Summary: The sin nature that remains within the believer & wants to express itself in his beliefs, thoughts, and actions. There is an internal conflict in the area of sanctification that every believer faces. This inner conflict is intensified for those who seek
ROMANS 7: 7-14
THE AWAKEN CONSCIENCE
A believer is to understand that his identification with Jesus Christ means that he has died to sin (6:2) and then he is to reckon or take hold of (appropriate) that as true (6:11) in his daily life. For there is a force within him will need to be deal with. The sin nature that remains within the believer & wants to express itself in his beliefs, thoughts, and actions. There is an internal conflict in the area of sanctification that every believer faces. This inner conflict is intensified for those who seek to fulfill the law (CIT).
That is why the believer must realize that we cannot be saved or sanctified by the law [Charles Hodges, Romans. Banner of Truth.1835, 220]. Therefore in Christ we died to the law also in order that Christ might be our Master (7: 4). For we cannot give our allegiance to Christ and to the law at the same time (v.5). So those in Christ have been released from the law so that we may live in the power of the Spirit (v.6).
It is often hard to maintain a balance of truth, so Paul, in his desire to remind his readers of their emancipation from the law, wanted to make sure that a false impression of the law would not result so here he will remind us of the purpose of the law also.
I. SIN'S SERIOUS AWAKENING, 7:7-8.
II. SIN'S DEATH BLOW, 9-12.
III. SIN'S CONTEMPTIBLE BONDAGE, 13-14.
This passage is the preparation for one of the most moving passages in the New Testament. For here Paul begins to give us his own spiritual pilgrimage, laying bare his heart and soul in auto-biographical form. Starting with verse 7 and continuing through this chapter, the Apostle Paul turned to the first person singular indicating that he is presenting his personal experience. [Up to this point he had used the third person, the second person, and even the first person plural. But now he described his own experience, allowing the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to his readers.] "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."
No doubt there were those who, on hearing Paul teach about the inadequacy of the law to reproduce a satisfactory life of righteousness, would leap to the conclusion that the law is bad [as Aldous Huxley the author of Brave New World believed]. Paul though does not allow this conclusion and strenuously sets about showing that he has a profound respect for the law which is not at all diminished by his clear perception of its inadequacies. [Briscoe, Stuart; The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol 29. Romans. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1982, S. 143]
So after proving the laws failure he propose the query, "Is the Law sin?" The response again is a vehement denial. Certainly not! (genoito) The Law arouses sin (7:5) but that does not mean the Law itself is sin. In fact, Paul said later, the Law is holy (v.12) and good (v. 14). What is on the side of sin does not expose what sin is.
So Paul goes on to explain that the Law made sin known [egn n, aor. act. ind. of gin sk , to come about, give rise, to gain understanding; to acquire knowledge; 3:19-20]. The function of the law is to reveal to people their sinfulness and inability so that they might see and admit their need of deliverance which only God's Spirit can effect. This awakening is absolutely necessary for people have only a dim awareness of their sinfulness.
Then as an example, he mentioned the tenth commandment. Paul knew sin's power and specifically, covetousness as an expression of it, and that knowledge came through the Law. But more than that, the Law's prohibition, "Do not covet" (Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21), causes rebellious people to covet all the more.
The commandment not to covet provides sin with a beachhead to launch its attack. It not only informed what is sin but, because of our rebellious fallen nature, its prohibition aroused sin. Just like a no smoking sign causes a smoker to think about smoking and therefore want to smoke.
Paul states that coveting was his problem area. What was Paul craving after? Maybe Paul was lusting after prestige or had a craving to excel as a scholar—which seems a noble goal. Yet as he studied the law, it brought to light and awaken an inner intensity of desire that wanted to dominate his thinking and then spur his will, possibly changing a pursuit into a hunger [for place or prominence] for something more than his pursuit of God.