Page images

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

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

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

dience 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 2 profit is there of circumcision? I answer, Much

every way *; 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 revela

tion 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 4 him, and bless them to all generations f. No, by no

NOTES. 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. - 3 + How this was made good, St. Paul explains more at large in the following chapter, and chap. ix. 13.

TEXT. 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 lye,

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

PARAPHRASE. 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, 5 and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 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 understood to say

this, in the person of a carnal man, pleading for him6 self) God forbid! For if God be unrighteous, how 7 shall he judge the world +? Forf, if the truth and

NOTES. 5 * That, by " the righteousness of God,” St. Paul here intends God's faithfulness, 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 to 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 ubjections 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 + This, which is an argument in the mouth of Abraham, Gen. xviji. 25, St. Paul very appositely makes use of, to stop the mouths of the blasphemous jews.

of “ For.” This particle plainly joins what follows, in this and the next verse, to “ vengeance," in the fifth verse, and shows it to be, as it is, a continuation of the objection begun in that verse ; why St. Paul bruke it into 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 jew's mouths, with the words of Abraham. 2dly, The other thing, in the objection,

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

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

damnation 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. veracity of God hath the more appeared to his glory,

by reason of my lye *, i.e. my sin, why yet am I con8 demned for a sinner, and punished for it? Why

rather should not this be thought a right consequence, and a just excuse? Let us do evil that good may come of it, that glory may come to God by it. This f some 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? Not at all. For I have already brought a charge of guilt and sin, both against jews

NOTES. was a false calumny 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, sepa. rated from the other,

" Lye.” The sense of the place makes it plain, that St. Paul, hy lye, here means sin in general, but scems to have used the word lye, as having a more forcible and graceful antithesis to the truth of God, which the objection pretends to be thereby illustrated.

8 + 6 Some." It is past doubt that these were the jews. But St. Paul, always tender towards his own nation, forbears to name 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 I 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 jew's question proposed, ver. 1, and argues it home to the case in hani. Tí Hoy w poexóuedd ; being but the same with tí dy WEpocoòy 'Jubaix; ver. 1. “ Have jews, then, any preference “ in the kingdoin 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.

s“ Already,” viz. chap. ii, 3, where Si. Paul, under the gentler compellation of, “ O man," charges the jews to be simers, as well as the gentiles : and ver. 17-24, shows, thạt, by having the law, they were no more kept from being sinners, than the gentiles were, without the law. And this charge against them, that they were sinners, he here proves against them, from the testimony of their own sacred books, contained in the Old Testament.

TEXT. 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: 11 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 un

profitable, 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.

PARAPHRASE. and gentiles, and urged that there is not one of

them clear, which I shall prove now against you 10 jews; For it is written, There is none righteous, no 11 not one: There is none that understandeth, there 12 is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone

out of the way, they are together become unprofit

able, there is none that doth good, no, not one. 13 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 15 and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood : 19 Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the 18 way of peace have they not known. There is no 19 fear of God before their eyes. This is all said in

the sacred book of our law *; and what is said there, we know is said to the jews, who are under the law,

throat have usedmose mouswift to s

NOTE. 19 * 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, Joho x. 34. The meaning of St. Paul here is, that the declarations of God, wbich 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 sinpers.

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

fested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets ;

PARAPHRASE. 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 20 themselves guilty before God. From whence it is

evident, that by his own performances, in obedience a law *, not man can attain to an exact conformity 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 t, 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 it. 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

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

NOTES. 20 * 'Eg čpywy róus, I should reuder, “ by deeds of law," i. e. by actions of conformity to a law requiring the performance of the Sox ciwua e, the right rule of God (mentioned, chap. i. 32) with a penalty annexed, “ no “flesh can be justified: " but every one, failing of awexact conformity of his actions to the immutable rectitude of that eternal rule of right, will be found unrighteous, and so incur the penalty of the law. That this is the meaning of "pya vós, is evident, because the apostle's declaration here is concerning all men, wãou cópe. But we know the beathen world were not under the law of Moses : and accordingly St. Paul does not say, épywy rõ róux, “ by the deeds “ of the law," but is špyor vóro, “ by deeds of law." Though in the foregoing and following verse, where he would specify the law of Moses, he uses the article with rómos three times.

+ “ 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.

I 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.

« PreviousContinue »