Sin, taking occasion - Sin, deriving strength from the law, threatening death to the transgressor, (see Clarke's note on Romans 7:8;), deceived me, drew me aside to disobedience, promising me gratification honor, independence, etc., as it promised to Eve; for to her history the apostle evidently alludes, and uses the very same expression, deceived me, εξηπατησε με· See the preceding note; and see the Septuagint, Genesis 3:13.
And by it slew me - Subjected me to that death which the law denounced against transgressors; and rendered me miserable during the course of life itself. It is well known to scholars that the verb αποκτεινειν signifies not only to slay or kill, but also to make wretched. Every sinner is not only exposed to death because he has sinned, and must, sooner or later, die; but he is miserable in both body and mind by the influence and the effects of sin. He lives a dying life, or a living death.
For sin - This verse is a repetition, with a little variation of the sentiment in Romans 7:8.
Deceived me - The word used here properly means to lead or seduce from the right way; and then to deceive, solicit to sin, cause to err from the way of virtue, Romans 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 11:3, “The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty,” 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The meaning here seems to be, that his corrupt and rebellious propensities, excited by the Law, led him astray; caused him more and more to sin; practiced a species of deception on him by urging him on headlong, and without deliberation, into aggravated transgression. In this sense, all sinners are deceived. Their passions urge them on, deluding them, and leading them further and further from happiness, and involving them, before they are aware, in crime and death. No being in the universe is more deladed than a sinner in the indulgence of evil passions. The description of Solomon in a particular case will apply to all, Proverbs 7:21-23.
“With much fair speech she caused him to yield,
With the flattering of her lips she forced him.
He goeth after her straightway,
As an ox goeth to the slaughter,
Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
Till a dart strike through his liver,
As a bird hasteth to the snare.”
By it - By the Law, Romans 7:8.
Slew me - Meaning the same as “I died,” Romans 7:8.
These persons had not experienced the work of reformation, or sanctification through the truth. They were coarse and uncultivated. They had never tasted of the sweet, pure refinement of the world to come. They had never experienced, neither had their hearts been awed by, the mystery of godliness. They placed divine and eternal things upon a level with common things, and would talk of heaven and the coming of Jesus as they would of a horse. They had a superficial knowledge or theory of the truth, but further than this they were ignorant. Its principles had not taken hold of their lives and led them to an abhorrence of self. They had never viewed themselves in the light in which Paul viewed himself, which led him to see the moral defects in his character. They had never been slain by the law of God, and had not separated themselves from their impurities and defilement. It is the favorite occupation of some of this class to engage in trifling conversation and levity. This habit they contracted, and indulged upon occasions which should have been characterized by solemn meditation and devotion. In doing this, they manifested a lack of true dignity and refinement, and forfeited the esteem of sensible persons who had no knowledge of the truth. This class threw themselves into a current of temptation and kept where the enemy led them successfully, and he has so easily controlled their minds and corrupted their entire experience that in all probability they will be unable to recover themselves out of his snare and obtain a healthful experience. 2T 554.1
The fires of the day of God will consume the stubble and chaff, and there will be nothing left of any who continue in the ungodly course which they have so long loved. This class have a disrelish for the society of those whom God is truly with. Their religious experience is of so low an order that they have no part nor lot in a rational, intelligent religious experience; therefore they have despised the society of those whom God leads and is teaching. Sarcasm and irony is the stronghold of some peculiar minds of this class. They are bold and insolent, and do not regard good manners. They have no care to discriminate and render honor to whom honor is due. They manifest a proud, rebellious, defiant spirit against those who differ from their opinions. Their boisterous manners and wrong course lead the true servant of God to feel that they have resisted the efforts made for them, and he becomes disheartened in reference to laboring any further in their behalf. They engage in a contemptible triumph of exactly the same nature as that which Satan and evil angels engage in over the souls whom they secure. They have Satan and evil angels on their side to exult with them. The cases of the persons in whom this cast of character is peculiarly and strikingly developed are hopeless. They are incased in self-righteousness, and everything like refinement and elevation of character with which they are brought in contact is termed by them pride and lack of humility. Coarseness and ignorance are regarded as humility. 2T 554.2
With this class you have obtained a large share of your religious experience; therefore you are not qualified for the work of teaching the most solemn, refined, elevating, and withal the most testing message to mortals. You may reach a class of minds, but the more intelligent portion of the community will be driven further off by your labors. You have not a sufficient knowledge of even the common branches of education to be an instructor of men and women who have a wily devil on the other hand to suggest and devise ways and means to lead them from the truth. 2T 555.1Read in context »
Oh, how many flatter themselves that they have goodness and righteousness, when the true light of God reveals that all their lives they have only lived to please themselves! Their whole conduct is abhorred of God. How many are alive without the law! In their gross darkness they view themselves with complacency; but let the law of God be revealed to their consciences, as it was to Paul, and they would see that they are sold under sin and must die to the carnal mind. Self must be slain. 3T 475.1
