You gotta pay attention to the reading plan. It sneaks in three chapters in one day every once in awhile. Today is one of those days.
Paul spends quite a bit of time explaining the function of the Law, doesn’t he?!
“Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” (7:7)
I have had lots of questions in the past when reading this section. “What about the Indian in the jungle who never heard about the Law or about Jesus. What happens to them?”
Well, in our reading yesterday, Paul talks about how “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- for before the law was given, sin was in the world.” (5:12)
Then, along comes “the Law” given to a “chosen people” through the mediator Moses. Why?
Today we read why…the Law shows us clearly what sin is. I really like what one commentary says about this. “With out the law reproving us, we are in a manner, asleep in our sins; and though we are not ignorant that we do evil, we yet suppress as much as we can the knowledge of evil. The Law awakens us, that we may return to the consideration of God’s judgement.”
So, the Law is a tool to show us our sins and make us realize how perfect God is and how sinful we are.
Thankfully, Paul goes on to explain how to become free from that sin. (6: 5-7); by the grace of God (6:14) we have Jesus!
“Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (8:1)
So, what about the jungle Indian? Well, unless he has the “righteousness that comes by faith”( 4:13) like Abraham had, well then….
“death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over these who did not sin by breaking a commandment…”(5:14) That includes those who never heard of the law or Christ. Death reigns, “The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (8:6)
I’m glad Paul clarified all that for me!