|Romans 7:7 |
7 What then shall we say? Is the law sin? God forbid, no. Were it not for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have understood lust without the law that said: You shall not covet.3 [Paul just illustrated how the law was his schoolmaster, teaching him what sin is, so that he could seek the heart and soul purifying grace of God. In the below Footnote 3 to this verse, George Fox states that the law Paul is referencing is the inner law.]
3 You shall not covet. Until we can hear the voice of Lord from within and follow his counsel to become changed, the moral laws of the inner law are our schoolmaster, a reminder to us of our problems, and a motivator to repent from our old ways and to seek divine help to be even more different, and thus to become pleasing to God. The inner law on every man's heart makes us feel bad when we lie or steal. This law includes the external moral laws: do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, do not commit adultery, (and all sexual immorality), honor your parents, do unto others as you would have them do to you, etc. The inner law's moral laws exceed the external, Mosaic moral laws for as Jesus said, he came to fulfill the law; and then He told us how it was to be strengthened, which the inner law reflects. This strengthened inner law can be understood to have been violated anytime you exhibit a fruit of the flesh, which includes: sexual immorality, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, profanity, adultery, lack of restraint, sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries (partying), evil thoughts, fornications, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, anger, boasting, flattery, immodesty, immorality, and foolishness. Any of these disqualify all men from heaven. A man innocent of all these fruits of the flesh is in full compliance with the rigid requirements of salvation stated in the scriptures: be perfect as the Father is perfect, Mat 5:48; be righteous as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7-10; be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36; become pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3; as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15; walk as he walked, 1 John 2:6; and as he is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17.
From the Word of the Lord within:
When we begin to listen to the Lord, with new commands (or commandments) tailored to our life and circumstances, He tells us to cease behaviors that we had not even recognized previously as sinful. For man cannot understand or recognize most sins, until the Spirit convinces a man of sin, For the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14. The things of God that may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Rom 1:19. So the Holy Spirit shows man about sin, about righteousness [of Jesus], and judgment [within a man]; the soul's eyes must see, the soul's ears must hear, to learn the things of God. The things of God are not learned reading the Bible, nor listening to someone speaking, unless they speak from words supplied by the Spirit of God at that moment.
In his Journal, George Fox wrote of this verse, ("You shall not covet."):
There was a meeting of priests and professors at a justice's house, and I went among them. Here they discussed how Paul said he had not known sin but by the law, which said, ‘You shall not covet,' and they stated that was the outward law spoken of by Paul. But I told them Paul spoke that after he was convinced; for he had the outward law before, and was raised up in it, when he was in the lust of persecution; but this was the law of God in his mind which he served, which the law in his members warred against; for that which he thought had been life to him, proved death. So the more sober of the priests and professors yielded, and consented that it was not the outward law, but the inward law, which showed the inward lust which Paul spoke of after he was convinced; for the outward law took hold of the outward action, but the inward law of the inward lust.
Paul states that we are slaves to sin, unable to stop the desire to sin, subject to frequent failure, regardless of what we intend. But Christ came to free us from sin, to release the captives, sitting in darkness of the prison house, to help the spiritually poor to become free. For this purpose Christ is revealed in you: to destroy the works of the devil, (destroy sin). Paul is saying that we are helpless slaves to sin, until we are saved from our sins, turned from darkness to light, released from our sins, turned from the power of Satan by the power of Christ; we need a savior to be freed through Christ's inward cross of self-denial from our sins, really freed, even from the lure of sin or the desires of the body — lusts.
Permit me to confess a more modern example. I thought I was free of lust; I didn't covet any man's wife, dog, cat, cars, boats, planes, houses, clothes, bank accounts, friends, etc. I decided to speed up my main computer with an SSD that costs around $50; no big deal, right? But then I heard the word of the Lord within tell me "you don't need it." Still enamored with the SSD speed-up, I kept searching for the best SSD available. I heard again, "you don't need it." After a couple of further searches, as I was thinking about the Lord telling me I didn't need it, I finally realized, "I am lusting for an SSD, which I don't need because my main computer is more than adequate; and I am planning to boast to all my former business associates how much faster it is with the SSD addition," which is simply lust and planned, prideful, boasting. When I realized this, I literally started chuckling at myself for being so foolish and dense. Needless to say, now I wouldn't install an SSD in my main computer if someone gave me one.