Page images

TEXT. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the

death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by

his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus

Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

PARAPHRASE. therefore now being justified by his death, shall we through

him be delivered from condemnation at the day of judgment. 10 For if, when we were enemies t, we were reconciled to God,

by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we 11 be saved by his life. And not only do we glory in tribula

tion, but also in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom now we have received reconciliation.

NOTES. 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 inmediately 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 disobedience of the one, condemnation of death came on all; so by the obedience of one, justifi

cation to life came upon all.” 9 What St. Paul here calls “ wrath,” he calls “the wrath to come," 1 Thess.

i. 10, and generally, in the New Testament, "wrath” is put for the punishment

of the wicked at the last day. 11 sou móvoy 8d, " and not only so.” I think nobody can with the least attention

read this section, without perceiving that these words join this verse to the 3d. The apostle in the 2d verse says, “ we the Gentiles, who believe, glory in the hopes of an eternal, splendid state of bliss.” In the third verse he adds ou móvor Ei," and not only so, but our afflictions are to us matter of glorying,” which he proves in the seven following verses, and then, ver. 11, adds cú prévoy , “ aud not only so; but we glory in God also, as our God, being reconciled to him in Jesus Christ.” And thus he shows that the convert Gentiles had whereof to glory as well as the Jews, and were not inferior to them, though they had not circumcision and the law, wherein the Jews gloried so much, but with no ground, in comparison of what the Gentiles had to glory in, by faith in Jesus Christ, now under the Gospel. h It is true, we Gentiles could not formerly glory in God, as our God; that was the privilege of the Jews, who alone of all the nations owned him for their King and God, and were his people, in covenant with him. All the rest of

NOTE. the kingdoms of the earth had taken other lords, and given themselves up to false gods, to serve and worship them, and so were in a state of war with the true God, the God of Israel. But now we being reconciled by Jesus Christ, whom we have received, and own for our Lord, and thereby being returned into his kingdom, and to our ancient allegiance, we can truly glory in God, as our God, which the Jews cannot do, who have refused to receive Jesus for their Lord, whoin God hath appointed Lord over all things.


CHAPTER V. 12_VII. 25.


The apostle here goes on with his design, of showing that the Gentiles, under the Gospel, have as good a title to the favour of God as the Jews; there being no other way, for either Jew or Gentile to find acceptance with God, but by faith in Jesus Christ. In the foregoing section he reckoned up several subjects of glorying, which the convert Gentiles had without the law, and concludes them with this chief and principal matter of glorying, even God himself, whom, now that they were, by Jesus Christ their Lord, reconciled to him, they could glory in as their God.

To give them a more full and satisfactory comprehension of this, he leads them back to the times before the giving of the law, and the very being of the Jewish nation; and lays before them, in short, the whole scene of God's economy, and his dealing with mankind from the beginning, in reference to life and death.

1. He teaches them that by Adam's lapse all men were brought into a state of death, and by Christ's death all are restored to life. By Christ also as many as believe are instated in eternal life.

2. That the law, when it came, laid the Israelites faster under death, by enlarging the offence which had death annexed to it. For by the law, every transgression that any one under the law committed had death for its punishment, notwithstanding which, by Christ, those under the law who believe receive life.

3. That though the Gentiles, who believe, come not under the rigour of the law, yet the covenant of grace which they are under requires that they should not be servants and vassals to sin, to obey it in the lusts of it, but sincerely endeavour after righteousness, the end whercof would be everlasting life.


4. That the Jews also who receive the Gospel are delivered from the law; not that the law is sin, but because, though the law forbid the obeying of sin, as well as the Gospel, yet not enabling them to resist their sinful lusts, but making each compliance with any sinful lust deadly, it settles upon them the dominion of sin, by death, from which they are delivered by the grace of God alone, which frees them from the condemnation of the law for every actual transgression, and requires no more but that they should, with the whole bent of their mind, serve the law of God, and not their carnal lusts. In all which cases the salvation of the Gentiles is wholly by grace, without their being at all under the law. And the salvation of the Jews is wholly by grace also, without any aid or help from the law: from which also, by Christ, they are delivered.

Thus lies the thread of St. Paul's argument, wherein we may see how he pursues his design, of satisfying of Gentile converts at Rome, that they were not required to submit to the law of Moses : and of fortifying them against the Jews, who troubled them about it.

For the more distinct and easy apprehension of St. Paul's discoursing on these four heads, I shall divide this section into the four following numbers, taking them up, as they lie in the order of the text.

[blocks in formation]

CONTENTS. Here he instructs them in the state of mankind in general, before the law, and before the separation that was made thereby of the Israelites from all the other nations of the earth. And here he shows that Adam, transgressing the law, which forbade him the eating of the tree of knowledge upon pain of death, forfeited immortality, and becoming thereby mortal, all his posterity, descending from the loins of a mortal man, were mortal too, and all died, though none of them broke that law but Adam himself: but by Christ they are all restored to life again. And God justifying those who believe in Christ, they are restored to their primitive state of righteousness and immortality; so that the Gentiles, being the descendants of Adam as well as the Jews, stand as fair

for all the advantages, that accrue to the posterity of Adam, by Christ, as the Jews themselves, it being all wholly and solely from grace.

TEXT. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by

sin ; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned: 13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when

there is no law.

