« PreviousContinue »
PARAPHRASE. more, therefore, now being justified by his death, shall
NOTE. Besides what is to be found, in other parts of St. Paul's epistles, to justify the taking of these words here, as applied nationally to the gentiles, in contradistinction to the children of Israel, that which St. Paul says, ver. 10, 11, makes it necessary to understand then so. “We,” says he, “when we were " enemies, were reconciled to God, and so we now glory in him, as our God.” “ We," here, must unavoidably be spoken in the name of the gentiles, as is plain, not only by the whole tenour of this action, but from this passage, “ of • glorying in God," which he mentions as a privilege now of the believing gentiles, surpassing that of the jews, whoin he had taken notice of before, chap. ii. 17, as being forward to glory in God, as their peculiar right, though with no great advantage to themselves. But the gentiles, who were reconciled now to God, by Christ's death, and taken into covenant with God, as many as received the gospel, had a new and better title to this glorying, than the jews. Those, that now are reconciled, and glory in God as their God, he says were enemies. The jews, who had the same corrupt nature, common to them with the rest of mankind, are no-where, that I know, culled šypol, enemies, or, aceleis, ungodly, whilst they publickly owned him for their God, and professed to be his people. But the heathen were deemed enemies for being “ aliens to " the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise.” There were never bul two kingdoms in the world, that of God, and that of the devil; these were opposite, and, therefore, the subjects of the latter could not but be in the state of enemies, and fall under that denomination. The revolt from God was universal, and the nations of the earth had given themselves up to idolatry, when God called Abraham, and took him into covenant with him, self, as he did afterwards the whole nation of the israelites, whereby they were re-admitted into his kingdom, came under his protection, and were bis people and subjects, and no longer enemies, whilst all the rest of the nations remained in the state of rebellion, the professed subjects of other gods, who were usurpers upon God's right, and enemies of his kingdom. And, indeed, if the four epithets be not taken to be spoken here of the gentile world, in this political and truly evangelical sense, but in the ordinary, systematical notion, applied to all mankind, as belonging universally to every man persovally, whether by profession gentile, jew, or christian, before he be actually regenerated by a saving faith, and an effectual thorough conversion; the illative particie," wherefore,” in the beginning of ver. 12, will hardly connect it, and what follows, to the foregoing part of this chapter. But the eleven first verses must be taken for a parenthesis, and then the “ therefore,” in the beginning of this fifth chapter, which joins it to the fourth, with a very clear connection, will be wholly insignificant; and, after all, the sense of the 12th verse will but ill solder with the end of the fourth chapter, notwithstanding the “ wherefore,” which is taken to bring them in, as an inference. Whereas these eleven tirst verses, being slipposed to be spoken of the gentiles, make them not only of a piece with St. Paul's design, in the foregoing and the fol. lowing chapters, but the thread of the whole discourse goes very smooth, and the inferences (ushered in with “ therefore,” in the first verse, and with "i wherefore," in the 12th verse) are very easy, clear, and natural, froin the . immediately preceding verses. That of the first verse may be seen in what we have already said ; and that of the 12th verse in short stands thus : “ We gen“ tiles have, by Christ, received the reconciliation, which we cannot doubt to “ be intended for us, as well as for the jews, since sin and death entered into " the world by Adam, the cominon father of us all. And as, by the disobedience “ of the one, condemnation of death came on all; so, by the obedience of “ one, justification to life caine upon all."
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by
the death of his son ; much more being reconciled, we shall be
saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Je
sus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
PARAPHRASE. we through him be delivered from condemnation * 10 at the day of judgment. For if, when we were
enemies t, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. And not only I do we glory in tribulation, but also in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom now § we have received reconciliation.
NOTES. 9 * What St. Paul here calls “ wrath,” he calls“ the wrath to come,” 1 Thess. i. 10, and generally, in the New Testament," wrath,” is put for the punishment of the wicked at the last day.
+ See note (6) page 317.
11 I oú jóvon dè, and not only so." I think nobody can with the least attention read this section, without perceiving that these words joins this verse to the 3d. The apostle in the 2d verse says, “ we the gentiles, who believe, glory " in the hopes of an eternal, splendid state of bliss.” In the third verse he adds še pórov dè," and not only so, but our afflictions are to us matter of glorying," which he proves in the seven following verses, and then, ver. 11, adds ó pórov dè, “ and not only so ; but we glory in God also, as our God, being reconciled to “ him in Jesus Christ.” And thus be shows, that the convert gentiles had whereof to glory, as well as the jews, and were not inferiour to them, though they had not circumcision and the law, wherein the jews gloried so much, but with no ground, in comparison of what the gentiles had to glory in, by faith in Jesus Christ, now under the gospel.
$ It is true, we gentiles could not formerly glory in God, as our God; that was the privilege of the jews, who alone of all ihe nations owned him for their King and God; and were his people, in covenant with him. All the rest of the kingdoms of lhe earth had taken other lords, and given themselves up to false gods, to serve and worship them, and so were in a state of war with the true God, the God of Israel. But now we being reconciled by Jesus Christ, whom we have received, and own for our Lord, and thereby being returned into his kingdom, and to our ancient allegiance, we can truly glory in God, as our God, which the jews cannot do, who have refused to receive Jesus for their Lord, whom God hath appointed Lord over all things.
