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Romans Verse-by-Verse 

William R. Newell 

About Romans Verse-by-Verse by William R. Newell 

Title: Romans Verse-by-Verse 


Author(s): Newell, William R. (1868-1956) 

Publisher: Grand Rapids, Ml: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

CCEL Subjects: All; Bible 

Romans Verse-by-Verse 

William R. Newell 

Table of Contents 

About This Book p. ii 

Title Page p. 1 

Chapter One p. 2 

Chapter Two p. 36 

Chapter Three p. 50 

Chapter Four p. 90 

Chapter Five p. 1 13 

Chapter Six p. 139 

Chapter Seven p. 175 

Chapter Eight p. 200 

Chapter Nine p. 245 

Chapter Ten p. 270 

Chapter Eleven p. 286 

Chapter Twelve p. 313 

Chapter Thirteen p. 335 

Chapter Fourteen p. 348 

Chapter Fifteen p. 360 

Chapter Sixteen p. 381 

Spiritual Order of Paul's Epistles p. 398 

Indexes p. 401 

Index of Scripture References p. 401 

Index of Scripture Commentary p. 408 

Latin Words and Phrases p. 408 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


Apostolic Introduction. Verses 1-7. 

Personal Greetings, and Expressions of Desire to See and to Preach to Saints in Rome. Verses 

Great Theme of the Epistle: The Gospel the Power of God, — Because of the 
By-Faith-Righteousness Revealed Therein. Verses 16-17. 

The World's Danger: God's Wrath Revealed Against Human Sin. Verses 18-20. 

The awful Course of Man 's Sin, and Man 's Present State, Related and Described. Verses 

1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, 
separated unto God's good news, 2 which He before 
promised through His prophets in (the) holy Scriptures, 3 
concerning His Son: who was born of David's seed 
according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God 
with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by 
resurrection of the dead, — Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through 
whom we received grace and apostleship, for obedience of 
faith among all the nations for His name's sake; 6 among 
whom are ye also, — called as Jesus Christ's: 7 to all those 
who are in Rome beloved of God, called as saints: Grace to 
you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus 

Verse 1 : PAUL — We see Paul' s name standing alone here — no Silas, Timothy or other brother 
with him. For Paul is himself Christ's apostle unto the Gentiles, the declarer, as here in Romans, 
of the gospel for this dispensation. Also, in revealing the heavenly character, calling, and destiny 
of the Church as the Body and Bride of Christ, and as God's House, as in Ephesians, Paul stands 
alone. When essential doctrines and directions are being laid down, no one is associated with the 
apostle in the authority given to him, 

We dare not glory in a man, not even in Paul, whose life and ministry are by far the most 
remarkable of those of any human being. ' Yet our Lord Jesus said: "He that receiveth whomsoever 
I send receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me receiveth him that sent Me" (John 13:20). And Paul 

1 Paul, being really the least, is the greatest of men! The Lord Jesus said, "Among those born of women there hath not arisen a 
greater than John the Baptist." But He added immediately, "Yet he that is lesser in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he." 
(Matthew 11:11). Paul names himself "less than the least of all saints," speaking in the Spirit. When John the Baptist speaks of 
the place he had, it was, as "the friend of the Bridegroom"; but Paul, of his work, as that of espousing and presenting the saints 
as a chaste virgin to Christ" \ We cannot conceive of a higher honor, than that given to this very least of Christ's bondservants,— 
to present His Church to Him; as we believe it will be given Paul to do, at the Marriage of the Lamb! (Re 19:6-9; II Cor. 11:2) 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

was especially sent to us Gentiles. At the first council of the Church, recorded in Acts 15, "They 
who were of repute" (in the church in Jerusalem), said Paul, "saw that I had been intrusted with 
the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision" (Gal. 2:7). 

Throughout church history, to depart from Paul has been heresy. To receive Paul's gospel and 
hold it fast, is salvation, — "By which (gospel) ye are saved, if ye hold fast the very word I preached 
unto you" (I Cor. 15:1, 2 margin), 

A bondservant of Jesus Christ — Paul was bondservant before he was apostle. Saul of Tarsus' 
first words, as he lay in the dust in the Damascus road, blinded by the glory of Christ's presence, 
were, "Who art thou, LordV And when there came the voice, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou 
persecutest," his next words were, "What shall I do, LordV — instant, utter surrender! It is deeply 
instructive to mark that although our Lord said, "No longer do I call you bondservants, but friends"; 
yet, successively, Paul, James, Peter, Jude and John (Re 1:1), name themselves bondservants (Greek; 
douloi), — and that with great delight! It is the "service of perfect freedom" — deepest of all devotions, 
that of realized redemption and perfected love. 2 

Paul next names himself a called apostle, or "apostle by calling." Three times in these first 
seven verses the word "called" occurs, and three times more in the Epistle this great word is written: 
Chapter 8:28, 30 (twice). Compare Paul's three other uses of the word: I Cor. 1:2, 9, 24; and Jude's: 
Jude 1; and the one other occurrence: Re 17:14. "Called" means designated and set apart by an 
action of God to some special sphere and manner of being and of consequent activity. In the sixth 
verse of our chapter, the saints are described in the words "called as Jesus Christ's." They were 
given to Him by the Father (John 17), and connected with Him before their earth-history: "chosen 
in Him before the foundation of the world"; and in the seventh verse we read that they are "called 
as saints," or "saints by calling," which does not at all mean that they were invited to become 
saints — a Romish doctrine! But that they were saints by divine sovereign calling; holy ones, having 


It would be well also here, regarding Paul, to apply Mk 10:43,44: "Whosoever would become great among you, shall be 
your minister." The Greek word for "minister" here is the one we translate elsewhere "deacon" (diakonos); but verse 44 goes 
further and deeper: "And whosoever would be first among you, shall be servant of all." Here the Greek word is the one always 
used for a slave under bondage — doulos. And so we find Paul saying to the Corinthians: 

"We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bondservants far Jesus' sake 
. . . Though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all (verb form of doulos: literally, 
I became bondslave to all), that I might gain the more ... I will most gladly spend and be spent out for your 
souls." (II Cor. 4:5; I Cor. 9: 19; II Cor. 12:15, Gr.). 

No other apostle calls himself "slave of all": Paul got the first place, by our Lord's own word, — not that any who choose 
to be slaves of all for Christ's sake may not he associated with Paul! Rut he is "less than the least," even yet! 

No wonder, then, that we find Paul speaking with an authority from the Lord such as no other apostle uses. Moses (who 
had authority in Israel) was "meek above all the men an the face of the earth." The Lord Jesus Himself is seen, when the Kingdom 
is handed over to Him, as a Lamb that had been slain (Re 5:6) is ever "meek and lowly in heart." Thus Paul says, "I am nothing 
... I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God." (Here, by 
the way, was sovereign grace! Christ's choosing His greatest enemy to be His greatest apostle!) 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

been washed in Christ's blood; and having been created in Christ Jesus. It was their mode of being; 
even as the holy angels did not become angels by a process of holiness, but were created into the 
angelic sphere and manner of being. Such is the meaning of the word "called" with Paul. 3 

Separated unto God's good news — This expression is explained further in Galatians 1:15: 
"God separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son 
in me, that I might preach Him among the nations." In like manner were born Moses, who Stephen 
says was "fair unto God," — that is, manifestly marked out to be used by God (Acts 7:20, R. V., 
margin); and John the Baptist, of whom Gabriel said, that he would be "filled with the Holy Spirit 
even from his mother' s womb ... to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for Him." Likewise 
were Jacob, Samson, Samuel, and Jeremiah separated even before birth to an appointed calling. 

The sovereignty of God is thus seen at the very beginning of this great Epistle. And how well 
Paul carried out his separation to this high calling, the gospel, the good news about Christ! Yet 
there are those today, even today, who in ignorance and pride affect to despise the words of this 
great apostle, — as Peter 4 warns, "to their own destruction" (II Peter 3:16). 

Now as to this "good news of God," we see in our passage two great facts: 

First, that it is God's good news. Mark this well! It was God who loved the world; it was God 
who sent His Son. Note our Lord's continual insistence on this in the gospel of John (19 times!). 
Christ said constantly "I am not come of Myself, but My Father sent Me." It is absolutely necessary 
that we keep fast in mind, as we read in Romans the awful facts about ourselves, that it is God who 
is leading us up to His own good news for bad sinners! 

Second, (verse 2), that the good news was promised through His prophets in holy 

Scriptures — These are the Old Testament Scriptures, 5 with promises, types, and direct prophecies 

3 The verb to call (kaleo), is used in this way of Divine sovereign action about forty times; and the cognate noun (klesis), eleven 
times: always in the sense of Romans 1 1 : 29 : "The gifts and calling of God are not repented of." 

4 In the book of Acts, Peter and John, together with others of the twelve, and Philip and Stephen, give witness to our Lord' s 
physical resurrection, and proclaim remission of sins to the Jews and proselytes. Then God, through Peter, (to whom the Lord 
had given the "keys of the kingdom of heaven") opens the door of faith to Gentiles (Acts 10). Paul, saved outside Jewish bounds, 
saw the glorified Christ, and heard His voice (Acts 9). He is sent forth by the Holy Ghost (Acts 13), with the gospel which 
belongs to this dispensation, wholly apart from the Law of Moses: witnessing first in synagogues, and afterwards, at Ephesus, 
(Acts 19), bringing believers out into separation from rebellious Judaism. Finally, at Rome (Acts 28), through the awful passage 
of Isaiah Six, he declares the Jews to be judicially hardened, and "this salvation of God sent to the Gentiles," Since that day, 
Jews are invited to believe, — not as Jews, but as sinnersl 


"Compare "holy Scriptures" (graphais hagiais) here, with "sacred writings" (hiera grammata) of II Tim. 3:15, and with 
the words, "every Scripture is God-breathed" (pisa graph theopneustos) of the following verse (II Tim. 3:16). We should, in II 
Tim. 3:16, supply the substantive verb, "is," after "Scripture"; and the words "and is" after the word "God," with the resultant 
reading: "Every Scripture is inspired of God and is also profitable," etc. The reading in both the English and American Revisions 
here is a poor attempt at literalness which avoids the evident meaning of the Holy Spirit, and is, furthermore, not a possible 
translation in view of the Spirit's constant use of the word graph in the New Testament as referring only to the Word of God. 
To say, "Every graph inspired of God," etc., is to insinuate that there may be a graph uninspired; whereas graph is God's 
technical word for Scripture, for God's inspired Word, used 5 1 times in the New Testament as a noun denoting always inspired 
writings. Its first occurrence is Matthew 21:42; its last, 2Pe 3:16. Other illustrations are Matthew 26:54, 56; John 10:35; and II 
Timothy 3:16. 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

of good news to come, both to Israel and to the nations, concerning His Son. We shall find in 
Romans 3:21 that there is revealed "a righteousness of God" which had been "witnessed by the 
law and the prophets": witnessed by the law, in that it provided sacrifices and a way of forgiveness 
for those who failed in its observance; and witnessed by the prophets directly in such passages as 
these: "By the knowledge of Himself shall my righteous Servant [Christ] make many righteous" 
(Isa. 53:11); and, "This is His name whereby He shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness" (Jer. 
23:6; 33:16); and again, "The righteous shall live by faith" (Hab. 2:4). 

