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your fret. Think and devise what is pure: speak what is (rue, and to the use of edifying: work that which is just and good; and walk steadily in the zcay that leads to everlasting felicity. Be holy within, and holy without.
Verse 14. Sin shall not have dominion over you] God delivers you from it; and if you again become subject to it, it will be the effect of your own choice or negligence.
Ye are not under the laze] That law which exacts obedience without giving power to obey: that condemns every transgression and every unholy thought, without providing for the extirpation of evil, or the pardon of sin.
But under graced] Ye are under the merciful and bene ficent dispensation of the gospel: that, although it requires the strictest conformity to the will of God, affords sufficient power to be thus conformed; and, in the death of Christ, has provided pardon for all that is past, and grace to help in every time of need.
Verse 15. Shall ice sin, because ice arc not under the lava] Shall we abuse our high and holy calling, because we are not under that law that makes no provision for pardon; but are under that gospel which has opened the fountain to wash aw ay all sin and defilement? Shall we sin because grace abounds? Shall we do evil that good may come of it? This be far from us!
Verse 16. To whom ye yield yourselves'] Can ye suppose that you should continue to be the servants of Christ, if ye give way to sin? Is he not the master who exacts the service, and to whom the service is performed? Sin, is the service of Satan'; righteousness, the service of Christ. If re sin, ye are the servants of Satan, and not the servants of God."
The word $o\j\o;, which we translate servant, properly signifies slave: and a slave among the Greeks and Romans was considered as his master's property; and he might dispose of him as he pleased. Under a bad master, the lot of the slave was most oppressive and dreadful ; his case and comfort were never consulted; he was treated worse than a beast; and,
selves servants to obey, his ser- ^u.^0!! vants ye are to whom ye obey; ^"ccnt!* whether of sin unto death, or of A.u.c.cir.8ii. obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the * heart that form of e doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then f made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
-• Gr. whereto ye were delivered. * John 8.32. 1 Cor.
7.22. Gal. 5.1. IPet. 2.16.
in many cases, his life hung on the mere caprice of the master. This state is the state of every poor, miserable sinner; he is the slave of Satan, and his own evil lusts and appetites, are his most cruel task-masters. The same word is applied to the servants of Christ, the more forcibly to shew, that they are their Master's properly; and that, as he is infinitely good and benevolent, therefore his service must be perfect freedom. Indeed, he exacts no obedience from them which he does not turn to their eternal advantage; for this master has no self-interest to secure. See on chap. i. 1.
Verse 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin] This verse should be read thus: But thanks be to God that, although ye were the servants of sin, nevertheless ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered unto you; or, that mould of teaching into which ye icere cast. The apostle does not thank God that they were sinners; but that, although they were such, they had now received and obeyed the gospel.
That form of doctrine] Tuiroy Si Sa-xV! nerc Christianity is represented under the notion of a mould, or die, into which they were cast; and from which they took the impression of its excellence. The figure upon this die, is the image of God, righteousness and true holiness, which was stamped on their souls, in believing the gospel, and receiving the Holy Ghost. The words cts lv vzpeMyre rvirov, refer to the melting of metal; which, when it is liquified, is cast into the mould, that it may receive the impression that is sunk, or cut in the mould; and therefore the words may be literally translated, into which mould of doctrine ye have been cast. They were melted down under the preaching of the word, and then were capable of receiving the stamp of its purity.
Verse 18. Being then made free from sin] EtevHecwQivree is a term that refers to the manumission of a slave. They were redeemed from the slavery of sin, and became the servants of righteousness. Here is anotherprosopopeia; both «'n'and righteoustiess are personified: sin can enjoin no good
and profitable work. Righteousness can require none that is unjust or injurious.
Verse 19. / speak after the manner of men] This phrase is often used by the Greek writers, to signify what was easy to be comprehended; what was ad captum vulgi, level with common understandings; delivered in a popular style: what was different from the high fights of thepocts, and the studied sublime obscurity of the philosophers.
Because of the infirmity of your Jlcsh] As if he had said, I make use of metaphors and figures connected with well known natural things; with your trades and situation in life; because of your inexperience in heavenly things, of which ye are only just beginning to know the nature and the names.
Servants to uncleanncss, &c] These different expressions shew how deeply immersed in, and enslaved by sin, these Gentiles were, before their conversion to Christianity. Several of the particulars are given in chapter the lirst of this Kpistle.
