Romans 7:7-13

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Text: Romans 7:7-13

IS THE LAW SIN?

INTRODUCTION:

As I listen to what some people say, I get the impression that people believe that the problem of sin comes from the Law. They seem to be saying that, if we could just get away from the Law, our problems would diminish. This philosophy carries over into our society also. People have the opinion that we have problems with our children because of rules and regulations that frustrate children or even repress them. They argue that if we had a freer society, we would have fewer problems, that many of the problems we have are the result of the strictness of rules and regulations. Even in our churches people argue that the reason we do not gain more people is because of our strictness.

Although we are warned against being overbearing with our children, this is not the problem in this context.

Many churches which have not been growing lately suddenly decide that they want to build a new building. To build a new building they have to generate more money. To generate more money, they argue that they need more people. Someone eventually comes up with the idea that the reason people are not joining their church is that they have a church covenant which is too strict. The statement that members agree to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drink as a beverage is the often regarded as the culprit. It will not be long either before there will be a watering down of the church's doctrinal statement. They will conclude that their doctrinal statement will drive people away. It is probably true. This will likely happen. Those who do not believe the Bible will not like this church. Those who do not believe in salvation by grace and through faith will not like this church. Those who do not believe in Biblical separation will not like this church. Those who want games, gimmicks, contests, etc. will not like this church. That really is not the problem, however.

Our standards are not the problem, however, as Romans 7:7-13 indicates. To believe so is like saying that I as an individual should not try to live a life that is too godly lest I fail to attract some who do not wish to live in as godly a manner as I. This is silly. We need to do what is right and not worry a great deal about the consequences.

Bible colleges are often criticized for their rules and regulations. Oh, someone will say, I wouldn't want to go to such and such a school because of their rules. This is a smoke screen. Even businesses have rules by which the employees must abide. No matter where you go, there are rules. You would agree with some rules or policies, and may not agree with others and would like to see them changed. The Marines have rules. The Air Force has rules. The government has rules and regulations. Wherever you have people, you have rules to show what is considered proper. If you don't have rules, you will have chaos.

In Romans 7:7-13 we see that the problem is not with the Law but with sin. The problem is not with rules or regulations; the problem is with sin.

I. THE QUESTION - 7:7A

Romans 7:7 a - What shall we say then? Is the law sin?

What shall we then say?

Then is inferential and is used in the sense of therefore, accordingly, consequently, or so.

Paul offers a suggestion, Is the law sin? Does the fact that the believer is released from the Law mean that something is wrong with the Law?

II. THE ANSWER - 7:7B-13

Romans 7:7 b-13 - (7b) . . . God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. (9) For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (10) And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. (11) For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. (12) Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. (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.

Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Paul answers the question, Is the law sin?, with a very strong negative, God forbid. It is literally may it never be, may it never happen, or may it never come to pass; and is understood in the sense of absolutely not, perish the thought, by no means, or no way!

Nay is an emphatic translation of the word ordinarily translated but. It is used here for emphasis. It is understood in the sense of indeed, in fact, certainly, or on the contrary.

I had not known sin means that Paul would not have recognized sin.

But by the law is except through law. The Law points out what sin is. Paul explains what he means in the last half of this verse.

For I had not known (i.e. recognized) lust (i.e. passion, covetousness, or concupiscence), except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet (i.e. you shall not lust).

Lust (in verse 7) and concupiscence (in verse 8) are the translations of the same word with the same meaning in the Greek text. They are noun forms of the same verb translated covet, which means desire in this verse.

Romans 7:8 (8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

Sin taking occasion by the commandment.

Taking occasion = having seized a pretext, having seized an opportunity. The action of taking occurred before the action of wrought. The identical phrase is used in verse 11.

By the commandment is through the commandment is also used in verse 11. It refers specifically to what the law had said, i.e. Thou shalt not covet. The commandment is viewed as the intermediate agent through which sin, the direct agent, seized an opportunity.

Wrought in me is brought about in me, produced in me, or created in me

All manner of concupiscence is every lust

For without the law is without law or apart from law.

Sin was dead does not mean that sin was non-existent; it means that sin was not recognized for what it was - it was dormant.

Romans 7:9 (9) For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

For I was alive without the law once (i.e. formerly, at some time) - I is emphatic. Paul means that at one time in his life he was unaware of the content of the Law. This would have been when he was a child. In some cases even adults are unaware of the teaching of the Law.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to I was alive without the law once

When the commandment came refers to the specific coming of the Law into Paul's consciousness; and as in verse 8, it refers to the specific commandment mentioned in verse 7, Thou shalt not covet.

Sin revived = sin sprang to life. Sin was present but dormant. Things changed for Paul.

And I died means that he died spiritually. I is emphatic.

Romans 7:10 (10) And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

And the commandment which was ordained to life = And the commandment, the one unto life refers to the specific commandment, Thou shalt not covet, which was representative of the Ten Commandments.

Which was ordained to life means that it had life as its final goal. If people would keep the law perfectly throughout their entire lives, they would live.

