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straightness or crookedness of a line can be determined; so, the moral obliquity of human actions can only be determined by the law of God; that rule of right which proceeds from his own immaculate holiness.
Verse 21. But nots the righteousness of God~\ God's method of saving sinners, is now shewn by the gospel, to be through his own mere mercy, by Christ Jesus; without the laze, without any right or claim which might result from obedience to the law; and is evidently that which was intended by God from the beginning; for it is za'tnessed by the lata and the prophets; the rites and ceremonies of the one, and the preachings and predictions of the others, all bearing testimony to the great design of God; and to the absolute necessity there was for the sacrifice and salvation which God has provided.
Verse 22. Even the righteousness ofGod~\ That method of saving sinners, which is not of zeorfes, but by faith in Christ Je>us; and is not restrained to any particular people, as the law and its privileges were; but is unto all mankind in its intention and offer; and becomes effectual to them that believe: for God hath now made no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles.
Verse 13. For all have sinned] And consequently are equally helpless and guilty: and, as God is no respecter of persons, all human creatures, being equally his offspring, and there being no reason why one should be preferred before another; therefore, his endless mercy has embraced All.
And come short of the glory of God.] Kai irepovvra.! rr^ IvZrj row ©sou- These words have been variously translated; failed of attaining the glory of God: Have not been able to bring glory to God: stand in need of the glory, (that is,) the mercy of God. The simple meaning seems to be this; that, as all have stinted, and none can enjoy God's glory, but they that are holy; consequently, both Jews and Gentiles, have failed in their endeavours to attain it; as, by the works of any laz:, no human being can be justified.
Verse 24. Being justified freely by his grace~\ So far from being able to attain the glory of God by theirobedience,they are all guilty; and, to be saved, must be freely pardoned by God's grade; which is shewn to them who believe, through
23 For f all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
21 Being justified freely * by his grace, h through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 AVhom God hath 'set forth k to be & propitiation, through faith 'in his blood, to declare
the redemption, arsXvTpwaris, the ransom price, which M in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. The original is compounded of aro,from; and Xurpou, I redeem; and properly means the price laid down for the redemption of a captive. Comprehendit ha;c Christi, kfiXurpojo-ic, quicquid is docuit, fecit et passus est, eo concilio, ut homines malis liberati, prascipue peccato, malorum fonte immunes, veram felicitatem adipiscerentur—Rosenmiiller. This redemption of Christ comprehends whatsoever he taught, did, or suffered, in order to free men from evil; especially to free them from sin, the source of evils; that they might attain true felicity. And that it here means the liberation purchased by the blood-shedding of Christ, is evident from Eph. i. 7, We have Redemption, ot.it oXurpuitnv Sia. Tov a.tjj.a.ros avrov, Through nis Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. See also Coloss. i. 14. where the same words are found.
Avrca according to Suidas, is u,t<rQo;, ij -rat. itxpsy(pfuyx uitip sXevitcta.;, ciri rw Xvrpto<ra,trQa.i fixpZapuiy SovXsix;' A reward; or the price given to be redeemed from the slavery of the barbarians. Schleusner, under the word AiroAursawj, says, Negari quidem non potest, hanc vocem proprie notare redemptionem ejus, qui captious detinetur, sive bello, sive alio captus sit modo, quae fit perpretii solulionem; quosensu verbum, a-rroXvTcow, legitur baud raro in Scripp. Graeci?. No man certainly can deny that this word properly means the redemption of a captive, (whether he may hare been taken in war or in any other way,) which is procured by the payment of a price. That the word also means any deliverance, even where no price is paid down, no body will dispute: but that it means redemption by a price laid dozen; and the redemption of the soul by the price of the death of Christ, the aboTe scriptures sufficiently prove.
Verse 25. Whom God hath set forth'] Appointed and published; to be a propitiation, lXa.r»jpi«v, the mercy-seat, or place of atonement; because the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on and before that, in order to obtain remission of sin, punishment, &c. The mercy-seat was the lid, or cover of the ark of the covenant, where God was manifest in the symbol of his presence, between the cherubim; therefore
the atonement that was made in this place, was properly made to God himself. See the note on Luke xviii. 13.
