We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. We’ve seen Paul’s example of a marriage to show us how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and death. Now the apostle wants to show us how to apply these principles.
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”
After all this, Paul comes up with another question. It seems like the law was a big problem. But is the law sin? No way!!!
Scripture says that I only have knowledge of sin through the law. It literally says that I never knew by experience what coveting was, except that the law said, “Don’t covet.”
This is an important point. Look at what happened back in the Garden of Eden.
And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Notice that by eating the tree, Adam and Eve would only be given the knowledge of good and evil. They wouldn’t have the experience.
What did the devil say?
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
That’s what eating the fruit of this the tree did. By giving us the knowledge of good and evil, it put the desire in us to want rules over relationship.
Before then, Adam and Eve didn’t know what good and evil was. All they knew was that God had said, “Don’t eat this.”
But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.
Sin sees the law as a starting point. Beginning with the law, sin fully works all kinds of longing for what I shouldn’t have. That’s why sin without law is dead.
That’s a spiritual principle that overlaps in other areas. For instance, faith without works is dead. The body without the spirit is dead. That’s why Scripture says that the power of sin is the law.
Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.
This is a really good description of what happened in the garden. Adam and Eve were alive, both physically and spiritually. Then came the knowledge of good and evil. Along with that, sin came to life and they died.
Now they had to live by knowing good and evil. That means that they had to establish rules – the law.
I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
It turns out the commandments that I think are pointing to life actually are leading me to death. That’s why we need to go from a life of rules to a walk in the spirit. In my next post, I’ll share my personal confrontation with this truth.
Question: How has trying to follow the law impacted your life?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi