Page images

To clear his way to this, he begins with removing an objection of the Jews, ready to say: " if it be so, as you have told us in the foregoing section, that it is the circumcision of the heart alone that availeth, what advantage have the Jews, who keep to the circumcision of the flesh, and the other observances of the law, by being the people of God ?" To which he answers, that the Jews had many advantages above the Gentiles; but yet that, in respect of their acceptance with God under the Gospel, they had none at all. He declares that both Jews and Gentiles are sinners, both equally uncapable of being justified by their own performances : that God was equally the God both of Jews and Gentiles, and out of his free grace justified those, and only those, who believed, whether Jews or Gentiles.

TEXT. 1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of cir

cumcision ? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed

the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith

of God without effect?

PARAPHRASE. 1 If it be thus, that circumcision, by a failure of obedience to

the law, becomes uncircumcision; and that the Gentiles, who keep the righteousness, or moral part of the law, shall judge the Jews, that transgress the law, what advantage have

the Jews? or what profit is there of circumcision? I answer, 2 Much every way a; chiefly, that God, particularly present amongst them, revealed his mind and will

, and engaged himself in promises to them, by Moses and other his prophets, which oracles they had, and kept amongst them, whilst the rest of mankind had no such communication with the Deity, had

no revelation of his purposes of mercy to mankind, but were, 3 as it were, without God in the world. For, though some of

the Jews, who had the promises of the Messias, did not believe in him, when he came, and so did not receive the righteousness, which is by faith in Jesus Christ; yet their unbelief cannot render the faithfulness and truth of God of no effect, who had promised to be a God to Abraham and his seed after

NOTE. 2 • A list of the advantages, the Jews had over the Gentiles, he gives, chap.

ix. 4, 5, but here mentions only one of them, that was the most proper to his present purpose.

TEXT. 4 God forbid ! yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is

written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest

overcome, when thou art judged. 5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what

shall we say? Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance? (I speak

as a man) 6 God forbid ! for then how shall God judge the world? 7 For, if the truth of God hath more abounded, through my lie, unto

his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

PARAPHRASE. 4 him, and bless them to all generations b. No, by no means.

God forbid, that any one should entertain such a thought ! Yea, let God be acknowledged to be true, and every man a liar, as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy

sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 5 But you will say farther, if it be so, that our sinfulness commendeth the righteousness of God, shown in keeping his word

given to our forefathers, what shall I say, is it not injustice in God to punish us for it, and cast us off? (I must be under

stood to say this, in the person of a carnal man, pleading for 6 himself) God forbid! For if God be unrighteous, how shall

he judge the world d ? For, if the truth and veracity of God

NOTES. 3. How this was made good, St. Paul explains more at large in the following

chapter, and chap. ix. 6—13. 5 € That, by “the righteousness of God," St. Paul here intends God's faith

fulness, in keeping his promise of saving believers, Gentiles as well as Jews, by righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, is plain, ver. 4, 7, 26. St. Paul's great design here, and all through the eleven first chapters of this epistle, being 10 convince the Romans, that God purposed, and in the Old Testament declared, that he would receive and save the Gentiles, by faith in the Messias, which was the only way, whereby Jews or Gentiles (they being all sinners, and equally destitute of righteousness by works) were to be saved.

This was a doctrine, which the Jews could not bear, and therefore the apostle here, in the person of a Jew, urges, and, in his own person, answers their objections against it, confirming to the Romans the veracity and faithfulness of God, on whom they might, with all assurance, depend, for the performance of

whatever he said. 6 d This, which is an argument in the mouth of Abraham, Gen. xviii. 25, St. Pan!

very appositely makes use of, to stop the mouths of the blasphemous Jews. 7 e “For.” This particle plainly joins what follows, in this and the best

verse, to “vengeance” in the 5th verse, and shows it to be, as it is, a continuation of the objection begun in that verse; why St. Paul broke it iuto pieces, by intruding the 6th verse into the middle of it, there is a very plain reason. In the objection there were two things to be corrected; first, the charging God with unrighteousness, which as soon as mentioned, it was a becoming interruption of St. Paul, to quash immediately, and to stop the Jews' mouths, with the

TEXT. 8 And not rather (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm

that we say), “ Let us do evil, that good may come ?” whose damna

tion is just. 9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise : for we have

before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin :


PARAPHRASE. hath the more appeared to his glory, by reason of my lie', i.e.

my sin, why yet am I condemned for a sinner, and punished 8 for it? Why rather should not this be thought a right con

sequence, and a just excuse ? Let us do evil, that good may come of it, that glory may come to God by it. This 8 maliciously and slanderously report us Christians to say, for which they deserve, and will from God receive punishment, as

they deserve. 9 Are we Jews, then, in any whit a better condition than the

Gentiles h? Not at all. For I have already i brought a charge of guilt and sin, both against Jews and Gentiles, and urged that there is not one of them clear, which I shall prove


words of Abraham. 2dly, The other thing, in the objection, was a false caluwny upon the Christians, as if they, preaching justification by free grace, said, “Let us do evil, that good may come of it." To which the apostle's answer was the more distinct, being subjoined to that branch, separated from the other.

