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.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good (Romans 7).
Now here in these verses is the clearest reference yet for the illustration (given in an earlier devotion) where no one ever fished until the hotel manager posted a “No Fishing” sign. It’s as if Paul alludes to the truth in 3:20 and 5:20, but now says it outright: the Law was brought in to show us our need for a Savior by revealing our sinful nature which is always and easily prone to do exactly what we are commanded not to do. Both the Ten Commandments as well as Moral Law in general are God’s gracious tools of redemption.
It just goes to show how we often need to be eased into truth. God sets us up with nuances (3:20 and 5:20) until He is ready to come at us with the full, plain, and brutal truth. Until now the Apostle Paul has been poised to pull the trigger of truth, waiting for God’s command, and now upon hearing it — “Fire!” — he lets go with a whole volley of it to proclaim man’s proclivity to sin and need for a Savior.
Lord, thank You for the way You always ease us into Truth. You are always subtly preparing us for deeper and more difficult (and often brutal) truths. Help us This Day to receive any truth that comes our way — especially if it is a difficult one. Amen.