Verse 20. Ye zcere free from righteousness.] These two servitudes are incompatible; if we cannot serve God and Mammon; surely we cannot serve Christ and Satan. We must be either sinners or saints; God's servants or the devil's slaves. It cannot be as a good mistaken man has endeavoured to sing:
"To good and evil, equal bent,
I know not whether it be possible to paint the utter pre* valence of sin in stronger colours than the Apostle does here, by saying they zcere Free from righteousness. It seems tantamount to that expression in Genesis, chap. vi. ver. 5. where, speaking of the total degeneracy of the human race, the writer says, every imagination of the thoughts of his heart icas only evil continually. They were all corrupt; they were altogether abominable; there was none that did good; no, not one.
Verse 21. What fruit had ye then in those things'] God
22 But now e being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For r the wages of sin is death; but s the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
'Gen. 2. 17. ch. 5. 12. James 1. 15.
designs that every man shall reap benefit by his service. What benefit have ye derived from the service of sin?
) Vhereof ye are nois ashamed] Ye blush to remember your former life. It was scandalous to yourselves, injurious to others, and highly provoking to God.
The end of those things is death.] Whatever sin may promise of pleasure or advantage; the end to which it necessarily tends is the destruction of body and soul.
Verse 22. But nozc being made free from sin] As being free from righteousness is the finished character of a sinner; so being made free from sin, is the finished character of a genuine Christian.
And become servants to God] They were transferred from the service of one master to that of another: they were freed from the slavery of sin, and engaged in the service of God.
Fruit unto holiness] Holiness of heart was the principle; and righteousness of life the fruit.
Verse 23. For the wages of sin is death] The second death, eyerlasting perdition. Kvery sinner earns this, by long, sore, and painful service. Oh! what pains do men take to get to hell! Early and late they toil at sin; and would not divine justice be in their debt, if it did not pay them their due wages?
But the g/fit of God is eternal life] A man may Merit hell, but he cannot Merit heaven. The apostle does not say that the zeages of righteousness is eternal life: no, but that this eternal life, even to the righteous, is To ^apicrtu.a Tm Qeou, Tue grucious Cift of God: and even this gracious gift comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. He, alone, bas procured it; and it is given to all those who find redemption in his blood. A sinner goes to hell, because he deserves it; a righteous man goes to heaven, because Christ has died for him; and communicated that grace by which his sin is pardoned, and his soul made holy. The word ovu;na, which we here render zeages, signified the daily pay of a Roman soldier. So every sinner has a daily pay, and this pay 'u death; he has misery because he sins. Sin constitutes hell;
The law binds a man
as long as he lives.
the sinner has a hell in his own bosom; all is confusion and dkorder when God does not reign: every indulgence of sinful passions increases the disorder, and consequently the misery, of a sinner. If men were as much in earnest to get their souls saved, as they are to prepare them for perdition, heaven would be highly peopled; and devils would be their own companions. And will not the living lay this to heart?
1. In the preceding chapter we see the connection that subsists between the doctrines of the gospel, and the practice of Christianity. A doctrine is a teaching, instruction, or information concerning some truth that is to be believed, as essentia! to our salvation. But all teaching that comes from God, necessarily leads to him. That Christ died for our sins, and rose again for our justification, is a glorious doctrine of the gospel. But this is of no use to him who does not die to sin, rise in the likeness of his resurrection; and walk in newness of life: this is the use that should be made of the doctrine. E»ery doctrine has its use; and the use of it consists in the practice founded on it. We hear there is a free pardon; we go to God and receive it: we hear that we may be made
holyi we apply for the sanctifying Spirit: we hear there is a heaven of glory, into which the righteous alone shall enter; we watch and pray, believe, love, and obey, in order that, when he doth appear, we may be found of Him in peace without spot, and blameless. Those are the doctrines; these are the uses or practice founded on those doctrines.
2. It is strange that there should be found a person believing the whole gospel system; and yet living in sin! Salvation Fiso.v six is the long continued sound, as it is the spirit and design, of the gospel. Our Christian name, our baptismal covenant, our profession of faith in Christ, and avowed belief in his word, all call us to this: can it be said that we have any louder calls than these? Our selfinterest, as it respects the happiness of a godly life, and the glories of eternal ljlessedness; the pains and wretchedness of a life, of sin, leading to the worm that never dies, and the fire that is not quenched, seconds most powerfully the above calls. Reader, lay these things to heart; and answer thig question to God: How shall I escape, if I neglect so great salvation? And then, as thy conscience shall answer, let thy mind and thy hand begin to act.
CHAPTER VII. *
The law has power over a man as long as he lives, 1. And a wife is bound to her husband only as long as he lives, 2, 3. Christian believers are delivered from the Mosaic laic by Christ Jesus, and united to God, 5—7. By the law, is tfie knowledge of sin, 8. But it gives no power over it, 9—11. Yet it is holy, just, and good, 12. How it convinces of sin, and brings into bondage, 13—24. Xo deliverance from its curse but by Jesus Christ, 85.
