Please, explain to me the phrase “the power of sin is the law”. Thank you.
Apostle Paul made this statement in his First Epistle to Corinthians, when he addressed the subject of resurrection from the dead. He wrote as follows:
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:56)
In this passage there is no other reference to the law, that’s why it is hard to understand what means here that the power of sin is the law. However in the Scripture it is written that no prophecy from the Bible is explained by itself. Every Bible text, including prophesies can be understood in the context of the whole Bible. Therefore, to understand what means that the power of sin is the law, we must make reference to the Epistle to Romans, chapter 7, where the Apostle explains how sin relates to the law, i.e. to the Old Testament Law, given by Moses to the people of Israel. So, I will highlight what it says in Romans chapter 7 as the explanation of why the power of sin is the law.
The Law arouses the sinful passions
Sin dwells in our flesh and it is corrupted by sin. The Law arouses the sinful passions, as it is written:
For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at workinthe members of our body to bear fruit for death. (Romans 7:5)(NASB)
Once I read about a poisonous plant from a botanical garden. It lived there many years and there was no warning for visitors that it would be poisonous. One day the administration realized how dangerous it was and decided to put a warning, lest anyone ate from that plant by mistake. And what do you think? Next year 11 people died. They just were curious. The Bible says that it is so with the Old Testament Law, it arouses the sinful passions which are at work in the members of every man’s body to bear fruit for death.
Sin takes the opportunity from the Law
Apostle Paul continued:
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apartfrom the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which wasto result in life, provedto result in death for me. (Romans 7:7-10)(NASB)
The Law is that what defines what is good and what is evil, what is righteousness and what is sin. Therefore, the law itself is good, but our sinful nature, since it finds out what is sinful wants to practice sin and thus, sin uses the Law as an opportunity.
Through the law sin deceives us to kill
This is what the Word writes on this topic:
For sin,taking an opportunitythrough the commandment,deceived me and through it killed me. (Romans 7:11)
Sin uses the Law to effect our death
So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me?May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (Romans 7:12-13)(NASB)
Next we are told …
Personal testimony of the Apostle Paul
To understand how the law is the power of sin, the Apostle Paul shows us how it had worked in his life until he became a Christian.
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. Forthe good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want,I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find thentheprinciple that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of Godinthe inner man, but I seea different law inthe members of my body, waging war against thelaw of my mind and making me a prisonerofthe law of sin which is in my members.Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free fromthe body of thisdeath?Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my fleshthe law of sin. (Romans 7:14-25)(NASB)
It was a state of despair and Apostle found himself wretched in this state and it seemed impossible for a man to come out of this state with his own power. Do you find yourself wretched in this desperate state?
Victory over sin can be accomplished only in Christ Jesus
Here’s how the Apostle Paul presents us this victory:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that therequirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, whodo not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)(NASB)
Everyone who lives in sin and is the slave of sin must understand that if he tries to follow the Old Testament law he will not manage this, because the law provides no power, and sin uses this law to make us even more evil. Victory over the sinful nature is possible only in Jesus Christ and only through faith in Him we receive forgiveness for all our sins and inherit eternal life with all the saints. The commandment of the Law is fulfilled only in those who have the Holy Spirit and live according to the Holy Spirit. God help us all to live according to the Holy Spirit.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru