Ministration of Death—Romans 7:12-13
"So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful" (Romans 7:12-13)
Paul raises an important question in today's passage, did the law, which was good become death to us? In other words, can something that is good produce something that is evil? Paul's answer, an emphatic NO! His reason... the law was simply a means to an end. The Law showed us what sin was in order that we would recognize how sinful we really were.
The law is called the ministration of death (II Corinthians 3:7) because the commandment drew out what was already at work within our sin nature... death. Without a basis for comparison it was easy to rationalize sin. Even among human standards we have degrees of sin, some more severe than others. The law, on the other hands shows us God's standard and leaves no room for comparison after all, God does not grade on a curve. The commandments themselves were holy, pure, righteous and good, but with them came the awareness of how utterly sinful we were. The illusion that we are okay on our own is annulled in light of the law and God's standards.
It is through the law that the awareness that we need a Savior comes. When we see ourselves in our sin soaked state powerless to break free, then we look outside of ourselves for salvation. So the purpose of the law has always been to bring us to Christ as our savior (Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:24). Therefore the law is good, holy and just and the outcome when used properly brings us life instead of death (I Timothy 1:8-11).
Today, I praise God for using the law as an instrument to bring us to him. I am so thankful that Jesus came and fulfilled the letter of the law in order that we can be completely whole in him. May you be blessed by this revelation of grace.
Previous: Romans 7:11 Next: Romans 7:14
Original article published November 10, 2009.