The Experience Of Paul
We have looked at the illustrations of deliverance. Now we will listen to Paul as he gives us his experience. He tells us how he was delivered from the bondage of sin and the law. He draws the veil aside from his own inmost life and discloses its secrets. It is a great help to us, for as we listen we know that our experience is quite similar to his. We know that we are united to Christ, we are one with Him and ought to be happy in the experience of it and yet for a long time we were unhappy simply because we were occupied with ourselves instead of Himself.
The story is told in two parts. In verses 7-13 Paul tells of his experience before he knew Christ, and he uses the past tense in these verses. But in vs. 14-25 he uses the present tense for he is talking about his experience after he was saved. We will listen to v/hat he has to say about his unconverted days.
Paul’s experience with the law, vs. 7-13.
What a struggle Paul had with the law before he was delivered from it. We notice several things here.
I. The law revealed his sin to him. vs. 7.
He does not say “sins” but sin. Sins, the evil things we do, are hard to hide, but sin that evil nature within we forgot about. Like a sleeping viper it lay coiled within his bosom until it was roused by the voice of the law. The law awakened sin but the law is not sin as Paul says. The mirror that shows up my dirty face is not black. It is my face that is black.
2. The law stirred up the evil desires within, vs. 8
“The commandment wrought all manner of lust in me,” says Paul. The stream flows smoothly along in its course when nothing opposes, but see it bubble and boil when the rocks oppose its progress. And so it is with our evil natures. The thing we are not allowed to do is the very thing we want to do. Very often there is no desire until there is prohibition. When Paul says “Without the law sin was dead” he means it was dormant.
3. The law promised life but brought death, vs. 9, 10,11.
There was a time when Paul lived in his sin. He was not conscious of his true condition before God. But the “commandment came” and Paul’s conscience was reached. The law said, “Do this and live” but it never gave the power to do. It said, “Thou shalt not covet” but it could not curb the evil desires within. Paul felt himself helpless and hopeless. He saw himself as a dead man, doomed by the law to die. In this way sin deceived him. Sin is like the pickpocket nestling up close to you in a friendly way and then leaving you stranded. There is no real enjoyment in sin for it is sure to get us in the end.
4. The law that was good made sin exceeding sinful, vs. 12, 13.
A perfect law and a sinful self, so entirely different, are brought together.
The fault was not in the law it was in the sinner but we readily see how the union could never be a happy one. How much better to be “married to Him who is raised from the dead.” We will close this study with an outline on what the law is, taken from Bancroft.
· The Law is a standard to measure man’s shortness— Rom. 7:12.
· The Law is a scale to make known his deficiencies—Jas. 2:10.
· The Law is a mirror to shew his sinfulness —Rom. 7:7.
· The Law is a stethoscope to discover his disease—Matt. 5:27-37.
· The Law is a rule to evidence his crookedness —Rom. 7:14.
· The Law is an officer to demand his condemnation—Gal. 3:10.
· The Law is a judge to condemn the offender—Rom. 7:10.
· The Law is an executioner to slay the sinner—Rom. 7:11.
1. What two things is sin likened to in our lesson?
2. What, according to our lesson, awakens desire to sin?
3. What is true of people who live in their sin?