Apart From the Law, Sin is Dead—Romans 7:8
"But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead" (Romans 7:8)
Sin existed before the Law was given and sin dominated the lives of every human being dating back to the fall of Adam. With Adams transgression, all authority that had been given to him by God was transferred over to Satan legally. Since that time Satan and the sin nature ruled mankind. Sin had dominion over everyone born into the world and we were subjected to Satan's kingdom because of it. When the Law was given it merely strengthen the hold of sin upon our lives because pointed out the obvious, that we were sinners. It gave humankind the means of comparison between God's standards and our shortcomings.
Because we were able to compare ourselves against God's holy standard for the first time, the Law brought about the consciousness of sin. We fell short, then we experienced guilt, shame and remorse on new levels. Sin was allowed to express itself in the commandments and accuse us before God. The Law strengthened sin against us and awakened the desire within us to sin. Sin had always existed but the craving of our sin nature came through awareness of the Law. That is why Paul said that ‘apart from the law, sin is dead' ( Romans 7:8 ). Meaning that the knowledge between right and wrong is what gives sin power. It wasn't dead in that it didn't exist before the law was given, but dead in the sense that it was an inactive and lifeless thing. We still sinned in ignorance because of our sin nature, but knowledge brought about awareness and awareness brought about our willingness to participate.
This is why it is so important to understand several things concerning the Law, our sin nature and what was accomplished through Christ Jesus. First of all, the Law strengthened sin against in order that we would realize our inability to keep the law. ( James 2:10, Romans 3:19-20, Galatians 3:10-11, Galatians 3:21-22 ) When we realize this, then we hopefully will realize our need for a Savior. ( Romans 3:21, Galatians 3:13 ) When we understand that Jesus is able to save us from the curse of the law then hopefully we will also understand that he saved us from the sin nature as well. ( Romans 6:6-7, Galatians 3: 13 ) Lastly he provided for us the righteousness that the Law describes as our new nature so that we would no longer struggle under the burden of sin or the law. ( Romans 3:22, Romans 6:18, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 4:24 ) Understanding all of this will allow you to be free in Christ Jesus. ( John 8:36, II Corinthians 3:17 )
If we don't understand who we are in Christ and what he has provided for us in our redemption then we will never be free from those things that use to keep us in chains. For example when slavery was abolished in America, many slaves remained with their former masters. Some of them chose to remain even though they were freed because they were comfortable and didn't know how to live apart from their former owners. Some remain because they did not know they were free. This news had been kept from them. This is a risk for Christians as well. If we are too comfortable with the old nature and its desires then we will choose to stay in bondage to it even though we are free. On the other hand, if we are not aware that we have been freed by Christ Jesus when we received our born again spirit, then will unknowingly remain in bondage to our previous nature. But if we know we are free based upon God's Word and we choose to walk in who we are in our spirits rather than what we know in the flesh, that is when we will experience the abundant live that Christ Jesus paid a heavy price for us to have. Today, my you encourage yourselves through these words to walk in newness of life. May you walk in freedom steaming out of the incredible gift that has been purchased and provided for you. Amen and Thank you Jesus!
Original article published November 4, 2009.