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TEXT. 3 For what saith the Scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was
counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of
but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth
the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom
God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose
sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness, then, upon the circumcision only, or upon
the uncircumcision also ? for we say, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
PARAPHRASE. rest of the Gentile world, in having God for his God, and
he and his family being God's people; but he had no sub3 ject of glorying before God, As it is evident from sacred
Scripture, which telleth us, that Abraham believed God, and 4 it was counted to him for righteousness. Now there had been
no need of any such counting, any such allowance, if he had attained righteousness by works of obedience, exactly conformable and coming up to the rule of righteousness. For what reward a man has made himself a title to, by his perform
ances, that he receives as a debt that is due, and not as a gift 5 of favour. But to him, that by his works attains not righteous
ness, but only believeth on God, who justifieth him, being ungodly, to hím justification is a favour of grace: because his
believing is accounted to him for righteousness, or perfect 6 obedience. Even as David speaks of the blessedness of the
man, to whom God reckoneth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, “ Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and 8 whose sins are covered. 'Blessed is the man to whom the 9 Lord will not reckon sin." Is this blessedness then upon
NOTES. 5 Tòr aceln, “him being ungodly." By these words St. Paul plainly points
out Abraham, who was koefts, " ungodly,” i. e. a Gentile, not a worshipper of
the true God, when God called him. Vid. note, ch. i. 18. 6 Aoyloetas, "reckoneth." What this imputing or reckoning of righteousness
is, may be seen in ver. 8, viz. the not reckoning of sio to any one, the not putting sin to his account. the apostle, in these two verses, using these two expressions as equivalent. From hence the expression of blotting out of iniquity, so frequently used in sacred Scripture, may be understood, i. e. striking it out of the account. Apyloroba siguifies to reckon, or account, and, with a dative case, to put to any one's account; and accordingly, ver. 3,4,5, it is translated counted, or reckoned ; which word, for the sake of English readers, I have kept to in this, and ver. 9, 10, and 11.
TEXT. 10 How was it, then, reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in
uncircumcision? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received a sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness
of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised,
that righteousness might be imputed unto them also : 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circum
cision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father
Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to
PARAPHRASE. the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also ? for we
say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 When, therefore, was it reckoned to him ? when he was in
circumcision, or in uncircumcision ? not in circumcision, but 11 in uncircumcision. For he received the sign of circumcision,
a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised“, that he might be the father of all those
who believe, being uncircumcised, that righteousness might be 12 reckoned to them also; And the father of the circumcised,
that righteousness might be reckoned, not to those who were barely of the circumcision, but to such of the circumcision as
did also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abra13 ham, which he had, being uncircumcised.
For the pro
NOTES. 11 See Gen. xvii. 11. dl, 12 ? What righteousness reckoned to any one, or as it is usually called, imputed
righteousness, is, St. Paul explains, ver, 6-8. Whom this blessing belongs to, he inquires, ver. 9, and here, ver. 11 and 12, he declares who are the children of Abraham, that from him inherit this blessing; ver. 11, he speaks of the Gentiles, and there shows that Abraham, who was justified by faith, before he was circumcised, (the want whereof the Jews looked on as a distinguishing mark of a Gentile) was the father of all those, among the Gentiles, who should believe without being circumcised. And here, ver. 12, he speaks of the Jews, and says that Abraham was their father ; but not that all should be justified, who were only circumcised: but those, who, to their circumcision, added the faith of Abra. ham, which he had before he was circumcised. That which misled those, who mistook the sense of St. Paul here, seems to be their not observing that tos vůx éx σεριτομής is referred to, and governed by εις το λογισθήναι, which must be supposed repeated here after watépa epitouñs. Or else the apostle's sense and argument will not stand in its full force, but the antithesis will be lost, by preserving of which the sense runs thus : and the father of the circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to those who, &c. Another thing, very apt to mislead them, was the joining of pórov, only, to oux, not, as if it were où jóvov teīs, not only those who are of the circumcision ; whereas it should be understood as it stands • joined to wepotopens, and so wepetopeñs pórov are best translated barely circumcision, and the apostle's sense runs thus: “that he might be the father of the Gentiles
TEXT. Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteous
ness of faith. 14 For if they, which are of the law, be heirs, faith is made void, and
the promise made of none effect. 15 Because the law worketh wrath : for where no law is, there is no
PARAPHRASE. mises, that he should be possessor of the world, was not that Abraham, and those of his seed who were under the law, should, by virtue of their having and owning the law, be possessed of it'; but by the righteousness of faith, whereby those who were, without the law, scattered all over the world, beyond the borders of Canaan, became his posterity, and had him for their
father", and inherited the blessing of justification by faith. 14 For, if they only who had the law of Moses given them were
heirs of Abraham, faith is made void and useless', it receiving no benefit of the promise, which was made to the heirs of
Abraham's faith, and so the promise becomes of no effect. 15 Because the law procures them not justifications, but renders
them liable to the wrath and punishment of God', who, by the law, has made known to them what is sin, and what punish
NOTES. that believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also : and the father of the Jews, that righteousness might be imputed, not to them who have circumcision only, but to them who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had being uncircumcised." In which way of understanding this passage, not only the apostle's meaning is very plain, easy, and coherent; but the construction of the Greek exactly corresponds to that of ver. 11, and is genuine, easy, and natural, which
any other way will be very perplexed. 13 & The promise here meant is that which he speaks of ver. 1), whereby Abraham
was made the father of all that should believe, all the world over; and, for that reason, he is called rampóropos xbojov,“ heir, or lord of the world. For the believers, of all nations of the world, being given to him for a posterity, he becomes, thereby, lord and possessor (for so heir amongst the Hebrews signified) of the world. For it is plain, the apostle, in this verse, pursues the argument he was upon in the two former. And it is also plain, that St. Paul makes cir. cumcision to be the seal of the promise made to Abraham, Gen. xii, as well as of that made to him, Gen. xvii. and so both these to be but one covenant, and that of chap. xvii. to be but a repetition and farther explication of the former, as is evident from this chapter, compared with Gal. iii. In both which the apostle argues, that the Gentiles were intended to be justified, as well as the Jews; and that both Jews and Gentiles, who are justified, are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law.
