March 11 I Wednesday
“To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.” —Romans 5:13
From the time of Adam to the time of Moses, people lived without an established moral code to govern their lives. Centuries later that changed when God brought a nation to Himself; after 400 years of captivity in Egypt, God handed down the Ten Commandments to Moses. In doing so, a new reign was introduced, which Paul calls “the reign of sin.”
Though the Israelites had an innate sense of right and wrong that God instilled in them, the corrupt nature of the human condition prevailed. On Mount Sinai, God handed down a written code on two tablets of stone, engraved by His own finger. In Romans 3:20, Paul says,
“…through the law we become conscious of our sin” and in 5:13, “sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.” In other words, prior to the giving of the law, people were neither conscious of their sin,
nor the gravity of how it grieves God.
But now, as Paul says in Romans 5:20, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.” That is, our awareness of sin might increase. The word “sin” goes back to the ancient world of archery and literally means to miss the mark. The mark we have missed is the glory of God, which is His moral character. It is not the laws of God that make us a sinner. Rather, the
laws of God expose our sin and this reign of spiritual death results in a reign of sin.
Paul writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:15-18). We are all in the same boat. Though we know better, we keep doing what we should not be doing and neglect what we should be doing. We become very aware of our sin, but are powerless to eradicate it because of a sinful nature that will be alive and active until the day we die.
No one is exempt from the reign of death and sin, but God does not leave us in this desperate position. There is the reign of life and of grace that changes everything and in Jesus Christ, we are recipients.
Prayer: Dear Lord, make me mindful of how my sin grieves You. By your Spirit in me, help me to reflect more and more on what You are like. Thank You, Lord.