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Kcto EJitton, 







THE author of this Commentary is more widely known as a 
writer in the departments of controversial and systematic 
theolo j v than as an expositor of Scripture. Nevertheless, 
his whole life was primarily devoted to the critical and sys 
tematic studv of the Bible, and his entire theological method 
and system is eminently biblical, lie became a teacher of 
the Original Languages of Scripture in Princeton Theo 
logical Seminary in 18-0, and the professor of Oriental and 
Liblical Literature in ISi i*. He spent two vears in Ger- 
many, from 1<S-I> to 1S:28, with Tholuck and ilengstenberg 
and Gescnius, in pursuing exclusively biblical studies. Eor 
twentv years his time was wholly occupied with the study 
of the languages, literature, historical genesis, criticism, and 
interpretation of the Bible, especially of the New Testament. 
lie continued to lecture on the Pauline Epistles to successive 
classes for fifty-six years, from lX 2 2 to 187-S. 

It was not until l!S40 that, much to his own regret, he 
was transferred to the department of Didactic Theology. 
And hence the result was inevitable that his theologv should 
bear the mark of his own personal history and habit, and 
that it should be distinguished from that of the majority of 
his eminent contemporaries, alike of the New England 
and of the German schools, as being a simple induction 
from the teachings of Scripture, instead of being adjusted 
to, if not founded upon, some of the prevalent philosophical 
schemes of the day. It is the mode in this day of violent 
reactions to exaggerate one-sidedly partial truths. Especially 
is it asserted with nnconscientious indiscrimination that sys 
tematic theologians of the past as a class have ignored the 


human and historical genesis of the several writings which 
compose the Uible ; and that, evolving their systems by a 
speculative 1 process from narrow premises, they have sought 
to support them by disconnected and irrelevant citation of 
separate texts. Yet even Archdeacon Farrar, in his recent 
"Hampton Lectures," acknowledges that Calvin, the father 
of Protestant systematic theology, u was one of the greatest 
interpreters oL Scripture who ever lived." Yet Calvin 
published his Institutes first, and his Commentaries after 
wards. The order in which Dr. Hodge was providentially 
led to conduct his studies was more natural and more 
certain to result in a system in all its elements and propor 
tions inspired and controlled by the word of (Jod. All 
candid students of the theology of the past generation must 
acknowledge that Dr. Hodge lias anticipated and preserved 
in his system much of the results of the deservedly vaunted 
discipline of Hiblical Theology, having, as a matter of actual 
history, as well as of intention, so immediately drawn his 
material from a continuous study of the sacred text. 

His "Commentary on Romans was first published in 
ISo;"). An abridged edition appeared in 1S: : }6. The former 
was translated and published in France in 1841, and the 
hitter republished in England in 18-38. The whole work was 
rewritten and enriched with his mature studies in 1864. 
It is this last and most perfect edition which is now offered 
to the public. It should continue to be used by all students 
of the author s u Systematic Theology," presenting as it docs. 
in continuous exposition of the most systematic of the 
doctrinal Epistles, the biblical ground and verification of 
the "system" which he elsewhere so clearly states and 


PIUNCETOX, N. J., August, 1886. 



WHEN Paul and the other apostles were called to enter npon 
their important duties, the world was in a deplorable and yet 
most interesting state. Both Heathenism and Judaism were in 
the last stages of decay. The polytheism of the (iroeks ami 
Romans had been carried to such an extent as to shock tho 
common sense of mankind, and to lead the more intelligent 
ani"nir them openly to reject and ridicule it. This scepticism 
had already extended itself to the mass of the people, and 
become almost universal. As the transition from infidelity to 
superstition is certain, and generally immediate, all classes of 
the people were disposed to confide in dreams, enchantments, 
and other miserable substitutes for religion. The two reigning 
systems of philosophy, the Stoic and Platonic, were alike insuf 
ficient to satisfy the agitated minds n f men. The former 
sternly repressed the best natural feelings of tho soul, incul 
cating nothing but a blind resignation to the unalterable course 
of things, and promising nothing beyond an unconscious exist 
ence hereafter. The latter regarded all religions as but different 
forms of expressing the same general truths, and represented 
the whole mythological system as an allegory, as incomprehen 
sible to the common people, as tin. pa ires of a book to those 
who cannot read. This system promised more than it could 
accomplish. It excited feeling which it could not satisfy, and 
thus contributed to produce that general ferment which existed 
at this period. Among the Jews, generally, the state of things 
was hardly much better. They had. indeed, the form of truo 
religion, but were in a great measure destitute of its spirit. 
The Pharisees were contented with the form : the Sadduceea 
were sceptics; the Essenes were enthusiasts and mystics. Such 
being the state of the world, men were led to feel the need of 
some surer guide than either reason or traditi m, arid some 


better foundation of confidence than either heathen philosophers 
or Jewish sects could afford. Hence, when the glorious gospel 
was revealed, thousands of hearts, in all parts of the world, 
were prepared, by the grace of God, to exclaim, This is all our 
desire and all our salvation. 

The historv of the apostle Paul shows that he was prepared 
to act in such a state of society. In the first place, lie was 
born, and probably educated in part, at Tarsus, the capital of 
Cilicia; a city almost on a level with Athens and Alexandria, 
for its literary zeal arid advantages. In one respect, it is said 
by ancient writers to have been superior to either of them. In 
the other cities mentioned, the majority of students were 
strangers, but in Tarsus they were the inhabitants themselves.* 
That Paul passed the early part of his life here is probable, 
because the trade which he was taught, in accordance with the 
custom of the Jews, was one peculiarly common in Cilicia. 
From the hair of the goats, with which that province abounded, 
a rough cloth was made, Avliich was much used in the manufac 
ture of tents. The knowledge which the apostle manifests of 
the Greek authors, 1 Cor. xv. 33, Titus i. 1*2, would also lead 
us to suppose that he had received at least part of his education 
in a Grecian city. Many of his characteristics, as a writer, 
lead to the same conclusion. lit 1 pursues, far more than any 
other of the sacred writers of purely Jewish education, the 
logical method in presenting truth. There is almost always a 
regular concatenation in his discourses, evincing the spontane 
ous exercise of a disciplined mind, even when not carrying out 
a previous plan. His epistles, therefore, are far more logical 
than ordinary letters, without the formality of regular disserta 
tions. Another characteristic of his manner is, that in discuss 
ing any question, he always presents the ultimate principle on 
which the decision depends. These and similar characteristics 
of this apostle are commonly, and probably with justice, 
;isrribed partly to his turn of mind, and partly to his early 
education. We learn from the Scriptures themselves, that the 
Holy Spirit, in employing men as his instruments in conveying 
truth, did not change their mental habits; he did not make 
Jews write like Greeks, or force all into the same mould. Each 

* Strabo, Lib. J 4, chap. 5. 


retained his own peculiarities of style and manner, and, there 
fore, whatever is peculiar to each, is to be referred, not to his 
inspiration, but to his original character and culture. Vfhilo 
the circumstances just referred to, render it probable that the 
apostle s habits of mind were in some measure influenced by his 
birth and early education in Tarsus, there are others (such as 
the general character of his style) which show that his residence 
there could not have been long, and that his education was not 
thoroughly Grecian. We learn from himself, that he was prin 
cipally educated at Jerusalem, being brought up, as he says, at 
the feet of Gamaliel. (Acts xxii. 3.) 

This is the second circumstance in the providential prepara 
tion of the apostle for his work, which is worthy of notice. As 
Luther was educated in a Roman Catholic seminary, and tho 
roughly instructed in the scholastic theology of which he was 
to be the great opposcr, so the apostle Paul was initiated into 
all the doctrines and modes of reasoning of the Jews, with 
whom his principal controversy was to he carried on. Tho 
early adversaries of the gospel were all J"ws. Even in the 
heathen cities they were so numerous, that it was through them 
and their proselytes that the church in such places was founded. 
\\V find, therefore, that in almost all his epistles, the apostle 
contends with Jewish errorists, the corrupters of the irospel. by 
means of Jewish doctrines. Paul, the most extensively useful 
of all the apostles, was thus a thoroughly educated man; a man 
educated with a special view to the work which he was called to 
perform. A\ e find, therefore, in this, as in most similar cases, 
that God effects his purposes by those instruments which he 
has, in the ordinary course of his providence, specially fitted 
for their accomplishment. 

In the third place, Paul was converted without the interven 
tion of human instrumentality, and was taught the gospel by 
immediate revelation. " I certify you, brethren," he says to 
the Galatians, "that the gospel which was preached of me, was 
not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I 
taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." These cir 
cumstances are important, as he was thus placed completely on 
a level with the other apostles. He had seen the Lord Jesus, 
arid could therefore be one of the witnesses of his resurrection; 


lie was able to claim the authority of an original inspired 
teacher and messenger of God. It is obvious that he laid great 
stress upon this point, from the frequency with which he refers 
to it. He was thus furnished not only with the advantages of 
his early education, but with the authority and power of an 
apostle of Jesus Christ. 

His natural character was ardent, energetic, uncompromising, 
and severe. How his extravagance and violence were subdued 
by the grace of God, is abundantly evident from the modera 
tion, mildness, tenderness, and conciliation manifested in all his 
epistles. Absorbed in the one object of glorifying Christ, he 
was ready to submit to any tiling, and to yield any thing neces 
sary for this purpose. lie no longer insisted that others should 
think and act just as he did. So that they obeyed Christ, he 
was satisfied; and he willingly conformed to their prejudices, 
and tolerated their errors, so far as the cause of truth and 
righteousness allowed. By his early education, by his miracu 
lous conversion and inspiration, by his natural disposition, and 
by the abundant grace of God, was this apostle fitted for his 
work, and sustained under his multiplied and arduous labours. 


One of the providential circumstances which most effectually 
contributed to the early propagation of Christianity, was the 
dispersion of the Jevrs among surrounding nations. They were 
widely scattered through the East, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, 
Greece, and Italy, especially at Home. As they were permitted, 
throughout the wide extent of the Roman Empire, to worship 
God according to the traditions of their fathers, synagogues 
were every where established in the midst of the heathen. The 
apostles, being Jews, had thus always a ready access to the 
people. The synagogues furnished a convenient place for regu 
lar assemblies, without attracting the attention or exciting the 
suspicion of the civil authorities. In these assemblies they 
were sure of meeting not only Jews, but the heathen also, and 

C *; 

precisely the class of heathen best prepared for the reception 
of the gospel. The infinite superiority of the pure theism of the 
Old Testament Scriptures to any form of religion known to the 
ancients, could not fail to attract and convince multitudes among 


the pagans, wherever the Jewish worship was established. Such 
persons became either proselytes or "devout," that is, worship 
pers of the true God. Being free from the inveterate national 
and rcligicas prejudices of the Jews, and at the same time con 
vinced of the falsehood of polytheism, they were the most sus 
ceptible of all the early hearers of the gospel. It was by converts 
from among this class of persons, that the churches in all the 
heathen cities were in a great measure founded. There is 
abundant evidence that the Jews were very numerous at Home, 
and that the class of proselytes or devout persons among the 
Romans was also very large. Fhilo says (Lcgatio in Caium, 
p. 1041, ed. .Frankf.) that Augustus had assigned the Jews a 
larne district beyond the* Tiber for their residence. lie accounts 
for their being so numerous, from the fact that the captives car 
ried thither bv Pompey were liberated by their masters, who 
found it inconvenient to have servants who adhered so strictly 
to a religion which forbade constant and familiar intercourse 
with the heathen. Dion Cassius (Lib. GO, c. 0) mentions that 
the Jews were so numerous at Home, that Claudius was at 
first afraid to banish them, but contented himself with forbid 
ding their assembling together. That he afterwards, on account 
of the tumults which they occasioned, did banish them from the 
city, is mentioned by Suetonius (Vita Claudii, c. 2">.) and by 
Luke, Acts xviii. 2. That the Jews, on the death of Claudius, 
returned to Home, is evident from the fact that Suetonius and 
Dion Cassius speak of their being very numerous under the fol 
lowing rciirns; and also from the contents of this epistle, espe 
cially the salutations (chap. 10) addressed to Jewish Christians. 
That the establishment of the Jewish worship at Rome had 
produced considerable effect on the Romans, is clear from the 
statements of the heathen writers themselves. Ovid speaks of 
the synaco^ues as places of fashionable resort; Juvenal (Satire 
14) ridicules his countrymen for becoming Jews;* and Tacitua 

* Quidam sortiti metuentem sabbata patrem, 
Kil proctor nubes, cocli nurnon adorant: 
Kuc distare putant humana carnc suillam, 
Qua pater abstinuit, raox ct proeputia ponunt. 
Ilomanas autem soliti contemnere leges, 
Jiidaicum ediscunt, et servant, ac metuunt jus, 
Tradidit arcane quodcunque volumine Moses, &C. 


(Hist. Lib. 5, ch. 5*) refers to the presents sent by Roman 
proselytes to Jerusalem. The way was thus prepared for the 
early reception and rapid extension of Christianity in the impe 
rial city. When the gospel was first introduced there, or by 
whom the introduction was effected, is unknown. Such was the 
constant intercourse between Rome and the provinces, that it is 
not surprising that some of the numerous converts to Christian 
ity made in Judea, Asia Minor, and Greece, should at an early 
period find their way to the capital. It is not impossible that 
many, who had enjoyed the personal ministry of Christ, and 
believed in his doctrines, might have removed or returned to 
Rome, and been the first to teach the gospel in that city. Still 
less improbable is it, that among the multitudes present at Jeru 
salem at the day of Pentecost, among whom were " strangers 
of Rome, Jews and proselytes," there were some who carried 
back the knowledge of the gospel. That the introduction of 
Christianity occurred at an early period, may be inferred not 
only from the probabilities just referred to, but from other cir 
cumstances. When Paul wrote this epistle, the faith of the 
Romans was spoken of throughout the world, which would seem 
to imply that the church had already been long established. 
Aquila and Priscilla, who left Rome on account of the decree 
of Claudius banishing the Jews, were probably Christians before 
their departure ; nothing at least is said of their having been 
converted by the apostle. He found them at Corinth, and 
being of the same trade, he abode with them, and on his 
departure took them with him into Syria. 

The tradition of some of the ancient Fathers, that Peter was 
the founder of the church at Rome, is inconsistent with the 
statements given in the Acts of the Apostles. Irenreus (litres. 
III. 1) says, that "Matthew wrote his gospel, while Peter and 
Paul were in Rome preaching the gospel and founding the 
church there." And Eusebius (Chron. ad ann. 2 Claudii) says, 
- u Peter having founded the church at Antioch, departed for 
Rome, preaching the gospel." Both these statements are incor 
rect. Peter did not found the church at Antioch, nor did he 

* Pessimus quisque, spretis religionibus patriis, tributa et stipes Ulue con- 
gerebat, urde auotae Judaeorum res. 


and Paul preach together at Rome. That Peter was not at : 
Rome prior to Paul s visit, appears from the entire silence of 
this epistle on the subject; and from no mention being made of 
the fact in any of the letters written from Rome by Paul during- 
his imprisonment. The tradition that Peter ever was at Rome, 
rests on very uncertain authority. It is first mentioned by 
Dionysius of Corinth, in the latter half of the second century, 
and from that time it seems to have been generally received. 
The account is in itself improbable, as Peter s field of labour 
was in the East, about Babylon ; and as the statement of Diony 
sius is full of inaccuracies. lie makes Peter and Paul thq 
founders of the church at Corinth, and makes the same asser 
tion regarding the church at Rome, neither of which is true. 
lie also says that Paul and Peter suffered martyrdom at the 
same time at Rome, which, from the silence of Paul respecting 
Peter, during his last imprisonment, is in the highest de-Tree 
improbable.* History, therefore, has left us ignorant of the 
time when this church was founded, and the persons by whom 
the work was effected. 

The condition of the congregation may be inferred from the 
circumstances already mentioned, and from the drift of the 
apostle s letter. As the Jews and proselytes were verv numer 
ous at Rome, the early converts, as might be expected, were 
from both these classes. The latter, however, seem greatlv to 
have predominated, because we find no such evidence of a ten 
dency to Judaism, as is supposed in the Kpistle to the Galatians. 
Paul no where seems to apprehend that the church at Rome 
would apostatize, as the Galatian Christians had already done. 
And in chapters 14 and 1-5, his exhortations imply that the 
Gentile party were more in danger of oppressing the Jewish, 
than the reverse. Paul, therefore, writes to them as Gentiles 
(chap. i. 13.) and claims, in virtue of his office as apostle to the 
Gentiles, the right to address them with all freedom and author 
ity (xv. 16.) The congregation, however, was not composed 
exclusively of this class; many converts, originally Jews, were 
included in their numbers, arid those belonging to the other 

* See Eichhorn s Einleitung, Vol. III. p. 203, and Neander s Geschichte de* 
Pflanzung, c. p. 456. 


class were more or less under the influence of Jewish opinion?, 
The apostle, therefore, in this, as in all his other epistles 
addressed to congregations similarly situated, refutes those 
doctrines of the Jews which were inconsistent with the gospel, 
and answers those objections which they and those under their 
influence were accustomed to urge against it. These different 
elements of the early churches were almost always in conflict, 
both as to points of doctrine and discipline. The Jews 
insisted, to a greater or less extent, on their peculiar privileges 
and customs ; and the Gentiles disregarded, and at times 
despised the scruples and prejudices of their weaker brethren. 
The opinions of the Jews particularly controverted in this 
epistle are, 1. That connection with Abraham by natural 
descent, and by the bond of circumcision, together with the 
observance of the law, is sufficient to secure the favour of God. 
2. That the blessings of the Messiah s reign were to be con 
fined to Jews and those who would consent to become prose 
lytes. 3. That subjection to heathen magistrates was incon 
sistent with the dignity of the people of God, and with their 
duty to the Messiah as King. 

There are clear indications in other parts of Scripture, ag 
well as in their own writings, that the Jews placed their chief 
dependence upon the covenant of God with Abraham, and 
the peculiar rites and ordinances connected with it. Our 
Saviour, when speaking to the Jews, tells them, " Say not, 
We have Abraham to our father ; for I say unto you, that 
God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abra 
ham," (Luke iii. 8.) It is clearly implied in this passage, that 
the Jews supposed that to have Abraham as their father 
was sufficient to secure the favour of God. The Rabbins 
taught that God had promised Abraham, that his descendants, 
though wicked, should be saved on account of his merit. 
Justin Martyr mentions this as the ground of confidence of the 
Jews in his day. "Your Rabbins," he says, "deceive them 
selves and us, in supposing that the kingdom of heaven is pre 
pared for all those who are the natural seed of Abraham, even 
though they be sinners and unbelievers." (Dialogue with 
Tri/pho.) They were accustomed to say, "Great is the virtue 
of circumcision ; no circumcised person enters hell." And one 


of their standing maxims was, "All Israel hath part in eternal 

The second leading error of the Jews was a natural result 
of the one just referred to. If salvation was secured by con 
nection with Abraham, then none who were not united to their 
great ancestor could be saved. There is no opinion of the Jews 
more conspicuous in the sacred writings, than that they were 
greatly superior to the Gentiles; that the theocracy and all its 
blessings belonged to them; and that others could attain even 
an inferior station in the kingdom of the Messiah only by 
becoming Jews, 

The indisposition of the Jews to submit to heathen magis 
trates, arose partly from their high ideas of their own dignity, 
and their contempt for other nations; partly from their erro 
neous opinions of the nature of the [Messiah s kingdom, and 
partly, no doubt, fVum the peculiar hardships and oppressions 
to which thev were exposed. The prevalence of this indisposi 
tion among them is proved bv its being a matter ot discussion 
whether it was even lawful to pay tribute to Cassar; by their 
assertion that, as Abraham s seed, they were never in bondage 
to any man; and by their constant tumults and rebellions, 
which led first to their banishment from Home, and finally to 
the utter destruction of their city. The circumstances of the 
church at Punne, composed of both Jewish and (Jeiitile con 
verts; surrounded bv Jews who still insisted on the necessity 
of circumcision, of legal obedience, and of connection with the 
family of Abraham, in order to salvation; and disposed on 
many points to diil er among themselves, sufficiently account for 
the character of this epistle. 


There are no sufficient data for fixing accurately and cer 
tainly the chronology of the life and writings of the apostle 
Paul. It is therefore, in most cases, only by a comparison of 
various circumstances, that an approximation to the date of the 
principal events of his life can be made. With regard to this 

* See Rnymundi Martini Pupo Fi<lei, P. III. Disc. 3, c. 16. Pococke s Mis 
cellanea, p. 172, 227. Witsii Miscellanea, P. II. p. 553. Michaeli s Introduo- 
tioii to the New Testament, Vol. III. p. 03. 


epistle, it is plain, from its contents, that it was written just .13 
Paul was about to set out on his last journey to Jerusalem. In 
the fifteenth chapter he says, that the Christians of Macedonia 
and Achaia had made a collection for the poor saints in Jeru 
salem, and that he was on the eve of his departure for that city 
(ver. 25.) This same journey is mentioned in Acts xx., and 
occurred most probably in the spring (see Acts xx. 1G) of the 
year 58 or 59. This date best suits the account of his long 
imprisonment, first at Cesarca, and then at Rome, of four years, 
and his probable liberation in 62 or Go. His subsequent labours 
ancl second imprisonment would fill up the intervening period 
of two or three years, to the date of his martyrdom, towards 
the close of the reign of Nero. That this epistle was written 
from Corinth, appears from the special recommendation of 
Phcbe, a deaconess of the neighbouring church, who was pro 
bably the bearer of the letter (chap. xvi. 1 ;) from the saluta 
tions of Erastus and Gains, both residents of Corinth, to tho 
Romans (chap. xvi. 23;) compare 2 Tim. iv. 20, and 1 Cor. 

1. 14 ; and from the account given in Acts xx. 2, 3, of Paul s 
journey through Macedonia into Greece, before his departure 
for Jerusalem, for the purpose of carrying the contributions of 
the churches for the poor in that city. 


That this epistle was written by the apostle Paul, admits of 
no reasonable doubt. 1. It, in the first place, purports to be 
his. It bears his signature, and speaks throughout in his name. 

2. It has uniformly been recognised as his. From the apostolic 
age to the present time, it has been referred to and quoted by a 
regular scries of authors, and recognised as of divine authority 
in all the churches. It would be requisite, in order to disprove 
its authenticity, to account satisfactorily for these facts, on the 
supposition of the epistle being spurious. The passages in the 
early writers, in which this epistle is alluded to or cited, are 
very numerous, and may be seen in Lardner s Credibility, 
Vol. II. 3. The internal evidence is no less decisive in its 
favour, (a) In the first place, it is evidently the production of 
a Jew, familiar with the Hebrew text and the Septuagint ver 
sion of the Old Testament, because the language and style are 


uch as no one, not thus circumstanced, could adopt; and be 
cause the whole letter evinces such an intimate acquaintance 
with Jewish opinions and prejudices. (6) It agrees perfectly in 
style and manner with the other epistles of this apostle, (c) It 
is, in the truth and importance of its doctrines, and in the eleva 
tion and purity of its sentiments, immeasurably superior to any 
uninspired production of the age in which it appeared. A com 
parison of the genuine apostolic writings with the spurious pro 
ductions of the first and second centuries, affords one of tho 
strongest collateral evidences of the authenticity and inspiration 
of the former, (d) The incidental or undesigned coincidences, 
as to matters of fact, between this epistle and other parts of tho 
New Testament, are such as to afford the clearest evidence of 
its having proceeded from the pen of the apostle. Compare 
Rom. xv. 25 31 with Acts xx. 2, 3, xxiv. 17, 1 Cor. xvi. 14, 
2 Cor. viii. 14, ix. 2, Rom. xvi. 2123 with Acts xx. 4, Rom. 
xvi. 3, et seqq. with Acts xviii. 2, 1826, 1 Cor. xvi. 19, &c., 
(see Paley s Hone Puuliiue.) 4. Besides these positive proofs, 
there is the important negative consideration, that there are no 
grounds for questioning its authenticity. There are no discre 
pancies between this and other sacred writings ; no counter 
testimony among the early Fathers; no historical or critical 
difficulties which must be solved before it can be recognised aa 
the work of Paul. There is, therefore, no book in the Bible, 
and there is no ancient book in the world, of which the authen 
ticity is more certain than that of this epistle. 


The epistle consists of three parts. The first, which includes 
the first eight chapters, is occupied in the discussion of the doc 
trine of justification and its consequences. The second, embrac 
ing chs. ix. xi., treats of the calling of the Gentiles, the rejec 
tion and future conversion of the Jews. The third consists of 
practical exhortations and salutations to the Christians at Rome. 

THE FIRST PART the apostle commences by saluting the Roman 
Christians, commending them for their faith, and expressing his 
desire to see them, and his readiness to preach the gospel at 
Rome. This readiness was founded on the conviction that tho 
gospel revealed the only method by which men can be saved, 
viz., by faith in Jesus Christ, and this method is equally appli- 


cable to all mankind, Gentiles as well as Jews, chap. i. 1 17. 
Paul thus introduces the two leading topics of the epistle. 

In order to establish his doctrine respecting justification, ho 
first proves that the Gentiles cannot be justified by their own 
works, chap. i. 18 39; and then establishes the same position 
in reference to the Jews, clis. ii. iii. 120. Having thus shown 
that the method of justification by works is unavailable for 
sinners, he unfolds that method which is taught in the gospel, 

chap. iii. 21 31. The truth and excellence of this method he 

confirms in chs. iv. and v. The obvious objection to the doc 
trine of gratuitous acceptance, that it must lead to the indulgence 
of sin, is answered, and the true design and operation of the law 
are exhibited in chs. vi. and vii.; and the complete security of 
all who confide in Christ is beautifully unfolded in chap. viii. 

In ariniing against the Gentiles. Paul assumes the principle 
that God will punish sin, chap. i. 18, and then proves that they 
are justly chargeable both with impiety and immorality, because, 
though they possessed a competent knowledge of God, they did 
not worship him, but turned unto idols, and gave themselves up 
to all kinds of iniquity, chap. i. 19 32. 

He commences his argument with the Jews by expanding the 
general principle of the divine justice, and especially insisting 
on God s impartiality by showing that he will judge all men, 
Jews and Gentiles, according to their works, and according to 
the light they severally enjoyed, chap. ii. 1 10. He shows that 
the Jews, when tried by these rules, are as justly and certainly 
exposed to condemnation as the Gentiles, chap. ii. 17 29. 

The peculiar privileges of the Jews afford no ground of hope 
that they will escape being judged on the same principles with 
other men, and when thus judged, they are found to be guilty 
before God. All men therefore are, as the Scriptures abun 
dantly teach, under condemnation, and consequently cannot be 
justified by their own works, chap. iii. 1 20. 

The gospel proposes the only method by which God will 
justify men a method which is entirely gratuitous ; the condi 
tion of which is faith ; which is founded on the redemption of 
Christ; which reconciles the justice and mercy of God; hum 
bles man; lays the foundation for an universal religion, and 
establishes the law, chap. iii. 21 31. 


The truth of this doctrine is evinced from the example of 
Abraham, the testimony of David, the nature of the covenant 
made with Abraham and his seed, and from the nature of the 
law. lie proposes the conduct of Abraham as an example and 
encouragement to Christians, chap. iv. 125. 

Justification by faith in Christ secures peace with God, pre 
sent joy, and the assurance of eternal life, chap. v. 1 11. The 
method, therefore, by which God proposes to save sinners, is 
analogous to that by which they were first brought under con 
demnation. As on account of the offence of one, sentence lias 
passed on all men to condemnation ; so on account of the right 
eousness of one, all are justified, chap. v. 12 21. 

The doctrine of the gratuitous justification of sinners cannot 
lead to the indulgence of sin, because such is the nature of union 
with Christ, and such the object for which he died, that all who 
receive the benefits of his death, experience the sanctifying 
influence of his life, chap. vi. 1 11. Besides, the objection in 
question is founded on a misapprehension of the effect and design 
of the law, and of the nature of sanctification. Deliverance 
from the bondage of the law and from a legal spirit is essential 
to holiness. When the Christian is delivered from this bondage, 
he becomes the servant of God, arid is brought under an influ 
ence which effectually secures his obedience, chap. vi. 12 23. 

As, therefore, a woman, in order to be married to a second 
husband, must first be freed from her former one, so the Chris 
tian, in order to be united to Christ, and to bring forth fruit 
unto God, must first be freed from the law, chap. vii. 1 6. 

This necessity of deliverance from the law, docs not arise 
from the fact that the law is evil, but from the nature of the 
case. The law is but the authoritative declaration of duty; 
which cannot alter the state of the sinner s heart. Its real 
operation is to produce the conviction of sin (vs. 7 13,) and, 
in the renewed mind, to excite approbation and complacency in 
the excellence which it exhibits, but it cannot effectually secure 
the destruction of sin. This can only be done by the grace of 
God in Jesus Christ, chap. vii. 7 25. 

Those who are in Christ, therefore, are perfectly safe. They 
are freed from the law; they have the indwelling of the life- 
giving Spirit: they are the children of God; they are chosen, 


called, and justified according to the divine purpose; and they 
are the objects of the unchanging love of God, chap. viii. 1 39. 
THE SECOND PART of the epistle relates to the persons to 
whom the blessings of Christ s kingdom may properly be offered, 
and the purposes of God respecting the Jews. In entering upon 
this subject, the apostle, after assuring his kindred of his affec 
tion, establishes the position that God has not bound himself to 
regard as his children all the natural descendants of Abraham, 
but is at perfect liberty to choose whom he will to be heirs of 
his kingdom. The right of God to have mercy on whom he 
will have mercy, he proves from the declarations of Scripture, 
and from the dispensations of his providence. He shows that 
this doctrine of the divine sovereignty is not inconsistent with 
the divine character or man s responsibility, because God 
simply chooses from among the undeserving whom he will as 
the objects of his mercy, and leaves others to the just recom 
pense of their sins, chap. ix. 1 24. 

God accordingly predicted of old, that he would call the 
Gentiles and reject the Jews. The rejection of the Jews was 
on account of their unbelief, chs. ix. 25 83, x. 1 5. The 
two methods of justification are then contrasted for the purpose 
of showing that the legal method is impracticable, but that the 
method proposed in the gospel is simple and easy, and adapted 
to all men. It should, therefore, agreeably to the revealed 
purpose of God, be preached to all men, chap. x. 6 21. 

The rejection of the Jews is not total; many of that genera 
tion were brought into the church, who were of the election of 
grace, chap. xi. 1 10. Neither is this rejection final. There 
is to be a future and general conversion of the Jews to Christ, 
and thus all Israel shall be saved, chap. xi. 11 36. 

THE THIRD or practical part of the epistle, consists of direc 
tions, first, as to the general duties of Christians in their vari 
ous relations to God, chap, xii.; secondly, as to their political 
or civil duties, chap, xiii.; and thirdly, as to their ecclesiastical 
duties, or those duties which they owe to each other as mem 
bers of the church, chs. xiv. xv. 1 13. 

The epistle concludes with some account of Paul s labours 
and purposes, chap. xv. 14 33, and with the usual saluta 
tions, chap. xvi. 






Tins chapter consists of two parts. The first extends to 
the close of vcr. IT, and contains the general introduction to 
the epistle. The second commences with vcr. 18, and extends 
to the end of the chapter: it contains the argument of the 
apostle to prove that the declaration contained in vs. 10, 17, 
that justification can only be obtained by faith, is true with 
regard to the heathen. 

ROMANS I. 117. 


Tins section consists of two parts. The first from vs. 1 to 7 
inclusive, is a salutatory address ; the second, from vs. 8 to 17, 
is the introduction to the epistle. Paul commences by an 
nouncing himself as a divinely commissioned teacher, set apart 
to the preaching of the gospel, vcr. 1. Of this gospel, he says, 
1. That it was promised, and of course partially exhibited in 
the Old Testament, vcr. 2. 2. That its great subject -yas 
Jesus Christ, vcr. 3. Of Christ he says, that he was, as to his 
human nature, the Son of David ; but as to his divine nature, 
the Son of God, vs. 3, 4. From this Divine Person he had 
received his office as an apostle. The object of this office was 
to bring men to believe the gospel; and it contemplated all 
2 (17) 

18 ROMANS I. 1. 

nations as the field of its labour, vcr. 5. Of course the Romans 
were included, vcr. 6. To the Roman Christians, therefore, 
he wishes grace and peace, vcr. 7. Thus far the salutation. 

Having "shown in what character, and by what right he ad 
dressed them, the apostle introduces the subject of his letter 
by expressing to them his respect and affection. He thanks 
God, not only that they believed, but that their faith was uni 
versally known and talked of, ver. 9. As an evidence of his 
concern for them, he mentions, 1. That he prayed for them 
constantly, vcr. 9. 2. That he longed to see them, vs. 10, 11. 
3. That this wish to sec them arose from a desire to do them 
good and to reap some fruit of his ministry among them, as 
well as among other Gentiles, vs. 12, 13. Because he was 
under obligation to preach to all men, wise and unwise, he was 
therefore ready to preach even at Rome, vs. 14, 15. This 
readiness to preach arose from the high estimate he entertained 
of the gospel. And his reverence for the gospel was founded 
not on its excellent system of morals merely, but on its efficacy 
in saving all who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, ver. 16. 
This efficacy of the gospel arises from its teaching the true 
method of justification, that is, the method of justification by 
faith, ver. II. It will be perceived how naturally and skil 
fully the apostle introduces the two great subjects of the 
epistle the method of salvation, and the persons to whom it 
may properly be offered. 


VERSE 1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle. 
Agreeably to the ancient mode of epistolary address, the 
apostle begins with the declaration of his name and office. It 
was his office which gave him the right to address the believers 
at Rome, and elsewhere, with that tone of authority which per 
vades all his epistles. Speaking as the messenger of Christ, 
he spake as he spake, as one having authority, and not as an 
ordinary teacher. 

The original name of the apostle was Saul, ^d demanded. 
He is first called Paul in Acts xiii. 9. As this change of his 
name is mentioned : n the paragraph which contains the account 
of the conversion ot Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of Cyprus, 


some have supposed that the name was assumed in compliment 
to that distinguished convert. This supposition does not seem 
to accord with the apostle s character, and is, on other grounds, 
less probable than either of the two following. First, as it was 
not unusual, among the Jews, to change the name of a person 
in consequence of some remarkable event, as in the case of 
Abraham and Jacob, Gen. xvii. 5, xxxii. 8; or when he was 
advanced to some new office or dignity, Gen. xli. 45, Dan. i 
6, 7; so that a new name is sometimes equivalent to a new 
dignity, Rev. ii. 17, it may be supposed that the apostle re 
ceived the name of Paul, when called to the office of an apostle. 
This supposition is favoured by the consideration that he 
received the name soon alter he entered upon the public exer 
cise of his apostleship, and by the fact that Simon was called 
Cephas when called to be an apostle, John i. 4^, Matt. x. L\ 
and that James and John were called Boanerges, Mark iii. 17. 
Hence Theophylact says that it was in order that even in this 
matter, he should not be behind the very chief of the apos 
tles, that Saul was called Paul. Second, as it was very com 
mon for those Jews who had much intercourse with the hea 
then to bear two names, one Jewish and the other Greek or 
Roman, which names were sometimes entirely distinct, as llillel 
and Pollio, sometimes nearly related as Silas and Silvanus, it is 
very probable that this was the case with the apostle. He 
was called Saul among the Jews, and Paul among the Gentiles; 
and as he was the Apostle of the Gentiles, the latter name 
became his common designation. As this change was, however, 
made or announced at an epoch in the apostle s history, Acts 
xiii. 0, the two explanations may be united. "The only sup 
position," says ])r. J. A. Alexander, in his comment on 
Acts xiii. 0, kv which is free from all these difficulties, and 
affords a satisfactory solution of the facts in question, is, that 
this was the time fixed by Divine authority for Paul s manifes 
tation as Apostle of the Gentiles, and that manifestation was 
made more conspicuous by its coincidence with the triumph 
over a representative of unbelieving and apostate Judaism, and 
the conversion of an official representative of Rome, whose 
name was identical with his own apostolic title." 

In calling himself a servant (bondsman) of Jesus Christ, he 

20 ROMANS I. 1. 

may have intended either to declare himself the derciJant and 
worshipper of Christ, as all Christians are servants (slaves) of 
Christ, Eph. vi. 6; or to express his official relation to the 
Church as the minister of Christ. This is the more probable 
explanation, because, in the Old Testament rnn 1 ? "DS is a com 
mon official designation of any one employed in the immediate 
service of God, Joshua i. 1, xxiv. 29, Jcr. xxix. 19, Isaiah 
xlii. 1 ; and because in the New Testament we find the same 
usage, not only in the beginning of several of the epistles, as 
"Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ," Phil. i. 1. 
"James, the servant of God and of Jesus Christ," James i. 1. 
"Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ," 1 Peter i. 1; 
but also in other cases where the word ooy/oc is interchanged with 
didxovoz minister. Comp. Col. i. T, iv. 7, 12. It is, therefore, 
a general official designation of which, in the present case, 
apostle is the specific explanation. "Apostolatus miriisterii est 
species." Calvin. It has also been properly remarked, that 
as the expression, servant of Christ, implies implicit obedience 
and subjection, it supposes the Divine authority of the Redeemer. 
That is, we find the apostle denying that he was the servant of 
men, rejecting all human authority as it regards matters of faith 
and duty, and yet professing the most absolute subjection of 
conscience and reason to the authority of Jesus Christ. 

x/y-oz cbrotfroAoc, called an apostle. Paul was not only a 
servant of Christ, but by Divine appointment an apostle. This 
idea is included in the word x/ /roc, which means not only 
called, but chosen, appointed ; and the x/^<rrc, or vocation, as 
well of believers to grace and salvation, as of the apostles to 
their office is uniformly ascribed to God or Christ; see Gal. 
i. 1, 1 Cor. i. 1, Tit, i. 1, Gal. i. 15. As the immediate call of 
Christ was one of the essential requisites of an apostle, Paul 
means to assert in the use of the word */^ roc that he wa-s 
neither self-appointed nor chosen by men to that sacred office 

The word d~t )(7Tu/.o^ occurs in its original sense of messenger 
in several cases in the New Testament. John xiii. 16, o jx earc 
d~6ffToAoz ttzi*>v "o 7 j xs/KfiavTOZ V. JTOV. Phil. ii. 25, "* Ercatppb 
ot~o^ . . . bfww os cbrotfTo/ov. Comp. iv. 18. In 2 Cor. viii. 23, 
Paul speaking of the brethren who were with him, calls them 
; ToursffTev says Chrysostom, u~b IxxtyGtujv 

ROMANS I. 1. 21 

,T/^$vrC- Theopliylact adds, xal fc&poTovrftivrs.z. Our 
translators, therefore, are doubtless correct in rendering this 
phrase, messengers of the churches. As a strict official desig 
nation, the word apostle is confined to those men selected and 
commissioned by Christ himself to deliver in his name the 
message of salvation. It appears from Luke vi. 13, that the 
Saviour himself gave them this title. "And wliea it was day, 
he called his disciples, and of them he chose twelve, whom also 
he named apostles." If it be asked, why this name was 
chosen? it is perhaps enough to say, that it was peculiarly 
appropriate. It is given to those who were sent by Christ 
to perform a particular service, who were therefore properly 
called messengers. There is no necessity to resort for an 
explanation of the term, to the fact that the word rrVr mes 
senger, was applied sometimes to the teachers and ministers of 
the synagogue, sometimes to plenipotentiaries sent by the San 
hedrim to execute some ecclesiastical commission. 

The apostles, then, were the immediate messengers of Christ, 
appointed to bear testimony to what they had seen and heard. 
"\e also skill bear witness," said Christ, speaking to the 
twelve, "because ye have been with me from the beginning." 
John xv. 2G. This was their peculiar office ; hence when 
Judas fell, one, said Peter, who has companioned with us all 
the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, must be 
ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Acts i. 21. 
To be an apostle, therefore, it was necessary to have seen 
Christ after his resurrection, 1 Cor. ix. 1, and to have a 
knowledge of his life and doctrines derived immediately from 
himself. Without this no man could be a witness, lie would 
only report what he had heard from others, he could bear no 
independent testimony to what he himself had seen and heard. 
Christ, therefore, says to his disciples, after his resurrection, 
"Ye shall be my witnesses," Acts i. 8, and the apostles 
accordingly constantly presented themselves in this character. 
Acts ii. 32, iii. 15, xiii. 31. "We are witnesses," said Peter, 
spoiking of himself and fellow-apostles, "of all things which 
he did, both in the land of Judea, and in Jerusalem." Acts 
x. 39. When Paul was called to be an apostle, the Saviour said 
to him. U I have appeared unto tliec for this purpose, to make 

22 ROMANS I. 1. 

nice a minister and a witness of these things which tliou hast 
seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thce." 
Acts xxvi. 16. We accordingly find, that whenever Paul was 
called upon to defend his apostlcship, he strenuously asserted 
that he was appointed not of men nor by man, but by Jesus 
Christ ; and as to his doctrines, that he neither received them 
of man, neither was he taught them, but by revelation of Jesus 
Christ. Gah i. 12. 

As the testimony which the apostles were to bear related to 
all that Jesus had taught them, it was by preaching the gospel 
that they discharged their duty as witnesses. Hence Paul 
says, c - Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gos 
pel." 1 Cor. i. 17. To the elders of Ephesus he said, "I 
count not my life dear unto me, so that I might finish my 
course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the 
Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 
xx. 24. 

To irivc authority to this testimony the apostles were inspired, 
and as religious teachers infallible. John xiv. 26, xvi. 13. 
They h;id the power of working miracles, in confirmation of 
their mission. Matt. x. 8, and the Acts of the Apostles passim. 
This power they could communicate to others by the laying 
on of their hands. Acts ix. 15, 17, 18, xix. 6. This is 
what is meant by giving the Holy Ghost, for the apostles 
never claimed the power of communicating the sanctifying 
influences of the Spirit. Nor was the power of giving the 
Spirit, in the sense above-mentioned, peculiar to them, for we 
read that Ananias, a disciple, was sent to Paul that he might 
receive the Holy Ghost. Acts ix. 17. The apostles seem also 
to have had the gift of "discerning spirits," 1 Cor. xii. 10, 
and of remitting sins. John xx. 23. They ordained presbyters 
over the congregations gathered by their ministry. Acts xiv. 
2->, &c. ; and exercised a general jurisdiction over the churches. 
1 Cor. v. 85, 2 Cor. x. C, 8, 11, 1 Tim. i. 20. The apos 
tles, therefore, were the immediate messengers of Jesus Christ, 
sent to declare his gospel, endued with the Holy Spirit, render 
ing them infallible as teachers, and investing them with mira 
culous powers, arid clothed with peculiar prerogatives in the 
organization and government of the Church. 

ROMANS I. 2. 23 

It is in explanation of his apostolic office, and in the further 
assertion of his divine commission that Paul adds, atfco^tapsvo^ 
<f~C eiMx. ffshov $oD, separated unto the gospel of G~od. *A<popieeu 
is to limit off, to separate, to select from among others. It is so 
used in Levit. xx. 24, 26, "I am the Lord your God, which 
have separated you from other people." In the same sense, in 
Gal. i. 15, u when it pleased God, who separated me from my 
mother s womb;" that is, who singled me out, or chose me. It 
is obvious, therefore, that the apostle here refers to his appoint 
ment by God to his cilice. In Acts xiii. 2, it is said, " Separate 
(a<popiaa.Tz) unto me Barnabas and Saul," where a separation 
not to the ministry, much loss to the apostleship, but to a special 
mission is referred to. Paul s designation to ollice was neither 
of man. nor bv man. Gal. i. 1. The words :; sbaffsAeou, unto 
tlie gospel, express the object to winch he was devoted when thus 
separated from the mass of his brethren; it was to preach the 
gospel. The divine origin of the gospel is asserted in calling 
it the tjuxjH / t f <i nl. It is the glad annunciation which God 
makes to men of the pardon of sin, of restoration to his favour, 
of the renovation of their nature, of the resurrection of the 
body, and of eternal life. 

VKKSI-: -, Which he promised afore. That is, the gospel 
which Paul was sent to preach, was the same system of grace 
and truth, which from the beginning had been predicted and 
partiallv unfolded in the writings of the Old Testament. The 
reason \vhv the apostle here adverts to that fact probably was, 
that one of the strongest proofs of the divine origin of the 
gospel is found in the prophecies of the Old Testament. The 
advent, the character, the work, the kingdom of the Messiah, 
are there predicted, and it was therefore out of the Scriptures 
that the apostles reasoned, to convince the people that Jesus is 
the Christ ; and to this connection between the two dispcnsa 
tion.s they constantly refer, in proof of their doctrines. See 
ch. iii. 21, iv. 8, ix. 27, :>:>, x. 11, 20. Comp. Luke xxiv. 44, 
John xii. 10, Acts x. 4-J. 

By hiH pr<>/>/!t fx in t//e JL>ly Scriptures. As in Scripture the 
term rroo^ rjjc? Heb. X"i:, is applied to any one who spake by 
inspiration as the ambassador of God and the interpreter of his 
will ; -oo^-caw here includes all the Old Testament writers, 

24 ROMANS I. 3. 

whether prophets in the strict sense of the term, or teachers, or 
historians. Meyer indeed insists that the line of the prophets 
begins with Samuel, according to Acts iii. 24 "all the prophets 
from Samuel, and those who follow after," and therefore that 
the earlier writers of the Old Testament are not here included. 
But Moses was a prophet, and what is here expressed by the 
words "his prophets," is explained by the phrase "the law and 
the prophets," in ch. iii. 21. 

By the Holy Scriptures must of course be understood, those 
writings which the Jews regarded as holy, because they treated 
of holy tilings, and because they were given by the inspiration 
of the Holy Ghost, 

VERSE 8. Concerning his Son. These words are either to be 
connected with ebaffehoV) the gospel concerning his Son; or 
with Tiposnr^ jfslXaTOj which he promised concerning his Son. 
The sense in either case is much the same. As most com 
mentators and editors regard the second verse as a parenthesis, 
they of course adopt the former construction ; but as there is 
no necessity for assuming any parenthesis, the natural gram 
matical connection is with KposTrr/ffsttaTO. The personal object 
of the ancient promises is the Son of God. 

It is a well known scriptural usage, that the designations 
employed in reference to our Lord are sometimes applied to 
him as a historical person, God and man, and sometimes exclu 
sively to one or the other of the two natures, the divine and 
human, which enter into the constitution of the theanthropos. 
Thus the term Son designates the Logos in all those passages 
in which he is spoken of as the Creator of all things ; at other 
times it designates the incarnate Logos ; as when it is said, 
"the Son shall make you free." Sometimes the same term is 
used in the same passage in reference first to the incarnate 
Word, and then to the Word as the second person of the 
Trinity. Thus in Ileb. i. 2, it is said, "Hath spoken unto us 
by his Son, (the historical person, Jesus Christ,) by whom (the 
eternal Word) he made the worlds." So here, "concerning his 
Son," means the Son of God as clothed in our nature, the Word 
made flesh; but in the next clause, " declared to be the Son 
of God," the word Son designates the divine nature of Christ. 
In all cases, however, it is a designation implying participation 

ROMANS I. 3. 25 

of the diviue nature Christ is called the Son of God because 
he is consubstantial with the Father, and therefore equal to him 
in power and glory. The term expresses the relation of the 
second to the first person in the Trinity, as it exists from 
eternity. It is therefore, as applied to Christ, not a term of 
office, nor expressive of any relation assumed in time. He was 
and is the Eternal Son. This is proved from John i. 1 14, 
where the term vlbz is interchanged with /o/ o^. It was the 
Son, therefore, who in the beginning was with God, who was 
God, who created all things, in whom was life, who is the light 
of men, who is in the bosom of the Father. In John v. IT ->1, 
Christ calls himself the Son of God, iu a sense which made him 
equal to the Father, having the same power, the same author 
ity, and a right to the same honour. In John x. _! ( J 4:2, Christ 
declares God to be his Father in such a sense as to make him 
self God, one with the Father ; and he vindicates his claim to 
this participation of the divine nature by appealing to hi.-, 
works. In Col. i. 1-) IT, he is said as Son to be the image of 
the invisible God, the exact exemplar, and of course the revealer 
of the Divine nature; the Creator of all things that are in 
heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible. In lleb. 
i. 4 -(3, the title Son is adduced as proof that he is superior to 
the angels, and entitled to their worship. He is therefore 
called God s proper Son, wroc, ll ( )in. viii. 82, (corap. narepa 
i wuv /) rov t)~oi>, John v. IS;) his own Son, c^roO, Horn, 
viii. o; his only b< </<>ttrii Mm, //^op^ c, John i. 14, 1/S, iii. 
10, IS, 1 John iv. 9. Hence giving, sending, not sparing this 
Son, is said to be the highest conceivable evidence of the love 
of God, John iii. KJ, Horn. viii. o2, 1 John iv. 9. The histo 
rical sense of the terms /o?-o~, zlxclw, y. oc, xpcoroToxoc, as 
learned from the Scriptures and the usus loquendi of the apos 
tolic age, shows that they must, in their application to Christ, 
be understood of his Divine nature. 

Who was made of tJtc sc< d of l)<ivi<1. As flvotw.^ from the 
assumed theme fi^to, to be</et, signifies to be<jln to be, to come 
into existence, it is often used in reference to descent or birth, 
T&o/t&cv Ix p,varx6c, Gal. iv. 4 ; r^ kf&rftr^s rsxva, 1 Pet. 
iii. 6. "Made of the seed of David," is therefore equivalent 
to -born of the seed of David." That the Messiah was to be 

26 ROMANS L 4. 

of the family of David, was predicted in the Old Testament, and 
affirmed in the New. Lsa. xi. 1, Jer. xxiii. 5, Matt. xxii. 45, 
John vii. 42, Acts xiii. 23. 

The limitation xara adoxa, according to the flesh, obviously 
implies the superhuman character of Jesus Christ. Were he a 
mere man, it had been enough to say that he was of the seed 
of David ; but as he is more than man, it was necessary to limit 
his descent from David to his human nature. That the word 
ffd t o here means human nature is obvious both from the scrip 
tural usage of the word, and from the nature of the case. See 
John i. 14, Rom. ix. 5, 1 Tim. iii. 16, 1 John iv. 2, 3. It is 
not the flesh or body, as opposed to the soul, but the human, as 
opposed to the divine nature, that is intended. Neither does 
ffdoz here mean the purely material element with its organic 
life, the eco/m and ^y/jy, to the exclusion of the ^vsD/^a, or 
rational principle, according to the Apollinarian doctrine, but 
the entire humanity of Christ, including " a true body and a 
reasonable soul." This is the sense of the word in all the 
parallel passages in which the incarnation is the subject. As 
when it is said, "The Word was made flesh," John i. 11; or, 
"God was manifested in the flesh," 1 Tim. iii. 10. These are 
explained by saying, "He was found in fashion as a man," 
Philip, ii. 8. The word therefore includes everything which con 
stitutes the nature which a child derives from its progenitors. 

VERSE 4. Declared to be the Son of God. The word om^tv 
means, 1. To limit, or bound, and, in reference to ideas, to 
define. 2. To determine. Luke xxii. 22, Acts ii. 23, lleb. 
iv. 7. 8. To appoint, or constitute. Acts x. 42. b w { oiafj.svo<; 
u~b TO~J $oD xoiTYjZ ^tbvTtov zu.l Vz.x[>wv. Acts xvii. 31. This last 
sense is given by some few commentators to bpta&evroz in this 
passage. The apostle would then say that Christ was appointed, 
or constituted the Son of God, by or after his resurrection, 
But this is inconsistent with what he elsewhere teaches, viz 
that Christ was the Son of God before the foundation of the 
world, Col. i. 15. As shown above, Son of God is not a 
title of office, but of nature, and therefore Christ cannot be said 
to have been constituted the Son of God. This interpretation 
also would involve the latter part of the verse in great difficul 
ties. Hence even those commentators who most strenuously 

ROMANS 1. 4. 27 

insist on adhering to the signification of words, arc constrained, 
ex necessitate loci, to understand bocad-s^oz here declaratively, 
or in reference to the knowledge of men. That is, when 
Christ is said to be constituted the Son of God, we are not to 
understand that he became or was made Son, but was, in the 
view of men, thus determined.* 

The Vulgate reads, qui praedestinatus cst, which version 
is followed by most of the lloman Catholic interpreters, and by 
Grotius. This rendering is probably founded on the reading, 
Kf>oopi<7&zi<7oz, which, although old, has little evidence in its 
favour. Neither is the sense thus expressed suited to the con 
text. Christ was not predestinated to be the Son of God. lie 
was such from eternity. 

With power ; TO j-sarc, snys Theophylact, d~o r7^ o j^dazioc 
TWV GfiiLZ .uw (Ly l~oUc ; Theodoret also understands these 
words to refer to the miracles which Jesus, by the power of 
the Holy Ghost, wrought in confirmation of his claim to be 
the Son of God. The former of these commentators takes 
ev o j^dfjL-fj /.a.-(l r^z~ju.(L, l~ dvaardazcoz, as indicating tliree 
distinct sources of proof of the Sonship of Christ. lie was 
proved by his miraculous power, by the Holy Spirit either as 
given to him, or as by him given to his people, (the latter is 
Tlieoplivlact s view,) and by his resurrection, to be the Son 
of God. But the change of the prepositions, and especially 
the antithetical structure of the sentence, by which -/j/.ra 
Tti,s~jtjta is obviously opposed to /JJ~<L, are decisive objec 
tions to this interpretation. Others propose to connect In 
ou^dtLzi with UiU Jj >SW in power, for powerful Son; a more 
common and more natural construction is to connect them with 
bo .<jf}ii<-uZ) proved, or declared with power, for powerfully, 
effectually proved to be the Son of God. lie was declared 
with emphasis to be the Son of God, it a ut ejus rei plenissima et 
certissima sit fides. "\Vinzer. 

* Es bleibt claher, says De Wette, niclits flbrig, als den Gedanken dea 
Bestimmen modalisch, d. h. in Beziehung, auf die menschliclie Erkenntniss, zu 
nehmen. Much to the .same purpose Fritzsc he says, Fuerit euim Christus, ut 
Hiit, ante raunduin Dei films, hoc certe apparet, eurn inter mortaks iis demum 
rebus talem a Deo constitutum esse, sine quibus cum esse Dei filium homi 
nes cognoscere non potuissent, velut reditu ex inferis. 

28 ROMANS I. 4 

According to the Spirit of holiness. As just remarked, these 
words are in antithesis with xara advxa; as to the flesh he was 
the Son of David, as to the Spirit the Son of God. As ffap 
means his human nature, weo/ia can hardly mean anything 
else than the higher or divine nature of Christ. The word 
TTvsDua may he taken in this sense in 1 Tim. iii. 16, idwuvfty 
iv ^s jfiart. justified by the Spirit, i. e. he was shown to be just, 
his claims were all sustained by the manifestations of his divine 
nature, i. e. of his divine power and authority. Heb. ix. 14, 
oc dea Trvsy/JLaroz auovioo, who with an eternal Spirit offered 
himself unto God. 1 Pet. iii. 18 is a more doubtful passage. The 
genitive fcfuoawr^ is a qualification of 7rviy/a, Spirit of holiness ; 
the Spirit whose characteristic is holiness. This expression 
seems to be here used, to prevent ambiguity, as Holy Spirit is 
appropriated as the designation of the third person of the 
Trinity. As the word holy often means august, venerandus, so 
dytcoawrj expresses that attribute of a person which renders him 
worthy of reverence ; Trvs^a kfioxjuvrfi is, therefore, Spiritus 
summe venerandus, the $or^c, divine nature, or Godhead, 
which dwelt in Jesus Christ ; the Logos, who in the beginning 
was with God, and was God, and who became flesh and dwelt 
among us. That -vvjtia docs not here mean the spiritual state 
of exaltation of Christ, is plain; first, because the word is 
never so used elsewhere; and, secondly, because it is inconsis 
tent with the antithesis to xara adoxa. Those who understand 
the phrase Spirit of holiness" to refer to the Holy Spirit, 
either, as before remarked, suppose that the apostle refers 
to the evidence given by the Spirit to the Sonship of Christ, 
hence Calvin renders xara Trj/s^ua per Spiritum ; or they 
consider him as appealing to the testimony of the Spirit as 
given in the Scriptures. Christ was declared to be the Son 
of God, agreeably to the Spirit. To both these views, how 
ever, the same objection lies, that it destroys the antithesis. 

!, yzxnojy, is rendered by Erasmus, Luther, and 
others, after the resurrection from the dead. It was not until 
Christ had risen that the evidence of his Sonship was complete, 
or the fulness of its import known even to the apostles. But it 
is better suited to tin context, and more agreeable to the Scrip 
ture, to consider the resurrection itself as the evidence of his 

ROMANS I. 4. 29 

Sonsliip. It was by the resurrection that he was proved to be 
the Son of God. " God," says the apostle, "will judge the world 
in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof 
he hath given assurance unto all, in that he hath raised him 
from the dead." Acts xvii. 31. The apostle Peter also says, 
that "God hath begotten us to a lively hope by the resurrec 
tion of Jesus Christ from the dead." 1 Pet. i. 3. Comp. iii. 21, 
Acts xiii. 35, xxvi. 23, 1 Cor. xv. 20. In these and many 
other passages the resurrection of Christ is represented as the 
great, conclusive evidence of the truth of all that Christ taught, 
and of the validity of all his claims. If it be asked how the 
resurrection of Christ is a proof of his being the Son of God, 
it may be answered, first, because he rose by his own power.. 
He had power to lay down his life, and he had power to take 
it u^ain. John x. 18. This is not inconsistent with the fact 


taught in so many other passages, that he was raised by the 
power of the Father, because what the Father docs the Son 
does likewise; creation, and all other external works, are 
ascribed indifferently to the Father, Son, and Spirit. But in 
the second place, as Christ had openly declared himself to be 
the Son of God, his rising from the dead was the seal of God 
to the truth of that declaration. Had he continued under the 
power of death. God would thereby have disallowed his claim 
to be his Son : but as he raised him from the dead, he publicly 
acknowledged him; saying, Thou art my Son, this day have I 
declared thee such. " If Christ be not risen, then is our preach 
ing vain," says the apostle, ik and your faith is also vain. But now 
is Christ risen, and become the first fruits of them tlint slept." 

Jesus Christ our Lord. These words are in apposition with 
TO~J ulu~j auToit of the third verse ; " his Son, Jesus Christ our 
Lord." All the names of Christ are precious to his people. 
lie is called Jesus, titti iour, because he saves his people from 
their sins. Matt. i. 21. The name Christ, i. e. Messiah, 
Anointed, connects him with all the predictions and promises 
of the Old Testament. lie is the anointed prophet, priest, and 
king, to whom all believing eyes had been so long directed, and 
on whom all hopes centred. lie is x joio- fj/ww our Lord. 
This word indeed is often used as a mere term of respect, 
equivalent to Sir, but as it is employed by the LXX. as the 

30 ROMANS I. 5. 

common substitute of Jehovah, or rather as the translation ol 
W, in the sense of supreme Lord and possessor, so it is m 
the New Testament applied in the same sense to Christ. He is 
our Supreme Lord and possessor. We belong to him, and his 
authority over us is absolute, extending to the heart and con 
science as well as to the outward conduct ; and to him every 
knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord, to the 
glory of God the Father. He, then, who in this exalted sense 
is our Lord, is, as to his human nature, the Son of David, and 
as to his Divine nature, the Son of God. 

VERSE 5. Through whom we have received grace and apostle- 
ship. As it was of the utmost importance that Paul s authority 
as an apostle should be acknowledged in the Church, he here 
repeats the assertion that he received his office immediately 
from Jesus Christ, whose exalted character as the Son of God 
and our supreme Lord he had just declared. Though oi ou 
properly moans through whom, by whose instrumentality, the 
preposition must here be taken in a more general sense as indi 
cating the source from whom. Comp. Gal. i. 1, oca fisou 
xaTpoz. Rom. xi. 36, 1 Cor. i. 9. The words ydow xal a-w-ofyv 
may either be taken together and rendered the favour of the 
apostleship, or each word may be taken separately. Then 
%df>iz refers to the kindness of God manifested to the apostle 
in his conversion and vocation. Through whom we received 
grace, favour in general, and specially, the apostleship. 

Unto the obedience of faith. These words express the object 
of the apostleship; xiffTecoz is either the genitive of apposition, 
"obedience which consists in faith;" or it is the genitive of the 
source, "obedience which flows from faith ;" or it is the geni 
tive of the object, "obedience to faith," i. e. to the gospel. In 
favour of the last interpretation reference may be made to 
2 Cor. x. 5. y; u-axoy ro r j Xocarou ; 1 Pet. i. 22, -/j b-axoy r7^ 
dty&siaz, obedience to the truth. Sec Gal. i. 23, Acts vi. 7, Jude 
iii. for examples of the use of TJ.GTI^ in this objective sense. The 
subjective sense, however, of the word xiffTtz in the New Testa 
ment is so predominant that it is safest to retain it in this pas 
sage. The obedience of faith is that obedience which consists in 
faith, or of which faith is the controlling principle. The design 
of the apostleship was to bring all nations so to believe in Christ 

ROMANS I. 6. 31 

the Son of God that they should be entirely devoted to his ser 
vice. The sense is the same if Kia-tz he taken objectively, un 
derstood however not of the gospel, but of the inward principle 
of faith to which the nations were to be obedient. Among all 
nations. The apostles were not diocesans restricted in jurisdic 
tion to a particular territory. Their commission was general. 
It was to all nations. If these words are connected with we re 
ceived, they express directly the extent of the apostle s mission, 
4 We have received a mission among all nations. If, as is much 
more natural on acccount of their position, they are connected 
with the immediately preceding words, they express the same 
idea indirectly; his oilice was to promote obedience to the faith 
among all nations. Fur his name. That is for the sake of 
(b~e<t) his name or glory. These words are most naturally 
connected with the whole preceding verse, and express the final 
end of the apostle.-hip, viz. the honour of Christ. It was to 
promote the knowledge and glory of Christ that Paul had 
received his oilice and laboured to make the nations obedient to 
the gospel. 

VERSK <J. Amnnij irhom are ye also. The apostle thus justi 
fies his addressing the Church at Home in his oilieial character. 
If the commission which he had received extended to all nations, 
lie was not transcending its limits in writing as an apostle to 
any church, though it had not been founded by his instrument 
ality, nor en jo veil his personal ministry. Called <>f Jesus 
Christ. This may mean. Those whom Christ has called. But 
as the -//.Y^::, or vocation of believers, is generally in the New 
Testament referred to God, the meaning probably is. The called 
who belong to Christ. Qui Dei benelicio estis Jesu Christi. 
Bt za. Tiie word x/j^o^ is never in the epistles applied to one 
who is merely invited by the external call of the gospel. 01 
xA /jToc, the <<///!?</, means the effectually called ; those who are 
so called by God as to be made obedient to the call. Hence 
the xtfTOi are opposed to those who receive and disregard the 
outward call. Christ, though an offence to the Jews and Greeks, 
is declared to be (ro?c x/j^ol-) to the called the wisdom and 
power of God. 1 Cor. i. 24. Hence, too, x/^roi and ixhxToi 
are of nearly the same import; xa~a r.obdzGtv x/qTOi, Horn, yiii, 
28; comp. lloin. ix. 11, 1 Cor. i. 26, 27. We accordingly find 

32 ROMANS I. 7. 

xtyrot used as a familiar designation of believers, as in Rev. 
xvii. 14, of fJ.^,T ai>To r j, xtyrol xal extexToi xal xiaroi See Jude 
i. 1. Corap. Rom. viii. 30, ix. 24, 1 Cor. i. 9, vii. 17, et seq., 
Gal. i. 15, Eph. iv. 1, Col. iii. 15, 1 Thcss. ii. 12, v. 24, 
2 Tim. i. 9. In these and in many other passages, the verb 
xrdsw expresses the inward efficacious call of the Holy Spirit. 

Theophylact remarks that the word xtyrol is applied to Chris 
tians, since they are drawn by grace, and do not come of them 
selves. God, as it were, anticipates them. The same remark 
may be made of most of the other terms by which believers are 
designated. They all more or less distinctly bring into view the 
idea of the agency of God in making them to differ from others. 
They are called ixtexroi dzo r J. Rom. viii. 33, Col. iii. 12, 
1 Tim. i. 1 ; or more fully, ixtex?ol xara xpofycoatv &sot, 1 Pet. 
i. 2 ; ftftaaiJLsvot, sanctified, which includes the idea of separa 
tion, 1 Cor. i. 1, Jude i. 1, 7tpoopeff&vre<; xo.ra xpbfrzaw ro r j 
#oD, Eph. i. 11, ffcoZo/jLwo:, I Cor. i. 18, 2 Cor. ii. 15, rera- 
ffjisvot ere tor t v aitovcov, Acts xiii. 48. 

VERSE 7. To all who are in Rome. These words are, in 
sense, connected with the first verse, "Paul, the servant of 
Jesus Christ, to all who are in Rome." Beloved of God. This 
is the great distinction and blessedness of believers, they are 
the beloved of God. They are not so called simply because, as 
was the case with the ancient Israelites, they are selected from 
the rest of the world, and made the recipients of peculiar 
external favours; but because they are the objects of that great 
love wherewith he hath loved those whom, when they were dead 
in sins, he hath quickened together with Christ, Eph. ii. 4, 5. 
They are the elect of God, holy and beloved, Col. iii. 12 ; they 
are brethren beloved of the Lord, 2 Thcss. ii. 13. Called to be 
saints. The former of these words stands in the same relation 
to the latter that xtyTO? docs to d-o0ro/oc in ver. 1, called to be 
in apostle, called to be saints. It is one of those designations 
peculiar to the true people of God, and expresses at once their 
vocation, and that to which they are called, viz. holiness. The 
word (if toz, in accordance with the meaning of Ehnp in the Old 
Testament, signifies clean, pure morally, consecrated, and espe 
cially as applied to God, hob/, worthy of reverence. The people 
of Israel, their land, their temple, &c., are called holy, as sepa- 

ROMANS I. 7. 33 

rated and devoted to God. The term a;- as applied to the 
people of God under the new dispensation, includes this idea. 
They are saints, because they are a community separated from 
th-e world and consecrated to God. But agreeably to the nature 
of the Christian dispensation, this separation is not merely 
external ; believers are assumed to be really separated from 
sin, that is, clean, pure. Again, as the impurity of sin is, 
according to Scripture, twofold, its pollution, and guilt or just 
liability to punishment, so the words xattu. .o^, xatiaoi^v, 
6.f(d^s:i< J which all mean to cl< <tuxi . are used both to express the 
cleansing from guilt by expiation, and from pollution by the 
Holy Spirit. Sometimes the one and sometimes the other, and 
often both of these ideas are expressed by the words. See 
John xv. 2, lid), x. 2, for the use of xafracoco; Acts xv. 9, 
Epli. v. 20, Tit. ii. 14, ]Ieb. ix. 14, 22, 1 John i. 7, for the use 
of xad-api^aj ; John xvii. 11*. Acts xxvi. 1 !. 1 Tim. iv. o, Ileb. 
ii. 11, x. 10, 14, 2 ( -, for tin 1 use of ri; . tt*</;. Hence Christians 
arc called tLfiot) fffia.GfJ.ivQi, not only as those who are conse 
crated to God, but also as those who are cleansed both by 
expiation, and by the renewing of the Ifolv Ghost. 

"Novam hie periodum incipio," says Dcza, "adscripto puncto 
post &( .()>. " In this punctuation he is followed by Knapp, 
Lachmann, Fritzsche, and many others. The senst, 1 then is, 
".Paul, an apostle to the saints in Home." And then follows 
the salutation, "Grace and peace to vou." That the words 
y/i-o:z tut stfrfy/j are in the nominative, and the introduction of 
utiiK show that a new sentence is here begun. 

d rm-n. be to ifnu* <unl p< a<-<>. \a<>^ is kindness, and espe 
cially undeserved kindness, and therefore it is so often used to 
express the unmerited goodness of God in the salvation of sin 
ners. Very frequently it is used metonymically for the effect 
of kindness, that is, for a gift or favour. Anything, therefore, 
bestowed on the undeserving may be called yji.<t .c. In this 
sense Paul calls his apostleship yfvn~, Horn. xii. -5, Kph. iii. 2, 8; 
and all the blessings conferred on sinners through Jesus Christ, 
are graces, or gifts. It is in this sense repentance, faith, love, 
and hope are graces. And especially the influence of the Holy 
Spirit in the heart, in connection with the gift of the Son, the 
greatest of God s free gifts to men, is with peculiar propriety 

34 ROMANS I. 8. 

called ydp .z, cr grace. Such is its meaning in 1 Cor. xv. 10, 
2 Cor. viii. 1, Rom. xii. G, Gal. i. 15, and in many other pas 
sages. In the text, it is to be taken in the comprehensive 
se in which it is used in the apostolic benediction, for the 


favour and love of God and Christ. The word ecftfvy, which 
is so often united with ^a/A C in the formulas of salutation, is 
used in the wide sense of the Hebrew word tjiid, well-being, 
prosperity, every kind of good. Grace and peace therefore 
include everything that we can desire or need, the favour of 
God, arid all the blessings that favour secures. "Nihil prius 
optandum," says Calvin, " quuin ut Deurn propitium habcamus ; 
quod designatur per gratiam. Dcinde, ut ab eo prosperitas 
et successus omnium rerum fluat, qui significatur Pacis voca- 

From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. This 
association of the Father and Christ as equally the object of 
prayer, and the source of spiritual blessings, is a conclusive 
proof that Paul regarded Christ as truly God. God is called 
our Father, not merely as the author of our existence, and the 
source of every blessing, but especially as reconciled towards 
us through Jesus Christ. The term expresses the peculiai 
relation in which he stands to those who are his sons, whc 
have the spirit of adoption, and are the heirs or recipients 
of the heavenly inheritance. Jesus Christ is our Lord, as 
our supreme Ruler, under whose care and protection w T e are 
placed, and through whose ministration all good is actually 

YE USE 8. From this verse to the end of the 17th, we have 
the general introduction to the epistle. It has the usual 
characteristics of the introductory portions of the apostle s 
letters. It is commendatory. It breathes the spirit of love 
towards his brethren, and of gratitude and devotion towards 
God ; and it introduces the reader in the most natural and 
appropriate manner to the great doctrines which he means to 
exhibit. First, I thank my God. The words ~/>wroy jdv 
imply an enumeration, which however is not carried out. 
Comp. 1 Cor. xi. 18, 2 Cor. xii. 12, and other cases in which 
the apostle begins a construction which he does not continue. 
My God, that is, the God to whom I belong, whom I serve, 

ROMANS I. 9. 35 

and who stands to me in the relation of God, as father, friend, 
and source of all good. "I will be to them a God, and they 
shall be to me a people," is the most comprehensive of all pro 
mises. Through Jesus Christ, are not to be connected with the 
immediately preceding words, My God, through Jesus Christ; 
but with etyaofff-co, I thank God, through Jesus Christ. 
This form of expression supposes the mediation of Christ, by 
whom alone we have access to the Father, and for whose sake 
alone either our prayers or praises are accepted. See Roni. 
vii. 25, Eph. v. 20, "Giving thanks always for all things unto 
God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 
And Col. iii. 17, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in 
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the 
Father by him." Hob. xiii. 15, "By him therefore let us 
offer the sacrifice of praise to God." All this is in accordance 
with the command of Christ, John xiv. 13, and xvi. 23, 24, 
"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye 
shall receive." Such then being the clear doctrine of the 
Bible, that in all our approaches to God in prayer or praise, 
we must come in the name of Christ, that is, in him, referring 
to him as the ground of our acceptance, there is no need of the 
various forced interpretations of the words in the text, which 
have been given by those who arc unwilling to admit the idea 
of such mediation on the part of Christ. For you all. Several 
manuscripts have ~im instead of uxso, which is probably a 
Correction. The sense is the same. The special ground of the 
apostle s thankfulness is expressed in the following clause: 
That your faith is spoken of throughout the u hole world. 
Their faith was of such a character as to excite general atten 
tion and remark. Xot only the fact that the Romans believed, 
out that their faith was of such a character as to be everywhere 
spoken of, was recognized by the apostle as cause of gratitude 
to God. God therefore is the giver of faith. 

VERSE 0. In confirmation of his declaration of gratitude 
for their conversion, and for the eminence of their faith, Paul 
appears to his constant remembrance of them in his prayers. 
For Grod is my witness. This reverend appeal to God as the 
searcher of hearts, is not uncommon in the apostle s writings. 
2 Cor. i. 23, Gal. i. 20, Philip, i. 8. It is an act of worship, 

30 ROMANS I. 10. 

a devout recognition of God s omnipresence and omniscience. 
Whom I serve. The word karpzuu) is in the New Testament 
always used of religious service, either as rendered to God or to 
creatures Who worship and serve the creature more than the 
Creator, chap. i. 25. This service may consist either in worship, 
or in the performance of external duties of a religious nature. 
The service of which Paul here speaks is characterized in the 
following clause; iti my spirit. This is opposed at once to an 
insincere, and to a mere external service. In the gospel of his 
Son. That is, it was a service rendered in preaching the 
gospel. The priests served, $AdTf>uaau, when performing the 
duties of their office ; and Paul served in performing the duties 
of an apostle. The gospel of his Son, may mean either the 
gospel concerning his Son, or which his Son himself taught. 
The former, perhaps, is more in accordance with the use of this 
and similar phrases, as, i gospel of the kingdom/ gospel of the 
grace of God, &c. That I constantly make mention of you. 
It is plain, from the occurrence of the word ozo/uvoz in the 
next verse, and from the use of this expression in other places, 
Philip, i. 3, 1 Thess. i. 2, that Paul here refers to his remem 
bering the Roman Christians in his prayers, and not to his 
bearing them in his mind, or talking about them. The particle 
cb- may be connected with ddtahixnoz, how uninterruptedly ; 
or with the clause, God is my witness that, &c. Comp. Acts 
x. 28, 1 Thcss. ii. 10. 

VERSE 10. I make mention of you, always in my prayers 
praying (ic ~co-) if possibly, if it may be, expressing the sub 
mission to the will of God with which the apostle urged his 
request, yjoy ~o~s, now at last, as though he had long looked 
forward with desire to what there was now a prospect of his 
seeing accomplished. I may be so happy, by the will of God, 
to come to you. Euodouv is, to lead in the right way, to pros 
per one s journey, Gen. xxiv. 48, and figuratively, to prosper, 
1 Cor. xvi. 2, 8 John 2. In the passive voice, it is, to be 
prospered, successful, favoured. In the present case, as Paul 
had neither commenced his journey, nor formed any immediate 
purpose to undertake it, s-ee chap. xv. 25 29, his prayer was 
not that his journey might be prosperous, but that he might be 
permitted to undertake it; that his circumstances should be so 

ROMANS I. 11. 37 

favourably ordered that he might be able to execute his long 
cherished purpose of visiting Home. Knowing, however, that 
all things are ordered of God, and feeling that his own wishes 
should be subordinated to the Divine will, he adds, Itij the will 
of G-od ; which is equivalent to, If it be the will of God. 
Praying continually, that, if it be the will of God, I may be 
prospered to come unto you. 

VERSE 11. Why the apostle was anxious to visit Rome, he 
states in this verse. lie desired to see them, not merely for 
his own gratification, but that he might confer some spiritual 
gift upon them, which would tend to strengthen their faith. 
For 1 lomj to see you, that 1 maif impart (JJLZTO.OCO xl/a.n- with 
you) some spiritual <jift. l>y spiritual gift is not to be under 
stood a gift pertaining to the soul in distinction from the body, 
but one derived from the Spirit. The gifts of which the Holy 
{Spirit is the author, include not only those miraculous endow 
ments of which such frequent mention is made in the Epistle to 
the Corinthians, and the ordinary gifts of teaching, exhorta 
tion, and prophesying, 1 Cor. xii., but also those graces which 
are the fruits of the Spirit. The extraordinary gifts were 
communicated by the imposition of the apostles hands, Acts 
viii. IT, xix. 6, and therefore abounded in churches founded by 
the apostles, 1 Cor. i. T, Gal. iii. 5. As the church at Rome 
was not of this number, it has been supposed that Paul was 
desirous of conferring on the Roman Christians some of those 
miraculous powers by which the gospel was in other places 
attended and confirmed. The following verses, however, are 
in favour of giving the phrase here a wider signification. Any 
increase of knowledge, of grace, or of power, was a ydpiapa 
r^?J<w.TMov in the sense here intended. In order that ye may 
be strengthened. This includes not only an increase of con 
fidence in their belief of the gospel, but an increase of strength 
in their religious feelings, and in their purpose and power of 
obedience. Comp. 1 Thess. iii. "2: I sent Timothy u to estab 
lish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith." And 
2 Thess. ii. 17, "Now our Lord Jesus Christ comfort your 
hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. * And 
the apostle prays that the Ephesians might be strengthened 
is to the inner man. 

38 ROMANS I. 12. 

"VERSE 12. That is, that I may be comforted amcng you. 
This is obviously intended to be an explanation or correction 
of what precedes. He had desired to see them, in order that 
he might do them good ; but this was not his whole object, ho 
hoped to receive benefit himself. As to the grammatical 
construction, the infinitive aop.xapazk/j&T jVat may depend on 
arqprfcdfjiHU. The sense would then be, That you may be 
strengthened, that I may be comforted. Or the one infinitive 
is coordinate with the other; then both depend on the iva 
UZTV.OCO of ver. 10, That I may impart some spiritual gift to 
you, in order that you may be strengthened; that is, that I 
may be comforted together with you. This seems the most 
natural construction; yet as Paul expected to be refreshed by 
their faith, and not by his giving them spiritual gifts, the sense 
seems to require that G^ii.-o.t>(j:/J:f l i)-7 l ^(u should depend on the 
first words of ver. 10, I desire to see you, that I may impart 
(iva tJtSTaoa)} some spiritual gift to you; that is, that I may be 
comforted (GO/j.-apax/^&YjVat), &c. It is not a valid objection to 
this interpretation, that it supposes a change of the construc 
tion from the subjunctive to the infinitive. A similar change 
occurs (probably) in ch. ix. 22, 23 ; and much greater irregu 
larities are not unfrequent in the New Testament. 

The word xaoaxaAsto is used in such various senses, that it is 
not easy to determine what precise meaning should be attached 
to it here. It signifies to call near, to invite, Acts xxviii. 20, 
to call upon, and more generally to address, cither for instruc 
tion, admonition, exhortation, confirmation, or consolation. 
Our translators and the majority of commentators choose the 
last mentioned sense, and render crJ!JL~ao(t:/jjjdy^(u (i/Jtz) that I 
may be comforted. This is probably too narrow. The word 
expresses all that excitement and strengthening of faith and 
pious feeling, as well as consolation, which is wont to ilow from 
the communion of saints. This appears from the context, and 
especially from the following clause, d>a TY^ lu d)J:ijXocz 
Trr tfrcw,, u<w)u rs /ju l/io 7 ), through our mutual faith, as well 
yours as mine. The faith of the llomans would not only com 
fort, but strengthen the apostle ; and his faith could not fail to 
produce a like effect on them. l l*ntoi> TS xat kuo r j are the 
explanation of the preceding iv d/x^/o^ and should therefore 

ROMANS I. 13, 14. 39 

be in the dative. Fritsche refers to Luke i. 55, for a similar 
case of variation in the construction. 

VERSE 13. I would not have you ignorant., brethren; a mode 
of expression which the apostle often adopts, when he would 
assure his readers of anything, or call their attention to it par 
ticularly. That oftentimes 1 purposed to come unto you. In 
chap. xv. 23, he states that he had cherished this purpose for 
many years. And ivas hindered until now. Our version ren 
ders xai adversatively but. This is objected to as unnecessary, 
especially as xai often introduces a parenthesis ; and such is 
this clause, because the following ?i/ must depend on Tzpos&sfJtijV 
of the preceding clause. As in the fifteenth chapter the apos 
tle says, that having no more place in the countries around 
Greece, lie was ready to visit Rome, it is probable that the 
hindering to which he here refers, was the incessant calls for 
apostolic labour, which left no time at his command. As, how 
ever, his course seems to have been under the guidance of a 
special providence, Acts xvi. 6, 7, 9, it may be that the Spirit 
who had forbidden his preaching in Asia, had hitherto forbidden 
his visiting Homo. That I way have no we fruit among you, as 
among other gentiles. Kan-ov ^J^ i> flt l>" r<> j" >fif, or advati* 
tagc. See chap. vi. 21, 22. The profit, however, which Paul 
desired, was the fruit of his ministry, the conversion or edifica 
tion of those to whom he preached. 

VKRSK 14. Jlvth to (! r < kx nn<l harh<ii i<in*. t<> tin 1 //v .sv and 
to the utiwim , I am debtor. That is, I am under obligation (to 
preach) to all classes of men. His commission was a general 
one, confined to no one nation, and to no particular class. 
Greeks and barbarians, mean all nations; wise and unwise, 
mean all classes. Bdofiapoz means properly a foreigner, 0110 
of another language, 1 Cor. xiv. 11. Greeks and barbarians, 
therefore, is equivalent to Greeks and not Greeks, all nations. 
As the Greeks however excelled other nations in civilization, 
the word came to signify rude, uncultivated; though even by 
later writers it is often used in its original sense, and not as a 
term of reproach. The apostle distinguishes men first as 
nations, Greeks and not Greeks, and secondly as to culture, 
wise and unwise. The Romans, whose city was called "an 
epitome cf the world," belonged exclusively neither to the one 

40 ROMANS I. 15, 16. 

class nor to the other. Some were wise and some unwise, 
some Greeks and some barbarians. 

VERSE 15. And so, or Jtence. That is, since I am bound to 
all men, Greeks and barbarians, I am ready to preach to you, 
who are at Rome. The clause, TO XO.T S/JLS npoftu/jLOu, admits of 
different interpretations. According to the English version, TO 
xaT /is must be taken together ; 7ip6&up.ov is taken as a sub 
stantive, and made the nominative to iari. Hence, as much as 
is in me, (or, as far as I am concerned,) there is a readiness, 
i. c. I am ready. Thus Calvin, "Itaque, quantum in me est, 
paratus sum." This gives a good sense, and is specially suited 
to the context, as it renders prominent Paul s dependence and 
submission, lie did not direct his own steps. As far as he 
was concerned, he was willing to preach in Rome ; but whether 
he should do so or not, rested not with him, but with God. A 
second explanation makes TO XUT I/JLS the subject of the sen 
tence, and npo&uftov the predicate. What is in me is ready. 
Tims Beza, " Quicquid in me situm est, id promptuin est." Or, 
as Beza also proposes, TO XU.T e/ts may be taken as a peri- 
phrase for k-fd), and the clause be translated, "Promptus sum 
ego." But it is denied that such a periphrase for the personal 
pronoun ever occurs; TO. bjjisTspa for 6//?c, and r I fid for spw, 
to which Beza refers, are not parallel. The third explanation, 
refers TO to TCpb&OfJLOV) and makes ZV.T S/JLS equal to e//oD, My 
readiness, or desire is. Comp. Eph. i. 15, TT^ xatf uiiil^ 
KiffTW, your faith; Acts xvii. 28. TCOV xatf u(j.H^ -o^Ttou, 
xviii. lo, vofjLou TOU y.u.<y d/jtas. To preach the gospel. The 
verb i)ai"[M(jaad-ac is commonly followed by some word or 
phrase expressing the subject of the message kingdom of God, 
go-spel, word of God, Christ. In writing to Christians, who 
knew what the glad tidings were, the apostles often, as in the 
present case, use the word absolutely so that the word by 
itself means, to preach the gospel, &c. See ch. xv. 20, Acts 
xiv. 7, Gal. iv. 13. 

VERSE 16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.* 
This he assigns as the reason why he was ready to preach even 

* The words rw Xprrsy are omitted in the MSS. A. B. C. D. E. G. 17. G7. in 
many of the versions and Fathers, and are rejected by Mill, Bengel, Griesbach, 
Laehmann, Tischendorf, and others. They are found in the Complutensian 
text and are defended by Wetstein and Matthaei. 

ROMANS I. 16. 41 

at Rome. To the wise of this world the gospel was foolishness, 
1 Cor. i. 23, yet Paul was not ashamed of it, but was ready 
among the wise and unwise to preach Christ and him crucified. 
The reason of this regard for the gospel is stated in the follow 
ing clause: For it is the power of God unto salvation. By 
dwafJLtz 0zo~j, some understand great power, in accordance with 
an assumed Hebrew idiom, agreeably to which mountains of 
God mean great mountains, wind of God great wind, 4 zeal 
of God great zeal, &c. But the existence of such an idiom in 
the Hebrew is very doubtful, and its application to this passage 
is unnatural and unnecessary. Others make 6so r j a mere quali 
fying genitive, power of God, meaning k divinely powerful. 
Beza s explanation is, "Org;uion Dei vere potens et cfficax." 
The gospel is then declared to be that through which God exer 
cises his power. Most commonly 6zo r j is taken as the "-euitivo 

*/ r" 1 

of the Author, and power of God is made to mean power derived 
from God. There are two things then asserted of the gospel, 
first that it is powerful, and secondly that it is from God. Comp. 
1 Cor. i. 18, 24. The main idea, however, is that expressed by 
Be/:i, The gospel is that in which God works, which he renders 
efficacious srV ffcoTypiav, unto wdv<iti<i. That is, it is eilica- 
cious to save. The nature of the salvation here intended is to 
be learned from the nature of the gospel. It is deliverance 
from sin and its punishment, and admission into eternal life 
and blessedness. This is what no means of man s devising, no 
efforts of human wisdom or human power could effect for any 
human bring. The gospel effects it ~a^ri TOJ rr. tfrrWtv, for 
every one that believes. Emphasis must be laid on both the 
members of this clause. The gospel is thus efficacious to every 
one, without distinction between Jew and gentile, Greek or bar 
barian, -wise or unwise ; and it is efficacious to every one that 
believes, not to every one who is circumcised, or baptized, or 
who obeys the law, but to every one who believes, that is, who 
receives and confides in Jesus Christ as he is offered in the 
gospel. We have here the two great doctrines set forth in this 
epistle. First, salvation is by faith ; and secondly, it is univer 
sally applicable, to the Greek as well as to the Jew. The faith 
of which the apostle here speaks includes a firm persuasion 
of the truth, and a reliance or trust on the object of faith. 

42 ROMANS I. 16. 

Sometimes the one, sometimes the other cf these ideas is 
expressed by the word, and very often both are united. The 
meaning of the term is not to be determined so much by philo 
sophical analysis as by scriptural usage. For the question is 
not what is the abstract nature of the act of believing, philoso 
phically considered, but what act or state of mind is expressed 
by the words xeaTS Jsev and xiaTtz in the various constructions 
in which they occur. It is rare indeed that the state of mind 
expressed by any word is so simple as not to admit of being 
resolved into various elements. The exercise expressed by the 
word love, for example, includes the perception of agreeable 
qualities in its object, a judgment of the mind as to their 
nature, a delight in them, and a desire for their enjoyment. 
And these differ specifically in their nature, according to the 
nature of the thing loved. It is not to any one of these 
elements of the complex affection that the word love is applied, 
but to the state of mind as a whole. So also with the word 
faith, the exercise which it expresses includes a perception of 
its object and its qualities, that is, it includes knowledge; 
secondly, an assent of the mind to the truth of the thing 
believed, and very often a reliance or trust on the object of 
faith. Assent is therefore but one of the elements of saving 
faith, that is, it is but one of the constituents of that state 
of mind which, in a multitude of cases, is in the Bible expressed 
by the word. And as the great object of interest to Christians 
is not a philosophical definition of a word, but a knowledge of 
the sense in which it is used in the word of God, we must recur 
to the usage of the Scriptures themselves to determine what 
chac faith is which is connected with salvation. 

There is no doubt that xeff-ce jseis is often used to express 
mere assent. It means to receive as true, to be persuaded of 
the truth of anything. Hence xiartz is persuasion of the truth. 
When -t(JT= j=>v has this simple meaning, it is commonly fol 
lowed by the accusative, as in 1 Cor. xi. 18, John xi. 26 ; or 
by the dative, Mark xvi. 13, owls Ixsluo^ l- .(J7E>j<7au, John 
v. 40; or by orr, Mark xi. 23, Rom. x. 9. Yet in these cases 
the word often expresses confidence or trust, as well as assent ; 
-lOTZ jzw Qsw is in many connections, to confide in God; aa 
Acts xxvii. 25, xcGTeuco yap TOJ 6zw OTC O JTCOZ Za~ai. 

ROMANS I. 16. 43 

When r.ta-z jiiv is followed by l~i with an accusative, as in 
Rom. iv. o, r.ia-z juv-t l~c TOV dr/ato^ra, or by l~i with a 
dative, as Rom. ix. 33, o r.ta-z juv IT: yro5, 1 Tim. i. 16, it 
commonly means to ?rzsf, to believe upon, to confide in. It has 
the same sense when followed by src, as in John xiv. i., 
xta-z jz-s s/c TOV 0sov, x< <c , ~UT-Z JZTZ, xvi. 9, Rom. x. 14, 
Gal. ii. 16, and often elsewhere. The construction with iv is 
less common; see, however, Mark i. 15, fizravozlTS, mi r.ta- 
TZ JZTZ iv TO~J s jaffsAiqj; comp. Gal. v. 10, Kenot&a iv Kuo iw, 
2 Thess. iii. 4. 

The substantive rr/tfr. C also in various constructions signifies 
reliance, or trust; thus when followed by etz, as in Acts xx. 21, 
TJ.O-LV 77 > /c rov K jinm* YJtwWi xxiv. 24, xxvi. 18; by i~r, with 
the accusative, Ileb. vi. 1; by ~/>oc, as 1 Thcss. i. S, -rrrr. C 
6/^wv xy roor ro> f-)-nv ; by cV, Rom. iii. 2o, ^ r/^c rs.a-ZMZ, ^-> 
T(u a J~o r j atftv-t, comp. Gal. iii. 26, 1 Tim. iii. 13, -XT-Z> n t ^ 
\<na~w, 2 Tim. iii. 1-3; or by the genitive, as in Horn. iii. 22, 26, 
Gal. ii. 10, iii. 22, and often. That faith, therefore, which is 
connected with salvation, includes knowledge, that is, a percep 
tion of the truth and its qualities; assent, or the persuasion of 
the truth of the object of faith; and trust, or reliance. The 
exercise, or state of mind expressed by the word faith, as used 
in the Scriptures, is not mere assent, or mere trust, it is the 
intelligent perception, reception, and reliance on the truth, as 
revealed in the gospel. 

To tin Jew ///*/, <iii<l alxo fo tJi>> G/ a Jc. To render -WOTOU 
(first,) here r.s^vvW///, would make the apostle teach that thf 
gospel was peculiarly adapted to the Jews, or specially designed 
for them. Rut he frequently asserts that this is not the case, 
chap. iii. i\ 22, 20, x. 12. Upcorov, therefore, must have refer 
ence to time, To the Jew in the first instance, and then to the 
Greek. Salvation, as our Saviour said to the woman of 
Samaria, is of the Jews. Of them the Messiah came, to them 
the gospel was first preached, and by them preached to the 
Gentiles. The apostle often, as in the present instance, says 
Jews and Greeks, for Jews and Gentiles, because the Greeks 
were the Gentiles with whom, at that period, the Jews were 
most familiar. 


VEUSE 17, The reason why the gospel has the efficacy 
ascribed to it in the preceding verse, is not because of its pure 
morality, or because it reveals and confirms a future state of 
retribution, but because the righteousness of G-od is therein 
revealed. As this is one of those expressions which are 
rmployed to convey ideas peculiar to the gospel, its meaning 
is to be learned not merely from the signification of the words, 
but from parallel passages, and from the explanations given in 
the gospel itself of the whole subject to which it relates. That 
oc/juoa jvfi cannot here be understood of a divine attribute, such 
as rectitude, justice, goodness, or veracity, is obvious, because 
it is a dtzaioauvq Ix xlarzcoz, a righteousness wldcli is Inj faith, 
i. e. attained by faith, of which the apostle speaks. Besides, 
it is elsewhere said to be without law, Rom. iii. 21, to be u 
gift, v. 17, not to be our own, x. 3, to be from God, Philip, 
iii. 9. These and similar forms of expression are inconsistent 
with the assumption that the apostle is speaking of a divine 
attribute. The righteousness of God, therefore, must mean 
either the righteousness of which God is the author, or which 
he approves. Luther, Calvin, and many others, prefer the 
latter. "Die Gerechtigkeit die vor Gott gilt," is Luther s 
version. Calvin says, "Justitiam Dei accipio, quae apud Dei 
tribunal approbatur." Beza, Reiche, De Wette, RUckcrt, and 
others, prefer the latter. These ideas are not incompatible. 
This righteousness is at once a otxaicxr ^ fj Ix $oD, Philip, 
iii. 9; and a dexcuoff&vy ~a(>a rw (9ctw, Rom. ii. 13, iii. 20, Gal. 
iii. 11. The gospel reveals a righteousness, which God gives, 
and which he approves; it is a righteousness, "qua quisquis 
donatus e.-t, sistitur coram Deo, sanctus, inculpatus, et nullius 
labis possit postulari." Beza. 

This interpretation is confirmed by all that the Scriptures 
teach respecting the manner of our justification before God. 
The Bible represents God in the character of a moral governor 
or judge. Man is placed under a law which is the rule of his 
duty, and the standard by which he is to be judged. This law 
may be variously revealed, but it is ever substantially the 
same, having the same precepts, the same sanction, and the 
same promises. Those who comply with the demands of this 
law are oixacot, righteous; those who break the law are docxot, 

ROMANS I. 17. 45 

unrighteous; to pronounce one righteous is 3. x#ro3v, to justify; t 
the righteousness itself, or integrity which the law demands is I 
dr/.aco(T Ji> /j. Those who are righteous, or who have the right-j 
eousness which the law requires, or who are justified, have a 
title to the favour of God. 

Now, nothing is more clearly taught in the Scriptures than 
that no man in himself is righteous in the sight of God. 
" There is none righteous, no not one ; for all have sinned and 
come short of the glory of God." It is no less clearly taught 
that no man can make himself righteous ; that is, he cannot 
attain the righteousness which the law demands, and which is 
necessary to his acceptance with God. The reason is that the 
law demands perfect ohedience, which no one has rendered 
or can render. It is hence plain that by the works of the 
law no flesh can he justified before God. Rom. iii. 12<), Gal. 
ii. 10 ; oc/j >. ,() rf jv^ is not Ix wtwjj Gal. iii. 21, or U>JL youou, 
ii. 21, or l~ soj wv, ii. 10. Men are not justified tma dtxaeoff JVfl 
by their own righteousness. Rom. x. 3. And yet righteous 
ness is absolutely necessary to our justification and salvation. 
Such a righteousness the gospel reveals; a righteousness which 
is %(t><>iz w/wj, without the law; which is not of works; a 
oc/.tLiocs jvr, ~i(7~zioz or I/. rrrVirc^c, u hi< h is lj fctitli ; a right- 
ousness which is not our own, Philip, iii. ( J ; which is the gift 
of God, Rom. v. 17; which is 1% H^rj fmm (J}d\ which is 
imputed /c jo. c e,"/ "^ without works. Christ is our righteous 
ness, 1 Cor. i. oU, or we are righteous before God in him. 
2 Cor. v. 21. 

From this contrast between a righteousness which is our 
own, which is of works, and that which is not our own, which 
is of God, from God, the gift of God, it is plain that the 
dwuoaw-f] Oio r j of which the apostle here speaks, is that 
dtx(uo<j ji>rj by which we arc made dixwoe ~aoa TW t)z(n ; it is a 
righteousness which he gives and which he approves. This 
is the interpretation which is given substantially by all the 
modern commentators of note, as Tholuck, Reiche, Fritzsche, 
Ruckert, Koellner, De Wette, &c., however much they may 
differ as to other points. u Alle Erkliirungen," says De Wette, 
"welche das Moment der Zurechnung iibersehen, und das thun 
besonders die katholischeri, auch die des Grotius, sind falsch." 

46 ROMANS I. 17. 

That is, "All interpretations which overlook the idea of impu 
tation, as is done in the explanations given by the Romanists, 
and also in that of Grotius, are false." 

The nature of this righteousness, it is one great des.ign of 
this epistle, and of the whole gospel to unfold. This, there 
fore is not the place to enter fully into the examination of 
that point ; it will present itself at every step of our progress. 
It is sufficient here to specify the three general views of the 
nature of that righteousness by which men are justified before 
God. The first may be called the Pelagian, according to 
which the apostle teaches that righteousness cannot be attained 
by obedience to the ritual law of the Jews, but consists in 
works morally good. The second view is that of the Roman 
ists, who teach that the works meant to be excluded from our 
justification are legal works ; works done without grace and 
before regeneration; but the righteousness which makes us just 
before God, is that inherent righteousness, or spiritual excel 
lence which is obtained by the aid of divine grace. The third 
view, which is the common doctrine of Protestant churches is, 
that the righteousness for which we are justified is neither any 
thing done by us nor wrought in us, but something done for us 
arid imputed to us. It is the work of Christ, what lie did and 
suffered to satisfy the demands of the law. Hence not merely 
external or ceremonial works are excluded as the ground of 
justification; but works of righteousness, all works of what 
ever kind or degree of excellence. Hence this righteousness 
is not our own. It is nothing that w r e have either wrought 
ourselves, or that inheres in us. Hence Christ is said to be 
our righteousness ; and we are said to be justified by his blood, 
his death, his obedience ; W T C are righteous in him, and are 
justified by him or in his name, or for his sake. The right 
eousness of God, therefore, which the gospel reveals, and by 
which we are constituted righteous, is the perfect righteous 
ness of Christ which completely meets and answers all the 
demands of that law to which all men are subject, and which 
| all have broken. 

This righteousness is said in the text to be of faith. It is 
obvious that the words Ix -lars.^ are not to be connected with 
sTac , They must be connected either directly or 

ROMANS I. 17. 47 

indirectly with d y.aioa j^. It is either 
d-oxaA j-TiTa!, righteousness by faith is revealed; or, OC 
faoxaA j-TeTac Ix - .oieeo- ouaa, righteousness is revealed, being 
of faith, i. e. which is by faith. Not an excellence of which 
faith is the germinating principle, or which consists in faith, 
because this is inconsistent with all those representations which 
show that this righteousness is not subjective. 

The meaning of the words el- x*.a-w in the formula ex 
ni<JTeco- el- ~><TTtu, from faith to faith, is very doubtful. They 
must be explained in a manner consistent with their connection 
with oc,:!L .o(j jvr r It is a righteousness which is of faith to faith. 
Now it cannot bo said that our justification depends on our 
believing first the Old Testament, and then the New, which is 
the interpretation of Theodoret osl ~(<u> ~t(j-z r j<r<u rul^ npoyy- 
TOIZ-, xu i oe sxziws el- rr^ rov euaffeMou ~ f .(j-& xodrtfrftrjvac; 
nor does it seem to suit this connection to make the phrase in 
question express a progress from a weak or imperfect faith 
to that which is more perfect. This however is a very gene 
rally received interpretation. Calvin says, " Qiium initio gusta- 
mus evaugelium, lactam quidcni et exporrectam nobis ccrnimus 
Dei frontem, sed eminus; quo magis augeseit pietatis erudi- 
tio, velut propiore accessu clarius ac magis familiariter Dei 
gratiam perspicimus." The sense is however perfectly clear 
and irood, if the phrase is explained to mean, faith alone. 
As "death unto death and "life unto life" tire intensive, 
so "faith unto faith" may mean, entirely of faith. Our justi 
fication is by faith alone; works form no part of that right 
eousness in which we can stand before the tribunal of God. 
"Dicit," says Px-r.gcl, k> (idem meram ; namque justitia ex fide 
subsistit in fide, sine operibus ..... Fides, intuit Paulus, 
manet fides; fides est prora ct puppis, apud Judicos et Gentiles, 
etiam apud Paulum, us (l ue ad ipsam cjus consummationem." 
Most of the modern commentators regard el- in the words e/c 
xiffw, as indicating the terminus. Righteousness is from faith 
and unto faith, comes to it. This makes riaw here virtually 
equivalent to r^a e jo^ra-, as in chap. iii. 22, the daatoffwy 
0eo~j is said to be e^ -d^a^ TO-J-- xeffTMovraz. Righteousness 
then is by faith and unto faith, i. e. is granted unto or bestowed 
upon believers. 


This doctrine of the apostle, that the righteousness which is 
unto life is to be obtained by faith, he confirms by a reference 
to Hab. ii. 4, where it is said, 6 os olxaioz ex TiiaTetoz, Cr/aerat* 
lie that is righteous by faith, shall live; or, the righteous shall 
live by faith. The connection of ex xcareaH; with oixcuoz is 
certainly best suited to the apostle s object, which is to show 
that righteousness is by faith ; but in either construction the 
sense is substantially the same. Salvation is by faith. In the 
Hebrew also, either construction is allowable, as the words are 
"The righteous in his faith shall live." The Masoretic accen 
tuation however connects, as Paul does, the first two words 
together, The righteous in his faith, shall live. Shall live y 
shall attain that life which Christ gives, which is spiritual, 
blessed, and everlasting; comp. chap. v. 17, viii. 13, x. 3. This 
passage is cited in confirmation of the apostle s own doctrine, 
and is peculiarly pertinent as it shows that under the old dis 
pensation as well as under the new, the favour of God was 
to be secured by faith. 


1. The apostolic office, except as to what was peculiar and 
extraordinary, being essentially the same with the ministerial 
office in general, Paul teaches, 1. That ministers are the 
servants of Christ, deriving their authority from him, and not 
from the people ; 2. That their calling is to preach the gospel, 
to which all other avocations must be made subordinate ; 
3. That the object of their appointment is to bring men to 
the obedience of faith; 4. That their field is all nations; 
5. That the design of all is to honour Christ; it is for his 
name, vs. 1 5. 

2. The gospel is contained in its rudiments in the Old 
Testament. It is the soul of the old dispensation, ver. 2. 

3. Christ is the Alr^ha and Omega of the gospel. In 
stating the substance of the gospel, Paul says, i It concerns 
Jesus Christ, ver. 3. 

4. Christ is at once God and man; the son of David and 
the Son of God, vs. 3, 4. 

5. Christ is called the Son of God in reference to his Divine 
nature, and on account of the relation in which, as God, he 

ROMANS I. 17. 49 

stands to the Father. The name, therefore, is expressive of 
his Divine character, vs. 3, 4. 

6. He is the proper object of prayer, and the source of 
spiritual blessings, ver. 7. 

7. He is the Mediator through whom our prayers and 
thanksgiving must be presented to God, ver. 8. 

8. God is the source of all spiritual good; is to be wor 
shipped in spirit, and agreeably to the gospel; and his pro 
vidence is to be recognized in reference to the most ordinary 
afciirs of life, vs. 810. 

9. Ministers are not a class of men exalted above the people, 
and independent of them for spiritual benefits, but are bound 
to seek, as well as to impart good, in all their intercourse with 
those to whom they are sent, vs. 11, 12. 

10. Ministers are bound to preach the gospel to all men, 
rich as well as poor, wise as well as unwise; for it is equally 
adapted to the wants of all, vs. 14, 15. 

11. The salvation of men, including the pardon of their sins 
arid the moral renovation of their hearts, can be effected by the 
gospel alone. The wisdom of men, during four thousand years 
previous to the advent of Christ, failed to discover any ade 
quate means for the attainment of either of these objects; and who, since the advent, have neglected the gospel, have 
been equally unsuccessful, ver. 16, &c. 

12. The power of the gospel lies not in its pure theism, or 
perfect moral code, but in the Cuoss, in the doctrine of justifi 
cation by faith in a crucified Redeemer, ver. 17, &c. 


1. Ministers should remember that they are "separated unto 
the gospel," and that any occupation which, by its demands 
upon their attention, or from its influence on their character or 
feelings, interferes with their devotion to this object, is for 
them wrong, ver. 1. 

2. If Jesus Christ is the great subject of the gospel, it is 
evident that we cannot have right views of the one, without 
having correct opinions respecting the other. What think ye 
of Christ? cannot be a minor question. To be Christians, we 
must recognize him as the Messiah, or son of David; and as 

&0 ROMANS I. 1832. 

Divine, or the Son of God; we must be able to pray to him, to 
look for blessings from him, and recognize him as the Mediator 
between God and man, vs. 1 8. 

8. Christians should remember that they are saints ; that is, 
persons separated from the world and consecrated to God. 
They therefore cannot serve themselves or the world, without a 
dereliction of their character. They are saints, because called 
and made such of God. To all such, grace and peace are 
secured by the mediation of Christ, and the promise of God, 
ver. 7. 

4. In presenting truth, everything consistent with fidelity 
should be done to conciliate the confidence and kind feelings of 
those to whom it is addressed ; and everything avoided, which 
tends to excite prejudice against the speaker or his message. 
Who more faithful than Paul? Yet who more anxious to avoid 
offence ? Who more solicitous to present the truth, not in its 
most irritating form, but in the manner best adapted to gain 
for it access to the unruffled minds of his readers ? vs. 8 14. 

5. As all virtues, according to the Christian system, are 
graces (gifts,) they afford matter for thanksgiving, but never 
for self-complacency, ver. 8. 

6. The intercourse of Christians should be desired, and made 
to result in edification, by their mutual faith, ver. 12. 

7. He who rejects the doctrine of justification by faith, 
rejects the gospel. His whole method of salvation, and system 
of religion, must be different from those of the apostles, ver. 17. 

8. Whether we be wise or unwise, moral or immoral, in the 
sight of men, orthodox or heterodox in our opinions, unless 
we are believers, unless we cordially receive "the righteousness 
which is of God," as the ground of acceptance, we have no part 
or lot in the salvation of the gospel, ver. 17. 

ROMANS I. 1832. 


The apostle having stated that the only righteousness avail 
able in the sight of God is that which is obtained by faith, 
proceeds to p~ove that such is the case. This proof required 

ROMANS I. 18. 51 

that he should, in the first instance, demonstrate that the 
righteousness which is of the law, or of works, was insufficient 
for the justification of a sinner. This he does, first in refer- 
rence to the Gentiles, chap. i. 18 32 ; and then in relation to 
the Jews, chap, ii., iii. 1 20. The residue of this chapter 
then is designed to prove that the Gentiles are justly exposed 
to condemnation. The apostle thus argues : God is just ; his 
displeasure against sin (which is its punishment) is clearly 
revealed, vcr. 18. This principle is assumed by the apostle, as 
the foundation of his whole argument. If this be granted, it 
follows that all who are chargeable with either impiety or 
immorality are exposed to the wrath of God, and cannot claim 
his favour on the ground of their own character or conduct. 
That the Gentiles are justly chargeable with both impiety and 
immorality, he thus proves. They have ever enjoyed such a 
revelation of the divine character as to render them inexcusa 
ble, vs. 10, 20. Notwithstanding this opportunity of knowing 
God, they neither worshipped nor served him, but gave thcm- 
Belves up to all forms of idolatry. This is the height of 
impiety, vs. 21 23. In consequence of this desertion of God, 
he gave them up to the evil of their own hearts, so that they 
sank into all manner of debasing crimes. The evidences of 
this corruption of morals were so painfully obvious, that Paul 
merely appeals to the knowledge which all his readers possessed 
of the fact, vs. 24 31. These various crimes they do not 
commit ignorantly ; they are aware of their ill-desert; and yet 
they not only commit them themselves, but encourage others in 
the same course, v. 32. 

The inference from the established sinfulness of the Gentile 
world, Paul does not draw until he has substantiated the same 
charge against the Jews, lie then says, since all are sinners 
before God, no flesh can be justified by the works of the law, 
chap. iii. 20. 


VERSE 18. *A7zo /a):j~Ts.Tv.c fv.p OO^TJ 0s.oi> CLTZ o joo.vo j. For 
the wrath cf Gad is revealed from heaven. The apostle s object 
is to prove the doctrine of the preceding verse, viz. that right 
eousness is by faith. To do this it was necessary to show that 

52 ROMANS I. 18. 

men in themselves are exposed to condemnation, or are desti 
tute of any righteousness which can satisfy the demands of 
God. His argument is, God is just; he is determined to punish 
sin, and as all men are sinners, all are exposed to punishment. 
Hence this verse is connected by ?dp to the preceding one. 
Men must be justified by faith, for the wrath of God is 
revealed, &c. 

The wrath of G-od is his punitive justice, his determination 
to punish sin. The passion which is called anger or wrath, 
and which is always mixed more or less with malignity in the 
human breast, is of course infinitely removed from what the 
word imports when used in reference to God. Yet as anger in 
men leads to the infliction of evil on its object, the word is, 
agreeably to a principle which pervades the Scriptures, applied 
to the calm and undeviating purpose of the Divine mind, which 
secures the connection between sin and misery, with the same 
general uniformity that any other law in the physical or moral 
government of God operates. 

Is revealed. ^AnoxaAOTirco is properly, to uncover, to bring to 
light, and hence to make known, whether by direct communica 
tion, or in some other way. A thing is said to be revealed, 
when it becomes known from its effects. It is thus that the 
thoughts of the heart, the arm of the Lord, and the wrath of 
God are said to be "revealed." It is not necessary therefore to 
infer from the use of this word, that the apostle meant to inti 
mate that the purpose of God to punish sin w^as made known 
by any special revelation. That purpose is manifested in 
various ways ; by the actual punishment of sin, by the inherent 
tendency of moral evil to produce misery, by the voice of con 
science. Nor do the words "from heaven" imply any extraor 
dinary mode of communication. They are added because God 
dwells in heaven, whence all exhibitions of his character and 
purposes are said to proceed. It is however implied in the 
whole form of expression, that this revelation is clear and 
certain. Men know the righteous judgment of God; they 
know that those who commit sin are w r orthy of death. As this 
is an ultimate truth, existing in every man s consciousness, 
it is properly assumed, and made the basis of the apcstle a 

ROMANS I. 19. 53 

This displeasure of God is revealed against all ungodliness 
and unrighteousness of men; that is, against all impiety towards 
God (dasfisca,) and injustice towards men (ddexia.) This dis 
tinction is kept up in the following part of the chapter, in 
which the apostle proves first the impiety, and then the gross 
immorality of the heathen. Who hold the truth in unrighteous 
ness. The word d&y&eca is used in the Scriptures in a more 
comprehensive sense than our word truth. It often means 
what is right, as well as what is true ; and is therefore often 
used in antithesis to doexia, unrighteousness, as in Horn. ii. 8; 
see Gal. iii. 1, v. 7. It is used especially of moral and religious 
truth ; see John iii. 21, viii. 32, 2 Cor. iv. 2, 2 Thcss. ii. 12. It 
is therefore equivalent to true religion, that is, what is true and 
right, in reference to God and duty. As xaT%ew sometimes 
means to have in the sense of possessing, as in 1 Cor. vii. 30, 
this clause 1 may be rendered, Who have the truth, together 
with unrighteousness; i. e. although they possess the truth, 
are unrighteous. Comp. James ii. 1, /JIT] v TtpoacDnoXrj^iatz 
/rs -TjV -iar-v. The sentiment is then the same as in ver. 21, 
where the heathen are said to know God, and yet to act 
wickedly. But as xaTsysw also means to detain, to repress or 
hinder, 2 ii. (J, T, the passage may be translated, Who 
hinder or oppose the truth. The great majority of commenta 
tors are in favour of this latter interpretation. The words Iv 
dd /.ia may either express the means of this opposition, and 
be rendered, tlirough unrighteousness; or they may be taken 
adverbially, Who unjustly, or wickedly oppose the truth. The 
former is to be preferred. 