Through faith in his blood] This shews what we are to understand both by the AiroKuTpuHrts, redemption; and the iXaj-ij^iov, propitiation; viz. that they refer to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, as the atonement made, and the price paid down for the redemption of the souls of men.
To declare his righteousness] E<? evfeij-iv, for the manifestation of his righteousness; his mercy in saving sinners, by sending Jesus Christ to make an atonement for them; thereby declaring his readiness to remit all past transgressions committed both by Jews and Gentiles, during the time in which his merciful forbearance was exercised towards the world; and this applies to all who hear the gospel now: to them is freely ottered, remission of all past sins.
Verse 26. To declare, I say, at this time] To manifest now, by the dispensation of the gospel, lus righteousness, his infinite mercy; and to manifest it in such a way, that he might still appear to be the just God, and yet the justifier, the pardoner of him zcho believeth in Jesus. Here we learn, that God designed to give the most evident displays, both of Us justice and mercy. Of his justice in requiring a. sacrifice; and absolutely refusing to give salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing The sacrifice which his justice required. Thus, because Jesus was an atonement, a ransom price for the sin of the world, therefore God can, consistently with his justice, pardon every soul that believeth in Jesus. This is the full discovery of God's righteousness, of his wonderful method of magnifying his law, and making it honourable; of shewing the infinite purity of his justice, and of saving a lost world.
Hitherto, from the 9th verse, the apostle had gone on without interruption; proving that Jew and Gentile were in a state of guilt and condemnation; and that they could be saved only by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The Jew, finding his boasted privileges all at stake, interrupts him, and asks:
Verse 27. Jew—Where is boasting then ?] H jtav^r/o-ij, this glorying of ours. Have we nothing in which we can trust for our acceptance with God? No merit of our
eluded. By what Jaw? of works? ^Mif^|. Nay, but by the law of faith. ch^coixfk
28 Therefore we conclude e that a A^ccir-Bu! man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
4 Ch. 2.17, 23. & 4. 2. 1 Cor. 1. 29,31. Ephes. 2. 9.— ver. 20,21, 22. ch. 8. 3. Gal. 2. 16.
own? Nothing accruing to us from our circumcision, and being in covenant with God?
Apostle—It is excluded] Ejexaeio-oj;, // is shut out; the door of heaven is shut against every thing of this kind.
Jew—By what law ?] By what rule, doctrine, or reason is it shut out? by the law of works? The rule of obedience which God gave to us; and by which obedience we are accepted by him?
Apostle—Nay] Not by the law of works; glorying is not cut off, or shut out by thai; it stands iu full force as the rule of life; but you have sinned, and need pardon. The law of works grants no pardon, it requires obedience, and threatens the disobedient with death. But all glorying in the expectation of salvation, through your oxen obedience, is excluded by the law, the doctrine of faith: faith alone, in the mercy of God, through the propitiation made by the blood of Jesus, (ver. 25.) is tluit, by which you can be justified, pardoned and taken into the Divine favour.
Verse 28. Therefore we conclude, &c] Seeing these things cannot be denied, viz. that all have sinned; that all are guilty; that all are helpless; that none can deliver his own soul; and that God, in his endless mercy, has opened a new and living way to the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Heb. x. 19, 20, &c. therefore we, apostles aud Christian teachers, conclude Asyiltyujfa, prove by fair, rational consequence, that a man, any man, is justified, has his sins blotted out, and is received into the Divine favour, by faith in Christ's blood, without the deeds of the law, which never could afford, either to Jeip or Gentile, a ground for justification; because both have sinned against the law which God has given them; and, consequently, forfeited all right and title to the blessings which the obedient might claim.
Verse 29. Is he the God of the Jews only?] Do not begin to suppose that because you cannot be justified by the works of the law, and God has in his mercy found out a new method of saving you; that therefore this mercy shall apply to the Jews exclusively. Is not God the maker, preseiver, and redeemer, ulso of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, as much as of the Jews; for all have equally sinned:
and there is no reason, if God be disposed to shew mercy at all, that he should prefer the one to the other; since they are all equally guilty, sinful, and necessitous.
