Explore Sermons By Dr. Lloyd-Jones

The Purpose of the Law

Book of Romans

A Sermon on Romans 7:7

The Law and Sin

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (ESV)

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Is the law sin? After repeated chapters concerning the Christian’s death to the law, some listeners may have asked Paul if the law was in fact sinful. Paul’s reply is “By no means!” Those who argue that have completely missed what Paul was teaching; in fact, he was teaching the exact opposite. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out in the sermon on Romans 7:7 titled “The Purpose of the Law” that Paul’s response is a self-reflection to help others understand. Paul says that he had not known sin apart from the law. He was not aware of the real nature of sin until the law made it clear to him. It is the law itself that enables anyone to understand the true nature and character of sin. As an illustration, Paul says that he did not understand that his lust was a sin until the law told him so. The law, showing the desperate need for a savior, magnifies the gravity and weight of our sin. The law is merely concerned with the meaning and character of a person’s heart and their attitude toward sin. Therefore, the law is not sin but it merely shows sin and Paul thanks God for the law.

Additional Scripture Translations

Romans 7:7, New American Standard Bible

7What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Far from it! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

Romans 7:7, King James Version

7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.