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The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.

Romans 7:13 - Sin, Death, Law Bookmark

Thus it appears that man cannot have a true notion of sin but by means of the law of God….The law, therefore, is the grand instrument in the hands of a faithful minister, to alarm and awaken sinners; and he may safely show that every sinner is under the law, and consequently under the curse, who has not fled for refuge to the hope held out by the Gospel: for, in this sense also, Jesus Christ is the End of the Law for justification to them that believe. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

The proposition: that the law is not the cause of death, but our corrupt nature being with the law not only discouraged, but also stirred up: and it took occasion by this to rebel, and the more that things are forbidden it, the more it desires them, and the result of this is guiltiness, and occasion of death. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

The sense here is, that by the giving of the command, and its application to the mind, sin was completely developed; it was excited, inflamed, aggravated, and showed to be excessively malignant and deadly. It was not a dormant, slumbering principle; but it was awfully opposed to God and His Law. Calvin has well expressed the sense: “It was proper that the enormity of sin should be revealed by the Law; because unless sin should break forth by some dreadful and enormous excess (as they say,) it would not be known to be sin. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (NASB)

Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. (KJV)

But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God's good commands for its own evil purposes.  (NLT)

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it would be shown to be sin, produced death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (NET)

The argument anticipated is that we could say the law was the cause of the condition rather than our condition being the cause of our failure.  We ought to be acquainted with our own character so as not to be deceived.  We are as an unclean thing and our righteousness is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)  Perhaps the New Living Translation will give us some insight:

We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.  Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. (NLT)

When we were abandoned by God (Romans 1) to our sin it was for the purpose of showing us our true nature and letting us fell the full weight of our sinful transgressions.  It is when we see the hopelessness of our true condition that we are drawn to its only cure, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus it appears that man cannot have a true notion of sin but by means of the law of God….The law, therefore, is the grand instrument in the hands of a faithful minister, to alarm and awaken sinners; and he may safely show that every sinner is under the law, and consequently under the curse, who has not fled for refuge to the hope held out by the Gospel: for, in this sense also, Jesus Christ is the End of the Law for justification to them that believe. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

The proposition: that the law is not the cause of death, but our corrupt nature being with the law not only discouraged, but also stirred up: and it took occasion by this to rebel, and the more that things are forbidden it, the more it desires them, and the result of this is guiltiness, and occasion of death. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

The sense here is, that by the giving of the command, and its application to the mind, sin was completely developed; it was excited, inflamed, aggravated, and showed to be excessively malignant and deadly. It was not a dormant, slumbering principle; but it was awfully opposed to God and His Law. Calvin has well expressed the sense: “It was proper that the enormity of sin should be revealed by the Law; because unless sin should break forth by some dreadful and enormous excess (as they say,) it would not be known to be sin. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (NASB)

Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. (KJV)

But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God's good commands for its own evil purposes.  (NLT)

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it would be shown to be sin, produced death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (NET)

The argument anticipated is that we could say the law was the cause of the condition rather than our condition being the cause of our failure.  We ought to be acquainted with our own character so as not to be deceived.  We are as an unclean thing and our righteousness is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)  Perhaps the New Living Translation will give us some insight:

We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.  Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. (NLT)

When we were abandoned by God (Romans 1) to our sin it was for the purpose of showing us our true nature and letting us fell the full weight of our sinful transgressions.  It is when we see the hopelessness of our true condition that we are drawn to its only cure, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.



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