Leviticus 18:5 - Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.

Romans 2:6-12 - 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.

I found to be unto death tells the end result of the commandment.

I found is, It was found for my disadvantage.

Unto death - Although Paul was guilty of coveting prior to the time he became aware of the commandment forbidding coveting, when it came to his attention, he realized that he was guilty of sin and that he was disobedient to God's commandment. As a result he realized also that he was spiritually dead and not possessed with eternal life. He realized that he had failed to keep the Law. Thus, while he had been spiritually dead all along, he had not recognized it; now at last he recognized it.

Romans 7:11 (11) For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

Verse 11 was written to explain verses 9 and 10 as is indicated by for.

Sin is the subject of the verbs deceived and slew. It refers to the old sin nature.

Taking occasion is having seizing a pretext or having seizing an opportunity. Its tense indicates that its time of action occurred before the action of both deceived and of slew. The identical phrase is used in verse 8.

By the commandment is through the commandment was also used in verse 8. It refers specifically to what the law had said, i.e. Thou shalt not covet. The commandment is viewed as the intermediate agent through which sin, the direct agent, seized an opportunity.

Deceived me is cheated me

And by it is and through it, i.e. through the commandment

Slew me is killed (me)

The commandment showed sin for what it really is; and when Paul realized that his practice was sin, he discovered also that he did not have life. He was spiritually dead in his sin.

Romans 7:12 (12) Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Verse 12 draws a conclusion from verses 7-11 as is indicated by wherefore, which is used in the sense of therefore, for this reason, or so.

The Law is holy

The Law is the Mosaic Law

Holy = dedicated to God or sacred in the sense that it is reserved for God and His service. It implies that the law is perfect or worthy of God.

The commandment is holy, just, and good.

The commandment is the specific commandment mentioned throughout verses 7-11, i.e. Thou shalt not covet, which is representative of the entire law.

The commandment is holy is the commandment is dedicated to God or the commandment is sacred in the sense that it is reserved for God and His service. It implies that the commandment is perfect or worthy of God.

The commandment is just is the commandment is righteous, the commandment is upright.

The commandment is good is the commandment is fit, the commandment is capable, the commandment is beneficial, or the commandment is useful.

The reason that law is holy and that the commandment is holy, just, and good is that it showed Paul his true condition. He was a sinner, but he did not know it. He did not realize it. He would have suffered the eternal consequences for his sin had he not realized his need for salvation and trusted Christ as his own personal Savior.

The problem was not with the Law; the problem was with Paul himself and with all others as well.

Romans 7:13 (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.

Paul anticipates an objection by asking, Was then that which is good made death unto me?

Then is used to introduce an inference and is understood in the sense of therefore, consequently, accordingly, or so.

That which is good refers to the commandment, Thou shalt not covet, which was stated in verse 12 to be good. It is literally the good thing.

Was . . . made = has become, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. Has the good thing become death unto me?

Death is deadly or the cause of death. Has the good thing become deadly for me? Has the good thing become the cause of death for me?

Unto me is for me, and me is emphatic. Has the good thing become the cause of death for me?

God forbid is Paul's answer. It is literally may it never be and is to be understood in the sense of absolutely not, perish the thought, by no means, or no way! It expresses utter abhorrence at the very idea that what was good has become death for Paul.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to Was then that which is good made death unto me?

Sin, i.e. the problem is sin rather than the commandment representing the Law.

That it might appear sin is in order that (or for the purpose) that it might be revealed (or recognized) as sin. The Law enabled Paul to recognize sin as sin. It was now apparent what sin really was.

Working death in me is producing death in me, bringing about death in me, or creating death in me. In order that (or for the purpose that) sin might be revealed (or recognized) as sin working death in me (i.e. producing death in me or bringing about death in me).

By that which is good is literally through the good thing. It refers to the commandment mentioned in verse 12. Its connection with the rest of the sentence, however, is not quite as apparent. The King James translators have connected by that which is good with working.

In the Greek text by that which is good is found between the word translated appear and the word translated working, and it can be connected with either.

If by that which is good is connected with working as in the King James Bible, it means that sin works death through the commandment.

If, on the other hand, by that which is good is connected with appear, then it means that sin is recognized as sin through the commandment; and this second choice seems to fit the context better.

That = in order that or for the purpose that

That sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful means that the purpose of the commandment representing the law is to show how awful sin really is.

Sin represents a departure from divine standards of righteousness or uprightness. To the human being, sin doesn't look so bad. To a holy God, however, sin is absolutely repulsive.

By the commandment is through the commandment, i.e. the specific commandment, Thou shalt not covet.

Might become is might prove to be or might turn out to be.

Exceeding sinful is sinful in the extreme, extremely sinful, or sinful to an extraordinary degree.

CONCLUSION:

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

The Bible also says in Romans 5:8 that God commendeth (or demonstrated) his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Have you trusted Christ as your personal Savior and, thereby, accepted His sacrifice on your behalf for the forgiveness of your sins?