VERSE 10. That this opposition is wicked, because inex 
cusable on the plea of ignorance, is proved in this and the 
following verses. They wickedly oppose the truth, because the 
knowledge of God is manifest among them. Agreeably to this 
explanation, this verse is connected with the immediately pre 
ceding clause. It may however refer to the general sentiment 
of ver. 18. God will punish the impiety and unrighteousness 
of men, because he has made himself known to them. The 
former method is to be preferred as more in accordance with 
the apostle s manner, and more consistent with the context, 
inasmuch as he goes on to prove that the impiety of the 

54 ROMANS I. 19. 

heathen is inexcusable. Since that which may be known of 
Grod, is manifest in them. This version is not in accordance 
with the meaning of yvcocrTby, which always in the Bible means, 
what is known, not what may be known. Besides, the English 
version seems to imply too much; for the apostle does not mean 
to say that everything that may be known concerning God was 
revealed to the heathen, but simply that they had such a know 
ledge of him as rendered their impiety inexcusable. We find 
fvaxjTOZ used in the sense of fvcoroz, known, Acts i. 19, ii. 14, 
xv. 18, yvcotTTa ax accouoz earc rw Osw r.d^ra ra l^a O.UTOD; 
and often elsewhere. Hence TO fvaxjrou is=fua>fftz, as in Gen. 
ii. 9, ^vctxrrov roi) xa),ol) xal TOO Trov/jpou. The knowledge of 
God does not mean simply a knowledge that there is a God, 
but, as appears from what follows, a knowledge of his nature 
and attributes, his eternal power and Godhead, ver. 20, and his 
justice, ver. 32. (fiavspov zarw sv auTot^, may be rendered, 
either is manifest among them, or in them. If the former 
translation be adopted, it is not to be understood as declaring 
that certain men, the Pythagoreans, Platonists, and Stoics, as 
Grotius says, had this knowledge ; but that it was a common 
revelation, accessible, manifest to all. In them, however, here 
more properly means, in their minds. "In ipsorum animis," 
says Beza, "quia haec Dei notitia recondita est in intimis 
mentis penetralibus, ut, velint nolint idololatrse, quoties sese 
adhibent in consilium, toties a seipsis redarguantur." It is not 
of a mere external revelation of which the apostle is speaking, 
but of that evidence of the being and perfections of God which 
every man has in the constitution of his own nature, and in 
virtue of which he is competent to apprehend the manifesta 
tions of God in his works, for Grod hath revealed to them., 
viz. the knowledge of himself. This knowledge is a revelation; 
it is the manifestation of God in his works, and in the consti 
tution of our nature. "Quod dicit," says Calvin, "Deum 
manifcstasse, scnsus est, ideo conditum esse hominem, ut spec 
tator sit fabrise mundi; ideo datos ei oculos, ut intuitu tarn 
pulchroe imaginis, ad auctorem ipsum fcratur." God there 
fore has never left himself without a witness. His existence 
and perfections have ever been so manifested that his rational 

ROMANS I. 20. 55 

creatures are bound to acknowledge and worship him as the 
true and only God. 

VERSE 20. This verse is a confirmation and amplification of 
the preceding, inasmuch as it proves that God does manifest 
himself to men, shows how this manifestation is made, and 
draws the inference that men are, in virtue of this revelation, 
inexcusable for their impiety. The argument is, God has mani 
fested the knowledge of himself to men, for the invisible things 
of him, that is, his eternal power and Godhead are, since the 
creation, clearly seen, being understood by his works ; they are 
therefore without excuse. The invisible things of him. By the 
invisible things of God, Theodoret says we are to understand 
creation, providence, and the divine judgments; Theophylact 
understands them to refer to his goodness, wisdom, power, 
and majesty. Between these interpretations the moderns are 
divided. The great majority prefer the latter, which is obvi 
ously the better suited to the context, because the works of 
God are expressed afterwards by -ocr^w.^a, and because the 
invisible things are those which are manifested by his works, 
and are explained by the terms "power and Godhead." The 
subsequent clause, y re dioco^ WJTO~J dfoufjuz xat u-scorqz, is in 
apposition with and an explanation of the former one. The 
particle TS followed by xai, serves then, as Tholuck remarks, to 
the partition of don a a into the two ideas dwa/juz and d-ztorrfi, 
and not to annex a distinct idea, as though the meaning were, 
and also his power and Godhead. The power of God is more 
immediately manifested in his works; but not his power alone, 
but his divine excellence in general, which is expressed by 
tfc. or^c, from &s2o^. Osorr^, from 0so^ on the other hand, 
expresses the being, rather than the excellence of God. The 
latter is Godhead; the former, divinity, a collective term for 
all the divine perfections. 

This divine revelation has been made d~o XT XTZCO^ zoff/wv, 
from the creation of the ivorld, not by the creation ; for /r. ^c 
here is the act of creation, and not the thing created; and the 
means by which the revelation is made, is expressed immedi 
ately by the words ro?c ~oqtmm, which would then be redun 
dant. The -oiYjaara ro r j 6>soD, in this connection, are the 
things made by God, rather than the things done by him. The 

56 ROMANS I. 21. 

apostle says the do par a xa&oparat, the unseen things are seen, 
because they are perceived by the mind; voou/jteva being under 
stood by means of the things made. So that they are inexcusa 
ble. These words are by Griesbach, Knapp, and others, made 
to depend on the last clause of ver. 19 ; and then the interpre 
tation of Beza and the elder Calvinists would be the most 
natural. God has revealed the knowledge of himself to men, in 
order that they might be without excuse. But this, to say the 
least, is unnecessary. The connection with xad-opHrcu is per 
fectly natural. The perfections of God, being understood by 
his works, are seen, so that men are without excuse. Paul does 
not here teach that it is the design of God, in revealing himself 
to men, to render their opposition inexcusable, but rather, since 
this revelation has been made, they have in fact no apology for 
their ignorance and neglect of God. Though the revelation of 
God in his works is sufficient to render men inexcusable, it does 
not follow that it is sufficient to lead men, blinded by sin, to a 
saving knowledge of himself. As Paul says of the law, that it 
was weak through the flesh, that is, insufficient on account of 
our corruption, so it may be said of the light of nature, that, 
although sufficient in itself as a revelation, it is not sufficient, 
considering the indisposition and inattention of men to divine 
things. " Sit haec distinctio," says Calvin, " demonstrate 
Dei, qua gloriam suam in creaturis perspicuam facit, esse, 
quantum ad lucem suam, satis evidentem; quantum ad nos- 
tram csecitatcm, non adeo sufficere. Cseterum non ita cseci 
sumus, ut ignorantiam possimus prsetexere, quin perversitatis 

VERSE 21. Since knowing Crod. The most natural and 
obvious connection of this verse is with the last clause of the 
preceding, Men are without excuse, since, although they knew 
God, they worshipped him not as God. This connection, 
moreover, is in accordance with the apostle s manner, who 
often establishes a proposition, which is itself an inference, by 
a new process of argument. Thus in the present instance, in 
vs. 19, 20, he proved that the heathen had a knowledge of God 
which rendered them inexcusable, and then the fact that they 
were without excuse, is proved by showing that they did not 
act in accordance with the truth. Kiickert, however, who is 

ROMANS I. 21. 57 

followed by Tholuck, considering that the apostle s object is to 
show that the heathen wickedly oppose the truth, as stated in 
ver. 18; and that this proof consists of two parts, first, the 
heathen had the knowledge of the truth, vs. 19, 20, and 
secondly, that they did not act according to it, vs. 2123 ; 
assumes that the connection is rather with the last clause of 
ver. 18, and that something is implied here which is not 
expressed, and that the logical reference of deort is to this 
omitted thought. The heathen are without excuse, and wick 
edly oppose the truth, since although they knew God, they 
glorified him not as God. This sense is good enough, but it 
is a forced and unnatural interpretation. 

The apostle having shown in ver. 19, that the knowledge of 
God was revealed to men, has no hesitation in saying that the 
heathen knew God ; which (iocs not mean merely that they had 
the opportunity of knowing him, but that in the constitution of 
their own nature, and in the works of creation, they actually 
possessed an intelligible revelation of the Divine existence and 
perfections. This revelation was indeed generally so neglected, 
that men knew not what it taught. Still they had the know 
ledge, in the same sense that those who have the Bible are said 
to have the knowledge of the will of God, however much they 
may neglect and disregard it. In both cases there is knowledge 
presented, and a revelation made, and in both ignorance is 
without excuse. As there is no apology for the impiety of the 
heathen to be found in any unavoidable ignorance, their idola 
try was the fruit of depravity. The apostle therefore says, 
that although they knew God, they glorified him not as God, 
neither were thankful to him. Aozd^ is to ascribe llonour 
to any one, to praise, and also to honour, to make glorious, 
or cause that others should honour any one. Men are said 
to glorify God either when they ascribe glory to him, or 
when they so act as to lead others to honour him. In the 
present case, the former idea is expressed by the word. They 
did not reverence and worship God as their God; neither did 
they refer to him the blessings which they daily received at his 


Instead of thus rendering unto God the homage and gr; 
tude which an his due, they became vain in their imaginations. 

58 ROMANS I. 22. 

Vain, (lp.aTcua>&rjaay) that is, according to coLstant scriptural 
usage, became both foolish and wicked. Vain conversation is 
corrupt conversation, 1 Pet. i. 18 ; and vanity is wickedness, 
Eph. iv. 17. These words are all frequently used in reference to 
idolatry, as idols are in the Bible often called ndraca, vanities. 
In their imaginations, deaAofefffjLOtG, properly thoughts, but usu 
ally, in the New Testament, with the implication of evil; evil 
thoughts or machinations. Here the word also has a bad sense. 
The thoughts of the heathen concerning God were perverted and 
corrupt thoughts. The whole clause therefore means, that the 
heathen, in refusing to recognize the true God, entertained 
foolish and wicked thoughts of the Divine Being ; that is, they 
sank into the foll^ and sin of idolatry. And their foolish heart 
was darkened; they lost the light of divine knowledge ; d^vsroc, 
destitute of auvzacz understanding, insight into the nature of 
divine things. The consequence of this want of divine know 
ledge was darkness. The word xapdla, heart, stands for the 
whole soul. Hence men are said to understand with the heart, 
Matt. xiii. 15; to believe with the heart, Rom. x. 10; the heart 
is said to be enlightened with knowledge, 2 Cor. iv. 6 ; and the 
eyes of the heart are said to be opened, Eph. i. 8. The word 
dtavoia, mind, is used with the same latitude, not only for the 
intellect, but also for the seat of the affections, as in Eph. ii. 3, 
we read of the desires of the mind. It is not merely intel 
lectual darkness or ignorance which the apostle describes in 
this verse, but the whole moral state. We find throughout the 
Scriptures the idea of foolishness and sin, of wisdom and piety, 
intimately connected. In the language of the Bible, a fool is 
an impious man; the wise are the pious, those who fear God; 
foolishness is sin ; understanding is religion. The folly and 
darkness of which the apostle here speaks, are therefore ex 
pressive of want of divine knowledge, which is both the effect 
and cause of moral depravity. 

VERSE 22. Professing themselves to be ivise. (Pdaxovret; elvai 
ao(fol, (for tfc^o^c, by attraction.) Saying in the sense of pre 
tending to be. The more they boasted of their wisdom, the 
more conspicuous became their folly. What greater folly can 
there be, than to worship beasts rather than God ? To this 
the apostle refers in the next verse. 

ROMANS I. 23. 59 

VERSE 23. They became fools, and exchanged the glory of 
the incorruptible Grod for the likeness of the image of corruptible 
man. Herein consisted their amazing folly, that they, as 
rational beings, should worship the creature in preference to 
the Creator. The common construction of the verb dtidffff&v 
in Greek when it means to exchange, is either ri rrvoc, or rr 
divri TWOS* but the apostle imitates the Hebrew construction, 
2 "PTan, which by the LXX. is rendered &Hdffff$ev cv, as in Ps. 
cvi. 20. The sense is not that they change one thing into 
another, but that they exchanged one thing for another. The 
glory, a collective* term for all the divine perfections. They 
exchanged the substance for the image, the substantial or real 
divine glories for the likeness of an image of corruptible wan, 
i. e. an image like to corruptible man. The contrast is not 
merely between God and man, or between the incorruptible, 
imperishable, eternal God, and frail man, but between this 
incorruptible God and the image of a man. It was not, how 
ever, in the worship of the images of men only that the degra 
dation of the heathen was manifested, for they paid religious 
homage to birds, beasts, and reptiles. In such idolatry the 
idol or animal was, with regard to the majority, the ultimate 
object of worship. Some professed to regard the visible image 
as a mere symbol of the real object of their adoration; while 
others believed that the gods in some way filled these idols, and 
operated through them; and others again, that the universal 
principle of being was reverenced under these manifestations. 
The Scriptures take no account of these distinctions. All 
who l)o wed down to stocks and stones are denounced as wor 
shipping gods which their own hands had made ; and idolatry 
is made to include not merely the worship of false gods, but the 
worship of the true God by images. The universal prevalence 
of idolatry among the heathen, notwithstanding the revelation 
which God had made of himself in his works, is the evidence 
which Paul adduces to prove that they arc ungodly, and conse 
quently exposed to that wrath which is revealed against all 
ungodliness. In the following verses, to the end of the chap 
ter, he shows that they are unrighteous ; that as the con 
sequence of their departure from God, they sank into the 
grossest vices. 

60 ROMANS I. 24. 

VERSE 24. WJierefore also he gave them, in their lusts, unto 
uncleanness. The most natural construction of this passage is 
to connect e/c dxa&apffiav with napeficoxev, he gave up unto 
uncleanness. We have the same construction in vs. 26, 28, 
and frequently elsewhere. To construct TLapeoojxsu with Iv 
TCUZ iitt&UfJLicuz, as Beza and others do, gives indeed a good 
sense, He gave them up to their desires unto uncleanness, 
i. e. so that they became unclean, but is opposed to the con 
stant usage of the New Testament, inasmuch as TcapadidtofJU 
never occurs in construction with sv. If the former construc 
tion be adopted, Iv ra?c fag&ufjucui; may be rendered as in our 
version, through their lusts; or better in their lusts; Iv ex 
pressing their condition, or circumstances : them in their lusts, 
i. e. being in them, immersed in them. To dishonour, TOIJ 
aTt/mreff&at. This infinitive with rou may depend on the pre 
ceding noun; the uncleanness of dishonouring, &c., " quse 
cernebatur in," &c. Winer, 45. 4. b. But as the infinitive 
with the genitive article is so frequently used to express design, 
or simple sequence, it is better to make it depend on the whole 
preceding clause, He gave them up to uncleanness, to dis 
honour, i. e. either in order that they might dishonour, or so 
that they dishonoured, &c.; &TtfJtdcr&at may be taken either as 
middle, so that they dishonoured their bodies; or as passive, so 
that their bodies were dishonoured. The former best suits the 
context. Ev ea JTotz is either equivalent to iv aXAi/jAoa;, reci 
procally, they dishonoured one another, as to their bodies ; or 
in themselves, dishonouring their bodies in themselves; "signi- 
ficantius exprimit," says Calvin, "quam profundas et inelui- 
biles ignominies notas corporibus suis inusserint." 

This abandonment of the heathen to the dominion of sin 
is represented as a punitive infliction. They forsook God, 
dib xai, wherefore also he gave them up to uncleanness. This 
is explained as a simple permission on the part of God. 
But it removes no real difficulty. If God permits those who 
forsake him, to sink into vice, he does it intelligently and inten 
tionally. The language of the apostle, as well as the analogy 
of Scripture, demands more than this. It is at least a judicial 
abandonment. It is as a punishment for their apostasy that 
God gives men up to the power of sin. Tradidit Deus ut Justus 

ROMANS I. 25. 61 

judex. He withdraws from the wicked the restraints of hig 
providence and grace, and gives them over to the dominion of 
sin. God is presented in the Bible as the absolute moral and 
physical ruler of the world. lie governs all things according 
to the counsel of his own will and the nature of his creatures. 
What happens as consequences does not come by chance, but 
as designed; and the sequence is secured by his control. "It 
is beyond question," says Tholuck, "that, according to the 
doctrine of the Old and New Testaments, sin is the punish 
ment of sin." So the Rabbins teach, "The reward of a good 
deed is a good deed, and of an evil deed, an evil deed." This 
is also the teaching of all experience. We see that sin fol 
lows sin as an avenger. De Wette truly says, "Diese Ansicht 
ist nicht bloss judisch, sondcrn allgemein walir vom absolutcn 
Standpunktc der Religion aus." "This is no mere Jewish 
doctrine, but it is universally true from the absolute stand-point 
of religion." God is not a mere idle spectator of the order of 
events ; he is at once the moral governor and efficient controller 
of all things. "Man is not a virtue-machine, " says Meyer, 
"when God rewards virtue with virtue; neither is he a sin- 
machine, when God punishes sin with sin." Men are as frco 
in sinning as they are in obeying; and what in one passage 
arid from one point of view, is properly presented as the work 
of God, in another passage and from another point of view, is 
no less properly presented as the work of man. What is here 
said to be God s work, in Eph. iv. 19, is declared to be the 
sinner s own work. 

A HRSE 2"). Whu ehanf/e, (o^Tr^s-.) The pronoun has a causal 
sense, being such as those who, i. e. because they exchanged the, 
truth of God for a lie. The construction is the same as in 
vcr. 23, //sr^ //^r/y y, they exchanged for, not, they changed 
into. The truth of God, either a periphrase for the true God, or 
the truth concerning God, i. e. right conceptions of God. For 
a lie, that is, either a false god, or falsehood, i. c. false views 
of God. The former is the better explanation. The glory of 
God is God himself as glorious, and the truth of God, in this 
connection, is God himself as true ; that is, the true God. In 
the Old Testament, as in Jer. xiii. 25, xvi. 19, the gods of the 
heathen are spoken of as lies. Anything which is not what it 

62 ROMANS I. 26. 

pretends to be, or what it is supposed to be, is in the Scriptures 
called a lie. The proof of this apostasy is, that they worshipped 
(ffsld<r&ijffav) and served (Hdrpeoaav.) These words are often 
synonymous, both being used to express inward reverence and 
outward worship ; although the former properly expresses the 
feeling, and the latter the outward service. The creature 
(xrlffzfj) not the creation, but any particular created thing. 
This noun belongs, in sense, to both the preceding verbs, 
although the first by itself would require the accusative. More 
than the Creator, xaoa rov xriffavTa, i. e. beyond, in the sense 
of more than, or in the sense of passing by, neglecting; 
"pneterito Crcatore," as Beza translates. The latter suits 
best. Who is blessed for ever. Amen. Who, notwithstanding 
the neglect of the heathen, is the ever-blessed God. This is 


the natural tribute of reverence toward the God whom men dis 
honoured by their idolatry. The word luXofyroz is by Harless, 
Epli. i. 3, and by Meyer, made to mean praised, as the Hebrew 
Y " 1 -) to which it so constantly answers; not, therefore, worthy 
of praise, but who is in fact the object of praise to all holy 
beings. Brctschneider (Lexicon,) Tholuck, and others, render 
it u celebrandus, vencrandus." Amen is properly a Hebrew 
adjective, signifying true or faithful. At the beginning of a 
sentence it is often used adverbially, verily, assuredly; at the 
end of a sentence it is used to express assent, it is true, so let it 
be. Paul says Amen to the declaration that God is the ever- 

VEIISK 26. For this cause, &c. That is, because they wor 
shipped the creature rather than the Creator, God gave them 
up to corrupt affections. Hatty d.rctua^, shameful lusts, pas 
sions which are degrading, and the indulgence of which covers 
men with ignominy. This verse is therefore an amplification 
of the idea expressed in ver. 24. The reasons why Paul refers 
in the first instance to the sins of uncleanness, in illustration 
and proof of the degradation of the heathen, probably were, 
that those sins are always intimately connected with idolatry, 
forming at times even a part of the service rendered to the 
false gods ; that in turning from God and things spiritual, men 
naturally sink into the sensual ; that the sins in question are 
peculiarly degrading ; and that they were the most notorious, 

ROMANS I. 27, 28. 63 

prevalent, and openly acknowledged of all the crimes of the 
heathen world. This corruption of morals was confined to no 
one class or sex. The description given by profane writers, 
of the moral corruption of the ante-Christian ages, is in all 
respects as revolting as that presented by the apostle. Of this 
the citations of AVetstein arid Grotius furnish abundant proof. 
Paul first refers to the degradation of females among the 
heathen, because they are always the last to be affected in the 
decay of morals, and their corruption is therefore proof that all 
virtue is lost. 

VERSE 27. The apostle for the third time repeats the idea 
that the moral degradation of the heathen was a punishment of 
their apostasy from God. Receiving, he says, in themselves the 
meet re-cutti/tenae of their error. It is obvious from the whole 
context that ~~/Avr t here refers to the sin of forsaking the true 
God; and it is no less obvious that the recompense or punish 
ment of this apostasy was the moral degradation which he had 
just described. 

The heathen themselves did not fail to see the intimate con 
nection between impiety and vice. Silius, iv. 71*4. u lieu 
primie sceleruin cau.-vc mortahbus iegris naturam nescire Deum. 
Cicero De natura Deorum, 12. Ilaud scio, an, pietate adversus 
Dcos sublata, (ides etiam et societas, et una excellentissima 
virtus justitia tollatur." Sec WETSTEIX. Those therefore who 
would merge religion into morality, or who suppose that moral 
ity can be sustained without religion, are more ignorant than 
the heathen. They not only shut their eyes to all the teach 
ings both of philosophy and of history, but array against them 
selves the wrath of God, who has revealed his purpose to 
abandon to the most degrading lusts those who apostatize 
from him. 

VERSE 28. And an the// did not think it wortli while to retain 
G-od in their knowledge, he gave them up to a reprobate mind. 
Another repetition of the sentiment is expressed in vs. 24, 26, 
that God abandons those who abandon him. And as, xac 
xad-oj^. The cases arc parallel ; as they deserted God, so God 
abandoned them; comp. John xvii. 2. They did not like, oux 
idoxi/jiafffw; the verb means to try or put to the test, to ex 
amine, to approve, and, lignum habere, to regard as worthy, 

64 ROMANS I. 2931. 

1 Cor. xvi. 3, 1 Thess. ii. 4, and when followed by an infinitive, 
to think it worth while. The heathen did not think it worth the 
trouble to retain the knowledge of God. They considered reli 
gion as useless, and supposed they could live without God. The 
phrase %ztv ev Imj vcoffet is stronger than simply to know; both 
because err^-voWc, full knowledge, is stronger than f\*wai~, and 
because /^v Jv lm[vd)fft is stronger than imfeYvwffxeev. The 
text therefore means to retain in accurate or practical know 
ledge. It was the practical recognition of the only true God, 
whose eternal power and Godhead are revealed in his works, 
that men were unwilling constantly to make. G-od gave them 
up to a reprobate mind. Beza, Bengel, and others, give 
dooxetJtoz here the sense of judicii expers, incapable of judgment 
or discernment. But this is contrary to usage, and contrary to 
the etymology of the word. Abxtjioz, from diyouai, means 
receivable, worthy of being received ; and ddoxt/wz, worthy of 
rejection, reprobate. To do things not becoming; that is, to do 
things not becoming: the nature and duties of man. Of the 

o o 

things meant, the following verses contain a long and painful 
catalogue. /7o^c?v is the exegetical infinitive, to do, that is, so 
that they did. It expresses the consequence of the dereliction 
just spoken of, and the natural fruit of a reprobate mind. 

VERSES 29 31. Being filled with all unrighteousness, forni 
cation, wickedness, &c. The accusative nerrtypcofjieyouz is con 
nected with a jro jc of the preceding verse. lie gave them up, 
filled with all unrighteousness; or it depends on the preceding 
infinitive ~o. ?y, so that they, filled with all unrighteousness, 
should commit, &c. It is not so connected with Ttapsdcoxev, as 
to imply that God gave them up after they were thus corrupt, 
but it is so connected with xotdv as to express the consequence 
of God s abandoning them to do the things which are not con 
venient. The crimes here mentioned were not of rare occur 
rence. The heathen were filled with them. They not only 
abounded, but in many cases were palliated and even justified. 
Dark as the picture here drawn is, it is not so dark as that pre 
sented by the most distinguished Greek and Latin authors, of 
their own countrymen. Commentators have collected a fearful 
array of passages from the ancient writers, which more than 
sustain the account given by the apostle. We select a single 

ROMANS I. 2931. 65 

passage from Senca de Ira, II. 8 : " Omnia sceleribus ac vitiis 
plena sunt ; plus committitur quam quod possit coercitione 
sanari. Certatur ingenti quodam nequitise certamine ; major 
quotidie peccandi cupiditas, minor verecundia est. Expulso 
melioris aequiorisque respectu, quocunque visum est, libido se 
impingit; nee furtiva jam scelcra sunt, printer oculos cunt. 
Adeoque in publicuni rnissa nequitia est, ct in omnium pectori- 
bus evaluit, ut innocentia rion rara, sed nulla sit. Numquid enim 
singuli aut pauci rupere legem? undique ? velut signo dato, ad 
fas nefasque miscendum coorti sunt." What Paul says of the 
ancJerit heathen world, is found to be true in all its essential 
features of men of all generations. Wherever men have ex 
isted, there have they shown themselves to be sinners, ungodly, 
arid unrighteous, and therefore justly exposed to the wrath of 
God. Of the vices with which the heathen were filled, xof&sla 
stands first as the most prominent; xovrjpia, malice, the dispo 
sition to inflict evil ; rr/oj/^rV/, rapacity, the desire to have 
more than is our due; xaxia, malignity, malrce in exercise; 
cftoiso^ and cn^o^, envy and murder, united either from simi 
larity in sound, or because the former tends to the latter; epc$, 
oo/oc, Contention and fraud, nearly related evils. The primary 
meaning of oo/oc is a bait, food exposed to entrap an animal; 
then the disposition to deceive, or an act of deception; xaxo- 
rfii .d. (xuxnz and /J^^cO malc/ ul nee, the disposition to make the 
worst of everything; c v^ ^^r^ c, a lohisperer, clandestine slan 
derer ; xt/-fi)sjLk>~, a detractor, one who speaks against others ; 
$OtfT Jj^ c, hateful to God, or J/atiiif/ God. Usage is in favour 
of the passive sense, the connection of the active. All wicked 
men, and not any one particular class, are the objects of the 
divine displeasure. To meet this difficulty, Meyer proposes to 
make tins word a mere qualification of the preceding, Grod- 
abliorred detractors. This, however, is out of keeping with the 
whole passage. The great majority of commentators adopt the 
active sense. Then follow three designations, expressive of the 
different forms of pride, u^o^ral, the insolent; dxspr/ydvot, the 
self -conceited; a/oCovC, boasters; l<pz J t oz-ae xaxtov, inventors of 
crimes; disobedient to parents. That such should be included 
in this fearful list, shows the light in which filial disobedience 
is regarded by the sacred writers. In vcr. 31, all the words 

66 ROMANS I. 32. 

begin with the d privative, aaoverous. without (crjvs,m$) insight 
into moral or religious things, i. e. blinded, besotted, so as to 
think evil good, and good evil ; aaoud-sro JZ, perfidious; aarbp- 
fyc, those in whom the natural affection for parents or child 
ren is suppressed ; aar.bvoo j^, implacable; d.vzA /j/j.oyaz, without 

VERSE 32. Who well knowing the righteous judgment of 
Crod; that is, although they well know, &c. They were (oFr^sc) 
such as who. The heathen whose acts had been just described, 
are declared to be, Men who, although they Imeiu the righteous 
judgment, &c., (otxaUo/ia) decree, a declaration of what is right 
and just ; and or/acco/m TOL> 0zoi> is the declaration of God as to 
what is right and just. The import of this declaration is con 
tained in the clause, that they who do (xpdaaoum, commit) such 
things are worthy of death. By death here, as often elsewhere, 
is meant punishment, in the general meaning of that word. It 
expresses the penalty of the law, and includes all evil inflicted 
for the satisfaction of justice. Paul therefore teaches that the 
heathen knew they deserved punishment for their crimes, or in 
other words, that they were justly exposed to the wrath of God, 
which was revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness 
of men. The source of this knowledge he explains in the fol 
lowing chapter, ver. 14. It was a knowledge written on their 
hearts, or included in the constitution of their nature ; it was 
implied in their being moral agents. As he had before shown 
that the impiety of the heathen was without excuse, inasmuch 
as they had a knowledge of the true God, so here he shows that 
their immorality was inexcusable, since their sins were not com 
mitted in ignorance of their nature or desert. This passage 
also shows that the judicial abandonment of God does not 
destroy the free agency or responsibility of men. They are 
given up to work iniquity, and yet know that they deserve 
death for what they do. The stream which carries them away 
is not without, but within. It is their own corrupt nature. It 
is themselves. Notwithstanding this knowledge of the ill-desert 
of the crimes above enumerated, they not only commit them, 
but approve cf those who do (or practise) them. This is the 
lowest point of degradation, To sin, even in the heat of pas 
sion, is evil; but to delight in the sins of others, shows that 

ROMANS I. 1832. 67 

men are of set purpose and fixed preference, wicked. Such is 
the apostle s argument to prove that the heathen are all under 
Bin, that they are justly chargeable with ungodliness and 
unrighteousness, and consequently exposed to the wrath of 


1. The punitive justice of God is an essential attribute of his 
nature. This attribute renders the punishment of sin neces 
sary, and is the foundation of the need of a vicarious atone 
ment in order to the pardon of sinners. This doctrine the 
apostle assumes as a first principle, and makes it the basis of 
his whole exposition of the doctrine of justification, ver. 18. 

2. That sin is a proper object of punishment, and that, 
under the righteous government of God, it will be punished, are 
moral axioms, which have "a self-evidencing light," whenever 
proposed to the moral sense of men, vs. 18, 82. 

3. God has never left himself without a witness among his 
rational creatures. Both in reference to his own nature and to 
the rule of duty, he has, in his works and in the human heart, 
given sufficient light to render the impiety and immorality of 
men inexcusable, vs. 11), 20, 82. 

4. Natural religion is not a sufficient guide to salvation. 
What individual or what nation lias it ever led to right views 
of God or of his law? The experience of the whole world, 
under all the variety of circumstances in which men have 
existed, proves its insufficiency; and, consequently, the neces 
sity of a special divine revelation, vs. 21 23. 

5. The heathen, who have only the revelation of God in his 
works and in their own hearts, aided by the obscure tradition 
ary knowledge which has come down to them, need the gospel. 
In point of fact, the light which they enjoy does not lead them 
to God and holiness, vs. 21 23. 

6. Error (on moral and religious subjects) has its root in 
depravity. Men are ignorant of God and duty, because they 
do not like to retain him in their knowledge, vs. 21, 28. 

7. God often punishes one sin by abandoning the sinner to 
the commission of others. Paul repeats this idea three times, 
vs. 24, 26, 28. This judicial abandonment is consistent with 

68 ROMANS I. 1832. 

the holiness of God and the free agency of man. God does noi 
impel or entice to evil. He ceases to restrain. He says of the 
sinner, Let him alone, vs. 24 28. 

8. Religion is the only true foundation, and the only effectual 
safeguard for morality. Those who abandon God, he abandons. 
Irreligion and immorality, therefore, have ever been found inse 
parably connected, vs. 24 28. 

9. It evinces, in general, greater depravity to encourage 
others in the commission of crimes, and to rejoice in their com 
mission, than to commit them one s self, ver. 32. 

10. The most reprobate sinner carries about with him a 
knowledge of his just exposure to the wrath of God. Con 
science can never be entirely extirpated, ver. 32. 


1. It lies in the very nature of sin, that it should be inex 
cusable, and worthy of punishment. Instead, therefore, of 
palliating its enormity, we should endeavour to escape from its 
penalty, vs. 18, 32. 

2. As the works of God reveal his eternal power and God 
head, we should accustom ourselves to see in them the mani 
festations of his perfections, vs. 18 21. 

3. The human intellect is as erring as the human heart. We 
can no more find truth than holiness, when estranged from 
God ; even as we lose both light and heat, when we depart 
from the sun. Those, in every age, have sunk deepest into 
folly, who have relied most on their own understandings. "In 
thy light only, God, can we see light," ver. 21, &c. 

4. If the sins of the heathen, committed under the feeble light 
of nature, be inexcusable, how great must be the aggravation 
of those committed under the light of the Scriptures, ver. 20. 

5. As the light of nature is insufficient to lead the heathen 
to God and holiness, it is one of the most obvious and urgent 
of our duties to send them the light of the Bible, vs. 20 23. 

6. Men should remember that their security from open and 
gross sins is not in themselves, but in God ; and they should 
regard as the worst of punishments, his withdrawing from them 
his Holy Spirit, vs. 2428. 

ROMANS II. 116. 69 

7. Sins of uncleanness are peculiarly debasing and demoral 
izing. To be preserved from them is mentioned in Scripture 
as a mark of the divine favour, Eccl. vii. 26, Prov. xxii. 14 ; to 
be abandoned to them, as a mark of reprobation. 

8. To take pleasure in those who do good, makes us better; 
as to delight in those who do evil, is the surest way to become 
even more degraded than they are themselves, ver. 32. 



THE object of this chapter is to establish the same charges 
against the Jews, which had just been proved against the 
Gentiles ; to show that they also were exposed to the wrath of 
God. It consists of three parts. The first contains an exhi 
bition of those simple principles of justice upon which all men 
are to be judged, vs. 1 16. The second is an application of 
these principles to the case of the Jews, vs. 17 24. The third 
is an exhibition of the true nature and design of circumcision, 
intended to show that the Jews could not expect exemption on 
the ground of that rite, vs. 25 30. 

ROMANS II. I- 16. 


THAT men so impious and immoral, as those described in the 
preceding chapter, deserved the divine displeasure, and could 
never, by their own works, secure the favour of God, the Jew 
was prepared readily to admit. But might there not be a set 
of men, who, in virtue of some promise on the part of God, or 
of the performance of some special duties, could claim exemp 
tion from the execution of God s purpose to punish all sin? 
To determine this point, it was necessary to consider a little 
more fully the justice of God, in order to see whether it 

70 ROMANS II. 1. 

admitted of impunity to sinners on the ground supposed This 
first section of the chapter, therefore, is employed in expanding 
the principle of ver. 18 of the first chapter. It contains a 
development of those principles of justice which commend 
themselves at once to every man s conscience. The first is, 
that he who condemns in others what he does himself, does 
thereby condemn himself, ver. 1. The second, that God s 
judgments are according to the truth or real state of the case, 
ver. 2. The third, that the special goodness of God, manifested 
towards any individual or people, forms no ground of exemp 
tion from merited punishment ; but being designed to lead them 
to repentance, when misimproved aggravates their condemna 
tion, vs. 3 5. The fourth, that the ground of judgment is the 
works, not the external relations or professions of men : God 
will punish the wicked and reward the good, whether Jew or 
Gentile, without the least respect of persons, vs. 6 11. The 
fifth, that the standard of judgment is the light which men have 
severally enjoyed. Those having a written law shall be judged 
by it, and those who have only the law written on their hearts, 
(and that the heathen have such a law is proved by the opera 
tions of conscience, vs. 13 15,) shall be judged by that law, 
ver. 12. These are the principles according to which all men 
are to be judged in the last day, by Jesus Christ, ver. 16. 


VERSE 1. In order to appreciate the force of the apostle s 
reasoning in this and the following verses, it should be remem 
bered that the principal ground on which the Jews expected 
acceptance with God, was the covenant which he had made 
with their father Abraham, in which he promised to be a God 
to him and to his seed after him. They understood this pro 
mise to secure salvation of all who retained their connection 
with Abraham, by the observance of the law and the rite of 

/ i/ 

circumcision. They expected, therefore, to be regarded and 
treated not so much as individuals, each being dealt with 
according to his personal character, but as a community to 
whom salvation was secured by the promise made to Abraham. 
Paul begins his argument at a distance ; he states his principles 

ROMANS II. 1. 71 

in such general terms, that they could not fail to secure the 
assent of the Jew, before he was aware of their application to 
himself. That the Jews are addressed in this chapter is evident 
from the whole strain of the argument, and from the express 
application of the reasoning of the case of the Jews, from 
ver. IT onward. This view of the passage is now generally 
adopted, though many of the earlier commentators supposed 
either that no particular class of persons is here addressed, or 
that the apostle has in view the better portion of the heathen, 
or at least those who did not seem to approve of the crimes 
mentioned in the preceding chapter, but rather condemned 

The connection between this chapter and what precedes, as 
indicated by the particle 0^6, whcrrfi,/;-. is somewhat doubtful. 
Some suppose the inference to be drawn from the doctrine 
taught from ver. 1<S of the preceding chapter, (jod is just, and 
determined to punish all unrighteousness and ungodliness of 
men: wherefore they are without excuse who commit the sins 
which they condemn in others. In this case, however, the con 
clusion is not exactly in the form suited to the premises. It is 
not so much the incxcusablencss of sinners as the exposure to 
punishment, that follows from the justice of (!od. Most com 
mentators therefore consider the inference as drawn from the 
last verse of the preceding chapter. It is there said that all 
men know that those who sin are worthy of death; and the 
inference is, that thev who commit sin are without excuse, how 
ever censorious their self-conceit mav render them towards 
others. Yvv/y/ one wJt judge*. Though from what follows it 
is plain that the Jews are here intended, yet for the reasons 
above stated the proposition is made general. Kfnv coy, judging; 
but by implication, condemning. Fur -ir he rein t/iu jmlgent 
another, tliou condemnest tltyxelf. Wherein (kv c/3,) either in 
the thing which, or thereby, i. e. in the same judgment, or 
whilst. See Mark ii. 19, John v. 7. The reason of this asser 
tion is given in the following clause, for thou that jwlgext docst 
the same things. It is the thing done which is the ground of 
condemnation; and therefore he who condemns the act, con 
demns the agent, whether the agent be himself or some one 
else, whether he be a Jew or a Gentile. 

72 ROMANS II. 2, 3. 

VERSE 2. But we know. That is, however perverse and 
partial may be the judgment you pass on yourself, we know, &c. 
We does not refer to the Jews, as peculiarly instructed, but to 
all men. Every one knows. The proposition contained in 
this verse is: The judgment of Grod is against those who do 
such things. That is, however they may excuse themselves, 
God will judge them. The words xara atyftztav, therefore, do 
not form the predicate of the sentence, as though the sense 
were, The judgment of God is according to truth. The mean 
ing rather is, the judgment of God, which is according to truth, 
is against those, c. There are two things therefore asserted, 
the certainty of this divine judgment, and its being according 
to truth, i. e. without error, without respect of persons. It is 
not founded upon mere appearances or professions, but upon 
the real truth of the case. Comp. Prov. xxix. 14, kv curftda 
xplucov T:TCO%O JZ, and John viii. 16, /y xpiatz jj Ipy dtydrfi ianv. 
This verse then contains the second general principle of justice, 
according to which all men, whether Jews or Gentiles, are to be 
judged. The whole hope of the Jews was founded on the 
assumption that the judgment of God regarding them would be 
guided by some other rule than truth. He was not to judge 
them according to their real merits, but according to their 
national and ecclesiastical relations, just as men now hope to 
be saved because they belong to the true Church. 

VERSE 3. But thinJcest thou this, man, that judgest, &c. 
The truth that God s judgment is just, and will fall on those 
who themselves commit the sins which they condemn in others, 
is so plain, that the apostle exclaims at the folly of those who 
seem to deny it. The emphasis lies on the word thou, in the 
middle of the verse. Dost thou think that thou, a Jew, and 
because a Jew, shalt escape the righteous judgment of God? 
Shalt escape, Ixipeugij. "Every one," says Bengel, "who 13 
arraigned, (psuyst, tries to escape; he who is acquitted, exysufse, 
escapes." In ver. 1, the apostle had shown that the man 
who did what he condemned in others, condemned himself. 
"If then," as Theophylact says, "he cannot escape his own 
judgment, how can he escape the judgment of God? If 
forced to condemn ourselves, how much more w r ill the infi 
nitely Holy condemn us?" The ground on which this false 

ROMANS II. 4. 73 

and absurd expectation rested is mentioned in the following 

verse : 

VERSE 4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and 
forbearance, and lon<j-mfferin<j ? That is, admitting the general 
principle, that those who do what they condemn in others are 
themselves exposed to condemnation, do you expect exemption 
on the ground of the peculiar goodness of God? That this was 
the expectation of the Jews is plain from the apostle s argu 
ment here and in the following chapter, and from chap. ix. 
and xi. Comp. also Matt. iii. ( J, " Think not to say, Wo have 
Abraham to our father," and John viii. oo. Despisest. To 
despise, *rp/>ov7v, is to form a low estimate of. They 
despise the goodness of God, who form such a wrong estimate 
of it, as to suppose that it gives them a license to sin ; who 
imagine that he will not punish, either because he long for 
bears, or because his goodness towards us is so great that wo 
shall escape, though others perish. The words j^ffronjCj ^yjj-> 
and wwnoii juia, express the Divine goodness under different 
aspects. The first means kindness in general, as expressed in 
giving favours; the second, patience; the third, forbearance, 
slowness in the infliction of punishment. The reason why the 
Jews, as referred to by the apostle, and men in general, thus 
abuse the goodness of God, is expressed by the clause, nt 
knowing that the <j<>udn< xs <>f <!<><l l-ndfth tln-e. t<> repentance. 
//p/oaiv, not knowing, not. understanding; and here, not com 
prehending the true nature and design of. Men abuse the 
goodness of God, because they do not rightly apprehend that 
instead of indicating a purpose not to punish, it is designed to 
lead them to forsake their MIIS. The goodness of God leads us 
to repentance, because it shows us our duty towards a Ueing 
who is so kind, and because it gives us ground to hope for 
acceptance. "The word aj ^ , leads" says Dr. Wordsworth, 
Canon of Westminster, in his elegant and scholarly work on 
the Greek Testament, "intimates not only the will of God, but 
the will of man. God leads, but man may refuse to be led: 
Deus ducit volentem duci, as Bengel says, ducit suaviter 
non cogit necessitate. Very true; but who gives the will to 
be led? Is there no preventing grace? Does not God work in 
us to will, as well as to do ? Surely there is such a thing a3 

74 ROMANS II. 5, 6. 

being made willing without being forced. There is a middle 
ground between moral suasion and coercion. God supersedes 
the necessity of forcing, by making us willing in the day of his 
power. The apostle, however, is not here speaking cf gracious 
influence, but of the moral tendencies of providential dis 

VERSE 5. The goodness of God, so far from being a ground 
of reasonable expectation that w r e shall ultimately escape 
punishment, becomes, when abused, an aggravation of our 
guilt. This principle the apostle here applies to the Jews> 
who, through their abuse of the peculiar mercy of God, were 
treasuring up wrath for themselves. Kara as rr t v ffxAyporyrd 
GOD, after tliy hardness, i. e. as might be expected from thy 
hardness ; agreeably to its nature and degree zal dnzra^orrov 

O !/ O / / 

xaoolav, heart incapable of repentance. " A/JtsTavoyroz, vim 
activam habet, animus, qui resipicere non potcst, poenitere 
nescius. Enervat hunc locum Grotius quum explicat, animus, 
qui poenitentiam non agit." Fritzsche. To treasure up is to 
lay up little by little, and thus accumulate a store of anything, 
whether good or evil. The abusers of God s goodness accumu 
late a store of wrath for themselves. v fyjtspq. oo-f?^ is com 
monly rendered unto the day of wrath ; but this unnecessarily 
gives lit the force of etc. It is better, with De Wette, Meyer, 
and others, to connect Iv with dprfv, i wrath at or on the day 
of wrath. They treasure up for themselves wrath at that day 
when wrath shall be manifested. That day is further described 
as the day aTioxa/. jipzco^ dixcuoxpca iaz ro r j Osoi>, of the revelation 
of the righteous judgment of Grod. Some manuscripts insert 
xa: between d~oxaA j(/>zco~ and dtxaioxptGiaz; which reading is 
preferred by Bengel, Wetstein, Mill, and Knapp. The sense 
then is, the day of revelation, and of the righteous judgment 
of (rod. The day of revelation, viz. of Christ, whose second 
coming is always associated in Scripture with the final judg 
ment ; and therefore the day of revelation may well express 
the day of judgment. But as the phrase " day of revelation" 
nowhere else occurs in this sense, and as the oldest manuscripts 
are in favour of the common text, it should be allowed to stand. 
VERSE 6. Who ivill render to every man according to his 
works. This is the fourth important principle which the 

ROMANS II. 6. 75 

apostle teaches us regulates the judgment of God. He will judge 
men neither according to their professions nor their relations, 
but according to their works. The question at his bar will be, 
not whether a man is a Jew or a Gentile, whether he belongs to 
the chosen people or to the heathen world, but whether he has 
obeyed the law. This principle is amplified and applied in 
what follows, in vs. 7 11. The question has been asked, how 
the declaration that God will render to every man, whether Jew 
or Gentile, according to his works to the good, eternal life, to 
the wicked, indignation and wrath is to be reconciled witli the 
apostle s doctrine, that no man is justified by works, that right 
eousness and life arc not by works, but by faith, and through 
grace. In answering this question, two things are to be borne 
in mind. The first is, that notwithstanding the doctrine of 
gratuitous justification, and in perfect consistency with it, the 
apostle still teaches that the retributions of eternity are accord 
ing to our works. The good only are saved, and the wicked 
only are condemned. For we must all appear In-fore tho 
judgment-scat of Christ, that every one may receive the tilings 
done in his body, whether good or bad," 2 Cor. v. 10, Kph. vi. S. 
u Ueproborum," says Calvin, " malitiam justa ult ione si puniet 
Dominus, rependet illis quod meriti suiit. Rursum quia sancti- 
ficat, qiios olim statuit glorificare, in illis quoquo bona opera 
coronabit, sed non pro merito." With this accord tin words 
of Bernard: "Bona opera sunt via regni. non causa rcgnandi." 
The wicked will be punished on account of their works, and 
according to their works; the righteous will be rewarded, not 
on account of, but according to their works. Good works are 
to them the evidence of their belonging to that class to whom, 
for Christ s sake, eternal life is graciously awarded; and they 
are, in some sense and to some extent, the measure of that 
reward. But it is more pertinent to remark, in the second 
place, that the apostle is not here teaching tho method 
of justification, but is laying down those general principles 
of justice, according to which, irrespective of the gospel, all 
men are to be judged. lie is expounding the law, not the 
gospel. And as the law not only says that death is the wages 
of .sin, hut also that those who keep its precepts shall live by 
them, so the apostle says, that God will punish the wicked and 

76 ROMANS II. 7, 8. 

reward the righteous. This is perfectly consistent with what 
he afterwards teaches, that there are none righteous ; that 
there are none who so ohey the law as to be entitled to the life 
which it promises ; and that for such the gospel provides a plan 
of justification without works, a plan for saving those whom the 
law condemns. He is here combatting the false hopes of the 
Jews, who, though trusting to the law, were by the principles 
of the law exposed to condemnation. This he does to drive 
them from this false dependence, and to show them that neither 
Jew nor Gentile can be justified before the bar of that God, 
who, while he promises eternal life to the obedient, has revealed 
his purpose to punish the disobedient. All therefore that this 
passage teaches is, that irrespective of the gospel, to those who 
either never heard of it, or w r ho having heard, reject it, the 
principle of judgment will be law. 

VERSES 7, 8. The principle laid down in ver. G, is here 
amplified. God will render eternal life to the good, indignation 
and wrath to the wicked, without distinction of persons ; to the 
Jews no less than to the Gentiles. Though the sense of these 
verses is plain, there is great difference of opinion as to the 
grammatical construction. The explanation adopted by our 
translators is perhaps the most natural, and is the one which is 
most generally followed. To the verb drrodcoffee of ver. 6, 
belong the two accusatives, ^cor^ atcovtov, and dvubv xal bo-fa; 
and the two datives, ro?c /ASV ^ r t To~}(Jt and ro?c os l Ipt&elaz. 
The accusatives oo~av xat rc ir^ /JJ.L d<p$o.paiay then of course 
depend on ^roy<r. , and zap u~oao^r^ ett^ou dfa&ou is an 
adverbial qualification. The passage then reads thus: "To 
those, who through perseverance in good works, seek glory, 
honour, and immortality, eternal life ; but to those who are 
contentious, indignation and wrath." Another construction, 
adopted by Bengel, Fritzsche, and others, supposes that rol^ 
fj.ku zatT faoiwi/rp eoyoy dja&o r j (soil, ouffi) are to be taken 
together; to those who are according to perseverance, i. e. to 
those who persevere; (comp. of za~d adpxa=oi aapxcxol, and ol 
xard //1/sv/ of Trj/su/^rr/o/.) The folio .ving clause, obzav 
C/JTOW, is then in apposition with the preceding: "To those 
who persevere in good works, seeking glory, honour, and 
immortality, he will render eternal life." This view of the 

ROMANS II. 3. 77 

passage is recommended by the correspondence thus established 
between the ro?c [*sv xa& ur.o^ovr^ of ver. 7, and the ro?c os lz 
ipc&sia.^ of ver. 8. It is opposed, however, by the following con 
siderations : 1. The interpretation of the phrase ol *# u~o- 
fjio^u epfo j dfa&ou, is hardly borne out by a reference to the 
phrases ol xo~a. adpxa and ol xa-a Il^= r jtia. 2. The second 
clause of ver. 7, if a mere amplification of the first clause, 
should be introduced by xai, as in ver. 8 : 7o?c os lz iptd-siaz, 
xat d-se&o jfft. Luther, after Oecumenius, translates thus : 
" Welcher geben ivird Preis und Ehrc und unvergangliches 
"\Vesen denen, die mit Gcduld in guten Werken trachten nach 
dcm ewigen Leben:" "Who will give glory, honour, and 
immortality to those, who, in patient continuance in well-doing, 
seek eternal life." According to this view, the accusatives 
oo#v, Teu7ji>, (Icdapciav, depend upon drzootbazc, and ^cor^ 
alcimov on ^To r jff!. But this tlie position of the words will 
hardly bear. Luther s fluent and forcible version is effected by 
an entire transposition of the clauses. The construction there 
fore first mentioned is on the whole to be preferred. In the 
English version of the words *//" it-otto^y, xo~d is rendered 
through. So also Grotius, l)e Wcttc, and others. Sec 1 Cor. 
xii. 8, Eph. iii. o, 7. Others translate it by the Latin preposi 
tion sccundiim, according to, or in virtue of. * ) ~oftoi<? is ren 
dered patien-ce by the Vulgate, and Luther; pat u nx t\rj>< < f<iffo y 
by Be/a ; constancy, or patient continuance, in our version. 
In illustration of the combination i)-onn^r^ zn-fo j (rfajhr). coinp. 
u-of/.o ^ r^c C/TT/OOC, 1 Thess. i. o. The sing. E//J-O-J is used 
collectively for eV/ ^ :is "* Gal. vi. 4, 1 Thess. i. :>, and else 
where. What is immediately afterwards expressed by eternal 
life., is here expressed by the three words, glory, honour, and 
immortality. The manifested excellence or splendour of the 
future condition of the saints is expressed by dbza; the honour 
due such excellence by rctirj; and the endless nature of their 
blessedness by dup&apaia. 

VERSE 8. To those wlio are of contention, that is, the con 
tentious. Coinp. ol I/ rr^rsf- c, believers; ol Ix -zfurotLy^, the 
circumcised; o> ~x dxpofi jff-caz, the uncircumcised; ol Ix i/6/jio j, 
those who belong to the law, legalists. Instead of the ordinary 
derivation of Irud-tia from ^c, Kuckert traces it to Ipc&oz, a 

78 ROMANS II. 8. 

hireling, which derivation is sustained by Tholuck, "Beitrage zur 
Spracherklarung dcs Neuen Testaments," p. 25, and Fritzsche, 
Excursus to his Commentary on the second chapter of this 
Epistle, and is now generally adopted. The signification of the 
word, as determined by its etymology and its classical usage is, 
work for lure, selfishness, ambition, party spirit, malice. In the 
New Testament it is used several times in the same sense, as in 
Philip, i. 10, ol /JLSV e~ iptd-sia^ some of rivalry, or malice; the 
antithetical expression is ol os e? ajd~r^. In Philip, ii. 8, it is 
connected with xsvodogla, vain glory. In James iii. 14, 16, it 
is connected with "/oc, envy. In 2 Cor. xii. 20, it is distin 
guished from sfttz. These passages show that the scriptural 
usage of the word agrees with the classical. Still in the present 
case it seems to have a somewhat wider meaning. It is not 
envy, or rivalry, but malicious opposition to God and his 
requirements that is here expressed. This is plain from the 
explanatory clauses that follow. The disposition expressed by 
epe&ela is manifested in disobeying the truth, and obeying 
unrighteousness. Brctsclmcider therefore explains ol ipi- 
$/ to mean qui malitia ducti Deo, i. e. rei divince, adversan- 
tur: "Those who through malice oppose themselves to God." 
The same interpretation is given by Reiche and De "Wette, as 
well as by the older commentators. Who obey not the truth. 
\-\xstd-sco is to refuse belief, to disbelieve, as well as to disobey. 
This clause therefore means, who refuse assent and obedience 
to the truth. *A):/jf}ta is divine truth; what is true and right 
as to faith and practice. See i. 18. " Saepe," says Bengel, " haec 
duo (di)jrjd-ta and ddr/la) inter se opponuntur : veritas continet 
justitiam, et injustitia connotat mendacium." Who yield them 
selves to, or follow unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 
(shall be rendered.) The words &u/j.bc xal oof-rj should regularly 
be in the accusative, as depending on a~odcoazi of ver. 6 ; but 
as they are in the nominative, la-cat or a~od(oaerac must be 
supplied. There may be, as some suppose, force in the change 
of construction and omission of the verb. God gives eternal 
life ; indignation and wrath come as earned by man, so to 
speak, Deo nolente. God wills all men to be saved. Comp. 
Rom. vi. 2-j. Both words are used for the sake of intensity. 
As to their specific difference, both ancient and modern philo- 

ROMANS II. 9. 79 

legists differ. The majority make d-uiibz express the momentary 
impulse of anger, otr^ the permanent feeling. Others make 
<3/>py to include the desire of vengeance, and therein to differ 
from &u[j.6z. The former distinction is more in accordance with 
the primary meaning of the words ; as & jrib- means the mind 
as the seat of the emotions, and hence is used for any strong 
passion, and on^r- means disposition, habit of mind. 

VERSE ( J. Tribulation and anguish; ^/. / . C, (from /^//^w, to 
press,) means prt smre, affliction; at&o%tooia, strait ness of 
place, anyuish. They are often associated; see chap. viii. 85, 
2 Cor. vi. 4. The latter is the stronger of the two terms, as 
may be inferred from its always following the other, and espe 
cially from "2 Cor. iv. 8, fl-hftopsvot) "// 011 GTSKOfcopoufisvoe, 
troubled, but not <listr<w<L Ecenj smd />/ man, that is, every 
man. Comp. Acts ii. 41, Rom. xiii. 1, and the Hebrew c:-":3 
t-a. Iviiekert, Meyer, and others, give c "^ its full force, 
upon every soul that !>fi>n<i* t<> a man. to express the idea, that 
the soul and not the body is to suffer the penalty. Hut in 
xiii. 1. </";% evidently stands for the whole person: let every 
soul, means let every person; and such is a common scriptural 
meaning of the word, "if a soul sin," "if a soul lie," l if the 
priest buy a soul with his money," ,Ve. Of tin- ,/, /r //Vxf, and 
ahn of tin Gri t fc. It becomes now apparent that the apostle, 
in laying down these general principles of justice, had the Jews 
specially in view. (i,,d, be says, will render to every man 
according to his works; to the good, eternal life ; to the evil, 
tribulation and anguish. And lest the every man should fail to 
arrest attention, lie adds expressly, that the Jew as well as the 
Greek is to be thus judged. The word -<>)-(^ may express 
either order or preeminence. If the former, the sense is what 
is expressed by Calvin, ki JLiee universalis est divini judicii lex, 
inne a Jmheis incipiet, et comprehendet totiim orbem." The 
judgment shall begin with the Jews, and extend to the Gen 
tiles. If the latter, the sense is, The Jew shall not only be 
punished as certainly as others, but more severely, because he 
has been more highly favoured. -The Jew first," is equivalent 
then to the Jew especially. The same remark applies to 
the following verse. If the Jew is faithful, he shall be spe 
cially rewarded What is true of all men, is specially true 

80 ROMANS II. 1012. 

of those to whom God has revealed himself in a peculiar 

VERSE 10. But glory, honour, and peace, to every one doing 
good; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. This verse com 
pletes the statement of the principle of law announced in ver. 6. 
The law, while it threatens death to the transgressor, promises 
life to the obedient ; and it matters not in either case, whether 
it is a Jew or Gentile who receives its award. Glory, honour, 
and peace are descriptive terms for eternal life. It is a life 
glorious in itself, an object of reverence or regard to others, 
and a source of unspeakable blessedness or peace. 

VERSE 11. For there is no respect of perso?zs with God. He 
is righteous and impartial, looking not at the person, but the 
conduct of those whom he judges. This is the ground of the 
assurance that he will judge Jews and Gentiles according to 
their works. The words TtpoactiTiotyfiia, ~(>oaa)-oArj~Tr^, xpoa- 
CO-O/^TTTSO), are all peculiar to the New Testament, and all owe 
their origin to the phrase xpoffco-ov lafifidvsw, which is used in 
the sense of the Hebrew phrase, fc^B as:, to lift up, or accept 
the face of any one, that is, to be favourable to him. This is 
sometimes used in a good sense, as Gen. xxxii. 21, "Peradven- 
ture he will accept of me," literally, lift up my face. Gen. 
xix. 21, Job xlii. 8. Most frequently in a bad sense, for par 
tiality. Hence judges are forbidden to accept the face of any 
one. Lev. xix. 15, Deut. x. 17. In the New Testament, all the 
expressions above mentioned are used in the sense of unjust 
partiality. All 7rpoaa)7tok/j</>ta, respect of persons, is denied 
to God, and forbidden to men. See Eph. vi. 9, Col. iii. 25, 
James ii. 1. 

VERSE 12. In the preceding verse it was stated that God is 
just and impartial in all his judgments. This is confirmed not 
only by the previous assertion, that he will judge every man 
according to his works, but also by the exhibition of the impor 
tant principle contained in this verse. Men are to be judged 
by the light they have severally enjoyed. The ground of judg 
ment is their works; the rule of judgment is their knowledge. 
For as many as sinned without law. That is, God is impartial, 
for he will judge men according to the light which they have 
enjoyed. Our Lord teaches the same doctrine when he says, 

ROMANS II. 13. 81 

"The servant which knew his lord s will, . . . shall be beaten 
with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did commit things 
worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes." Luke 
xn. 47, 48. By law, is here meant a written or supernatural^ 
revealed law. In 1 Cor. ix. 21, the heathen are called fcoftw, 
without law, as distinguished from the Jews, who were u~o 
1,0 1 toy, under law. Xotta^ as used by the apostle, means the 
rule of duty, the will of (Jod revealed for our obedience: com 
monly, however, with special reference to the revelation made 
in the Scriptures, \-hof tcu; is equivalent to yo)ol- yorwj, with 
out law, and is not to he taken in its moral sense, without 
restraint, i. e. recklessly. \hotw)~ xa: o-ohrr^u.^ shall a Into 
2 ">rixlt without law, that is. their punishment sliall be assigned 
without reference to the written law. AV/> before d-o/oDvra*, 
says Riickert and Tholuck, indicates the relation between I lie 
cause and effect, or premise and conclusion; or as Frit/sclio 
says, " ncccssitatem indicat, quit TO wttuo- u.-n /jjjrrlhu ex TW 
dwfw)z &tmpi:dvztv consequatur." Neither of these explana 
tions seems to express the true fore- of the particle: it rather 
serves to indicate that as the sinning is wmoz, so also is the 
punishment. \-l-vu>j/u is to destroy, to put to death, spoken 
of physical death, and also of eternal death. Matt. x. L S. Luke 
iv. -U; and in the passive form. Luke xiii. :). 5, -John iii. \.\ JiJ. 
1 Cor. vin. 11. The word is strong in its own import; ;l nd as 
explained by other passages, it here teaches that those who sin 
without a written revelation although they are to be judged 
fairly, and are to be treated far less severely than those who 
have enjoyed the light of revelation are still to perish. 
"Vide igitur, quale patrocinium suscipiant, <|ui prapn<teni 
misericordia gcntes evangel ii lumine privatas ignoranti;e pr;e- 
textu Dei judicio eximcro tentant. Calkin. 

VERSI-: I- ,. For not th<* hearers of th<> law. This verse is 
connected with the last clause of the preceding, and assigns the 
reason why the Jews shall be judged or punished according to 
the law: the mere possession or knowledge of the law would 
not avail, for it is not the hearers, but the doers of the law 
that are just before God. The expression hearers instead of 
readers, is explained by the fact that the law was read in the 
presence of the people, and bv hearing rather than by readiri"- 

82 ROMANS II. 14. 

their knowledge of it was obtained. Comp. Matt. v. 21, John 
xii. 34, Gal. iv. 21, James i. 22. To be just before God, and 
to be justified, are the same thing. They are both forensic 
expressions, and indicate the state rather than the character of 
those to whom they refer. Those are just in the sight of God, 
cr are justified, who have done what the law requires, and are 
regarded and treated accordingly ; that is, are declared to be 
free from condemnation, and entitled to the favour of God. In 
obvious allusion to the opinion, that being a Jew was enough to 
secure admission to heaven, the apostle says, It is not the 
hearers but the doers of the law that are justified. He is not 
speaking of the method of justification available for sinners, as 
revealed in the gospel, but of the principles of justice which 
will be applied to all who look to the law for justification. If 
men rely on works, they must have works ; they must be doers 
of the law ; they must satisfy its demands, if they are to be 
justified by it. For God is just and impartial; he will, as a 
judge administering the law, judge every man, not according to 
his privileges, but according to his works and the knowledge of 
duty which he has possessed. On these principles, it is his 
very design to show that no flesh living can be justified. 

VERSE 14. For whenever the G- entiles, not having the law. 
In the preceding verse the apostle had said, That not the hear 
ers but the doers of the law are justified before God ; and then 
adds, For whenever the Gentiles, not having the law, do by 
nature the things of the law, they are a law unto themselves. 
But the fact that the Gentiles are a law unto themselves, has 
nothing to do, either as an illustration or confirmation, with the 
general proposition contained in ver. 13. Those who insist on 
establishing such a connection, suppose that ver. 14 refers to 
the last clause of ver. 13, and is designed to prove either that 
with regard to the Gentiles as well as Jews, doing is the thing 
required ; or that there are doers of the law who may be justi 
fied, among the heathen. The doers of the law, says the 
apostle, shall be justified; but the heathen do the law, there 
fore they shall be justified. This, however, is not the con 
clusion at which the apostle is aiming. He is not teaching the 
method of justification, or arguing to prove that the Gentiles as 
well as the Jews may be doers of the law, and thus be justified 

ROMANS II. 14. 83 

in the sight of God. He is expounding the law; he is showing 
the principles by which God will judge the world, Gentiles as 
well as Jews. Those who are without the written law, he will 
judge without any reference to that law; and those who are 
under the law, he will judge by that law. This general pro 
position he confirms first by saying, in ver. 13, that the mere 
possession of the law is not enough ; and secondly by saying, 
in ver. 14, that the Gentiles have a law by which they may be 
judged. The logical connection of ver. 14, therefore, is not 
with ver. 13, but witli ver. I 2. Thus Calvin, who says, u Pro- 
bationera prioris membri (ver. 1-f) mine repetit. Probat enim 
frustra obtendi a gentibus ignorant iam, 41111111 factis suis de- 
clarent. nonnullam se liabere justiti:e regulam. Xulla enim 
gens uncjuani sic ab huinanitate abhorruit. ut non se infra leires 
ali([iias contineret." What, ivln m-vt i , as often ^x, wliicli may 
be the sense of the particle in this case, Whenever, or as often 
as the heathen do so or so. Or it nrny have the sense of a /tilc, 
bc< <iuxc: Because, or since the heathen do so or so. Conip. 
1 Cor. xv. -7. As Zi+yr t is without the article, many would 
render it Jn utlu )^ that is, s< t )n<> Ju uthcn. But in the first place, 
it is evident from the context that this is not what the apostle 
means to say. 1 1 is object is to show that the heathen would 
have a rule of duty written on their hearts; a fact which is not 
proved by some heathen obeying the law, but which is proved 
by the moral conduct of all men. Men generally, not some 
men, but all men, show by their acts that they have a know-. 
ledge of right arid wrong. And secondly, this word has, with 
out the article, in virtue of its frequent occurrence, a definite 
sense, romp. iii. U, ix. l24, and especiallv ver. 30: l/ ( hrj . . . 
/.fj i/. /.it dtyjuoa jvr.v: tin heathen attained righteousness. Do 

i O 

by nature the thin;/* of tin- Inir. There are two misinterpreta 
tions of the phrase, ~<L TO~J ^ono j Tiotzlv. The one is, that it 
means to fulfil the law; the other, to do the office of the law, 
i. e. to command and forbid. The former is unnecessary, and 
is in direct opposition to the express and repeated declaration 
of the apostle, that ncnc, whether, Jew or Gentile, has ever 
fulfilled the law. To do the things of the law, is indeed to do 
what the law prescribes, (comp. x. 5, Gal. iii. 12 ;) but whether 
complete or partial obedience is intended, depends upon tho 

84 ROMANS II. 14. 

context. The man who pays his debts, honours hid parents, ig 
kind to the poor, does the things of the law ; for these are 
things which the law prescribes. And this is all the argument 
the apostle requires, or his known doctrine allows us to under 
stand by the phrase, in the present instance. This being the 
case, there is no need of resorting to the second interpreta 
tion mentioned above, which was proposed by Beza, and adopted 
by Wetstein, Flatt, and others. Though /rorsZy ra roi) ^6/j.ou 
might mean to do what the law does, prescribe what is good and 
forbid what is evil, it certainly has not that sense elsewhere in 
Paul s writings, see x. 5, Gal. iii. 12; and is especially out of 
place here, in immediate connection with the phrase 7:oc^ral ro5 
bbtioy, in the sense of doers of the law. The heathen do quase, 
by nature, the things of the law. The <pjocz of anything is the 
peculiarity of its being, that in virtue of which it is what it is ; 
it is that which belongs to its original constitution, and is 
opposed to what is taught, acquired, or made. The word is 
sometimes used for a disposition or sentiment arising out of our 
nature, as opposed to mere arbitrary rules, as in 1 Cor. xi. 14. 
In the present case, the opposition is to UOJULO^. It is by nature, 
not by an external law, that the Gentiles are led to perform 
moral acts. Comp. Gal. iv. 8. Eph. ii. 3. The proper connec 
tion of c jffzt with rd TOL> UO/JLOU xors;, they do by nature the tilings 
of the law, is retained in our version, and by the great majority 
of commentators. Bengel, R-uckert, and a few others, connect 
it with p.?] UOIJLOV lyo^ra, not having the law Inj nature; but this 
is saying very little to the purpose of the apostle. His object 
is to show that tp jatz supplies to the Gentiles the place of W/JLOZ. 
These not having the law, are a law unto themselves. No/iov, 
without the article, maybe rendered either, a law, "not having 
a law," by implication, a written, external law; or the law, 
i. e. the Jewish law, since that word is often used without the 
article for the law of the Jews ; that is, the law of God, as 
revealed in the Scriptures. The Gentiles, then, are law unto 
themselves ; they have in their own nature a rule of duty ; a 
knowledge of what is right, and a sense of obligation. As 
the absence of all moral acts among the lower animals shows 
that they have no sense of right and wrong, that they are 
not under a moral law, so the performance of such acts by 

ROMANS II. 15. 85 

the Gentiles, shows that they have a law written on their 

VERSE 15. Who show the work of the law written or. their 
hearts. Here, as in i. 25, and often elsewhere, the relative has 
a causal force: They are a law unto themselves, because they 
show the work of the law, &c. Wolf, Tholuck, and others 
make In-fw ~OL> uojuou a periphrase for the law itself; Grotius, 
the effect of the law, that is, a knowledge of right and wrong ; 
most modern commentators make TO lo^oi> equivalent to rd 
io-fa. The same works which the Jews have prescribed in their 
law, the Gentiles show to be written on their hearts. It is by 
doing the things of the law, that the Gentiles show they have 
this inward rule of duty ; their conscience aho learhnj icitiicw. 
Grotius, Koppe, and Tholuck, take a jtitjLauT jozlv in the sense 
Df the simple verb. Gump. Jer. xi. 7, in the LXX., Horn. ix. 1, 
viii. 1*J. -Their conscience bearing witness, that is, to the fact 
that there is a law written on their hearts. ]>ut as a jnnanr j- 
/>s?v is properly und textari, and as the context presents no 
reason for departing from the common meaning of the word, 
the great majority of commentators give the G JV its proper 
force. That with which conscience joins its testimony is the 
honcstas vitiv, the moral acts of the heathen; and the fact to 
which this joint testimony is borne, is that they are a law unto 
themselves. The apostle appeals not only to their external 
conduct, but to the inward operations of their moral nature. 
j^z. .d/jrt^ is the < <>nx< it nf/<i ro/ixetfuots, the inward jud^e, 
whose acts are described in the following clause: Their tl/<nt<jhtx 
(ilti-rniifi 1>{ (i< i u*in<i <>r even f sruxiny. Our version takes n^a~ j 
as an adverb, and makes d/./.^/.aj^ the object of the following 
participles, And in the meanwhile, their thoughts accusing, or 
else excusing one another. Kollner defends this interpreta 
tion, and declares that //sray, between, cannot mean viaissim. 
It is used, he asserts, only of time, between two portions of 
time, i. e. during; or of space, between two places, persons, or 
things. It is not, however, so much the signification of the 
word uzraZ j, as the sense of the phrase /JLSTUZ J dtiy/MV, that is 
expressed by the translation, vicissim, sive alternante sententid. 
* Between one another, implies reciprocal or alten ate action; 
comp. Matt, xviii. 15. The order of the words is obviously 

86 ROMANS II. Ii5. 

opposed to the separation of aWfav from ^ercu, and to 
making the former the object of the following participles; 
which are rather to be taken absolutely. Their thoughts alter 
nately accusing and excusing, viz. their conduct. The inward 
monitor acquits or condemns, as the case demands. Bcngcl 
remarks on the YJ xai, or even, that xal is concessive, and shows 
" cogitationes longe plus habere quod accusent, quam quod 

VERSE 16. The greatest difficulty in relation to this verse is 
to determine its connection with the preceding context. In the 
common copies of our Bible, vs. 13, 14, 15, are marked as a 
parenthesis, and ver. 16 is placed in connection with ver. 12 : 
4 The heathen shall be judged without the law T , and the Jews by 
the law, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men. 
Thus the passage is arranged by Griesbach and Knapp; a mode 
of connection adopted also by Beza, Grotius, Rciche, and others. 
The objections to this explanation are, first, the distance at 
which this verse stands from ver. 12 ; and secondly, that the 
intervening verses have not the nature of a parenthesis, but are 
intimately connected with the idea contained in ver. 12. Calvin, 
Bengel, lluckcrt, Fritzsche, De AVette, Meyer, Tholuck, &c., 
connect this verse >yUh ver. 15. The difficulty then is, that the 
verb and participles of ver. 15 are in the present tense, whereas 
xpevst of this verse is future : Their thoughts accusing or ex 
cusing in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men. 
To meet this difficulty, Calvin proposes to give sv r^isfta the 
force of e<c ^,"v, in the sense of until, or in reference to the 
day. Tholuck modifies this by making y include e^, until 
and on that day. Not only does conscience now exercise its 
office, but will do so especially on the day of judgment. Riick- 
ert, De Wette, and others, suppose that the apostle thought 
only of the present when he wrote ivdelxvuvrau, but extends the 
reference to the future, in the latter part of the verse. That 
is, the present participles express what will be present on the 
day of judgment: The heathen show the work of the law 
written on their hearts, and their conscience also bearing wit 
ness, &c., on the day of judgment. But the main objection to 
this connection is, that the sense thus expressed is not suited to 
the apostle s object. He designs to prove that the Gentiles are 

ROMANS II. 16. 87 

a law to themselves. This is proved by the present operation 
of conscience, which approves or condemns their conduct. But 
it seems forced to bring that prcof from what conscience will 
do on the day of judgment. It seems best therefore to refer 
this verse back to ver. 12. God, it is said, will judge the secrets 
of men; the things which have escaped the knowledge of others ; 
those hidden deeds of the heart and life, which are the surest 
criterion of character. The searching character of this judg 
ment; its justice, as not guided by mere external appearance; 
and its contrast with mere human judgments, are all intimated 
by this expression. The clause, accurdimj to my gospel, is not 
to be connected with y.outi, as though the gospel was to be the 
rule of this divine judgment; for this would contradict the 
apostle s doctrine, that men are to be judged by the light they 
possess. It refers to the fact of a final judgment, which is 
declared to be in accordance with the gospel, or a part of that 
message which Paul was commissioned to deliver. 7>// Jesus 
C/it lxt is to be connected with xo .^il. God will judge the world 
through Jesus Christ, agreeably to our Saviour s own declara 
tion, "The Father judgeth no man, but has committed all judg 
ment to the Son." Sometimes this judgment is referred directly 
to the Messiah, as in 1 Cor. iv. f>, 2 Cor. v. 10, 1 Tim. iv. 1 ; 
sometimes indirectly, as though he were but the representative 
of God, as in Acts xvii. ol. These representations, however, 
are perfectly consistent. The preposition md in such eases only 
expresses the idea that the power or authority which belongs to 
the Godhead is specially exercised through the Son. Thus 
sometimes it is said, God created all things through the Son, 
lleb. i. 2, and sometimes that the Son himself is the Creator, 
Col. i. 1G. 

Such then are the principles on which Paul assures us that 
all men are to be judged. They commend themselves irresisti 
bly to every man s conscience as soon as they arc announced, 
and yet every false hope of heaven is founded on their denial 
or neglect. It may be proper to repeat them, that it may be 
seen how obviously the hopes of the Jews, to which Paul, from 
ver. IT onward, applies them, are at variance with these moral 
axioms. 1. lie who condemns in others what he does himself, 
ipso facto condemns himself. 2. God s judgments are according 

88 ROMANS II. 116. 

to the real character of men. 3. The goodness of God, being 
designed to lead us to repentance, is no proof that he will not 
punish sin. The perversion of that goodness will increase our 
guilt, and aggravate our condemnation. 4. God will judge 
every man according to his works, not according to his pro 
fessions, his ecclesiastical connections or relations. 5. Men 
shall be judged by the knowledge of duty which they severally 
possess. God is therefore perfectly impartial. These are the 
principles on which men are to be tried, in the last day, by 
Jesus Christ ; and those who expect to be dealt with on any 
other plan, will be dreadfully disappointed. 


1. The leading doctrine of this section is, that God is just. 
His judgments are infinitely removed above all those disturbing 
causes of ignorance and partiality, by which the decisions of 
men arc perverted, vs. 1, 16. 

2. The refuge which men are always disposed to seek in their 
supposed advantages of ecclesiastical connection, as belonging 
to the true Church, &c., is a vain refuge. God deals with men 
according to their real character, vs. 2, 3. 

3. The goodness of God has both the design and tendency 
to lead men to repentance. If it fails, the fault must be their 
own, ver. 4. 

4. It is a great abuse of the divine goodness and forbearance 
to derive encouragement from them to continue in sin. Such 
conduct will certainly aggravate our condemnation, vs. 3 5. 

5. None but the truly good, no matter what the professions, 
connections or expectations of others may be, will be saved; 
and none but the truly wicked, whether Gentile or Jew, Chris 
tian or heathen, will be lost, vs. 6 10. 

6. The goodness which the Scriptures approve consists, in a 
great degree, in the pursuit of heavenly things : it is a seeking 
after glory, honour and immortality, by a persevering continu 
ance in well-doing. It is the pursuit of the true end of our 
being, by the proper means, ver. 7. 

7. The 1 esponsibility of men being very different in this 
world, their rewards and punishment will, in all probability, be 

ROMANS II. 116. 89 

very different in the next. Those who knew not their Lord s 
will, shall be beaten with few stripes. And those who are 
faithful in the use of ten talents, shall be made rulers over ten 
cities, vs. 9, 10. 

8. The heathen are not to be judged by a revelation of which 
they never heard. But as they enjoy a revelation of the divine 
character in the works of creation, chap. i. 19, 20, and of the 
rule of duty in their own hearts, vs. 14, 15, they are. inexcusa 
ble. They can no more abide the test by which they are to be 
tried, than we can stand the application of the severer rule 
by which we are to be judged. Both classes, therefore, need a 
Saviour, vcr. 12. 

9. The moral sense is an original part of our constitution, 
and not the result of education, ver. 14. 

10. Jesus Christ, who is to sit in judgment upon the secrets 
of all men, must be possessed of infinite knowledge, and there 
fore be divine, ver. 16. 


1. The deceitfulness of the human heart is strikingly exhi 
bited in the different judgments which men pass upon them 
selves and others; condemning in others what they excuse in 
themselves. And it not unfrequently happens that the most 
censorious are the most criminal, vs. 1, 8. 

2. How does the goodness of God affect us? If it docs not 
lead us to repentance, it will harden our hearts and af<Tavate 

i CO 

our condemnation, vs. 4, 5. 

3. Genuine repentance is produced by discoveries of God s 
mercy, legal repentance by fear of his justice, ver. 4. 

4. Any doctrine which tends to produce security in sin, must 
be false. The proper effect of the enjoyment of peculiar advan 
tages is to increase our sense of responsibility, and our grati 
tude to God, and not to make us suppose that we are his special 
favourites. God is no respecter of persons, vs. 3 10. 

5. How vain the hopes of future blessedness, indulged by the 
immoral, founded upon the expectation cither that God will riot 
deal with them according to their works, or that the secrets of 
their hearts will not be discovered ! vs. G 10, 16. 

90 ROMANS II. IT 29. 

6. If God is a just God, his wrath is not to be escaped by 
evasions, but in the way of his own appointment. If we have 
no righteousness of our own, we must seek that of the Saviour, 
vs. 116. 

7. He who died for the sins of men is to sit in judgment 
upon sinners. This is a just ground of fear to those who reject 
his offered mercy, and of confidence to those who trust in his 
righteousness, ver. 16. 



Tins section consists properly of two parts. The first, 
vs. IT 24, contains an application of the principles laid down 
in the former section, to the case of the Jews. The second, 
vs. 25 29, is an exhibition of the nature and design of circum 
cision. The principal grounds of dependence on the part of the 
Jews were, 1. Their covenant relation to God. 2. Their supe 
rior advantages as to divine knowledge. 3. Their circumcision. 
Now if it is true that God will judge every man, Jew or Gentile, 
according to his works, and by the law which he has enjoyed, 
what will it avail any to say, We are Jews, we have the law, 
ver. IT ; we have superior knowledge, ver. 18 ; we can act as 
guides and instructors to others ? ver. 19. This may all be very 
true ; but arc you less a thief, merely because you condemn 
stealing ? less an adulterer, because you condemn adultery ? or 
less a blasphemer, because you abhor sacrilege ? vs. 21, 22. 
This superior knowledge, instead of extenuating, only aggra 
vates your guilt. While boasting of your advantages, you by 
your sins bring a reproach on God, vs. 23, 24. According to 
the first principles of justice, therefore, your condemnation will 
be no less certain, and far more severe than that of the Gentiles. 
As to circumcision, to which the Jews attached so much impor 
tance, the apostle shows that it could avail nothing, except on 
condition of obedience to the law or covenant to which it be 
longed, ver. 25. If the law be broken, circumcision is worth 
less, ver. 25, latter clause. On the other hand, if the law is 

ROMANS II. 17. 91 

obeyed, the want of circumcision will not prevent a blessing, 
vcr. 20. More than this, if those less favourably situated than 
the Jews are found obedient, they will rise up in judgment 
against the disobedient, though favoured people of God, vcr. 27. 
All this proves that an external rite can, in itself, have no 
saving power ; because God is a Spirit, and requires and 
regards spiritual obedience alone. This principle is stated, 
first negatively, he is not a Jew who is such in profession 
merely, vcr. 28 ; and then affirmatively, he is a Jew who is one 
inwardly, ver. 29. 


VERSE 17. Instead of cos, Iwlwld, which is in the common 
text, most of the ancient manuscripts, many of the versions, 
and of the Fathers, read et os, but if ; which reading is adopted 
by Bengel, Griesbach, Knapp, and Lachmann, and is followed 
by almost all the recent commentators. We- have then the 
protasis of a, sentence of which the apodosis does not follow: 
J>ut if thou art called a Jew, and hast the law, thou xhouldst 
a<;t according to it; comp. 2 Pet. ii. 4. Or the answering clause 
may be found in ver. 21, If thou art called a Jew, tfcc., 
tcachest thou then (<>u^) not thy>elf"r Win> r, 4, 11. 1. Art 
caff i il, i-f>^i>>!.( i. y r I ullt d ft(i\ or in <t>l>litin f; a. sense 
insisted on here by Theodoret, who says, " obx il~-^ u\,otul~7 n 
d// k~OKorj.d^7j." .IJcngcl, Kb llner, Clever, and others, take the 
same view of the meaning of the word: Besides your proper 
name, you call yourself a Jew. JJut as the compound word is 
used for ilie simple one in (Jen. iv. 17, 2o, 20, and elsewhere, 
and as .lew was then the common name of the people, it is 
better rendered, tf<<m <irt called. /ouoaioz, a /<!/ , ;i descendant 
of Judah, in the New Testament applied to all the Israelites, as 
inhabitants of Judea. It was considered a title of honour, not 
only on account of its etymology, rrrr, meaning ///v/.svW, Gen. 
xlix. 8, but because it designated the people of God. Comp. 
vs. 28, 21), and llev. ii. 9: "I know the blasphemy of those who 
say they are Jews, and are not." To be a Jew in this sense, 
was to be one of the covenant people of God, a member of the 

92 ROMANS II. 17. 

theocracy, or of the true Church. As this was the principal 
ground of the false confidence of the Jews, the apostle mentions 
tt before all others. It was not enough that they were the 
children of Abraham ; if they sinned, they were exposed to the 
displeasure of that God who will render to every man according 
to his works, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. And 
rcstest on the law. That is, Thou placest thy confidence upon 
the law. In the Scptuagint, the word occurs in Micah iii. 11, 
a passage illustrative of the one before us, "The heads thereof 
judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, the 
prophets thereof divine for money; yet will they lean upon the 
Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us ? none evil can come 
upon us." The law here means the whole Mosaic system, the 
civil and religious polity of the Jews. This they relied upon ; 
the fact that they were within the Church, were partakers of 
its sacraments and rites; that they had a divinely appointed 
priesthood, continued in unbroken succession from Aaron, and 
invested with the power to make atonement for sin, was the 
ground on which they rested their hope of acceptance with God. 
Within that pale they considered all safe ; out of it, there was 
no salvation. Such was the false confidence of the Jews ; such 
has been and is the false confidence of thousands of Christians. 
And malceM % boast of 6rod. See Winer, 13. 2, on the 
form of the word xau-^aaae. To boast, or glory in any person 
or thing, is to rejoice in him or it as a source of honour, happi 
ness, or profit to ourselves. We are forbidden thus to glory in 
ourselves, or any creature, as the ground of our confidence and 
source of our blessedness. "Let no man glory in men; but he 
that glories, let him glory in the Lord." This glorying in God 
may be right or wrong, according to the reasons of it. If it 
proceeds from a sense of our own emptiness, and from right 
apprehensions of the excellence of God, and from faith in his 
promises, then it is that glorying which is so often commanded. 
But if it arises from false notions of our relation to him, as his 
peculiar favourites, then it is vain and wicked. The Jews 
regarded themselves in such a sense the people of God, as to be 
secure of his favour, let their personal character be what it 
might. They boasted that he was their God, that they mono 
polized his favour, all other nations being his enemies. 

ROMANS II. 18. 93 

VERSE 18. And knowcst tlie will &c., of God. Superior 
knowledge was another of the peculiar distinctions of the Jews. 
The particulars to which the apostle refers in this, as well as in 
the preceding and succeeding verses, constituted real and great 
privileges, by which the Jews were distinguished from all other 
people. To he the people of God, to have the law, to know the 
divine will, were indeed great advantages; but these advantages 
only increased the obligations of those who enjoyed them. They 
did not of themselves constitute any ground of confidence of 
acceptance with God; much less did the mere possession of 
these distinguishing favours give exemption from those princi 
ples of just retribution, according to which God will judge the 
world. The apostle, however, grants the Jews all they claimed: 
he grants that they were the people of God; that they had the 
law. knew the divine will. ^e.. and then shows that they were 
nevertheless exposed to condemnation. If real advantages, 
such as distinguished the .lews above all other nations, were of 
no avail to their justification or acceptance before God, what is 
to be said or thought of those who place their confidence in 
fictitious advantages, in mere imaginary superiority to their 
fellow men or fellow Christians; as belonging to the true 
Church, having the true succession, the real sacraments, when 
in fact in these respects they are even less favoured than thoso 
whom they look upon as outside the Church and the covenant? 
And <i in>r<>r, xt (//<> t/n n</x t/mt arc more e.r< c?/<-nf. Aoxtfuii^stv 
is tn fr//. t examine, as in 1 Cor. iii. ! >; and then. 1 regard 
<i* trt i if. i. e. 1<> approve, as in 1 Cor. xvi. o. Jefjufsostv means 
to ditfi i\ as in Gal. ii. > : and also, to excel, as in Matt. x. >!. 
See also Matt. vi. 2(\, Luke xii. 7, <N:c. This is the most common 
meaning of the word in the Xc\v Testament. We have then the 
choice of the two interpretations, Tlinii approved tJ/c tliunj* f//<ft 
arc more excellent, or, Tlum dost distinguish the things that <rre. 
different. Our version gives the former, both here and in 
Philip, i. 10, where the same words occur. The latter is adopted 
by Theodorct, who explains dtaupspovra by IW&T KI d.)J^Xoe^ 
dtxaioa JWjV xal <wr/:av; and Theophylact, r/ os? r.nv.tuj. xt/.i ri jjj] 
f?? r:nn.~~(u. The same view is taken by most of the recent com 
mentators. It is suitable to the context, inasmuch as the 
apostle is here speaking of the peculiar advantages of the Jews, 

94 ROMANS II. 19, 20. 

one of which was their superior knowledge, and their ability to 
do what others could not, that is, decide what was and what 
was not consistent with the will of God. On the other hand, 
however, to approve of what is right, to discern it to be right, 
is a higher attainment than merely to discriminate between 
good and evil. And as the apostle is here conceding to the 
Jews everything they could claim, it is better to give his words 
their highest sense. lie admits that theoretically they were 
right in their judgments. It was not their moral judgments, 
but their moral conduct that was in fault. Being instructed, 
xar/j%ou/jizvoz, (orally instructed, as the word literally means,) 
out of the law, i. e. the Scriptures, as i^o/jto^ often means. The 
word or law of God was a light to their feet, to which they 
could at all times refer to guide their steps. 

VERSES 19, 20. And art confident that thou thyself art a 
guide of the blind. The apostle in these verses states the effect 
which the peculiar advantages of the Jews produced upon them. 
They considered themselves to be greatly superior to all other 
nations; capable of instructing them ; and of being the guides 
and light of the world. This idea is presented in different 
lights, in what follows a ligltt of them which are in darkness, 
an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes. They looked 
upon themselves as qualified to act as the instructors of others, 
eoi/r, having, i. e. because they had the form, &c. Having 
the form of knowledge and of truth in the law. Mbn<fto0cz 
occurs in the New Testament only here and in 2 Tim. iii. 5. 
In the latter passage it is opposed to the reality (d jva/jtcz,) and 
means mere appearance. This however cannot be its meaning 
here ; for the clause in which it occurs, assigns the reason 
which the Jews felt themselves to have, and which they had in 
fact, for their superior knowledge. They supposed themselves 
to be able to guide others, because they had the form of know 
ledge in the law. It therefore here means, forma quce rem 
exprimat, as Grotius expresses it. The form of knowledge, is 
knowledge as represented or expressed in the law. In other 
words, the exhibition of knowledge and truth in the law is 
given in a form which expresses their true nature. The words 
f\>M(ttZ and dtf&sta do not essentially differ. The former, says 
De Wette, is truth as known ; the latter, truth in itself. 

ROMANS II. 21, 22. 95 

VERSES 21, 22. Thou therefore that teachest another. We 
have here the virtual apodosis of ver. IT. If thou, although a 
Jew, and related to God as one of his peculiar people, and well 
instructed out of the law, violate the law, and do the things thou 
condemnest in others, how canst thou escape the judgment of 
that God who will render to every man according to his works? 
It is evident the apostle means to assert that the Jews were 
guilty of the crimes here specified; and it matters little whether 
the several clauses be read interrogatively or amrmatively. 
The former, as the more forcible, is generally preferred. To 
set ourselves up as instructors, and yet not to apply our prin 
ciples to ourselves, is riot only an inconsistency, but offensive 
arrogance and hypocrisy. To steal and to commit adultery 
are great sins, but for those who preach against them and con 
demn them in others, to commit them, is to quadruple their 
guilt. The Jews, therefore, who committed the sins which they 
so loudly condemned in the heathen, were more guilty in the 
bight of God than the heathen themselves. While flattering 
themselves that they were secure from the divine wrath, in the 
enclosure of the theocracy, they were the special objects of 
God s displeasure; so that publicans and harlots were nearer to 
the kingdom of God than they. Tlum that abhorrcst /</"/*, dnxt 
thou rob temples.* That the Jews, subsequently to the captivity, 
did abhor idols, is a well known fact; that tliev robbed the 
temples of idols is not known. Hesidcs, robbing the temples 
of idols was not sacrilege; for in the mind of the Jew there was 
no sacredne>s in those temples. It was to him robbery, and 
nothing mure: probably something less. The objurgatory cha 
racter of these several clauses requires that the thing hen; 
charged should be of the same nature with idolatry, not its 
opposite. The Jew taught that men should riot steal, yet he 
himself stole ; he said, Commit not adultery, yet he was guilty 
of that crime ; he abhorred idols, yet was guilty of idolatry. 
It is something analogous to idolatry that is here charged, not 
the despoiling of heathen temples, which would be the natural 
expression of the abhorrence of idols. The essence of idol 
atry was profanation of God; of this the Jews were in a high 
degree guilty. They had made his house a den of thieves. 
Instead therefore of taking the word h^oa jhl^ literally, which 

96 ROMANS II. 2325. 

the context forbids, it should be understood in a secondary 
sense. It expresses the sin of irreverence in its higher forms ; 
either as manifested in withholding from God his due, which 
the prophet denounces as robbery "Will a man rob God? yet 
ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed 
thee? In tithes and offerings," Mai. iii. 8: or it may be taken 
in the still more general sense of profanation, the irreverent 
disregard of God and holy things. This is all the context 
requires: You profess great reverence for God, in eschewing 
idolatry ; and yet, in other forms, you are guilty of the greatest 

VERSES 23, 24. Another striking instance of the incon 
sistency between their principles and their conduct was, that 
while they made a boast of the law, they so disregarded its 
precepts as to lead the heathen to think and speak evil of that 
God who gave the law, of whose character they judged by 
the conduct of his people. This charge he expresses in the 
language of their own prophets; see Isa. Iii. 5, and Ezek. 
xxxvi. 20, 23. In the former passage we find in the LXX. 
nearly the same words as those used by the apostle: " 61 6/^C 
dca-av-cbz TO ovoud /JLOL> fttaff<pyfJLiiTae Iv ro?c ed-vzae." Both 
Isaiah and Ezckiel, indeed, refer to that blaspheming of God 
by the heathen, which arose from the misery of his people, 
whose God they were thus led to regard as unable to protect 
his worshippers. This however does not render the reference 
of the apostle less appropriate; for it is the mere fact that 
God s name was blasphemed among the Gentiles, on account 
of the Jews, that the apostle means to confirm by this reference 
to the Scriptures. And besides, as their sins were the cause 
of their captivity, their sins were the cause also of the evil 
speaking of God, of which their sufferings were the immediate 

VERSE 25. The apostle, in vs. 116 of this chapter, had 
proved that God would judge both Jews and Gentiles accord 
ing to their works; in vs. 17 24, that the Jews, notwith 
standing their peculiar privileges, were no less sinful than 
the Gentiles ; the obvious conclusion therefore was, that they 
were no less liable to condemnation. It is with this conclusion 
implied, but not expressed, that this verse is connected by the 

ROMANS II. 25. 97 

particle ydf) : i You are exposed to condemnation, for circum 
cision, in which you trust, profits only on condition that you 
keep the law. Comp. chap. iv. 2, and iv. 0, and other places in 
which f6.o refers to a thought omitted. Circumcision is not 
here to be taken for Judaism in general, of which that rite was 
the sign, but for the rite itself. It is obvious that the Jews 
regarded circumcision as in some way securing their salvation. 
That they did so regard it, may be proved not only from such 
passages of the New Testament where the sentiment is implied, 
but also by the direct assertion of their own writers. Such 
assertions have been gathered in abundance from their works 
.by Eisenmenger, Schoettgen, and others. For example, the 
Rabbi Menachem, in his Commentary on the Books of Moses, 
fol. 43, col. >, savs, "Our Rabbins have said, that no circum 
cised man will sec hell." In the Jalkut Rubeni, num. 1, it is 
taught, "Circumcision saves from hell." In the Medrasch 
Tillim, fol. T, col. -, it is said, "God swore to Abraham, that 
no one who was circumcised should lie sent to hell." lu tho 
book Akedath Jizehak, fol. f>4. col. i\ it is taught that "Abra 
ham sits before the gate of hell, and does not allow that any 
circumcised Israelite should enter there."* The apostle con 
siders circumcision under two different aspects. First, as a rite 
supposed to possess some inherent virtue or merit of its own; 
and secondly, as a sign and seal of God s covenant. In the 
former view. Paul IHTC as well as elsewhere, says, "Circum 
cision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing," Gal. vi. 15; 
in the latter, it had its value. As a seal it was attached in the 
first place to the national covenant between God and the Jews. 
It was a sign of the existence of that covenant, and that the 
person to whom it was affixed was included within its pale. It 
was a pledge on the part of God that he would fulfil the pro 
mises of that covenant. If any Jew fulfilled his part of the 
national covenant, and in that sense kept the law, his circum 
cision profited him. It secured to him all the advantages of 
Judaism. But this rite was, in the second place, attached to 
the spiritual covenant formed with Abraham ; that is, " it wag 
a seal of the righteousness of faith;" it was designed as an 

* Eisenmenger s Entlecktes Judenthum, Part II. p. 28-3. 

98 ROMANS II. 26. 

assurance that Abraham was, in virtue of his faith, regarded a? 
righteous in the sight of God. To all those Jews who had the 
faith of Abraham, and thus kept the covenant established with 
him, circumcision was in like manner profitable. It was the 
visible sign and pledge that all who believed should be justified. 
On the other hand, if either the national or spiritual covenant 
was broken, circumcision was of no avail. The fact that an 
Israelite was circumcised, did not save him from excision from 
the people, if he broke any of the fundamental laws of Moses ; 
neither could circumcision save those who, being destitute of 
the faith of Abraham, appeared as sinners before the bar of 
God. Paul therefore teaehes that circumcision had no inherent, 
magical efficacy; that it had no value beyond that of a sign and 
seal; that it secured the blessings of the covenant to those who 
kept the covenant ; but to the transgressors of the law it was 
of no avail. This latter idea he expresses by saying, rj T^OIIO^ 
ao ) dxpofjua-cta fsyovsv, tliy circumcision has become uneireum- 
cision. That is, it is of no use. It cannot prevent your beino 
dealt with as a transgressor, or treated as though you had nevei 
been circumcised. 

VERSE 26. Therefore, if the uncircumcision keep the right 
eousness of the law. This verse is an inference (obv} from the 
preceding. It was there taught that everything depends upon 
obedience to the law. God will judge every man according to 
his works. If a Jew, though circumcised, break the law, he 
shall be condemned ; and if a Gentile, though uncircumcised, 
keep the law, he shall be justified. The one proposition flows 
from the other ; for if circumcision is in itself nothing, its pre 
sence cannot protect the guilty ; its absence cannot invalidate 
the claims of the righteous. dcxauop.aTa^ decrees, precepts, what 
the law prescribes as right. The apostle does not mean to 
intimate that the Gentiles do in any case keep the righteous 
ness of the law; contrary to his own explicit assertion, that 
there is none righteous, no not one. It is a mere hypothetical 
statement, designed to show that everything depends on obedi 
ence, and that circumcision cannot be the ground either of 
justification or condemnation. Shall not his uncircumcision be 
counted for circumcision ? The phrase lo-fi^za&ai re d c r<, in 
accordance with the Hebrew b -~n ? 1 Sam. i. 13, Isa. xxix. 17, 

ROMANS II. 27. 99 

often means to reckon or regard one thing as another. Uncir- 
cumcision shall be taken for circumcision. 

VERSE 27. Calvin makes this verse a part of the interro 
gation begun in vcr. 26, a mode of pointing followed by Koppe, 
Lackinann, Fritzsche, and many others. Shall not uncir- 
cumcision be reckoned circumcision, and condemn you who 
break the law? Our translators supply o j /J before %pu,z~, 
and make vcr. 27 a distinct interrogation, and shall not the 
uncircumcision condemn you, <&c. Meyer takes ver. 27 cate 
gorically, and -/.a* in the sense of even or moreover, so that 
ver. 27 is virtually an answer to the preceding question. 
* Shall not uncircumcision be taken for circumcision ? (Yes, 
verily,) it will even condemn you, &c. In either way the 
idea is, that the obedient uncircumcised heathen would be 
better off, he would stand on higher ground, than the disobe 
dient circumcised Jew. It is only putting the truth taught 
in this verse into different words, to say, the unbaptized 
believer shall condemn the baptized unbeliever. TJic uwlr- 
cunK ision which is ly nat>ir<\ ^ zz ^ jaiwz, dxpofiuffTta, The 
position of the article shows plainly that Iz (f jffsco^ qualifies 
axoofijaria, and is not to be connected with the following par 
ticiple TiXo~jff(/.. The sense is, "the uncircumcision which is 
natural," and not which by nature keeps the law. Jf it 
fulfil tltf l<in\ i. e. provided it is obedient, and therefore right 
eous. ,S // /// ,/// / /* , % ni zZ. by implication, $li<tll < <>n<l< iiin ; the 
judgment is bv the context supposed to be a condemnatory 
one. Comp. Matt. xii. 41. Thee irlio In/ the. letter, &c.; <TS 
rov oca fndtttiaroz, tliec with the letter, i. e. the written law. 
In the present case it is not used in a disparaging sense, for 
the mere verbal meaning in opposition to the spirit. The 
context rather requires that ftHutuft. and --fHro/q should be 
taken as expressing the real and substantial benefits of the 
Jews. Our version renders did fy/, Beza also has per. He 
understands the apostle to mean that external circumcision 
being profaned only rendered the Jews so much the worse. 
But as did with the genitive so often means with, as expressing 
the circumstances under which anything is done, (as oc bnofj.6v/]C 
with patience, OM -ooazbtiita-oz, with offence,) the meaning is, 
T*i, qui literal et circumcisionem habens, contra legem fads. 

100 ROMANS II. 28, 29. 

Notwithstanding they had the law and circumcision, they were 
transgressors of the law. Calvin makes letter and circumcision 


to mean literal circumcision ; but this is unnecessary, and 
unsuited to the context ; for when speaking of the advantages 
of the Jews, the law is of too much importance to allow of 
the word which expresses it being merged into a mere epithet. 

VERSES 28, 29. For not he who is externally a Jeiv, is a 
Jeiu, &c. These verses assign the reason why the external 
rite of circumcision can avail so little. God looks upon the 
heart, and does not regard mere external circumstances. It 
is not, therefore, mere descent from Abraham, nor connection 
with the external theocracy or church, that can secure his 
favour ; but the possession of those internal dispositions which 
external rites are intended to symbolize. Verse 28 contains 
the negative, ver. 29 the affirmative statement of this gene 
ral truth. The word loudaioz is to be supplied in the first 
member of the sentence, as the subject is b iv rw (fauspaj 
/oudatoz, and the predicate Joooaioz kffTev. The same remark 
may be made with regard to the following clause, where the 
subject is $ lv rw <paisepw, v aapxs xeptTO/j>ij, and the predicate 
Ttspt-ofjt /j io-w. External circumcision in the flesh is not circum 
cision. (Po.v*pbz apparent, visible, what falls under the observa 
tion of the senses, hence external. The word Jew is of course 
to be taken as the designation of the people of God. He is 
not one of the people of God who is such externally/ It is 
nothing external that constitutes or secures this peculiar 
relation to God. The affirmative statement is, // 6 kv TCJJ 
xpUTirw VouoaToc, [Voi<5#o>c ctfr^y,] but the Jeiv in secret is a 
Jew. As in the preceding verse, part of the subject is bor 
rowed from the predicate, so here and in the following clause 
the predicate is to be borrowed from the subject; that is, 
lortv is to be supplied after the first clause, and 
Ttv after the second clause of this verse, so that 
the whole reads thus: "But he who is inwardly a Jew, is 
really a Jew; and the circumcision of the heart, in spirit and 
not in letter, is circumcision." This is the construction 
of the passage almost universally adopted. Kpunroz hidden, 
and as opposed to yovzpbz, inward; hence ly TW xpuxTtp 
inwardly, in heart. Comp. 1 Pet. iii. 4. True circumcision 

ROMANS II. 28, 29. 101 

is described as xspeTO/jy xapoiaz, Iv nvzunart, oj 
These latter words admit of different interpretations. The 
apostle contrasts rrvsiy^ and j-pd/jL/jia in Rom. vii. 6, and 2 Cor, 
iii. 6, much as he does here. In chap. vii. 6, oldness of the letter 
may mean the condition and spirit of those who were under the 
law, now become old; and neiuness of the spirit may mean that 
new condition and temper which the Holy Spirit gives. In 
2 Cor. iii. G, Paul says he was made a minister of the new cove 
nant, o j d/j.a ~is jfJ.aTOZ, not oj~ the letter, but of the 
spirit, i. e. not of the law, but of the gospel ; not of a mere ob 
jective, legal covenant, but of that which derives its whole cha 
racter from the Spirit, and therefore is spirit, or in the widest 
sense of the word, spiritual. Coinp. also Gal. iii. 3. Guided by 
these passages, Ruckcrt understands rrvsiy^ here to mean the 
new principle of life imparted by the Holy Spirit, and Iv to ex 
press instrumentality. Thus the sense is : The circumcision of 
the heart is not produced or effected by the law. but by this new 
divine principle of life. The same interpretation substantially 
is given bv Kollnc-r. It is not, however, strictly in accordance 
with the mode of representation adopted in the Scriptures, to 
speak of the circumcision of the heart, i. e. sanctification, as 
effected by anything implanted in us. Beza makes v xvsufjLart 
simply exegetical of zapuiaz. and gives the sense thus: " Cujus 
vis est interior et in animo, sive <[ua circumcisi sunt affectus." 
Erasmus: " Qiue Spiritu constat, referens ad Spiriturn Sanc 
tum, eujus unius opus est ista circumcisio d^scpOTTolr^TO^. Mihi 
vero videtur v ~i<s j(tv-: additum partini pmpter antithesin 
Ypd/i/jiaToz, partini ut explicarct, <[iiid vocaret circumcisionem 
cordis." According to this view, Iv xvz jfj>aTt is in heart, 
and is tautological with the clause (circumcision of the heart) 
which it should explain. And besides, the opposition between 
TTI/C-W/ and fiiditna is thus destroyed. Others again take iv 
xvz jtKJit! and v j orz^arr adverbially, "after a spiritual, not 
after a literal or external way ;" or adjectively, spiritual, not 
literal. The most common, and on the whole the preferable 
interpretation refers ~^z~j<ia to the Holy Spirit, and gives iv 
the sense of by. The circumcision of the heart is then described 
as effected by the Spirit, and not by the letter, i. e. in obedi 
ence to the prescriptions of the law. Whose praise is not of 

102 ROMANS II. 1729. 

men, but of G-od. The relative ol) is to be referred to ^ 
The true Jew, or child of God, is one whose excellence is inter 
nal, seen and acknowledged by God ; not in its nature external, 
securing the notice and approbation of men. If the relative ob 
be taken as neuter, then the idea is the same, but presented in 
another form : Of which (i. e. of this spiritual Judaism) the 
praise is of God. As, however, *Iouofuoz is the main subject in 
the context, the former explanation is the more natural. The 
spiritual import of circumcision was clearly taught in the Old 
Testament, as in Deut. xxx. 6: "I will circumcise your heart, 
and the heart of your children, to love the Lord thy God." See 
Deut. x. 16, Jer. iv. 4: "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, 
and take away the foreskins of your heart." The wicked are 
therefore called "the uncircumcised in heart," Jer. ix. 29, 
Ezek. xliv. 9, Acts vii. 56. Comp. Col. ii. 11: "In whom also 
ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands." 
This is what he calls "the circumcision of Christ," or Christian 
circumcision; that which Christ secures and gives. As circum 
cision thus signifies inward purification, and was a seal of the 
righteousness of faith, it was, as to its import and design, iden 
tical with baptism. Hence what in Col. ii. 11, Paul expresses 
by saying, Ye are circumcised, he expresses in ver. 12, by 
saying, Ye are buried with him in baptism. What, therefore, 
he teaches of the worthlessness of external circumcision, without 
internal purity, and of the possibility of the external sign being 
received without the internal grace, is no less true of baptism 
See 1 Cor. vii. 18, 19, Gal. vi. 15. 


1. Membership in the true Church, considered as a visible 
society, is no security that we shall obtain the favour of God. 
The Jews, before the advent, were members of the true and 
only Church, and yet Paul teaches that they were not on this 
account the more acceptable to God. Multitudes of Jewish 
converts were members of the apostolic Church, and yet. 
retaining their former doctrines and spirit, were in the gall of 
bitterness, ver. 17. 

ROMANS II. 1729. 103 

2 Mere knowledge cannot commend us to God. It neither 


sanctifies the heart, nor of itself renders men more useful. 
When made the ground of confidence, or the fuel of pride and 
arrogance, it is perverted and destructive, vs. 18 20. 

3. Superior knowledge enhances the guilt of sin, and in 
creases the certainty, necessity, and severity of punishment, 
without in itself increasing the power of resistance. It is, 
therefore, a great mistake to make knowledge our sole depend 
ence in promoting the moral improvement of men, vs. 18 20. 

4. The sins of the professing people of God, are peculiarly 
offensive to him, and injurious to our fellow-men, vs. 22 24. 

5. Here, as in the former part of the chapter, the leading 
idea is, that God is just, lie asks not whether a man is a Jew 
or a Gentile, a Greek or barbarian, bond or free, but what is 
his character? Does he do good or evil? vs. IT 24. 

6. According to the apostle, the true idea of a sacrament is 
not that it is a mystic rite, possessed of inherent eHu-acy, or 
conveying grace as a mere opus operatiun; but that it is a seal 
and sign, designed to confirm our faitli in the validity of the 
covenant to which it is attached; and, from its significant 
character, to present and illustrate some great spiritual truth, 
ver. 25. 

7. All hopes are vain which are founded on a participation 
of the sacraments of the Church, even when they are of divine 
appointment, as circumcision, baptism, and the Lord s supper; 
much more when they are of human invention, as penance, and 
extreme unction, vs. 20, 27. 

8. Religion and religious services, to be acceptable to God, 
must be of the heart. Mere external homage is of no account, 
vs. 28, 29. 


1. The sins and refuges of men are alike in all ages. The- 
Jew expected salvation because he was a Jew, so does the 
Roman Catholic because he is a Roman Catholic, the Greek 
because he is a Greek, and so of others. Were it ever so cer 
tain that the Church to which we belong is the true, apostolic, 

104 ROMANS II. IT 29. 

universal Church, it remains no less certain that without holi 
ness no man shall see God, ver. 17, &c. 

2. The possession of superior knowledge should make us 
anxious, first, to go right ourselves, and then to guide others 
right. To preach against evils which we ourselves commit, 
while it aggravates our guilt, is little likely to do others much 
good, ver. 18, &c. 

o. Christians should ever remember that they are the epistles 
of Jesus Christ, known and read of all men; that God is 
honoured by their holy living, and that his name is blasphemed 
when they act wickedly, vs. 23, 24. 

4. Whenever true religion declines, the disposition to lay 
undue stress on external rites is increased. The Jews, when 
they lost their spirituality, supposed that circumcision had 
power to save them. i Great is the virtue of circumcision, 
they cried; no circumcised person enters hell. The Chris 
tian Church, when it lost its spirituality, taught that water in 
baptism washed away sin. How large a part of nominal Chris 
tians rest all their hopes on the idea of the inherent efficacy of 
external rites ! ver. 25, &c. 

