What shall we say, then? Is the law sin?
Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known
what sin was except through the law. For I would
not have known what coveting really was if the
law had not said, "Do not covet."
Law Reveals Sin
Most people do not like the law because they do
not want to be punished for wrongdoing.
This applies to those who break the law as well
as for those who don't. Watch everyone
slow down as they pass a police officer on the
highway regardless whether they were exceeding
the speed limit or not to see my point.
Paul writes that the law is actually a good
thing however. If boundaries were not
established, he would be unable to know the
difference between right and wrong.
Certainly his conscience would guide him but
people are capable of ignoring their conscience
or justifying their actions. The law
however is set in stone (quite literally).
Do not covet means that coveting is not
acceptable and the line can't be blurred.
Because of the law, the boundaries for how one
should live their life are clearly established.
And because of this, Paul knows that he had
broken those laws and hence had sinned.
Because the law points out sin, it also points
out the need for a Savior. Without sin,
Jesus didn't need to die on the cross. But
because Paul recognized that he was a sinner, he
needed God's forgiveness, obtained through
Jesus' death on the cross.