NOTES ON CHAP. VII.
The Apostle having, in the preceding chapter, shewn the converted Gentiles the obligations they were under to live a holy life; addresses himself here to the Jctes, who might hesitate to embrace the gospel; lest, by this means, they , should renounce the law, which might appear to them as a' renunciation of their allegiance to God. As they rested in the law, as sufficient for justification and sanctification; it was necessary to convince them of their mistake. That the law was insufficient for their justification, the apostle had' proved, in chapters Hi. iv. and v. that it is insufficient for their sanctification he shews in this chapter; and introduces ,
his discourse by shewing that a believing Jew is discharged from his obligations to the law; and is at liberty to come under another, and much happier constitution, viz. that of the Gospel of Christ, 1—4.. In the 5th verse he gives a general description of the state of a Jew, in servitude to sin, considered as under mere law. In the 6th verse he gives a summary account of the state of a Christian, or believing Jew, and the advantages he enjoys under the gospel. Upon the 5th verse he comments, from ver. 7. to the end of the chap, and upon the 6th verse he comments, chap. viii. 1—11.
In explaining his position in the 5th verse, he shews
1. That the law reaches to all the branches and latent prin
ciples of sin, ver. 7. 2. That it subjected the sinner to death, ver. 8—12. without the expectation of pardon. 3. I He shews the reason why the Jew was put under it, ver. 13. 4. He proves that the law, considered as a rule of action, though it was spiritual, just, holy, and good in itself, yet was insufficient for sanctification, or for freeing a man from the power of inbred sin. For, as the prevalency of sensual appetites cannot wholly extinguish the voice of reason and conscience; a man may acknowledge the law to be holy, just and good, and yet his passions reign within him, keeping him in the most painful and degrading servitude, while the law supplied no power to deliver him from them, ver. 14-—24. as that power can only be supplied by the grace of Jesus Christ, ver. 25. See Taylor.
Verse 1. For I speak to them that knots the lata"] This is a proof that the apostle directs this part of His discourse to the Jews.
As long as he liveth~\ Or as long as It liveth, law does not extend its influence to the dead; nor do abrogated laws bind. It is all the same whether we understand these, words as -peaking of a law abrogated, so that it cannot command; or of its objects, being dead, so that it has none to bind. In either case the law has no force.
Verse 2. For the woman whicli hath a husband~\ The apostle illustrates his meaning by a familiar instance. A married woman is bound to her husband while he lives; but when her husband is dead, she is discharged from the law, by which she was bound to him alone.
Verse 3. So then, if, while her husband liveth'] The object of the apostle's similitude is to shew, that each party is equally bound to the other; but that the death of either dissolves the engagement.
A'o—she is no adulteress, though she be married to another] And do not imagine that this change would argue any disloyalty in you to your Maker; for, as he has determined that this law of ordinances shall cease, you are no more bound to it than a woman is to a deceased husband; and are as free to receive the gospel of Christ, as a woman, in such circumstances, would be to re-marry.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also AAMDCic^i't4(^• are become b dead to the law by the J^"TM^ body of Christ; that ye should be mar- A-DC-cir-8Uried to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should c bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For, when we were in the flesh, thed motions of sins, which were by the law, e did work in our members f to bring forth fruit unto death.
Verse 4. Wherefore, my brethren] This is a parallel case. You were once under the law of Moses, and were bound by its. injunctions; but now ye are become dead to that law ; a modest inoflensive mode of speech, for the law, which was once your husband, is dead; God has determined that it shall be i no longer in force ; so that now, as a woman whose husband I is dead, is freed from the law of that husband, or from her ! conjugal vow, and may legally be married to another: . So God, who gave the law under which ye have hitherto j lived, designed that it should be in force only till the advent j of the Messiah; that advent has taken place, the law has, consequently, ceased, and now ye are called to take on you i the yoke of the gospel, and lay down the yoke of the law; and l this is the design of God, that you should do so.
That yc should be married to another—who is raised from the dead] As Christ is the end of the laze for righteousness to every one that believcth, the object of God in giving the law, was to unite you to Christ; and as he has died, he has not only abolished that law which condemns every transgressor to death, without any hope of a revival; but he has also made that atonement for sin by his own death, which is represented in the sacrifices prescribed by the law. And as Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead he has thereby given the fullest proof, that by his death he has procured the resurrection of mankind; and made that atonement required by the law. That we should bring forth fruit unto God; we, Jews, who believe in Christ, have, in consequence of our union with him; received the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit; so that we bring forth that fruit of holiness unto God, which, without this union, it would be impossible for us to produce. Here is a delicate allusion to the case of a promising and numerous progeny? from a legitimate and happy marriage.
