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TEXT. 15 What then ? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but
under grace ? God forbid ! 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey,
PARAPHRASE. in its power, to be by it delivered over to death. For " you
are not under the law, in the legal state; but you are under 15 grace, in the Gospel-state of the covenant of grace. What
then, shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but 16 under the covenant of grace o ? God forbid ! Know ye not
NOTES. choice, you enthral yourselves to it, and by a voluntary obedience give it the command over you, and are willing to have it your master. It must be remembered, that St. Paul here, and in the following chapter, personates sin as striving with men for mastery, to destroy them. n“For.” The force of St. Paul's reasoning here stands thus : you are obliged, by your taking on you the profession of the Gospel, not to be any longer slaves and vassals to sin, nor to be under the sway of your carnal lusts, but to yield yourselves up to God, to be his servants, in constant and sincere purpose and endeavour of obeying him in all things; this if you do, sin shall not be able to procure you death, for you Gentiles are not under the law, which condemns to death for every the least transgression, though it be but a slip of infirmity; but, by your baptism, are entered into the covenant of grace, and, being under grace, God will accept of your sincere endeavours in the place of exact obedience, and give you eternal life through Jesus Christ ; but if you, by a willing obedience to your lusts, make yourselves vassals to sin, sin, as the lord and master to whom
you belong, will pay you with death, the only wages that sin pays. 15 • What is meant by being “under grace,” is easily understood, by the un.
doubted and obvious meaning of the parallel phrase, “under the law." They, it is unquestioned, were under the law, who having by circumcision, the ceremony of admittance, been received into the commonwealth of the Jews, owned the God of the Jews for their God and King, professing subjection to the law he gave by Moses. And so in like manner he is under grace, who, having by baptism, the ceremony of admittance, been received into the kingdom of Christ, or the society of Christians, called by a peculiar name the Christian church, owns Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messias, his King, professing subjection to his law, delivered in the Gospel. By which it is plain, that being under grace, is spoken here, as being under the law is, in a political and national sense. For whoever was circumcised, and owned God for his king, and the authority of his law, ceased not to be a Jew or member of that society, by every or any transgression of the precepts of that law, so long as he owned God for his Lord, and his subjection to that law; so likewise he who, by baptism, is incorporated into the kingdom of Christ, and owns him for his sovereign, and himself under the law and rule of the Gospel, ceases not to be a Christian, though he offend against the precepts of the Gospel, till he depies Christ to be his King and Lord, and renounces his subjection to his law in the Gospel. But God, in taking a people to himself to be his, not doing it barely as a temporal prince, or head of a politic society in this world, but in order to his having as many, as in obeying him perform the conditions necessary, his subjects for ever, in the state of immortality restored to them in another world; has, since the fall, erected two
his servants ye are to whom ye obey ; whether of sin unto death, or
of obedience unto righteousness ? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin ; but ye have
obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered
you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteous19 I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of your
that, to whom you subject yourselves P as vassals, to be at his beck, his vassals you are whom you thus obey, whether it be of sin, which vassalage ends in death ; or of Christ, in obey
ing the Gospel, to the obtaining of righteousness and life. 17 But God be thanked, that you, who were the vassals of sin,
have sincerely, and from your heart, obeyed, so as to receive the form, or be cast into the mould of that doctrine, under
whose direction or regulation you were put, that you might 18 conform yourselves to it. Being therefore set free from the
vassalage of sin, you became the servants or vassals of 19 righteousness". (I make use of this metaphor, of the passing
kingdoms in this world, the one of the Jews, immediately under himself, another of Christians, under his Son Jesus Christ, for that farther and more glorious end of attaining eternal life; which prerogative and privilege of eternal life does not belong to the society in general, nor is the benefit granted nationally to the whole body of the people of either of these kingdoms of God, but personally, to such of them who perform the conditions required in the terms of each covenant. To those who are Jews, or under the law, the terms are perfect and complete obedience to every tittle of the law, “ do this and live :" to those who are Christians, or under grace, the terms are sincere endeavours after perfect obedience, though not attaining it, as is manifest in the remaining part of this chapter, where St. Paul acquaints those who ask whether they shall sin, because they are not under the law, but under grace? that, though they are under grace, yet they, who obey sin, are the vassals of sin; and those, who are the
vassals of sin, shall receive death, the wages of sin. 16 P 'Trexon, “ obedience.” That which he calls here simply imaxon, "obedience,"
he in other places calls itaxon wisews, “obedience of faith," and imaxon Toû
Xpescũ,“ obedience of Christ," meaning a reception of the Gospel of Christ. 17 9 Els or wape86ntt, "unto which you were delivered ;” no harsh, but an elegant
expression, if we observe that St. Paul here speaks of sin and the Gospel, as of two masters, and that those he writes to were taken out of the hands of the one, and delivered over to the other, which they having from their hearts obeyed, were no longer the slaves of sin, he whom they obeyed being, by the rule of the
foregoing verse, truly their master. 18 ''Esourcoings sh Orxalo túin, “ye became the slaves of righteousness." This will seem ao harsh expression, unless we remember that Si. Paul, going on still with
TEXT: flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members
servants to righteousness, unto holiness. 20 For, when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteous
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed ?
