What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet: but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead. And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died; (Rom 7:7-9)
Heady, deep stuff fitting for serious theological discussion, right? I know I have struggled at times to find a way to explain these verses with words that will let the hearer comprehend my understanding.
Then, at work, I saw a sign on the door that leads from our building to a covered patio with a few tables, “Don’t slam the door.” I have never noticed that the door slammed. In 15 years in that building, no one ever put up such a note before. But. When I saw the sign (the commandment came) I was immediately tempted to slam the door (sin revived). I seldom go out the door. The door is near the men’s bathroom. Every time I pass the sign, I am tempted to open it just to slam it. I would have not known sin except someone made a law! The problem is not the law, “The law is holy and righteous and good.” Slamming the door disturbs someone; evidently it is easy to let it slam, to shut it harder than intended. It is good to be kind to others. “Did then that which is good become death to me?” Not yet. So far, I have resisted the temptation to slam the door. “But, I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing”. Ask Dene, I am ornery to the core.
But, I am not “sold under sin.” Unlike the man of Rom 7:7-24, I have been “delivered from the body of this death” through Christ (see Rom 6:1-14 for an expansion of how). Though, I may often struggle with the temptation, I have sufficient grace to help me resist slamming the door. It is my choice to "reckon myself to be alive unto God” (6:11).
(I must confess that I sometimes slam the bathroom door.)
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace. " (Rom 6:12-14).