Page images

TEXT. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the

flesh, God, sending his own son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh:

PARAPHRASE. 3 For this (viz. the delivering us from sin) being beyond the

power of the law, which was too weakk to master the propensities of the flesh, God, sending his son in flesh, that in all things, except sin, was like unto our frail, sinful flesh', and sending him also to be an offering" for sin, he put


complained of, as being weak, for not delivering those under it from itself; yet its weakness might, and is all along, chap. vii. as well as ver. 3, complained of, as not being able to deliver those under it, from their carnal, sinful appetites, and the prevalence of them.

3* “Weak;” the weakness, and as he there also calls it, “ the unprofita"bleness of the law," is again taken notice of by the apostle, Heb. vii. 18, 19. There were two defects in the law, whereby it became unprofitable, as the author to the hebrews says, so as to make nothing perfect. The one was its inflexible rigour, against which it provided no allay, or mitigation; it left no place for atonement: the least slip was mortal: death was the inevitable punishment of transgression, by the sentence of the law, which had no temperament: death the offender must suffer, there was no remedy. This St. Paul's epistles are full of, and how we are delivered from it, by the body of Christ, he shows, Heb. x. 5–10. The other weakness, or defect, of the law was, that it could not enable those who were under it, to get a mastery over the flesh, or fleshly propensities, so as to perform the obedience required. The law exacted complete obedience, but afforded men no help against their frailty, or vicious inclinations. And this reigning of sin in their mortal bodies, St. Paul shows here, how they are delivered from, by the spirit of Christ enabling them, upon their sincere endeavours after righteousness, to keep sin under, in their morial bodies, in conformity to Christ, in whose flesh it was condemned, executed, and perfectly extinct, having never had there any life or being, as we shall see, in the following note. The provision, that is made in the new covenant, against both these defects of the law, is in the epistle to the Hebrews expressed thus: “ God will make a new “ covenant with the house of Israel, wherein he will do these two things; he “ will write his law in their hearts, and he will be merciful to their iniquities." See Heb. viii. 7-12.

I See Heb. iv. 15. m Kai," and" joins here, “ in the likeness," &c. with “ to be an offering;' whereas, if “ and” be made to copulate, “ sending" and “condemned," neither grammar, nor sensé, would permit it. Nor can it be imagined the apostle should speak thus : God sending his son, and condemned sin: buit “ God sending his " own son, in the likeness of sinful flesh," and sending him to be an offering for sin, with very good sense, joins the manner and end of his sending:

a Depi auapliac, which in the text is translated, “ for sin," signifies an offering for sin, as the margin of our bibles takes notice: see 2 Cor. v. 21, Heb. x, 5-10. So that the plain sense is, God sent his son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and sent him an offering for sin.

TEXT. 4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who

walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. 5 For they, that are after the tlesh, do inind the things of the flesh:

but they that are after the spirit, the things of the spirit.

PARAPHRASE. to death, or extinguished, or suppressed sino in the flesh, i.e. sending his son into the world, with the body, where

in the flesh could never prevail, to the producing of any 4 one sin; To the end that, under this example of the flesh,

wherein sin was perfectly mastered and excluded from any life, the moral rectitude of the law might be conformed too by us, who, abandoning the lusts of the flesh, follow the guidance of the spirit, in the law of our minds, and

make it our business to live, not after the flesh, but after 5 the spirit. For as for those who' are still under the di

rection of the flesh, and its sinful appetites, who are under

NOTES. • Kaléxpore, "condemned.". The prosopopæia, whereby sin was considered as a person, all the foregoing chapter, being continued here, the condemning of sin here, cannot mean, as some would have it, that Christ was condemned for sin, or in the place of sin, for that would be to save sin, and leave that person alive, which Christ came to destroy: But the plain meaning is, that sin itself was condemned, or put to death, in his flesh, i.e. was suffered to have no life, nor being, in the flesh of our Saviour: he was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin, Heb. iv. 15. By the spirit of God, the motions of the flesh were suppressed in him, sin was crushed in the egg, and could never fasten, in the least, upon him. This farther appears to be the sense, by the following words. This antithesis between xaláxpoja, ver. 1, and xalézpove, here, will also show, why that word is used, here, to express the death, or no being, of sin in our Saviour, 2 Cor. v. 2, 1 Peter ii. 22. “That St. Paul soinetimes uses condemnation, for putting to death, see chap. v. 16 and 18.