for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye
have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal life,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
PARAPHRASE. of slaves from one master to another ș, well known to you Romans, the better to let my meaning into your understandings, that are yet weak in these matters, being more accustomed to fleshly than spiritual things.). For as you yielded your natural • faculties obedient, slavish instruments to uncleanness, to be wholly employed in all manner of iniquity"; so now ye
ought to yield up your natural faculties to a perfect and ready 20 obedience to righteousness. For, when you were the vassals
of sin, you were not at all subject to, nor paid any obedience to righteousness; therefore, by a parity of reason, now righte
ousness is your master, you ought to pay no obedience to sin. 21 What fruit or benefit had you then in those things, in that
course of things, whereof you are now ashamed? For the end
of those things, which are done in obedience to sin, is death. 22 But now, being set free from sin, being no longer vassals to
that master, but having God now for your Lord and Master,
to whom you are become subjects or vassals, your course of 23 life tends to holiness, and will end in everlasting life. For
the wages that sin pays is death : but that which God's
NOTES. the metaphor of master and servant, makes sin and righteousness here two persons, two distiuct masters, and men passing from the dominion of the one into
the dominion of the other. 19 • 'Arpúrinov Néyw, “ I speak after the manner of men." He had some reason to
make some little kind of apology, for a figure of speech, which he dwells upon quite down to the end of this chapter. ["Members," see ch. vii. 5. Note.
“ To iniquity unto iniquity," see Note, ch. i. 17. 23 "The wages of sin," does not signify here the wages that are paid for
sinning, but the wages that sin pays. This is evident, not only by the opposition that is put here in this verse, between “the wages of sin, and the gift of God," viz. that sio rewards men with death, for their obedience ; but that which God gives to those, who, believiug in Jesus Christ, labour sincerely after righteousness, is life eternal. But it farther appears, by the whole tenour of St. Paul's
PARAPHRASE. servants receive from his bounty is the gift of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
NOTES. discourse, wherein he speaks of sin as a person and a master, who hath servants, and is served and obeyed, and so the wages of siu, being the wages of a person here, must be what it pays. * “ The gift of God.” Sin pays death to those who are its obedient vassals : but God rewards the obedience of those, to whom he is Lord and Master, by the gift of eternal life. Their utmost endeavours and highest performances can never entitle them to it of right; and so it is to them not wages, but a free gift. See ch. ir. 4.
SECTION VI. NO. 4.
CHAPTER VII. 1-25.
St. Paul, in the foregoing chapter, addressing himself to the convert Gentiles, shows them, that not being under the law, they were obliged only to keep themselves free from the vassalage of sin, by a sincere endeavour after righteousness, forasmuch as God gave eternal life to all those who, being under grace, i e. being converted to Christianity, did so.
In this chapter, addressing himself to those of his own nation in the Roman church, he tells them, that the death of Christ having put an end to the obligation of the law, they were at their liberty to quit the observances of the law, and were guilty of no disloyalty in putting themselves under the Gospel. And here St. Paul shows the deficiency of the law, which rendered it necessary to be laid aside by the coming and reception of the Gospel. Not that it allowed any sin, but, on the contrary, forbade even concupiscence, which was not known to be sin without the law. Nor was it the law that brought death upon those who were under it, but sin, that herein it might show the extreme malignant influence it had upon our weak fleshly natures, in that it could prevail on us to transgress the law, (which we could not but acknowledge to be holy, just, and good) though death was the declared penalty of every transgression : but herein lay the deficiency of the law, as spiritual and opposite to sin as it was, that it could not master and root it out, but sin remained and dwelt in
men, as before, and by the strength of their carnal appetites, which were not subdued by the law, carried them to transgressions that they approved not.
Nor did it avail them to disapprove, or struggle, since, though the bent of their minds were the other way, yet their endeavours after obedience delivered them not from that death, which their bodies, or carnal appetites, running them into transgressions, brought upon them. That deliverance was to be had from grace, by which those who, putting themselves from under the law into the Gospel state, were accepted, if with the bent of their minds they sincerely endeavoured to serve and obey the law of God, though sometimes, through the frailty of their flesh, they fell into sin.
This is a farther demonstration to the converted Gentiles of Rome, that they are under no obligation of submitting themselves to the law, in order to be the people of God, or partake of the advantages of the Gospel, since it was necessary, even to the Jews themselves, to quit the terms of the law, that they might be delivered from death, by the Gospel. And thus we see how steadily and skilfully he pursues his design, and with what evidence and strength he fortifies the Gentile converts, against all attempts of the Jews, who went about to bring them under the observances of the law of Moses.
TEXT. 1 Know ye not brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law)
how that the law hath dominion over a man, as long as he liveth?
PARAPHRASE. 1 I have let those of you, who were formerly Gentiles, see that
they are not under the law, but under grace : I now apply myself to you, my brethren, of my own nation, who know the law. You cannot be ignorant that the authority of the law reaches, or concerns a man', so long as he liveth, and
NOTES. 1 . See chap. vi. 14.
That his discourse here, is addressed to those converts of this church, who were of the Jewish nation, is so evident, from the whole tenour of this chapter, that there needs no more but to read it with a little attention, to be convinced of it, especially ver. 1, 4, 6. • Kuporúci roữ dv@púrou,“ hath dominion over a man." So we render it rightly: but I imagine we understand it in too narrow a sense, taking it to meay only that dominion, or force, which the law has to compel, or restrain us in things, which we have otherwise no mind to; whereas it seems to me to be used in the conjugation hiphil, and to comprehend here that right and privilege also of doiug or enjoying, which a man has, by virtue and authority of the law, which all ceases, as soon as he is dead. To this large sense of these words St. Paul's expressions, in the two next verses, seem suited; and so understood have a clear and easy meaning, as may be seen in the paraphrase.