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This question is on the premise that Paul is talking about Sinai Law as he refers to Adultery and Coveting. If not I will delete this question.

  1. Out of the 10 commandments only 3 are positive that we should DO a. Remember I am your G-d that saved you from Egypt b. Keep Shabbat & c Honor parents ~ These we need to keep to get life so Paul is right that these commands are there to give life.
  2. The remaining are negative commands that we should NOT DO to get life ~ Which are there to give life as long as you don't do them.
  3. So-net all 10 laws are intended to give life.
  4. I feel G-d is so loving that he gave us the freedom to do what we want but gave us these laws so we don't hurt our relationship with him and hurt his creation (others) by disobeying these laws.

Romans 7:9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.

If you see the below verse Paul seems to agree that the Law is good and that he is unable to keep it (Maybe sometimes at least). In verse 24 he says that he is helpless and only Jesus can save him. So does this mean that even if we sin we will be forgiven if we believe in Jesus as our saviour? If so how is it different from Tanakh where G-d Says several times, repent and turn to me and I will forgive you?

Romans 7:21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

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  • 1
    Romans 7 is not about outward actions of the body which may be easily controlled. Paul makes it very clear from his own experience that he is discussing sin within that is instinctive and constitutional. Anyone can control their body from stealing or licentious acts. There is no excuse for such behavour. Paul is talking about inherent and indwelling sin in the flesh itself.
    – Nigel J
    May 17 at 11:01
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    Adam partook of the knowledge of good and evil in an attempt to sustain human life. And it did not. He died. And then sin was in the world. And later God fully enunciated the knowledge of good and evil at Sinai. Law was there and Adam was warned that that was not the way that humanity lives.
    – Nigel J
    May 17 at 11:08
  • 1. I think the instinctive and constitutional sin nature we have is what comes into action as disobedience to the Sanai laws right? 2. Is Paul saying that at Mount Sanai the law was made official and because of that everyone is judged by the law and prior to that they were not counted as sins? 3. But then the whole world was judged for the evil they did in Noah's time without a formal declaration of the law. Cain was judged for murder.... I am being honest, I still have not grasped what Paul is trying to say that the law condemned him.
    – Yeddu
    May 17 at 11:21
  • 1
    a big misconception here lies in the New covenant that Jesus gave. ie that we are longer required to keep the moral law because it no longer applies. That is complete nonsense. Paul is explaining that keeping the law does not save us. The law is the standard by which we are condemned. We must keep the law, but we are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus. That is our only salvation. Tthe law sets out what the standard of expectation is! The patience of the saints in Rev ch12 and ch14 clearly says, "here are those who keep the commandments AND have the faith of Jesus". Salvation requires both
    – Adam
    May 18 at 1:55
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    @Adam Tanakh says this is a continuous lifelong process. Ezekiel 33:12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’ Jesus said eternal life comes by obeying the law. Paul says our sins not counted for salvation. I feel safer to believe what G-d(through Ezekiel ) and Jesus said.
    – Yeddu
    May 18 at 7:02
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Cultural context

Paul had for much of his life, like so many of his peers, believed that salvation came through the Law of Moses--that if he exerted himself to the extreme to obey the rules, that would earn his salvation.

One of Paul’s great discoveries in the process of his conversion was that he himself fell eternally short and was dependent upon the sacrifice Jesus made on his behalf (see Romans 3:23-24).

Paul, understanding these beliefs among his people, expended great efforts in his letters to correct this misunderstanding--salvation came not through the Law of Moses, but through Christ.

--

Some relevant experience as a parent

I have learned more about my Father in Heaven by being a parent myself than through just about anything else I’ve ever done (lest there be any misunderstanding, I fully acknowledge that I am a flawed, fallen, mortal parent).

I ask my children to do lots of things--clean up toys, set the table, help me with tasks around the house, etc. Some things they can do on their own; most require my help but I still ask them to contribute.

Why do I ask my children to do things? Is it to earn their keep? Do their chores somehow pay me back for putting food on the table and a roof over their head? Absolutely not. My 3 year old is not capable of paying back what I do for him. Then why ask him to do anything?

