I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.…
I. A BELIEVER DELIGHTS IN THE LAW OF GOD (ver. 22).
1. Before a man comes to Christ he hates the law of God (Romans 8:7) on account of —
(1) Its purity. It is infinitely opposed to all sin. But natural men love sin, and therefore they hate the law, as bats hate the light and fly against it.
(2) Its breadth. It extends to all their outward actions, seen and unseen; to every idle word; to the looks of their eye; it dives into the deepest caves of their heart; it condemns the most secret springs of sin and lust that nestle there.
(3) Its unchangeableness. If the law would let down its requirements then ungodly men would be well pleased. But it is unchangeable as God.
2. When a man comes to Christ this is all changed. He can say, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." "O how I love Thy law." "I delight to do Thy will." There are two reasons for this:(1) The law is no longer an enemy. "Christ hath redeemed me from the curse of the law," etc.
(2) The Spirit of God writes the law on the heart (Jeremiah 31:38). Coming to Christ takes away our fear of the law; the Holy Spirit coming into our heart makes us love the law.
II. A TRUE BELIEVER FEELS AN OPPOSING LAW IN HIS MEMBERS (ver. 23). When a sinner comes first to Christ, he often thinks he will never sin any more. A little breath of temptation soon discovers his heart, and he cries out, "I see another law." Observe —
1. What he calls it, "another law"; quite different from the law of God — "a law of sin" (ver. 25); "a law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). It is the same law which is called "the flesh" (Galatians 5:17); "the old man" (Ephesians 4:22); "your members" (Colossians 3); "a body of death" (ver. 24).
2. What His law is doing — "warring." There never can be peace in the bosom of a believer. There is peace with God, but constant war with sin. Sometimes, indeed, an army lies in ambush quiet till a favourable moment comes. So the lusts often lie quiet till the hour of temptation, and then they war against the soul. The heart is like a volcano, sometimes it slumbers and sends up nothing but a little smoke; but the fire will soon break out again. Is Satan ever successful? In the deep wisdom of God the law in the members does sometimes bring the soul into captivity. Noah was a perfect man, and walked with God, and yet he was drunken. Abraham was the "friend of God," and yet he told a lie. Job was a perfect man, and yet he was provoked to curse the day of his birth. And so with Moses, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Peter, and the apostles.
(1) Have you experienced this war fare? It is a clear mark of God's children.
(2) If any of you are groaning under it —
(a) Be humbled.
(b) Let this teach you your need of Jesus.
(c) Be not discouraged. Jesus is able to save you to the uttermost.
III. THE FEELING OF A BELIEVER DURING THIS WARFARE.
1. He feels wretched (ver. 24). There is nobody in this world so happy as a believer. He has the pardon of all his sins in Christ. Still when he feels the plague of his own heart he cries, "O wretched man that I am!"
2. He seeks deliverance. If lust work in your heart, and you lie down contented with it, you are none of Christ's!
3. He gives thanks for victory. Truly we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us; for we can give thanks before the fight is done.
(R. M. McCheyne, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
WEB: I find then the law, that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present.