« PreviousContinue »
NOTE. 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 eternal 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.
CHAP. V. 1-11.
CONTENTS. St. Paul, in the foregoing chapters, has examined the glorying of the jews, and their valuing themselves so highly above the gentiles, and shown the vanity of their boasting in circumcision and the law, since neither they, nor their father Abraham, were justified, or found acceptance with God, by circumcision, or the deeds of the law; and therefore they had no reason so as they did to press circumcision and the law on the gentiles, or exclude those who had them not, from being the people of God, and unfit for their communion, in and under the gospel. In this section, he comes to show what the convert gentiles, by faith, without circumcision, or the law, had to glory in, viz. the hope of glory, ver. 2, their sufferings for the gospel
, ver. 3. And God as their God, ver. 11. In these three it is easy to observe the thread and coherence of St. Paul's discourse here, the intermediate verses (according to that abounding with matter and overflowing of thought, he was filled withi) being taken up with an accidental train of considerations, to show the reason they had to glory in tribulations.
TEXT. THEREFORE being justified by faith, we have peace with
God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 By whom also we have access, by faith, into this grace, wherein
we stand, and rejoice in hope of the giory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that
tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope; 5 And hope maheti not ashamed, because the love of God is shed
abroad in our liearts, by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us. 6 For, when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for ille ungodly.
PARAPIRASE. 1 THEREFORE, being justificd by faith, we have peace 2 with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, By whoin we
have had admittance, through faith, into that favour, in
which we have stood, and glory in the hope of the glory, 3 which God has in store for us. And not only so, but we
glory in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation workethi 4 patience; And patience giveth us a proof of ourselves, 5 which furnishes us with hope; And our hope maketh not
ashamed, will noi deceive us, because the sense of the
love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy 6 Ghost, which is given unio us *. For, when the gentiles
NOTES. 1 2 "We," i.e. we gentiles that are not under the law. It is in their names, that St. Paul speaks, in the three last verses of the foregoing chapter, and all through this section, as is evident from the illation here, " therefore being jus“tified by faith, we.” It being an intirence, drawn from his having proved, in the former chapter, that the promise was not to the jews alone, but to the gentiles also; and that justification was, not by the law, but by faith, and consequently designed for the gentiles, as well as the jews. 2
“ we glory.” The same wort here for the convert gentiles, that he had used before, for the boasting of the jews, and the same word he used, where he examined what Abraham had found. The taking notice whereof, as we have already obserred, may help to lead us into the apostle's sense : and plainly shows us liere, that St. Paul, in this section, opposes the advantages the gentile converts to christianity have, by taith, to those the jews gloried in, with so much haughtiness and contempt of the sun iles.
5 C " Because, The force of this imrence seeins to stand thus: the hope of eternal happiness, which we glory in, cannot deceive 1!s, because the gifts of the Holy Gliöst, bestowed upon wi, as. ure us of the love of God towards us, the jews themselves acknowledging that the Holy Ghost is given to none, but those who are God's own people.
TEXT. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet, peradventure,
for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be
saved from wrath through him.
were yet without strengtht, void of all help, or ability to deliver ourselves, Christ, in the time that God bad
appointed and foretold, died for us, who lived without the 7 acknowledgment and worship of the true Godt. Scarce
is it to be found that any one will die for a just man, if
peradventure one should dare to die for a good man; 8 But God recommends, and hercin shows the greatness • of his loved towards us, in that, whilst we gentiles were 9 a mass of profligate sinners , Christ died for 11s.
NOTES. 8 d Another evidence St. Paul gives them here, of the love of God towards them, and the ground they had to glory in the hopes of eternal salvation, is the death of Christ for them, whilst they were yet in their gentile state, which he describes by calling them,
6,8 t'Actevtis, “ without strength;" 'A:6:15," ungodly;" 'A wapiwnoi, “ sinners;" 'Ex Apoi, “ enemies :” these four epithets are given to them as gentiles, they being used by St. Paul, as the proper attributes of the heathen: world, as considered in contra-distinction to the jewish nation. What St. Paul says of the gentiles, in other places, will clear this. The helpless condition of the gentile world in the state of gentilism, signified by årêersis, without strength, he terms, Col. ii. 13, dead in sin, a state, if any, of weakness. And hence he says to the Romans, converted to Jesus Christ, “yield yourselves unto God, as “ those that are alive from the dead, and yourselves as instruments of righte“ousness unto God," chap. vi. 13. How he describes ecc@212%, ungodliness, mentioned chap. i. 18, as the proper state of the gent'lus, we may see, ver. 21, 23. That he thought the title ausplwnow, “si”ners," belonged peculiarly to the gentiles, in contra-di-tinction to the jews, he puts it past doubt, in these words: “ we who are jews by nature, and not sinners of the gentiles, Gal ji. 15. See also chap. vi. 17-22. And as for eg Opui', "enemies," you have the gentiles before their conversion to christianity so called, Col. i. 21. St. Paul, Eph. ii. 1-13, describes the heathen a little more at large, but yet the parts of the character he there gives them we may find comprized in these tour epithets : the cobertas, “ weak," ver, 1,5, the useless, " ungodly,” and apupiwaci, "sin. “ ners,” ver. 2, 3, and the i, Usoi,“ enemie,” ver. 11, 12.
