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judgment of God, that they who practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that practise them.
CHAP. II. 1. Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for in that thou judgest the other, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest 2 practisest the same things. For we know that the judgment of God is according to truth, against them who 3 practise such things. And thinkest thou this, Oman, who judgest them that practise. such things, and dost the 4 same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness 5 of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up to thyself wrath in the day of wrath, and revelation, and righteous judg6 ment of God? Who will render to every one according 7 to his works: To them that by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality,
* Prov. xxiv. 12.
CHAP. II. Ver. 1. Therefore-The apostle now makes a transition from the Gentiles to the Jews, till at ver. 6, he comprises both. Thou art inexcusable-Seeing knowledge without practice only increases guilt. O man-Having before spoken of the Gentile in the third person, he addresses the Jew in the second person. But he calls him by a common appellation, as not acknowledging him to be a Jew, (see ver. 17, 23.) Whosoever thou art that judgestCensurest, condemnest: for in that thou judgest the other-The heathen; thou condemnest thyself; for thou dost the same things-In effect: in many instances. V. 2. For we know-Without thy teaching; that the judgment of God-Not thine, who exceptest thyself from its sentence, is according to truth-Is just, making no exception, (ver. 5, 6, 11,) and reaches the heart, as well as the life, (ver. 16.)
V. 3. That thou shalt escape-Rather than the Gentiles.
V. 4. Or despisest thou-Dost thou go further still, hoping to escape his wrath, to the abuse of his love? The riches-The abundance-of his goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering-Seeing thou both hast sinned, dost sin, and wilt sin. All these are afterwards comprised in the single word goodness: leadeth thee-That is, is designed of God to lead or encourage thee to it.
V. 5. Treasurest up wrath-Although thou thinkest thou art treasuring up all good things. O what a treasure may a man lay up either way, in this short day of life! To thyself-Not to him whom thou judgest: In the day of wrath, and revelation, and righteous judgment of God-Just opposite to the goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering of God. When God shall be revealed, then shall also be revealed the secrets of men's hearts, ver. 16. Forbearance and revelation respect God, and are opposed to each other; longsuffering and righteous judgment respect the sinner; goodness and wrath are words of a more general import.
V. 7. To them that seek for glory-For pure love does not exclude, faith, hope, desire, 1 Cor. xv. 58.
8 eternal life. But to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be 9 indignation and wrath, tribulation, and anguish, Even upon every soul of man who worketh evil, of the Jew 10 first, and also the Gentile: But glory, and honour, and peace shall be to every one who worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
For there is no respect of persons with God. For as 12 many as have sinned without the law, shall also perish without the law; and as many as have sinned under the 13 law, shall be judged by the law. For not the hearers of
the law are just with God, but the doers of the law shall 14 be justified. For when the Gentiles, who have not the
law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these,
V. s. But to them that are contentious-Like thee, O Jew, who thus fightest against God. The character of a false Jew is disobedience, stubbornness, impatience. Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish-Alluding to Psalm Ixxviii. 49, He cast upon them-The Egyptians, the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble; and finely intimating, that the Jews would in the day of vengeance be more severely punished, than even the Egyptians were, when God made their plagues so wonderful.
V. 9. Of the Jew first-Here we have the first express mention of the Jews in this chapter. And it is introduced with great propriety. Their having been trained up in the true religion, and having had Christ and his apostles first sent to them, will place them in the foremost rank of the criminals that obey not the truth.
V. 10. But glory—(Just opposite to wrath) from the divine approbation ; honour, (opposite to indignation,) by the divine appointment; and peace, now and for ever, opposed to tribulation and anguish.
V. 11. For there is no respect of persons with God-He will reward every one according to his works. But this is well consistent with his distributing advantages and opportunities of improvement according to his own good plea
V. 12. For as many as have sinned-He speaks as of the time past, for all time will be past at the day of judgment. Without the law-Without having any written law; shall also perish without the law-Without regard had to any outward law; being condemned by the law written in their hearts. The word also shews the agreement of the manner of sinning, with the manner of suffering. Perish-He could not so properly say, Shall be judged without the law.
V. 13. For not the hearers of the law are even now just before God; but the doers of the law shall be justified-Finally acquitted and rewarded. A most sure and important truth; which respects the Gentiles also, though principally the Jews. St. Paul speaks of the former, ver. 14, &c.; of the latter, ver. 17, &c. Here is therefore no parenthesis; for the 16th verse also depends on the 15th, not on the 12th.
