7:7 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.
1. The value of the
Law… Law reveals sin
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."
gennoita, no, no, no, no, unthinkable, may it never be...the strongest negative
in the Greek language. On the contrary. The Law is not sin, but the Law reveals
sin. I would not have come to know sin except through the Law. What are we
going to conclude from all this? That the Law is evil? That is an outrageous
thought...absolutely outrageous. But apparently it was a common thought because
Paul addresses it again in Galatians 3 verse 21, "Is the Law then contrary
to the promises of God? Me gennoita, again...no, no, no, no, may it never
119:18, 34, 77, 92, 142 …….. read the whole chapter
function of the law is to expose sin.
Today we call a drunk an alcoholic, he is sick, he has a disease. We say a man that killed someone has a mental
disease, and we have a name for everything that man does that is wrong, except
what God calls it…..Sin. A man has an
affair, God says it is adultery. We call
it a white lie, we don’t want to hurt someone.
A child is strong willed and has fits when he doesn’t get his way, he is
just selfish and needs to be taught who is boss. We need to apply the Board of Education to
the Seat of understanding (beat his behind).
David Jeremiah says that this deadly game we play is like taking a
bottle of Poison off the shelf and replacing the label with one that says
Essence of Peppermint. The results are
just as deadly.
insists that he would not have come to know specific sins without their being
identified as sin by the Law. The Law marks out the spiritual mine fields which
we will encounter in life so that we might avoid them. The Law does not
identify that which is good as sin so that we might be kept from enjoying it,
but that which is evil so that we might be kept from suffering sin’s
consequences. The Law posts warning signs around poisoned waters so that we
might not drink of them.
would not have come to know sin except through the Law. I thought I was doing
fine until I really saw the Law for what it was.
3:20, Romans 4:15, Romans 5:20, Isaiah 6:5, 1Timothy 1:8-10
5:20 "Law came in to increase the trespass" -- to increase the
trespass -- that is what the Law is for! It was given to arouse the sin which
was in man, and, thus, in making him sin all the more, it made him discover the
utter futility of trying to please God by self-effort.
does a child do when you tell them no, even at that age you see the sin nature
of man, they will look right at you and do it to test you.
you think you're blameless before the Law of God, you don't understand the Law
Hodge, the great theologian, wrote, "The Law, although it cannot secure
either the justification or the sanctification of men, performs an essential
part in the economy of salvation. It enlightens conscience, it secures its
verdict against a multitude of evils that we should not otherwise have
recognized as sins. It arouses sin, in increases its power and making it both
in itself and in our consciousness exceedingly sinful. It therefore produces
that state of mind which is a necessary preparation for the reception of the
gospel." He further says, "Conviction of sin, that is an adequate
knowledge of its nature and a sense of its power over us, is an indispensable
part of evangelical religion. Before the gospel can be embraced as a means of
deliverance from sin, we must feel that we are deeply involved in corruption
and misery." And further he says, "If our religious experience does
not correspond with that, as detailed in the Scripture, we cannot be true
Christians. Unless we have felt as Paul felt, we have not the religion of Paul
and cannot expect to share his eternal reward
whole effort of the Law comes down to this, it is to bring men into the sense
of their sin so that they know they need to be saved and they know they need to
be sanctified. It is to produce in them a permanent beatitude attitude where
they mourn over their sin & feel inadequate & unworthy & weak.
is no accident that Paul picks the 10th commandment to not covet. We can look good on the outside to others,
but inside we know that we want the things we cannot have. Probably Paul selected the tenth commandment
for his illustration because it deals with desires (i.e., illicit desires of
every kind). Our desires are the roots of our actions. The tenth commandment is
also the most convicting commandment. Everyone who is honest would have to
admit that he or she has broken it. The law points out not only outward sin,
but evil attitudes and intentions.
commandment gives us a definition of coveting: to covet is to desire to have
that which belongs to another, which cannot legitimately be ours. The command
not to covet identifies as sin the desire to wrongfully possess that which
belongs to another and instructs those who would obey God not to entertain such
(1) Coveting is a
matter of the heart.
Paul chooses an invisible, internal sin.
(2) Coveting is one of
the characteristic sins of the flesh. Our flesh has its appetites which often come
into conflict with God’s revealed will. These appetites, or desires, are often
forbidden lusts (see Galatians 5:16, 19; Ephesians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:10). Sin
frequently overpowers our flesh by appealing to its lusts.
