“Now if I do that I would not, it is not more that I do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Paul is concluding that if he did that which was contrary to his own deepest desires, the real culprit must be sin that lived within him.  He is distinguishing himself as a person whose inclination is violated by his actions, from the indwelling sin which is really responsible for them.

“Now if I do that I would not”
Literally: “But if I do what I do not desire.”–This verse is basically a repeat of what was said in verses 16-17. This experience shows that sin had domination over his human nature and rules it. Sin, rather than good intentions. controls,  A man wills one thing and does another.

“it is not more that I do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Literally: {It is} no longer I work it out, but the sin dwelling in me.”– It is no longer me doing it.  My will is against it; my reason and conscience condemn it.  But sin that dwells in me-the Principle of Sin, which has possessed itself of all my carnal appetites and passions, and thus subjects my reason and domineers over my soul. 

Thus I am in perpetual contradiction to myself. Two principles are continually contending in me for the mastery:
1.       My
reason, on which the light of God shines, to show what is evil; and,
2.      My
passions, in which the principle of sin works, to bring forth fruit unto death. 

This strange self-contradictory tendency led some of the ancient philosophers to imagine that man has two souls, a good and a bad one.

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
It is most important to see that the great struggle in this part of chapter 7 is neither a purely Jewish struggle, nor a normal Christian walk, nor even a necessary Christian experience. Remember that Paul is really relating this to the Jewish believers in the church at Rome.  We see this from the fact that Paul says that his struggle is with the Law.

“I find then a law”
Literally: “I then find the Law.”–It is then the law of our unregenerate state that, even if we would do good, and purpose to be better, evil will be present, and will be practiced. An inward constraining power, flowing from the dictate of corrupt nature. I have a constant tendency to evil, when I desire to be and do that only which is perfectly good.

        A LAW:  (Grk.–ton nomos)–With the article, literally:  “the Law.”  The constant      rule of experience imposing itself on the will. Here the Law of Moral Contradiction.

 The word “law,” in this verse, must be taken as implying any strong or confirmed habit; under the influence of which the man generally acts, and not just the Mosaic Law. Paul is here evidently referring to his own carnal and corrupt nature; to the evil tendencies and desires which were leading him astray. He is representing this as a law is in accordance with all that he says of it; that it is servitude, that he is in bondage to it, and that it impedes his efforts to be holy and pure. The meaning is this: “I find a habit, a desire, or influence of corrupt passions and desires, which, when I would do right, impedes my progress, and prevents my accomplishing what I would.”  (Comp. Gal. 5:17). Every Christian is as much acquainted with this as was Paul.

“when I would do good”
Literally: {When} I desire  to do the good.”–When I want to do right. To me who would do good; or, to the “wishing me,” emphasizing the “I” whose characteristic it is to “wish” but not “to do.”

“evil is present with me”– Some corrupt desire, or improper feeling, or evil propensity.  It is near; that is, is at hand. It starts up unbidden, and undesired. It is in the path, and never leaves us, but is always ready to impede our going, and to turn us from our good designs.   

          EVIL:  (Grk.–kakon)-Some corrupt desire, or improper feeling, or desire.

          EVIL IS PRESENT:  (Grk.–kakon parakeitai)–Evil lies constantly before me; is near at hand. It starts up unbidden, and undesired. It is in the path, and never leaves us, but is always ready to impede our going, and to turn us from our good designs.

         Paul is saying that both he physically and his reason are determined to be obedient to the and in opposition to the principle of sin, but evil is present with him, it is always at hand; it always  lies constantly before him. The conclusion: as the Law of God exhorts us to goodness, so does the Law of Sin (that is, the corruption in which we are born) forces us to wickedness: but the spirit, that is, our regenerated mind, coexists with the Law of God: but the flesh, that is, the whole natural man, is bond-slave to the Law of Sin. 
         Wickedness and death are not of the Law, but of sin, which reigns in those that are not regenerated: for they neither wish to do good, neither do they do good, but they wish and do evil: but in those that are regenerated, it strives against the spirit or Law of the Mind, so that they cannot live at all as well as they want to, or be as free of sin as they want to.

“For I delight in the Law of the Lord after the inward man.”

         “For I delight”–Literally:  “I rejoice.”

         I DELIGHT:  (Grk.–sunēdomai)–“From the bottom of my heart.”  Sunēdoma denotes not only intellectual assent, but emotion as well–an emotion of pleasure in the contemplation of the Law. And this shows that Paul is not speaking of an unregenerated man, but of Christians.  This Greek word occurs nowhere else in the N.T. It means, “to rejoice with any one;” and not only expresses “approval,” of the understanding, as the expression, “I consent unto the law,” (v. 16) expresses, but, more than that, it denotes sensible pleasure in the heart. 

“in the Law of the Lord”
Literally: “In the Law of God.”– It is unfortunate that the KJV translators erroneously translated the Greek word  (Theos)  as, “the Lord” when they knew that  (Theos)  is the word for “God” and that it is the Greek word for “Lord” is  (Kyrios). 

