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Dissertation of the 7th Chapter of Romans: Chapter 11 - Romans 7:22, 23

By Jacobus Arminius


      1. HE delights in the law of God, or he finds a kind of con, delectation with it, after the inward man; but he sees another law in his members, warring against the law of his mind, &c.

      2. An argument, from the twenty-second verse, for the contrary opinion.

      3. An answer to the PROPOSITION in this argument. The inward man signifies the MIND, as the OUTWARD Man signifies the BODY. (1.) This is shown from the etymology of the word, and from the usage of Scriptures, especially in 2 Corinthians iv. 16, and in Ephes. iii. 16,17. (2.) Proofs of this are given at great length from the ancient Christian fathers. (3.) Similar proofs are adduced from modern divines

      4. The meaning of the phrase, "to delight in the law of God after the inward man."

      5. An answer to the assumption, which is shown to be proposed in a mutilated form, by the omission of those things which are mentioned in the twenty-third verse.

      6. An argument, from the twenty-third verse, for the contrary opinion. (1.) An answer to the proposition in it. (2.) And to the assumption.

      7. A most irrefragable argument deduced from these two verses. (1.) To the refutation of the contrary opinion. (2.) To the establishment of the true one, which at first is proposed in an ample manner, and afterwards in an abridged form. (3.) The proposition is proved by three reasons, which are confirmed against all objections. (4.) It is proved from the Scriptures, that, in the conflict against sin, the regenerate usually obtain the conquest

      8. A special consideration of the text, Gal. v. 16-18, and a collation of it with this passage.

      9. An objection, and a reply to it.

      10. An objection to the third reason, and a reply.

      11. A consideration of Isaiah lxiv. 10.

      1. In the twenty-second and twenty-third verses is adduced a clearer explanation and proof of the conclusion which had been drawn in the twenty-first verse, and which agrees with the very topic that the apostle had, in this part, proposed to himself for investigation. But the proof is, properly, contained in the twenty-third verse; because that verse corresponds with these words, "When I would do good, evil is present with me," an affirmation which was to be proved. The proof is taken from the effect of the evil which is present with the man, and it is the warfare against the law of his mind, the victory obtained over him, and, after such victory, the captivity of the man to the law of sin. The twenty-second verse has reference to these words, "When I would do good;" and it contains a more ample explanation of this willing, from the proper cause, and an illustration of the following verse from things diverse and disjunctive. But in these two verses is contained one axiom, which is appropriately called a discrete or disjunctive axiom; as is apparent from the use of the particle, de "but," in the twenty-third verse, which is the relative of men though the latter is omitted in the twenty-third verse. It is likewise apparent from the very form of opposition. The antecedent and less principal part of this axiom is contained in the twenty-second verse; the consequent and principal part, in the twenty-third. For the antecedent is employed for the illustration of the consequent, as is very manifest in all axioms. Thus, as in many similar instances, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after me, shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with life." (Matt. ii. 11.) "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." (2 Cor. iv. 16.) For the particles, indeed, though, since, when, &c., denote the antecedent and less principal part of the axiom; while the particles, but, yet, then, &c., denote the consequent and principal part. "To delight in the law of God," or, "to find a sort of condelectation in it," "after the inward man," is the cause that to will is present with this man. "The evil which is present with him," is "the law of sin in his members." The effect, by which the presence of this evil is proved, is contained in these words, "Warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." I have considered it proper to offer these remarks to assist in forming a right judgment about a discrete or disjunctive axiom, lest any one should separate the one part from the other, and should account the less principal to be the principal one. Let us now further see what conclusion can be drawn from these two verses, in proof of the one opinion or of the other.

      2. Those who hold sentiments contrary to mine, draw the following conclusion, from the twenty-second verse, for the establishment of their view of the subject: He who delights in the law of God after the inward man, is regenerate and placed under grace; But this man about whom the apostle is treating delights in the law of God after the inward man; Therefore, this man is regenerate and placed under grace. They suppose that, in the proposition, they have a two-fold foundation for their opinion: (1.) Because "the inward man" is attributed to this person. (2.) Because that same individual is said "to delight in the law of God after the inward man? For, they say, both these adjuncts can appertain to regenerate persons alone. The First agrees with them only, because, in the Scriptures, "the inward man" has the same signification as that of "the new man and the regenerate;" the Second, because it is declared concerning the pious, that "they meditate in the law of the Lord, and that their delight is in it, day and night?

