The Law Holy Righteous and Good
The Law shows us we need a Savior, and serves a powerful purpose in our lives. Once we’ve chosen Jesus as our Savior and His Spirit indwells us we don’t live under the Law – but neither are we lawless people. We live by the Law of the love of Christ. We live in an abiding relationship with our Savior. Living yielded to His indwelling life we don’t need an external code to follow because we have Him directing and empowering us to a life of obedience. Don’t let the word obedience alarm you. Obedience flows from our surrender. Obedience is the byproduct of being the loved children of God. It seems a problem to me that some Christians claim to have the Jesus ticket to heaven but have no intention to allow Him to reign over their lives now. As we walk in the Spirit we don’t need the Law but that doesn’t mean the Law is somehow bad. The Law is holy, righteous and good – with a purpose.
Romans 7:9–14 “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.”
I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin came aliveand I died. Paul speaks of the time period when he was an unbelieving Jew. As a highly trained and zealous Pharisee, an expert on the Law, he considered himself blameless. But throughout all his years of proud self-effort, Paul had served only the “oldness of the letter.” On the road to Damascus the Lord started Saul on a journey and revealed the true meaning of the Law. When Saul was faced with the true implications of the Law he realized all his perceived righteousness was at best – filthy rags. In brokenness his sin came alive and he found himself under a death sentence. He quit speaking of being blameless as he realized his best efforts left him dead. If you live under the law or place others under the law the result will always be death. If you’re attempting to live under the Law and see yourself as blameless you’re very deceived.
The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. Paul found the way he thought to gain eternal life turned was really the way of spiritual death. God gave the law to bring life and blessings to His people – not as a means of establishing righteousness – but to show the need for a Savior. When we try to use the Law to gain salvation, righteousness or sanctification we will find only death.
For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. Sin is personified all through this passage. Sin deceives as we saw in the Garden with Eve. Sin slew me; that is, killed off all Paul’s hopes. When we get a good look at our flesh and our great capacity for sin it is devastating. We make sincere but silly resolutions to be “better” Christians, to “quit” this or that sin, and the result is only failure and despair! Sin deceives us into thinking we can achieve what we can only receive as a gift.
So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. When a person is justly convicted and sentenced for murder, there is no fault in the law or with those responsible for upholding it. The fault is in the one who broke the law. The law is flawless as it represents the holiness of God.
Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! Indwelling sin – not the Law – brings about death. It is not the law against murder but the committing of murder that merits punishment. The law itself is good; it is the breaking of it that is evil.
It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. The purpose of the Law is to show sin for what it is. Spiritual death is the result of sin not the law. The law simply fulfills its purpose in revealing sin. Until men see their sin for what it is, they will not see their need of salvation from it. Its purpose is always to drive us to Jesus. We might be willing to confess our sin but I don’t think we see it as exceedingly sinful. We’ve got to quit seeing it as a mistake.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. The believer is no longer “in the flesh” but certainly can live after the flesh or the self centered life. In fact everything we do in the power or energy of flesh or self-effort is carnal. The carnal Christian is one who lives in immaturity – still striving for self. It is quite possible to be a highly regarded Christian, doing all the right things, but be carnal living life in self-sufficiency – not out of the Spirit. This is why so often Christianity is not known for its love but its self-righteousness. To be sold under sin is the language of the slave market. In Romans six we learned that we are no longer under the dominion of sin. It also tells us whomever we yield ourselves to becomes our master experientially. Sin has no right to rule over us unless we yield to it. Then it will reign over us experientially even though it has no right to do so. How tragic not to experience what Jesus paid so high a price to make true of us. If you choose sin it will always result in death. Spiritual adultery is trying to live under law and grace. Paul had grown up under the law. As a believer he had to come to the place where he gave up on the law as a means of sanctification. Human strength is not God’s means of deliverance over indwelling sin – that would only magnify our pride. We must remember whose we are and choose to live free.
I hope this week you’ll walk yielded to the Spirit of Christ with a heart to experience Him living in and through you to the glorying of our Father. No doubt you’ll have many divine appointments this week to share love and life with others. I’m praying for you and am so grateful for the privilege to be your pastor.
You are loved!