(3) Coveting is a root
sin which is often the cause of other sins. Coveting in and of itself seems to do
no harm to anyone, but it very frequently provides the motivation for stealing
and even murder. To put a stop to coveting is to “head other sins off at the
(4) Coveting is a sin
which best illustrates Paul’s statement, “I would not have come to know sin except
through the Law” (verse 7). Coveting is a sin which is almost never considered
a crime. Not all sins are crimes. I know of no government which has a law
forbidding coveting. Part of the explanation for this is the difficulty of
identifying coveting and proving that this offense has taken place, since it is
a sin of the heart and mind. Murder, perjury, and robbery are sins, and they
are also considered crimes by society. Most people do not think coveting is
really wrong. In some societies, like our own, many forms of coveting would
actually be commended rather than condemned.
(5) Coveting seems to
lie at the root of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. In the account of the
fall, every tree in the garden was “pleasing to the sight and good for food”
(Genesis 2:9). Adam and Eve were given possession of virtually everything in
the garden with the exception of one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil, the fruit of which they were forbidden to eat (see Genesis 2:16-17).
Satan successfully focused Eve’s attention and desire on the fruit of this
tree. The result was that she seemed to focus only on the fruit of this
forbidden tree as “pleasing to the sight and good for food,” and, in addition,
“able to make her wise” (Genesis 3:6). Her first sin, therefore, seems to be
that of lust—desiring that which she did not possess, which could not
rightfully be hers.
of this powerfully demonstrates Paul’s point. Unless God’s Law had identified
coveting as a sin, we would never have recognized it as such. Coveting is like
a tumor hidden inside our body. Because it is not external, like murder, we do
not recognize its deadly existence and nature. The Law is like an x-ray,
exposing it for what it is and warning us that we must deal with it.
leads to true salvation is an understanding of the absolute righteousness of
God, the utter holiness of God, the Law of God expresses His perfect
righteousness and His holiness and puts a demand on every soul that if you
break this Law in one place, you're damned. Where's that message today? What
leads to true salvation is an overpowering, frightening sense of the
implications of breaking the Law. Truth about righteousness and holiness and
sin and judgment is what awakens the slumbering sinner.
16:6 says, "By fear of the Lord men depart from evil. " Why is
anybody going to change his life if he has no fear of God? We have to alarm the
sinner. We have to activate his conscience by informing him about the truth,
not letting him have a conscience that responds only to a watered down morality
that he has been taught by the world. We have to take the sinner, turn him face
to face to the Law, square him up with the Law and make him see the standard of
perfect righteousness, "Be ye holy even as I am holy." We have to preach
righteousness and Law. By this, people understand their sin and they understand
the consequence of their sin and the helplessness in which they exist.
2. The Law aggravates
our Appetite or tendency for sin
But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of
evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. The law doesn’t respect the
weak or the strong.
like many of us today, was protected and sheltered and kept from exposure to
serious temptations. He was raised in the Jewish culture, where everyone around
him was sheltered also. Therefore, he grew up relatively untroubled with
problems of sin.
young people, like Saul of Tarsus, think they have handled the problem. What
about keeping the Law? It's not hard! Hardly any temptations come under these
circumstances. These people think they have no struggles along this line. They
have the world by the tail -- they can handle it. As Paul describes it, they
are alive apart from the Law. But then comes a time when they are exposed. They
are thrust out into a different lifestyle, a different crowd of people. They
move out on their own and suddenly they find themselves removed from the
shelter and protection and love and cultural defenses that have been theirs
from childhood on. Perhaps the new crowd -- as a way of life -- does things
that these sheltered young people have been taught are wrong.
for the first time, they feel the force of the prohibition of the Law. The Law
says, "Thou shalt not covet, commit adultery, murder, steal ..." --
whatever it may be. And yet the crowd around them says, "Let's do it --
it's fun!" For the first time, they begin to feel the prohibition of the
Law. Then a strange phenomenon happens. Something about that situation arouses
within them a strong desire to do the things that are prohibited. Maybe they
are able to resist them for a while, but, nevertheless, they find themselves
pressured, pushed by something within them that wants very badly to do these
young people, raised in sheltered homes, move out on their own -- perhaps when
they go to college, or get a job, or move to another city -- they find that
suddenly all the control they had seemed to be exercising over evil vanishes.