      3. To the proposition, I reply, first, that the inward man is not the same as the new man or the regenerate, either from the etymology of the word, or from the usage of Scripture; and the inward man is not peculiar to the regenerate, but that it also belongs to the unregenerate. Secondly, that to delight in the law of God, or, rather, to find a sort of condelectation in the law of God after the inward man, is not a property peculiar to the regenerate and to those who are placed under grace, but that it appertains to a man placed under the law. (1.) With regard to the first, I say, from the etymology of the epithet, he is called the inward man, relatively and oppositely to the outward man. For there are two men in the same individual, the one existing within the other, and the one having the other first within himself. The first of these is the hidden man of the heart, (1 Peter iii. 4,) the second is the outward man of the body; the former is he who inhabits or dwells in, the latter, he who is inhabited; the former is calculated or adapted to invisible and incorporeal blessings, the latter, to those which are earthly and visible; the former is immortal, the latter is mortal and liable to death. In these two words, not a single syllable occurs which can afford even the least indication of regeneration, and of the newness arising from regeneration. But these three epithets, the inward man, the regenerate Man, and the new man, hold the following order among each other, which the words themselves indicate at the first sight of them. The inward man denotes the subject, the regenerate man denotes the act, of the Holy Spirit who regenerates; and the new man denotes the quality which exists in the inward man through the act of regeneration. (2.) The sense and usage of Scripture are not adverse to this signification, but, on the contrary, are very consentaneous to it. This will be apparent from a diligent consideration of those passages in which mention is made of "the inward man." One of them is the text now under discussion; the second is 2 Corinthians iv. 16; and the third is Ephes. iii. 16,17. Let us at present take into consideration the last two passages. 2 CORINTHIANS iv, 16. The former of the two is thus expressed: "for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." From this verse itself, I shew that the inward and the outward man are not in this passage taken for the new and the old man; but that the inward man is to be understood as that which is incorporeal and inhabiting, so denominated from the interior of man, that is, his mind or soul; and that the outward man is here taken for that which is corporeal and inhibited, so denominated from the body, the exterior part of man. This I shew, First. Because, if the outward and the inward man were to be taken for the old and the new man, then this disjunctive mode of speech could not attain in this verse. For these two could not then be distinguished in this following manner from each other: "Though our old man perish, yet the new man is renewed day by day;" for [as there stated] they are necessarily cohering, and mutually consequent on each other; because whatever is taken away from the old man, is so much added to the new. The absurdity of such a distinction will be still more manifest, if the same thing be thus proposed: "Though our old man be crucified, destroyed and buried, yet the new man rises again, is quickened or vivified, and is renewed still more and more." And, "Though we lay aside our former oldness, yet we make greater and still greater proficiency in newness of life." Let any one that pleases render himself ridiculous by employing the following language: "Though this youth unlearns and lays aside his ignorance, yet he daily makes a greater proficiency in the knowledge of necessary things." Secondly. The solace which the apostle produces, in opposition to those oppressions and distresses to which holy people are liable, while they remain in this world, consists in the following words: "The inward man is renewed day by day;" and not in these, "though our outward man perish." This is shown by the mode of speech adopted by the apostle, indicating that this very "perishing of the outward man," which is effected through oppressions and distresses, is that against which the consolation, comprehended in the following words, is produced by the apostle. The afflicted person says, "But our outward man is perishing." The apostle replies to him, "Do not grieve on this account; for our inward man is renewed day by day, in the renewal of which consists our salvation. For we must not have regard to external and visible blessings, which conduce to the life of the outward man; because they are liable to perish. But we must highly estimate and regard internal and invisible things, which appertain to the life of the inward man; because these are eternal, and will never perish." But if, by this word, "the outward man" were to be understood "the old man," then the apostle must have produced this in the place of consolation, in the following manner: "Do not lament that you are liable to many afflictions and oppressions, for those are the very things by which your old man perishes, and by which the inward man is the more renewed." But that the perishing of the outward man, and that of the old man, are not the same, is evident from this circumstance, that the former of these is against the very nature of man and the good of natural life, but that the latter is against depraved nature, and is contrary to the life of sin in man. Thirdly. From the word "renewed," it is apparent that "the inward man" is the subject of renovation or renewal, and of the act of the Holy Spirit. I confess indeed, that it may be correctly said, "The new man is daily renewed more and more," both because it is needful that this newness, which has been produced in a man by the act of the regenerating Spirit, should increase and be augmented day by day, and because the remains of the old man ought by degrees to be taken away and weakened yet more and more. But even in this case the subject is the inward man, that is called new from the newness which now begins to be effected in him by the regenerating Spirit; for the subject of increasing and progressive renovation, and that of commencing renovation, are the same. But the subject of incipient or commencing renovation is not the new man, (for he is not called new before the act of renovation, and prior to the quality impressed by that act,) but it is the inward man. Therefore, though the new man be said to be renewed, (a phrase which I am not aware that the Scriptures employ,) yet the subject is the inward man, which subject may receive the appellation of the new man from the quality impressed. As we say that a white man becomes whiter every day, whiteness being communicated to a white man not as he is white, but as he is a man who has still some dark shades remaining, and who has not yet attained to that degree of whiteness which he desires. ConsonantIy with this view, the Scriptures themselves use these words: "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," (Ephes. iv. 23,24.) In this passage the subject of renovation is called "the spirit of our mind," that is, the inward man, or the mind; and "the new man," in the same passage, is not the subject itself, but it is the quality which the subject ought to induce: This quality is there called "righteousness and true holiness." I have said that I am not quite certain whether the Scriptures use this phrase in any passage: I have felt this hesitation on account of Col. iii. 10, in which it seems to be so used; the apostle saying, "and ye have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created him." But it will be obvious to every one who consider, the passage with diligence, that these words, "which is renewed," or ton anakainoumenon must be joined with what preceded, "and ye have put on the new man," that is, "that which is renewed," or, "the renewed," "in knowledge," &c., so as to be a description of the new man, not some new attribute of this new man. But to this criticism no great importance is attached; and I have said, I do not deny that the new man is renewed more and more. The same thing is manifest from the rest of this passage. (2 Cor. iv. 16.) For, "the outward man," (16,) "an earthen vessel," (7,) "our body," (10,) "our mortal flesh," (11,) are all synonymous terms; as are also, "troubled," "perplexed," "persecuted," "bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus," "delivered unto death," and "perishing." This may be rendered very clear to the studious inquirer after the truth, who will compare the preceding and the succeeding verses with the 16th. EPHESIANS iii, 16,17. The latter of the two passages is thus expressed: "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." From these verses, it is plain, that by the inner man is denoted the subject about which the Holy Spirit is occupied in his act and operation; and this operation is here denominated "a corroboration," or "a being strengthened." This is also plain from the synonym mentioned in the following verse, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;" for "the heart," and "the inner man," are taken from the same thing. In this view of the subject I am supported by the very learned Zanchius, who writes in the following manner upon this passage: "We have asserted, and from 2 Corinthians iv. 16, we have demonstrated, that by the term inner man is signified the principal part of man, that is, the mind, which consists of the understanding and the will, and which is usually denoted by the word heart, in which the affections or passions flourish; as, on the contrary, by the term outward man, no other thing can be understood than the corporeal part of man, which grows, possesses senses, locomotion," &c. And in a subsequent passage, he says, "Therefore, by this particle, in the inner man, the apostle teaches, that as the gift of might or strength, so likewise the other virtues of the Spirit, have not their seat in the vegetative or growing part Of man, but in his mind, heart, spirit," &c. (2.) Because it is not only held for a certainty by some persons, that "the inward man" is the same with the new and the regenerate man, from which they venture to assert, "that the regenerate alone possess the inward man;" but because this is also urged as an article of belief, let us therefore see what a great portion of the divines of the Christian church here understood by the epithet, "the inward man."

