Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. (ESV)
The opponents of the Apostle Paul's doctrine of grace would claim that he had disdain for the Law. Paul was no longer adhering to a religious system that the Jews had followed for centuries. Paul himself was a "pharisee of pharisees." He was one of the most devout followers of the Law that had ever been. Now, it seems like he is abandoning the Law and treating it with contempt.
Paul's response is to defend the Law. Did that which is good bring death to me? When he says, "that which is good" he is referring to the Law. The answer? By no means! Paul's defense of the Law is emphatic. In Paul's efforts to explain the sinful nature of mankind and God's means of salvation he is in no way impugning the Law. The Law is good.
So, if it is not the Law that brings death to me, then what does bring death? Paul answers, sin. Sin produces death in us through the spotlight that the Law shines on it. The Law enables us to see just how sinful our sin really is. One of the most tragic problems for mankind is that we tend to justify our sin. We do not view it as evil as it really is.
Paul knew that he was a sinner. He knew that every time he tried to follow the Law perfectly his own sinful nature would not be able to comply. The Law was God's perfect and holy standard. As good as Paul could attempt to be he was never good enough. Paul's sin, or rebellion to God's Law, would expose him.
Are you justifying your sin? Or do you allow the Law of God to expose it? God's Law is good. Our sin is utterly evil. Come to God with a humble heart and repent of your sin. He has purchased your forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.