Paul never leaves us guessing.
It is obvious we’re the problem, not the Law. We would not recognize our sin if we didn’t have knowledge of the relationship between the Law and what we do. Now is the Law perfect and our rebellion is sin.
God’s commands and law are perfect. We are not.
What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “Do not covet”… For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandments deceived me, and through it killed me.(Romans 7:7 & 11)
God came and gave Moses the Law
The LORD entrusted His Word to the Jews.
When the commandment came, sin sprang to life. Knowledge is important. When we know the law, then we understand the value of sin. Sin is worthy of death, and even so, it takes a foothold to seduce us to disobey. The Law is holy, and the commands are holy. We are not.
Sin, revealed as a sin, is inescapable.
The Commandment is the will of God.
God’s voice keeps us informed. It is sacred, just, and perfect. We know what will be counted against us as sin. The Lord leaves us no mystery – it is clear. The Word settles it.
I cannot deceive myself of the truth.
If we could perfectly keep the law and relationships with God and other people, then we would enjoy peace. I meant the law for our highest good—meant to make us good.
God refuses to leave us ignorant!
The law defines sin. We cannot know sin until it is defined. Until we know the rules of tennis, we will always play wrongfully. In basketball, how can they call a fault unless everyone knows what it is?
They hold the player accountable because he knows better.
Look at Adam and Eve. The forbidden fruit became temptation. Acting on that temptation (despite the evil one’s deception) was a sin. The tree became desirable, so Adam was seduced along with Eve.
Death is real. Sin is death.
We delude ourselves by thinking we can do what our heart’s desire, thinking we’re the exception. Who can sin and escape the inevitable consequences?
Paul is clear.
Our sins will find us out.
Looking Through Jewish Eyes
Let’s not leave this passage on a negative note.
Paul was addressing this truth to the Jewish Christians. As non-Jewish Christians, those grafted into the promises of God given to the Jewish nation, we can accept God’s law and promises for ourselves.
Let us take a brief journey to Job, Deuteronomy, and Ezekiel:
But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips. I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.(Job 23:10-12)
Job valued the words and commandments of God. He understood they would lead Him on the right path. Knowing God’s word, will, and command is of great value. We just need to turn our eyes away from temptation. Once defined, then we know what to do.
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commands or not. He humbled you and let you go hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD… Thus, you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you, just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commands of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.(Deuteronomy 8:2-3 & 5-6)
It is interesting to note that God was with His people in the wilderness. Although He sent them to 40 years wandering in the desert, it was not just a punishment.
God used time to humble them and test them. Would they come to Him now with hearts obedient or rebellious? He entrusted them with His word, so they knew what to do and what not to do.
Treasure God’s Word
We who treasure God’s word know with certainty what God wants from us. Our confidence is in Him. We do not live by bread alone.
The Lord also knew how hard it would be for us to obey every commandment in perfection. Once His word was defined, we saw our propensity to sin—the magnet of the world that drew us to sin and death.
We needed something more.
We required spiritual regeneration, a cleansed heart, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. And the God who changes not knows and understands what we need to continue in faithful fellowship with Him, so He made it possible in the New Covenant.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statues, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances… you will be My people and I will be your God.(Ezekiel 36:25-27 and 28b)
Tested and Tried?
You will be tested and tried, you will be humbled and examined, but trust in the Lord. He will supply you with everything you need to remain faithful and true.
Trust the Lord so that when you see Him face-to-face, you will not only know His voice but speak His language.
It is a good thing to know and understand God’s commandments.
I challenge you to go behind closed doors, in the Secret Place, and ask the Lord for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Ask Him to show you any sin you have kept from others or kept from yourself.
After He has humbled you, tested, and tried you, then and only then will you come out on the other side as pure gold.
Trust the Lord as He personally tests and tries you, for God knows what He is doing, and it is good… so very good!