Verses 3 and 4: Concerning His Son — Specifically (a) that He died for our sins according to 
the Scriptures, (b) that He was buried, (c) that He hath been raised the third day according to the 
Scriptures, (d) that He appeared to various witnesses. The good news Paul preached is therefore 
scientifically specific, and must be held in our minds in its accuracy, as it lay in that of the apostle. 
(See I Cor. 15:3-8) 

These great facts concerning Christ's death, burial, and resurrection are the beginning of the 
gospel; as Paul says: "I delivered unto you (these) first of all." 6 

The gospel is all about Christ. Apart from Him, there is no news from heaven but that of coming 
woe! Read that passage in I Corinthians 15:3-5: "I make known unto you the gospel which I preached 
unto you: that Christ died, Christ was buried; Christ hath been raised; Christ was seen." It is all 
about the Son of God! This is the record of Paul's first preaching, after "the heavenly vision": 
"Straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God" (Acts 9:20). 

Who was born of David's seed according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God 
with power according to the spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead — We have here two 
things: first, Christ as a Man "according to the flesh"; and as such fulfilling the promises as to "the 
seed of David"; second, Christ as Son of God, declared so to be with power by His resurrection, — and 
that "according to the Spirit of holiness," even that holiness in which He had existed and had walked 
on earth all His life. 7 Christ, the Holy One of God had, "through the eternal Spirit offered Himself 

We may note also, as to "holy writings," that Paul, if addressing Jews, would have said the holy writings, for they had them; 
but he is writing to Gentiles, therefore omits the article. 

Let us beware, however, of misapplying I Cor. 2:2: "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him 
crucified." Paul goes on in verse 6, there, to say: "We speak wisdom, however, among them that are fullgrown"; and in 3: 1: "I, 
brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. I fed you with milk." "Jesus 
Christ and Him crucified" is the gospel for the sinner and babes in Christ; Christ Jesus and Him glorified is the gospel for 
instructing and perfecting believers (I Cor. 2:6-13). 

"That same energy of the Holy Ghost which had displayed itself in Jesus when He walked in holiness here below, was 
demonstrated in resurrection; and not merely in His own rising from the dead, but in raising the dead at any time, though most 
signally and triumphantly displayed in His own resurrection." — W. Kelly. 

I have never seen a fully satisfactory explanation of the words (literally) "marked out as the Son of God with power, 
according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of dead (ones)." The account of our Lord's death in Matthew 27:51-54 
remarkably corroborates the truth of this great verse. The rent veil, the earthquake, the rent rocks, and the opened tombs: "And 
many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; and coming forth out of the tombs after His resurrection (for He 
was the First-fruits) they entered into the holy city, and appeared unto man)." And the awed testimony of "the centurion, and 
they that were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, 
"Truly this was the Son of God." And as Luke adds: "Certainly this was a righteous man!" 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

without blemish unto God," at the cross (Heb. 9:14). God the Father then acted in power and glory, 
and raised Him (Rom. 6:4, Eph. 1:19, 20 Christ was thus irresistibly, eternally "declared to be the 
Son of God"! Always when prophesying His death, Christ included His rising again the third day 
as the proof of all. In his last Epistle (II Tim. 2:8) Paul connects these same two facts about our 
Lord: "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel." 8 

Jesus Christ our Lord — Ten times in Romans Paul uses this title, or, "Our Lord Jesus Christ," 
that full name beloved by the apostles and all instructed saints from Pentecost onward: for "God 
hath made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Acts 2:36). Jesus, His personal 
name (Matt. 1:21) as Savior; Christ, God's Anointed One to do all things for us; Lord, His high 
place over us all for whom His work was done; and as, truly, Lord of all things in heaven and earth 
(Acts 10:36). 

Verse 5: Through whom we received grace and apostleship for obedience of faith among 
all the nations for His name's sake — Personal grace must come before true service. The grace 
Paul had received concerned both his personal salvation and his service as the great example of 
divine favor. Paul's own words are the best comment on this: "I am the least of the apostles, that 
am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of 
God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain; but I labored 
more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Cor. 15:9, 
10); and, "I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all His long suffering, 
for an ensample of them that should thereafter believe on Him unto eternal life" (I Tim. 1:16). 
Paul's apostleship was marked out by the fact that he had "seen Jesus our Lord" (I Cor. 9:1), and 
by the "signs of an apostle," in "authority," (II Cor. 10:8; 13:10), in "all patience, by signs and 
wonders and mighty works" (II Cor. 12:12). Though desperately resisted by the Jerusalem Judaizers, 
he continually insisted, to the glory of God, upon "obedience of faith among all the nations." To 
obey God's good news, is simply to believe it. There is now a "law of faith" (3:27); and Paul ends 
this Epistle with this same wonderful phrase: "obedience of faith" (16.26). Paul was not establishing 
what is now called "the Christian religion" ! Having abandoned the only religion God ever gave, 
that of the Jews,' he went forth with a simple message concerning Christ, to be believed by 

"Christ was to be born as Seed of the woman, Seed of Abraham, and Seed of David: as the Seed of the woman to braise 
Satan; as the Seed of Abraham, to bring in salvation to the whole household of faith (Gal. 3: 16); and Christ was to be the Seed 
of David, in the actual fulfilment to Israel of all Messianic promises: for He was born into the "house and family" of David. In 
fact, He is named in the New Testament as Son of David a dozen times. It is from the sixteenth Psalm, concerning David, that 
Peter quotes in Acts 2:25-36; and Paul calls Christ David's Seed, quoting from the same Psalm in his first recorded sermon (Acts 
13:16-41); although he addresses those Jews in Antioch as "children of the stock of Abraham." Christ was the Seed of the woman; 
He was also the Seed of Abraham; but He was born into this world of a virgin of the family of David (her betrothed husband 
being also of that family), so that they both went to enroll themselves in the city of David, Bethlehem (Luke 2:4, 5). 

"There is strong reason to believe that Mary, as well as Joseph, was a descendant of David. This was the persistent tradition 
of the early Church." — James Orr. 


"I do not doubt that Luke's is Mary's genealogy." — Darby. 

"By "religion" (thr skeia): we mean that worship which is conducted through ceremonies. Paul, indeed, calls that worship, 
inGalatians 1:13, 14 Judaism — (Ioudaismos). James 1:26 uses the word thr skeia, which primarily means, fear of the gods. The 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

everybody, anybody, anywhere. And all was "for His name's sake" — Christ's. And why not! The 
Christ of glory had done the work, had "emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, becoming 
obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross." He was the "propitiation for the whole world" (I 
John 2:2). We are likely to think of the gospel as something published for our sake only, whereas 
in fact God is having it published for the sake of His dear Son, Who died. It is sweet to enter into 
this, as did John: "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His Name 's 
sake" (I Joh 2:12). Preachers, teachers, and missionaries everywhere, should regard themselves as 
laboring for Christ's Name's sake, first of all. 

Verse 6: Among whom are ye also, — called as Jesus Christ's — The saints are connected with 
Jesus Christ, — "called as of Him"; as we read in Chapter 8:39: Nothing "shall be able to separate 
us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Verse 7: To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called as saints 10 — Note that while God 
loved the whole world, it is the saints who are called the "beloved of God." They are His household, 
His dear children. Sinners should believe that God loved them and gave His Son for them; but 
saints, that they are the "beloved of God." The unsaved are never named God's "beloved." A man, 
even, may, and should, love his neighbors: but his wife and children are "his beloved." 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ — Paul uses 
practically this same form of address over and over; — and he connects grace with peace in his 
apostolic greeting to all the saints to whom he writes, — as does Peter. Grace is always pronounced 
as from "God our Father" as the Source, and "our Lord Jesus Christ" as the Channel and Sphere 
of Divine blessing. Sometimes grace for the Church is considered in the benediction as wholly 
from Christ, as in I Corinthians 16:23: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you" (see 
comment on "Rom. 16:20"). For our Lord Jesus Christ is "Head over all things to the Church"; and 
life and judgment are distinctly said to be in His hands: "That all may honor the Son, even as they 
honor the Father" (John 5:21-23). In writing to individuals, — Timothy, Titus, and "the elect lady," 
(II John 1) Paul and John insert the more personal word, "mercy"; for we are told that we each need 
mercy (Heb. 4:16). The saints, looked at as a company, have obtained, in general, mercy. Like 
Israel of old, the Church is now God's sphere of blessing. But each individual — even Paul 
himself — has need of peculiar mercy (I Cor. 7:25). 

fundamental thought in "religion" is the performance of duties. In fact, the English word "religion" from Latin, religio, a binding, 
that is, to bind duties on one, and is an accurate setting forth of the original meaning. 

Now this was exactly what was not done in the gospel. "Religious" duties as Such were wholly set aside, and faith in the 
living Christ substituted. Strictly speaking, a believer is a man who has a Person, not a religion. 

The "Judaizers" were those professing to be Christians who were determined to fasten on Christian believers "Iaudaismos," 
as Paul calls it. The cross ended all that: the veil was rent, the way to God made wholly open, apart from "religious duties and 
ceremonies, days, seasons, months and years" ! 

We might render these expressions: "Jesus Christ' s by calling," "saints by calling." Calling, in this sense, is always of God the 
Father, who appoints to each creature its own manner, character, and sphere of being. 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Words fail to express the blessedness of being thus under God's grace, His eternal favor! Such, 
such only, have peace. All other "peace" than that extended by God and possessed by the saints, 
will "break up," as Rutherford says, "at the last, in a sad war." 

And how wonderful to be of those whose Father is God! to whom the apostle can say in truth, 
"God our Father." Only those who have received Christ have the right (exousia) to become children 
(tekna — born ones) of God (John 1:12). 

Grace and peace are eternally proceeding from God the Father and the Lord Jesus 
Christ, — through and by whom all blessing comes. 

8 First of all, indeed, I give thanks to my God through 
Jesus Christ concerning you all, because your faith is spoken 
of throughout the whole world! 9 For God is my witness, 
whom I serve in my spirit in the good news of His Son, how 
unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always beseeching 
in my prayers, if by any means at last I may be so prospered 
in the course of the will of God as to come unto you. 11 For 
I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual 
gift, for your establishing: 12 that is, that I with you may 
be comforted mutually, through each other's faith, both 
yours and mine. 13 For I do not want you to be ignorant of 
the fact, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come to you 
(and was hindered until the present time), in order that I 
might have some fruit in you also, just as among the other 
Gentiles. 14 To Greeks and to Barbarians both, — both to 
wise and foolish, I am debtor. 15 So to my very uttermost 
I am eager to preach the good news to you also in Rome. 

Verse 8: First of all, indeed, I give thanks to God through Jesus Christ concerning you 

all — "The apostle pursues the natural course of first placing himself, so to speak, in relation with 
his readers, and his first point of contact with them is gratitude 11 for their participation in 
Christianity," says DeWette. Paul is ever thanking God for any grace he found in any saint. He 
looks at all who are Christ' s, through Christ' s eyes, because your faith is spoken of throughout 
the whole world. Not fathered or founded by any apostle, the assemblies that God had Himself 
gathered from all quarters into the world's capital 12 had a faith in Christ which was "spoken of," 
nay, announced as a wonder, throughout the whole Roman Empire. Announced, too, without 
steamship, without telegraph, without newspapers, without radio! God sees to it that a real work 

"When one puts alongside of this (thanksgiving and prayer) the similar language used by Paul to the Ephesians, the Philippians, 
the Colossians, and the Thessalonians, — what catholic love, what all-absorbing spirituality, what impassioned devotion to the 
glory of Christ, what incessant transaction with Heaven about the minutest affairs of the kingdom of Christ upon earth, are thus 
seen to meet in this wonderful man!" — David Brown. 

Matthew Henry well remarks, "The church at Rome was then a flourishing church; but since that time, how is the gold become 
dim! The Epistle to the Romans is now an epistle against the Romans." 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

of His Spirit is published abroad, as it was with the Thessalonians: "From you hath sounded forth 
the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to God- ward 
is gone forth." So with every real revival: the whole world soon knows about it. 

