When things go wrong, we all naturally look to blame others. The tendency is in our spiritual DNA. When God called Adam to account for eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden, Adam blamed Eve and ultimately God Himself. “It wasn’t my fault,” said Adam. “It was the woman that You gave me, God” (Genesis 3:12). Then when God called on Eve, she blamed Satan (the serpent) for tricking her (Genesis 3:13). Ever since then, people have played the blame game whenever they have done wrong. The last place we look to find fault is with ourselves; we always search to explain our sins and failures by blaming circumstances or other people.
But today’s passage in Romans tells us squarely that when we sin, we can never blame God and His holy standards. The Ten Commandments are perfect. The two great commandments that underly the Ten Commandments, namely that we love God and love other people, are perfect. If everyone perfectly kept God’s commandments, not just outwardly but in their hearts as well, the world would be a perfect place. A world full of people always obeying the law in spirit and in letter world be a world full of love, peace, and joy – a world of total happiness. It would be like the Garden or Eden or better yet, the heaven that is to come. As Paul tells us clearly, the law of God is “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12).
All of the evils of this world are our fault, not God’s. The law is perfect, but we are not. The law shows us our sin. It is like a mirror or a tutor to reveal the wickedness buried in our thoughts, actions, and desires. You see, before we were saved, we did not worry much about our sin or where we stood with God. But once the Holy Spirit took the preaching and teaching of God’s Word and began to apply it to our hearts, we began to see the depth of our sin. It is not that the law made us want to sin, but that the law showed us how bad our sin really was (Romans 7:7-8). In a sense sin was dead to us because we did not think much about our sin and how much it offended a holy God. But the law brought sin to life in us in that we became painfully aware of its awful presence in our souls and how it had wrecked our relationship with God (Romans 7:9-11). As we will see in the next post, the law awakened us to a brutal, life and death war between good and evil within our hearts and minds. But praise God, as we look ahead to Romans 7:25, Jesus Christ can deliver us from this struggle and give us victory over the sin that wants to destroy us. The law may kill us, but Jesus can bring us back to life. Rather than hate God’s commandments, let’s delight in His holy law as the guide that led us to Christ and shows us how as Christians how to follow Him in newness of life.
The Text (Romans 7:7-12)
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
Questions to Think About
- Have you ever found yourself hating one or more of the Ten Commandments? The next time you do, stop and imagine what it would be like if someone else broke those commandments and it affected you. How would you feel if someone stole from you? If someone lied or gossiped about you? If someone hated you in their hearts? Does thinking this way help you to better see the goodness of God’s commandments?
- Would it be better to just live life without thinking much about your sin or worrying about pleasing God, or is it better to fight against sin in your life even when you sometimes lose battles? Explain.
- Do you delight in God’s commandments as the Psalmist describes in Psalm 1:2, or do you merely respect them as something that people ought to do? How might your feelings about the commandants affect your daily life?