A Lesson in Sin: Knowing the Law

By Bryant Muldrew

Learning the law of God is absolutely essential to preventing and abstaining from sin. Parents know that it is important to outline the rules of their family government to their children. God, being our heavenly Father, has outlined His perfect law in His Word the Holy Bible.

This series will explore sin through the law expressed openly in scripture. The purpose is to help give readers a guide to use as a starting point for using God’s Word to remove sin from their lives.

Raising Important Questions

In Rom. 7:1 Paul raises an important question. He asks do you not know how the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? In the KJV, notice that in parentheses Paul points out that he is talking to those who know the law. In order to understand how the law has dominion over the living, you have to know the law.

In verses 2-6, Paul gives examples of the how the law is applicable to those who are alive. Verse 4 reads, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” True Christians are made dead to the law by the sacrifice of Christ.

Paul raises another question:

“What 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. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” (Rom.7:7-8 KJV)

Also read Rom. 4:15 and I John 3:4 Sin is the transgression of the law and there is no transgression where there is no law.

Sin can only be identified through knowing the law. If a man does not know the law, then he is ignorant to the fact of his actions are against God’s Law. This ignorance does not make a man justified in his actions. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom 6:23 KJV) However in verse 9 of Romans chapter 7 Paul adds:

“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (KJV)

Knowing the law makes sin alive to you. This means the consequences of sin become more immediate because you have the knowledge of God’s Law and also have knowledge of the consequences. To know God’s Law and to transgress it is to risk your spiritual life.

Rom. 3:20 tells us: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (KJV) A Christian must also remember that Christ said, “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt 19:17 KJV)

There are six points that must be made clear:

  1. Through the law, sin is identified.
  2. Sin is the transgression of the law.
  3. The law does not justify man before God.
  4. Sin results in death.
  5. Christ’s sacrifice makes us dead to law. This allows us to be forgiven by God for transgressing the law
  6. A Christian still must keep the commandments to enter into eternal life.

Intimately Knowing the Law

The epistle of James brings deeper understanding of knowing the law.

James 1:22-25 reads:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (KJV)

God’s Word is built around His Law. James tells us to be doers while simultaneously urging us not to be forgetful hearers. James is explaining that to hear the law is to know the law; however, those who do the law do not forget it. So James is letting us know that it is possible to know the law and forget it. The only way to ensure that you always know the law is to do the law.

This is a profound understanding that many ministers, pastors, and other clergy men do not explain often!!!

Romans 2:11-13 brings more light to this understanding.

For there is no respect of persons with God.For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.)” (KJV)

Here we read that even those who do not know the law shall perish without it (as mention previously), but it is most important to see that both James and Paul were inspired to write similar words about being doers of the law.

So we have to raise another question:

HOW DOES ONE BECOME A DOER OF THE LAW???

There is a very simple answer to this question. You have to know the law to be able to do the law just like you would have to know math to do math. And as we have seen, those who do not know the law are not exempt from punishment.

To add to the proof read Hosea 4:6

God tells us through this verse that many, “hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”(KJV)  Destruction results from a lack of knowledge of God’s Law. Not knowing God’s Law presents the opportunity to break the law more. If we make sure we are familiar and intimate with the law, then we can try not to transgress it and pray for forgiveness when sin does take place.

NOTE: It is important to note that humans will sin, but it has to be in your heart not to want to do so. Paul talks about his experience with this in Roman chapter 7. Take the time to read this chapter. In addition, part of the reason why David was called a man after God’s own heart has to do with David not wanting to sin against God’s Law and Government.

What is the Law?

Remember that Jesus said, “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt 19:17 KJV)

Of course the Law of God can be found throughout the entire bible; however, it is in our interest to look at a summary of the law. Read Deut. 5:6-21.

After reading the Ten Commandments, let’s read Prov. 7:1-3.

“My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.” (Prov. 7:1-3 KJV)

God is speaking through Solomon to express the importance of keeping His commandments. No Christian should allow anyone to tell them that Jesus has kept the commandments for us. Notice that verse 2 talks about God’s Law being the apple of our eyes. How often do we try to make other objects, people, and ideas the apples of our eyes?  “Bind them upon thy fingers,” means to do them. See the emphasis that God has place on keeping His commandments. Remember, the commandments are the laws of God’s Government!! It is important to keep this in mind. (More on God’s Government will be discuss in other writings). Also read Prov. 2:1-5.

II Tim. 2:15 reads:

 “Studyto shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV)

We study the word of God in order to know the law. The purpose of this series is to help Christians study the details of each commandment. It is in the studying and the executing of the law that is our contribution to God. This is what God requires of us to enter into life.

Read the 6th chapter of Deuteronomy to close out this study.

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