Verse 9: Paul made unceasing prayer for these believers. He calls God to witness concerning 
this, as he frequently does when his soul is most exercised. See II Cor. 1:23; Philippians 1:8; I 
Thessalonians 2:5, 10. The expression, Whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son, is 
striking and significant. Those who would make man to consist of but two parts, soul and body, 
cannot properly explain "spirit and soul and body" (I Thess. 5:23); much less "the dividing asunder 
of soul and spirit" (Heb. 4: 12). The constant witness of Scripture is that man exists as a spirit living 
in a body, possessed of a soul. Paul's service to God was in his spirit, and therefore in the Holy 
Spirit, and never "soulical" (not psychikos, but pneumatikos — I Cor. 2:14; Jude 19, Jas. 3:15. Paul 
did not depend on music, or architecture, or oratory, or rhetoric. He did not hold "inspirational" 
meetings to arouse the emotions to mystic resolves. He served God directly, in his spirit. It was the 
truth in the Holy Ghost he ministered, and the results were "that which is of the Spirit." The spirits 
of his hearers were born again; and the Spirit witnessed to their spirits that they were born-ones of 
God. Thus it was that Paul spoke of God's "witness" to him: it was to his spirit God witnessed. 
Furthermore, his serving was not by outward forms, as in Judaism, but in intelligent service (see 
12.1), that is, knowing God and Christ directly by the Holy Ghost. 

Verse 10: Paul was pleading with God to bring him, in His good time, to these Roman Christians. 
His prayers, subject to God's will, always tended to this: unceasingly . . . always beseeching . . . 
to come unto you. 

Verse 1 1 : His knowledge that he could through the marvelous message entrusted to him, impart 
unto them some spiritual gift, for their establishing, was the root of his deep longing to come 
to them. "Spiritual gift" does not refer to the "gifts" of I Corinthians 12; but to such operation of 
the Holy Spirit when Paul with his message should come among them, as would enlarge and settle 
them in their faith. In the words "some spiritual gift," "we see not only the apostle's modesty, but 
an acknowledgment that the Romans were already in the faith, together with an intimation that 
something was still wanting in them" — (Lange). 

Paul knew that there was in him by the grace of God peculiar apostolic power, by both his 
presence and the ministry of the Word, to "impart a gift" (Greek, charisma), or spiritual blessing. 
"I know that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of Christ," he says 
later (15:29). So it has been in their measure with all the great men of God, the Augustines, the 
Chrysostoms, the Luthers, the Calvins, the Knoxes, the great Puritans, the Wesleys, the Whitefields; 
and, even in our own memory, the Finneys and Darbys and Moodys, as well as the Torreys and the 
Chapmans; who, by their very presence, through the spirit of faith that God had given them, and 
through the anointing of the Spirit conferred upon them, have in a wondrous way banished the spirit 
of unbelief in great audiences; and made it easy for the saints to run rapidly in the way of the Lord; 
to become, as Paul says, "mutually comforted," the preacher and the saints together, each by the 
other's faith; with the result that saints became established, in the truth and in their walk, as they 
had not been before. 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

We today, also, have the written Word and the blessed Spirit of God. We have, in the power 
of that Spirit, through these wonderful epistles written direct to us, the very words and power of 
the apostle. As he says to the Corinthians, "For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, 
have already, as though I were present judged," etc. (5:3). For all who are willing to hearken to 
God, who gave Paul to be the minister of the Church, the body of Christ; and the minister of the 
gospel of grace and of glory, — to all, I say, who really hearken, Paul's voice becomes audible and 
intelligent. 13 

Here, then, is the apostle who knew the great secret, the heavenly calling of the Church, writing 
to the saints at Rome, who, though they were of Christ's Body, and were, therefore, heavenly, — in 
creation, calling, and character, did not fully know these facts, — longing to see them that he might 
impart unto them "some spiritual gift, for their establishing"; and, at the end of the Epistle, 
announcing that God is able to establish them, — but, "according to the revelation of the mystery, 
which had been kept in silence through aionian times, but was now manifested." (See 16:25-27.) 

The burden of Paul's heart, therefore, is to make known to them this heavenly secret: that they 
were not connected with the earthly, the Jewish calling; but were in the Risen, Heavenly Christ; 
that, having died to the first Adam with his responsibilities, they were in the Second Man, the Last 
Adam, by divine creation; and were, therefore, heavenly. True, this heavenly truth is not fully 
developed in Romans, yet it was according to it that they were to be "established." 

Verse 12: His coming, therefore, he says, is, that I with you may be comforted mutually, 
through each other's faith, both yours and mine: but of course their blessing would be 
unspeakably the greater, because of the mighty gift and grace God had vouchsafed to this apostle 
for them. Paul's way of speaking here is most humble, gentle, and persuasive. 

Verse 13: Oftentimes I purposed to come to you (and was hindered until the present 
time) — He desired them to know this, for he longed for fruit in them, such as he was finding 
everywhere he went, among Gentiles. In this he is a perfect ambassador of Christ, longing to be 
used everywhere. That yearning to be used in telling the gospel lies deep in the heart of one who 
knows it, so if you want to hear some man of God, begin to pray God to send him to you! 

As to Paul's having been "hindered" before from getting to Rome, we probably have an 
explanation in the course of labor that God had appointed to him: "From Jerusalem, and round 
about [through Asia Minor] even unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the good tidings of Christ 
. . . Wherefore also I was hindered these many times from coming to you: but now, having no more 
any place in these regions, and having these many years a longing to come unto you," etc. (15:19, 
22, 23). Sometimes it was Satan that hindered, (I Thess. 2:18); but here, evidently, superabundant 
labors, as directed of God, in other parts. Only those carrying God' s message of grace to men know 
fully these great hindrances: the crying need of doors already open; the desperate opposition of the 
devil at the entrance to every door. 

13 "We must keep the personal-letter spirit of Romans before us, if we are to be truly benefited by it. So we shall seek not only to 
teach doctrine with Paul, but to exhort response with him. We must not only teach, "Paul said so and so to the Roman Christians" ; 
but, "Paul says so and so to us." And we must remember that as Paul told Timothy to teach, exhort, charge, command, rebuke, 
to be urgent in season and out of season, — so must we exhort, command, rebuke, who teach Paul to others. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

That I might have some fruit in you also — Paul's constant yearning was for fruit unto God 
in the souls of others. This must, characterize all true ministers of Christ. In the degree that this 
yearning after fruit prevails, is the servant of God successful. "Give me Scotland or I die!" prayed 
John Welch, John Knox's son-in-law. 

Verse 14: To Greeks and to Barbarians both, — both to wise and foolish, I am debtor. 

Greeks 14 were those that spoke the Greek language and had the Greek culture, which had covered 
Alexander's world-wide empire; and in which culture the Romans themselves gloried. "Barbarians" 
were those not knowing Greek, and thus "uncultured." So also the "Scythians" (Col 3:11) were the 
especially wild and savage, — as we say, "Tartars." 

"Wise and foolish" is more personal, not meaning merely educated and uneducated, but of all 
degrees of intelligence. Since Paul is debtor to all, he is enumerating all. And he must begin to pay 
his debt by setting forth the guilt of all; which he does (1:18 to 3:20). 

In the words "I am debtor" we have the steward's consciousness, — of being the trusted bearer 
of tidings of infinite importance directly from heaven; and Paul was "debtor" to all classes. He does 
not here mention Jews, because, although full of longing toward them, he had been sent distinctly 
to Gentiles: "The Gentiles unto whom I send thee, to open their eyes," etc., (Acts 26:17). How 
different Paul's spirit here from that of Moses in the wilderness among murmuring Israel! 

"And Moses said unto Jehovah . . . Have I conceived all this people? have I 
brought them forth, that Thou shouldst say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a 
nursing father carrieth the sucking child, unto the land which Thou swarest unto 
their fathers? ... I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy 
for me. And if Thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have, 
found favor in Thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness" (Num. 11:11-15). 

We must remember that Moses, beloved faithful servant of God, walked under law. The ninetieth 
Psalm is the very expression of the forty years in the Wilderness: 

"All our days are passed away in thy wrath: 

We bring our years to an end as a sigh, 

For we are consumed in thine anger, 

And in thy wrath are we troubled. 

Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, 

Our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance." 

But here is Paul, gladly a "debtor" to all, with a message of glorious grace: "God was in Christ 
reconciling the world "unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses "Christ gave Himself 
a ransom for all"; Christ "tasted death for every man." And not only this, but the hope of the heavenly 

14 To the Jew the whole world was divided into Jews (loudaioi) and Greeks {Hellenes), religious prerogative being taken as the 
line of demarkation. To the Greek and the Roman the world was similarly divided into Greeks (Hellenes) and Barbarians 
(Barbaroi), civilization and culture being now the criterion of distinction." — (Lightfoot.) 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

calling is set before earthly men. We are here seeing "less than the least of all saints," the most 
wonderful servant God ever had, willing to "become all things to all men to gain some!" But 
remember, it is not a wonderful man speaking, but Christ in Paul (Gal. 1:16). Our Lord said of His 
own ministry: "The Father abiding in me doeth His works." And so of the ministry of the Lord's 
chief servant! 

Now when Paul proclaims himself a "debtor," what does he mean by this word? Was he a debtor 
in any different sense from what other and all Christians are? For we are all Christ's "witnesses." 
Let us see. 

When Moses had received the tables written with the finger of God, and the pattern of the 
Tabernacle for Israel, he was bound, he was a debtor, both to God and to Israel, to deliver those 
tables and that pattern, as given to him by God. To Paul, the risen, glorified Christ Himself had 
given the gospel by especial "revelation" (Gal. 1:11, 12); and Paul, as we know, was especially to 
go to the Gentiles, (as Peter, James and John were to go to the circumcision). Just as definitely as 
Moses received the Law for Israel, so Paul received the gospel for us, and he was a debtor, both to 
God and to us, till he had that gospel committed to all. How unutterably sad to find many professing 
Christians shutting their doors in the face of Paul as he comes t his debt — comes to tell them the 
glories of the heavenly message given to him, — the unsearchable riches of Christ. In his last epistle 
Paul mourns that "all that are in Asia" — of which Ephesus was the capital! — "turned away from 
me." So soon! (II Tim. 1:15). 

Verse 15: So to my very uttermost I am eager to preach the good news to you also in 
Rome — How blessed is the readiness, yea, eagerness, of this holy apostle to pay his debt, to preach 
the good tidings to those also in Rome. Rome despised the Jews, and Paul was "little of stature," 
with "weak" bodily presence; and with "speech," or, as we say, "delivery," "of no account" in the 
proud carnal opinion of men (II Cor. 10: 10). Moreover, he would be opposed by any Jews of wealth 
or influence in Rome. Furthermore, Rome was the center of the Gentile world: its emperors were 
soon to demand — and receive — worship; it was crowded with men of learning and culture from 
the whole world; it had mighty marchings; — great triumphal processions flowed through its streets. 
Rome shook the world. 

Yet here is Paul, utterly weak in himself, and' with his physical thorn; yet ready, eager, to go, 
to Romel 

And to preach, — what? A Christ that the Jewish nation had themselves officially rejected, a 
Christ who had been despised and crucified at their cries, — by a Roman governor! To preach a 
Way that the Jews in Rome would tell Paul was "everywhere spoken against" (Acts 28:22). 

Talk of your brave men, your great men, O world! Where in all history can you find one like 
Paul Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, marched with the protection of their armies to enforce their 
will upon men. Paul was eager to march with Christ alone to the center of this world's greatness 
entrenched under Satan, with "the Word of the cross," which he himself says is "to Jews, an offence; 
and to Gentiles, foolishness." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Yes, and when he does go to Rome, it is as a shipwrecked (though Divinely delivered) prisoner. 
Oh, what a story! There, "for two whole years" in his own "hired dwelling" he receives "all that 
go in unto him" (for he cannot go to them); and the message goes on and on, throughout the Roman 
Empire, and even into Caesar's household! 