Verse 5. For, when we were in the flesh] When we were without the gospel, in our carnal unregenerated state, though believing the law of Moses, and performing the rites and offices of our religion.
The motions of sins, which were by the law>~\ Ta irafrjjww* Twv a.iJ.af.nwv, the passions of sins, the evil propensities to sins; to every particular sin, there is a propensity; one pro
pensity does not excite to all kinds of sinful arts; hence the apostle uses the plural number, the Passions or propensities of Sins; sins being not more various than their propensities in the unregerierate heart, which excite to them. These ■na.fyfLxret, propensities, constitute the fallen nature; they are the disease of the heart ; the pollution and corruption of the soul. Did work in our members] The evil propensity acts, ev roif u.£Xctriv in the whole nervous and muscular system; applying that stimulus to every part, which is necessary to excite them to action.
To bring forth fruit unto death.'] To produce those nets of transgression which subject the sinner to death temporal and eternal. When the apostle says the motions of sin which uerc by the law; he points out a most striking and invariable characteristic of sin; viz. its rebellious nature; it ever acts against laic, and the most powerfully against known law. Because the law requires obedience; therefore, it will transgress. The law is equally against evil passions and evil actions; and both these exert themselves against it. So, these motions which were by the law, became roused into the most powerful activity, by the prohibitions of the law. They were comparatively dormant till the law said thou shall Not do this, thou shall vo that; then, the rebellious principle in the evil propensity became roused, and acts of transgression and omissions of duly were the immediate consequences.
Verse 6. But note we are delivered from the law] We, who have believed in Christ Jesus, are delivered from that yoke by which we were bound, which sentenced every transgressor to perdition, but provided no pardon even for the penitent; and no sanctification for those who arc weary of their inbred corruptions.
That being dead wherein we were held] To us believers in Christ, this commandment is abrogated; we are transferred to another constitution ; that law which kills, ceases to bind xa; it is dead to us who have believed in Christ Jesus, who is the end of the law for justification and salvation to every one that believes.
That zee should serve in new?wss of spirit] We are now brought under a more spiritual dispensation; now we know the spiritual import of all the Mosaic precepts. We see that the law referred to the gospel, and can only be fulfilled by the gospel.
7 What shall we say then? Is the Vh^a'S' law sin? God forbid." Nay, c I had £nCclx.pi. not known sin, but by the law: for, A.u.c.dr.8ii. I had not known dlust, except the law had said, eThou shalt not covet.
« Or, concupiscence • Exod. 20.17. Deut. 5. 21. Acts 20. 33. ch. 13.9.
The oldness of the letter.] The merely literal rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices are now done away; and the newness of the Spirit, the true intent and meaning of all are now fully disclosed ; so that we are got from an imperfect state into a state of perfection and excellence. We sought justification and sanctification, pardon and holiness, by the law; and have found that the law could not give them: we have sought these in the gospel scheme, and we have found them. We serve God now, not according to the old literal sense, but in the true spiritual meaning.
Verse 7. Is the law sin ?] The apostle had said, ver. 5, The motions of sin, which were by the law, did bring forth fruit unto death; and now he anticipates an objection, "is therefore the law sin?" to which he answers, as usual, p.ij yevoiro, by no means. Law is only the means of disclosing this sinful propensity, not of producing it; as a bright beam of the sun introduced info a room, shews millions of motes which appear to be dancing in it in all directions; but these were not introduced by the light, they were there before; only there was not light enough to make them manifest; so the evil propensity was there before, but there was not light sufficient to discover it.
/ had not known sin, bill by the law] Mr. J^ocke and Dr. Taylor have properly remarked the skill used by St. Paul in dexlrously avoiding, as much as possible, the giving ofTonce tothe Jews: and this is particularly evident in his use of the word / in this place. In the beginning of the chapter, where he mentions their knowledge of the law, he says Ye. In the 4th verse he joins himself with them, and says we; but here, and so to the end of the chapter, where he represents the power of sin, and the inability of the law to subdue it, he appears to leave them out, and speaks altogether in the first person, though it is plain he means all those who were under the law. So chap. iii. 7. he uses the singular pronoun, why am I judged a sinner? when he evidently means the whole body of unbelieving Jews.
There is another circumstance in which his address is peculiarly evident; his demonstrating the insufficiency of the law under colour of vindicating it. lie knew that the Jew would take fire at the least reflection on the Jaw, which he held in the highest veneration; and therefore he very naturally introduces him catching at that expression,