What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust…
The main design of the apostle in this chapter is to show that the law would not give peace of mind to the troubled sinner. Note man's condition —
I. WITHOUT THE LAW. When I was unacquainted with its high, spiritual demands, I was peaceful and self-satisfied. I lived an earthly life, trusting to my own righteousness.
II. UNDER THE LAW. When the law was revealed to me in its purity and integrity, I discovered my sinfulness, and fell down as one slain.
III. ABOVE THE LAW. Having found that there is no life in the law, I turned to the gospel. This is the purpose of the law — a schoolmaster. In Christ I found life.
(D. Thomas, D. D)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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 shalt not covet.
WEB: What shall we say then? Is the law sin? May it never be! However, I wouldn't have known sin, except through the law. For I wouldn't have known coveting, unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."