And what is the secret of this unconquerable heart? Hear Paul: "Ye seek a proof of Christ that 
speaketh in me." "To me, to live is Christ"; "It was the good pleasure of God to reveal His Son in 
me"; "By the grace of God I am what I am"; "I labor, striving according to Christ's working, who 
worketh in me mightily"; "I am ready to spend and be spent out (R.V., marg.) for your souls." There 
was no other path for Christ, nor is there any other for us His servants, but, "as much as in me is," 
"to my utmost." Those who belong in Paul's company are ever "assaying to go" (Acts 16:7), ever 
"ready" — to preach or to suffer (Acts 21:13). 

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the 
power of God unto salvation to every one that belie veth: to 
the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For God's 
righteousness on the principle of faith to [such as have] faith 
is revealed in it [the gospel]: just as it is written, "The 
righteous on the principle of faith shall live." 

Here we have the text of the whole Epistle of Romans: First, the words "the gospel" — so dear 
to Paul, as will appear. Next, the universal saving power of this gospel is asserted. Then, the secret 
of the gospel' s power — the revelation of God' s righteousness on the principle of faith. Finally, the 
accord of all this with the Old Testament Scriptures: "The righteous shall live by faith." 

It will assist our study to notice at once the four "For"s in the apostle's argument: "For I am 
not ashamed of the gospel," 15 "For it is the power of God unto salvation," "For a righteousness of 
God is revealed in it"; and the "for" of the next verse, which makes this gospel necessary: "For 
the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men." 

Verse 16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel — First then, we have Paul's willingness, all 
unashamed, to go to Rome, mistress of the world, with this astonishing message of a crucified 
Nazarene, despised by Jews, and put to death by Romans. "The inherent glory of the message of 
the gospel, as God' s life-giving message to a dying world, so filled Paul's soul, that, like his blessed 
Master, he 'despised the shame.'" So, praise God, may all of us! 

For it is the power of God unto salvation — The second "For" gives the reason for Paul's 
boldness: this good news concerning Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and appearing, "is the 
power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth." There is no fact for a preacher or 
teacher to hold more constantly in his mind than this. It is not the "excellency of speech or wisdom," 


"All philosophy is a perfect delusion; intellect has nothing to do with God at all. Faith is never in the intellect; and, what is more, 
the intellect never knows a truth. Truth is not the object of intellect, but of testimony. This is where the difference lies. You tell 
me something and I believe you, but the thing that receives truth (a testimony) is not intellect. Real intelligence of God is in the 
conscience. The mind is incapable of forming an idea of God, and that is where the philosophers have gone wrong," — This word 
by Mr. Darby is the very truth! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

or the "personal magnetism," or "earnestness," of the preacher; any more than it is the deep 
repentance or earnest prayers of the hearer, that avails. But it is the message of Christ crucified, 
dead, buried, and risen, which, being believed, is "the empower of God" ! "The word 16 of the cross 
is to them that are perishing, foolishness; but unto us who are being saved it (the word of the cross) 
IS the power of God" (I Cor. 1:18). 

Again we repeat that it is of the very first and final importance that the preacher or teacher of 
the gospel believe in the bottom of his soul that the simple story, Christ died for our sins, was 
buried, hath been raised from the dead the third day, and was seen, IS THE POWER OF GOD to 
salvation to every one who rests in it, — who believesl 

The word gospel (evaggelion), means good news, glad tidings, — of course, about love and 
grace in giving Christ; and Christ's blessed finished work for the sinner, putting away sin on the 
Cross. (There is no other good news for a sinner!) 

The other word, for "preached," is kerusso, which properly means to proclaim as a herald, to 
publish. And if we would understand Paul' s attitude in preaching the good news, we must not forget 
what he says in I Cor. 1:21: The reading in I Corinthians 1:21 should be, "God was pleased through 
the foolishness of the proclaiming to save them that believe." The word (k russo) means, to announce 
as a herald, to proclaim. It does not carry the thought of the proclamation's content, of a glad 
message, as does the other word (evangelidzo). Therefore God selects the word k russo to show in 
the great message I Corinthians 1:18-25 how he absolutely passes by the intellect of man, and sets 
aside all his possible reasoning, ability, philosophy and wisdom — in this amazing way: "by the 
proclaiming"! Here comes a small and weak Jew upon the assembly of the earth's "wise" at Mars' 
hill: "proclaiming Jesus and the resurrection." It is "foolishness" to them. Yet "certain 
men" — including one Mars' hill philosopher, and a prominent woman, and others with them, cleave 
unto him and believe the proclamation, and will spend eternity with God. 

No; when you reflect on God's plan of proclamation — of Christ, dead, buried, raised, living: 
it does get right past everything of man. A herald — he does not stop to argue — he has a message; 
yonder he is; here he comes; yonder he goes — and the message is left. Man is set aside! 


"Notice, it is not the cross. Romanists put the cross on the top of the cathedral; millions wear a figure of the cross around 
their necks; but they may never have heard "the word of the cross." As Paul says further in I Cor. 1:23, "We preach Chest 
crucified, [not the cross, merely] unto Jews a stumbling block, and unto gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are saved, both 
Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 

As one has said, 

"Not to Thy cross, but to Thyself, 

My living Savior, would I cling! 
'Twas Thou, and not Thy cross, that bore 

My soul's dark guilt, sin's deadly sting. 

"A Christless cross no refuge were for me; 
A crossless Christ my Savior could not be: 
But, O CHRIST CRUCIFIED, I rest in TheeV 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

It pleased God through the proclaiming to save them that believe! Praise God! Anyone can hear 
good news ! 

Therefore the herald does not hearken either to "Jews," who would say, "We have wonderful 
forms of religion.; we have a great temple!" No, the herald proclaims "a Messiah crucified" by 
these very Jews! — and passes on! 

Nor does he hearken to the "disputers of this age" — the "wise," who call to him, "We have a 
new philosophy to discuss — let us hear your philosophical system." No; he proclaims a crucified, 
dead, buried and risen Son of God, and passes on. And as many as are ordained to eternal life will 
believe. All others are offended, or stirred to ridicule. 

Paul' s preaching was not, as is so much today, general disquisition on some subject, but definite 
statements about the crucified One, as he himself so insistently tells us in I Corinthians 15:3-5 

"The power of God unto salvation" is a wonderful revelation! As Chrysostom says, "There is 
a power of God unto punishment, unto destruction: 'Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and 
body in hell'" (Matt. 10:28). "The use of the word 'power' here, as in I Corinthians 1:24, carries a 
superlative sense, — the highest and holiest vehicle of divine power" (Alford). This story of Christ' s 
dying for our sins, buried, raised, manifested, is the great wire along which runs God's mighty 
current of saving power. Beware lest you be putting up some little wire of your own, unconnected 
with the Divine throne, and therefore non-saving to those to whom you speak. T. DeWitt Talmadge 
said at the funeral of Alfred Cookman, one of the most holy, devoted men of God America has 
known, "Strike a circle of three feet around the cross of Jesus, and you have all there was of Alfred 

The gospel "is the power of God unto salvation." God does not say, unto reformation, education, 
progress, nor development; nor "fanning an innate flame." Salvation is a word for a lost man, and 
for none other. Men are involved either in salvation, or in its opposite, perdition (Philippians 1:28). 

To the Jew first and also to the Greek — The Jew had the Law. They had the temple, with its 
divinely prescribed worship. Heretofore, if a Gentile were to be saved, let him become a proselyte 
and come to Jerusalem to worship as did the Ethiopian eunuch. Christ came "to His own things" 
(John 1:11), to Jerusalem, to His Father's house (literally, "the things of My Father"). The apostles 
were to be witnesses — beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:47). The Holy Spirit fell upon the 
hundred and twenty at Jerusalem. Upon the persecution that arose in Jerusalem from Stephen, the 
disciples "were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the 
apostles," but Jerusalem was the gospel's first center, then Antioch in Syria, whence Paul and 
Barnabas, afterwards Paul and Silas, went forth. Afterwards, the center of God's operations was 
Ephesus, the capital of proconsular Asia, where after being rejected by the Jews in many cities, 
Paul separates the disciples, and all distinction between Jew and Greek in the assemblies of the 
saints is gone. Then he goes to Jerusalem to be finally and officially rejected — killed, if it were 
possible. God waits two years at Caesarea for Jewish repentance: there is none, but the direct 
opposite. Then the apostle, having been driven into the hands of the Romans by the Jews goes to 
Rome, the world's center, only to have the Jews reject his teaching (Acts 28). Thereupon it is 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

announced: "Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: 
they will also hear." 

Therefore, in expressing to the Jew first, Paul is not at all prescribing an order of presentation 
of the gospel throughout this dispensation. He is simply recognizing the fact that to the Jew, who 
had the Law and Divine privileges, the gospel offer had first been presented, and then to the Gentile. 
As Paul says in Ephesians "And He came and preached peace to you that were far off [the Gentile], 
and peace to them that were nigh [the Jews]" (Eph. 2:17). We might just as sensibly claim that 
Ephesians 2: 17 gives Gentiles priority because they are mentioned first — "you that were afar" over 
the Jews who were mentioned last, — "them that were nigh." 

To claim that the gospel must be preached first to the Jew throughout this dispensation, is utterly 
to deny God's Word that there is now no distinction between Jew and Greek either as to the fact 
of sin (Rom. 3:22) or the availability of salvation (Rom. 10:12). Paul' s words in Galatians 4: 12 are 
wholly meaningless if the Jews still have a special place. 

The meaning of the word "first" (pr ton) is seen in verse 8 of our chapter: "First, I thank my 
God through Jesus Christ for you all." That is, thanksgiving to God was the first thing Paul wrote 
to the Romans in this Epistle. Then he proceeds to other things. It is an order of sequence; just as 
the gospel came "first" to the Jew and then to Greek, and now, since the "no difference" fact, is 
proclaimed to all indiscriminately, Jews and Greeks. 

Verse 17: For God's righteousness on the principle of faith to [such as have] faith is revealed 
in it [the gospel]: just as it is written, "The righteous on the principle of faith shall live." 

This third "For" gives another reason why Paul was not ashamed of the good news 17 : in this 
message concerning God's Son, — that He died for our sins, was buried, was raised, — there was 
brought to light, — made manifest — a righteousness of God which had indeed been prophesied, but 
was really (especially to the Jew under law) absolute news: n God acting in righteousness, as we 
shall find, wholly on the basis of Christ's atoning work, — to be believed in, rested upon, apart from 


"In these days of "respectable" Christianity, with its great cathedrals, churches, denominations, colleges, seminaries, "uplift 
movements," etc., you may say, Men no longer have any temptation to be "ashamed of the gospel." But lo, and behold, it is not 
the gospel they preach; but a man-reforming, world-mending message of fallen flesh! Who today preaches of the wrath of God? 
But Paul speaks of wrath twelve times in Romans, and says: "If God visit not with wrath, He cannot be the Judge of the world." 
Who preaches of the awful things we are about to find true of the Gentile world in the end of this chapter? Who preaches, that 
even among the moral philosophers, the "better" classes (in the first part of Ch. 2); or the "religious" world as represented by 
the Jew (last part of Ch. 2); or in the whole world (3: 10-20), that "none is righteous," "none doeth good"? Who preaches that 
the whole world is under the Divine sentence of guilt, and that no man is able to put this guilt away? that the shed blood of Christ 
as the vicarious sacrifice for human guilt is absolutely the only hope of man? who preaches this, today? Here and there, one\ It 
is blessed for you, brother, if you are preaching the gospel Paul preached, and are not ashamed thereof! It is blessed if you art 
not sucking the poison- honey of Modernism; nor allured by earth's Kagawas into the fool' s paradise of the "social-gospellers"; 
nor deceived by the Neo-Romanists, — the Man-Confessionalists, the Buchmanites (falsely called the "Oxford Movement"). 
Better be in prison with Paul, with Paul's gospel! 