5. While it is one dangerous extreme to make religion con 
sist in the observance of external ceremonies, it is another to 
undervalue them, when of divine appointment. Paul does not 
say that circumcision was useless; he asserts its value. So, 
likewise, the Christian sacraments, baptism and the Lord s 
supper, are of the utmost importance, and to neglect or reject 
them is a great sin, ver. 26, &c. 

6. If the heart be right in the sight of God, it matters little 
what judgment men may form of us ; and, on the other hand, 
the approbation of men is a poor substitute for the favour of 
God, ver. 29. 

ROMANS III. 18. 105 



TuiS chapter may be divided into three parts. The first con 
tains a brief statement and refutation of the Jewish objections 
to the apostle s reasoning, vs. 1 8. The second, a confirma 
tion of his doctrine from the testimony of Scripture; and a, 
formal drawing out and declaration of his conclusion, that by 
the works of the law no flesh living can be justified before 
God, vs. 9 20. The third, an exposition of the gospel method 
of justification, vs. 21 ol. 



THE first objection to Paul s reasoning here presented is, 
that according to his doctrine the Jew has no advantage over 
the Gentile, ver. 1. The apostle denies the correctness of this 
inference from what he had said, and admits that the Jews have 
great advantages over all other people, ver. 1. The second 
objection is, that God having promised to be the God of the 
Jews, their unfaithfulness, even if admitted, does not release 
him from his engagements, or make his promise of no effect, 
ver. 3. Paul, in answer, admits that the faithfulness of God 
must not be called in question, let what will happen, vs. 4, 5; 
but he shows that the principle on which the Jews expected 
exemption from punishment, viz. because their unrighteousness 
commended the righteousness of God, was false. This he 
proves by showing first, that if their principle was correct, God 
could not punish any one, Gentile or Jew, vs. 5 7; and 
secondly, that it would lead to this absurdity, that it is right to 
do evil that good may come, ver. 8. 

106 ROMANS III. 1, 2. 


VERSE 1. What then is the advantage of the Jew? The 
conclusion at which the apostle had arrived at the end of the 
preceding chapter was, that the Jews, no less than the Gentiles, 
are to be judged according to their works, and by their know 
ledge of the divine will ; and that being thus judged, they arc 
exposed to condemnation, notwithstanding their circumcision 
and all their other advantages. The most obvious objection in 
the mind of a Jew to this conclusion must have been, that it 
was inconsistent with the acknowledged privileges and supe 
riority of his nation. This objection the apostle here presents ; 
the answer follows in the next verse : Lhcuaaoz, over and above, 
abundant; and in a comparative sense, better, and substantively, 
as in the present instance, excellence, preeminence. What is 
the preeminence or superiority of the Jew? Comp. Eccles. 
vi. 11, ri TiSntaabv raJ dv&pcbftqj; what advantage has man? 
The second question in this verse, what is the benefit of circum 
cision? is by some considered as a repetition of the first; cir 
cumcision being taken as the mere sign of Judaism. What is 
the advantage of the Jew? or what is the benefit of Judaism? 
But circumcision as a rite was so important in the estimation 
of the Jews, and is made so prominent by the apostle in the 
preceding context, that it is better to consider the second ques 
tion as referring to the rite itself. 

VERSE 2. Much, in every way. The answer to the objection 
implied in the preceding verse, is a denial of its correctness as 
an inference from the apostle s reasoning. It does not follow, 
because the Jews are to be judged according to their works, 
that there is no advantage in being the peculiar people of God, 
having a divine revelation, &c. IIpcoTou IJLGV fdp. These words 
are rendered by Beza, primarium enim (illud est;) comp. Luke 
xix. 47, Acts v. 2. Calvin says, "xp&Tov significat proecipue 
vel prsesertim, hoc sensu, Etsi unum istud esset, quod habent 
Dei oracula sibi commissa, satis valere debet ad eoruin digni 
tatem." Our translators adopt the same view. But to both 
of the interpretations the particle f&p furnishes an objection. 
The third and simplest view is, that the words in question mean 
first, in the first place, as in 1 Cor. xi. 18 ; fdf is then namely. 

ROMANS III. 3. 107 

for example. That the enumeration is not carried on, is no 
serious objection to this explanation, as we have other examples 
of the same kind. Sec chap. i. 8. Because tliey were entrusted 
with the oraelcs of Grod. The subject of l-Hjrz Jfyaay, viz. 
lo jdaio . is implied by the connection ; ~<J. ).o-fia is the accusa 
tive; comp. Gal. ii. 7: TTcTr/tfrsiy/.ar TO sbafyehoV) 1 Cor. ix. 17, 
1 Thcss. ii. 4. Some, as Theodorct, Beza, &c., understand by 
ra lofla TO~J Oso r j, the law; others, as Grotius, Tholuck, &c.. 
the Messianic promises; others, as Calvin, Rosenmiiller, Do 
Wette, the whole Scriptures. In favour of this last is the usage 
of the phrase which in the Old Testament is used for the reve 
lation of God in general, and in the Xew Testament, for any 
divine communication, lleb. v. 1-, 1 Pet. iv. 11. The words 
therefore are general in their meaning, and there is nothing in 
the context to limit them; foi *he apostle is speaking of the 
treasure committed to the safe custody of the Jews; that 
deposit of divine knowledge by which they were distinguished 
from all other nations. Here, as in innumerable other places, 
the sacred writers of the Xew Testament use forms of ex pi-ess- 
ion which clearly imply that they regarded the sacred writings 
of the Jews as really the word of God. 

YKII.SI-] 3. 7V ;-ao; What then.- See Philip, i. 18 a formula 
used to introduce an explanation, confirmation, or vindication 
of a preceding assertion; or to start an objection f>r the pur 
pose of answering it. In the present instance it is agreed that 
the apostle de>ign< to vindicate what he had previously taught; 
but whether ver. o refers to ver. -. or to the conclusion that the 
Jews were as much exposed to condemnation as the Gentiles, is 
not so plain. According to the former view, the design of this 
verse is to confirm what is said in ver. 2: To the Jews were 
committed the promises of God, or oracles of God. This is a 
great advantage ; for if some of them disbelieve those promises, 
and reject the Messiah, God remains faithful, and will accom 
plish all his gracious purposes. Thus substantially, Calvin, 
Beza, Tholuck, Fritzsche, Rilckert, Meyer, and many others. 
According to the other view, the apostle here presents and 
answers another objection to his previous reasoning: What if 
we are unfaithful, says the Jew, does that invalidate the faith 
fulness of God : lias he not promised to be a God to Abraham 

108 ROMANS III. 3. 

and to his seed? Has he not entered into a solemn covenant 
to grant his people all the benefits of the Messiah s kingdom ? 
This covenant is not suspended on our moral character. If we 
adhere to the covenant by being circumcised and observing the 
law, the fidelity of God is pledged for our salvation. We may 
therefore be as wicked as you would make us out to be ; that 
docs not prove that we shall be treated as heathen. For the 
latter view it may be urged, 1. That it is better suited to the 
context. It is plain that the whole of the first part of this 
chapter is an answer to the objections of the Jews to the apos 
tle s doctrine that they were exposed to condemnation. This is 
clear as to the first verse, and to the fifth and those that follow 
it. It is therefore more consistent with the design of the pas 
sage, to make this verse an answer to the main objection of the 
Jews, than to consider it a mere confirmation of what is said in 
ver. 2. This consideration has the more force, since on the 
other view of the passage the principal ground of confidence of 
the Jews, viz. their peculiar relation to God, is left unnoticed. 
Their great objection to Paul s applying his general principles 
of justice to their case was that their situation was peculiar : 
God has chosen us as his people in Abraham. If we retain 
our relation to him by circumcision and the observance of 
the law, we shall never be treated or condemned as the Gen 
tiles. Traces of this opinion abound in the New Testament, 
and it is openly avowed by the JeAvisli writers. "Think not," 
says our Saviour, "to say within yourselves, We have Abraham 
for our father," Matt. iii. 9. "We be Abraham s seed," John 
viii. 33. Comp. Rom. ii. 17, ix. 6, and other passages, in which 
Paul argues to prove that being the natural descendants of 
Abraham is not enough to secure the favour of God. That such 
was the doctrine of the Jews is shown by numerous passages 
from their writings. "If a Jew commit all manner of sins," 
says Abarbanel, "he is indeed of the number of sinning Israel 
ites, and will be punished according to his sins; but he has 
notwithstanding a portion in eternal life." The same sentiment 
is expressed in the book Torath Adam, fol. 100, in nearly the 
same words, and the reason assigned for it, " That all Israel has 
a portion in eternal life."* This is a favourite phrase with 

* Eisenmeiiger s Ent. Judenthum, Part II. p. 293. 

ROMANS III. 3. 109 

tne Rabbins, and frequently occurs in thar writings. Justin 
Martyr, as quoted by Grotius on chap. ii. 13, attributes this 
doctrine to the Jews of his day : " They suppose that to them 
universally, who are of the seed of Abraham, no matter how 
sinful and disobedient to God they may be, the eternal kingdom 
shall be given." This interpretation therefore makes the verse 
in question present the objection which the Jews would be most 
likely to urge. 2. A second consideration in its favour is, that 
it best satisfies the meaning of the words. The other view 
makes Paul say that the unfaithfulness of some of the Jews, 
some here and there, could not render the promise of no effect. 
It would be natural for the Jews thus to soften down the state 
ment of the case. But Paul had not said that some of the Jews 
were unfaithful, but that they were all under condemnation; 
that as to this point there was no difference between them and 
the Gentiles, since all had sinned and come short of the glory 
of God. It canimt escape notice how coniph tel v the doctrine 
of the Jews has been transferred by ritualists to Christianity. 
They held that if a man was circumcised and remained within 
the Theocracy, lie might be punished for his sins, but he would J-*- 
ultimately be .saved. So ritualists hold that all who are bap 
tized and remain within the pale of the true Church, though 
they may suffer for their sins here or hereafter (in purgatory,) 
are certain to he finally saved. 

Jt KU/HI tint >/f believe? The word ~/!f777fTw mav mean 
dtsfu liwil, or lucre uiif<iithfn1. Tholuck, Fritzsche, Kiickert 
(2d edition.) Mever, sav the former, and explain the passage 


thus: The promises (roc /.o^a) committed to the Jews are a 
great distinction; and though some of the Jews have not 
believed those promises, nor received the Messiah, still (Jod is 
faithful. The great majority of commentators say the latter, 
and consider the apostle as stating the want of fidelity of the 
Jews to the trust committed to them, i. e. to the covenant made 
with their fathers, as no reason for assuming a want of fidelity 
on the part of God. That ar^rsTv may have the sense here 
assigned to it is plain from 2 Tim. ii. 18; and from the sense 
of d/T. <Tr/tt in Ileb. iii. 12, 10, and of fctfroc in Luke xii. 46, 
Rev. xxi. 8. To understand the passage as referring to want 
of faith in Christ, seems inconsistent with the whole context. 

110 ROMANS III. 4. 

The apostle has not come to the exposition of the gospel ; he i& 
still engaged in the preliminary discussion designed to show 
that the Jews and Gentiles are under sin, and exposed to con 
demnation; an exposure from which no peculiar privileges of 
the former, and no promise of God to their nation, could pro 
tect them. 

VERSE 4. Let it not be; the frequently recurring formula to 
express strong aversion or denial. The objection presented 
in the preceding verse is, that the apostle s doctrine as to the 
condemnation of the Jews is inconsistent with the faithfulness 
of God. Is the faith of God without effect? asks the objector. 
By no means, answers the apostle ; that is no fair inference 
from my doctrine. There is no breach of the promises of God 
involved in the condemnation of wicked Jews. How the con 
demnation of the Jews is consistent with the promises of God, 
he shows in a subsequent part of his epistle, chaps, ix. xi.; 
here he merely asserts the fact, and shows that the opposite 
assumption leads to an absurdity. Let Crod be true, but every 
man a liar. That is, the truth and fidelity of God must be 
acknowledged, whatever be the consequence. This is said to 
express the strongest aversion to the consequence charged on 
his doctrine. Fc^sa^co has its proper sense, fiat, let him 
become, i. e. be seen and acknowledged as true. This disposi 
tion to justify God under all circumstances, the apostle illus 
trates by the conduct and language of David, who acknowledged 
the justice of God even in his own condemnation, and said, 
"Against thee only have I sinned; that thou mightest be 
justified in thy sayings, and overcome when thou art judged;" 
i. c. that thy rectitude, under all circumstances, might be seen 
and acknowledged. In the Hebrew, the last verb of the verse 
is active, ivlien thou judgest; in the Septuagint, a passive form 
is used, ivhen thou art judged. This latter Paul follows, 
because the sentiment in either case is the same. God is seen 
and acknowledged to be just. The sacred writers of the New 
Testament often depart from the Avords of the Old Testament in 
their citations, being careful only to give the mind of the Spirit. 
" Scinms," says Calvin, " apostolos in recitandis Scripturas 
vorbis sa?pe esse liberiores ; quia satis habebant si ad rem appo 
site citarcnt ; quarc non taiita illis fuit vcrboruiu rcligio." 


VERSE 5. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteous 
ness of G od, what shall we then say? Adr/ia is not to be taken 
in the restricted sense of injustice, nor as equivalent to a-iaiia. 
in the preceding verse, but in the comprehensive sense of un 
righteousness, wickedness. It is the opposite of dtxaeocruvy, 
rectitude, righteousness, which includes all moral excellence. 
The righteousness of God is here, not his goodness, which the 
context does not require and usage does not authorize, but 
rectitude, that attribute which is manifested in doing right. 
2uv .arr]fj.i, in the New Testament, is to place with or before any 
one; and hence either to commend, to recommend, Horn. xvi. 1, 
2 Cor. iii. 1, v. 1~; or to set forth, to render conxniruvHs; see 
Horn. v. 8, 1 Cor. vi. 4. The latter is obviously the sense 
required in the present instance. That this verse is in answer 
to an objection is obvious; but that objection is nut derived 
from the language of ver. 4. Paul had said nothing there to 
give any colour to the suggestion, that he himself held that it 
would be unrighteous in God to punish the wicked. lie had 
simply said, that the truth of God was to be admitted and 
acknowledged, though all men were liars. From this it could 
not be made an inference that we may do evil that good may 
conic. It is not a false inference from ver. 4, but a new objec 
tion to his general conclusion that he is here answering: Not 
only is God s fidelity pledged to our salvation, but the very fact 
of our being unrighteous will render his righteousness the more 
conspicuous; and consequently it would be unjust in him to 
punish us for what glorifies himself. This is the thought; the 
form in which it is presented is determined by the fact that the 
apostle does not introduce the person of the objector, but states 
the objection in his own person, in the form of a question. It 
is plain, however, that the point of the argument is that God 
cannot consistently punish those whose unrighteousness serves 
to display his own rectitude; arid this is supposed to be urged 
to show that the Jews, notwithstanding their sins, were not 
exposed to condemnation. If our unrighteousness commend 
the righteousness of God is the suggestion; the inference, which 
the Jews were disposed to draw, and which Paul asks, whether 
they would venture to make, is that God is unjust who taketh 
vengeance: 6 6=.b~ o kxtyifmv rr^ fyffv, Crod the taker of 

112 ROMANS III. 6. 

vengeance; he whose prerogative it is to inflict the punishment 
due to sin. That the apostle is not in this verse expressing his 
own sentiments, he intimates by saying, xo.ra d.v$c)a)7iov Ae-fto, 1 
speak as a man. This formula, which is of frequent occurrence, 
means to speak as men are accustomed to speak ; and as men 
are in general wicked, to speak or act after the manner of men, 
is to speak or act wickedly. It depends, however, entirely on 
the context whether this idea is implied. When Paul asks, 
"Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" 1 Cor. iii. 8, the case 
is plain. But when in Gal. iii. 15, he says, "Brethren, I speak 
as a man, " he means merely to appeal to what was commonly 
acknowledged as true amon men. See also 1 Cor. ix. 8. When 

o o 

in Rom. vi. 19, he says, av/^ow^vov ttfto, it is plain from the 
context that he means, in a manner adapted to the comprehen 
sion of men. And in the present case, where he is not express 
ing his own sentiments, xara av&oto-ov Asfto is designed to 
declare that he is not speaking in his character of an apostle 
or Christian, but speaking as others speak, expressing their 
thoughts, not his own. 

VERSE 6. In answer to the question whether God is unjust 
in punishing those whose unrighteousness renders his own 
righteousness the more conspicuous, he says : By no means, 
since in that case how can Grod judge the world? There is here 
an answer to the question, and a proof of the correctness of 
that answer. There are three views which may be taken of the 
nature of this proof. The first supposes xov/w:; to mean the 
Gentiles as distinguished from the Jews. The sense then is: 
If God cannot punish sin under the circumstances supposed, he 
cannot even punish the heathen, for their unrighteousness 
serves to commend his righteousness. This view is clear and 
satisfactory as far as the argument is concerned, and is adopted 
by Koppe, Reiche, Olshausen, &c. Besides the pertinency of 
the argument as thus explained, this interpretation is supported 
by the frequent use of xocrtw- to designate the world in dis 
tinction from the Theocracy, or the Church. 1 Cor. vi. 2, xi. 32, 
Rom. xi. 12, John xii. 31, 1 John iv. 17, &c. The principal 
objection to it arises from the difficulties in which it involves 
the explanation of the following verse. The second view of the 
passage supposes the argument to rest on the admitted fact that 

ROMANS III. 6. 113 

God is the judge of all the earth; if so, he must be just. It is 
impossible that God should be unjust, if he is to judge the 
world; but he is to judge the world, therefore he is not unjust. 
Sunlit argumentum ab ipsius Dei officio," says Calvin, "quo 
probet id esse impossibile; judicabit Dens Jtunc tnundian, ergo 
injustus esse non potest." To the same purpose Grotius says: 
"Nullo modo possumus Dcum injustum imaginari quern cum 
Abrahamo judicem miuidi agnoseimus." This view is given 
also by Tholuek, DC AVette, RUckert, Kollner, and Meyer. 
The obvious objection to it is, that it makes the apostle assume 
the thing to be proved. He says, God cannot be unjust, 
because he is the judge of the world, and the judge of the world 
must be just. But it is no more certain that the judge of the 
world must be just, than that God is just, which is the point to 
be established. RUckert, in his characteristic assumption of 
superiority to the apostle, admits that the argument is "weak, 
very weak;" but lie not the less confidently asrribc-s it to tie 
apostle. The misapprehension of the argument in this vei so 
arises out of a misapprehension of the previous reasoning, a id 
of the precise point of the objection which is here answer) d. 
Paul is not guarding ;i gainst any false inference from his o vu 
reasoning; he is not teaching that though God is seen to bo 
just when he speaks, and clear when lie judges, we must i.ut 
hence infer that he is unjust in punishing the sin which com 
mends his own righteousness, which would be indeed k * enio 
erbiirmliche Einwendung," (a pitiable subterfuge,) as Rei( l io 
calls it; but he is answering the objections of the Jews to his 
doctrine, not their false inferences. To the declaration that 
they were exposed to condemnation, the Jews pleaded the pro 
mise of God, which their unfaithfulness could not render of no 
effect, and the less so because their unrighteousness would serve 
to render the righteousness of God the more conspicuous. Paul 
says on this principle God cannot judge the world. The ground i 
assumed by the Jews might be assumed by all mankind, and if 
valid in the one case it must be in all. In this view the answer 
is complete and satisfactory; it is a redw. tlo ad a^urdum. 
The correctness of this explanation is confirmed by what 

114 ROMANS III. 7, 8. 

VERSES 7, 8. These verses are the amplification and con 
firmation of the answer given in the sixth to the objection of 
the Jews. These verses are designed to show that if the ground 
assumed by them was valid, not only may every sinner claim 
exemption, but it would follow that it is right to do evil that 
good may come. The connection by fdp is therefore with the 
sixth verse : God could not judge the world, for any sinner 
may say, If the truth of God more abounds through my lie, 
to his glory, why am I yet judged as a sinner? The truth 
of Grod. As dty&eca is not unfrequently opposed to adc/ia, 
it may have here the sense of dtxacoauv/j^ and designate the 
divine excellence: then (peuafia, in the following clause, must 
mean falsehood towards God, wickedness: If the excellence of 
God is rendered more conspicuous by my wickedness. But as 
it was on the truth or veracity of God, his adherence to his 
promises, that the false confidence of the Jews was placed, it is 
probable that the apostle intended the words to be taken in 
their more limited sense. Hath more abounded unto Jit s glory. 
JJzotffffS Jzw, to be abundant., rich, or great; and by implication, 
in a comparative sense, to be more abundant, or conspicuous, 
Matt. v. 20, 1 Cor. xv. 58. The latter is the sense here, If 
the truth of God has been made the more conspicuous; st ryv 
do~av ttiroO, so that he is glorified. Why am I also still judged 
as a sinner? xdfcb, either even /, or I also; I as well as others ; 
or even I a Jew; or, according to another view of the context, 
even I a Gentile : ere, yet, i. e. notwithstanding my falsehood is 
the means of displaying the glory of God. According to the 
view now given, the use of the first person is sufficiently ex 
plained by saying, as has often been done, "suam. personam 
ponit pro quavis alia." 7, therefore, stands for any one: Any 
one may say, Why am I also judged as a sinner? Those how 
ever who understand xb(T/jtoz, in the preceding verse, to mean 
the Gentiles, suppose that the apostle here personates a heathen, 
who is made to ask, If the divine majesty is the more displayed 
by my idolatry, why am even I judged as a sinner? This 
interpretation gives a very good sense, because the Jews readily 
admitted that the Gentiles were exposed to condemnation, and 
therefore any principle which was shown to exculpate them, the 
Jews must acknowledge to be false. The objections to this 

ROMANS III. 8. 115 

view of the passage are the unnecessary limitation which it 
imposes on the word teapoy ver. G, and the unusual, if not 
unauthorized sense, which it requires to be given to the words 
d/y&sta and (p&Jtifjia, the latter not being elsewhere used for 
idolatry, and the former, in this connection at least, riot ad 
mitting of the version, truth concerning Grod, i. e. the true 

VERSE 8. Almost all the modern commentators are agreed 


in considering this verse as a continuation of the question com 
menced in the seventh, and in assuming an irregularity in the 
construction, arising from the introduction of the parenthetical 
clause in the middle of the verse: If your principle is correct, 
why am I judged as a sinner; and wltji not let u* d<> evil, that 
good may come? Having commenced the question, he inter 
rupts himself to notice the slanderous imputation of this doc 
trine to himself as we arc *l<tn</> rrd, and </x x<>//ie <//////// we 
say, that id 1 - should d<> evil that good may come, Ho^aion^, 
therefore, instead of being connected with the (ri) ur/ at the 
beginning of the verse, is connected by o~c with the immediately 
preceding verb. See Winer, u ->. \Vh<>ne condemnation /x jnxt. 
Paul thus expresses his abhorrence of the principle that we may 
do evil that good may come. Tholuck and others refer wi> to 
the /9/atf^/^oyvrec, to the slanderers of the apostle; but that 
clause is virtually parenthetical, and it is not blaspheming the 
apostle, but teaching a doctrine subversive of all morality, that 
is here condemned. Calvin unites, in a measure, both views of 
the passage: "Duplici autem nomine damnabilis fuit eorum 
perversitas; primum quibus venire haec impietas in mentem 
potuerit usque ad ipsum assensum, deinde qui traducendo evan- 
gelio calumniam inde instruere ausi fucrint." 

Such is the apostle s argument against the grounds of con- 

1 < <"^ O 

fidence on which the Jews rested their hope of exemption from 
condemnation. Our unfaithfulness serves to commend the 
faithfulness of God, therefore we ought not to be punished. 
According to this reasoning, says Paul, the worse we are, the 
better; for the more wicked we are, the more conspicuous will 
be the mercy of God in our pardon ; we may therefore do evil 
that good may come. By reducing the reasoning of the Jews 
to a conclusion shocking to the moral sense, he thereby refutes 

116 ROMANS III. 18. 

it. The apostle often thus recognizes the authority of the 
intuitive moral judgments of our nature, and thus teaches us 
that those truths which are believed on their own evidence, as 
soon as presented to the mind, should be regarded as fixed 
points in all reasonings; and that to attempt to go beyond 
these intuitive judgments, is to unsettle the foundation of all 
faith and knowledge, and to open the door to universal skepti 
cism. Any doctrine, therefore, which is immoral in its ten 
dency, or which conflicts with the first principles of morals, 
must be false, no matter how plausible may be the arguments 
in its favour. 


1. The advantages of membership in the external Church, 
and of a participation of its ordinances, are very numerous 
and great, vs. 1, 2. 

2. The great advantage of the Christian over the heathen 
world, and of the members of a visible ecclesiastical body over 
others not so situated, is the greater amount of divine truth 
presented to their understandings and hearts, ver. 2. 

o. All the writings which the Jews, at the time of Christ 
and his apostles, regarded as inspired, are really the word of 
God, ver. 2. 

4. No promise or covenant of God can ever be rightfully 
urged in favour of exemption from the punishment of sin, or 

of impunity to those who live in it. God is faithful to his 
promises, but he never promises to pardon the impenitently 
guilty, vs. 3, 4. 

5. God will make the wrath of men to praise him. Their 
unrighteousness will commend his righteousness, without, on 
that account, making its condemnation less certain or less 
severe, vs. 5, 6. 

6. Any doctrine inconsistent with the first principles of 
morals must be false, no matter how plausible the metaphysical 
argument in its favour. And that mode of reasoning is correct, 
which refutes such doctrines by showing their inconsistency 
with moral truth, ver. 8. 

ROMANS III. 18. 117 


1. We should feel the peculiar responsibilities which rest 
upon us as the inhabitants of a Christian country, as members 
of the Christian Church, and possessors of the word of God; 
as such, we enjoy advantages for which we shall have to render 
a strict account, vs. 1, 2. 

2. It is a, mark of genuine piety, to be disposed always 
to justify God, and to condemn ourselves. On the other hand, 
a disposition to self-justification and the extenuation of our 
sins, however secret, is an indication of the want of a proper 
sense of our own unworthiness and of the divine excellence, 
vs. 4, 5. 

3. Beware of any refuge from the fear of future punish 
ment, founded upon the hope that God will clear the guilty, or 
that he will not judge the world and take vengeance for our 
sins, vs. 0, 7. 

4. There is no better evidence against the truth of any doc 
trine, than tLat its tendency is immoral. And there is no 
greater proof that a man is wicked, that his condemnation is 
just, than that ho does evil that irood may come. There is 
commonly, in such cases, not only the evil of the act com 
mitted, hut that of hypocrisy and duplicity also, ver. 8. 

o. Speculative and moral truths, which arc believed on their 
own evidence as soon as they are presented to the, mind, 
should he regarded as authoritative, and as fixed points in all 
reasonings, \Vhen men deny such first principles, or attempt 
to push beyond them to a deeper foundation of truth, there is 
no end to the obscurity, uncertainty, and absurdity of their 
speculations. What (lod forces us, from the very constitution 
of our nature, to believe, as, for example, the existence of the 
external world, our own personal identity, the difference be 
tween good and evil, &c., it is at once a violation of his will 
and of the dictates of reason to deny or to question. Paul 
assumed, as an ultimate fact, that it is wrong to do evil that 
good may come, ver. 8. 

118 ROMANS III. 9. 



THE apostle having demonstrated that the Jews cannot 
expect exemption from condemnation, on the ground of their 
being the peculiar people of God, except on principles incom 
patible with the government of the world, and inconsistent 
with the plainest moral truths, draws, in ver. 9, the conclusion, 
that the Jew, as to the matter of justification before God, has 
no preeminence over the Gentile. lie confirms his doctrine of 
the universal sinfulness of men by numerous quotations from 
the Scriptures. These passages speak of men in general as 
depraved, vs. 10 12; and then of the special manifestations 
of that depravity in sins of the tongue, vs. 13, 14 ; and in sins 
of violence, vs. 15 18. The inference from all his reasoning, 
from chap. i. 18, derived from consciousness, experience, and 
Scripture is, that "the whole world is guilty before God," 
ver. 19 ; and that " no flesh can be justified by the deeds of the 
law," ver. 20. 


VERSE 9. What then? do we excel? What then? i. e. what 
is the conclusion from the preceding discussion? are we Jews 
better off than the Gentiles ? Wahl points the passage thus : 
Ti obv Trpoe^o^e&a; What then do tve, or can we. pretend or pre 
sent as an excuse? Then, however, as Ruckert and others 
remark, the answer should be, OLJOSV, nothing, and not oi> 
TidvTOj;;. The principal difficulty in this verse is to determine 
the meaning of ~ t ooe%d/jLs&a. The most commonly received and 
the most satisfactory explanation assumes that the middle form 
has here the sense of the active. Ilpoly^w means to hold 
before, or intransitively and topically, to have before another, to 
excel. In the middle voice, the verb means to hold before one- 
self, as a shield, or figuratively, to use as a pretext. Though 
the middle does not elsewhere occur in the sense of the active, 
its use in the present instance in that sense, may be justified 

ROMANS III. 9. 119 

either by the remark, that the later writers often use the middle 
form where the earlier authors employ the active, (Tholuck); or 
by assuming the sense of the active to be here somewhat modi 
fied, since the apostle is speaking of a superiority which the 
Jews attributed to themselves, so that the strict sense is: 
"Licetne nobis tribuere major em dignitatem?" Bretschneider. 
The context suits the sense commonly attributed to the word. 
The whole discussion has brought the apostle to the conclusion, 
that the Jews as sinners have no advantage over the Gentiles, 
and this is the conclusion which lie here confirms. If the 
middle force of the verb be retained, then the sense is, as given 
by Meyer: What then? Have we protection or defence? 
That is, are we Jews and Gentiles, men as sinners, protected 
from the justice of God? The answer is, By no means. But 
this does not so well suit the context or the form of the answer 
to the question presented. The verb 7if>o%6fj.$$a should, as 
Riickert says, in that case have an accusative, designating the 
excuse or pretext: Have we anything fur a pretext? And the 
answer would be, Nothing. The passive sense, Are we excelled? 
adopted by Wetstein and others, is still less suited to the con 
text. For whether the Gentiles or the Jews be supposed to ask 
the question, there is nothing to account for it, or to suggest it. 
Paul had given no reason to either to ask, Are we excelled? 
He had not proved that the Gentiles were worse oft than the 
Jews, or the Jews than the Gentiles, but that both were alike 
under condemnation. The question, therefore, Do we excel? 
are we Jews better off than the Gentiles? is the only one which 
the occasion calls for, or that the answer suits. This is the view 
given by Theophylact, who says, OZWDCSI /t^asi; r/.vro JC s^c. V 
Trsf^iTrrov, QGOV Ix T>V olxtuov ~<>d~(ov; and which is adopted by 
Calvin, Beza, Grotius, and the modern commentators, Tholuck, 
Riickert (-d edition,) llciche, and De Wette. 

Not at all, not in the least, (o-j -d^Tco^i) the -d^raj- strength 
ening the negation. Grotius, Wetstein, and Kollncr translate, 
not altogether, not in all respects. But the former version is 
shown by Winer, 65, to be consistent with usage, and is much 
better suited to the context ; for it is the obvious design of the 
apostle to show that, as to the point in hand, the Jews did not 
at all excel the Gentiles. This strong negation the following 

120 ROMANS III. 10. 

clause confirms. The Jews are not better off; for we have 
before charged both Jews and Gentiles with being under sin. 
AiTtaa&cu is properly, to accuse, here as in other cases followed 
by an accusative and infinitive. Our version, we have before 
proved, though it may be justified by implication, is not in 
strict accordance with the meaning of the words. The same 
sense, however, is expressed by Erasmus, "ante causis redditis 
ostendimus," and is adopted by Reiche and others. There is 
force in the remark of Calvin: "Verbum Grsecum curtaad-at 
proprie est judiciale : ideoque reddere placuit constituimus. 
Dicitur enim crimen in actione constituere accusator, quod 
testimoniis ac probationibus aliis convincere paratus. Citavit 
autem apostolus universum hominum genus ad Dei tribunal, ut 
totum sub unam damnationem includeret." To be under sin 
means to be under the power of sin, to be sinners : whether the 
idea of guilt, just exposure to condemnation, or of pollution, or 
both, be conveyed by the expression depends on the context. 
Comp. 1 Cor. xv. IT, Gal. iii. 10, 22, John xv. 22. Here both 
ideas are to be included. Paul had arraigned all men as sin 
ners, as the transgressors of the law, and therefore exposed to 

Verses 10 18, contain the confirmation of the doctrine of 
the universal sinfulness of men by the testimony of the Scrip 
tures. These passages are not found consecutively in any one 
place in the Old Testament. Verses 10 12 are from Psalms 
xiv. and liii.; ver. 13 is from Ps. v. 10; ver. 14 is from Ps. x. 7; 
vs. 15 IT are from Isa. lix. 7, 8; and ver. 18 is from Ps. 
xxxvi. 1. These passages, it will be observed, are of two 
different classes; the one descriptive of the general character 
of men; the other referring to particular sinful acts, on the 
principle, "by their fruits ye shall know them." This method 
of reasoning is common and legitimate. The national character 
of a people may be proved by the prevalence of certain acts by 
which it is manifested. The prevalence of crime among men is 
a legitimate proof that the race is apostate, though every man 
is not a shcdder of blood, or guilty of robbery or violence. 

VERSE 10. There is none righteous, no not one. Ps. xiv. 1,^ 
I in the Hebrew is, " there is none doing good ; " in the Septua-j 
fgint it is, TTOiwv ^prio-ror^ra ; Paul has, OVK SCTTI Sitccuos, there is\ 

ROMANS III. 11, 12. 121 

none righteous. The sense is the same. Paul probably uses 
& xa. oc, righteous, because the question which he is discuss 
ing is, whether men are righteous, or can be justified on the 
ground of their own righteousness in the sight of God. This is 
a declaration of the universal sinfulness of men. The two ideas 
included in the negation of righteousness, want of piety and 
want of rectitude, are expressed in the following verses. 

VERSE 11. There is none who understands, there is none who 
seeks after G-od. In the Psalms it is said: "God looked down 
from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there was one wise, 
seeking after God." Here again the apostle gives the thought, 
and not the precise words. Instead of "if there was one wise," 
he gives the idea in a negative form, "There is none who under 
stands," o jx ZGTI o a juiov. The participle 6 o jvuov, der vcr- 
stundige, the wise, is stronger than the verb, who understands; 
as the former expresses a permanent characteristic, the latter 
properly only an act. The words o-vvt tj/ju. and crwecrt? are ire- 
quentlv used in the New Testament to express the right appre 
hension of divine truth. See Matt. xiii. 1">, Acts vii. 25, Eph. 
iii. 4, v. IT, (Y>1. i. l>, ii. "1. In this ease, awtow (avviwv^ 
Wi>i< )\ 14, ),) answers to ^ Ptp, a ^-ord often used in a 
reliirious sense, as in the Scriptures, wisdom and religion are 
convert ihlc terms. This riu lit apprehension or spirit tial discern 
ment of divine tiling s is always attended with riu ht affections 
and rijrht conduct he that understands seeks after (Jod 
which latter expression includes all those exercises of desire, 
worship, and obedience, which are consequent on this spiritual 

VERSE VI. Tltey are all gone out of the way. Blinded by 
sin to the perfections and loveliness of God and truth, they 
have turned from the way which he has prescribed and which 
leads to himself, and have made choice of another way and of 
another portion. Here, as in the first chapter, the loss of the 
knowledge of God is represented as followed by spiritual blind 
ness, and spiritual blindness by moral degradation. Men do 
not understand, i. e. have no right apprehension of God ; then 
they turn away from him, then they become altogether unprofit 
able, -fypetcb&yffav, worthless, morally corrupt. This depravity is 
universal, for there is none that doeth good, no not one. The 

122 ROMANS III. 1317. 

words oux eax; ivoc, not so much as one, are a Hebrewism for 
ouos efc- Tliis passage is taken from the Septuagint transla 
tion of Psalm xiv. 3. 

VERSES 13, 14. These verses relate to the sins of the tongue. 
The passages quoted are from Ps. v. 9, cxl. 3, and x. 7. Their 
throat is an open sepulchre. The point of comparison may be 
the offensive and pestiferous character of the exhalations of an 
open grave. This is forcible, and suited to the context. Or the 
idea is, that as the grave is rapacious and insatiable, so the 
wicked are disposed to do all the injury with their tongues 
which they can accomplish. In Jer. v. 16, it is said of the 
Chaldeans, "Their quiver is an open sepulchre," i. e. destruc 
tive. But as in the following verses sins of violence are brought 
distinctly into view, the former explanation is to be preferred. 
What issues from the mouths of the wicked is offensive and 
pestiferous. With their tongues they have used deceit. The 
word kdoAtoiHjav is in the imperfect, for idoAtow, implying con 
tinuous action. In the Hebrew it is, " They make smooth their 
tongue," i. e. they flatter. The LXX. and Vulgate give the 
version which the apostle adopts. The poison of asps is under 
their lips. This is the highest expression of malignity. The 
bite of the adder causes the severest pain, as well as produces 
death. To inflict suffering is a delight to the malignant. This 
is a revelation of a nature truly diabolical. Their mouth is full 
of cursing and bitterness. The Hebrew in Ps. x. 7, is, " His 
mouth is full of deceit and violence ; " the Septuagint, " His 
month is full of cursing, bitterness, and deceit." The Vulgate 
follows the LXX. ; Paul condenses the idea. 

VERSES 15 17. These verses adduce the sins of violence 
common among men, in proof of the general depravity of the 
race. Their feet are swift to shed blood. That is, on the 
slightest provocation they commit murder. The life of their 
fellow-men is as nothing in their estimation, in comparison with 
the gratification of their pride or malice. The words are quoted 
from Isa. lix. 7: " Their feet run to evil, and they make haste 
to shed innocent blood." Here the Septuagint agrees with the 
Hebrew, and Paul again condenses the sense. Destruction and 
misery are in their ways. Their path through life is marked 
not only with blood, but with the ruin and desolation which 

ROMANS III. 18, 19. 123 

they spread around them. In Isaiah the passage runs, "Their 
thoughts are thoughts of iniquity ; wasting and destruction are 
in their paths." The way of peace tlieij have not known. "The 
way of peace" is the way that leads to peace, or pacific ways. 
"They have not known," means they have not approved or fre 
quented. The idea is to be taken in its most comprehensive 
form, as the apostle designs to prove, not from any specific 
form of violence, but from the general prevalence of sins of 
violence among men, that human nature is depraved. The tree 
which produces such fruit so abundantly must be evil. 

VERSE 18. There is no fear of God before their eyes. This 
is taken from Psalm xxxvi. 1 : " The dictum of depravity con 
cerning the wicked man in my heart is, There is no fear of God 
before his eyes." That is, his depravity proves or reveals to 
me that he does not fear God. See Alexander on the Psalms, 
who proposes this witli other versions of the passage. However 
the previous part of the verse may be understood, the clause 
quoted by the apostle is plain. The course of wicked men, as 
previously described, is proof that they are destitute of the fear 
of God. And by "the fear of God," we may understand, accord 
ing to Scripture usage, reverence for God, piety towards him ; or 
fear, in the more restricted sense, dread of his wrath. In either 
way, the reckless wickedness of men proves that they are desti 
tute of all proper regard of God. They act as if there were no 
God, no Being to whom they are responsible for their conduct, 
and who has the purpose and power to punish them for their 

VERSE 10. Now we know; it is a thing plain in itself, and 
universally conceded, that what things soever the laio saith, it 
saith to them that are under the law. The word i^ofto^ means 
that which binds, that to which we are bound to be conformed. 
It is that which binds the reason, the conscience, the heart, and 
the life, whether it be revealed in the constitution of our nature, 
or in the decalogue, or in the law of Moses, or in the Scrip 
tures. It is the word or revelation of the will of God, consi- 
sidered as the norm or rule to which men are to conform their 
faith and practice. It depends on the context, under what 
aspect this rule is in any particular case contemplated. It may 
be the rule as written on the heart, ii. 14, or the law of Moses, 

124 ROMANS III. 19. 

or the whole Scriptures, as John x. 34. In this passage it obvi 
ously means the whole Old Testament, for the quotations given 
above are taken from the Psalms and the Prophets. In every 
instance the principle applies, that what the law says, it says to 
those who have the law. Those to whom any revelation of the 
divine will is made, are bound to be conformed to it. What the 
law written in the heart says, it says to those who have that 
law; and what the law as written in the Scriptures says, it says 
to those who have the Scriptures. The declarations therefore 
contained in the Old Testament, which was the revelation of 
God s will made to the Jews, were the norm or rule to which 
they were obliged to conform their judgments and conduct. If 
the Old Testament declared that all men are under sin, that 
there is none righteous, no not one, the Jews could not deny the 
truth of this universal declaration in its application to them 
selves. These passages speak not of heathen as heathen, but 
of fallen men as such, and therefore are to be understood of all 
men, of the Jews as well as of the Gentiles. That every mouth 
may be stopped. The word is W, in order that. That is, the 
design of God in these general declarations was, that every 
mouth should be stopped; that all men should be reduced to 
silence under the conviction that they had nothing to say against 
the charge of sin. This idea is expressed in another form in the 
following clause: That the whole world (~u.~ b z6<7/w~,) all man 
kind, Jews and Gentiles, should become (^swyrctf,) in their own 
conviction, guilty before God. That is, that all men should be 
convinced of guilt. Guilt, here, as always in theological lan 
guage, means liability or exposure to punishment on account 
of sin. It is not to be confounded either with moral pollution, 
or with mere demerit. It may exist where neither pollution nor 
personal demerit is to be found. And it may be removed where 
both remain. Christ is said to have borne the guilt of our sins, 
although immaculate and without personal demerit ; and justifi 
cation removes the guilt (or just exposure to punishment) of the 
sinner, but it does not change his inward character. This is 
the proper meaning of uxodcxo:; (Ivo^o^ dixr^J) guilty, satisfac- 
tionem alteri debens, obnoxious to punishment. Before Grod, 
TW 6soj, in relation to God, as it is to him that satisfaction for 
sin is due. It is he whom we have offended, and under whose 

ROMANS III. 20. 125 

sentence we lie. There are three things involved in the con-i 
sciousness of sin ; sense of moral turpitude, sense of demerit or 
of ill-desert, and the conviction that we ought to be punished. 
This last element is often the most clearly revealed ; so that a 
criminal often voluntarily gives himself up to justice. It is this 
that is denominated guilt, the obligation to suffer punishment ; 
so that the guilty are not merely those who may be punished, 
but those who justice (or moral rectitude) demands should be 
punished. It is this that stops the sinner s mouth ; and it is 
this which is met by satisfaction, so that although in the justi 
fied believer a sense of pollution and of ill-desert remains, there 
is no longer this dreadful conviction that God is bound to, 


punish him. The conclusion to which the apostle s argument, 
from experience and Scripture, has thus far led is, that all men 
are guilty in the sight of God; and if guilty, they cannot be 
justified on the ground of their personal character or conduct, 
To justify is to declare not guilty; and therefore the guilty 
cannot, on the ground of character, be justified. 

VKKSH 20. Therefore !>>/ the. deeds <>f the ltn> shall no flesh 
be justified in I/is si<//>t. Thc.rcforc. The particle is wore, which 
is equivalent to di o re, on account of which thin<j, wherefore. 
In this sense it indicates a conclusion from preceding premises. 
This would suit this connection, as ver. 20 is a fair conclusion 
from what is said in ver. 19: All the world is guilty before 
(rod. wherefore^ hence it follows that, no one can be justified by 
works. Tin s is the conclusion which the apostle has had in 
view from the be^innin^ of his arinunont. His whole design is 

< < , 

to prove that men cannot be justified by their own righteous 
ness, in order to prepare them to receive the righteousness of 
God. This view of the connection is assumed in our version, 
by Beza, Turrettin, Rosemmiiller, and others. But in the New 
Testament, ororr is almost uniformly, perhaps in every case, 
used in the sense of oca TO~JTO or. , on this account that, or of the 
simple OTC, that. The great majority of commentators there 
fore render it here, because, as in i. 19, viii. 7, &c. Verse 20 
then assigns the reason of what is said in ver. 19: Every 
mouth must be stopped, because no flesh can be justified by 
works. This view is to be preferred, not because more suita 
ble, but because more consistent with the common use of the 

126 ROMANS III. 20. 

particle in question. No flesh. When men are called flesh, in 
the Bible, there was originally a reference to their weakness 
and faults, as the flesh is earthly and perishable. But in many 
cases there is no such implication; "no flesh" is simply equiva 
lent to no man. The Greek is here 710.00. capz ou x.r.X, every 
flesh shall not; according to the familiar Hebraism, no flesh 
shall. The future is used not in reference to the day of final 
judgment, for the act of justification takes place in this life, 
jit expresses the certainty of the thing affirmed: No flesh shall 
ever be (i. e. ever can be) justified. The apostle seems evi 
dently to have had in his mind the passage in Psalm cxliii. 2 : 
a Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight 
shall no man living be justified." Aaaioco, to justify, is not 
simply to pardon. A condemned criminal, in whose favour the 
executive exercises his prerogative of mercy, is never said to be 
justified; he is simply pardoned. Nor is it to pardon and to 
restore to favour. When a king pardons a rebellious subject, 
and restores him to his former standing, he does not justify 
him. Nor is it to make just inwardly. When a man accused 
of a crime is acquitted or declared just in the eye of the law, 
his moral character is not changed. To justify is a forensic 
term ; that is, it expresses the act of a judge. Justification is 
a judicial act. It is a declaration that the party arraigned is 
dixaiot;, just; and dcxatoz means right, conformed to the law. 
/ To justify, therefore, is to declare that the party implicated is 
I rectus in foro judieii; that dixy, justice, does not condemn, but 
pronounces him just, or declares herself satisfied. This is the 
i uniform meaning of the word, not only in Scripture, but also 
in ordinary life. We never confound justification with pardon, 
! or with sanctification. It is always used in the sense antithe- 
|j tical to condemnation. To condemn is not merely to punish, 
but to declare the accused guilty or worthy of punishment ; and 
justification is not merely to remit that punishment, but to 
declare that punishment cannot be justly inflicted. Much less 
does to condemn mean to render wicked, and therefore neither 
does to justify mean to render good. When we justify God, we 
declare him to be just ; and when God justifies the sinner, he 
declares him to be just. In both cases the idea is, that there 
is no ground for condemnation ; or that the demands of justice 

ROMANS III. 20. 127 

are satisfied. Hence the terms and expressions used in Scrip 
ture, convertibly with the word to justify, all express the sumo 
idea. Thus, in ii. lo, it is said: "Not the hearers of the law- 
are just before God (uixruot ~aoa -at 6zw,) but the doers of 
the law shall be justified (dixata)&7jaovTat. ) Here, to be just 
before God, (in his sight or estimation,) and to be justified, 
mean the same thing It is clearly impossible that the apostle 
should mean that the doers of the law shall be pardoned. What 
should they be pardoned for? Doing the law does not call for 
pardon: it is declared to be the ground of justification. Pardon 
and justification therefore are essentially distinct. The one is 
the remission of punishment, the other is a declaration that no 
ground for the infliction of punishment exists. Quite as evident 
is it that the apostle does not mean, in the passage referred to, 
to say that the- doers of the law shall be made holy. To justify, 
therefore, cannot mean to make inherently just or good. In 
iv. U, he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom the 
Lord imputeth righteousness without works." To impute right 
eousness is to justify. To impute is to ascribe to, to reckon to| 
one s account. J3ut when we pardon a man, we do not ascribe 
righteousness to him; and therefore, again, justification is seen! 
to be different from pardon. It is quite as clear, that to impute 
righteousness cannot mean to render holy; and therefore to 
justify, which is to impute righteousness, cannot mean to mako 
good. In viii. 1, the apostle says, there is no condemnation ( 
to th >se who are in Christ Jesus." Not to condemn is neither , 
to pardon nor to sanctify, but it is to pronounce just. Nothing 
can be clearer as a question of exegesis, than that the word 
dtxcuoco (to justify) expresses a judicial, as opposed to an execu | 
tive, and also to an ellieient act. This indeed is plain from the 
very form of the statement in this and other passages. It 
would be utterly unmeaning to say that "no flesh shall be par 
doned by the works of the Jaw," or that "no man shall be sanc 
tified by the deeds of the law." In the fifth chapter of this 
epistle, Paul uses the phrase "sentence unto condemnation 
(xf)l/w ef~ xa dx(>>iia") in antithesis to "sentence unto justifi 
cation (xii i[ia sc- oexwwffrs.") Justification therefore is as much 
a sentence, a xniim, a judgment, a declarative act, as condemna 
tion. It need not be remarked that this is a point of vital 

128 ROMANS III. 20. 

^importance. How can man be just with God? is the question 
which of all others most immediately concerns our eternal 
interests. The answer which Pelagians and Remonstrants give 
to this question is, that to justify is simply to pardon and to 
restore to divine favour. The Romanists say, that it is to 
render inwardly pure or good, so that God accepts as right 
eous only those who are inwardly conformed to the law, and 
.because of that conformity. Protestants say, that to justify is 
I to declare just ; to pronounce, on the ground of the satisfaction 
of justice, that there is no ground of condemnation in the 
sinner; or that he has a righteousness which meets the demands 
of the law. The Romish doctrine of subjective justification, 
against which the Protestants contended as for the life of the 


Church, has in our day been revived in different forms. The 

[speculative and mystic theologians of Germany all repudiate 

, the doctrine of objective justification; they all teach in some 

f way, that to justify is to make just ; to restore the ruined 

i| nature of man to its original state of purity or conformity to 

|lthe law of God. They are all disposed to say, with Olshausen: 

"Von Gott kann nie etwas als gerecht anerkannt oder dafur 

Bcrklart werdcn, was es nicht ist;" i. e. Gf-od can never acknow 
ledge or declare that just, which is not so in itself. This is said 
to prove that God cannot pronounce the sinner just, unless he is 
l| inherently righteous. If this is so, then no flesh living can be 
justified; for no human being in this life, whether under the law 
or the gospel, is inherently just, or inwardly conformed to the 
law of God. The conscience of the holiest man on earth con 
demns him, and God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all 
f things. If not righteous in our own eyes, how can we be right 
eous in the sight of omniscient and infinite holiness ? Agreea 
bly to the principle just stated, Olshausen defines dixcuoauvT), 
conformity to law, so that "not only the outward act, but the 
inward feeling and disposition answer to the divine law;" and 
o xacoco is said to express "die gottliche Thatigkeit dcs Her- 
vorrufcns dcr dcxa.coa j^, welches natlirlich das Anerkennen 
derselben als solcher in sich schlicsst." That is, to justify is to 
produce moral rectitude, and to acknowledge it as such. See 
Olshausen s Commentary, Rom. iii. 21. Justification therefore 
includes two things; first, making a man inwardly just; and 

ROMANS III. 20. 129 

secondly, acknowledging him to be so. No man tnerefore can 5 
be justified who is not inwardly conformed to the perfect law 
of God. This is a sentence of eternal condemnation on all 
mankind; for there is none righteous, no not one; neither by 
works nor by faith, neither by nature nor by grace. Blessed 
be God, this is not the doctrine of the Bible. God justifies the 
ungodly; that is, he pronounces just, those who, personally con 
sidered, are unjust. lie imputes righteousness to those without 
works; that is, to those who are in themselves unrighteous. In 
no instance in the Scriptures has o ./jj.cno) the sense of producing 
d!%fu<HT jyr t . We do not make God holy when we justify him ; 
the unrighteous judge does not make the wicked holy when he 
justifies him for a reward, Isa. v. 2-\. lie surely is not an 
abomination to the Lord, who makes the unrighteous good, but 
lie is declared to be such an abomination, who either justifies the 
wicked or condemns the just. Pmv. xvii. lo. This doctrine is 
not less inconsistent with the faith of the Church, than it is 
with the plain meaning of the Scriptures. The people of God 
of every denomination are led as by instinct to renounce all 
dependence upon anything done by them or wrought in them, 
and to cast themselves, for acceptance before God, on what 
Christ has done for them. Their trust is in him, and not on 
their own inward conformity to the law. Xo previous training, 
and no trammels of fal-e doctrine can prevent those who are 
truly under the guidance of the Spirit of (rod from thus 
renouncing their own inward righteousness, and trusting to the 
righteousness of the S"ii of God. 

To justify then is not merely to pardon and restore to favour ; h 
nor is it to make inwardly ju<t or holy, but it is to declare or 
pronounce just; that is, judicially to declare that the demands 
of justice are satisfied, or that there is .10 just ground for con 
demnation. The apostle here as everywhere teaches that no 
human being can be thus pronounced just, on the ground of his 
personal character or conduct, because all have sinned and are 
guilty before God. This is here expressed by saying, that no 
flesh can be justified //// works of the biw. Bv works of the law ] 
are not meant works produced or called forth by the law as a | 
mere objective rule of duty, as opposed to works produced by an i 
inward principle of faith, but works which the law prescribes. 

130 ROMANS III. 20. 

It is not by obedience to the law, by doing the works which the 
law enjoins, that any man can be justified. As to the nature 
of the works which are thus expressly declared not to be the 
ground of justification, there are different opinions arising out 
of the different views taken of the plan of salvation revealed 
in the Scriptures. 1. The Pelagian doctrine, that the works 

j intended are the ceremonial works prescribed by the Mosaic 
law. The doctrine assumed to be taught by the apostle is, that 
men are not justified by any external rites, such as circumcision 
and sacrifice, but by works morally good. 2. The Homish 
doctrine, that the works of the law are works performed under 
the stress of natural conscience. The Homish theory is, that 
works done before regeneration have only the merit of con- 
gruity; but those done after regeneration, and therefore from a, 
principle of grace, have the merit of condignity, and are the 
ground of acceptance with God. 3. The Remonstrant or 
Arminian doctrine is, that by the works of the law is to be 
understood the perfect legal obedience enjoined on Adam as 
the condition of eternal life. Under the gospel, such perfect 

(obedience is not required, God for Christ s sake being willing 
to accept of imperfect obedience. Men therefore are not justi- 

fied by the works of the law, but by the works of the gospel, 
which requires only a fides obsequiosa. 4. The modern doc 
trine already referred to is only a philosophical statement of 

the Romish theory. Olshausen, Nearidcr, and the school to 
which they belong, teach that the law as an objective rule of 
duty cannot produce real inward conformity to the will of God, 
but only an outward obedience, and therefore there is need of a 
new inward principle which produces true holiness in heart and 
life. "Das Gcsetz," says Olshausen, " konnte es nicht liber 
eine aussere Legalitat hinausbringen, (lurch die Wiedergeburt 
wird aber (lurch Gnade ein innerer Zustand, die dtxouoffuvy Osoi>, 
im Glalibigen geschaffen, der den hochsten Forderungen ent- 
spricht;" (see his Comment, on i. 17.) "The law can only 
effect an external legal obedience; but by regeneration, an 
inward state, the 8rxato06uy 6zo~j, is produced by grace, which 
meets the highest demands." The works of the law, therefore, 
according to this view, the dixcuoa jyq ro~j vbfj.oo, or lx isbiwj, or 
dtxatcauv/i loia^ are those vorks or that righteousness which 

ROMANS III. 20. 131 

men by their own power, without the cooperation of divine 
grace, can effect; ("der Mensch sic gleichsam mit semen 
eignen, riach dem Fall ihm gebliebenen sittlichen Kriiften, ohnc 
Wirkung der Gnade, zu Stande bringt.") Such works or such 
righteousness cannot justify; but the inward righteousness pro 
duced by the grace of God, and therefore called the owuoa jyq 
6zo r j or * TtlffTscoz, meets the demands of the law, is the true 
ground of justification. Uklutux -n. >, -1. See also Zander s 
G-eschichte der Pjlanzung, pp. ;3U3 51<>. The doctrine of the 
divines of the school of Schleiermacher, presented in formulas 
more or less mystic and transcendental is, that as we derive a 
corrupt nature from Adam, and on the ground of that nature 
are condemned, so we derive a holy nature from Christ, and on 
the ground of that nature are justified, o. In opposition to all 
these views, which place the ground ^f justification, so far as i 
is a declarative act, in man s own inward character or state, 
Protestants with one heart and one voice teach that lv the 
ivorks n f f/ir /<(tv, which are excluded from the ground of Justin 
fication, are meant not only ceremonial works, not merely the 
works of the unregenerate done without grace, not only the 
perfect obedience required by the law originally given to 
Adam, but works of all kinds, everything either done by IH or 
wrought in us. In proof of this, it maybe urged: 1. That the 
law of which the apostle speaks, is the law which binds all man 
kind. It is the law, the violation of which renders all men 
guilty IK- fore God, as stated in ver. ID. The whole of the pre 
ceding argument is designed to >linw that both Jews and Gen 
tiles, viewed as to their personal diameter, are under sin and 
incapable of justification on the ground of their own character 
or conduct. 2. This law which thus binds all men, demands 
the highest kind of moral obedience. It is spiritual, extendiii" 


not merely to the external act, but to the secret motives. It 
says, u thou shalt not covet; thus condemning all irregular 
or inordinate desires. It is holy, just, and good. It required 
us to love God with all the heart, and our neighbour as our 
selves. There can therefore be no form or kind of righteous 
ness, whether natural or gracious, higher than that which the 
law demands, and which is comprehended in the works of the 
law. 3. The contrast or opposition is never between one kind 

132 ROMANS III. 20. 

/of works and another. Paul does not teach that we cannot be 

) justified by ceremonial works, but are justified by good works; 

he does not exclude merely opera ex soils natures viribus, i. e. 

works of the unregcnerate, and assert that works flowing from 

a principle of grace are the ground of justification; he does not 

L contrast imperfect obedience under the gospel with the perfect 

obedience required of Adam; but the opposition is always 

between works in general, all works, and faith. 4. The works 

rejected as inadequate are called "works of righteousness," 

Titus iii. 5; that is, works of the highest order, for there is no 

< designation of excellence of higher import than that. 5. The 

o o i 

, works intended are such as Abraham, the father of the faithful, 

whose obedience is held up as a model to all generations, per- 

Iformed. 6. Whenever the ground of our justification is affirma- 

ftively stated, it is declared to be the obedience, the death, the 

blood or work of Christ. 7. The objection to the apostle s 

doctrine, which he answers at length in chap, vi., supposes that 

j good works of every kind arc excluded from the ground of our 

S justification. That objection is, that if works are not the 

Aground of justification, then w r e may live in sin. There could 

be no room for such an objection, had the apostle taught that 

| we are not justified by mere ceremonial or moral works, but by 

works of a higher order of merit, It was his rejecting all 

^ works, every kind and degree of personal excellence, and 

s making something external to ourselves, something done for us 

as opposed to everything wrought in us, the ground of our 

acceptance with God, that called forth the objection in question. 

4 And this objection has been urged against Paul s doctrine from 

/ that day to this. 8. Appeal may safely be made on this subject 

\ to the testimony of the Church or the experience of the people 

,- of God of every age and nation. They with one accord, at 

I least in their prayers and praises, renounce all dependence on 

1 their own inward excellence, and cast themselves on the work 

or merit of Christ. In reference to this cardinal doctrine, 

Calvin says: "Neque vero me latet, Augustinum secus expo- 

nere ; justitiam enim Dei esse putat regenerationis gratiam ; et 

hanc gratuitam esse fatetur, quia Dominus immerentes Spiritu 

suo nos rcnovat. Ab hac autcm opera legis excludit, hoc est 

quibus homines a seipsis citra renovationein conantur Deum 

ROMANS III. 20. 133 

promereri. Mihi etiam plus satis notum est, quosdam novos 
speculatores hoc dogma superciliose proferre quasi hodie sibi 
revelaturn. Scd apostolum omnia sine exceptionc opera com- 
plecti, etiam qiue Dominus in suis efficit, ex contextu plunuui 
fiet. Nam certc regeneratus erat Abraham, et Spiritu Dei 
agebatur quo teinpore justificatum fuisse operibus negat. Ergo 
a justificatione hominis non opera tantum moraliter bona (ut 
vulgo appellant) et quie fiunt natune instinctu excludit, sed 
quoecunque etiam fidelcs habere possunt. Deinde si ilia est 
justitiie fidci definitio, Beati quorum remissai sunt iniquitates, 
Ps. xxxii. 1; non disputatur do hoc vel illo genere operum ; 
sed abolito operum merito sola peceatorum remissio justitiae 
causa statuitur. Putant luec duo uptime convening, li<le justifi- 
cari hominem per Christi gratiam; et tameii operibus justificari, 
qiue ex regeneratione spiritual! proveniant ; quia et gratuito 
nos Deus renovat, et ejus domim lido percipimus. At Paulus 
longe aliud principium suinit : nunqiiam scilicet tranquillas fore 
conscientias, donee in solam Dei misericordiam recumbant; ideo 
alibi postquani docuit Deum t uisso in Christ*.), ut homines justi- 
ficaret, inoduin simul exprimit, non imputando illis peccata." 

Fur lj the law is the knowledge <>f sin. No llesli can be* 
justified by the law, fur by the law we arc convinced of sin.) 
The law condemns by bringing sin clearly to our knowledge 
as deserving the wrath of God, which is revealed against all 
sin, and therefore it cannot justify. "Ex radrm scatebra," 
says Calvin, "non prodeunt vita et mors." A -rpwtf. C (J uff <>r 
accurate knowledge) is stronger than the simple word pr^ C 
(kti Kclcdi/c..) When the object of knowledge is something in 
our own consciousness, as in the case of sin, knowledge involves 
a recognition of the true nature of that object, and a cor 
responding experience. The knowledge of sin is therefore not 
a mere intellectual cognition, but an inward conviction, includ 
ing both an intellectual apprehension and a due sense of its 
turpitude and guilt. This is the office of the law. It was not/ 
designed to give life, but so to convince of sin that men may bej 
led to renounce their own righteousness and trust in the right 
eousness of Christ as the only and all "Sufficient ground of their j 
acceptance \vitU God. 

134 ROMANS III. 920. 


1. However men may differ among themselves as to indivi. 
dual character, as to outward circumstances, religious or social, 
when they appear at the bar of God, all appear on the same 
level. All are sinners, and being sinners, are exposed to con 
demnation, vcr. 9. 

2. The general declarations of the Scriptures, descriptive of 
the character of men before the advent of Christ, are applicable 
to men in all ages of the world, because they describe human 
nature. They declare what fallen man is. As we recognize 
the descriptions of the human heart given by profane writers a 
thousand years ago, as suited to its present character, so the 
inspired description suits us as well as those for whom it was 
originally intended, vs. 10 18. 

3. Piety and morality cannot be separated. If men do not 
understand, if they have no fear of God before their eyes, they 
become altogether unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, 
vs. 1012. 

4. The office of the law is neither to justify nor to sanctify. 
It convinces and condemns. All efforts to secure the favour of 
God, therefore, by legal obedience must be vain, ver. 20. 


1. As God regards the moral character in men, and as we 
are all sinners, no one has any reason to exalt himself over 
another. With our hands upon our mouth, and our mouth in 
the dust, we must all appear as guilty before God, ver. 9. 

2. The Scriptures are the message of God to all to whom 
they come. They speak general truths, which are intended to 
apply to all to whom they are applicable. What they say of 
sinners, as such, they say of all sinners ; what they promise to 
believers, they promise to all believers. They should, there 
fore, ever be read with a spirit of self-application, vs. 10 18. 

3. To be prepared for the reception of the gospel, we must 
be convinced of sin, humbled under a sense of its turpitude, 
silenced under a conviction of its condemning power, and 

ROMANS III. 21. 135 

prostrated at the footstool of mercy, under a feeling that wo 
cannot satisfy the demands of the law, that if ever saved, it 
must he by other merit and other power than our own, ver. 20. 



HAVING proved that justification, on the ground of legal 
obedience or personal merit, is for all men impossible, 1 aul 
proceeds to unfold the method of salvation presented in the 
gospel. With regard to this method, he here teaches, 1. Its 
nature. 2. The ground on which the offer of justification is 
made. 8. Its object. 4. Its results. 

I. As to its nature, he teaches, 1. That the righteousness 
which it proposes is not attainable bv works, but hv faith, 
vs. 21. 22. 2. That it is adapted to all men, Jews as well 
as Gentiles, since there is no difference as to their moral state, 
vs. 22, 28. 3. It is entirely gratuitous, ver. 24. 

II. As to its ground, it is the redemption that is in Christ 
Jesus, or Jestts Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice, vs. 24. 2-3. 

III. Its object is the display of the divine perfections, and 
the reconciliation of the justice of God with the exhibition of 
mercy to the sinner, ver. 2<>. 

IV. Its results. 1. It humbles man by excluding all ground 
of boasting, vs. 27, 2S. 2. It presents God in his true charac 
ter as the God and father of all men, of the Gentile no less 
than of the Jew, vs. 2t>, 30. 8. It confirms the law, ver. 3L. 


VERSE 21. But now the ri<iltt<>nu*Hi>xx of G-od ivithout tJt<> law 
is manifested, &c. Having demonstrated that no flesh can be 
justified by the deeds of the law in the sight of God, the ap-K-tle 
proceeds to show how the sinner can be justified. With regard 
to this point, he teaches, in this verse, 1. That the righteous 
ness which is acceptable to God is not a legal righteousness; 
and, 2. That it had been taught already in the Old Testament. 

136 ROMANS III. 21. 

The words but now may be regarded as merely marking the 
transition from one paragraph to another, or as a designation 
of time, now, i. e. under the gospel dispensation. In favour of 
this view is the phrase, "to declare, at this time, his righteous 
ness," in ver. 20 ; compare also i. 17. Is manifested, i. e. clearly 
made known, equivalent to the phrase is revealed, as used in 
i. 17. The words righteousness of Grod, are subjected here to 
the same diversity of interpretation that was noticed in the 
passage just cited, where they first occur. They may mean, 
1. A divine attribute, the justice, mercy, or general rectitude 
of God. 2. That righteousness which is acceptable to God, 
which is such in his estimation. 3. God s method of justifica 
tion ; compare i. 17. The last interpretation gives here a very 
good sense, and is one very commonly adopted. The method 
of justification by works being impossible, God has revealed 
another, already taught indeed, both in the law and prophets, a 
method which is not legal (without law,) i. e. not on the condi 
tion of obedience to the law, but on the condition of faith, which 
is applicable to all men, and perfectly gratuitous, vs. 21 24. 
But for the reasons stated above, in the remarks on i. 17, the 
interpretation which best suits both the force of the words and 
Paul s usage is, The righteousness of which God is the author, 
which comes from him, which he gives, and which consequently 
is acceptable in his sight. The word righteousness is employed 
to designate that excellence which the law demands, or which 
constitutes a man or/ato^ (righteous) in the sight of the law, and 
the genitive (TO~J 0so 7 j) of Crod, indicates the source or author 
of that righteousness. As men therefore cannot attain such 
righteousness by the deeds of the law, God has revealed in the 
gospel another righteousness, which is not legal, but is attained 
or received by faith, and is offered to all men, whether Jews or 
Gentiles, as a free gift. The words %copiz UOJJLO J, without law, 
may qualify the word righteousness. It is a righteousness 
without law, or with which the law has nothing to do. It is 
not a product of the law, and does not consist in our inward 
conformity to its precepts ; so that %io<n~ WIJIOD is equivalent to 
Xtof/iz Zcrftov w/wu, Gal. ii. 16. The connection however may 
be with the verb : Without the law (i. e. without the coopera 
tion of the law) the righteousness of God is revealed. But the 

ROMANS III. 22. 137 

whole context treats of justification without works, and there 
fore the interpretation which makes the apostle say that a 
righteousness without the works of the law is made known in 


the gospel, is more suited to the connection. The perfect 
7:nf(j.^i<>toi:Lu has its appropriate force. The revelation has 
been made and still continues. This righteousness, which, so 
to speak, had long been buried under the types and indistinct 
utterances of the old dispensation, has now in the gospel been 
made (<ffrs=.od) clear and apparent. The apostle therefore adds, 
beinij testified l>y the law and the prophets. The word is f*uf>- 
T Joo jiJLivr n leintj testified t<>; the present is used because the 
testimony of the Old Testament to the gospel was still con 
tinued. The Jews were accustomed to divide the Scriptures 
into two parts -the Latu including the live books of Moses, and 
the 7 V /yy//r/.v including all tin; other books. The word prophet 
means one who speaks for God. All inspired men are prophets, 
and therefore the designation applies to the historical, as well 
as to the books which we are accustomed, in a more restricted 
sense of the word, to call prophetical. The Law and the Pro 
phets therefore mean the Old Testament Scriptures. Matt. 
v. IT, vii. 12, Luke xvi. ]!, Acts xiii. 15, kc. The words desig 
nated a well known volume, and had to the minds of the Jews 
as definite a meaning as the word />////< has with us. The con 
stant recognition of that volume in the ]Se\v Testament as of 
divine authority, relieves us of the neeessitv of proving sepa 
rate Iv the inspiration of its several books. In sanctioning the 
volume as the word of God, Christ and his apostles gave their 
sanction to the divine authority of all that the volume contains. 
That the Old Testament does teach the doctrine of "a right 
eousness without works," Paul proves in the next chapter, from 
the case of Abraham, and from the declarations of David. 

VEUSI-: - 2. Even the righteousness of God. The repetition 
of the subject from the preceding verse; ds is therefore not- 
adversative, but is properly rendered even. This righteousness, 
of which God is the author, and which is available before him, 
and which is now revealed, is more particularly described as a 
(dexatoa JU q (oixra) oca rJ.aiKJLi } righteousness which is of faith, 
i. e. by means of faith, not d:a ~ .cfciv, on account of faith. Faith 
is not the ground of our justification; it is not the righteousness 

138 ROMANS III. 22. 

which makes us righteous before God, (it is not itself the 
dtxcuoauvq roy 6soi),) nor is it even represented as the inward 
principle whence that righteousness proceeds. It is indeed the 
principle of evangelical obedience, the source of holiness in 
heart and life; but such obedience or holiness is not our justi 
fying righteousness. Holiness is the consequence and not the 
cause of our justification, as the apostle proves at length in the 
subsequent parts of this epistle. This righteousness is through 
faith, as it is received and appropriated by faith. It is, more 
over, not faith in general, not mere confidence in God, not 
simply a belief in the Scriptures as the word of God, much less 
a recognition of the truth of the spiritual and invisible, but it is 
faith of Cltrist; that is, faith of which Christ is the object. A 
man may believe what else he may; unless he receives and rests 
on Christ alone for salvation, receives him as the Son of God, 
who loved us and gave himself for us, he has not the faith of 
which the apostle here speaks as the indispensable condition 
of salvation. This important doctrine is not only clearly but 
frequently brought into view in the New Testament. What our 
Lord constantly demanded was not merely religious faith in 
general, but specifically faith in himself as the Son of God and 
Saviour of the world. It is only faith in Christ, not faith as 
such, which makes a man a Christian. "If ye believe not that 
I am he," saith our Lord, "ye shall die in your sins," John 
viii. 24. " To as many as received him, to them gave he power 
to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on his 
name," John i. 12. "That whosoever believeth on him should 
not perish, but have eternal life," John iii. 14, 16. "Whoso 
ever believeth on him, shall not be confounded," Rom. ix. 33. 
"How shall they call on him on whom they have not believed," 
x. 14. Such passages are almost innumerable. So when the 
object of saving faith is designated, it is said to be not truth in 
general, but Christ himself. See ver. 25, (through faith in his 
blood,) Gal. ii. 16, 20, iii. 24, Eph. iii. 12, &c. ^The act there 
fore which the sinner is required to perform, in order to be 
made a partaker of the righteousness of God, is to believe on 
Christ ; that is, to receive him as he is revealed in the gospel 
as the eternal Son of God, clothed in our nature, loving us and 
giving himself as a propitiation for our sins. As there is no 

ROMANS III. 23. 139 

verb in the text, of which otxcuoffwy (righteousness) is the nomi 
native, we must either borrow the verb 7r<pavs t oa)TGu from vcr. 
21, the righteousness of God is manifested unto all; or what 
better suits what follows, supply soyzra!, comes (or simply s<rr. , 
in) unto all and upon all. The words xa: i~c -u.^-<i. (and upon 
all) are omitted in the MSS. A. c. 20. 31. 47. <>i>. <>7: in the 
Coptic and Ethiopic versions; and by several of the Fathers. 
Griesbach and Lachmann leave them out of the text : most 
modern critical editions retain them, both on external and 
internal grounds. This righteousness is e^ rra^rwc, extending 
unto all, xa: l~l ravr^c, and over all, as covering them or over 
flowing them. "Eine Gnadenfluth," says Olshausen, " die an 
alle herandringt und sogar iibcr alle hmiiberstromt." There 
is no distinction between Jew and Gentile recognized in this 
method of salvation. The <niestioii is not as to whether men 
are of this or that race, or of one or another rank in life, or in 
the Church visible or out of it. This righteousness is unto all 
who believe. Faith is all that is demanded. The reason why 
the same method of salvation is suited to all men is given in the 
following clause: For there is no difference among men as to 
their moral state or relation to God, or as to their need o[ sal 
vation, or as to what is necessary to that end. "What one man 
needs ail require, and what is suited to one is suited to and 
sufficient for all. The characteristics, therefore, of the plan of 
salvation presented in this verse are: 1. That the righteousness 
of God which is revealed in the gospel is to be attained by 
faith, not bv works, not by birth, not by any external rite, not 
by union with any visible Church, but simply and only by 
believing on Christ, receiving and resting upon him. 2. That 
this righteousness is suited to and sufficient for all men; not 
only for all classes, but lor all numerically; so that no one can 
perish for the want of a righteousness suitable and sufficient, 
clearly revealed and freely offered. 

VKUSK *2 ; ]. For all have sinned. This is the reason why 
there is no difference as to the condition of men. All are 
sinners. The apostle uses the aorist ^ww-ov, xinni J. and not 
the perfect, 1/aee sinned. Riickert says this is an inaccuracy; 
Bengel explains it by assuming that the original act in paradise, 
and the sinful disposition, and also the acts of transgression 

140 ROMANS III. 24. 

flowing from it, are all denoted. Olshausen says that the 
reference is mainly to original sin ; for where there are no 
peccata actualia, there is still need of redemption. Dr. "Words 
worth, Canon of Westminster, gives the same explanation: 
"All men sinned in Adam, all fell in him." Meyer says, 
"The sinning of each man is presented as an historical fact of 
the past." The idea that all men now stand in the posture 
of sinners before God might be expressed either by saying, All 
have sinned (and are sinners,) or all sinned. The latter is the 
form adopted by the apostle. And come short, uo-c-otywcat, in 
the present tense. The sinning is represented as past; the 
present and abiding consequence of sin is the want of the glory 

!0f Crod. By oo-a TO~J 9=o r j is most naturally understood the 

r / j t/ 

I approbation of God, the ob~a which comes from God; comp. 
John xii. 43, "They love the praise of men rather than the 
praise (obzav) of God." Calvin explains it as the glory quce 
coram Deo locum habet, glory before God, i. e. in his estimation, 
as he explains OC/JJMO J^ 6so r j to be righteousness in his sight, 
what he regards as such. This is against the natural force of 
the genitive. Others understand ooza in the sense of glorying, 
non habent, unde coram Deo glorientur, Estius; so also Luther, 

1 Tholuck, (who refers to John v. 44, oo-a^ ~aoa roD 0so5,) arid 
others. This idea would be expressed by the word xwjyrptz, 
ver. 27, or xo:r/r t <m, iv. 2, 1 Cor. v. 6, ix. 16, &c. Others again 
say that the glory of God here means that glory which God 
promises to the righteous, as in v. 2. So Beza, who says, 
" c/ora est meta ad quam contendimus, id cst, vita retcrna, quse 
in glorice Dei participatione consistit." Ruckcrt and Olshausen 
say it means the image of God : Men are sinners, and are 
destitute of the image of God. But this is not the sense of the 
words; the glory of God does not mean a glory like to that 
of God. The first interpretation, which is the simplest, is per 
fectly suited to the context. All men are sinners and under 
the disapprobation of God. In this respect there is no differ 
ence between them ; and therefore all need a righteousness 
not their own, in order to their justification before God. 

VERSE 24. Being justified freely b// his grace, through the 
redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The apostle continues his 
exhibition of the method of salvation by using the participle 

ROMANS III. 24. 141 

being justified, instead of the verb we are justified, agreea 
bly to a mode of construction not unusual in the Greek, though 
much more frequent in the Hebrew. Aaawj n&ot therefore 
depends on 5ff7nowTcu, i all come short of the favour of God, 
being justified freely. That is, since justification is gratuitous, 
the subjects of it are in themselves unworthy; they do not merit 
God s favour. Justification is as to us ocoozdv, a matter of gift ; 
on the part of God it is an act of grace; we are justified r;/y 
a>JTO r j yd-furc ly his grace. The act, so far as we are concerned, 
is altogether gratuitous. We have not the slightest degree of 
merit to offer as the ground of our acceptance. This is the 
third characteristic of the method of justification which is by 
the righteousness of God. Though it is so entirely gratuitous 
as regards the sinner, yet it is in a way perfectly consistent 
with the justice of God. It is through "the redemption that is 
in Christ Jesus," that is, of which he is the anther. 

The word a-otirfHOffiz, r< <l irtptt<>n. has two senses in the 
New Testament. 1. It means properly a deliverance efYeeted 
by the payment of a ransom. This is its primary etymological 
meaning. 2. It means deliverance simply, without any refer 
ence to the mode of its accomplishment, whether by power or 
wisdom. Luke xxi. 2S, fc -The day of redemption (i. e. of deli 
verance) draweth nigh: lleb. xi. 25, and perhaps Rom. viii. 23; 
compare Isa. 1. 2. " Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot 
redeem . " &C. When applied to the work of Christ, as affect 
ing our deliverance from the punishment of sin, it is always 
taken in its proper sense, <l< /^ crane<> effected l>f the p<ti/ment 
of a ransom. This is evident, 1. Because in no case where it 
is thus used, is anything said of the precepts, doctrines, or 
power of Christ, as the means by which the deliverance is 
effected; but uniformly his sufferings arc mentioned as the 
ground of deliverance. Eph. i. 7, "In whom we have- redemp 
tion through his blood;" lleb. ix. 15, "By means of death, for 
the redemption of transgressions," Col. i. 14. 2. In this pas 
sage the nature of this redemption is explained by the following 
verse: it is not by truth, nor the exhibition of excellence, but 
through Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice, through faith in his 
blood. 8. Equivalent expressions fix the meaning of the term 
beyond doubt. 1 Tim. ii. 6, "Who gave himself as a ransom 

142 ROMANS III. 25. 

for all;" Matt. xx. 28, " The Son of man came to give his life 
as a ransom for many;" 1 Peter i. 18, "Ye were not redeemed 
with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the 
precious blood of Christ," &c. Accordingly Christ is presented 
as a Redeemer, not in the character of a teacher or witness, but 
of a priest, a sacrifice, a propitiation, &c. That from which we 
are redeemed is the wrath of God ; the price of our redemption 
is the blood of Christ. That is in Christ Jesus. This may 
mean ly him, Iv having its instrumental force, as in Acts 
xvii. 31, (h avool w,) lij the man. As this use of the prepo 
sition with names of persons is infrequent, others retain its 
usual force, in. Compare Eph. i. 7, "In whom (sv w) we have 
redemption," &c.; and Col. i. 14, We are justified by means 
(did) of the redemption which we have in virtue of union to 

VERSE 25. Whom Grod hath set forth to be a propitiation, 
through faith in his blood, &c. This clause contains the ground 
of our deliverance from the curse of the law, and of our accept 
ance with God, and constitutes therefore the second step in the 
apostle s exhibition of the plan of salvation. He had already 
taught that justification was not by works, but by faith, and 
entirely gratuitous ; he now comes to show how it is that this 
exercise of mercy to the sinner can be reconciled with the 
justice of God and the demands of his law. The word ~c>os- 
$~o, Jiath set forth., also signifies to purpose, to determine, 
jtom. i. 13; compare viii. 28. If this sense be adopted here, 
the meaning would be, whom God hath purposed or decreed to 
be a propitiation. But the context refers to a fact rather than 
a purpose; and the words ere ivdscgev (for the manifestation,) 
as expressing the design of the manifestation of Christ, is 
decidedly in favour of the common interpretation. There are 
three interpretations of the word iAaar/jpcov, (propitiation,) 
which are worthy of attention. It was understood by many 
of the Fathers, and after them by Luther, Calvin, Grotius, 
Olshauscn, and others, to mean the propitiatory, or mercy-seat, 
jver the ark of the covenant, on which the high priest, on the 
great day of atonement, sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices. 
Here it was that God was propitiated, and manifested himself 
as reconciled to his people. The ground of this interpretation 

ROMANS III. 25. 143 

is, that the original word here used is employed in the Septua- 
gint as the designation of the niercy-seat, Exod. xxv. 18 20 ; 
and often elsewhere. The meaning would then be, that God 
had set forth Jesus Christ as a mercy-seat, as the place in 
which, or the person in whom he was propitiated, and ready to 
forgive and accept the sinner. But the objections to this 
interpretation are serious. 1. The use of the word by the 
Greek translators of the Old Testament, probably arose from 
a mistake of the proper meaning of the Hebrew term. The 
Hebrew word means properly a cover; but as the verb whence 
it comes means literally, to cover, and metaphorically, to atone 
for, to propitiate, the Greek translators incorrectly rendered 
the noun iAaaTr/peov, the Latin propitiatorium, and our trans 
lators, the mercy-scat, a sense which rn5 never has. It is, 
therefore, in itself a wrong use of the Greek word. 2. This 
interpretation is not consistent with the unalogv of Scripture. 
The sncred writers are not accustomed to compare the Saviour 
to the cover of the ark, nor to illustrate his work bv such :t 
reference. This passage, if thus interpreted, would stand alone 
in this respect. ->. According to this view, there is an obvious 
incongruity in the figure. It is common to speak of the blood 
of a sacrifice, but not of the blood of the mercy-seat. He-ides, 
Paul in this very clause speaks of "his blood." See /h t//i/ii/it 
Observationcs, Part II., sect. 41, and Krelxs Xew T<-xt<unent, 
illustrated from the writings of Josephus. 

The second interpretation supposes that the word //O//// 
(sacrifice) is to be supplied: Whom he has set forth as a pro 
pitiatory sacrifice. 1. In favour of this interpretation is the 
etymology of the word. It is derived from tidaxowu, t<> (tjijtense, 
to conciliate. Hence Ikacrcrjocoz, as an adjective, is applied to 
anything designed to propitiate; as in the expressions "pro 
pitiatory monument," fci propitiatory death." (Josephus, Ant, 
XVI. 7. 1 Lib. <!<> Mace., sect, IT. See Krcls on this verse.) 
2. The use of analogous terms in reference to the sacrificial 
services under the old dispensation, as acoTypioy, sacrijieium pro 
salute, Exod. xx. 24, xxviii. 20, for which we have in Exod. 
xxiv. 5, & j(r!a ffcoTr/plou; so #^/ . T^w#, thank-offerings^ TO 
xa&dpffiov, the offering for jmrifaation. In keeping with all 
these terms is the use of tiaa-cypeov (d r >/j.a) in the sense of 

144 ROMANS III. 25. 

propitiatory sacrifice. 3. The whole context favours this ex 
planation, inasmuch as the apostle immediately speaks of the 
blood of this sacrifice, and as his design is to show how the 
gratuitous justification of men can be reconciled with the justice 
of God. It is only a modification of this interpretation, if 
llaaTifjOiov be taken substantively and rendered propitiation, as 
is done in the Vulgate and by Beza. 

The third interpretation assumes that IhaGryptov is here used 
in the masculine gender, and means propitiator. This is the 
explanation given by Scmler and Wahl; but this is contrary to 
the usage of the word and inconsistent with the context. The 
obvious meaning, therefore, of this important passage is, that 

God has publicly set forth the Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight 
of the intelligent universe, as a propitiatory sacrifice for the 

sins of men. It is the essential idea of such a sacrifice, that it 
is a satisfaction to justice. It terminates on God. Its primary 
design is not to produce any subjective change in the offerer, 

,but to appease God. Such is the meaning of the word, from 
which we have no right to depart. Such also is the idea which 
it of necessity would convey to every Gentile and every Jewish 
reader, and therefore such was the idea which the apostle 
intended to express. For if we are not to understand the 
language of the Bible in its historical sense, that is, in the 
sense in which the sacred writers knew it would be understood 
by those to whom they wrote, it ceases to have any determinate 
meaning whatever, and may be explained according to the 
private opinion of every interpreter. But if such be the mean 
ing of these words, then they conclusively teach that the ground 
of our justification is no subjective change in us, but the propi 
tiatory sacrifice of Christ. Olshausen, who elsewhere plainly 
teaches the doctrine of subjective justification, in his comment 
on this verse, admits the common Church doctrine. lie denies 
that the work of Christ terminates on the sinner. "Every 
sacrifice," he says, "proposed to expiate the guilt of man, and 
to appease the wrath of God, consequently the sacrifice of all 
sacrifices, in which alone all others have any truth, must 
accomplish that which they only symbolized." The doctrine 
of the Scotists, he adds, of gratuita acceptatio, refutes itself, 
because God can never take a thing for what it is not, and 

ROMANS III. 25. 145 

therefore cannot accept as a satisfaction what is no satisfaction. 
Grotius s view of an acceptilatio, which amounts to the same 
thin" with the doctrine of Scotus, and resolves the atonement 


into a mere governmental display, (a popular theory reproduced 
as a novelty in the American Churches,) he also rejects. lie 
says, "So there remains nothing but the acute theory of 
Ansclm, properly understood, of a satisfactio vivaria, which 
completely agrees with the teachings of Scripture, and meets 
the demands of science."* According to Olshausen, therefore, 
("die tiefste Erorterungen,") the profoundest disclosures of 
modern science have at last led back to the simple old doctrine 
of a real vicarious satisfaction to the justice of God, as the) 
ground of the sinner s justification. 

Through faith. These words, o .a -:(TTSU)~, may be connected 
with dixa .o jjjLS,vot as coordinate with n r j\ d,~o). JTp)azco~: * Being 
justified fhruU /h tin r> il< tt}/>fi"ti. tliat is, being justified through 
faith. "But this breaks the connection between -yos /s-o ami 
:\~ sWcf-/v. Meyer connects both oca Ttlarscoz and zi> ~cu aifjiaTt 
witli -fiitzt Jzro: God liatli, by means of faith, by his blood, set 
forth Christ as a propitiation. But the faith of man is not tho 
means by which God set forth Christ. The most natural con 
nection is with IXacrrijtHoy) a propitiation through faith, i. < l . 
which is received or appropriated through faith. It is a moro 
doubtful question how the words /// ///* llml are to be con 
nected. The most obvious construction is that adopted in our 
version, as well as in the Vulgate, and by Luther, Calvin, 
Olshausen, and many others, Through faith in his blood; so 
that the blood of Christ, as a propitiatory sacrifice, is the 
ground of the confidence expressed in rr. Vrr. C, ; *in Christ! san 
guine repositam habenm< fiduciam." Calrin. To this it is 
objected, that the construction of -rVrr. c with ^v is altogether 
unauthorized. But there are so many cases in the Xew Testa 
merit in which this construction must be admitted, unless 
violence be resorted to, that this objection cannot be allowed 
much weight. See Gal. iii. 20, Eph. i. 15, Col. i. 4, 1 Tim. iii. 13, 
2 Tim. iii. 15. Others connect both oca - .GTZCO^ and sv r7 

* So bleibt nur die richti^ verst;in>le hOchst scharfsinnige Anselmischo 
Theorip (satisfactio vicaria) als diejetiige iibrig, die der Schriftlehre eben so 
sehr geuilgt, als den Ansprucher der Wissensckaft. 


146 ROMANS III. 25. 

at [mil as distinct qualifying clauses with f daartjp>ov; the former, 
as De "VYettc says, expressing tlic means of the subjective appro 
priation, the other the means of the objective exhibition. That 
is, i God has set forth Christ as a propitiation, which is availa 
ble through faith, and he is a propitiation by his blood. Still 
another method is to connect in TW at pare with ou: i Whom God 
has set forth in his blood as a propitiation. The construction 
first mentioned, and sanctioned by the translators of the English 
Bible, gives a perfectly good sense, and is most agreeable tp 
the collocation of the words. The blood of Christ is an ex 
pression used in obvious reference to the sacrificial character 
of his death. It was not his death as a witness or as an exam- 
pie, but as a sacrifice, that expiates sin. And by his blood, ii 
not to be understood simply his death, but his whole work for 
our redemption, especially all his expiatory sufferings from the 
beginning to the end of his life. 

This whole passage, which Olshausen happily calls the "Acro 
polis of the Christian faith," is of special importance. It 
teaches that we are justified in a manner which is entirely of 
grace, without any merit of our own; through, or by means 
of faith, and on the ground of the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus 
Christ. It is evident from this statement, that Paul intended to 
exclude from all participation in the meritorious ground of our 
acceptance with God, not only those works performed in obedi 
ence to the law, and with a legal spirit, but those which flow 
from faith and a renewed heart. The part assigned to faith in 
the work of our reconciliation to God is that of an instrument ; 
it apprehends or appropriates the meritorious ground of our 
acceptance, the work or righteousness of Christ. It is not 
itself that ground, nor the means of attaining an inherent 
righteousness acceptable to God. This is obvious, 1. Because 
our justification would not then be gratuitous, or without works. 
Paul would then teach the very reverse of the doctrine which 
he has been labouring to establish, viz. that it is not on account 
of works of righteousness, i. e. works of the highest order of 
excellence, that we are accepted, since these works would then 
be the real ground of our acceptance. 2. Because we are said 
to be justified by faith of which Christ is the object, by faith 
in his blood, by faith in him as a sacrifice. These expressions 

ROMANS III. 25. 147 

cannot possibly mean, that faith in Christ is, or produces, a 
state of mind which is acceptable to God. Faith in a sacrifice 
is, by the very force of the terms, reliance on a sacrifice. It 
would be to contradict the sentiment of the whole ancient and 
Jewish world, to make the design of a sacrifice the production 
of a state of mind acceptable to the Being worshipped, which 
moral state was to be the ground of acceptance. There is no 
more pointed way of denying that we are justified on account 
of the state of our own hearts, or the character of our own acts, 
than by saying that we are justified by a propitiatory sacri 
fice. This latter declaration places of necessity the ground of 
acceptance out of ourselves ; it is something done for us, not 
something experienced, or produced in us, or performed by us. 
There is no rule of interpretation more obvious and more] 
important than that which requires us to understand the lan-j 
guage of a writer in the sense in which he knew lie would bei 
understood by the persons to whom he wrote. To explain, 
therefore, the language of the apostle in reference to the sacri 
fice of Christ, and the mode of our acceptance with God, other 
wise than in accorda-nce with the universally prevalent opinions 
on the nature of sacrifices, is to .substitute our philosophy of 
religion for the inspired teachings of the sacred writers. 

To declare Jus righteousness for the /v////xxAy^ of $in# tlmt arc. 
past, through the forbearance of (<<>/]. Having stated the 
nature arid ground of the gospel method of justification, Paul 
comes, in this clause, to state its object: God has set forth 
Christ, as a propitiatory sacrifice, to declare his righteousness. 
It should be remembered that the object of the death of Christ, 
being very comprehensive, is variously presented in the Avord 
of God. In other words, the death of Christ answers a great 
number of infinitely important ends in the government of God. 
It displays "his manifold wisdom, Eph. iii. 10, 11; it was 
designed "to purify unto himself a people zealous of good 
works," Titus ii. 14; to break down the distinction between the 
Jews and Gentiles, Eph. ii. 15; to effect the reconciliation of 
both Jews and Gentiles unto God, Eph. ii. 10; "to deliver us 
from this present evil world," Gal. i. 4 ; to secure the forgive 
ness of sins, Eph. i. 7; to vindicate his ways to men, in so long 
passing by or remitting their sins, Rom. iii. 25; to reconcile the 

148 ROMANS III. 25. 

exercise of mercy with the requirements of justice, ver. 26, &c. 
These ends are not inconsistent, but perfectly harmonious. 
The end here specially mentioned is, to declare his righteous 
ness. These words here, as elsewhere, are variously explained. 
1. They are understood of some one of the moral attributes 
of God, as his veracity, by Locke ; or his mercy, by Grotius, 
Koppe, and many of the moderns. Both of these interpreta 
tions are forced, because they assign very unusual meanings to 
the word righteousness, and meanings little suited to the con 
text. 2. Most commentators, who render the phrase right- 
Jeousness, or justification of God, in chap. i. 17, iii. 21, God s 
method of justification, adopt that sense here. The meaning 
| would then be, that God had set forth Christ as a propitia- 
< tion, to exhibit his method of justification, both in reference to 
! the sins committed under the old dispensation, and those com- 
; mitted under the new. But this is inconsistent with the 
i meaning of duaioa jvr^ which never has the sense of "method 
, of justification," and is unsuitcd to the context. 3. The great 
majority of commentators understand the dr/.awa jvs] 6zo r j here 
spokcn of to be the justice of God. This is the proper meaning 
of the terms, and this the context demands. Justice is the 
attribute with which the remission, or passing by, of sins with 
out punishment, seemed to be in conflict, and which therefore 
: required vindication. It was necessary that the justice of God 
should be publicly exhibited, because he forgave sin. Besides, 
the apostle himself explains what he means by ar/a. ocr j^, when 
he adds that God set forth Christ as a propitiation, in order 
that he miyht be just, and yet justify the ungodly. The satis 
faction of justice therefore was the immediate and specific end 
of the death of Christ, This was indeed a means to a higher 
end. Justice was satisfied, in order that men might be sancti 
fied and saved ; and men are sanctified and saved, in order that 
might be known, in the ages to come, the exceeding riches of 
| the grace of God. 

For the remission of sins, o:a rr^ xdpsffw, x.r.L This admits 
of different explanations. 1. Some give oca with the accusa 
tive the same force as with the genitive ; through the forgive 
ness of sins. That is, the righteousness of God was manifested 
bv means of remitting sins. This is contrary to the proper 

ROMANS III. 25. 149 

meaning of the words, and supposes that daaioa jvy means good 
ness. Beza, however, adopts this view, and renders the words, 
per remissionem; so also Reiche, Koppe, and others. 2. It is 
taken to mean, as to, as it regards. This gives a good sense, 
To declare his righteousness, as to, or as it regards the remis 
sion of sins. So Raphelius, (Observations, &c., p. 241,) who 
quotes Polybius, Lib. 5, ch. 24, p. 517, in support of this inter 
pretation. This view is given by Professor Stuart. But the 
preposition in question very rarely if ever has this force. No 
such meaning is assigned to it by Wahl, Bretschneider, or 
Winer. 3. The common force of the preposition is retained, 
on account of. This clause would then assign the ground or 
reason of the exhibition of the righteousness of God. It became 
necessary that there should be this exhibition, because God had 
overlooked or pardoned sin from the beginning. This is the 
most natural and satisfactory interpretation of the passage. So 
the Vulgate, proptcr remissionem, and almost all the moderns. 
4. Others again make the preposition express the final cause or 
object, "To declare his righteousness for the sake of the remis 
sion of sins, i. e. that sins might be remitted. So Calvin, who 
says, u Tantundcm valet pnepositio causalis, acsi dixisset, 
remission is ergo, vel in hunc finem ut peccata deleret. Atque 
haec deh nitio vel exegesis rursus confirmat quod jam aliquoties 
monui, 11011 justificari homines, quia re ipsa tales siut, sed 
imputatione." But this is a very questionable force of the pre 
position: see Winer s Gram., 5o, a. The third interpretation, 
therefore, just mentioned, is to be preferred. The word Ttdpzats, 
remission, more strictly means pretermission, a p((sxui</ J>>f, or 
overlooking. Paul repeatedly uses the proper term for r< //fis 
sion (dtfsat^j) as in Eph. i. 7, lleb. ix. 22, *S:c.; but the word 
here used occurs nowhere else in the Xrw Testament. Many, 
therefore, consider the selection of this particular term as 
designed to express the idea, that sins committed before the 
advent of Christ might more properly be said to be overlooked, 
than actually pardoned, until the sacrifice of the Redeemer had 
been completed ; sen, 1 Wolfs Curce. Reference is made to Acts 
xvii. 80, where God is said to have overlooked the times of 
ignorance. Hut as the word used by the apostle is actually 
used to express the idea of remission, in Greek writers, (see 

150 ROMANS III. 25. 

Eisner,) the majority of commentators adopt that meaning here. 
/The words ndpeact; and aipzcrcz express the same thing, but under 
different aspects. They differ only as not punishing, and par 
doning. To say that God did not punish sins under the old 
.dispensation, is only a different way of saying that he pardoned 
them. So "not to impute iniquity" is the negative statement 
of justification. This passage, however, is one of the few which 
the Romanists quote in support of their doctrine that there was 
no real pardon, justification, or salvation, before the advent of 
Christ. The ancient believers at death, according to their doc 
trine, did not pass into heaven, but into the limit us patrum, 
(where they continued in a semi-conscious state until Christ s 
descensus ad inferos for their deliverance. The moden trans 
cendental theologians of Germany, who approach Romanism in 
/so many other points, agree with the Papists also here. Thus 
Olshausen says, " Under the Old Testament there was no real, 
but only a symbolical forgiveness of sins." Our Lord, however, 
/speaks of Abraham as in heaven; and the Psalms are filled 
:with petitions and thanksgiving for God s pardoning mercy. 

The words, that are past, seem distinctly to refer to the times 
before the advent of Christ. This is plain from their opposition 
to the expression, at this time, in the next, verse, and from a 
comparison with the parallel passage in Ileb. ix. 15, a lie is the 
Mediator for the redemption of sins that were under the first 
testament." The words lv TTJ lw%9j, rendered through the for 
bearance of Crodj admit of different explanations. 1. They may 
\>e connected with the words just mentioned, and the meaning 
be, Sins that are past, or, which were committed during the 
forbearance of God; see Acts xvii. 20, where the times before 
the advent are described in much the same manner. 2. Or they 
may be taken, as by our translators, as giving the cause of the 
remission of these sins, ; They were remitted, or overlooked 
through the divine forbearance or mercy. Forgiveness however 
is always referred to grace, not to forbearance. The former 
interpretation is also better suited to the context. The mean 
ing of the whole verse therefore is, God has set forth Jesus 
Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice, to vindicate his righteousness 
or justice, on account of the remission of the sins committed 
under the former dispensation; and not under the former 

ROMANS III. 26. Icl 

dispensation only, but also in the remission of sins at the pre 
sent time, as the apostle immediately adds. The interpretation 
of the latter part of this verse, given above, according to which 
TOL "ooyz^o^oia. &uv.oTrj[JLv~GL, (the sins before cotiinuttcd^ mean 
the sins committed before the coming of Christ, is that which 
both the context and the analogy of Scripture demand. In the 
early Church, however, there were some who held that there is 
no forgiveness for post-baptismal sins a doctrine recently 
reproduced in England by the Rev. Dr. Pusey. The advocates 
of this doctrine make this passage teach that Christ was set 
forth as a propitiation for the forgiveness of sins committed 
before baptism, that is, before conversion or the professed 
adoption of the gospel. Ruckert and Keiclie, among the recent 
German writers, give the same interpretation. This would 
alter the whole character of the gospel. There could be no 
salvation for any human being; for all men sin hourlv, after as 
well as before baptism or conversion. ^So man at anv moment 
of his life is perfectly conformed to the law of God. Conscience 
always pronounces sentence against us. There could be no 
peace in believing, no imputation or possession of righteousness. 
"We should not now be under grace, but under law, as com 
pletely as though Christ had never died. 

VERSE 2G. T<> declare, I say, his righteousness, &C. This 
clause is a resumption of what was said before. -<><) l^nn^rj 
being coordinate with the foregoing . ~ z^n-. .^:^, both depending 
upon ~<n)ii.H-o: He set him forth sr- and ~ //c. The two 
prepositions have the same sense, as both expiv>s the design or 
object for which anything is done: Christ was set forth as a 
sacrifice for the manifestation of the righteousness of God, on 
account of the remission of the sins of old/ "/- t/i>- )n<tnif< xta- 
tion of his righteousness at this time. There were two pur 
poses to be answered; the vindication of the character of God 
in passing by former sins, and in passing them by now. The 
words sv T(i> yji; /M.cnuJ, (at tin* fi//n>.) therefore stand opposed 
to Iv rj duoyjj, (during the forbearance.) The death of Christ 
vindicated the justice of God in forgiving sin in all ages of the 
world, as those sins were by the righteous God, y.s Olshaiiben 
Bays, "punished in Christ." 

That he might be just, &c.. /c TO cs(u jrov dixcuov^ in order 

152 ROMANS III. 26. 

that, as expressing the design, and not merely the result of the 
exhibition of Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice. This clause 
therefore expresses more definitely what is meant by e^ i<dse~ci> 
dixcuoauvr^. Christ was set forth as a sacrifice for the mani 
festation of the righteousness or justice of God, that is, that he 
might be just, although the justifier of the ungodly. The word 
<ju$t expresses the idea of uprightness generally, of being or 
doing what the nature of the case demands. But when spoken 
of the conduct of a judge, and in reference to his treatment of 
sin, it must mean more specifically that modification of general 
rectitude, which requires that sin should be treated according 
to its true nature, that the demands of law or justice should not 
be disregarded. A judge is unjust when he allows a criminal 
to be pronounced righteous, and treated accordingly. On the 
other hand, he acts justly when he pronounces the offender 
guilty, and secures the infliction of the penalty which the law 
denounces. What the apostle means to say is, that there is no 
such disregard to the claims of justice in the justification of the 
sinner who believes in Christ. This is seen and acknowledged, 
when it is known that he is justified neither on account of his 
own acts or character, nor by a mere sovereign dispensing with 
the demands of the law, but on the ground of a complete satis 
faction rendered by his substitute, i. e. on the ground of the 
obedience and death of Christ. The gratuitous nature of this 
Justification is not at all affected by its proceeding on the 
i ground of this perfect satisfaction. It is, to the sinner, still the 
most undeserved of all favours, to which he not only has not the 
shadow of a personal claim, but the very reverse of which he 
has most richly merited. It is thus that justice and mercy are 
harmoniously united in the sinner s justification. Justice is no 
less justice, although mercy has her perfect work ; and mercy 
is no less mercy, although justice is completely satisfied. 

Just and the justifier, &c. In the simple language of the 
Old Testament, propositions and statements are frequently con 
nected by the copulative conjunction whose logical relation 
would be more definitely expressed by various particles in other 
languages; as Malachi ii. 14, "Against whom tliou hast dealt 
treacherously, and she was thy companion," i. e. although she 
was thy companion. " They spake in my name, and (although) 

ROMANS III. 26. 153 

I sent them not;" see G-eseniuss Lexicon. In like manner the 
corresponding particle in the Greek Testament is used with 
scarcely less latitude. Matt. xii. 5, " The priests profane the 
Sabbath, and (and yet) are blameless;" Rom. i. 13, " T pur 
posed to come unto you, and (but) was let hitherto;" Heb. 
iii. 9, "Proved me, and (although the?/) saw my works;" see 
WahVs Lex. and Winers G-ram., 57. So in the present 
instance it may be rendered, "That God might be just, and 
yet, or altliowjli the justifier," &c. Him which believeth in 
Jesus, literally, Him who is of the faith of Jesus;" so Gal. 
ii. 7, "They which are of faith," for believers; Gal. ii. 12, 
"They of the circumcision," i. e. the circumcised; see Rom. 
ii. 8, iv. 12, &c. Faith of JCKUS, faith of which Jesus is the 
object ; see ver. 22. Our version therefore expresses the sense 
accurately, lie whom God is just in justifying, is the man who 
relies on Jesus as a propitiatory sacrifice. That justification id 
a forensic act, is of necessity implied in this passage. If to 
justify was to make subjectively just or righteous, what neces 
sity was there for the sacrifice of Christ? Why should he die, 
in order that it might be just in God to render men holy ? It 
were an act of mercy to make the vilest malefactor good; but 
to justify such a malefactor would be to trample justice under 
foot. The doctrine therefore of subjective justification perverts 
the whole gospel. It is worthy of remark, that the orthodox 
interpretation of the meaning of this whole paragraph is 
acknowledged to be correct, even by those who cannot them 
selves receive the doctrine which it teaches. Thus Kollner, one 
of the latest and most candid of the German commentators, 
says: "It is clear that the true sense of this passage entirely 
agrees with the doctrine of the Church concerning vicarious 
satisfaction, as unfolded in the Lutheran symbols. Neverthe 
less, although it is certain that Paul intended to teach the doc 
trine of vicarious satisfaction, not merely as a figure, (or in the 
way of accommodation.) but as a matter of full personal con 
viction ; yet it is easy to see how he was necessarily led to 
adopt this view, from the current opinions of the age in which 
he lived." He proceeds to show that as the idea of vicarious 
punishment was incorporated in the Jewish theology, the guilt 
of the offender being laid upon the head of the victim offered in 

154 ROMANS III. 27. 

sacrifice, Paul was unavoidably led to conceive of the work oi 
Christ under this form. As, however, this theory, according 
to Kollner, arose out of a false view of the nature of God, and 
of his relation to the world, he cannot regard it as a divine 
revelation. He proceeds to unfold what he supposes to be 
the eternal truth contained under these Jewish ideas, (unter 
der Hiille der Zeitvorstellungen,) and presents very much the 
governmental view of the atonement introduced by Grotius, and 
reproduced in this country by the younger Edwards and his 
followers. "Did Paul," says Kollner, "merely teach that God 
made a symbolical exhibition of justice in the sufferings of 
Christ, we might acquiesce in his teaching, but he says more; 
he constantly asserts that men are justified or constituted right 
eous through the blood of Christ, iii. 21, v. 19, Eph. i. 7, Col. 
i. 14." Such writers arc at least free from the guilt of per 
verting the word of God. They allow the Bible to mean what 

.it says, although they refuse to submit to its teaching. This is 
better than not only refusing to submit, but forcing the Scrip- 

, tures to teach our own foregone conclusions. In Germany, the 
subjection of the Bible to philosophy has come to an end. In 
this country, it is still struggling for liberty. It is desirable 
that the separation should here, as there, be made complete, 
between those who bow to the authority of the word of God, 
and those who acknowledge some higher rule of faith. Then 

both parties can agree as to what the Bible really teaches. 

VERSE 27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By 
what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. In this 
and the following verses the apostle presents the tendency and 
results of the glorious plan of salvation, which he had just 
unfolded. It excludes boasting, ver. 27. It presents God in 
his true character, as the God and Father of the Gentiles as well 
as of the Jews, vs. 29, 30 ; and it establishes the law, ver. 81. 
The word v.wjyr t aiz (boasting,) is used to express the idea of self- 
gratulation with or without sufficient reason. In the former 
case, it is properly rendered rejoicing, as when Paul speaks of 
the Thessalonians being his "crown of rejoicing." In the 
latter, the word boasting is the correct version. The word 
properly means the act of boasting or rejoicing; at times, by 
metonymy, the ground or reason of boasting, as in Rom. xv. 17. 

ROMANS III. 28. 155 

Either sense suits this passage. The article ,j xavffifftz, the 
boasting, may have its appropriate force. The reference how 
ever is not specially to ver. 1 of this chapter, the boasting of 
the Jews over the Gentiles, but the boasting of the sinner before 
God. The latter however includes the former. A plan of sal 
vation which strips every man of merit, and places all sinners 
on the same level before God, of course cuts off all assumption 
of superiority of one class over another. Paul means to say 
that the result of the gospel plan of salvation is to prevent all 
self-approbation, self-gratulation and exaltation on the part of 
the sinner. He is presented as despoiled of all merit, and as 
deserving the displeasure of God. He can attribute, in no 
degree, his deliverance from this displeasure to himself, and he 
cannot exalt himself either in the presence of God, or in com 
parison with his fellow-sinners. As sin is odious in the sight 
of God, it is essential, in any scheme of mercy, that the sinner 
should be made to feel this, and that nothing done by or for him 
should in any measure diminish his sense of personal ill-desert 
on account of his transgressions. This result obviously could 
not follow from any plan of justification that placed the ground 
of the sinner s acceptance in himself, or his peculiar advantages 
of birth 01- ecclesiastical connection ; but it is eil cctually secured 
by that plan of justification which not only places the ground 
of his acceptance entirely out of himself, but which also requires, 
as the very condition of that acceptance, an act involving a 
penitent acknowledgment of personal ill-desert, and exclusive 
dependence on the merit of another. In this connection, the 
phrases -by what law," " the law of works," and "the law of 
faith," are peculiar, as the word VO/JLO^ (law} is not used in its 
ordinary sense. The general idea, however, of a rule- <>f <x-l/<>u 
is retained. fc I>y what rule? ]}y that which requires works? 
Nay: by that which requires faith. By the u law of faith," 
therefore, is obviously meant the gospel. Compare ix. -51. 

YKRSK i^S. Tlu rcfnre we conclude, &c. The common text 
has o5v, t/n r< f< i giving this verse the character of a conclu 
sion from the preceding argument. The great majority, how 
ever, of the best manuscripts, the Vulgate and Coptic versions, 
and many of the Fathers, have ^o, which almost all the modern 
editors adopt. This verse then is a confirmation of what is said 

156 ROMANS III. 28. 

before: Boasting is excluded, ),o^^6/2e&a -f6.(>, for we think, 
i. e. are sure, &c. See ii. 3, viii. 18, 2 Cor. xi. 5, for a similar 
use of the word ^l^ 0/201. That a man is justified by faith. 
If by faith, it is not of works ; and if not of works, there can 
be no room for boasting, for boasting is the assertion of per 
sonal merit. From the nature of the case, if justification is by 
faith, it must be by faith alone. Luther s version, therefore, 
allcin durcli den glauben, is fully justified by the context. The 
Romanists, indeed, made a great outcry against that version as 
a gross perversion of Scripture, although Catholic translators 
before the time of Luther had given the same translation. So 
in the Nuremberg Bible, 1483, "Nur durch den glauben." 
And the Italian Bibles of Geneva, 1476, and of Venice, 1538, 
per sola fede. The Fathers also often use the expression, 
"man is justified by faith alone;" so that Erasmus, De Ratione 
Concionandi, Lib. III., says, "Vox sola, tot clamoribus lapi- 
data hoc sieculo in Luthero, reverenter in Patribus auditur." 
See Koppe and Tholuck on this verse. 

