Romans 7: 8 [note verse from context in bold/underlined] … Rom. 7: 4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. 7 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." 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.
My Journal for Today: Continuing the discussion of the effects of the Law on sin in our lives, yesterday (from Rom. 7: 7) we saw that the Law reveals sin. It is like a mirror unto holiness; and it, sometimes painfully, reveals all the ugliness in our soul.
Now, in today’s highlight verse (Rom. 7: 8), Paul uses himself, as he does in much of his discussion on sin in Romans 7, illustrating that The Law also arouses sin in sinful mankind. It’s the old, but perverse, truth that when we’re confronted when THE Truth or with God as our Holy authority, our “natural,” reactive tendency is to rebel. John MacArthur uses the old illustration of what a young adolescent will do walking down the sidewalk, confronted with a “KEEP OFF THE GRASS!” sign. You may have been that child; and yes, I’ll bet you did what I did – i.e., tiptoe through the grass. Admit it; that’s who we are as sinful man [or woman].
So, today we’re confronted with the reality that the sin nature remaining in us will want to take every “opportunity” to taunt us toward sin when we know God’s holy signpost. That word, “opportunity,” is the Greek term “aphorme,” which actually means “taunt;” and the world has a military derivation, meaning that a base camp is established from which attacks on an enemy can be launched. And that’s exactly what Satan does, perversely using the “base camp” of God’s eternal Law. Satan knows that mankind, with his curse-driven sin nature, cannot live up to The Law, so he dangles it out in front of man, tempting him at every “opportunity” to make us want to walk on the grass in rebellion to God’s signpost of holiness. And Satan also wants us to try to do the work of avoidance on our own, trying to independently live up to God’s Law. Our enemy knows that we will never be able to do so; and so he can then use our headstrong nature to create discouragement in the hearts of God’s redeemed. It’s a double whammy; and the Law is there, essentially provoking it.
Yes, of course, it’s true that we must face our inability to overcome our sin nature and the Law on our own; but we can and will do just that … IF … we choose to submit and receive the grace that God has waiting and available for any born-again believer who would choose to accept and use that grace, provided by God’s Spirit, to overcome sin. We can live in holiness; but we have to choose surrender to God’s Spirit to find the victory.
My Prayer Today: Without Your grace, Lord, I am lost in my sinfulness. Amen