Journey through the Book of Romans
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Paul Expounds the Beauty and Duty of the Law
Romans 7:7-8 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. NKJV
Paul knew that his talk of us being freed from the law would invoke many people to think that God had furnished us a corrupt law or an inadequate law and both assumptions and conclusions would be grossly incorrect. Everything that comes from God the Father is perfect, just, and good always (James 1:17). Paul refutes this vehemently here in verse 7 by asking and answering his own hypothetical question that might come across the minds of some by saying, “God Forbid” that God’s Law is in any way sin or corruption. Paul declares of himself personally that it is only because of God’s Law that he recognized internal desires to sin as the sin of covetousness (Proverbs 27:19 & Jeremiah 4:14). Paul had always considered himself a good Jew and a proud and upstanding Pharisee and leader in the Sanhedrin and thought he kept God’s Law perfectly. Paul did not recognize how exceedingly sinful he was until he had the encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ on the Damascus road. The easiest sin for any person to conceal is the sin in the heart/inner man and Paul knew this all too well before he knew Christ and this is why he prayed with such fervor and urgency for the people he preached the gospel to that they would be strengthened with might in their inner man for Paul knew this is where the fiercest battles of warfare take place (Ephesians 3:14-21).
It is not the fault of God’s Law that we are enslaved by sin and incapable of obedience to His Moral Law, but it is the corruption that each of us is born with that renders us helpless to obey. This inward corruption (old man) is hostile to God’s Moral Law and will not and cannot submit to it ever under any circumstance, and this is why each one of us fallen human creatures need a new nature (new man) in us that desires and will obey God’s Perfect Moral Law (Romans 8:7-8). We can see what Paul is saying here in verses 7 & 8 played out every day in the observance of toddlers who have no knowledge at all of any Ten Commandments, but we can see in them the desire to do that which is wrong always rising to the surface and spilling out in their actions. They cannot control it and surely do not understand their actions they only want to fulfill or gratify the desires that are within them that promise to bring them satisfaction. Likewise Paul is here saying that the Law prohibited him from certain behavior, yet he desired the things or actions anyway because the Law did not come with any power to enable him to resist those evil desires. So it is with every person being drawn away by their own particular and personal lust that leads them into sin when they are not born again and being continuously led by God the Holy Spirit (James 1:13-15).
Romans 7:9-10 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. NKJV
I must say that what Paul says here in verse 9 seems at first to make no sense. Why would he be alive without the Law? Paul was a high ranking member of the Sanhedrin and knew the Law of God surely. I tell you I have studied and prayed and made notes and studied and prayed for many years now and I want to say I don’t know exactly what God the Holy Spirit meant through Paul by these words. I have made notes over the years that have drawn the conclusion that Paul was here speaking of being alive without the Law during his days of being unregenerate. Although Paul was knowledgeable of the Law of Moses and God’s Moral Law (the Ten Commandments) it was only a head knowledge and so he refers to himself in that state as being without the Law, meaning without the Law written in his heart by God (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
Paul then found that everything he once believed and held dear to him died when he was confronted with the truth of God in our Lord Jesus Christ on that Damascus road (Acts 9:6-9). The Scripture said Paul was trembling and astonished and was led away to Damascus blind and he neither ate nor drank anything for 3 days and nights. Paul before his encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ was ignorant to the true Nature and Holy Requirements of God’s Law esteeming himself to be a righteous man and an upright man and even a moral man before he encountered our Lord Jesus in all His Splendor, Majesty, and Glory. Paul finally saw himself as the Law intended every person to see themselves before a Holy God as bankrupt having nothing good or of value to offer to God (Romans 3:10 & Romans 3:20). Paul had before seen himself as a keeper of God’s Law and able to enter into His Presence on the basis of his supposed outward keeping of the Law.
Romans 7:11-12 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. NKJV
Paul from his youth (as well as every respectable Jewish boy) was taught the Law of Moses and that he was to obey God’s Law. The problem was that Paul was not taught the truth of the coming Messiah (because so many Jews twisted the Psalms and the Prophets who spoke of our Lord Jesus Christ) and that they were to view the Law not as their Savior but as their Teacher or Schoolmaster to point them to our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:19-25). The Jews however twisted the purpose of God’s Law given to them and deceived themselves into thinking that they could and were living up to His Moral Law in totality. Paul as he grew into manhood found himself (as were many other Jews) trusting in his own goodness and not seeing himself in truth as the Law revealed, but he rationalized his sin before God until the truth penetrated his heart and he saw the holiness of the Ten Commandments at the same time revealing his depravity, sinfulness, and corruption despite all of his ritual practice and observance.
Psalms 119:172 My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness. NKJV
“In both its precepts and penalty, the law of God in its most exacting requirements was fulfilled by Jesus. And He did this in our place as our representative and our substitute.” Jerry Bridges
“The church of Christ is the multitude of all those who believe in Christ for the remission of sins, and who are thankful for that mercy and who love the law of God purely, and who hate the sin in this world and long for the life to come.” William Tyndale
“When we willfully transgress the law of God we can never experience peace and contentment in our mind and soul. The wicked mind or soul has no peace of conscience, no deep and unceasing conviction of being right. It is often troubled. This world can furnish nothing to give peace to a mind or soul agitated with the guilt of sin.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr. from my book entitled “Silent Assassins of the Soul”
“None can hate [sin] but those that love the law of God; for all hatred comes from love. A natural man may be angry with his sin, but hate it he cannot; nay, he may leave it, but not loathe it; if he did, he would loathe all sin as well as any one sin.” Abraham Wright 1611-1690
“The moral law of God is the only law of individuals and of nations, and nothing can be rightful government but such as is established and administered with a view to its support.” Charles Finney
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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