O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?…
I. THE SOUL'S OPPRESSIVE DESPOT. "The body of this death." What is meant by this? Corrupt animalism. What is elsewhere called the flesh with its corruptions and lusts. The body, intended to be an instrument and servant of the soul, has become its sovereign, and keeps all its power of intellect and conscience in subjection. Corrupt animalism is the moral monarch of the world. It rules in literature, in politics, in science, and even in churches. This despot is death to all true freedom, progress, happiness.
II. THE SOUL'S STRUGGLE TO BE FREE. This implies —
1. A quickened consciousness of its condition. "O wretched man that I am! "The vast majority of souls, alas I are utterly insensible to this; hence they remain passive. What quickens the soul into this consciousness? "The law." The light of God's moral law flashes on the conscience and startles it.
2. An earnest desire for help. It feels its utter inability to haul the despot down; and it cries mightily, "Who shall deliver me?" Who? Legislatures, moralists, poets, philosophers, priesthoods? No; they have tried for ages, and have failed. Who? There is One and but One, and to Him Paul alludes in the next verse and the following chapter. "Thanks be to God," etc.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?