“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” (Rom. 7:21,22)
“Sin,” comes from a word meaning “to miss the mark”—an archery term. People think that sin, then, is “the failure to hit the mark.” But what does the archer aim for? So Paul describes the archer’s (sinner’s) situation in ch. 7:14, “For what I want to do I do not do…”
The Law of Moses was the perfect vehicle, to expose this dilemma. It also proves that attempting to improve the aim isn’t the solution.
Consequently, Jesus didn’t describe eternal life as “hitting the mark.” He described it as “knowing the one true God” (John 17:3). This takes us down an entirely different path than our righteousness-geared minds expected.
But when was the last time you heard sin described as “our attempt at righteousness?”
Now read all of Romans, and every time you see the word “sin,” plug in, “my attempt at righteousness.” It will change your understanding and clear up many questions about Paul’s reasoning.