Romans 7:7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
In this verse Paul goes back in time and refers to how the law informed him of sin. The law is not sin, but had it not been for the law Paul would not have known sin. He gives the tenth commandment as an example. He states if the law had not said, “You shall not covet” he would not have even recognized what it meant to covet. Coveting is a sin of thought and not action. It is a matter of the heart that flows from a person’s nature and it cannot be avoided by external law keeping. A person may not act on a desire to covet, but that is too late as the sin was committed the instant the desire became thought.
Focus on Christ #76