Without ivories of the law. To be justified without works, is 
to be justified without anything in ourselves to merit justifica 
tion. The works of the law must be the works of the moral 
law, because the proposition is general, embracing Gentiles as 
well as Jews. And as our Saviour teaches that the sum of the 
moral law is that we should love God with all the heart, mind, 
and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves, and as no higher 
form of excellence than supreme love to God is possible or con 
ceivable, in excluding works of the law, the apostle excludes 
everything subjective. He places the ground of justification 
out of ourselves. Olshauscn, on this verse, reverts to his 
Romish idea of subjective justification, and explains ^vorJcs of 
the law to mean works produced by the moral law, which he 
says spring only from ourselves, and are perishable, whereas 
"the works of faith are imperishable as the principle whence 
they spring." That is, we are not justified by works performed 
from a principle of natural conscience, but by those which are 
the fruits of a renewed nature. How utterly subversive this is 
,of the gospel, has already been remarked. The works of the 
law are not works which the law produces, but works which the 
, law deman Is, and the law demands all that the Spirit of God 

ROMANS III. 29, 30. 157 

effects, even in the just made perfect. And thercfoie spiritual 
as well as legal works are excluded. The contrast is not 
between works produced by the law and works produced by 
faith, but between works and faith, between what is done by 
us (whether in a state of nature or a state of grace) and what 
Christ has done for us. 

VERSES 2!>, 30. Is he the Grod of the Jews only? is he not, 
also of the Crentiles? Yes, of tJte G-entiles also; seeing it is" 
one God who shall justify, tS:c. We have here the second result 
of the gospel method of justification; it presents Gud as 
equally the God of the Gentiles and of the Jews, lie is such, 
because it is one God who justifies the circumcision by faith, 
and the uncircumcision through faith. lie deals with both 
classes on precisely the same principles; he pursues, with 
regard to both, the same plan, and offers salvation to both on 
exactly the same terms. There is, therefore, in this doctrine, 
the foundation laid for a universal religion, which may be 
preached to every creature under heaven; which need not, as 
was the case with the Jewish system, be confined to anv one 
sect or nation. This is the only doctrine which suits the cha 
racter of God, and his relation to all his intelligent creatures 
upon earth. God is a universal, and not a national God; and 
this is a method of salvation universally applicable. These 
sublime truths are so familial 1 to our minds that tliev have, in a 
measure, lost their power; but as to the Jew, enthralled all his 
life in ins narrow national ami religious prejudices, tliev must 
have expanded his whole soul with unwonted emotions of 
wonder, gratitude, and joy. AVe Gentiles may now look up to 
heaven, and confidently say, u Thou art our Father, though 
Abraham be ignorant of us, and though Israel acknowledge us 

Paul here, as in ver. 20, uses the future, daawHrx, will 
justify, not for the present, nor in reference to the final judg 
ment, but as expressing a permanent purpose. There is no 
distinction as to the meaning to be sought between * -rVrrso;, 
(Inj faith) and o:a -ia-zcoz (through faith.) as Paul uses both 
forms indiscriminately; ex, for example, in i. IT, iii. 20, iv 
10, &c., and d .d in iii. 22, 25, Gal. ii. 1C, and sometimes first 
the one, and then the other, in the same connection. There is 

158 ROMANS III. 31. 

no greater difference between the Greek prepositions, as here 
used, than between the English l)ij and through. 

VERSE 31. Do ive then make void the law through faith? 
God forbid: yea, we establish the law. This verse states the 
third result of this method of salvation ; instead of invalidating, 
it establishes the law. As Paul uses the word law in so many 
senses, it is doubtful which one of them is here principally 
intended. In every sense, however, the declaration is true. 
If the law means the Old Testament generally, then it is true ; 
for the gospel method of justification contradicts no one of its 
statements, is inconsistent with no one of its doctrines, and 
invalidates no one of its promises, but is harmonious with all, 
and confirmatory of the whole. If it means the Mosaic insti 
tutions specially, these were shadows of which Christ is the 
substance. That law is abolished, not by being pronounced 
spurious or invalid, but by having met its accomplishment, and 
answered its design in the gospel. What it taught and promised, 
the gospel also teaches and promises, only in clearer and fuller 
measure. If it means the moral law, which no doubt was pro 
minently intended, still it is not invalidated, but established. 
No moral obligation is weakened, no penal sanction disregarded. 
The precepts arc enforced by new and stronger motives, and the 
penalty is answered in Him who bore our sins in his own body 
on the tree. " Ubi vero ad Christum ventum est," says Calvin, 
" priinum in eo invenitur exacta Legis justitia, qua) per imputa- 
tionem ctiam nostra fit. Deinde sanctificatio, qua formantur 
corda nostra ad Legis observationem, imperfectam quidem illam, 
sed ad scopum collimat." Instead of making vcr. 31 the close 
of the third chapter, many commentators regard it as more 
properly the beginning of the fourth. The proposition that the 
gospel, instead of invalidating, establishes the law, they say is 
too important to be dismissed with a mere categorical assertion. 
This, however, is Paul s method. After showing that the law 
cannot save, that both justification and sanctification are by the 
gospel, he is wont to state in a sentence what is the true end 
of the law, or that the law and the gospel being both from God, 
but designed for different ends, are not in conflict. See above, 
ver. 20, Gal. iii. 19, 20. If this verse, however, be made 
the beginning of the exhibition contained in the following 

ROMANS III. 2131. 159 

chapter, then by law must be understood the Old Testament, 
and the confirmation of the law by the gospel consists in the 
fact that the latter teaches the same doctrine as the former. 
4 Do we make void the law by teaching that justification is by 
faith? By no means: we establish the law; for the Old Testa 
ment itself teaches that Abraham and David were justified 
gratuitously by faith, and without works. Although the sense 
is thus good, there does not appear to be any sufficient reason 
for departing from the common division of the chapters. The 
next chapter is not connected with this verse by f(in, which 
v the sense would demand, if the connection was what Meyer, 
De Wette, and others would make it: We establish the law 
when we teach faith, for Abraham was justified by faith. The 
connecting particle is simply ofo, then, and gives a very dif 
ferent sense. Besides, it is a very subordinate object with the 
apostle to prove that the law and the gospel agree. His design 
is to teach the true method of justification. The cases of Abra 
ham and David are referred to, to prove his doctrine on that 
point, and not merely the agreement between the old dispensa 
tion and the new. 


1. The evangelical doctrine of justification by faith is the 
doctrine of the Old, no less than of the Xew Testament, ver. 21. 

2. Justification is pronouncing one to be just, and treating 
him accordingly, on the ground that the demands of the law 
have been satisfied concerning him, vs. 24 2J. 

1 The ground of justification is not our own merit, nor faith, 
nor evangelical obedience: not the work of Christ in us, but his 
work for us, i. e. his obedience unto death, ver. 25. 

4. An act may be perfectly gratuitous as regards its object, 
and at the same time proceed on the ground of a complete 
satisfaction to the demands of the law. Thus justification is 
gratuitous, not because those demands are unsatisfied, but 
because it is granted to those who have no personal ground of 
recommendation, vs. 24, 26 

5. God is the ultimate end of all his own acts. To declare 
his glory is the highest and best end which he can propose for 
himself or his creatures, ver. 25. 

160 ROMANS III. 21-31. 

6. The atonement does not consist in a display to others cf 
the divine justice. This is one of its designs and results ; but 
it is such a display only by being a satisfaction to the justice 
of God. It is not a symbol or illustration, but a satisfac 
tion, ver. 26. 

7. All true doctrine tends to humble men, and to exalt 
God; and all true religion is characterized by humility arid 
reverence, ver. 27. 

8. God is a universal Father, and all men are brethren, 
vs. 29, 30. 

9. The law of God is immutable. Its precepts are always 
binding, and its penalty must be inflicted either on the sinner 
or his substitute. When, however, it is said that the penalty 
of the law is inflicted on the Redeemer, as the sinner s substi 
tute, or, in the language of Scripture, that "he was made a 
curse for us," it cannot be imagined that he suffered the same 
kind of evils (as remorse, &c.) which the sinner would have suf 
fered. The law threatens no specific kind of evil as its penalty. 
The term death, in Scripture, designates any or all of the evils 
inflicted in punishment of sin. And the penalty, or curse of 
the law, (in the language of the Bible,) is any evil judicially 
inflicted in satisfaction of the demands of justice. To say, 
therefore, that Christ suffered to satisfy the law, to declare 
the righteousness of God, or that he might be just in justifying 
him that believes in Jesus, and to say that he bore the penalty 
of the law, are equivalent expressions, ver. 31. 


1. As the cardinal doctrine of the Bible is justification by 
faith, so the turning point in the soul s history, the saving act, 
is the reception of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our 
sins, ver. 25. 

2. All modes of preaching must be erroneous, which do not 
lead sinners to feel that the great thing to be done, and done 
first, is to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and to turn unto 
God through him. And all religious experience must be de 
fective, which does not embrace distinctly a sense of the justice 
of our condemnation, and a conviction of the sufficiency of 

ROMANS IV. 117. 1G1 

the work of Christ, and an exclusive reliance upon it as such, 

3. As God purposes his own glory as the end of all that he 
docs, so ought we to have that glory as the constant and com 
mand in <z object of pursuit, ver. -">. 

4. The doctrine of atonement produces in us its proper effect, 
when it leads us to see and feel that Clod is just ; that lie is 
infinitely gracious ; that we arc deprived of all ground of boast 
ing ; that the wav of salvation, which is open for us, is open 
for all men ; and that the motives to all duty, instead of being 
weakened, are enforced and multiplied, vs. "2~> -\\. 

5. In the gospel all is harmonious: justice and mercy, as it 
regards (!<>d ; freedom from the 1 law, and the strongest obliga 
tions to obedience, as it regards men, vs. 2f), : ,!. 



THE object of this chapter is to confirm the doctrine of justifi 
cation bv faith. It is divided into two parts. Flic first, from 
ver. 1 to IT inclusive, contains the argumentative portion. The 
second, ver. 18 to -.">, is an illustration of the faith of Abraham. 

ROMANS IV. 117. 


PAUL, from the 21st verse of the preceding chapter, had been 
getting forth the gospel method of salvation. That this is the 
true method he now proves, 1. From the fact t li^t Abraham 
was justified by faith, vs. 1 ">. That this was really the case 
he shows, first, because otherwise Abraham would have had 
ground of boasting, even in the sight of God, ver. 2; second, 
because the Scriptures expressly declare that he was justified 
by faith, ver. 8. Verses 4, 5, are designed to show that being 

162 ROMANS IV. 1. 

justified by faith is tantamount with being justified gratu 
itously, and therefore all those passages which speak of the 
gratuitous forgiveness of sins may be fairly cited in favour of 
the doctrine of justification by faith. 2. On this principle he 
adduces Ps. xxxii. 1, 2, as his second argument ; for there 
David speaks not of rewarding the righteous as such, or for 
their righteousness, but of the free acceptance of the unworthy, 
vs. 6 8. 3. The third argument is designed to show that cir 
cumcision is not a necessary condition of justification, from the 
fact that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, and 
therefore is the head and father of all believers, whether cir 
cumcised or not, vs. 912. 4. The fourth argument is from 
the nature of the covenant made with Abraham, in which the 
promise was made on the condition of faith, and not of legal 
obedience, vs. 13, 14. 5. And the fifth, from the nature of the 
law, vs. 15 17. 


VERSE 1. What shall we then say that Abraham, our father 
as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? The connection of this 
verse with the preceding train of reasoning is obvious, Paul 
had taught that we are justified by faith ; as well in confirma 
tion of this doctrine, as to anticipate an objection from the Jew, 
he refers to the case of Abraham : How was it then with 
Abraham? How did he obtain justification? The point in 
dispute was, how justification is to be attained. Paul proposes 
to decide the question by reference to a case about which no 
one could doubt. All admitted that Abraham was justified. 
The only question was, How? The particle ow, therefore, is 
not inferential, but simply indicates transition. What then 
shall we say about Abraham? In the question, however, re 
obv IOGV//SV, x.r.l. the ri belongs to euor^xsvac: What shall we 
say that Abraham hath found? i. e. attained. The words 
xara ffdoxa do not belong to 7r#r/>, our father according to 
the flesh, but to the preceding infinitive, sbpyxevcu, what hath 
he attained through the flesh? Although the question is inde 
finite, the connection shows that Paul meant to ask whether 
Abraham secured justification before God, xara adpxa. through 

ROMANS IV. 2. 163 

the flesh. The word flesh admits in this connection of different 1 
explanations. Calvin says it is equivalent to naturaliter, ex 
seipso, and Grotius much to the same effect, propriis viribus, 
* through his own resources. Not much different from this is 
the explanation of Meyer, Tholuck, and De Wettc naeh sein 
memcldieherWeise that is, after a purely human way; so that 
ffdo: stands opposed to the divine ll^^aa, (Holy Spirit.) If 
this^implies that Abraham was not justified by natural, but was 
justified by spiritual works, (works done after regeneration,) it ^ 
contradicts the whole teaching of the apostle. This, however, 
though naturally suggested as the meaning of the passage as 
thus explained, is not the doctrine of either of the commenta 
tors just named. Paul gives his own interpretation of y.a~a 
ffdoxa in the following verse: Did Abraham, he a>ks, attain 
justification according to the flesh? No, for if he was justified 
by works, he hath whereof to boast. It is plain that he uses 
the two expressions, ae< <>r<lin<i t<> the fl<>*h and by works, as 
equivalent. This meaning of adt>z is easily explained. Paul 
uses the word for what is external, as opposed to what is inter 
nal and spiritual, and thus for all external rites and ceremonial 
works, and then for works without limitation. See Gal. iii. 3, 
vi. 12, Philip, iii. 3, 4. In this last passage Paul includes, 
under the // <//, not only his Hebrew descent, his circumcision, 
his being a Pharisee, his blameless adherence to the Jewish law, 
but everything comprehended under his "own righteousness, 
as distinguished from "the righteousness which is of (jod (C,T 
xiffTx) on the condition of faith." This is clearly its sense here. 
It includes everything meant by -works." and "works" includes 
all forms of personal righteousness. This same result is reached 
in another way. Kara adnxa may mean, as Meyer and others 
Bay, after a human method, i. e. after the manner of men; and 
this may be understood to mean after the manner common 
among men, i. e. through works, or personal merit, which is the 
way that men adopt to secure favour with others. This is the 
explanation given by Kollner. 

VERSE 2. For if Abraham were justified by ivories, he hath 
whereof to glory, but not before Crod. The apostle s mode of 
reasoning is so concise as often to leave some of the steps of 
his arguicont to be supplied, which, however, are almost always 

164 ROMANS IV. 3. 

sufficiently obvious from the context. As just remarked, ? 
negative answer is to be supposed to the question in the first 
verse. Abraham did not attain the favour of God through 
the flesh. The force of for, at the beginning of this verse, is 
then obvious, as introducing the reason for this answer. The 
passage itself is very concise, and the latter clause admits of 
idifferent interpretations. 4 If Abraham was justified by works, 
he miirht indeed assert his claim to the confidence and favour 


of his fellow-men, but he could not have any ground of boasting 
before God. This view, however, introduces an idea entirely 
foreign from the passage, and makes the conclusion the very 
opposite of that to which the premises would lead. For if justi 
fied by works, he would have ground of boasting before God. 
The interpretation given by Calvin is altogether the most satis 
factory and simple: "Epichirema est, id est imperfecta ratio- 
cinatio, qune in hanc forinam colligi debet. Si Abraham operibus 
justificatus est, potest suo merito gloriari ; sed non habet undo 
glorietur apud Deum ; ergo non ex operibus justificatus est." 
4 If Abraham was justified by works he hath whereof to glory; 
but he hath not whereof to glory before God, and therefore he 
was not justified by works; the very conclusion which Pau] 
1 intended to establish, and which he immediately confirms by 
the testimony of the Scriptures. The argument thus far is 
founded on the assumption that no man can appear thus con 
fidently before God, and boast of having done all that was 
required of him. If the doctrine of justification by works 
involves, as Paul shows it docs, this claim to perfect obedience, 
it must be false. And that Abraham was not thus justified, he 
proves from the sacred record. 

VERSE 3. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed 
Grod, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. The con 
nection of this verse with the preceding is this : Paul had just 
said that Abraham had no ground of boasting with God ; for, 
what saith the Scripture ? Does it refer the ground of Abra- 
" ham s justification to his works? By no means. It declares 
he was justified by faith; which Paul immediately shows is 
equivalent to saying that he was justified gratuitously. The 
passage quoted by the apostle is Gen. xv. 6, "Abraham be 
lieved God, and it was counted unto him (i. e. imputed to him) 

ROMANS IV. 3. 165 

for righteousness." This is an important passage, as the phrase 
"to impute faith for righteousness," occurs repeatedly in Paul s 
writings. 1. The primary meaning of the word )>ofi^, here 
rendered to count to, or impute, is to reason, then, to reckon, or 
nuntlcr; 2 Chron. v. 5, " Which could not be numbered for 
multitude;" Mark xv. 28, "lie was numbered with the trans 
gressors;" see Isa. liii. IT, &c. "2. It means to esteem, or 
regard as something, that is, to number as belonging to a cer 
tain class of things; Gen. xxxi. 15, "Are we not counted of him 
strangers?" Isa. xl. IT, &c.; compare Job xix. 11, xxxiii. 10, 
in the Hebrew. 3. It is used in the more general sense of pur 
posing, devising, considering, thinking, &c. 4. In strict con 
nection with its primary meaning, it signifies to i/njuitc, t<> x-ct 
to nuf s account; that is, to number among the things belonging 
to a man, or chargeable upon him. Jt generally implies tin- 
accessory idea of treating one according to the nature of the 
thing imputed. Thus, in the iVeipieut phrase, t<> impute ,v//v, 
as 1 Sam. xix. 1 ( J, "Let not my Lord impute iniquity unto 
me," i. e. Let him not lay it to my charge, and treat me 
accordingly;" compare 1 Sam. xxii. 15, in the Hebrew and 
Septuagint; Ps. xxxii. 2, (Septuagint, xxxi.j ^ Blessed is the 
man to whom the Lord iniputeth not iniquity," &c. And in 
til-.- Xew Testament. 1 C<>r. vi. 11*. - Xot imputing unto men 
their trespasses;" 1 Tim. iv. 15, / /v/// <!<><l that it may not 
be laid to their charge ," i\:c. These and numerous similar pas 
sages render the scriptural idea of imputation perfectly clear. 
It is laying anything to one s charge, and treating him accord 
ingly. It produces no change in the individual to whom the 
imputation is made; it simply alters his relation to the law 
All those objections, therefore, to the doctrine expressed by 
this term, which are founded on the assumption that imputation 
alters the moral character of men; that it implies an infusion 
of either sin or holiness, rest on a misconception of its nature., 
It is, so far as the mere force of the term is concerned, a matter 
of perfect indifference whether the thing imputed belonged 
antecedently to the person to whom the imputation is made or 
not. It is just as common and correct to speak of laying to a 
man s charge what does not belong to him, as what does. That 
a thing can seldom be jmtly imputed to a person to whom itl 

166 ROMANS IV. 3. 

does not personally belong, is a matter of course. But that the 
word itself implies that the thing imputed must belong to the 
person concerned, is a singular misconception. These remarks 
have, of course, reference only to the meaning of the word. 
Whether the Bible actually teaches that there is an imputation 
jof either sin or righteousness, to any to whom it does not per 
sonally belong, is another question. That the Bible does speak 
both of imputing to a man what does not actually belong to 
him, and of not imputing what does, is evident from the follow 
ing, among other passages, Levit. xvii. 3, 4: What man soever 
killcth an ox, and bring^th it not to the door of the taberna 
cle, &c., "blood shall be imputed to that man;" that is, blood- 
guiltiness or murder, a crime of which he was not actually 
guilty, should be laid to his charge, and he should be put to 
death. "Sanguis hie est ccedes, says Rosenmuller; perinde Deo 
displicebit, ac si ille hominem occidisset, et mortis reus judi- 
cabitur." "Als Blutschuld soil es angercchnet werden diesem 
Mamie." Cresenius. On the other hand, Levit. vii. 18, if any 
part of a sacrifice is eaten on the third day, the offering " shall 
not be imputed to him that made it." Paul, speaking to Phile 
mon of the debt of Onesimus, says, "put that on my account," 
i. e. impute it to me. The word used in this case is the same 
as that which occurs in Rom. v. 13, " Sin is not imputed where 
there is no law;" and is in its root and usage precisely synony 
mous with the word employed in the passage before us, when 
the latter is used in reference to imputation. No less than 
twice also, in this very chapter, vs. 6 and 11, Paul speaks of 
i imputing righteousness, not to those to whom it personally 
belongs, certainly, but to the ungodly, ver. 5; to those who 
have no works, ver. 6. 

Professor Storr, of Tubingen, De vario sensu vocis oc/aloz, 
&c., in Nov. Test., in his Opuscula, Vol. I., p. 224, says, 
" Since innocence or probity (expressed by the word righteous 
ness) does not belong to man himself, it must be ascribed or 
imputed to him. In this way the formula, righteousness which 
is of God, Philip, iii. 9, and especially the plainer expressions, 
<to impute faith for righteousness, Rom. iv. o, and to impute 
righteousness, are to be understood." We readily admit, he 
says, that things which actually belong to a man may also be 

ROMANS IV. 3. 167 

said to be imputed to him, as was the case with Phineas, &c., 
and then adds, "Nevertheless, as he is said not to impute an 
action really performed, Lcvit. vii., 2 Sam. xix., &c., who does 
not so regard it as to decree the fruit and punishment of ir ; so, 
on the other hand, those things can be imputed, Levit. xvii. 4, 
which are not, in fact, found in the man, but which are so far 
attributed to him, that he may be hence treated as though 
he had performed them. Thus righteousness may be said to 
be imputed, Rom. iv. 6, 11, when not his own innocence and 
probity, which God determines to reward, is ascribed to the 
believer, but when God so ascribes and imputes righteousness, 
of which we are destitute, that we are treated as innocent and 
just." On page - : : >, he says, "Verbum ),(r- . ^in<hi/. monstrat 
gratiam, Rom. iv. 4, nam Ofxaeoff jy/jy nostram negat." 

This idea of imputation is one of the most familiar in all the 
Bible, and is expressed in a multitude of cases where the term 
is not used. When Stephen prayed. Acts vii. (JO. " Lord, lay 
not this sin to their charge," he expressed exactly the same 
idea that Paul did, when he said, - Tim. iv. 1 i, */ / /v// Uud it 
may not be laid to their charge," although the latter uses the 
word impute (/.<> ( c<jth .r r ] and the former does not. So the , 
expressions, "his sin shall be upon him." Hie shall bear his 
iniquity," which occur so often, are perfectly synonymous with 
the formula, "his sin shall be imputed to him;" and, of course, 
"to bear the sins of another," is equivalent to saving, "those 
sins are imputed." The objection, then-fore, that the word 
impute does not occur in reference to the imputation of the sin 
or righteousness of one man to another, even if well founded, 
which is not the fact, is of no more force than the objections 
against the doctrines of the Trinity, vicarious atonement, ])er-j, 
severance of the saints, &e., founded on the fact that these) 
words do not occur in the Bible. The material point surely is r 
Do the ideas occur? The doctrine of "the imputation of right 
eousness" is not the doctrine of this or that school in theology. 
It is the possession of the Church. It was specially the glory 
and power of the Reformation. Those who differed most else 
where, were perfectly agreed here. Lutherans and Reformed, 
alienated from each other by the sacramentarian controversy, 
were of one mind on this great doctrine. The testimony of the 

168 ROMANS IV. 3 

learned Rationalist, Bretschneider, if any testimony on so 
notorious a fact is necessary, may be here cited. Speaking 
jwith special reference to the Lutheran Church, he says, "The 
(symbolical books, in the first place, contradict the scholastic 
representation of justification, followed by the Romish Church, 
that is, that it is an act of God, by which he communicates to 
men an inherent righteousness, (justitia habitualis, infusa^) 
i. e. renders them virtuous. They described it as a forensic or 
judicial act of God, that is, an act by which merely the moral 
relation of the man to God, riot the man himself (at least not 
I immediately,) is changed." "Hence, justification consists of 
three parts: 1. The imputation of the merit of Christ. 2. The 
remission of punishment. 3. The restoration of the favour and 
the blessedness forfeited by sin." "By the imputatio justitice 
. {(or meriti) C/iristi, the symbolical books understand that judg 
ment of God, according to which he treats us as though we had 
not sinned, but had fulfilled the law, or as though the merit of 
Christ was ours; see Apol., Art. 9, p. 226, Merita propitiato- 
ris aliis donantur imputatione divina, ut per ea, tanquam 
propriis mentis justi reputcmur, ut si quis amicus pro amico 
solvit aes alienum, debitor alien o merito tanquam proprio libe- 
ratur." Bretschneider s Mntwickelung oiler in der Dog. vor~ 
Jcommenden Begriffe, pp. 631, 632, &c. 

But to return to the phrase, Faith is imputed for righteous 
ness. It is very common to understand faith here, to include 
its object, i. e. the righteousness of Christ; so that it is not 
faith considered as an act, which is imputed, but faith consi 
dered as including the merit which it apprehends and appro 
priates. Thus hope is often used for the thing hoped for, as 
I Rom. viii. 24, "Hope that is seen is not hope," &c.; and faith 
Jfor the things believed, Gal. i. 23, "He preacheth the faith," &c. 
In illustration of this idea, Gerhard, the leading authority in 
the Lutheran Church, during the seventeenth century, says, 
Quemadmodum annulus, cui inclusa est gemma, dicitur valere 
aliquot coronatis, pretiosissima ita fides, quoe apprehendit Christi 
justitiam, dicitur nobis imputari ad justitiam, quippe cujus est 
organurn apprehendens." Loci Tom. VII. 238. Although there 
are difficulties attending this interpretation, it cannot, with any 
consistency, be exclaimed against by those who make faith to 

ROMANS IV. 3. 169 

include the whole work of the Spirit on the heart, and its fruits 
in the life ; as is done by the majority of those who reject this 
view of the passage. Besides this interpretation, there are 
three other explanations which deserve consideration. The first 
is that adopted by the Remonstrants or Arininians. According 
to their view, ^LKaLoavvrj is to be taken in its ordinary sense of 
rujhteuuxnesx, that which constitutes a man righteous in the 
eye of the law. Thev understand the apostle, when he says, 
u Faith was imputed for righteousness/ as teaching that faith 
was regarded or counted as complete obedience to the law. 
As men are unable to render that perfect obedience which the 
law given to Adam required, Ood, under the gospel, according 
to this view, is pleased to accept of faith, (d Ji<lct obsequiosa^ as 
it is called, i. e. faith including evangelical obedience,) instead 
of the righteousness which the law demands. Faith is thus 
made, not the instrument, but the ground of justification. It 
is imputed for righteousness in the sense of being regarded and 
treated as though it were complete obedience to tin law. It 
must be admitted, that so far as this single form of statement is 
concerned, this interpretation is natural, and consistent with 
usage?. Thus imcircumcision is said to be imputed for circum 
cision, that is, the former is regarded as though it were the 
Litter. This, however, is not the only sense the words will 
naturally bear, and it is utterly inconsistent with what the 
Scriptures elsewhere teach. 1. It contradicts all those passages 
in which Paul and the other sacred writers deny that the ground 
of justification is anything in us, or done by us. These passages 
are too numerous to be cited; sec chap. iii. 20, where it is shown 
that the works which are excluded from the ground of justifica 
tion arc not ceremonial works merely, nor works performed 
with a le^al spirit, but all works, without exception; works of 
righteousness, Titus iii. o, i. e. all right or good works. But 
faith considered as an act, is as much a work as prayer, repent 
ance, almsgiving, or anything of the kind. And it is as much 
an act of obedience to the law, as the performance of any other 
duty; for the law requires us to do whatever is in itself right. 
2. It contradicts all those passages in which the merit of Christ, 
in any form, is declared to be the ground of our acceptance. 
Thus in chap. iii. 25, it is Christ s propitiatory sacrifice; 

170 ROMANS IV. 3. 

chap. v. 18, 19, it is his obedience or righteousness ; in many 
other places it is said to be his death, his cross, his blood. 
Faith must either be the ground of our acceptance, or the means 
or instrument of our becoming interested in the true meritorious 
ground, viz. the righteousness of Christ. It cannot stand in 
both relations to our justification. 3. It is inconsistent with 
the office ascribed to faith. We are said to be saved by, or 
through faith, but never on account of our faith, or on the 
ground of it. (It is always oca. xlffTSco^ or * xlffTScoz, but 
never oca xiarw.) The expressions, " through faith in his blood," 
iii. 25, "by faith in Jesus Christ," &c., admit of no other inter 
pretation than by means of faith in the blood of Christ, or in 
Christ himself, as the ground of confidence. The interpreta 
tion, therefore, under consideration is at variance with the very 
nature of faith, which necessarily includes the receiving and 
resting on Christ as the ground of acceptance with God; and 7 
of course, implies that faith itself is not that ground. 4. We 
accordingly never find Paul, nor any other of the sacred writers, 
referring his readers to their faith, or anything in themselves, 
as the ground of their confidence. Even in reference to those 
most advanced in holiness, he directs them to what Christ has 
done for them, not to anything wrought in them, as the ground 
of their acceptance. See a beautiful passage to this effect, in 
Neanders G-elegenlieitschriften, p. 23. After stating that the 
believer can never rest his justification on his own spiritual life, 
or works, he adds, "It would, indeed, fare badly with tho 
Christian, if on such weak ground as this he had to build his 
justification, if he did not know that if he confesses his sins, 
and walks in the light, as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus 
Christ his Son cleanses from all sin. Paul, therefore, refers 
even the redeemed, disturbed by the reproaches of conscience, 
amidst the conflicts and trials of life, not to the work of Christ 
in themselves, but to what the love of God in Christ has done for 
them, and which, even notwithstanding their own continued sin- 
fulness, remains ever sure." 5. Paul, by interchanging the 
ambiguous phrase, faith is imputed for righteousness, with 
the more definite expressions, justified through or by means 
of faith," justified through faith in his blood, fixes the sense 
in which the clause in question is to be understood. It must 

ROMANS IV. 3. 171 

express the idea, that it was by means of faith that Abraham 
came to be treated as righteous, and not that faith was taken 
in lieu of perfect obedience. See this subject more fully dis 
cussed in Owen on Justification, chap, xviii. 

According to the second view, the word righteousness is taken 
in a much more limited sense, and the phrase to impute faith 
for righteousness, is understood to mean faith was regarded as 
right, it was approved. This interpretation also is perfectly 
consistent with usage. Thus, Ps. cvi. 31, it is said of the zeal 
of Phineas, " It was counted unto him for righteousness." This 
of course does not mean that it was regarded as complete 
obedience to the law, and taken in its stead as the ground of 
justification. It means simply that his zeal was approved of. 
It was regarded, says Dr. Owen, " as a just and rewardable 
action." u Divinitus approbatum erat," says Tuckney, W/"Av, - 
tioncs, p. 212, "tanquam juste factum." In like manner, Deut. 
xxiv. 13, it is said of returning a pledge, It shall be right 
eousness unto tliec before the Lord thy God." Agreeably to 
the analogy of these passages, the moaning of this clause may 
be, his faith was regarded as right; it secured the approbation 
of God. How it did this, must be learned from other passages. 
The third interpretation agrees with the first, in taking or/.at- 
oa jvfi in its proper sense, (righteousness,^) but gives a different 
force to the preposition e^: Faith was imputed to him unto 
righteousness, that is, in order to his being regarded and treated 
as righteous. In support of this view, reference i* made to such 
frequently recurring expressions as sr c ffcoTr^olay, (unto *<ilr<i- 
tion,) that they might be saved, x. 1: E/~ //rr/M;. ^v, (unto 
repentance,] that they might repent, Matt. iii. 11. In x. 10, 
of this epistle, the apostle says, With the heart man bdicvctli 
unto righteousness, (src dcxacoa jvrjV^ i. e. in onL r to becoming 
righteous, or so as to become righteous. Faith secures their 

o <~ 

beino- righteous. According to this view of the passage, all it 

O O O 

teaches is. that faith and not works secured Abraham s justifica 
tion before God. And this is the object which the apostle has 
in view. The precise relation in which faith stands to justifi 
cation, whether it is the instrument or the ground, however 
clearly taught elsewhere, this particular expression leaves unde 
termined. It simply asserts that Abraham was justified as a 

172 ROMANS IV. 3. 

believer, and not as a worker, (epfa6fjtsvoC)) as Paul expresses 
it in the next verse. 

The Rationalistic theologians of modern times agree with the 
Socinians in teaching that justification by faith, as distinguished 
from justification by works, is nothing more than the doctrine 
that moral character is determined more by the inward princi 
ple than by the outward act. By faith., in the case of Abraham, 
they understand confidence in God ; a pious frame of mind, 
which is influenced by considerations drawn from the unseen 
and spiritual world, the region of truth and eternal principles, 
rather than by either mercenary feelings or outward objects. 
When, therefore, the Scriptures say, God imputed Abraham s 
faith for righteousness, the meaning is, God accepted him for 
his inward piety, for the elevated principle by which his whole 
life was governed. If this is what Paul means, when he speaks 
of Abraham being justified by faith, it is what he means when 
he teaches that men are now justified by faith. Then the whole 
gospel sinks to the level of natural religion, and Christ is in no 
other sense a Saviour, than as by his doctrines and example he 
leads men to cultivate piety. It is perfectly obvious that Paul 
means to teach that sinners are now justified in the same way 
that Abraham was. He proves that we are justified by faith, 
because Abraham was justified by faith. If faith means inward 
piety in the one case, it must have the same meaning in the 
other. But as it is expressly said, over and over, in so many 
words, that men are now justified by faith in Christ, it follows 
of necessity that faith in Christ was the faith by which Abra 
ham was justified. lie believed the promise of redemption, 
which is the promise that we embrace when we receive and rest 
on Christ for salvation. Hence it is one principal object of the 
apostle s argument in the latter part of this chapter, and in the 
third chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians, to show that we 
are heirs of the promise made to Abraham, because we have 
the same faith that he had ; the same, that is, both in its nature 
and object. 

It is further to be remarked, that \oyie(rdai els BircaLoo-vi rjv, 
(to impute for righteousness,) and &t,Kat,ov(T0ai, (to he justified,) 
mean the same thing. Thus Calvin says, " Tantum iioternus, 
cos quibus justitia imputatur, justilicari ; quando haec duo a 

ROMANS IV. 3. 173 

Paulo tanquam synonyma ponuntur." Yet, strange to say, 
Olshausen asserts that they are very different. To be justified 
(dcxacoi)$ai) and to have righteousness imputed, he .says, differ as 
the Romish and the Protestant doctrines of justification differ. 
The former means to be made subjectively righteous, the latter 
simply to be regarded as righteous. "Was Jemandem anire- 
reclmet wird, das hat er nicht, er wird aber angesehen und 
behandelt, als ha tte er cs." What is imputed to a wan, t/tat lit 
has not, lut he is regarded and treated, as though he had it. 
Abraham therefore was not justified, because before the coining 
of Christ, any true righteousness (iir/f/.foff r^ f-)-o r j, as ()l>hausen 
says) was impossible; he was only regarded as righteous.* ]>ut 
as what is said of Abraham is said also of believers under the 
gospel, since to them a.-- well a> to him, righteousness is said to 
be imputed, it follows that believers are not reallv justified in 
this life. This is the conclusion to which he is led bv two prin 
ciples. The first is, that the word ur/jw no means to make 
righteous inwardly, (e> bedeutet die gottlichc Thiitiirkeit des 
Hervorrufens der dr/.aeo(T jyy],) and no man is perfect Iv holy in 
this life; the second is, that (lod cannot regard any one as 
being what he is not, and therefore lie cannot regard the 
unrighteous as righteous. The former of these assumptions is 

* The doctrine of the transcendentalists (so called) regarding tlie nicarna- 
tiori, the person of Christ, and hi- relation to tlie Church, necessarily leads to 
the assumption .if a great distinction between the religion of the Old Te-tament 
and that of the New, and between the state and privileges of believers tln-n and 
now. If our redemption consists in our being made partaker-; of the thean- 
thropic nature of Christ, a< there was no such nature before the manifestation 
of (!od in the fleh, there could be no real redemption, no deliverance from the 
guilt and power of sin, before that event. Hence Olshausen says there could 
be no JMXWJV* eJ really belonging to those who lived before the advent; and 
on page 171 he says, if we admit there was any regeneration at all under the 
Old Testament, it could only be symbolical; and on page K ,7, he says, before 
Christ, forgiveness of sin was not real, but only symbolical. In a foot note ho 
adds, that under the theocracy there was the pardon of separate acts of trans 
gression, but not the forgiveness of all sins, actual and original, which can 
only proceed from Christ. It follows also from this theory, that justification 
is a subjective change, a change wrought in the soul by the reception of a new 
nature from Christ. These conclusions the Romanists had reached long ago, 
by a different process. It is not wonderful, therefore, that so many of the 
transcendentalists of Germany, and of their abettors elsewhere, have passed 
over to the Church of Uorno. 

174 ROMANS IV. 3. 

utterly unfounded, as dixaiba) always means to declare just, and 
never to make just. The second principle, Olsliausen, in his 
comment on this verse, modifies so far as to say that God can 
only regard as just those whom he purposes to render just ; and 
as with God there are no distinctions of time, he regards as 
already possessed of righteousness those whom he has purposed 
to render so. (This would seem to imply eternal justification, 
or at least an imputation of righteousness from eternity to all 
whom God has purposed to save.) Without this modification, 
he says, the objection of Romanists to the Protestant doctrine 
would be unanswerable. There is a sense, however, in which 
the principle in question is perfectly sound. God must see 
things as they are, and pronounce them to be what they 
are. The Protestant doctrine does not suppose that God 
regards any person or thing as Being other than he or it really 
is. When he pronounces the unjust to be just, the word is 
taken in different senses. He does not pronounce the unholy 
to be holy; he simply declares that the demands of justice 
have been satisfied in behalf of those who have no righteousness 


of their own. In sin there are the two elements of guilt and 
pollution the one expressing its relation to the justice, the 
other its relation to the holiness of God; or, what amounts to 
the same thing, the one expressing its relation to the penalty, 
arid the other its relation to the precept of the law. These two 
elements are separable. The moral character or inward state 
of a man who has suffered the penalty of a crime, and thus 
expiated his offence, may remain unchanged. His guilt, in the 
eye of human law, is removed, but his pollution remains. It 
would be unjust to inflict any further punishment on him for 
that offence. Justice is satisfied, but the man is unchanged. 
There may therefore be guilt where there is no moral pollution, 
as in the case of our blessed Lord, who bore our sins ; and there 
may be freedom from guilt, where moral pollution remains, as 
in the case of every justified sinner. When, therefore, God 
justifies the ungodly, he does not regard him as being other 
than he really is. He only declares that justice is satisfied, and 
in that sense the man is just ; he has a dcxaioa jvrj which satisfies 
the demands of the law. His moral character is not the ground 
, of that declaration, and is not affected by it. As to the 

ROMANS IV. 4, 5. 175 

distinction made by Olshausen between imputing righteousness 
and justifying, there is not the slightest ground for it. IIo 
himself makes them synonymous, (p. Io7.) The two forms of 
expression are used synonymously in this very context. In 
ver. 8, it is said, faith is imputed for righteousness; in ver. 5, 
God justifies the ungodly; and in ver. 6, he imputes righteous 
ness all in the same sense. Olshausen, although a representa 
tive man, exhibits his theology, in his commentary, in a very 
unsettled state. lie not only retracts at times, in one volume, 
what lie had said in another, but he modifies his doctrine from 
page to page. In his remarks on Romans iii. -1, lie himself as 
serts the principle, (as quoted above,) that "by God nothing can 
ever be regarded or declared righteous, which is not righteous," 
(p. 14 );) but in his comment on this verse, lie pronounces the 
principle, -das (Jott nach seiner Wahrhaftigkeit nielit .Jeman- 
den fiir ctwas an.-elien kann, was er nicht ist i alseh und iiber 
den licilswcg durchaus irreleitend," (p. 174.) That is, he savs 
that the principle "that (iod, in virtue of his veracity, eannor 
regard one as being what he is not is false, and perverts the 
whole plan of salvation. On pagel">7, he savs, "The passing 
over of the nature (Wesen) of Christ upon the sinner, is expressed 
by saying righteousness /.v imputed to ///?;?;" whereas, on pages 
1^ ; >j lie labours to show that imputing righteousness is some 
thing very different from imparting righteousness, lie prevail 
ingly teaches the doctrine of subjective justification, to which 
his definition and system inevitably lead: but under the stress 
of some direct assertion of the apostle to the contrary, he for 
the time brings out the opposite doctrine. He exhibits similar 
fluctuations on manv other points. 

A ERSES 4, f>. Now t<> Jinn tJnit wnrld-fh, i* tJ><> reward not 
reckoned of grace, lut of debt; Int to him that ivorketh not, &c. 
These verses are designed, in the first place, to vindicate the 
pertinency of the quotation from Scripture, made in ver. 3, by 
showing that the declaration faith was imputed for righteous 
ness, is a denial that works were the ground of Abraham s 
acceptance; and, secondly, that to justify by faith, is to justify 
gratuitously, and therefore all passages which speak of gratui 
tous acceptance are in favour of the doctrine of justification 
by faith. 

176 ROMANS IV. 4, 5. 

Now to Mm that ivorketh, that is, cither emphatically *tc 
him who docs all that is required of him; or to him who 
seeks to be accepted on account of his works. The former 
explanation is the better. The words then state a general pro 
position, To him that is obedient, or who performs a stipulated 
work, the recompense is not regarded as a gratuity, but as a 
debt. The reward, b /Mff&bz, the appropriate and merited com 
pensation. Is not imputed, XO.TCL %doty, #// dpeltyfjia, not 
grace, but debt, which implies that a claim founded in justice is 
the ground and measure of remuneration. Paul s argument is 
founded on the principle, which is so often denied, as by 
Olshausen, (p. 172,) that man may have merit before God ; or 
that God may stand in the relation of debtor to man. The 
apostle says expressly, that rw ipfa^ofjLSvqj) to him that works, 
the reward is a matter of debt. If Adam had remained faith 
ful and rendered perfect obedience, the promised reward would 
have been due to him as a matter of justice; the withholding 
it would have been an act of injustice. When, therefore, the 
apostle speaks of Abraham as having a ground of boasting, if 
his works made him righteous, it is not to be understood simply 
of boasting before men. He would have had a ground of 
boastino- in that case before God. The reward would have been 


to him a matter of debt. 

But to him that worketh not, rw os /J.YJ ipfa^o^svcp. That is, 
to him who has no works to plead as the ground of reward; 
XiffTZ joyTt ok l-i x.T.L, but beUeveth upon, i. e. putting his trust 
upon. The faith which justifies is not mere assent, it is an act 
of trust. The believer confides upon God for justification. He 
believes that God will justify him, although ungodly; for the 
object of the faith or confidence here expressed is b or/jmov ~bu 
frffsffi, he who justifies the ungodly. Faith therefore is appro 
priating:; it is an act of confidence in reference to our own 
acceptance with God. To him who thus believes, faith is 
counted for righteousness, i. e. it is imputed in order to his 
becoming righteous. It lies in the nature of the faith of which 
Paul speaks, that he who exercises it should feel and acknow 
ledge that he is ungodly, and consequently undeserving of the 
favour of God. He, of course, in relying on the mercy of God, 
must acknowledge that his acceptance is a matter of grace, and 

ROMANS IV 4, 5. 177 

not of debt. The meaning of the apostle is plainly this : To 
him that worketh, the reward is a matter of debt, but to him 
who worketh not, but believeth simply, the reward is a matte! 
of grace. Instead, however, of saying it is a matter of grace, 
lie uses, as an equivalent expression, " to him faith is counted 
for righteousness." That is. he is justified by faith. To be 
justified by faith, therefore, is to be justified gratuitously, and 
not by works. It is thus he proves that the passage cited in 
ver. 8, respecting Abraham, is pertinent to his purpose as an 
argument against justification by works. It at the same time 
shows that all passages which speak of gratuitous acceptance, 
may be cited in proof of his doctrine of justification hv faith. 
The way is thus opened for his second argument, which is 
derived from the testimony of David. 

It is to be remarked, that Paul speaks of God as justifying 
the ungodly. The word is in the singular, rov dm ft. the. 
ungodly win. not with anv special reference to Abraham, as 
though lie was the ungodly person whom God justified, but 
because the singular, iftfa^oiJLS^tu^ (fo Jifi/i tJi<(t trnr/ci tJi.) ~cn~i j- 
oi/r. , (to him tlii 1. 1 lidi -i i tJi.) is used in the context, and because 
every man must believe for himself (rod does not justify com 
munities. If every man and all n,v-n are ungodly, it follows 
that they are regarded and treated as righteous, not on the 
ground of their personal character: and it is further apparent 
that justification does not consist in making one inherently just 
or holy: for it is as ungodly \\\&\ those who believe are iVeelv 
justified for Christ s sake. It never was, as shown above, the 
doctrine of the Reformation, or of tlie Lutheran and Reformed 
divines, that the imputation of righteousness affects the moral 
character of those concerned. It is true, whom God justifies ho 
also sanetifies; but justification is not sanctificat ion. and trio 
imputation of righteousness is not the infusion of righteousness.) 
These are the first principles of the doctrine of the Reformers,! 
The fourth grand error of the Papists in the article of justifi 
cation," says an old divine, "is concerning that which we call 
the form thereof. For they, denying and deriding the imputa 
tion of Christ s righteousness, (without which, notwithstanding, 
no man can be saved,) do h )\<\ that men are justified by infusion. 
and not by imputation of righteousness ; we, on the contrary. 

178 ROMANS IV. 68. 

.do hold, according to the Scriptures, that we are justified before 
God, only by the imputation of Christ s righteousness, and not 
by infusion. And our meaning, when we say that God imputeth 
Christ s righteousness unto us, is nothing else but this : that he 
graciously accepteth for us, and in our behalf, the righteousness 
of Christ, that is, both as to his obedience, which, in the days 
of his flesh, he performed for us; and passive, that is, his suf 
ferings, which he sustained for us, as if we had in our own per 
sons both performed and suffered the same ourselves. Ilowbcit, 
we confess that the Lord doth infuse righteousness into the 
faithful ; yet not as he justified), but as he sanctiiieth them, 

I &c. Bishop Downame on Justification, p. 261. Tuckney, one 
of the leading members of the Westminster Assembly, and 
principal author of the Shorter Catechism, in his Prcelectiones, 
p. 213, says, "Although God justifies the ungodly, Rom. iv. 5, 
i. e. him who was antecedently ungodly, and who in a measure 
remains, as to his inherent character, unjust after justification, 
yet it has its proper ground in the satisfaction of Christ," &c. 

On page 220, he says, "The Papists understand by justifica 
tion, the infusion of inherent righteousness, and thus confound 
justification with sanctification; which, if it was the true nature 
and definition of justification, they might well deny that the 
imputation of Christ s righteousness is the cause or formal 
reason of this justification, i. e. of sanctification. For we are 
not so foolish or blasphemous as to say, or even think, that the 
righteousness of Christ imputed to us renders us formally or 
inherently righteous, so that we should be formally or inhe 
rently righteous with the righteousness of Christ. Since the 
righteousness of Christ is proper to himself, and is as insepara 
ble from him, and as incommunicable to others, as any other 
attribute of a thing, or its essence itself." 

VERSES 6 8. ~Even as David also describcth the blessedness 

of the man to whom Crod imputeth righteousness without works. 
Paul s first argument in favour of gratuitous justification was 
from the case of Abraham; his second is from the testimony of 
David. The immediate connection of this verse is with ver. 5. 
At the conclusion of that verse, it was said, to him who had no 
works, faith is imputed, in order to his justification, i. e. he is 
justified grati itously, even as David speaks of the blessedness 

ROMANS IV. 68. 179 

of him whom, although destitute of merit, God regards and 
treats as righteous. Describeth the blessedness, i. e. pronounces 
blessed. The words are /;-- rov /jLaxapeffuoy, utters the declara 
tion of blessedness concerning the man, &c. To whom God 
imputcth righteousness without works, that is, whom God regards 
and treats as righteous, although he is riot in himself righteous. 
The meaning rf tins clause cannot be mistaken. To impute/ 
sin, is to lay sin to the charge of any one, and to treat him 
accordingly, as is universally admitted; so "to impute right 
eousness, is to set righteousness to one s account, and to treat! 
him accordingly. This righteousness does not, of course, belong 
antecedently to those to whom it is imputed, for they are un 
godly, and destitute of works. Here then is an imputation to 
men of what does not belong to them, and to which thev have 
in themselves no claim. To impute righteousness is the apos- 1 
tie s definition of the term to Justify. It is not making men 
inherently righteous, or morally pure, but it is regarding and 
treating them as just. This is done, not on the ground of per 
sonal character or works, but on the ground of the righteous- 
ness of Christ. As this is dealing with men, not according to 
merit, but in a gracious manner, the passage cited from Ps. 
xxxii. 1, 2, is precisely in point: u Blessed are they whose) 
iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Jilessed is 
the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." That is, 
blessed is the man who, although a sinner, is regarded and 
treated as righteous. As the remission of sin is necessarily 
connected with restoration to God s favour, the apostle speaks 
of it as the whole of justification ; not that the idea of remission 
exhausts the whole idea of justification, but it necessarily 
implies the rest. In like manner, in Eph. i. 7, it is said, >k iu 
whom we have redemption, . . . the forgiveness of sins ;" which 
does not imply that forgiveness is the whole of redemption, that 
the gift of the Spirit, the glorification of the body, and eternal 
life, which are so constantly spoken of as fruits of Christ s 
work, as parts of the purchased inheritance, are to be excluded. 
Here again the doctrine of a personal, inherent righteous 
ness, which it is the special object of the apostle to exclude, is 
introduced by the modern mystical or transcendental theolo 
gians. On the declaration that righteousness is imputed without 

180 ROMANS IV. 9. 

.works, Olshauscn remarks: "No matter how abundant or pure 
works may be, the ground of blessedness is not in them, but in 
the principle whence they flow; that is, not in man, but in 
,GDd." The whole doctrine of the apostle is made to be, that 
men arc justified (made holy,) not by themselves, but by God; 
.thus confounding, as Romanists do, justification sanetifica- 
tion. In Ps. xxxii. 1, 2, as quoted by Paul from the LXX., 
cupdi M (to remit,) and k~txa.A>j7:Ttv (to cover,) arc interchanged. 
Olshausen says the former expresses the New Testament idea 
of forgiveness, (die realc Hinwegschaffung der Siinde,) i. e. the 
real removal of sin ; the latter, the Old Testament idea of non- 
imputation of sin the sin remaining, but being overlooked. 
This view of the nature of remission, and of the difference 
Detwecn the Old and the New Testament, is purely Romish. 

VERSE 9. Cometh this blessedness upon the circumcison only, 
or upon the uncircumcision also? &c. The apostle s third argu 
ment, commencing with this verse and continuing to the 12th, 
lias special reference to circumcision. He had proved thafc 
Abraham was not justified on account of his works generally; 
he now proves that circumcision is neither the ground nor con 
dition of his acceptance. The proof of this point is brief and 
conclusive. It is admitted that Abraham was justified. The 
only question is, was it before or after his circumcision ? If 
before, it certainly was not on account of it. As it was before, 
circumcision must have had some other object. 

Cometh this blessedness. There is nothing in the original 
to answer to the word cometh, although some word of the kind 
must be supplied. The most natural word to supply is Aefsrat. 
David utters the declaration of the blessedness of the man 
whose sins are pardoned. Concerning whom is this declara 
tion uttered? The word rendered blessedness means, more 
properly, declaration of blessedness. This declaration of 
blessedness, is it upon, i. e. is it about, (Uf=.rac] is it said con 
cerning the circumcision only? The preposition (*~i) used by 
the apostle, often points out the direction of an action, or the 
subject concerning which anything is said. This question has 
not direct reference to the persons to whom the offers of accept 
ance are applicable, as though it were equivalent to asking, Is 
this blessedness confined to the Jews, or may it be extended to 

ROMANS IV. 10, 11. 181 

the Gentiles also? because this is not the subject now in hand. 
It is the ground or condition of acceptance, and not the persons/ 
to whom the offer is to be made, that is now under consideration.! 
The question therefore is, in substance, this: "Does this decla 
ration of blessedness relate to the circumcised, as such ? Is cir- 
cumcision necessary to justification? the blessing of which 
Paul is speaking. The answer obviously implied to the pre 
ceding question is, c It is not said concerning the circumcised, 
as such; for we say that faith was imputed to Abraham for 
righteousness. It was his faith, not his circumcision, that was 
the condition of his justification. The preceding verses are 
occupied with the testimony of David, which decided nothing as 
to the point of circumcision. To determine whether this rite 
was a necessary condition of acceptance, it was requisite to 
refer again to the ca>e of Abraham. To decide the point pre 
sented in the que.-tion at the beginning of the verse, the apostle 
argues from the position already established. It is conceded 
or proved that Abraham was justified by faith; to determine 
whether circumcision is necessarv, we have only to ask. Under 
what circumstances was he thus justified, before or after cir 
cumcision ? 

\ KKSI: 10. How was it then reckoned? ivhai lie was in 
circumcision or uncir cumcision? Xot in circumcision, but ui 
uncircumcision. Of course, his circumcision, which was long 
subsequent to his justification, could not be either the ground 
or necessary condition of his acceptance with God. 

A HUSK 11. ^[/cl In* received f/ X!<IH <>f circumcision, th< .sv//;. 
of the righteousness <~>1 ih> J<tttlt ichi<-]i h> //a</, l>< !i/</ i/t-t iuicir- 
cumeised, Me. As Paul had shown that circumcision was not the 
condition of justification, it became necessary to declare its true 
nature and de-sign. Tin xi<jn <>f circumcision, i. e. circumcision 
which was a sign, (genitive of apposition;) as u the earnest of 
the Spirit," for the Spirit which is an earnest, 1 Cor. i. 20. 
The Mdl of t/te righteousness of faith, &c. The phrase, riyht- 
eouxm. *x of faith, is a concise expression for righteousness 
which is attained by faith, or, as it stands more fully in Philip, 
iii. i), k the righteousness of God, which is by faith." The 
word righteousness, in such connections, includes, with the idea 
of excellence or obedience, that of consequent blessedness. It 

182 ROMANS IV. 11. 

is the * state of acceptableness with God. Tie circumcision of 
Abraham was designed to confirm to him the fact, that he was 
regarded and treated by God as righteous, through faith, which 
was the means of his becoming interested in the promise of 
redemption. From this passage it is evident that circumcision 
was not merely the seal of the covenant between God and the 
Hebrews as a nation. Besides the promises made to Abraham, 
of a numerous posterity, and of the possession of the land of 
Canaan, there was the far higher promise, that through his seed 
(i. e. Christ, Gal. iii. 16) all the nations of the earth should 
be blessed. This was the promise of redemption, as the apos 
tle teaches us in Gal. in. 13 18: "Christ," he says, "has 
redeemed us from the curse of the law in order that the bless 
ing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles." The blessing 
promised to Abraham, in which the Gentiles participate through 
Jesus Christ, can be none other than redemption. As that 
blessing was promised to Abraham on the condition, not of 
works, but of faith, the apostle hence argues, that in our case 
also we are made partakers of that blessing by faith, and not 
by works. This was the covenant of which circumcision was 
the seal. All therefore who were circumcised, professed to 
embrace the covenant of grace. All the Jews were professors 
of the true religion, and constituted the visible Church, in which 
by divine appointment their children were included. This is 
the broad and enduring basis of infant church-membership. 

Abraham, says the apostle, was thus assured of his justifica 
tion by faith, (s/c TO ?j/r,) in order that lie might be the father , 
or, so that he is the father, &c. The former explanation is to 
be preferred, not only because ?z with the infinitive, commonly 
expresses design, but also because the whole context shows that 
the apostle intends to bring into view the purpose of God in the 
justification of Abraham. The father of all them that believe, 
though they be not circumcised, xdvrcov TCOV -!<7rs j6^Tcov di 
dxpoftuffTtaz, i. e. of all believing, with uncircumcision. That 
is, of all uncircumcised believers. The preposition oca, here, as 
in ii. 27, and elsewhere, simply marks the attendant circum 
stances. The word father expresses community of nature or 
character, and is often applied to the head or founder of any 
school or class of men, whose character or course is determined 

ROMANS IV. 11. 183 

by the relation to the person so designated; as Gen. iv, 20, 
21: " Jabal . . . was the father of such as dwell in tents;" and, 
" Jubal . . . was the father of all such as handle the harp and 
organ." Hence teachers, priests, and kings are often called 
fathers. Believers arc called the children of Abraham, because 
of this identity of religious nature or character, as he stands 
out in Scripture as the believer; and because it was with him 
that the covenant of grace, embracing all the children of God, 
whether Jews or Gentiles, was reenacted; and because tliev are 
his heirs, inheriting the blessings promised to him. As Abra 
ham was the head and father of the theocratical people under 
the Old Testament, this relation was not disowned when the 
middle wall of partition was broken down, and the Gentiles 
introduced into the family of God. He still remained the father 
of the faithful, and we are "the sons of Abraham by faith," 
Gal. iii. 7. The Jews were accustomed to speak in the same 
way of Abraham : Michlol Jophi on Malachi ii. I"), hv tin- one. 
there mentioned, Abraham is intended, for he was one alone, 
and the father of all who follow and imitate him in faith." 
Bechai. fol. 27, he is calh d k *Tlio root of faith, and lather 
of all those who believe in one God." Jalkut Chadash, fol. 
54, 4, "On this account Abraham was not circumcised until he 
was ninety-nine years old. lest lie should shut the door on 
proselytes coming in." See Sclioettgen^ p. 50*. 

That rif/hteousiicss //u <///f In i///^nf> <l unfn tJt< //> <(lxo. The 
connection and design of these words are not verv clear, and 
they are variously explained. Thev may be considered as 
explanatory of the former clause, and therefore connected with 
the first part of the verse. The sense would then be. Abraham 
was justified, being yet uncirciimcised, that he might be the 
father of believers, although uncirciimcised, that is, that right 
eousness might be imputed unto them also. This clause ia 
most commonly regarded as a parenthesis, designed to indicate 
the point of resemblance between Abraham and those of whom 
he is called the father: lie is the father of uncircumcised 
believers, since they also are justified by faith, as he was. 
The words e:z ~o koytad-vfjcu are explanatory of sl^ ~o ic^a: V. JTOIJ 
Z Hj.: He was justified in imcircumcision, in <>/ <l< r tltat lie 
be the father., &c.; that is, in order that faith miylit le 

184 ROMANS IV. 12. 

imputed to them also. From this it appears that "to impute 
faith for righteousness" and " to impute righteousness," are 
synonymous. To Abraham righteousness was imputed; he had 
the (d>xawa jvrj r?^ -laTSco^) righteousness of faith as truly and 
really as believers now have. Nothing can be more opposed to 
the whole tenor of apostolic teaching than the Romish and 
modern mystical doctrine, that the Old Testament believers 
were not fully justified; that their sins were pretermitted, but 
not remitted; that their regeneration was symbolical, but not 

^ERSE 12. And the father of circumcision to them ivlw are 
not of the circumcision only, c. That the preceding clause is 
parenthetical is plain, because the grammatical construction in 
this verse is continued unbroken. Father of circumcision, i. e. 
of the circumcised. To them, auTot^. This change of con 
struction from the genitive to the dative may be accounted for 
either by the fact, that in the Hebrew it may be said "father 
to" as well as "father of;" or by assuming that aljTolz, is the 
dative of advantage, "for them." The meaning of this verse 
is somewhat doubtful. According to our version, which adheres 
closely to the Greek, the meaning is, Abraham is not the father 
of uncircumcised believers only, as stated in ver. 11, but he is 
the father of the circumcised also, provided they follow the 
example of his faith. According to this view, as ver. 11 pre 
sents him as the father of the believing Gentiles, this presents 
him as the father of the believing Jews. The only grammatical 
objection to this interpretation is the repetition of the article 
ro?~ before O^OLJO^O;., which Avould seem to indicate that "those 
who follow the steps of his faith" were a different class from 
the circumcised. Hence some commentators interpret the pas- 
sao-e thus : He is the father of the circumcision, and not of the 


circumcision only, but also of those who follow his faith, which 
he had being yet uncircumcised. But this is inconsistent with 
the construction. 1. It overlooks the xai at the beginning of 
the verse, by which it is connected with ver. 11: He is the 
father of the uncircumcised, (ver. 11,) and father of the circum 
cised, (ver. 12.) 2. It requires a transposition of the words 
Tolz o j, so as to rea 1 o j rdl-. What Paul says is, To those 
are not of the circumcision only. This interpretation 

ROMANS IV. 13. 185 

makes him say, Xot to those only who are of the circumcision. 
3. It is very unnatural to make this verse repeat what had just 
been said in ver. 11. There Paul had said that Abraham was 
the father of Gentile believers ; why should he here say he was 
the father of the Jews, and also of the Gentiles? The former 
interpretation, which is adopted by the great body of com- 
mentatois, is therefore to be preferred. 

Verses lo 10 contain two additional arguments in favour 
of the apostle s doctrine. The first, vs. lo, 14, is the same as 
that presented more at length in Gal. iii. 18, &c., and is founded 
on the nature of a covenant. The promise having been made 
to Abraham (and his seed.) on the condition of faith, cannot 
now, consistently with fidelity, be made to depend on obedience 
to the law. The second argument, vs. !;">, 16, is from the nature 
of the law itself. 

VKRSI-; 1-3. For the promise, that he should be. heir of the 
world, ti tiis not to Ati/ K/Kit/i, or to hi* seed, ^e. The word for 
does not connect this verse witli the one immediately preceding, 
as a proof of the insulliriency of circumcision. It rather marks 
the introduction of a new argument in favour of the general 
T)i-oposition which the chapter is designed to establish. As 
Abraham was not justified for his circumcision, so neither was 
it on account of his obedience to the law. If. however, it be 
preferred to connect this verse with what immediately precedes, 
the argument is substantially the same. In the preceding 
verses Paul had said that Abraham is the father of believers; 
in other words, that believers are his heirs, for the promise 
that lie should inherit the world was made on the condition ot 
faith. The promise here spoken of is, that Abraham ami his 
seed should be the heirs of the world. The word ///, in Scrip 
ture, frequently means secure possessor. Ileb. i. 2, vi. 17, 
xi. 7, &c. This use of the term probably arose from the fact, 
that among the Jews possession by inheritance was much more 
secure and permanent than that obtained by purchase. The 
promise was not to Abraham, nor to ILLS seed, (/y TW o-itnmn 
a jTo r j,} i. e. neither to the one nor to the other. Both wero 
included in the promise. And by his seed, is not here, as in Gal, 
iii. 16, meant Christ, but his spiritual children. This is evident 
from ver. 16, where the apostle speaks of ~<iv TO a-so^a, the 

186 ROMANS IV. 13. 

whole seed. The clause TO xfypovouov a-jrov e?vi is explar/ator y 
of Y] sxfJL-i fztia. It states the contents of the promise. The 
article ro, attached to the, renders it more prominent 
or emphatic. As no such promise as that mentioned in this 
verse is contained, in so many words, in the Old Testament, the 
apostle must have designed to express what he knew to be the 
purport of those actually given. The expression, however, has 
been variously explained. 1. Some understand tJte world to 
mean the land of Canaan merely. But in the first place, this 
is a very unusual, if not an entirely unexampled use of the 
word. And, in the second place, this explanation is incon 
sistent with the context ; for Paul has reference to a promise 
of which, as appears from ver. 16, believing Gentiles are to 
partake. 2. Others understand the apostle to refer to the 
promise that Abraham should be the father of many nations, 
Gen. xvii. 5, and that his posterity should be as numerous as 
the stars of heaven, Gen. xv. 5 ; promises which they limit to 
his natural descendants, who, being widely scattered, may be 
said, in a limited sense, to possess the world. But this inter 
pretation is irreconcilable with vcr. 16. 3. Besides the pro 
mises already referred to, it was also said, that in him all the 
nations of the earth should be blessed, Gen. xii. 3. This, as 
Paul explains it, Gal. iii. 16, &c., had direct reference to the 
blessings of redemption through Jesus Christ, who was the seed 
of Abraham. And here too he speaks of blessings of which all 
believers partake. The possession of the world, therefore, here 
intended, must be understood in a manner consistent with these 
passages. The expression is frequently taken in a general 
sense, as indicating general prosperity and happiness. " To be 
heir of the world" would then mean, to be prosperous and 
happy, in the best sense of the words. Reference is made, in 
support of this interpretation, to such passages as Matt. v. 5, 
Ps. xxxvii. 11, "The meek shall inherit the earth;" Ps. xxv. 
13, " His seed shall inherit the earth," The promise then, to 
be the heir of the world, is a general promise of blessedness. 
And as the happiness promised to believers, or the pious, as 
such, is of course the happiness consequent on religion, and is 
its reward, the promise in this sense may include all the bless- 
m^s of redemption. So in Gal. iii. 14, Paul uses the expression 

ROMANS IV. 13. 187 

"that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles," 
as equivalent to saving that all the blessings of the gospel 
might come upon them. 4. Or the promises in question may 
have reference to the actual possession of the world by the 
spiritual seed of Abraham, and Christ their head. The declara 
tion that Abraham should be the father of many nations, and 
that his seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude, 
included far more than that his natural descendants should be 
very numerous. If they who are of faith art; the seed of Abra 
ham, and heirs of the promise, Gal. iii. 0, 2l>, then will the pro 
mise, as stated by the apostle, have its literal accomplishment 
when the kingdoms of this world are given to the saints of the 
most high God (Dun. vii. 27, ) and when the uttermost parts of 
the earth become the possession of Christ. In this sense, the 
promise includes the universal prevalence of the true religion, 
involving of course the advent of Christ, the establishment of 
his kingdom, and all its consequent blessings. The Jewish 
writers were accustomed to represent Abraham as the heir of 
the world. "Bemidbar, K, xiv., fol. 2<>2, The garden is the 
world which God gave to Abraham, to whom it is said, Thou 
shalt be a blessing. God gave to mv father Abraham the pos 
session of heaven and earth. Midrasch Mischle, 1 -*. Mechila, 
in Iv\~. xiv. ->l, Abraham our father did not obtain the inhe 
ritance of this world, and the world to come, except through 
faith. " W.-Wi t n. 

The promise in Abraham and his seed was not f7tr<>nt/7i tin*, 
laiv^lut through (In- rif/htcoumc.sat <>t\i <t> /7i. That was not 
on condition <>l obedience to Ilie law, but on condition of his 
having that righteousness which is obtained hv faith. TIir<nn/h 
the law ) is therefore cqnivalcnl to ////"////// tin 1 works of the A//r, 
as appears from its opposition to the latter clause. righteous 
ness ot faith. \\\ tin- l<m\ is to lie understood the whole rule 
of duty, as in other passages of the same kind : sec iii. 20. In 
this sense it of course includes the Mosaic law. which, to the 
Jews, was the most prominent portion of tin; revealed will of 
God, and hy obedience to which especially thev hoped for the 
mercy of (lod. The parallel passage, (lal. iii. IN. Ac., where 
the law is said to have been given four hundred vcars after the 
covenant formed with Abraham, shows it was one part of the 

188 ROMANS IV. 14. 

apostle s design to convince the Jews, that as Abraham WAS riot 
justified by his circumcision, (ver. 11,) so also it was not it 
virtue of the Mosaic economy not yet established ; and therefore 
the promise could not be made to depend on the condition of obe 
dience to that dispensation. This idea, although included, is not 
to be urged to the exclusion of the more comprehensive mean 
ing of the word law, which the usage of the apostle and the con- 
t)xt show to be also intended. It was neither by obedience to the 
law generally, nor to the particular form of it, as it appeared 
in the Mosaic institutions, that the promise was to be secured. 

VERSE 14. For if they which are of the law be heirs, &c. 
The original condition being faith, if another be substituted the 
covenant is broken, the promise violated, and the condition 
made of none effect. "They who are of the law" (ol Ix w/iou,) 
sometimes, as ver. 16, means the Jews, i. e. those who have the 
law; compare ver. 12, "Those of circumcision," &c. But here 
it means legalists, those who seek justification by the works of 
the law; as those who are of faith are believers, those who seek 
justification by faith; compare Gal. iii. 10, "As many as are 
of the works of the law are under the curse," i. e. as many as 
seek acceptance by their own works. The apostle s meaning, 
therefore, obviously is, that if those who rely upon their own 
works are the heirs of the promise, and are accepted on the 
condition of obedience to the law, the whole covenant is broken, 
faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. " Is 
made void" (xsxsvcorat,) is rendered useless; see 1 Cor. i. 17, 
"The cross of Christ is made useless," ix. 15, &c.; compare 
1 Cor. xv. 17, "Your faith is vain," not only without founda 
tion but of no use. The promise is made of none effect (xarijp- 
y/jrat,) i. e. is invalidated; see chap. iii. 3, 31. It is plain 
from the whole design and argument of the apostle, that by 
law, in this whole connection, he means not specifically the 
law of Moses, but the law of God, however revealed as a rule 
of duty for man. He has reference to the Gentiles as well as 
to the Jews. His purpose is not simply to convince his readers 
that obedience to the Mosaic law cannot save them, but that 
obedience in any form, works of any kind, arc insufficient for a 
man s justification before God. So far, therefore, from the 
context requiring, as so many of the modern commentator? 

ROMANS IV. 15. 189 

assert, an exclusive reference in this connection to the law of 
Moses, it imperatively demands the reverse. 

VERSE 15. For the liw worketh wrath, &c. That is, it causes 
men to be the subjects of wrath. It brings them under con 
demnation. So far from imparting life, it causes death. If, 
therefore, the inheritance is suspended on the condition of obe 
dience to the law, it can never be attained ; for by the law no 
flesh living can be justified. The connection of this verse, 
therefore, may be with what immediately precedes. The pro 
mise fails if it be by the law, for the law worketh death. The 
truth here presented, however, although thus incidentally intro 
duced, is none the less a new and substantive argument for the 
doctrine of justification by faith. It is the same argument as 
that urged in Gal. iii. 10, derived from the very nature of the 
law. If it works wrath, if all who are under the law are under 
the curse, if the law condemns, it cannot justifv. As, however, 
there are two ways in which, according to the apostle, the law 
works wrath, so there arc two views of the meaning of this pas 
sage. First, the law works wrath, because it says, "Cursed is 
every one who continueth not in all things written in the book 
of the law to do them," Gal. iii. 10. As the law, from its very 
nature, demands perfect obedience, and condemns all who arc 
not perfect, it, by its very nature, is unsuited to give life to t 
sinners. It can only condemn them. If there were no law, . 
there would be no sin, and no condemnation. JJut as all are 
under the law. and all are sinners, all are under the curse. The 
other way in which the law works wrath is, that it excites and 
exasperates the evil passions of the heart; not from anv defect 
in the law itself, but from the nature of sin. This idea the 
apostle presents fully in the seventh chapter; where it is pro 
perly in place, as he is there treating of sanctification. Here, 
where lie is treating of justification, that idea would be inappro 
priate, and therefore the former interpretation is to be decidedly 
preferred. Calvin, Tholuck, and others, however, understand 
the apostle to reason thus: -The law, instead of freeing men 
from sin, incidentally renders their transgressions more numer 
ous, conspicuous, and inexcusable, and thus brings them more 
and more under condemnation. "Nam quum Lex nihil quam 
ultionem generet, non potest affere gratiam. Bonis quidem ac 

190 ROMANS IV. 15. 

integris viam vitse mfnstraret: sed quatcnus viaosis ac cor 
ruptia prajcipit, quid dcbcant, prsestandi autem vires non sub- 
ministnit, rcos apud Dei tribunal peragit. QUJC cnim cst naturae 
nostnxi vitiositas, quo magis docemur, quid rectum sit ac justum, 
eo apcrtius nostra iniquitas dctegitur, maximeque contumacia; 
atque hoc modo gravius Dei judicium acccrsitur." For where 
there is no law. there is no transgression. The interpretation 
given to this clause depends upon the view taken of the preced- 
in- one. It assigns the reason why the law works wrath. If 

O O c/ 

the law be understood to work wrath by exasperating the evils 
of our corrupt nature, then the meaning of this confirmatory 
clause must be, that the law makes sin more inexcusable. It 
exalts sins into transgressions, into Ttapdfiaffez. Thus 
again Calvin says, that the reason why the law works wrath is, 
"quia cognitione justitine Dei per legem perceptu, eo gravius 
peccamus in Deum, quo minus excusationis nobis supcrest non 
loquitur apostolus," he adds, " de simplici justitire transgress- 
ione, a qua nemo eximitur ; sed transgrcssionem appellat, ubi 
animus edoctus, quid Deo placeat quidve displiceai, fines voce 
Dei sil)i definitos sciens ac volens perrumpit. Atqui ut uno 
verbo dicam, transgressio hie non simplex delictum, sed destina 
tain in violanda justitia contumaciam significat." But ail this 
belongs to the inefncacy of the law to produce holiness, and not 
to its impotency in the matter of justification, which is the point 
he-re under consideration. The apostle s argument here is, that 
the inheritance must be by faith, not by the law, for the law 
can only condemn. It works wrath, for without it there would 
be no condemnation, because there would be no transgression. 
Besides, Paul does not make the distinction between sin and 
transgression, between d.p.apria and Tiapaftaatz, which the former 
interpretation supposes. What is here said of transgression, is, 
in v. 1-3, said of sin. Where there is no law, there can be no 
sin, because the very idea of sin is the want of conformity to a 
rule, to which conformity is due ; so that where there is no rule 
or standard, there can be no want of conformity. Such being 
the meaning of this clause, it is plain that by law, the apostle 
does not intend the Mosaic law, but law as the standard to 
which rational creatures are bound to be conformed. If men 
would onlj acquiesce in Paul s idea of law, they could not fail 

ROMANS IV. 16. 191 

to receive his doctrine concerning sin and justification. If the 
law is holy, just, and good; if it is spiritual, taking cognizance 
not only of outward acts, but of feelings, not only of active 
feelings, but of the inherent states of the mind whence these 
(i- d ju ia.^ spring; if it condemns all want of conformity to its 
own inflexible standard of complete perfection, then there must 
be an end to all hope of being justified by the law. 

VERSE l(j. Therefore, it is of faith, that it might be by grace; 
to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed, c. 
This arid the following verse contain the conclusion from the 
previous reasoning, and especially from the two preceding 
arguments: The inheritance promised to Abraham and his 
seed must be either of the law, or of faith. It cannot be of the 
law, for the law works wrath, therefore it is of faith. The 
expression in the original is simply OM TO~JTO lx - fTTsajz, there 
fore of faith. It matters little, so far as the sense is concerned, 
whether we supply the words ol x/yoowiw: z>v> (therefore the 
heirs are <f faith,} from ver. 14, or the word l-a-r-^a (the 
promise,) from ver. 1:{; or with Luther, d xwowj^. out of the 
general context darum muss die G-ereehtigkeit aus dem (Uau- 
ben kommen. These are only different ways of saying the same 
thing. The connection, as stated above, is in favour of the first 
explanation. The inheritance is of faith, (ha xara ydmv,) in 
order that it might be a matter of graee. And it is of irrace, 
(src TO sc^v falalav rr^ ?-a~ffz/.>ais.) in order that th> promise 
might be sure. If salvation be in any form or to any decree 
dependent on the merit, the goodness, or the stability of man, 
n ncvcr ( :t;i ^ sure, nay, it must be utterly unattainable. 
Unless we are saved by grace, we cannot be saved at all. To 
reject, therefore, a gratuitous salvation, is to reject the only 
method of salvation available for sinners. Salvation being of 
grace, suspended on the simple condition of faith, without 
regard to parentage, to national or ecclesiastical connection, it 
is available for all classes of men. And therefore the apostle 
says, The promise is sure (~avri TW a-st^aTi) to all the seed; 
i. e. to nil the spiritual children of Abraham. He had already 
shown in vs. 11, 12, that Abraham was the father of believing 
Gentiles as well as of believing Jews. The word ff-sp/m (seed) 
must therefore, in this connection, be understood of believers 


who. in a higher sense than mere natural descendants, are the 
children of Abraham. Both classes of his seed are included in 
the promise which is sure, (oi> rw kx TO~J vofwu /wvov,) not to that 
of the law only, i. e. not only to that portion of the seed who 
are of the law, that is, believing Jews, but also (raj I* ~!ffT(oc 
\-\fit.cmii) to that whieh is of the faith of Abraham. These for 
mulas arc indefinite, and susceptible, taken by themselves, of 
different interpretations ; but the context renders all plain. 
Paul is speaking of the spiritual children of Abraham ; of those 
who are heirs of the inheritance promised to him. Of these 
there arc two classes ; believing Jews and believing Gentiles. 
The former are distinguished as (Ix vo^ou] of the law, the latter 
as of the faith of Abraham, because their connection with him 
is purely spiritual, whereas the Jewish believers were connected 
with him by a twofold tie the one natural, the other spiritual. 
Who is the father of us all, i. e. of all believers. The highest 
privilege of New Testament saints is to be partakers of the 
inheritance promised to Abraham. They are not exalted above 
him, but united with him in the blessings which flow from union 
with Christ. 

VEHSE 17. As it is written, I have made thce a father of 
many nations, Gen. xvii. 5. This declaration, the apostle 
informs us, contains a great deal more than the assurance that 
the natural descendants Abraham should be very numerous. 
Taken in connection with the promise, that "in him all the 
nations of the earth should be blessed," it refers to his spiritual 
as well as his natural seed, and finds its full accomplishment in 
the extension of the blessing promised to him, to those of all 
nations who are his children by faith. This clause is very pro 
perly marked as a parenthesis, as the preceding one, "who is 
the father of us all," must be connected immediately with the 
following words, before him whom he believed, even Crod, who 
quiekeneth the dead, &c. The words xarsvavrc ob l-tffT&jffs 
Osoi), admit of different explanations. They are commonly 
regarded as an example of the substantive being attracted to 
the case of the relative, instead of the relative to that of the 
substantive, dzct) being in the genitive, because ob is. The 
clause may therefore be resolved thus : xaTva.vTt Qzo\) w iTzta- 
reuffz, before God whom he believed. To this, however, it is 

ROMANS IV. 17. 193 

objected, that this form of attraction with the dative is very 
unusual, and therefore "Winer, 24, 2, b, and others, adopt the 
simple explanation, xaTsva sre QZO~J xa-csvavrt oy i-ia-cz jaz, (before 
(.rod, before ivliom lie believed.) The sense in either case is 
the same. Abraham is the father of us all, (xaTevavrt,) before, 
in the siyht of that God in whom he believed. God looked upon 
him as such. He stood before his omniscient eye, surrounded 
by many nations of children. 

It is not unusual for the apostle to attach to the name of God 
a descriptive peripnrase, bringing into view some divine attri 
bute or characteristic suited to the subject in hand. So here, 
when speaking of God s promising to Abraham, a childless old 
man, a posterity as numerous as the stars of heaven, it was 
most appropriate to refer to the omnipotence of God, to whom 
nothing is impossible. Abraham believed, what to all human 
appearance never could happen, because God, who made the 
promise, is he who quicJceneth the Jftd, <ni l ccdleth those things 
which be. not, as though they were. To originate life is the pre 
rogative of God. It requires almighty power, and is therefore 
in Scripture specified as one of God s peculiar works ; see Dent, 
xxxii. ;50, 1 Sam. ii. 6, 2 Kings v. 7, Ps. Ixviii. 20. The being 
who can call the dead to life, must be able to fulfil to one, 
although as good as dead, the promise of a numerous posterity. 
The other clause in this passage, (xat MWWTO* ra it.r t o^~a d* 
ovrc/.j l allimj ////////* tJuit /" nnt. <ix /;//////. is more doubtful. 
There are three interpretations of these words, founded on throe 
different senses of the word (yju^} t<> < <iJL 1. To c<tJJ, means to 
command, to control, to muster or dispose of. Thus the psalm 
ist says, "The mighty (rod. even the Lord hath spoken, and 
called the earth, from the rising of the sun unto the going down 
thereof." Isaiah, speaking of the stars, says, u Who . . . bring- 
eth out their host by number: he calleth them all by name, by 
the greatness of his might," xl. 26, also Ps. cxlvii. 4, Isa. xlv. ], 
xlviii. 18. This gives a sense perfectly suited to the context. 
God is described as controlling with equal ease things which 
are not, and those which are. The actual and the possible are 
equally subject to his command. All things are present to his 
view, and all are under his control. This interpretation also is 
suited to the peculiar form of expression, who calls (ra /r/j o vr 

194 ROMANS IV. 117. 

d>C oWa,) things not being, a$ being. It gives cl>c its appropri 
ate force. 2. To call, however, is often used to express the 
creating energy of God. See Isa. xli. 4, xlviii. 13. Compare 
Ps. xxix. 3 9. Philo de Great., TO. /ty WTO. kxdX-a-v e/c TO 
ecvcu. This also gives a good sense, as the omnipotence of God 
cannot be more forcibly expressed than by saying, He calls 
things not existing into existence. But the difficulty is, that 
d~ o vra is not equivalent with e^ TO scvat, nor with iaopsva, nor 
with *c TO elvat dc 6W, as Kollrier and De Wette explain it. 
This indeed is not an impossible meaning, inasmuch as oW, as 
Fritzsche says, may be the accusative of the effect, as in Philip, 
iii. 21, " lie shall change our vile body (a jju/jiofHfov) like unto 
his glorious body," i. e. so as to be like; see also 1 Thcss. iii. 13. 
As, however, the former interpretation gives so good a sense, 
there is no need of resorting to these constrained explanations. 
o. To atU, is often used to express the effectual calling of men 
by the Holy Spirit. Hence some understand the apostle as 
here saying, God calls to be his children those who were not 
children. But this is entirely foreign to the context. Paul 
is presenting the ground of Abraham s faith in God. lie 
believed, because God was able to accomplish all things. 
Everything is obedient to his voice. 


1. If the greatest and best men of the old dispensation had 
to renounce entirely dependence upon their works, and to 
accept of the favour of God as a gratuity, justification by works 
must, for all men, be impossible, vs. 2, 3. 

2. No man can glory, that is, complacently rejoice in his 
own goodness in the sight of God. And this every man of an 
enlightened conscience feels. The doctrine of justification by 
works, therefore, is inconsistent with the inward testimony of 
conscience, and can never give true peace of mind, ver. 2. 

3. The two methods of justification cannot be united. They 
are as inconsistent as wages and a free gift. If of works, it is 
not of grace ; and if of grace, it is not of works, vs. 4, 5. 

4. As God justifies the ungodly, it cannot be on the ground 
of their own merit, but must be by the imputation of a right- 

ROMANS IV. 1 IT. 195 

eousness which does not personally belong to them, and which 
they received by faith, vs. 5, 6, 11. 

5. The blessings of the gospel, and the method of justifica 
tion which it proposes, arc suited to all men ; and are not to be 
confined by sectarian limits, or bound down to ceremonial 
observances, vs. 9 11. 

6. The sacraments and ceremonies of the Church, although 
in the highest degree useful when viewed in their proper light, 
become ruinous when perverted into grounds of confidence. 
What answers well as a sign, is a miserable substitute for the 
thing signified. Circumcision will not serve for righteousness, 
nor baptism for regeneration, ver. 10. 

7. As Abraham is the father of all believers, all believers are 
brethren. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free, 
among them as Christians, vs. 11, \ l. 

8. The seed of Abraham, or true believers, with Jesus Christ 
their head, are the heirs of the world. To them it will ulti 
mately belong; even the uttermost parts of the earth shall be 
their possession, ver. !]. 

9. To speak of justification by obedience to a law which we 
have broken, is a solecism. That which condemns cannot 
justify, ver. 15. 

10. Nothing is sure for sinners that is not gratuitous. A 
promise suspended on obedience, they could never render sure. 
One entirely gratuitous needs only to be accepted to become 
ours, ver. 1(J. 

11. It is the entire freeness of the gospel, and its requiring 
faith as the condition of acceptance, which renders it suited to 
all ages and nations, ver. ]IJ. 

VI. The proper object of faith is the divine promise; or 
God considered as able and determined to accomplish his 
word, ver. 17. 


1. The renunciation of a legal self-righteous spirit is the first 
requisition of the gospel. This must be done, or the gospel 
cannot be accepted. lie who works, i. e. who trusts in his 
works, refuses to be saved by grace, vs. 1 5. 

196 ROMANS IV. 1825. 

2. The more intimately we are acquainted with our owr 
hearts and with the character of God, the more ready shall wo 
be to renounce our own righteousness, and to trust in his 
mercy, vs. 2, 3. 

3. Those only are truly happy and secure, w T ho, under a 
sense of ill-desert and helplessness, cast themselves upon the 
grace and promise of God, vs. 7, 8. 

4. Nothing is more natural, and nothing has occurred more 
extensively in the Christian Church, than the perversion of the 
means of grace into grounds of dependence. Thus it was with 
circumcision, and thus it is with baptism and the Lord s supper ; 
thus too with prayer, fasting, &c. This is the rock on which 
millions have been shipwrecked, vs. 9 12. 

5. There is no hope for those who, forsaking the grace of 
God, take refuge in a law which worketh wrath, ver. 15. 

6. All things are ours if we are Christ s; heirs of the life 
that now is, and of that which is to come, ver. 13. 

7. As the God in whom believers trust is he to whom all 
things are known, and all things are subject, they should be 
strong in faith, giving glory to God, ver. 17. 

ROMANS IV. 1825. 


THE object of this section is the illustration of the faith of 
Abraham, and the application of his case to our instruction. 
With regard to Abraham s faith, the apostle states, first, its 
object, viz. the divine promise, ver. 18. lie then illustrates its 
strength, by a reference to the apparent impossibility of the 
thing promised, vs. 19, 20. The ground of Abraham s con 
fidence was the power and veracity of God, ver. 21. The con 
sequence was, that he was justified by his faith, ver. 22. Hence 
it is to be inferred that this is the true method of justification ; 
for the record was made to teach us this truth. We are situ 
ated as Abraham was ; we are called upon to believe in the 
Almighty God, who, by raising up Christ from the deai, has 
accepted him as the propitiation for our sins, vs. 23 25. 

ROMANS IV. 18. 197 


"VERSE 18. Who against hope believed in hope. Here In efaidt 
may be taken adverbially, confidently: Against all human hope 
or reasonable expectation, he confidently believed. Or it may 
indicate the subjective ground of his faith: he believed, because 
he had a hope founded on the promise of God. lie believed, 
that lie iniijht become the father of many nations. The Greek 
is, el- TO fiiiiad-fu awv -ars<>a, x.-.L, that is, according to one 
explanation, the object of his faith was, that he should be the 
father of many nations. The idea thus expressed is correct. 
Abraham did believe that God would make him the father of 
many nations. But to this it is objected that -earz Jzw s/c, with 
an infinitive used as a substantive, although grammatically cor 
rect, is a construction which never occurs. Had the apostle, 
therefore, intended to express the object of Abraham s faith, he 
would probably have used ur:. he /u7/<r<. <7 that If slmnLl he. &c . 
Others make s!~ TO ~[yi(j&(j.i express the result of his faith: " He 
believed . . . and hence he became, ^c. The consequence of his 
faith was, that the promise was fulfilled. Most recent commenta 
tors assume that /~ with the infinitive here, as it commonly does, 
expresses design, or intention; not however the design of Abra 
ham, but of God: He believed in order that, agreeably to the 
purpose of God, he might become the father of many nations. 
This best agrees with what is said in ver. 11, and with the con 
text. According to that w//i< // tea* spoken, S x/ialt ///// seed 
be. This is a reference to the promise which was the object of 
Abraham s faith. It is a quotation from Gen. xv. 5. The 
word so refers to the stars of heaven, mentioned in the passage 
as it stands in the Old Testament. The promise, therefore, 
particularly intended by the apostle is, that Abraham should 
be the father of many nations, 01 that his seed should be as 
numerous as the stars. It has already been seen, however, that 
the apostle understood this promise as including far more than 
that the natural descendants of Abraham should be very numer 
ous ; see vs. 13, IT. The expression in the text is a concise 
allusion to the various promises made to the ancient patriarch, 
which had reference to all nations being blessed through 
him. The promise c? a numerous posterity, therefore, included 

198 ROMANS IV. 1921. 

the promise of Christ and his redemption. This is evident, 
1. Because Paul had been speaking of a promise (ver. 16,) in 
which believing Jews and Gentiles were alike interested; see 
Gal. iii. 14. 2. Because Paul asserts and argues that the seed 
promised to Abraham, and to which the promise related, was 
Jesus Christ, Gal. iii. 16. 3. So Abraham himself understood 
it, according to the declaration of our Saviour; John viii. 56, 
"Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and lie saw it, and was 
glad." He looked forward under the greatest discouragements 
to the Redeemer as yet to come. We have the easier task to 
look back to the same Deliverer, who has died for our sins, and 
risen again for our justification, ver. 25. 

VERSE 19. And being not weak in faith, he considered not 
his own body, now dead, &c. The 18th verse had stated it was 
contrary to all appearances that Abraham believed; this verse 
states the circumstances which rendered the accomplishment of 
the promise an apparent impossibility, viz. his own advanced 
age, and the age and barrenness of his wife. These circum 
stances he did not consider, that is, he did not allow them to 
have weight, he did not fix his mind on the difficulties of the 
case. Had he been weak in faith, and allowed himself to dwell 
on the obstacles to the fulfilment of the divine promise, he 
would have staggered. This does not imply that there was no 
inward conflict with doubt in Abraham s mind. It only says, 
that his faith triumphed over all difficulties. "The mind," says 
Calvin, "is never so enlightened that there are no remains of 
ignorance, nor the heart so established that there is no misgiv 
ings. With these evils of our nature," he adds, "faith main 
tains a perpetual conflict, in which conflict it is often sorely 
shaken and put to great stress; but still it conquers, so that 
believers may be said to be in ipsa in firm it ate firmissimi." 
Paul says Abraham was not weak, r/y rj.GTZi, as to faith. 

VERSES 20, 21. lie staggered not at the promise of God ; oi) 
dtexpi&y. The aorist passive is here used in a middle sense, he 
ivas not in strife with himself, i. e. he did not doubt ; e;c TIJU 
1/ra^sA/av, in reference to the promise of God ; r^ direffrefa the 
dative lias a causal force, through unbelief. Want of faith in 
God did not cause him to doubt the divine promise, a///), but, 
i. e. on the contrary; lvzdi>ya[jLco$r^ not middle, made himself 

ROMANS IV. 22. 199 

strong, but passive, lie was made strong: rfj^ either by, or 

as to faith. Giving glory to God; that is, the strength was 

manifested in his giving glory to God. To give glory to God, 

is to take him to be what he really is, almighty and faithful. 

It is to show by our conduct that we give him credit, (so to 

speak,) that he will arid can do what lie says. Therefore the 

apostle adds, xai "typCHpoprftzlz, and being fully persuaded; 

that is, he gave glory to God by being fully persuaded that 

what he had promised he was able also to perform. Quod 

addit," says Calvin, " dcdissc gloriam Deo, in eo notandum est, 

non posse Deo plus honoris deferri quani dum fide oloi^namus 

ejus vcritatem ; sicuti rursus nulla ei gravior contumelia inuri 

potest quam dum respuitur oblata ab ipso gratia, vel epis verl)o 

derogatur auctoritas. Quare lioc in ejus cultu pnecipuum est 

caput. promissiones ejus obedientcr amplecti : vera reli^io ;L fide 

incipit." It is therefore a very great error for men to suppose 

that to doubt is an evidence of humility. On the cmitrarv, to 

doubt God s promise, or his love, is to dishonour him. because 

it is to question his word. Multitudes refuse to accept his grace, 

because they do not regard themselves as wortliv, as though 

their worthiness were the ground on which that grace is offered. 

The thing to be believed is, that God aeeepts the unworthv; 

that for Christ s sake, he justifies the unjust. Manv find it far 

harder to believe that God can love them, notwithstanding their 

sinfulness, than the hundred-years-old patriarch did to believe 

that he should be the father of many nations. Confidence in 

God s word, a hill persuasion that lie can do what seems to us 

impossible, is as necessary in the one ease as in the oilier. The 

sinner honours God, in 1 rusting his grace, as mncli as Abraham 

did in t rusting liis power. 

\~Kiisi-: - 2. Therefore <d* If tcax imputed to him fr rh/Jtt- 
eousncxx. That is, the faith of Abraham was imputed to him 
for righteousness. He was accepted as righteous on account 
of bis faith : not that faith itself was the ground, but the con 
dition of his justification. lie believed, and God accepted him 
as righteous: just as now we believe, and are accepted as right 
eous, not on account of any merit in our faith, but simply on 
the ground of the righteousness of Christ, which is imputed to 
us when we believe ; that is, it is given to us, whenever wo 

200 ROMANS IV. 23, 24. 

are willing to receive and rest upon it. "Niliil plus conferre 
fides nobis potcst, quam a verbo acceperit. Quare non protinus 
Justus erit, qui general! tantum confusaque notitia imbutus 
Deum veracem esse statuet, nisi in promissione gratise quiescat." 
Faith justifies by appropriating to ourselves the divine promise. 
But if that promise does not refer to our justification, faith 
cannot make us righteous. The object of justifying or saving 
faith, that is, of those acts of faith which secure our acceptance 
with God, is riot the divine veracity in general, nor the divine 
authority of the Scriptures, but the specific promise of gratu 
itous acceptance through the mediation and merit of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

VERSES 23, 24. Now, it ivas not written for his sake alone, 
that it was imputed to him. The record concerning the faith 
and consequent justification of Abraham, was not made with the 
simple intention of giving a correct history of that patriarch. 
It had a much higher purpose. Abraham was a representative 
person. "What was true of him, was true of all others who stood 
in the same relation to God. The method in which he was jus 
tified, is the method in which other sinners must be justified. 
That he was justified by faith, is recorded in the Scriptures to 
be a perpetual testimony as to the true method of justification 
before God. The apostle therefore adds, thai it was of fyjiuz, 
on our account. That is, on account of those to whom it shall 
be imputed; o?c /JieAAze hof t^ead-cu, to whom it is appointed to be 
imputed, in case they should believe. As all men are sinners, 
the method in which one was certainly justified is the method 
by which others may secure the same blessing. If Abraham 
was justified by faith, we may be justified by faith. If the 
object of Abraham s faith was the promise of redemption, the 
same must be the object of our faith. He believed in God as 
quickening the dead, that is, as able to raise up from one as 
good as dead, the promised Redeemer. Therefore those to 
whom faith shall now be imputed for righteousness are described 
as those -who believe that Crod hath raised up Jesus from the 
dead. By thus raising him from the dead, he declared him to 
be his Son, and the seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations 
of the earth were to be blessed. The object of the Christian s 
faith, therefore, is the same as the object of the faith of Abra- 

ROMANS IV. 25. 201 

riam. Both believe the promise of redemption through the 
promised seed, which is Christ. When we are said to believe 
in God, who raised up Christ, it of course implies that we 
believe that Christ was thus raised up. As the resurrection of 
Christ was the great decisive evidence of the divinity of his 
mission, and the validity of all his claims, to believe that he 
rose from the dead, is to believe he was the Son of God, tho 
propitiation for our sins, the Redeemer and the Lord of men; 
that he was all he claimed to be, and had accomplished all lie 
purposed to effect. Compare Rom. x. 0, Acts i. 22, iv. 33, 
1 Cor. xv., and other passages in which the resurrection of 
Christ is spoken of as the corner-stone of the gospel, ;is the 
great fact to be proved, and which, being proved, involves all 
the rest. 

VKUSI-] 25. W/to was delivered fur our offences, and rained 
again- for our juxt!ji< <it(n. This verse is a comprehensive state 
ment of the gospel. Christ was delivered unto deotlt for our 
offences, i. e. on account of them, and for their expiation; see 
Isa. liii. 5, G, lleb. ix. 28, 1 Peter ii. 21. This delivering of 
Christ is ascribed to God, Rom. viii. 32, Gal. i. 3, and else 
where; and to himself, Tit. ii. 14, Gal. ii. 20. It was by the 
divine purpose and counsel he suffered for the expiation of sin; 
and he gave himself willingly to death. " lie was led like a 
lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is 
dumb, so he opened not his mouth." Christ is said to have 
been delivered unto death, out -<L -ana-rwtLa-a /y/^v, and to 
have been raised, oca r^v dixaicoffiu fjtjiujv; that is, he was 
delivered in order that our sins might be expiated, and he was 
raised in order that we might be justified. His death and his 
resurrection were alike necessary; his death, as a satisfaction 
to divine justice. lie bore our sins in his own body on tho 
tree. That is, lie bore the punishment of our sins. " Significat 
ergo Paulas," says Calvin, " satisfactionem pro peccatis nostris 
in cruce fuisse peractam. Nam ut Christus nos in gratiam 
Patris restitueret, reatum nostrum ab ipso aboleri oportuit ; 
quod fieri non potcrat, nisi pocnam, cui solvemhc pares non 
enmms, nostro nomine lucret." His resurrection was no less 
necessary, first, as a proof that his death had been accepted as 
an expiation for our sins. Had he not risen, it would have bee 

202 ROMANS IV. 25. 

evident tnat he was not what he claimed to be. We should be 
yet in our sins, 1 Cor. xv. 17, and therefore still under con 
demnation. Our ransom, in that case, instead of being publicly 
accepted, had been rejected. And secondly, in order to secure 
the continued application of the merits of his sacrifice, he rose 
from the dead, and ascended on high, there to appear before 
God for us. lie stands at the right hand of God, ever to make 
intercession for his people, thereby securing for them the benefits 
of his redemption. With a dead Saviour, a Saviour over whom 
death had triumphed and held captive, our justification had been 
for ever impossible. As it was necessary that the high priest, 
under the old economy, should not only slay the victim at the 
altar, but carry the blood into the most holy place, and sprinkle 
it upon the mercy-seat ; so it was necessary not only that our 
great High Priest should suffer in the outer court, but that he 
should pass into heaven, to present his righteousness before 
God for our justification. Both, therefore, as the evidence of 
the acceptance of his satisfaction on our behalf, and as a neces 
sary step to secure the application of the merits of his sacrifice, 
the resurrection of Christ was absolutely essential, even for our 
justification. Its relation to inward spiritual life and eternal 
blessedness is not here brought into view ; for Paul is not here 
speaking of our sanctification. That dexaUoffez means justifica 
tion, and not the act of making holy, need hardly be remarked. 
That follows of necessity, not only from the signification of the 
word, but from the whole scope of this part of the epistle. It 
is only by those who make justification identical with regenera 
tion, that this is called into question. "Pervertunt autem," 
says Calovius, " sententiam Apostoli Papistse, cum id eum velle 
contcndunt, mortem Christi exemplar fuisse mortis peccatorum, 
resurrectionem autem exemplar renovationis et regenerationis 
intcrnae, per quam in novitatc vitoe ambulamus, quia hie non 
agitur vel de morte peccatorum, vel dc renovatione et novitate 
vitoe ; de quibus, cap. vi., demura agere incipit Apostolus ; sed 
de non imputatione vel remissione peccatorum, et imputatione 
justitiae vel justificatiorie." Olshausen agrees substantially 
with the Romish interpretation of this passage, as lie gives 
dtxaiajffiz an impossible sense, viz. (die den neuen Menschen 
schaffende Thatigkeit,) the regenerating activity of God. It 

ROMANS IV. 1825. 203 

will be observed, that the theology of Olshausen, and of the 
mystical school to which he belongs, has far greater affinity for 
the Romish than for the Protestant system. 


1. Faith is an operative assent to the divine testimony, not 
the reception of truth as something which can be proved by our 
own arguments, vs. 18, 20. 

2. When faith is genuine it is founded on correct apprehen 
sions of the divine character, and has a controlling influence 
over the heart and life, vs. 20, 21. 

3. The method of salvation has never been changed; Abra 
ham was not only saved by faith, but the object of his faith was 
the same as tin? object of ours. vs. 2 -I. 17. 

4. The resurrection of Christ, as an historical fact, estab 
lished by the most satisfactory evidence, (see 1 Cr. xv.,) 
authenticates the whole gospel. As surely as Christ has risen, 
so surely shall believers be saved, ver. 2-3. 


1. The true way to have our faith strengthened is not to 
consider the difficulties in the way of the thing promised, but 
the character and resources of God, who has made the pro 
mise, ver. 10. 

2. It is as possible for faith to be strong when the thing pro 
mised is most improbable, as when it is probable. Abraham s 
faith should serve as an example and admonition to us. He 
believed that a Saviour would be born from his family, when 
his having a son was an apparent impossibility. Wo an; only 
called upon to believe that the Saviour has been born, has suf 
fered, and risen again from the dead facts established on 
the strongest historical, miraculous, and spiritual evidence, 
vs. 20. 24, 2.5. 

3. Unbelief is a very great sin, as it implies a doubt of the 
veracity and power of God, vs. 20, 21. 

4. All that is written in the Scriptures is for our instruction. 
What is promised, commanded, or threatened, unless of a 

204 ROMANS V. 111 

strictly personal nature,) although addressed originally to indi 
viduals, belongs to them only as representatives of classes of 
men, and is designed for all of similar character, and in similar 
circumstances, vcr. 23. 

5. The two great truths of the gospel are, that Christ died 
as a sacrifice for our sins, and that he rose again for our justifi 
cation. Whosoever, from the heart, believes these truths, shall 
be saved, vcr. 25, Rom. x. 9. 

G. The denial of the propitiatory death of Christ, or of his 
resurrection from the dead, is a denial of the gospel. It is a 
refusing to be saved according to the method which God has 
appointed, ver. 25. 



FROM verse 1 to 11, inclusive, the apostle deduces some of the 
more obvious and consolatory inferences from the doctrine of 
gratuitous justification. From the 12th verse to the end, he 
illustrates his great principle of the imputation of righteous 
ness, or the regarding and treating "the many" as righteous, 
on account of the righteousness of one man, Christ Jesus, by a 
reference to the fall of all men in Adam. 

ROMANS V. 111. 


THE first consequence of justification by faith is, that we 
have peace with God, vcr. 1. The second, that we have not 
only a sense of his present favour, but assurance of future 
glory, ver. 2. The third, that our afflictions, instead of being 
inconsistent with the divine favour, are made directly conducive 
to the confirmation of our hope ; the Holy Spirit bearing witness 
co the fact that we are the objects of the love of God, vs. 3 & 

ROMANS V. 1. 205 

The fourth, the certainty of the final salvation of all believers. 
This is argued from the freeness and greatness of the divine 
love ; its freeness being manifested in its exercise towards 
the unworthy; and its greatness, in the gift of the Son of God, 
vs< Q 10. Salvation is not merely a future though certain 
good, it is a present and abundant joy, ver. 11. 


VERSE 1. Therefore, being justified bi/ faith, we have* 
with G-od; that is, we are reconciled to God. We are no longer 
the objects of God s displeasure, his favour having been propi 
tiated by the death of his Son, ver. 10. As a consequence of 
this reconciliation, we have conscious peace with God, that is, 
we have neither any longer the present upbraidings of an unap- 
peased conscience, nor the dread of divine vengeance. Both 
these ideas are included in the peace here spoken of. The 
latter, however, is altogether the more prominent. The phrase 
eiY^V^y %oti~i ~oo rov #ov, we hace peace in regard to God, 
properly means, God is at peace with us, his ocrfq (wrath) 
towards us is removed. It expresses, as Philippi says, "not a 
state of mind, but a relation to God."f It is that relation 
which arises from the expiation of sin, and consequently justi 
fication. We arc no longer his enemies, in the objective sense 
of the term, (sec ver. 10. j but are the objects of bis favour. 
The whole context still treats of reconciliation and propitiation, 
of the removal of the wrath of God by the death of his Son, 
and not of inward sanctification. It is true that the immediate 
and certain effect of God s reconciliation to us is our reconcilia 
tion to him. If he is at peace with us, we have inward peace. 
Conscience is only the reflection of his countenance, the echo, 

* Instead of t%cu&, we have peace, l^uutv, hi us have, is read in the MSS. A. 
C. I>. 17, 18, 10, 22, 24, 34, 30. 37, 42, 44, 40, 5">, GO, in the Syriac, Coptic, and 
Vulgate versions, and by several of the Fathers. The latter reading is adopted 
by Lachmann. But as the external authorities are nearly equally divided, and 
as the common reading gives a sense so much better suited to the context, it 
is retained by the majority of critical editors. 

f Commentar Qber den Brief Pauli an die R<3mer von Friederick Adolph 
Philippi, Doktor und ord. Professor der Theologie zu Dorpat; since of 

206 ROMANS V. 2. 

often feeble and indistinct, often terribly clear and unmistaka 
ble, of bis judgment; and therefore subjective peace uniformly 
attends faith in the love of God, or assurance of our justifica 
tion. Although, therefore, the primary idea of the apostle is, 
that God is at peace with us, it is nevertheless true that inward 
tranquillity of mind is the fruit of justification by faith. It is 
peculiarly an evangelical doctrine, that pious affections are the 
fruit of this reconciliation to God, and not the cause of it. Paul 
says this peace is the result of justification by faith. He who 
relies on his works for justification, can have no peace. lie can 
neither remove the displeasure of God, nor quiet the apprehen 
sion of punishment. Peace is not the result of mere gratuitous 
forgiveness, but of justification, of a reconciliation founded 
upon atonement. The enlightened conscience is never satisfied 
until it sees that God can be just in justifying the ungodly; 
that sin has been punished, the justice of God satisfied, his law 
honoured and vindicated. It is when he thus sees justice and 
mercy embracing eacli other, that the believer has that peace 
which passes all understanding ; that sweet quiet of the soul in 
which deep humility, in view of personal unworthiness, is min 
gled with the warmest gratitude to that Saviour by whose blood 
God s justice has been satisfied, and conscience appeased. 
Hence Paul says we have this peace through our Lord Jesus 
Christ. It is not through ourselves in any way, neither by our 
own merit, nor our own efforts. It is all of grace. It is all 
through Jesus Christ. And this the justified soul is ever 
anxious to acknowledge. "Pacem habemus. Singularis justitise 
fidei fructus. Nam siquis ab opcribus conscientise securitatem 
petere vclit, (quod in profanis et brutis hominibus cernitur,) 
frustra id tentabit. Aut cnim contemptu vel oblivione Divini 
judicii sopitum est pectus, aut trepidatione ac formidine quoque 
plenum est, donee in Christum recubuerit. Ipse enim solus est 
pax nostra. Pax ergo conscicntiiTe serenitatein significat, quse 
ex eo nascitur, quod Deum sibi reconciliatum sentit." Calvin. 

VER.-E 2. By wlwni also we have access by faith into this 
t/race, &c. This verse admits of different interpretations. Ac 
cording to one view, it introduces a new and higher benefit than 
peace with God, as the consequence of our justification: We 
nave not only peace, but access (to God,) and joyful confidence 

HOMANS V. 2. 207 

of salvation. Besides other objections to this interpretation, 
It overlooks the difference between e%ousu and laffixapsV) ren 
dering both, wehace: We have peace, and we have access; 
whereas iayjqxatizv is properly, we have had. This clause, there 
fore, instead of indicating an additional and higher blessing 
than the peace spoken of in vcr. 1, expresses the ground of that 
peace: We have peace with God through Jesus Christ our 
Lord, through whom also we have had access into this grace. 
So Meyer, Philippi, &c. We are indebted to Christ not only 
for peace, but also for access to this grace, (this state of justifi 
cation,) which is the ground of our peace. The word -poaaftoi if] 
means either introduction or access. In Eph. ii. IS, and iii. 12, 
it has the latter meaning, which maybe retained here. Jn both 
the other places in which it occurs, it is used of access to God. 
Many commentators so understand it in this place, and there 
fore put a comma after l<, and connect -:a--.: with *i~ 
ryu %dcitv ra j-y^. The sense would then be, c Through whom 
also we have had access to God, by faith on this grace. The 
objections to this explanation are, that it supposes an omission 
in the text, and that the expression "faith on the grace," has 
no scriptural analogy. The obviously natural construction is 
to connect Tiftoffa^co^v with er- r^v yjinw rv/ Jr^v, as is done in 
our version, and by the great majority of commentators, -uid to 
take ~7f - .(j-=i instrumcntally, Itf firitlt. The grace to whidi we 
have access, or into which we have been introduced, is the state 
of justification. The fact, therefore, that we are justified, ire, 
rather than others, is not due to anvthing in us. We did not 
open the way, or introduce ourselves into this state. We were 
brought into it by Christ. "Accessus (juidem nomine initium 
salutis a Christo esse docens, preparationes cxdudit, quibus 
stulti homines Dei misericordiam se antcvertere putant ; acsi 
iiccret, Christum nihil promeritis ol)viam venire manumque 
porrigere." Calrin. In which we stand. The antecedent of 
the relative (jjrj is not ~ wcz , but yanw; in which r/race we 
stand; that is, we are firmly and immovably established. So 
in John viii. 44, it is said of Satan, that he stood not (oty 
ffTr 4 xz]s) in the truth, did not remain steadfast therein. 1 Cor. 
xv. 1, "Wherein ye stand," 2 Cor. i. 24. The state, therefore, 
into which the believer is introduced by Christ, is not a preca- 

208 ROMANS V. 2. 

rious one. H has not only firm ground on which to stand, bin 
lie lias strength divinely imparted to enable him to keep his 
foothold. And rejoice in hope of the glory of G-od. The word 
xa j /jj.otmi is one of Paul s favourite terms. It properly means 
to talk of ones self, to praise ones self, to boast; then to con 
gratulate one s self, to speak of ourselves as glorious or blessed; 
and then to felicitate ourselves in anything as a ground of con 
fidence and source of honour and blessedness. Men are com 
manded not to glory (%a j%tlfffrac) in themselves, or in men, or in 
the flesh, but in God alone. In this passage the word may be 
rendered, to rejoice, we rejoice in hope. Still something more 
than mere joy is intended. It is a glorying, a self-felicitation 
and exultation, in view of the exaltation and blessedness which 
Christ has secured for us. In hope of the glory of God. The 
object or ground of the rejoicing or boasting expressed by this 
verb is indicated here by 1^ ; commonly, in the iSew Testament, 
the matter of the boasting is indicated by sv, sometimes by 
u~so and TTSO/. The glory of Grod may mean that glory which 
God gives, or that glory which he possesses. In either case, it 
refers to the exaltation and blessedness secured to the believer, 
who is to share in the glory of his divine Redeemer. "The 
glory which thou gavcst me," said our Lord, "I have given 
them," John xvii. 22. There is a joyful confidence expressed 
in these words, an assurance of ultimate salvation, which is the 
appropriate effect of justification. We are authorized and 
bound to feel sure that, having through Jesus Christ been 
reconciled to God, we shall certainly be saved. This is only a 
becoming confidence in the merit of his sacrifice, and in the sin 
cerity of God s love. This confidence is not founded on our 
selves, neither on the preposterous idea that we deserve the 
favour of God, nor the equally preposterous idea that we have in 
ourselves strength to persevere in faith or obedience. Our con 
fidence is solely on the merit of Christ, and the gratuitous and 
infinite love of God. Although this assurance is the legitimate 
effect of reconciliation, and the want of it is evidence of weak 
ness, still in this, as in other respects, the actual state of the 
believer generally falls far short of the ideal. He ever lives 
below his privileges, and goes limping and halting, when he 
should mount up as with the wings of the eagle. Still it is 

ROMANS V. 3, 4. 209 

important for him to know that assurance is not an unseemly 
presumption, but a privilege and duty. " Hie evertuntur," 
says Calvin, " pcstilentissiina duo sophistarum dcgmata, alte- 
rum, quo jubcnt Ciiristianos esse contentos conjcctura morali 
in percipienda erga se Dei gratia, altcrum, quo tradunt omnes 
esse inccrtos finalis perseverentiae. Atqui nisi et certa in pro> 
sens intelligentia, et in futurum constans ae ininiiiic dubia sit 
persuasio, quis gloriari auderet?" 

