Romans 7:22
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
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(22) I delight.—“I delight in (and with) the Law of God.” I sympathise with and approve of it after the inward man, i.e., in the higher part of my being. “The inward man” corresponds nearly, though not quite, to the “law of my mind,” in the next verse. It stands rather midway between it and the spirit. The mind is the moral and rational faculties considered as moral and rational. “The inward man” is the higher part of man’s nature considered as capable of receiving the divine grace. The “spirit” is the same when actually brought into communion with God.

Romans 7:22. For I delight in the law of God — On this verse, chiefly, rests the opinion that the apostle, in the latter part of this chapter, is describing the character of a regenerate man. Its votaries think they find in this verse all the marks of a Christian. In general they assert, “to have our inward man, our mind and heart, delighted in the law of God, is to have our souls delighted in a conformity to him; it is to love God himself, to love to be like him in the inward man, having his law written on our hearts, which they say is the sum of all religion.” This is not reasoning, it is mere assertion; it is not to be inferred from this passage, and is plainly contradicted by the context. All judicious commentators will allow, that if any passage of the Scriptures appears obscure or susceptible of two senses, it must be explained in a consistency with what precedes and follows, and that interpretation must be chosen which agrees best therewith. Therefore, though it be true, in the fullest sense, that regenerated persons delight in the law of God after the inward man; yet, since the general scope of the paragraph, and the connection of this sentence with the context, show that Paul is here speaking of his unconverted state, our interpretation of it must be regulated by its connection with the whole passage. Those who maintain that Paul is here speaking of his state after his conversion, assert, that by the inward man is meant, the new man, or man of grace, spoken of Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10. Did the context lead to that sense, it might be admitted. But the general sense of the whole passage leads us to understand the expression of the rational part of man, in opposition to the animal, which is its usual signification, as has been shown by several authors. The phrase occurs in two other passages of the New Testament, namely, 2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16; in the former, the apostle’s words are, We faint not, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day; where the inward man must signify the mind or soul, which is renewed, or created anew in its faculties, in proportion as it grows in grace. In the other passage the apostle prays for the Ephesians that they might be strengthened with might, not in the outward man, the body, which was not a matter of much importance, but in the inward man, the soul; that it might become strong in faith, fervent in love, and conformed to the divine image; and that Christ, by his Spirit, might dwell in it. “The inward man, therefore, always signifies the mind, which either may or may not be the subject of grace. That which is asserted of either the inward or outward man, is often performed by one member or power, and not with the whole man. If any member of the body perform an action, we are said to do it with the body, although the other members be not employed. In like manner, if any power or faculty of the mind be employed about any action, the soul is said to act: [and with still greater propriety, as] our souls are not, like our bodies, made of many members; they are pure spirits, and indivisible. If the mind wills, it is the spirit willing; if it hates, it is the soul hating; if it loves, it is the soul loving; if conscience reprove or excuse, it is the inward man accusing or excusing. This expression, therefore, I delight in the law of God after the inward man, can mean no more than this, that there are some inward faculties in the soul which delight in the law of God. The expression is particularly adapted to the principles of the Pharisees, of whom Paul was one before his conversion. They received the law as the oracles of God, and confessed that it deserved the most serious regard. Their veneration was inspired by a sense of its original, and a full conviction that it was right. To some parts of it they paid the most superstitious regard. They had it written upon their phylacteries, and carried these about with them at all times. It was often read and expounded in their synagogues, and they took some degree of pleasure in studying its precepts. On that account, the prophets and our Saviour agree in saying, that they delighted in the law of God, though they regarded not its chief and most essential precepts.” — Smith, On the Carnal Man’s Character.

7:18-22 The more pure and holy the heart is, it will have the more quick feeling as to the sin that remains in it. The believer sees more of the beauty of holiness and the excellence of the law. His earnest desires to obey, increase as he grows in grace. But the whole good on which his will is fully bent, he does not do; sin ever springing up in him, through remaining corruption, he often does evil, though against the fixed determination of his will. The motions of sin within grieved the apostle. If by the striving of the flesh against the Spirit, was meant that he could not do or perform as the Spirit suggested, so also, by the effectual opposition of the Spirit, he could not do what the flesh prompted him to do. How different this case from that of those who make themselves easy with regard to the inward motions of the flesh prompting them to evil; who, against the light and warning of conscience, go on, even in outward practice, to do evil, and thus, with forethought, go on in the road to perdition! For as the believer is under grace, and his will is for the way of holiness, he sincerely delights in the law of God, and in the holiness which it demands, according to his inward man; that new man in him, which after God is created in true holiness.For I delight - The word used here Συνήδομαι Sunēdomai, occurs no where else in the New Testament. It properly means to rejoice with anyone; and expresses not only approbation of the understanding, as the expression, "I consent unto the law," in Romans 7:16, but more than that it denotes sensible pleasure in the heart. It indicates not only intellectual assent, but emotion, an emotion of pleasure in the contemplation of the Law. And this shows that the apostle is not speaking of an unrenewed man. Of such a man it might be said that his conscience approved the Law; that his understanding was convinced that the Law was good; but never yet did it occur that an impenitent sinner found emotions of pleasure in the contemplation of the pure and spiritual Law of God. If this expression can be applied to an unrenewed man, there is, perhaps, not a single mark of a pious mind which may not with equal propriety be so applied. It is the natural, obvious, and usual mode of denoting the feelings of piety, an assent to the divine Law followed with emotions of sensible delight in the contemplation. Compare Psalm 119:97, "O how love I thy law; it is my meditation all the day." Psalm 1:2, "but his delight is in the law of the Lord." Psalm 19:7-11; Job 23:12.

