O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?…
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE BODY OF DEATH OF WHICH THE BELIEVER COMPLAINS.
1. Indwelling sin is called the body of this death, as it is the effect and remains of that spiritual death to which all men are subject in unregeneracy.
2. The remains of sin in the believer is called the body of this death, on account of the deadness and dulness of spirit in the service of God, which it so often produces.
3. Remaining depravity is called the body of death, because it tends to death.
(1) It tends to the death of the body. As it was sin that brought us under the influence of the sentence of dissolution; as it is sin that has introduced into the material frame of man those principles of decay which will bring it to the grave; as it is sin which is the parent of those evil passions which, as natural causes, war against the health and life of the body, so it is the inbred sins of the believer that require his flesh to see the dust.
(2) But this is not all. Remaining depravity tends to spiritual and eternal death, and on this account, also, is justly called the body of this death.
II. THE GRIEF AND PAIN WHICH REMAINING DEPRAVITY OCCASIONS TO THE BELIEVER.
1. Remaining depravity is thus painful and grievous to the Christian, from his acquaintance with its evil and malignant nature.
2. Remaining sin is thus painful to the Christian, from the constant struggle which it maintains with grace within the heart. Even in eminent saints the contest is often singularly obstinate and painful; for where there is strong grace there are also, sometimes, strong corruptions. Besides, where there is eminent spirituality of mind, there is an aspiration after a freedom from imperfections which scarcely belongs to the present state.
III. THE EARNEST LONGINGS AND CONFIDENT AND JOYFUL ASSURANCE OF DELIVERANCE FROM INDWELLING SIN WHICH THE CHRISTIAN ENTERTAINS.
1. Mark his earnest longings — "Who shall deliver me?" The language implies how well the Christian knows he cannot deliver himself from the body of sin. This is the habitual desire of his soul — the habitual object of his pursuit. For this end he prays, he praises, he reads, he hears, he communicates. So earnest, in short, is his desire of deliverance, that he welcomes with this view two things most unwelcome to the feelings of nature affliction and death.
2. Mark his confident and joyful assurance of deliverance. Weak in himself, the Christian is yet strong in the Lord. All the victories he has hitherto achieved have been through the faith and by the might of the Redeemer. All the victories he shall yet acquire shall be obtained in the same way.
3. Mark the gratitude of the Christian for this anticipated and glorious deliverance. Sin is the cause of all the other evils in which he has been involved, and when sin is destroyed within and put forever away, nothing can be wanting to perfect his blessedness. Well then does it become him to cherish the feeling and utter the language of thankfulness.
Parallel VersesKJV: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?