We live in such a transactional world that we often superimpose that characteristic upon God. God is not in the business of transaction, but of transformation.

I ask my children to do things for their benefit, not mine. In fact, most of the things I ask them to do I could do more quickly and efficiently myself if I didn’t ask them to participate. But I genuinely care about the people my children are becoming--I want them to develop and learn--I ask them to do things because of what it helps them to become.

I also ask my children to not do many things. Almost all of these rules are given for 2 reasons:

  • To protect them from harm
  • To prevent them from harming someone else

As noted in the OP, the same two patterns are found--on a far more perfect scale--in the commandments from God. He asks us to do things to help us develop, and He asks us not to do things to prevent harm. Nowhere in there is the idea that keeping the commandments “earns our keep”.

--

Life and Death

As noted in the OP, God gave commandments to protect the lives of His people. But God cares about far more than just the results in mortal life. “That your days may be long upon the land” is indeed a blessing promised by God. But that is nowhere close to the greatest blessing promised by God, who sees our potential and future not just in mortal life, but in eternity as well.

Nowhere in the New Testament does God rescind the principle that He gives blessings to the obedient. Paul knew that. But one of Paul’s great insights was that “that your days may be long upon the land” is something far short of God’s promise of eternal life. Paul realized that without the grace of God his own fate would be spiritual death (separation from God).

He could keep every rule in the Law of Moses and still be eternally hopeless. But since even devout Saul of Tarsus couldn’t keep every rule, the law served only to condemn him...save for the atonement performed by Jesus Christ.

Jesus explained the result of knowing the rules and not keeping them:

47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:47-48)

Because Paul knew the rules and fell short of keeping them, that “brought death” (spiritual death). The Law of Moses undoubtedly preserved the lives of many Israelites, but it did not provide eternal life.

--

Conclusion

As a perfect parent, God gives rules to prevent harm to His children, and He gives rules to enable His children to become what He wants them to become. Without His guidance & the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, spiritual death would be the fate of us all.

The commandments do bring protection (often even to the preservation of people’s lives) when we keep them; they also bring condemnation when we do not.

So does this mean that even if we sin we will be forgiven if we believe in Jesus as our saviour?

Idle belief is insufficient--the necessary role of repentance in the plan is as alive today as it was when Peter declared:

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

God is not in the business of transaction, but of transformation:

he is like a refiner’s fire

[He shall] purge them as gold and silver

And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels (Malachi 3:2,3,17)

This is why He asks us to repent and make covenants (see my comments here, here, here, and here outlining why “grace” describes covenants). Not because our actions will pay for our sins or earn our keep, but because our inaction would limit the changes in us God offers. Those changes--that refinement--are the very purpose of the plan.

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  • +1 Thank you for your inputs. Please do consider these. 1. Jesus never said that we should not obey the laws, he said he was the eternal sacrifice. 2. Cannot agree more on the analogy of parent and child. 3. Tanakh seldom takes of salvation the way the greek text emphasizes. It is always about safety, prosperity & growth in this life. More than damnation and hell, Tanakh focuses on how each one of us can come into alignment with his plans for us. That said Tanakh intends for us to live well not only in this mortal life but in the restored creation as well. G-d Bless.
    – Yeddu
    May 18 at 7:43
  • @Yeddu well said that Jesus never said we should not obey the laws -- I agree. I do believe He expects obedience of the faithful--indeed he "raised the bar" for a number of commandments in the Sermon on the Mount. I do believe Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses but did not abolish laws and commandments in general. May 21 at 0:18
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    @HoldToTheRod I really appreciate your point regarding transaction vs. transformation, and the analogy of parent and child. It leads me to think about how rules reflect the values that parents want to instill in their children. Maturity comes when children understand & internalize those values. Then not only would they conform to the rules, they would go beyond them. If they fail to go through the process of internalization, it is as though they don't grow up. They could theoretically violate the spirit & principles that lie behind the rules without breaking any explicit command.
    – Nhi
    May 30 at 6:25
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Ezekiel 33:11

Say to them: 'As surely as I live, declares the Lord GOD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked should turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'

In the OT times, people sinned, then they turned to God, then God forgave them, then they sinned again, and so on. It was a vicious cycle with no hope.

Romans 7:9 ~ Why does Paul say the commandments were supposed to bring life but brought death

The OT commandments brought life but only temporarily until the cycle repeated. Because everyone sinned, the commandment brought an eventual death.

Acts 3:

19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

The answer to this eventual death is Jesus who died for us.

So does this mean that even if we sin we will be forgiven if we believe in Jesus as our saviour?

True. We are justified by faith in Christ.

If so how is it different from Tanakh where G-d Says several times, repent and turn to me and I will forgive you?

The former solution was only temporary. The latter justification is permanent. Ezekiel 36:26

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Our indwelling Spirit causes us to want to do God's will. Philippians 2:13

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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  • 1
    Tony, I agree we sin and we repent and G-d takes us back and the cycle repeats. But it is my personal testimony that I have grown from a stage to try and keep his commandments as G-d asked us to obey today where I am, 1, I see how beautiful his commands are 2. I feel close to G-d when I keep his commands 3. I try not to sin because I feel far from G-d when I sin. I believe this is what some have said Jesus does for you when you accept him as your saviour. I can relate to this.
    – Yeddu
    May 17 at 16:39
  • But the fact that your sins are never going to come in the way of my salvation is something that does not align with Tanakh. There are so many verses in Tanakh that clearly says that in the end days, G-d will give us a pure heart and we will all worship G-d in a true spirit. I think the end promise is the same except for the difference between Jesus forgiving my sins. Tanakh is clear that an innocent person cannot die for a sinner. Each has to be saved by obeying the law,
    – Yeddu
    May 17 at 16:42
  • your sins are never going to come in the way of my salvation is something that does not align with Tanakh. True. The word salvation was too ambiguous in my answer. I modified.
    – Tony Chan
    May 17 at 16:58
  • Just sharing Tony. This is yet to happen. After Jesus's time, The jews were dispersed and killed in millions. .. Ezekiel 36:24 “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
    – Yeddu
    May 17 at 17:14
  • This prophecy has a double fulfillment: 1st Gentiles, 2nd Jews.
    – Tony Chan
    May 17 at 17:18
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Why does Paul say the commandments were supposed to bring life but brought death?

Answer: Keeping the Law perfectly offers Life, but no one can do this.

Suppose we consider the laws we have today, like driving no faster than 55 mph on a highway. The moment you drive 56 mph, you have broken the law (of course you may not be penalized). The law exists for our benefit, but there is no "reward" for merely keeping it.

Thus, sin arises from that simple fact. As is stated in John's First Letter, sin is lawlessness:

1 John 3:4: "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness."

Once you have driven 56 mph in a 55 mph zone, you are a sinner. Irrespective of how we view this, in God's eyes we have violated His law:

Romans 13:1: "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities."

Fortunately, in both the Old and New Covenants, God has provided relief for our transgressions -- no matter how slight we may view them, through obedience to His Word. In the O/T that meant offering bloody sacrifices, visiting the Temple regularly, keeping all the commandments, and so forth.

In the N/T, much the same holds true. We must go to the temple (our bodies are temples as well) in worship services on every first day of the week (Sunday), where we are to memorialize Christ's death through communion: bread and fruit of the vine. We must offer spiritual sacrifices to God through our obedience to all N/T commandments (Golden Rule, etc.).

The law itself only offers death since we cannot keep it:

Romans 7:9-11: "I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me."

In the absence of the law, we would not be held accountable. How could we be? Just as Paul writes above, it is only upon our recognition of the law that we become law-breakers.

It is keeping the promise of God, through His Plan of salvation, that saves us from the law. (cf. 1 John 1:7, 9).

