9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.
I was alive — in contrast to “sin is dead” in verse 8. Paul refers to freedom from a disturbing conscience, unaware of his alienation from God.
when the commandment came — He became aware of the law and its restrictions upon his natural tendencies
sin revived — manifested its evil
I died — Paul realized the sinfulness of sin and his lostness.
bring life — promised life as a reward for obedience
The former imagined state of happiness had given place to a realization of the actual condition in the sight of God.
The blame for man’s condition is placed on man’s sin, not on the law (verses 8, 9, 11, 13).
Having learned this, we must die to everything of self. The law hastens this process by teaching us that there is no hope in self-effort. No man can keep the law of God. Let us not fall into the error of the Pharisees who boasted in the law; actually, they built themselves up, like a short man who buys platform-sole shoes. At the same time, they sought to whittle the divine law to their measure, and consoled themselves with the notion that they were almost reaching the measure of God’s standards. If we are guilty of such smugness, the Holy Spirit must crucify it before we can even begin to be sanctified. Holiness produced by the flesh, no matter what its form, is hateful to God. He wants only the holiness that comes by the Holy Spirit through Christ. — Barnhouse, page 230.
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