Page images
PDF
EPUB

TEXT. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with

me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man : 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of

my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is

in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of

this death?

PARAPHRASE. 21 I find it, therefore, as by a law settled in me, that when my

intentions aim at good, evil is ready at hand, to make my 22 actions wrong and faulty. For that which my inward man

is delighted with, that, which with satisfaction my mind 23 would make its rule, is the law of God. But I see in my

members another principle of action, equivalent to a law", directly waging war against that law, which my mind would follow, leading me captive into an unwilling subjection to the constant inclination and impulse of my carnal appetite,

which, as steadily as if it were a law, carries me to sin. 24 O miserable man that I am! who shall deliver me P from this

NOTES. 23 St. Paul, here and in the former chapter, uses the word members, for the lower

faculties and affections of the animal man, which are as it were the instruments of actions. • He having, in the foregoing verse, spoken of the law of God, as a principle of action, but yet such as had not a power to rule and influence the whole man, so as to keep him quite clear from sin, he here speaks of natural inclination, as of a law also, a law in the members, and a law of sin in the members, to show that it is a principle of operation in men, eren under the law, as steady and constant in its direction and impulse to sin, as the law is to obedience, and failed

not, through the frailty of the flesh, often to prevail. 24 P What is it, that St. Paul so pathetically desires to be delivered from? The

state he had been describing was that of human weakness, wherein, notwithstanding the law, even those, who were under it, and sincerely endeavoured to obey it, were frequently carried, by their carnal appetites, into the breach of it. The state of frailty, he knew men, in this world, could not be delivered from. And therefore, if we mind him, it is not that, but the consequence of it, death, or so much of it that brings death, that he inquires after a deliverer from. “Who shall deliver ine," says he, “from this body?" He does not say of frailty, but of death : what shall hinder that my carnal appetites, that so often make me fall into sin, shall not bring death upon me, which is awarded me by the law? And to this he answers, “the grace of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is the favour of God alone, through Jesus Christ, that delivers frail men from death. Those under grace obtain life, upon sincere intentions and endeavours after obedience, and those endeavours a man may attain to, in this state of frailty. But good intentions and sincere endeavours are of no behoof against death, to those under the law, which requires complete and punctual obedience, but gives no ability to attain it. And so it is grace alone,

TEXT. 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, with the

mind, I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of

sin.

PARAPHRASE.

25 body of death ? The grace of God 9, through Jesus Christ

our Lord. To comfort myself, therefore, as that state requires, for my deliverance from death, I myself', with full purpose and sincere endeavours of mind, give up myself to obeys the law of God; though my. carnal inclinations are enslaved, and have a constant tendency to sin. This is all I

NOTES.

through Jesus Christ, that accepting of what a frail man can do, delivers from the body of death. And thereupon, he concludes with joy, “ so then I, being now a Christian, not any longer under the law, but under grace, this is the state I am in, whereby I shall be delivered from death; 1, with my whole bent and intentiou, devote myself to the law of God, in sincere endeavours after obedience, though my carnal appetites are enslaved to, and have their datural propensity

towards sin. 25 1 Our translators read eixapoo too cup eq, “I thank God :" the author of the

Vulgate, zápis tol 60, "the grace or favour of God,” which is the reading of the Clermont, and other Greek manuscripts. Nor can it be doubted which of these two readings should be followed, by one who considers, not only that the apostle makes it his business to show that the Jews stood in need of grace, for salvation, as much as the Gentiles : but also, that the grace of God is a direct and apposite answer to, “who shall deliver me?” which, if we read it, I thank God, has no answer at all; an omission, the like whereof I do not remember any where in St. Paul's way of writing. This I am sure, it renders the passage obscure and imperfect in itself. But much more disturbs the sense, if we observe the illative, therefore, which begins the vext rerse, and introduces a conclusion easy and natural, if the question, “who shall deliver me?" has for answer, “ the grace of God.” Otherwise it will be hard to find premises, from whence it can be drawn. For thus stands the argument plain and easy. The law cannot deliver from the body of death, i. e. from those carnal appetites, which produce sin, and so bring death : but the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, which par. doos lapses, where there is sincere endeavour after righteousness, delivers us from this body, that it doth not destroy us. From whence naturally results this conclusion, “there is therefore now no condemnation,” &c. But what it is grounded on, in the other reading, I confess I do not see.

AŬTès éyü, “I myself,” i. e. I the man, with all my full resolution of mind. Autós éyè might have both of them been spared, if nothing more had been meant here than the nominative case to Sou euwe See note, ver. 20. 'Aoureów, “ I serve," or I make myself a vassal, i. e. I intend and devote my whole obedience. The terms of life, to those under grace, St. Paul tells us at large, ch, vi, are douawenyout on Orxalocúrn, and tomb orq, to become rassals to righteousness, and to God; consonantly he says here avads oyà, “I myself,” I the man, being now a Christian, and so no longer under the law, but under grace, do what is required of me, in that state ; Sourców, “I become a rassal to the law of God," i. e. dedicate myself to the service of it, in sincere endeavours of obedience; and so avrds éya, “I the man shall be delivered from death;" for he that, being under grace, makes himself a vassal to God, in a steady purpose of

Y

PARAPHRASE. can do, and this is all, I being under grace, that is required of me, and through Christ will be accepted.