How sad and fearful the mistakes that many are making! They are building on the sand, but flatter themselves that they are riveted to the eternal Rock. Many who profess godliness are rushing on as recklessly, and are as insensible of their danger, as though there were no future judgment. A fearful retribution awaits them, and yet they are controlled by impulse and gross passion; they are filling out a dark life record for the judgment. I lift my voice of warning to all who name the name of Christ to depart from all iniquity. Purify your souls by obeying the truth. Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. You to whom this applies know what I mean. Even you who have corrupted your ways before the Lord, partaken of the iniquity that abounds, and blackened your souls with sin, Jesus still invites you to turn from your course, take hold of His strength, and find in Him that peace, power, and grace that will make you more than conquerors in His name. 3T 475.2
The corruptions of this degenerate age have stained many souls who have been professedly serving God. But even now it is not too late for wrongs to be righted and for the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour to atone in your behalf if you repent and feel your need of pardon. We need now to watch and pray as never before, lest we fall under the power of temptation and leave the example of a life that is a miserable wreck. We must not, as a people, become careless and look upon sin with indifference. The camp needs purging. All who name the name of Christ need to watch and pray and guard the avenues of the soul; for Satan is at work to corrupt and destroy if the least advantage is given him. 3T 476.1Read in context »
He learns that Jesus, whom in his blindness he considered an impostor, is indeed the author and foundation of all the religion of God's chosen people from Adam's day, and the finisher of the faith, now so clear to his enlightened vision. He saw Christ as the vindicator of truth, the fulfiller of all prophecies. Christ had been regarded as making of none effect the law of God; but when his spiritual vision was touched by the finger of God, he learned of the disciples that Christ was the originator and the foundation of the entire Jewish system of sacrifices, that in the death of Christ type met antitype, and that Christ came into the world for the express purpose of vindicating His Father's law. 3T 432.1
In the light of the law, Paul sees himself a sinner. That very law which he thought he had been keeping so zealously he finds he has been transgressing. He repents and dies to sin, becomes obedient to the claims of God's law, and has faith in Christ as his Saviour, is baptized, and preaches Jesus as earnestly and zealously as he once condemned Him. In the conversion of Paul are given us important principles which we should ever bear in mind. The Redeemer of the world does not sanction experience and exercise in religious matters independent of His organized and acknowledged church, where He has a church. 3T 432.2
Many have the idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent of His acknowledged followers in the world. But this is condemned by Jesus in His teachings and in the examples, the facts, which He has given for our instruction. Here was Paul, one whom Christ was to fit for a most important work, one who was to be a chosen vessel unto Him, brought directly into the presence of Christ; yet He does not teach him the lessons of truth. He arrests his course and convicts him; and when he asks, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” the Saviour does not tell him directly, but places him in connection with His church. They will tell thee what thou must do. Jesus is the sinner's friend, His heart is ever open, ever touched with human woe; He has all power, both in heaven and upon earth; but He respects the means which He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men. He directs Saul to the church, thus acknowledging the power that He has invested in it as a channel of light to the world. It is Christ's organized body upon the earth, and respect is required to be paid to His ordinances. In the case of Saul, Ananias represents Christ, and he also represents Christ's ministers upon the earth who are appointed to act in Christ's stead. 3T 433.1Read in context »
There are many who cry, “Believe, only believe.” Ask them what you are to believe. Are you to believe the lies forged by Satan against God's holy, just, and good law? God does not use His great and precious grace to make of none effect His law, but to establish His law. What is the decision of Paul? He says: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law.... For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and [the commandment then ended?—No.] I [Paul] died.... Wherefore the law is [standing directly in the way of my having liberty and peace?—No.] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:7-12). 1SM 347.1
Paul learned that there was no power in the law to pardon the transgressor of law. “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified” (Romans 3:20). “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:3, 4). 1SM 347.2
The Lord saw our fallen condition; He saw our need of grace, and because He loved our souls, He has given us grace and peace. Grace means favor to one who is undeserving, to one who is lost. The fact that we are sinners, instead of shutting us away from the mercy and love of God, makes the exercise of His love to us a positive necessity in order that we may be saved. Christ says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). 1SM 347.3
When Adam fell, provision was made for his restoration. In due time Jesus, the Prince of life, came to our world to enter into controversy with the powers of darkness. In this world Satan had an opportunity to exhibit the result of the working out of his principles of freedom from all law, and Christ, by His unswerving obedience to His Father's commandments, made manifest the result of practicing the principles of righteousness. In accordance with his principles of evil, Satan harassed the Son of God with fierce temptations, and finally brought Him to the judgment hall, that He might be condemned to death without cause. The confederacy of evil moved upon the hearts of men to work out the principles of evil. Christ and Barabbas were presented before the multitude. Barabbas was a notable robber and murderer; Christ was the Son of God. Pilate looked upon the two, and thought there would be no hesitation in the choice of Jesus. The marks of nobility, intelligence, and purity were plainly revealed in His countenance, in marked contrast to the coarse features of Barabbas. He asked, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? (Matthew 27:21). And the hoarse cry of the infuriated mob was heard, calling, “Barabbas.” “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22, 23). 1SM 347.4Read in context »