PARAPHRASE. 12 Wherefore, to give you a state of the whole matter from the

beginning, you must know, that as by the act of one man, Adam, the father of us all, sin entered into the world, and death, which was the punishment annexed to the offence of

eating the forbidden fruit, entered by that sin, for that all 13 Adam's posterity thereby became mortal. It is true indeed

sin was universally committed in the world by all men, all the time before the positive law of God delivered by Moses : but it is as true b that there is no certain determined punishment

NOTES. 12 a “ Having sinned,” I have rendered became mortal, following the rule I thiuk

very necessary for the understanding St. Paul's epistles, viz. the making him, as much as is possible, his own interpreter, 1 Cor. xv. 22, cannot be denied to be parallel to this place. This and the following verses here being, as one may say, a comment on that verse in the Corinthians, St. Paul treating here of the same matter, but more at large. There he says, as in Adam all die,” which words cannot be taken literally, but thus, that in Adam all became mortal. The same he says here, but in other words, putting, by a no very unusual metonymy, the cause for the effect, viz. the siu of eating the forbidden fruit, for the effect of it on Adam, viz. mortality, and, in him, on all his posterity: a mortal father, infected now with death, being able to produce no better than a mortal race. Why St. Paul differs in his phrase here from that which we find he used to the Corinthians, and prefers here that which is harder and more figurative, may perhaps be easily accounted for, if we consider his style and usual way of writing, wherein is shown a great liking of the beauty and force of antithesis, as serving much to illustration aud impression. Jo the fifteenth chapter of 1 Cor. he is speaking of life restored by Jesus Christ, and, to illustrate and fix that in their miods, the death of mankind best served : here to the Romans he is discoursing of righteousness restored to men by Christ, and therefore, here, the term sin is the most patural and properest to set that off. But that neither actual, vor impated sin is meant here, or ver. 19, where the same way of expression is used, he that has need of it may see proved in Dr. Whitby upou the place. If there can be any need of any other proof, when it is evidently contrary to St. Paul's design here, which is to show that all men, from Adam Moses, died solely in

consequence of Adam's transgression, see ver. 17. 13 b Oix inaoysītas, " is not imputed,” so our trauslation, but possibly not exactly

to the sense of the apostle ; 'Exoycīv siguifies to reckon, but cannot be interpreted reckon to, which is ibe meaning of impute, without a person assigned, to whom

TEXT. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them

PARAPHRASE. 14 affixed to sin, without a positive lawo declaring it. Never

theless, we see that, in all that space of time, which was

NOTES. it is imputed. And so we see, when the word is used in that sense, the dative case of the person is subjoined. And therefore it is well translated, Philem. 18, If he owes thee any thing, ipod tadóyes, put it to my account, reckon or impute it to me. Besides St. Paul here tells us, the sin, here spoken of, as not reckoned, was in the world, and had actual existence, during the time between Adam and Moses; but the sin, which is supposed to be imputed, is Adam's sin, which he committed in paradise, and was not in the world during the time from Adam till Moses, and therefore in noycītas cannot here signify imputed. Sins in sacred Scripture are called debts; but nothing can be brought to account, as a debt, till a value be set upon it. Now sips can no way be taxed, or a rate set upon them, but by the positive declaration and sanction of the lawmaker. Mankind, with. out the positive law of God, kuew, by the light of nature, that they transgressed the rule of their nature, reason, which dictated to them what they ought to do. But, without a positive declaration of God, their sovereign, they could not tell at what rate God taxed their trespasses against this rule ; till he pronounced that life should be the price of sin, that could not be ascertained, and consequently sin could not be brought to account : and, therefore, we see that where there was no positive law, affixing death to sin, men did not look on death as the wages or retribution for their sin; they did not account, that they paid their lives as a debt and forfeit for their transgression. This is the more to be considered, because St. Paul, in this epistle, treats of sin, punishment, and for. giveness, by way of an account, as it were, of debtor and creditor.

He will be farther confirmed in this sense of these words, who will be at the pains to compare chap. iv. 15, and v. 13, 20, and vii. 8, 9, together. St. Paul, chap. iv. 15, says, the law worketh wrath, i. e. carrieth punishment with it. For where there is no law, there is no transgression. Whereby is not meant, that there is no sin, where there is no positive law, (the contrary whereof he says in this verse, viz. that sin was in the world all the time, before the law) but that there is no transgression, with a penalty annexed to it, with. out a positive law. And hence he tells the Romaus, chap. i. 32, that they knew not that those things deser ved death, [vid. note, chap. i. 32,] but it was by the positive law of God only, that men knew that death was certainly annexed to sin, as its certain and unavoidable punishment; and so St. Paul argues, chap. vii. 8, 9.

Νόμου, “ Jaw.” Whether St. Paul by róuos here means law in general, as for the most part he does, where he omits the article ; or whether he means the law of Moses in particular, in which sense he conmonly joins the article to róuos; this is plain, that St. Paul's notion of a law was conformable to that given by Moses, and so he uses the word, buos, in English, law, for the positive coin. mand of God, with a sanction of a penalty annexed to it; of which kind there never having been any one given to any people, but that by Moses to the children of Israel, till the revelation of the will of God by Jesus Christ to all mankind, which, for several reasons, is always called the Gospel, in contradistinction to the law of Moses; when St. Paul speaks of law, in general, it reduces itself, in matter of fact, to the law of Moses.


« EelmineJätka »