h Gal. iii. 7. 14 i See Gal. iii. 18. 15 k Ch. viii. 3. Gal. iii. 21.
Sec ch. iii. 19, 20, and v. 10, 13, 20, aud vii. 7, 8, 10. I Cor. xv. 56. Gal. iii. 19. John ix. 41, and xv. 22.
TEXT. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the
promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is
the father of us all. 17 (As it is written, “ I have made thee a father of many nations")
before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead,
and calleth those things which be not as though they were: 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father
of many nations, according to that which was spoken, “So shall thy
seed be." 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now
PARAPHRASE. ment he has annexed to it. For there is no incurring wrath
or punishment, where there is no law that says any thing 16 of it": Therefore the inheritance" is of faith, that it might be
merely of favour, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed of Abraham; not to that part of it only which has faith, being under the law; but to that part also, who, without the law, inherit the faith of Abraham, who is the
father of us all who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, 17 (As it is written, “I have made thee a father of many
nations.") I say the father of us all (in the account of God, whom he believed, and who accordingly quickened the dead,
i. e. Abraham and Sarah, whose bodies were dead; and calleth 18 things that are not, as if they were P:) Who without any hope,
which the natural course of things could afford, did in hope believe, that he should become the father of many nations, ac
cording to what God had spoken, by God's showing him the 19 stars of heaven, saying, So shall thy seed be. And being firm
NOTES. m og o'x işıy róuos, ovdà papábæris, of that, concerning which there is no law, with the sanction of a punishment annexed, there can be no transgression, incurring wrath or punishment. Thus it may be rendered, if we read ou with an aspiration as some do. But whether it be taken to signify where, or whereof, the sense will be the same. Napábasis here, to make St. Paul's argument of force, must signify such a transgression as draws on the transgressor wrath and punishment, by the force and sanction of a law. And so the apostle's proposition is made good, that it is the law alone that exposes us to wrath, and that
is all the law can do, for it gives us no power to perform. 16 - The grammatical construction does not seem much to favour “ inheritance,"
as the word to be supplied here, because it does not occur in the preceding verses. But he, that observes St. Paul's way of writing, who more regards things than forms of speaking, will be satisfied, that it is enough that he mentioned “ heirs,” ver. 13 and 14; and that he does meau inheritance here, Gal.
iii. 18, puts it past doubt. 17 • See Gen. xvii, 16.
P Gen. xvi. 5.
TEXT. dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the
deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief; but was
strong in faith, giving glory to God: 21 And being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able
also to perform. 22 And, therefore, it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him
that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our
PARAPHRASE. and unshaken in his faith, he regarded not his own body, now · dead, he being about an hundred years old, nor the deadness 20 of Sarah's womb; He staggered not at the promise of God,
through unbelief, but was strong in faith, thereby giving glory 21 to God; By the full persuasion he had, that God was able to 22 perform what he had promised: And therefore it was ac23 counted to him for righteousness. Now this, of its being 24 reckoned to him, was not written for his sake alone, But for
ours also, to whom faith also will be reckoned for righteous
ness, viz. to as many as believe in him, who raised Jesus our 25 Lord from the dead , Who was delivered to death for our
offences", and was raised again for our s justification.
NOTES. 24 « St. Paul seems to mention this here, in particular, to show the analogy between
Abraham's faith, and that of believers, under the Guspel : see ver. 17. 25 " See Rom. iii. 25, and v. 6, 10. Eph. i. 7, 11, 14, and v. 2. Col. i. 14, 20-22.
I Tim. ji. 6. Tit. ii. 14. • 1 Cor. xv. 17. I have set down all these texts out of St. Paul, that in them might be seen his own explication of what he says here, viz. that our Saviour, by his death, atoned for our sins, and so we were ionocent, and thereby freed from the punishment due to sin. But he arose again to ascertain to us eternal life, the consequence of justification; for the reward of righteousness is eternal life, which inheritance we have a title to, by adoption in Jesus Christ. But if he himself had not that inheritance, if he had not rose into the possession of eter. nal life, we, who hold by and under him, could not have risen from the dead, and so could never have come to be pronounced righteous, and to have received the reward of it, everlasting life. Hence St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. xv. 17, that “ if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins," i. e. as to the attainment of eternal life, it is all one as if our sins were not forgiven. And thus he rose for our justification, i.e. to assure to us eternal life, the consequence of justification. And this I think is confirmed by our Saviour in these words, “ because I live, ye shall live also,” John xiv. 19.