“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me!” [Romans 7:21]

The apostle proposes the way by which he discovered this law (of sin) in himself: “I find then (or therefore), a law.” He found it. It had been told to him that there was such a law; it had been preached to him. This convinced him that THERE WAS a law of sin. But it is one thing for a man to know in general that there is a law of sin; another thing for a man to EXPERIENCE the power of this law of sin in himself.

It is preached to ALL; all men admit that the Scriptures acknowledge it, that it is declared in them; but there are FEW who know it IN THEMSELVES. We would otherwise have more complaints of it than we have, and more contentions against it, and less fruits of it in the world. But this is what the apostle affirms — not that the doctrine of it had been preached to him, but that he FOUND IT IN HIMSELF BY EXPERIENCE. “I find a law;” — “I have EXPERIENCED its power and efficacy.” For a man to find his sickness, and the danger thus arising from its effects, is different than hearing a discourse about a disease arising from its causes. And this EXPERIENCE is the great preservative of all divine truth in the soul. This is what it means to know a thing indeed, and in reality — to know it for ourselves — when, as we are taught it from the Word, so we find it in ourselves.

Hence we observe further, that believers experience the power and efficacy of indwelling sin. They find it in themselves; they find it as a law. It has a self-evidencing efficacy to those who are alive to discern it.

Those who do not find its power, are under its dominion!

Whoever contends against it, WILL KNOW and find that it is present with them, that it is powerful in them. The one who swims against the current will find the stream is strong; but the one who floats along with it, will be insensible of it.

– John Owen in his classic work – ‘The Remainders of Indwelling Sin in Believers’.

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