Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
ROMANS 7:7-8 FOR I WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN COVETOUSNESS UNLESS THE LAW HAD SAID, YOU SHALL NOT COVET.
Romans 7:7 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." 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.
1. The value of the Law… Law reveals sin
V7 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."
Me gennoita, no, no, no, no, unthinkable, may it never be...the strongest negative in the Greek language. On the contrary. The Law is not sin, but the Law reveals sin. I would not have come to know sin except through the Law. What are we going to conclude from all this? That the Law is evil? That is an outrageous thought...absolutely outrageous. But apparently it was a common thought because Paul addresses it again in Galatians 3 verse 21, "Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? Me gennoita, again...no, no, no, no, may it never be."
Psalm 119:18, 34, 77, 92, 142 …….. read the whole chapter
The function of the law is to expose sin. Today we call a drunk an alcoholic, he is sick, he has a disease. We say a man that killed someone has a mental disease, and we have a name for everything that man does that is wrong, except what God calls it…..Sin. A man has an affair, God says it is adultery. We call it a white lie, we don’t want to hurt someone. A child is strong willed and has fits when he doesn’t get his way, he is just selfish and needs to be taught who is boss. We need to apply the Board of Education to the Seat of understanding (beat his behind). David Jeremiah says that this deadly game we play is like taking a bottle of Poison off the shelf and replacing the label with one that says Essence of Peppermint. The results are just as deadly.
Paul insists that he would not have come to know specific sins without their being identified as sin by the Law. The Law marks out the spiritual mine fields which we will encounter in life so that we might avoid them. The Law does not identify that which is good as sin so that we might be kept from enjoying it, but that which is evil so that we might be kept from suffering sin’s consequences. The Law posts warning signs around poisoned waters so that we might not drink of them.
I would not have come to know sin except through the Law. I thought I was doing fine until I really saw the Law for what it was.
Romans 3:20, Romans 4:15, Romans 5:20, Isaiah 6:5, 1Timothy 1:8-10
Chapter 5:20 "Law came in to increase the trespass" -- to increase the trespass -- that is what the Law is for! It was given to arouse the sin which was in man, and, thus, in making him sin all the more, it made him discover the utter futility of trying to please God by self-effort.
What does a child do when you tell them no, even at that age you see the sin nature of man, they will look right at you and do it to test you.
If you think you're blameless before the Law of God, you don't understand the Law of God
Charles Hodge, the great theologian, wrote, "The Law, although it cannot secure either the justification or the sanctification of men, performs an essential part in the economy of salvation. It enlightens conscience, it secures its verdict against a multitude of evils that we should not otherwise have recognized as sins. It arouses sin, in increases its power and making it both in itself and in our consciousness exceedingly sinful. It therefore produces that state of mind which is a necessary preparation for the reception of the gospel." He further says, "Conviction of sin, that is an adequate knowledge of its nature and a sense of its power over us, is an indispensable part of evangelical religion. Before the gospel can be embraced as a means of deliverance from sin, we must feel that we are deeply involved in corruption and misery." And further he says, "If our religious experience does not correspond with that, as detailed in the Scripture, we cannot be true Christians. Unless we have felt as Paul felt, we have not the religion of Paul and cannot expect to share his eternal reward
The whole effort of the Law comes down to this, it is to bring men into the sense of their sin so that they know they need to be saved and they know they need to be sanctified. It is to produce in them a permanent beatitude attitude where they mourn over their sin & feel inadequate & unworthy & weak.
It is no accident that Paul picks the 10th commandment to not covet. We can look good on the outside to others, but inside we know that we want the things we cannot have. Probably Paul selected the tenth commandment for his illustration because it deals with desires (i.e., illicit desires of every kind). Our desires are the roots of our actions. The tenth commandment is also the most convicting commandment. Everyone who is honest would have to admit that he or she has broken it. The law points out not only outward sin, but evil attitudes and intentions.
This commandment gives us a definition of coveting: to covet is to desire to have that which belongs to another, which cannot legitimately be ours. The command not to covet identifies as sin the desire to wrongfully possess that which belongs to another and instructs those who would obey God not to entertain such evil desires.
(1) Coveting is a matter of the heart. Paul chooses an invisible, internal sin.
(2) Coveting is one of the characteristic sins of the flesh. Our flesh has its appetites which often come into conflict with God’s revealed will. These appetites, or desires, are often forbidden lusts (see Galatians 5:16, 19; Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:10). Sin frequently overpowers our flesh by appealing to its lusts.
(3) Coveting is a root sin which is often the cause of other sins. Coveting in and of itself seems to do no harm to anyone, but it very frequently provides the motivation for stealing and even murder. To put a stop to coveting is to “head other sins off at the pass.”
