Thursday, 24 January 2013
Romans 7:7. The law vs Grace
'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.”'
Previously Paul has explained that the law makes sin increase (v5), since it reveals what is sinful and condemns is, so that we are tempted more to rebel against it and to keep sinning. But even though the law reveals sin, it does not cause it - like light entering a room. It does not create the object in the room, but it reveals them. Paul's point here then, is that the law is not sinful, but it does reveal and therefore increase sin. In v12 he says that the law/commandment is "holy, righteous and good". But while the law is good, it still:
1. Condemns sin, since it requires perfect obedience.
2. Gives sin power, since now the just penalty for it is death.
3. Doesn't help the sinner or provide them with hope.
So, while the law is good and holy and righteous, it is limited. That's why Jesus came.
1. He obeyed the law completely, so he alone did not deserve to be condemned.
2. He died anyway, dealing with sin and with God's just and holy wrath against it so that...
3. He could provide help and hope for those stuck in sin. If they turn to him by repentance and faith, he takes their sin has dealt with it, and we take his righteousness and perfect obedience. The result: We are forgiven by God, though we don't deserve it. We are adopted as his children, when we rightfully are his enemies. We have the sure hope of everlasting life with him, though we deserve his everlasting wrath.
Jesus came to do what the law never could, since all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God. (See Romans 1-3). The whole point of the Law is to reveal that we are sinful, that we deserve God's wrath and cannot help ourselves. Only then will we look to Jesus as the only saviour and give our lives to him. So: Are you under the law, or under grace? Have you turned to Jesus, or re you still rebelling against him? Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life. He is Saviour and Lord. Repent and believe, for the kingdom of God is at hand! (See Mark 1:15)