« PreviousContinue »
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for
righteousness : 7 Know ye, therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are the
children of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen
through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying,
“ In thee shall all nations be blessed." 9 So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse ;
for it is written, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all
things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is
evident: for the “ just shall live by faith.” 12 And the law is not of faith: but, “ The man that doeth them, shall
live in them.”
PARAPHRASE. 6 But to proceed: As Abraham believed in God, and it was ac7 counted to him for righteousness; So know ye, that those who
are of faith, i. e. who rely upon God, and his promises of grace, and not upon their own performances, they are the chil
dren of Abraham, who shall inherit; and this is plain in the 8 Scripture. For it being in the purpose of God, to justify the
Gentiles by faith, he gave Abraham a fore-knowledge of the
Gospel in these words: “a In thee all the nations of the earth 9 shall be blessed.” So that they who are of b faith, are blessed 10 with Abraham, who believed. But as many as are of the
works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written,
“ Cursed is every one, who remaineth not in all things, which 11 are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that
no man is justified by the law, in the sight of God, is evident; 12 “ for the just shall live by faith •.". But the law says not so,
the law gives not life to those who believe'; but the rule of the law is, “He that doth them, shall live in them
NOTES. 8 Gen. xiii. 3. 9, 106 « Of faith,” and “ of the works of the law;" spoken of two races of men,
the one as the genuine posterity of Abraham, heirs of the promise, the other not. c“ Blessed,” and “under the curse." Here again there is another division, viz. into the blessed, and those under the curse, whereby is meant such as are iu a state of life, or acceptance with God; or such as are exposed to his
wrath, and to death, see Dent, xxx. 19. 10 d « Written,” Deut. xxvii. 26. 11 • Hab. ii. 4. 12 'See Acts xiii. 39.
& Lev, xviii. 5.
TEXT. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a
curse for us; for it is written, “ Cursed is every one that hangeth
on a tree.” 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through
Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit
through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men ; though it be but a
man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or
addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith
PARAPHRASE. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made
a curse for us; for it is written", “ Cursed is every one that 14 hangeth on a tree:” That the blessing, promised to Abra
ham, might come on the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ; that
we who are Christians might, believing, receive the Spirit that 15 was promised k. Brethren, this is a known and allowed rule
in human affairs, that a promise, or compact, though it be - barely a man's covenant, yet if it be once ratified, so it must
stand, nobody can render it void, or make any alteration in it. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. God
“and to seeds?," as if he spoke of more seeds than one, that were entitled to the promise upon different ac
doth not say,
NOTES. 13 h Deut. xxi. 23. 14 1“ Blessing :" " That blessing," ver. 8, 9, 14. “ Justification," ver. 11.
“ Righteousness," ver. 21. “ Life," ver. 11, 12, 21. “ Inheritance," ver. 18. “Being the children of God," ver. 26, are in effect all the same, on the one side : And the “ curse," ver. 13, the direct coutrary, on the other side ; so plain is St. Paul's discourse here, that nobody, who reads it with the least at. tention, will be in any doubt about it. k • Promised.” St. Paul's argument to convince the Galatians, that they ought not to be circumcised, or submit to the law, from their having received the Spirit from him, upon their having received the Gospel, which he preached to them, ver, 2, and 5, stands thus : The blessing promised to Abraham, and to bis seed, was wholly upon the account of faith, ver. 7. There were not different seeds, who should inherit the promise; the one by the works of the law, and the other by faith. For there was but “one seed, which was Christ,” ver. 16, and those who should claim in, and under him, by faith. Among those there was no distinction of Jew and Gentile. They, and they only, who believed, were all one and the same true seed of Abraham, and “ heirs according to the promise,” ver. 28, 29. And therefore the promise, made to the people of God, of giving them the Spirit under the Gospel, was performed only to those who believed in Christ : a clear evidence, that it was not by putting themselves under the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, that “ they were the people of God,
and heirs of the promise." 16 1“ And to seeds:" By seeds, St. Paul here visibly means the oi fx wisews,
“those of faith," and the oi le épyar vópov, “ those of the works of the law," spoken of above, ver. 9, 10, as two distinct seeds, or descendants claiming from Abraham.
TEXT. not,“ and to seeds," as of many; but as of one, " and to thy seed,"
which is Christ. 17 And this I say, tbat the covenant that was confirmed before of God
in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
PARAPHRASE. counts; but only of one sort of men, who, upon one sole account, were that seed of Abraham, which was alone meant and concerned in the promise ; so that “unto thy seed","
,” designed Christ, and his mystical body", i. e. those, that become mem17 bers of him by faith. This therefore, I say, that the law,
which was not till 430 years after, cannot disannul the covenant that was long before made, and ratified to Christ by God, so as to set aside the promise. For if the right to the inheritance be from the works of the law, it is plain that it is not founded in the promise of Abraham, as certainly it is. For the inheritance was a donation and free gift of God, settled on Abraham and his seed, by promise.
NOTES. m“ And to thy seed;" See Gen. xii. 7, repeated again in the following chapters.
Mystical body;" see ver. 27.
CHAPTER III. 18–25.
CONTENTS. In answer to this objection, “To what, then, serveth the law?" He shows, that the law was not contrary to the promise: but since all men were guilty of transgression, ver. 22, the law was added, to show the Israelites the fruit and inevitable consequence of their sin, and thereby the necessity of betaking themselves to Christ: but as soon as men have received Christ, they have attained the end of the law, and so are no longer under it. This is a farther argument against circumcision.
