Monday: The Law and Sin

In yesterday’s study we looked at verses (Rom. 7:15-25) that talked about the reality of sin for everyone, even Christians. However, in the verses before these, Paul points to the law, which shows just how prevalent sin is, and how deadly.

Read Romans 7:1-14. What is the relationship between the law and sin? What do these verses also tell us about the impossibility of being saved by the law?

Sin is Breaking the Law

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Two crucial points come from what Paul teaches here. First, he shows that the law is not the problem. The law is “holy and just and good”. The problem is sin, which leads to death. The other point is that the law is powerless to save us from sin and death. The law points out the problem of sin and death; if anything, the law makes the problem of sin and death even more apparent, but it offers nothing by way of solving the problem.

Only a superficial reader could use these verses to argue that the law, the Ten Commandments, has been nullified while ignoring so many others that show the law is binding today. That’s the opposite of Paul’s point. Nothing Paul writes here makes sense if the law was nullified. His argument functions on the assumption that the law is still binding, because it’s the law that points out the reality of sin and the resulting need of the gospel. “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’” (Rom. 7:7, NKJV).

Read Romans 7:13 carefully. What is Paul saying not only about the law but about why it’s still necessary?

The law does not produce death; sin does. The law is what shows just how deadly sin is. The law is good, in that it points to sin. It just has no answer for it. Only the gospel does. Paul’s point is that as Christians, as those who are saved in Christ, we need to serve in the “newness of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6, NKJV); that is, we live in a faith relationship with Jesus, trusting in His merits and His righteousness for salvation (the theme of so much of what came before in Romans).

How has your own experience with keeping the law shown you your need of God’s grace?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons