The DEEP

The Psychology of Sin

is child psychology.

Romans 7:7–12 (NKJV)

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Is the law sin? Certainly not! That’s obvious. Blaming the law for your sin is like blaming the dictionary for your spelling errors. Sure, if there was no officially correct spelling for words, then you could never spell something “wrong.” And if there were no laws, you couldn’t be a lawbreaker either.

But remember, Paul brings these questions up when they fit what he just said, then he answers them with, “May genoitaw!” So, what did Paul just say that inspired this one?

For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. — Romans 7:5 (NKJV)

Aroused? The law aroused our sinful passions? So, the law does bear some responsibility, right?

No. If the sound of a mockingbird causes me to fly into a rage, is my rage the bird’s fault?

May genoitaw! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire.

Sin is a state of rebellion. As soon as God gives us something specific to rebel against, we react accordingly.

But blaming deliberate disobedience on the rules is ridiculous.


This rebellious nature is what child psychology is all about. If you want a child to do something, just telling them to do it can backfire. But if you trick them into thinking you want the opposite, they’ll often do what you want.

http://mamiverse.com/reverse-psychology-on-children-68821/

But the truth is that this isn’t just about children. Adults are better at hiding it, but we’re far from cured.

The key is repentance. Don’t just ask God to help you conquer your sins. For every one you quit, another one will just pop up anyway.

Pray for help learning to see the sin that lurks within.


All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.