Note, it is the righteousness of God, not the righteousness of Christ. It is God's acting righteously upon the basis of Christ's 
redeeming work. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

all human works whatever. It was on the principle of faith 19 by means of a message, and those 
exercising faith in the message would be reckoned righteous, — apart from all "merit" or "works" 
whatever. This is the meaning of "from faith unto faith" — literally, out of faith [rather than works] 
unto [those who have] faith. 

The "For" of verse 17, For God's righteousness therein is revealed — in the gospel, — is also 
a logical setting forth of the reason why the good news concerning Christ's death, burial, and 
resurrection is the power of God unto salvation. And this verse is the essence of the text of the 
whole Epistle: "Therein God's righteousness is revealed." 

God could have come forth in righteousness and smitten with doom the whole Adamic race. 
He would have been acting in accordance with His holiness: it would have been "the righteousness 
of God" unto judgment, and would have been just. 

But God, who is love, though infinitely holy and sin-hating, has chosen to act toward us in 
righteousness, in a manner wherein all His holy and righteous claims against the sinner have been 
satisfied upon a Substitute, His own Son. Therefore, in this good news, (1) Christ died for our sins 
according to the Scriptures, (2) He was buried, (3) He hath been raised the third day according to 
the Scriptures, (4) He was manifested (I Cor. 15:3 ff), — in this good news there is revealed, now 
openly for the first time, God' s righteousness on the principle of faith. We simply hear and believe: 
and, as we shall find, God reckons us righteous; our guilt having been put away by the blood of 
Christ forever, and we ourselves declared to be the righteousness of God in Him! 

Habakkuk prophesied of it (Paul quotes him in verse 17); but ah, how little he dreamed of the 
fulness and wonder of it! It is the gospel that brings these to light! 

And now in the next section (verses 18 ff) will come Paul's fourth "For": showing man's 
frightful state of guilt; and his need of the gospel: 

18 For there is revealed God' s wrath from heaven upon 
all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down 
the truth in unrighteousness [of life]; 19 because that which 
is known of God is manifest in them; for God made it 
evident to them. 20 For the invisible things of Him from the 
creation of the world, made known to the mind by the things 
that are made, are clearly perceived, — both His eternal 


A word concerning the preposition ek as used in verse 17, "a righteousness of God from (ek) faith," etc., or "faithwise." 
There has been much objection to the translation of ek by "on the principle of; yet that is about the expression nearest to the 
truth of any we have found, unless it be "faithwise." Literally, ek means out of, ox from. We ourselves use "out of thus: "He 
acted out of prudence" — (as animated by that principle) or, "He gave out of kindness." 

But it is of imperative importance that we get the great fact quickly and forever fixed in our hearts that God declares men 
righteous not by faith as the procuring cause, for the blood of Christ was that; not by faith as the putting forth of a certain faculty 
innate in man, much less by the keeping of divine commands, however holy and just; but out of reliance upon His own word as 
true, and on that alone. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

power and divinity; so as to render them inexcusable: 21 
because, though knowing God, they did not glorify [Him] 
as God, nor were they thankful [towards Him] but became 
vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was 
darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became 
fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for 
the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, 
and of quadrupeds, and of creeping things. 

It will not only fail to help us, but will seriously harm us, to study the awful arraignment of 
God against human sin, unless we apply it to ourselves, thereby discovering our own state by nature. 
Therefore we have sought to make plain these terms which Paul uses, in view of today's sin. 
Christendom is rapidly losing sin-consciousness, which means losing God-consciousness; which 
means eternal doom: "As were the days of Noah ... as it came to pass in the days of Lot . . . they 
knew not." Because iniquity abounds, the love of many professing Christians is waxing cold; so 
that we see a Sardis condition everywhere, "a name to live, while dead": on many faces, the horrid 
lack of spiritual life; the lightless, sightless eyes; the chill, — the corpse-like chill, of the lifeless, 
the unfeeling. 

On the other hand, among God's real saints, those born from above and indwelt by the Spirit 
of God, there is everywhere, thank God, a gathering, an eagerness, a hunger for His Word, for news 
from Home, — for their citizenship is in Heaven! 

Therefore let all who have ears to hear give the utmost attention to what God says about our 
state by nature. Do not apply the threefold "God gave them up" of Romans One to "the heathen," 
as most do. Behold, we are those of whom God says: "There is no distinction: all sinned and fall 
short of the glory of God." ALL are brought under the judgment of God. O saints, beware of the 
"select" circles, the "we- are-better" societies of pride! For all human beings are alike sinners: for 
"The Scripture shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given 
to them that believe" (Gal. 3:22). 

The more you discover yourself to be a common sinner, the more you will realize God's 
uncommon grace! And the more deeply you despair of man, of yourself, the more simple and easy 
it will be to rest in Christ and in His work of salvation for you. 

Verse 18: Wrath revealed from heaven — This is the tenor of all Scripture as to God's attitude 
toward defiant sin. "Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from 
Jehovah out of heaven," we read in Genesis 19:24. We know that "God has appointed a day in 
which He will judge the world" (Acts 17:31); that He will "visit with wrath" at that time (Rom. 


However, in the thrice-repeated "God gave them over" of verses 24, 26 and 28, there is to be 
seen the character, the beginning, and the working of God's wrath in this world, in His judicial 
handing over of rebels to go further into rebellion. But the awful arraignment of humanity in 
Chapters One, Two, and Three; together with the particular account of their apostasy and lost 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

condition, however terrible it be, is not a description of the finally damned, but of the at-present-lost: 
and, "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost." "Such were some of you," 
says Paul to the Corinthians, after an enumeration of those who "shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God" (I Cor. 6:11). "Effeminate, and abusers of themselves with men," the very kind of sinners 
described in our chapter, are in this enumeration. Let us admit, therefore, the judicial "delivering 
over" of humanity which has "exchanged the glory" of the God they knew for horrid idolatrous 
conceptions, — a present judicial action of God on earth, where and when He "lets men go their 
own way." But let us distinguish this apart from the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment 
of God from Heaven. At the Great White Throne of Revelation Twenty there will be no liberty left 
to the creature to indulge his lusts as in this present world. The lusts, indeed, will remain, and 
probably intensify forever: "He that is filthy, let him be made filthy yet more"; but the ability to 
indulge lust will be eternally removed, and the damned placed under the visitation of Divine anger. 

Thank God, we may still cry with Paul, "Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!" 
Grace is still ready to reach the worst wretch on earth! 

Note that ungodliness is direct disregard of God, which to the Jew would connect itself with 
the first table of the Law, the first four commandments; while unrighteousness has reference to 
wickedness of conduct, in itself and toward other men. Note further that it is distinctly said that the 
human race, in order to live an unrighteous life, held down the truth. The meaning of the verb 
translated "hold down" is seen in its use in II Th 2:6: "Ye know that which restraineth," referring 
to the present restraining of the sin and wrath of man by the Spirit of God. It is also true, turning 
this about, that man in his wickedness restrains the truth he knows. (See also same word in Luke 
4:42, "would have stayed Him.") Almost all men know more truth than they obey. They call 
themselves "truth seekers"; but would they attend a meeting where Paul preached the facts of this 
first of Romans? 

Verse 19: That which is known of God is manifest . . . God made it evident — Noah' s father, 
Lamech, was for over fifty years a contemporary of Adam. Knowledge of God was held and imparted 
by tradition from the beginning. The fact that the "world that then was" became so corrupt as to 
necessitate destruction (Hebrew, "blotting out," Gen. 6:7, margin), only supports the awful account. 
Not only was the world bad unto judgment at the time of the Flood; but the world after Noah became 
such that God called out His own (from Abraham on) to a separate, pilgrim life. Sodom, and later 
the Canaanites, again filled up iniquity's measure and were "sent away from off the face of the 
earth" (Jer 28:16). Utter uncompromising, abandonment of hope in man is the first preliminary to 
understanding or preaching the gospel. Man says, "I am not so bad; I can make amends"; "There 
are many people worse than I am"; "I might be better, but I might be worse." But God' s indictment 
is sweeping: it reaches all. "None righteous; all have sinned; there is no distinction." And the first 
step of wisdom is to listen to the worst God says about us, for He (wonderful to say!) is the Lover 
of man, sinner though man be. You and I were born in this lost race, with all these evil things innate 
in, and, apart from the grace of God, possible to us. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and is 
desperately wicked." Only redemption by the blood of Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, 
can afford hope. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 20: For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world . . . are clearly 
perceived — "The heavens declare the glory of God." But humanity today prefers Hollywood's 
"sound-pictures" to seeing the "things" of the glorious God in the heavens, — beholding His works, 
and hearing their speech. How long since you have gone out and gazed at moon and stars, made 
by the blessed God, travelling in such quiet glory, beauty, power, and order? Men know, if they 
care to know, that an infinite Majesty made and controls this. Even His eternal power and 
divinity 20 — Paul connects the observing of the mighty and beautiful things of the universe with the 
consciousness of a personal God. ; ' Human science, through its telescope, observes the vast courses 
of the stars, moving with amazing accuracy in their orbits, but often counts it a mark of wisdom to 
doubt whether an intelligent Being exists at all! But, "the undevout astronomer is mad," as said the 
great Kepler. No really great scientist today supports the Darwinian theory; and many, — and some 
of the most prominent scientific men are saying, There must be a God, a Creator." 

Next the reason for God's wrath is stated: men are without excuse — Men had the light, and 
that from God. His eternal power and divinity were, from creation onward, plain to men, from His 
works. Napoleon, on a warship in the Mediterranean on a star-lit night, passed a group of his officers 
who were mocking at the idea of a God. He stopped, and sweeping his hand toward the stars, said, 
"Gentlemen, you must get rid of those first!" Men secretly believe there is a Power above them, 

20 Divinity (theiot s) — what pertains to God; rather than deity (theot s) — "the state of being God": — the Godhead. That there is 
divinity, men know from creation; God, — the Godhead, Deity, is known by His saints. 


We cannot refrain from quoting here Joseph Addison's beautiful hymn. Would that it were widely learned and sung today! 

The spacious firmament on high, 

With all the blue ethereal sky, 

And spangled heavens, a shining frame, 

Their great Original proclaim. 

The unwearied sun, from day to day, 

Doth his Creator's power display, 

And publishes to every land, 

The work of an Almighty Hand. 

Soon as the evening shades prevail, 
The moon takes up the wondrous tale, 
And nightly to the listening earth 
Repeats the story of her birth; 
Whilst all the stars that round her burn, 
And all the planets in their turn, 
Confirm the tidings as they roll, 
And spread the truth from pole to pole. 

What though in solemn silence all 
Move round this dark terrestrial ball? 
What though no real voice nor sound 
Amidst their radiant orbs be found? 
In reason's ear they all rejoice, 
And utter forth a glorious voice: 
Forever singing, as they shine, 
"The Hand that made us is Divine." 
22 Read "Does Science Support Evolution" by Dr. E. Ralph Hooper, for many years Demonstrator of Anatomy at the University 
of Toronto (The Defender Publishers, Wichita, Kansas, U. S. A.; 50 cents). It gives an astonishing amount of accurate testimony. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

and that their evil deeds deserve the wrath of that Power. In sudden peril, they scream like the guilty 
wretches they are, "God have mercy!" Knowledge of God, though not acquaintanceship with Him, 
lay behind Pharaoh's words, "I have sinned against Jehovah and against you" (Ex. 10:16); and 
behind the words of the Philistines in I Samuel 4:7,8, and 5:7,8,11; and the proclamation of the 
King of Nineveh (Jonah 3:7-9). 

