For I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
All Commentaries on Romans 7:9 Go To Romans 7
George Leo Haydock
I lived some time without the law; i.e. without the knowledge of the law. This some understand of St. Paul in the time of his childhood, before he came to the knowledge of what was forbidden by any law. But the exposition, which agrees with the rest of this chapter, is this; that St. Paul, though he seems to speak of himself, yet represents the condition of any person that lived before the written law was given: but when the commandment came, after that the written law was given, and its precepts came to my knowledge, then sin revived, by giving me a perfect knowledge: and by transgressing those precepts, I became more guilty and without excuse.
I died: i.e. became guilty by transgression of the known law, and guilty of eternal death: and the commandments or precepts, which were unto life, which were good in themselves, and designed to direct me what I was to do, and what I was to avoid in order to obtain eternal life, were found to be unto death to me, but by my own fault; and occasionally only, from the commandments of the law and the knowledge of them, when with full knowledge I transgressed them. Thus I was seduced by sin, which with it brought death, though the law and the commandment (ver. 12) were in themselves holy, and just, and good. They could not but be good, as St. Chrysostom says, their author being the true God, and not any evil principle or cause, that was the author of evils, as the impious Manicheans pretended. We might as well, says St. Chrysostom, find fault with the tree of life and the forbidden fruit in Paradise, which was not the cause, but only the occasion of our misery, when Adam eat of it. It cannot then be said, that that which was good, (to wit, the law ) was made death to me, or the cause of my death; but sin, and my unresisted sinful inclinations, that it might appear sin, or that it might evidently appear how great an evil sin is, by that which is good, (i.e. by the transgression of the law which is good) wrought and brought death to me, that by the occasion of the precepts given and known, sin might become sinful above measure. He speaks of sin as it were of a certain person; and the sense is, that sin, which was in my corrupt nature, might become sinful above measure, when it led me into all manner of disorders and excess, which I yielded to. (Witham)