At times, it seems as though the commandments that are given to us in the Bible are a double-edged sword. Yes, they help us in maintaining a right relationship with God if we obey them, but if we didn’t know that acting in a certain manner was sin, we may have never considered acting that way in the first place. It is almost like when a parent tells their child not to do something. Now that the idea of this disobedient act is put in the child’s head, they may want to do it, where they wouldn’t have even considered it before. Paul puts it this way in Romans 7:7-9:
“For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.”
In other words, we didn’t really know what sin was until the Bible told us. Now that we know, our human nature is alerted to it, which is good and bad. We know what is wrong, but for some reason, our flesh often wants to do what it shouldn’t be doing. What’s more is now that we know, we have no excuse. Jesus said to the Pharisees who claimed that they weren’t “blind”, that now that they claim they can see, they are responsible for their sin. In that respect, now we are too.
Now that the Bible has taught us what God considers sin, we are accountable for that knowledge. Paul says that he wouldn’t have known what coveting was if the Bible didn’t tell him not to covet. But now that he knows, his fleshly nature knows as well. It is a problem, but the Holy Spirit can help us stand in the midst of temptation. The added power of knowing what is sinful in God’s sight is also knowing what is permissible, and even desired of us from God. Yes, we now know what he doesn’t like, but the Bible also teaches us what he does like so that we can pursue that activity all the more. So, I encourage you to read the Bible for yourself so that you know what God likes and doesn’t like. Knowledge does hold us accountable, but we don’t want to live in ignorance either.