by the Rev. Henry Huenemann
0 wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24).
12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
What made Paul so wretched? Was it the hardships which he had to endure? No. He exhorts Timothy to endure hardness like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Was it his privations that he suffered? No. He says, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content .... to be abased .... and to abound." Was it his tribulation? No. He gloried in tribulation. What was it then? It was his sin. He had a deep sense of the power and sinfulness of sin. He says, "I am carnal, sold under sin." All true Christians have similar experiences. The unregenerate, though they often experience the evil results of sin, do not realize what a terrible thing in their life sin itself is. They are dead in trespasses and sins.
But sin is truly terrible. It separates from God. There is the power of sin. Sin in our natural condition rules over us. We are its slaves, and we cannot free ourselves. There is the guilt of sin. Sin is like a great debt that must be paid, and we cannot pay it; on the contrary "we daily increase our guilt." There is the deceitfulness of sin, that is apt to harden our hearts. We read, "Exhort one another daily . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." There is the punishment of sin. God will punish it "with just judgment in time and eternity." But thanks be to God there is complete deliverance from all sin through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Eternal God, holy and righteous, help us to realize the terribleness of sin. We have transgressed Thy holy law, and have deserved Thy wrath. The wages of sin is death, and in our natural condition we are in the power of Satan. We could never deliver ourselves from sin, nor from the power of death and of Satan. O God, we thank Thee that Thou hast sent the Saviour, who has delivered us from death and the power of Satan, and whose blood cleanses us from all sin. May we put our whole trust in him, who is our righteousness and salvation. In his name we pray. Amen.
Scripture in Devotional: 2 Tim. 2:3; Phil. 4:11, 12; Rom. 5:3; 7:14; Heb. 3:13.
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