Ask God to orient or reorient you to himself. Confess any known sin. Thank him for his forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and his sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s word. Pray for others in your life that they too would know and love God today.
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
In verse 7, Paul begins with a couple of questions: “What shall we say, then? Is the Law sinful?” Paul’s answer is a resounding, “Certainly not!”
Paul knew his previous statements about the law (Romans 7:1-6) would be misunderstood by some who thought he was equating the law to sin. But that is the farthest thing from his mind. He of all people knew that through the law we come to know the character of God. There is no unrighteousness found in the law. If there were, there would be no way to reconcile the Old and New Testaments. We know this to be true by looking ahead to what Paul says in v. 12, “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.”
Notice, too, that Paul didn’t say the law was dead. Rather, we—believers—are dead to sin and dead to the law. Paul’s main point in verses 7-13 (we’ll work through the verses this week) was to emphasize that the law itself is not sinful, but that it reveals sin in man. What we’ll find in our passage is that it was the law that convicted Paul of his own depravity, just as it does in our own lives.
We must never forget that sin is the culprit; it used the law to bring death. To prove his point, Paul uses the sin of coveting as an example.
As long as Paul was comparing himself to others he felt fairly respectable. It’s interesting how we’re wired as humans; we’re quick to look at how we stack up against others. If we’re honest, I think we can relate to Paul. We can just as easily look at others and think, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as they are.” But the truth is—the true reality of our situation—we’re all just as bad. Yes, the truth is that we all fall short, but we don’t realize this until we look at the objective truth found in God’s law. That’s what Paul did when the demands of God’s law came home to him with convicting power. He stood speechless and condemned.
It’s also interesting that Paul picked coveting to make his point. Coveting takes place in our minds. The law opened Paul’s mind to the reality of just how corrupt his thought life was. Evil thoughts are sinful, as well as evil deeds. As one theologian put it: He had a polluted thought life. His outward life may have been relatively blameless, but his inward life was a chamber of horrors.
We know what sin is; we know it because the law tells us plainly. The law clearly lays out what a righteous life is like. With the law there is no room for us to dress up sin or try to make it not seem as bad as it is. Sin is a violation of God’s righteous standards. The law took all the guesswork out of sin. The law clearly defines sin.
If there is any unconfessed sin in your life, would you confess it right now? Ask God to reveal anything that you need to repent of.
Now thank God for the forgiveness that we have through Christ Jesus. Thank Him for freeing you from the power of sin.
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a real implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer for today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through his Spirit as you go through your day. Ask him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell him “Yes” to his will today and ask him for his power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask him to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY TODAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.