Verse 21: Because that, though knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were 
they thankful — Every human being knows he ought to give his being over to his Creator' s worship 
and glory, and ought to be continually thankful for life itself, and for its blessings; but men refused 
both worship and gratitude: they became godless and thankless. But they could not free themselves 
thus easily from conscience and terrors: so came on idolatry. First they resorted to vain speculations 
and "reasonings," to escape the thought of God and duty. Then the judicial result: as Alford well 
renders, "Their heart (the whole inner man, the seat of knowledge and feeling), became dark (lost 
the little light it had), and wandered blindly in the mazes of folly." Think of a whole race of created 
beings knowing, but refusing to recognize, their Creator! of their eating from His hand daily, but 
refusing even one thanksgiving! Yet such ungodly ones, such unthankful ones, are all about you, 

Verse 22: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools — Rejecting the light of God' s 
knowledge in their consciences, men now arrogated to themselves wisdom, and became — what? 
Fools! 23 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning" — of both knowledge and wisdom (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 
15:33; Ps. 111:10; Job 28:28). 

The silliness of these "modern" shallow-pan days! How men are rushing back to the old pagan 
pit out of which God's Word and His gospel would have delivered them! They suck up sin; they 
welter in wickedness; they profess to be wise! They sit at the feet of "professors" whose breath is 
spiritual cyanide. They idolize the hog-sty doctrines of a rotten Freud: 24 and count themselves 
"wise"! They say, "God is not a person; men evolved from monkeys; morals are mere old habits; 
self -enjoyment, self-expression, indulgence of all desires — this," they say, "is the path of wisdom." 
It is the path of those who go quickly down to the pit and on to judgment! The very morals of 
Sodom, as our Lord foretold, are rushing fast upon us, and God will bring again the awful doom 
of Sodom (Luke 17:28-31). 

Now if someone objects, saying, This is a strange introduction to the gospel of God's grace, 
we answer, It lies here before us, this awful indictment of Romans One, and cannot be evaded! 
Moreover, until man knows his state of sin, he wants no grace. Shall pardon be spoken of before 
the sinner is proved a sinner? While the evidence is being brought in, the whole attention of the 
court is upon that. If the evidence of guilt be insufficient or inconclusive, there is no necessity for 
a pardon! 

"Fools": "This is Paul, the writer's (that is, to say God's) estimate of the philosophers and religious leaders of the race. Paul 
knew the boasted wisdom of the Euphrates and of the Nile, the learning of Hellas, and of Rome. We know it today. But there is 
this difference: there are those in our time who see no generic difference between these ethnic sages and the prophets of God, 
while Paul declares the former to be but 'fools'." — (Stifler). 

Crucifying Christ in Our Colleges, by Dan Gilbert, shows the monstrous doctrines of this evil "educator," whose influence is 
so great with many colleges and universities in the United States today. May God keep Freud's filthy feet from our shores! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Preachers and teachers have soft-pedalled sin, until the fear Of God is vanishing away. McCheyne 
used to Say, "A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hands of God" A preacher who avoids 
telling men the truth about their sin as here revealed, is the best tool of the devil. 

Verse 23: And changed the glory of the incorruptible God — Incorruptibility is of the essence 
of God's being. From the beginningless eternity past to the endless eternity to come, He is the 
glorious self-existent One. Now came the high insult: having rejected knowledge of God, but unable 
to escape the consciousness that He exists, men, like Israel later, "changed their glory for the likeness 
of an ox that eateth grass" (Ps. 106:20). The more you reflect upon the infinite glory and majesty 
of the eternal God, the more hideous will the unspeakable insult to Him of any kind of idolatry 
appear to you! Men first likened God to man; but, being given over, they rushed rapidly downwards: 
a bird, a quadruped; and finally, a reptile! 

Vincent remarks "Deities of human form prevailed in Greece; those of bestial form in Egypt; 
and both methods of worship were practiced in Rome. See on Acts 7:41. Serpent-worship was 
common in Chaldaea, and also in Egypt, where the asp was sacred." Israel evidently learned 
calf- worship from Egypt's sacred bull. 25 

24 Wherefore God gave them over in the lusts of their 
hearts unto uncleanness, so that their bodies were dishonored 
among themselves: — 25 such ones as they! who changed 
the truth of God into the lie! and worshipped and served the 
created thing rather than the Creator, — Who is blessed unto 
the ages! Amen. 

26 On account of this, God gave them over to shameful 
passions: for their females 26 changed the natural use into 
that contrary to nature: 27 and in like manner also the 
males 27 having left the natural use of the females, were 
inflamed in their lust one toward another, males with males 
working out shame, and receiving in themselves the 
recompense of their error which was due. 

Mahatma Gandhi, he of the horrible, toothless, diabolical grin of conceited folly; having been educated in England, and having 
heard the gospel and read the Scriptures, and rejected their light: sits on the deck of the steamer returning from India — doing 
what? Forming mud images with his own hands! A self-advertising illustration of the idolater's heart-conception of the glorious 
incorruptible God. 

The Greek words used here are not the noble ones meaning men and women; but those denoting sex only, as in lower creatures. 
(For many examples, see th leioi and arsenes in Liddell and Scott's Lexicon.) This passage has deep significance in this day of 
the "sex-craze": when, as some one says, "Human beings seem to be just beginning to realize that they are male and female." 
The first of Romans warns of what such a craze will end in! 

The Greek words used here are not the noble ones meaning men and women; but those denoting sex only, as in lower creatures. 
(For many examples, see th leioi and arsenes in Liddell and Scott's Lexicon.) This passage has deep significance in this day of 
the "sex-craze": when, as some one says, "Human beings seem to be just beginning to realize that they are male and female." 
The first of Romans warns of what such a craze will end in! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 24: God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts. This is deeper than the mere lusts 
of the flesh. Flesh has natural desires, which may or may not be yielded to. The lusts of the heart 
continue after the flesh is dissolved; and even when, in the tormented bodies of the damned, the 
lusts of the flesh cannot be conscious or controlling, "the lusts of the heart" will forever exist. 

Notice that when man is delivered from Divine restraint, the lusts of his heart plunge him into 
ever deeper bodily uncleanness, and bodily vileness. History backs up this fact with terrible 
relentlessness. What an answer is here to all the boasting of proud men of a "principle of 
development" in man; to the lying claim that man is ever "making progress." The "Golden Age" 
of Grecian literature, and that of Roman letters, — in both of them we find remarkable minds; but 
their works must be expurgated for decent readers! No printer, even in this corrupt age, would dare 
to publish books with literal descriptions of the orgies of "classical" days. 

Verse 25: For they changed the truth of God into the lie — That God is glorious, incorruptible, 
infinite, is the truth; that any image whatsoever, be it gold, silver, wood, stone; picture or symbol, 
is God, — God here names this the lie! 2i Any such thing, connected with worship, is a fearful travesty 
of the divine Majesty. Think of it! They worshipped and served the created thing rather than 
the Creator — who made the creature! This is that desperate hiding away from God by 
wicked-hearted man, called idolatry. (See Appendix III in the author's "Book of the Revelation.") 2 ' 
Who is blessed unto the ages. Amen. Paul's adding these humble, worshipful words after "Creator" 
both glorifies God and also differentiates Paul from the abandoned devotees of sin thronging the 
dark alley of human history; showing him to be a child of light, as is every real saint of God, though 
passing through a world of thick darkness. 

Verse 26: For the second time we read, God gave them over — and now, unto shameful 

passions — There are natural and normal appetites of the body: God is not speaking of these, or 
even of the abuse of these, — adultery or harlotry — in this verse. He is describing that state of 
unnatural appetites in which all normal instincts are left behind. And it is significant, that, as 
originally woman took the lead in sin, so here! 

Verse 27: Here men are seen visited with a like condign, judicial "giving up" by God, in which 
they forget not only the holy relations of marriage, but even the burnings of ordinary lust, and 
plunge into nameless horrors of unnatural lust-bondage, all, males and females, receiving in 
themselves the due recompense of their error. Compare "among themselves" of verse 24, with 
"in themselves" of verse 27: "These words bring out," as Godet remarks, "the depth of the blight. 
It is visible to the eyes of all." And Meyer also: "The law of history, in virtue of which the forsaking 

28 The expression in II Thess. 2:11 is exactly the same: God sends them who refuse the love of the truth "a working of error, that 
they should believe the lie": in this final case it is the apotheosis of idolatry, — Satan's false Christ, the Antichrist, himself a lost 
man, whom they worship ! 

29 There is no Scripture record of idolatry before the Flood. The solemn presence of the Cherubim at the gate of Eden, probably 
continued long. Sin was increasing, but the Spirit was striving with man (Gen. 6:3 Then the 120 years passed; man was given 
up and the Deluge-judgment came. After the Deluge, came Nimrod, son of Cush (hence Bar-Cush, which becomes Bacchus), 
and the Satan-invented plan of idols to obscure God, — by demons (I Cor. 10:20). God permitted this as a judgment on a race 
that did not desire knowledge of Him. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

of God is followed among men by a parallel growth of immorality, is not a purely natural order of 
things; the power of God is active in the execution of this law." 

What a fearful account is here! A lost race plunging ever deeper, by their own desire! Left in 
shameful, horrid bondage, unashamed, — not only immoral, but immoral, hideous. Missionaries 
abroad can tell you of what they find; as can the Christian workers in our great cities. But you 
would be unprepared to believe what exists, in the private lives of many, even in country districts 
through Christendom. And if God has "made you to differ," thank Him only! It will not do to hold 
up your hands in self-righteous dismay, and say, These verses do not in any particular describe me. 
For God will show you and me that this is exactly the race as we were born into it, and out of which 
the only rescue is being born again. All these things pertain to lost, fallen man. Man is a tenant of 
the earth only by Divine grace, since the Deluge. 30 

28 And just as they did not approve to have God in 
[their] knowledge, God gave them over to a mind 
disapproved [of Him], — to practise things not befitting [His 
creatures]; 29 having become filled with all injustice, 
destructiveness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, 
strife, guile, malignant subtlety; secret slanderers, 30 open 
slanderers, hateful to God, insolent, arrogant, boasters, 
inventors of bad things; without obedience to parents, 31 
without [moral] understanding, without good faith, without 
affection for kindred, without [consent to] truce, without 
mercy: 32 who, conscious of the righteous decree of God 
that those practising such things are worthy of [the sentence 
of] death, not only keep on practising the same, but also are 
pleased with those that are practising them. 

"Few, perhaps, realize what is going on right here in America (not Russia) in these last days. Read these two extracts: 

From Children of the Jungle, by Thos. Minbaugh, Prof, of Sociology, University of Minnesota. (Reprinted in Reader's 
Digest, 1935): 

"Child tramps learn all about life — and who can do that and ignore sex? More and more girls are following their brethren 
on the bum; about one tribe in ten has female members. About one child tramp in 20 is a girl, disguised usually in breeches, but 
just as appallingly homeless as the boys, and young — under twenty. They live in the jungles and boxcars, serving as mistresses 
and maids, sharing the joys and sorrows of life on the roads. They treat all boys and men alike; the girls are available to any and 
all in the camp. Occasionally a pair of girls travel with a gang for weeks; others prefer variety. They go from jungle to jungle 
without discrimination; they know they will be welcome." 

