For I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
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This looks like a condemnation of the law, but when you look more closely at it you will find that really it is an encomium in praise of the law. For the law did not give existence to a sin which was not there before; rather, it pointed out what had previously escaped notice. This is why Paul is speaking in praise of the law, since before it came people were sinning without realizing it. If they gained nothing else from the law, at least they became aware that they had been sinning. This is no small point if you want to be delivered from wickedness. If they were not in fact set free, this had nothing to do with the law, which framed everything with that end in view. The accusation lies wholly against their spirit, which was perverse beyond all imagining.