VERSES 3, 4. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations 
also. Not only do we rejoice in this hope of future glory, but 
we glory in tribulations also. Since our relation to God is 
changed, the relation of all things to us is changed. Afflictions, 
which before were the expressions of God s displeasure, arc now 
the benevolent and beneficent manifestations of his love. And 
instead of being inconsistent with our iiiial relation to him, they 
serve to prove that lie regards and loves us as his children ; Putin. 
viii. IS, Jleb. xii. U. Tribulations, therefore, although for the 
present not joyous, but grievous, become to the believer matter 
of ]o\* and thankfulness. The words xa jycb infra fv :v/?~ d-Al^ S&tv 
do not mean that we glory in the midst of affliction.", but on 
account of them. They are themselves the matter or ground 
of the glorying. So the Jews are said to glory (iV) in the law, 
others glory in men, the believer glories in the Lord; so con 
stantly. Afflictions themselves are to the Christian a ground of 
glorying; he feels them to be an honour and a blessing. This 
is a sentiment often expressed in the word of God. Our Lord 
says. "Blessed are they who mourn;" Blessed are the perse 
cuted:" Blessed arc ye when men <hall revile you." He calls 
on his suffering disciples to rejoice and be exceeding glad when 
they are afflicted. Matt. v. 4, 10 VI. The apostles departed 
from the Jewish council, u rejoicing that they were counted 
worthy to suffer shame for Christ s name." Acts v. 41. Peter 
calls upon Christians to rejoice when they are partakers of 
Christ s sufferings, and pronounces them happy when they are 
reproached for his sake. 1 Pet. iv. lo, 14. And Paul says, 
"Most gladly therefore will I glory in (on account of) my 
infirmities," (i. e. my sufferings.) "I take pleasure," he savs, 
"in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in 
distresses for Christ s sake." 2 Cor. xii. 10, 11. This is not 

210 ROMANS V. 5. 

irrational or fanatical. Christians do not glory in suffering, as 
such, or for its own sake, but as the Bible teaches, 1. Because 
they consider it an honour to suffer for Christ. 2. Because they 
rejoice in being the occasion of manifesting his power in their 
support and deliverance ; and, 3. Because suffering is made the 
means of their own sanctification and preparation for usefulness 
here, and for heaven hereafter. The last of these reasons is 
that to which the apostle refers in the context. We glory in 
afflictions, he says, because affliction worketli patience, UXO/WVTJ. 
constancy. It calls into exercise that strength and firmness 
evinced in patient endurance of suffering, and in perseverance 
in fidelity to truth and duty, under the severest trials. And 
this constancy worJceth experience, doxf/juj. This word means, 
1. Trial, as in 2 Cor. viii. 2, "In a great trial of affliction." 

1. e. in affliction which is a trial, that which puts men to the test. 

2. Evidence, or proof, as in 2 Cor. xiii. 3, " Since ye seek a 
proof of Christ speaking in me." Compare 2 Cor. ii. 9, Philip, 
ii. 22. This would give a good sense here : Constancy produces 
evidence of the fidelity of God, or of our fidelity. 3. The word 
is used mctonymically for the result of trial, i. e. approbation, 
or that which is proved worthy of approbation : doxiuy est 
qualitas ejus, qui est doxtjuot;. Bengal. It is tried integrity, a 
state of mind which has stood the test. Compare James i. 12, 
"Blessed is the man that endurcth temptation, (oc 5~o/jtyse 
nstpaffiuoy;) for when he is tried (ort duxttio^ j^oni^o^] he shall 
receive the crown of life." I -otto^y, the endurance of trial, 
therefore, makes a man d6xe/j.o$; in other words, it worketh 
3oxt(jr/j. It produces a strong, tested faith. Hence the parallel 
expression, TO doxlfjuov uiwj^ ri^ TZ KJTZCO*, the trying of your 
faith. 1 Pet. i. 7. And this ooy.>/j:/j, well tested faith, or this 
endurance of trial produces hope; tends to confirm and 
strengthen the hope of the glory of God, which w r e owe to our 
justification through Jesus Christ. 

VERSE 5. And hope malteth not asltamed, (xaTata%uvc.) Not 
to make ashamed, is not to put us to the shame of disappoint 
ment. The hope of the believer, says Calvin, "habet certissi- 
mum salutis exitum." It certainly eventuates in salvation. 
See ix. 33. The hope which true believers entertain, founded 
on the very nature of pious exercises, shall never disappoint 

ROMANS V. 6. 211 

them, Ps. xx ii. 5. The ground of this assurance, however, is 
not the strength of our purpose, or confidence in our own good 
ness, but the love of God. The latter clause of the verse assigns 
the reason why the Christian s hope shall not be found delusive; 
it is because the love of Crod is sited abroad in our hearts, ly 
the Holy Gliost given unto us. The love of God is his love to 
us, and not ours to him, as appears from the following verses, 
in which the apostle illustrates the greatness and frecncss of 
this love, by a reference to the un worthiness of its objects. To 
shed abroad, (ixxiyjJT<u, it has been, and continues to be shed 
abroad.) is to communicate abundantly, and hence to evince 
clearly, Acts ii. IT, x. 45, Titus iii. 6. This manifestation of 
divine love is not any external revelation of it in the works of 
Providence, or even in redemption, but it is in our hearts, ev 
ra?c / // 0:. c ~/// -<^, diffused abroad within our hearts, where ^, 
in, is not used for s/c, into. "The love of God," says Pliilippi, 
"does not descend upon us as dew in drops, but as a stream 
which spreads itself abroad through the whole soul, filling it 
with the consciousness of his presence and favour. And this 
inward persuasion that we are the objects of the love of God, is 
not the mere result of the examination of evidence, nor is it a 
vain delusion, but it is produced by the Holy Ghost: "The 
Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits, that we arc the 
children of God," Rom. viii. 10, 2 Cor. i. 21, 22, Eph. i. 14. 
As, however, the Spirit never contradicts himself, he never 
bears witness that "the children of the devil" are the children 
of God; that is, that the unholy, the disobedient, the proud or 
malicious, are the objects of the divine favour. Any reference, 
therefore, by the immoral, to the witness of the Spirit in their 
favour, must be vain and delusive. 

VERSE 0. For -when we were ijet without strength. The con 
nection of this verse, as indicated by ffi.f>, is with vcr. 5. We 
are the object of God s love, for Christ died for us. The gift 
of Christ to die on our behalf, is everywhere in Scripture 
re-presented as the highest possible or conceivable proof of the 
love of God to sinners. John iii. 16, 1 John iii. 10, iv. 9, 10. 
The objection that the Church doctrine represents the death of 
Christ as exciting or procuring the love of an unloving God, is 
without the shadow of foundation. The Scriptures represent 

212 ROMANS V. 6. 

the love of God to sinners as independent of the work of Christ, 
and anterior to it. He so loved us as to give his only begotten 
Son to reconcile our salvation with his justice. In the Greek 
of this passage, ere ^ao Ao. ^roc o^rtov YJ[IOJI> dadzi>o)y, the err, 
yet, is out of its natural place; it belongs to OI^TCOU aoti^tiiv, 
(as in vcr. 8, Izv d/mpTwAwv,) and not to Xftiaro^. Such tra- 
jections of the particles are not unusual even in classical Greek. 
See Winer, 65, 4 : Christ died for us, when we were yet weak. 
This slight irregularity has given rise to considerable diversity 
of readings, even in the older manuscripts. Some, instead of 
err at the beginning of the verse, have si ys or zc-* rr, and place 
en after aa&zvibv; others have ere both at the beginning and at 
the end of the clause. The great majority of editors and com 
mentators retain the common reading;, and refer the lie to 

rD " 

oW^v, c., as is done in our version. We being yet weak. The 
weakness here intended is spiritual weakness, destitution of 
strength for what is spiritually good, a weakness arising from, 
and consisting in sinfulness. The same idea, therefore, is ex 
pressed in ver. 8, by the words Ir. fW^roV.rov, when we were 
yet sinners. What, in Isa. liii. 4, is expressed by the LXX. in 
the words TV.:; b.u.o.n~>.tj.^ Yj>wrj c?0. , he bears our sins, is, in 
Matt. viii. 17, expressed by saying, rc aT Vsi/s. V/c /J/JLOJV s/.afc, 
lie took our weaknesses. In due time, yjj-u. xacoov^ are not to 
be connected witli the preceding participial, we being weak 
according 1 to (or considering) the time, secundum rationem 
temporix, as Calvin and Luther, after Chrysostom and Theo- 
doret, render it, but witli the following verb, aTreQave, he d u .d 
Kara Kaipov. This may mean, at the appointed, or at the appro 
priate time. The forimT is moiv in accordance with the analogy 
of Scripture, Christ canio at th(j tiin; appointed by tlie Father. 
The same idea is expressed in Gal. iv. 4, by "the fulness of 
iinio;" coni])arc Kpli. i. 10, 1 Tim. ii. 0, Titus i. 3, John v. 4. 
Of course the appointed was uls > tlu; appropriate time. The 
question only concerns the form in which the- idea is expressed. 
He died, uirep dae/3a)v,for tin , unyodly. As th(; apostle bad said, 
when we were weak, it would have been natural for him to 
say, Christ died for usj rather than that he died for the 
unjodlij, had it not been his design to exalt the gratuitous 
nature of God s love. Christ died for us the ungodly ; and 

ROMANS V. 6. 213 

therein, as the apostle goes on to show, is the mystenousness 
of the divine love revealed. That God should love the good, 
the righteous, the pure, the godiy. is what -:ajvi; 

but that the infiniteiy Holy shou] i love the j y, an ; give 

his Si-n for their redemption, is the . iers. 

" Herein is i jve. not that ^ 

and sent his Son i - 1 -J" ---^ 

iv. 10. A- the i her child, with which God 

the attr ictive qualities of th -.: chii 


i .-. : -.I::.-/. nts y is 

: rled -: its being thus _ I 

. ... i.-; W >ul i 10*. IS r;;V -^ . . 

con-: . . But 

a. the ;; --.; 
s: ir, -y 

-. Chris: i. f-yr \ : .-. . . - 


:...:.. :: :.:. 

fore, if thi: that the .Scrip: 

with : ur :: ; 

_.. -:. G , ..::- -:- 3. >:. :- . -. -s in :: tLo meaa- 

ir.g Cf 2>Tf. 

214 ROMANS V. 7. 

VERSE 7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, ye\ 
per adventure for a good man some would even dare to die. The 
.greatness and frceness of the love of God is illustrated in this 
and the following verse, by making still more prominent the 
unworthiness of its objects: It is hardly to be expected that 
any one would die. in the place of a merely righteous man, 
though for the good man, this self-denial might possibly be 
exercised. But we, so far from being good, were not even 
righteous; we were sinners, ungodly, and enemies. The dif 
ference between the words -righteous and good, as here used, is 
that which, in common usage, is made between just and kind. 
The former is applied to a man who does all that the law or 
justice can demand of him, the latter to him who is governed 
by love. The just man commands respect ; the good man calls 
forth affection. Respect being a cold and feeble principle, com 
pared to love, the sacrifices to which it leads are comparatively 
slight. This distinction between oixaco^ and a^afto^ is illustrated 
by that which Cicero, De Offieiis, Lib. III. 15, makes between 
Justus and bonus: "Si vir bonus is cst qui prodest quibus 
potest, nocct ncmini, recte justum virum, bonum non facile 
* reperiemus." The interpretation given above is the one gene 
rally adopted; it suits the context, the signification of the 
words, and the structure of the passage. The design of the 
apostle is to represent the death of Christ as an unexampled 
manifestation of love. Among men, it was never heard of that 
one died for a man simply just; the most that human nature 
could be expected to accomplish is, that one should die for his 
benefactor, or for the good man one so good as to be charac 
terized and known as the good. There is evidently a climax in 
the passage, as indicated by the opposition between ($ and 
ra^#) scarcely and possibly. The passage, however, has been 
differently interpreted. Luther takes both dtxaiou and TOO 
afa&o[) as neuters: "Scarcely for the right will any one die, 
possibly for something good some one might dare to die." 
Calvin makes no distinction between the words : " Rarissimum 
sane inter homines exemplum exstat, ut pro justo quis mori 
sustineat quanquam illud nonnunquam acciderc possit." Meyer 
takes dexaioUj as it is without the article, as masculine, but 
TOL* afatto r j as neuter, and renders the latter clause of the 

ROMANS V. 8, 9. 2 15 

verse interrogatively: "Hardly for a righteous man will one 
die, for who can easily bring himself to die for what is good 
(TO dfa&6^, the good)?" The common interpretation is per 
fectly satisfactory, and to these, other objections more or less 
decisive may be adduced. Instead of or/aio j, the Syriac reads 
dolxoi> / Scarcely for an unrighteous man will one die. But 
this is not only unauthorized, but the sense is not so appro 

VERSE 8. But Grod commendeth his love towards us, in that* 
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Commendeth, 
a ^AarfjO ,, proves, or renders conspicuous; see iii. 5. What 
renders the love of God so peculiarly conspicuous, is his send 
ing his Son to die, not for the good, nor even for the righteous, 
but for sinners, for those who were deserving of wrath instead 
of love. The word sowers expresses the idea of moral turpi 
tude, and consequent exposure to the divine displeasure. It 
was for, or in the place of those who were at once corrupt, and 
the enemies of God, that Christ died. 

VEUSK D. Mueli more than, bcin<j now justified by I/is Hood, 
we shall be saved from wrath through him. This and the fol 
lowing verse draw the obvious inference, from the freeness and 
greatness of the love of God, as just exhibited, that believers 
shall be ultimately saved. It is an argument a fortiori. If tlio 
greater benefit has been bestowed, the less will not be withheld. 
If Christ has died for his enemies, ho will surely save his 
friends. Being justified. To be justified is more than to bo 
pardoned; it includes the idea of reconciliation or restoration 
to the favour of God, on the ground of a satisfaction to justice, 
and the participation of the consequent blessings. This idea is 
prominently presented in the following verse. We are justified 
by his blood. This expression, as remarked above (chap. iv. 3,) 
exhibits the true ground of our acceptance with God. It is not 
our works, nor our faith, nor our new obedience, nor the work 
of Christ in us, but what he has done for us; chap. iii. 25, 
Eph. ii. 13, lleb. ix. 12. Having by the death of Christ been 
brought into the relation of peace with God, beiiv now regarded 

O O o 

for his sake as righteous, we, shall be saved from wrath through 
him. He will not leave his work unfinished; whom he justifies, 
them he also glorifies. The word wrath, of course, nocans the 

216 ROMANS Y. 10. 

effects of wrath or punishment, those sufferings with which the 
divine displeasure visits sin; Matt. iii. 7, 1 Thess. i. 10, Rom. 
i. 18. Not only is our justification to be ascribed to Christ, but 
our salvation is through him. Salvation, in a general sense, 
includes justification; but when distinguished from it, as in this 
lase, it means the consummation of that work of which justifi 
cation is the commencement. It is a preservation from all the 
causes of destruction; a deliverance from the evils which sur 
round us here, or threaten us hereafter; and an introduction 
into the blessedness of heaven. Christ thus saves us by his 
providence and Spirit, and by his constant intercession ; chap, 
viii. 34, Ileb. iv. 14, 15, vii. 25, Jude v. 24, 1 John ii. 1. 
Olshausen here also introduces his idea of subjective justifica 
tion, and says that the meaning of this passage is, "If God 
regenerates a man, we may hope that he will uphold and per 
fect him, and reduce his liability to apostasy to a minimum." 
According to this, to justify is to regenerate, and to save from 
wrath is to reduce our liability to apostasy to a minimum. 

VERSE 10. For if, ivhen ive were yet enemies, we were recon 
ciled Crod l>ij the death of his 8on, &c. This verse contains 
nearly the same idea as ver. 9, presented in a different form. 
The word enemies is applied to men not only as descriptive of 
their moral character, but also of the relation in which they 
stand to God as the objects of his displeasure. There is not 
only a wicked opposition of the sinner to God, but a holy 
opposition of God to the sinner. The preceding verse presents 
the former of these ideas, arid this verse the latter most promi 
nently. There it is said, though sinners, we are justified; 
and here, though enemies, we are reconciled. The word 
l%& pol has the same passive sense in xi. 28. And this is the 
principal difference between the two verses. To be reconciled 
to God, in such connections, docs not mean to have our enmity 
to God removed, but his enmity to us taken out of the way, to 
have him rendered propitious, or his righteous justice satisfied. 
This is evident, 1. Because the reconciliation is ascribed to the 
death of Christ, or his blood, ver. 9. But, according to the 
constant representations of Scripture, the death of Christ is a 
sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, or to propitiate the favour of 
God, and not immediately a means of sanctification. The former 

ROMANS V. 10. 217 

is its direct object, the latter an incidental result. This is the 
very idea of a sacrifice. The most liberal commentators, that 
is, those least bound by any theological system, admit this to 
be the doctrine of Scripture, and of this particular passage. 
Thus Meyer: " Christi Tod tilgte nicht die Feindschaft der 
Menschen gegen Gott ;" that is, u The death of Christ does not 
remove the enmity of men towards God, but as that which 
secures the favour of God, it removes his enmity towards men, 
whence the removal of our enmity towards him follows as a con 
sequence." So also Ruckert: u The reconciled here can only 
be God, whose wrath towards sinners is appeased by the death 
of his Son. On man s part nothing has happened; no internal 
change, no step towards God: all this follows as the conse 
quence of the reconciliation here spoken of." De AVette also 
says, that "xr//^ must mean the removal of the wrath of 
God, and consequently the reconciliation is of God to man, 
which not only here, but in iii. 25, 1 Cor. v. IS, 10, Col. i. "21, 
Eph. ii. 16, is referred to the atoning death of Christ." 2. The 
object of the verse is to present us as enemies, or the objects 
of God s displeasure. If while we were the objects of the 
divine displeasure, says the apostle, that displeasure has been 
removed, or God propitiated by the death of his Son, how 
much more shall we be saved, &e. That is, if God has been 
reconciled to us, he will save us. ). This is the proper mean 
ing of the word, 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. See also Matt. v. 24, " First 
go and be reconciled to thy brother," i. e. go and appease his 
anger, or remove the ground of his displeasure; compare Hob. 
ii. IT, " He is a priest to make reconciliation (s^ TO DAoxsad-cu) 
for the sins of the people." It is the appropriate business of 
a priest to propitiate God, and not to reform men. See also 
1 Sam. xxix. 4: Wherewith should he reconcile himself (oca).- 
Xa^fJirat) to his master? should it not be with the heads of these 
men?" Eph. ii. 16, "That he might reconcile (dnoxaraUd^r/) 
both unto God by the cross," not remove their enmity to God, 
but secure for them his favour and access to the Father, ver. 18. 
The verbs y.o-auAaaM, ota/Jdoaio, and dxoxaTaAAaaaco, are used 
interchangeably. The main idea, of course, as expressed by 
, to change, is slightly modified by the force of the 

218 ROMANS Y. 10. 

several prepositions with which it is combined to change xaz<i 
in relation to, otd between, 6.716 from. The three verbs, however, 
are all used to express the idea of reconciliation, i. e. changing 
the relation of parties at enmity, so that they are at peace. 
Whether this reconciliation is effected by the propitiation of the 
justly offended party, or by a change of feeling in the offender, 
or both, depends on the connection. 4. The context obviously 
requires this sense here. "Being reconciled by the death of 
his Son," evidently corresponds to the phrase, " Being justified 
by his blood," The latter cannot mean that our feelings towards 
God are changed, but is admitted to express the idea that we 
are forgiven and restored to the divine favour. Such therefore 
must be the meaning of the former. Besides, it is the object 
of the apostle to illustrate the greatness and frecness of the love 
of God, from the un worthiness of its objects. While sinners, 
we are justified; while enemies, we are reconciled. To make 
the passage mean, that when enemies we laid aside our enmity, 
and became the friends of God. would be to make it contradict 
the very assertion and design of the apostle. 

We shall be saved by his life. This rather unusual mode of 
expression was doubtless adopted for the sake of its correspond 
ence to the words, by It Is death, in the preceding clause, arid is 
a striking example of Paul s fondness for such antithetical con 
structions ; see chap. iv. 25, Gal. iii. 3, 2 Cor. iii. 6. The mean 
ing is obvious: If while we were enemies, we were restored to 
the favour of God by the death of his Son, the fact that he 
lives will certainly secure our final salvation. 1. His life is a 
pledge and security for the life of all his people ; see John 
xiv. 19, "Because I live, ye shall live also;" Horn. viii. 11, 
1 Cor. xv. 23. 2. He is able to save to the uttermost, "because 
he ever lives to make intercession for us," Ileb. vii. 25, &c. 
3. At his resurrection, all power in heaven and earth was com 
mitted to his hands, Matt, xxviii. 18 ; and this power he exer 
cises for the salvation of his people ; Eph. i. 22, He is head 
over all things, for the benefit of his Church; Rev. i. 18, Heb. 
ii. 10, 1 Cor. xv. 25, &c.; see also the passages cited on the 
last clause of ver. 9. There is, therefore, most abundant 
ground for confidence for the final blessedness of believers, not 

ROMANS V. 11. 219 

only in the amazing love of God, by which, though sinners and 
enemies, they have been justified and reconciled by the death 
of his Son, but also in the consideration that this same Saviour 
that died for them still lives, and ever lives to sanctify, protect, 
and save them. 

VERSE 11. yot only so, but we rejoice in G-od, tJirowjh our 
Lord Jesus Christ; o?j [JLOVOV os, d//// /.at 7.u:jy^ on.i^o f . lv ~<u Ozw.. 
There are three ways of explaining the participle xay^wvej/or; 
the one is to make it antithetical to xaTaHafSVTSZi 11() t only 
reconciled, but exulting in God, shall we be saved. But this 
is not only an unnatural form of expression, but in VCT. 0, 
xaraMaj Si TSZ is not a qualification of ffco&qaojjisd-a. The moan 
ing is not, We shall be saved reconciled, but, Since wo are 
reconciled we shall be saved. Another interpretation supplies 
the verb from the preceding clause, Not <>nlv -hall we bo 
saved, but saved rejoicing in God. The best sense is obtained 
by supplying i<rti.iy after the participle, as is assumed in the 
English version, and advocated by the majority of commenta 
tors: ; We shall not only be ultimately saved, but wo now glory 
in God. The benefits of redemption are not all future. It is 
not only deliverance from future wrath, but the jov and irlory 
of the present favour and love of (rod, that we owe to Jesus 
Christ. Thus the Vulgate, which renders /.(Viywnzw. as ;i verb, 
(wd et gloriamurj) as does Luther, \Vir riihmen uns audi 
Gottes. A\ o glory in (rod through ur Lord >f>x>t* ( 1 />/-/*f. 
That is, it is to him that we are indebted for this jo\- in <i"d 
as our (I o-l and portion. T//r>!>/// >"//<, /n we Inn*,- now received 
atoneiiit iit. This is the reason \vliy wo owe our present u loi V- 
ing in (rod to Christ; it is because ho has secured our recon 
ciliation. The word rendered by our translators, atonement, is 
XdLTfJL/JMfT], the derivative of %o.Ta)3AG(no, proj x-i lv I onderod in 
the context, as elsewhere, to reconcile. The proper rondonnir, 
therefore, of the noun would be reconciliation: Through whom 
we have received reconciliation, that is, have boon reconciled. 
This verse therefore brings us back to ver. 2. There it is said, 
Having peace with God, we rejoice in hope of his glory; and 
here, Being reconciled, we glory or rejoice in God. Salvation 
is begun on earth. 

220 ROMANS V. 111. 


1. Peace with God is the result of that system of religion 
which alone, by providing at once for the satisfaction of divine 
justice and the sanctification of the human heart, is suited to 
the character of God and the nature of man. All history 
shows that no system other than the gospel has ever produced 
this peace, vcr. 1. 

2. All the peculiar blessings of redemption are inseparably 
connected with and grow out of each other. Those who are jus 
tified have peace with God, access to his presence, joy under the 
most adverse circumstances, assurance of God s love, and cer 
tainty of final salvation; see the whole section, and compare 
chap. viii. 30. 

8. The Holy Ghost has intimate access to the human soul, 
controlling its exercises, exciting its emotions, and leading it 
into the knowledge of the truth, ver. 5. 

4. The assurance of hope is founded on the consciousness of 
pious affections, and the Avitness of the Holy Spirit ; and is a 
grace to which believers may and ought to attain, vs. 4, 5. 

5. The perseverance of the saints is to be attributed not to 
the strength of their love to God, nor to anything else in them 
selves, but solely to the free and infinite love of God in Christ 
Jesus. The praise is therefore no more due to them, than com 
mendation to a helpless infant for its mother s sleepless care. 
"Can a woman forget her sucking child," &c., vs. 6 10. 

6. Redemption is not by truth or moral influence, but by 
blood, vs. 9, 10. 

7. The primary object of the death of Christ was to render 
God propitious, to satisfy his justice, and not to influence human 
conduct, or display the divine character, for the sake of the 
moral effect of that exhibition. Among its infinitely diversified 
results, all of which were designed, some of the most important, 
no doubt, are the sanctification of men, the display of the divine 
perfections, the prevention of sin, the happiness of the universe, 
&c. But the object of a sacrifice, as such, is to propitiate, vs. 9, 
10, Heb. ii. 17. 

8. All we have or hope for, we owe to Jesus Christ peace, 
communion with God, joy, hope, eternal life; see the whole 
section and the whole Bible. 

ROMANS V. 1221. 221 


1. If we are the genuine children of God, we have peace of 
conscience, a sense of God s favour, and freedom of access to 
his throne. We endure afflictions with patience. Instead of 
making us distrustful of our heavenly Father, they afford us 
new proofs of his love, and strengthen our hope of his mercy. 
And we shall have also, more or less of the assurance of God s 
love, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, vs. 1 5. 

2. None of these fruits of reconciliation with God can be ob 
tained until the spirit of self-righteousness and self-dependence 
is removed. They are secured through faith, and by Christ 
Jesus, and not by our own works or merit, ver. 1, &c. 

3. The hope of the hypocrite is like a spider s web ; the 
hope of the believer is an anchor to his soul, sure and stead 
fast, ver. 5. 

4. Assurance of the love of God never produces self-com 
placency or pride: but always humility, self-abasement, wonder, 
gratitude, and praise. The believer sees that the mysterious 
fountain of this love is in the divine mind; it is not in himself, 
who is ungodly and a sinner, vs. 8 10. 

5. As the love of God in the gift of his Son, and the love of 
Christ in dying for us, are the peculiar characteristics of the 
gospel, no one can be a true Christian on whom these truths do 
not exert a governing influence, vs. 0, 10; compare 2 Cor. v. 14. 

6. True religion is joyful, vs. 2, 11. 

ROMANS V. 1221. 


I. Scope of the passage. The design of this section is tho 
illustration of the doctrine of the justification of sinners on the 
ground of the righteousness of Christ, by a reference to tho 
condemnation of men for the sin of Adam. That such is its 
design is evident, 1. From the context. Paul has been engaged 
from the beginning of the epistle in inculcating one main idea. 
viz. that the ground of the sinner s acceptance with God is not 
in himself, but the merit of Christ. And in the preceding 

222 ROMANS V. 1221. 

verses lie had said, "we are justified by his blood," ver. 9: by 
his death we are restored to the divine favour, ver. 10; and 
through him, i. e. by one man, we have received reconciliation, 
that is, are pardoned and justified, ver. 11. As this idea of 
men s beino- regarded and treated, not according to their own 

O CD ^ 

merit, but the merit of another, is contrary to the common mode 
of thinking among men, and especially contrary to their self- 
righteous efforts to obtain the divine favour, the apostle illus 
trates and enforces it by an appeal to the great analogous fact 
in the history of the world. 2. From an inspection of vs. 12, 
18, 19, which contain the whole point and substance of the 
comparison. Verses 13 IT are virtually a parenthesis ; and 
vs. 20, 21, contain two remarks, merely incidental to the dis 
cussion. Verses 12, 18, 19, must therefore contain the main 
idea of the passage. In the 12th, only one side of the com 
parison is stated; but in vs. 18, 19, it is resumed and carried 
out : As by the offence of one all are condemned, so by the 
righteousness of one all arc justified. This, almost in the words 
of the apostle, is the simple meaning of vs. 18, 19, and makes 
the point of the comparison and scope of the passage perfectly 
clear. 3. The design of the passage must be that on which all 
its parts bear, the point towards which they all converge. The 
course of the argument, as will appear in the sequel, bears so 
uniformly and lucidly on the point just stated, that the attempt 
to make it bear on any other involves the whole passage in 
confusion. All that the apostle says tends to the illustration 
of his declaration, As we are condemned on account of what 
Adam did, we are justified on account of what Christ did. The 
illustration of this point, therefore, must be the design and 
scope of the whole. 

It is frequently and confidently said that the design of the 
passage is to exalt our views of the blessings procured by 
Christ, by showing that they are greater than the evils occa 
sioned by the fall. But this is not only improbable, but impos 
sible. 1. Because the super abounding of the grace of the gospel 
is not expressly stated until ver. 20. That is, not until the 
whole discussion is ended; and it is introduced there merely 
incidentally, as involved in the apostle s answer to an objection 
Lo his argument, implied in the question, For what purpose did 

ROMANS V. 1221. 223 

the law enter? Is it possible that the main design of a passage 
should be disclosed only in the reply to an incidental objection? 
The pith and point of the discussion would be just what they 
are now, had no such objection been suggested or answered; 
yet, if this view of the subject is correct, had the objection not 
been presented, the main design of the passage would have been 
unexpressed and undiscoverable. 2. The idea of the superiority 
of the blessings procured by Christ to the evils .occasioned by 
Adam, although first expressly stated in ver. 20, is alluded to 
and implied in vs. 1G, 17. But these verses, it is admitted, 
belong to a parenthesis. It is conceded on all hands, that 
vs. lo, 14, are designed to confirm the statement of ver. 12, and 
that vs. L~> IT, are subordinate to the last clause of ver. 14, 
and contain an illustration of its meaning. It is therefore not 
only admitted, but frequently and freely asserted, that vs. 12, 
18, 19, contain the point and substance of the whole passage, 
vs. lo IT being a parenthesis. Yet, in vs. 12, IS, 19, the 
superabounding of the grace of Christ is not even hinted. Can 
the main design of a passage be contained in a parenthesis, and 
not in the passage itself? The very nature of a parenthesis is, 
that it contains something which mav be left out of a passage, 

O i/ 

and leave the sense entire. ]>ut can the main design and scope 
of an author be left out, and his meaning be left complete? If 
not, it is impossible that an idea contained only in a parenthesis 
should be the main design of the passage. The idea is in itself 
true and important, but the mistake consists in exalting a corol 
lary into the scope and object of the whole discussion. The 
confusion and mistake in the exposition of a passage, conse 
quent on an entire misapprehension of its design, may be 
readily imagined. 

II. Tin 1 connection. The design of the passage being the 
illustration of the doctrine of justification by the righteousness 
of Christ, previously established, the connection is natural and 
obvious: WHEREFORE, as by one man we have been brought 
under condemnation, so by one man we are brought into a state 
of justification and life. The wherefore (o:a rovro) is conse 
quently to be taken as illative, or marking an inference from 
the whole of the previous part of the epistle, and especially 
from the preceding verses. WJierefore we are justified by the 

224 ROMANS V. 1221. 

righteousness of one man, even as we were brought into con 
demnation by the sin of one man. It would seem that only a 
misapprehension of the design of the passage, or an unwilling 
ness to admit it, could have led to the numerous forced and 
unauthorized explanations of these words. Some render them 
moreover; others, in respect to this, &c. 

III. The course of the argument. As the point to be illus 
trated is the justification of sinners on the ground of the right 
eousness of Christ, and the source of illustration is the fall of 
all men in Adam, the passage begins with a statement of this 
latter truth: As on account of one man, death has passed on 
all men; so on account of one, c., ver. 12. Before carrying 
out the comparison, however, the apostle stops to establish his 
position, that all men arc condemned on account of the sin of 
Adam. His proof is this : The infliction of a penalty implies 
the transgression of a law, since sin is not imputed where there 
is no law, ver. 13. All mankind are subject to death or penal 
evils; therefore all men are regarded as transgressors of a law. 
ver. 13. This law or covenant, which brings death on all men, 
is not the law of Moses, because multitudes died before that was 
given, ver. 14. Nor is it the law of nature written upon the 
heart, since multitudes die who have never violated even that 
law, ver. 14. Therefore, as neither of these laws is sufficiently 
extensive to embrace all the subjects of the penalty, we must 
conclude that men are subject to death on account of Adam ; 
that is, it is for the offence of one that many die, vs. 13, 14. 
Adam is, therefore, a type of Christ. As to this important 
point, there is a striking analogy between the fall and redemp 
tion. We are condemned in Adam, and we are justified in 
Christ. But the cases are not completely parallel. In the first 
place, the former dispensation is much more mysterious than 
the hitter ; for if by the offence of one many die, MUCH MORE 
by the righteousness of one shall many live, ver. 15. In the 
second place, the benefits of the one dispensation far exceed the 
evils of the other. For the condemnation was for one offence ; 
the justification is from many. Christ saves us from much more 
than the guilt of Adam s sin, ver. 16. In the third place, 
Christ not only saves us from death, that is, not only frees us 
from the evils consequent on our own and Adam s sin, but 

ROMANS V. 12. 225 

introduces us into a state of positive and eternal blessedness, 
ver. 17. Or this verse may be considered as an amplification 
of the sentiment of ver. 15. 

Having thus limited and illustrated the analogy between 
Adam and Christ, the apostle resumes and carries the compari 
son fully out: THEREFORE, as on account of one man all mer 
are condemned; so on account of one, all are justified, ver. 18. 
For, as through the disobedience of one. many arc regarded 
and treated as sinners; so through the righteousness of one 
many are regarded and treated as righteous, ver. 1!>. This 
then is the sense of the passage men are condemned for the 
sin of one man, and justified for the righteousness of another. 
If men are thus justified by the obedience of Christ, for what 
purpose is the law . It entered that sin might abound, i.e. that 
men might see how much it abounded; since by the law is the 
knowledge of sin. The law has its use, although men arc not 
justified by their own obedience to it, ver. 20. As the law dis 
closes, and even aggravates the dreadful triumphs of sin reign 
ing, in union with death, over the human family, the irospel 
displays the far more effectual and extensive triumphs of irraco 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, ver. 21. 

According to this vi-cw of the passage it consists of five parts. 
The first, contained in ver. 12, presents the first member of tho 
comparison between Christ and Adam. The second contains 
the proof of the position assumed in ver. 12, and embraces 
vs. I- }, 14, which are therefore subordinate to ver. 12. A<l<tm, 
thcrefnrc, w a ti/pe of Christ. The third, embracing vs. 1 ") 17, 
is a commentary on this declaration, by which it is at once 
illustrated and limited. The fourth, in vs. IS, 1!), resumes and 
carries out the comparison commenced in ver. 12. Tho fifth 
forms the conclusion of the chapter, and contains a statement 
of the design and effect of the law, and of the results of the 
gospel, suggested by the preceding comparison, vs. 20, 21. 


VERSE 12, WJicrcfore, as ?>>/ one man sin entered into the 

world, and death by s!n, &c. The force of o:a ro^ro, wherefore, 

has already been pointed out, when speaking of the connection 

of this passage with the preceding : It follows, from what has 


226 ROMANS V. 12. 

been said jf the method of justification, that as by one man all 
became sinners, so by one are all constituted righteous. This 
passage, therefore, is the summation of all that has gone before. 
As (ubffxef),) obviously indicates a comparison or parallel. There 
is however no corresponding clause beginning with so, to com 
plete the sentence. Examples of similar incomplete compari 
sons may be found in Matt. xxv. 14, with (JUG-SO, and in 1 Tim. 
i. 3, with xd&co^. It is however so obvious that the illustration 
begun in this verse is resumed, and fully stated in vs. 18, 19, 
that the vast majority of commentators agree that we must seek 
in those verses the clause which answers to this verse. The 
other explanations are unnecessary or unsatisfactory. 1. Some 
say that this verse is complete in itself, As by one man sin 
entered into the world, arid death by sin, so also death passed 
on all men, because all sinned. The two insuperable objections 
to this explanation are, first, that it does violence to the words. 
It makes the apostle say what he does not say. It makes xat 
oi)T(o~, and so, to mean the same with O^JTCO xa.t, so also, which is 
impossible. And secondly, it is inconsistent with the whole 
design and argument of the passage. Instead of having a com 
parison between Christ and Adam, the comparison would be 
between Adam and other men : As he sinned and died, so they 
sinned and died. 2. Others say, that we find in the last clause 
of ver. 1-4, in substance, although not in form, the apodosis of 
this clause: As by one man sin entered into the world, so 
Adam is the type of Christ. But this is obviously inconsistent 
with the wording and connection of the clause in vcr. 18. 
3. De Wcttc proposes, after Cocceius, Eisner, and a few others, 
to make the <JJG-ZD of this verse introduce not the first, but the 
second member of the comparison, the first being to be supplied 
in thought, or borrowed from what precedes : We receive right 
eousness and life through Christ, as by one man sin entered into 
the world; or, Wherefore Christ stands in a relation to man 
kind analogous to that of Adam, as by one man, &c. But it is 
plain that no reader could imagine that Paul intended so essen 
tial a member of the comparison to be conjectured or framed 
from the preceding discussion. He does not leave his readers 
to supply one half of a sentence; he himself completes it in 
ver. 18. 

ROMANS V. 12. 227 

By one man sin entered into the ivorld, oi ivoc dv&pcoTrou,) 

x.r.X. These words clearly declare a causal relation between 
the one man, Adam, and the entrance of sin into the world. 
Benecke, who has revived the doctrine of the preexistence of 
souls, supposes that Adam was the leader of the spirits who in 
the preexistent state sinned, and were condemned to be born as 
men. Adam was therefore the cause of sin entering into the 
world, because he was the author of this ante-mundane apos 
tasy. The Pelagian theory is, that Adam was the mere occa 
sional cause of men becoming sinners. lie was the first sinner, 
and others followed his example. Or, according to another 
form of the same general idea, his sin was the occasion of (Jod s 
giving men up to sin. There was no real connection, cither j 
natural or judicial, between Adam s sin and the sint uiiic^s of 
his posterity; but God determined that if the first man sinned, 
all other men should. This was a divine constitution, without 
there being /iny causal connection between the two events. 
Others again sav that. Adam was the eilicient cause of the sin- 
fulness of his race. lie deteriorated either physically or morally 
the nature which he transmitted to his posterity, lie was 
therefore, in the same sense, the cause of the sinfulness of the 
race, that a father who impairs his constitution is the cause of 
the feebleness of his children. Others push this idea one step 
farther, and sav that Adam was the race. He was not only a 
man, but man. The whole race was in him. so that his act was 
the act of humanity. It was as mm-h and as truly ours as his. 
Others sav that the causal relation expressed bv th<-se words is 

J ^ 

that which exists between sin and punishment. It was the 
judicial cause or reason. All these views must come up at 
every step in the interpretation of this whole passage, for the 
explanation of each particular clause must be determined by 
the nature of the relation which is assumed to exist between 
Adam and his posterity. All that need be said here is, that 
the choice between these several explanations is not determined 
by the mere meaning of the words. All they assert is, that 
Adam was the cause of all men becoming sinners ; but whether 
he was the occasional, the efficient, or, so to speak, the judicial 
cause, can only be determined by the nature of the case, the 
anahgy of Scripture, and the context. One thing is clear 

228 ROMANS Y. 12. 

J Adam was the cause of sin in a sense analogous to that in which 
! Christ is the cause of righteousness. 

Sin entered into the ivorld. It is hardly necessary to remark, 
(that xoff/jtoz does not here mean the universe. Sin existed 
jbefore the fall of Adam. It can only mean the world of man- 
jkind. Sin entered the world ; it invaded the race. There is a 
personification here of sin, as afterwards of death. Both are 
represented as hostile and evil powers, which obtained dominion 
over man. By the words eloyj}? s/c rov xoapoy, much more is 
meant than that sin began to be in the world. It means that 
the world, x6<r/jio$, mankind became sinners; because this clause 
is explained by saying, all sinned. The entrance of sin is made 
the ground of the universality of death, and therefore all were 
involved in the sin whose entrance is mentioned. The word 
a/tao-la means, 1. Actual sin, (fy^or^ua,) an individual act of 
disobedience or want of conformity to the law of God. In 
the plural form especially, d-tmo-cia means actual sin. Hence 
the expressions, "this sin," "respect of persons is sin," &c. 
2. Sinful principle or disposition; an immanent state of the 
mind, as in Rom. vii. 8, 9, 17, 23. 3. Both ideas are united, 
as when it is said, "the sting of death is sin," "an offering for 
sin." This comprehensive sense of the word is perhaps the most 
common. 4. It often means the guilt of sin as distinguished 
from sin itself, as when it is said, "he shall bear his sin," or, 
"the son shall not bear the sin of his father;" or when Christ 
is said "to bear our sin," and, "to take away sin by the sacri 
fice of himself," &c. In this passage, when it is said "sin 
entered into the world," the meaning may be, actual sin com 
menced its course, men began to sin. Or the meaiiino- is, 
depravity, corruption of nature invaded the world, men became 
corrupt. This is the interpretation given to the words by a 
large class of commentators, ancient and modern. So Calvin, 
" Istud peccare est corruptos esse et vitiatos. Ilia enim natu- 
ralis pravitas, quam e matris utero afferimus, tametsi non it a, 
cito fructus suos edit, pcccatum est coram Deo, ejus ultionem 
meretur. Atque hoc est peccatum quod vocant originale." So 
also Olshausen, who says it means habitus peccandi, that inward 
principle of which individual sins are the expression or manifest 
ation. Tholuck gives the same interpretation : a new, abiding 

ROMANS Y. 12. 229 

corrupting element, he says, was introduced into the organism 
of the world. De Wette s explanation amounts to the same 
thing: " Siinde als herrschende Macht, (sin as a ruling power 
entered the world,) partly as a principle or disposition, which, 
according to vii. 8, slumbers in every man s breast, and reveals 
itself in the general conduct of men, and partly as a sinful 
condition, such as Paul had described in the opening chapters 
of this epistle." Riickert, Kollner, Bretschneider, and most 
moderns, unite with the older expositors in this interpretation.- 
Or 6L/jLa.(jria may here have the third signification mentioned! 
above, and "sin entered into the world," mean that men became| 
guilty, i. e. exposed to condemnation. The objection to these 
several interpretations is, that each by itself is too limited. All 
three, taken collectively, are correct. " Sin entered into the 
world," means "men became sinners," or, as the apostle 
expresses it in ver. 19, "they were constituted sinners." This 
includes guilt, depravity, and actual transgression. " The sin- 
fulness of that estate into which man fell, (that is, the sin 
which Adarn brought upon the world,) consists in the guilt of 
Adam s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the 
corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called 
original sin ; together with all actual transgressions which pro 
ceed from it." 

And death ly sin; that is, death entered the world, men 
became subject to death, oca TY^ 6.imoT:a^, % moans of sin. 
Sin was the cause of death; not the mere occasional cause, not 
the etlicient cause, but the ground or reason of its infliction. 
This passage, therefore, teaches that death is a penal evil, and 
not a consequence of the original constitution of man. Paul, 
in 1 Cor. xv. 40 50, appears to teach a contrary doctrine, for 
he there says that Adam s body, as formed from the earth, was 
earthy, and therefore corruptible. It was flesh and blood, | 
which cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It must be changed, 
so that this corruptible put on incorruption, before we can be 
fitted for immortality. These representations, however, are not 
inconsistent. It is clear, from Gen. ii. IT, iii. 10, that had 
Adam never sinned, he would never have died; but it does not 
follow that he would never have been changed. Paul says of 
believers, "we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed, 1 

230 ROMANS V. 12. 

1 Cor. xv. 51. The penal character of death, therefore, which is 
so prominently presented in Scripture, or that death in the case 
of every moral creature is assumed to be evidence of sin, is per 
fectly consistent with what the apostle says of the aw pa (fjyf/.6i> 
(the natural body,) and of its unsuitablcness for an immortal 
existence. It is plain that $<varoc here includes the idea of 
natural death, as it does in the original threatening made to 
our first parents. In neither case, however, is this its whole 
meaning. This is admitted by a majority of the modern com 
mentators not only by such writers as Tholuck, Olshausen, 
and Philippi, but by others of a different class, as DC Wette, 
iKollner, and Ruckert. That the death here spoken of includes 
all penal evil, death spiritual and eternal, as well as the disso 
lution of the body, is evident, 1. From the consideration that 
it is said to be the consequence of sin. It must, therefore, 
mean that death which the Scriptures elsewhere speak of as the 
(consequence and punishment of transgression. 2. Because this 
is the common and favourite term with the sacred writers, from 
first to last, for the penal consequences of sin. Gen. ii. 17, 
"In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," i. e. 
thou shalt become subject to the punishment due to sin; Ezek. 
xviii. 4, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die;" Rom. vi. 23, 
"The wages of sin is death;" chap. viii. 13, "If ye live after 
the flesh, ye shall die." Such passages are altogether too 
numerous to be quoted, or even referred to ; see, as further 
examples, Roni. i. 32, vii. 5, James i. 15, Rev. xx. 14, &c. 
3. From the constant opposition between the terms life and 
death, throughout the Scriptures ; the. former standing for the 
^ rewards of the righteous, the latter for the punishment of the 

wicked. Thus, in Gen. ii. 17. life was promised to our first 
parents as the reward of obedience ; and death threatened as 
the punishment of disobedience. See Deut. xxx. 15, " I have 
set before thee life and death;" Jer. xxi. 8, Prov. xi. 11), Ps. 
xxxvi. 9, Matt. xxv. 46, John iii. 15, 2 Cor. ii. 16, &c. 4. From 
the opposition in this passage between the life which is by 
Christ, and the death which is by Adam, vs. 15, 17, 21, * Sin 
reigns unto death, grace reigns through righteousness unto 
eternal life. As, however, natural death is a part, and the 
most obvious part of the penal evils of sin, it no doubt was 

ROMANS V. 12. 231 

prominent in the apostle s mind, as appears from vs. 13, 14. 
Death, therefore, in this passage, means the evil, ami any evil 
which is inflicted in punishment of sin. 

And so death passed, on all tncn. That is, as death is the 
necessary consequence of sin, death (or^///j passed through, 
reached to all men, because all sinned. Death is universal, 
^ sin is universal. As Adam brought sin on all men, he 
brought death on all. That this is the true interpretation of 
this clause, or that U JTO>^ means demzufolge, consequently, 
he nee it liappens, is admitted by almost all modern commenta 
tors. As already remarked, the interpretation which assumes 
that tut o%T(oz i s to be rendered s<> !*<>, is entirely inadmissible, 
1. Because it is inconsistent with their meaning. As it is impos 
sible that and so should mean xn ^/x^, it is no less impossible 
that /v.c u j~u)~ should mean the same as o j~o) /.</.:. Compare 
vs. 18, 10, 1 Cor. xi. 12, xii. 12, xv. 22. This interpretation 
therefore does violence to the language. 2. It is no le-s incon 
sistent with the context. It is not Paul s design to teach the 
inseparable connection between sin and death, by >aying. -Ax 
Adam sinned, and therefore died, so also all die, because all 
sin. His purpose is to teach the connection between Adam s sin 
and the death of all men: It was l>>/ one nian that men became 
sinners, and hence all men die. As all were involved in his 
sin. all are involved in his death. ). The comparison carried 
through this while paragraph is not. between Adam and his 
posterity, but between Adam and Christ; and therefore xa.1 
o j7(o^ cannot possibly refer to the w<i~in at the beginning of 
the verse, as lias been already shown. 

For that all hace sintK d, sc (v ~n.^~i^ 7jii.fJ.OToy. The words 
i(p <j) are rendered in the Vulgate, in yun, (in whom,) and are so 
understood by many of the older interpreters, not only in the 
[Romish Church, where the Vulgate is of authority, but also by 
! many Calvinists and Arminians. The objections to this inter 
pretation are, 1. It is not in accordance with the meaning of 
the words as used elsewhere. It is inconsistent with the proper 
force of Irrr (on, upon.) which is not equivalent with iv (in,) 
and no less inconsistent with the use of l^ w in combination, 
which, in 2 Cor. v. 4, means, as here, l>eenu> ; in Philip, iii. 12, 
for wldcli cause; and in Philip, iv. 10, for ivhich. In other 

232 ROMANS V. 12. 

/places where it occurs, it means on which, as a bed, Mark ii. 4. 
jLuke v. 25, or as a place, Acts. vii. 33. 2. The proper mean- 
.ing of the words is, s~c TO JTCU OZY, on account of tJtis, or that. 
1 3. The structure of the sentence is opposed to this explanation. 
The antecedent av&ptoTtoo is too far separated from the relative 
w; almost the whole verse intervenes between them. 4. This 
interpretation is altogether unnecessary. The ordinary and 
natural force of the words expresses a perfectly good sense : 
All men die, because all sinned. So Calvin, quandoquidem, 
Luther, die iveil, and all the moderns, except a few of the 
Romanists. " Sin brought death, death has come on all, because 
sin came on all; l<f>* w must therefore necessarily be taken as 
a conjunction." PJdlippi. 

As to the important words Travrsc yfjiaprou, rendered in our 
version all have sinned, we find the several interpretations 
already referred to as growing out of the different views of the 
nature of man and of the plan of salvation. First, on the assump 
tion that all sin consists in the voluntary transgression of known 
law, and on the further assumption that one man cannot, in any 
legitimate sense, be said to sin in another, a large class of com 
mentators, from Pelagius down, say these words can only mean 
that all have sinned in their own persons. Death has passed 
on all men, because all have actually sinned personally. This 
interpretation, although consistent with the signification of the 
verb faimprdvcO) is, by the almost unanimous judgment of the 
Church, utterly inadmissible. 1. It is inconsistent with the 

! force of the tense. The aorist (rj/jtaprou) does not mean do sin, 
nor have sinned, nor are accustomed to sin. It is the simple 
historical tense, expressing momentary action in past time. All 
i sinned, i. e. sinned in Adam, sinned through or by one man. 
" Omnes peccarunt, peccante Adamo." This is the literal, 
j simple force of the words. 2. It is also incompatible with the 
; design of this verse, to make yjuaorov refer to the personal sins 
of men. As so often remarked, the design is to show that 
Adam s sin, not our own, is the cause of death. 3. Verses 
13, 14, are intended to prove what is asserted in ver. 12; but 
f jiey do not prove that all men personally sin, but the very 
reverse. 4. This interpretation destroys the analogy between 
Adam and Christ. It would make the apostle teach, that as 

ROMANS V. 12 233 

all men die because they personally sin, so all men live because 
they are personally and inherently righteous. This is contrary 
not only to this whole passage, but to all Paul s teaching, and] 
to the whole gospel. 5. This interpretation is not only thus 
inconsistent with the force of the tense in which the verb 
htmo-d^to is here used, with the design of the verse, with the 
apostle s argument, and the analogy between Christ and Adam, 
but it makes the apostle assert what is not true. It is not true 
that all die because all personally sin; death is more exten 
sive than personal transgression. This is a fact of experience, 
and is asserted by the apostle in what follows. This interpre-j 
tation, therefore, brings the sacred writer into conflict with thej 
truth. Candid expositors admit this. They say Paul s argu 
ment is founded on a false assumption, and proves nothing. 
Even Mever, one of the most dignilied and able of the modern 
German commentators, who often defends the sacred writers 
from the aspersions of irreverent expositors, is obliged to admit 
that in this case Paul for<> ot himself, and teaches what is not 
true. "The question," he says, "how Paul could write l^ w 
rrrLrsc ^/MpTou (since all sinned,} when children die, although 
they have not sinned, can only be answered by admitting that 
he did not think of this necessary exception. For, on the one 
hand, ~di/~=z must have the same extent of meaning as the pro- 
vious :~ -<L-<j.^ d], )-ii<t)-(> )~, and on the other hand, the death of 
innocent children is proof positive that death is not in all men 
the consequence of individual >in ; and hence, moreover, the 
whole doctrine that death is by divine constitution due to sin, 
is overthrown." An interpretation which makes the apostlo) 
teach what is not true, needs no further refutation. 

A second large class of commentators, as they make &fjia/)Tla 9 t 
in the former clause of the verse, to mean corruption, translate 
ky w ~dvzz- 7j<moi:ov, because all are corrupt. Adam having! 
denied his own nature by sin, that depraved nature was trans 
mitted to all his posterity, and therefore all die because they 
are thus inherently corrupt. We have already seen that this is 
Calvin s interpretation of these words: "Nempe, inquit, quo- 
niarn omnes peccavirnus. Porro istud peccare est corruptoa 
esse et vitiates." In this view several of the modern commenta 
tors concur. According to this interpretation, the doctrine of 

234 ROMANS V. 12 

the apostle is, that the inherent, hereditary corruption of nature 
: derived from Adam, is the ground or reason why all die. This 
jis what is called mediate imputation ; or the doctrine that not 
,jthe sin of Adam, but inherent depravity derived from him, is 
lithe ground of the condemnation of his race. Although Calvin 
gives this interpretation of the passage on which this theory is 
founded, it is not to be inferred that he was an advocate of that 
theory. lie frequently and clearly discriminates between inhe 
rent depravity as a ground of condemnation and the sin of 
Adam as distinct, and says that we are exposed to death, not 
solely for the one, but also for the other. He lived in a day 
when the imputation of Adam s sin was made, by the theolo 
gians of the Romish Church, so prominent as to leave inherent 
depravity almost entirely out of view. The whole tendency of 
the Reformers, therefore, was to go to the opposite extreme. 
Every theology is a gradual growth. It cost the Church ages 
: lof controversy, before the doctrines of the Trinity and of the 
Person of Christ were wrought out and definitively settled. In 
like manner, the Theology of the Reformation was a growth. 
It was not the reproduction of the theology of any class of the 
schoolmen, nor of Augustin as a wdiole. It was the gathering 
up and systematizing of the teachings of the Scriptures, arid of 
the faith of the Church as founded on Scripture. That this 
should be done without any admixture of foreign elements, or 
as perfectly at the first attempt, as in the course of successive 
subsequent efforts, w r ould have been a miracle. That it was 
done as perfectly as it was, is due, under God, to the fact that 
the Reformers were men endowed with minds of the very highest 
, order, and filled with the Spirit of Christ. Still it is only in 
obedience to an established law, that the theology of the Re 
formation appears in a purer form in the writers of the seven 
teenth, than in those of the sixteenth century. We need not 
then be surprised that inconsistencies appear in the writings of 
Luther and Calvin, which are not reproduced in those of Hutter 
or Turrettin. 

In opposition to the interpretation which makes ^avrec 
2j/mf>Tov mean all became corrupt, it is obvious to object, 1. That 
it is contrary to the simple meaning of the words. In no case 
has 8.[m()T<iva) the sense here assigned to it. 2. It supposes 

ROMANS Y. 12. 235 

that the corresponding phrase, " sin entered Into the world," 
means "men became depraved," which, as we have seen, is not 
the true or adequate meaning. 8. It is inconsistent with the 
apostle s argument. Verses 13, 14, are designed to prove, andf 
do prove, that all men sinned in Adam : but do not prove, and 
cannot be made to prove, that all men are inherently corrupt. 
4. It vitiates the whole analogy between Christ and Adam, and 
therefore saps the very foundation of the gospel. That doc 
trine on which the hope of God s people, either implicitly or 
explicitly, has ever been founded is, that the righteousness of 
Christ as something out of themselves, something distinguished 
from any act or subjective state of theirs, is the ground of their 
justification. They know that there is nothing in them on 
which thev dare for a moment rely, as the reason why (id 
should accept and pardon them. It is therefore the essential 
part of the analogy between Christ and Adam, the very truth) 
which the apostle designs to set forth, that the sin of Adam, as;l 
distinguished from any act of ours, and from inherent corrup )r 
tion as derived from him, is the ground of our condemnation./ 
If this be denied, then the other great truth must be denied,] 
and our own subjective righteousness be made the ground off 
our justification : which is to subvert the gospel, o. This inter- 
pre:ation is inconsistent with the true meaning of vs. 1 "> 1!), 
and with the often repeated and explicit declaration of the 
apostle, that the sin of Adam was the ground of our condemna 
tion. Although, therefore, it is true that our nature was cor- 
rupted in Adam, and has been transmitted to us in a depraved; 
state, yet that hereditary corruption is not here represented as 
the ground of our condemnation, any more than the holiness/ 
which believers derive from Christ is the ground of their justi-j 

A third class of interpreters, especially those of the later, 
mystical school, understand the apostle to assert that all men 
sinned actually in Adam ; that his act was not merely repre 
sentatively or putatively their act, but theirs in the strict and! 
proper sense of the term. He being not simply a man as one 
among many, but t/n- man in whom humanity was concentrated 
as a generic life, his act as an act of that generic humanity wa.s 
the act of all the individuals in whom human nature subse- 

236 ROMANS V. 12. 

quently developed itself. But, 1. In the first place, the pro* 
position, "all men sinned actually in Adam," has no meaning. 
To say that "in Adam all die," conveys a distinct idea; but to 
say that "all actually expired in Adam," conveys no idea at 
all. It has no sense. Even on the extrcrnest realistic assump 
tion that humanity as such is an entity, the act of Adam was 
not the act of all men. His act may have vitiated his generic 
nature, not only for his own person, but for his posterity; but 
this is a very different thing from his act being their act. His 
sin was an intelligent act of self-determination; but an act of 
rational self-determination is a personal act. Unless, there 
fore, all men as persons existed in Adam, it is impossible that 
they acted his act. To say that a man acted thousands of years 
before his personality began, does not rise even to the dignity 
of a contradiction ; it has no meaning at all. It is a monstrous 
evil to make the Bible contradict the common sense and com 
mon consciousness of men. This is to make God contradict 
himself. 2, It is hardly necessary to add, that this interpreta 
tion is inconsistent with the whole drift and design of ihe pas 
sage, and with the often repeated assertion of the apostle, that 
for the offence of one man (not of all men.) the judgment came 
on all men to condemnation. If we all actually sinned in Adam, 
so that his act was strictly ours, then we all obeyed in Christ, 
and his righteousness and death were strictly our own acts ; 
which again is not only unscriptural, but impossible. 

The fourth class of interpreters, including commentators of 
every grade of orthodoxy, agree in saying that what is meant 
is, that all sinned in Adam as their head and representative. 
( Such was the relation, natural and federal, between him and his 
posterity, that his act was putatively their act. That is, it was 
the judicial ground or reason why death passed on all men. In 
other words, they were regarded and treated as sinners on 
account of his sin. In support of this interpretation, it may be 
urged, 1. That it is the simple meaning of the words. It has 
already been remarked, that the aorist y/y/orov does not mean 
are sinful, or have sinned, but simply sinned. All sinned when 
Adam sinned. They sinned in him. But the only possible 
way in which all men can be said to have sinned in Adam, is 
putatively. Hi? act, for some good and proper reason, was 

ROMANS V. 12. 237 

regarded as their act, just as the act of an agent is regarded asf 
the act of his principal, or the act of a representative as that 
of his constituents. The act of the one legally binds the others., 
It is, in the eye of law and justice, their act. 2. This is sustained 
by the analogy of Scripture. Paul says, "in Adam all died."j 
This cannot possibly be understood to mean that all men ex 
pired when Adam died. It can only mean that when Adam 
incurred the sentence of death for himself, he incurred it also 
for us. In like manner we arc said to die in Christ; we "were 

crucified with him," we "rose with him," we are now " sitting 

with him in heavenly places." All this obviously moans, that 

as Christ was the head and representative of his people, all that 
he did in that character, they are regarded as having done. 
The rationalistic and the mystical interpretations of such pas 
sages arc only different modes of philosophizing away the 
meaning of Scripture the one having what is called "common 
sense," and the other pantheism, as its basis. >. The common. 
interpretation of this passage may, in another form, be shown 
to lie in accordance with scriptural usage. As remarked above, 
(\>ui.( >- .<!. sometimes me;nis i/tri/f. and the phrase "sin entered 
into the world." may mean men became guilty; and fafiaoTdvio 
at times means in < <>)itr<i< t guilt; or, as Wahl in his Lexicon 
defines it. pcccciti culpam sustineo; equivalent to$ 
xaTeffTd&TjV. ]f ( > refers to the use of x-n, in (Jen. xliv. -} 2, a 
passage which the LXX. renders jjuaftryxcbz ZfwtL u; the Yul- 
trate, pi i i- iti reus ero; Luther, "will ich die Schuhl trairen;" the English, / ./,//// /</-/// tin llaine. So in (Jen. xliii. H, 
Judah says to his father, "If I bring him not back, I will 
bear the blame (literally. / // /// ,v/>/) all my days." In 1 Kings I 
i. 21, Bathsheba says to David, (according to the Hebrew.) 
"land my son Solomon shall be sinners," where the LXX. 
translates, Iff6/j.s&a i t (l) / -"-- 2-ukoficov o j .o~ no j d.iia.oTcoXot^ 
the sense of the passage being, as correctlv expressed in our 
version, "land my son Solomon shall be counted offenders." 
To sin, therefore, or to be a sinner may, in scriptural language, j 
mean to be counted an nff rinler, that is, be regarded and treated 
as such. When, therefore, the apostle says that all men sinned i 
in Adam, it is in accordance not only with the nature of the 1 
case, but with scriptural usage, to understand him to mean that 

238 ROMANS V. 12. 

I we are regarded and treated as sinners on his account. His sin 
was the reason why death came upon all men. Of course all 
that is meant by this is the universally recognized distinction 
between the signification and the sense of a word, //dvrsc 
yuafjTov signifies "all sinned," and it can signify nothir.g else; 
just as ;ra>z-c d~$vov, 2 Cor. v. 15, signifies "all died." But 
when you ask in what sense all died in Christ, or all sinned in 
Adam, the question is to be answered from the nature of the 
.case and the analogy of Scripture. We did not all literally and 
actually die in Christ, neither did we all actually sin in Adam. 
The death of Christ, however, was legally and effectively our 
death ; and the sin of Adam was legally and effectively our sin. 
4. It is almost universally conceded that this 12th verse con- 
tains the first member of a comparison which, in vs. 18, 19, is 
resumed and carried out. But in those verses it is distinctly 
taught that judgment came on all men on account of the 
/offence of one man. This therefore is Paul s own interpreta 
tion of what lie meant when he said "all sinned." They sinned 
in Adam. His sin was regarded as theirs. 5. This interpreta 
tion is demanded by the connection of this verse with those 
immediately following. Verses 13, 14, introduced by for, aro 
confessedly designed to prove the assertion of ver. 12. If that 
assertion is, all men are regarded as sinners on account of 
Adam, the meaning and pertinency of these verses are clear. 
But if ver. 12 asserts merely that all men are sinners, then 
vs. 13, 14 must be regarded as proving that men were sinners 
before the time of Moses a point which no one denied, and no 
one doubted, and which is here entirely foreign to the apostle s 
object. Or if ravrsc ^/>rov be made to mean all became cor 
rupt, the objection still remains. The passage does not prove 
what it is designed to prove. Verses 13, 14, therefore, present 
insuperable difficulties, if we assign any other meaning than 
that just given to ver. 12. 6. What ver. 12 is thus made to 
assert, arid vs. 13, 14 to prove, is in vs. 15 19, assumed as 
proved, and is employed in illustration of the great truth to be 
established: "Foil IF through the offence of one many be 
dead," ver. 15. But where is it said, or where proved, that the 
many die for the offence of one, if not in ver. 12 and vs. 13, 14? 
So h all the other verses. This idea, therefore, must be con- 

ROMANS V. 12. 239 

tainecl in vcr. 12, if any consistency is to bo maintained between 
the several parts of the apostle s argument. 7. This interpre 
tation is required by the whole scope of the passage and drift 
of the argument. The scope of the passage, as shown above,, 
is to illustrate the doctrine of justification on the ground of the 
righteousness of Christ, by a reference to the condemnation of 
men for the sin of Adam. The analogy is destroyed, the very 
point of the comparison fails, if anything in us be assumed as; 
the ground of th infliction of the penal evils of which the 
apostle is here speaking. That we have corrupt natures, aixd] 
are personally sinners, and therefore liable to other and further! 
inflictions, is indeed true, but nothing to the point. In like 
manner, it is true that we are sanctified by our union with 
Christ, and thus fitted for heaven ; but these ideas are out of , 
place when speaking of justification. It is to illustrate that 
doctrine, or the idea of imputed righteousness, that this whole 
passage is devoted ; ami, therefore, the idea of i/n}mted xin must 
be contained in the other part of the comparison, unless thet 
whole be a failure. Not onlv does the scone of the passage 

c- O > 

demand this view, but it is only thus that the argument of the/ 
apostle can be consistently carried through. We die on account 
of Adam s sin, ver. 12; this is true, because on no other ground 
can the universality of <lt <it1i be accounted for, vs. lo, 14. But 
if we all die on Adam s account, how much more shall we live 
on account ot Christ! ver. 1">. Adam indeed brings upon us the 
evil inflicted for the first great violation of the covenant, but 
Christ saves us from all our numberless sins, ver. 1(5. As, 
therefore, for the offence of one we art 1 condemned, so for the 
righteousness of one we are justified, ver. IS. As on account 
of the disobedience of one we are treated as sinners, so on 
account oi the obedience of one we are treated as righteous, 
ver. 11 . The inconsistency and confusion consequent upon 
attempting to carry either of the other interpretations through, 
must be obvious to any attentive reader of such attempts. 
8. The doctrine which the verse thus explained teaches, is one 
of the plainest truths of the Scriptures and of experience. Is 
it not a revealed fact, above all contradiction, and sustained by 
the whole history of the world, that the sin of Adam altered 
the relation in which our race stood to God? Did not that sin 

240 ROMANS V. 12. 

of itself, and independently of anything in us, or done by us, 
bring evil on the world? In other words, did we not fall when 
Adam fell? The principle involved in this great transaction is 
explicitly and frequently asserted in the word of God, and runs 
through all the dispensations of his providence. lie solemnly 
declares himself to be a God who "visits the iniquities of the 
fathers upon the children, and upon the children s children, 
unto the third and fourth generation." And so he does. The 
curse of Canaan fell on his posterity; the Egyptians perished 
for the sins of Pharaoh; the Moabites and Amalekites were 
destroyed for the transgressions of their fathers; the leprosy 
of Naaman was to cleave to Gchazi, and "to his seed for ever;" 
the blood of all the prophets was exacted, says our Lord, of the 
men of his generation. We must become not only infidels but 
atheists, if we <tcny that God thus deals with men, not merely 
as individuals, but as communities and on the principle of 

limputation. The apostacy of our race in Adam, therefore, and 
the imputation of his sin to his posterity, although the most 
signal of the illustrations of this principle, is only one among 

thousands of a like kind. 9. The doctrine of the imputation 
of Adam s sin, or that on account of that sin all men are 
regarded and treated as sinners, was a common Jewish doctrine 
at the time of the apostle, as well as at a later period. lie 
employs the same mode of expression on the subject, which the 
Jews were accustomed to use. They could not have failed, 
therefore, to understand him as meaning to convey by these 
expressions the ideas usually connected with them. And such, 
therefore, if the apostle wished to be understood, must have 
been his intention; see the Targum on Ruth iv. 22, "On 
account of the counsel given to Eve (and her eating the fruit,) 
all the inhabitants of the world were constituted guilty of 
death." R. Moses of Trana, Beth Elohim, fol. 105, i. e. "With 
the same sin with which Adam sinned, sinned the whole world." 
Many such passages are to be found in the pages of Wetstein, 
Schccttgen, Eisenmenger, Tholuck, and other collectors and 
commentators. Meyer therefore admits that such was unde 
niably the doctrine of the Jews. On this point, Knapp, in his 
Tlieological Lectures (German edition, page 29,) says, - In the 
Mosaic account of the fall, and in the Old Testament generally, 

ROMANS V. 12. 241 

the imputation of Adam s sin is not mentioned under the term 
imputation, although the doctrine is contained therein." But 
in the writings of the Talmudists and Rabbins, and earlier in 
the Chaldee Paraphrases of the Old Testament, we find the fol 
lowing position asserted in express words, that the descendants 
of Adam would have been punished with death (of the body) on 
account of his sin, although they themselves had committed no 
sin. On the next page he remarks, "We find this doctrine 
most clearly in the New Testament, in Rom. v. 12, &c. The 
moderr. philosophers and theologians found here much which 
was inconsistent with their philosophical systems. Hence many 
explained and refined on the passage, until the idea of imputa 
tion was entirely excluded. They forgot, however, that Paul 
used the very words and expressions in common use on this 
subject at that time among the Jews, and that his immediate 
readers could not have understood him otherwise than as teach 
ing this doctrine." And he immediately goes on to show, that 
unless we 1 are determined to do violence to the words of the 
apostle, we mu-t admit that he represents all men as subject to 
death on account of the sin of Adam. This is a theologian who 
did not himself admit the doctrine. 

It may be well to remark, that this interpretation, so far 
from being the offspring of theological prejudice, or fondness 
for any special theory, is so obviously the true and simple 1 
meaning of the passage required by the context, that it lifts the 
sanction of theologians of every grade and class of doctrine. 
Calvinists, Arminians, Lutherans, and Rationalists, agree in its 
support. Thus Storr, one of the most accurate of philological 
interpreters, explain- the last words of the verse in the manner 
stated above: l>y one man all are subject to death, because 
all are regarded and treated as sinner^, i. e. because all lie 
under the sentence of condemnation." The phrase, all have 
sinnc.d, ver. 12, he says is equivalent to all arc constituted sin 
ners, ver. ID; which latter expression he renders, "sie werden 
als Sunder angesehen und behandelt," that is, they were 
regarded and treated as sinners; see his Commentary on 
Hebrews, pp. GoO, 040, &c. (Flatt renders these words in pre 
cisely the same manner.) The Rationalist, Ammon, also con 
siders the apostle as teaching, that on account of the sin of 

2-12 ROMANS V. 12. 

Adam all men arc subject to death; see Excursus C. to Koppe s 
Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. Zacharite, in his 
Biblische Theologie, Vol. VI., p. 128, has an excellent exposi 
tion of this whole passage. The question of the imputation of 
Adam s sin, he says, is this, "whether God regarded the act 
of Adam as the act of all men, or, which is the same thing, 
whether he has subjected them all to punishment, on account 
of this single act." This, he maintains, the apostle asserts and 
proves. On this verse he remarks : " The question is not here 
immediately about the propagation of a corrupted nature to all 
men, and of the personal sins committed by all men, but of 
universal guilt (Strafwurdig~keit, liability to punishment,) in the 
sight of God, which has come upon all men; and which Paul, 
in the sequel, does not rest on the personal sins of men, but 
only on the offence of one man, Adam, ver. 16." Neither the 
corruption of nature, nor the actual sins of men, and their 
liability on account of them, is either questioned or denied, but 
the simple statement is, that, on account of the sin of Adam, all 
men are treated as sinners. Zacharioe, it must be remembered, 
was not a Calvinist, but one of the modern and moderate theo 
logians of Gottingcn. Whitby, the great advocate of Armini- 
anism, says, on these words: "It is not true that death came 
upon all men, for that, or because all have sinned. [He con 
tends for the rendering, in whom. ] For the apostle directly 
here asserts the contrary, viz. that the death, and the condem 
nation to it, which befell all men, was for the sin of Adam only; 
for here it is expressly said, that by the sin of one man many 
died; that the sentence was from one, and by one man sinning 
to condemnation; and that by the sin of one, death reigned by 
one. Therefore, the apostle doth expressly teach us that this 
death, this condemnation to it, came not upon us for the sin 
of all, but only for the sin of one, i, e. of that one Adam, in 
whom all men die, 1 Cor. xv. 22." Dr. Wordsworth, Canon of 
Westminster, in his recent edition of the New Testament, says, 
in his comment on this verse : " Observe the aorist tense, 
yuuoToy, they all sinned; that is, at a particular time. And 
when was that? Doubtless, at the fall. All men sinned in 
Adam s sin. All fell in his fall." Philippi says: " We must 
supply in thought to r^aoro^^ iv Aod/j., or more precisely, 

ROMANS V. 13, 14. 243 

Adamo pcccantt. <Non agitur do peccato singulorum, says 
Bengel, omnes pe:carunt, Adamo pcccante. Such extracts 
might be indefinitely multiplied from the most varied sources. 
However commentators may differ in other points, they 
almost all agree in the general idea, which is the sum of the 
whole passage, that the sin of Adam, and not their own indi 
vidual actual transgressions, is the ground and reason of the 
subjection of all men to the penal evils here spoken of. With 
what plausibility can an interpretation, commanding the assent 
of men so various, be ascribed to theory or philosophy, or love 
of a particular the*.- logical system? May not its rejection with 
more probability be attributed as is done by Knapp. to theo 
logical prejudice? Certain it is, at least, that the objections 
against it are almost exclusively of a philosophical or theologi 
cal rather than of an exegetical or philological character. 

YERSKS 13, 14. Fur until fJt<> luv, x//t WKX in t/ic. world, &c. 
These verses are connected \>y for with ver. 1~, as introducing 
the proof of the declaration that death had passed on all men, 
on account of one man. The proof is this: the infliction of 
penal evils implies the violation of law; the violation of the law 
of Moses will not account for the universality of death, because 
men died before that law was given. Neither is the violation 
of the hnv of nature sunVient to explain the fact that all men 
are subject to death, because even those die who have never 
broken that law. As. therefore, death supposes transgression, 
and neither the law of Moses nor the law of nature embraces 
all the victims of death, it follows that men are subject to penal 
evils on account of the sin of Adam. It is for the offence of 
one that many die. 

In order to the proper understanding of the apostle s argu 
ment, it should be borne in mind that the term death stands for 
penal evil ; not for this or that particular form of it, but for 
any and every evil judicially inflicted for the support of law. 
Paul s reasoning does not rest upon the mere fact that all men, 
even infants, are subject to natural death ; for this might be 
accounted for by the violation of the law of Moses, or of the 
law of nature, or by their inherent native depravity. This 
covers the whole ground, and may account for the universality 
of natural death. But no one of these causes, nor all combined. 

244 ROMANS V. 13, 14. 

can account for the infliction of all the penal evils to which men 
are subjected. The great fact in the apostle s mind was, that 
God regards and treats all men, from the first moment of their 
existence, as out of fellowship with himself, as having forfeited 
his favour. Instead of entering into communion with them the 
moment they begin to exist (as he did with Adam,) and forming 
them by his Spirit in his own moral image, he regards them as 
out of his favour, and withholds the influences of the Spirit. 
Why is this ? Why does God thus deal with the human race ? 
The fact that he does thus deal with them is not denied by any 
except Pelagians. Why then is it ? Here is a form of death 
which the violation of the law of Moses, the transgression of the 
law of nature, the existence of innate depravity, separately 01 
combined, are insufficient to account for. Its infliction is ante 
cedent to them all ; and yet it is of all evils the essence and the 
sum. Men begin to exist out of communion with God. This is 
the fact which no sophistry can get out of the Bible or the his 
tory of the world. Paul tells us why it is. It is because we 
fell in Adam; it is for the one offence of ONE MAX that all thus 
die. The covenant being formed with Adam, not only for him 
self, but also for his posterity, (in other words, Adam having 
been placed on trial, not for himself only, but also for his race,) 
his act was, in virtue of this relation, regarded as our act; God 
withdrew from us as he did from him ; in consequence of this 
withdrawing, we begin to exist in moral darkness, destitute of a 
disposition to delight in God, and prone to delight in ourselves 
and the world. The sin of Adam, therefore, ruined us ; it was 
the ground of the withdrawing of the divine favour from the 
whole race ; and the intervention of the Son of God for our sal 
vation is an act of pure, sovereign, and wonderful grace. 

Whatever obscurity, therefore, rests upon this passage, arises 
from taking the word death in the narrow sense in which it is 
commonly used among men. If taken in its scriptural sense, the 
whole argument is plain and conclusive. Let penal evil be sub 
stituted for the word death, and the argument will stand thus: 
All men are subject to penal evils on account of one man; this 
is the position to be proved, ver. 1:2. That such is the case is 
evident, because the infliction of a penalty supposes the viola 
tion of law. But such evil was inflicted before the giving of the 

ROMANS V. 13, 14. 245 

Mosaic law; it comes on men before the tiansgression of the 
law of nature, or even the existence of inherent depravity; it 
must therefore be for the offence of one man that judgment has 
come upon all men to condemnation. The wide sense in which 
the sacred writers use the word death, accounts for the fact that 
the dissolution of the body (which is one form of the manifesta 
tion of the divine displeasure) is not only included in it, but is 
often the prominent idea. 

Until the law. The law here mentioned is evidently the law 
of Moses. The word d^ot is properly rendered until, and not 
during the continuance of, a sense which the particle has in 
some passages. Until the law is immediately explained by the 
words from Adam to Muses. Sin w<ts in the world, i. e. men 
were sinners, and were so regarded and treated. Sin in nut 
imputed^ that is, it is not laid to one s account, and punished. 
See iv. S, --Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth 
not iniquity;" and the familiar equivalent expressions, His 
iniquity shall be upon him," Numb. xv. ol ; and, "lie shall 
bear his iniquity." The word (s//<>j ?:v/. ) here used, occurs 
nowhere else in any Greek writer, except in Philemon 18. The 
common word for impute is Aoy^ow/.!. Wlien there is no law, 
ftTj o>ro~ bopou, there not leimj l<uv. Sin is correlative of law. 
If there is no law, there can be no sin, as Paul had already 
taught, iv. 15. But if there is no sin without law, there can be 
no imputation of sin. As, however, sin was imputed, as sin 
was in the world, as men were sinners, and were so regarded 
and treated before the law of Moses, it follows that there must 
be some more comprehensive law in relation to which men were 
sinners, and in virtue of which they were so regarded and 
treated. The principle here advanced, and on which the apos 
tle s argument rests is. that the infliction of penal evil implies 
the violation of law. If men were sinners, and were treated as 
such before the law of Moses, it is certain that there is some 
other law, for the violation of which sin was imputed to them. 

Instead of the interpretation just given, there are several 
other methods of explaining this verse, which should be noticed. 
Calvin, Luther, Be/a, and not a few of the modern commenta 
tors, say that the clause, sin is not imputed when tJtere is no 
law, means, men do not impute sin to themselves, i. e. do not 

246 ROMANS V. 13, 14. 

regard themselves as sinners ; do not feel their guilt, when there 
is no law. To a certain extent, the sentiment thus expressed 
is true. Paul, in a subsequent chapter, vii. 8, says, "Without 
the law, sin was dead;" that is, unknown and disregarded. It 
is true, that ignorance of the law renders the conscience torpid, 
and that by the clear revelation of the law it is brought to life; 
so that by the law is the knowledge of sin. If, however, by 
law, is meant a written law, or a full and authenticated revela 
tion of the will of Clod as a rule of duty, then it is only com 
paratively speaking true, that without law ( i. e. such a law,) sin 
is unknown or disregarded. There is another law, as Paul 
teaches, ii. 14, 1 ">, written on the heart, in virtue of which men 
feel themselves to be sinners, and know the righteous judgment 
of God, by which they are exposed to death; see i. 82. The 
objections, however, to this interpretation are decisive: 1. In 
the first place, it is inconsistent with the meaning of the words 
here used. "To impute sin" never means to lay sin to heart. 
The imputation is always made from without, or by another, not 
by the sinner himself. Tholuck, therefore, calls this interpreta 
tion " a desperate shift." Xoch," ho says, " ist cine gewalt- 
samc Hiilfe zu crwiihnen die Blanche dicsem Ausspruclic des 
Apostcls /AI bringen gesucht baben. Sic baben dem eXXoyelv 
eine anclerc I>edeutung beigelegt. Sie baben es in der Bedeu- 
tung achtcn, Jt>h-k*i<. Jit itclnneti genommen." 2. This interpre 
tation proceeds on a wrong assumption of the thing to be 
proved. It assumes that the apostle designs to prove that all 
men are in themselves sinners, and for their personal guilt or 
defilement, are exposed to death. But this, as has been shown, 
leaves out of view the main idea of ver. 12. It is true, that all 
men are sinners, either in the sense of actual transgressors, or 
of having a depraved nature, and consequently are exposed to 
death; but the specific assertion of ver. 12 is, that it was BY 
OXE MAX death passed on all men. This, therefore, is the thing 
to be proved, and not that all men are personally sinners. Of 
course it is not denied that men are subject to death for their 
own sins; but that is nothing to the point which the apostle has 
in hand. His design is to show that there is a form of death, 
or penal evil, to which men are subject, anterior to any personal 
transgression or inherent corruption. 3. This interpretation 

ROMANS V. 13, 14. 247 

assumes that the apostle is answering an objection which has 
no force, or refuting an opinion which no one entertained. It 
supposes that the Jews held that the Gentiles, before the law 
of Moses, were not sinners, whereas they regarded them as pre 
eminently such. It makes the apostle reason thus : All men 
are sinners. No, objects the Jew, before Moses there was no 
law, and therefore no sin. Yes, replies Paul, they were sin 
ners, although they were not aware of it. P>ut as no human 
being believed that men were not sinners before the giving of 
the Mosaic law, as Paul himself had proved at length that the 
whole world was guilty before God, as he had expressly taught 
that the Gentiles, although they had no written law, were a law 
unto themselves, and that they stood self-condemned in the pre 
sence of God, it is unreasonable to suppose that the apostle 
would stop to refute an objection which has not ioree enough to 
be even a cavil. Paul had before laid down the principle 
(iv. l ~>.) that where there is no law, then,- is no transgression, 
which is only another form of saying, "sin is not imputed 
when there is no law. ]>ut as sin was imputed before the law 
of Moses, there must have been some other law, for the violation 
of which men were condemned. It is that the apostle designs 
to prove, and not that men were personally sinners; a fact, so 
far as the heathen were concerned, no Jew denied. 

Another interpretation, which is adopted by a large number 
of commentators and theologians, supposes that the word death 
is to be understood of natural death alone. The reasoning of 
the apostle then is. As on account of the sin of one man. all 
men are condemned to die, so on account of the righteousness 
of one, all are made partakers of life, ver. 12. The proof that 
all are subject to death on account of the sin of Adam, is given 
in vs. lo, 14: The infliction of the specific penalty of death, 
supposes the violation of a law to which that particular penalty 
was attached. This could not be the law of Moses, since those 
die who never violated that law; and, in short, all men die, 
although they have never broken any express command attended 
by the sanction of death. The liability of all men, therefore, to 
this specific form of evil, is to be traced not to their own indi 
vidual character or conduct, but to the sin of Adam. Some of 
those who adopt this view of the passage, are consistent enough 

248 ROMANS V. 13. 

to carry it through, and make the life which is restored to all 
by Christ, as here spoken of, to be nothing more than the life 
of the body, i. e. the resurrection from the dead.* It will be 
observed, that this interpretation is, as to its main principle, 
identical with that presented above as correct. That is, it 
assumes that ver. 12 teaches that God regarded the act of Adam 
as the act of the whole race, or, in other words, that he sub 
jected all men to punishment on account of his transgression. 
And it makes vs. 18, 14, the proof that the subjection of all 
men to the penal evil here specially in view, to be, not the cor 
ruption of their nature, nor their own individual sins, but the 
sin of Adam. It is, however, founded on two assumptions ; the 
one of which is erroneous, and the other gratuitous. In the 
first place, it assumes that the death here spoken of is mere 
natural death, which, as shown above, is contrary fyoth to the 
scriptural use of the term and to the immediate context. And, 
secondly, it assumes that the violation of the law of nature 
could not be justly followed by the death of the body, because 
that particular form of evil was not threatened as the sanction 
of that law. But this assumption is gratuitous, and would be 
as well authorized if made in reference to any othci punishment 
of such transgressions ; since no definite specific evil, as the 
expression of the divine displeasure, was made known to those 
who had no external revelation. Yet, as Paul says, Horn. i. 3 2, 
the wicked heathen knew they were worthy of death, i. e. of the 
effects of the divine displeasure. The particular manner of the 
exhibition of that displeasure is a matter of indifference. It 
need hardly be remarked, that it is not involved either in this 
or the commonly received interpretation of this passage, that 
men, before the time of Moses, were not punishable for their 
own sins. While this is admitted and asserted by the apostle, 
he proves that they were punished for Adam s sin. No one 
feels that there is any inconsistency in asserting of the men of 
this generation, that although responsible to God for their per 
sonal transgressions, they are nevertheless born in a state 
of spiritual death, as a punishment of the sin of our great 
progenitor. The pains of child-birth do not cease to be part 
of the penalty of the original transgression, although each 
* See Whitby on this passage. 

ROMANS V. 13. 249 

suffering mother is burdened with the guilt of personal trans 

As the effort to make these verses prove that all men are 
actual sinner* fails of giving them any satisfactory sense, so 
the interpretation which assumes that they are designed to 
prove inherent, hereditary depravity, is no less untenable. If 
i(f w ~d^-^ rjfJLapTov, in vcr. 12, means, Death has passed on 
all, because all are tainted ivitJi the hereditary corruption derived 
from Adam, then the argument in vs. lo, 14, must stand thus: 
All men are by nature corrupt, for as sin is not imputed when 
there is no law, the death of all men cannot bo accounted for 
on the ground of their actual sins; therefore, since those die 
who have never sinned, as Adam did, against a positive law, 
they must be subject to death for their innate depravity. But, 
so far as this argument assumes that men, before the time of 
Moses, were not justly subject to death for their actual sins, it 
is contrary to truth, and to the express teaching of the apostle. 
Yet this is the form in which it is generally presented. And 
if it only means that actual sin will not account for the absolute 
universality of death, since those die who have never committed 
any actual transgression, the argument is still defective. Innate 
depravity being universal, may account for the universality of 
natural death ; but thi^d-o^ includes much more than natural 
death. What is to account for spiritual death . Why are men 
born dead in sin? This is the very tiling to be accounted for. 
The fact is not its own solution. Paul s argument is, that they 
are so born on account of Adam s sin. It is another objection 
to this interpretation, that it destroys the analogy between 
Christ and Adam, and therefore is inconsistent with the great 
design of the whole passage. Paul s object is to show, that as 
we are justified by the righteousness of Christ as something out 
of ourselves, so we are condemned for the sin of Adam as some 
thing out of ourselves. To make him teach that we are con 
demned for our inherent depravity, to the exclusion of Adam s 
sin, necessitates his teaching that we are justified for our inhe 
rent goodness, which destroys all hope of heaven. There is no 
interpretation of this passage consistent with the meaning of the 
words, the nature of the argument, the design of the context, 
and tho analogy of Scripture, but the one given above, as 

250 ROMANS V. 14. 

commonly received. Kollner complains that Paul s argument 
is very confused. This he accounts for by assuming that the 
apostle had two theories in his mind. The one, that men die 
for their own sins ; the other, that they die for the sin of Adam. 
His natural feelings led him to adopt the former, and he accord 
ingly says, in vcr. 12, "Death passed on all men, because all 
have sinned." But as the Jewish doctrine of his age, that men 
were condemned for the sin of Adam, afforded such an admira 
ble illustration of his doctrine of salvation through the merit 


of Christ, the apostle, says Kollner, could not help availing 
himself of it. Thus he has the two theories mixed up together, 
asserting sometimes the one, and sometimes the other. To those 
who reverence the Scriptures as the word of God, it is assuredly 
a strong argument in favour of the common interpretation of 
the passage, that it saves the sacred writer from such asper 
sions. It is better to admit the doctrine of imputation, than to 
make the apostle contradict himself. 

VERSE 14. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses. 
That is, men were subject to death before the law of Moses was 
given, and consequently not on account of violating it. There 
must be some other ground, therefore, of their exposure to 
death. Neverthelesss, (//,) the clause thus introduced stands 
in opposition to the preceding clause, G JX //o^s?r^. That is, 
1 although sin is not imputed when there is no law, nevertheless 
death reigned from Adam to Moses. Death reiyned* i. e. had 
undisputed, rightful sway. Men were justly subject to his 
power, and therefore were sinners. 

Even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of 
Adams transgression. Instead of connecting l~l rw buououarc, 
as is usually done, with JJ.TJ ^ua^r/^auTe^, Chrysostorn connects 
them with i^aaihuff^. The sense would then be, death 
reigned after the similitude of Adam s transgression, even over 
those who had not sinned. That is, death reigned over those 
who had not personally sinned, just as it reigned over Adam. 
This interpretation is adopted by Bengcl, who says, " Quod 
homines ante legcm mortui sunt, id accidit eis super similitudine 
transarcssionis Adam, i. e. quia illorum eadem atque Adami 
transgredientis ratio fuit : mortui sunt, propter alium reatum, 
non propter eum, quern ipsi per se contraxere, id est, propter 

ROMANS V. 14. 251 

reatum ab Adamo contractum." Although the sense thus 
expressed is good, and suited to the context, the construction 
is evidently forced. It is much more natural to take the words 
as they stand. Death reigned over a class of persons who had 
not sinned as Adam had. The question is. What is the point 
of dissimilarity to which the apostle here refers ? Some say it 
is, that Adam violated a positive command to which the sanction 
of death was expressly added, and that those referred to did 
not. The principal objections to this interpretation are, 1. That 
it destroys the distinction between the two classes of persons 
here alluded to. It makes Paul, in effect, reason thus: Death 
reigned over those who had not violated any positive law, even 
over those who had not violated any positive law. It is obvi 
ous that the first clause of the verse describes a general class, 
and the second clause, which is distinguished from the first by 
the word crcn, only a portion of that class. All men who died 
from Adam to Moses, died without violating a positive com 
mand. The class, therefore, which is distinguished from them, 
must be contrasted with Adam on some other ground than that 
which is common to the whole. 2. This interpretation is incon 
sistent with the context, because it involves us in all the diffi 
culties specified above, attending the sense which it requires 
us to put upon vs. 1-], 14, and their connection with ver. 12. 
We mu<t suppose these verses designed to prove that all men 
are sinners, which, as just shown, is at variance with the con 
text, with the obvious meaning of ver. 12, with the scope of the 
passage, and the drift of the argument. Or we must adopt the 
interpretation of those who confine the word JcatJi to the dis 
solution of the body, and make the apostle argue to show that 
this particular evil is to be referred not to the personal sins of 
men, but to the sin of Adam. Or we are driven to some other 
unsatisfactory view of the passage. In short, these verses, when 
the clause in question is thus explained, present insuperable 

Others understand the difference between Adam and those 
intended to be described in this clause, to be, that Adam sinned 
personally and actually, the others did not. In favour of this 
view it mav be argued, 1. That the words evidently admit of this 
interpretation as naturally as of the other. Paul simply says 

252 ROMANS V. 14. 

the persons referred to did not sin as Adam did. Whether he 
means that they did not sin at all ; that they were not sinners 
in the ordinary sense of that term ; or that they had not sinned 
against the same kind of law, depends on the context, and is 
not determined by the mere form of expression. 2. If ver. 12 
teaches that men are subject tQ death on account of the sin 
of Adam, if this is the doctrine of the whole passage, and if, 
as is admitted, vs. 13, 14 are designed to prove the assertion 
of ver. 12, then is it necessary that the apostle should show 
that death comes on those who have no personal or actual sins 
to answer for. This he does : Death reigns not only over 
those who have never broken any positive law, but even over 
those who have never sinned as Adam did ; that is, who have 
never in their own persons violated any law, by which their 
exposure to death can be accounted for. All the arguments, 
therefore, which go to establish the interpretation given above 
of ver. 12, or the correctness of the exhibition of the course 
of the apostle s argument, and the design of the whole passage, 
bear with all their force in support of the view here given of 
this clause. The opposite interpretation, as was attempted to 
be proved above, rests on a false exegesis of ver. 12, and a false 
view of the context. Almost all the objections to this interpre 
tation, being founded on misapprehension, are answered by the 
mere statement of the case. The simple doctrine and argument 
of the apostle is, that THERE ARE PENAL EVILS WHICH COME 

ENCE OF ANOTHER. In other words, it Avas "by the offence 
of one man that judgment cane on all men to condemnation." 
It is of course not implied in thui statement or argument, that 
men are not now, or were not from Adam to Moses, punishable 
for their own sins, but simply that they are subject to penal 
evils, which cannot be accounted for on the ground of their 
personal transgressions, or their hereditary depravity. This 
statement, which contains the whole doctrine of imputation, is so 
obviously contained in the argument of the apostle, and stands 
out so conspicuously in the Bible, and is so fully established by 

ROMANS V. 14. 253 

the history of the world, that it is frequently and freely ad 
mitted by the great majority of commentators. 

Who is a fifjiire of him that ivcts to e<rm<\ r:);:oc rov //.cV./ovro . 

Ila) T J~0^; (fljffW 6V. W(7~O lx?VO 70?C ^ ft jroD, /^/.TO. J c (L7I 

((ro~jGtv d~o ~o~j ~ J/OM, - oi v acreo^ daiaTO j TO~J oca. 

fJCOfflV ECffayrOsVTOZ, O JTO) 7.O. . 6 XpCffTO^ 70?C ^ C/VTOV. /.</. . 7 OTfZ 

j dczaco~f>(r("fjGa.Gc, feyoys ~ooz?i,o~ oc/juoa j^r^, ^ v u .o. roD 

ly^~f//.. /.<;.: ct j^iy^)~ ~o~j~o EC^ u.i<7o^ eknu. Qhrysostom. I Low 
a type ." he says: because fix he was the cau<e of tlie death 
introduced by eating (the forbidden fruit.) to all who are of 
him, although they did not eat of the tree; so a!><> Christ, to 
those who are of him, though they have not wrought right 
eousness, is become the procurer of the righteousness which, 
by means of the cross, he graciously gives to us all; on this 
account h 1 first and last m;ikes tin one so prominent, continu 
ally bringing it forward." This is an interesting passage 
coming from a source so different from the Augustinian school 
of theology. Every essential point of the common Calvinistic 
interpretation is fully stated. Adam is the cause of death 
coming on all, independently of any transgressions of their 
own ; as Christ is the author of justification without our own 
works. And flic /n<t>u/. in the one clause, are all who are of 
Adam; and 1//c. tti<i>t t </. in the other, those who are of Christ. 

The word rendered lit/if/-/ . rv,To~, from T J~T(D (to xfri/cc, ) 
means a i>r!nt. or impression made by a blow; as in John 
xx. 2~>, rov rvrrov 7(o s -f j/.o)^, tin- }irint <>f tin )i<(ifx. In a wider 
sense it means a fitjin^ or fnnn. literally, as when spoken of an 
image, Acts vii. 4 ; >, or figuratively when used of a doctrine, 
Rom. vi. IT. More commonly in the Scriptures it means either 
a model after which anything is to be made, lleb. viii. ~>, or an 
example to lie followed, Philip, iii. 17, "as ye have us for an 
example," /j/.tt(o~ ^ /~-~z rvrrov /]tm~. Besides these, so to speak 
secular meanings, it has the religious sense of ti/or, a designed 
prefiguration, or counterpart, either historically, as the pass- 
over was a type or significant commemoration of the passing 
over, by the destroying angel, of the habitations of the Hebrews 
in Egypt; or prophetically, as the sacrifices of the Old Testa 
ment were types of the great sacrifice of the Lamb of God. A 

251 ROMANS V. 14. 

typo, thcicforo, in the religious sense of the term, is not a mere 
historical parallel or incidental resemblance between persons or 
events, but a designed resemblance the one being intended to 
prefigure or to commemorate the other. It is in this sense that 
Adam was the type of Christ. The resemblance between them 
was not casual. It was predetermined, and entered into the 
whole plan of God. As Adam was the head and representative 
of his race, whose destiny was suspended on his conduct, so 
Christ is the head and representative of his people. As the 
sin of the one was the ground of our condemnation, so the 
righteousness of the other is the ground of our justification. 
This relation between Adam and the Messiah was recognized by 
the Jews, who called their expected deliverer, linqzan t-sri. the 
last Adam, as Paul also calls him in 1 Cor. xv. 4-5, b Zoyv-o^ 
Aod/jL. Adam was the type, ro r j /^//ovroc, either of the Adam 
who was to come, or simply of the one to come. The Old Testa 
ment system was preparatory and prophetic. The people under 
its influence were looking forward to the accomplishment of the 
promises made to their father. The Messianic period on which 
their hopes were fixed was called "the world or age to come," and 
the Messiah himself was b Ipyppsvo^ b psttcov, the one coming* 
As Paul commenced this section with the design of insti 
tuting this comparison between Christ and Adam, and inter 
rupted himself to prove, in vs. 13, 14, that Adam was really the 
representative of his race, or that all men are subject to death 
for his offence; and having, at the close of ver. 14, announced 
the fact of this resemblance by calling Adam a type of Christ, 
he again stops to limit and explain this declaration by pointing 
out the real nature of the analogy. This he does principally 
by showing, in vs. 15 IT, the particulars in which the com- 

* Fliilippi, Professor in the University at Rostock, one of the most recent as 
he is one of the best of the German commentators, says, in a note to this pas 
sage, "The Protestant Church had abundant scriptural authority as well as theo- 
lo<ncal reasons for their doctrine of the imputatio peccati Adamitici ad culpam et 
pcenam, and its consequent pcccatum originate, consisting in the habitus peccandi, 
and hence involving guilt. It is one of the merits of Julius Mailer s work 
(die Christliche Lelire von der Siinde,) that he rejects the modern doctrine, 
that innate depravity or the corruption of nature in man, consequent on the 
fall of Adam, is simply an evil, so that only voluntary assent thereto is pro 
perly of the nature of sin." 

ROMANS V. 15. 255 

parison docs not hold. In verses 18, 19, which Kre a resump 
tion of the sentiment of ver. 12, he states the grand point of 
their agreement. 

VERSE 15. Bat not as the offence, so also is the free gift. The 
cases, although parallel, are not precisely alike. In the first 
place, it is far more consistent with our views of the character 
of God, that many should be benefitted by the merit of one 
man, than that they should suffer for the sin of one. If the 
latter has happened, MUCH MORE may we expect the former to 
occur. The attentive reader of this passage will perceive con 
stantly increasing evidence that the design of the apostle is not 
to show that the blessings procured by Christ are greater than 
the evils caused by Adam ; but to illustrate and confirm the 
prominent doctrine of the epistle, that we are justified on tho 
ground of the righteousness of Christ. This is obvious from the 
sentiment of this verse, k If we die for the sin of Adam, much 
more may we live through the righteousness of Christ. But 
not as the off> n< <\ occ. \7//" o j% w^ TO xa t od~7ci)/jia, o 7 jTu) xa> TO 
ftafaffua, a singularly concise expression, which however the 
context renders sufficiently plain. Ilo.<xL~T)ti.a. from ~(J.<XJ~ .~TO) 
(to fall,) means JalJ, and ydotafi.^ an act of <jrae<\ or gracious 
gtft, which is explained bv ^ dcon^d in this verse, TO ocoor^ia in 
ver. 1<J, and / t 0(ooia TY^ or/j/.coa r^-/^ (the (//ft of righteousness,) 
in ver. 17. The meaning therefore is, that the fall is not like 
the gracious restoration. The reason why the one is not like 
the other, is stated in what follows, so that fo.n has its appropri 
ate force : They are not alike, fur if by the oil cnce of one many 
be dead. The dative ~aoa.~Tcofjt.aT! expresses the ground or 
reason. The offence of one was the ground or reason of the 
many dying; and as deatli is a penalty, it must be the judicial 
ground of their death, which is the very thing asserted in 
ver. 12, and proved in vs. 1:> 7 14. ^fanij be dead; the words 
are o[ ~U)M> , o,~ii)(j.^<tv^ the many died, the aorist a~ldavov 
cannot mean he dead. By tlte manij are intended nil mankind, 
ol ~o/M)l and ~a>rC being interchanged throughout the con 
text. They arc, 1 called the many, because they are many, and 
for the sake of the antithesis to tlte one. The many died for 
the offence of one ; the sentence of deatli passed on all for his 
offence. The same idea is presented in 1 Cor. xv. 22. 

256 ROMANS Y. 15. 

It is here, therefore, expressly asserted that the sin of Adam 
was the cause of all his posterity being subjected to death, that 
is, to penal evil. But it may still be asked whether it was 
the occasional or the immediate cause. That is, whether the 
apostle means to say that the sin of Adam was the occasion of 
all men being placed in such circumstances that they all sin, 
and thus incur death ; or that by being the cause of the cor 
ruption of their nature, it is thus indirectly the cause of their 
condemnation; or whether he is to be understood as saying that 
his sin is the direct judicial ground or reason for the infliction 
of penal evil. It has been frequently said that this is all 
theory, philosophy, system, &c. But any one may see that it 
is a mere excgetical question what is the meaning of a given 
phrase? Does the dative here express the occasional cause, or 
the ground or reason of the result attributed to the offence of 
one man ? It is a mere question of fact ; the fact is all, and 
there is neither theory nor philosophy involved in the matter. 
If Paul says that the offence of one is the ground and reason 
of the many being subject to death, he says all that the advo 
cates of the doctrine of imputation say. That this is the strict 
exegetical meaning of the passage, appears from the following 
reasons : 1. That such may be the force and meaning of the 
words as they here stand, no one can pretend to doubt. That 
is, no one can deny that the dative case can express the ground 
or reason as well as the occasion of a thing. 2. This interpre 
tation is not only possible, and in strict accordance with the 
meaning of the words, but it is demanded, in this connection, 
by the plainest rules of exposition; because the sentiment 
expressed by these words is confessedly the same as that taught 
in those which follow ; and they, as will appear in the sequel, 
will not bear the opposite interpretation. 3. It is demanded 
by the whole design and drift of the passage. The very point 
of the comparison is, that as the righteousness of Christ, and 
not our own works, is the ground of our justification, so the 
sin of Adam, antecedently to any sins of our own, is the 
ground of the infliction of certain penal evils. If the latter 
be denied, the very point of the analogy between Christ and 
Adam i-s destroyed. 4. This interpretation is so plainly the 
correct and natural one, that it is, as shown above, freely 

ROMANS V. 16. 257 

admitted by the most strenuous opponents of the iloctrine which 
it teaches. 

Much more the grace of God, and tl/e gift by grace, which is 
by one man, hath abounded unto many. Had Paul been studi 
ous of uniformity in the structure of his sentences, this clause 
would have been differently worded : If by the offence of one 
many die, much more by the free gift of one shall many live. 
The meaning is the same. The force of the passage lies in the 
words mu -li more. The idea is not that the grace is more, 
abundant and efficacious than the offence and its consequences: 
this idea is expressed in ver. iiO ; but, if the one dispensation 
has occurred, much more may the other; if we die for one, 
much more may we live by another. The -O/MU ILU./MW does 
not express a higher degree of efficacy, but of evidence or cer 
tainty: If the one tiling lias happened, mwh more certainly 
may the other be relied upon. The first clause of the verse 
may be thus interpreted, the grace of God, even the inft by 
graee; so that the latter phrase is explanatory of the former. 
If they are to be distinguished, the first refers to the cause, viz. 
the grace of God; and the second to the result, viz. the gift by 
grace, i. e. the gracious or free gift, viz. the gift of righteous 
ness, as explained in ver. 17. Wlti<:h /.v by one man, J> SU9 
Christ; that is. which comes to us through Christ. This free 
gift i.i of course the opposite of what comes upon us for the 
sake of Adam. Guilt and condemnation come from him; riirht- 
eousnos and consequent acceptance from Jesus Christ. AYhat 
is here called the free gift is. in ver. 17, called the gift of right 
eousness. JIath abounded unf<> ni im/^ z:~ TO\J ro//o^c, unto ilie 
many; that is. has been freely and abundantly bestowed on the 
many. Whether the many, in this clause, is co-extensive 
numerically with the many in the other, will be considered 
under ver. 18. 

VERSE It.). And not </* it ?/w* by one tJmf .sv/W 7,* xn /* tlte 
gift, &c. This clause, as it stands in the original, and not as 
by one that sinned, the gift, is obviously elliptical. Some word 
corresponding to gift is to be supplied in the first member; 

* Instead of ( *gr <r*vTcf, the MSS. D. E. F. G. 26, the Latin and Syriao 
versions read a^^rH^aTc,;. The common text is retained by most editors, even 
by Lachnmnu. 


l>58 ROMANS V. 16. 

either offence, which is opposed to i\\Q free gift in the preceding 
verse : or judgment, which occurs in the next clause. The 
sense then is, The gift (of justification, see ver. IT) was not 
like the sentence which came by one that sinned. So Professor 
Stuart, who very appositely renders and explains the whole 
verse thus: "Yea, the [sentence] by one who sinned, is not like 
the free gift ; for the sentence by reason of one [offence] was 
unto condemnation [was a condemning sentence] ; but the free 
gift [pardon] is of many offences, unto justification, i. e. is a 
sentence of acquittal from condemnation." The point of this 
verse is, that the sentence of condemnation which passed on all 
men* for the sake of Adam, was for one offence, whereas we 
are justified by Christ from many offences. Christ does much 
more than remove the guilt and evils consequent on the sin 
of Adam. This is the second particular in which the work 
of Christ differs from that of Adam. 

For the judgment was by one to condemnation. JR/j one, lg 
ivnc, either by one man, or by one offence. As &fj.a t or^(Tai>TO<; 
is the true reading in the preceding clause, most modern com 
mentators say that s^o^ must be masculine, by one man. The 
antithesis, however, between ivoc and ~o/Moy is so obvious, that 
it is more natural to supply ^a t oa~T(o t aa~o^, from the next clause, 
as in Hebrew parallelisms, an ellipsis in the first member must 
at times be supplied from the second. An example of this kind 
Gesenius finds in Isa. xlviii. 11. Here the very object of the 
apostle is to contrast the one offence for which we suffer through 
Adnm. with the many offences from the guilt of which Christ 
delivers us. Luther, Beza, Olshausen, Rothe, and others, take 
li/oc as neuter, one offence. "A judgment to condemnation" is 
a Hebraic or Hellenistic idiom, for a condemnatory judgment, 
or sentence of condemnation, f The word */>///, rendered judg 
ment, properly means the decision or sentence of a judge, and 

* The words all men are expressed in ver. 18, where this clause is repeated: 
"By the offence of one, judgment came on all men to condemnation." 

f See 1 Cor. xv. 45, The first Adam was made (th -J%v Co-av) to a living 
soul. The last Adam to a quickening spirit. Or the preposition ( ?) may 
express the grade or point to which anything reaches, and ? astraa^* be equi 
valent to tlf ro jwrajigjWda/, a sentence unto condemnation; a decision which 
went to the extent of condemning. So, in the next clause, th Jut*i*fMt, unto 
Justification, a sentence by which men are justified. See Wahl, p. 428. 

ROMANS V. 16. 259 

is nere to be taken in its usual and obvious signification. It is 
then plainly stated that 4 a sentence of condemnation has passed 
on all men on account of the one sin of Adam. This is one 
of the clauses which can hardly be forced into the meaning 
that the sin of Adam was the occasion merely of men being 
condemned, because it was the means of their being led into 
sin. Here again we have a mere exegetical question to decide; 
not a matter of theory or deduction, but simply of exposition. 
What does the phrase <a sentence of condemnation by, or for 
one offence, in this connection, mean ? The common answer 
to this question is, It means that the one offence was the ground 
of the sentence. This answer, for the following reasons, appears 
to be correct: 1. It is the simple and obvious meaning of the 
terms. To say a sentence is for an offence, is, in ordinary lan 
guage, to say that it is on account of the offence; and not that 
the offence is the cause of something else, which is the ground 
of the sentence. Who, uninfluenced by theological prejudice, 
would imagine that the apostle, when he says that condemna 
tion for the offence of one man lias passed on all men, means 
that the sin of Adam was the occasion of our sins, on account 
of which we arc condemned? The preposition (sx), here trans 
lated by, expresses properly the idea of the origin of one thing 
from another; and is, therefore, used to indicate almost any 
relation in which a cause may stand to an effect. The logical 
character of this relation depends, of course, on the nature of 
the subject spoken of. In the phrases "faith is by hearing" 
(I? u.xoy^,) chap. x. IT; "by fJii* cr</ft (I/. Ta JTT^ r? t ~ z<r l a<7>.a~} 
we have our wealth," .Acts xix. -->; "our sufficiency is o/* God" 
(ix 7<) r j 6^00,) "2 Cor. iii. o; and a multitude of similar cases, the 
general idea of causation is expressed, but its precise character 
differs according to the nature of the subject. In the former 
of these examples the word indicates the instrumental, in the 
lattor the efficient cause. But when it is said that "a man is 
not justified by works" (Ig ey/fwy,) Gal. ii. 10; that the purpose 
of election "is not of works," Rom. ix. 11; that our salvation 
is not "by works of righteousness (^ Zfrfcov raw iv oixatoaovfi) 
which we have done," Tit. iii. 5; and in a hundred similar 
examples, the preposition expresses the ground or reason. We 
arc not elected, Dr justified, or saved on account of our works. 

