What does Romans 7:12 mean?
ESV: So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
NIV: So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
NASB: So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
CSB: So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
NLT: But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
KJV: Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has been answering a false charge from his critics: that he was teaching that the law of Moses was sinful. He was not doing that. Instead, Paul taught how the law—God's commands—makes us aware of the sin already within us. The law makes us aware that we are sinners, spiritually dead and separated from God. Instead of seeing ourselves as good, and moral, we realize we're corrupt and in need of forgiveness.

Now Paul says outright that God's law, the law of Moses, is holy. The commandments in the law are holy and righteous and good, Paul insists. The law was a great gift from God to the people of Israel. In the law, God revealed His heart and His standards for right living. Paul wants to make sure every reader knows that he is not condemning the law. Instead, Paul has pointed to the greatest benefit of God's beautiful, perfect law: It shows us that we can never keep the law, that instead we are sinners in need of saving.
Verse Context:
Romans 7:7–25 explores the relationship between the law of Moses and human sin. Paul insists that the law is how he came to know and understand sin, in general, and his own sin specifically. He also explains how knowing the law does not make a person holier; it can actually tempt us to sin even more! Paul changes his perspective in this passage, speaking in a first-person-here-and-now manner, as a Christian, wanting to do what is right and finding himself doing what is sinful instead. Paul recognized his natural inability to do right and realized his need to be delivered from sin by God through Jesus.
Chapter Summary:
In Romans 7, Paul describes the relationship between Christians and law of Moses and between the law and human sinfulness. Because we died spiritually when we came to faith in Christ, Christians have been freed from our obligation to follow the law. Paul insists, though, that the law is holy and good in the sense that it reveals to all who try to follow it just how very sinful we are. The law shows us that no matter how good our intentions, we still end up in sin and in need of the deliverance available only through faith in Jesus.
Chapter Context:
Romans 6 revealed that those in Christ have died to sin and are no longer slaves to it. Romans 7 begins by showing that, in Christ, we have also died to our obligation to follow the law of Moses. Paul makes clear, though, that the law is holy and good because it reveals to us just how sinful we are. Paul describes how his failed attempts to follow the law convinced him more fully of his need to be delivered from his sinfulness by God through faith in Christ. Romans 8 will explore many of the benefits of being in Christ.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 4/16/2024 12:18:50 AM
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