They give way and are plunged into an orgy of evil, in one form or another.
Problem today is kids are exposed at such an early age to things that they were
shielded from years ago.
7:4, 8-13, Gal 1:14
illustration of what Paul had in mind here is the story of the temptation and
Fall in Genesis 3. Whenever someone establishes a law prohibiting something,
the natural tendency of people is to resist it. If you tell a small child,
"Don't do such-and-such," you may create a desire within him or her
to do it, a desire that was not there before.
a man determined to drive his automobile to the very limit of its speed. If . .
. signs along the road would say, No Speed Limit, the man's only thought would
be to press his machine forward. But now suddenly he encounters a road with
frequent signs limiting speed to thirty miles an hour. The man's will rebels,
and his rebellion is aroused still further by threats: Speed Limit Strictly
Enforced. Now the man drives on fiercely, conscious both of his desire to
'speed,' and his rebellion against restraint. The speed limit signs did not
create the wild desire to rush forward: that was there before. But the notices
brought the man into conscious conflict with authority
7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that
the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a
husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the
husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while
her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but
if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress,
though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have
become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to
another--to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the
law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been
delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should
serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 is an explanation or exposition of Romans 6:14
the Law help us, as believers, to handle the problem of sin in our lives?"
Again, the answer is both, "Yes," and "No." Yes, the Law
does help us -- but only up to a point. It will help us to define the problem.
But no, the Law is no help at all when it comes to delivering us. It can't help
us -- in fact, it will only make things worse. Paul deals with the last part of
this question first.
more you think about something, even when trying not to do it, then it becomes
tougher to forget. That is the way it is
with the law. When you try not to do
something then you are thinking about it.
It is not about trying to do right.
You can no more be saved by the law, than you can be sanctified or made
holy by it. So the trick is not to try
to do right, but what? Be filled with
Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments
and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing
every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and
you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
V1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak
to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he
Law Paul mentions here is a reference to a standard of conduct, or behavior,
which is expected of men. The Ten Commandments
are a standard of conduct, isn't it? That, of course, is the Law that Paul
talks about here -- the Law that was given to Israel. But Paul already has made
clear in Chapter 2 that, in a wider sense, the Law is present among men
everywhere. Have you ever listened to people talking about their experiences
and relationships with other people? Listen for a while, and you will hear a
phrase like this: "I don't think that is fair." What do these people
mean? What is it that determines whether a thing is fair or not? It is
obviously some unspoken standard of conduct or behavior that both the speaker
and the listener have in mind which is universally understood without speaking.
might put it this way: "I think this is the right thing to do."
There, again, is an unspoken standard of behavior. Somebody says, "I'm
going to get even!" How do you know when you are even? There is an
unspoken standard in mind. So, as Paul points out in Chapter 2, the Law really
is everywhere; it is embedded in the hearts of men. There is an undescribed, unspoken
standard of conduct to which we all refer. Every man everywhere thinks in these
terms, no matter what his background may be.
a hearse speeding on its way to the cemetery and racing through a radar trap.
In hot pursuit, a motorcycle policeman speeds after the hearse. When the hearse
pulls over, the policeman does not go to the driver, but he goes to the back
door of the hearse where he opens the casket and slips the traffic ticket
inside. Pretty ridiculous, is it not? No one can expect the law to have
authority over a dead man.
Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if
her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in
3:1 "They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, And she goes from him And
becomes another man’s, May he return to her again?’ Would not that land be
greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return
to Me," says the LORD.
1. The Law is making them discouraged and
they don't like it. In certain areas of their lives they see defeat, and so
they attempt to get people's attention off this area of failure and onto areas
where they feel they have succeeded. That is why they are always pointing out
the areas of their success and boasting about how well they are doing. They
want to keep us from looking at that other area where they are failing. The Law
produces failure. Therefore, one of the first marks of a person who is living
under the Law is that he is always pointing out how well he is doing. Isn't
2. Another mark of people who are living
under the Law is that they are always critical of others. This is another
diversionary tactic. Why are people critical of others? Well, if you succeed in
getting your friends' eyes fastened on other people, they won't look at you.
