FUNCTIONS OF THE LAW

Scripture Reading:  Romans 7:7-13

“What then shall we say?  That the law is sin?  By no means!  Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.'” (Romans 7:7)

We know that no one can be justified by the works of the law — “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in HIs sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).  Paul is now working this principle out.  He tells us that the law reveals what sin is.  When we fail to keep God’s law, we sin.  In Paul’s case, it was the Tenth Commandment — “You shall not covet.”  Paul realized that he was coveting and therefore he was sinning against God.

Read the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and then read Jesus’ explanation of the law in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-48).  Can you imagine how many times we fail to keep God’s law in the course of a day?  The law teaches us what sin is.  It makes us aware of the evil in our hearts and thereby brings us to conviction of our sin and points us to our need for a Savior.

The law unveils our spiritual condition.  Listen to these words of Paul — “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died” (v. 9).  Before Paul was convicted of his sin, he was self-righteous and self-complacent.  He thought he was doing fine, that he was morally superior to others.  But when he understood the law, he became aware of the grievous nature of his sin.

The law reflects the character of God — “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and good” (v. 12).  The law is a transcript of God’s perfection.  When we understand this, we realize how sinful we are.  We understand that sin is a grievous offense against the nature of God.  “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me?  By no means!  It was sin producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure” (v. 13).

Do you see it now?  The law reflects the character of God and it unveils our sinful condition.  We desperately need a Savior to deliver us.  Jesus alone is the One who came to set us free from our bondage to sin and who paid the price we owe God.

Lord Jesus, I know that I can never fully keep the law.  When I read the commandments, I realize how grievous my sin is before You.  Thank You that You came to deliver me from my sin and to offer me forgiveness, love and acceptance.

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