Monday: Sin and the Law

If Paul is talking about the whole law system at Sinai, what about Romans 7:7, in which he specifically mentions one of the Ten Commandments? Doesn’t that refute the position taken yesterday that Paul was not talking about the abolition of the Ten Commandments?

Law Convicts of Sin

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The answer is “No.” We must keep in mind, again, that the word law for Paul is the whole system introduced at Sinai, which included the moral law but wasn’t limited to it. Hence, Paul could quote from it, as well as from any other section of the whole Jewish economy, in order to make his points. However, when the system passed away at the death of Christ, that didn’t include the moral law, which had existed even before Sinai and exists after Calvary, as well.

Read Romans 7:8-11. What is Paul saying here about the relationship between the law and sin?

God revealed Himself to the Jews, telling them in detail what was right and wrong in moral, civil, ceremonial, and health matters. He also explained the penalties for violation of the various laws. Violation of the revealed will of God is here defined as sin.

Thus, Paul explains, he would not have known if it was a sin to covet without having been informed of that fact by the “law.” Sin is the violation of the revealed will of God and where the revealed will is unknown, there is no awareness of sin. When that revealed will is made known to a person, he or she comes to recognize that he or she is a sinner and is under condemnation and death. In this sense, the person dies.

In Paul’s line of argument here and throughout this section, he is trying to build a bridge to lead the Jews – who revere the “law” – to see Christ as its fulfillment. He is showing that the law was necessary but that its function was limited. The law was meant to show the need of salvation; it never was meant to be the means of obtaining that salvation.

“The apostle Paul, in relating his experience, presents an important truth concerning the work to be wrought in conversion. He says, ‘I was alive without the law once’ – he felt no condemnation; ‘but when the commandment came,’ when the law of God was urged upon his conscience, ‘sin revived, and I died.’ Then he saw himself a sinner, condemned by the divine law. Mark, it was Paul, and not the law, that died.” – Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1076.

In what sense have you “died” before the law? How, in that context, can you understand what Jesus has done for you by giving you a new life in Him?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons