13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.
13 Has then what is good [the law] become death to me?
Another misperception that people might infer from the law is that goodness in the law brings death to the individual (v. 9, 10).
Paul asserted in a vehement way that this misperception is wrong.
But [strong contrast] sin,
It is the sin, not the law, that is the issue. Indwelling sin or the sin capacity used the law as its base for its own ends.
that [purpose] it might appear sin,
The law makes sin apparent; it unmasks sin for what it is. We need to see sin unambiguously for what it is, as something that violates God’s standards. We cannot kid ourselves about the sin issue. Sin will affect our fellowship with God in no uncertain terms.
was producing [working] death in me
The law works death as an incidental result; it is not the primary cause of our death. Sin is the primary cause. “Death” here is separation from God, an inner alienation from God.
through what is good [the law of God],
Sin used the commandment as a means of producing death in people.
so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.
God’s purpose for the law is to make sin “exceedingly sinful.” No matter how hard people might try to live up to the law, they only find how sinful they are in relation to an absolutely righteous God. The purpose of the law is to show us how sinful we are. This purpose makes the law good in God’s economy. The purpose is neither justification nor sanctification.
People satisfied with living in unconfessed sin need to see that sin is “exceedingly sinful.” Self-satisfaction is a deadly condition when one approaches God. The sinfulness of sin is best seen in revelation of God’s character.
The law puts the poison label on sin.
We need to come to an end of self-satisfaction, an end to ourselves as the means of justification or sanctification. If Christians are to walk in fellowship with God, they need to know who He is, what His character is. We must know what sin is before we can experience sanctification with the God of Scriptures.
If we use the law as a means of sanctification, we miss the purpose of the law. Legality is an enemy of sanctification if it is used for more than showing the nature of sin. The law cannot give life but it can show the standards of God’s character.