The Law of Moses and Sin

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. 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. 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” (Romans 7:7-12).

In this portion of Romans 7, the law under consideration is the Law of Moses. The context demonstrates this in verse 7: “Thou shall not covet” is the 10th commandment (Exodus 20:17) and is only found in the covenant God made with Abraham’s descendants at Mount Sinai.

If sinful passions are “aroused by the Law” of Moses (Romans 7:5), doesn’t that make the Law sinful? Paul’s answer is unmistakable—“Certainly NOT!”. Sin does not occur in your life and mine because God lovingly communicates His holy, just, and good will to us. Rather, it occurs because Satan creates spiritual dissatisfaction with His divine instruction.

If you take a two-year old child who is playing happily by himself and tell him not to touch a certain toy in the room which he has expressed no interest in heretofore, it will probably be a matter of minutes, if not seconds, before the most interesting and irresistible thing in that entire room will be the object you specifically forbade him to touch. This is how Satan and sin work.

Take another scenario: Put an adult woman in a beautiful paradise filled with every kind of tree. Tell her she can eat the fruit of all the trees but one. What will eventually happen? (In case you are wondering, the rest of the story can be found in Genesis 3:4-6.)

Why is this so? Because “sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead…And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me” (Romans 7:8, 10-11). Every time.

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Author: jchowning

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