Pauls Footsteps #325

But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes. Romans 7:13 NLT 

 Romans 7:13 is a complicated verse with 3 parts. Firstly, Paul asks a question: was the law the agent of death? This meets with the vigorous objection “by no means”(NASB). It is not the law that causes death, but sin. 

Secondly, sin uses the good law to bring about condemnation (c.f.v10). How is that? The law identifies sin not merely as evil but as a willful rebellion against God and the principles of His kingdom. That rebellion results in the penalty of death! But it wasn’t the law that caused death; rather, the sin identified by the law. The law has the good and healthy function of pointing out what is wrong. Do we blame the law for crime? Of course not! The blame belongs to the sin that motivated it. 

The third point is the utter sinfulness of sin – “sinful beyond measure” (RSV). The awfulness of sin is shown by the fact that it could take a fine, splendid and lovely thing, and make it a weapon of evil. That is what sin does. Sin can take the loveliness of love and turn it into lust. Sin can take the honourable desire for independence and turn it into the lust for money and for power. Sin can take the beauty of friendship and use it as a seduction to the wrong things. That is the infinite damnability of sin. The very fact that sin took the law and made it a bridgehead to sin shows the supreme sinfulness of sin.  

V14 is Paul’s explanation of the tension that Christians find themselves in, “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. ”NLT 

In vs14-24, we find a person in tension between good and evil. The war that began in heaven between the forces of good and evil is played out on earth. Satan wars against God, His character, His truth, His Church, and the individuals of His church, and lo and behold we find that the war is even going on inside us. 

Rom.7 is not the full picture of our Christian life. The victory aspect of that life becomes clear in chapter 8. But here are individuals who know the good but cry out in anguish about their wretchedness when they don’t do as they should.

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