In the law of God - The word "law" here is used in a large sense, to denote all the communications which God had made to control man. The sense is, that the apostle was pleased with the whole. One mark of genuine piety is to be pleased with the whole of the divine requirements.

After the inward man - In respect to the inward man. The expression "the inward man" is used sometimes to denote the rational part of man as opposed to the sensual; sometimes the mind as opposed to the body (compare 2 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Peter 3:4). It is thus used by the Greek classic writers. Here it is used evidently in opposition to a carnal and corrupt nature; to the evil passions and desires of the soul in an unrenewed state; to what is called elsewhere "the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." Ephesians 4:22. The "inward man" is called elsewhere "the new man" Ephesians 4:24; and denotes not the mere intellect, or conscience, but is a personification of the principles of action by which a Christian is governed; the new nature; the holy disposition; the inclination of the heart that is renewed.

22. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man—"from the bottom of my heart." The word here rendered "delight" is indeed stronger than "consent" in Ro 7:16; but both express a state of mind and heart to which the unregenerate man is a stranger. This shows yet more expressly that the apostle speaketh in the person of a regenerate man, or of himself as regenerate. Certainly, to

delight in the law of God is an inseparable property of such a one: see Psalm 1:2, and Psalm 119:77,111.

The inward man; i.e. the new man, or regenerate part within me: this is called

the hidden man of the heart, 1 Peter 3:4: see Romans 2:29 2 Corinthians 4:16.

For I delight in the law of God,.... This an unregenerate man cannot do; he does not like its commands, they are disagreeable to his corrupt nature; and as it is a threatening, cursing, damning law, it can never be delighted in by him: the moralist, the Pharisee, who obeys it externally, do not love it, nor delight in it; he obeys it not from love to its precepts, but from fear of its threatenings; from a desire of popular esteem, and from low, mercenary, selfish views, in order to gain the applause of men, and favour of God: only a regenerate man delights in the law of God; which he does, as it is fulfilled by Christ, who has answered all the demands of it: and as it is in the hands of Christ, held forth by him as a rule of holy walk and conversation; and as it is written upon his heart by the Spirit of God, to which he yields a voluntary and cheerful obedience: he serves it with his mind, of a ready mind freely, and without any constraint but that of love; he delights together with the law, as the word here used signifies; the delight is mutual and reciprocal, the law delights in him, and he delights in the law; and they both delight in the selfsame things, and particularly in the perfect obedience which the Son of God has yielded to it. The apostle adds,

after the inward man; by which he means the renewed man, the new man, or new nature, formed in his soul; which had its seat in the inward part, is an internal principle, oil in the vessel of the heart, a seed under ground, the kingdom within us, the hidden man of the heart, which is not obvious to everyone's view, it being not anything that is external, though never so good: this in its nature is agreeable to the law of God, and according to this a regenerate man delights in it: but then this restrictive limiting clause supposes another man, the old man, the carnal I, according to which the apostle did not delight in the law of God; and proves, that he speaks of himself as regenerate, and not as unregenerate, or as representing an unregenerate man, because no such distinction is to be found in such a person; nor does such a person delight at all, in any sense, upon any consideration in the law of God, but is enmity against it, and not subjected to it; nor can he be otherwise, without the grace of God.

For I delight in the law of God after the {b} inward man:

(b) The inner man and the new man are the same, and are compared and contrasted with the old man; and neither do these words inward man signify man's mind and reason, and the old man the physical body that is subject to them, as the philosophers imagine: but by the outward man is meant whatever is either without or within a man from top to bottom, as long as that man is not born again by the grace of God.

Romans 7:22-23. Antithetical illustration of Romans 7:21.

