Romans 7:7-13 The Law becomes perfected in us and through us when we walk with Jesus
Romans 7:7-13 The Law becomes perfected in us and through us when we walk with Jesus
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
In the previous devotion, we understand the negative effects of having a wrong approach to the Law (Scripture). It induces in man a “holier than thou” attitude. It robs sinners the opportunity to progress towards righteousness. It causes us to see ourselves as unfit to attain the heights of eternal life; the glory that Jesus Himself received. It also causes those who were treated unlawfully to become bitter. Having a correct approach to the Law brings eternal life and unprecedented breakthroughs. We begin by purifying our hearts from selfishness and hypocrisy. Paul said,
To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. – Titus 1:15-16
As we read the Law with a pure heart, the Spirit regenerates us towards perfection. Today’s devotion teaches us: The Law becomes perfected in us and through us when we walk with Jesus continually.
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
Paul, having spoken out concerning the negative effects of the Law, follows up with a question: is the Law intrinsically evil? (Is the Law sin?) Paul answers his question: May it never be! The Law does not set out to condemn, but to define acts that are sinful and mete out appropriate punishment. But if there is no law, there is no means to capture transgressions to pronounce the transgressor guilty.
But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead.
The commandment “You shall not covet” defines the act of coveting as sinful. But if there is no such commandment, coveting becomes permissible or may even be perceived as virtuous (for apart from the Law sin is dead). But all too often, the Law is being cast as the culprit for one’s guilty conviction. But, it is man’s sinful nature (the corrupt human ego) that has driven him to covet in the first place.
I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died. and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.
Paul alludes to the time before Law was given to man; before God warned Adam never to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (see Genesis 2:16-17). That was the time when Adam was “alive” and free to act without possibility of transgression. But after the commandment came, Adam’s corrupt nature became apparent. Without the commandment, man acts from his corrupt nature free from any consequences. But once the commandment came, man is indicted and he has to face the consequences of his transgressions.
What then is the role of Law? The purpose of Law is to show humanity the way to live abundantly. The Law also stipulates the consequences if its commandments are transgressed. In a nutshell, to the righteous who are willing to obey God, the Law shows the way to eternal life. But to the rebellious, foolish and ignorant, the Law leads to the place of torment and death.
So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
Paul’s answer is swift: “May it never be!” Indeed, the Law is not evil, but on the contrary, the Law is holy: as being part of God. And every commandment is true (righteous), and if obeyed leads to abundant life (good). The question is: how can the Law, which is supposed to bring abundant living bring a curse? The Law is meant to bring life to all who hears. But there will be some who choose to transgress it bringing death to themselves. The consequence of death is not a bad thing for the transgressors. For it causes them to truly experience the pain of transgressing against the commandments. The outcome is repentance for all. For death is not eternal, but only a means to life.
To the righteous, the Law is the path to eternal life. But to the wicked, the Law leads to death.
The Bible categorises people in a polarised manner: the righteous and the wicked. Today, we don’t see in more developed nations the wicked murdering people on the streets. In fact, crime rates have even gone down for some cities. Have people really gotten better in developed countries? Paul describes the state of humanity in the last days:
But realise this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power… Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 12-13.
In many cities, the wicked are restrained by Law enforcement agencies. But once these agencies become corrupt or under staffed, we will see pervasive lawlessness beginning at the top. The Law attracts both the righteous and the wicked who harbour very different agendas. Hence, we will see within the church the best and the worst of humanity. In the days of the gospel, we see in the temple Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. And Caiaphas, the high priest who organised the plot to kill Jesus. The devil does not persecute everyone in the church, but he uses some of them to kill Jesus and those who follow him. The Law comprises commandments, the history of the Israel, psalms, prophecies as well as teachings of the prophets. The below details how the righteous and the wicked differ from each other concerning the Law:
The righteous uses the Law as a mirror to examine himself. Through the commandments, he appraises his own life and the state of his love for God and others. And he is humble and transparent with his weaknesses. To the wicked, the Law serves as a veneer to shield his darkness. He puts up a false front and denies what he sees in the mirror. And he uses the Law as a microscope to judge others and to dominate them.
To the righteous, the Law becomes a bridge bringing him closer to God. Thus, the Law sanctifies his heart and instructs his mind to relate to God meaningfully. To the wicked, the Law estranges him from God. The wicked use the Law to make himself more presentable to others. He prides himself on his biblical knowledge and uses it belittle others. He often talks about God but has never had a conversation with Him.
To the righteous, the Law reveals his potential as co-heirs with Jesus Christ. The Law shows him the way to attain Christ’s attributes and fulfil his mission. Through the Law, he seeks to become more virtuous, wise and courageous. But the unregenerate distort the Law to enrich and exalt themselves. They misuse the Law to belittle and oppress others to keep people in their place. Somehow, the Law has set aflame their hunger for power and domination.
The righteous uses the Law to bring heaven down to the earth. Beginning with himself, he endeavours to establish righteousness and peace among men. He inspires others in the church to grow to be more like God. As for the wicked, he uses the Law to assure himself a place in heaven. He uses the Law to further his pursuit for power, wealth and enjoyment. Such also purports the belief that once a person is saved, he is always saved. He becomes a peddler of a toxic culture where righteousness is a facade and blessing comes by way of knowledge.
The righteous searches all scriptures for truth and wisdom to regenerate himself. He uses the Law to stir his spirit towards the things of heaven. The wicked focuses on selected passages that promise salvation and earthly blessings while omitting the portions that teach righteousness.
The Law becomes perfected in us and through us when we walk with Jesus.
Although the Law is holy, it cannot transform a sinful man because of the curse of his corrupt ego. Humanity, when left to our own devices, cannot regenerate himself or reconcile with God. Moses realised it is beyond the average Jew to conform to the Law. Nevertheless, he encouraged his people to embrace the Law in their heart,
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it? But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. – Deuteronomy 30:11-14.
Indeed, man is unable to embrace the Law because he is so morally depraved. Paul describes man as being dead in sin (see Ephesians 2:1). However, the Law is no longer impossible to follow for those who turn to Jesus. For the Law or the word has become etched into our hearts through Christ. By the sacrifice of Christ, our corrupt ego is put down being replaced by the Christ-ego. Paul said,
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:8-9.
What does it mean by believing in Jesus? It means to commit ourselves fully to listen to His voice and follow Him. God does not require us to be perfect, but He requires us to have perfect attitude; obedience. Over time, the Christ-ego within manifests himself in love towards God and others. Here is where the Law becomes perfected in us and through us.
- Practice self-reflection and examine yourself daily. Over time, the Law will be perfect in you and through you.
- Do not just study the bible. But come to Jesus and converse with Him concerning the challenges of work and life. And He will give you wisdom to solve complex problems.
- When you study the bible, do not over meditate. Allow the Spirit to reveal the truth to you as learn to commune with Christ continually.
Dear Lord, create in me a pure heart so that I may see you, touch you and feel you in my heart. Teach me your ways, show me the right path, point out the road for me to follow. As I put my trust in you, I will never be disgraced.
Who is the man who fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
My eyes are continually toward the Lord,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net. – Psalm 25:12-15
In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.