O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?…
The writer represents himself as having two personalities — the inner man, and the outer man, i.e., the body. A word or two about the human body.
I. IT IS IN THE UNREGENERATE MAN A PERSONALITY. "I am carnal," that is, I am become flesh. This is an abnormal, a guilty, and a perilous fact. The right place of the body is that of the organ, which the mind should use for its own high purpose. But this, through the pampering of its own senses, and through the creation of new desires and appetites, becomes such a power over man that Paul represents it as a personality, the thing becomes an ego.
II. AS A PERSONALITY IT BECOMES A TYRANT. It is represented in this chapter as a personality that enslaves, slays, destroys the soul, the inner man. It is a "body of death." It drags the soul to death When man becomes conscious of this tyranny, as he does when the "commandment" flashes upon the conscience, the soul becomes intensely miserable, and a fierce battle sets in between the two personalities in man. The man cries out, "What shall I do to be saved?" "Who shall deliver me?"
III. AS A TYRANT IT CAN ONLY BE CRUSHED BY CHRIST. In the fierce battle Christ came to the rescue, and struck the tyrant down. In this Epistle the writer shows that man struggled to deliver himself —
1. Under the teachings of nature, but failed (see chap. Romans 1). He became more enslaved in materialism.
2. Under the influence of Judaism, but failed. By the deeds of the law no man was justified or made right. Under Judaism men filled up the measure of their iniquities. Who, or what, then, could deliver? No philosophers, poets, or teachers. Only one. "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ."
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?