Romans 7.7-15 – The law, sin and salvation.
Posted: 24 August 2010 in Romans

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. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 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. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Although the terminology may not have been current in his day, Paul is here talking about our fallen nature. At least in part, the Mosaic law was given so that we could become aware of our corrupt nature. To some extent the same is true of the Sermon on the Mount. Without exception, every single one of us falls far short of the standard which God sets before us. Therefore, if we are sufficiently self aware, self righteousness ought to be impossible. The same self awareness ought to make us sensible of our utter dependence upon God’s mercy, and upon the salvation offered in Christ. As Paul says a bit further on:

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The reason that, even today, we still feel tempted to effect our own salvation can probably be put down to the same pride which brought about the fall in the first place. (The motive for atheism can sometimes be the desire to assert an illusory self sufficiency, and also desire to insist upon a complete independence of anything beyond ourselves.)

1 Comment

1 Response to Romans 7.7-15 – The law, sin and salvation.
  • Theodore A. Jones says:

    “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
    Rom. 2:13 He also says that a law has been added. Note Rom. 5:20

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