Romans 7:6-8 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. 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 shall not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
‘But now we are delivered from the law’ – in Christ we are delivered from the law which condemned us for sins but made no provision for pardon and gave no power to obey it.
‘That being dead wherein we were held’ we were dead in sins while under the law and held helpless to free ourselves from its bondage and death.
‘Oldness of the letter’ – we see that the law merely typifies the gospel, and can only be fulfilled by the gospel. We serve God now, not in the old literal sense of forms and rituals, but in the true spiritual meaning.
‘What shall we say then? Is the law sin?’ The law itself is not sinful in demanding me to live right. The law only makes known what sin really is (3:20; 4:15; 7:7; 1Jn. 3:4).
‘Thou shall not covet’ quoted here and in Romans 13:9 from Exodus 20:17.
‘Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence’ Sin is here pictured as a self-acting spirit which at one time controlled Paul and worked in him all manner of concupiscence or sinful lusts. It used the coming of the commandment as an occasion to assert its control over his life not letting him obey the law. Sin was not active before the law came for it had no reason to assert its power until then. But as soon as the commandment came forbidding certain things, sin came to life and by its lusts made him break the law so that he would have to pay the death penalty (7:8-9). ‘Concupiscence’ [Greek epithumia] means any strong or vehement desire. It is used of good desires a few times, but mainly of evil and depraved lusts. It is translated “desire” (Luke 2:15; Php. 1:23; 1Thess. 2:17); “concupiscence” (7:8; Col. 3:5; 1Thess. 4:5); and “lust” 31 times (1:24; John 8:44; Eph. 2:3; etc.).