24. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
24. Miser ego homo! quis me eripiet a corpore mortis hoc?
25. I 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.
25. Gratias ago Deo per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum: itaque idem ego mente servio Legi Dei,carne autem legi peccati.
"No more shall my Spirit contend with man, for he is even flesh," (Genesis 6:3:)
thus stripping man of his spiritual excellency, he compares him, by way of reproach, to the brute creation. 3
This passage is indeed remarkably fitted for the purpose of beating down all the glory of the flesh; for Paul teaches us, that the most perfect, as long as they dwell in the flesh, are exposed to misery, for they are subject to death; nay, when they thoroughly examine themselves, they find in their own nature nothing but misery. And further, lest they should indulge their torpor, Paul, by his own example, stimulates them to anxious groanings, and bids them, as long as they sojourn on earth, to desire death, as the only true remedy to their evils; and this is the right object in desiring death. Despair does indeed drive the profane often to such a wish; but they strangely desire death, because they are weary of the present life, and not because they loathe their iniquity. But it must be added, that though the faithful level at the true mark, they are not yet carried away by an unbridled desire in wishing for death, but submit themselves to the will of God, to whom it behoves us both to live and to die: hence they clamor not with displeasure against God, but humbly deposit their anxieties in his bosom; for they do not so dwell on the thoughts of their misery, but that being mindful of grace received, they blend their grief with joy, as we find in what follows.
But what is suflicient to bridle impatience and to cherish resignation, is the thought, that they have been received under the protection of God, that they may never perish, and that they have already been favored with the first-fruits of the Spirit, which make certain their hope of the eternal inheritance. Though they enjoy not as yet the promised glory of heaven, at the same time, being content with the measure which they have obtained, they are never without reasons for joy.
2 "Eripere" -- pluck out, rescue, take away by force;
3 "This body of death" is an evident Hebraism, meaning "this deadly or mortiferous body;" which is not the material body, but the body of "the old man," Romans 7:6; called the "body of sin," when its character is described, and the "body of death," when the issue to which it leads is intended: it conducts to death, condemnation, and misery. -- Ed.
4 There is a different reading for the first clause of this verse,
5 "Idem ego -- the same I," or, "I the same;"
He terms his innate sin "the flesh." By the flesh, says Pareus, "is not meant physically the muscular substance, but theologically the depravity of nature, -- not sensuality alone, but the unregenerated reason, will, and affections." -- Ed.