260 ROMANS V. 16. 

In like manner, when it is said we are condemned fy/, or fot 
the offence of one, and that we are justified for the righteous 
ness of another, the meaning obviously is, that it is on account 
of the offence we are condemned, and on account of the right 
eousness we are justified. If it is true, therefore, as is so often 
asserted, that the apostle here, and throughout this passage, 
states the fact merely that the offence of Adam has led to our 
condemnation, without explaining the mode in which it has pro 
duced this result, it must be because language cannot express 
the idea. The truth is, however, that when he says "the sen 
tence was by one offence" (TO */>/// lz i>oc,) he expresses the 
mode of our condemnation just as clearly as he denies one mode 
of justification by saying it "is not by works;" and as he 
affirms another by saying it is "by the righteousness of Christ." 
2. This interpretation is not only the simple and natural mean 
ing of the words in themselves considered, but is rendered 
necessary by the context. We have, in this verse, the idea of 
pardon on the one hand, which supposes that of condemnation 
on the other. If the latter clause of the verse means, as is 
admitted, that we are pardoned for many offences, the former 
must mean that we are condemned for one. 3. The whole 
force of the contrast lies in this very idea. The antithesis in 
this verse is evidently between the one offence and the many 
offences. To make Paul say that the offence of Adam was the 
means of involving us in a multitude of crimes, from all of 
which Christ saves us, is to make the evil and the benefit 
exactly tantamount: Adam leads us into offences from which 
Christ delivers us. Here is no contrast and no superiority. 
Paul, however, evidently means to assert that the evil from 
which Christ saves us, is far greater than that which Adam has 
brought upon us. According to the simple and natural inter 
prctation of the verse, this idea is retained : Adam brought the 
condemnation of one offence only; Christ saves us from that 
of many. 4. Add to these considerations the obvious meaning 
of the corresponding clauses in the other verses, especially in 
ver. 19, and the design of the apostle in the whole passage, so 
often referred to, and it seems scarcely possible to resist the 
evidence in favour of this view of the passage. 5. This inter 
pretation is so clearly the correct one, that it is conceded 

ROMANS V. 16. 261 

oy commentators and theologians of every shade of doctrine. 
"Justly indeed," says Koppc, "on account of one offence, 
many are subjected to punishment; but by divine grace many 
are freed from the punishment of many offences." His own 
words are, -Jure quidem unius delicti causa poenas subeunt 
irulti; ex gratia vero divina a multorum poems liberantur 
beanturque multi." Flatt says, " Ka-dxwua. setzt als nicht 
iiothwendig eigene Verschuldung voraus, so wie das gegentheil 
dexaicopa nicht eigene oMMOffhy voraussetzt. Urn cincr cinzi- 
gen Siindc willen wurden allc dazu verurtheilt, den #dyaroc, 
(vs. 15, 17,) zu leiden." That is, Condemnation does not 
necessarily suppose personal transgression, any more than the 
opposite, justification, presupposes personal righteousness. On 
account of one single sin, all are condemned to suffer death. 
So Storr : < ; Dunmatio qua propter Adamum tenemur, unius 
peccati causa damnatio est." The condemnation which we 
suffer on account of Adam, is a condemnation on account of one 
sin. Whitby expresses the meaning thus: " The judgment was 
by one sin to condemnation, we being all sentenced to death on 
account of Au<mi s sin. 

Tin , free i/t ft is of many offences unto justification; that is, 
the free irii t is justification. The free- gift, TO ok y/i.ntatia, the 
act of grace is antithetical to xf>i/ia, the judgment; as the clauses 
x<>(tta :c -/.ardxo tjLa and yfunaiuj. el- dixaia) pa, (sentence of con 
demnation and gratuitous juxtijicalwn*} are opposed to each 
other. The word ot/.acoj/ia is (i. o-) riglttcoas judgment; here, 
as antitlietical to /.a-dxo ti.a, condemnation. It means justifica 
tion, which is a righteous judgment, or decision of a judge, 
pronouncing one to be just. This interpretation suits the signi 
fication of the word, and is to be preferred to making it mean 
righteousness, a sense which the word has in ver. 18, when 
opposed to transgression, and interchanged with obedience. 
This justification is Ix -O/JMV -aoa-Tcofidrcov, from many 
offences. The relation indicated by Ix, in the first clause, 
where it is said the sentence was e? ivo c, for one offence, is 
slio-htlv different from what it is in the second clause, where it 

G */ / / 

is said justification is Ix nottatv napaTCTOJpdTcov, jrom many 
offences. That is, sin stands in a different relation to con 
demnation from that which it sustains to justification; both, 

262 ROMANS V. 17. 

however, may be expressed by the same preposition Christ 
has done far more than remove the curse pronounced en us for 
the one sin of Adam; he procures our justification from our 
own innumerable offences. This is the main idea presented in 
this verse. 

VERSE 17. For if l>y one mans offence, &c. The connection 
of this verse, as indicated by for, is with vcr. 16: \Ve are jus 
tified by Christ not only from the guilt of Adam s first sin, but 
from our own innumerable transgressions ; for if death reigned 
over us for one offence, much more shall life reign through one 
who is none other and no less than Jesus Christ. It is doubt 
ful, however, whether this verse is a mere amplification of the 
idea of vcr. 15, which, in import and structure, it so much 
resembles; or whether the stress is to be laid on the last clause, 
reigning in life; so that the point of the difference between 
Adam and Christ, as here indicated, is, Christ not only delivers 
from death, but bestows eternal life; or, finally, whether the 
emphasis is to be laid on the word receive. The idea would 
then be, If we are thus subject to death for an offence, in 
which we had no personal concern, how much more shall we be 
saved by a righteousness which we voluntarily embrace. This 
appears to be Calvin s view, who says: " Ut miseria peccati 
hsereditate potiaris, satis est esse hominem, residet enim in 
carne ct sanguine; ut Christi justitia fruaris, fidelem esse 
necessarium est, quia fide acquiritur ejus consortium." The 
decision of these questions is not at all material to the general 
interpretation of the passage. Both of the ideas contained in 
the two latter views of the verse are probably to be included. 
By one mans offence, T(p TO~J k^b^ ~aoa-i:co<.t<j~c, ly the offence 
of the one (viz. Adam) death reiyncd, i. e. triumphed over all 
men, by one. Here again the dative Ttaoa-Tojtmri has a causal 
force, and the assertion of the apostle is, that the offence of 
Adam was the cause of death coming on all men. His sin was 
not the cause of death by any physical efficiency ; nor as the 
mere occasion of leading men to incur by their own act the 
Denalty of death ; nor by corrupting the nature of man, which 
corruption is the ground of the inflicted curse; but, as is 
asserted in the preceding verse, because his sin was the ground 
of the judicial condemnation, TO xpipa eV xardxpcfjia, which 

ROMANS V. IT. 263 

passed on all mankind. If that is so, much more, sa^s the 
apostle, shall they which receive; be %a l ufidi>ovTZ may he taken 
Bubstantively, the receivers; or the present participle, those 
receiving, is used to express the condition on which the enjoy 
ment of the blessing is suspended. The abundance of grace, 
the abounding grace, the grace which, in ver. 15, is said 
(IxzpcffGZ jffs} hath abounded towards us. This grace is the 
unmerited love of God, which is the source of the gift of rigiit- 
eousness, ocoo-.a r/j~ ocxatoff ji/TjZ) i- e. righteousness is the i^ift 
offered and received. That righteousness hero does not mean 
holiness, is evident from the constant use of the word by Paul 
in a different sense in this epistle; from the fact that it is 
pardon, justification, justifying righteousness, not sanctification, 
that Paul in the context represents as the blessing received 
from Christ; and because it is in this verse opposed to the 
reigning of death, or state of condemnation on account of the 
offence of Adam. Professor Stuart, therefore, in aivordanco 
with the great majority of commentators, very correctly states 
the sentiment of the verse thus: "For it all are in a Mate of 
condemnation by reason of the offence of one 1 , much more; shall 
those towards whom abundance of mercy and pardonin"- *Traco 

v O O 

are shown, be redeemed from a state of condemnation, and 
advanced to a state of happiness." The general sentiment of 
the verse is thus correctly exhibited; but some of the inoro 
prominent terms do not appear to have their lull force assigned 
to them. TiH i/ tclii -li receive tin al>ii.n>lant grace, expresses 
more than that this grace is manifested to them ; all such do 
not reign in life. This evidently implies the voluntary 
reception of the offered boon. The gift of righteousness, too. is 
something more than pardoning grace. It is that which is 
expressed in ver. lf>, by the free gift; and in ver. ij, by the 
free gift unto justification* It is, therefore, the gift of justifica 
tion ; or what is but another method of stating the same idea, 
it is the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified, since 
the gift of justification includes the gift of Christ s righteous 
ness. The meaning of the verse consequently is, If on account 
of the offence of one man we are condemned, much more shall 
those w r ho receive the righteousness graciously offered to them 
in the gospel, not only be delivered from condemnation, but 

264 ROMANS V. 18. 

also reign in life by one, Jesus Christ; that is, be gloriously 
exalted in the participation of that life of holiness and com 
munion with God which is the end of our being. 

By one, Jesus Christ. As it was by one man, antecedently 
to any concurrence of our own, that we were brought into a 
state of condemnation, so it is by one man, without any merit 
of our own, that we are delivered from this state. If the one 
event has happened, much more may we expect the other to 
occur. If we are thus involved in the condemnation of a sin in 
which we had no personal concern, much more shall we, who 
voluntarily receive the gift of righteousness, be not only saved 
from the consequences of the fall, but be made partakers of 
eternal life. 

VERSE 18. Therefore, as l>y the offence of one, judgment came 
on all men to condemnation; even so, &c. The words doa. oov 
(therefore) are the inferential particles so often used in Paul s 
epistles, at the beginning of a sentence, contrary to the ordinary 
classical usage vii. 3, 25, viii. 12, ix. 16, c. They frequently 
serve to introduce a summation of what had previously been 
said. The inference from the whole discussion, from the begin 
ning of the epistle to ver. 12 of this chapter, is introduced in 
that verse by oca TO~JTO, wherefore. It followed, from all the 
apostle had said of the method of justification through Jesus 
Christ, that there is a striking analogy between our fall in 
Adam and our restoration in Christ. The carrying out of this 
comparison was interrupted, in the first place, to prove, in 
vs. lo, 14, the position assumed in ver. 12, that all men are 
subject to death on account of the sin of Adam; and, in the 
second place, to limit and explain the analogy asserted to exist 
between Christ and Adam, at the close of ver. 14. This is 
done in vs. 15 17. Having thus fortified and explained his 
meaning, the apostle now states the case in full. The word 
therefore, at the beginning of ver. 12, marks an inference 
from the whole doctrine of the epistle; the corresponding 
ivonls here are also strictly inferential. It had been proved 
that we are justified by the righteousness of one man, and it 
had also been proved that we are under condemnation for the 
offence of one. Therefore, as we are condemned, even so are 
we Justified. 

ROMANS V. 18. 265 

It will be remarked, from the manner in which they are 
Di inted, that the words judgment came, in the first clause of > 
this verse, and the free gift cime, in the second, have nothing t 
to answer to them in the original. That they are correctly and 
necessarily supplied, is obvious from a reference to ver. 16," 
where these elliptical phrases occur in full. The construction 
in the clauses (xpi/jLa) e^c xardxpefia and fydpefffjici) el^ dexaiaxrev 
^to7^, is the same as in ver. 10. Judgment unto condemnation 
is a sentence of condemnation, and the free gift unto justifica 
tion is gratuitous justification. The sentence is said to be 3i 
ii/6c TtapaxTcouaroz, through the offence of one, and the justifica 
tion is oi l^oc otxatco/jiaToz, through the righteousness oj one. 
In ver. 10, this word or/aUoim is rendered justification, because 
it is there in antithesis to xardxpi/ia, condemnation; it is here 
properly rendered righteousness, because it is in antithesis to 
~an6.-Tu)u.a, offenee, and because what is here expressed by 
dixaUotta, is in ver. IT expressed by u-axo /j, obedience. This 
explanation is consistent with the signification of the word 
which means a righteous thin;/, whether it be an act, a judg 
ment, or an ordinance. In Rev. xix. 8, ra ocxatco/mTa TOW 
&f uoi> is correctly rendered the righteousness of the saints. 
Luther translates the word in the passage before us, gereeht~ 
iykeit, agreeing with our translators. Calvin renders it justiji- 
catio, bv i\\Q justification of one. In this interpretation many 
of the modern commentators concur. The principal argument 
for this explanation of the word is, that it is used in that sense 
in ver. 10; but there, as just remarked, it is opposed to xard- 
xit .iM, condemnation, while here it is opposed to xaixi-rwtLa, 
offence. As the word may mean either justification or right 
eousness, that sense should be adopted which suits the immediate 
context. Many of the older theologians render it satisfaction; 
according to the Aristotelian definition, dtxaitofm TO kxav6pd-cQ[j.a 
TO~J adtxYjimroz. This gives a good sense: By the satisfaction 
of one, the free gift has come on all men unto justification of 
life. But this, although in accordance with the strict classical 
use of the word, is not the sense in which it is used in the Bible, 
and it is not so suitable to the context. 

Instead of rendering oi li/oc napanrconaro^ by the offence of 
one, and 3e hoz ocxacto/mToz, by the righteousness of one, a large 

266 ROMANS V. 18. 

class of commentators render them, by one offence, and 4 by 
one righteousness. This does not materially alter the sense, 
and it is favoured by the absence of the article before ivoc- In 
vs. 17, 19, it is roi) vo c, the one. In favour of the version in 
our English translation, however, it may be urged: 1. That 
Ivoc, throughout the whole context in vs. 12, 15, 17, 19, is 
masculine, except in vcr. 16, where it is opposed to the neuter 
7ro//fl5y. The omission of the article is sufficiently accounted 
for from the fact that the one intended, viz. Adam, had been 
before distinctly designated. 2. The comparison is between 
Adam and Christ, rather than between the sin of the one and 
the righteousness of the other. 3. The expression, one right 
eousness, is awkward and unusual ; and if Ivoc dexaecb/jtaroz be 
rendered one righteous act, then it is inappropriate, inasmuch as 
we are not justified by one act of Christ, but by his whole life 
of obedience and suffering. 4. The natural opposition between 
one and all, requires e^o; to be masculine: It was by the 
offence of one man that all men were condemned. 

That the apostle here again teaches that there is a causal 
relation between the sin of Adam and the condemnation of his 
race, cannot be denied. The only possible question is, What is 
the nature of that relation, as expressed by did ? It was dt Ivoc 
~aoa~Tc!)jmToz, ?>?/ the offence of one that judgment came upon 
all men. Does this mean that the offence of one was simply 
the occasion of all being condemned, or that it was the ground 
or reason of their condemnation ? It is of course admitted that 
the proper force of ocd with the genitive is, l>y means of, and 
with the accusative, on account of. As the genitive and not the 
accusative is here used, it might seem that the apostle design 
edly avoided saying that all were condemned (oca TO -aodTzrtoua 
TOL* Ivo c) on account of the offence of one. But there is no 
necessity for departing from the ordinary force of the preposi 
tion with the genitive, in order to justify the interpretation 
given above. The relation of a means to an end, depends on 
the nature of that means. To say that condemnation is through, 
or by means of an offence, is to say that the offence is the 
rational or judicial means, i. e. the ground of the condemnation. 
No man doubts that when, in ver. 12, the apostle says, that 
death was (oca rr^ 6\fj.o.priaz) by means of sin, he means that it 

ROMANS V. 18. 267 

was on account of sin. This is not a solitary case. In chap. 
iii. 24, we are said to be justified (d .a TY^ dxokjTpdjffscoz) through 

the redemption of Christ, i. e. by means of the redemption ; but 
the ransom paid by Christ, in being the means, was the ground 
of our redemption. So in the familiar phrases, "through his 
blood," Eph. i. 7, Col. i. 20; "through his death," Rom. v. 10, 
Col. i. 22; "by his cross," Eph. ii. 1G ; "by the sacrifice of 
himself," Heb. ix. 26; "through the offering of the body of 
Jesus," and in many similar expressions the preposition retains 
its proper force with the genitive, as indicating the means, and 
yet the means, from the nature of the case, is the ground or 
reason. Thus also, in this immediate connection, we have the 
expressions, "fy/ the righteousness of one" all are justified, and 
"by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." We 
have, therefore, in this single passage, no less than three cases, 
vs. 12, 18, 10, in which this preposition with the genitive indi 
cates such a means to an end, as the ground or reason on 
account of which M.miething is given or performed. All this is 
surely suilicient to prove that it tnciy, in the case before us, 
express the ground why the sentence of condemnation has 
passed on all men. That such, in this connection, must be its 
meaniiiLT, appears, 1. From the nature of the subject spoken of. 
To sav that one man has been corrupted by another, may 
indeed express very generally, that one was the cause of the 
corruption of the other, without giving any informal ion as to the 
mode in which the result was secured. But to say thai a man 
was ju-tiiied by means of a good action, or that he was con 
demned bv means of a bad one; or plainer still, in Raul s own 
language, that a condemnatory sentence came upon him by 
means of that action; according to all common rules of inter 
pretation, naturally means that such action was the reason of 
the sentence. 2. From the antithesis. If the phrase, " by the 
righteousness of one all are justified," means, as is admitted, 
that this righteousness is the ground of our justification, the 
opposite clause, "by the offence of one all are condemned," 
must have a similar meaning. 3. The point of the comparison, 
as frequently remarked before, lies in this very idea. The fact 
that Adam s sin was the occasion of our sinning, and thus 
incurring the Divine displeasure, is no illustration of the fact 

268 ROMANS V. 18. 

that Christ s righteousness, and not our own merit, is the ground 

of our acceptance. There would be some plausibility in this 

I interpretation, if it were the doctrine of the gospel that Christ s 

j righteousness is the occasion of our becoming holy, and that on 

I the ground of this personal holiness we are justified. But this 

< not being the case, the interpretation in question cannot be 

adopted in consistency with the design of the apostle, or the 

common rules of exposition. 4. This clause is nearly identical 

! with the corresponding one of ver. 16, "the judgment was by 

one (offence) to condemnation." But that clause, as shown 

above, is made, almost by common consent, to mean that the 

- offence was the ground of the condemnatory sentence. Such, 

therefore, must be the meaning of the apostle in this verse; 

I compare also vs. 15, 17, 19. 

The second question of importance respecting this verse is, 
I whether the all men of the second clause is co-extensive with 
1 the all men of the first. Are the all who are justified for the 
! righteousness of Christ, the all who are condemned for the sir. 
of Adam ? In regard to this point, it may be remarked, in the 
first place, that no inference can be fairly drawn in favour of an 
affirmative answer to this question, from the mere universality 
of the expression. Nothing is more familiar to the readers of 
the Scriptures than that such universal terms are to be limited 
by the nature of the subject or the context. Thus, John iii. 24, 
it is said of Christ, "all men come to him;" John xii. 32, Christ 
says, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Thus 
the expressions, "all the world should be taxed," "all Judea," 
"all Jerusalem," must, from the nature of the case, be limited. 
In a multitude of cases, the words all, all things, mean the 
all spoken of in the context, and not all, without exception; 
see Eph. i. 10, Col. i. 20, 1 Cor. xv. 22, 51, 2 Cor. v. 14, &c. 
2. This limitation is always implied when the Scriptures else 
where speak of a necessary condition connected with the bless 
ing to which all are said to attain. It is everywhere taught 
that faith is necessary to justification; and, therefore, when it 
is said "all are justified," it must mean all believers. By 
him," says the apostle, "all that believe are justified from all 
tilings," &c. Acts xiii. 39. 3. As if to prevent the possibility 
of mistake, Paul, in ver. 17, says it is those who "receive the 

ROMANS V. 18. 269 

gift of righteousness" that reign in life. 4. Even the all men, 
in the first clause, must be limited to those descended from 
Adam "by ordinary generation." It is not absolutely all. The! 
man Christ Jesus must be exceptcd. The plain meaning is, all 
connected with Adam, and all connected with Christ. 5. A 
reference to the similar passage in 1 Cor. xv. 22, confirms this 
interpretation, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all bo 
made alive ;" that is, shall be made partakers of a glorious resur 
rection and of eternal life. Thus the original word (^coorcor^d w 
(TOI<-M) and the context require the latter clause of that verso, 
to be understood. The all there intended arc immediately called! 
"they that are Christ s," ver. 2->. i. e. all connected with him,! 
and not numerically the all that die in Adam. (j. This inter 
pretation is necessary, because it is impossible, with any regard 
to scriptural usage or truth, to carry the opposite interpretation i 
through. In this whole passage there are two classes of per 
sons spoken of those connected with Adam, and those con 
nected with Christ. Of the former, it is said "they die," 
ver. lo; "they are condemned, vs. 1<>, 18; "they are made 
sinners," ver. 11), by the offence of one man. Of the latter it; 
is said, that to them "the grace of (ilod and the gift by grace 
hath abounded," ver. 1~>: that "they are freely justified from | 
many offences," vs. li, IS; that "they shall reign in life | 
through Christ Jesus," ver. 17; that "they are regarded and 

all men, of impenitent sinners and hardened reprobates, what / 
remains to be said of the people of (Jod . It is not possible so j 
to eviscerate these declarations as to make them contain nothing 
more than that the chance of salvation is offered to all men. 
To sav that a man is justified, is not to say that he has the 
opportunity of justifying himself; and to say that a man shall 
reign in life, is not to say he may possibly be saved. Who ever 
announces to a congregation of sinners, that they are all justi 
fied, they are all constituted righteous, they all have the justifi 
cation of life? The interpretation which requires all these 
strong and plain declarations to be explained in a sense which 
they confessedly have nowhere else in the Bible, and which 
makes them mean hardly anything at all, is at variance with 
every sound principle of construction. If the all in the latter) 

270 ROMANS V. 19. 

part of the verse is co-extensive with the all in the former, 
the passage of necessity teaches universal salvation; for it is 
impossible that to be justified, constituted righteous, can mean 
.simply that justification is offered to all men. The all who are 
justified are saved. If therefore the all means all men, the 
apostle teaches that all men are saved. And this is the use to 
which many Universalists have put the passage. As, however, 
not only the Scriptures generally, but Paul himself, distinctly 
teach that all men are not to be saved, as in 2 Thess. i. 9, this 
interpretation cannot be admitted by any who acknowledge the 
inspiration of the Bible. It is moreover an unnatural interpre 
tation, even if the attention be limited to this one passage ; 
jbecause as death on account of Adam supposes union with 
Adam, so life on account of Christ supposes union with Christ. 
jit is all who are in Adam who are condemned for his offence, 
and the all who are in Christ who are justified by his righteous 
ness. The modern German commentators, even those who do 
riot hesitate to differ from the apostle, admit this to be the 
meaning of the passage. Thus Meyer says, Die /ravrsc fod-pco- 
7:0: in the first clause, are die gesammtheit der Adams-genera 
tion, and in the second clause, die gesammtheit der Christus- 
generation. Philippi says, "The limitation of the -ckrsc 
avftpto-ot is of necessity to be assumed. It can only mean all 
who believe. . . . The apostle views, on the one hand, the gene 
ration of those lost in Adam, and on the other, the generation 
of those saved in Christ." 

VERSE 19. For as by one mans disobedience many were made 
fanners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 
This verse presents the doctrine of the preceding one in a some 
what different form. As in the doctrine of justification, there 
are the two ideas of the ascription of righteousness, and treat 
ing as righteous ; and in the doctrine of the fall, the ascription 
of guilt (legal responsibility,) and the treating all men as guilty; 
so either of these ideas is frequently presented more promi 
nently than the other. In ver. 18, it is the latter, in each case, 
which is made most conspicuous, and in ver. 19, the former. In 
ver. 18, it is our being treated as sinners for the sin of Adam, 
and our being treated as righteous for the righteousness of 
Christ, that is most prominently presented. In ver. 19, on the 

ROMANS V. 19. 271 

contrary, it is our being regarded as sinners for the disobedience. 
of Adam, and our being regarded as righteous for the obediences 
of Christ, that are rendered most conspicuous. Hence, Paul 
begins this verse with for: i We are treated as sinners for the 
offence of Adaai, fur we arc regarded as sinners on his 
account, &c. Though the one idea seems thus to be the more 
prominent in vcr. 18, and the other in ver. 11 , yet it is only a 
greater degree of prominency to the one, and not the exclusion 
of the other, that is in either case intended. 

BIJ one iiuuis dixoln-dienee. The disobedience here is evidently 
the first transgression of Adam, spoken of in ver. 16, as tin , one 
offt tw. The obedience of Christ here stands for all his work 
in satisfying the demands of the law: his obedience unto und 
in death ; that by which the law was magnified and rendered 
honourabb . as well as satisfied. From its opposition to the, 
disobedience <f Adam, his obedience, strictly speaking, rather 
than his sufferings, seems to be the prominent idea. "Paulus 
unterschridet in dem Werke Chri.-ti diese beiden Momentc, das 
Thun und das Leiden." Meander. k Puul distinguishes, in the 
work of Christ, these two elements doing and suffering. 
Gcwlt c ltte d -r PjliHZiui j, & c -? P- ; "^ ; - ^ u tne paragraph 
which follows this statement, Neander presents the old distinc-l 
tion l)etwci ii the active ami passive obedience of Christ, veryi 
nearlv in its ii-nai i-Tin. On p. ">4o, lie says, "Dies heiligc 
Leben Chri-ti will (l<tt als That der gan/en Menschheit - 
betraehten." "(.Ind regards the holy life of Christ as the act 
of all men. The word.- the innnif. in both clauses of this verse,,. 
are obviously equivalent to the nil of the corresponding t.-lausrsl 
of ver. 1^. and arc to be explained in the same manner. 

The words <L".<i<>T<t)/j,> . xaTeffrdOr^av ot rro//o/, rendered "the 
many were made sinners," properly mean, were set down in the 
rank or category of sinners. Ka&lffTTjfJU never, in the New Tes 
tament, means to make, in the sense of effecting, or causing a 
person or thing, to be in its character or nature other than ifc 
was before. KafJ-fffTdyai ~L^<L haaoTcoAov does not mean to make 
one sinful, but to set him down as such, to regard or appoint 
him to be of that class. Thus, when Christ is said to have been 
"constituted the Son of God," he was not made Son, but 
declared to be such: ^ Who constituted tliee a ruler or judge?" 

272 ROMANS V. 19. 

i. e. Who appointed thee to that office? So, "Whom his lord 
made ruler." When, therefore, the apostle says, that the 
many were (xaTeff-cd&ijffav) constituted sinners by the disobedi 
ence of Adam, it cannot mean, that the many thereby were 

! rendered sinful, but that his disobedience was the ground of 
their being placed in the category of sinners. It constituted a 
good and sufficient reason for so regarding and treating them. 
The same remark applies, of course, to the other clause of this 

(verse : dixcuoe xaTaff-ad-ijffovToe of ~oAAoi This cannot mean, 
that by the obedience of one the many shall be made holy. It, 
can only mean, that the obedience of Christ was the ground on 

I which the many are to be placed in the category of the right 
eous, i. e. shall be so regarded and treated. It is not our 
personal righteousness which makes us righteous, but the 
imputation of the obedience of Christ. And the sense in which 
we are here declared to be sinners, is not that we are such per 
sonally, (which indeed is true,) but by the imputation of Adam s 

Of course the several interpretations above mentioned are 
applied to this verse. 1. That the sin of Adam was the mere 
occasion of other men becoming sinners ; whether this was by 
the force of example, or by an unfavourable change in their 
external circumstances, or in some other unexplained manner, 
oeing left undecided. 2. That in virtue of community, or 
numerical oneness of nature between Adam and his posterity, 
his act was strictly their act, and made them sinners as it made 
him a sinner. 3. That as the apostasy of Adam involved a 
corruption of nature, that corruption was transmitted to his 
descendants, by the general physical law of propagation. 
4. That the sin of Adam was the judicial ground of the con 
demnation of his race. They were by his sin constituted sin 
ners in a legal or forensic sense ; as by the righteousness of 
Christ we are constituted legally righteous. 

That this last is the true interpretation, is plain, 1. Because 
it is in accordance with usage. To make clean, to make unclean, 
to make rif/hteous, to make guilty, are the constant expressions 
for regarding and treating as clean, unclean, righteous, or un 
righteous. 2. The expression, to make sin, and to make righteous 
ness, occurring in a corresponding sense, illustrate and confirm 

ROMANS V. 19. 273 

this interpretation. Thus in 2 Cor. v. 21, Christ is said to be 
made sin," i. e. regarded and treated as a sinner, "that we 
might be made the righteousness of God in him," i. e. that we 
might be regarded and treated as righteous in the sight of God, 
on his account. 3. The antithesis is here so plain as to be of 
itself decisive. "To be made righteous" is, according to Pro 
fessor Stuart, "to be justified, pardoned., regarded and treated 
as righteous." With what show of consistency then can it 
be denied that " to be made sinners," in the opposite clause, 
means to be regarded and treated as sinners? If one part of 
the verse speaks of justification, the other must speak of con 
demnation. 4. As so often before remarked, the analogy 
between the case of Adam and Christ requires this interpreta 
tion. .It the first clause means either that the disobedience of 
Adam was the occasion of our committing sin, or that it was the 
cause of <>ur becoming inherently corrupt, and on the ground of 
these sins, or of this corruption, being condemned; then must 
the other clause mean that the obedience of Christ is the cause 
of our becoming holy, or performing good works, on the ground 
of which we arc justified. .But this confessedly is not the mean- 
in tr of the apostle. If then the same words, in the same con 
nection, and the same grammatical construction, have the same 
meaninir, the interpretation irivrn above must be correct. >. The 
design <>f the apostle to illustrate the great doctrine of the 
cospel, that men, although in themselves ungodly, are regarded 

O i "" O 

and treated as righteous for Christ s sake, demands this inter 
pretation. (>. This view of the passage, so obviously required 
bv the usa ire of the words and the context, is as remarked 
above on ver. l >. adopted by commentators of every class, as 
to theological opinion. See the passages there quoted. "The 
mani] are here again all. who, from the opposition to the one, 
are in this place, as in ver. lf>. denominated from their great 
number. These have without exception become sinners (6.ij.ap- 
rco/.o . /ji~-,n-nj}-f t aivs.} not in reference to their o\vn inward cor 
ruption, of which Paul is not here speaking, but in reference to 
their guilt (Strafwiirdigkeit) and actual punishment on account 
of Adam s sin."* Even Flatt, whose general view of the pas 
sage would lead to a different interpretation, gives, as a correct 

* Zacliari*, J iblische Theologie, Vol. II. p. 388. 

274 ROMANS V. 19. 

exhibition of the meaning of the apostle, "As on account of the 
disobedience of one the many are treated as sinners, so on 
account of the obedience of one shall the many be treated as 
righteous." Storr also renders the first clause, "They were 
regarded and treated as sinners;" this, he says, must be its 
meaning, from its opposition to the words "were constituted 
righteous," which obviously express the idea of justification, 
and also from the use of the word condemnation in the corres 
ponding clause of ver. 18. These writers are referred to rather 
than Calvinistic commentators, to show how entirely destitute 
of foundation is the reproach, that the interpretation given 
above is the result of theological prejudice. 

. The meaning then of the whole passage is this : BY ONE MAN 
j sin entered into the world, or men were brought to stand in the 
I relation of sinners to God ; death consequently passed on all, 
because for the offence of that one man they were all regarded 
and treated as sinners. That this is really the case is plain, 
Localise the execution of the penalty of a law cannot be more 
| extensive than its violation; and consequently, if all are subject 
to penal evils, all are regarded as sinners in the sight of God. 
This universality in the infliction of penal evil cannot be 
accounted for on the ground of the violation of the law of 
Moses, since men were subject to such evil before that law was 
given ; nor yet on account of the violation of the more general 
law written on the heart, since even they are subject to this 
evil, who have never personally sinned at all. We must con 
clude, therefore, that men are regarded and treated as sinners 
on account of the sin of Adam. 

He is, therefore, a type of Christ. The cases, however, are 
jnot entirely analogous ; for if it is consistent with the Divine 
character, that we should suffer for what Adam did, how much 
more may we expect to be made happy for what Christ has 
done! Besides, we are condemned for one sin only, on Adam s 
account ; whereas Christ saves us not only from the evils con 
sequent on that transgression, but also from the punishment of 
1 our own innumerable offences. Now, if for the offence of one, 
; death thus triumphs over all, how much more shall they who 
receive the grace of the gospel, not only be saved from evil, but 
rei"n in life through Christ Jesus ! 

ROMANS V. 10. 275 

Wherefore, as on account of one the condemnatory sentence 
has passed on all the descendants of Adam, so on account of the 
righteousness of one, gratuitous justification conies on all who 
receive the grace of Christ ; for as on account of the disobedi 
ence of one we are regarded as sinners, so on account of the 
obedience of the other we are regarded as righteous. 

It may be proper to add a few remarks on the preceding 
interpretation of tliis whole section. 1. The first is, that the 
evidence of its correctness is cumulative, and is therefore not 
to be judged exclnsivelv bv what is said in favour of the view 
presented of nny one of its parts. If it is jirnlaWc that ver. 12 
asserts, -that all men became subject to death on account of one 
man, this is rendered still plainer by the drift and force of 
vs. lo, 14; it is rendered almost certain by ver. lo, where it is 
asserted, that for the offence of one the many die; by ver. ll>, 
where it is said that for out offence all are condemned; by 
ver. IT, which affirms again, that the ground of death s reigning 
over all is to be found in this one offence; and it would appear 
to be rnised almost bevond the reach of doubt by ver. IS, where 
the words of ver. lo are repeated, and the analogy with the 
method of our justification is expressly asserted; and by ver. 10, 
in which this same idea is reiterated in a form which seems to set 
all efforts at misunderstanding or misinterpretation at defiance. 

2. The force of a remark previously made may now be moro 
fullv appreciated, viz. that the sentiment attributed to ver. 12, 
after having been proved in vs. 1-5, 14. is ever after assumed as 
the ground of illustrating the nature, and confirming the cer 
tainty of our iustifieation. Thus, in ver. 1(>. FR IF by the, 
offence of one many be dead, &c.; and ver. IT, FOR IF by one 
man s offence, etc.; in ver. IS, TIIKIIFFOKH AS by the offence of 
one all are condemned, even *" by the righteousness of one all 
are iustilied : and, finally, in ver. 10. FOI; AS by one man s dis 
obedience, ivc. 

3. In connection with these remarks, it should be remem 
bered that the interpretation given to the several clauses in this 
passage is the simple natural meaning of the words, as, with 
scarcely an exception, is admitted. The objections relied upon 
against it are almost exclusively of a theological, rather than a 
philological or exegetical character. This interpretation, too, 

276 ROMANS V. 19. 

is perfectly consistent with itself, harmonious with the design 
: of the apostle, and illustrative of the point which he proposed 
( to explain. If all these separate sources of proof be properly 
/ considered and brought to bear, with their mutually sustaining 
I force, on a candid mind, it can hardly fail to acknowledge that 
the commonly received view of this interesting portion of the 
word of God, is supported by an amount and force of evidence 
not easily overthrown or resisted. 

4. This interpretation is old. It appears in the writings of 
? the early Christian fathers ; it has the sanction, in its essential 
I features, of the great body of the Reformers ; it has commanded 
I the assent of men of all parties, and of every form of theolo- 
; gical opinion. The modern Rationalist, certainly an impartial 

witness, who considers it a melancholy proof of the apostle s 
subjection to Jewish prejudices, unites with the devout and 
humble Christian in its adoption. An interpretation which has 
stood its ground so long and so firmly, and which has com 
mended itself to minds so variously constituted, cannot be dis- 
missed as a relic of a former age, or disparaged as the offspring 
of theological speculation. 

5. Neither of the opposite interpretations can be consistently 
carried through. They are equally at variance with the design 
of the apostle, and the drift of his argument. They render the 
design and force of vs. 13, 14, cither nugatory or unintelligible. 
They require the utmost violence to bo clone to the plainest 
rules of exposition ; and the most unnatural interpretations to 
be given to the most perspicuous and important declarations of 
the apostle. Witness the assertion, that u receiving the abun 
dance of grace and gift of righteousness," means to be brought 
under a dispensation of mercy ; and that " to reign in life by 
one, Jesus Christ," is to be brought under a dispensation of life. 
Thus, too, " the free gift of justification of life has come upon all 
men, 1 is made to mean that all are in a salvable state ; and " all 
are constituted righteous," (i. e. li justified, pardoned, regarded 
and treated as righteous,") is only to have the offer of pardon 
made to all. These are but a tithe of the exegetical difficulties 
attending the other interpretations of this passage, which make 
the reception of either, the severest of all sacrifices to prejudice 
or authority. 

ROMANS V. 20. 277 

VERSE 20. Moreover, tlie law entered, that the offence might 
abound, &c. Paul, having shown that our justification was 
effected without the intervention of either the moral or Mosaic 
law, was naturally led to state the design and effect of the 
renewed revelation of the one, and the superinduction of the 
other. The law stands here for the whole of the Old Testament 
economy, including the clear revelation of the moral law, andj 
all the institutions connected with the former dispensation. 
The main design and result of this dispensation, considered as 
law, that is, apart from the evangelical import of many of its 
parts, was ha ro 7:a(jd~rcotJLa TTAsovdfffl, that the offence majJtt 
abound. The offence TO -aod-Tcoua is in the context used of 
the specific offence of Adam. But it is hard to see how the 
entrance of the law made the offence of Adam to abound, unless 
the idea is, that its dire effects were rendered more abundant. 
It is more probable that the apostle uses the word in a collective 
sense; compare Gal. iii. 11). Agreeably to this view, the mean 
ing of the clause is, that the great design of the law (in refer 
ence to justification] is to produce the knowledge and conviction 
of sin. Taking the word in its usual sense, the meaning is, that 
the result of the introduction of the law was the increase of 
sin. This result is to be attributed partly to the fact, that by 
enlarging the knowledge of the rule of duty, responsibility was 
proportionally increased, according to chap. iv. 15, and partly 
to the consideration that the enmity of the heart is awakened, 
by its operation, and transgressions actually multiplied, agree 
ably to chap. vii. 8. Both views of the passage express anj 
important truth, as the conviction of sin and its incidental! 
increase are alike the result of the operation of the law. It 
seems, however, more in accordance with the apostle s object, 
and with the general, although not uniform force of the particle 
(ha) rendered that, to consider the clause as expressing the 
design, rather than the result simply of the giving of the law. 
The word xaoeeffYjAd-ev does not mean simply entered, nor 
entered between, that is, came between Adam and Christ. This 
is indeed historically true, but it is not the meaning of the 
word, and therefore not the idea which the apostle intended to 
express. Nor docs the word mean here, as in Gal. ii. 4, entered 
surreptitiously, "crept in unawares," for this is not true. It 

278 ROMANS V. 21. 

rather means entered thereto, i. e. as the same idea is expressed 

ti Gal. iii. 19, "it was added." It was superinduced on a plan 
heady laid, and for a subordinate, although necessary purpose. 
t was not intended to give life, but to prepare men to receive 
Christ as the only source of righteousness and salvation. 

But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. That 

is, great as is the prevalence of sin, as seen and felt in the light 

of God s holy law, yet over all this evil the grace of the gospel 

has abounded. The gospel or the grace of God has proved 

itself much more efficacious in the production of good, than sin 

in the production of evil. This idea is illustrated in the follow 

ing verse. The words ov and e/cel have a local force. Where, 

i. e. in the sphere in which sin abounded ; there, in the same 

sphere grace super abounded ; vTrepeTrepiaaeveiv is superlative, 

and not comparative, and Trepicra-eveiv is stronger than 7r\eova- 

ft iz , as Trepia-abv is more than Tr\eov. The fact, therefore, of the 

triumph of grace over sin, is expressed in the clearest manner. 

YKUSE 21. That as sin hath reigned unto death, <tc. That, 

\"va,in- order that, as expressing the divine purpose. The design 

of God in permitting sin, and in allowing it to abound, was to 

-bring good out of evil ; to make it the occasion of the most 

wonderful display of his glory and grace, so that the benefits 

j of redemption should infinitely transcend the evils of the apos 

tasy. iSln, reigned, ev TO) Oavdrtp, not unto, but in death, or 

j through death. Death spiritual as well as temporal evil in its 

widest sense, as the judicial consequence of sin, was the sphere 

in which the power or triumph of sin was manifested. Even so 

might grace reign, (cosvrep OVTW /cat,) as the one has happened, 

so also the other. The one is in order to the other. Grace is 

jthe unmerited love of God and its consequences. It reigns, 

li. e. it is abundantly and effectively displayed, unto eternal life, 

(et? farjv alwviov,) in securing as the result of its exercise, eter 

nal life. This is done (Bta SIKCUOO-VVJJS) ly means of rigliteous- 
ncss, and that righteousness is THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR 
LOUD. As the triumph of sin over our race was through the 
offence of Adam, so the triumph of grace is through the right 
eousness of Christ. The construction of this passage, assumed 
in the above interpretation, is to be preferred to that which con 
nects &i/caiocrvvr}s ei9 &*}v ai&vLov, righteousness ivhich is unto 

ROMANS V. 1221. 279 

eternal life, because the antithesis is not between death and 
ri /hteousness, but between death and life: Sin reigns in death, 
grace reigns unto life. That the benefits of redemption shall 
far outweigh the evils of the fall, is here clearly asserted. This 
we can in a measure comprehend, because, 1. The number of 
the saved shall doubtless greatly exceed the number of the lost. 
Since the half of mankind die in infancy, and, according to the 
Protestant doctrine, arc heirs of salvation; ami since in the 
future state of the Church the knowledge of the Lord is to 
cover the earth, we have reason to believe that the lost shall 
bear to the saved no greater proportion than the inmates of a 
prison do to the mass of the community. ~. Because the eter 
nal Son of God, by his incarnation and mediation, exalts his 
people to a far higher state of being than our race, if nnfailen, 
could ever have attained, o. Because the benefits of redemp 
tion are not to be confined to the human race. Christ is to be 
admired in his saints. It is through the Church that the mani 
fold wisdom of God is to be revealed, throughout all ages, to 
principalities and powers. The redemption of man is to be the 
great source of knowledge and blessedness to the intelligent 1 


I. The doctrine of imputation is clearly taught in this pas 
sage. This doctrine does not include the idea of a mysterious! 
identity of Adam and his race; nor that of a tran.-fer of the- 
moral turpitude of his sin to his descendants. It does not teach 
that his offence was personally or properly the sin of all men, 
or that his act was. in any mysterious sense, the act of his pos- 
teritv. Neither does it imply, in reference to the righteousness 
of Christ, that his righteousness becomes personally and inhe 
rently ours, or that his moral excellence is in any way trans- I 
ferrcd from him to believers. The sin of Adam, therefore, is .j 
no ground to us of remorse; and the righteousness of Christ is 
no ground of self-complacency in those to whom it is imputed. 
This doctrine merely teaches, that in virtue of the union, repre- 
sentative and natural, between Adam and his posterity, his sin 
is the ground of their condemnation, that is, of their subjection { 
to penal evils; and that in virtue of the union between Christ/ 

280 ROMANS V. 1221. 

jand his people, his righteousness is the ground of their justi 
fication. This doctrine is taught almost in so many words in 
vs. 12, 15 ID. It is so clearly stated, so often repeated or 
(assumed, and so formally proved, that very few commentators 
of any class fail to acknowledge, in one form or another, that it 
is the doctrine of the apostle. 

It would be easy to prove that the statement of the doctrine 
just given is a correct exhibition of the form in which it was 
held by the great body of the Reformed Churches and divines. 
A few quotations from men of universally recognized authority, 
as competent witnesses on this subject, must suffice. Turrettin 
(T I tool. Elench. Quaest. IX., p. 678) says, "Imputation is either 
of something foreign to us, or of something properly our own. 
Sometimes that is imputed to us which is personally ours ; in 
which sense God imputes to sinners their transgressions. Some 
times that is imputed which is without us, and not performed 
by ourselves; thus the righteousness of Christ is said to be 
imputed to us, and our sins are imputed to him, although he 
.has neither sin in himself, nor we righteousness. Here we 
speak of the latter kind of imputation, not of the former, 
because we are treating of a sin committed by Adam, not by 
us." The ground of this imputation is the union between Adam 
and his posterity. This union is not a mysterious identity of 
person, but, 1. "Natural, as he is the father, and we are the 
children. 2. Political and forensic, as he was the representa 
tive head and chief of the whole human race. The foundation, 
therefore, of imputation is not only the natural connection 
which exists between us and Adam, since in that case all his 
sins might be imputed to us, but mainly the moral and federal, 
in virtue of which God entered into covenant with him as our 
head." Again, "We are constituted sinners in Adam in the 
same way in which we are constituted righteous in Christ." 
| Again, (Vol. II., p. 707,) to impute, he says, "is a forensic 
I term, which is not to be understood physically of the infusion 
of righteousness, but judicially and relatively." Imputation 
j does not alter the moral character ; hence the same individual 
may, in different respects, be called both just and unjust: "For 
j when reference is had to the inherent quality, he is called a 
sinner and ungodly ; but when the external and forensic relation 

ROMANS V. 1221. 281 

co Christ is regarded, he is pronounced just in Christ." "When? 
God justifies us on account of the righteousness of Christ, his; 
judgment is still according to truth; because he does not pro-, 
nounce us just in ourselves subjectively, which would be false, j 
but in another putatively and relatively." Tuckney, (Prcdee 
tiones, p. 234,) "We are counted righteous through Christ in 
the same manner that we are counted guilty through Adam. 
The latter is by imputation, therefore also the former." "We 
are not so foolish or blasphemous as to say, or even to think, 
that the imputed righteousness of Christ makes us formally and 
subjectively righteous;" see further quotations from this writer 
on chap. iv. 5. Owen (in his work on Justification^ p. 230) 
says, "Things which are not our own originally, inherently, 
may vet be imputed to us, ex justitia, by the rule of righteous 
ness. And this may be done upon a double relation unto those 
whose they are, 1. Federal. 2. Natural. Things done by one 
may be imputed unto others, pro^tcr relationem foederalem, 
because of a covenant relation between them. So the sin of 
Adam was imputed unto all his posterity. And the ground 
hereof is, that we stood in the same covenant with him who was 
our head and representative." On page 242, he says, "This 
imputation (of Christ s righteousness) is not the transmission or 
transfusion of the righteousnos of another into them which are 
to be justified, that they should become perfectly and inherently 
righteous thereby. For it is impossible that the righteousness 
of one should be transfused into another, to become- his sub 
jectively and inherently. Again, page 3UT, "As we are made 
guilty by Adam s actual sin, which is not inherent in us, but 
only imputed to us; so are we made righteous by the righteous 
ness of Christ, which is not inherent in us, but only imputed to 
us." On page 408, he says, "Nothing is intended by the 
imputation of sin unto any, but the rendering them justly . 
obnoxious unto the punishment due unto that sin. As the not I 
imputing of sin is the freeing of men from being subject or i 
liable to punishment." It is one of his standing declarations, 
"To be alienee culpee reus, MAKES NO MAN A SINNEII." Knapp 
(in his Lectures on Theology, sect. TOj says, in stating what the 
doctrine of imputation is, "God s imputing the sin of our first 
parents to their descendants, amounts to this : God punishes the 

282 ROMANS V. 1221. 

descendants on account of the sin of their first parents." Tliis 
he jivcs as a mere historical statement of the nature of the 
doctrine, and the form in which its advocates maintained it. 
Zacharhe (Bib. Theologie, Vol. II., p. 394) says, "If God allows 
the punishment which Adam incurred, to come on all his de 
scendants, he imputes his sin to them all. And, in this sense. 
Paul maintains that the sin of Adam is imputed to all, because 
the punishment of the one offence of Adam has come upon all." 
And Bretselmeider, as quoted above, on chap. iv. 8, when 
stating the doctrine of the Reformers, as presented in the 
various creeds published under their authority, says, that they 
regarded justification, which includes the idea of imputation, as 
a forensic or judicial act of God, by which the relation of man 
to God, and not the man himself, was changed. And imputation 
of righteousness they described as "that judgment of God, 
according to which he treats us as though AVC had not sinned, 
but had fulfilled the law, or as though the righteousness of 
Christ was ours." This view of justification they constantly 
maintained in opposition to the Papists, who regarded it as a 
moral change, consisting in what they called the infusion of 

Though this view of the nature of imputation, both of sin and 
righteousness, is so familiar, yet as almost all the objections to 
the doctrine are founded on the assumption that it proceeds on 
the ground of a mysterious identity between Adam and his race 
on the one hand, and Christ and his people on the other ; and 
that it implies the transfer of the moral character of the acts 
imputed, it seemed necessary to present some small portion of 
[the evidence which might be adduced, to show that the view 
of the subject presented above is that which has always been 
jheld by the great body of the Reformed Churches. The objec 
tions urged against this doctrine at the present day, are pre- 
, cisely the same which were urged by the Roman Catholics 
against the Reformers; and the answers which we are obliged 
to repeat, are the same which the Reformers and their suc- 
Jcessors gave to those with whom they had to contend. 

It will be seen how large a portion of the objections are 
answered by the mere statement of the doctrine. 1. It is 
objected that this doctrine "contradicts the essential principles 

ROMANS V. 1221. 283 

of moral consciousness. We never did, and never can feel 
guilty of another s act, which was done without any knowledge 
or concurrence of our own. We may just as well say we can 
appropriate to ourselves, and make our own, the righteousness 
of another, as his unrighteousness. But we can never, in either 
case, even force ourselves into a consciousness that any act is 
really our own, except one in which we have had a personal and 
voluntary concern. A transfer of moral turpitude is just as 
impossible as a transfer of souls; nor docs it lie within the 
boundary of human effort, that we should repent of Adam s 
sin." Prof. Stwrrt, p. 2o ( J. Tins idea is repeated very fre 
quently in his commentary on this passage, and the Ej-cursus, 
IV. A. "To say Adams disobedience was the occasion, or 
ground, or instrumental cause of all men becoming sinners, and 
was thus an evil to them all, and to say that his disobedience 
was y^/ x"// /// / f/n i/ ft. is .-aying two very different things. I 
see no wav in which this last assertion can ever be made out by 
philology." Compare Mr. Barnes, p. ll J. Profcs^r Stuart 
further says, page 212, that if verse 12 speaks of the imputation 
of Adam s sin. it could not be said men had not sinned after tho 
likeness of Adam s transgression. " So far from this must it 
be, that Adam s sin is their very sin, and the ground why death 
reigns over them. Mr. Barnes says, page ll J, "If the doc 
trine of imputation be true, they not only // /</ sinned after 
the similitude of Adam s transgression, but had sinned th<- very 
identical tin. It was precisely ///,v him. It was the very thin"- 

o O 

itself." In like manner, on page 1*0, he says, " Hut if the doc 
trine of the Scriptures was, that the entire righteousness of 
Christ was set over to them, was really and truly theirs, and 
was transferred to them in any sense, with what propriety could 
the apostle say that God justified the ungodly? &c. "They 
are eminently pure, and have a claim not of grace, but of debt, 
to the very highest rewards of heaven." It will be at once 
perceived that these and similar objections are all founded on a 
misapprehension of the doctrine in question. They are all 
directed again>t the ideas of identity of person, and transfer of 
moral character, neither of which is, as we have seen, included 
in it ; they are, moreover, not only inconsistent with the true 
nature of the doctrine, but with the statements and arguments 

284 ROMANS V. 1221. 

of these writers themselves. Thus Professor Stuart, page 230, 
says, " That the son shall not die for the iniquity of the father, 
is as true as that the father shall not die for the iniquity of 
the son; as God has most fully declared in Ezek. xviii." 
According to this view of the subject, "for the son to die for 
the iniquity of the father," is to have the sin of the father 
imputed to him, or laid to his charge. The ideas of personal 
identity and transfer of moral character are necessarily excluded 
from it, by its opponents themselves, who thus virtually admit 
the irrelevancy of their previous objections. The fact is, that 
imputation is never represented as affecting the moral charac 
ter, but merely the relation of men to God and his law. To 
impute sin is to regard and treat as a sinner; and to impute 
righteousness is to regard and treat as righteous. 

2. It is said that this doctrine is nothing but a theory, an 
attempt to explain what the apostle does not explain, a philo 
sophical speculation, &c. This again is a mistake. It is neither 
a theory nor a philosophical speculation, but the statement of a 
scriptural fact in scriptural language. Paul says, For the 
offence of one man all men are condemned; and for the right 
eousness of one all are regarded and treated as righteous. This 
is the whole doctrine. 

). It is asserted that the word impute is never used in the 
Bible, in reference to reckoning or charging upon a man any 
thing which is not strictly and properly his own. But this has 
been shown to be incorrect; see chap. iv. 3. It is used twice 
in chap, iv., of "imputing righteousness" to those without 
works, to the ungodly, &c. But if the objection were well 
founded, it would be destitute of any force; for if the word 
means so to ascribe an action to a man as to treat him as the 
author of it, it would be correct and scriptural to say that the 
sin or righteousness of one man is imputed to another, when 
that sin or righteousness is made the ground of the condemna 
tion or justification of any other than its personal authors. 

4. It is denied that Adam was the representative of his pos 
terity, because he is not so called in Scripture, and because a 
representative supposes the consent of those for whom he acts. 
I Jut this is a mistake. It is rare that a representative is 
appointed by the choice of all on whom his acts are binding. 

ROMANS V. 1221. 285 

This is the case in no country in the world; and nothing is 
more common than for a parent or court to appoint a guardian 
to act as the representative of a minor. If it is competent for 
a parent to make sucli an appointment, it is surely proper in 
God. It is a mere question of fact. If the Scriptures teach- 
that Adam was on trial not for himself only, but also for hisj 
posterity; if the race fell when he fell; then do they teach that 
he was in fact and form their representative. That they do 
teach the fact supposed, can scarcely be denied; it is asserted 
as often as it is stated that the sin of Adam was the ground of 
the condemnation of men. 

5. It is said that the doctrine of imputation is inconsistent 
with the first principles of justice. This objection is only of 
force against the mistaken view given above. It lias no weight 
against the true doctrine. It is on all hands admitted that the 
sin of Adam involved the race in ruin. This is the whole diffi 
culty. How is it to be reconciled with the divine character, 
that the fate of unborn millions should depend on an act over 
which they had not the slightest control, and in which they had 
no agency ? This difficulty presses the opponents of the doc 
trine more heavilv than its advocates. The former have no 
advantage over the latter; not in the amount ot evil inflicted, 
because thev make the evil directly inflicted on account of 
Adam s sin much greater than the others do; not in the pro 
vision made for the redemption of the race from this evil, 
because both maintain that the work of Christ brings the oiler 
of life to the whole race, while it infallibly secures the salvation 
of a multitude which no man can number. The opinion of those 
writers not onlv has no advantage over the common doctrine, 
but it is encumbered with difficulties peculiar to itself. Jt 
represents the race as being involved in ruin and condemnation, 
without having the slightest probation. According to one view, 
thev " are born with a- corrupt disposition, and with the loss 
of righteousness, and subjection to pain and wo," by a mere 
arbitrary appointment of God, and without a trial, either per 
sonally, or by a representative. According to another view, 
men are born without any such corrupt disposition, but in a 
state of indifference, and are placed on their probation at the 
verv first moment of moral agency, and under a constitution 

286 ROMANS V. 1221. 

which infallibly secures their becoming sinners. According to 
the realistic doctrine, revived by the modern speculative theo 
logians of the school of Schleiermacher, humanity existed as a 
generic life in Adam. The acts of that life were therefore the 
acts of all the individuals to whom, in the development of the 
race, the life itself was communicated. All men consequently 
sinned in Adam, by an act of self-determination. They are 
1 punished, therefore, not for Adam s act, but for their own ; not 
i simplv for their innate depravity, nor for their personal acts 
unlv, but for the act which they committed thousands of years 
aero, when their nature, i. e. their intelligence and will, were 
determined to evil in the person of Adam. This is avowedly a 
philosophical doctrine. This doctrine assumes the objective 
roalit v of human nature as a generic life. It takes for granted 
thai persons can act before they exist, or that actual sin can be 
committed by an impersonal nature, which is a contradiction in 
I terms, inasmuch as an intelligent, voluntary act is an act of a 
person. If ire actually sinned in Adam, then we (as persons) 
were then in conscious being. This doctrine is directly opposed 
to Scripture, which expressly teaches that the sin of Adam, and 
not our personal sin, was the original ground of condemnation ; 
as the righteousness of Christ, and not our personal righteous 
ness, is the ground of our justification. No less clearly does 
the Bible condemn the other doctrines just mentioned. Paul 
represents the evils which came on men on account of the 
ofF< m-o of Adam, as a condemnation; not as an arbitrary inflic 
tion, nor as a merely natural consequence. We are bound to 
acquiesce in the truth as taught in the Scriptures, and not to 
introduce explanations and theories of our own. The denial 
of this doctrine involves also the denial of the scriptural view 
| of atonement and justification. It is essential to the scriptural 
form of these doctrines, that the idea of legal substitution should 
be retained. Christ bore our sins; our iniquities were laid upon 
him, which, according to the true meaning of scriptural lan 
guage, can ordy signify, that he bore the punishment of those 
sins; not the same evils, indeed, either in kind or degree; but 
still penal, because judicially inflicted for the support of law. 
It matters little whether a debt be paid in gold or copper, pro 
vided it is cancelled. And as a comparatively small quantity 

ROMAXS V. 1221. 287 

of the former is of equal value with a great deal of the latter, 
so the temporary sufferings of Christ are of more value for all 
the purposes of punishment, than the eternal sufferings of all 
mankind. It is then no objection to the scriptural doctrine of 
sacrifice and atonement, that Christ did not suffer the same 
kind or degree of evil, which those for whom he died must have 
endured in their own persons. This idea of legal substitution 
enters also into the scriptural view of justification. In justifi 
cation, according to Paul s language, God imputes righteousness 
to the ungodly. This righteousness is not their own; but they 
arc regarded and treated as righteous on account of the obedi 
ence of Chri.-t. That is, his righteousness is so laid to their 
account, or imputed to them, that they are regarded and treated 
as if it were their own ; or k as if they had kept the law." This 
is the great doctrine of the Reformation, Luther s arti> it!us 
stand* vel cadc.ntis ccclesice. The great question between the 
Papists and Protestants was, whether men are justified on 
account of inherent or imputed righteousness. For the latter, 
the Protestants contended as for their lives, and for the life of 
the Church. See the passages quoted above on chap. iv. 3, and 
the Confessions of that period.* 

* Apn]., art. 0, p. !>:!>;. M.-rita propitiatoris - uliis donuntur imjwtutinnr 
divma, ut p.-r ea, laa piain prnpriis mentis justi repntentur, ut si <[uis amieu.s 
pro amico solvit aes alienum, debitor alieno merito tanquam prnprio liberatur. 

F. Concordance, art. :!, p. b 87. \-\ justificationem tria rei|uinmtur: gratia 
Dei, meritum Chri-ti <-t fides, qua) hae.- ipsa Dei brneiicia amplertitur: .|u:i 
ratiniic nobis Ch > />//j>ut</tur, uncle remissionem peccatorum, recon- 

ciliati.uu iii cum Di-o, a loutinuoin in iilios Dei et h:rreilitatein vitae aeteriia? 

F. (\ III., p. G84. Fides non \>r -ptcrea justificat, rjuod ipsa tain l.onum opus, 
tamque prreclara virtus -it, sed quia in promissione evanjiHii meritum Clu-isti 
appreh -ndil ct amplectitur, iilu-l eiuiu per fi.lem nobis api.licari <lebet, si eo 
merito justiticari veliinus. 

F. C. 111., p. 1)83. Christi justida nohia impufat.ur, unde remi.^.sif^nem pecca- 
toruin consequiinur. 

Bn-tsi lini-idtT, I)";:., V-.l. If., p. J54, says that, according to the creeds of 
the Reformation, justification "is that act of God in which he imputes to a man 
the merit of Christ, and no longer regards and treats him as a sinner, but as 
righteous. -It is an act in which neither man nor God changes, but the man 
is merely freed from guilt, and declared to be free from punishment, and hence 
the relation only between God and man is altered." This, lie says, the sym 
bolical books maintained, in opposition to the Romish Church, which makes 
justification a moral change. 

288 ROMANS V. 12-21. 

G. As the term death is used for any and every evil judicially 
inflicted as the punishment of sin, the amount and nature of the 
evil not being expressed by the word, it is no part of the apos 
tle s doctrine, that eternal misery is inflicted on any man for 
the sin of Adam, irrespective of inherent depravity or actual 
transgression. It is enough for all the purposes of his argu 
ment, that this sin was the ground of the loss of the divine 
favour, the withholding of divine influence, and the consequent 
corruption of our nature. Turrettin, Theologia EU tid., vol. i., 
pa ire 080 : u Puma quam peccatum Adami in nos accersit, vcl 
estprivativa,VQ\positiva. Quoad primam dicimus Adami pee- 
catum nobis imputari immediate ad poonani privativam,quiaest 
causa privationis justit i;e originalis, et sic corruptioncm antece- 
dere debet sultem ordine natura? : Bed quoad posteriorcm potest 
dici imputari mediate quoad poenam positivam, quia isti po?nae 
obnoxii non smnus, nisi postquam nati et corrupt! sumus." 

7. It is said that it is inconsistent with the omniscience and 
voracity of God, and consequently with his nature as God, that 
he should regard and treat as sinners those who are not sinners, 
lor those as righteous who are in fact unrighteous. God s judg- 
(meuts are according to truth, and therefore must be determined 
i by the real, subjective character of those whom they concern. 
< This difficulty arises simply from the ambiguity of language. 
The words sinner, just, unjust, righteous, and unrighteous, in 
! English, and the corresponding words in other languages, are 
familiarly and properly used in two distinct senses. They 
sometimes express moral character, and sometimes legal rela 
tions. A man may therefore be just and unjust, righteous and 
unrighteous at the same time. A criminal who has satisfied the 
demands of justice, is just in the eye of the law; he cannot be 
ao-ain or further punished for his offence, and is entitled to all 
bis rights as a citizen, although morally unrighteous. The 
i sinner, and every sinner whom God accepts or pronounces right 
eous for the righteousness of Christ, feels himself to be in his 
! own person most unrighteous. God s judgment, in pronouncing 
him righteous, is none the less according to truth. He does not 
pronounce the sinner subjectively righteous, which he is not, 
j but forcnsically righteous, which he is, because Christ has 
satisfied the demands of justice on his behalf. In like manner, 

ROMANS V. 1221. 2SO 

when our blessed Lord, although he knew no sin, is said toj 
have been made sin, it only means that he assumed the respon- 
sibility of meeting the requirements of the law in our place; sot 
that his sufferings were not chastisements or calamities, 1m; 
the nature of punishment. He was condemned for our sakes. i 
as we are justified for his. It is no impeachment, therefore, j 
of the omniscience or veracity of God, when he holds us as 
guilty on account of Adam s sin, as he does not pronounce us! 
morally criminal fur his offence, hut simply declares that for 
the ends of justice we are involved in his condemnation. 

8. Perhaps the most operative of all objections against the 
doctrine of imputation is founded on the assumption that moral 
character must he self-originated. It is assumed that inhe 
rent, hereditary depravity in man cannot have the nature of sin 
and involve guilt, unless it is due to his own act. This princi 
ple, however, is not only erroneous, hut contrary to the plainest 
and most universally received doctrines of tin 1 l>ible. Lt is the* 
intuitive judgment of men that moral (jualities owe their charac 
ter to their nature, and not to their origin. A holy being is 
recognized as holy, whether his holiness be concreated, infused, 
or self-originated. All Churches believe that Adam was created 
holy; all Churches believe that holiness is the product of divine 
power in regeneration; and all Churches, that is. the Latin, 
Lutheran, and Reformed, acknowledge that innate depravity is 
truly sin, although anterior to anv act of self-determination on 
our part to evil. It is not necessary, therefore, to assume that 
if men are born in sin, their sinfulness is to be referred to 
their personal act. It may, consistently with the common judg 
ment of men, and with the faith of the Church universal, be a 
penal consequence of the sin of Adam. 

II. Whatever evil the Scriptures represent as coming upon 
is on account of Adam, they regard as penal: they call it 
death, which is the general term by which any penal evil is 
expressed. It is not however the doctrine of the Scriptures, 
nor of the Reformed Churches, nor of our standards, that the 
corruption of nature of which they speak, is any depravation 
of the soul, or an essential attribute, or the infusion of any posi 
tive evil. "Original sin," as the Confessions of the Reformers 
maintain, " is not the substance of man, neither his soul nor 

290 ROMANS V. 1221. 

[body; nor is it anything infused into his nature by Satan, as 
;poison is mixed with wine; it is riot an essential attribute, but 
jan accident,* i. e. something which does not exist of itself, an 
incidental quality," &c. Brctselineider, vol. ii., p. 30. These 
confessions teacli that original righteousness was lost, as a 
punishment of Adam s sin, and by that defect, the tendency to 
sin, or corrupt disposition, or corruption of nature is occa- 
isioned.f Though they speak of original sin as being, first, 
[negative, i. e. the loss of righteousness ; and secondly, positive, 
or corruption of nature ; yet by the latter, they state, is to be 
understood, not the infusion of anything in itself sinful, but an 
factual tendency or disposition to evil, resulting from the loss 
of righteousness. This is clearly expressed in the quotation 
just made. It is therefore in perfect consistency w r ith his own 
views, and with those of the Protestant creeds, that President 
Edwards teaches, in his book on Original Sin, "It is agreeable 
to the sentiments of the best divines, that all sin comes from a 
defective or privative cause," (p. 28;) and that he argues 
against the idea of any evil quality being infused, implanted, or 
wrought into our nature by any positive cause or influence 
whatever, either of God or the creature, &c. With equal con 
sistency and propriety, he goes on to state that "the absence 
of positive good principles," and "the withholding of special 
divine iniluence," and "the leaving of the common principles 
of self-love, natural appetite, which were in man in innocence," 
are sufficient to account for all the corruption which appears 
among men. Goodwin, one of the strictest Puritanical divines, 
(vol. iii., p. 323,) has a distinct chapter to prove, "that there 
is no necessity of asserting original sin to be a positive quality 
in our souls, since the privation of righteousness is enough to 
infect the soul with all that is evil." Yet he, in common with 

* Aceidens: quod non per se subsistit, sed in aliqua substantia est et ab ea 
discern! possit. 

f F. Cuneor. I., p. 043: Etsi enira in Adamo et Heva natura initio pura, 
bona et saueta creata cst; tamen per lapsum. peccaturu non eo modo ipsorum 
Tiaturam invasit, ut Manichrei dixerunt quiu potius cum seductione Satanse 
per lapsum, justo Dei judicio (in poenam hominum) justitia concreata ^eu 
originalis ami?sa esset, defectu illo, privatione sen spoliatione et vulneratione, 
(quorum malorum Satan causa est) humana natura ita corrupta est, ut jam 
natura, ana cum illo defectu et corruptioue, &c. 

ROMANS V. 1221. 291 

the Reformers, represents original sin as having a positive as ) 
well as a negative side. This, however, results from the active | 
nature of the soul. If there is no tendency to the love and 
service of God, there is, from this very defect, a tendency to 

self and sin. How larire a portion of the objections to the doc- 

. \\ 

trine of original sin is founded on the idea of its being an evilj/ 

positively infused into our nature, "as poison is mixed with| 
wine," may be inferred from the exclamation of Professor 
Stuart, in reference to the passage just quoted from President 
Edwards. He says it is "a signal instance, indeed, of the 
triumph of the spontaneous feelings of our nature over the 
power of system!" It would seem from this, that he has no 
objection to the doctrine as thus stated. And yet this is 
the form in which, as we have ju.-t seen, it is presented in 
the creeds of the Reformers, and the works of the "best 

It will he at once perceived that all such questions as thel 
following, proceed on an incorrect apprehension of the point at I 
issue. It is often asked. If Adam s first sin is propagated to 
us. why not all his other sins, and the HIIS of all our ancestors? 
iNo one properly maintains that Adam s tirxf sin, his act of 
eating the forbidden fruit, is propagated to anv one. This is a, 1 
sheer impossibility. We derive from Adam a nature destitute 
of anv native tendency to the love and service of God: and 
since the soul, from its nature, is filled as it were with suscep 
tibilities, dispositions or tendencies to certain modes of acting, 
or to objects out of itself, if destitute of the governing tendency 
or disposition to holiness and God. it has. of course, a tendency 
to self-gratification and sin. There is surely nothing incredible, 
or inconceivable in the existence of a native tendency to delight 
in God, any more than in the existence of a tendency or dis 
position to delight in beauty, or social intercourse, or in our 
own offspring. Men have still an innate sense of right and 
wrong, a natural sense of justice, &c. Why then may not Adam 
nave been created with an analogous tendency to delight in 
God? And if this disposition presupposes a state of friendship 
with his Maker, or if it is the result of special Divine influence, 
why may not that influence be withheld as the expression of 
God s displeasure for the apostasy and rebellion of man? This 

292 ROMANS V. 1221. 

is perfectly analogous to the dealings of God in his providence, 

;and agreeable to the declarations of his word. lie abandons 
sinners to themselves as a punishment of their transgressions ; 
he withholds or withdraws blessings from children, in punish 
ment, or as an expression of his displeasure, for the sins of their 
parents. There is, therefore, nothing in this doctrine at vari 
ance with the Divine character or conduct. On the contrary, it 

, has in its support the whole tenor of his dealings with our race, 

tfrom the beginning of the world. The objections, therefore, 
founded on the supposed absurdity of the propagation of sin, 
ind especially of Adam s first sin, all rest on misapprehension 

( of the doctrine in dispute. 

Nor is the objection any better supported, that the doctrine 
of corruption of nature makes God, from whom that nature 
proceeds, the author of sin. Our nature is not corrupted by 

any positive act of God, or by the infusion, implanting, or 
inworking of any habit or principle of sin ; God merely with- 

; holds judicially those influences which produced in Adam a 
tendency or disposition to holiness; precisely as a monarch 
often, from the purest and wisest motives, withholds favours 
from the children of traitors or rebels, or bestows them upon 
the children of patriots and public benefactors. There is in 

every human being a tendency to act upon the same principle. 
We are all disposed to regard with less favour the children of 
the wicked than the children of the good. If this principle is 
recognized even in the ordinary dealings of Divine Providence, 
we need not wonder at its being acted upon in that great trans- 

I action which decided the fate of the world, as Adam was not on 

j! trial for himself alone, but also for his posterity. 

As little weight is due to the objection, that the law of pro 
pagation does not secure the transmission of bodily defects, or 
mental and moral peculiarities of parents to their children. 
This objection supposes that the derivation of a corrupt nature 
from Adam is resolved into this general law; whereas it is 
uniformly represented as a peculiar case, founded on the repre 
sentative character of Adam, and not to be accounted for by 
this general law exclusively. It is constantly represented as 
resulting from the judicial withholding of the influences of the 
Holy Spirit from an apostate race. See the Confessions of the 

ROMANS V. 1221. 293 

Reformers quoted above : Defectus et coneupiscentia suntpoence^ 
Apolgia I., p. 58. That the peculiarities, and especially that 
the piety of parents, are not transmitted by the law of propa 
gation, from parents to children, does not therefore present a 
shadow of an objection to the common doctrine on this subject. 
The notorious fact, however, that the mental and moral pecu 
liarities of parents are transmitted to their children, frequently 
and manifestly, though not with the uniformity of an established. 
law, answers two important purposes. It shows that there is 
nothing absurd, or out of analogy with God s dealing with men, 
in the doctrine of hereditary depravity; and also, that the doc 
trine is consistent with God s goodness and justice. For if, 
under the administration of the divine Being, analogous facts 
are daily occurring, it must be right and consistent with the 
perfections of God. 

The most common and plausible objection to this doctrine is, 
that it is inconsistent with the nature of sin and holiness to 
suppose that either one or the other can be innate, or that a 
disposition or principle, which is not the result of choice, can 
posse.-s a moral character. To this objection, President Edwards 
answers, "In the first place, I think it a contradiction to the 
nature ol things, as judged of by the common-sense of mankind. 
It is agreeable to the sense of the minds of men in all n<j;es. not 
only that the fruit or effect of a good choice is virtuous, but the 
good choice itself, from which that effect proceeds; yea, and not 
only so, but the antecedent good disposition, tempo-, or affec 
tion of mind, from whence proceeds that good choice, is virtu 
ous. This is the general notion, not that principles derive their 
goodness from actions, but that actions derive their goodness 
from the principles whence they proceed ; and so that the act 
of choosing that which is good is no farther virtuous than it 
proceeds from a good principle or virtuous disposition of mind, 
which supposes that a virtuous disposition of mind may be 
before a virtuous act of choice; and that, therefore, it is not 
necessary that there should first be thought, reflection, and 
choice, before there can be any virtuous disposition. If the 
choice be first, before the existence of a good disposition of 
heart, what signifies that choice? There can, according to our 
natural notions, be no virtue in a choice which proceeds from 

294 ROMANS V. 1221. 

no virtuous principle, but from mere self-love, ambition, or some 
animal appetite." Original /Sin, p. 140. It is certainly accord 
ing to the intuitive judgment of men, that innate dispositions 
are amiable or unamiable, moral or immoral, according to their 
nature ; and that their character does not depend on the mode 
of their production. The parental instinct, pity, sympathy with 
the happiness and sorrows of others, though founded in innate 
principles of our nature, are universally regarded as amiable 
attributes of the soul; and the opposite dispositions as the 
reverse. In like manner, the sense of justice, hatred of cruelty 
and oppression, though natural, are moral from their very 
nature. And the universal disposition to prefer ourselves to 
others, though the strongest of all the native tendencies of the 
mind, is no less universally recognized as evil. 

The opposite opinion, which denies the possibility of moral 
dispositions prior to acts of choice, is irreconcilable with the 
nature of virtue, and involves us in all the difficulties of the 
doctrine, that indifference is necessary to the freedom of the 
will and the morality of actions. If Adam was created neither 
holy nor unholy, if it is not true that " God made man upright," 
but that he formed his own moral character, how is his choice 
of God as the portion of his soul to be accounted for ? Or what 
moral character could it have ? To say that the choice was 
made from the desire of happiness, or the impulse of self-love, 
affords no solution of the case; because it docs not account for 
the nature of the choice. It assigns no reason why God, in 
preference to any other object, was chosen. This desire could 
only prompt to a choice, but could not determine the object. 
If it be said that the choice was determined by the superior 
excellence of God as a source of happiness, this supposes that 
this excellence was, in the view of the mind, an object supremely 
desirable ; but the desire of moral excellence is, from the nature 
of the case, a moral or virtuous desire ; and if this determined 
the choice, moral character existed prior to this determination 
of the will, arid neither consisted in it, nor resulted from it. 
On the other hand, if the choice was determined by no desire 
of the object as a moral good, it could have no moral character. 
How is it possible that the choice of an object which is made 
from no regard for its excellence, should have any moral 

ROMANS V. 1221. 295 

character? The choice, considered as an act of the mind, 
derives its character entirely from the motive by which it is 
determined. If the motive be desire for it as morally excel 
lent, the choice is morally good, and is the evidence of an ante 
cedent virtuous disposition of mind ; but if the motive be mere 
self-love, the choice is neither good nor bad. There is no way, 
on the theory in question, of accounting for this preference for 
God, but by assuming the self-determining power of the will, 
and supposing that the selection of one object, rather than 
another, is made prior to the rise of the desire foi it as excel 
lent, and consequently in a state of indifference. 

This reasoning, though it applies to the origin of holiness, is 
not applicable to the origin of sin ; and, therefore, the objection 
that it siq^oses a sinful disposition to exi>t in Adam, prior to 
his first transgression, is not valid. ]>ec;nise an act of disobedi 
ence performed under the impulse of self-love, or of some animal 
appetite, is sinful, it does not follow that an act of obedience, 
performed under a similar impulse, and without any regard for 
God or moral excellence, is virtuous. 

Of all the facts ascertained by the history of the world, it 
would seem to be among the plainest, that men are born desti 
tute of a disposition to seek their chief good in God, and with a 
disposition to make self-gratification the great end of their 
being. Even reason, conscience, and natural affection, are le.-s 
universal characteristics of our fallen race. For there are idiots 
and moral monsters often to be met with ; but fora child of 
Adam, uninfluenced by the special grace of God, to delight in 
his Maker, as the portion of his soul, from the first dawn of his 
moral beinr, is absolutely without example among all the thou 
sands of millions of men who have inhabited our world. If 
experience can establish anything, it establishes the truth of the 
scriptural declaration, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." 
It would seem no less plain, that this cannot be the original 
and normal state of man; that human nature is not now what 
it was when it proceeded from the hand of God. Every thing 
else which God has made, answers the end of its being; but 
human nature, since the fall, has uniformly worked badly: in 
no one instance has it spontaneously turned to God as its chief 
good. It cannot be believed that God thus made man ; that 

296 ROMANS V. 1221. 

there has been no perversion of his faculties ; no loss of some 
original and guiding disposition or tendency of his mind. It 
cannot be credited that men are now what Adam was, when he 
first opened his eyes on the wonders of creation and the glories 
of God. Reason, Scripture, and experience, therefore, all 
concur in support of the common doctrine of the Christian 
world, that the race fell in Adam, lost their original rectitude, 
and became prone to evil as the sparks fly upward. 

This doctrine has so strong a witness in the religious experi 
ence of Christians, that it is not wonderful that it has been 
almost universally received. Individual opponents and objectors 
have indeed appeared, from time to time; but it is believed that 
no organized sect, bearing the Christian name, the Socinians 
excepted, have ever discarded it from the articles of their faith. 
It is so intimately connected with the doctrines of divine influ 
ence and redemption, that they have almost uniformly been 
held or rejected together. It has indeed often been said, 
because the term original sin was first used by Augustine, that 
the doctrine itself took its origin with him ; although perfectly 
synonymous expressions occur so constantly in the writings of 
the earlier Fathers. Equally destitute of foundation is the 
assertion, so often made, that Augustine was driven to his views 
on this subject by his controversy with Pelagius. He had 
arrived at all the conclusions on which he ultimately rested, at 
least ten years before any controversy on the subject.* He 
was led to these results by the study of the Scriptures, and 
by his own personal experience. His earlier views on the 
intimately related doctrines of depravity, ability, dependence, 
and grace, were all modified as he became more thoroughly 
acquainted with the word of God, and with his own heart. 
When lie passed what Neander calls the crisis of his religious 
history, he saw clearly the depth of the evil which existed 
within him, and had corresponding views of the necessity and 
efficacy of the grace of God, by which alone this evil could be 

With regard to Pelagius, the case was just the reverse. His 
views of depravity being superficial, he had very high ideas of 
the ability of man, and very low conceptions of the operations 

* oleander s Gescliiclite der Christliclien Religion uud Kirche, ii., $ 3. 

ROMANS V. 1221. 297 

of the Spirit of God. The latter, as the author just referred to 
strikingly remarks, was the representative and champion of 
u the general, moral, and religious consciousness of men;" the 
other, of -the peculiar nature of Christian consciousness." A 
doctrine which enters so much into the experience of all Christ 
ians, and which has maintained its ground in all ages and 
sections of the Church, must have its deep foundations in the 
testimony of God, and the consciousness of men. 

III. It is included in the doctrines already stated, that man 
kind liive had a fair probation in Adam, their head and repre 
sentative, and that we are not to consider God as placing them 
on their probation, in the very first dawn of their intellectual 
and moral existence, and under circumstances (or "a divine 
constitution") which secure the certainty of their sinning. Such 
a probation could hardly deserve the name. 

IV. It is also included in the doctrine of this portion of 
Scripture, that mankind is an unit, in the sense in which an 
armv, in distinction from a mob, is one; or as a nation, a com 
munity, or a family, is one, in opposition to a mere fortuitous 
collection of individuals, Hence the frequent and extensive 
transfer of the responsibility and consequences of the acts of 
the heads of these communities to their several members, and 
from one member to others. This is a law which pervades the 
whole moral government and providential dispensations of God. 
We are not like the separate grains of wheat in a measure, but 
links in a complicated chain. All influence the destiny of each, 
and each iniluences the destiny of all. 

V. The design of the apostle being to illustrate the nature 
and to confirm the certainty of our justification, it is the leading 
doctrine of this passage, that our acceptance with God is founded 
neither on our faith nor our good Avorks, but on the obedience 
or righteousness of Christ, which to us is a free "iiL This is 

1 G 

the fundamental doctrine of the gospel, vs. ]V,, 11). 

VI. The dreadful evil of sin is best seen in the fall of Adam, 
and in the cross of Christ. By the one offence of one man, what 
a waste of ruin has been spread over the whole world! How far 
beyond conception the misery that one act occasioned ! There 
was no adequate remedy for this evil but the death of the Sou 
of God, vs, 12,15,10, &c. 

298 ROMANS V. 1221. 

VII. It is the prerogative of God to bring good out of evil, 
and to make the good triumph over the evil. From the fall has 
sprung redemption, and from redemption results which eternity 
alone can disclose, vs. 20, 21. 


1. Every man should bow down before God, under the humi 
liating consciousness that he is a member of an apostate race; 
the son of a rebellious parent; born estranged from God, and 
exposed to his displeasure, vs. 12, 15, 16, &c. 

2. Every man should thankfully embrace the means provided 
for his restoration to the Divine favour, viz. "the abundance of 
grace and gift of righteousness," ver. 17. 

3. Those that perish, perish not because the sin of Adam has 
brought them under condemnation; nor because no adequate 
provision has been made for their recovery; but because they 
will not receive the offered mercy, ver. 17. 

4. For those who refuse the proffered righteousness of Christ, 
and insist on trusting to their own righteousness, the evil of sin 
and God s determination to punish it, show there can be no rea 
sonable hope; while, for those who humbly receive this gift, 
there can be no rational ground of fear, ver. 15. 

5. If, without personal participation in the sin of Adam, all 
men are subject to death, may we not hope that, without per- 
j sonal acceptance of the righteousness of Christ, all who die in 
I infancy are saved? 

6. We should never yield to temptation on the ground that 
the sin to which we are solicited appears to be a trifle, (merely 
eating a forbidden fruit;) or that it is but for OXCE. Remember 
the ONE offence of one man. How often has a man, or a family, 
been ruined for ever by ONE sin ! ver. 12. 

7. Our dependence on Jesus Christ is entire, and our obliga 
tions to him are infinite. It is through his righteousness, with 
out the shadoAV of merit on our own part, that we are justified. 
lie alone was adequate to restore the ruins of the fall. From 
those ruins he has built up a living temple, a habitation of God 
through the Spirit. 

8. We must experience the operation of the law, in producing 
the knowledge and conviction of sin, in order to be prepared 

ROMANS VI. 111. 299 

for the appreciation and reception of the work of Christ. The 
Church and the world were prepared, by the legal dispensation 
of the Old Testament, for the gracious dispensation of the 
New, ver. 20. 

9. "\Vc should open our hearts to the large prospects of purity 
and blessedness presented in the gospel ; the victory of grace 
over sin and death, which is to be consummated in the triumph 
of true religion, and in the eternal salvation of those multitudes 
out of every tribe and kindred, which no man can number, 
ver. 21. 



As the gospel reveals the only effectual method of justification, 
so also it alone can secure the sanct iiication of men. To exhibit 
this truth is the object of this and the following chapter. The 
sixth is partly argumentative, and partly exhortatory. In 
vs. 1 11, the apostle shows how unfounded is the objection, 
that gratuitous justification leads to the indulgence of sin. In 
vs. IL! 2o, he exhorts Christians to live agreeably to the nature 
and design of the gospel; and presents various considerations 
adapted to secure their obedience to this exhortation. 

ROMANS VI. 111. 


THE most common, the most plausible, and vet Ilie most 
unfounded objection to tbe doctrine of just ideation bv faith, is, 
that it allows men to live in sin that grace mav abound. This 
object ion arises from ignorance of the doct rine in <juest ion, and 
of the nature and means of sanct ill eat ion. It is so preposterous 
in the eyes of ;ui enlightened believer, that Paul deals witli it 
rather by exclamations at its absurdity, than with logical argu 
ments. The main idea of this section is, that such is the nature 

300 ROMANS VI. 1, 2. 

of the believer s union with Christ, that his living in sin is not 
merely an inconsistency, but a contradiction in terms, as much 
60 as to speak of a live dead man, or a good bad one. Union 
with Christ, being the only source of holiness, cannot be the 
source of sin. In ver. 1, the apostle presents the objection. In 
vcr. 2, he declares it to be unfounded, and exclaims at its 
absurdity. In vs. 3, 4, he exhibits the true nature and design 
of Christianity, as adapted and intended to produce newness of 
life. In vs. 5 7, he shows that such is the nature of union 
with Christ, that it is impossible for any one to share the benefits 
of his death, without being conformed to his life. Such being 
the case, he shows, vs. 8 11, that as Christ s death on account 
of sin was for once, never to be repeated, and his life, a life 
devoted to God; so our separation from sin is final, and our 
life a life consecrated to God. 


VERSE 1. What shall we say then? What inference is to be 
drawn from the doctrine of the gratuitous acceptance of sinners, 
or justification without works, by faith in the righteousness of 

{ Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? i. e. be 
more conspicuously displayed. The form in which the objection 
to the apostle s doctrine is here presented, is evidently borrowed 
fi-om the close of the preceding chapter. Paul had there spoken 
of the grace of the gospel being the more conspicuous and 
abundant, in proportion to the evils which it removes. It is no 
fair inference from the fact that God has brought so much good 
out of the fall and sinfulness of men, that they may continue in 
sin. Neither can it be inferred from the fact that he accepts 
of sinners on the ground of the merit of Christ, instead of their 
own, (which is one way in which grace abounds,) that they may 
sin without restraint. 

VERSE 2. God forbid, //.^ -fzvoiTo, let it not be. Paul s usual 
mode of expressing denial and abhorrence. Such an inference 
is not to be thought of. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live 
any lonyer therein? The relative o lrevsz is as usual causative, 
and it stands first, for thf sake of emphasis; dxs&duojjieu does 

ROMANS VI. 2. 301 

not mean are dead, nor have died, but died. It refers to a spe 
cific act in our past history: Since we died to sin, how can wel 
still live in it? The act which in its nature was a dying to sin, | 
was our accepting of Christ as our Saviour. That act involves 
in it not only a separation from sin, but a deadness to it. Xo 
man can apply to Christ to be delivered from sin, in order that 
he may live in it. Deliverance from sin, as offered by Christ, 
and as accepted by the believer, is not mere deliverance from 
its penalty, but from its power. We turn from sin to God when 
we receive Christ as a Saviour. It is, therefore, as the apo>tle 
argues, a contradiction in terms, to say that gratuitous justifica 
tion is a license to sin, as much as to say that death is life, or 
that dying to a thing is living in it. Instead of giving r/y 
(Ltu/.oTta the usual force of the dative, to, or at if respects, sin, 
Storr, Flatt, and many other commentators, say it sin mid be 
understood as in v. 1">, xi. 20, on <i<\>ount <>f. How shall we, 
who in Christ, died on <ii <-<,unt of sin, i. e. who suffered vicari 
ously its penalty, inasmuch as we were crucified in him, live 
any longer therein? 

In favour of this interpretation, it is urged, 1. That this 
phrase must express the same idea with the subsequent clauses, 
buried with him, ver. 4; axnoc mt<>d hi hi* <l< (tt/i, ver. ~> ; d< <l 
with Christ, ver. 8. 2. That it must have this meaning in 
ver. 10, where it is said of Christ, In . <licd unto *///. i. e. on 
account of sin. >}. The other interpretation, How shall we, 
who have renounced sin, live any longer therein? it is said, is 
not suited to the apostle s object; because it dors not give any 
adequate answer to the objection presented in ver. 1. In order 
to answer that objection, it was necessary to show not merely 
that the believer had renounced sin, but that the doctrine of 
gratuitous justification effectually secures this renunciation. 
According to the second interpretation, this answer is plain and 
conclusive: How shall we, who have died on account of sin, 
live any longer therein? If we are regarded and treated by 
God, in virtue of our union with Christ, and if we regard our 
selves, as having suffered and died with him on account of sin, 
we cannot but look upon it as hateful, and deserving of punish 

The objections to this interpretation, however, are serious. 

302 ROMANS VI. 3. 

1. It is not consistent with the common and familiar import of 
the expression, to be dead to anything, which occurs frequently 
in the New Testament; as Gal. ii. 19, "dead to the law;" 
1 Pet. ii. 24, "dead to sins;" Rom. vii. 4; Col. ii. 20; Gal. 
vi. 14, &c. In all cases the meaning is, to be free from. Sin 
has lost its power over the believer, as sensible objects are not 
able to affect the dead. 2. The opposite phrase, to live therein, 
requires this interpretation. 3. The object of the apostle does 
not require that a formal, argumentative answer should be sup 
posed to commence in this verse. He simply denies the justice 
of the inference from his doctrine, stated in ver. 1, and asks 
how it is possible it should be correct. How can a Christian, 
which is but another name for a holy man, live any longer in 

VERSE 3. Know ye, not, that so many of us as ivere baptized 
into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? In this and the 
following verse, AVC have something more in the form of argu 
ment in answer to the objection in question. The apostle 
reminds his readers, that the very design of Christianity was 
to deliver men from sin; that every one who embraced it, 
embraced it for that object; and, therefore, it was a contra 
diction in terms to suppose that any should come to Christ to 
be delivered from sin, in order that they might live in it. And, 
besides this, it is clearly intimated that such is not only the 
design of the gospel, and the object for which it is embraced by 
all who cordially receive it, but also that the result or neces 
sary effect of union with Christ is a participation in the benefits 
of his death. Or Jcnoiv ye not, -/j d^oelTe, or are you ignorant? 
If any doubt what is said in ver. 2, he must be ignorant of the 
nature and design of baptism, and of the relation to Christ 
which it involves. Ba-n ^cj s^ always means to baptize in 
reference to. When it is said that the Hebrews were baptized 
unto Moses, I Cor. x. 2; or when the apostle asks the Corinth 
ians, Were ye baptized unto the name of Paul? 1 Cor. i. 13; 
or when we are said to be baptized unto Christ, the meaning is, 
they were baptized in reference to Moses, Paul, or Christ ; i. e. 
to be brought into union with them, as their disciples, or wor 
shippers, as the case may be. In like manner, in the expression 
baptized into his death, the preposition expresses the design and 

ROMANS VI. 3. 303 

the result. The meaning therefore is, we were baptized in f 
order that we should die with him, i. e. that we should be united! 
to him in his death, and be partakers of its benefits. Thus, 
"baptism unto repentance," Matt. iii. 11, is baptism in order to 
repentance; baptism unto the remission of sins," Mark i. 4,. 
that remission of sins maybe obtained; "baptized unto one 
body, 1 Cor. xii. lo, i. e. that we might become one body, &c. ! 
Paul (toes not design to teach that the sacrament of baptism, 
from any inherent virtue in the rite, or from any supernatural 
power in him who administers it, or from any u^jj^J^jjV^t tend 
ing Divine influence, always secures the regeneration of the 
soul. This is contrary both to Scripture and experience. No 
fact is more obvious than that thousands of the baptized are 
unregenerate. It cannot be, therefore, that the apostle intends 
to say, that all who are baptized are thereby savingly united to 
Christ. It is not of the efficacy of baptism as an external rite, 
that he assumes his readers are well informed: it is of the 
import and design of that sacrament, and the nature of the 
union with Christ, of which baptism is the >ign and the seal. 
It is the constant usage of Scripture to address professors as 
believers, to predicate of them as professors what is true of 
them only as believers. This is also the usage of common life. 
We address a company of professing Christians as true Christ 
ians; we call them brethren in Christ; we speak of them as 
beloved of the Lord, partakers of the 1 heavenly calling, and heirs 
of eternal life. Baptism was the appointed mode of professing!! 
faith in Christ, of avowing allegiance to him as the Son of God, : j 
and acquiescence in his gospel. Those, therefore, who were 
baptized, are assumed to believe what they professed, and to be 
what they declared themselves to be. They are consequently 
addressed as believers, as having embraced the gospel, as having 
put on Christ, and as bein^;. in virtue of their baptism as an act 
of faith, the children of God. When a man was baptized unto 
Christ, he was baptized unto his death; he professed to regard 
himself as being united to Christ, as dying when he died, as 
bearing in him the penalty of sin, in order that he might be 
reconciled to God, and live unto holiness. How could a man 
who was sincere in receiving baptism, such being its design and 
import, live in sin? The thing is impossible. The act of faith 

304 ROMANS VI. 4. 

implied and expressed in baptism, is receiving Christ as our 
.sanctification as well as our righteousness. "Extra controver- 
Isiam cst," says Calvin, " induere nos Christum in baptismo ; et 
hue legc nos baptizari, ut unum cum ipso simus." Baptism, 
therefore, as an act of faith, as the formal reception of Christ 
as our Saviour, brings us into intimate union with him: "For 
as many as have been baptized unto Christ, have put on 
Christ." Gal. iii. 27. And this baptism has special reference 
to the death of Christ ; we are baptized unto his death. That 
is, we arc united to him in death. His death becomes ours ; 
ours as an expiation for sin, as the means of reconciliation with 
God, and consequently as the means of our sanctification. 
Although justification is the primary object of the death of 
Christ, yet justification is in order to sanctification. lie died 
that he might purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works. If such is the intimate connection between jus 
tification and sanctification in the purpose of God in giving his 
Son to die for us, there must be a like intimate connection 
between them in the experience of the believer. The very act 
of faith by which we receive Christ as the propitiation for sin, 
is spiritually a death to sin. It is in its very nature a renun 
ciation of every tiling which it was the design of Christ s death 
to destroy. Every believer, therefore, is a saint. He renounces 
sin in accepting Christ. 

VERSE 4. Therefore we are buried with him bij baptism into 
death. This is an inference from ver. 3, to confirm the proposi 
tion in vcr. 2, viz. that those dead in sin cannot live therein. 
Therefore, says the apostle, such being the nature of our union 
with Christ, expressed in baptism, it follows, that those who are 
baptized are buried with Christ; they are as effectually shut 
out from the kingdom of Satan, as those who are in the grave 
are shut out from the world. The words dta ro r J fia-Tia/jtaroz 
e/C rov $avarov go together; by baptism unto death, i. e. by a 
baptism which has reference to Christ s death, and by which we 
are associated with him therein. We are buried with him, i. e. 
we are cut off from the world in and with him. If the words 
unto death are connected with we were buried, the sense would 
be, we ivere buried unto death, i. e. we were buried so as to come 
into the power of death. But this is an incongruous idea, and 

ROMANS VI. 4. 305 

an unexampled form of expression. As in ver. 3, the apostle had 
said c/c rov d-awcov a j~o r j ifa--iath l ijL*v, there is no reason to 
doubt that he here designs to speak of baptism unto dcatli. 
Compare Col. ii. 12, "hurled with him in baptism." The same 
idea is expressed in ver. 8, by saying "we are dead with him," 
and in ver. 5, "we are planted with him in the likeness of his 
death." It is not necessary to assume that there is any refer- 5 
encc here to" thc_jmmcmon of ^ji^Tm!^ sfThmurh 

itwere a burial. No such allu-i<>n can "BFTsupposed in the next 
verse, where we arc said t l~ i>l<nitt l with him. The reference 
is not to the mode of baptism, but to its effect. Our baptism 
unites us to Christ a so that we died with him. and rose with him. 
As he died to sin, so do we; as he rose to righteousness and 
crlorv, so do we. The same doctrine concerning baptism, and 
of the nature of union with Christ, therein expressed, is taught 
in Gal. iii. 27, and Col. ii. 12. 

That // /;< //.<? <. 7//-/X/ //v/x raixfil ?//> frm tli? dead fy/ flic </l>n/ 
of tin" Faf/n r . I l Di HO ire alx<> xlmuld walk In ni trnf** of // ft . 
We die with (Jhrist, in order that we should live with him. AVo 
share in his death, that we may be partakers of his life. Justi 
fication is in order to sanctification. The two arc inseparable. 
Tin-re can be no participation in Christ s life without a partici 
pation in his death, and we cannot enjoy the benefits of his 
death unless we are partakers of the power of his life. Wo 
must be reconciled to God in order to be holy, and we cannot 
be reconciled without thereby becoming holy. Ant inomiani.- 
or the doctrine that the benefits of the atonement can be 
enjoved without experiencing the renewing of the Holy Ghost, 
is therefore contrary to the very nature and design of redemp 
tion. As Christ died and rose airain literally, so his people die 
and rise spiritually. As Christ s resurrection was the certain 
consequence of his death, so is a holv life the certain con 
sequence of our dving with Christ. There is not only an 
analogy between Christ s literal death and resurrection, and the 
spiritual death and resurrection of the believer, but there is a 
causal relation between the two. The death and resurrection 
of Christ render certain the justification and sanctification of 
his people. Paul says Christ rose, ota r7^ oo^z TO~J 7/arooc, 
by the glory of the Father. J6~a, glory, is the excellence 

306 ROMANS VI. 5. 

, of God, tlic sum of all his perfections, or anyone perfection 
specially manifested. The exhibition, therefore, of God s holi 
ness, or of his mercy, or of his power, is equally an exhibition 
of his glory. Here the reference is to his omnipotence, which 
was gloriously displayed in the resurrection of Christ. In 
1 Cor. vi. 14, and 2 Cor. xiii. 4, it is said Christ was raised, 
kx ou\,dtj.*ioz 6so~j, hy the poiver of God. In Col. i. 11, the 
apostle refers the sanctincation of believers to the xocho- TY^ 
u<)=r^ fi-o r ), to the power of Jus glory. It is according to the 
analogy of Scripture, that the same event is attributed at one 
time to the efficiency of the Father, and at another to that of 
the Son. Christ rose from the dead by his own power. He 
had power to lay down Ins life, and he had power to take it 
nirain. This is perfectly consistent with the apostle s declara 
tion, that he was raised by the power of God. The three per 
sons of the Trinity are one God. The efficiency of the Father 
is also the efficiency of the Son. What the Father does, the 
Son also does. That we should walk in newness of life, iv 
M^or^t !>^C- The idea of purity is associated with that of 
newness in the word of God a new heart, a new creature, the 
new man. Newness of life is a life that is new, compared with 
! what is natural and original; and it is a holy life, springing 
, from a new source. It is not we that live, but Christ that 
livetli in us; and therefore our life is, in its manifestations, 
analogous to his. His people are like him. 

VKKSK 5. For if ive have been planted together in the likeness 
of liis death, we shall he also in the likeness of his resurrection. 
This is a confirmation of what precedes. We shall walk in 
newness of life, if we arc partakers of Christ s death, for com 
munity of death involves community of life. The general 
meaning of the verse is plain, although there is doubt as to the 
force of some of the words, and as to the construction. First, 
as to the words. Calvin arid many others render ovfjupuroz 
insitus, inserted, engrafted, as though it were derived from 
(ftj~ jw. it is, however, from (f j(o, which means both to bear 
and to grow. Hence aujjupuro^ sometimes means born with, in 
the sense of innate; sometimes it expresses community of 
origin, or nature, in the sense of cognate, congenial ; and some 
times it is used in reference to things born or produced at the 

ROMANS VI. 5. 307 

same time. From the other meaning of the word <pju), come 
the senses growing with, overgrown with. &c. In all cases there 
is the idea of intimate union, and that is the idea which the 
word vs here intended to express. As to the construction, so 
far as the first clause of the verse is concerned, we may connect 
ff j/jL<f jTos with bftouottari* we have grown tugctlier in death, i. e. 
been united in a like death; or we may supply the words TW 
Xntff-w. we have been united with Christ, as to, or by, simi- 
laritv of death. The former, as it requires nothing to he sup 
plied, is to be preferred. In the second clause, the word 
bit.O!(!)-fJLT! may be supplied, as in our version : we shall be 
(united) in the likenf** of hi* resurrection. But as a j[JL(fi)Toz 
mav be construed with the genitive as weil as the dative, many 
commentators unite ff jtic JTu: r/~c avaaTaazcoz iobfiid-a^ we xltull 
i_mrt(ikt . <>f t/(e resurrection. The sense is the same: if united 
in death, we shall be united in life: if we die with him, we .-hall 
live with him. The future iaitttzfta does nut here express obli 
gation, nor futurity. The reference is not to what is to happen 
hereafter, but to the certain! v of sequence, or causal connection. 
If the one thinu r happt-ns, the other shall follow. Thei 
doctrine of this passage is not simply that the believer dies and 
rises, ax Christ died and rose; that there is -in analogy between 
his death and theirs; but. as before remarked, the main idea is. 
the necessary eonneetion between the death and resurrection of 
Christ and the death and resurrection of his people. Such is 
the union between them and him, that his death and resurrec 
tion render theirs a matter of necessity. The life or d<v 
of a tree necessitates the life or death of the branches. Says 
Calvin, "Insitio, non tantuni exempli conformitatem designat, 
sed arcanam conjunctionem per quam cum ipso coaluimus, ita 
ut nos Spiritu suo veg< i tans ejus virtutcm in nos transfundat. 
Er-o ut sureulus C()iuniunem habet vittc et mortis conditionem 


cum arbore in quaui insertus est ; ita vine Christi non minus 
quam et mortis purticipes nos essc consentaneum est." That 
the resurrection here spoken of is a spiritual rising from the 
dead, seems plain, both from what precedes and from what 
follows. The whole discussion relates to sanctification, to the 
necessary connection between the death of Christ as an atjne- 
ment for sin, and the holiness of his people. Those who are 

308 ROMANS VI. 6. 

cleansed from tlio guilt of sin, arc cleansed also from its pollu 
tion. Although this is obvious, yet all reference to the future 
resurrection of the body is not to be excluded. In chap. viii. 11, 
the apostle represents the quickening of our mortal bodies as a 
necessary consequence of our union with Christ, and the indwell 
ing of his Spirit. If, therefore, we are baptized unto the death 
of Christ, united and conformed to him in his death, the sure 
result will be, that we shall be conformed to him in a holy life 
here, and in a life of glorious immortality of the soul and body 
hereafter. All this is included in the life which flows to us 
from Christ. 

VERSE 6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with 
him, &c. What in the preceding verses is represented as the 
consequence of our union with Christ as a matter of doctrine, is 
here presented as a matter of experience. We are united to 
Christ as our head and representative, so as to be partakers of 
his death and resurrection, as a matter of law or of right. 

jjWhat is thus done, as it were, out of ourselves, is attended by 
an analogous spiritual experience. This knowing, i. e. expe- 

, j riencing this. Our inward experience agrees with this doctrinal 
statement. Our old man, that is, our corrupt nature as opposed 
to the new iiMin, or holy nature, which is the product of rege 
neration, and the effect of our union with Christ. In Eph. 
iv. 22, 24, we are exhorted to put oft* the old man, and to put 
on the new man. Col. iii. 8, 9. The Scriptures everywhere 
assert or assume the fall and native depravity of man. We are 
born the children of wrath. We are aliens from the common 
wealth of Israel, without God, and without hope. This is the 
inward state and outward condition in which every man comes 
into the world. Through the redemption that is in Christ, a 

i radical change is effected; old things pass away, all things 

I become new. The old man, the nature which is prior in the 
order of time, as well as corrupt, is crucified, and a nature new 
and holy is induced. The word man is used, because it is no 
one disposition, tendency, or faculty that is changed, but the 
man himself; the radical principle of his being, the self. Hence 
Paul uses the pronoun I "I am sold under sin;" "I cannot 
do the things that I would." It is plain from this whole repre 
sentation, that regeneration is not merely a change of acts, or 

ROMANS VI. 6. 309 

;f the affections in distinction from the understanding, but a 
change of the whole man. Another thing is also plain, viz. that 
such a radical change of nature cannot fail to manifest itself in 
a holy walk and conversation. This is what Paul here insists 
upon. To the believer who knows that the old man is crucified 
with Christ, the objection that gratuitous justification leads to 
licentiousness, is contradictory and absurd. The old man is 
said to be crucified, not because the destruction of the principle 
of sin is a slow and painful process, but because Christ s death 
was by crucifixion, in which death we were associated, and 
because it is from him, as crucified, the death of sin in us pro 
ceeds. " Ilunc veterem hominem (licit es>e ailixum cruel Christi, 
quia ejus virtute conficitur. Ac nominatim allusit ad crucem, 
quo expressius iudicaret 11011 aliunde nos mortificari, quam ex 
ejus mortis participatione." 

That tltc body of sin iiii<jlit be destroyed. " The body of sin"j; 
is only another name for "the old man," or rather for its con-l 
crete form. The design of our crucifixion with Christ is the 
destruction of the old man, or the bodv of sin ; and the design 


of the destnict.on of the inward power or principle of evil, is 
our spiritual freedom. This latter idea, the apostle expresses 
by saying, t/cil henceforth tee should not scree sin, i. e. be in 
bondage to it. The service of sin is a dooXzia, a slavery, a state 
from which we cannot free ourselves; a power which coerces 
obedience in despite of the resistance of reason, conscience, and 
as the apostle teaches, even of the will. It is a bondage from 
which we can be delivered in no other way than by the death 
of the inward principle of evil which possesses our nature, and 
lies back of the will, beyond the reach of our power, and which 
can be destroyed only by union with Christ in his death, who 
died for this very purpose, that he might deliver us from the 
bondage of corruption, and introduce us into the glorious liberty 
of the sons of God. Compare John viii. o4 ; lieb. ii. 14 16. 
Although the general sense of this verse is thus plain, there is 
great diversity of opinion as to the precise meaning of the words 
aa)[w. r^c (tfj.a.fjTiaZ) body of sin. 1. Some say it means the 
sinful body, that is, the body which is the seat and source of 
sin. But it is not the doctrine of the Bible, that sin has its 
source in matter; it is spiritual in its nature and origin. The 

310 ROMANS VI. 7. 

body is not its source, but its instrument and slave. Moreover, 
the design of Christ s death is never said to be to destroy the 
body. 2. Others say that a Co means the physical body, nor 
as the source, but as the appurtenance of sin, as belon^ino- to 
it, and ruled by it. But this is subject in part to the same 
objection. 8. Others say that atotta means mass, "the mass 
of sin." "Corpus peccati," says Calvin, "non carnem et ossa, 
sed massain designat ; homo enim naturae pro-prise relictus massa 
est ex peccato conflata." 4. Others assume that aatim has the 
same sense as ad<>^ corrupt nature; so that "body of sin" 
means our "sinful, carnal nature." This no doubt is the idea, 
but it is not expressed by the word atona, which is not equiva 
lent to ad()2. 5. Others take ocotm, in accordance with the 
Rabinical use of the corresponding Hebrew word, to mean 
essence, or substance; for which, however, there is no authority 
from the usus loqucndi of the Scriptures. 6. Perhaps the most 
satisfactory view is that of those who understand the phrase as 
figurative. Sin is personified. It is something that has life, is 
obeyed; that can be put to death. It is represented as a body, 
or organism ; as having its members. Compare Col. iii. 5. In 
Col. ii. 11, the apostle speaks of putting off "the body of the 
sins of the flesh," by which he means the totality of our corrupt 
nature. So here, "the body of sin," is sin considered as a 
body, as something which can be crucified. 

VERSE 7. For he t licit is dead is free from sin. The Greek 
here is, b jao faod-avcov ozdr/auora! d~b rc buaprlaz, for he 
who has died is justified from sin. The particle ?dp, for, shows 
that this verse is a confirmation of what precedes : The believer 
(he who is by faith united to Christ in his death) cannot any 
longer serve sin, for he who has died is justified from sin. The 
word d-o&avcov may be taken in a physical, a moral, or a mys 
tical sense. If in a physical sense, then the meaning is, that 
death frees from sin. This maybe understood in two ways: 
first, on the theory that the body is the source of sin, death, or 
freedom from the body, involves freedom from sin ; or, secondly, 
death considered as a penalty, is the expiation of sin; so that 
he who dies, is judicially free from sin. Some who adopt this 
interpretation, suppose that the apostle sanctions the unscrip- 
tural Jewish doctrine, (see Eisenmenger s Entdeckt. Judentlium, 

ROMANS VI. 7. 311 

II., p. 283,) that death is the full penalty of sin, and therefore 
its expiation. Others say he is to be understood as speaking 
only of sin or guilt in relation to human law: k Ho who has 
died for his crime is free from guilt or further liability. In 
either way, the only relation which this verse, when understood 
of physical death, can have to the apostle s argument, is that 
of an illustration : As the man who has suffered for his crime 
is freed from it, so he who is crucified with Christ is free from 
sin. In cither case the power of sin is destroyed/ If the moral 
sense of the word be adopted, then the meaning is either, he 
who is spiritually dead is free from sin, (which amounts to 
saying, he that is holy is holy: ) or, he who is spiritually 
dead is justified from sin. JJut this last sense is utterly 
unsuited to the context, and implies that spiritual death, or 
holiness, is the ground of justification ; which is contrary to all 
Scripture, and especially to Paul s doctrine. The mystical sense 
of the word is the only one consistent with the context. Tho 
apostle has not been speaking of natural death, but of death 
with Christ; of the believer being crucified with him. It is of 
that he is now speaking. lie had just said that the believer 
cannot continue to serve sin. lie here gives the reason: 1<>f 
he who has died (with Christ) is justified, and therefore tVeo 
from sin, free from its dominion. This is the great evangelical 
truth which underlies the apostle s whol" doctrine of sanctifica- 
tion. The natural reason assumes that acceptance with a holy 
and just God must be founded on character, that men must bo 
holy in order to be justified. The gospel reverses this, and 
teaches that God accepts the ungodly; that we must be justi 
fied in order to become holy. This is what Paul here assumes 
as known to his readers. As justification is the necessary 
means, and antecedent to holiness, he that is justified becomes 
holy; he cannot live in sin. And he who is dead, i. e. with 
Christ, (for it is only his death that secures justification,) is jus 
tified from sin. To be justified from yin means to be delivered 
from sin by justification. And that deliverance is twofold; 
judicial deliverance from its penalty, and subjective deliverance 
from its power. Both are secured by justification ; the former 
directly, the other consequentially, as a necessary sequence. 
Compare Gal. ii. 19, 20, vi. 14; Col. ii. 13, iii. 3; 1 Pet, iv. 1, 


and other passages in which the sanctification of believers is 

represented as secured by the death of Christ. 