And you feel justified because the faults you point out in other people aren't
the same faults you feel guilty of. You know, God plays some amazing tricks
with us. He so blinds our eyes, or allows Satan to do so, that invariably the
things we criticize others for are the very things that we ourselves are guilty
of. And we don't know it! You see, the Law is producing this sense of failure
and defeat, and we are constantly adjusting to it and compensating for it by
3. Another mark of those under the Law
is that they are always reluctant to admit any error or fault in their own
lives. It is hard to get them to admit it. They feel very heavily the standard
of conduct they are expected to have, so they pretend they are living up to it,
even though they don't. They hate to admit defeat because that means they must
4. Another symptom of those under the
Law is that they invariably are subject to times of inner boredom and depression,
and oftentimes experience outward symptoms of depression and discouragement and
defeat. They go through times of utter, sheer boredom. That is the sign of
someone under the Law. The Law is doing its work condemning, and that sense of
condemnation produces depression of spirit. Did you know this? You see, you
can't understand this passage unless you know what the Law does. That is why I
keep asking "Do you know it?" If you know this, you can see that this
is a major problem in the church today. This is what has gone wrong with so
much of the church in America today. Now, therefore, we must understand Paul's
application of this illustration. Let's get it now in Verses 4-6:
according to this, we died to the Law through the death of our first husband.
When Jesus was crucified, that first husband died. And now we are free from the
condemnation of the Law. We are married to another, Christ risen from the dead.
So now, when we seek to be righteous and to do righteous things and to be
loving and kind, we are no longer hypocrites. This is the point Paul wants to
make. We are doing what we really are. We are tied to Jesus. His life is ours
and we are acting according to our true nature.
are married to a new husband. And because we share his life and power, we are
not only able to be what he is, but we are also free from any condemnation or
failure in our struggle along the way. We don't always act right, but the Law
doesn't condemn us. The Law's purpose was to condemn, and we can't be condemned
anymore because we are not hypocrites. We are doing what we were designed to
do. We have a new identity. No longer bound to our failures, we can admit them
and forget them. We don't have to have them clinging to us; we no longer have
to believe that God is unhappy with us because we don't always live exactly
right. He has made provision for this. It is not a fraud when we go back to God
again and again and accept from his hand his forgiveness.
it is not law that straightens us out, it is love. We no longer need the Law to
straighten us out, but we have love to do so. We are free to fail and still be
loved. And we are also free to win in the new power given to us.
6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to
obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death,
or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were
slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you
were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of
righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.
For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of
lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves
of righteousness for holiness. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were
free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things
of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now
having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your
fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is
death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Chapter 6 Paul declares that
God, through the death of Jesus, not only died for us, but we also died with
him. That is a great truth. When God says he set us free from the life of Adam
and linked us to the life of Christ, he really did. Through for quite a long
time our feelings will tell us differently, God wants us to understand this. We
are to believe it regardless of how we feel, because what he says is true. If
we will believe it, despite our feelings, we will soon discover that it is
true. More and more we shall enter into the realization of this tremendous
thing -- that we can be good in Christ as easily as we were bad in Adam.
Choose Your Master
II. WE SHOULD BE SLAVES TO GOD! (15-23)
reason not to continue in sin is explained in terms of servitude. We become slaves to that which we obey,
either sin to death or God for righteousness (15-16).
BECOME SLAVES TO WHOM WE OBEY (15-18)
1. Either of sin to death, or of
obedience to righteousness
v15 Look at
v1, it is different than 15 Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound.
V15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not
under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Spurgeon put it, "An unchanged life is the mark of an unchanged heart, and
an unchanged heart is a sign of an unregenerate life."
If there is
no change, if your attitudes are the same, if your outlook is the same -- then
there is a very serious doubt as to whether you ever became a Christian at all!
That is what is involved in the question of Romans 6:1.
other question is not, "Shall we continue to abide in sin," but,
rather, "Should we sin even once now that we are not under law but
See how God
so beautifully uses these Old Testament stories to illustrate the tremendous
truths of the New Testament. One of the most effective books of the Old
Testament in this respect is the book of Joshua, for it gives us the picture of
Israel entering the land -- and the land is always a picture of the fullness of
the Spirit, the walk in Christ, that we are talking about here in Romans.
came out of the wilderness of self-effort across the river Jordan and into the
land, the first obstacle that lay in their pathway was the tremendous city of
Jericho, with its great, high walls -- tremendous walls, we are told.
