Romans 7:15 – “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Paul begins his discourse in chapter 7 referencing the jurisdiction of the law over a person for as long as he lives. He uses the example of a wife’s commitment to her husband until his departure as an example of the legal binding of the law. He continues by reminding the readers that if a wife was to become involved with a man while her husband is alive, she will be an adulteress. This principle is still in affect today!
In verse 4, Paul tells the believers in the Roman church that they died to the Law through the crucified body of Christ, so that they might belong to Him and bear fruit for God. In verse 5, Paul tells them that when we were living in the flesh, (not our physical bodies, but our spiritually dead state), we were trapped in sinful passions, a fact that the Law made known to us. And because we were in that state, we were separated from God and our sinful ways led to our being spiritually dead.
When we read verse 6, Paul reminds the Roman believers that we have been released from the Law and the penalty of the Law, to which we had been held captive, so that we could now serve God in the newness of the Spirit. Paul is warming up to his subject. He is getting ready to make a point, and in doing so, he is laying the ground work. Since he is probably talking to Jewish converts, (because he mentioned that they knew the Law) he is using that which they already understand, to help them to understand something equally as important. Their freedom in Christ Jesus!
Looking at verse 7, Paul asks the question, “Is the Law sin?” Then, he answers it by stating, “Certainly not!” Paul goes on to tell the Roman believers that without the Law we wouldn’t know what sin is. In the Law we learned coveting was sin, because the Law told us not to covet that which belongs to another. In the law we learned that we are not to lie, to steal, or commit murder because it is sin, and therefore, when we do these things we sin. The Law taught us this! However, Paul states, that sin found an opportunity to make itself known by stirring up every sinful desire that the Law spoke against. Before the Law was given, we didn’t even know or recognize sin because it was dead to us; but once we understood the law, we died to it because it became alive in us.
In verse 10, Paul again writes and says that the Law which was intended to bring life, actually proved to bring us death. Still, in answering his question, “Is the Law sin?,” Paul lets us know that the Law is holy, righteous and good! And that through the Law sin is revealed as sinful! Paul is making the point that he is not trying to say that Law is sinful, because it is not, but that the Law revealed that mankind by nature, is sinful.
Now let’s just stop a minute and think about all of this. In order for any of us to become saved, redeemed, born again, or a child of God (pick your term), we must come to grips with the nature of sin that is within all of us before Christ. In verses 1-13, Paul is just breaking down for us the nature of sin as revealed through the Law. We understand that the Law is God’s word to mankind and as such is holy, righteous, and good. Yet, we also understand that before He gave the law and revealed what sin was, there was no accountability between man and God for that sin.
Through the Law, God established a system, whereby His people were now made accountable of the things that they did or did not do. When they wronged another it was sin. When they lied, it was sinned. When they worked on the Sabbath, it was sin. When they worshipped another God, again, it was sin. Even today, before we can lead anyone to the cross for salvation, we have to help them to understand that their life prior to God was a life filled with sin. That God Himself declared that it was a life a sin, separated from Him, and that if we died in this sin, we would live a Christ-less eternity. All of this that Paul is teaching, would be a lesson or sermon taught to even new believers to help them to understand theologically their salvation.
And with all of this revelation of what sin was came an understanding that we must pay for sin. God’s judgment is that the payment was death! Something or someone was to shed blood to cover the sin. Therefore, in the Law, where God revealed sin, He also revealed the method of dealing with sin. If you murdered someone, you had to die. If you stole, you had to repay. If you sinned against Him, you had to provide a sacrifice. All of this teaching that Paul is giving to the Roman believers is leading to a point. Join me next time, as I bring the point home. Wonderful Jesus!