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Sermon #3123

Sin Uses Law to Produce Death

A Sermon on Romans 7:12-13

Scripture

Romans 7:12-13 ESV NASB KJV
So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through …

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Sermon Description

How can a good thing cause death? Paul makes a case that the law is in fact a good thing. However, some argued that it brought death to them and Paul adamantly refutes this statement. In the sermon on Romans 7:12–13 titled “Sin Uses Law to Produce Death,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on Paul’s argument that the law is good, but it is sin that causes death. First, the law is holy and the complete opposite of sin. The law is just and never makes unfair demands, but sin is deceitful. The law is good and there is no better life than the one that is lived by God’s law. God created the law as a tool to instruct and bring about a knowledge of sin. The law allows the sinner to see their complete failure and need for a savior. It is on this basis that Paul’s point is proven: the law is a good tool created by God but it is the sin that produces death. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reiterates Paul’s point that the law was never meant to be a way of salvation.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is summing up and bringing to a conclusion the argument he has been developing in the previous verses (7-11) about the law not being sin.
  2. Verses 12 and 13 belong to the section from verses 7 to 12. Verse 13 also introduces the next section. It is a transition verse that belongs partly to both sections.
  3. Verse 12: The law itself is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. The law is an expression of God's character. It reveals God's holiness.
  4. The law is just in what it demands and in the punishment it prescribes for sin. The demands and punishment are fair and righteous.
  5. The law is good because its purposes, objects, and effects are good. It shows us what sin is, what we should be, and how to live.
  6. Verse 13: The question arises whether the law, though good, was made death to Paul. The answer is no, God forbid. Sin, not the law, was made death to Paul.
  7. God allowed sin to use the law to bring death so that sin might appear as sin and become exceedingly sinful. The law shows the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
  8. The law was given not to justify or sanctify but to give knowledge of sin and show our need of grace. The law cannot save or sanctify.
  9. The identity of the "I" in verses 7-13: It refers to Paul's experience before his conversion, likely between his Damascus road experience and Ananias's coming. Paul had been convicted of sin but did not yet understand the gospel.
  10. Paul is looking back at an experience in the past, not describing his present experience. The details of when it happened are unimportant. Paul's focus is on illustrating a doctrinal point, not recounting his autobiography.

The Book of Romans

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.