|Dr. Couch, what does Paul mean in Romans 7:9 when he said, "I was alive apart from the law once; but when the commandments came, sin revived, and I died"?|
Paul says the law is "spiritual, holy, righteous, and good" (vv. 12, 14). But the problem has to do with us! We cannot keep the law. Paul in a certain sense is running his personal history all together. He tried, as a good Jew, to keep the law, he thought he was alive to it, but he could not keep it because of sin within. He tried before he trusted in Christ. The cross saves us from ourselves and from the indictment of the law.
I won't put down all the verses but read carefully all of chapter 7 and you'll get Paul's point. The law condemns because we are sinners. We are not under the law as believers. Though the law in itself is good, and, it has many qualities that make it admirable as an example. But again, we're not under it as a system, or dispensationally. This is where dispensationalism makes sense and comes into play. And this is where the Covenant guys get all confused. They pretend they somehow are still under the law.
Paul wrote earlier in Romans and Galatians:
"Through the law comes the knowledge of sin …" "Apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been manifested …" "No one is justified by the works of the law …" "The law leads us to Christ that we might be justified by faith …" "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, that is, the law" "He redeemed those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons."
Paul adds: God "has made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter (of the law), but of the Spirit; for the letter (of the law) kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6). "But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound so that we serve in newness of the Spirit, and not in oldness of the letter (of the law)" (Rom. 7:6). And, "He is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter (of the law), …" (2:29).
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch