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.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.
In verse 11, we see the phrase again: “…sin, seizing the opportunity…” Remember, we are in a battle against sin; sin is looking to form a bridgehead in our lives from which to launch attacks.
Paul said sin “deceived me.” Notice he didn’t say the law deceived him, but sin. It was sin that incited him to do what the law prohibited. I like how the Believer’s Bible Commentary sums up this verse:
Sin tricked him into thinking that the forbidden fruit wasn’t so bad after all, that it would bring happiness, and that he could get away with it. It suggested that God was withholding pleasures from him that were for his good. Thus sin killed him in the sense that it spelled death to his best hopes of deserving or earning salvation.
Sin always comes at us with a lie. Many times it is subtle and it seems to be just what we need. “If only I had him or her as a spouse, things would be so different.” That’s what happened in the garden when Satan tempted Eve. You remember the story:
…The woman replied, “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. (Gen. 3:2-6)
As with Eve, so it is with us. Sin is never as good as we think it is; sin only leads to death. Recently, some of my friends have been caught up in an adulterous affair. Sin deceived them. They thought all would be better if they could just have each other; they thought all their problems would be removed. Instead, it’s really foolish and devastating to everyone involved. Rather than get the happiness they thought they desired, they are left with death—death of a marriage, death of half of their friendships, death of community, death of financial stability, wounded children, overwhelming shame, a loss of trust.
Sin will seize any opportunity to expose our corrupt nature even through something as good as the law. Sin only leads to death.
So what do we do with this? When we are tempted to rebel we need to look at the law from a wider perspective—in the light of God’s grace and mercy. If we focus on his great love for us, we will understand that he only restricts us from actions and attitudes that ultimately will harm us.
*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.