“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.”
Paul came to a place where he realized that he himself was a sinner and condemned. What turmoil this must have wrought in him! The harder he tried to please God, the further into hell he slipped. Verse ten describes Paul's misinterpretation of the law. He believed that it could be flawlessly kept by man and would therefore bring eternal life. However, the longer he lived the more he came to realize the fallacy of this thinking. Instead of finding life in God's commandments, Paul was only condemned consistently as he struggled with his desires and thoughts. The act itself is not what ultimately condemns because the act is born out of a wicked motive or desire. The insincerity of Paul's flesh led him to believe that it could walk in God's commands, but the flesh's sin nature was emphasized as it tried to take hold of the law. The end result, Paul was spiritually murdered. In the end, he found himself to be as all men, a sinner.
“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Romans 7:12-13)
The flesh is very deceptive. If a man is not careful, he may find himself taking a negative view of God's law because of its condemning nature. The law condemns mankind, not because of a flaw on God's part, but because of wickedness on man's part. Law simply reflects the holy nature of its Author. God is holy, just, and all that is good. The fault always lies with man. With this in mind, sin is ultimately what sends a man to hell, not law. Verse thirteen provides one of the clearest purposes of the law in all of Scripture. It is given to mankind so that his sin might be seen as exceedingly sinful. People are masters of comparison. Everyone views themselves as better than the other, but God holds all men up to His standard and finds them wanting. God delights in men coming “...unto the knowledge of the truth...(I Timothy 2:4).”; therefore, He has provided His law so that man get an accurate view of his sin. This knowledge is then intended to drive a man to faith in the flawless and holy Son of God (Galatians 3:24).
The flesh consistently says, I can, but the Holy Spirit has exposed the insincere nature of the old man and shown him to be a liar.