I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.…
1. Of the blessed man the Psalmist says (Psalm 1) that "his delight is in the law of the Lord," and therefore doth he meditate in it, day and night. That which is the burden of a carnal heart is the delight of the renewed soul. This was the happy experience of our apostle. In the preceding verse he speaks of a living principle within him, willing that which is good. Here he carries his thoughts further: for to delight in the law of God is more than to will that which is good.
2. The word, here rendered "delight," is not found anywhere else in the New Testament. The apostle makes use of an uncommon word to express unspeakable satisfaction.
I. IT IS THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTER OF A GOOD MAN, THAT HE DELIGHTS IN THE LAW OF GOD.
1. The children of God delight to know and do the will of their Father (1 John 5:3).
2. As every child of God hath his measure of light to behold the excellency of the Divine law, so he hath his measure of delight in it.
3. If you love the law of God, you will take pleasure in it, even though it condemns you; you will not wish it were changed for one less holy. You will also meditate upon it, and study conformity to it.
II. A TRUE DELIGHT IN THE LAW OF GOD IS AN UNSPEAKABLE BLESSING.
1. Such a delight must spring from love; and you know how studious love is to please; preferring the will of the object beloved to its own will. So love to God will turn all duty into delight.
2. This delight in the law of God supposeth some good degree of conformity to the object beloved. In all love three things are necessary. Goodness in the object, knowledge of that goodness, and suitableness, or conformity. These three things united beget love, and, if they increase, they will produce that delight which our apostle professes in the law of God.
3. This delight can never be produced, but by seeing the law as it is in Christ. It was in the heart of Christ: "Thy law is within My heart." By viewing the law in Christ, the believer unites the law with the gospel, and they mutually embrace each other: while both agree to promote the happiness of the creature, and the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.
III. ALTHOUGH THIS DELIGHT IS A PROOF OF OUR CONFORMITY TO CHRIST, YET OUR APOSTLE WOULD NOT HAVE US CONCEIVE TOO HIGHLY OF IT IN THE PRESENT IMPERFECT STATE. There is something, even in believers themselves, which does not, cannot delight in the law of God. So far as a man is sanctified, so far will he delight in the law of God, and no further. There is flesh as well as spirit in the best of saints upon earth.
Parallel VersesKJV: I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.