So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
–Romans 7:12

After reading Romans 7, some might ask, “Was Paul saying that the Law is evil?” On the contrary, Paul would say to us. The Law is good. It is perfect, as Psalm 19:7 says. Why would Paul say that we have been freed from the Law, but the Law is good? Starting in Romans 7:7, Paul pointed out the benefits of the Law.

First, Paul said he was grateful for the Law even though he was free from it because the Law describes sin. Look at verse 7: “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’”

Let’s say you love to play golf. Every Saturday morning you are out playing golf. But you have a different way of playing golf. If the hole is too far down the fairway, then you aim at a hole closer behind you. If you tee up and miss the ball, then you reach down and throw it as far as you can. When you come home and your spouse asks you, “How did you do today?” you say, “I did great–just 300 strokes on nine holes.” In your mind, you are a pretty good golfer. One day you are performing your antics on the golf course when somebody comes up to you and says, “What in the world are you doing?” You say, “I am playing golf!” Your new friend says, “I don’t know what you think you are doing, but that is not golf.” He explains some rules to you. You cannot touch the ball. You have to hit the ball within the boundaries of the fairway. There is a thing called par that tells you the score you ought to aim for. After you learn these rules, you realize, “I am not that great of a golfer. In fact, I am a lousy golfer.” You see, those rules did not make you a bad golfer; they simply revealed that you are a bad golfer. They described what a good golfer and a bad golfer are. Paul used that same illustration in verse 7. He was saying, “Without the Law, I would have thought I was a pretty good person. I would never have known about coveting if I did not have the Law, which said, ‘You shall not covet.’” Paul said he was grateful for the Law, because the Law describes sin and shows us God’s standard.

Second, Paul said he was grateful for the Law even though he was free from it because the Law arouses sin. Imagine you are walking down the street and see a sign on a park bench that says, “Wet Paint: Do Not Touch.” What is the first thing you want to do? Something inside you draws you to that wet paint. Or if you see a sign that says, “Do Not Walk on the Grass,” you want to walk on the grass. There is something about rules that stirs up sin. It is the same way with God’s Law. When God says, “You shall not . . .” Our first inclination is, “Oh yeah? Just watch me.” There is something inside of us that is stirred up by the Law. That is what Paul said. The Law is good because it arouses the sin that is already present in us.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Uncivil War” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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