VERSES 8 11. These verses contain the application of the- 
truth taught in the preceding passage: If we are dead with 
Christ, we shall share in his life. If he lives, we shall live also. 
As his life is perpetual, it secures the continued supplies of life/ 
to all his members. Death has no more any dominion over! 
him. Having died unto, or on account of, sin once, he now ever\ 
lives to, and with God. His people, therefore, must be con 
formed to him; dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God. 
This passage does not contain a mere comparison between the 
literal death and resurrection of Christ, and the spiritual death 
and resurrection of believers, but it exhibits the connection 
between the deatli and life of the Redeemer and the sanctifica 
tion of his people. 

VERSE 8. AW, if we be dead with Christ, &c. If the truth, 
stated in the preceding verses be admitted, viz. that our union 
with Christ is such that his death secures our deliverance from 
the penalty and power of sin, we believe we shall also live with 
That is, we are sure that the consequences of his death 
are not merely negative, i. e. not simply deliverance from evil, 
moral and physical, but also a participation in his life. We 
believe, i. e. we have a confidence, founded on the promise and 
revealed purpose of God. It is not a conclusion of reason; it 
is not simply a hope, a peradventure ; it is a faith, an assured 
conviction that God, after having justified us through the blood 
of Christ, will not leave us spiritually defiled. We shall live, 
ff j^vouzv, the future, referring not to what is to happen here 
after, but to what is the certain consequence of our union with 
Christ, If we are united mystically with Christ in his death, 
we shall certainly live with him, i. e. we shall certainly partake 
of his life. As, however, this life is a permanent and eternal 
life, as it pertains to the body as well as to the soul, a partici 
pation of his life now involves a participation of it, with all its 
glorious consequences, for ever. To live with Christ, therefore, 
includes two ideas; association with him, and similarity to him. 
We partake of his life, and consequently our life is like his. |j 
In like manner, since we die with him, we die as he died. So, I 
too, when we are said to reign with him, to be glorified together, ! 

ROMANS VI. 9. 313 

both these ideas are included; see chap. viii. 17, and many 
similar passages. The life here spoken of is that a eternal life" 
which believers are said to possess even in this world ; see John 
iii. 36", v. 24; and which is manifested here by devotion to God, 
and hereafter in the purity and blessedness of heaven. It 
includes, therefore, all the consequences of redemption. Wo 
are not to consider the apostle as merely running a parallel 
between the natural death and resurrection of Christ, and the 
spiritual death and resurrection of his people, as has already 
been remarked, but as showing that, in consequence of union to 
him in his death, we must die an he died, and live <is he lives. 
That is, that the effect of his dearth is to destroy the power of 
Bin; and the result of his living is the communication and pre 
servation of Divine life to all who are connected with him. This 
being the case, the objection stated in ver. 1 of this chapter, is 
seen to be entirely unfounded. This life of Christ, to which we 
are conformed, is described in the following verses, lirst as per 
petual, and secondly, as devoted unto God. 

Vi-iKSK !). Knowing that C///vV/, />//>// r<iii <l from tin- <!> <t<l, 
diet/i no wow. Knowing sroorsc is either equal to -/JL . mnu. Liv, 
and w<>. kn Hi\ thus introducing a new idea, or it is causal, 
because we know. The latter is to be preferred. We are sure 
we shall be partakers of the life of Christ, because we know 
that he lives, \\ere he not a living Saviour, if his life were not 
perpetual, he could not be the source of life to his people in all 
ages. The perpetuity of Christ s life, therefore, is presented, 

1. As the ground of assurance of the perpctiiitv of the life of 
believers. We shall partake of the life of Christ, i. e. of the 
spiritual and eternal blessings of redemption, because he ever 
lives to make intercession for us, and to grant us those supplies 
of grace which we need; see chap. v. 10; John xiv. 1 J ; 1 Cor. 
xv. 2o, &c. As death has no more dominion over him, there is 
no ground of apprehension that our supplies of life will be cut 
off. This verse, therefore, is introduced as the ground of the 
declaration, "we shall live with him," at the close of ver. 8. 

2. The perpetuity of the life of Christ is one of the points in 
which our life is to be conformed to his. Christ dicth no more, 
death hath no more dominion over him This repetition is for 
the sake of emphasis. Christ s subjection to death was volun- 


tary. It was not from a necessity of nature, nor from any 
obligation to justice. He laid down his life of himself. He 
voluntarily submitted to death for our sakes, and was the 
master of death even in dying; and therefore he is, so to speak, 
in no danger of ever being subject to its power. The object of 
his voluntary submission to death having been accomplished, he 
lives for evermore. This is more fully expressed in the follow 
ing verse. 

VERSE 10. For in that he died, lie died unto sin once, &c. 
He can never die again, for in dying he died once for all. By 
the one offering of himself, he has for ever perfected them that 
are sanctified. The apostle, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
while arguing to show the necessity of the death of Christ as a 
sacrifice for sin. argues also to show that such was the efficacy 
of that sacrifice, it need not, and cannot be repeated. Heb. 
vii. 27, ix. 12, x. 10; 1 Pet. iii. 18. 

In that he died, b dxe&fws; b may be taken absolutely, quod 
attinet ad id, quod, as to that he died, so far as concerns his 
dying; compare Gal. ii. 20; or the relative maybe taken as 
the object, the death he died. Sec Winer, III., 24. 4. 2. lie 
died unto sin, r/j famoria d-sftavzu, so far as the words arc con 
cerned, admits of different interpretations. It may mean, he 
died/ur the destruction of sin; or, he died for its expiation, i. e. 
on account of sin; or, in accordance with the force of the same 
words in ver. 2, and the analogous expression, vsxpobz TTJ 
brjiaffT M, dead to sin, ver. 11, he died as to sin, was by death 
freed from sin. In this last sense, although the words are the 
same, the idea is very different in the two cases. The believer 
dies to sin in one sense, Christ in another. In both cases the 
idea of separation is expressed ; but in the case of the believer, 
it is separation from personal, indwelling sin; in that of Christ, 
it is separation from the burden of his people s sin, which he 
bore upon the cross. The context and the argument favour this 
last interpretation. Death has no more dominion over Christ, 
for he died to sin ; by the one sacrifice of himself, he freed him 
self from the burden of sin which he had voluntarily assumed. 
The law is perfectly satisfied; it has no further penalty to 
inflict. Of course the same truth or doctrine is expressed, if the 
other expositions of the phrase be preferred. It is only a 

ROMANS VI. 11. 315 

question as to the form in which the same general truth is pre 
sented. Christ s death was for the destruction of sin, for its 
expiation ; and it was a deliverance from it, i. e. from the burden 
of its imputed guilt. lie came the first time with sin; he is to 
come the second time without sin, (without that burden.) unto 
salvation. In that he Ureth, he lie nth unto God. This is said 
in contrast to what precedes. lie died unto sin, he lives unto 
God. So must the believer. Deatli must be followed by life; 
the one is in order to the other. It is of course not implied that 
our Lord s life on earth was not a living unto God, i. e. a living 
having God for its end and object. The antithetical expression 

O J I 

is used simply to indicate the analogy between Christ and his 
people. They must be freed from sin, and be devoted to God, 
because their Lord and Saviour, in whose deatli and life they 
share, died unto sin, and lives unto God. Many of the Fathers, 
and some later interpreters, take -w OKU as equivalent to r/y 
d JsdtiZ . To r j (:)zu~j^ fit/ tin 1 ]><>ic< r <>f (l<nL J)iit this is unsuited to 
the connection. It is not the source of Christ s life, but tho 
nature of it, as perpetual and holy, that the apostle would bring 
into view. Olshausen says ~w &=<u means f<>r /<"/, i. c. for 
righteousness, as opposed to sin, in the first clause: u He died 
for the destruction of sin, he lives for the promotion of right 
eousness. Uut this is unnecessary, and inconsistent with tho 

VERSI-: 11. 7v/A v//v .sv reckon //< also yourselves t<> / d< nd 
ind . d unto *//>. l>at alive unto Cn>d, Jcc. What is true in itself, 
should be true in their convictions and consciou>ness. If in 
point of fact believers are partakers of the death and life of 
Christ; if they die with him, and live with him, then they 
should so regard themselves. They should receive this truth, 
with all its consoling and sanctifying power, into their hearts, 
and manifest it in their lives. So aho i/<>, O JTCO y.a.l u/tztz, a 
point may be placed after ufi-7^; so that the sense is, * alxo are 
y<>, as is dune by Griesbaeh and others. The simpler and more 
common method is to read the words continuously: s afxo 
r( </<ir<! i/i yourselves as dead to sin, \>i7.<>(nz, ~ // cLuaoTiOL ; not 
reckon yourselves to le dead, as the word ?v/. , although found 
in the common text, is omitted by almost all the critical editors, 
on the authority of the oldest manuscripts, and the sense is 

,16 ROMANS VI. 111. 

complete without it; lopr (7 $ ac T ^d T ,, means to regard one as 
something. Believers are to look upon themselves in their true 
light, viz. as dead to sin, freed from its penalty and dominion. 
This is a freedom which belongs to them as believers, and there 
fore the apostle adds, ev X{HGTW /^<TOL>, not through, but in 
Christ Jesus, that is, in virtue of union with him. These words 
belong equally to both clauses of this verse. It is in Christ that 
the believer is dead to sin, and alive to God. The old man is 
crucified ; the new man, the soul as renewed, is imbued with a 
new life, of which God is the object; which consists in fellow 
ship with him, and which is manifested by devotion to his 
service, and by obedience to his will. The words our Lord, 
TW KuoUo fyjLcov, are not found in the best manuscripts. 


1. Truth cannot lead to unholiness. If a doctrine encourages 
sin, it must be false, vs. 1, 2. 

"2. There can be no greater contradiction and absurdity than 
for one who lives in sin to claim to be a Christian, ver. 2. 

3. Antinomianism is not only an error, it is a falsehood and 
a slander. It pronounces valid the very objection against the 
gospel which Paul pronounces a contradiction and absurdity, 
and which he evidently regards as a fatal objection, were it well 
founded, vs. 2 4, &c. 

4. Baptism includes a profession of the religion taught by 
him in whoso name we are baptized, and an obligation to obey 
his laws, vs. 3, 4. 

5. The grand design of Christianity is the destruction of sin. 
When sincerely embraced, therefore, it is with a view to this 
end, ver. 3. 

6. The source of the believer s holiness is his union with 
Christ, by which his reconciliation to God, and his participation 
of the influences of the Holy Spirit are secured, vs. 4, 6. 

7. The fact that Christ lives, renders it certain that his people 
shall live in holiness here, and in glory hereafter, ver. 8. 

8. The only proper evidence that we are partakers of the 
benefits of the death and life of Christ, is our dying to sin, and 
living to God, ver. 11. 

ROMANS VI. 111. 317 

9. The gospel, which teaches the only true method of justifi 
cation, is the only system that can secure the sanctification of 
men. This is not only the doctrine of this section, but it is the 
leading truth of this and the following chapter. 


1 As the most prominent doctrinal truth of this passage is, 
that the death of Christ secures the destruction of sin wherever 
it secures its pardon; so the most obvious practical inference 
is. that it is vain to hope for the latter benefit, unless we labour 
for the full attainment of the former, vs. "2 11. 

2. For a professing Christian to live in sin, is not only to 
give positive evidence that he is not a real Christian, but it is 
to misrepresent and slander the gospel of the grace of (lod, to 
the dishonour of religion, and the injury of the souls of men, 

8. Instead of holiness being in order to pardon, pardon is in 
order to holiness. This is the mystery of evangelical morals, 
ver. 4. \*c. 

4. Th" only effectual method of gaining the victory over our 
sins, is to live in communion with Jesus Christ; to regard his 
death as securing the pardon of sin, as restoring us to the Divine 
favour, and as procuring for us the influences of the Holy 
Spirit. It is those who thus look to Christ not only for pardon, 
but for holiness, that are successful in subduing sin; while tho 
li ij<tl!xt remains its slave, vs. t>. S. 

f). It is a consolation to the believer to know, that if he has 
evidence of being mfv a Christian, he may be sure that he shall 
live with Christ. As long and as surely as the head lives, so 
long and so surely must all the members live, ver. 8, &e. 

6. To be in Christ is the source of the Christian s life; to bo 
like Christ is the sum of his excellence ; to be with Christ is 
the fulness of his joy, vs. 2 11. 

318 ROMANS VI. 12. 

ROMANS VI. 1223. 


PAUL having shown, in the preceding section, that union with 
Christ secures not only the pardon, but the destruction of sin, 
exhorts his brethren to live agreeably to the nature and design 
of the gospel, vs. 12, 13. As an encouragement in their efforts 
to resist their corruptions, he assures them that sin shall not 
have dominion over them, because they are not under the law, 
but under grace, ver. 14. This is another fundamental princi 
ple in the doctrine of sanctification. Holiness is not attained, 
and cannot be attained by those who, being under the law, are 
still unreconciled to God. It is necessary that we should enjoy 
his favour, in order to exercise towards him right affections. 
This doctrine is not justly liable to the objection, that we may 
sin with impunity if not under the law, ver. 15. The true 
situation of the Christian is illustrated by a reference to the 
relation between a servant and his master. Believers, before 
conversion, were the servants of sin ; after it, they are the 
servants of righteousness. Formerly they were under an influ 
ence which secured their obedience to evil ; now they are undei 
an influence which secures their obedience to good. The con 
sequence of the former service was death; of the present, life. 
The knowledge of these consequences tends to secure the con 
tinued fidelity of the Christian to his new Master, vs. 16 23. 


VERSE 12. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal 
/> ."///, &c. This is a practical inference (o5v) from what pre 
cedes. Since the believer is in fact united to Christ in his 
death and life, he should live accordingly. The exhortation 
contained in this and the following verse has a negative and 
positive form yield not to sin, but give yourselves up to 
God corresponding to the clauses, dead to sin, and alive unto 
G-ud, in ver. 11. To reign signifies to exercise uncontrolled 
authority. S ; n, although mortified in the believer, is not 

ROMANS VI. 12. 319 

destroyed. Its power to injure remains after its dominion is 
overthrown, The exhortation is, that we should not yield to 
this dethroned adversary of Christ and the soul, but strenu 
ously strive against its efforts to gain ascendency over us, and 
to bring us again into bondage. Let not sin reign in your 
mortal boJy. This is a difficult clause. 1. Mortal body may 
be a periphrase for -you: Let not sin reign within you; as 
in the next verse, your members may stand for yourselves. 
2. Others say that i>vr f i6- (mortal] is to be taken in the figura 
tive sense in which j/s^o c, dead, i. e. corrupt, is often used. 
8. Others take awtta in the sense of <ra/^, corrupt nature, 
including everything in man as fallen, which is not dm.- to the 
indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus Calvin says, " Xuper 
admonui voccm Corporis non pro came et cute et ossibus accipi, 
sed pro tota hominis massa, ut ita loquar. Id certius colligere 
licet ex pnesenti loco: quia alterum membrum, quod niux sub- 
jiciet de corporis partibus, ad animiim quoque extenditur. Sic 
autein crasse Paulas terrenum lioiuineni significat." lie savs 
the word mortal is used, fci per contemptum, ut docean totam 
houiinis naturam ad mortem et exitium inclinare." So also 
Philippi, among the modern commentators, savs that here, as 
as in Horn. viii. 10, 1-5, (where fti&a-uw ra^ ~(>d-Z!~ rov adttm- 
TU^ is opposed to /JI~<L (jdoxa ^7^,} au)[ta is the antithesis of 
rr>v////. the latter being the soul as pervaded bv the Spirit 
of God, and the former our nature considered as corrupt. This, 
however, i.- so contrary to the general usage of Scripture, that 
the ordinary sense of the words is to be preferred. 1 aul does 
riot teach that the body is the source of sin, nor its exclusive or 
principal seat: but it is the organ of its manifestation. It H 
that through which the dominion of sin is outwardly revealed. 
The body is under the power of sin, and that power the apostle 
would have us resist ; and on the other hand, the sensual appe 
tites of the body tend to enslave the soul. Body and soul are 
so united in a common life, that to say, Let not sin reign in 
your mortal body, and to say, Let not sin reign in you, 
amount to the same thing. When we speak of sin as dwelling 
in the soul, we do not deny its relation to the body; so neither 
does the apostle, when he speaks of sin dwelling in the body, 
mean to deny its relation to the soul. 

320 ROMANS VI. 13. 

That ye should obey it (a^ny, i. e. sin,) in the lusts thereof.. 
(auro 7 }, viz. of the body.) We should not obey sin by yielding 
to carnal appetites. The common text has here, ecz TO unaxo j- 
eiv a jTTJ kv r?c Ixtd-upicuz auTou. Knapp, Lachmann, and 
other editors, adopt the simpler and better authenticated read 
ing, /c TO u-axo jztv r?c &7ri&v/jitcus a JTOi), to obey its lusts, i. e. 
the lusts of the body. "A man," says Olshauscn, "must 
Always serve. There is no middle ground between the service 
of sin and the service of God. We have justification completely, 
or we have it not at all. Sanctification, as springing from a 
living faith, and as the fruit of God s love to us, admits of 
degrees, and may be more or less earnestly cultivated ; but this 
determines, not our salvation, but only the measure of future 
blessedness. No wisdom or caution," he adds, "can guard this 
doctrine from misunderstanding, whether such misunderstand 
ing arise unintentionally from the understanding, or designedly 
from insincerity of heart. It nevertheless is the only way 
which leads to God, in which the sincere and humble cannot 
err." "The key to the mystery," he goes on to say, "that the 
doctrine of redemption, although not demanding good works, 
produces them, is to be found in the fact that love excites love 
and the desire for holiness. Hence obedience is no longer 
slavish. We strive to obey, not in order to be saved or to 
please God, but because God saves us without works or merit 
of our own, whom, because he is reconciled in the Beloved, we 
delight to serve." 

VERSE 13. Neither yield ye your members, &c. Do not 
permit sin to reign in you, nor yield your powers as its instru 
ments. Neither yield, /r^os xapeffTdistTS. The word means to 
place by, to present, (as an offering,) Luke ii. 22 ; Rom. xii. 1 ; to 
give up to the power or service of, vs. 16, 19, &c. Your members, 
either literally, members of the body, the eye, ear, hand, &c., 
or figuratively, your powers, whether of mind or body. The 
choice between the literal and figurative interpretation depends 
on the view taken of the preceding verse. If there acofia 
(body) be understood literally, then your members can only 
mean the members of the body ; but if mortal body is there a 
periphrase for you, then your members must mean your facul 
ties. The /uty (members) are the parts of which the 

ROMANS VI. 14. 321 

consists ; and therefore if the acoaa stands for the whole person, 
the members must include all our powers, mental as well as cor 
poreal. In vii. 5, Paul says that sin "dul work in our mem 
bers; and in ver. 23, he speaks of "a law in his members." 
In neither of those cases is the reference exclusively to the 
body. As instruments of unrighteousness. That is, instru 
ments which unrighteousness uses, or which are employed to 
effect unrighteousness. The word orjji. is generic ; it is used in 
the general sense of instruments, for the tackle of a ship, the 
tools of an artisan, though most frequently for weapons. On 
account of this general usage, and of Paul s own use of the 
word in xiii. 1-, k armour of light/ (- Cor. vi. V, ik armour of 
righteousness." and "2 Cor. x. 4, "the weapons of our warfare/ ) 
many prefer the restricted sense in this place. Our members 
are regarded as weapons which sin uses to regain its dominion, 
or the predominance of unrighteousness. The context, however, 
does not favour the assumption of this allusion to a strife; and 
therefore the general sense of instruments, or implements, is 
more in keeping with the rest of the passage. />xf i/i Id your* 
si li f.i x/if" /"</; a// /. ~a.(Hj.arf l Gv~z, />uf. c/< t/tc contrary, pre 
sent yourselves, i. e. give yourselves up to God, not only your 
several powers, but your very selves, a dedication which of 
necessity involves that of each sepnrato faculty. In the first 
clause of the verse the present tense, Tisotff-dvzrs, is used; 
here it is the first aorist, present yourselues once for all. As 
alive fro/a t//e dead, i. c. as those who having been dead, are 
now alive. Having been quickened by the power of God, 
raised from the death of sin and all its dreadful consequences, 
they were bound to live unto God. AYho, having been restored 
to life, would desire to return to the loathsomeness of the 
grave? Awl, i. e. and especially, your members (i. e. xeptard- 
vsr, present your members) as instruments of righteousness to 
God. Present all your powers to God, to be employed by him 
as implements of righteousness ; that is, instruments by which 
righteousness may be effected. 

VERSE 14. For sin shall not have dominion over you, &c. 

The future here is not to be understood as expressing either a 

command or an exhortation, not only because the third, and 

not the second person is used, but also because of the conncc- 


322 ROMANS VI. 14. 

tion, as indicated by for. We should yield ourselves to God, 
for sin shall not have dominion, &c. It is not a hopeless strug- 
gle in which the believer is engaged, but one in which victory 
is certain. It is a joyful confidence which the apostle here 
expresses, that the power of sin has been effectually broken, 
and the triumph of holiness effectually secured by the work 
of Christ. The ground of the confidence that sin shall not have 
dominion, is to be found in the next clause: For ye are not 
under the law, but under grace. By law here, is not to be 
understood the Mosaic law. The sense is not, Sin shall 
not have dominion over you, because the Mosaic law is abro- 
o-ated. The word is to be taken in its widest sense. It is the 


rule of duty, that which binds the conscience as an expression 
of the will of God. This is plain: 1. From the use of the word 
through this epistle and other parts of the New Testament. 
2. From the whole doctrine of redemption, which teaches that 
the law from which we are delivered by the death of Christ, is 
not simply the Mosaic law ; we are not merely delivered from 
Judaism, but from the obligation of fulfilling the law of God as 
the condition of salvation. 3. Deliverance from the Mosaic 
law does not secure holiness. A man may cease to be a Jew, 
and yet not be a new creature in Christ Jesus. 4. The anti 
thesis between law arid grace shows that more than the law of 
Moses is here intended. If free from the Mosaic law, they may 
ptill be under some other law, and as little under grace as the 
Pharisees. To be under the law is to be under the obligation to 
fulfil the law of God as a rule of duty, as the condition of salva 
tion. Whosoever is under the law in this sense, is under the 
curse; for the law says, "Cursed is every one who continucth 
not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." As 
no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the com 
mandments of God, every man who rests upon his personal 
conformity to the law, as the ground of his acceptance with God, 
must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, 
but under grace ; that is, under a system of gratuitous justifica 
tion. We are justified by grace, without works. We are not 
under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the 
law, and entire freedom from sin, past arid present, as the con 
dition of our acceptance ; but we are under a gracious dispensa- 

ROMANS VI. 15. 323 

tion, according to which God dispenses pardon freely, and accepts 
the sinner as a sinner, for Christ s sake, without works or merit 
of his own. Whoever is under the law in the sense just ex 
plained, is not only under condemnation, but he is of necessity 
under a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a 
slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who 
is gratuitously accepted of God, and restored to his favour, is 
under a filial spirit. The principle of obedience in him is love, 
and not four. Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is 
assumed that the favour of God is our life. We must be recon 
ciled to him before we can be holy; we must feel that he loves 
us before we can love him. Paul says it was the love of Christ 
to him, that constrained him to live for Him who thus loved him 
and gave Himself for him. The only hope therefore of sinners, 
is in freedom from the law, freedom from its condemnation, free 
dom from the obligation to fulfil it as the condition of accept 
ance, and freedom from its spirit. Those who are thus free, who 
renounce all dependence on their own merit or strength, who 
accept the offer of justification as a free gift of God, and who 
are assured that God { or Christ s sake is reconciled to them, 
are so united to Christ that they partake of his lii e, and their 
holiness here and salvation hereafter are rendered perfectly 

VERSK 1-"). Wltat then? shall we, sin, be.eau*>> w< : are nt 
under tin liw, but under grace? God forbid. Because works 
are not the ground of our justification ; because we are justified 
freelv bv his grace, are we at liberty to sin without fear ;md 
without restraint? Does the doctrine of gratuitous salvation 
give a license to the unrestrained indulgence of all evil? Such 
has been the objection to the doctrines of grace in all ages. 
And the fact that this objection was made to Paul s teachings, 
proves that his doctrine is the same with that against which the 
same objection is still urged. As the further consideration of 
this difficulty is resumed in the following chapter, the apostle 
here contents himself with a simple negation, arid a reference 
to the constraining influence under which the freely pardoned 
sinner is brought, which renders it as impossible for him to 
serve sin, as it is for the slave of one man to be obedient to 
another man. The slave must serve his own master. 

324 ROMANS VI. 16. 

VERSE 16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yidd yourselves 
servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, &c. 
4 Know ye not that those who obey sin are its slaves hurried 
on from one degrading service to another, until it works their 
ruin ; but those who serve holiness are constrained, though 
sweetly, to constancy and fidelity, until the glorious consum 
mation of their course? As a servant or slave is under an 
influence which secures obedience to his master, so also, in 
spiritual or moral relations, a man who serves sin is under an 
influence which secures the continuance of his obedience, and 
he who serves holiness is under an influence which effectually 
secures the constancy of his service. This being the case, it is 
not possible for the Christian or servant of holiness to be found 
engaged in the service of sin. The language and the construc 
tion are here nearly the same as in vcr. 13. Here, as there, 
we have nspiffToiusTS in the sense of giving up to the power and 
disposal of. Paul says, that those who give themselves up to 
another as douAouc; e^ faaxoyu, slaves to obedience, are the doitAoe 
of him whom they thus obey. It enters into the idea of slavery, 
that the subjection is absolute and continued. The slave does 
not obey his own will, but his master s. lie is subject not for 
a time, but for life. He is under an influence which secures 
obedience. This is as true in spiritual as in external relations. 
He who serves sin is the slave of sin. He is under its power. 
He cannot free himself from its dominion. He may hate his 
bondage ; his reason and conscience may protest against it ; his 
will may resist it ; but he is still constrained to obedience. This 
is the doctrine of our Lord, as taught in John viii. 34 : u He that 
committeth sin is the slave of sin." This remains true, although 
this service is unto death: "The wages of sin is death." The 
death intended is spiritual and eternal. It is the absolute loss 
of the life of the soul, which consists in the favour and fellow 
ship of God, and conformity to his image. What is true of sin 
is true of holiness. He who by virtue of union with Christ is 
made obedient to God, becomes, as Paul says, a ooD/oc bxctxoYjS, 
a slave of obedience. Obedience (personified) is the master to 
which he is now subject. He is not only bound to obey, but he 
is made to obey in despite of the resistance of his still imper 
fectly sanctified nature. He cannot but obey. The point of 


analogy to which reference is here made, is the certainty of the 
effect, and the constraining influence by which that effect is 
secured. In the case both of sin and of holiness, obedience is 
certain ; and it is rendered certain by a power superior to the 
will of man. The great difference is, that in the one case this 
subjection is abnormal and destructive, in the other it is normal 
and beneficent. A wise man is free in being subject to his 
reason. The more absolute and constant the authority of 
reason, the more exalted and free is the soul. In like manner, 
the more completely God reigns in us, the more completely we 
are subject to his will, so much the more are we free ; that is, 
so much the more do we act in accordance with the laws of our 
nature and the end of our being. Servants of obedience unto 
righteousness; otxatoa jy/j must here be taken in its subjective 
sense. It is inward righteousness, or holiness. And in this 
sense it is eternal life, and therefore antithetical to l}d^a~o^, 
which is spiritual and eternal death. The service of sin results 
in death, the service of God results in righteousness; that is, in 
our being right, completely conformed to the image of God, in 
which the life of the soul consists. 

VERSI-; IT. Hut God be thanked, that ye were the servants 
if six; but i/e have obeyed from the, heart, &c. As it is the 
apostle s object to show that believers cannot live in sin, inas 
much as they have become the servants of another master, he 
applies the general truth stated in the preceding verses more 
directly to his immediate readers, and gives thanks that they, 
being emancipated from their former bondage, are now bound 
to a master whose service is perfect liberty. The expression in 
the first member of this verse is somewhat unusual, although 
the sense is plain: " God be thanked, that ye were the servants 
of sin;" that is, that this slavery is past; or, God be thanked, 
that ye, being the servants of sin, have obeyed, &c. 

Ye have obeyed from the heart; this obedience is voluntary 
and sincere. They had not been passively transferred from 
one master to another ; but the power of sin being broken, they 
gladly renounced their bondage, and gave themselves unto God. 
Ye obeyed, says the apostle, the form of doctrine which was 
delivered to you. The T J~O^ ucoayj^, the form of doctrine, may 
mean the doctrine which is a T J~O-, a model or standard to 

326 ROMANS VI. 18. 

which we should conform sentiendi agendique norma et rcgula. 
Calvin says it means "expressam justitioe imaginem, quam 
cordibus nostris Christus insculpsit." Another explanation 
assumes TUTZOZ to be equivalent to form, contents, or substance 
of the doctrine. Compare p-ooytoat:; TTJZ fvwffscoz, ii. 20. The 
former explanation is sustained by a reference to 2 Tim. i. 13, 
where Paul speaks of a uTroruTicoact; uftatvovrcov Ibrajy, a form 
of sound words; that is, sound words which are a pattern or 
standard of faith. Compare Acts xxiii. 25 : Having written 
an epistle containing this type, i. e. form of words. By form 
of doctrine is to be understood the Gospel, either in its limited 
sense of the doctrine of gratuitous justification through Christ, 
of which the apostle had been speaking ; or in its wider sense 
of the whole doctrine of Christ as a rule both of faith and prac 
tice. The former includes the latter. He who receives Christ 
as priest, receives him as a Lord. He who comes to him for 
justification, comes also for sanctification ; and therefore obedi 
ence to the call to put our trust in Christ as our righteousness, 
implies obedience to his whole revealed will. The words U7ir r 
ov Trapedo&^Te TU~OP otoayj^, may be resolved thus, 
TUTTw dtou.yj^, ecz oi> Trapedoftyre, ye have obeyed the 
type of doctrine to which ye have been delivered. That is, the 
mould into which, as it were, ye have been cast ; as Beza says, 
the gospel is regarded " quasi instar typi cujusdam, cu4 veluti 
immittamur, ut ejus figurse conformemur." This last idea is 
unnatural : /c ov napedo&yrs is either equivalent to #c xaped- 
6&Y] ujjTiU, which was delivered unto you, (see Winer, 24. 2,) 
or, to which ye were delivered, "cui divinitus traditi estis." 
That is, to which ye were subjected. The intimation is, that 
faith in the gospel is the gift of God, and obedience is our con 
sequent act. "The passive (Kapedddyre,)" says Philippi, "indi 
cates the passive relation of men to the work of regeneration, 
of which his activity (bnrjxo jGars) is the consequence, according 
to the familiar dictum : Ita a Spiritu Dei agimur ut ipsi quoque 

VERSE 18. Being made free from sin, ye became the servants 
of righteousness. This verse may be regarded as the conclusion 
from what precedes, os being used for ow: Being freed then 
from sin, &c.; or it may be connected immediately with vcr. 17. 

ROMANS VI. 19. 3:27 

a comma instead of a period intervening: Ye havo obeyed tho 
form of doctrine, having been freed," &c. The latter is better. 
Freed by the grace of God from sin as a despotic master, ye 
became the servants, sooy/w^rs, ye were made slaves to right 
eousness. It was not license, but a change of masters, that 
they had experienced. This being the case, it is impossible 
they should serve sin; they have now another master. A 
manumitted slave docs not continue subject to his former 
master. "Absurdum cst, ut post manumissionem o^iis in servi- 
tutis conditione maneat. Observandum, c^uoinodo nemo possit 
justituc servire nisi Dei potentia ct beneiicio prius a peccati 
tyranriide liberatus." Calvin. To the same effect our Lord 
says: "If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed." 
John viii. ol>. This subjection to righteousness is perfect 
liberty. It is the subjection of the soul to God, reason, and 
conscience, wherein true liberty consists. This being the case, 
the apostle in the following verse explains the reason why ho 
used a figure apparently so incongruous, in speaking of tho 
relation of the believer to righteousness. 

VKRSE 10. / speak after the manner of men, dvd-pcb-woi* 
).k*((.o; I say what is human, i. e. common among men. Tho 
only difference between this expression and tho more common 
phrase, YJI.-" fcitiito-uy /5fo, is, that the former characterizes as 
human the thing said, and the other the manner of saying it. 
The idea in this case is the same. The apostlo means to say, 
that he uses an illustration drawn from tho common relations 
of men, to set forth the relation of the believer to God. Tho 
slave is bound to serve his master; the obedience of the believer 
to God is no less certain. The one is slavery, because the obe 
dience is independent of the will, and coerced; the other is 
perfect freedom, because rendered from the heart, and with full 
consent of the will. Yet both are a ou jhiu, so far as certainty 
of obedience is concerned. This is the common and natural 
interpretation of this clause. Others, however, take &vd-pa)7twov 
in the sense in which it is used in 1 Cor. ix. 2 2. There it is 
opposed to what is superhuman, beyond the strength of man to 
bear : I demand only what is human. The obedience required 
is, on account of the weakness of your flesh, only such as you 
are able to render. For as ye served sin, so you can serve 

328 ROMANS VI. 19. 

righteousness. The one is as easy as the other. The one is 
the measure of the other. But this does violence to the con 
nection. The wG-sfj o jTco do not refer to the measure of the 
obedience, but to the change of masters: As ye served sin, so 
now serve God. Besides, the principle that the measure of 
obedience is determined by our ability, is utterly at variance 
with the word of God and the dictates of conscience. The 
simple design of the apostle in this passing or parenthetical 
remark is, to state the reason why he designated our new rela 
tion to God a slavery. He used this illustration, he says, on 
account of the weakness of their flesh; not intellectual weak 
ness, but such as arose from the crdoz, their nature as corrupt. 
It was their lack of spirituality which rendered such illustra 
tions necessary. The ydf) (for) of the next clause refers to 
vcr. 18: Being freed from sin, ye became the servants of 
righteousness; for as ye yielded your members, &c. Your 
members, yourselves, your various faculties, with special refer 
ence to their bodily organs as the outward, visible instruments 
of evil. Ye yielded your members, ooD/a, bound. This is the 
only passage in the New Testament in which &>D/oc is used as 
an adjective. They yielded their members to uncleanness and 
to iniquity, TTJ dxa&apfflqt. xae TTJ dvo/jtla. These two words 
express the same thing under different aspects. Sin subjec 
tively considered is pollution, a defilement of the soul; rela 
tively to the law of God, it is dvopla, what is unlawful, what 
fails of conformity to the law. In the next clause, unto 
iniquity, the word is used in a wider sense. They gave them 
selves up to iniquity, that is, to do evil ; e/c TT^ dwjuiav being 
equivalent to e^ TO ~o>*cu avotiiay. Men give themselves up 
to sin as a master, to do what the law forbids. The same 
idea is expressed, if /c rr^ dwfilav means, for the mani 
festation of iniquity. So now yield your members as servants 
to righteousness. Having been delivered from bondage to the 
tyrant sin, ye should act as becomes your new relation, and 
be obedient to your new master, even to him who hath bought 
you with his blood. To righteousness, unto holiness, ect; byt- 
afffiov, so as to be pure in heart and life. The proximate result 
of obedience to God is inward conformity to the Divine image. 
Compare 1 Thess. iii. 3, 4, 7. 

ROMANS VI. 2021. 329 

VERSE 20. For when ye were tJte servants of sin, ye w^re free 
from righteousness. This verse introduces a confirmation of 
what precedes. The foregoing exhortation is enforced by the 
consideration developed in vs. 21, 22, that the service of sin 
is death. The particle fd t o, therefore, is used in its common 
sense, for, and not namely. Formerly, when the slaves of sin, 
ye were iteud-epoe ~fj dtxatoa jvfl, that is, either free in the esti 
mation of righteousness, ("An ille mllti liber, cui mulier impe- 
rat?" Cicero;} or, what is more natural, as to righteousness; 
so far as righteousness is concerned, ye were free. Righteous 
ness had no power over you; your service was rendered to 
another master. This is not to be understood ironically, as 
though the apostle designed to refer to their former state as one 
of freedom in their estimation. It is the simple statement of a 
fact of experience. While the servants of sin, they did not and 
could not serve righteousness. Here are two services, which is 
to be preferred? This is the question which the apostle pre 
sents for their consideration. 

VEKSE 21. The sense of this verse depends mainly on the 
pointing. It may be read thus : What fruit had ye then of 
those things of which ye are now ashamed? (Answer, Xon<>,) 
for the end of those things is death/ Or, What fruit had yo 
then? (Answer, Such,} of which ye are now ashamed, for, &c. 
The choice between these interpretations is not very easy, and 
accordingly commentators are about equally divided between 
them. The Vulgate, the English version, Calvin, ])e/.a, Jiengel, 
Meyer, Fritzshe, &c., adopt the former. Luther, Melanethon, 
.Koppe, Tholuek, l)e Wette, Olshausen, &c., the latter. The 
decision seems to depend principally on the meaning iriven to 
the phrase, to I/or, 1 fruit. If this means, to derive benefit, then 
the sense is, What benefit did you derive from the things of 
which you are now ashamed? The natural answer is, None; 
a course of conduct which ends in death can yield no benefit. 
This gives a pertinent sense: it is suited to ver. 22, where fruit 
may also mean advantage; and especially it agrees best with 
the words iy oF^, which otherwise must refer to xapxbu, (fruit 
of which,) which is not natural. In favour of the second inter 
pretation, however, it is urged that fruit is never in the New 
Testament used of reward or emolument, but always of acts 

330 ROMANS VI. 21. 

The familiar illustration is that of a tree whose fruit is good or 
bad according to its nature. According to this view, Paul 
means to ask, What fruit did you then produce? Such, he 
answers, of which you are now ashamed. Besides this general 
use of the word (fruit,) it is urged that in vcr. 22, this is the 
natural sense of the word : " Ye have your fruit unto holiness ;" 
that is, Ye produce fruit which tends to holiness. "This 
figure," says Olshausen, "is the more significant, because it is 
so directly opposed to that Pelagianism which is so congenial 
with our fallen nature. The natural man, destitute of the 
knowledge of God, of himself, and of sin, dreams that by his 
own strength and efforts he can produce a form of virtue which 
can stand before the bar of God. He does not know that of 
necessity, arid by a law of his nature, he can only produce evil 
fruit, just as a wild tree can produce only bitter fruit. Even 
should he succeed in calling into exercise all the good he has in 
the most perfect form, it is so destitute of love, and so cor 
rupted by conceit, that it merits condemnation, as fully as 
though the life were openly immoral. The beginning of truth, 
of which holiness, (which is true liberty,) by a like organic 
necessity and law of nature, is the fruit, is for man the 
acknowledgment that death reigns in him, and that he must 
be imbued with life." All this is true, and all this is really 
involved in the familiar figure which our Lord uses to illus 
trate the relation between the state of the heart and of the 
outward life. But this does not seem to be the idea which 
the apostle here intends to present. The phrase, xar>~bu 
notelv, does indeed always mean to produce fruit, and figura 
tively, to do good or evil ; but xao~bv e%sw, to have fruit, 
means to have the advantage, or profit. Thus, in i. 13, Paul 
says: "That I might have some fruit among you;" i. e. that 
he might gain something, win some souls for Christ. If this 
be the true meaning of the phrase here, then the former of the 
two interpretations is to be preferred. What advantage had 
you of the service of sin ? None ; for the end of those things, 
the rs/oc, the final result of the service of sin, is death; not 
physical death, but the death of the soul, final and hopeless 
perdition. Such was their former condition; to this the con 
trast is given in the next verse. 

ROMANS VI. 2223. 331 

VERSE 22. But now, being made free from sin, /. 
^j/rcc d~b rc duapriaz; having been emancipated from one 
master, do jXo)$si>TSZ ok TM Qiw, and become slaves to G-od, i. e. 
being subject to his controlling influence by the power of his 
Spirit, ye lave your fruit unto holiness; that is, the benefit or 
effect derived from the service of God is holiness. Sanctifica- 
tion is the proximate result of this new service. And the end 
eternal life. The final issue of this service is complete salva 
tion; the restoration of the soul to the favour and enjoyment 
of God for ever. " Quemadmodum duplicem peccati finem ante 
proposuit, ita mine justitiie. Peccatum in hac vita malre con- 
scientiie tormenta affert, deinde aeternam mortem. Justitinc 
proesentcin fructum coiiigimus, sanctificationem : in futurum, 
speramus vitam aeternam." 

VKRSE 2-3. For the wages of sin is deaf It; but the gift of (rod 
is eternal life, tltrouglt Jesus Christ our Lord. The reason why 
death is the result of sin is, that sin deserves death. Death is 
due to it in justice. There is the same obligation in justice, 
that sin should be followed by death, as that the labourer should 
receive his wages. As it would be unjust, and therefore wrong, 
to defraud the labourer of his stipulated reward, so it would 
be unjust to allow sin to go unpunished. Those, there-fore, who 
hope for pardon without an atonement, hope that God will in 
the end prove unjust. The word oc/wv/a is, strict! v, the rations 
of soldiers; in a wider sense, the same as (Vs~in.:ni) .u., or tum^o^, 
anything which is due as a matter of debt. Jint tin gift of 
Grod, TO os %dptff/m TO~J 6zo~j, the free, unmerited gift of God, 
is eternal life. The connection between holiness and life is no 
less certain than that between sin and death, but on different 
grounds, ^in deserves death; holiness is itself the gift of God, 
and is freely crowned with eternal life. The idea of merit is 
everywhere and in every way excluded from the gospel method 
of salvation. It is a system of grace, from the beginning to 
the consummation. Through (rather in) Jesus Christ our 
Lord. It is in Christ, as united to him, that we are made 
partakers of eternal life. Jesus Christ and his gospel, then, 
instead of being the ministers of sin as the Jews, and since 
them, the opponents of the doctrines of grace, confidently 
asserted effectually secure what the law never could accom- 

332 ROMANS VI. 1223. 

plish, an obedience resulting in holiness here, and in eternal 
life hereafter. 


1. The leading doctrine of this section, and of the whole 
gospel, in reference to sanctification, is, that grace, instead of 
leading to the indulgence of sin, is essential to the exercise 
of holiness. So long as we are under the influence of a self-l 
righteous or legal spirit, the motive and aim of all good works | 
are wrong or defective. The motive is fear, or sonic merely 
natural affection, and the aim, to merit the bestowment of good. 
But when we accept of the gracious offers of the gospel, and 
feel that our sins are gratuitously pardoned, a sense of the 
divine love, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, 
awakens all holy affections. The motive to obedience is now 
love, and its aim the glory of God, ver. 14, &c. 

2. Paul teaches that it is not only obligatory on Christians 
to renounce the service of sin, but that, in point of fact, the 
authority and power of their former master are destroyed, and 
those of their new master experienced, whenever they embrace 
the gospel. This is the very nature of the change. The charge, 
therefore, that the gospel leads to the service of sin, is an 
absurdity, vs. 15 18. 

3. Religion is essentially active. It is the yielding up of our 
selves, with all our powers, to God, and the actual employment 
of them as instruments in doing good. Nothing can be at a 
greater remove from this, than making religion a mere matter 
of indolent profession, (a saying, Lord, Lord,) ver. 12, c. 

4. Both from the nature of things, and the appointment of 
God, the wages of sin is death. It renders intercourse with 
God, who is the fountain of life, impossible. It consists in the 
exercise of feelings, in their own nature, inconsistent with hap 
piness ; it constantly increases in malignity, and in power to 
destroy the peace of the soul. Apart from these essential 
tendencies, its relation to conscience and the justice of God, 
renders the connection between sin and misery indissoluble, \ 
Salvation in sin is as much a contradiction, as happiness io 1 
misery, vs. 21, 23. 

ROMANS VI. 1223. 33a 

. Eternal life is the GIFT of God. It does not, like eternal 
death, flow, as a natural consequence, from anything in us. 
With the holy angels, who have never lost the favour of God. 
this may be the case. But the tendency of all that belongs to 
us, is to death ; this must be counteracted ; those excellences, 
in which life consists, and from which it flows, must be pro 
duced, sustained, and strengthened by the constant, condescend 
ing, and long-suffering grace of the Holy Spirit. The life thus 
graciously produced, and graciously sustained, is at last gra 
ciously crowned with eternal glory, vs. 22, 23. 


1. We should cultivate a sense of the Divine favour as a 
means to holiness. We must cease to be slaves, before we can 
be children. We must be free from the dominion of fear, before 
we can be under the government of love. A self-righteous 
spirit, therefore, is not more inconsistent witli reliance on the 
righteousness of Christ, in order to justification, than it is with 
the existence and progress of sanctification. A\ hatcvcr tends/ 
to destroy a sense of the Divine favour, must be inimical to 
holiness. Hence the necessity of keeping a conscience void of 

offence, and of maintaining uninterrupted our union with Christ- 
las our sacrifice and advocate, ver. 14, etc. 

2. Those Christians are under a great mistake, who suppose 
that despondency is favourable to piety. Happiness is one of 
the elements of life. Hope and joy are twin daughters of piety, 
and cannot, without violence and injury, be separated from 
their parent. To rejoice is as much a duty as it is a privilege, 
ver. 14, &c. 

3. Sinners are slaves. Sin reigns over them ; and all their 
powers are delivered to this master as instruments of unright 
eousness, lie secures obedience with infallible certainty ; his 
bonds become stronger every day, and his wages are death. 
From his tyranny and recompense there is no deliverance by 
the law ; our only hope is in Jesus Christ our Lord, vs. 12, 
13, 16, & c . 

4. Christians are the servants of God. He reigns over them, J 
}and all their powers are consecrated to him. He, too, secures ; ! 

334 ROMANS VII. 125 

fidelity, and his bonds of love and duty become stronger every 
day. His reward is eternal life, vs. 12, 13, 16, &c. 

5. It is of God, that those who were once the servants of sin, " 
become the servants of righteousness. To him, therefore, all 
the praise and gratitude belong, ver. 17. 

6. When a man is the slave of sin, he commonly thinks him-, 
self free ; and when most degraded, is often the most proud. 
When truly free, he feels himself most strongly bound to God;* : 
and when most elevated, is most humble, vs. 20 22. 

7. Self-abasement, or shame in view of his past life, is the 
necessary result of those views of his duty and destiny, whichA 
every Christian obtains when he becomes the servant of God, I 
ver. 21. 



THE apostle, having shown in the preceding chapter that the 
doctrines of grace do not give liberty to sin, but, on the con 
trary, are productive of holiness, in this chapter first illustrates 
and confirms his position, that we are not under the law, but 
under grace, and shows the consequences of this change in our 
relation to God. While under the law, we brought forth fruit 
unto sin ; when under grace, we bring forth fruit unto right 
eousness. This occupies the first section, vs. 1 6. The second, 
vs. 7 25, contains an exhibition of the operation of the law, 
derived from the apostle s own experience, and designed to 
show its insufficiency to produce sanctification, as he had before 
proved it to be insufficient for justification. This section con 
sists of two parts, vs. 7 13, which exhibit the operation of 
the law in producing conviction of sin ; arid vs. 14 25, which 
show that in the inward conflict between sin and holiness, the 
law cannot afford the believer any relief. His only hope of 
victory is in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

ROMANS VII. 1. 335 



Tnis section is an illustration of the position assumed in 
ver. 14 of the preceding chapter : we are not under law, but 
under grace. Paul remarks, as a general fact, that the author 
ity of laws is not perpetual, ver. 1. For example, the law of 
marriage binds a wuinan to her husband only so long as he 
lives. When he is dead, she is free from the obligation which 
that law imposed, and is at liberty to marry another man, 
vs. 2, 3. So we, being free from the law, which was our first 
husband, are at liberty to marry another, even Christ. We are 
freed from the law by the death of Christ, ver. 4. The fruit 
of our first marriage was sin, ver. 5. The fruit of the second 
is holiness, ver. <>. 

The apparent confusion in this passage arises from the apos 
tle s not carrying the figure regularly through. As a woman is 
free from obligation to her husband by hia death, so we are free 
from the law by //x death, is obviously the illustration intended. 
Lut the apostle, out of respect probably to the feelings of his 
readers, avoids saying the law is dead, but expresses the idea 
that we are free from it, by saying, we are dead to the law by 
the body of Christ. * Cieterum ne<|uis conturbetur, quod inter 
ee comparata membra non omnino respondent : pnemonendi 
sumus, apostolum data opera Vv luisse exigua, inversione deflec- 
tere asperioris verbi invidiam. Debuerat dicere, ut online s-imi- 
litudinem contexeret: Mulier post mortem viri soluta est a 
conjiigii vinculo, Lex, (put locum habet mariti erga nos, m<:rtua 
est nobis : ergo sumus ab ejus potestate liberi. Sed ne offend- 
eret Judyeos verbi asperitate, si dixisset legem esse mortuam, 
deflectione est usus, dicens nos legi esse niortuos." Calvin. 


VERST^ 1. Know ye. not, brethren, (for T spr.ak to them that 
know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as 
long as he liueth ? In the English version of the words /j dfvo- 
e?re, the particle /J, or, is overlooked. As that particle ia almost 

336 ROMANS VII. 1. 

always used in reference to the immediately preceding context, 
Meyer and others insist on connecting this verse with vi. 23 : 
The gift of God is eternal life; or are ye ignorant. That is, 
you must recognize eternal life as a gift, unless ye are ignorant 
that the law does not bind the dead. But this is evidently 
forced. The idea which -q is used to recall, is that in vi. 14 : 
"Ye are not under the law, but under grace." This is the 
main idea in the whole context, and is that which the following 
passage carries out and enforces. The thing to be proved is, 
that we are not under the law. The proof is, that the law does 
not bind the dead. But we are dead, therefore we are free from 
the law. This idea, that the law binds a man only so long as he 
lives, is presented as a general principle, and is then illustrated 
by a specific example. That example is the law of marriage, 
which ceases to bind the parties when one of them is dead. So 
the law, as a covenant of works, ceases to bind us when death 
has loosed its bonds. We are as free as the woman whose hus 
band is dead. " Sit generalis propositio," says Calvin, u legem 
non in alium finem latam esse hominibus, quarn ut proesentein 
vitam moderetur : apud mortuos nullum ei supercsse locum. 
Cui postea hypothesin subjiciet, nos illi esse mortuos in Christ! 
corpore." Brethren; a mode of address applicable to all 
believers. He speaks to his spiritual brethren, and not to the 
Jewish converts alone, his brethren according to the flesh. For 
I speak to them that knoiv the law. That is, I speak to you as 
to persons who know the law ; not, I speak to those among you 
who know the law. lie docs not distinguish one class of his 
readers from another. That would require the participle in the 
dative, ro?c fev(0ffxou0ev t to the Jcnowers, as opposed to those 
among them who did not know. He assumes that all his read 
ers were fully cognizant of the principle, that the law has 
dominion over a man so long as he Uveth. What law does the 
apostle here refer to it? It may be understood of law without 
any restriction. Law, all laws, (in the aspect in which they are 
contemplated,) bind a man only so long as he lives. Or, it may 
mean specifically the Mosaic law ; or, more definitely still, the 
marriage law. There is no reason for these limitations. The 
proposition is a jrcneral one ; though the application is doubt 
less to the law of which he had been speaking, and specially to 

ROMANS VII. 1. 337 

the law referred to in vi. 14, from which he says we are now 
free. That certainly is not the Mosaic law considered as a tran 
sient economy, or as a system of religious rites ar.d ceremonies 
designed for one people, and for a limited period. It is the 
Mosaic law considered as a revelation of the moral law, which 
is holy, just, and good, and which says, Thou shalt not 
covet." He illustrates the mode of our deliverance from that 
law, as a covenant of works, by a reference to the admitted 
fact, that law has no dominion over the dead. 

The original leaves it doubtful whether the last clause of the 
verse is to be rendered "as long as Jte lives," or % as long as it 
lives." The decision of this point depends on the context. In 
favo-ur of the latter, it may be said, 1. That it is bettor suited 
to the apostle s design, which is to show that the law is dead or 
abrogated. 2. That in verse G (according to the common read 
ing) the law is spoken of as being dead. 3. And, especially, 
that in vs. 2, 3, the woman is said to be free from the law, not 
by her own, but by her husband s death; which would seem to 
require that, in the other part of the comparison, the husband 
(i. e. the law) should be represented as dying, and not the wife, 
that is, those bound by the law. But, on the other hand, it 
must be admitted that t/tc l<tw //>vx, and t//>> l<i/n th rx, are very 
unusual modes of expression, and perfectly unexampled in 
Paul s writings, if the doubtful case in ver. 6 be excepted, 
2. This interpretation is inconsistent with ver. 2. It is not the 
law that dies: -The woman is bound to her husband as long ;H 
he liveth; but if the husband be dead," &c. 3. Throughout the 
passage it is said that we are dead to the law (ver. 4,) delivered 
from the law (ver. 0.) and not that the law is dead. The com 
mon interpretation, therefore, is to be preferred: The law has 
dominion as long and no longer than the person lives, to whom 
it has respect. For example, the law of marriage ceases to be 
binding when one of the parties is dead. Instead of under 
standing the words, as long as lie liveth, of the natural or phy 
sical life, as is done by the great body of interpreters, Philippi 
and others say the meaning is, That the law binds a man so 
long as his natural, corrupt, unregerierated life continues. When 
the old man is crucified, he is free from the law. We have 
here, he says, the same idea as is expressed above, vi. 7, * lie 

338 ROMANS VII. 23. 

that dieth is justified from sin. This interpretation is not only 
unnatural, but it necessitates a forced allegorical interpretation 
of the following verses. 

VERSE 2. For the woman which Jiath a husband, yo^r] u~av- 
dooz, viro subject a, married, answering to JTIPI* tins, Num. 
v. 29. Is bound by the law to her living husband, rw ^Co^it 
da dp!, i. e. to her husband while living. But if her husband be 
dead, she is freed from the law of her husband. Is freed from, 
xarijof fjTo.1 d~6 is an expression which never occurs in common 
Greek. The same idiom is found in ver. 6 of this chapter, and 
in Gal. v. 4. Ka~o.(r{iv means to invalidate, to render void. 
The idea is, that the relation to her husband is broken off, and 
she is free. Law of her husband means law relating to her 
husband. The phrase is analogous to those often used in the 
Old Testament "law of the sacrifice;" "law of leprosy;" 
"law of defilement." According to the common interpretation 
of this verse, ?dp (for) introduces a confirmatory illustration : 
Law is not of perpetual obligation; for example, a married 
woman is free from the law which bound her to her husband, by 
his death. There is of course a slight incongruity between the 
illustration and the form in which the principle is stated in the 
first verse. There it is said that the law has dominion over a 
man so long as he lives. The illustration is, that a wife is free 
(not when she (lies) when her husband dies. For this and other 
reasons, many interpreters do not regard this verse as present 
ing an example, but as an allegory. Those who take this view, 
give different explanations. After Augustin, Melancthon, Beza, 
and others, say: The husband is our corrupt nature, (vis ilia 
nativa, as Beza calls it, ciens in nobis affectiones peccatorum ;) 
the wife is the soul, or our members. When, therefore, the 
corrupt nature (or old man) dies, the soul is free from that hus 
band, and is at liberty to marry another. Others, with much 
more regard to the context, say that the wife is the Church, 
the husband the law ; so Origen, Chrysostom, Olshausen, Phi- 
lippi, &c. This is indeed the application which the apostle 
makes in the following verses, but it is not what is said in 
vs. 2. 3. Here we have only an example, illustrating the truth 
of the assertion in ver. 1. 

VERSE 3 is an amplification and confirmation of what is said 

ROMANS VII. 4. 339 

in ver. 2 : That a woman is bound by the law to her husbana as 
long as he lives, is plain, because she is called an adulteress if 
she marries another man while her husband lives. And that 
she is free from that law when he dies, is plain, because she is 
in that case no adulteress, though she be married to another 
man. She shall be called* yjr/j /tariffs!, authoritatively and 
solemnly declared to be. Xftr^ucrci sw (from / ( ""w/) is literally 
to transact business, and specially the business of the state, to 
give decisions, or decrees ; and specially in the Xew Testament, 
to utter divine responses, OTCiculct ed< t e, divinitus admonere; see 
Matt. ii. 12, 22; Luke ii. 20; Acts x. 22; lleb. via. 5, xi. 7. 
Compare Hum. xi. 4. 

VKHSI-; 4. W/n r<-frc, nu/ brethren, //< also hcfre become dead 
to the law by the body of Christ. As the woman is free from 
the law bv the death of her husband, so i/e (thn ( /. /.I //.c?c) are 
freed from the law by the death of Christ. This is the applica,- 
tii/n made by the apostle of the illustration contained in vs. 2, 3. 
The law is our first husband ; we were bound to satisfy its 
demands. Jiut the law being dead, (i. e. fulfilled in Christ.) we 
are free irom the obligation of obedience to it as the condition 
of justification, and are at liberty to accept the gospel. " Lex 
vclut mantus fuit," savs Calvin. ; sub eujus jugo detinemur, 
donee mortua est. Post legis mortem Chri>tus nos assumpsit, 
id est, a lege soltitos adjunxit sibi. Enro Chi isto e mortuis 
suscitato copulati adhaerere ei soli debemus: attjuc lit aeterna 
est Christ! vita post resurrectionem, ita posthac nullum futurum 
est divortium." Instead of saying. The law is dead, as the con 
sistency of the figure would demand, the apostle expresses the 
same idea by saying, Ye are dead to the law, or rather, are 
slain, put to death, e$6cvttrw$^r. This form of expression is 
probably used because the death of Christ, in which we died, 
wa> an act of violence, lie was put to death, and we in him. 
To be slain to the law, means to be freed from the law by death. 
Death, indeed, not our own, but ours vicariously, as we were 
crucified in Christ, who died on the cross in our behalf, and in 
our stead. It is therefore added, ly tlu 1 l><>di/ <>f Christ, i. e. by 
his body as slain, lie redeemed us from the law by death ; "by 

v J J 

being a curse," Gal. iii. 13; "by his blood," Eph. i. 7, ii. 13; 
" by his fl?sh," Eph. ii. 15; "by the cross," Eph. ii. 16; "by 

340 ROMANS VII. 4. 

the body of his flesh," Col. i. 22. These are all equivalent 
expressions. They all teach the same doctrine, that Christ 
bore our sins upon the tree ; that his sufferings and death were 
a satisfaction to justice, and, being so intended and accepted, 
they effect our deliverance from the penalty of the law. We 
arc therefore free from it. Although the law continues ever 
more to bind us as rational creatures, it no longer prescribes 
the conditions of our salvation. It is no longer necessary that 
we should atone for our own sins, or work out a righteousness 
such as the law demands. Christ has done that for us. We 
are thus freed from the law, that we should be married to 
another, ecz ?b Y&sad-cu, as expressing the design. The proxi 
mate design of our freedom from the law, is our union with 
Christ; and the design of our union with Christ is, that we 
should bring forth fruit unto God, that is, that we should be 
holy. Here, therefore, as in the preceding chapter, the apostle 
teaches that the law cannot sanctify ; that it is necessary we 
should be delivered from its bondage, and be reconciled to God, 
before we can be holy. lie to Avhom we are thus united, is said 
to be he who is raised from the d-ead. As Christ is spoken of, 
or referred to as having died, it was appropriate to refer to him 
as now living. It is to the living and life-giving Son of God 
that we are united by faith and the indwelling of the Spirit ; and 
therefore it is that we are no longer barren or unfruitful, but 
are made to bring forth fruit unto God. u Sed ultra progreditur 
apostolus," says Calvin, "nempe solutum fuisse legis vinculum, 
non ut nostro arbitrio vivamus, sicuti mulier vidua sui juris est, 
dum in coelibatu degit; sed alteri marito nos jam esse devinc- 
tos : imo de maim (ut aiunt) in manum a lege ad Christum 
nos transiisse." 

It need hardly be remarked, that the law of which the apos 
tie is here speaking, is not the Mosaic law considered as the 
Old Testament economy. It is not the doctrine of this or of 
similar passages, that Christ has merely delivered us from the 
yoke of Jewish institutions, in order that we may embrace the 
simpler and more spiritual dispensation of the gospel. The law 
of which he speaks, is the law which says, "The man that 
doeth these things shall live by them," x. 5; Gal. iii. 10; that 
is, which requires perfect obedience as the condition of accept- 

ROMANS VII. 4. 341 

ancc. It is that which says, "Thou shalt not covet," ver. 7; 
without which sin is dead, ver. 8 ; which is holy, just and good, 
ver. 12; which is spiritual, ver. 14, &c. It is that law hy whose 
works the Gentiles cannot be justified, chap. iii. 20; from whose 
curse Christ has redeemed not the Jews only, but also the Gen 
tiles, Gal. iii. 13, 14. It is plain, therefore, that Paul here 
means by the law, the will of God, as a rule of duty, no matter 
how revealed. From this law, as prescribing the terms of our 
acceptance with God, Christ has delivered us. It is the legal 
system which says, "Do this arid live," that Christ has abo 
lished, and introduced another, which says, fc -He that believes 
shall be saved." Since, however, as remarked above (chap, 
vi. 14,) the Old Testament economy, including the Mosaic insti 
tutions, was the form in which the law, as la\v, was ever present 
to the minds of the apostle and his readers; and since deliver 
ance from the 1 legal system, as such, involved deliverance from 
that economy, it is not wonderful that reference to that dis 
pensation should often be made; or that Paul should at times 
express the idea of deliverance from the law, as such, by terms 
which would ioem to express only deliverance from the particu 
lar form in which it was so familiar to his readers. So, too, in 
the epistle to the Galatians, we find him constantly speaking of 
a return to Judaism as a renunciation of the method of gratui 
tous justification, and a recurrence to a reliance on the right 
eousness of works. The reason of this is obvious. The Old 
Testament dispensation, apart from its evangelical import, which 
lay, like a secondary sense, beneath the cover of its institutions, 
was but a reenactment of the legal system. To make, however, 
as is so often done, the whole meaning of the apostle to be, that 
we are freed from the Jewish law, is not only inconsistent in 
this place with the context, arid irreconcilable with many 
express declarations of Scripture, but destructive of the whole 
evangelical character of the doctrine. How small a part of the 
redemption of Christ is deliverance from the Mosaic institutions! 
How slight the consolation to a soul, sensible of its exposure to 
the wrath of God, to be told that the law of Moses no longer 
condemns us ! How void of truth and meaning the doctrine, 
that deliverance from the law is necessary to holiness, if the law 
means the Jewish economy merely 

342 ROMANS VII. 5. 

VERSE 5. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sm, 
whwh were ly the laiv, &c. The apostle having, in ver. 4, stated 
that believers are freed from the law by the death of Christ, in 
this and the following verse, shows the necessity and the con 
sequences of this change: We have been thus freed, because 
formerly, when under the law, we brought forth fruit unto 
death ; but now, being free from the law, we are devoted to the 
service of God. The force of for, at the beginning of this 
verse, is therefore obvious. The former legal state of believers 
is here described by saying, they were in the flesh. In the 
language of Scripture, the word flesh expresses, in such con 
nections, one or the other of two ideas, or both conjointly. 
First, a state of moral corruption, as in chap. viii. 8, " Those 
that arc in the flesh;" secondly, a carnal state, i. e. a state in 
which men are subject to external rites, ceremonies, and com 
mands ; or more generally, a legal state, inasmuch as among 
the Jews, that state was one of subjection to such external 
rites. Gal. iii. 3, " Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made 
perfect by the flesh?" Compare Gal. iv. 9, where the expression 
"weak and beggarly elements" is substituted for the phrase 
"the flesh;" see Horn. iv. 1. In the present case, both ideas 
appear to be included. The meaning is, when in your unre- 
nenewed and legal state. The opposite condition is described 
(ver. G) as a state of freedom from the law ; which, of course, 
shows that the second of the two ideas mentioned above was 
prominent in the apostle s mind when he used the words "in 
the flesh." In vi. 14, the apostle says, " Sin shall not have 
dominion over you, for ye are not under the law;" and here, in 
the exposition of that passage, he shows why it is that while 
under the law, sin does have dominion. It is because, while in 
that state of condemnation and alienation from God, the effect 
of the law is to produce sin. He says the Tratty/mTa rcov fyap- 
TUOV are oca ro r j ^6p.oo. This does not mean that the passions 
of sin (i. e. which manifest themselves in sinful acts) are simply 
made known by the law, but they are by it, that is, produced 
by it. The word r.adr^iara literally means what is suffered, 
afflictions; here it is used in a secondary sense for passions, 
(motions, in the sense of emotions, feelings.) These two mean 
ings of the word are nearly allied, inasmuch as in passion, or 

ROMANS VII. 6. 343 

feeling, the soul is rather the subject than the agent These 
sinful feelings, aroused by the law, the apostle says i^rr^lro, 
wrought, (the word is here, as everywhere else in the New Tes 
tament, used in an active sense,) in our members; i. e. in us, 
not merely in our bodily members, but in all our faculties, 
whether of soul or body. To bring forth fruit; s/c ro /M.<>-O- 
(fooYjGa:, as expressing the result, not the design. The effect 
of the excitement of sinful feeling by the law. was the produc 
tion of fruit unto death; TW $avaTw, as opposed to ~(o Hs<u of 
the preceding verse. Death is personified. lie is represented 
as a master, to whom our works arc rendered. They belong to 
him. Death, in other words, is the consequence or end secured 
by our sins. The wages of sin is death. The consequence <>f 
sinning is, that we die. The death here meant is no more mere 
physical death than in vi. -o. It is that death which the law 
of God threatens as the punishment of sin. 

VERSE 6. But now, (y j^l os< opposed to o r of yer. o.) i. e. 
since our conversion, -we were freed frm tlie lw; xarfjOfq- 
iJYjfi.z^ d~i> Ttrj wn<>\j* (the same idiom as in ver. -.) I low were 
we thus freed from the law? By death. If d~o$6ci<o vroc, found 
in the common text, is the true reading. (t/i<it //"> ini/ <//n/.) then 
it is by the death (i. e. the abrogation or satisfaction) of the law 
that we are thus freed, even as the woman is freed by the death 
of her husband. Hut if, as all modern editors airree, d;ro$6cv6y- 
TSC (>( < having died} is the true reading, then it is bv our own 
vicarious death in Christ, our having died with him whose death 
is a satisfaction to the law, that we are thus delivered. This is 
in accordance with ver. 4, where it is said ?/v died to the law. 
The apostle says we di< d (ru jr(ij) > w xa-ziynn-iia.* (to that) Ly 
which we were bound. The law held us under its authority, 
and, as it were, in bondage; from which bondage we have been 
redeemed by death. So tltut, the consequence of this freedom 
from the law is, we. serve (God) in ni fvni-xx <>f tin- ,S/>//vV, and not 
(sin) in the old new of the letter. That is, we serve God in a 
new and holy state due to the Spirit, which the Spirit has pro 
duced, and not sin in, or according to, the old and corrupt state 
under the law. ^ icnefts of the Spirit is that new state of mind 
of which the Holy Ghost is the author. Oldtwss of the letter is 
that old state of which the law is the source, in so far as it was 

344 ROMANS VII. 16. 

a state of condemnation and enmity to God. That U^sit/jta here 
is the Holy Spirit, and not the human soul as renewed by the 
Spirit, may be inferred from the general usage of the New Tes 
tament, and from such parallel passages as Gal. iii. 3, 2 Cor. 
iii. 6, in both of which xvsu/jta means the Gospel as the revela 
tion and organ of the Spirit. In the latter passage, the apostle 
says, "the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." There, as 
here, the letter, rpd/t/jta, is what is written. The law is so desig 
nated because the decalogue, its most important part, was origi 
nally written on stone, and because the whole law, as revealed 
to the Jews, was written in the Scriptures, or writings. It was 
therefore something external, as opposed to what was inward 
and spiritual. Luther s version of this passage gives the sense 
in a few words: "Als dass wir dienen iin neuen Wesen des 
Geistes, und nicht im alten Wesen des Buchstaben." Believers 
then are free from the law, by the death of Christ. They are 
no longer under the old covenant, which said, "Do this and 
live;" but are introduced into a new and gracious state, in 
which they are accepted, not for what they do, but for what 
has been done for them. Instead of having the legal and 
slavish spirit which arose from their condition under the law, 
they have the feelings of children. 


1. The leading doctrine of this section is that taught in 
ver. 14 of the preceding chapter, viz. that believers are not 
under a legal system; and that the consequence of their free 
dom is not the indulgence of sin, but the service of God, ver. 4. 

2. This deliverance from the law is not effected by setting 
the law aside, or by disregarding its demands ; but by those 
demands being satisfied in the person of Christ, ver. 4, chap. 
x. 4. 

3. As far as we are concerned, redemption is in order to 
holiness. We are delivered from the law, that we may be 
united to Christ ; and we are united to Christ, that we may 
bring forth fruit unto God, ver. 4, &c. 

4. Legal or self-righteous strivings after holiness can never 
be successful. The relation in which they place the soul to 

ROMANS VII. 16. 345 

God is. from its nature, productive of evil, and not of holy 
feelings, ver. 5. 

5. Actual freedom from the bondage and penalty of the law 
is always attended and manifested by a filial temper and obedi 
ence, ver. 6. 

6. The doctrine concerning marriage, which is here inci 
dentally taught, or rather which is assumed as known to Jews 
and Christians, is, that the marriage contract can only be dis 
solved by death. The only exception to this rule is given by 
Christ, Matt. v. 32 ; unless indeed Paul, in 1 Cor. vii. 15, 
recognizes wilful and final desertion as a sufficient ground of 
divorce, vs. 2, 3. 


1. As the only way in which we can obtain deliverance from 
the law is by the death of Christ, the exercise of faith in him 
is essential to holiness. When we lose our confidence in Christ, 
we fall under the power of the law, and relapse into sin. 
Evervthing depends, therefore, upon our maintaining our union 
with Christ. Without me, ye can do nothing/ ver. 4. 

2. The only evidence of union with Christ is bringing forth 
fruit unto God, ver. 4. 

3. As deliverance from the penalty of the law is in order to 
holiness, it is vain to expect that deliverance, except with a 
view to the end for which it is granted, ver. 4. 

4. Conversion is a great change ; sensible to him that expe 
riences it, and visible to others. It is a change from a legal 
and slavish state, to one of filial confidence* manifesting itself 
by the renunciation of the service of sin, and by devotion to the 
service of God, ver. 6. 

5. A contract so lasting as that of marriage, and of which 
the consequences are so important, should not be entered into 
lightly, but in the fear of God, vs. 2, 3. 

6. The practice, common in many Protestant countries of 
Europe, and in many States of this Union, of granting divorces 
on the ground of cruel treatment or incompatibility of temper, 
is in direct contravention of the doctrines and precepts of the 
Bible on this subject, vs. 2, 3 

346 ROMANS VII. 7. 



PAUL, having shown that we must bo delivered ft >m the law, 
in order to our justification (chapters iii. iv.,) and that this 
freedom was no less necessary in order to sanctification (chap, 
vi., chap. vii. 1 6,) comes now to explain more fully than ho 
had previously done, what are the use and effect of the law. 
This is the object of the residue of this chapter. The apostle 
shows, first, vs. 7 13, that the law produces conviction of sin, 
agreeably to his declaration in chap. iii. 20 ; and, secondly, 
vs. 14 25, that it enlightens the believer s conscience, but 
cannot destroy the dominion of sin. This section, therefore, 
may be advantageously divided into two parts. Paul introduces 
the subject, as is usual with him, by means of an idea intimately 
associated with the preceding discussion. He had been insisting 
on the necessity of deliverance from the law. Why ? Because 
it is evil? No; but because it cannot produce holiness. It can 
produce only the knowledge and the sense of sin ; which are the 
constituents of genuine conviction. These two effects are attri 
buted to the operation of the law, in vs. 7, 8. These ideas are 
amplified in vs. 9 -11. The inference is drawn in ver. 12, that 
the law is good; and in ver. 18, that the evil which it incident 
ally produces is to be attributed to sin, the exceeding turpitude 
of which becomes thus the more apparent. 


VERSE 7. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Far from 
it, &c. The apostle asks whether it is to be inferred, either 
from the general doctrine of the preceding section, respecting 
the necessity of deliverance from the law, or from the special 
declaration made in ver. 5, respecting the law producing sin, 
that the law r was itself evil ? lie answers, By no means ; and 
shows, in the next verse, that the effect ascribed to the law, in 
ver. 5, is merely incidental. Is the law sin? means either, Is 
the law evil? or is it the cause of sin? see Micah i. 5, ^amaria 
is the sin of Jacob. The former is best suited to the context, 

ROMANS VII. 7. 34? 

because Pau] admits that the law is incidentally productive of 
sin. The two ideas, however, may be united, as by Calvin, 
An peccatum sic generet, ut illi imputari ejus culpa debeat;" 
T)OCS the law so produce sin, as that the fault is to be imputed to 
the law itself ? God forbid, IJLTJ ^ewco; let it not be thought 
that the law is to blame. On the eontrary (a//a,) so far from 
the law being evil, it is the source, and the only source of 
the knowledge of sin. I had nut known sin, but by the law. 
Where there is no knowledge of the law, there can be no con 
sciousness of sin ; for sin is want of conformity to the law. If, 
therefore, the standard of right is not known, there can be no 
apprehension of our want of conformity to it. Bv the law here, 
is to be understood the moral law, however revealed. It is not 
the law of Moses, so far as that law was peculiar and national, 
but only so far as it contained the rule of duty. It is not the 
experience of men, as determined by their relation to tlio 
Mosaic dispensation, but their experience as determined by 
their relation to the moral law, that is here depicted. But in 
what sense does Paul here use the pronoun J . That he does 
not speak for himself only; that it is not anvthinix in his own 
individual experience, peculiar to himself, is obvious from the 
whole context, and is almost universally admitted. But if ho 
speaks representatively, whom does he represent, whose experi 
ence under the operation of the law is here detailed? (rrotins 
says, that he represents the Jewish people, and sets forth their 
experience before and after the introduction of the law of 
Moses. This opinion was adopted bv Lock*-, .Estins, and 
recently by Beiehe. Others say that lie speaks out of the 
common consciousness of men. k "Dus I fto, repnesentirte sub 
ject," says Meyer, "ist der Mensch iiberhaupt, in seiner rein 
menschlichen und natUrlichen Verfassung." The experience 
detailed is that of the natural or unrenewed man throughout. 
This view is the one generally adopted bv modern commenta 
tors. Others again say, that Paul is here speaking as a Christ 
ian ; he is giving his own religious experience of the operation 
of the law, as that experience is common to all true believers. 
This does not necessarily suppose that the preliminary exercises, 
as detailed in vs. 7 13, are peculiar to the renewed. There is 
a "law work, * a work of conviction which, in its apparent 

348 ROMANS VII. 7. 

characteristics, is common to the renewed and the unrencwed. 
Many are truly and deeply convinced of sin ; many experience 
all that the law in itself can produce, who are never regene 
rated. Nevertheless, the experience here exhibited is the expe 
rience of every renewed man. It sets forth the work of the law 
first in the work of conviction, vs. 7 13, and afterwards in 
reference to the holy life of the Christian. This is the Augus- 
tinian view of the bearing of this passage adopted by the 
Lutherans and Reformed, and still held by the great body of 
evangelical Christians. 

I had not known sin. There are two kinds of knowledge. 
The one has for its object mere logical relations, and is a matter 
of the intellect; the other has for its object both the logical 
relations and the qualities, moral or otherwise, of the thing 
known, arid is a matter of the feelings as well as of the intel 
lect. The kind of knowledge of which the apostle speaks is not 
mere intellectual cognition, but also conviction. It includes the 
consciousness of guilt and pollution. The law awakened in him 
the knowledge of his own state and character. He felt himself 
to be a sinner ; and by a sinner is to be understood not merely 
a transgressor, but one in whom sin dwells. It was the cor 
ruption of his nature which was revealed to the apostle by the 
operation of the law. This sense of the word apaoria in this 
context is almost universally admitted. "Die Si/jtapTca," says 
Meyer, "ist das prineipe der Stlnde im Mensclien (1. v. 8. 9. 11. 
13. 14.), (lessen wir erst durch das Gesctz uns bewusst werden, 
und welches olme das Gcsetz unbewusst geblieben ware." That 
is, "The is the principle of sin in men, of which we 
become conscious through the law, and of which we would with 
out the law have remained unconscious." So De TVette, Tho- 
luck, Riickert, Kollner, Olshausen, and Philippi, among the 
modern commentators, as well as the older doctrinal expositors. 

For I had not known lust, except the law had said, T/tou shalt 
not covet. This may be understood as merely an illustration of 
the preceding declaration : I had not known sin but by the 
law. For example, I had not known lust, except the law had 
Bziid, Thou shalt not covet. According to this view, there is 
no difference between sin and lust, afiaoria and i-(&u/jila, except 
that the latter is specific, and the former general. Lust falls 

ROMANS VII. 8. 349 

under the general category of sin. But according to this inter 
pretation, neither hiiap-ria nor ; vctv (sin nor know) receives the 
full force which the connection requires. This clause, there 
fore, is not simply an illustration, but a confirmation of the 
preceding : I had not known sin, but by the law ; for I had 
not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 
That is, From the consciousness of desire striving against the 
law, arose the conviction of the principle of sin within me. 
Desire revealed as evil by the law, itself revealed the evil 
source whence it springs. The word i~t&t)fi.ia. means simply 
earnest desire, and the verb l~i$ jus(o is to desire earnestly. It 
depends on the context whether the desire be good or bad, 
whether it is directed towards what is lawful or what is forbid 
den. In the tenth commandment, here quoted, the meaning is, 
Thou shalt not desire to have (i. e. thou shalt not covet) that 
which belongs to another. The point of the apostle s argument 
is, that his knowledge of sin is due to the law, because without 
the law he would not have known that mere desire is evil, and 
because these evil desires revealed the hidden source of sin in 
his nature. 

VEKSI-: 8. But sin, talcing occasion ly tlte commandment, 
u rowjlit in )>!< all tmnun r <>f concupiscence. This verse is not 
logically connected with the preceding. It is rather coordinate 
with it, and is a virtual, or rather, an additional answer to tho 
question, Is the law evil . To this question Paul replies, Xo ; 
on the contrary, it leads to the knowledge of sin. And hence 
he add-. It is not evil in itself, although incidentally the cause 
of sin in u<. By x/x, in this case, cannot be understood actual 
sin. It must mean indwelling sin, or corruption of nature; 
sin as the principle or source of action, and not as an act. 
tl< "Afj.OLf)Ti(i non potest esse hoc loco pt < <-atat)i ipsuni," says 
Koppe, " sed ipsa potius prava et ad peccandum prodivis indo- 
les, vitiosa hominis natura, vitiositas ipsa." To the same effect, 
Olshausen: "Aus der allgemeincn siindhaften natur des Men- 
schen geht die l~t&u fj.ia, prava concupisccntia, als erste Ausse- 
rung hervor und dann folgt erst die That." That is, from sin 
immanent in our nature, comes first desire, and then the act. 
Thus Kollner says, " Ixeftu/jtiav, so von duaoTca vcrschieden, 
dass diese das gleichsam iin Menschen ruhende siindliche 

350 ROMANS VII. 8. 

Princip bezciclmet, 7x&L)/j. f a aber die im einzelnen Falle 
wirksame bose Lust, ganz eigentlich die Begierde, die dann 
zunaehst zur S dnde in concreto fiirht." Such is plainly the 
meaning of the apostle. There is a principle of sin, a corrup 
tion of nature which lies back of all conscious voluntary exer 
cises, to which they owe their origin. Eittd-ofiia, feeling, the 
first form in which sin is revealed in the consciousness, springs 
from 6,/tapria. This is a truth of great importance. According 
to the theology and religious conviction of the apostle, sin can 
be predicated not only of acts, but also of inward states. 

Sin taking occasion, dyop/utyVj opportunity or advantage, by 
the commandment, i. e. the command, "Thou shalt not covet." 
A part is taken for the whole. This special precept (iuroArj) 
stands, by way of illustration, for the whole law. The words 
dtd. TYjZ ivro/^c, by the commandment., may be taken with the 
preceding clause, taking advantage of the commandment. In 
favour of this construction is the position of the words, and, as 
is supposed, the of a\jr7^ in ver. 11, which, it is said, cor 
responds to these words in this verse. This is the construction 
which is adopted by our translators, and by many commenta 
tors. Others prefer connecting the words in question with what 
follows "by the commandment wrought in me." In favour 
of this is the fact, that the main idea of the passage is thus 
brought out. The apostle designs to show how the law, although 
good in itself, produced evil: 4 Sin wrought by it. Besides, the 
phrase acoou.r^ Aa/jifidvsev ex, or Ttapd, or drro, is common, but 
with did it never occurs: ucd is not the appropriate preposition; 
whereas xarspfd^zad-at oto. is perfectly appropriate. Wrought 
in me all manner of concupiscence, xaaav iirc^ofjiiav^ every (evil) 

For ivitliout the law sin (ivas) dead. This is designed as a 
confirmation of the preceding declaration. This confirmation 
is drawn either from a fact of Paul s personal experience, or 
from an universally admitted truth. If the former, then wo 
must supply was: Sin is excited by the law, for without the 
law sin was dead ; i. e. I was not aware of its existence. If the 
latter, then is is to be supplied: Without the law sin is dead. 
This is an undisputed fact: Where there is no law there is no 
sin ; and where is no knowledge of law there is no knowledge 

ROMANS VII. 9. 351 

of sin. The latter view best suits the context. To say that a 
thing is dead, is to say that it is inactive, unproductive, and 
unobserved. All this may be said of sin prior to the operation 
of the law. It is comparatively inoperative and unknown, until 
aroused and brought to light by the law. There are two effects 
of the law included in this declaration the excitement of evil 
passions, and the discovery of them. Calvin makes the latter 
much the more prominent: u Ad cognitionem prcecipue refero, 
acsi dictum furet : Detexit in me omncm concupiscentiam ; (|iux3 
dum lateret, quodammodo nulla esse videbatur." Dut the con 
text, and the analogous declarations in the .succeeding verses, 
seem to require the former to be considered as the more impor 
tant. The la\v then is not evil, but it produces the conviction 
of sin, by teaching us what sin is, ver. 7, ami bv making us 
conscious of the existence and power (A this evil in our own 
hearts, ver. 8. " hhe dem Menschen ein i>nno- entweder von 
aussen gegeben wird, odcr in ihm selbst sich entwickelt, so ist 
die Sundhaftigkcit /war in ihm, als Anlaire, aber sie ist todt, 
d. h. sie ist ihm noch nieht zum Bewusstseyn u;okommen, weil 
noch kcin Widerstreit /wisclicn seiner SUndhafti^keit uiul 
einein Gebote in ihm ontstehen konnte." L xt< ri J;<//r/ </>-/fF 
Pauli, p I-). Such is certainly the experience of Christians. 
They live at ease. Conscience is at rest. They think them 
selves to be as good as can be reasonably required of them 
They have no adequate conception of the power or heinou-ness 
of the evil within them. Sin lies, as it were, dead, as the torpid 
serpent, until the operation of the law rouses it from its slum 
bers, and reveals its character. 

VKRSK !>. Fur 1 was <iUre without tin liw once, &c. The 
meaning of this clause is necessarily determined by what pre 
cedes. If by sin being dead means its lying unnoticed and 
unknown, then by />-i>i : / n/ii <>, Paul must mean that state of 
security and comparative exemption from the turbulence or 
manifestation of sin in his heart, which he then experienced. 
lie fancied himself in a happy and desirable condition. lie had 
no dread of punishment, no painful consciousness of sin. But 
when the commandment came, i. e. came to his knowledge, w r as 
revealed to him in its authority and in the extent and spiritu 
ality of its demands, sin revived; i. e. it was roused from its 

352 ROMANS VII. 10. 

torpor. It was revealed in his consciousness by its greater 
activity ; so that the increase of his knowledge of sin was due 
to an increase in its activity. And I died. As by being alive 
was meant being at ease in a fancied state of security and good 
ness, being dead must mean just the opposite, viz. a state of 
misery arising from a sense of danger and the consciousness 
of guilt. This interpretation is recommended not only by its 
agreement with the whole context, but also from its accordance 
with the common experience of Christians. Every believer can 
adopt the language of the apostle. He can say he was alive 
without the law ; he was secure and free from any painful con 
sciousness of sin ; but when the commandment came, when he 
was brought to see how holy and how broad is the law of God, 
sin was aroused and revealed, and all his fancied security and 
goodness disappeared. He was bowed down under the con 
viction of his desert of death as a penalty, and under the power 
of spiritual death in his soul. " Mors pcccati," says Calvin, 
"vita est hominis; rursum vita pcccati mors hominis." 

The questions, however When was Paul, or those in whose 
name he speaks, without the law ? In what sense was he then 
alive? What is meant by the commandment coming? In what 
sense did sin revive ? and, What does Paul mean when he says, 
he died ? are all answered by different commentators in differ 
ent ways, according to their different views of the context and 
of the design of the argument. Grotius and others say, that 
beino- without the law designates the ante-Mosaic period of the 
Jewish history, when the people lived in comparative innocence ; 
the law came when it was promulgated from Mount Sinai, and 
under its discipline they became worse and worse, or at least 
sin was rendered more and more active among them. Others 
say, that Paul was without the law in his childhood, when 
he was in a state of childish innocence ; but when he came to 
years of discretion, and the law was revealed within him, then 
} ie died then he fell under the power of sin. These interpre 
tations give a much lower sense than the one above-mentioned, 
and are not in keeping with the grand design of the passage. 

VERSE 10. And the commandment which ivas unto life, I 
found to be unto death. The law was designed and adapted to 
secure life, but became in fact the cause of death. Life and 

ROMANS VII. 11. 353 

death, as hero opposed, are figurative terms. Life includes tho 
ideas of happiness and holiness. The law was designed to make 
men happy and holy. Death, on the other hand, includes the 
ideas of misery and sin. The law became, through no fault of 
its own, the means of rendering the apostle miserable and 
sinful. How vain therefore is it to expect salvation from the 
law, since all the law does, in its operation on the unrcnewed 
heart, is t<> condemn and to awaken opposition! It cannot 
change the nature of man. ]>y the law is the knowledge of 
sin, iii. 20; it produces "the motions of sin, ver. 5; it "works 
all manner of concupiscence," ver. S : it revives sin, ver. ( J ; it 
seduces into sin, ver. 11. JIow then can it save? IIo\v mise 
rable and deluded are those who have only a le ir al religion! 

ft/ CT "" 

A KKSK 1 1. / >/ x//<, tnJi uii/ oi i tfxio/i l>i/ tli< commandment) 
deceived nn>, <mJ Li/ It xl,->r //t<>. The law is the cause of death, 
ver. in. f,,r by it sin deceived and slew me. The two ideas 
before insisted upon are again here presented viz. the law, so 
far from giving life, is the source of death, spiritual and penal; 
and yet the fault is not in the law, but in sin. i. e, in <>nr own 
corrupt nature. Here, as in ver. S, two constructions are pos 
sible. \\ e may say, Sin took occasion by the 1 commandment; 
or, ; Sin taking occasion, bv the commandment deceived me. 
For reasons mentioned above, ver. S, the latter is to he pre 
ferred: Sin deceived me, z ^-dr^frz. The ix is intensive : It 
completely deceived me, or disappointed my expectations. 
How? l>y leading the apostle to expect one 1 thinir, while ho 
experienced another. lie expected life, and found death. lie 
expected happiness, and found misery; he looked for holiness, 
and found increased corruption. He fancied that by the law 
all these desirable ends could be secured, when its operation 
was discovered to produce the directly opposite effects. Sin 
therefore deceived by the commandment, and by it slew him, 
instead of its being to him the source of holiness and blessed 
ness. The reference is not to the promised joys of sin, which 
always mock the expectation and disappoint the hopes, but 
rather to the utter failure of the law to do what he expected 
from it. Such is the experience of every believer, in the 
ordinary progress of his inward life. He first turns to the 
law, to his own righteousness and strength, but he soon finds 

354 ROMANS VII. 12, 13. 

that all the law can do is only to aggravate his guilt and 

VERSE 12. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment 
holy, just, and good. This is the conclusion from the preceding 
exhibition. The law is not evil, ver. 5. Sin is the true source 
of all the evil which incidentally flows from the law. In itself 
the law is holy, (i. e. the whole law,) and the commandment, 
i. e. the specific command, "Thou shalt not covet," is holy, 
just, and good. That is, it is in every aspect what it should be. 
It is in every way excellent. It is holy as the revelation of the 
holiness of God ; it is in its own nature right, and it is good, 
i. e. excellent. In the next verse all these attributes are sum 
med up in one, TO a-fadov, goodness. Hence this is probably 
the generic term of which the others are the species. "Lex 
ipsa," says Calvin, " et quicquid lege praccipitur, id totum sanc 
tum est, ergo summa dignitate reverendum; justum, ergo nullius 
injustitias insimulandum ; bonum, ergo omni vitio purum ac 

VERSE 13. Was then that which is good made death unto me ? 
God forbid. In order to prevent the possibility of misconcep 
tion, the apostle again vindicates the law. To ouv ayadbv, 
kiwi -fsfoys frdvoxoz, Has the good become death to me ? Grod 
forbid. \\)JM, on the contrary, ~/j cLiiattria (l;iol fijo^ &dvaro^) 
sin (has become death to me.) Not the law, but sin is the cause 
of death. And it is made so, ha (fawj &/jtap-la, o:a TO>J d.fa$oi) 
{w> /.</- zo fa^otjihrj d-dvarov, in order that it may appear sin, 
working in me death by means of good. The true character of 
gin, as sin, is revealed by its making even that which is in 
itself good, the means of evil. In order that it might become 
exceeding sin fid by the commandment. God has so ordered it, 
that the sinfulness of sin is brought out by the operation of the 
law. Such is the design of the law, so far as the salvation of 
sinners is concerned. It does not prescribe the conditions 
of salvation. We arc not obliged to be sinless ; in other words, 
we are not obliged to fulfil the demands of the law, in order to 
be saved. Neither is the law the means of sanctification. It 
cannot make us holy. On the contrary, its operation is to 
excite and exasperate sin ; to render its power more dreadful 
ind destructive, so that instead of being the source of life, it is 

ROMANS VII. T 13. S55 

the instrument of death. By it we are slain. The construction 
of this passage, given above, is that which the words demand, 
and which almost all modern commentators adopt. Calvin, 
Luther, the English translators, and many others, make dittan-ia 
the subject of xarBo-fa^o^s^ ( /]>) taken as a verb: Sin wrought 
death. The sense thus expressed is good; but this construction 
does violence to the words, as it converts a participle into a 


1. The law, although it cannot secure either the justification, 
or sanctification of men, performs an essential part in the 
economy of salvation. It enlightens conscience, and secures its 
verdict against a multitude of evils, which we should not other 
wise have recognized as sins. It arouses sin, incrcasim: its 
power, and making it, both in itself and in our consciousness, 
exceedingly sinful. It therefore produces that state of mind 
which is a necessary preparation for the reeeptiou of the 
gospel, vs. 7, <S. 

2. Conviction of sin, that is, an adequate knowledge of its 
nature, and a, sense of its power over us, is an indispensable 
part of evangelical religion. Before the irospel can be embraced 
as a means of deliverance from sin. we must feel that we are 
involved in corruption and mi-cry, ver. 0. 

3. The law of (Jod is a transcript of his own nature holy, 
just, and good. The clearer our views of its extent and excel 
lence, the deeper will be our sense of our own unworthiness, 
vs. 9, l 

4. Sin is exceedingly sinful. Its turpitude is manifested by 
the fact, that the exhibition of holiness rouses it into opposi 
tion ; and that the holy law itself is made incidentally to 
increase its virulence and power, ver. 13. 

5. Sin is very deadly. It extracts death from the means of 
life, and cannot exist unattended by misery, vs. 10 13. 


1. How miserable the condition of those whose religion is all 
law ! vs. T 13. 

2. Though the law cannot save us, it must prepare us for 

356 ROMANS VII. 1425. 

salvation. It should, therefore, be carefully and faithfully 
preached, both in its extent and authority, vs. 7, 8. 

3. It must be wrong and productive of evil, so to describe 
the nature of evangelical religion as to make the impression 
that it is a mere change in the main object of pursuit the 
choice of one source of happiness in preference to another. It 
is a return to God, through Jesus Christ, for the purpose of 
being delivered from sin, and devoted to his service. Its first 
step is the conviction that we are sinners, and, as such, dead, 
i. e. helpless, corrupt, and miserable, vs. 7, IB. 

4. Nothing is more inconsistent with true religion than self- 
complacency. Because the more holy we are, the clearer our 
views of God s law; and the clearer our views of the law, the 
deeper our sense of sin, and, consequently, the greater must be 
our humility, vs. 12, 13. 

5. If our religious experience does not correspond with that 
of the people of God, as detailed in the Scriptures, we cannot 
be true Christians. Unless we have felt as Paul felt, we have 
not the religion of Paul, and cannot expect to share his reward, 
YS . 7_13. 

ROMANS VII. 1425. 


THE apostle, having exhibited the operation of the law in 
producing conviction of sin, comes now to show its effect on the 
mind of the believer. It cannot secure his sanctification. The 
cause of this inability is not in the evil nature of the law, which 
is spiritual, ver. 14, but in the power of indwelling sin; "I am 
carnal," says the apostle, "sold under sin," ver. 14. As this 
is not only a strong, but an ambiguous expression, Paul imme 
diately explains his meaning. He does not intend to say that 
lie was given up to the willing service of sin ; but that he was 
in the condition of a slave, whose acts are not always the 
evidence of his inclination. His will may be one way, but his 
master may direct him another. So it is with the believer. He 
does what he hates, and omits to do what he approves, ver. 15. 

ROMANS VII. 14. 357 

This is a description of slavery, and a clear explanation of what 
is intended by the expression "sold under sin." There are two 
obvious inferences to be drawn from this fact. The one is, that 
the believer, while denying the sufficiency of the law, and main 
taining the necessity of deliverance from it, bears an inward 
testimony to its excellence. He feels and admits that the law 
is good, ver. 16; for it is the law which he approves, and the 
transgression of it he hates, as stated in the preceding verse. 
The second inference is, that acts thus performed are not the 
true criterion of character: "Now then, it is no more I that do 
it, but sin that dwelleth in me," ver. IT. The acts of a slave 
are indeed his own acts ; but not being performed with the full 
assent and consent of his soul, they are not fair tests of the real 
state of his feelings. The propriety and truth of this repre 
sentation of the state of the believer, and of the influence of the 
law, is reasserted and confirmed in vs. 18 -0. The law pre 
sents duty clearly: the heart and conscience of the believer 
assent to its excellence; but what can the law do in destroying 
the power of our inward corruptions? These evil principles 
remain, so fur as the law is concerned, in full force. The 
authoritative declaration that a thing must not be done, does 
not destroy the inclination to do it. 

Tin? result, therefore, is, that notwithstanding the assent of 
the mind to the excellence of the law, the power of sin remains, 
so that when we would do good, evil is present with us, ver. 21. 
We delight in the law after the inward man, but this does not 
destroy the power of sin in our members, vs. 22, 2o. This 
inward conflict the law can never end. It only makes us sensi 
ble of our helpless and degraded condition, ver. 24 ; and drives 
us to seek victory, whence alone it can be obtained, i. e. as the 
gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, ver. 25. 


VKKSK 14. For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am 
carnal, sold under sin. The connection between this verse and 
the preceding passage seems to be this : It had been asserted 
in ver. 5, that the law was incidentally the cause of sin. 
This result, however, was no reflection on the law ; for it was 

353 ROMANS VII. 14. 

holy, just, and good, vcr. 12. As the fact that the law excites 
gin is consistent with its being good, so is also the fact that it 
cannot destroy the power of sin. The law indeed is spiritual, 
but we are carnal. The fault is again in us. The ?/; thug 
introduces the confirmation of the whole preceding argument. 
If the connection is with ver. 13, the sense is substantially the 
same: Sin, and not the law, works death; for the law is 
spiritual, but I am carnal. The apostle says, ocoarw r do, 
"for we know/ It is among Christians an acknowledged and 
obvious truth, that the law is spiritual. This is probably the 
reason that in this case he uses the plural tee instead of the 
singular /, which occurs everywhere else in this connection. 
Semler, indeed, and others, to preserve uniformity, proposes to 
read oloa [j.kv fdp, 1 know indeed, instead of we know. But 
then there would be no os corresponding to the {JLZV. The If to 
os is opposed to vo/^oc, and not to lf(t> in oloa. The apostle 
would have said, The law indeed is spiritual, but I am carnal, 
and not, I indeed know, &c. The common division of the 
words is therefore almost universally adopted. 

The law is said to be spiritual, not because it pertains to our 
spirits, reaching, as Bcza says, to the interior man, ("mentem 
et interiorem hominem respicit;") much less because it is rea 
sonable, or in accordance with the T^JUU as the higher faculty 
of our nature; nor because it was given by inspiration of the 
Spirit; but as expressing its nature. It is spiritual in the 
sense of being Divine, or as partaking of the nature of the Holy 
Spirit, its divine Author. This epithet includes, therefore, all 
that was before expressed, by saying that the law is holy, just, 
and good. But I am carnal. The word in the common text is 
aapKLKos. Griesbach, Lachmaun, and Tisehendorf, on the author 
ity of the older manuscripts, and of the Fathers, read o-dptcwos. 
The difference between these words, (when they are distin 
guished,) is, that the former expresses the nature, the Litter the 
sul (stance out of which a thing is made ; so that a-cipicivos means 
made of flesh, fleshy, corpulent. This is agreeable to the analogy 
of words in ivos, \l6ivos, made of stone ; %v\ivo*, made of wood. 
This, however, is not an uniform rule, as avOp^-jrivo^ means hu 
man. In 2 Cor. iii. 3, the word <rdpicLvos is used in its strict sense, 
where, ev rr\a^l KapSla? crapKivais (in tables of the heart made 

ROMANS VII. 14. 359 

of flesh,) it is opposed to iv ~)MZ /r&Wc (tables made of stone.) 
Even if ado /.tisoz, in this case, is the true rending, it must have 
the same sense as the more common word ffufxexoz, which, for 
internal reasons, the majority of commentators prefer. As 
spiritual expresses the nature of the law, so carnal must express 
the nature, and not the material. I am carnal means I am 
under the power of the flesh. And by jlc*It is meant not the 
body, not our sensuous nature merely, but our whole nature as 
fallen and corrupt. It includes all that belongs to men, apart 
from the Holy Spirit. In the language of the Xew Testament, 
the xv&JuaTfxol) spiritual, are those who arc under the control 
of the Spirit of God; and the aair/r/.oi are those who are under 
the control of their own nature. As, however, even in the 
renewed, this control of the Spirit is never perfect, as the flesh 
even in them retains much of its original power, they are 
forced to acknowledge that they too are carnal. There is no 
believer, however advanced in holiness, who cannot adopt the 
language here used by the apostle. In 1 Cor. iii. 3, in 
addressing believers, lie says, "Are ye not carnal?" In the 
imperfection of human language the same word must be taken 
in different senses. Sometimes carnal means entirely or 
exclusively under the control of the flesh. It designates those 
in whom the flesh is the only principle of art ion. At other 
times it has a modified sense, and is applicable to those who, 
although under the dominion of the Spirit, are still polluted 
and influenced by the flesh. It is the same with all similar 
words. When we speak of saints and sinners we do not 
mean that saints, such as they are in this world, are not 
sinners. And thus when the Scriptures classify men as -isZ jtiaTe- 
xoi and frapxrxo ., spiritual and <-ani<il, thev do not mean to 
teach that the spiritual are not carnal. It is, therefore, only 
by giving the words here used their extreme sense, a sense 
inconsistent with the context, that they can be regarded as 
inapplicable to the regenerated. The mystical writers, such as 
Olshauseri, in accordance with the theory which so many of 
them adopt, that man consists of three subjects or substances, 
body, soul, and spirit, (red/to., (ft Jffi arid rri^v/yy/, say that by 
ffdftz, in such connections, we are to understand das gauze 
seelische Leben, the entire psychical life, which only, and not 

360 ROMANS VII. 14. 

the ;rvy/./ft, (the spirit or higher element of our nature,) is 
in man the seat of sin. In angels, on the contrary, the 
xvs^/jLa itself is the seat of sin, and they therefore are incapable 
of redemption. And in man, when sin invades the /rvsu/^a, 
(spirit) then comes the sin against the Holy Ghost, and 
redemption becomes impossible. This is only a refined or 
mystical rationalism, as r.\<z r j[j.a is only another name for 
reason, and the conflict in man is reduced to the struggle 
between sense and reason, and redemption consists in giving 
the higher powers of our nature ascendency over the lower. 
According to the Scriptures, the whole of our fallen nature is 
the seat of sin, and our subjective redemption from its power 
is effected, not by making reason predominant, but by the 
indwelling of the Holy Ghost. The conflicting elements are 
not sense and reason, the anima and animus; but the flesh 
and spirit, the human and divine, what we derive from Adam 
and what we obtain through Christ. " That which is born 
of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." 
John iii. G. 

The sense in which Paul says he was carnal, is explained by 
saying he was sold under sin, i. e. sold so as to be under the 
power of sin. This, of course, is an ambiguous expression. 
To say that a man is sold unto sin may mean, as in 1 Kings 
xxi. 20, and 2 Kings xvii. IT, that he is given up to its service. 
Sin is that which he has deliberately chosen for a master, and 
to which he is devoted. In this sense of the phrase it is 
equivalent to what is said of the unreneAVcd in the preceding 
chapter, that they are the doljXot TY^ 6./jiaf)Ttaz, the slaves of sin. 
From this kind of bondage believers are redeemed, vi. 22. 
But there is another kind of bondage. A man may be 
subject to a power which, of himself, he cannot effectually 
resist; against which he may and does struggle, and from which 
he earnestly desires to be free; but which, notwithstanding all 
his efforts, still asserts its authority. This is precisely the 
bondage t<> sin of which every believer is conscious. He 
feels that there is a law in his members bringing him into 
subjection to the law of sin; that his distrust of God, his hard 
ness of heart, his love of the world and of self, his pride, in 
short his indwelling sin, is a real power from which he longs 

ROMANS VII. 15. 361 

to be free, against which he struggles, but from which ho 
cannot emancipate himself. This is the kind of bondage of 
which the apostle here speaks, as is plain from the following 
verses, as well as from the whole context and from the analogy 
of Scripture. 

VERSE 15. For that ivhich I do, I allow not, &c. This is 
an explanation and confirmation of the preceding declaration. 
4 1 am sold under sin, for that which I do, I allow not, c. 
The word pwaxco rendered I allow, properly signifies, / know, 
and as it is used in different senses in the Scriptures, its mean 
ing in this case is a matter of doubt. Retaining its ordinary 
sense, the word may be used here as in the common phrase, I 
know not what I do, expressive of the absence of a calm and 
deliberate purpose, and of the violence of the impulse under 
which one acts. Inscius et invitus facio, qiuxj facio. Or the 
ineanini: mav be, that what is done, is done thoughtlessly. Non 
cum pleno mentis proposito. Morns. This view is a very com 
mon one, expressed in different forms. u The sinful decision 
occurs not by rational self-determination, and, therefore, not 
with the full consciousness with which we should act." De 
Wctte. To the same effect Meyer, the act occurs without the 
consciousness of its moral character, in a state of bondage of 
the practical reason, as a slave acts without a consciousness of 
the nature or design of what he does. Or, I do not do it 
knowingly, because 1 know it to be right. This comes very 
near the old interpretation according to which, to know means 
to approve. See l ) s. i. 6, "The Lord knoweth the ways of the 
righteous." With regard to moral objects, knowledge is not 
mere cognition. It is the apprehension of the moral quality, 
and involves of necessity approbation or disapprobation. Hence 
the pious are described in Scripture as those who know God," 
or "the knowers of his name." Ps. ix. 10, xxxvi. 10, llosea 
viii. 2. What the apostle, therefore, here says, is, what 1 per 
form, i. e.j what 1 actually carry out into action, (xa.TZp? pat,) 
I approve not, i. e., I do not recognize as right and good. 

For what I would, that do 1 not ; but what I hate, that do I. 
This is a further description of this state of bondage. As tho 
expressions what I ivould, and what I hate, are in antithesis, 
the former must mean what I love or delight in. This use of 

362 ROMANS VII. 15. 

the Greek work ($e/o>) is accommodated to the corresponding 
Hebrew term, and occurs several times in the New Testament. 
Matt, xxvii. 43, "Let him deliver him, if he will have him 
(ec d-eht afaov), i. e. if he delight in him;" Matt. ix. 13, 
xii. 7, Ileb. x. 5, 8, and Ps. xxi. 9, xxxix. 7, in the Septua- 
gint. The word ivill, therefore, does not express so much a 
mere determination of the mind, as a state of the feelings and 
judgment. "What I love and approve, that I omit; what I 
hate and disapprove, that I do. This may not be philosophi 
cal, though it is perfectly correct language. It is the language 
of common life, which, as it proceeds from the common con 
sciousness of men, is often a better indication of what that 
consciousness teaches, than the language of the schools. Philo 
sophers themselves, however, at times speak in the same simple 
language of nature. Epictetus, Enchirid. 1. ii. c. 26, has a 
form of expression almost identical with that of the apostle ; 
6 d.u.apTdva)V o JJLSV fistee, o j TTO^S?, xal o /j.y fistse ~oiCc. The 
language of the apostle, in this passage, expresses a fact of 
consciousness, with which every Christian is familiar. Whether 
the conflict here described is that which, in a greater or less 
degree, exists in every man, between the natural authoritative 
sense of right and wrong, and his corrupt inclinations ; or 
whether it is peculiar to the Christian, must be decided by 
considerations drawn from the whole description, and from the 
connection of this passage with the preceding and succeeding 
portions of the a [jostle s discourse. It is enough to remark 
here, that every Christian can adopt the language of this verse, 
Pride, coldness, slotlifulness, and other feelings which he dis 
approves and hates, are, day by day, reasserting their power 
over him. He struggles against their influence, groans beneath 
their bondage, longs to be filled with meekness, humility, and 
all other fruits of the love of God, but finds he can neither of 
himself, nor by the aid of the law, effect his freedom from what 
lie hates, or the full performance of what lie desires and ap 
proves. Every evening witnesses his penitent confession of his 
degrading bondage, his sense of utter helplessness, and his 
longing desire for aid from above. He is a slave looking and 
longing for liberty. 

Two consequences flow from this representation of the experi- 

ROMANS VII. 16, IT. 63 

ence of the Christian. First, the fault is felt and acknowledged, 
to be his own ; the law is not to be blamed, ver. 16. Second, this 
state of feeling is consistent with his being a Christian, ver. 17. 

VERSE 16. If then I do that which I would -not, I consent 
unto the law that it is good. Paul here asserts that his acting 
contrary to the law was no evidence that he thought the law 
evil; for what he did, he disapproved. But to disapprove and 
condemn what the law forbids, is to assent to the excellence of 
the law. There is a constant feeling of self-disapprobation, 
and a sense of the excellence of the law, in the Christian s 
mind. He is, therefore, never disposed to blame the extent or 
severity of the law, but admits the fault to be in him-elf. / 
consent to, o jn^-^u.^ I speak with, 1 say the same thing which 
the law says, when it pronounces itself good. There is no 
conflict between the law and the believer; it is between the 
law and what the believer himself condemns. 

VERSE 17. 2fotv then it is no more I that do it, lut xin tl>at 
dwelleth in rue. Xow then* j/ui/r os, that is. under these cir 
cumstances, or, this being the case. Or the meaning may bo 
but now, i. e. since I became a Christian. The former ex 
planation is to be preferred on account of the connetion of this 
verse with ver. lo, from which this passage is an inference 
If the ease be so, that I am sold under sin and am its 
unwilling slave; if I do what I disapprove, and lail to accom 
plish what 1 love; it is clear that it is not properly and fully I 
that d<> it, my real self; my better feelings or renovated nature 
is opposed to what the law forbids. Ego quidem in utrooue, 
sed magis ego in eo, <|iiod approbabam, quam in eo ([nod in mo 
improbabam. Augustine, Confess. Lib. viii. ch. o. This is 
not said as an exculpation, but to exhibit the extent and power 
of indwelling sin, which it is bevond our own power, and 
beyond the power of the law, to eradicate or effectually control. 
This feeling of helplessness is not only consistent with a 
sense and acknowledgment of accountability, but is always 
found united with genuine self-condemnation and penitence. 
There are, in general, few stronger indications of ignorance of 
the power and evil of sin, than the confident assertion of our 
ability to resist and subdue it. Paul groaned beneath its 
bondage, as if held in the loathsome embrace of a k> body of 

364 ROMANS VII. 1820. 

death." The apostle s object, therefore, is not to apologize for 
sin, but to show that the experience detailed in ver. 15, is con 
sistent with his being a Christian. If it is true that 1 really 
approve and love the law, and desire to be conformed to it, I 
am no longer the willing slave of sin; to the depth and power 
of the original evil is to be attributed the fact that I am not 
entirely delivered from its influence. This is obviously con 
nected with the main object of the whole passage. For if sin 
remains and exerts its power, notwithstanding our disappro 
bation, and in despite of all our efforts, it is clear that we 
must look for deliverance to something out of ourselves, and 
that the mere preceptive power of the law cannot remove 
the evil. 

