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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 7 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Was then that which is good, etc. This is another objection, which the apostle proceeds to answer. The objection is this: "Can it be possible that that which is admitted to be good and pure, should be changed into evil? Can that which tends to life, be made death to a man?" In answer to this, the apostle repeats that the fault was not in the law, but was in himself, and in his sinful propensities.

Made death. Ro 7:8,10.

God forbid. See Barnes "Ro 3:4".


But sin. This is a personification of sin as in Ro 7:8.

That it might appear sin. That it might develope its true nature, and no longer be dormant in the mind. The law of God is often applied to a man's conscience, that he may see how deep and desperate is his depravity. No man knows his own heart until the law thus crosses his path, and shows him what he is.

By the commandment. See Barnes "Ro 7:8".


Might become exeeedingly sinful. In the original this is a very strong expression, and is one of those used by Paul to express strong emphasis, or intensity, kay uperbolhn. By hyperboles. In an extensive degree; to the utmost possible extent, 1 Co 12:31; 2 Co 1:8; 4:7; 12:7; Ga 1:13.

The phrase occurs in each of these places. The sense here is, that by the giving of the command, and its application to the mind, sin was completely developed; it was excited, inflamed, aggravated, and showed to be excessively malignant and deadly. It was not a dormant, slumbering principle; but it was awfully opposed to God and his law. Calvin has well expressed the sense: "It was proper that the enormity of sin should be revealed by the law; because unless sin should break forth by some dreadful and enormous excess, (as they say,) it would not be known to be sin. This excess exhibits itself the more violently, while it turns life into death." The sentiment of the whole is, that the tendency of the law is to excite the dormant sin of the bosom into active existence, and to reveal its true nature. It is desirable that that should be done; and as that is all that the law accomplishes, it is not adapted to sanctify the soul. To show that this was the design of the apostle, it is desirable that sin should be thus seen in its true nature, because

(1.) man should be acquainted with his true character. He should not deceive himself.

(2.) Because it is one part of God's plan to develope the secret feelings of the heart, and to show to all creatures what they are.

(3.) Because only by knowing this will the sinner be induced to take a remedy, and strive to be saved. God often thus suffers men to plunge into sin; to act out their nature, that they may see themselves, and be alarmed at the consequences of their own crimes.

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