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Thesis to be Proved
   Chapter 2 - The Connection Between the 6th & 7th Chapter
   Chapter 3 - Proposition of the Apostle
   Chapter 4 - Romans 7:14
   Chapter 5 - Romans 7:15
   Chapter 6 - Romans 7:16
   Chapter 7 - Romans 7:17
   Chapter 8 - Romans 7:18, 19
   Chapter 9 - Romans 7:20
   Chapter 10 - Romans 7:21
   Chapter 11 - Romans 7:22, 23
   Chapter 12 - The Ancient Fathers
   Chapter 13 - Romans 7:24
   Chapter 14 - Romans 7:25
   Chapter 15 - Under the Law
   Chapter 16 - The Grace of God
   Chapter 17 - The Connection Between the 7th & 8th Chapters
   Chapter 18 - The Opinion Corroborated by Testimonies
   Chapter 19 - Christian Fathers Approve of our Interpretation
   Chapter 20 - The Opinion of St. Augustine
   Chapter 21 - Writers from the Middle Ages Support our Opinion
   Chapter 22 - Favorable Testimonies of Recent Divines
   Chapter 23 - This Opinion Isn't Heretical
   Chapter 24 - Our Opinion is Opposed to the Pelagian Heresy
   Chapter 25 - Ancient Church Doctors Didn't Approve the Opposite Opinion
   Chapter 26 - The Opposite Opinion is Hurtful to Grace & Good Morals
   Chapter 27 - Common Interpretation Answered


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