The apostle here goes on with his design, of showing that the gentiles, under the gospel, have as good a title to the favour of God, as the jews; there being no other way for either jew or gentile, to find acceptance with God, but by faith in Jesus Christ. In the foregoing section he reckoned up several subjects of glorying, which the convert gentiles had without the law, and concludes them with this chief and principal matter of glorying, even God himself, whom, now that they were, by Jesus Christ their Lord, reconciled to him, they could glory in as their God.
To give them a more full and satisfactory comprehen. sion of this, he leads them back to the times before the giving of the law, and the very being of the jewish nation; and lays before them, in short, the whole scene of God's æconomy, and his dealing with mankind, from the beginning, in reference to life and death.
1. He teaches them, that by Adam's lapse all men were brought into a state of death, and by Christ's death all are restored to life. By Christ also, as many as believe are instated in eternal life.
2. That the law, when it came, laid the israelites faster under death, by enlarging the offence, which had death annexed to it. For, by the law, every transgression that any one under the law committed, had death for its punishment, notwithstanding which, by Christ, those under the law, who believe, receive life.
3. That, though the gentiles, who believe, come not under the rigour of the law, yet the covenant of grace, which they are under, requires that they should not be servants and vassals to sin, to obey it in the lusts of it. but sincerely endeavour after righteousness, the end whereof would be everlasting life.
4. That the jews also, who receive the gospel, are VOL. VII. .
delivered from the law; not that the law is sin; but because, though the law forbid the obeying of sin, as well as the gospel ; yet not enabling them to resist their sinful lusts, but making each compliance with any sinful lust deadly, it settles upon them the dominion of sin, by death,, from which they are delivered by the grace of God alone, which frees them from the condemnation of the law, for every actual transgression, and requires no more, but that they should, with the whole bent of their mind, serve the law of God, and not their carnal lusts. In all which cases the salvation of the gentiles is wholly by grace, without their being at all under the law. And the salvation of the jews is wholly by grace also, without any aid, or help from the law : from which also, by Christ, they are delivered.
Thus lies the thread of St. Paul's argument, wherein we may see how he pursues his design, of satisfying of gentile converts at Rome, that they were not required to submit to the law of Moses; and of fortifying them against the jews, who troubled them about it.
For the more distinct and easy apprehension of St. Paul's discoursing on these four heads, I shall divide this section into the four following numbers, taking them up, as they lie in the order of the text.
SECT. VI. No. I.
CHAP. V. 12—19.
CONTENTS. HERE he instructs them in the state of mankind in general, before the law, and before the separation that was made thereby of the israelites from all the other nations of the earth. And here he shows, that Adam, transgressing the law, which forbad him the eating of: the tree of knowledge, upon pain of death, forfeited immortality, and becoming thereby mortal, all his posterity, descending from the loins of a mortal man, were mortal too, and all died, though none of them broke that
law, but Adam himself: but, by Christ, they are all restored to life again. And, God justifying those who believe in Christ, they are restored to their primitive state of righteousness and immortality ; so that the gentiles, being the descendants of Adam, as well as the jews, stand as fair for all the advantages, that accrue to the posterity of Adam, by Christ, as the jews themselves, it being all wholly and solely from grace.
State of rightarist, they are restood justifying those all
TEXT. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have
sinned. 13 For until the law sin was in the world : but sin is not imputed
when there is no law.
. PARAPHRASE. 12 Wherefore, to give you a state of the whole matter,
from the beginning you must know, that, as by the act of one man, Adam, the father of us all, sin entered into the world, and death, which was the punishment annexed to the offence of eating the
forbidden fruit, entered by that sin, for that all 13 Adam's posterity thereby became mortal *. It is
true, indeed, sin was universally committed in the
NOTE. 12 * “ Having sinned," I have rendered became mortal, following the rule I think very necessary for the understanding St. Paul's epistles, viz. the making him, as much as is possible, his own interpreter, 1 Cor. xv. 22, cannot be denied to be parallel to this place. This and the following verses here being, as one ipay say, a comment on that verse in the Corinthians, St. Paul treating here of the same matter, but more at large. There he says, “ as in Adam all “ die,” which words cannot be taken literally, but thus, that in Adam all became mortal. The same he says here, but in other words, putting, by a no very unusual metonymy, the cause for the effect, viz. the sin of eating the forbidden fruit, for the effect of it on Adam, viz. mortality, and, in him, on ak. his posterity: a mortal father, infected now with death, being able to produce no better than a mortal race. Why St. Paul differs in his phrase, here, from that which we find he used to the corinthians, and prefers here, that which is harder and more figurative, may perhaps be easily accounted for, if we consider his style and usual way of writing, wherein is shown a great liking of the beauty and force of antithesis, as serying much to illustration and impression. In the xvth chapter of I Cor. he is speaking of life restored by Jesus Christ, and, to illustrate and fix that in their ininds, the death of mankind best served : here, to the romans, he is discoursing of righteousness restored to men by Christ, and therefore, here, the term sin is the most natural and properest to set that off. But that neither actual or imputed sin is ineant here, or ver. 19, where the same way of expression is used, he, that has need of it, may see proved in Dr. Whitby upon the place: If there can be any need of any other