συνήδομαι τ. νόμῳ τ. Θεοῦ] The compound nature of the verb is neither to be overlooked (as by Beza and others, including Rückert and Reiche), nor to be taken as a strengthening of it (Köllner), or as apud animum meum laetor (Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Tholuck, and Philippi). It means: I rejoice with, which sense alone consists with linguistic usage (Plat. Rep. p. 462 E; Dem. 519. 10, 579. 19; Soph. Oed. C. 1398; Eur. Med. 136; Sturz, Lex. Xen. IV. p. 184; Reisig, Enarr. Soph. Oed. C. 1398). By this, however, we are not to understand the joy over the law, shared with others (van Hengel and others)—an idea here foreign to the connection; nor yet the joyful nature of taking part in the law (Hofmann), whereby the necessary conception of joy in common falls away; but rather: I rejoice with the law of God, so that its joy (the law being personified) is also mine. It is the agreement of moral sympathy in regard to what is good. Comp. on σύμφημι in Romans 7:16. So also συμπενθεῖν τινι, συναλγεῖν τινι, κ.τ.λ.; similarly συλλυπούμενος, Mark 3:5. Rightly given in the Vulgate: “condelector legi (not lege) Dei.” Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:6 : συγχαίρει τῇ ἀληθείᾳ. The Mosaic law is described as νόμος Θεοῦ (genit. auctoris) in contrast to the ἕτερος νόμος, which is the law opposed to God.

κατὰ τ. ἔσω ἄνθρ.] The rational and moral nature of man, determined by conscience (Romans 2:15), is, as the inward man, distinguished from the outward man that appears in the body and its members. ὁ νοῦς in its contrast to σάρξ designates the same thing a potiori; see on Ephesians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 4:16; also 1 Peter 3:4, and Huther in loc. Philo (p. 533, Mang.) terms it ἄνθρωπος ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ.

βλέπω] Here also Paul represents himself as a spectator of his own personality, and as such he sees, etc.

ἕτερον] a law of another nature, not ἄλλον. Comp. Romans 7:4, and on Galatians 1:6.

ἐν τοῖς μέλεσί μου] sc. ὄντα, correlative, even by its position, with κατὰ τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον. Fritzsche and Hofmann join ἐν τοῖς μέλ. μου ἀντιστρατ., whereby, however, the importance of the added elements ἀντιστρατ. κ.τ.λ. is more subordinated to the ἘΝ Τ. ΜΈΛ. ΜΟΥ, and the symmetry of the discourse unnecessarily disturbed; comp. below, Τῷ ὌΝΤΙ ἘΝ ΤΟῖς ΜΈΛ. ΜΟΥ. The members, as the instruments of activity of the σάρξ, are, seeing that the ΣΆΡΞ itself is ruled by sin (Romans 7:18; Romans 7:25), that in which the power of sin (the dictate of the sin-principle, Ὁ ΝΌΜΟς Τῆς ἉΜΑΡΤ.) pursues its doings. This activity in hand, eye, etc. (comp. Romans 6:13; Romans 6:19), is directed against the dictate of the moral reason, and that with the result of victory; hence the figures drawn from war, ἈΝΤΙΣΤΡΑΤ. and also ΑἸΧΜΑΛΩΤ.

The ΝΌΜΟς ΤΟῦ ΝΟΌς—in which the genitive is neither to be taken as that of the subject (Fritzsche: “quam mens mea constituit;” comp. Hofmann, “which man gives to himself”), nor epexegetically (Th. Schott), but locally, corresponding to the ἐν τοῖς μέλ. μου—is not identical with the ΝΌΜΟς Τ. ΘΕΟῦ in Romans 7:22 (Usteri, Köllner, Olshausen, and others), just because the latter is the positive law of God, the law of Moses; but it is the regulator of the συνήδεσθαι τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ (Romans 7:22), implied in the moral reason anal immanent in the νοῦς. As to ΝΟῦς, which is here, in accordance with the connection, the reason in its practical activity, the power of knowledge in its moral quality as operating to determine the moral will, see Stirm in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1834, 3, p. 46 ff.; Beck, bibl. Seelenl. p. 49 ff.; Delitzsch, p. 179; Kluge in the Jahrb. f. D. Th. 1871, p. 327. The form νοός belongs to the later Greek. See Lobeck ad Phryn. p. 453.

καὶ αἰχμαλ. κ.τ.λ.] and makes me prisoner-of-war to the law of sin (makes me subject to the power of the sin-principle) which is in my members. The με does not denote the inner man, the νοῦς (Olshausen), for it, regarded in itself, continues in the service of the law of God (Romans 7:25); but the apparent man, who would follow the leading of the νοῦς. He it is, for the control of whom the law of sin contends with the moral law. The former conquers, and thereby, while the moral law has lost its influence over him, makes him its prisoner-of-war (Luke 21:24; 2 Corinthians 10:5); so that he is now—to express the same idea by another figure

πεπραμένος ὑπὸ τ. ἁμαρτίαν, Romans 7:14,—a trait of the gloomy picture, which likewise does not apply to the condition of the redeemed, Romans 8:2.