From The Disinherited, by J. Pegano, Scribner's, also reprinted in Reader's Digest: 

"I visited the 'jungle,' a mile or so out of town. All men who are 'on the bum' have a certain similarity — a lean and sullen 
look. [Describes some] . . . and a hatchet-faced man whom I recognized to be what is known among men on the bum, as a wolf. 
A 'wolf is a man who picks up young boys on the toad, for reasons it is not necessary to go into. There are hundreds of 'wolves' 
on the road, and thousands of boys fall a prey to them." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 28: Here we have for the third time the judicial utterance, God gave them over. This 
time it is to a settled state, a reprobate mind. There is such a solemn irony in the manner of speech 
in the Greek, that it should be brought out as well as the English will allow. Alford translates it: 
"Because they reprobated the knowledge of God, God gave them over to a reprobate mind." 
Conybeare renders it: "As they thought fit to cast out the knowledge of God, God gave them over 
to an outcast mind." We might render it: To a mind disapproved of God, since they did not 
approve knowing God. And given over to do what? To live lives, think thoughts, be such creatures, 
as are not befitting the universe of the blessed God; and most particularly not befitting man, who 
was created in God's image. 

In the following verses, 29 to 32, three things are seen: first, some nine phases or developments 
of human sin (verse 29); second, the kind of people it makes (verses 29 to 31); and third, the fearful 
human conspiracy or agreement of wickedness of man against God (verse 32). Let us mark each 
carefully. (The student of Greek may well study the roots of these twenty-two nouns and adjectives, 
given in the footnote). 31 

And remember God says men are filled with all these things! And not only so: they are filled 
without restraint or limit! "With all unrighteousness, all destructiveness," etc. 

Verses 29 to 31: 1. all injustice — Selfishness, enthroned against all rights of others. 

2. destructiveness — The same word is used to describe Satan and his hosts: "the evil one," 
"hosts of wickedness," in Eph. 6:12, 16. It denotes wickedness in hostile activity. 

3. covetousness — literally, the itch for more, "(a) Claiming more than one's due, greedy, 
grasping; (b) making gain from others' losses; (c) the act of over-reaching by selfish tricks. To take 
advantage of another's simpleness, to over- reach, defraud." - Liddell and Scott. Lightfoot says, 
"Impurity and covetousness may be said to divide between them nearly the whole domain of 
selfishness and vice." Vincent distinguishes between covetousness and avarice: "The one is the 
desire of getting, the other of keeping." Paul constantly defines covetousness as idolatry, worship 
of another object than God; and associates it with the vilest sins (I Cor. 5:11; Eph. 5:3, 5; Col 3:5). 
Many professing Christians are withering in a blight because of this unjudged sin. 

4. malice — "malignity, maliciousness, desire to injure" (Thayer). 

5. full of envy — The apostle takes another full breath here, beginning anew this hell-meat 
catalog. Envy is the hate that arises in the heart toward one who is above us, who is what we are 
not, or possesses that, which we cannot have, or do not choose the path to attain. "Pilate knew that 
for envy they had delivered Him." He was holy and good, which they pretended to be, and knew 
they were not, — nor really chose to be. 

1. adikia; 2. poneria; 3. pleonexia; 4. kakia; 5. phthonou; 6. phonou; 7. eridos; 8. dolou; 9. kako theias; 10. psithuristas; 11. 
katalalous; 12. theostugeis; 13. hybristas; 14. hyper phano us; 15. aladzonas; 16. epheuretas kak n; 17. goneusin apeitheis; \i 
asunetous; 19. asunethetous; 20. astorgous; 21. asponpdous; 22. anele monas 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

6. murder — How strikingly the Holy Spirit brings these words, envy, murder, which sound so 
alike in the Greek, — phthonou, phonou — into the order and connection which they constantly 
sustain in life. 

7. strife — Literally, beating down in wrangling and contention. How "full of strife," indeed, is 
this human race! 

8. guile — Jesus called Nathaniel "an Israelite in whom is no guile" (John 1:47). The Greek 
word means "a bait for fish," and so, to catch with a bait, to beguile. So in what is called "business" 
today, men are baited and lured: and "society" lives by it! This is the human heart. 

9. malignant subtlety — The Genevan New Testament renders it, "Taking all things in an evil 

10. secret slanderers — By this Greek word of hissing sound (psithuristas), the Septuagint 
(Greek Old Testament) renders the Hebrew lahash: "a snake-charmer's 'magical murmuring.'" Let 
those privately peddling evil reports, remember that God views their tongue as the slithering of the 
adder! It is remarkable how secret slanderers can "charm" others (fitted thereto by their evil nature) 
into believing their slanders. We heard of a modest, excellent young woman secretly slandered by 
a jealous rival. She could not overcome the falsehood, and died within a year. 

11. open slanderers — Literally, those who speak against, incriminate, traduce. See its use in 
I Peter 2:12. Many openly rail at others — especially if their own lives are condemned by theirs. 

12. hateful to God — Hateful toward God, because haters of God. The word means to show as 
well as to feel such hatred: "The mind of the flesh is enmity against God." 

13. insolent — People taking pleasure in insulting others. 

14. arrogant — Full of haughty pride toward others. 

15. boasters — The very contrary of Him Who said: "Come unto Me — I am meek, and lowly 
of heart." 

16. inventors of bad things — From the days of Cain's city onward (Gen. 4:16-22), men have 
progressed in evil; until Jehovah said Israel did evil that "came not into His mind" (Jer. 19:5). 

17. without obedience 32 to parents — literally, not able to be persuaded by parents. What a 
photograph of the "youth" of our day! This appalling rejection of parental control is developing 
amazingly in these last days, just as God said it would (II Tim. 3: 1,2). It brings a curse upon whole 
families, whole communities, and whole lands. Obedience to parents brings promised blessing: 
"Honor thy father and thy mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be 
well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:2, 3). 

32 'In the six words of which this is the first, God emphasizes the negative, or stubborn quality of badness Each of these words 
begins with the Greek alpha, which has the force here of alpha privative: denial or negation of the quality expressed in the word. 
Therefore we have translated the first letter in all six "without," — a rendering consistent rather than elegant, as accuracy of 
interpretation, rather than "excellency of speech" should be sought here. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"The eye that mocketh at his father, 
And despiseth to obey his mother, 
The ravens of the valley shall pick it out, 
And the young eagles shall eat it." 
— Prov. 30:17. 

This explains many an early death! Yes; and terrible deaths long delayed. 

18. without moral understanding — The verb is used in Scripture only of moral and spiritual 
understanding (Matt. 13:14, 15, 19, 23, 51). This adjective (Rom. 1:31) means, without any 
understanding of Divine things; having no proper moral discernment. That is the awful condition 
of the human race; and, remember, you and I were born in it. 

19. without good faith — Faithless, bound by no promise or covenant. This is a very 
heart-disease! The word denotes that wickedness that does not intend to carry out its pledged word, 
except for selfish ends. Broken business contracts, violated national treaties, light betrayal of 
personal confidences, — all have this hideous condition as their root. 

20. without natural affection — Without affection for kindred. Even a third century pagan poet, 
Theocritus, calls these "the heartless ones." How constantly we see, especially in the selfish lives 
of graceless "moderns," utter disregard of the natural ties which a kind God has used in "setting 
the solitary in families." Such are really moral morons; but the possibilities of all these things are 
in every one of us. 

21. without [consent to] truce, — literally, not willing to consent to a truce, or cease hostilities. 
The present ruthless civil war in Spain, and the savagery of Japan in China, are examples. Indeed, 
only an "armistice," not a peace, was concluded after the World War; and, despite all "treaties" 
since, there persists a sort of international suspicion; proving that men know, as by instinct, the 
implacability of human nature. 33 

22. without mercy — It is said that Nero as a child amused himself in pulling the legs and wings 
from insects. Perhaps you cry out at this, saying, I have always been tender-hearted towards animals. 
Indeed? And how about people? Are you tender-hearted towards them? to all of them? Think deeply 
on this: God "delighteth in mercy"; but "man' s inhumanity to man makes countless millions mourn." 
Consider: A merciful God\ unmerciful creaturesl 

And now we come to the dark, wilful conspiracy of evil of this whole human race. For, remember, 
what we have been reading is not an indictment of the heathen merely, but of the race. It does 
indeed depict the progress of human wickedness, and how God gave the race over to those lusts 
that judicially followed their sin. Yet, as we shall find in the next chapter, it is humanity as such, 
as thus degraded, of which God is speaking. 

33 "I stood several years ago upon "Starved Rock," near LaSalle, Illinois, a beautiful hill with precipitous sides, where in 1769 the 
entire tribe of the "Illinois" Indians were starved, almost to the last man, and the tribe practically exterminated, by other Indian 
tribes besieging the rock. You say, But those were Indians: I am civilized. No, God says, "There is no distinction; for all sinned." 
And even Paul cried, "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 32: Who, conscious that such things are worthy of death, not only keep practising 
them but approve of others practising them. 

Here we are confronted with three terrible realities: (1) They have complete inner knowledge 
from God (Gr. epignontes) that their ways deserve and must have Divine condemnation and 
judgment; (2) they persist in their practices despite the witness of conscience; (3) they are in a 
fellowship of evil with other evil-doers! 

The Greek word here (syneudokouso) which we have rendered "are pleased with," "approve 
of; the Revised Version renders "consent with"; Bagster' s Interlinear, "are consenting to"; Moule, 
"feel with and abet." "Not only commit the sins, but delight in their fellowship with the sinner," 
says Conybeare; "Not only practice them, but have fellow-delight in those that do them" — Darby; 
"Not only do the same, but applaud those that do them" — Godet; "They not only do these things, 
but are also (in their moral judgment) in agreement with others who so act" — Meyer. 

What a description of this world of sinners, this race alienated from the life of God, — at enmity 
with Him, and at strife with one another! But all in a hellish unity of evil! 


1. The Greek word for wrath {org ) is used twelve times in this book of Romans, and always 
as connected with God. In all twelve occurrences in Romans it is referred to God: "The wrath of 
God is revealed" (1:18); "wrath in the day of wrath" (2:5); "Wrath and indignation" (2:8); "God 
visiteth with wrath" (3:5); "The Lair worketh wrath" (4:15); "Much more shall we be saved from 
the wrath [of God] through Him [Christ]" (5:9); "If God, willing to show His wrath, endured vessels 
of wrath fitted for destruction" (9:22); "Give place unto the wrath" [of God] (12:19); "Wrath to 
him that doeth evil" (13:4); "Not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience' sake" (13:5). 

Now the fundamental word for "wrath" is org , and it always looks, in Romans, toward the 
final, or last, Judgment; although including, as in 13:4, 5, God's governmental actions through 
present human authorities. 

This distinction between the outpouring of governmental wrath which precedes the Kingdom, 
and the final Assize at the Last Judgment is of primary importance. Paul is dealing in Romans with 
eternal things; with "no condemnation," on the one hand; and with final condemnation on the other. 
It is not the attitude and actions of God as the dispensational Ruler of earth 's affairs, but the final 
Judge dealing with eternal individual destinies, of Whom Paul is writing. 