Verse 30. Seeing it is one God~\ Eirertsp hi; i ®so;, this has been rendered seeing God is one. It however makes little difference in the sense: the apostle's meaning most evidently is, it is one and the same God who made both Jews and Gentiles, who shall justify, pardon the circumcision, the believing Jezes, by faith; and the uncircumcision, the believing Gentiles by the same faith; as there is but one Saviour, and one atonement provided for the whole.
It is fanciful to suppose that the apostle has one meaning when he says, sy.-jftniu;, By faith; and a different meaning, when he says fox rrt; infix;, Timouc.it faith. Both the prepositions are to be understood in precisely the same sense; only the addition of the article. rrts, in the last case extends, and more pointedly ascertains, the meaning. It is one and the same God who shall justify the believing Jews by faith; and the believing Gentiles foot, Trt; rirsui;, by That Same faith. Verse 31. Do zee then make void the laic through faith?] 1. By late here we may understand the whole of the Mosaic law, in its rites and ceremonies; of which, Jesus Christ was the subject and the end. All that law had respect to him; and the doctrine of faith in Christ Jesus, which the Christian religion proclaimed, established the very claims and demands of that law; by shewing that all was accomplished in the passion and dcatli of Christ; for, without shedding of blood, the law would allow of no remission; and Jesus was that Lamb of God, which was slain from the foundation of the world; in whose blood we have redemption, even the remission of sins. 2. We may understand also, the moral laze, that which relates to the regulation of the manners or conduct of men. This law also was established by the doctrine of salvation by faith; because this faith works by love, and love is the principle of obedience: and whosoever receives salvation through faith in Christ, receives power to live in holy obedience to every moral precept: for, such are God's workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus, unto good works; in which they find it their duty and their interest, incessantly, to live.
1. In the notes on the preceding chapter, I have, in general, followed the plan of Dr. Taylor, and especially in regard to its dialogue form; but I have often differed much from that very learned and judicious man, in the application of many words and doctrines. He cannot allow that the
» Malt. 5. 17, 18. Gal. 3.19, 23, 21.
death of Christ should be considered as a price paid dozen for the salvation of men: and, I confess, I cannot understand the apostle in any other way. Nor can I see the weight of many of his observations, nor the force of his conclusions on any other ground than this, that the passion and death of Christ were an atonement made to Divine justice, in the behalf of man; and that it is through the merit of that great sacrifice, that God forgives sin. Nor can 1 see any reason why such great stress should be laid on faith, but as that lays hold on, and takes up, the sacrifice of Christ as a ransom price for the redemption of the soul from the thraldom and misery of sin and Satan.
2. This chapter contains a fine and striking synopsis of the whole Christian system. Tho wretched state of man is awfully exhibited, from the 10th to the 18th verse; and the plan of salvation, in the 21th, 25th, and 26th verses. A pious writer calls these The Catechism of Christian Righteousness. The following points in this catechism are worthy of high consideration—viz. Hoza is God glorified in us, and zee in him ?—By his Grace. What does his grace zsork in us?— True holiness. Upon zchat motive?—Because it is pleasing to him. By zehom does he give tis salvation?—By Jesus Christ. Hozs has Christ obtained this for us?—By redeeming us. What price did he give ?—His Mood. What does his blood effect ?—It reconciles us to God. JIozo is it applied?—By Faith. Who has given this victim of reconciliation ?—God the Father. Why did he chuse these means ?—To confound the false righteousness of the Gentiles; to abolish the Figurative righteousness of the Jews; and to establish his ozen. What does this grace of God perform ?—It pardons sin; and purifies the heart. For whom is this designed?—For all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles. To zchom are these blessings actually communicated?—To all who repent, turn from their sin, and believe on the Lord Jesus. Why did not God make knozsn this grand method of salvation sooner?—l.To make it the more valued: 2. to shew his fidelity in the performance of his promises: anil 3. to make known the virtue and efficacy of the blood of Christ, which sanctifies the present, extends its influence to the past, and continues the availing sacrifice, and way of salvation, to all future ages.