NOTE. sincère obedience, shall from him receive the gift of eternal life, though his car nal appetite, which he cannot get rid of, having its bent towards sin, makes him sometimes transgress, which would be certain death to him, if we were still under the law. See chap. vi. 18 and 22. And thus St. Paul having shown here in this chapter that the being under grace alone, without being under the law, is necessary even to the Jews, as in the foregoing chapter he had shown it to be to the Gentiles, he hereby demonstratively confirms the Gentile converts in their freedom from the law, which is the scope of this epistle thus far.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

St. Paul having, chap. vi. shown that the Gentiles, who were not under the law, were saved only by grace, which required that they should not indulge themselves in sin, but steadily and sincerely endeavour after perfect obedience: having also, ch. vii. shown, that the Jews, who were under the law, were also saved by grace only, because the law could not enable them wholly to avoid sin, which, by the law, was in every the least slip made death ; he in this chapter shows, that both Jews and Gentiles, 'who are under

grace, i. e. converts to Christianity, are free from condemnation, if they perform what is required of them; and thereupon he sets forth the terms of the covenant of grace, and presses their observance, viz. not to live after the flesh, but after the Spirit, mortifying the deeds of the body; forasmuch as those that do so are the sons of God. This being laid down, he makes use of it to arm them with patience against afflictions, assuring them that, whilst they remain in this state, nothing can separate them from the love of God, nor shut them out from the inheritance of eternal life with Christ in glory, to which all the sufferings of this life bear not any the least proportion.

TEXT. 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in

Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath made me free

from the law of sin and death.

PARAPHRASE. 1 There is, therefore“, now b, no condemnation to, i. e.

no sentence of death shall pass upon those who are Christians", if so be they obey e not the sinful lusts of the

flesh, but follow, with sincerity of heart, the dictates of the 2 *Spirit, & in the Gospel. For the h grace of God, which is

NOTES. 1. “Therefore.” This is an inference drawn from the last verse of the foregoing

chapter, where he saith, that it is grace that delivers from death, as we have already observed. b“Now.” Now that, under the Gospel, the law is abolished to those, who entertain, the Gospel. • The “condemnation" here spoken of, refers to the penalty of death, annexed to every transgression by the law, whereof he had discoursed in the foregoing chapter. a la Christ Jesus,” expressed chap. vi, 14, by “under grace," and Gal. iii. 27, by “ having put on Christ;" all which expressions plainly signify, to any one that reads and considers the places, the professing the religion, and owning a subjection to the law of Christ, contained in the Gospel, which is, in short, the profession of Christianity. e lepin celoīvi, “ walking,” or “who walk," does not mean, that all, who are in Christ Jesus, do walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ; but all who, being in Christ Jesus, omit not to walk so. This, if the tenour of St. Paul's discourse, here, can suffer any one to doubt of, he may be satisfied is so, from ver. 13, “If ye live after the flesh.” The “ye," he there speaks to, are no less than those that, chap. i. 6, 7, he calls, “the called of Jesus Christ, and the beloved of God,” terms equivalent to “ being in Jesus Christ :" see chap. vi. 12-14. Gal. v. 16–18; which places, compared together, show that by Christ we are delivered from the dominion of sin and lust; so that it shall not reign over us unto death, if we will set ourselves against it, and sincerely endeavour to be free; a voluntary slave, who enthrals himself by a willing obedience, who can set free? s“Flesh and spirit" seem here plainly to refer to flesh, wherewith he says he serves sin ; and“ mind,” wherewith he serves the law of God in the immediately preceding words. B“ Walking after the Spirit," is, ver. 13, explained by “mortifying the deeds

of the body through the Spirit.”. 2h That it is grace, that delivers from the law in the members, which is the

law of death, is evident from chap. vii. 23—25 : why it is called a law, may be found in the antithesis to the law of sin and death, grace being as certain law, to give life to Christians, that live not after the flesh, as the influence of sinful appetites is, to bring death on those, who are not under grace. lu the next place, why it is called the law of the Spirit of life, bas a reason, in that the Gospel, which contains this doctrine of grace, is dictated by the same Spirit, that

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. effectual to life, has set me free from that law in my mem: bers, which cannot now produce sin in me unto death i 3 For this (viz. the delivering us from sin) being beyond the

power of the law, which was too weak to master the propensities of the flesh, God, sending his Son in flesh, that in all things, except sin, was like unto our frail sinfúl flesh',

NOTES. raised Christ from the dead, and that quickens us to newness of life, and has, for its end, the conferring of eternal life. i“ The law of sin and death.” Hereby is meant that which he calls “ the law in his members," chap. vii. 23, where it is called “the law of sin;" and ver. 24, it is called “the body of death," from which grace delivers. This is certain, that nobody, who considers what St. Paul has said, ver. 7 and 13 of the foregoing chapter, can think that he can call the law of Moses “the law of sin, or the law of death.” And that the law of Moses is not meant, is plain from his reasoning in the very next words. For the law of Moses could not be 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 unprofit

ableness 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 onprofitable, as the author to the Hebrews says, so as to make nothing perfect. The one was its inflexible rigour, against which it prorided 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 siucere endeavours after righteousness, to keep sin under, in their mortal 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 pote. 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,

!

« EelmineJätka »