Topic: Discovering the Purpose of the Law

Text: Romans 7:7-14
Memory verse: Romans 7:12

We have already learnt that Romans 7 talks about the believers’ relationship to the law. Using the story of “two husbands,” Paul illustrated that the law has no authority over the believer. Today’s studies then seek to discuss the purpose of the law.

Overview of Paul’s two discoveries (7:7-14)

In Romans 7:7-14, Paul discusses the question: why did God give the law if it does not produce holiness? In other words, what purposes did God have in mind for giving the law? To answer this question, Paul made two discoveries: First, the Law itself is spiritual; second, (but) the believer is unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin (verse 14).

To Paul, who was a believer with a Pharisaic background, it seems to be a humiliating discovery that his very nature was unspiritual and unable to obey the law of God.

Some Highlights on what the law does:

1. The Law reveals sin (verse 7), for when we read the Law, the very things it condemns appear in our lives.
2. The Law “energizes” sin (verse 8), and produces in us every kind of covetous desire.
3. The Law kills the sinner and sin deceives him (verses 9-11), making him realize that he is too weak to meet God’s standard.
4. The Law reveals the utter sinfulness of sin (verse 13), because it reveals not just our outward actions, but especially our sinful attitudes.

To sum up, the reason the believer cannot make himself holy by means of the law is not because God’s law is not holy and good. Rather, it is because our old nature is so sinful that it cannot be changed or controlled by the law. It is therefore worth discovering that in the life of the believer, “the old nature knows no law and the new nature needs no law.”

1. State two main discoveries that Paul made about the purpose of the law in Romans 7:7-14.
2. Give two examples of how the law can reveal sin in the believer’s life?
3. Why is it possible that the law can destroy the sinner and deceives him or her?

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