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  • Xeno, Tanakh is very clear that it is a process. We fail, we repent, we turn to G-d and this is repeated. Along the journey, as we come closer to G-d, we realize that when we sin we seem far from G-d and so the desire to be closer to G-d makes us sin less and hopefully we stop sinning before our last breath (most likely as I have seen older people change so much before they die). Do you think if we are told that we are saved for sure by grace, we will strive to obey the law. In your example of speed limits, if this is nice to keep, don't you think we will have more defaulters.
    – Yeddu
    May 18 at 6:48
  • @Yeddu God knows that we are not perfect. He has, therefore, made provisions to perfect us through His Word. Note in 1 John 1:7 it reads: "[If] we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." Only two verses later, this is repeated for emphasis: 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Both of these passages are unequivocal; they do not read "some sin" and "some unrighteousness.
    – Xeno
    May 18 at 9:20
  • @Yeddu But, yes, I agree with you that this is an ongoing process: we stumble, then we must brush ourselves off, and continue to walk in the Light as stated in 1 Jn. 1:7. You may also wish to consider Col. 1:22 and 1 Cor. 6:11 in this process.
    – Xeno
    May 18 at 9:23
  • you are right we are not perfect and we will never be perfect. G-d expects us to try with every breath we have to try to be perfect. But my personal testimony is that while I "Tried" a lot in the past, now as I get older, I want to keep his law as it is beautiful. I love to keep the law because I don't want to be far from my G-d. I think when I realized my sin is keeping me away from my G-d I realized how silly the short-term pleasure of sin is vs the peace and strength I have in my G-d. This is my testimony. I still fall, but he gently picks me up and assures me I can be better.
    – Yeddu
    May 18 at 9:27
  • 1
    @Yeddu I think what I am trying to convey is that the very act of doing our best to please God is, in His eyes, being perfected. That is why He reaches down to us while we are reaching up to Him. If I stumble, as I certainly will, and again do all I can to please Him, He knows that I am walking in the Light. The very fact that God knows my intent to satisfy all His commands to His satisfaction perfects me. Even though I stumble, I do all I can to repent of that difficulty and am again purified - cleansed by the blood of Christ. This is spiritual perfection before God: "walking in the Light."
    – Xeno
    May 18 at 9:56
0

Look at the First commandment God gave.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:16–17, ESV)

Adam and Eve could eat from any tree except one. That included the tree of life.

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:9, ESV)

Adam and Eve chose the forbidden tree, which excluded them from the tree of life.

 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. (Gen. 3:22–23)

So, you see even the first law brought death not because the law was bad, but because Adam and Eve chose to violate it.

What Paul was saying is following the Law would have brought life, but people did not keep the Law. The Law is like a contract. You can't say, "I kept most of the contract, so I've fulfilled it." If you break any part of the contract you've broken the contract.

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. (James 2:10, ESV)

Paul gives the purpose of the Law.

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Gal. 3:24–26, ESV)

Also, the law showed our sin, and the need for a savior.

 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Rom. 7:7, ESV)

So, death or life is your choice.

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  • Tanakh says this is a continuous lifelong process. Ezekiel 33:12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’ Jesus said eternal life comes by obeying the law. Paul says our sins not counted for salvation. I feel safer to believe what G-d(through Ezekiel ) and Jesus said.
    – Yeddu
    May 18 at 9:16
  • Tanakh is very clear that it is a process. We fail, we repent, we turn to G-d and this is repeated. Along the journey, as we come closer to G-d, we realize that when we sin we seem far from G-d and so the desire to be closer to G-d makes us sin less and hopefully we stop sinning before our last breath (most likely as I have seen older people change so much before they die). Do you think if we are told that we are saved for sure by grace, we will strive to obey the law.
    – Yeddu
    May 18 at 9:18
  • Tanakh seldom talks of salvation the way the greek text emphasizes. It is always about safety, prosperity & growth in this life. More than damnation and hell, Tanakh focuses on how each one of us can come into alignment with his plans for us in this world. Tanakh does talk about salvation, but its view is that in this life we come close to G-d we realize the law is beautiful and can be easily obeyed.
    – Yeddu
    May 18 at 9:22

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