O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 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. (Romans 2:24, 25a.)
The apostle is not thinking of natural misery; he conceives of this as of little significance. Nor is he afraid of death; in fact, he longs for it-not for death as such, but for what death will bring him. Nor is it that the apostle is afraid that he is not saved; he is saved. It makes a difference what is the cause of our misery.
In this case, the cause of the misery of the people of God is the body of this death. What is the body of this death? In the first place the apostle refers to his body. Some would take the expression in a figurative sense. They say that the apostle conceives of sin as a body. And he calls it the body of his death. But Scripture presents the body as the instrument of sin and, therefore, as representative of the old nature. Sin is accomplished by the body. …
This is why we speak of a wretched Christian. There is no natural man who will take this language on his lips. The natural man may find himself miserable for many reasons. He may be miserable as the result of his sin. By the result of sin, I mean every form of death. Because of the result of sin, the natural man feels remorse. But if this is the character of one’s misery, he will always find in the knowledge of misery this testimony: “If only I could sin safely, I Would not mind it. If only I could sin safely without suffering the result, I would sin.” This is the characteristic of the natural man. Why? Because he is not miserable on account of his sins, but on account of the result of his sins. He never exclaims with the apostle. “O wretched man that I am!” ….
Also, the Christian always seeks a deliverer because in the midst of this knowledge of his misery, he knows that he cannot deliver himself. This is why the apostle does not say, “How must I be delivered?” He says, “Who shall deliver me?” …
You cannot find God outside of the Word. But if you seek the answer to the question “Who shall deliver me?” in the Bible, you will find the answer.
H. Hoeksema Righteous by Faith Alone