It it were remembered that St. Paul all along, through the eleven fiist chapters of this epistle, speaks nationally of the jews and gentiles, as it is visible he does, and 1 ot per onally, of single men, there would be less difficulty, and fewer miss takes, in understanding this epistle. This one place, we are upon, is a sufficient instance of it. For it, by these terms here, we shall understand him to denote
NOTE. all men personally, jews as well as gentiles, before they are savingly ingrafted into Jesus Christ, we shall make his discourse here disjointed, and his sense mightily perplexed, if at all consistent.
That there were some among the heathen as innocent in their lives, and as far from enmity to God, as some among the jews, cannot be questioned. Nay, that many of them were not koelers, but osbóuevos, worshippers of the true God, if we could doubt of it, is manifest out of the Acts of the Apostles; but yet St. Paul, in the places above quoted, pronounces them altogether &or@sīs, or ábaci, (for that, by these two terms, applied to the same persons, he means the same, i.e. such as did not acknowledge and worship the true God, seems plain) ungodly, and sinners of the gentiles, as nationally belonging to them, in contradistinction to the people of the jews, who were the people of God, whilst the other were the provinces of the kingdom of Satan: not but that there were sin. ners, heinous sinners among the jews : but the nation, considered as one body and society of men, disowned and declared against, and opposed itself to, those crimes and impurities, which are mentioned by St. Paul, chap. i. 24, &c. as woven into the religious and politic constitutions of the gentiles. There they had their full scope and swing, had allowance, countenance, and protection. The idolatrous nations had, by their religion, laws, and forms of government, made themselves the open votaries, and were the professed subjects of devils. So St. Paul, 1 Cor. x. 20, 21, truly calls the gods they worshipped and paid their homage to. And suitably hereunto, their religious observances, it is well known, were not without great impurities, which were of right charged upon them, when they had a place in their sacred offices, and had the recommendation of religion, to give them credit. The rest of the vices, in St. Paul's black list, which were not warmed at their altars, and fostered in their temples, were yet, by the connivance of the law, cherished in their private houses, and made a part of the uncondemned actions of common life, and had the countenance of custom to authorize them, even in the best regulated and most civilized governments of the heathen. On the contrary, the frame of the jewish commonwealth was founded on the acknowledgment and worship of the one only, true, and invisible God, and their laws required an extraordinary purity of life, and strictness of manners.
That the gentiles were styled inc@poia “ enemies," in a political or national sense, is plain from Eph. ii. where they were called, "aliens from the common« wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant." Abraham, on the other side, was called, the friend of God, i.e. one in covenant with him, and his professed subject, that owned God to the world: and so were his posterity, the people of the jews, whilst the rest of the world were under revolt, and lived in open rebellion against him, vid. Isa. xli. 8. And here in this epistle St. Paul expressly teaches, that when the nation of the jews by rejecting of the Messias put themselves out of the kingdom of God, and were cast off, from being any longer the people of God, they became enemies, and the gentile world were reconciled. See chap. xi. 15, 28. Hence St. Paul, who was the apostle of the gentiles, calls his performing that office, the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Cor. v. 18. And here in this chapter, ver. 1, the privilege, which they receive, by the accepting of the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ, he tells them is this, that they have peace with God, i.e. are no longer incorporated with his enemies, and of the party of the open rebels against him, in the kingdom of Satan, being returned to their natural allegiance, in their owning the one, true, supreme God, in submitting to the kingdom he had set up in his son, and being received by him as his subjects. Suitably hereunto St. James, speaking of the conversion of the gentiles to the profession of the gospel, says of it, that “God did visit the gentiles, “ to take out of them a people for his name.” Acts xv. 14, and ver. 19, he calls the converts, those who, “ from among the gentiles, are turned to God."
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 contra-distinction to the children of Israel, that which St. Paul says, ver. 10, 11, makes it necessary to understand them 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 section, but from this passage, “ of glorying in “ God," which he mentions as a privilege now of the believing gentiles, surpassing that of the jews, whom he had taken notice of before, chap. ii. 17, aa 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 jewș. 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, called ix@po, enemies, or, ariftis, 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 but 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 univers sal, and the nations of the earth had given themselves up to idolatry, when God called Abraham, and took him into covenant with himself, as he did afterwards the whole nation of the israelites, whereby they were re-admitted into his kingdom, came under his protection, and were his 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 personally, whether by profession gentile, jew, or chris tian, before he be actually regenerated by a saving faith, and an effectual thorough conversion; the illative particle, 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 connexion, 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 first verses, being supposed to be spoken of the gentiles, make them not only of a piece with St. Paul's design, in the foregoing and the following chapters, but the thread of the whole discourse goes very smooth, and the inferences (ushered in with “ therefore,” in the first verse, and with “ wherefore,” in the 12th verse) are very easy, clear, and natural, from 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 “ gentiles 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 common father of us all. And as, by the disobedi“ ence of the one, condemnation of death came on all; so, by the obedience of “ one, justification to life came upon all."