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find in them a body of sin and death ; that is, guilty, as in themselves, of eternal death. Nothing then could serve more fully to illustrate his doctrine in the preceding part of it, respecting human depravity and guilt, and the universality of the inveterate malady of sin, than to show that it was capable, even in himself, with all the grace of which he was so distinguished a subject, of opposing with such force the principles of the new life in his soul. In this view, the passage before us perfectly accords with the Apostle's design in this chapter, in which, for the comfort of believers, he is testifying that, by their marriage with Christ, they are dead to the law, as he had taught in the preceding ehapter, that, by union with him in his death and resurrection, they are dead to sin, which amounts to the same thing. As, in the concluding part of that chapter, he had shown by his exhortations to duty, that, by affirming that they were dead to sin, he did not mean that they were exempt from its commission; so, in the concluding part of this chapter, he shows, by detailing his own experience, that he did not mean that, by their being dead to the law, they were exempt from its violation. In one word, while, by both of these expressions, dead to sin, and dead to the law, he intended to teach that their justification was complete, he proves,
by what he says in the concluding parts of both chapters, that their sanctification was income plete.. And as, referring to himself personally, he proves the incompleteness of the sanctificar tion of believers, by looking forward to a future period of deliverance, saying, who shall delivest me ;l so, referring to himself personally in the beginning of the second verse of the next chapter, he proves the completeness of their justifid cation, by speaking of his deliverance in respect to it as past, saying, “ The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath delivered me from the law of sin and death."
The view which the Apostle here gives of his own experience clearly demonstrates, that the pain experienced by believers in their intere nal conflicts is quite compatible with the blessed and consolatory assurance of eternal life. This he also shows, 2 Cor. v. 1, “ We know, that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, For in this (tabernacle) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven."
It was then to confirm the faith of the disa ciples, and furnish a living exhibition of their spiritual conflict, that Paul here lays open his own heart, and discloses the working of those
twol warting principles, which contend to ya greater or less extent in the bosom of every child of God. The wisdom discovered in making the present experience of Paul the object of contemplation ought to awaken in our hearts feelings of the liveliest gratitude. Had we been presented with a spectacle of the internal feelings of one less eminently holy, the effeet would have been greatly weakened. But that this Apostle, whose life was spent in labouring for the glory of God; that he, whose blameless conduct was such as to confound his enemies who sought occasion against him; that he, whol finished his course with joy, having fought a good fight, and kept the faith ; that he, whose conscience enabled him to look back with satish faetion on the past, and forward with joy to the fiture; that he, who stood ready to receive the crown of righteousness which, by the eye ofi faith, he beheld laid up for him in heaven 90 that one so favoured, so distinguished, as the great Apostle of the Gentiles, in turning his eye inward upon the rebellious strivings of his old nature, should himself be constrained to cry out, 66 O wretched man that I am !” _-what a wonderful exhibition do we here behold of the malignity of that sin, which has so deeply poiso soned and corrupted our original nature, thata Dect to you to w groet You Don't be added 29 30 wr)
death itself is needful in order to remove its pollution from the soul!
This passage, then, is in a remarkable manner fitted to comfort, in the midst of their spiritual conflicts, unknown to all except to themselves and the searcher of hearts, those who are oppressed with a sense of indwelling sin. There may be some believers who, not having examined it with sufficient care, or being misled by false interpretations, mistake its natural and obvious meaning, and fear to apply the words which it contains to Paul as an Apostle. When these shall have viewed this portion of the Divine Word in its true light, they will bless God for the instruction and consolation it is calculated to afford; while the whole of the representation, under this aspect, will appear foolishness to all who are Christians only in name, and who never experienced in themselves that internal conflict which the Apostle here describes. It is a conflict from which not one of the people of God, since the fall of the first man, was ever exempted_a conflict which He alone never experienced who is called “ the Son of the Highest,” of whom, notwithstanding, it has of late been impiously affirmed, that he also was subjected to it.
This chapter presents a glorious display of the
power of divine grace; and of the provision which God has made for the consolation of his people. While the Apostle had proved, in the sixth chapter, that what he had previously taught gave no license to believers to continue in sin, he had still kept in view his main purpose of establishing their free justification. In the seventh chapter he had prosecuted the same object, declaring that by their marriage with Christ they are freed from the law as a covenant of life, while he vindicated its character and authority. In this chapter, he continues the subject of justification, and resumes that of the believer's assurance of his salvation,—of which he had
spoken in the fifth, establishing it on new grounds; arid from the whole that he had previously declared from the commencement of the Epistle, he now draws the general conclusion, that to them who are in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. While this could not have had place by the law, he shows that it had been ef