“ Lie." The sense of the place makes it plain, that St. Paul, by lie, here means sin in general, but seems to have used the word lie, as having a more forcible and graceful antithesis to the truth of God, which the objection pretends

to be thereby illustrated. 88 “Some." It is past doubt that these were the Jews. But St. Paul, always

tender towards his own nation, forbears to naine them, when he pronounces this sentence, that their casting off and destruction now at hand, for this scandal and

other opposition to the Christian religion, was just. 9 Having, in the six foregoing verses, justified the truth of God, notwithstanding

his casting off the Jews, and vindicated the doctrine of grace, against the cavils of the Jews, which two objections of theirs came naturally in his way, the apostle takes up, here again, the Jews' question proposed ver. 1, and argues it home to the case in hand. Τί ούν προεχόμεθα ; being but the same with Τί ούν το σερισσόν του Ιουδαίου; ver. 1. “ Have Jews then any preference in the kingdom of the Messias ?" To which he answers, “No, not at all.” That this is the meaning, is visible from the whole chapter, where he lays both Jews and Gentiles in an equal state, in reference to justification. I “Already," viz. chap. ii. 3, where St. Paul, under the gentler compellation of, “O man," charges the Jews to be siuners, as well as the Gentiles : and ver. 17—24, shows that by having the law, they were no more kept from being sinners, than the Gentiles were without the law. And this charge VOL. VIII.


TEXT. 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: Al There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after

God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unpro

fitable ; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they have

used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips : 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood. 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways : 17 And the way of peace have they not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them

who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all

the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in

his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


ness. 17

PARAPHRASE. 10 now against you Jews; For it is written, There is none right11 eous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is 12 none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the

way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that 13 doth good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps 14 is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitter

Their feet are swift to shed blood : Destruction and 17 misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they 18. not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 This is all said in the sacred book of our lawk; and what is

said there, we know is said to the Jews who are under the law, that the mouth of every Jew, that would justify himself, might be stopped, and all the world, Jews as well as Gentiles,

may be forced to acknowledge themselves guilty before God. 20 From whence it is evident, that by his own performances, in

NOTES. against them, that they were sinners, he here proves against them, from the

testimony of their own sacred books contained in the Old Testament. 19 k The law here signifies the whole Old Testament, which containing revelations

from God, in the time of the law, and being, to those under the law, of divine authority, and a rule, as well as the law itself, it is sometimes in the New Testament called the law; and so our Saviour himself uses the term law, John x. 34. The meaning of St. Paul here is, that the declarations of God, which he had cited out of the Old Testament, were spoken of the Jews, who were under the dispensation of the Old Testament, and were, by the word of God to them, all of them pronounced sinvers.

[ocr errors]

TEXT. 21 But now the righteousness of God, without the law, is manifested,

being witnessed by the law and the prophets ; 22 Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ,

unto all, and upon all them that believe ; for there is no difference : 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ :

PARAPHRASE. obedience to a law', no man can attain to an exact con. formity to the rule of right, so as to be righteous in the sight of God. For by law, which is the publishing the rule with a penalty, we are not delivered from the power of sin, nor can it help men to righteousness", but by law we come experimentally to know sin, in the force and power of it, since we

find it prevail upon us, notwithstanding the punishment of 21 death is, by the law, annexed to ito. But the righteousness of

God, that righteousness which he intended, and will accept, and is a righteousness not within the rule and rigour of law, is now made manifest, and confirmed by the testimony of the law and the prophets, which bear witness of this truth, that

Jesus is the Messias, and that it is according to his purpose and 22 promise, That the righteousness of God, by faith in Jesus the

Messias, is extended to, and bestowed on, all who believe in 23 him P, (for there is no difference between them. They have

all, both Jews and Gentiles, sinned, and fail of attaining that 24 glory? which God hath appointed for the righteous) Being

NOTES. 20 ''Es apywy róuou, I should render, “by deeds of law," i. e, by actions of con

formity to a law requiring the performance of the Sixalw pe ce @t07, the right rule of God (mentioned, chap. i. 32,) with a penalty annexed, “no flesh can be justified :" bnt erery one, failing of an exact conformity of his actions to the immutable rectitude of that eternal rule of right, will be found uurighteous, and so incur the penalty of the law. That this is the meaning of ipya róuou, is evident, because the apostle's declaration here is concerning all men, æãox cápt. But we know the heathen world were not under the law of Moses: and accordingly St. Paul does not say, és öpywy vópov, “by the deeds of the law,” but it, épowo rómov, “ by deeds of law." Though in the foregoing and following verse, where he would specify the law of Moses, he uses the article with vópos three times. m“No man.” St. Paul uses here the word flesh for man emphatically, as that wherein the force of sin is seated. Vid. chap. vii. 14, 18, and viii. 13. * The law cannot help men to righteousness. This, which is but implied here, he is large and express in, chap. vii. and is said expressly, chap. viii. 3. Gal. iii. 21.

• Chap. vii. 13. 22 p Vid. chap. x. 12. Gal. iii. 22–28. 23 9 Here the glory, that comes from God, or by his appointment, is called

s the glory of God," as the righteousness, which comes from him, or by his appointment, is called, “ the righteousness of God," chap. i. 17, and the rule of moral rectitude, which has God for its author, or is appointed by him, is

« PreviousContinue »