TEXT. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave
it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore, then, serveth the law? It was added because of trans
gressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made;
and it was ordained by angels, in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one.
PARAPHRASE. 18 If the blessing and inheritance be settled on Abraham and be
lievers, as a free gift by promise, and was not to be obtained by 19 the deeds of the law; To what purpose, then, was the law?
It was added, because the Israelites, the posterity of Abraham, were transgressors, as well as other men, to show them their sins, and the punishment and death they incurred by them, until Christ should come, who was the seed, into whom both Jews and Gentiles, ingrafted by believing, become the people of God, and children of Abraham, that seed to which the promise was made. And the law was ordained by angels, in the hand
of a mediator b, whereby it is manifest, that the law could not 20 disannul the promise ; Because a mediator is a mediator be
tween two parties concerned, but God is but one of those
NOTES. 19 • That this is the meaning of, “ because of transgressions," the following part
of this section shows, wherein St. Paul argues to this purpose: The Jews were sioners, as well as other meu, ver. 22. The law denouncing death to all sinners, could save none, ver. 21, but was thereby useful to bring men to Christ, that they might be justified by faith, ver. 24. See ch. ii. 15, 16.
Mediator. See Deut. v.5. Lev. xxvi. 46. Where it is said, the law was made
between God and the children of Israel, by the hand of Moses. 20 « But God is one : To understand this verse, we must carry in our minds what
St. Paul is here doing, and that from ver. 17 is manifest, that he is proving that the law could not disannul the promise ; and he does it upon this known rule, that a covenant, or promise, once ratified, cannot be altered, or disannulled, by any other, but by both the parties concerned. Now, says he, God is but one of the parties concerned in the promise; the Gentiles and Israelites together made up the other, ver. 14. But Moses, at the giving of the law, was a mediator only between the Israelites and God; and, therefore, could not transact any thing to the disannulling the promise, which was between God, and the Israelites and Gentiles together, because God was but one of the parties to that covenant; the other, which was the Gentiles, as well as Israelites, Moses appeared, or trausacted, not for. And so what was done at mount Sinai, by the mediation of Moses, could not affect a covenant made between parties whereof only one was there. How necessary it was for St. Paul to add this, we shall see, if we consider, that without it his argument of 430 years', distance would have been deficient, and hardly conclusive. For if both the parties concerned in the promise had transacted by Moses the mediator, (as they might if none but the nation of the Israelites had been concerned in the promise made by God to Abraham) they might, by mutual consent, have altered, or set aside, the former promise, as well four hundred years, as four days after. That which hindered
TEXT. 21 Is the law, then, against the promises of God? God forbid ! for if
there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily
righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by
faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto
the faith, which should afterwards be revealed.
PARAPHRASE. 21 concerned in the promise. If, then, the promised inheritance
come not to the seed of Abraham, by the law, is the law opposite, by the curse it denounces against transgressors, to the promises that God made of the blessing to Abraham? No, by no means ! For if there had been a law given, which could
have put us in a state of life", certainly righteousness should 22 have been by law. But we find the quite contrary by the
Scripture, which makes no distinction betwixt Jew and Gentile, in this respect, but has shut up together all mankind', Jews and Gentiles, under sins and guilt, that the blessing which
was promised, to that which is Abraham's true and intended 23 seed, by faith in Christ, might be given to those who believe.
NOTES. it was, that at Moses's mediation, on mount Sinai, God, who was but one of the parties to the promise, was present: but the other party, Abraham's seed, consisting of Israelites and Gentiles together, was not there; Moses transacted for the nation of the Israelites alone : the other nations were not concerned in the covenant made at mount Sinai, as they were in the promise made to Abraham and his seed; which, therefore, could not be disanpulled without their consent. For that both the promise to Abraham and his seed, and the covenant with
Israel at mount Sinai, was national, is in itself evident. 21 « Zwonosnoas, “ Put into a state of life." The Greek word signifies to make
alive. St. Paul considers all men here, as in a mortal state; and to be put out of that mortal state, into a state of life, he calls, being made alive. This, he says, the law could not do, because it could not confer righteousness. e 'Ex róuou, by law, i.e. by works, or obedience to that law, which tended towards righteousness, as well as the promise, but was not able to reach, or confer it. See Rom. viii. 3, i. e. frail men were not able to attain righteousness by an exact
conformity of their actions to the law of righteousness. 22 ? Tà wária, All, is used here for all men. The apostle, Rom. iii. 9, and 19,
expresses the same thing by wáylas, all men; and wãs ó xóopos, all the world. But speaking in the text here of the Jews, in particular, he says, We, meaning those of his owo nation, as is evident from ver. 24, 25. 8 Under sin, i. e. rank them all together, as one guilty race of sinners : see this proved, Rom. iii. 9. i. 18, &c. To the same purpose of putting both Jews and Gentiles into one state, St. Paul uses ouyéxauce warlas, “ hath shut them up all together," Rom. xi. 32. The thing promised in this chapter, sometimes called Blessing, ver. 9, 14, sometimes Inberitance, ver. 18, sometimes Justification, ver. 11, 24, sometimes Righteousness, ver. 21, and sometimes Life, ver. 11, 21.