In line with the recent assault on the idea of the Covenant of Works, and the biblical idea that the Law has the innate potentiality to save (not that it can save or was meant to save), here is an article by Wayne Grudem from his Systematic Theology on the issue of the Covenant of Works
Is the covenant of works still in force? In several important senses it is. First of all, Paul implies that perfect obedience to God’s laws, if it were possible, would lead to life (see Rom. 7:10; 10:5; Gal. 3:12). We should also notice that the punishment for this covenant is still in effect, for “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). This implies that the covenant of works is still in force for every human being apart from Christ, even though no sinful human being can fulfill its provisions and gain blessing by it. Finally, we should note that Christ perfectly obeyed the covenant of works for us since he committed no sin (1 Peter 2:22) but completely obeyed God on our behalf (Rom. 5:18–19).
On the other hand, in certain senses, the covenant of works does not remain in force: (1) We no longer are faced with the specific command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (2) Since we all have a sinful nature (both Christians and non-Christians), we are not able to fulfill the provisions of the covenant of works on our own and receive its benefits—as this covenant applies to people directly, it only brings punishments. (3) For Christians, Christ has fulfilled the provisions of this covenant successfully once for all, and we gain the benefits of it not by actual obedience on our part but by trusting in the merits of Christ’s work. In fact, for Christians today to think of themselves as obligated to try to earn God’s favor by obedience would be to cut themselves off from the hope of salvation. “All who rely on works of the law are under a curse....Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law (Gal. 3:10–11). Christians have been freed from the covenant of works by virtue of Christ’s work and their inclusion in the new covenant, the covenant of grace.