandment is based on the principle and the principle is based on the person of Christ, which makes the law holy. The law is holy because it reflects the character of a holy God and our holiness only comes through a relationship with Him.
The law cannot change your heart or offer you salvation. If the law had been able to offer life, then it would have produced righteousness. (Galatians 3:21) The law was not able to offer righteousness, but it can lead to the One Who does offer righteousness; Jesus the Messiah. Once a person is saved, he has no need of an external law. The law is written on his heart and the Spirit of God governs his actions from within his heart.
- Dr. Darryl -