V. 14. For when the Gentiles-That is, any of them. St. Paul having refuted the perverse judgment of the Jews concerning the Heathens, proceeds to shew the just judgment of God against them. He now speaks directly of the heathens, in order to convince the heathens. Yet the concession he makes to these serves more strongly to convince the Jews. Do by nature-That is, without an outward rule; though this also, strictly speaking, is by preventing grace. The things contained in the law-The ten commandments being only the substance of the law of nature. These not having the written law, are
15 not having the law, are a law to themselves; Who shew the work of the law written upon their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts among 16 themselves accusing or even defending them, In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
17 But if thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, 18 and gloriest in God, And knowest his will, and discernest the things that differ, being instructed out of the law: 19 And art confident, that thyself art a guide to the blind, 20 a light of them that are in darkness, An instructer of the
ignorant, a teacher of babes, having the form of know21 ledge and truth in the law: Thou that teachest another, dost not teach thyself: Thou that proclaimest, a man
law unto themselves—That is, what the law is to the Jews, they are (by the grace of God) to themselves; namely, a rule of life.
V. 15. Who shew-To themselves, to other men, and in a sense, to God himself; the work of the law-The substance, though not the letter of it; written on their hearts-By the same hand which wrote the commandments on the tables of stone: Their conscience-There is none of all its faculties which the soul has less in its power than this; bearing witness-In a trial there are, the plaintiff, the defendant, and the witnesses. Conscience and sin itself, are witnesses against the heathens. Their thoughts sometimes excuse, sometimes condemn them. Among themselves-Alternately, like plaintiff and defendant. Accusing, or even defending them-The very manner of speaking shews that they have far more room to accuse than to defend.
V. 16. In the day-That is, who shew this in the day-Every thing will then be shewn to be what it really is. In that day will appear the law written in their hearts, as it often does in the present life; when God shall judge the secrets of men-On secret circumstances depends the real quality of actions, frequently unknown to the actors themselves, (ver. 29.) Men generally form their judgments, even of themselves, merely from what is apparent. According to my gospel-According to the tenor of that gospel, which is committed to my care. Hence it appears that the gospel also is a law.
V. 17. But if thou art called a Jew-This highest point of Jewish glorying (after a farther description of it interposed, ver. 17-20, and refuted, ver. 2124) is itself refuted, ver. 25, &c. The description consists of twice five articles of which the former five (ver. 17, 18) shew what he boasts of in himself; the other five, (ver. 19, 20,) what he glories in with respect to others. The first particular, or the former five, answers to the first of the latter: the second to the second, and so on. And restest in the law-Dependest on it, though it can only condemn thee; and gloriest in God-As thy God: and that too, to the exclusion of others.
V. 19. Blind in darkness-ignorant-babes-These were the titles which the Jews generally gave the Gentiles.
V. 20. Having the form of knowledge and truth-That is, the most accurate knowledge of the truth.
V. 21. Thou dost not teach thyself He does not teach himself, who does not practise what he teaches. Dost thou steal-commit adultery-commit sacrilege -Sin grievously against thy neighbour, thyself, God. St. Paul had shewn the Gentiles, first their sins against God, then against themselves, then against their neighbours. He now inverts the order. For sins against God are the most glaring in a Heathen; but not in a Jew. Thou that abhorrest idols— Which all the Jews did, from the time of the Babylonish captivity: thou com
22 should not steal, dost steal: Thou that sayst, a man should not commit adultery, dost commit adultery: 23 Thou that abhorrest idols, committest sacrilege. Thou
that gloriest in the law, by transgressing the law, dis24 honourest God. For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. 25 Circumcision indeed profiteth, if thou keepest the law; 26 but if thou art a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is become uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not 27 his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? Yea, the uncircumcision that is by nature fulfilling the law, shall judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision transgres28 sest the law. For he is not a Jew, who is an outward Jew, neither is that circumcision which is apparent in the 29 flesh. But he is a Jew, who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.
CHAP. III. 1. What then is the advantage of the
* Isa. lii. 5.
mittest sacrilege-Dost what is still worse, robbing him who is God over all of the glory which is due to him.