Archeologists, who have now laid bare the foundations of these very walls, tell
us that they were very likely over 100 feet high and some 50-60 feet thick.
This was an impregnable fortress. "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and
the walls came tumbling down." Actually, it wasn't a fight at all: As they
surrounded the city in the name of the Lord, and in the strength of the
indwelling presence of God in their midst, the walls simply fell down flat --
that is all.
that here is a picture of the life of victory that comes in laying hold of the
truths in Romans 6. As we discover and apply this truth, problems that
have been insurmountable obstacles to us, problems that have baffled us and
mocked us and conquered us for years, simply disappear as we lay hold of the
indwelling life of Jesus Christ -- and it is wonderful. We begin to experience
battle of Jericho, we see an account of the greed of one man, named Achan, in
the camp of Israel who coveted part of what God had set aside for himself. The
result was a thorough defeat at the little village of Ai. All this is a picture
of what we are talking about here in Romans 6:1-14. We see the principle that
brings about victories like the victory of Jericho, but, in Verse 15 to
the end of the chapter, we see some of the problems that arise that make
possible a defeat like Ai.
the joy of deliverance. Then we also discover that the old life still has power
to tempt us and draw us back into its control. We realize that, even though it
is true that Jesus Christ lives within us to be all that he is (which is all
that we need), nevertheless the temptation is to strike a balance and work out
a compromise. We find ourselves wanting to draw on Christ for the power to meet
the times of stress that come -- the big problems -- but we rather like to put
on the old comfortable slippers of the flesh the rest of the time, and enjoy
part-time victory is also part-time defeat, and this is where the problem lies.
root growing into a sidewalk eventually destroys it.
v16 Do you
not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s
slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading
slaves trapped in poverty and at least would be housed and fed, gave up all
John 8: 31-37
v17 But God
be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the
heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
formed or shaped by the Word of God… We used to say shape up soldier or go into
the service and they will shape you up or make you a better person.
Spirit of God makes us aware of wrong things, these areas must be faced and
surrendered to the place of death where God puts them.
Then we must
make this real by believing that fact -- that all of it is worthless in God's
sight -- ambition, everything!
Do you see?
When we come to that place, then we begin to realize victory. But, if we
compromise a little, we will soon be back in the old cycle of defeat and
barrenness that we knew for so long. However, Paul points out that it also
works the other way around. You choose Christ in these struggles and you find
that he grows on you, and he gets a grip on you. The power, and the glory, and
the strength of his life begin to grow stronger and stronger.
having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
underlying truth of the passage is that man is made to be mastered by
something. We need a cause. Every young person is looking for a cause to live
for, and to die for. When we are not aware of any cause in our life worthy of
the effort, we flounder and feel depraved and deprived and hopeless. And the
amazing thing is that, in all of life, there are only two possible masters:
Either Christ or self; either one or the other.
"No man can serve two masters," Matt 6:24
any of it puts you under the power of all of it
Act, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a life,
destiny, and eternity
V19 I speak
in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you
presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading
to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of
righteousness for holiness.
righteousness produces holiness
There is a
continual choice, and the choice makes possible further victories. Little
choices make little victories grow into larger victories. What Paul is simply
saying is: Now choose your master. You can have only one. You can't have both.
THE MOTIVATION FOR SERVING GOD (20-23)
important it is that they continue to do so is to be seen in the outcome of
serving sin contrasted to serving God.
Serving sin earns death, but in serving God one receives the gift of
eternal life in
11:25 choosing rather to suffer
affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
pleasureable for a season
Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked;
for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh
will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the
Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for
in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have
opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the
household of faith.
sin produces death (20-21)
God produces the fruit of holiness, and in the end, eternal life (22)
wages of sin is death, but God gives the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus
our Lord (23)
pocket money given to slaves, a wage is something that impacts your life now
and in the future.
have an empty Christian life if you are not holy and under God’s control. (living death)
person alive is a Christian out of fellowship with God.
grace gift, and undeserved, unearned, free gift.
Hosea 4:6 My
people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Do you know
who you are? Rev 1:6, 1 Peter 2:9-10
Choose you this day whom you will serve"