τῷ νόμῳ τῆς ἁμαρτ.] is identical with the νόμος that was previously, without more precise definition, called ἕτερος νόμος. Instead, namely, of saying: “and made me its prisoner,” Paul characterizes—as he could not avoid doing in order to complete the antithesis—the victorious law, not previously characterized, as that which it is, and says: αἰχμαλ. με τ. νόμῳ ἁμαρτ. Here τ. ἁμαρτ. is the genitivus auctoris; τ. νόμῳ, however, is not instrumental (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact), but can only be taken as the dative of reference (commodi). The observation τῷ ὄντι ἐν τοῖς μέλεσί μου, emphatically added to make the disgrace more palpably felt, obviates the misconception that a power different from the ἕτερος νόμος was meant. We must dismiss, therefore, the distinctions unsupported by evidence that (following Origen, Jerome, and Oecumenius, but not Ambrosiaster) have been attempted; e.g. recently by Köllner, who thinks that the ἕτερος νόμος means the demands of the sensuous nature, so far as they manifest themselves in individual cases as bodily lusts, while the νόμος τ. ἁμαρτ. is the sensuous nature itself conceived as a sinful principle; or by de Wette, who thinks that the former is the proneness to sin which expresses itself in the determinableness of the will by the sensuous nature, while the latter is the same proneness, so far as it conflicts with the law of God, and by the completed resolution actually enters into antagonism thereto (comp. Umbreit); or by Ewald (comp. also Grotius and van Hengel), who thinks that Paul here distinguishes two pairs of kindred laws: (1) the eternal law of God, and alongside of it, but too weak in itself, the law of reason; and (2) the law of desire, and along with it, as still mightier, the law of sin. Similarly also Delitzsch, Reithmayr, and Hofmann. The latter distinguishes the law of sin from the law in the members, in such a way that the former is prescribed by sin, as the lawgiver, to all those who are subject to it; the latter, on the contrary, rules in the bodily nature of the individual, as soon as the desire arises in him.

αἰχμαλωτίζω belongs to the age of Diodorus, Josephus, etc. (ΑἸΧΜΑΛΩΤΕΎΩ is still later). See Thom. Mag. p. 23; Lobeck ad Phryn. p. 442.

Romans 7:22 f. Further explanation: the incongruity between inclination and action has its roots in a division within man’s nature. The law of God legislates for him, and in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16) he delights in it. The inner man is not equivalent to the new or regenerate man; it is that side of every man’s nature which is akin to God, and is the point of attachment, so to speak, for the regenerating spirit. It is called inward because it is not seen. What is seen is described in Romans 7:23. Here also νόμος is not used in the modern physical sense, but imaginatively: “I see that a power to legislate, of a different kind (different from the law of God), asserts itself in my members, making war on the law of my mind”. The law of my mind is practically identical with the law of God in Romans 7:22 : and the νοῦς itself, if not identical with ὁ ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, is its chief organ. Paul does not see in his nature two normal modes in which certain forces operate; he sees two authorities saying to him, Do this, and the higher succumbing to the lower. As the lower prevails, it leads him captive to the law of Sin which is in his members, or in other words to itself; “of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage”. The end therefore is that man, as a creature of flesh, living under law, does what Sin enjoins. It is the law of Sin to which he gives obedience.

22. I delight in] Lit. I delight with. The Law, as the will of God, is quasi-personified, and the regenerate soul “rejoices with it” in its delight in holiness and truth. The Law’s loves and hatreds are those also of the soul. Cp. 1 Corinthians 13:6, where render, “rejoiceth with the Truth.”

the inward man] The regenerate Self. Not that the phrase necessarily means the regenerate self, as does the phrase “the new man” (Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:24). In itself it may mean (as Meyer holds) no more than “the rational and moral element in human nature.” But surely this does not, according to St Paul, “delight”—with the delight of the will—“with the Law,” until grace has rectified its fall. See Colossians 1:21, where “the mind” is the seat ofenmity.” The phrase in this context therefore points to the regenerate state; the self as it is by grace, distinguished from “the flesh.”—A fit illustration of this verse is Psalms 119, where the inspired Saint indeed “delights with,” and in, the Law, and yet continually makes confession and entreaty as a sinner.

Romans 7:22. Συνήδομαι, I delight) This too is already a further step in advance than σύμφημι, I consent, Romans 7:16.—τὸν ἔσω, the inward) He already upholds the name and character of the inward, but not yet however of the new man; so also in Romans 7:25 he says, “with my mind,” not, with my spirit.

Romans 7:22I delight in (συνήδομαι)

Lit., I rejoice with. Stronger than I consent unto (Romans 7:16). It is the agreement of moral sympathy.

The inward man (τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον)

The rational and moral I, the essence of the man which is conscious of itself as an ethical personality. Not to be confounded with the new man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). It is substantially the same with the mind (Romans 7:23).

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