3. On considering this glorious scheme of salvation, there is great danger; lest, while we stand amazed at what was done For us, we neglect what must be done ix us. Guilt in the conscience, and sin in the heart, ruin the man. Pardon in the conscience, and Christ in the heart, save the soul.
Abraham was not justified
by works, but by faith.
Christ has done much to save us; and the way of salvation is made plain: but unless he justify our conscience from dead works, and purify our hearts from all sin, his passion and death will profit us nothing. While we boast in Christ Jesus-, let us see that our rejoicing, xai^tnj, our boasting; be this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not zsithfleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, tee have our conversation in the zeorld, 2 Cor. i. VI.
4. We must beware of Antinomianism: that is, of supposing that, because Christ has been obedient unto death,
there is no necessity for our obedience to his righteous commandments. If this were so, the grace of Christ would tend to the destruction of the law; and not to its establishment. He only is saved from his sins who lias the law of God written in his heart; and he alone has the law written in his heart who lives an innocent, holy, and useful life. Wherever Chri.->t lives, he works: and his work of righteousness will appear to his servants; and its effect will be quietness and assurance for ever. The life of God, in the soul of man, is the principle which saves and preserves eternally.
Abraham was justified by faith, and not by the works of the law ; for his faith teas imputed to him for righteousness, 1—3. David also bears testimony to the same doctrine, 6—8. Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, was justified by faith, even before he was circumcised; therefore salvation must be of the Gentiles as well as the Jews, 9—12. And the promise that all the nations of the earth should be blessed in him, was made to him while he zcas in an uncircumciscd slate; and therefore, if salvation were of the Jews alone, the law that was given after the promise, would make the promise of no effect, 13—17. Description of Abraham's faith, and its effects, 18—22. This account is left on record for our salvation, that we might believe Oh Christ, who was delivered1 for our offences, and raised again for our justification, 23—25.
2 For, if Abraham were "justified AA-^cir-4(&-'
«J A. D. cir. So.
by works, he hath ichercof to glory; ^."cc'iT's but not before God. A.u.c.drill.
WHAT shall we then say that
• Isai. 51. 2. Matt. 3. 9. John 8.33, 39. 2 Cor. 11. 22.
NOTES ON CHAP. IV.
The apostle having proved in the foregoing chapter, that neither Jews nor Gentiles have a right to the blessings of God's peculiar kingdom, otherwise than by grace, which is as free for the one as the other; in this chapter advances a new argument, to convince the Jezc, and to shew the believing Gentile, in a clear light, the high value, and strong security, of the mercies freely bestowed on them in the gospel: and at the same time, to display the scheme of Divine Providence, as laid in the counsel and will of God. His argument is taken from Abraham's case: Abraham was the father and head of the Jewish nation: he had been an idolater, but God pardoned him, and took him and his posterity into his special covenant; and bestowed upon them many extraordinary blessings above the rest of mankind: and it is evident, that Abraham was not justified by any obedience to laze, or rule of right action, but in the only way in which a sinner can be justified, by prerogative, or the mercy of the lazc-giver. Now, this is the very same way in which the gospel saves the believing Gentiles, and gives them
» Ch. 3. 20, 27, 28.
a part in the blessings of God's covenant. Why then should the Jews oppose the Gentiles? especially as the Gentiles were actually included in the covenant made with Abraham; for the promise, Gen. xvii. 4. stated, that should be the father of many nations; consequently, the covenant being made with Abraham, as the head, or father of many nations, all, in any nation who stood on the same religious principle with him, were his seed, and witli him interested in the same covenant. But Abraham stood by faith in the mercy of God, pardoning his idolatry; and upon this foot the believing Gentiles stand in the gospel; and therefore they are the seed of Abraham, and included in the covenant and promise made to him.
