Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
October 23, 2016
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].
12 Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
1901 ASV Translation:
8 but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin [is] dead.
9 And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died;
10 and the commandment, which [was] unto life, this I found [to be] unto death:
11 for sin, finding occasion, through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me.
12 So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
- I. Now, The Sin...
- A. We are back to the original entrance of "sin" into the human world: The Sin...
- B. The roots are all here.
- 1. The body has been subjected to mortality (corruption) by reason of Adam's "Sin" and it has awakened to the threat of death to it (Hebrews 2:15).
- 2. The soul has been subjected to "separation" from its "mate" by reason of Eve's "Sin" and it has awakened to the threat of "life" alone.
- 3. The spirit has been subjected to an alternative "spirit of disbelief" by reason of Adam's "faithless" capitulation and it has awakened to the humiliation of failure and the concomitant threat of being judged as worthless (Ephesians 2:2) because evil is rejected by God.
- II. Having Taken the Initial Opportunity...
- A. The word "occasion" is used to indicate a certain point of time/action wherein an "opportunity" is given for action by reason of what has transpired, an "opportunity" that depended upon the previous time/action. "The Sin" was looking for a way to invade humanity and Adam's "transgression" gave it the "occasion/opportunity" for which it was looking. The invasion was immediate.
- B. This "occasion" was "initial" in that "The Sin" was previously locked out and unable to invade until this precise event and time. But, it was also "continuous" in that, ever since that first "sin", "The Sin" has been an integral aspect of human reality and is ever on the prowl to use "law" to pervert men, especially believers.
- C. This word, "opportunity" or "occasion" is rather quickly used again in 7:11 to further describe what Paul is detailing in respect to the use of "law" by "The Sin".
- D. That Paul's next words are "I was alive once apart from 'law'..." indicates that he is writing of his own experience post-conversion which is the critical realm of satan's use of "law" to derail the maturation of the believer in grace. This is the actual context of Paul's use of "occasion", not the initial "occasion" in the Garden.
- III. Through the Commandment...
- A. Paul's consistent grammatical construction (dia plus a genitive) indicates instrumentality.
- B. The "commandment", which initially consisted of "...of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it..." (Genesis 2:17), but afterwards became "thou shalt not lust" in Paul's personal case, raised the "occasion" as "opportunity" if the serpent could somehow persuade humans to violate it.
- C. If there had been no such commandment, there would have been no "opportunity": as Paul goes on to say, "without law sin [is] dead".
- IV. Wrought in Me All Manner of Concupiscence...
- A. The "wrought" is an intensified form of the verb for applying energy to a task to accomplish an objective. The contexts of its use indicate a diligent labor that actually accomplishes its goals.
- 1. This "working" is intense, though very often "under the radar". It is strange that something that is "intense" can also be so lightly regarded as to escape notice almost altogether.
- 2. This "working" actually uses "law" as an instrument of "focus" so that the person subjected to "law" cannot seem to break the "focus" and be unconcerned about the issues involved. "Law" simply creates a fixation of attention that is, then, manipulated into a downward spiral of "violation/blame/guilt" that simply repeats itself over and over.
- 3. The Authorized Version's word "concupiscence" is simply the translation of a Greek word that is an intensified form of "lusting".
- B. The "goal" of "The Sin" was/is to produce a "person" who chases one potent "lust" after another; thus, destroying that "person" and making him/her a slave to his/her own lusts.
- C. This "working", Paul says, is "in me".
- 1. This brings the Genesis 3 reality directly into Paul's own personal experience. The perpetual influence of that one historical action is maintained throughout human experience over all of the generations of humanity.
- 2. The only difference for Paul is that he is a down-line heir of Adam's action so that he is already under the dominion of "The Sin" as he comes into his own experience. The "thou shalt not lust" is, and has been for millennia, already "in place" before Paul has to deal with "life" as it is.
- 3. The prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the sons of The Disbelief, is already on the scene and, in some ways, already in the driver's seat before Paul even has an opportunity to act/react. The presence of "law" is Satan's most hated reality in the sense that he was not free to rebel against God with impunity; but it is his most useful tool in the sense that the spirit of rebellion is deeply ingrained before anyone is even aware of any commandments. To tell a rebel, "Thou shalt not...", is not only a revelation of possibly wicked behavior by that rebel, it is also a goad to spur the rebellion into multiple actions as delightful disobedience as Paul wrote, "...they not only do the same, but take pleasure in those who do them...".
- V. For Without Law Sin [Is] Dead.
- A. When there is no "law" there is no ability to "fix" a person's attention in the "violation/blame/guilt" spiral. Even if a person does what "law keepers" recognize as "overindulgence", without any "law" there is no sense of "failure" and, thus, no "guilt", and, thus, no "blame" and whatever relationships are involved are uninjured at the level of "imputation" (blame).
- B. The entire issue revolves around Paul's statement in 5:13 that when there is no "law" even "sinful" things are not "imputed". That does not mean they do not create negative consequences, but it does mean that there are no relational boundaries breached so that the relationships continue on along healthy paths. Paul's "...love does not take into account..." (1 Corinthians 13:5, but not the Authorized Version translation of "thinketh" because the word is "reckoneth/imputeth"). If "love" does not "impute" evil when it is perpetrated, the actions of evil without the presence of "law" do not do a lot of damage in the relational universe. Without "law" sin is dead.
- C. This "deadness" is the typical concept of death: a separation that effectively nullifies the ability to accomplish.