4 To dixaiwua toő vófov, "the righteousness of the law." See note, chap. ii. 26.

9 “Fulfilled," does not here signify a complete, exact obedience, but such an unblameable life, by sincere endeavours after righteousness, as shows us to be the faithful subjects of Christ, exempt from the dominion of sin, see chap. xiii. 8, Gal. vi. 2. A description of such, who thus fulfilled “the righteousness of the « law,” we have Luke i. 6. As Christ in the flesh was wholly exempt from all taint of sin; so we, by that spirit which was in him, shall be exempt from the dominion of our carnal lusts, if we make it our choice and endeavour to live after the spirit, ver. 9, 10, 11. For that, which we are to perform by that spirit, is. the mortification of the deeds of the body, ver. 13.

5! Oi xala oápra őrles, “ those that are after the flesh," and "those that are " after the spirit,” are the same with those that walk after the flesh, and after the spirit. A description of these two different sorts of christians, see Gal. F. 16–26.

TEXT. 6 For to be carnally minded, is death; but to be spiritually minded,

is life and peace: 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not sub

ject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

PARAPHRASE. obedience to the law in their members, they have the thoughts and bent of their minds set upon the things of the flesh, to obey it in the lusts of it: but they, who are under the spiritual law of their minds, the thoughts and

bent of their hearts is to follow the dictates of the spirit, 6 in that law. For to have our minds set upon the satis

faction of the lusts of the flesh, in a slavish obedience to them, does certainly produce and bring death upon us; but our setting ourselves, seriously and sincerely, to obey the dictates and direction of the spirit, produces life' and

peace, which are not to be had in the contrary, carnal 7 state: Because to be carnally minded" is direct enmity

and opposition against God, for such a temper of mind, given up to the lusts of the flesh, is in no subjection to the law of God, nor indeed can be ", it having a quite con

NOTES. 65" For" joins what follows here to ver. 1, as the reason of what is here laid down, viz. deliverance from condemnation is to such christian converts only, * who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For," &c.

See Gal, vi. 8. 7. Opárue râs caprès should have been translated, here, “ to be carnally « minded," as it is in the foregoing verse, which is justified by Pporcuso ta mõis ragroso.“ do mind the things of the flesh,” ver. 5, which signifies the employing the bent of their minds, or subjecting the mind intirely, to the fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.

w Here the apostle gives the reason, why even those, that are in Christ Jesus, have received the gospel, and are christians, (for to such he is here speaking) are not saved, unless they cease to walk after the flesh, because that runs directly counter to the law of God, and can never be brought into conformity and subjection to his commands. Such a settled contravention to his precepts cannot be suffered, by the supreme Lord and Governor of the world, in any of his crea. tures, without foregoing his sovereignty, and giving up the eternal, iminutable rule of right, to the overturning the very foundations of all order and moral rectitude, in the intellectual world. This, even in the judgment of men themselves, will be always thought a necessary piece of justice, for the keeping out of anarchy, disorder and confusion, that those retractory subjects, who set up their own inclinations for their rule, against the law, which was made to restrain those very inclinations, should feel the severity of the law, without which the authority of the law, and law-maker, cannot be preserved.

TEXT. 8. So then they that are in the flesh, cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit

of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of

Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sin, but the

spirit is life, because of righteousness.

PARAPHRASE. 8 trary tendency. So then* they that are in the flesh, i.e.

under the fleshly dispensation of the law', without regard9 ing Christ, the spirit of it, in it cannot please God. But ye are not in that state, of having all your expectation from

law, and the benefits, that are to be obtained barely by that; but are in the spiritual state of the law, i.e. the gospel”, which is the end of the law, and to which the law leads you. And so, having received the gospel, you have therewith received the spirit of God: for, as many as receive Christ, he gives power to become the “sons of God:

and to those that are his sons, God gives his spirito. 10 And if Christ be in you, by his spirit, the body is dead

