“Wrestling With Romans”
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (Chapter 7 Verse 7-25)
The problem of course is that once a realisation of sin dawns upon the soul through the preaching of the law, look out! It is the equivalent of poking a rattle snake with a stick. Just make sure you use a long stick. The law of God pokes and it awakens and stirs the sleeping conscience till it begins to bite (v8). It was in the news once that people were being evacuated from the Caribbean Island of Monsarrat, because of the likelihood of a volcanic eruption. Some decided it was much ado about nothing, and elected to stay. Well, says Paul that is how I once was regarding my sin life. There I was, sitting, I thought, quite secure on top of this volcanic depravity of mine, oblivious, totally ignorant of the underlying consequences, all was well with the world and my soul (v9). Then it happened, boom! The very pits of his sinful nature erupted, spewing forth the lava of sin, and the red-hot rock of his depravity. In Paul’s case the volcanic eruption would be temporarily silenced with his religious morality, but the tremors of the law shaking those foundations repeatedly left him eventually with no where to run to but the Saviour. The commandment did its job.
The tragedy of Paul’s experience was (v10), because of the human sinful nature (Ecclesiastes 7.20), what was intended for life (Leviticus 18.5; Luke 10.28), produced death (Galatians 3.10). That was the result of the sin power, not the law (v11). Sin is the culprit (v8), the deceiver (v11), just as Eve was deceived by Satan (Genesis 3.13), with his lies (John 8.44). With Eve it was the initial introduction of sin (Romans 5.12), with Paul the sin that had already been introduced, and gripped his heart and life. It was the volcanic eruption, shaking Paul out of his self-righteous security, and bringing him to the realisation that he was in the grip of sin’s death, sin had deceived him, lulled him into a false sense of security (Ephesians 4.22; Hebrews 3.13). The sin is unholy, and greatly so, but God’s law, no, not in any way (v12)! The law is perfectly good, holy, it is a clear expression of God’s will (v13; Leviticus 19.2) it mirrors the very image, the face of God with brightness and clarity. Yes, a mirror, in which we see our own powerlessness, where we see our own sinfulness, and as a result of both these, we see our own offensiveness to God, because of sin. The mirror reveals our spots, and drives us to the only stain remover. Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)