9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.
10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.
12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. – Romans 7:9-12
What is a commandment? Dictionaries suggest: A divine rule, an authoritative order, a mandate or a precept intended to govern behaviour or thought. In the legal world not being aware of a law is not an excuse, if you break that law. But if there is no law you can not be punished. When God gave us the law, the Ten Commandments, people rejoiced (Psalm 119) because here was a standard of holiness and righteous that of obeyed could provide a perfect society on earth. But human nature, the desire to sin, was revealed by the law. Even though it was a set of divine rules we could not obey them. We fell short of the defined standard. Sin was revealed and we realised we are far from what God intended for us.
5 Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil. – Isaiah 1:5-6
Paul says the law is holy, righteous and good but we cannot obey it in our own strength. We fail and even one failure has eternal consequences. The Commandments were given so we could understand our pitiful state. Adam and Eve were alive to God before the commandment came. When the commandment (not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) was given, sin came and deceived them and they died (spiritually) being cast out from the presence of God. Their one failure effected the whole of mankind. We were all in Adam when he sinned so we all are born with his nature. We inherited the sin nature. When Moses was given the Ten Commandments the children of Israel became aware that their sin was flagrant rebellion against God. Sin used the commandment to bring death. The law makes severe demands on us that we cannot fulfil without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. The giving of a renewed heart and mind necessary to obey God.
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – John 3:5-6
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. – Colossians 3:10
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; – 1 Peter 1:22-23