by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2 February 6, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
1901 ASV Translation:
8 but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead.
I. Sin's "Occasion".
A. Sin is presented as a malignant evil which has the characteristics of intelligence and power.
1. There is nothing "passive" about "Sin". It actively exercises aggression against God.
2. Paul taught the Ephesians that there is a "spirit" that "works" in the sons of disobedience that is also described by him as the "prince of the power of the air".
a. At the most basic level, "Sin" is the mindset of a "created personal reality".
b. "Sin", as a mindset, is spread into "creatures" by impressive deception that, once established, is "resident" as a "personal" reality. In other words, "Sin" is not simply a "concept" that can be embraced; it is a "spirit" that, once permitted to dominate, is present and inbondage to the on-going impressive deception.
1) Adam, as a body/soul/spirit creature, could, and did, reproduce himself so that there came from him an entire "race" of creatures which possess a reduplicated body/soul/spirit reality that is essentially him.
2) Satan, as a spirit creature, cannot directly reproduce himself. He can only reproduce himself through the process of delusion by which he, himself, was deluded. Apparently he was able to seduce a third of the created spirits of God into "believing" the delusion, and, once-deceived, they "fell" to such a degree that "love" was absolutely beyond their capacity from that point forward. Satan is, essentially, a created spirit who has absolutely rejected "love" (as a totally other-centered commitment) and, therefore, is absolutely evil. Where "love" belongs in "spirits" there is only a gaping hole in Satan. It is an absolute absence; he is fundamentally incapable of doing anything with someone else's benefit as the reason.
B. As such, Sin is continually on the watch for "occasions" to exercise its power.
1. The word translated "occasion" corresponds to our understanding of "opportunity" as a situation that has the elements in place to permit a certain course of action.
2. Since Sin does not "need" antagonism or power (it already has those elements), all it really "needs" is the same thing we "need" -- revelation of the character and will of God.
a. Sin cannot act against God until it knows what God seeks to do.
b. It is in this sense that "Sin is dead" apart from the Law. As long as there is no divine expression of a "will", a "desire", or a "plan", Sin has to sit on its hands because it does not "know" what to oppose.
II. Sin's "Work".
A. The word translated "wrought" is an intensified form of the typical word for "the expenditure of energy".
B. Typically, the "expenditure of energy" is "agenda-ladened"; it is not simply a release of energy into a vacuum.
C. Since it is "Sin" that does this, we must understand that all of the ingredients for an "event" of evil are in place within us except that one dominated by Law. The Law's dominion is the revelation of the desires and will of God. If it is not on the scene, "Sin" is "dead" -- i.e., it lacks a crucial aspect of the ability to "work"...to "produce".
D. And, since it is "Sin" that actually produces the "work", we cannot "blame" the Law. It is typical of Sin to act and then blame. In Sin's antagonism toward God, it actually produces rebellion and then turns it around on God and claims, in effect, "It's God fault; if He didn't forbid, I wouldn't do."
III. Sin's "Death".
A. There are two ways in which Sin "dies".
1. In both cases, "death" is simply the inability to exercise power to accomplish something.
2. There are two ways God accomplishes this...
a. First, if He does not "reveal" what He wishes, Sin cannot move against Him. This is the point of the verse before us.
b. Second, once revealed, God's "will" can be used to destroy (because Sin can create all manner of aggression against His will) unless God can find a way to have His "will" revealed but, simultaneously, to dismiss the inherent condemnation associated with violations of it. If the Law can be removed from the necessity of "Justice", its "revelation" can stand while its ability to "condemn" has been removed. But this is not without its complications. What good would it do to have a revelation of God's will if, in fact, people were moved by that revelation to aggressively rebel against it even if God refused to take their aggression into account in His dealings with them?
1) This is where it is critical to understand the difference between "demand" and "promise". Any revelation of God's will that is "demand" without "power" (God requiring of men what they cannot do) is "Law" unto "condemnation". But, every revelation of God's will that is "promise" accompanied by "power" becomes an accomplishment of God because He does what He promises.
2) The "bottom line" here is the driving of a wedge between "Sin" and "man" so that "man" is no longer dominated by the angry aggression that has its roots in the fear of destruction and/or the impotent lust for dominion. "Promise" does this: it addresses that aspect of "man" that is not "Sin" and says, in effect, if you will accept My surgical separation of you from "Sin", I will do what I have promised in the revelation I have given. But this means one specific thing: it means that "man" must "believe" that he can be removed from condemnation (this is the only way his "fear" can be put to rest). Also this "faith" means that "man" has recognized Sin's lust for God's job and distanced himself from it. Seeking God's prerogatives is what I have called the "impotent lust for dominion". There can never be "peace" with God as long as that "lust" has not been rejected. This "faith", then, involves the two specific issues that are at the heart of "repentance" -- embracing the promise of no condemnation to handle "despair" and rejecting the lust to dominate to handle "pride".
B. The death of Sin is currently "relative", but will eventually be "absolute".
1. The real problem for man is not the existence of "Law".
2. The real problem for man is the presence of "Sin".
3. There will be no "final" solution until "Sin" is "dead beyond resurrection". Paul wrote of such a "resurrection" in this context (7:9) and, until man is beyond deception (7:11), the possibility of such a "resurrection" continues to exist. Thus, the "final" solution is the bringing of the creature beyond the point of susceptibility to the deception.