None of these charges were rashly advanced against the Jews of that age. For (as their own historian relates) some even of the priests lived by rapine, and others in gross uncleanness. And as for sacrilegiously robbing God and his altar, it had been complained of ever since Malachi. So that the instances are given with great propriety and judgment.
V. 25. Circumcision indeed profiteth-He does not say, justifies. How far it profited is shewn in the 3d and 4th chapters: Thy circumcision is become uncircumcision-Is so already, in effect. Thou wilt have no more benefit by it, than if thou hadst never received it. The very same observation holds with regard to baptism.
V. 26. If the uncircumcision-That is, a person uncircumcised, keep the law, Walk agreeably to it-shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision In the sight of God?
V. 27. Yea, the uncircumcision that is by nature-Those who are, literally speaking, uncircumcised, fulfilling the law-As to the substance of it, shall judge thee Shall condemn thee in that day, who by the letter and circumcision -Who having the bare, literal, external circumcision, transgressest the law.
V. 28. For he is not a Jew-In the most important sense, that is, one of God's beloved people, who is one in outward shew only; neither is that the true, acceptable circumcision, which is apparent in the flesh.
V. 29. But he is a Jew-That is, one of God's people, who is one inwardly In the secret recesses of his soul; and the acceptable circumcision is that of the heart [referring to Deut. xxx. 6,] the putting away all inward impurity. This is seated in the spirit, the inmost soul, renewed by the Spirit of God, and not in the letter, not in the external ceremony: Whose praise is not from men, but from God-The only Searcher of the heart.
CHAP. III. Ver. 1. What then, may some say, is the advantage of the Jew
2 Jew, or what the profit of the circumcision? Much every way; chiefly in that they were intrusted with the oracles 3 of God. For what if some believed not? Shall their 4 unbelief disannul the faithfulness of God? God forbid: let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, *That thou mightst be justified in thy saying, and 5. mightst overcome when thou art judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is not God unjust, who taketh vengeance? 6 I speak as a man. God forbid; otherwise how should 7 God judge the world? But if the truth of God hath abounded to his glory through my lie, why am I still 8 judged as a sinner? And why may we not (as we are slandered, and as some affirm us to say) do evil that good may come? Whose condemnation is just.
What then? are we better than they? In no wise: for we have before proved all, both Jews and Gentiles, 10 to be under sin. As it is written, + There is none right
*Psalm li. 4. † Psalm xiv. 1, &c.
or of the circumcision-That is, those that are circumcised, above the Gentiles?
V. 2. Chiefy in that they were intrusted with the oracles of God-The Scriptures, in which are so great and precious promises. Other prerogatives will follow, ch. ix. 4, 5. St. Paul here singles out this, by which, after removing the objection, he will convict them so much the more.
V. 3. Shall their unbelief disannul the faithfulness of God-Will he not still make good his promises to them that do believe?
V. 5. But, it may be farther objected, if our unrighteousness be subservient to God's glory, is it not unjust in him to punish us for it? I speak as a man As human weakness would be apt to speak.
V. 6. God forbid-By no means. If it were unjust in God to punish that unrighteousness, which is subservient to his own glory; how should God judge the world-Since all the unrighteousness in the world, will then commend the righteousness of God.
V. 7. But, may the objector reply, if the truth of God hath abounded-Has been more abundantly shewn through my lie-If my lie, that is, practice contrary to truth, conduces to the glory of God, by making his truth shine with superior advantage, why am I still judged as a sinner-Can this be said to be any sin at all? Ought I not to do what would otherwise be evil, that so much good may come? To this the apostle does not deign to give a direct answer, but cuts the objector short with a severe reproof.
V. 8. Whose condemnation is just-The condemnation of all who either speak or act in this manner. So the apostle absolutely denies the lawfulness of doing evil, any evil, that good may come.
V. 9. What then-Here he resumes what he said, ver. 1. Under sin-Under the guilt and power of it: the Jews by transgressing the written law; the Gentiles by transgressing the law of nature.
V. 10. As it is written-That all men are under sin, appears from the vices which have raged in all ages. St. Paul therefore rightly cites David and Isaiah, though they spoke primarily of their own age, and expressed what manner of men God sees when he looks down from heaven, not what he makes them by his grace. There is none righteous-This is the general proposition