The Law in Romans 7O, how I love Paul! A little (very much!) philosophical, but so clear if you think a through!
I want to talk to you about how I understand Romans 7. A conquest! Paul is explaining it beautifully …
Verse by verse I give you text in purple and then my understanding in black.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid.
Don't be stupid! Law is not synonymous to Sin; the two are totally not the same (if law were sin, than it should be abolished ASAP!)
Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law:
On the contrary, I would not have known what sin was, if there was no law to tell me that.
for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
For instance, I would not have know what it means not to covet, if there was no law to tell me that I should not covet
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
But through the command – thy shall not covet – I became aware of all sorts of things to be coveted, and by that I understand now that without the law sin is dead; that is, there would be no awareness of sin.
9 For I was alive without the law once:
In the past I lived a life without the law, and because of that I didn’t know sin: that is, I didn’t understand that I was sinning;
but when the commandment came, sin revived,
When I began to understand the commandment, sin began to live; that is, more and more I began to recognize sin around and within me
and I died.
But by that I began to die; that is, my old me began to die, because I was sinning less and less.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
And the commandment, which was ordained to give me life; that is, holy life, became my dead instead; that is, the dead of my sinful nature.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Because sin has, through the law that points to her, deceived me not to sin anymore and by that she has murdered me; that is, my old me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
That’s why the law is holy, and also the commandment that forbids me something, is holy, righteous and good, for it leads to my life.
13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
But how can the good begets dead in me? Well, through the law; that is, through the good of the law, my old me was slain. And by that the commandment testifies that sin is exceedingly sinful (sin is a murderer!).
In Ephesians 4:22, Paul says:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
… because it kills the old man in me, who was dying because of covetous lusts, to revive the new man unto life.
In 1 John 3:4 it is written:
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Sin is living without considering the law, and that life is sentenced unto death.
Actually quite logical!
It is remarkable that Paul, a meticulous Pharisee, says that he once lived a life without the law! Apparently legalistic keeping of the law, what eventually made him a murderer of Christians, is not what God means by keeping the commandments!
That’s why Paul concludes in Romans 7:26 and 25:
When I began to see that sin is the transgression of the law, I didn’t want to sin no more. With my mind I myself serve the law of God – I don’t want to sin, but it is hard, it is an ongoing battle in me! But I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is my help!
Is this not what we all want? Not to sin? But then we must know the law, not to work our own salvation, for the law can only condemn the transgressor- it is only Jesus who saves! -, but in order to know sin, that we may make an intelligent decision, to do our uttermost to depart from sin!
THAT’s WHY God cannot abolish any of His commandments – not one of the ten. They are but a short summary of His guide lines for life – in heaven and on earth. (The shortest summary of God's law is Love, and love is the character of God).
But IF (not: when, for sinning is not inevitable) you step in the fault, THEN there is a magnificent solution – the costly grace through Jesus Christ, our LORD! – Rom 7:25
O, how I love Paul!A man with life experience AND faith experience!