“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
King James Version (KJV)
7:9 And I was once alive without the law - Without the close application of it. I had much life, wisdom, virtue, strength: so I thought. But when the commandment - That is, the law, a part put for the whole; but this expression particularly intimates its compulsive force, which restrains, enjoins, urges, forbids, threatens. Came - In its spiritual meaning, to my heart, with the power of God. Sin revived, and I died - My inbred sin took fire, and all my virtue and strength died away; and I then saw myself to be dead in sin, and liable to death eternal.
Ro 7:9 For I was alive without the law once. "Without law". It would be much better if the translators would omit the article where Paul did not use it. Paul was alive, that is, was unconscious of condemnation, once. His conscience did not trouble him. He was like the young Ruler who said of the commandments: "All these have I kept from my youth up" (Mt 19:20 Mr 10:20 Lu 18:21). "As touching the righteousness which is of the law", he was "blameless" (Php 3:6). But when the commandment came, when he realized that it required a heart service as well as an outward service, then sin revived. The dormant sin was brought to light when restraints came. I died. Realized that I was a sinner; was convicted of sin. It is possible that reference is made to some supreme struggle. Perhaps in the stern persecution of the saints he was struggling for the righteousness of the law. Perhaps it was when Christ said, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest" (Ac 22:8), that he first realized that "Christ was the end of the law" (Ro 10:4), and he died.