Delight in the Law of God

James Smith, 1860


"I delight in the law of God after the inward man." Romans 7:22

No one can do this, but a true Christian. For if we could perceive the spirituality and extent of the law, its claims upon us, and the doom to which it sentences us we must surely hate it! That is, unless we saw at the same time how we could be delivered from it, or justified in accordance with it. And even then, we must be renewed in the spirit of our minds, or we could not delight in anything so spiritual, so like the nature of an infinitely holy God.

By the inward man I understand that holy nature, which is produced in regeneration, and which is just like its divine author. As the Savior said, "That which is born of the Spirit, is spirit." It is holy, and opposed to everything vile and sinful. It bears the image of Christ, and therefore we are said to be "renewed in knowledge, after the image of him who created us." It is immortal and cannot perish or decay; and by virtue of it we are brought into close and inseparable union to Christ and because he lives, we live also. This inward man is . . .
strong
to resist evil;
wise
and flies for help to the Savior;
spiritual
and ever aspires and pants after the presence and enjoyment of God;
takes part with God against all evil;
constitutes its possessor a true Christian;
and is our habitual fitness for eternal glory.

According to the influence, direction, and inclination of the inward man we "delight in the law of God."

By the law of God, we understand the moral law, let it be found where it may. Or, that law, which requires us to be . . .
as holy as God is holy,
as merciful as God is merciful, and
as perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.

But as represented by our beloved Savior, we especially love it, as it only requires what we wish to possess and exercise. "You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself." This is just the nature, temper, and disposition of the new man. So like God is it that it hates only what God hates, and loves only what God loves.

It admires and delights in this law, because it views it . . .
as divine in its origin;
as flowing naturally and immediately from God;
as holy, just, and good in its own nature;
as calculated to produce holiness, justice, and benevolence and thus spread holiness in every direction.

There is nothing in it to alarm or terrify the inner man, because the Holy Spirit shows it to believers from the gospel perspective that Jesus has . . .
met its demands,
paid its penalty, and
endured its curse.

It is therefore simply . . .
the rule of right,
the directory of God's redeemed people,
a reflection of God's moral attributes,
and the only rule of our conduct.
As such we can, we do delight in it after "the inward man."

We see its beauty, excellency, and adaptation to God's intelligent creation. We find a sweetness in it, and long with ardent desire to be exactly conformed to it. We really love its requirements, and approve of its tendencies! It affords us secret satisfaction, when we walk by its precepts. Never are we so happy as when glowing with supreme love to God, with ardent affection for the saints, and benevolent emotions toward all the human race.

Oh, how delightful it is, to perceive that all its precepts were obeyed by Jesus in his life; that all its penalty was paid for us by Jesus in his death; and, that now, we are being wrought up into that state by the Holy Spirit, that soon, like it, both inwardly and outwardly we shall be perfectly holy, righteous, and good!

We do, we must delight, to keep the precepts of God's holy law:
not that we may be justified for we are justified already, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ;
not that we may be delivered from the wrath to come for Jesus has already delivered us from that;
nor to acquire a title to everlasting life and heavenly glory for we have that
  but simply, that we may . . .
honor our Redeemer,
glorify our heavenly Father, and
gratify that holy nature which the Holy Spirit has imparted to us.

Once the law of God was the object of our dread now it is the object of our love!

Once we hated it, and wished it blotted out of God's universe but now we admire it, and delight in it!

Yes, we do, notwithstanding the corruptions over which we mourn, the sin that does so easily beset us, and the conflict that often rages within us we do "delight in the law of God after the inward man."

This proves that the new man, the new nature, the new creation is holy in its nature, exercises, and acts! It is just opposite to the carnal nature with which it conflicts, for "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." This carnality therefore must be destroyed, the man must be new-created before he can delight in the law of God.

The inward man has a keen, spiritual eye it soon detects the evil and the unsightly and discerns the beautiful, and the holy. Therefore it delights in the holy law of God.

The requirement of the law therefore, is met by the Holy Spirit in the heart. For as the righteousness of the law was fulfilled in our nature for us by Jesus as our Substitute; so also shall the righteousness of the law be fulfilled by us through the new creation produced by the Blessed Spirit; now while his work is incomplete imperfectly; but when his work is finished perfectly.

The requirement of the law without us, renders necessary a new creation within us; and the new creation within us, answers to the requirement of the law without us. The purity required hy the Lawgiver, is produced by the Spirit, which is the gift of the sovereign Father. New Testament grace, produces the morality required by Old Testament precepts; and teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.

Let each one then, who reads these lines, ask, "Am I in possession of this inward man? Is there grace in me? Do I daily manifest it, by delighting in the law of God? Is it my desire, prayer, and aim to be holy, just, and good always, and everywhere, as the law of God requires? Am I deeply grieved, and pained at heart when I act contrary to that holy law? Am I obliged to have recourse to the fountain of a Savior's blood daily, to preserve peace of conscience and comfort of soul? If so, no doubt but the work of the Holy Spirit is in us.

O, Holy Spirit, work more powerfully and thoroughly in us, that we may hate sin, and delight in God's holy law more and more!