Page images
PDF
EPUB

VII.

plied his laws, that occasion might be given CHAP. the Israelites of meriting more abundantly, and of acquiring various degrees of happiness. The Pharisees also added many things of their own to the Divine law, that by that will-worship the value of their merits might be increased. In this therefore, Gentilism and Judaism so far agreed, that they placed both the expiation of sins, and the obtaining of happiness in something which should be performed by themselves, while they were totally ignorant of Messiah's righteousness. VI. The error of many was increased by the Judaiz

VI. Of the circumcision of Christians, who would ing Christ

ians. have the observation of the Mosaic laws, for a part at least of righteousness, joined to the righteousness of Christ, as it is taught in the gospel. VII. All these errors together, Paul im- VII. All

which Paul pugns and confutes: proving, at large, that

refutes. there is none, neither Gentile, nor Jew, who by any work done, either according to the law of nature, or the law of Moses, or devised by men themselves, can acquire, either in whole or in part, an immunity from punishment, and a right to life and salvation: but that with the denial of all our own righteousness, all these things must be sought in Christ alone, to whom we are not united but by faith. VIII. This is the sum of that doctrine Vi!!. Man

not justifiwhich the Apostle handles with the utmost ed by his atcuracy, especially in the epistle to the Ro- own right

eousness.

mans.

сHAP.

The first proposition of which we find VII.

chap. i. 16, 17. where he extols the gospel of Christ as the power of God unto salvation, to every one who believeth, to the Jews first, and also to the Greek. But from whence hath the gospel such a power to save? It is from henee; because in it is revealed the true righteousness, which gives a title unto life. What is that righteousness? Not our own, consisting in our virtues or our works; but God's, which has him for its author, Phil. iii. 9. which he promised by the prophets, Isa. xlv. 24. liv, 17.; which was fulfilled and brought in by Christ, God-man, who is Jehovah our righteousness; and finally, which on account of its perfection, is approved by God, and avails before him, 2 Cor. v. 21. Rom. v. 21. and which is opposed to our own personal righteousness, Rom. x. 3.

IX. Now this righteousness is from faith. God's It is revealed, offered, and conveyed by the righteousneas from gospel, as the hand of God exhibiting it: it is

accepied by faith, as the hand of the soul apfaith.

prehending it. Further, it is so from faith, that it is also to faith. It is from faith, whereby I believe the testimony of God the Father concerning his Son, and the life which is in him; whereby I draw near unto him, that I may claim the right of the sons of God; whereby, I flee to him as the strong-hold of my salvation; whereby, in fire, I receive him to be my Saviour. It is to faith, whereby. I believe, and am firmly persuaded that God is

faith to

VII.

to all.

my shield and my exceeding great reward; CHAP. that Christ is my most lovely Saviour; and finally, that I am now in a state of grace, and in the certain expectation of glory. Compare Rom. v. 1. Unless we rather choose to explain from faith to fuith thus: that it denotes а faith which begins and consummates; and that therefore it is faith only, which alone so avails here from the beginning to the end, that it neither comes into the assistance of preceding works, nor does it call in the aid of those which follow,

X. But why was it necessary that the right. X. Neeousness which is from faith should be reveal

cessary un ed by the gospel? For this reason, because neither Gentiles nor Jews have any righteousness of their own, by which they can obtain expiation of sins and a title to life. This the Apostle proves distinctly: first, concerning the Gentiles, who, whether they were openly wicked, or a little more refined, had all so sinned against the law of nature, that they had incurred its curse: then concerning the Jews, by whom the Mosaic law was so far from being ob. served that they, no less than the Greeks, areundersin. Henceit comes to pass that every mouth is stopped, and all the world is obnoxious to the Divine condemnation. Hence the conclusion is, that no flesh shall be justified by the deeds of the law, whether natural, or Mosaic: but that another righteousness is required, which, without the law, is manifested: inasmuch as it does not consist in certain duties

CHAP.

VII.

XI. It does not

to be performed by ourselves in virtue of the obligation of the law, and in order to justification: but it is the righteousness of God by. faith; and which is common to believers, without the distinction of Jew, or Greek.

XI. Further, this righteousness is not placconsist in o-ed in the observation of the duties prescribed beying the precepts of by the gospel, [13.) as if that were now obthe gospel. tained by it, which the Greeks and Jews

sought in vain, every one in the observation of their own laws and their own religion, for we are said to be justified freely, without any cause of justification being in us. But it is placed in the grace of God, and in the redemption which is in Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood. In fine, all things tend to this, that the glory of our salvation should be wholly transferred to God and Christ, and our boasting entirely banished. Boasting is to say something of one's self which is the cause either of escaping judgment, or of the right of expecting the inheritance, or even of claiming something from God. Such boasting is altogether excluded: not by the law of works, that is, by that doctrine which shews that salvation is to be obtained by works, and gives the man who performs it the confidence of boasting, but by the law of faith; which teaches, that righteousness is to be sought in Christ, and apprehended by faith, without any actions of ours,

Note (13.)

VII.

ness.

which may any how come into consideration CHAP. here. Compare Eph. ii. 8,9. This is the process of Paul's disputation, directly opposite to the errors both of Jews and Gentiles, who each sought in their own works the expiation of their offences, and a title to life, and being ignorant of the righteousness of God, went about to establish their own righteous

Which controversy indeed is very distant from that other, whether the ceremonies must be joined to the gospel; of which he treats more fully in the Epistle to the Galatians.

XII. For there was another occasion-given XII. The for this epistle than for that to the Romans. which gave After Paul had faithfully taught the Galati-occasion to

write to the ans the pure gospel of Christ, there had come Galatians. suddenly, in his absence, certain false teachers, corrupting the true seed with their dogmas. For they taught, that the observance of the ceremonies was a thing very necessary even to Christians, in order to obtain justification and salvation. And because it was quite evident from the whole tenor of his doctrine, that Paul was othewise minded, hence they went about, by every kind of cayils and calumnies, to diminish his authority. They also boasted of their consent with Peter, James, and John, who, without dispute, were the most celebrated among the Apostles. And perhaps, that they might the more successfully insinuate themselves into the Galatians, they pretended the names of such great Apostles, as if they

« EelmineJätka »