“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Romans 7:24 KJV
THE APOSTLE PAUL: THE DESPICABLE MAN
Not only is the man who makes this confession a regenerate and a powerless man, but he is also a despicable man. He is utterly unhappy and miserable; and what is it that makes him so utterly despicable?
It is because God has given him a nature that yearns to love God. He is utterly despicable because he feels that he is not obeying God. He says, with brokenness of heart: “It is not I that do it, but I am under the awful power of sin, which is holding me down. It is I, and yet not I; alas! alas! it is me; so closely am I bound up with it, and so closely it is intertwined with my very nature.”
Blessed be God when a man learns to say:
“O wretched man that I am!”
from the depth of his heart. He is now on the way to the 8th chapter of Romans.
There are many who make this confession a pillow for sin. They say that Paul had to confess his weakness and powerlessness in this way. What are they that they should try to do better?
So the call to holiness is quietly set aside. Would God that every one of us had learned to say these words in the very spirit in which they are written here
When we hear sin spoken of as the abominable thing that God hates, do not many of us wince before the word? And would that all Christians who go on sinning and sinning would take this verse to heart?
If ever you utter a sharp word say: “O wretched man that I am!” And every time you lose your temper kneel down and understand that it never was meant by God that this was to be the state in which His child should remain.
Would God that we would take this word into our daily life, and say it every time we are touched about our own honor, and every time we say sharp words, and every time we sin against the Lord God, and against the Lord Jesus Christ in His humility, and in His obedience, and in His self-sacrifice?
Would to God you could forget everything else, and cry out: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Why should you say this whenever you commit sin? It is because when a man is brought to this confession that deliverance is at hand.
And remember it was not only the sense of being powerless and taken captive that made the apostle Paul despicable, but it was above all the sense of sinning against his God. The law was doing its work, making sin exceeding sinful in his sight. The thought of continually grieving God became utterly unbearable—it was this that brought forth this piercing cry: “O wretched man that I am!”
As long as we talk and rationalize about our powerlessness and our failures, and only try to find out what Romans chapter 7 means, it will profit us but little; but when once every sin gives new intensity to the sense of despicableness, and we feel our whole state as one of not only powerlessness, but actual exceeding sinfulness, we shall be pressed not only to ask” “Who shall deliver us?” but cry:
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”