To all this the apostle knew well it would be objected; that it was not faith alone that gave Abraham a right to the blessings of the covenant, but his obedience to the lazo of circumcision; and this being peculiar to the Jewish nation, gave them an interest in the Abrahamic covenant; and that, consequently, whoever among the Gentiles would be interested iu that covenaut, ought to embrace Judaism, become
circumcised, and thus come under obligation to the whole law. With this very objection the apostle very dextrously introduces his argument, ver. 1, 2. Shews that, according to the Scripture account, Abraham was justified by faith, ver. 3—6. explains the nature of that justification, by a quotation out of the Psalms, ver. 6—9. proves that Abraham was justified long before he was circumcised, ver. 9—11. that the believing Gentiles are his seed to whom the promise belongs, as well as the believing Jews, ver. 12—17. and he describes Abraham's faith, in order to explain the faith of the gosp?l, rer. 17—25. See Dr. Taylor's notes. We may still suppose that the dialogue is carried on between the Apo9tle and the Jew; and it will make the subject still more clear to assign to each his respective part. The Jew asks a single question, which is contained in the 1st, and part of the 2nd verses. And the apostle's answer takes up the rest of the chapter.
Verse 1. Jew—What shall we then say thai Abraham, our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?] The y.ara capv.a, pertaining to the flesh, must here refer to the sign in Abraham's flesh, viz. his circumcision; on which the Jew would found his right to peculiar blessings. That this is the meaning of xara. <rapx.%, according to the flesh, Dr. I Taylor has proved by a collation of several parallel Scriptuxes, which it is not necessary to produce here. We may, \ therefore, suppose the Jew arguing thus: but you set your' argument on a wrong footing, viz. the corrupt stale of our nation; whereas we hold our prerogative above the rest of mankind, from Abraham, who is our father ; and we have a right to the blessings of God's peculiar kingdom, in virtue of the promise made to him: his justification is the ground of ours. Now what shall we make of his case, on your principles? Of "what use was his obedience to the laze of circumcision, if it did not give him a right to the blessing of God? And if, by his obedience to that law, he obtained a grant of extraordinary blessings, then, according to your own concession, chap. iii. 27. he might ascribe his justification to something in himself; and, conseepjently, so may we too, in his right: and if so, this will exclude all those who are not circumcised as we ate.
Verse 2. For, If Abraham were justified by tcorks] The Jew proceeds: I conclude therefore, that Abraham was justified by works, or by his obedience to this luxe of circumchion; and, consequently, he has cause for glorying, xe.j
jojua, to exult in something which he has done to entitle him to these blessings. Now, it is evident that he has this glorying, and consequently that he was justified by works.
Apostle—But not before God] These seem to be the apostle's words, and contain the beginning of his answer to the arguments of the Jew: as if he had said—Allowing that Abraham might glory in being called from heathenish darkness into such marvellous light; and exult in the privileges which God had granted to him. Yet this glorying was not before God, as a reason why those privileges should be granted; the glorying itself being a consequence of these very privileges.
Verse 3. For, what saith the Scripture?] The scriptural
account of this transaction, Gen. xv. 6. is decisive; for,
there it is said, Abraham believed God, and it zcas counted,
! eXt>yi<rdrn it teas reckoned to him for righteousness; fif
: liKMoaivrjV, for justification.
Verse 4. Now to him that worketh is the reward not I reckoned of grace, but of debt.'] Therefore, if Abraham had been justified by works, the blessings he received would have | been given to him as a reward for those works; and conI sequently his believing could have had no part in his justification; and his faith would have been useless.
Verse 5. But to him that worketh not] Which was the case with Abraham, for he was called when he was ungodly, i.e. an idolater; and, on his believing, was freely justified: and, as all men have sinned, none can be justified by works; and therefore, justification, if H take place at all, must take place in behalf of the ungodly, forasmuch as all mankind are such. Now, as Abraham's stale and mode, in which he was justified, are the plan and rule according to which God purposes to save men; and as his state was ungodly, and the mode of his justification was by faith in the goodness and mercy of God; and this is precisely the state of Jews and Gentiles at present: there can bo no other mode of justification than by faith in that Christ who is Abraham's seed; and in whom, according to the promise, all the nations of the earth are to be blessed.
It is necessary to observe here, in order to prevent confusion and misapprehension, that although the verb fixa^i', has a variety of senses in the New Testament, yet here it is to be taken as implying the pardon of sin; receiving a person into the favour of God. See these different acceptations cited in the note on chap. i. ver. 17. and particuljily unikr