NOTES. 8 * This is a conclusion drawn from what went before. The whole argumentation stands thus: “ They that are under the dominion of their carnal lusts, “ cannot please God; therefore they who are under the carnal, or literal dis. “ pensation of the law, cannot please God; because they have not the spirit of “ God: now it is the spirit of God alone, that enlivens men so, as to enable 56 them to cast off the dominion of their lusts." See Gal. iv. 3-6.

y oi is capai oiles, " They that are in the flesh.” He that shall consider, that this phrase is applied, chap. vii. 5, to the jews, as resting in the bare, literal, or carnal sense and observance of the law, will not be averse to the understanding the same phrase, in the same sense, here; which I think is the only place besides in the New Testament, where is capricives is used in a moral sense. This I dare say, it is hard to produce any one text, wherein divar ir cefxi is used to signify a man's being under the power of his lusts, which is the sense wherein it is, and must be taken here, if what I propose be rejected. Let it be also remembered, that St. Paul makes it the chief business of this epistle (and he seldom forgets the design he is upon) to persuade both jew and gentile from a subjection to the law, and that the arguinent, he is upon here, is the weakness and insufficiency of the law to deliver men fron the power of sin, and then, perhaps, it will not be judged that the interpretation I have given of these words, is altogether remote from the apostle's sense.

9 2 See 2 Cor. iii. 6-18, particularly ver. 6, 13, 16.
a See John i. 1%.
► See Gal. iy. 6,

TEXT. 11 But if the spirit of him, that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell

in you: he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwelleth in you.

PARAPHRASE. as to all activity to sino, sin no longer reigns in it", but your sinful, carnal lusts are mortified. But the spirit of

your mind liveth, i. e. is enlivened, in order to righte11 ousness, or living righteously. But, if the spirit of God,

who had power able to raise Jesus Christ from the dead, dwell in you, as certainly it does, he, that raised Christ from the dead, is certainly able, and will, by his spirit that dwells in you, enliven even your' mortal bo

NOTES. 10 c See chap. vi. 1-14, which explains this place, particularly ver. 2, 8, 11, 12, Gal. ii. 20, Eph. iv. 22, 23, Col. ii. 11, and iii. 8–10:

d See Eph. iv. 23.

11 ' To lead us into the true sense of this verse, we need only observe, that St. Paul, having, in the four first chapters of this epistle, shown that neither jew nor gentile could be justified by the law, and in the 5th chapter how sin entered into the world by Adam, and reigned by death, from which it was grace and not the law that delivered men: in the 6th chapter, he showeth the convert gentiles, that, though they were not under the law, but under grace; yet they could not be saved, unless they cast off the dominion of sin, and became the devoted servants of righteousness, which was what their very baptism taught and required of them: and in chap. vii. he declares to the jews the weakness of the law, which they so much stood upon; and shows that the law could not deliver them from the dominion of sin; that deliverance was only by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ; from whence he draws the consequence, which begins this 8th chapter, and so goes on with it, here, in two branches relating to his discourse in the foregoing chapter, that complete it in this. The one is to show, “ that the law of as the spirit of life," i.e. the new covenant in the gospel, required that those; that are in Christ Jesus, “should not live after the flesh, but after the spirit.” The other is to show how, and by whom, since the law was weak, and could not en, able those, under the law, to do it, they are enabled to keep sin from reigning in their “ mortal bodies,” which is the sanctification required. And here he shows, that christians are delivered from the dominion of their carnal, sinful lusts, bý the spirit of God, that is given to them, and dwells in them, as a new quick. ening principle and power, by which they are put into the state of a spiritual life, wherein their members are made capable of being made the instruments of righteousness, if they please, as living men, alive now to righteousness, so to einploy them. If this be not the sense of this chapter to ver. 14, I desire to know how õpee võr in the 1st verse comes in, and what coherence there is in what is here' said ? Besides the connexion of this to the former chapter, contained in the illative, “ therefore," the very antithesis of the expressions, in one and the other, shows that St. Paul, in writing this very verse, had an eye to the foregoing chapter. There it was, “ sin that dwelleth in me,” that was the acting and over-ruling principle: here it is “the spirit of God that dwelleck

« PreviousContinue »