         Regarding the Law of the Lord:  love it, and desire to obey it. The word law here is used, in the larger sense, to denote all the communications which God had made to control man. The sense is, that Paul was pleased with the whole. One mark of genuine piety is to be pleased with the whole of the Divine requirements.     
         Every Jew, and for that matter, every unregenerate man who receives the O.T. as a revelation from God, must acknowledge the great purity, excellence and utility of its maxims, etc., though he will ever find that without the grace of our Lord Jesus he can never act according to those heavenly axioms; and without the mercy of God, can never be redeemed from the curse entailed upon him for his past transgressions.     he

         “after the inward man”
         Literally: “According to the inward man.”–Called the “mind” in verse 23.

         In respect to the inward man. The expression “the inward man” is sometimes used to denote the rational part of man as opposed to the sensual; sometimes the mind as opposed to the body, (comp. II Cor. 4:16; I Peter 3:4.  Here it is used evidently in opposition to a carnal and corrupt nature; to the evil passions and desires of the soul in an unregenerated state; to what is called elsewhere “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” (Eph. 4:22). The “inward man” is elsewhere called the new man, (Eph. 4:24) and denotes not the mere intellect, or conscience, but is a personification of the principles of action by which a Christian is governed; the new nature; the holy disposition; the inclination of the heart that is renewed.

“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

         “But I see another law”–This should have been worded as “a different law.”  Another inward constraining power of evil inclinations and bodily appetites.            

        ANOTHER:  (Grk.–heteros)–Literally:  “Another of a different kind.”  One law of our being is the approval of righteousness; another is the inclination of the flesh to do evil.  Different from my prevailing inclination, my earnest desire. 

         “in my members”In my body; in my flesh; in my corrupt and sinful desires.

 The body is composed of many members; and as the flesh is regarded as the source of sin, (verse 18) the Law of Sin is said to be in the members, i.e., in the body itself. A different inward constraining power of evil inclinations and bodily appetites.

“warring against the law of my mind”
Literally:  “Having warred against the law of my mind.”  Fighting against; or resisting. This stands opposed to the prevailing inclinations of a corrupt nature. It means the same as was expressed by the phrase “the inward man,” and denotes the desires and purposes of a renewed heart.

         WARING AGAINST:  (Grk.–antistrateuomenon)–This is an old Roman military term meaning, “to take the field against.”  Used only here in the N.T.This shows an allusion   here to the case of a city besieged, at last taken by storm, and the inhabitants carried away into captivity; carrying on a system of warfare. 

Paul is using this term in the sense of sin laying continual siege to the soul; repeating incessantly its attacks; harassing, battering, and storming the spirit; and, by all these assaults, reducing the man to extreme misery.  Never was a picture more impressively drawn and more effectively finished; for the next sentence shows that this spiritual city was at last taken by storm, and the inhabitants who survived the sacking led into the most shameful, painful, and oppressive captivity.

         “the law of my mind”– The dictate of my mind, which delights in the Law of God.

                 MIND:  (Grk.–nous)–Literally:  “mind, thought, reason, attitude, intention, purpose.” 

         Regarding this term, “mind” Vincent says, “This is a term distinctively characteristic of Paul, though not confined to him (see Luke 24:45; Rev. 13:18; 17:9). 

         Paul uses this word  (nous)  to throw into sharper relief the function of reflective intelligence and moral judgment which is expressed generally by heart (kardia).  Paul uses it mainly with an ethical reference, i.e., moral judgment as related to action (see Rom. 12:2 where the “renewing of the mind” is urged as a necessary preliminary to a right moral judgment.
         “Mind” stands related to spirit, as the faculty to the efficient power.  It is the faculty of moral judgment that distinguishes and approves what is good, but does not have the power controlling the life. Notice that in portraying his struggle in this chapter Paul gives us no reference to the “spirit.”

“bringing me into captivity to the law of sin”
Literally:   “Taking me captive by the law of sin.” —This does not here speak of an occasional advantage gained by sin, it was a complete and final victory gained by
corruption; which, having stormed and reduced the city, carried away the inhabitants with irresistible force, into captivity.  This is the consequence of being overcome; he was now in the hands of the foe as the victor's lawful captive.  A loathsome, hated bondage, which makes me abhor myself. Job  

         TAKING CAPTIVE:  (Grk.–aichmalōtizonta)–This is another case where Paul, the Roman Army “Brat” uses another military term to express his thought. This Greek word refers to making one a prisoner-of-war.  This word is used also in and II Cor. 10:5 and in Luke 21:24 this is the term used by our Lord when speaking of the final ruin, dispersion, and captivity of the Jews.

         There Christ says they shall be led away captives into all the nations, The basest slave of sin, who has any remaining checks of conscience, cannot be brought into a worse state than that described here by Paul.  Sin and corruption have a final triumph; and conscience and reason are taken prisoners, laid in fetters, and sold for slaves.  Can this ever be said of a man in whom the Spirit of God dwells, and whom the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made free from the law of sin and death?          “Making me a prisoner, or a captive.” This is the completion of the figure respecting the warfare. A captive taken in war was at the disposal of the victor. So does Paul present himself as engaged in a warfare; and as being overcome, and made an unwilling captive to the evil inclinations of the heart. The expression is strong; and denotes strong corrupt desires. But though strong, it is believed it is language which all sincere Christians can adopt of themselves, as expressive of that painful and often disastrous conflict in their bosoms when they contend against the native propensities of their hearts. The ancient writers (Plato, Ovid, Seneca, Epictetus) describe the same dual struggle in man between his conscience and his deeds.