VERSES 18, 19, 20. These verses contain an amplification 
and confirmation of the sentiment of the preceding verses. 
They re-assert the existence, and explain the nature of the 
inward struggle of which the apostle had been speaking. I 
am unable to come up to the requirements of the law, not 
because they are unreasonable, but because I am corrupt; 
there is no good in me. I can approve and delight in the 
exhibitions of holiness made by the law, but full conformity to 
its demands is more than I can attain. It is not I, therefore, 
my real and lasting self, but this intrusive tyrant dwelling 
within me, that disobeys the law. This strong and expressive 
language, though susceptible of a literal interpretation, which 
would make it teach not only error but nonsense, is still per 
fectly perspicuous and correct, because accurately descriptive 
of the common feelings of men. Paul frequently employs 
similar modes of expression. When speaking of his apostolic 
labours, he says, "Yet not I. but the grace of God, which was 
with me," 1 Cor. xv. 10. And in Gal. ii. 20, he says, "I live, 
vet not I, but Christ livcth in me." As no one supposes 
that the labours and life here spoken of were not the labours 
and life of the apostle, or that they did not constitute and 
express his moral character ; so no Christian supposes that the 
greatness and power of his sin frees him from its responsibility, 
even when he expresses his helpless misery by saying, with the 
apostle, u It is not I, but sin that dwelleth in me." This 
doctrine of sin as indwelling is irreconcilable with the assurop- 

ROMANS VII. 18. 365 

tion that sin consists exclusively in acts of the will, or even in 
the widest sense of the terms, in voluntary action. An in 
dwelling act is a solecism. Sin, in this, as in so many other 
places of Scripture, is presented as an abiding state of the -, 
mind, a disposition or principle, manifesting itself in acts. It 
is this that gives sin its power. We have measurably power 
over our acts, but over our immanent principles we have no 
direct control. They master us and not we them. Herein 
consists our bondage to sin. And as the power of an in 
dwelling principle is increased by exercise, so the strength of 
sin is increased by every voluntary evil act. No act is iso 
lated. "Nothing," says Olshausen, "is more dangerous than 
the erroneous opinion that an evil act can stand alone, or that 
a man can commit one sin and then stop. All evil is con 
catenated, and every sin increases the power of the indwelling 
corruption in a fearful progression, until, sooner than the 
sinner dreams of, his head swims, und he is plunged into the 

VEUSK IS. For I knnw tlxit in me, lliat i*, in >>/ flwh, 
there dwelleth no good tiling, cVc. The fun refers to the pre- 
cedhi j; clause, sin dwelleth in me," which what follows con 
firms. Sin dwells in me, for in my ilesh there dwelleth no 
good thinjr; literally, good docs nt dwll. Paul is hero 
explaining how it is that there is such a contradiction between 
his better principles and his conduct, as just described. The 
reason is, that in himself, he was entirely depraved, "In me, 
that is, in my ilesh, there dwelleth no good thing." As Paul 
is here speaking of himself, he limits the declaration that there- 
was no good in him. In its full sense, as he was a renewed 
man, this could not be true; lie therefore adds, "in my ilesh." 
Agreeably to the explanation given above, vcr. 14, these words 
evidently mean, in my nature considered apart from Divine 
influence, i. e. in me viewed independently of the effects pro 
duced by the Spirit of God. This is Paul s common use of the 
VQ\\\ flesh. As he ascribes all excellence in man to the Holy 
Spirit, in men, when destitute of that Spirit, there is "no good 
thing." To be "in the ilesh," is to be unrcnewed, and under 
the government of our own depraved nature; to be "in the 
Spirit," is to be under the guidance of the Holy Ghost; 

366 ROMANS VII. 19. 

ch. viii. 8, 9. So too, in Scripture language, a natura. man is 
a depraved man ; and a spiritual man is one that is renewed ; 
1 Cor. ii. 14, 15. It need hardly be remarked that in the 
flesh cannot here mean in the body. Paul does not mean to 
say that in his body there was no good thing, as though the 
body were the seat of sin in man, and that exclusively. He 
frequently uses the phrase ivories of the flesh, in reference to 
sins which have no connection with the body, as envy, pride, 
seditions, heresies, &c., Gal. v. 19, 20. 

For to will is present tuith me, but to perform that which 
is good, I find not. This again is connected by ?ap with what 
precedes. Good does not dwell in me, for though I have the 
wili to do right, I have not the performance. To dshiv 
napdxetral [we, not will as a faculty, but (TO -d-sAsev) as an ao^ 
The purpose or desire is present, i. e. I have it; but the per 
formance of the good 1 find not; ob% edplffxa) is equivalent to 
o ? j -aodxzirai is not present. I have the one but not the other. 
Instead of the common text as given above, Griesbach and 
Lachmann, on the authority of the Alexandrian manuscript, 
read simply o j, omitting efylcr/a), (I find.) The sense is the 
same, for in that case irapaxstrat must be understood. The 
one is present, the other is not (present). The common 
reading is generally preferred, as the omission is easily ac 
counted for. 

VEHSE 19. .For the good that I would, I do not; but the 
evil that I loould not, that I do. A confirmation of what goes 
before. I do not find good present with me, for the good I 
would I do not. This is a repetition, nearly in the same 
words, of what is said in ver. 15. Paul reasserts that he was 
unable to act up to his purposes and desires. For example, he 
doubtless desired to love God with all his heart, and at all 
times, but constantly was his love colder, and less operative 
than the law demands. This verse is, therefore, but an ampli 
fication of the last clause of ver. 18. / would (frsXcj,) means 
either I approve or love, as in ver. 15 ; or, I purpose, as in 
7er. 18. The numerous passages* quoted by commentators in 

* The following are a few examples of this kind selected from the multitude 
collected by Grotius and Wetstein. 
Quid est hoc, Luc M i, quod nos alio tendentes alio trahit, et eo, unde recedere 

ROMANS VII. 20. 307 

illustration of this and the preceding verses, though they may 
serve to throw light upon the language, are expressive of 
feelings very different from those of the apostle. When an 
impenitent man says he is sorry for his sins/ he may express 
the real state of his feelings ; and yet the import of this 
language is very different from what it is in the mouth of a man 
truly contrite. The word sorrow expresses a multitude of very 
different feelings. Thus, also, when wicked men say they 
approve the good while they pursue the wrong, their appro 
bation is something very different from Paul s approbation 
of the law of God. And when Seneca calls the gods to 
witness, that what he wills, he does not will, he too expresses 
something far short of what the language of the apostle con 
veys. This must IK- so, if there is any such thing as experi 
mental or evangelical religion; that is, if there is any dif 
ference between the sorrow for sin and desire of good in 
the mind of a true Christian, and in the unrenewed and 
willing votaries of sin in whom conscience is not entirely 

VKRSK 20. X<>w if I do tltat I ivouhl not, it is no more I 
that do it, lut sin t/tdt dwelleth ui me. The same conclusion 
from the same premises as in vcr. IT. The things which I do, 
when contrary to the characteristic desires and purposes of my 
heart, are to be considered as the acts of a slave. They are 
indeed my own acts, but not being performed with the full and 
joyful purpose of the heart, are not to be regarded as a fair 
criterion of character. 

cupimus, ropcllit? Quid colluotatur cum animo nostro, nee permittit nolns 
quidquam semel vi-llc . Eluctuamus inter varia consilia, nihil libere volumus, 
irihil absolute , niliil semper. Seneca, Ep. 1T>. 

Sed trahit invituai nova vis, aliudque cupido, mens aliud suadet. Video 
meliora probnqao, deteriora sequor. OnV/, Metam. vii. 11). 

Vos testor, onines eoelite.*, hoe quod volo, me nolle. Stt/rrn, Ilippol. v. <if)i. 

Errel yap u auapTuvuv o : i OeAej aij.apTa.vfii>, a\\a KaropOwffai, 5f?A.oi> on, o ulv 9e\fi, 
ov Trrne?, /ecu u a / <)t\fi, Troie?. Arridn s Epict. ii. 20. " Since the sinner does not 
wish to err, but to act conx>ctly, it is plain that what he wills he does not and 
what lie wills not he does." 

MavS aVa), ji JL yy ~v u.k)J& )c*cc, 

Quus: St x^t .TfH!, T-"y luZv &:VKVJ^.O.TUI. Euripides, Medea, v. 1077. 

"I know indeed that what 1 am about to do is evil; 

But passiou ia too strong for my purposes." 


VERSE 21. I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil 
is present with me. This verse has been subjected to a greater 
variety of interpretations than any other in the chapter, or 
perhaps in the whole epistle. The construction in the original 
is doubtful; and besides this difficulty, there is no little uncer 
tainty as to the sense in which the word law is to be here 
taken. The question is, whether Paul means the law of God, 
of which he has been speaking throughout the chapter, or 
whether he uses the word in a new sense, for a rule, course, or 
law of action. Our translators have assumed the latter. If 
the former sense of the word be preferred, the passage may be 
thus interpreted. 4 1 find, therefore, that to me wishing to do 
good, evil (the law as the cause of evil) is present with me. 
See Koppe. This is very unnatural. Or thus, 1 1 find, there 
fore, that to me wishing to act according to the law, i. e. to do 
good, evil is present with me. * Or, as Tholuck explains it, I 
find, therefore, that while I would do the law, (i. e. good), evil is 
present. Then TOV v6tj.ov depends on Tcotetv, (willing to do the 
law) and TO xa/.6v is in apposition with rbv votiov. The law is 
the good which the apostle desired to do. But in the context, 
the phrase r.oiftv TOV wpov does not occur, and the passage as 
thus explained is awkward and unnatural. Besides TO xalov 
would be entirely superfluous as TOU VO/JLOV needs no explana 
tion. The considerations in favour of the second explanation 
of the word law appear to be decisive. 1. The other interpre 
tation does not afford a sense suited to the context, as appears 
from Paul s own explanation of his meaning in the following 
verses. 4 I find, he says, this law, that while wishing to do 
good, I do evil, vcr. 21; that is, I find that while I delight in 
the law of God, after the inward man, there is another law in 
my members which causes me to sin. vs. 22, 23. Here it is 
evident, that the apostle means to explain what he intended by 
saying in ver. 21, that he found or experienced a law which 
caused him to act contrary to his better judgment and desires. 
2. Having used the word law by itself for the Divine law 
throughout the chapter, he, for the first time, in ver. 22, calls 

* Knapp s Prolusio in locum, Rom. vii. 21, in his Scripta Varii Argument!. 
The several interpretations of the passage are given and discussed by that 

ROMANS VII. 22. 369 

it "the law of God," to mark the distinction between the law 
intended in vcr. 21, and that intended in vcr. 22. :). This 
sense of the word is not unusual ; it occurs repeatedly in the 
immediately succeeding verses. 

But admitting that wtwz is taken here in the sense of con- 
trolliiiir principle or inward necessity, the construction of the 
passage is still doubtful. Tw &S/.OISTI itj.oi may depend on 
euoivxto, I fiml in inc. The construction is then regular: I 
find in myself willing to do good the law, that evil is pre 
sent with me. so Meyer; or, as "\\iner ( (k>, 4.) proposes, 
"Invenio hanc legem (normam) volenti niihi honcstum facere, 
ut mihi," c\.c. And l>eza : " Comperio igitur volenti mihi 
facere bonuin hanc legem esse impositum, <[ii<>d mihi malum 
adjaceat." Most commentators, however, assume a trajection 
of the particle or?, placing it liefore the first, instead of the 
second clause of the verse: I find this law, t/i>(f (or. ) tome 
willing to do good, evil is present with me: instead of, "I lind 
this law to me willing to do good, thnt (or/) evil is present. 
The Kn^lish version as>umes this trajection. The sense is the 
same: and if it can he elicited without altering the position of 
the words, no such alteration should he made. Paul s experi 
ence had taught him. that while wishing to do good, he was 
still subject to evil, and from this subjection nothing but the 
grace of God could deliver him. Fins experience is common to 
all believers. "Fideles," savs Calvin, "duni ad bonuin mtun- 
tur, (jiiandam in se tyrannicam legem reperire, ipiia eonini 
medullis et ossibus inlixa est vitiositas legi Dei adversa et 

VKKSH 22. For I delta/it in tin her of fJod after ih<> imrctnl 
man. This is both an explanation and confirmation of what 
precedes. The inward conflict referred to in ver. 21, is here 
stated more fully. Paul had said that although he purposed 
to do good evil was present with him: / // I delight in the 
law of God after the inner man: but I find a law in my mem 
bers bringing me into captivity to the law of sin. / delight in 
the hue, (T jy/jOot/.a: ] <}.<> T(U ^outo. I rr/Vmr with; not however 
with others, to whom the context suggests and allows no refer 
ence, but intus, a pud aninnuti meunt. As we say, to rejoice 
with the whole heart. Compare awutda, 1 am conscious, i. e., I 

370 ROMANS VII. 22, 

know with myself. As the apostle recognised in the new man 
two conflicting principles, he speaks as though there were 
within him two persons, both represented by I. The one is I, 
i. e. my flesh; the other is I, i. e. my inner man. By the inner 
man is to be understood the "new man;" either the renewed 
principle in itself considered, or the soul considered or viewed 
as renewed. That this is the true meaning of the phrase is 
evident: 1. From its origin. It is a term descriptive of excel 
lence. As the soul is better than the body, so the inner man 
is better than the outward man. When the contrast is simply 
between the external and internal, then the inner man means 
the soul ; but when the contrast is, as here, between two con 
flicting principles within the soul, then by the inward man must 
be meant the higher or better principle within us. That this 
higher principle is not any natural faculty, anything belonging 
to us in our unrenewed state, is plain from what is predicated 
of this inner man. Everything is said of it that can be said 
of what is characteristic of the true children of God. 2. This 
interpretation is confirmed by a comparison with those passages 
where the same phrase occurs. In 2 Cor. iv. 10, and Eph 
iii. 16, by "inward man" is meant the soul as renewed. It is 
equivalent to the inner, or divine life, which is daily renewed 
or strengthened by the communications of the Spirit. 3. The 
analogous phrases, "the new man," as opposed to the "old 
man." Horn. vi. G, Eph. iv. 22, Col. iii. 9, and "hidden man of 
the heart," 1 Pet. iii. 14, serve to illustrate and confirm this 
interpretation. As "the new man" is the soul as made new, 
so "the inward man," of which the same things are predicated, 
means the renewed nature, or nature 1 as renewed. 4. The use 
of the terms "inward man," "law of the mind," "the Spirit," 
"the spiritual man," as opposed to "the law in the members," 
"the old man," "the flesh," "the natural man," shows that 
the former all indicate the soul as regenerated, or as the seat 
of the Spirit s influences, and the latter the soul as unrenewed. 
o. The decision of the question as to what is here meant by 
the "inward man," depends on what is elsewhere taught in 
the Scriptures concerning the natural state of man. If men, 
since the fall, are only partially depraved; if sin affects only 
our lower faculties, leaving the reason undisturbed in its 

ROMANS VII. 23. 371 

original purity, then by the "inward man," we must under 
stand our rational, as opposed to our sensuous nature. But 
if the Bible teaches that the whole man is defiled by sin, 
and that the principle of spiritual life is something superna 
tural, then it follows that the conflict here depicted is not that 
between sense and reason, but that between the new and old 
man, the soul as renewed and indwelling sin. Interior igitur 
homo," says Calvin, " non anima simplicitcr dicitur, sed spiri- 
tualis ejus pars, qiue a Deo regenerate est : membrorum yoca- 
biilum residiiaiii alterain purtem significat. 2sam ut anima est 
pars excL-llentior homiuis, corpus inferior; ita spiritus superior 
est carne. Ilac ergo ratione, qiiia Spiritus locum aniline tenet 
in lioiniue, caro autein, id est corrupta et vitiata anima, corpo- 
ris, ille interioris hoinims, h;ec membrorum nomeii obtinet." 
So also Melanctlion says, tk Interior liomo significat homincm, 
quatenus renovatus est Spiritu sancto." And Luther s mar 
ginal note is, " Inwendiger .Menscli lieisst bier der (Jeist aus 
Gnadeii geboren, wclcher in den Ileiligeu strcitet wider den 
uusserlichen, das.- ist, Yernunft, Sinn und alles was Xatur am 
Menschen ist." And this conflict between the llesh and Spirit, 
lie says, in his preface to this epistle, "continues in us so long 
as we live, in some more, and in others less, according as the 
one or the other principle is the stronger. ~\ et the whole man 
is both flesh and Spirit, and contends with himself until lie is 
completely spiritual." 

VKIISK ~ : >. lint I *< < anntlu-r l<t>c in niy /// ////^rx, \c. / see, 
as though looking into his own soul, and observing the princi 
ples there in conflict. B -.-ides kk the inward man," or principle 
of the divine life, there was -[mother law" not merely a//ov, 
another numericallv, but s r//o^, anothei in kind, one that is 
hetero^enous, of a different nature. This e\ il principle is called 
a law, because of its permanency and its controlling power. 
It is not a transient act or mutable purpose, but a law, some 
thing independent of the will which defies and controls it. In 
my mi mtK ) *, i. e. in me. It is equivalent to "in my flesh," 
ver. 18. Warrinrj ayainst the law of mind. It is not only 
passively antagonistic, but it is a constantly active principle, 
warrinir, i. e. endeavouring to overcome and destroy the law 
of nuj mind. ^6/w^ TU~J vooc /w j i i s n t the law of which 

372 ROMANS VII. 23. 

my mind is the author, but which pertains to my higher nature. 
As the one law is in the members, or flesh, the other is the 
mind ; voD^, not the reason, nor the affections, but the higher 
or renewed nature. It is antithetical to ado^, and as the latter 
does not mean the body, nor simply our sensuous nature, but 
our nature considered as corrupt, so the former does not mean 
the soul, nor the reason, but our nature as renewed. " The law 
of the mind" is evidently only another designation for "the 
inward man." It was not the apostle s mind, his rational 
nature, which strove against the law in his members ; but it 
was his mind or rational nature as a Christian, and therefore, 
as such, the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit. It is not the 
reason of the natural man, but the illuminated reason of the 
spiritual man, of which the apostle here speaks. Bringing me 
into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members,. The 
principle of evil is not only active, but it is conquering. It 
takes the soul captive. So that it is, in the sense of ver. 14, 
the slave of sin. Not its willing servant, but its miserable, 
helpless victim. This does not mean that sin always triumphs 
in act, but simply that it is a power from which the soul cannot 
free itself. It remains, and wars, in. spite of all that we can 
do. The law of sin is only a descriptive designation of that 
other law mentioned in the preceding clause. They arc not 
two laws. The law in the members, which was against the law 
of the mind, is a law of sin, i. e. it is sin considered as a law, 
or controlling power. It is the same as " indwelling sin," 
ifj otxoiHja ei> ifwl kimo-ia. In my members, i. e. in me, as what 
is here expressed by in role (osteal JLO J, is before expressed by 
iv k/jtol. It is only a modification of the old anti-Augustinian 
interpretation, when Olshausen represents, according to his 
anthropology, man as composed of three parts, the ^usy/ia, 
f ^y^i and acoii.a, or voD^, ^/^, and ffdttz. The </"J% j he makes 
the real centre of our personality. By the voD^ we are in com 
munion with the spiritual world, by the ad.oz with the material 
world. The ^r/f h therefore, is the battle-field of the vtyj^ and 
0v/^~. By itself the </>i>% j cannot free itself from the dominion 
or power of the ffdnz, and therefore needs redemption, the 
effect of which is to give the higher principle of our nature the 
ascendency. The conflict is, from first to last, a natural one. 

ROMANS VII. 24. 373 

It is only a struggle between the good principle in man which 
has survived the fall, with the disorder introduced into his 
nature by the apostacy. 

VERSE 24. wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death ? The burden of indwelling sin 
was a load which the apostle could neither cast off nor bear. 
He co ild only groan under its pressure, and long for deliver 
ance bv a power greater than his. TaAai~co[)Oz, (nearly allied 
to ra/ji-ziwoz^ from T/.dto and -?/>, much tried,) wretched, 
Rev. iii 17, where it is connected with s/ss^o c, compare James 
v. 1, iv. 9. Who shall deliver me/ this is the expression, not 
of despair, but of earnest desire of help from without and 
above hi .nself. t% Xon q merit," says Calvin, "a quo sit libcr- 
andus, quasi dubitans ut increduli, qui non teiicnt unicum csse 
liberator-Mil : sed vox est anhelantis et prope fatiscentis, quia 
non satis pnescntem opem videat." That from which the 
apostle d. sired to be delivered is the bod// of tlilx death, r/c [*s 
f) j(j (/.: Ix ~o r j (7(t )fM7o^ ~u r j fiavd cou TO JTO J. The demonstra 
tive TQ JWL) may he referre(l either to <Jiotta-u~, tltix body of 
death, or to ^/varov, body of thi* death. It is not unusual, 
especially in Hebrew, for the demonstrative and possessive pro 
nouns t.) be connected with the noun governed, when they 
reallv qualify the iroverning noun; as "idols of his silver," for 
his silver idols; mountains of my holiness," for my holy 
mountains. If this explanation he here adopted, then the 
meaning is, this body which is subject to death, i. e., this mor 
tal body. Then what the apostle longed for was death. He 
longed to have the strife over, which he knew was to last so 
long as he continued in the body. Hut this is inconsistent, 
both with what precedes and with what follows. It was the 
; law in his members," k> the law of sin," which pressed on him 
is a grievous burden. And the victory for which he gives 
thanks is not freedom from the body, but deliverance from siri. 
To avoid these difficulties, death may be taken in the sense of 
spiritual death, and therefore including the idea of sin. This 
body of death." would then mean, this body which is the scat 
of death, in which spiritual death i. e. reigns. It is, however, 
more natural to take the words as they stand, and connect 
TO jTou with Oa^d-u j, this death. Then the body of this death 

374 ROMANS VII. 25. 

may mean the natural or material body, whl^h belongs or per 
tains to the death of which he had been speaking. This agrees 
nearly with the interpretation last mentioned. "This supposes 
that the body is the seat of sin ; who shall deliver me from 
this death which reigns in the body? It is not, however, 
Paul s doctrine that the body is evil, or that it is the scat or 
source of sin. It is the soul which is depraved, and which 
contaminates the body, and perverts it to unholy use. It is, 
therefore, better to take Gcotm (body) in a figurative sense. 
Sin is spoken of figuratively in the context as a man, is "the 
old man," as having members, and, in vi. G, as a body, "the 
body of sin." The meaning, therefore, is, Who wik deliver 
me from the burden of this death? or, this deadly weight. 
Calvin explains it thus : " Corpus mortis vocat massan: peccati 
vel congericm, ex qua totus homo confiatus est." The body 
under which the apostle groaned was mortifcra pccca:i massa. 
This exclamation is evidently from a burdened heart. It is 
spoken out of the writer s own consciousness, and shows that 
although the apostle represents a class, he himself bcbnged to 
that class. It is his own experience as a Christian to which 
he gives utterance. 

VERSE 25. The burden of sin being the great evil under 
which the apostle and all other believers labour, from which no 
efficacy of the law, and no efforts of their own can deliver 
them, their case would be entirely hopeless but for help from 
on high. " Sin shall not have dominion over you," is the lan 
guage of the grace of God in the gospel. The conflict which 
the believer sustains is not to result in the victory of sin, but 
in the triumph of grace. In view of this certain and glorious 
result, Paul exclaims, / thank God through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Thns is evidently the expression of a strong and sudden 
emotion of gratitude. As, however, his object is" to illustrate 
the operation of the law, it would be foreign to his purpose to 
expatiate on a deliverance effected by a different power ; he, 
therefore, does not follow up the idea suggested by this excla 
mation, but immediately returns to the point in hand. Instead 
of the common text ^aoearco rc7j fhw, I thank God, many 
editors prefer the reading ydoc; TW &ew, thanks be to God. 
Some manuscripts have f; %dotz ro r j ttsou. Then this verse 

ROMANS VII. 25. 375 

would be an answer to the preceding. < Who shall deliver me 
from this burden of sin? Ans. The grace of God. For 
this reading, however, there is little authority, external or 
internal. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul does not 
only render thanks to God through the mediation of Christ, 
but the great blessing of deliverance for which he gives thanks, 
is received through the Lord Jesus Christ. lie does for us 
what neither the law nor our own powers could effect. lie is 
the only Redeemer from sin. 

So then, doa OL>V, wherefore. The inference is not from the 
immediately preceding expression of thanks. Jesus Christ is 
my deliverer, u /i<>r< fre I myself, &c. But this is an unnatural 
combination. The main idea of the whole passage, the subject 
winch the apostle laboured to have understood, is the impo 
tence of the law the impossibility of obtaining deliverance 
from sin through its influence or agency. The in Terence is, 
therefore, from the whole preceding discussion, especially from 
what is said fmm ver. 14 onward. The conclusion to which 
the apostle had arrived is here brieily summed up. lie 
remained, and so far as the law Is concerned, must remain 
under the power of sin. With the mind I serve the law of 
God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Deliverance from (lie 
power of sin the law cannot accomplish. / /////*, // . a jro- ly ). 
The a-j-o- here is either antithetical, placing the lyd) in oppo 
sition to some expressed or implied, or it is explanatory. 
If the former, the opposition is to i mi //<7<i : j \<ica~o 7 j I <il,n< 
icithnnt tin aid of <_ hri*t. So Mayer and others. IJut the 
idea thus expressed is not in accordance with the context. 
Paul had not been teaching what his unrenewed, unaided 
nature could accomplish, but what was the operation of the 
law, even on the renewed man. The a jToz is simplv explana 
tory, / niywlf, and no other, i. e. the same ./,}/</ of which he 
had spoken all along. It is very plain, from the use of this 
expression, that the preceding paragraph is an exhibition of 
his own experience. All that is there said, is summarily here 
said emphatically in his own person. I myself. I, Paul, with 
my mind serve the law of G<><1, but with the flesh the law of 
sin. The antithesis is between \>ol and aa<rtl; the one explains 
the other. As is not the body, nor the sensuous nature, 

076 ROMANS VII. 1425. 

but indwelling sin, ver. 18, so vo5c is not the mind as opposed 
to the body, nor reason as opposed to the sensual passions, but 
the higher, renewed principle, as opposed to the law in the 
members, or indwelling corruption. This interpretation is sus 
tained by the use of the word in the preceding verses. Paul 
served the law of God, in so far as he assented to the law that 
it is good, as he delighted in it, and strove to be conformed to 
it. He served the law of sin, that is, sin considered as a law 
or inward power, so far as, in despite of all his efforts, he was 
still under its influence, and was thereby hindered from living 
in that constant fellowship with God, and conformity to his 
will, that he earnestly desired. 

Having gone through the exposition of this passage, it is 
time to pause, and ask, Of whom has Paul been speaking, of a 
renewed or imrenewcd man ? Few questions of this kind have 
been more frequently canvassed, or more intimately associated 
with the doctrinal views of different classes of theologians. 
The history of the interpretation of the latter part of this 
chapter, is one of the most interesting sections of the doctrinal 
history of the Church. A brief outline of this history may be 
found in the Dissertation of Knapp, before referred to, and 
somewhat more extended in the Commentary of Tholuck. It 
appears that during the first three centuries, the Fathers were 
generally agreed in considering the passage as descriptive of 
the experience of one yet under the law. Even Augustine at 
first concurred in the correctness of this view. But as a deeper 
insight into his own heart, and a more thorough investigation 
of the Scriptures, led to the modification of his opinions on so 
many other points, they produced a change on this subject also. 
This general alteration of his doctrinal views cannot be attri 
buted to his controversy with Pelagius, because it took place 
Ion"" before that controversy commenced. It is to be ascribed 
to his religious experience, and his study of the word of God. 

The writers of the middle ages, in general, agreed with the 
later views of Augustine on this, as on other subjects. At the 
time of the Reformation, the original diversity of opinion on 
this point, and on all others connected with it, soon became 
manifested. Erasmus, Socinus, and others, revived the opinion 

ROMANS VII. 1425. 3TT 

of the Greek Fathers; while Luther, Calvin, Mclancthon, 
Beza, &c., adhered to the opposite interpretation. At a later 
period, when the controversy with the Remonstrants occurred, 
it commenced with a discussion of the interpretation of this 
chapter. The first writings of Arminius, in which he broached 
his peculiar opinions, were lectures on this passage. All his 
associates and successors, as Grotius, Episcopius, Limborch, &c., 
adopted the same view of the subject. As a general rule, 
Arminian writers have been found on one side of this question, 
and Calvinistic authors on the other. This is indeed the natural 
result of their different views of the scriptural doctrine of the 
natural state of man. Most of the former class, going much 
farther than Arminius himself ever went either denying that 
the corruption consequent on the fall is such as to destroy the 
power of men to conform themselves to the law ot God, or 
maintaining that this power, if lost, is restored by those opera 
tions of the IIolv Spirit which are common to all found no 
difficult v in considering the expressions, "I consent to" and 
"delight in the law of God after the inward man," as tho 
lanirua^e of a person yet in his natural state. On the other 
hand, those who held the doctrine of total depravity, and of 
the consequent inability of sinners, and who rejected the doc 
trine of "common ^raee," could not reconcile with these 
opinions the strong laiiiMiaire here used bv the apostle. 

Although this has been the general course of opinion on this 
subject, some of the most evangelical men, especially on the 
continent of Europe, have agreed with Erasmus in Ins view 
of this passage. This was the case with Francke, Bengel, &e., 
of a previous age; and with Knapp, Flatt, Tholuck, &e., of our 
own day; not to mention the distinguished writers of England 
and our own country, who have adopted the same 1 view. There 
is nothing, therefore, in this opinion, which implies the denial 
or disregard of any of the fundamental principles of evangelical 
religion. Still, that the view of the passage which so long pre 
vailed in the Church, and which has been generally adopted by 
evangelical men, is the correct one, seems evident from the fol 
lowing considerations. 

I. The onus probandi is certainly on the other side. When 
the apostle uses not only the first person, but the present tense, 

378 ROMANS VII. 1425. 

and says, "I consent to the law that it is good," "I delight in 
the law of God," "I see another law in my members warring 
against the law of my mind," &c., those who deny that he 
means himself, even though he says I myself, or refuse to 
acknowledge that this language expresses his feelings while 
writing, are surely bound to let the contrary very clearly be 
seen. Appearances arc certainly against them. It should be 
remembered that Paul uses this language, not once or twice, 
but uniformly through the whole passage, and that too with an 
ardour of feeling indicative of language coming directly from 
the heart, and expressing its most joyful or painful experience. 
This is a consideration which cannot be argumentatively exhi 
bited, but it must impress every attentive and susceptible 
reader. To suppose that the apostle is personating another, 
either, as Grotius* supposes, the Jew first before the giving of 
the law, and then after it; or as Erasmus thinks, a Gentile 
without the law, as opposed to a Jew under it ; or as is more 
commonly supposed, an ordinary individual under the influence 
of a knowledge of the law, is to suppose him to do what he 
does nowhere else in any of his writings, and what Is entirely 
foreign to his whole spirit and manner. Instead of thus sinking 
himself in another, he can hardly prevent his own individual 
feelings from mingling with, and moulding the very statement 
of objections to his own reasoning: see chap. iii. 3 8. One 
great difficulty in explaining his epistles, arises from this very 
source. It is hard to tell at times what is his language, and 
what that of an objector. If any one will examine the passages 
in which Paul is supposed to mean another, when he uses the 
first person, he will see how far short they come of affording 
any parallel to the case supposed in this chapter. f In many 
of them he undoubtedly means himself, as in 1 Cor. iii. 5, 
iv. 3, &c.; in others the language is, in one sense, expressive 
of the apostle s real sentiments, and is only perverted by the 
objector, as in 1 Cor. vi. 12; while in others the personation 
of another is only for a single sentence. Nothino- analogous to 

v O O 

* /V/o, id est, genus Israeliticum cum vixit ante legem in Aegypto scilicet. 
Sec his comment on ver. 9. 

f The passages referred to by Knapp are 1 Cor. iii. 5, iv. 3, &c.; vi. 12; 
x 29, 30; xiii. 11, 12; xiv. 14, 15; Gal. ii. 1821. 

ROMANS VII. 1425. 379 

tliis passage is to be found in all his writings, if indeed lie is 
not here pouring out the feelings of his own heart. 

II. There is no necessity for denying that Paul here speaks 
of himself, and describes the exereises of a renewed man. 
There is not an expression, from beginning to the end of this 
section, which the holiest man may not and must not adopt. 
This has been shown in the commentary. The strongest 
declarations, as, for example, "I am carnal, and sold under 
sin, 1 admit, indeed, by themselves, of an interpretation incon 
sistent with even ordinary morality; but, as explained by the 
apostle, and limited by the context, they express nothing more 
than every believer experiences. What Christian docs not feel 
that he is carnal? Alas, how different is he from the spirits 
of the just made perfect! How cheerfully does he recognise 
his obligation to love <;.,d with all the heart, and yet how con 
stantly does the tendency to self and the world, the law in his 
members, war against the purer and better law of his mind, and 
bring him into subjection to sin! If, indeed, it were true, as 
has been asserted, that the person here described succumbs to 
sin IN EVERY IXSTAXCE of contest"* the description would be 
inapplicable not to the Christian only, but to any other than 
the most immoral of men. It is rare indeed, even in the 
natural conflict between reason and passion, or conscience and 
corrupt inclination, that the better principle does not succeed, 
not once merely, but often. There is, however in" 


even approaching to the implication of such a sentiment in the 
whole passage. Paul merely asserts that the believer is, and 
ever remains in this life, imperfectly sanctified ; that sin con 
tinues to dwell within him; that he never comes up to the- lull 
requisitions of the law, however anxiously lie may desire it. 
Often as he subdues one spiritual foe. another rises in a differ 
ent form; so that lie cannot do the things that he would; that 
is, cannot be perfectly conformed in heart and life to the image 
of God. 

It must have been in a moment of forgetfulncss, that such a, 
man as Tholuck could quote with approbation the assertion of 
Dr. A. Clarke: "This opinion has most pitifully and shame 
fully, nut only lowered the standard of Christianity, but 

* Professor Stuart, p. 5-58. 

380 ROMANS VII. 1425. 

destroyed Its influence and disgraced its character." What 
lamentable blindness to notorious facts does such language 
evince ! From the days of Job and David to the present hour, 
the holiest men have been the most ready to acknowledge and 
deplore the existence and power of indwelling sin. Without 
appealing to individual illustrations of the truth of this remark, 
look at masses of men, at Augustinians and Pelagians, Calvin- 
ists and Remonstrants : in all ages the strictest doctrines and 
the sternest morals have been found united. It is not those 
who have most exalted human ability, that have most advan 
tageously exhibited the fruits of its power. It has been rather 
those who, with the lowest views of themselves, and the highest 
apprehensions of the efficacy of the grace of God, have been 
able to adopt the language of Paul, " What I would, that do I 
not;" and who, looking away from themselves to him through 
whom thev can do all things, have shown the Divine strength 
manifested in their weakness. 

III. While there is nothing in the sentiments of this passage 
which a true Christian may not adopt, there is much which 
cannot be asserted by any unrenewed man. As far as this 
point is concerned, the decision depends, of course, on the cor 
rect interpretation of the several expressions employed by the 
apostle. 1. What is the true meaning of the phrases "inward 
man" and "law of the mind," when opposed to "the flesh" and 
"the law in the members "? The sense of these expressions is 
to be determined by their use in other passages ; or if they do 
not elsewhere occur, by the meaning attached to those which 
are obviously substituted for them. As from the similarity 
of the passages, it can hardly be questioned, that what Paul 
here calls "the inward man" and "law of the mind," he, in 
Gal. v. 17, and elsewhere, calls "the Spirit;" it is plain that 
lie intends, by these terms, to designate the soul considered as 
renewed, in opposition to the "ilesh," or the soul considered 
as destitute of Divine influence. 2. It is not in accordance 
with the scriptural representation of the wicked, to describe 
them as consenting to the law of God; as hating sin, and 
*tniL r irlinu; against it; groaning under it as a tyrant s yoke; 
us delighting in the law of God, i. e. in holiness: doing all this, 
not as men, but as men viewed in a particular aspect as to the 

ROMANS VII. 1425. 381 

inward or new man. This is not the scriptural representation 
of the natural man, who does not receive the things of the 
Spirit of God, and cannot know them, 1 Cor. ii. 14. On the 
contrary, the carnal mind is enmity against God and his law. 
They therefore who are in the flesh, that is, who have this 
carnal mind, hate and oppose the law, Horn. viii. 7, 8. The 
expressions here used by the apostle, are such as, throughout 
the Scriptures, are used to describe the exercises of the pious, 
"whose delight is in the law of the Lord, Ps. i. 2. o. Not 
only do these particular expressions show that the writer is a 
true Christian, but the whole conflict here described is such 
as is peculiar to the sincere believer. There is, indeed, in 
the natural man. something very analogous to this, when his 
conscience is enlightened, and bis better feelings come into 
collision with the strong inclination to evil which dwells in bis 
mind. But this struggle is very far In-low that which the 
apostle here describes. The true nature of this conflict seems 
to be ascertained beyond dispute, by the parallel passage in 
Gal. v. IT, already referred to. It cannot be denied, that to 
possess the Spirit is, in scriptural language, a characteristic 
mark of a true Christian. - But ye are not in the flesh, but in 
the spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any 
man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Rom. 
viii. ! . Those, therefore, who have that Spirit, are Christians. 
This being the case, it will not be doubted that the passage in 
Galatians, in which the spirit is represented as warring a"-:iin^t 
the flesh, and the fie>h against the spirit, is descriptive of the 
experience of the true believer. Hut the conflict there described 
is identical with that of which the same apostle speaks in this 
chapter. This is evident, not merely from the fact that one 
of the antagonist principles is, in both cases, called flesh, but 
because the description is nearly in the same words. L, conse 
quence of the opposition of the flesh and spirit, Paul tells the 
Galatians they cannot do the things that they would ; and he 
says here of himself, that in consequence of the opposition 
between the flesh and the law of his mind, what he would he 
did not. The same conflict and the same bondage arc described 
m each case; and if the one be descriptive of the exercises of a 
true Christian, the other must be so also. 

382 ROMANS VII. 1425. 

IV. The context, or the connection of this passage with the 
preceding and succeeding chapters, is in favour of the common 
interpretation. The contrary is, indeed, strongly asserted by 
those who take the opposite view of the passage. Tholuck 
seems to admit that, were it not for the context, the whole of 
the latter part of the chapter might well be understood of the 
believer : see his remarks on ver. 14. And Professor Stuart 
says, u I repeat the remark, that the question is not, whether 
what is here said miyht be applied to Christians; but whether, 
from the tenor of the context, it appears to have been the 
intention of the writer that it should be so applied. This prin 
ciple cannot fail to settle the question concerning such an 
application." P. 558. It may be proper to pause and remark, 
that such statements involve a renunciation of the arguments 
derived from the inapplicability to the real Christian, of what 
is here said. Everything is here admitted to be in itself appli 
cable to him, did but the context allow it to be so applied. Yet 
every one is aware that no argument is more frequently and 
strongly urged against the common interpretation, than that 
the description here given is, in its very nature, unsuitable to 
Christian experience. On the same page which contains the 
passage just quoted, Professor Stuart says, "As, however, there 
is no denying the truth of these and the like declarations,* and 
no receding from them, nor explaining them away as meaning 
less than habitual victory over sin; so it follows, that when 
vs. 14 25 are applied to Christian experience, they are 
wrongly applied. The person represented in these verses, 
succumbs to sin IN EVERY INSTANCE of contest." This is cer 
tainly an argument against applying the passage in question to 
the Christian, founded on the assumption that it is, from its 
nature, entirely inapplicable. And the argument is perfectly 
conclusive, if the meaning of the passage be what is here stated. 
But it is believed that this is very far from being its true mean 
ing, as shown above. This argument, however, it appears, is 
not insisted upon ; everything is made to depend upon the 

Many distinguished commentators, as Alfonso Turrettin, 
Knapp, Tholuck, Flatt, and Stuart, consider this chapter, from 

* He who loveth Christ, keepeth his commandments, &c. 

ROMANS VII. 1425. 383 

ver. T to the end, as a commentary upon vcr. 5, in which verse 
the state of those who are in "the flesh" is spoken of; and the 
first part of the next chapter as a commentary on ver. (J, which 
speaks of those who are no longer under the law. Accord 
ingly, vs. 7 -5 are descriptive of the exercises of a man yet 
under the law; and viii. 1 IT, of those of a man under the 
gospel, or of a believer. It is said that the two passages are in 
direct antithesis; the one describes the state of a captive to 
sin, vii. 2o, and the other the state of one who is delivered 
from sin, viii. 2. This is certainly ingenious and plausible, but 
is founded on a twofold misapprehension; first, as to the nature 
of this captivity to sin, or the real meaning of the former 
passage, vii. 14 - "> ; and, secondly, as to the correct inter 
pretation of the latter passage, or viii. 4 IT. If vii. 14 -5 
reallv describes such a captivity as these authors suppose, in 
which the individual spoken of "succumbs to sin in every 
instance, " there i>, of course, an end of this question, and that 
too without any appeal to the context for support. I>ut, on the 
other hand, if it describes no sueh state , but, as Tholuck and 
Professor Stuart admit, contains nothing which mi/jJtt not be 
said of the Christian, the whole; force of the argument is gone; 
verses T 2~> are no longer necessarily a comment on ver. ->, 
nor viii. 1 IT on ver. (J. The antithesis of course ceases, if 
the interpretation, to which it owes its existence , be abandoned. 
The matter, after all, therefore 1 , is made to depend on the 1 cor 
rect exposition of the passage (vs. 14 -~>) itself. A particular 
interpretation cannot first be assumed, in order to make out the 
antithesis; and then the 1 antithesis be assumed, to justify the 
interpretation. This would be reasoning in a circle. In the 
second place, this view of the context is founded, as is believed, 
on an erroneous exegesis of viii. 1 IT. The first part o( tnat 
chapter is not so intimately connected with the latter part of 
this; nor is it designed to .-how that the Christian is delivered 
from "the hvw of sin and death in Jits ruonlnTx. For the 
grounds of this statement, the reader is referred to the com 
mentary on the passage in question. Even if the reverse were 
the fact, still, unless it can be previously shown that vs. 14 25 
of this chapter describe the state of a man under the law, there 
is no ground for the assumption of such an antithesis between 

384 ROMANS VII. 1425. 

the two passages as is supposed in the view of the context 
stated above. Both passages might describe the same indivi 
dual under different aspects ; the one exhibiting the operation 
of the law, and the other that of the gospel on the renewed 
mind. But if the exposition given below of viii. 1 IT, is 
correct, there is not a shadow of foundation for the argument 
derived from the context against the common interpretation 
of vii. 1425. 

The wdiole tenor of the apostle s argument, from the begin 
ning of the epistle to the close of this chapter, is not only con 
sistent with the common interpretation, but seems absolutely to 
demand it. His great object in the first eight chapters, is to 
show that the whole work of the sinner s salvation, his justifica 
tion and sanctification, are not of the law, but of grace; that 
legal obedience can never secure the one, nor legal efforts the 
other. Accordingly, in the first five chapters, he shows that 
we are justified by faith, without the works of the law: in the 
sixth, that this doctrine of gratuitous justification, instead of 
leading to licentiousness, presents the only certain and effectual 
means of sanctification. In the beginning of the seventh 
chapter, he shows that the believer is really thus free from the 
law, and is now under grace ; and that while under the law he 
brought forth fruit unto sin, but being under grace, he now 
brings forth fruit unto God. The question here arises, Why is 
the holy, just, and good law thus impotent? Is it because it is 
evil ? Far from it ; the reason lies in our own corruption. 
Then, to show how this is, arid why the objective and authorita 
tive exhibition of truth cannot sanctify, the apostle proceeds to 
show how it actually operates on the depraved mind. In the 
first place, it enlightens conscience, and, in the second, it 
rouses the opposition of the corrupt heart. These are the two 
elements of conviction of sin ; a knowledge of its nature, and a 
sense of its power over ourselves. Hence the feeling of self- 
condemnation, of helplessness and misery. Thus the law slays. 
This is one portion of its effect, but not the w r hole ; for, even 
after the heart is renewed, as it is but imperfectly sanctified, 
the law is still unable to promote holiness. The reason here 
again is not that the law is evil, but that we are carnal, ver. 14. 
Indwelling sin, as the apostle calls it, is the cause why the law 

ROMANS VII. 1425. 385 

cannot effect the sanctification even of the believer. It pre 
sents, indeed, the form of beauty, and the soul delights in it 
after the inward man; but the corrupt affections, which turn 
to self and the world, are still there : these the law cannot 
destroy. But though the law cannot do this, it shall eventually 
be done. Thanks to God, through Jesus Christ, our case is not 
hopeless ! 

The apostle s object would have been but half attained, had 
he not thus exhibited the effect of the law upon the believer s 
mind, and demonstrated that a sense of legal bondage was not 
necessary to the Christian, arid could not secure his sanctifica 
tion. Having done this, his object is accomplished. The eighth 
chapter, therefore, is not so intimately connected with the 
seventh. It does not commence with an inference from the 
discussion in vs. 7 -5, but from the whole preceding exhibi 
tion. k> There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them that 
are in Christ Jesus." Why . Because they are sanctified? No; 
but because they are not under the law. This is the main 
point, from first to last. They are delivered from that law, 
which, however good in itself, can onlv produce sin and death, 
ver. 1. In view of this insufficiency of the law, God, having 
sent his Son as a, sacrifice for sin. lias delivered them from it, 
by condemning sin in him, and has thus secured the justification 
of believers. Through him they sati>fy the demands of the law, 
and their salvation is rendered certain. This, however, implies 
that they do not live after the fle>h, but after the Spirit, agree 
ably to the doctrine of the sixth chapter; for salvation in sin is 
a contradiction in terms. 

There is. therefore, no such antithesis between the seventh 
and eighth chapters, as the opposite interpretation supposes. 
It is not the design of the latter to show that men are delivered 
from indwelling sin; or that the conflict between the "law in 
the members" and u the law of the mind," between the flesh 
and Spirit, ceases when men embrace the gospel. Hut it shows 
that this consummation is secured to all who are in Christ, lo 
all who do riot deliberately and of choice walk after the flesh, 
and make it their guide and master. In virtue of deliverance 
from the law, and introduction into a state of grace, the believer 
has not only his acceptance with God, but his final deliverance 

386 ROMANS VII. 1425. 

from sin secured. Sin shall not triumph in those who have th 
Spirit of Christ, and who, by that Spirit, mortify the deeds of 
the body. 

If, then, the context is altogether favourable to the ordinary 
interpretation; if the passage is accurately descriptive of 
Christian experience, and analogous to other inspired accounts 
of the exercises of the renewed heart ; if not merely particular 
expressions, but the whole tenor of the discourse, is inconsistent 
with the scriptural account of the natural man; and if Paul, in 
the use of the first person and the present tense, cannot, with 
out violence, be considered otherwise than as expressing his 
own feelings while writing, we have abundant reason to rest 
satisfied with the obvious sense of the passage. 


1. No man is perfectly sanctified in this life. At least, Paul 
was not, according to his own confession, when he wrote this 
passage., vs. 14 2o. 

2. The law is spiritual, that is, perfect, deriving its character 
from its author, the Spirit of God. It is, therefore, the unerr 
ing standard of duty, and the source of moral light or know 
ledge. It should, therefore, be everywhere known and studied, 
and faithfully applied as the rule of judgment for our own 
conduct, and that of others. Evangelical doctrines, therefore, 
which teach the necessity of freedom from the law as a cove 
nant of works, i. e. as prescribing the terms of our justification 
before God, derogate neither from its excellence nor its author 
ity. It is left to do its proper work in the economy of redemp 
tion ; to convince of sin, and be a guide to duty, vcr. 14, &c. 

3. The mere presentation of truth, apart from the influ 
ences of the Spirit, can neither renew nor sanctify the heart, 
ver. 14, &c. 

4. Inability is consistent with responsibility. " To perform 
that which is good I find not," that is, I cannot, ver. 18; Gal. 
v. IT. As the Scriptures constantly recognise the truth of 
these two things, so are they constantly united in Christian 
experience. Every one feels that he cannot do the things that 
he would, yet is sensible that he is to blame for not doing them. 

ROMANS VII. 1425. 387 

Let any man test his power by the requisition to love God per 
fectly at all times. Alas ! how entire our inability ; yet how 
deep our self-loathing and self-condemnation ! 

5. The emotions arid affections do not obey a determination 
of the will, vs. 10, 18, 10, 21. A change of purpose, therefore, 
is not a change of heart. 

6. The Christian s victory over sin cannot be achieved by 
the strength of his resolutions, nor by the plainness and force 
of moral motives, nor by any resources within himself. lie 
looks to Jesus Christ, and conquers in his strength. In other 
words, the victory is not obtained in the way of nature, but of 
grace, vs. 14 25. 


1. As the believer s life is a constant conflict, those who do 
not struggle against sin, arid endeavour to subdue it, are riot 
true Christians, vs. 14 25. 

2. The person here described hates sin, ver. 15; acknow 
ledges and delights in the spirituality of the divine law, 
vs. 1<>, 22; he considers his corruption a dreadful burden, from 
which he earnestly desires to be delivered, ver. 24. These are 
exercises of genuine piety, and should be applied as tests of 

3. It is an evidence of an unrcnewed heart to express or feel 
opposition to the law of (Jod. as though it were too strict; or 
to be disposed to throw oft the blame of our want of conformity 
to the divine will from ourselves upon the law. as unreasonable. 
The renewed man condemns himself, and justifies (Jod, even 
while he confesses and mourns his inability to conform to the 
divine requisitions, vs. 14 25. 

4. The strength and extent of the corruption of our nature 
are seen from its influence over the best of men, and from its 
retaining more or less of its power, under all circumstances, to 
the end of life, ver. 25. 

5. This corruption, although its power is acknowledged, "so 
far from being regarded as an excuse or palliation for our indi 
vidual offences, is recognised as the greatest aggravation of our 
guilt. To say, with the feelings of the apostle, "I am carnal," 

388 ROMANS VIII. 139. 

is to utter the strongest language of self-condemnation and self- 
abhorrence, vs. 14 25. 

6. Although the believer is never perfectly sanctified in this 
life, his aim and efforts are ever onward ; and the experience 
of the power of indwelling sin teaches him the value of heaven, 
and prepares him for the enjoyment of it, vs. 14 25. 



PAUL had now finished his exhibition of the plan of salvation. 
He had shown that we are justified gratuitously, that is, by 
faith in Jesus Christ, without the works of the law. He had 
proved that, so far from this freedom from the law leading to 
the indulgence of sin, it is necessary to our sanctifieation, 
because the law is as inadequate to the production of holiness 
in the sinner, as it is to secure pardon or acceptance with God. 
That such is the insufficiency of the law, he proved by exhibit 
ing its operation both on the renewed and unrenewed mind. 
Having accomplished all this, he leaves, in the chapter before 
us, the field of logical argument, and enters on the new and 
more elevated sphere of joyous exultation. As, however, 
there is always warmth of feeling in the apostle s argument, 
so also is there generally logical arrangement in his highest 

His theme here is the security of believers. The salvation 
of those who have renounced the law, and accepted the gracious 
offers of the gospel, is shown to be absolutely certain. The 
whole chapter is a series of arguments, most beautifully 
arranged, in support of this one point. They are all traced 
back to the great source of hope and security, the unmerited 
and unchanging love of God in Christ Jesus. The proposition 
is contained in the first verse. There is no condemnation to 
those who are in Christ Jesus : they shall never be condemned 
or perish. 

ROMANS VIII. 111. 389 

1. Because they are delivered from the law ; all its demands 
being fulfilled in them by the mission and sacrifice of Christ, 
vs. 1 4. 2. Because their salvation is actually begun in the 
regeneration and sanctification of their hearts by the Holy 
Spirit. Those who have the Spirit of Christ have the Spirit 
of life, vs. 5 11. 3. Not only is their salvation begun, but 
they are the children of God, and if children, they are heirs, 
vs. 12 17. 4. The afflictions which they may be called to 
endure, are not inconsistent with this filial relation to God, 
because they are utterly insignificant in comparison with the 
glory that shall be revealed in them ; and under these afflictions 
they are sustained both by hope and the intercessions of the 
Holy Spirit, vs. 18 28. o. Because they are predestinated 
to the attainment of eternal life; of which predestination their 
present sanctification or effectual calling is the result, and 
therefore the evidence, vs. 28 30. G. Because God has given 
his Son to die for them, and thereby to secure their justifica 
tion and salvation, vs. 31 34. 7. Because the love of God is 
infinite and unchangeable; from which nothing can separate 
us, vs. 3-5 30. Thus from the proximate cause of salvation, 
or the indwelling of the Spirit, does the apostle rise with ever- 
increasing confidence, to the great source and fountain of all, 
in the love of God.* 

Although, according to this view of the chapter, it is one 
whole, it may, for the sake of convenience, be divided into 
three sections. 



Tins section contains the development of the first two of the 
apostle s arguments in favour of the position, that those who 
are in Christ Jesus shall never be condemned. The immediate 
reason is assigned in the second verse they are delivered from 
the law. For, in view of the insufficiency of the law, God sent 

* The same general view of the design of this chapter, and of the course of 
the apostle s argument, is given in the analysis of this epistle, by Stephen 
de Brais. 

390 ROMANS VIII. 1. 

forth his Son as a sacrifice for sin, vcr. 3 ; and thus secured 
the justification of all believers, vcr. 4. Being thus delivered 
from the law, they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, 
and this possession of the Spirit is incipient salvation: because 
the carnal mind, which, of course, all who are in the flesh pos 
sess, is death ; whereas a mind under the government of the 
Spirit is life and peace. Such is the very nature of the case. 
Holiness is salvation, vs. 5 7. The reason that death is the 
necessary consequence of being carnally minded, is the essen 
tial opposition between such a state of mind and God. Hence, 
those who have this state of mind are the objects of the Divine 
displeasure, vs. 7, 8. As, however, believers are not under the 
government of the flesh, but of the Spirit, their salvation is 
secured, even to the resurrection of the body. For if the Spirit 
of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in them, he 
shall also quicken their mortal bodies, vs. 9 11. 


VERSE 1. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them 
which are in Christ Jesus. It is a matter of considerable 
importance to the understanding of this chapter, to decide what 
is its precise relation to the preceding part of the epistle. The 
word therefore indicates that what follows is an inference ; but 
from what ? From the conclusion of the seventh chapter, or 
from the Avhole previous discussion ? The latter seems to be 
the only correct view of the context ; because the fact that 
there is no condemnation to believers, is no fair inference from 
what is said at the close of the preceding chapter. Paul does 
not mean to say, as Luther and others explain vcr. 1, that 
there is nothing worthy of condemnation in the Christian, 
because with his mind he serves the law of God. Nor does he 
mean, at least in the first few verses, to argue that believers 
shall not be condemned, because they are freed from the 
dominion of sin. But the inference, in the first verse, is the 
legitimate conclusion of all that Paul had previously estab 
lished. Believers shall be saved, because they are not under 
the law, but under grace, which is the main point in all that 
Paul has yet said. There is, therefore, now, i. e. under these 

ROMANS VIII. 1. 391 

circumstances, viz. the circumstances set forth in the previous 
part of the epistle. The decision of the question as to the con 
nection depends on the view taken of the apostle s argument. 
If he argues that believers are not liable to condemnation, 
because with the mind they serve the law of God, then the con 
nection is with what immediately precedes. But if his argu 
ment is, that those in Christ are not exposed to condemnation, 
notwithstanding their imperfect sanctification, because Christ 
has died as a sacrifice for their sins, then the connection is 
with the main argument of the epistle. Since men, being sin 
ners, cannot be justified by works ; since by the obedience of 
one man, Jesus Christ, the many are made righteous; and since 
through him, and not through the law. deliverance from the 
subjective power of sin is effected, therefore it follows that 
there is no condemnation to those who are in him. 

There is no condemnation, o josi^ xardxotu.fs.j does not mean 
niliil dcimnatione dignum (nothing worth v <>f condemnation,) as 
Erasmus and many others render it, but there /.s no condemna 
tion. Those who are in Christ are not exposed to condemnation. 
And this a^ain is not to be understood as descriptive of their 

<- 1 

present state merely, but of their permanent position. They 
are placed beyond the reach of condemnation. They shall 
never be condemned. The meaning of a proposition is often 
best understood by the arguments by which it is sustained. It 
is so in this case. The whole chapter is a proof of the safety 
of believers, of their security not only from present condemna 
tion, but from future perdition. Nothing shall ever separate 
them from the love of God, is the triumphant conclusion to 
which the apostle arrives. Those to whom there is and never 
can be any condemnation, are described, first as to their rela 
tion to Christ, and secondly as to their character. The first 
assigns the reason of their security, the second enables us to 
determine to whom that security belongs. First, they are in 
Christ. In what sense? This must be determined, not so much 
from the force of the words, as from the teachings of Scripture. 
1. They arc in him federally, as all men were in Adam, 1 Cor. 
xv. 22, Rom. v. 12 21. 2. They are in him vitally, as the 
branch is in the vine, John xv. 1 T; or, as the head and mem 
bers of the body are in vital union, 1 Cor. xii. 27, Eph. i. 23. 

392 ROMANS VIII. 2. 

This union arises from the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 
xii. 13, vi. 15, 19. 3. They are in him by faith, Eph. iii. 17, 
Gal. iii. 26, 27. It is not in virtue of any one of these bonds 
of union exclusively, but in virtue of them all (so far as adults 
are concerned,) that there is no condemnation to those who are 
in Christ Jesus. It follows from the nature of this union, that 
it must transform the character of those who are its subjects. 
If, therefore, any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature, 
2 Cor. v. 17, John xv. 4, Phil. iii. 19, Col. ii. 6, 1 John ii. 5, 
iii. G. As the union includes the bodies of believers, as well as 
their souls, 1 Cor. vi. 15 19, so this transforming power will 
ultimately extend to the former as well as to the latter, Rom. 
viii. 10, 11. In this verse, (according to the common text,) the 
transforming power of this union with Christ is expressed by 
saying, that those who are in him, walk not after the flesh, but 
after the Spirit. To walk means to regulate the inward and 
outward life. It includes, therefore, the determination of the 
judgments, the feelings, the purposes, as well as the external 
conduct. The controlling principle in believers is not the flesh, 
i. e. the corrupt nature, but the Holy Spirit who dwells in 
them, as the source of knowledge, of holiness, of strength, of 
peace and love. They are not aacr/c/oi governed by the #/><-, 
but -vs j/jLaT xo! governed by the Spirit. The only evidence 
therefore to ourselves, or to others, of our being in Christ, is 
this subjection of the whole life to the control of his Spirit, so 
that we discern and believe the truth, 1 Cor. ii. 14 16, and 
are governed by it. When the word ~^z r J[J.a is not only without 
the article, and opposed to odpz, it may be understood of the 
Spirit as the principle of life in the believer, and in that view 
be equivalent to the new man, or the renewed principle. This 
is the view adopted by many as the meaning of the word in this 
passage. This clause, however, is of doubtful authority. It 
occurs in ver. 4, and may by a transcriber have been trans 
ferred to this place. The whole clause is omitted in the major 
ity of the uncial MSS., and by the great body of modern critics. 
The Litter clause only is omitted in the MSS. A. D. in the Vul 
gate, and by Chrysostom, which reading is adopted by Bengel. 
VERSE 2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, &c. 
This verse assigns the reason why there is no condemnation to 

ROMANS VIII. 2. 393 

those who arc in Christ, as is evident from the use of for, with 
which the verse commences. 

The law of the Spirit is here opposed to the law of sin and 
death, mentioned in the other clause of the verse. The inter 
pretation of the one phrase, therefore, must decide that of the 
other. There are three different views which may be taken 
of the verse. 1. The word law may be used here as it is in 
vs. 21, 23, of chap, vii., for a directing poiver ; and Spirit, by 
metonymy, for that which the Spirit produces, i. c. sanctified 
affections; and the words of life may mean, producing life. 
The sense would then be, The power of the renewed principle 
which tends to life, has delivered me from the power of sin 
which tends to death. In other words, The law of the mind 
has delivered me from the law of sin which is in the members. 
So Beza and many others. 2. The word law is taken in nearly 
the same sense ; but Spirit of life is understood to mean the 
Holy Spirit, considered as the author of life. The sense then 
is, The power of the life-giving Spirit has delivered me from 
the dominion of the law of sin and death in mv members. So 
Calvin, and others: " Legem. Spiritus improprie vocat Dei 
Spiritum, qui animas nostras Christi sanguine aspergit, non 
tantum ut a peccati labe emundet quoad reatum; sed in vennn 
puritatem sanctificet." The objection to this interpretation, 
that it seems to refer our freedom from condemnation to our 
regeneration, he proposes to meet by saying that Paul does not 
state the cause, but the method of our deliverance from guilt: 
"Negat Paulus externa legis doctrina id nos consequi, sed dum 
Spiritu Dei renovamur, simul etiam justificari gratuita venia, no 
peccati maledictio in nos amplius recumbat. Perindc ergo valet 
hacc sentia acsi dixisset Paulus, regenerationis gratiam ab 
imputatione justitirc nunquam disjungi." 3. According to the 
third view, the law of the Spirit of life is the gospel, i. e. the 
law of which the life-giving Spirit is the author. Of course, 
the other member of the verse, instead of describing the corrupt 
principle in men, means the law of God, which, as Paul had 
taught in chap, vii., is incidentally the cause of sin and death. 
The sense of the passage then is, The gospel has delivered me 
from the law. So Witsius, &c. 

This last seems decidedly to be preferred, for the following 

394 ROMANS VIII. 2. 

reasons : 1. Although the two former interpretations are con 
sistent with Paul s use of the word law, neither of them so well 
suits the context, because neither assigns the reason why 
believers are not exposed to condemnation. Paul asserts that 
those who are in Christ are restored to the divine favour. 
Why? Because they are sanctified? No; but because they 
have been freed from the law and its demands, and introduced 
into a state of grace. 2. It is not true that believers are deli 
vered from the law of sin in their members. If the terms law 
of the Spirit, and law of sin, are to be understood of the good 
and evil principle in the Christian, how can it be said that by 
the former he is, in this life, delivered from the latter? This 
would be in direct contradiction to chap. vii. and to experience. 
3. The terms here used may naturally be so understood, because 
the word law, in its general sense, as rule, is applicable and is 
applied to the gospel, Horn. iii. 27, especially when standing 
in antithesis to the law of works. The gospel is called the law 
of the Spirit, because he is its author: see the phrase "minis 
tration of the Spirit," 2 Cor. iii. 8. In the other member of 
the verse the law is called the law of sin and death, because 
productive of sin and death. This is no more than what Paul 
had said expressly of the law in the preceding chapter, vs. 5, 
13, &c. Arid in 2 Cor. iii. G, the law is said to kill : it is called 
the dtfJLXowa TO~J d-a^d-rou, (the ministration of death,) and the 
deaxowa r^c xaTaxplffscoz, (ministration of condemnation.) There 
the same contrast between the dcaxovia ro r j fravdrou and the 
otazoi la To r j Ttusv/jiaTOZ is presented, as here between the I*O/JLOZ 
ro r j frai<d-oi> and the i O/w- TOIJ x^eu/mToz. 4. This interpreta 
tion alone assigns an adequate ground for the declaration of the 
preceding verse. That declaration, the result of all that Paul 
had yet proved, is that believers, and believers only, are per 
fectly safe; and the reason assigned is the sum of all the argu 
ment from the commencement of the epistle. They are not 
under the law, but under grace ; the law of the Spirit has freed 
them from the old law of works. 5. The next verse favours, 
if it does not absolutely demand, this interpretation. It gives 
the reason why believers are thus freed from the law, viz. it 
was insufficient for their salvation, " it was weak through the 
flesh." 0. The use of the aorist /jfeu&epcoas, which shows that 

ROMANS VIII. 3. 395 

the freedom spoken of is an accomplished fact, confirms this 
interpretation. Deliverance from the law of sin in the members 
is a gradual process; deliverance from the law is effected once 
for all ; and with regard to the believer, it is a fact accom 

The words kv Xowrw, in Christ, may be connected with the 
immediately preceding words T?^ !> ^C, the life which is in 
Christ; or with u 6tiu~ x.r./., the law of the Spirit which is in 
Christ. As, however, the connecting article (r/^ or o,) which 
is necessary at least definitely to indicate either of those con 
structions, is wanting, the words in (question are generally con 
nected with the following verb, //c^V^/werc, in Cltrist //W(/ me; 
that is, it was in him, and therefore through him, that this 
deliverance was effected. The meaning of this verse, therefore, 
in connection with the preceding, is, k There is no condemnation 
to those who are in Christ, because they have been freed in 
him by the gospel of the life-giving Spirit, from that law which, 
although good in itself, is, through our corruption, the source 
of sin and death. J>eing thus free from the curse of the law, 
and from the obligation to fulfil its demands, as the condition 
of life, and consequently freed from a legal spirit, their 
sins are gratuitously pardoned for Christ s sake; thev are 
made partakers of the Spirit of God, are transformed more and 
more into his image, and God is pledged to preserve them unto 
eternal life. 

VERSK :}. This verse is connected with the preceding l>v the 
particle ]-<>.<>, fur. We are delivered from the law, for the law 
could not effect our salvation. The words TO iw j^</-ov Tu r ) 
lofwj maybe rendered either, the i//i}>ot< >tc// ,,f the bur, or what 
2S impossible t<> the law. The choice between these renderings 
depends on the grammatical structure of the passage. First, 
TO aow/roi/ may be taken as the accusative, arid the preposition 
di<\ be supplied, on account of the imjtnteney of lite hue; or, 
secondly, it may be taken as the accusative absolute, as to the 
impotency of the law, i. e. in view of its impotency; or, thirdly, 
it may be taken as the nominative, and in apposition with the 
following clause. The sense would then be, w The impossibility 
of the law God condemned sin ; i. e. the condemnation of sin 
is what is impossible to the law. This is the view commonly 

396 ROMANS VIII. 3. 

adopted, especially by those who understand the apostle to be 
speaking of sanctification, and who therefore take condemned 
sin to mean destroyed sin. As, however, that clause does not 
mean to destroy sin, but judicially to condemn it, the first 
clause cannot strictly be in apposition with it. The law could 
condemn sin. What it cannot do is to free us either from its 
guilt or power. It can neither justify nor sanctify. On this 
account, the second exposition of the first clause of the verse 
just mentioned, is to be preferred: In view of the impotcncy 
of the law, God sent his Son, &c. This insufficiency of the 
law, as the apostle had taught in the preceding chapters, is not 
due to any imperfection of the law itself. It is holy, just, and 
good. It requires nothing more than is right. If men could 
comply with its righteous demands, the law would pronounce 
them just. If they wore free from the infection of sin, "the 
form of truth and knowledge in the law," the perfect exhibition 
which it makes of the will of God, would avail to maintain and 
advance them in holiness. But as they are already under sin, 
under its guilt and power, the law is entirely impotent to their 
justification or sanctification. The apostle therefore says, that 
the law is impotent, Iv w, became that (see Heb. ii. 18) it is 
weak through the flesh, ota rc, i. e. through our cor 
ruption. It is our being depraved that renders the law weak, 
or impotent to s.avc God sending (or having sent 77=7^ ^) 
his own /Vow, rov ko.oTo 7 } vfov. The term Son here evidently 
designates the eternal personal Son. He was from eternity, 
and in virtue of his Divine nature, and not in virtue either of 
his miraculous birth, or his exaltation, the Son of God. The 
greatness of the work to be accomplished, and the greatness of 
the love of God impelling him to our redemption, are strongly 
exhibited in these words. It was not a creature, even the most 
exalted, whom God sent on this mission, but his own Son, one 
with him in essence and glory. 

Two things are further stated concerning this mission of the 
Son of God. First, the form under which he appeared in the 
world; and, secondly, the object for which he was sent. As to 
the form in which he appeared, it was in the likeness of sinful 
flexh. It was not simply lv ffanxl (in the flesh,} clothed in our 
nature ; for that might have been said, had he appeared in the 

ROMANS VIII. 3. 397 

glorious, impassive nature of Adam before the fall. Much less 
was it in iv aarjxt h-tm^ a- (in sinful flesh,} for that would 
imply that his human nature was denied, contrary to II eb. 
iv. 15, and to all Scripture; but it was iv btw>co(m-c aaozbz 
huapriaz, (in the likeness of sinful flesJt.) that is. in a nature 
like to our sinful nature, but not itself sinful. Christ took our 
physically dilapidated nature, subject to the infirmities which 
sin had brought into it. lie was therefore susceptible of pain, 
and weariness, and sorrow. lie could be touched with a sense 
of our infirmities. lie was tempted in all points as we arc. lie 
is therefore a merciful and trustworthy High Priest. The 
object for which God sent his Son, clothed in this feeble, suffer 
ing nature of ours, is expressed by xu: -?<>> fin(i.n-[(i.~* (<m<! for 
sin.) This may mean cither on account <f ,v/>?, whether for its 
expiation or its removal, being undetermined; or it ni;iv bo 
understood in a sacrificial sense. Christ was sent for the expia 
tion of sin, or as a sacrifice for sin. 1. In favour of tin s is the 
usus loquendi, as 77=^; d.tiapria^ is so often used in this sense: 
see Num. viii. 8, Ps. x l. 7, (in the LXX. 30(5.) Lev. vi. :2f>, 3D, 
Ileb. x. <!, 8, 18, xiii. 11. Thus also in Gal. i. 4, Christ is said 
to have given himself ~in\ rW//*r. <vji/ ^tuny, for, i. e. as a sacri 
fice for, our *z ??,<?. 2. The analogy of Scripture, as it is so 
abundantly taught in the word of God, is that Christ was sent to 
make expiation for sin, to wash away sin, to offer himself unto 
God as ;i sacrifice for sin. When, therefore, it is said that he 
was sent for sin, or gave himself for our sins, the implication is 
almost unavoidable that the meaning is, he was sent as a sacri 
fice for sin. 3. The immediate context demands this interpre 
tation ; for the effect ascribed to this sending Christ for sin, is 
that which is due to a sacrifice or expiation. What the law 
could not do, was to reconcile us unto God. It was in view of 
the impotency of the law to effect the salvation of sinners, that 
God sent his Son to make expiation for their offences, and thus 
bring them back to himself. He thus condemned sin in the 
flesh; that is, he condemned it in the flesh, or nature, which his 
Son had assumed. Christ took upon himself our nature, in 
order to expiate the guilt of that nature. The expiation must 
be made in the nature which had sinned. As Christ, the 
apostle tells us, Heb. ii. 14 18, did not undertake the redemp- 

398 ROMANS VIII. 3. 

tion of angels, he did not assume their nature, but took part in 
flesh and blood. That the words xarexpe^s rrp (he 
condemned sin,) docs not mean that he destroyed sin, but that 
he punished it, visited it with the penalty of the law, is evident. 

1. Because xardxpeva) never means to destroy, but always means 
to condemn. It is perfectly arbitrary, therefore, to depart 
from the ordinary meaning of the word in this particular place. 

2. The sacrifice of Christ was the condemnation of sin. That 
is, he bore our sins. He was made a curse, in the sense that 
he endured the curse due to sin. His sufferings were penal, as 
they were judicially inflicted in satisfaction of justice. The 
proximate design and effect of a sacrifice is expiation, and not 
reformation or inward purification. When therefore the apostle 
speaks, as he here does, of what God did by sending his Son 
as a sacrifice for sin, lie must be understood to speak of the 
sacrificial effect of his death. 3. The context requires this 
interpretation. The argument of the apostle is, that there is 
no xaTdptfJLO. (condemnation) to us, because God -/arsor^s (con 
demned) sin in Christ. The other interpretation supposes him. 
to say, that there is no condemnation to us, because sin is 
destroyed in us. That is, we are justified on the ground of our 
own inherent goodness or freedom from sin. But this is con 
trary to the Scriptures, and to the faith of the Church. u Clare 
affirmat Paulus," says Calvin, "ideo expiata fuisse peccata 
Christi morte, quia Legi impossibile erat, justitiam nobis con- 
ferre." The apostle, he adds, teaches, " Legem nihil prorsus 
habere momenti ad conferendam justitiam. Yides ergo, nos 
penitus excludi ab operum justitia: ideoquc ad Christi justi 
tiam nos confugere, quia in nobis nulla esse potcst. Quod 
scitu in primis necessarium cst ; quia Christi justitia nonquam, 
vestiemur, nisi prius certo noverimus, propriae justitiic nihil nos 
habere." In saying, however, that the proximate object and 
effect of a sacrifice is to expiate sin, and therefore that sin is 
thereby condemned and not destroyed, it is not forgotten that 
propitiation is the end of expiation; that our sins arc atoned 
for by the blood of Christ, in order to our being restored to his 
image and favour. Justification is not on account of, or on the 
ground of sanctification, but it is in order to it ; and therefore 
the two arc inseparable. The justified are always sanctified. 

ROMANS VIII. 4. 399 

And therefore, so far as the meaning is concerned, there is no 
objection to saying, that the condemnation of sin of which the 
apostle here speaks, includes the idea of its extirpation or 
destruction as a necessary consequence. But it is nevertheless 
important, not only to a due understanding of his argument, 
but also to the integrity of scriptural doctrine, to remember 
that the condemation of sin in the person of Christ, expresses 
its expiation by his blood, and not the destruction of its power 
in us. It is Christ as the substitute of sinners, bearing the 
curse for them, that is here presented to our view. This even 
Olshausen admits, who says, " The conclusion of this verse 
expresses in the most decisive 1 terms the vicarious (stellvertre- 
tenden) atoning death of the Saviour." 

VKIISI-: 4. Th<tt. tin 1 ri<ilit( <>u*n< iM <>f tlu late ni)<jlit be fulfilled 
in ?*x. \c. This verse expresses the design of (_I.d in sending 
liis Son, and in condemning sin in the flesh. He did thus con 
demn it, "i su. in order t/mt the righteousness of the law might 
be fulfilled. The meaning, therefore, of this passage is deter 
mined bv the view taken of ver. o. If that verse means, that 
God, by sendin:: his Son, destroyed sin in us, then of course this 
verse must mean, He destroyed sin, in order that we should 
fulfil the law; i. e. that we should be holy. J>ut if \er. o is 
understood of the 1 sacrificial death of Christ, and of the con 
demnation of sin in him as the substitute of sinners, then this 
verse must be u;idrr>t iod of justification, and not of sanctifica- 
tion. He condemned sin, in order that the demands of the law 
miu ht be satisfied. This is the view of the passage given even 
by the majoritv of the early Fathers, and by almost all evan 
gelical interpreters, including the Reformers. l - Qui intelligunt 
Spiritu Christi renoyatos legem implere, commentuiu a sensu 
Pauli penitus alienum afierunt ; neque enim eo usque proficiunt 
fideles, quumdia peregrinantur in mundo, ut justificatio legis in 
illis plena sit, vel integra. Frgo hoc ad veniam refer re nreesse 
cst ; quia, dum nobis accepta fertur Christi obedientia, legi 
satisfaction cst, ut pro justis censeamur." That this is the true 
meaning of the passage appears not only from the connection 
and the course of the argument, but also from the following 
considerations: 1. It is consistent with the strict and natural 
meaning of the words. The word ocxaiw/JLa, hero used, means, 

400 ROMANS VIII. 4. 

first, something righteous, and then, second, something declared 
to be righteous and obligatory, an ordinance or precept ; and, 
third, a righteous decision, a just judgment, as when in Rom. 
i. 29, the heathen are said to know the ocxaico/m, the righteous 
judgment of God ; and, fourth, the act of declaring righteous, 
justification. In this sense oexaUo/jia is antithetical to xardxpt/m. 
The dfxalco/jLa ro r j W/JLOU, therefore, may mean, the righteous 
requirement of the law, that which satisfies its demands. In 
strict accordance therefore with the sense of the words, we may 
explain the passage to mean, that the demands of the law 
might be satisfied in us. That is, that we might be justified. 
Christ was condemned, that to us there might be no condemna 
tion, lie was made sin, that we might be made righteousness, 
2 Cor. v. 21. Or, if we take or/acco/m in the sense of (Recht- 
fertigungsurtheil) a declaration of righteousness, an act of justi 
fication, the same idea is expressed : Sin was condemned in 
Christ, in order that the sentence of justification might be ful 
filled, or carried into effect in us. This is the explanation 
which Eckermann, Kollner, Philippi, and other modern inter 
preters adopt. 2. The analogy of Scripture. To make this 
passage teach the doctrine of subjective justification, that we 
are freed from condemnation or delivered from the law r by our 
inward sanctification, is to contradict the plain teaching of the 
Bible, and the whole drift and argument of this epistle. 
3. The concluding clause of the verse, (who walk not after the 
flesh, &c.) demands the interpretation given above. In the 
other view of the passage, the latter clause is altogether unne 
cessary. Why should Paul say, that Christ died in order that 
they should be holy w r ho are holy, i. e. those who walk not after 
the flesh ? On the other hand, the second clause of the verse 
is specially pertinent, if the first treats of justification. The 
benefits of Christ s death are experienced only by those who 
walk not after the flesh. The gospel is not antinomian. Those 
only are justified who are also sanctified. Holiness is the fruit 
and evidence of reconciliation with God. There is no con 
demnation to those who walk after the Spirit; and the right 
eousness of the law is fulfilled by those who walk after the 
Spirit. In both cases, the latter clause is designed to describe 
the class of persons who are entitled to appropriate to them- 

ROMANS VIII. 5. 401 

selves the promise of justification in Christ. 4. Finally, as 
intimated in the above quotation from Calvin, it is not true that 
the righteousness of the law, in the sense of complete obedience, 
is fulfilled in believers. The interpretation which makes the 
apostle say, that we are delivered from the law by the work of 
Christ, in order that the complete obedience which the law 
demands might be rendered by us, supposes what all Scripture 
and experience contradicts. For an exposition of the last 
clause of the verse, see ver. 1. 

VERSE 5. For they that arc after the flesh do mind the things 
of tlie flesh. The immediate object of this and the following 
verse is to justify the necessity of limiting the blessings of 
Christ s death, to those who walk not after the ilesh, but after 
the Spirit. The /or, therefore, connects this verse, not with 
the main idea, but with the last clause of the preceding. Men 
must be holy, because sin is death, whereas holiness is life and 
peace. The necessity of spirituality, therefore, lies in the very 
nature of things. 

Titey who are after tJ/e flesh, those irlin are in the flesh, 
the carnal, are expressions of like import, and describe those 
who are governed by the flesh, or by their nature considered 
as corrupt. The corresponding series, ////// u:ho are after the 
^ nil it, tc lit) are in tiie Spirit, tin xjiiritiial* deseribe those who 
are under the government of the II<>!v (Jhost. Of the former 
class it is said they mind the tliinas <>f tin 1 flrxh, of the latter, 
they tiiind the things <>f t/te Spirit. The word c/io^il.^ is de 
rived from cr/ ^, which is used for the seat of all mental affec 
tions and faculties, and therefore (:<>()^i) has a wide meaning. 
It expresses any form of mental activity, any exorcise of the 
intellect, will, or affections. Tltey rnind, ((ppowjmv,) therefore, 
means, they make the object of attention, desire, and pursuit. 
T/te tilings (if the jlexh. are the objects on which their hearts are 
set, and to which their lives are devoted. Things of the flesh 
are not merely sensual things, but all things which do not 
belong to the category of the things of the Spirit. Compare 
Matt. xvi. 23, o r j c<>o\,~.1~ ~ii. ~o~i (~ho r >, thou savourest not the 
things of Crod. Phil. iii. 10, ol ra k-l-fxa <f(toi,o r j\,-z~. Col. 
iii. 2, &c. The English word wind is used with much the 
same latitude. The idea evidently is, that the objects of atten- 

402 ROMANS VIII. 6. 

tion, desire, and pursuit, to the carnal, are corrupt and worldly ; 
while to the spiritual, they are the things which the Spirit pro 
poses and approves. 

VERSE 6. For to be carnally minded is death. The f&p 
heroes by many taken as a mere particle of transition, equiva 
lent to but. But to be carnally minded is death. The utter 
incompatibility between the indulgence of sin and a state of 
salvation is thus clearly expressed. It is impossible that justi 
fication should be disconnected with sanctification, because a 
sinful and carnal state of mind ig death. It is better, however, 
to take fd() in its usual sense of for. The connection may then 
be with ver. 4, so that verses 5 and 6 arc coordinate, ver. 6 
presenting an additional reason why believers do not walk after 
the flesh. They do not thus walk, for to do so is death. Or, 
the connection is with ver. 5. Justification is limited to the 
holy, for to live after the flesh is death. The phrase (fowr^ia 
r^c 0v.f>x6z is substantially of the same import with ^oovslv ra 
TTjZ aafjzoz, the minding the things of the flesh. It is thus 
active in its signification. It is, however, more in accordance 
with the proper signification of the word to understand it as 
expressing a state of the mind. This is implied in the English 
version, to be carnally minded. The idea is not merely that 
the actual seeking the things of the flesh leads to death ; but 
that a carnal state of mind, which reveals itself in the desire 
and pursuit of carnal objects, is death. And by death is of 
course meant spiritual death, the absence and the opposite of 
spiritual life. It includes alienation from God, unholiness, 
and misery. On the other hand, the <pp6vr/fj.a ro r j xv&jftaTOZ is 
that state of mind which is produced by the Spirit, and which 
reveals itself in the desire and pursuit of the things of the 
Spirit. This state of mind is life and peace. Therein consists 
the true life and blessedness of the soul. This being the case, 
there can be no such thing as salvation in sin ; no possibility 
of justification without sanctification. If partakers of the 
benefits of Christ s death, we arc partakers of his life. If we 
died with him, we live with him. This is pertinent to the 
apostle s main object in this chapter, which is to show that 
believers never can be condemned. They arc not only de 
livered from the law, and justified by the blood of Christ, but 

ROMANS VIII. 7. 403 

they are partakers of his life. They have the <f>p6vy/j.a rou 
7ivz JfJ.a.TOZi which is life and peace. 

VERSE 7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against Crod. 
This is the reason why the (fpovr^ua r^c aa<r/.o~ is death. It is 
in its nature opposed to God, who is the life of the soul. His 
favour is life, and therefore opposition to him is death. The 
carnal mind is enmity to God, for it is not subject to the law 
of God. The law of God, however, is the revelation of his 
nature, and therefore opposition to the law, is opposition to 
God. This opposition on the part of the carnal mind is not 
casual, occasional, or in virtue of a mere purpose. It arises out 
of its very nature. It is not only not subject to the law of God, 
but it cannot le. It has no ability to change itself. ()thenvi>e 
it would not be death. It is precisely because of this utter 
impotencv of the carnal mind, or unrenewed heart, to change 
its own nature, that it involves the hopelessness which the word 
deatii implies. Compare 1 Cor. ii. 14, where the same truth is 
asserted: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the 
Spirit of God neither can he know them." "JViv cnnit potest. 
En," says Calvin, Miberi arbitrii facultas, quam satis evehere 
sophistic noqueunt. Certe Paulus disertis verbis hie ailirmat 
quod ipsi pleno ore detestantur, nobis esse impossible subjicere 
legis obedientiic. . . . I rocul igitur sit a Christiano pectore ilia de 
arbitrii libertate gentilis philosophia. Si-rvum pcccati se quis- 
que, ut re vcra est, agnoscat, quo per Christi gratiam manu 
missus liberetur; alia libertate prosus stultum est gloriari." 
To the same effect the modern German commentators, whether 
mystic, rationalistic, or evangelical. l No man." says Olshau- 
6cn, -can free himself from himself:" "Von sich selbst karin 
eich keiner selbst losmachen, es muss cine hohere Liebe kom- 
men, die ilm meha anzieht, als sein Ich." "The will itself is 
fallen away from God," says Baumgarten-Crusius. And the 
evangelical Philippi says: "This verse is a strong argument 
against the doctrine of the so-called Ubcrum arlitrium of the 
natural man. For this carnal state of mind, which cannot sub 
ject itself to the will of God, is not produced by any act of 
man s will, nor can it be removed by any such act ; it consti 
tutes, according to the apostle s doctrine, the original nature 
of man in its present or fallen state." 

404 ROMANS VIII. 8, 9. 

VERSE 8. The necessary consequence of this opposition of a 
mind governed by the flesh, towards God, is that those who are 
in this state are the objects of the divine displeasure. So then 
they that are in the flesh cannot please Grod. To be in the 
flesh, as before remarked, is to be under the government of 
the flesh, or corrupt nature, to be destitute of the grace of God, 
It is an expression applied to all unrenewecl persons, as those 
who are not in the flesh are in the Spirit. 

Cannot please Grod. Apsaxsev rtnl generally means to be 
pleasing, or acceptable to any one ; Matt. xiv. G, 1 Cor. vii. 32, 
Gal. i. 10, 1 Thess. ii. 15. Not to be pleasing to God, is to be 
the objects of his displeasure. Enmity towards God (Z-jfd-pa sec 
6sov) has as its necessary consequence, subjection to the enmity 
of God, (l^d-pa 0soD.) The apostle s immediate purpose is to 
show, that to be carnally minded is death. It must be so, for 
it is enmity towards God. But those who hate God are the 
objects of his displeasure; and to bo the objects of the wrath 
of God, is perdition. Surely, then, to be carnally minded is 
death. In vs. 9 11, the apostle applies to his readers what 
he had just said, and shows how it is that ((fob^im ro5 
Ttve jfjLaTOz,) to be spiritually minded, is life and peace. 

VERSE 9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, 
i. e. ye are not carnal, but spiritual. The Spirit, so to speak, 
is the element in which you live. Such the Roman Christians 
were by profession and by repute, for their faith was spoken 
of throughout the world. Their real character, however, was 
not determined either by their professions or their reputation. 
The apostle therefore adds, if so be the Spirit of Grod dwell in 
you. This is the only decisive test. Every other bond of union 
with Christ is of no avail without this. We may be members 
of his Church, and united to him by being included in the 
number of his people, yet unless we are partakers of that vital 
union which arises from the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, we 
are his only in name. Our version gives ei -sp (if so be) its 
ordinary and proper sense. "AT^o," says Hermann ad Viger, 
310, "usurpatur de re, quiB esse sumitur, sed in incerto relin- 
quitur, utrum jure an injuria sumatur; ei fs autem de re, quse 
jure sumta creditur." Sometimes, however, ei -sp has the same 
force as el ^s (since); as, 2 Thess. i. 6, ^seeing it is a righteous 

ROMANS VIII. 10. 405 

thing with God." The ordinary sense of the particle, however, 
is better suited to this passage. The Spirit of God is every 
where ; yet he is said to dwell wherever he specially and per 
manently manifests his presence. Thus he is said to dwell in 
heaven: he dwelt of old in the temple; he now dwells in the 
Church, which is a habitation of God through the Spirit, Eph. 
ii. 2 2 ; and he dwells in each individual believer whose body is 
a temple of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. vi. 1 ( J. Compare John xiv. 19, 
1 Cor. iii. 10, 2 Cor. vi. 10, 2 Tim. i. 10, &c. JVow if any man 
have not the Spirit of Christ. It is obvious that the Spirit of 
Christ is identical with the Spirit of God. The one expression 
is nterchanged with the other : fc If the Spirit of God dwell in 
you, you are true Christians; for if the Spirit of Christ be not 
in you, you are none of his. This is the reasoning of the 
ajx)stle. "Spirit of Christ," therefore, can no more mean the 
temper or disposition of Christ, than "Spirit of God" can mean 
the disposition of God. Uoth expressions designate the Holy 
Glrjst, the third person in the adorable Trinity. The Holy 
Spirit is els ,vhere called the Spirit of Christ, Gal. iv. 1(J, Phil. 
i. ll>, 1 Pet. i. 11. Whatever the genitive expresses in the one 
case, it does in the other, lie is of the Spirit of Christ in the 
sane sense in which he is the Spirit of God. In other words, 
the Spirit stands in the same relation to the second, that he 
docs to the first person of the Trinity. This was one of the 
po nts of controversy between the Greek and Latin Churches; 
the latter insisting on inserting in that clause of the Creed 
which speaks of the procession of the Holy Ghost, the words 
"filioque," (and from the Xnn.) For this the gratitude of all 
Christians is due to the Latin Church, as it vindicates the full 
equality of the Son witli the Father. Xo clearer assertion, and 
no higher exhibition of the Godhead of the Son can be con 
ceived, than that which presents him as the source and the 
possessor of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit proceeds from, and 
belongs to him, and by him is given to whomsoever he wills. 
John i. oo, xv. _!(), xvi. 7, Luke xxiv. 2 - , kc. 

VERSE 10. And if, or rather, but if, (s: or) Christ be in you. 
If a man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his; but 
if Christ be in him, he is partaker of his life. From this inter 
change of expression it is plain that to say that the Spirit of 

406 ROMANS VIII. 10. 

Christ dwells in us, and to say that Christ dwells in us, is the 
same thing. And as the former phrase is interchanged with 
Spirit of God, and that again elsewhere with God, it follows, 
that to say, God dwells in us, the Spirit of God dwells in us. 
Christ dwells in us, and the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, are 
only different ways of expressing the same thing. " Qui Spi- 
ritum habet, Christum habct; qui Christum litibct, Deum 
habet." Bcngel. This scriptural usage finds its explanation in 
the doctrine of the Trinity. While there is one only, the living 
and true God; yet as there arc three persons in the Godhead, 
and as these three are the same in substance, it follows, that 
where the Father is, there the Son is, and where the Son is, 
there is the Spirit. Hence our Lord says, "If any man love 
me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and 
we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Johi 
xiv. 23. And the apostle John says, ""Whosoever shall confess 
that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in 
God." 1 John iii. 15. "I and my Father," says Christ, "are 
one." He therefore who hath the Son, hath the Father a so. 
There is another familiar scriptural usage illustrated in this 
verse. Christ is properly an official designation of the Thean- 
thropos, as the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King of his 
people. It is however used as a personal designation, and is 
applied to our Lord, as well in reference to his human as to his 
divine nature. Hence the Bible says indifferently, Christ died, 
and that he created all things. In this and other passages, 
therefore, when Christ is said to dwell in us, it is not Christ as 
man, nor Christ as the Thcanthropos, but Christ as God. 
Compare 2 Cor. xiii. 5, " Know r ye not that Jesus Christ is in 
you." His indwelling in his people is as much a function of 
his divine nature, as his creating and upholding all things by 
the word of his power. 

And if Christ (be) in you, the body is dead because of sin, &c. 
As this verse is antithetical to the preceding, as should be ren 
dered but: If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is 
none of his ; but if Christ be in you, although the body must 

/ O v 

die on account of sin, the spirit shall live because of righteous 
ness. The Spirit is the source of life, and wherever lie dwells, 
there is life. 

ROMANS VIII. 10. 407 

The body indeed is dead, TO> ccoaa vsxpbv. That 
here is to be taken in its literal sense is plain, because such is 
the proper meaning of the word. It is rarely, if at all, used in 
the figurative sense in which aan~ (flesh) so often occurs. This 
interpretation also is required by the antithesis between body 
and spirit, in this verse. The context also demands this view 
of the passage, both because of the reference to the resurrec 
tion of Christ, which was of course literal, and because in the 
next verse we have the phrase "mortal bodies, which does not 
admit of a figurative interpretation. The sense also afforded 
by the literal meaning of the word is so natural, and so suited 
to the context, as to preclude the necessity of seeking for any 
other. In this view the majority of commentators concur. 
Others, however, understand by awna, the corrupt nature, or 
the whole nature of man, his soul and body, as distinguished 
from the Spirit as the principle of divine life. The word i<zxobi> 
is made to mean ^-.^I /niDai^n^. ]<t t<> d nth, mortified; and oc 
anji.n- ji:^, an <-<-<>unt <>f .*///, is made equivalent to r/ htmoTia, 
as to sin. This evidently does unnecessary violence to the 
literal meaninu r of the words. The body is dead in the sense 
that it is not onlv obnoxious to death, but as it is already the 
seat of death. It includes in it the principle of decay. This 
necessity of dvinir is <>n </<-<-i/t>f <>f *///. It is not inconsistent 
with the perfection of the redemption of Christ, that its benefits 
are not received in their fulness the moment we believe. We 
remain subject to the pains, the sorrows, the trials of life, and 
the necessity of dving, although partakers of the life of which 
lie is the author. That life which is imparted in regeneration, 
is gradually developed until it has its full consummation at the 

The spirit is life lerauxe of ri^liteousn^ss. By spirit here, 
is not to be understood the Holy Spirit, but the human spirit, 
because it stands opposed to //<;</// in the former clause. The 
body is dead, but the spirit is life. It should not therefore be 
printed with a capital S, as in the ordinary copies of the Eng 
lish version. The sense in which the spirit is life, is antithetical 
to that in which the body is dead. As the body is infected with 
a principle of decay which renders its dissolution inevitable, so 
the soul, in which the Holy Spirit dwells, is possessed of a 

408 ROMANS VIII. 11. 

principle of life which secures its immortal and blessed exist 
ence. Because of righteousness; dtxatoff juy, as opposed to 
&/jta t or:a, must be taken in its subjective sense. It is inward 
righteousness or holiness, of which the apostle here speaks, and 
not our justifying righteousness. It is because the Holy Ghost, 
as dwelling in believers, is the source of holiness, that he is the 
source of life. The life of which he is the author, is the life 
of God in the soul, and is at once the necessary condition and 
the effect of the enjoyment of his fellowship and favour. We 
shall continue in the enjoyment of the life just spoken of, 
because the principles of this new and immortal existence are 
implanted within us. Regeneration is the commencement of 
eternal life. The present possession of the Spirit is an earnest 
of the unsearchable riches of Christ, Eph. i. 14. In this view 
the verse is directly connected with the main object of the 
chapter, viz. the security of all who are in Christ Jesus. To 
such there is no condemnation, because they have been freed 
from the law which condemned them to death ; and because the 
work of salvation is already begun in them. They have eternal 
life. John vi. 47. 

VERSE 11. Bat if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from 
the dead dwell in you. Such periphrases for Crod as that which 
this verse contains, are very common with the apostle, (see 
Horn. iv. -4, tVc..) and are peculiarly appropriate when the force 
of the argument in some measure rests on the fact to which the 
descriptive phrase refers. Because God had raised up Christ, 
there was ground of confidence that he would raise his people 
up also. Two ideas may be included in this part of the verse: 
first, that the very possession of that Spirit, which is the source 
of life, is a pledge and security that our bodies shall rise again ; 
because it would be unseemly that anything thus honoured by 
the Spirit, should remain under the dominion of death; and, 
secondly, that the resurrection of Christ secures the resurrec 
tion of those that are his, according to Paul s doctrine in 
1 Cor. xv. 23. The argument of the apostle is, that the same 
Spirit which was in Christ, and raised him from the dead, 
dwells in us, even in our bodies, (1 Cor. vi. 19,) and will 
assuredly raise us up. 

lie that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken 

ROMANS VIII. 11. 409 

your mortal bodies. This clause cannot, -with any regard to 
usa<re or the context, be understood of a moral resurrection, or 
deliverance from sin, as it is explained by Calvin and many 
others. See the analogous passage, 2 Cor. iv. 14. The apostle 
designs to show that the life which we derive from Christ, shall 
ultimately effect a complete triumph over death. It is true that 
our present bodies must die, but they are not to continue under 
the power of death. The same Spirit which raised Christ s 
body from the grave, shall also quicken our mortal bodies. 
The word is not I j zcoz ii but ^ojorro^rT^, which imports more 
than a mere restoration of life. It is used only of believers. It 
expresses the idea of the communication of that life of which 
Christ is the author and the source. And this life, so far as 
the bodv is concerned, secures its conformity to the glorious 
body of the risen Son of God. 

By his Spirit that <ltvrUi-tIt In )/<>u, or, as it must be rendered 
according to another reading, tv On ai-munt of //is Spirit that 
dwelleth in //<>". For the reading otv. TO z^or/.a j^ <L )~U J ~^i ju.(L, 
Wetstein quotes the MSS. I). F. F. G. and many of the more 
modern MSS., together with the Syriac and Latin versions, 
and several of the .Fathers. This reading is adopted by Eras 
mus, Stephens, Mill, Bengel, Griesbach, and Knapp. For the 
reading ota rov ^vo^xoDvroc, *.r./., Mre quoted the MSS. A. 10. 
2-. -j4. :>S. ;jl) ei the editions of Colinajus, .He/a, tlie Compluten- 
sian, and many of the Fathers. Lachmann and Tischendorf 
retain the common text. This passage is of interest, as the 
reading k\,owyj\,-oz w;ls strenuously insisted mi in the Macedo 
nian controversy respecting the personality of the Holy Ghost. 
The orthodox Fathers contended, that as the genitive was 
found in the most ancient copies of the Scriptures then extant, 
it should be retained. If the dead are raised by the Holy 
Ghost, then the Holy Ghost is of the same essence with the 
Father and the Son, to whom, elsewhere, the resurrection of 
the dead is referred. This argument is valid, and, other things 
being equal, is a good reason for retaining the common text. 
The sense, however, is in either case substantially the same. 
According to the former, the meaning is, that the resurrection 
of believers will be effected by the power of the Spirit of God; 

410 ROMANS VIII. 11. 

and according to the latter, that the indwelling of the Spirit is 
the ground or reason why the bodies of believers should not 
be left in the grave. The internal evidence is decidedly in 
favour of the former reading : 1. Because Paul uses precisely 
these words elsewhere, "By the Holy Spirit," &c., 1 Tim. 
i. 14, &c. 2. Because throughout the Scriptures in the Old 
and New Testaments, what God does in nature or grace, he is 
said to do by his Spirit. Passages are too numerous and too 
familiar to be cited. 8. Because the Jews seem to have 
referred the resurrection of the body specially to the Holy 
Ghost.* As the external authorities are nearly equally divided, 
the case must be considered doubtful. If the latter reading be 
adapted, this clause would then answer to the phrase, on account 
of righteousness , in the preceding verse. On account of the 
indwelling of the Spirit, expressing the same general idea 
under another form. Our souls shall live in happiness and 
glory, because they are renewed ; and our bodies too shall be 
raised up in glory, because they are the temples of the Holy 
Ghost. In the widest sense then it is true, that to be in the 
Spirit, is to be secure of life and peace. 

It will be remarked, that in this verse, arid elsewhere, God 
is said to have raised up Christ from the dead, whereas, in 
John x. IT, 18, the Saviour claims for himself the power of 
resuming his life. So here (according to the common reading) 
we are said to be raised up by the Holy Spirit ; in John vi. 40, 
Christ says of the believer, "/will raise him up at the last 
day;" and in 2 Cor. iv. 14, and in many other places, the 
resurrection of believers is ascribed to God. These passages 
belon^ to that numerous class of texts, in which the same 


work is attributed to the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit, and which, in connection with other sources of proof, 
show conclusively that "these three are one;" and that the 
persons of the Adorable Trinity concur in all works ad 

* Wetstein quotes such passages as the following, from the Jewish writers: 
"Tempore future Spiritus meus vivificabit vos." "Spiritus Sanctus est 
causa resurrectionis mortuorum," c. 

ROMANS VIII. 111. 411 


1. As the former part of this chapter is an inference from 
the previous discussion, and presents a summary of the ureat 
truths already taught, we find here united the leading doctrines 
of the first portion of the epistle. For example, justification is 
by faith, ver. 1; believers are not under the law, ver. 2; the 
law is insufficient for our justification; God has accomplished 
that object by the sacrifice of his Son. vs. o, 4; and this bless 
ing is never disconnected with a. holy life, ver. 4. 

2. The final salvation of those who are really united to 
Christ, and who show the reality of their union by good works, 
is secure. This is the doctrine of the whole chapter. This 
section contains two of the apostle s arguments in its support. 
1. They are free from the law which condemned them to death, 
vs. 2 4. 2. They are partakers of that Spirit which is the, 
author and earnest of eternal life, vs. "> 11. 

3. Jesus Christ is truly divine. He is "Cod s own Son," 
i. e. partaker of his nature. The Holy Ghost is his Spirit, and 
he dwells in all believers, vs. :], 11. 

4. Jesus Christ is truly a man. He came in the likeness of 
men, ver. 3. 

5. Christ was a sacrifice for sin, and his sufferings were 
penal, i. e. they were judicially inflicted in .support of the law. 
God punished sin in him, ver. }. 

(!. The justification of believers involves a fulfilling of the 
law; its demands are not set aside, ver. 4. 

7. Everything in the Bible is opposed to antinomianism. 
Paul teaches that justification and sanct ifical ion cannot be dis 
joined. No one is, or can be in the favour of God, who lives 
after the flesh, vs. ,"> 11. 

8. The necessity of holiness arises out of the very nature of 
things. Sin is death, whereas holiness is life and peace. God 
has made the connection between sin and misery, holiness ;iu d 
happiness, necessary and immutable, ver. G. The fact that 
holy men suffer, and that even the perfect Saviour was a man 
of sorrows, is not inconsistent with this doctrine. Such suffer 
ings never proceed from holiness. On the contrary, the Divine 
Spirit was, and is a wellspring within of joy and peace, to all 

412 ROMANS VIII. 111. 

who arc sanctified. In itself considered, therefore, moral 
purity is essentially connected with happiness, as cause and 

1>. All unrcnewcd men, that is, all " who are in the flesh," 
arc at once the enemies of God, and the objects of his dis 
pleasure. Their habitual and characteristic state of mind, that 
state which every man has who is not " in the Spirit," is 
enmity to God, and consequently is the object of his disappro 
bation, vs. 6, 8. 

10. The Holy Ghost is the source of all good in man. Those 
who arc destitute of his influences, arc not subject to the law 
of God, neither indeed can be ; for no man can call Jesus Lord, 
that is, can really recognise his authority, but by the Holy 
Ghost, vs. 58. 

11. Death, and the other evils to which believers are 
exposed, arc on account of sin, vcr. 10. They are no longer, 
however, the evidences of God s displeasure, but of his parental 
love, Heb. xii. 6. 

12. The redemption of Christ extends to the bodies as well 
as the souls of his people, vcr. 11. 


1. There can be no safety, no holiness, and no happiness to 
those who arc out of Christ. No safety, because all such are 
under the condemnation of the law, vs. 1 3 ; no holiness, 
because only such as are united to Christ have the Spirit of 
Christ, vcr. 0; and no happiness, because " to be carnally 
minded is death," vcr. 6. Hence those who are in Christ, 
should be very humble, seeing they are nothing, and lie is 
everything ; very grateful, and very holy. And those who are 
out of Christ, should at once go to him, that they may attain 
safetv, holiness, and happiness. 

2. The liberty wherewith Christ has made his people free, is 
a liberty from the law and from sin, vs. 2, 5. A legal spirit, 
and an unholy life, are alike inconsistent with the Christian 

3. Believers should be joyful and confident, for the law is 
fulfilled; its demands arc satisfied as respects them. Who then 
can condemn, if God has justified ? ver. 4. 

ROMANS VIII. 1228. 413 

4. There can be no rational or scriptural hope without holi 
ness, and every tendency to separate the evidence of the divine 
favour from the evidence of true piety, is anti-Christian and 
destructive, vs. 4 8. 

5. The bent of the thoughts, affections, and pursuits, is the 
only decisive test of character. "They who arc after the flesh 
do mind the tilings of the flesh," <fcc., ver. 5. 

6. It is therefore a sure mark of hypocrisy, if a man who pro 
fesses to be a Christian, still minds earthly things, that is, has his 
affections and efforts supremely directed towards worldly objects. 

7. We may as well attempt to wring pleasure out of pain, 
as to unite the indulgence of sin with the enjoyment of happi 
ness, vs. 0, 7. 

8. How blinded must those be, who, although at enmity witli 
God, and the objects of his displeasure, are sensible neither of 
their guilt nor danger! vs. 7, 8. 

0. The great distinction of a true Christian, is the indwell 
ing of the Holy Spirit. Hence his dignity, holiness, and hap 
piness, vs. 1 1 1. 

10. If the Spirit of God dwells in the Christian, how careful 
should he be, lest anything in his thoughts or feelings would be 
offensive to this divine guest! 

11. Christians are bound to reverence their bodies, and pre 
serve them from all defilement, because they are the members 
of Christ, and the temples of the Holy Ghost, ver. 11. 



Tin? section* contains two additional arguments in .support 
of the great theme of the chapter the safety of all who are in 

* It was remarked above, that the division of this chapter into sections is 
merely arbitrary. For, although there are several very distinct topics intro 
duced, yet the whole is intimately interwoven and made to bear on one point. 
In passing, too, from one argument to another, the apostle does it so naturally, 
that there is no abruptness of transition. The connection, therefore, between 
the last verse of the preceding section and the first verse of this, and between 
the last of this and the first of the following, is exceedingly intimate. It is 
only for the sake of convenient resting places for review, that the division 
is made. 

414 ROMANS VIII. 1228. 

Christ. The first is derived from their adoption, vs. 12 17, 
and the second from the fact that they are sustained by hope, 
and aided by the Spirit, under all their trials ; so that every 
thing eventually works together for their good, vs. 18 28. 

Paul had just shown that believers were distinguished by the 
indwelling of the Spirit. Hence he infers the obligation to live 
according to the Spirit, and to mortify the deeds of the body, 
ver. 12. If they did this, they should live, ver. 13. Not only 
because, as previously argued, the Spirit is the source of life, 
but also because all who are led by the Spirit are the children 
of God. This is a new ground of security, ver. 14. The reality 
of their adoption is proved, first, by their own filial feelings; 
as God s relation and feelings towards us are always the coun 
terpart of ours towards him, ver. 15. Secondly, by the testi 
mony of the Spirit itself with our spirits, ver. 1G. If children, 
the inference is plain that believers shall be saved, for they are 
heirs. Salvation follows adoption, as, among men, heirship does 
sonship. They are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, ver. 17. 

It is nowise inconsistent with their filial relation to God, nor 
with their safety, that believers are allowed to suffer in this 
world : 1. Because these sufferings are comparatively insignifi 
cant, vs. 18 23. 2. Because they are sustained by hope. 
3. Because the Spirit itself intercedes for them. In amplifying 
the first of these considerations, the comparative insignificancy 
of the sufferings of this present state, the apostle presents in 
contrast the unspeakable blessedness and glory which are in 
reserve for believers, ver. 18. To elevate our conceptions of 
this glory, he represents: 1. The whole creation as looking and 
longing for its full manifestation, ver. 19, &c. 2. All those who 
have now a foretaste of this blessedness, or the first fruits of 
the Spirit, as joining in this sense of present wretchedness, and 
earnest desire of the future good, ver. 23. 

These afflictions, then, are not only thus comparatively light 
in themselves, but they are made still more tolerable by the 
constant and elevating anticipation of the future inheritance 
of the saints, vs. 24, 25. And not only so, but the Spirit 
also sustains us by his intercessions, thus securing for us 

*/ O 

all the good we need, vs. 26 28. The salvation, then, of 
believers is secure, notwithstanding their sufferings, inasmuch 

ROMANS VIII. 12, 13. 415 

as they are children, and are sustained and aided by the Holy 


VERSE 12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the 
flesh, to lire- after the flesh. We have here an example of what 
the rhetoricians call //teiusis, where less is said than is intended. 
So far from being debtors to the ilesh, the very reverse is the 
case. This passage is an inference from the exhibition of the 
nature and tendency of the flesh, or the carnal mind, as hostile 
to God, and destructive to ourselves, vs. 5, 8. As this is its 
nature, and believers are no longer in the ilesh, but in the 
Spirit, thev are under the strongest obligations not to live after 
the one, but after the other. We are debtor*; uc^/.STa: inttkv. 
We are the debtors, not of the Ilesh, but, as the implication is, 
of the Spirit. Of the t\vo controlling principles, the ilesh and 
the Spirit, our obligation is not to the former, but to the latter. 
To lice <tf(<T tin 1 /A *//; To r j /,<J~<L (Ki.nyjL " /^. r .l. he genitive is, 
here, either the genitive of design, * in order that we should live 
after the ilesh; or it depends on oyseASTCte, agreeably to the 
formula, oc c- /c r^c ^! L - ~ ^ - ~^C, J tun debt"/ to untie one for 
something. The sense would then bo, We do not owe the ilesh 
a carnal life. The former explanation is the simpler and more 

VKKsro 13. The necessity of thus living is enforced by a 
repetition of the sentiment of ver. i. T> live after the iloh is 
death; to live after the Spirit is life. Fr if t/e lice after the 
flesh, ye shall die; 1,nt if ye thrnn.jh t/>e Spirit, &c. The 
neces>itv of holiness, therefore, is absolute. No matter what 
professions we mnv make, or what hopes we may indulge, justi 
fication, or the manifestation of the divine favour, is never 
separated from sam-tiiication. Ye shall die; //J/./srs fatod-vq- 
axzw, ye are about to die; death to you is inevitable. Compare 
Matt. iv. 24, 1 Thess. iii. 4, James ii. 12. The death here spoken 
of, as appears from the whole context, and from the nature of 
the life with which it is contrasted, cannot be the death of the 
body, either sob lv or mainly. It is spiritual death, in the com 
prehensive scriptural sense of that term, which includes all the 
penal consequences of sin here and hereafter, chap. vi. 21, viii. 6, 

416 ROMANS VIII. 14. 

Gal. vi. 8. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of 
the body, ye shall live. The use of the word mortify, to put to 
death or destroy, seems to have been suggested by the context. 
Ye shall die, unless ye put to death the deeds of the body; 
see Col. iii. 5. The destruction of sin is a slow and painful 

Deeds of the body.* It is commonly said that body is here 
equivalent to flesh, and therefore signifies corruption. But it 
is very much to be doubted whether the word ever has this 
sense in the New Testament. The passages commonly quoted 
in its behalf, Horn. vi. 6, vii. 24, viii. 10, 13, are very far from 
being decisive. If the common reading, therefore, is to be 
retained, (see note,) it is better to take the word in its literal 
and usual sense. The deeds of the body is then a metonymical 
expression for sinful deeds in general ; a part being put for the 
whole. Deeds performed by the body, being the deeds which 
the body, as the organ of sin, performs. 

The destruction of sin is to be effected through the Spirit, 
which does not mean the renewed feelings of the heart, but, as 
uniformly throughout the passage, the Holy Spirit which dwells 
in believers : see ver. 14, where this Spirit is called " Spirit of 
God." Ye shall live, that is, enjoy the life of which the 
Spirit is the author; including therefore holiness, happiness, 
and eternal glory. 

VERSE 14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of G-od, they 
are the sons of God. This is the reason why all such shall live ; 
that is, a new argument is thus introduced in support of the 
leading doctrine of the chapter. Believers shall enjoy eternal 
life, not only because they have the Spirit of life, but because 
they are the sons of God. To be led by the Spirit, and to walk 
after the Spirit, present the same idea, viz. to be under the 
government of the Spirit, under two different aspects, Gal. 
v. 18, 2 Pet. i. 21. The former phrase refers to the constant 
and effectual influence of the Holy Ghost in regulating the