(4) Coveting is a sin which best illustrates Paul’s statement, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law” (verse 7). Coveting is a sin which is almost never considered a crime. Not all sins are crimes. I know of no government which has a law forbidding coveting. Part of the explanation for this is the difficulty of identifying coveting and proving that this offense has taken place, since it is a sin of the heart and mind. Murder, perjury, and robbery are sins, and they are also considered crimes by society. Most people do not think coveting is really wrong. In some societies, like our own, many forms of coveting would actually be commended rather than condemned.
(5) Coveting seems to lie at the root of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. In the account of the fall, every tree in the garden was “pleasing to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). Adam and Eve were given possession of virtually everything in the garden with the exception of one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the fruit of which they were forbidden to eat (see Genesis 2:16-17). Satan successfully focused Eve’s attention and desire on the fruit of this tree. The result was that she seemed to focus only on the fruit of this forbidden tree as “pleasing to the sight and good for food,” and, in addition, “able to make her wise” (Genesis 3:6). Her first sin, therefore, seems to be that of lust—desiring that which she did not possess, which could not rightfully be hers.
All of this powerfully demonstrates Paul’s point. Unless God’s Law had identified coveting as a sin, we would never have recognized it as such. Coveting is like a tumor hidden inside our body. Because it is not external, like murder, we do not recognize its deadly existence and nature. The Law is like an x-ray, exposing it for what it is and warning us that we must deal with it.
What leads to true salvation is an understanding of the absolute righteousness of God, the utter holiness of God, the Law of God expresses His perfect righteousness and His holiness and puts a demand on every soul that if you break this Law in one place, you're damned. Where's that message today? What leads to true salvation is an overpowering, frightening sense of the implications of breaking the Law. Truth about righteousness and holiness and sin and judgment is what awakens the slumbering sinner.
Proverbs 16:6 says, "By fear of the Lord men depart from evil. " Why is anybody going to change his life if he has no fear of God? We have to alarm the sinner. We have to activate his conscience by informing him about the truth, not letting him have a conscience that responds only to a watered down morality that he has been taught by the world. We have to take the sinner, turn him face to face to the Law, square him up with the Law and make him see the standard of perfect righteousness, "Be ye holy even as I am holy." We have to preach righteousness and Law. By this, people understand their sin and they understand the consequence of their sin and the helplessness in which they exist.
2. The Law aggravates our Appetite or tendency for sin
V8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. The law doesn’t respect the weak or the strong.
Paul, like many of us today, was protected and sheltered and kept from exposure to serious temptations. He was raised in the Jewish culture, where everyone around him was sheltered also. Therefore, he grew up relatively untroubled with problems of sin.
Many young people, like Saul of Tarsus, think they have handled the problem. What about keeping the Law? It's not hard! Hardly any temptations come under these circumstances. These people think they have no struggles along this line. They have the world by the tail -- they can handle it. As Paul describes it, they are alive apart from the Law. But then comes a time when they are exposed. They are thrust out into a different lifestyle, a different crowd of people. They move out on their own and suddenly they find themselves removed from the shelter and protection and love and cultural defenses that have been theirs from childhood on. Perhaps the new crowd -- as a way of life -- does things that these sheltered young people have been taught are wrong.
Now, for the first time, they feel the force of the prohibition of the Law. The Law says, "Thou shalt not covet, commit adultery, murder, steal ..." -- whatever it may be. And yet the crowd around them says, "Let's do it -- it's fun!" For the first time, they begin to feel the prohibition of the Law. Then a strange phenomenon happens. Something about that situation arouses within them a strong desire to do the things that are prohibited. Maybe they are able to resist them for a while, but, nevertheless, they find themselves pressured, pushed by something within them that wants very badly to do these things.
When young people, raised in sheltered homes, move out on their own -- perhaps when they go to college, or get a job, or move to another city -- they find that suddenly all the control they had seemed to be exercising over evil vanishes. They give way and are plunged into an orgy of evil, in one form or another.
The Problem today is kids are exposed at such an early age to things that they were shielded from years ago.
Mark 7:4, 8-13, Gal 1:14
One illustration of what Paul had in mind here is the story of the temptation and Fall in Genesis 3. Whenever someone establishes a law prohibiting something, the natural tendency of people is to resist it. If you tell a small child, "Don't do such-and-such," you may create a desire within him or her to do it, a desire that was not there before.
"Suppose a man determined to drive his automobile to the very limit of its speed. If . . . signs along the road would say, No Speed Limit, the man's only thought would be to press his machine forward. But now suddenly he encounters a road with frequent signs limiting speed to thirty miles an hour. The man's will rebels, and his rebellion is aroused still further by threats: Speed Limit Strictly Enforced. Now the man drives on fiercely, conscious both of his desire to 'speed,' and his rebellion against restraint. The speed limit signs did not create the wild desire to rush forward: that was there before. But the notices brought the man into conscious conflict with authority
It is Free