“O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death.”

“O wretched man that I am”
Literally: “Wretched man {that} I {am}.” —The feeling implied by this lamentation is the    result of this painful conflict; and his frequent subjection to sinful desires or cravings.  The struggle is now come to the height; and the man, finding there is no help in himself, begins almost unawares to pray,

          WRETCHED:  (Grk.–talaipōros)–Originally, wretched through the exhaustion of hard labor.  This affecting account is finished more impressively by the groans of the wounded captive.  Paul here is using another military term.     

Having long maintained a useless conflict against innumerable hosts and irresistible might, he is at last wounded and taken prisoner; and to render his state more miserable, he is not only encompassed by the slaughtered, but chained to a dead body; for there seems to be here an allusion to an ancient custom of certain tyrants, who bound a dead body to a living man, and obliged him to carry it about, till the contagion from the putrid mass took away his life!  Wretched because he has no power in himself for deliverance.

“Who shall deliver me?–Here we see Paul giving a heart-rending cry from the depths of despair.      Who will rescue me from this condition of my mind in deep distress, and conscious of its  own weakness, and looking for aid. 

 Not the Law, not my own efforts, or my abhorrence of myself on account of disobedience–not any expedients which ever have been or can be devised by creatures. Left to these merely, he who is filthy will remain filthy still. What then? Must I perish, or drag on for ever this body of death No!    

         WHO: (Grk.–tis)–Referring to a personal Deliverer. Who is able to rescue the believer crying out for deliverance?  The answer is the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 25).

“from the body of this death.”
Literally:  “From this body of death.”–From this body serving as the seat of the
death which the soul has sunk because of the power of sin. That is, this mass of sin,   which is leading to eternal, death and cleaving as close to me as my body to my soul. 

         The expression “body of this death” is a Hebraism, denoting a body deadly in its tendency; and the whole expression may mean the corrupt principles of man; the carnal, evil affections that lead to death or to condemnation. The expression is one of vast strength, and strongly characteristic of Paul. It indicates.  This “body of death” was like a corpse that hung on Paul with his desire to obey the higher impulses of his new nature.
         The word body here is probably used as equivalent to flesh, denoting the corrupt and evil tendencies on the soul.  It is thus used to denote the law of sin in the members, as being that with which Paul was struggling, and from which he desired to be delivered.

         THIS DEATH:  (Grk.–thanatou toutou)–This is referring to the miserable condition of the Christian who is yet dominated more or less by the evil nature (the old man) over which he is desiring to gain victory.

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

         “I thank God” —That is, I thank God for bringing about a deliverance that  of myself I am incapable.

What conscience could not do, what the Law could not do, what unaided human strength could not do, has been accomplished by the Plan the Gospel; and complete deliverance can be expected there, and there alone. This is the point to which all his reasoning has been aimed.  Having shown that the Law was insufficient to effect this deliverance, Paul is now prepared to utter the language of Christian thankfulness that it can be effected by the gospel. The superiority of the Gospel to the Law, in overcoming all the evils under which man labors, is thus triumphantly established (comp. I Cor. 15:57).

“through Jesus Christ” That is, for His unspeakable gift (II Cor. 9:15; I Peter 1:8). The Channel of deliverance through Him the deliverance comes. There is deliverance–complete,  everlasting deliverance from all evil, and all propensity or liability to evil, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“so then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God;
Literally:  “so then I myself with the mind serve {the} Law of God”–Thanks be to God there is deliverance through the Lord Jesus Christ!  Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God has provided the power to live in the freedom of the Spirit.

         SO THEN:  (Grk.–ara oun)–As the result of the whole inquiry we have come to this conclusion.  Paul here sums up the whole, and concludes what he began back in verse 7.

                 I MYSELF: (Grk.–autos)-The man outside of Christ. 

His whole self in his unregenerate state gives a divided service as he has already shown above: in 6:1-7:6 Paul proved the obligation to be sanctified; that is, separated; consecrated; and  in 7:7-8:11 he discusses the possibility of sanctification, only for the renewed man by the help of the Holy Spirit.

         “serve the law of God”
         Literally:  “serve {the} Law of God.”–Do honor to it as a just and holy Law, (7:12, 16) and am inclined to obey it, (verses 22, 24).

One of the best comments on the whole passage is Gal. 5:16-18: “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh; for the desire of the flesh fights against the Spirit, and the desire of the Spirit against the flesh, for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

“but with the flesh, the law of sin”
Literally: “And {with} the flesh, {the} law of sin.”–The corrupt tendencies and lusts (v. 18). That is, in the members. The flesh throughout, in all its native desires and passions, leads to sin; it has no tendency to holiness; and its corruptions can be overcome only by the grace of God.