I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.…
I. THE LEADING DESIRE OF ALL TRUE BELIEVERS: "they would do good."
1. Every real Christian would be conformed to the will of God in heart and life. Whatever advance he has made, he is still sensible of deficiency, and presses after higher attainments.
2. The spiritual principle imparted in regeneration has a necessary tendency to what is good. What the enlightened understanding approves the sanctified will prefers.
3. This prevailing inclination of the will to what is good is a manifest token of Divine grace, for it is God that worketh in us to will. The will is the man, and the obedience of the will is the obedience of the man (2 Corinthians 8:12).
II. THE IMPEDIMENTS TO THIS DESIRE: ''evil is present with me."
1. Sudden and unseasonable discursions of the mind, unfitting and indisposing us for duty (Job 15:12; Jeremiah 4:14).
2. Unbelieving jealousies and suspicions, either with respect to ourselves or God. Faith animates the soul, but unbelief weakens and destroys its energies. If the soul makes some efforts heavenwards this clips its wings (Psalm 13:5; 73:13; 87:9).
3. Unworthy motives and sinister ends. We are in danger of being influenced by selfishness, pride, or legality, in all our religious duties; and ere we are aware they become polluted with some evil which is present with us (Isaiah 58:3; Zechariah 7:5).
4. Worldly thoughts and cares. If we do not decline the invitation of the gospel, and go to our farms and our oxen, yet our farms and our oxen will come to us. In running the Christian race we must lay aside every weight, and the sin which easily besets us; and the world is a weight sufficient to impede our spiritual progress (Psalm 119:25).
III. THE REASON WHY THE ATTAINMENTS OF BELIEVERS ARE SO INADEQUATE TO THEIR WISHES AND DESIRES. "I find then a law," that when I would do good, evil is present with me.
1. This "law" is indwelling sin, which is said to be —
(1) A law in the members (ver. 23), not only because it resides in the members, but because it employs them in its service.
(2) The law of sin and death, being that which impels to sin and leads to death (Romans 8:2; James 1:15).
2. It is a law within us, which we carry with us into the closet, into the temple, into the city, into the wilderness, and even to a sick and dying bed. It mingles with our choicest duties, and spoils our sweetest enjoyments. It makes this world a Bochim, a place of tears (Romans 7:24; 2 Corinthians 5:2).
3. Indwelling sin still has the force of law, maintaining a complete ascendency over every unrenewed heart; and though it was not a law to Paul, yet it was a law within him, and the source of daily vexation.Conclusion:
1. We see that the Christian is better known by what he would be than by what he really is. If his progress were as rapid as his desires are strong, how happy would he be!
2. The best of men have no need to be proud of their performances, every work is marred in their hands.
3. Since the saints on earth have no perfection in themselves, let them be thankful for that perfection they have in Christ (Colossians 2:10).
4. We see the difference between the hypocrite and the real Christian. Sin has the consent of the will in the one, but it is not so with the other.
5. It is no wonder that amidst the conflicts and dangers of the present state the Christian longs to be in heaven (Romans 8:22, 23).
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.