Covetousness – the evil desire for something belonging to another – is one of the most deeply rooted emotions in the human heart.
The Apostle Paul, who as a Pharisee could speak of his faultless outward observance of God’s Law (Philippians 3:6),
As for my zeal, I was a persecutor of the church. As far as righteousness in the law is concerned, I was blameless.
is finally exposed as a sinner by the command, “You shall not covet” (see Romans 7:7-8).
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[a] 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
He could refrain from stealing but he could not of himself refrain from coveting.