“Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.” (Romans 7:13, ESV)
Years ago, I sat on a jury in a murder trial. The evidence was presented on both sides and then we deliberated. After a couple hours of deliberation, we came to the conclusion that the accused was guilty according to the law. We then were dismissed and the judge went on to the sentencing. I do not know what the sentence was. It was either life in prison or death. Here, the law that said it was illegal to murder, was good. There is no doubt about that. However, the law that was good brought the most severe punishment on the offender, possibly death.
Paul in previous verses, indicated that the commandment, the law, proved to be death to him. Then Paul brings up the rhetorical question, “Did that which is good [meaning the law}, then, bring me death?” He answers this question by saying, “By no means!” In verse twelve, he stated that the law was holy, righteous and good.
Paul indicated that the law, which is good, did not bring death to him. What brought death was sin. It was the law that brought his sin to light. Moreover, it revealed the immense magnitude of his sin, that he was sinful beyond measure. The phrase, “beyond measure,” is translated from huperbole, which literally means a throwing beyond, and is used to describe something that beyond measure. Here, being sinful beyond measure meant that it would be impossible to overcome the problem of sin through any earthly means. Paul understood that sin created an infinite and eternal barrier between him and God. The only hope would be the grace of the infinite God who sent His own infinitely holy Son to pay the penalty that Paul could not overcome.
Today, we will meet a multitude of people who think they are good. Many will say that they obey the Ten Commandments. However, when confronted with the holy, righteous and good law, they too will realize their hopelessness. When they reach this point, they may be open to hear the news of hope that is received by faith in Jesus Christ.