What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! But I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet. And sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind. (Romans 7:7-8)
There is an ancient proverb, “Know your enemy.” Paul wants us to understand the power of sin so that we can stand against it. Over the next few days, we will explore sin’s corruptive character so that we can understand the great enemy within and make progress in the ways of righteousness.
Sin seizes every opportunity to corrupt us; it even uses the law of God. Sin has no creative power by itself; it can only distort what is good. So whenever God gives a good gift, sin attempts to jump in and ruin it. Sin spoils everything by stirring up a spirit of rebellion within us. We are prone to listening to sin’s lies because of our inner desire for self-rule. God says “no,” and we want to say “yes.” Or perhaps God offers us a good gift, and we refuse, feeling that we will be goaded into submission by God’s kindness. We say, “No, we will rule ourselves, thank you very much!” Sin even causes us to wrestle against the very goodness of God. How foolish we are.
I don’t think Paul wants us to fall down into the cave of regret, but he does want us to understand the corruptive power of sin and how thoroughly it affects our thinking. Even the good gift of God’s law can be twisted to serve sin’s purpose. So by these verses, we should be wake up to the reality that this enemy within is trickier than we had originally thought.
Lord, I now realize how deeply sin has corrupted me. Only you can save me. Awaken my mind and deliver me from my inner rebellion. Let me not resist your goodness but submit myself willingly to your purposes.