Mark carefully, therefore, that Paul, who is setting forth the gospel of grace, describes the 
blessedness of those who receive that gospel as forgiven, justified, at peace with God. Romans is 
a court book. God, who adjudged all guilty under sin, gladly declares righteous and safe those who 
trust Him. Contrariwise, those who reject His mercy and grace are visited by the same Judge, even 
God, with wrath. Both the wrath in the one case, and the grace in the other, proceed from God's 
personal feeling, and just as there was personal Divine mercy and eternal tenderness toward the 
believer, so there is personal Divine wrath and eternal indignation against those who despise His 
love and mercy, as set forth in the death of His Son. It is righteous indignation, certainly; but it is 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

personal indignation. Listen carefully to God' s own words as to this future visitation of wrath upon 
the finally impenitent: "Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Ex. 34:14); "Lest there 
should be among you man or woman whose heart turneth away from Jehovah, to serve other gods, 
and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, 
saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart .... Jehovah will not 
pardon him, but then the anger of Jehovah, and His jealousy, shall smoke against that man" (Deut. 
29:18-20); "Jehovah is ajealous God, and avengeth; Jehovah avengeth and is full of wrath; Jehovah 
taketh vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath or His enemies"; "He will pursue His 
enemies into darkness" (Nahum 1:2, 8); "Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith 
the Lord" (Rom. 12:19); "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God" (Heb. 10:31) 
"Can thy heart endure, or can thy hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I, Jehovah, 
have spoken it and will do it" (Ezek. 22:14) 

It is fatuous folly to seek to avoid the manifest, necessary meaning of such words. God, who 
alone has the right to avenge, will avenge! The very first chapter of the Prophets warns any willing 
to hear: "Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge Me of Mine enemies!" (Isa. 1:24). 
Human justice is to be meted out by juries of men and by judges, uncolored by personal feelings. 
Not so with God! As is not the case in human courts, it is the Judge Himself who has been wronged. 
It is His light that has been refused for darkness. It is His salvation, and that by His Son's blood 
that has bee despised. And it will not be justice merely, but the infliction of penalty by an outraged 
Being whose Name is Love, now aroused to a righteous fury commensurate with the measureless 
guilt of the hideous haters of His holiness, the despisers of His mercy — it will be by the Hand of 
the Judge of all, Himself, that wrath will fall upon the guilty. 

As for the "great" pulpiteers of Christendom, the favorites of the rapidly apostatizing 
denominations of this day, the men who, by their ecclesiastical politics or personal ability, or so 
called "scholarship," are "outstanding" and yet deny or ignore the wrath of God, — fear them not! 
They are false prophets, prophets of "peace," — which can only be found in the shed blood of the 
Redeemer: the blood which they do not preach. 

Oh, that Day! that Day! — for these lying preachers of "peace, peace," who have said, "God is 
too good to damn anybody." And shall God, in that Day, refuse to remember the agonies of His 
Son on the Cross? Shall He change that holy hatred of sin, wherein He forsook Christ and spared 
Him not? — all because miserable guilty Universalists, Unitarians, Millennial Dawnists, "Modernists," 
"Christian(!) Scientists(!)" — all the fawning "Hush, hush" preachers, have promised to men "a God 
that would not show wrath against sin!" A God who would indeed "spare all, — yea, probably, even 
Satan, finally!" 

Let this awful word Org , wrath, settle into the conscience of every soul; for God hath spoken 

And every Preacher and every Prophet of God has warned of it: Enoch (Jude 14,15); Noah (II 
Pet. 2:5); Moses (Deut. 32:35); the Psalmists, the Prophets (for example, Isaiah, — all of Chapters 
24 and 34); the Lord's forerunner, John the Baptist, with his "Flee from the wrath to come"; the 
Apostles, — from Romans to Revelation; and the great Preachers and Evangelists of the Christian 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

centuries, — the men who have won souls — the Reformers, the Puritans, the Wesleys, Whitefields, 
Edwardses, Finneys, Spurgeons, Moodys, — all have told of man's guilt and danger, of the coming 
judgment, and of the wrath of God upon the impenitent and unbelieving. 

2.This wrath is here in Romans 1:18 declared to be now, like the gospel, revealed from heaven; 
and that, now, against all ungodliness; and against all unrighteousness of men; in that they have 
resisted the truth they know. 

Heretofore, as at the Deluge, and that terrible day when "Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon 
Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven," God had revealed His wrath on earth 
when men's cup of iniquity was full; as we read also in the case of the Canaanites (Gen. 15:16; 
Lev. 18:24, 25). Yet, God "overlooked" much that was evil, even in Israel (Acts 17:30; Matt. 19:8). 
But now, He "commandeth all men everywhere to repent," — in view of a revealed coming day of 
judgment, "by the Man whom He hath ordained" (Acts 17:30, 31; Rom 2: 16), and of which judgment 
He hath given certainty to all men by raising this coming Judge from the dead! The cross brought 
to an end God's "overlooking" sin, by judging it, even to the utter Divine forsaking of Him whom 
God sent to bear sin. Sin, therefore, is brought into the open; God's wrath from, heaven is now 
revealed against it all! If the blood of Jesus, God's Son cleanseth believers "from all sin"; then no 
sin has been left unjudged at the cross, and no sins will be unjudged upon the lost, at the Great 
White Throne, nor be "overlooked" today! 

This, then, is the first full, formal, and general, announcement of wrath from heaven. For 
heretofore God had man on trial. While Israel had "the house of God" on earth, and were being 
tested under law, there was (humanly speaking) the possibility of human recovery. But when they, 
with the Gentiles, crucified the Lord of glory, — killed the Righteous One, four things came to light: 
(a) the absolute character of man's sin; (b) the absoluteness of God's holiness which could not spare 
the Son of His love, when once sin was laid on him; (c) the absoluteness of God's love and grace 
toward sinners, in publishing forgiveness and righteousness as a free-gift through Christ, — "beginning 
from Jerusalem — where men had crucified His Son! and (c) the revelation from heaven of Divine 
wrath against all ungodliness, all unrighteousness. It was not that God hated sin less in the past, in 
"the times of ignorance." But there had been "overlooking, forbearance." Now, with the full 
revelation of both human guilt and Divine grace by the Cross, 'there must also be fully announced 
God's wrath from heaven against all sin. It is no longer an earthly, governmental affair, — as against 
high earthly offenders, such as Pharaoh, the Sodomites, or the Canaanites; but against all ungodliness, 
all unrighteousness. In grace God at the cross had come forth; not in Law or judgment, but as He 
was, in His being, — that is, absolutely, as Love, offering pardon and justification to men. Therefore, 
all He was, absolutely, in Heaven His dwelling-place, against the awful thing, sin, must, along with 
His pardoning grace, be revealed! The days of "winking at" ignorance are over; for, "He spared 
not His own Son!" So now, that God is against all sin must be revealed. The days of that protection 
from God's wrath that religion had afforded are over! For had not Judaism afforded a kind of 
protection? Jehovah dwelt in the thick darkness of the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle and the 
temple. An outward walk according to external enactments, secured the nation Israel, amidst which 
God dwelt. But no longer! "Your house is left to you desolate," said the Lord to the Jews. "The 
blood (for forgiveness), and the water (for cleansing) followed man's spear of hate thrust into the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Redeemer's side." But by that very fact we know that there is absolute wrath against man's sin! 
Only, flee not from this wounded Lamb; for here the wrath has struck! There is safety here, — though 
nowhere else in the universe! 

3. It will fall to other pens than Paul's — to those of Peter and Jude, and especially to that of 
John, in the Apocalypse, to describe the particulars of time and mode of visitation of God' s wrath; 
together with the places of confinement and punishment of the wicked, both before and after the 
Last Judgment. Peter will write of "Tartarus," where God cast the rebel angels of (Genesis 6; II 
Pet. 2:4); and Jude will describe both the "everlasting bonds" of those angels, and also the "eternal 
fire" that overtook the sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah; while John will show the risen Christ with 
the keys of death and of Hades (the detention-jail at present of lost human spirits); and John will 
describe also that awful "lake of fire" which shall be the final portion of the devil and his angels, 
and of those who sided with him against God. (Compare Rev. 20:10; Matt. 25:41.) 

Paul, however, will set forth the scene as from God's court. Just as his gospel will show a God 
whose love is such that He gave Christ for wicked, hateful sinners, and offers to justify the ungodly 
who believe Him; so the contrary of justification — condemnation, becomes the portion of the 
rejecter of mercy 

Since grace is the outpouring of God' s "heart of mercy," and is a personal feeling; so despised 
mercy arouses in God (and how necessarily), the opposite of mercy, — wrath! Paul's words will 
therefore be: grace, and over against it, wrath. Justification, and over against it, condemnation. 
Life, and over against it, death. He will say to the saints, "Ye have your fruit unto sanctification, 
and the end, eternal life." And, of the things whereof the saints are now "ashamed," — "the end of 
those things is death!" 

4. But be it noted, there is absolutely no foot of Scripture ground to stand upon for those who, 
refusing the Bible doctrine of a God who "visiteth with wrath," bring in their subtle arguments for 
the "final restoration of all." Honest readers know that the very opposite is taught throughout the 
Scripture. There is no wrath upon believers. There is forever nothing but wrath for unbelievers. If 
you value your soul, regard with utter horror all trifling on this question. If you do not believe in 
Divine wrath, you are not subject to Scripture, and you are in fearful personal danger. The errorists 
begin very subtly, — as the Bullingerites began with the doctrine of "soul- sleeping." (See footnote 
to Romans 15:8 found on p. 526.) Then there are the "annihilationists," the "conditional immortality" 
falsifiers, the Christadelphians, the "restorationists," the Seventh Day Adventists, and all the rest 
of the rabble. These false prophets are lulling millions upon millions into a deathful slumber from 
which only the crack of doom will rouse them. There are no "soul-sleepers" or "restorationists" in 
Hades! They know the truth now! And they are in nameless terror of coming Judgment and final 
eternal Hell. 

The God of the twentieth century is not the God of the Bible, but the God of the vain imaginations 
of shadow men, — men who will not look honestly at history (as, e.g., the Flood, or Sodom and 
Gomorrah); nay, who will not look honestly at present events ! Preachers are found by the thousands 
who pooh-pooh the thought that the great calamities, such as the late war, and that now looming, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

are judgments of God; that great droughts or floods or storms are sent by Him. Like the hardened 
wretches whom Ezekiel saw, they say, "Jehovah seeth us not; Jehovah hath forsaken the land." 

If Paul, at the beginning of Church days, could write to Roman Christians that terrible 
arraignment of the human race with which this Epistle begins, and must begin, what shall be the 
attitude, and what the words, of any faithful preacher or teacher at this, the end of the Church times, 
after nearly 2000 years of unbelief, heresy, divisions, and general denial of the guilt and danger of 
lost men! 

Merely to give in this book the meaning of the words of Paul, — without applying them to the 
very soul and conscience of the reader, would, in view of the conditions prevalent today, be both 
fruitless and cowardly: fruitless, because the present day will not study, and least of all, thoroughly 
study, Scripture; and cowardly, because shrinking from applying truth would be seeking to be 
"fundamental" without offending anyone! 

"If thou warn the wicked . . . thou hast delivered thy soul," God speaks. 

The gospel of Christ is written in letters of heavenly light against the fearful black cloud of 
human guilt flashing with warnings of coming wrath! 


This is the doctrine that Jesus Christ came to reform society (whatever "society" may be!); that 
He came to abate the evils of selfishness, give a larger "vision" to mankind; and, through His 
example and precepts, bring about such a change in human affairs, social, political, economic and 
domestic, as would realize all man's deep longings for a peaceful, happy existence upon earth, 
ushering in what these teachers are pleased to call, "the Kingdom of God." 

1. Now, in the first place, Jesus Christ came to save sinners, not "society." He said, "The Son 
of Man hath authority on earth to forgive sins." Now, sins are individual transgressions against a 
personal God; there is no such thing in Scripture as these social-gospellers dream of, — a condition 
of "society" to be "changed" or "ameliorated." All that really exists is the guilt of a vast number 
of really guilty sinners. "Society" does got exist before God at all; and it is a vain delusion of the 
devil that sins are dealt with en masse. 

2. Sinners, having been pardoned, find themselves in a blessed fellowship, a really heavenly 
thing, constituted by the Holy Spirit, who indwells each of them. But to confuse this fellowship 
with what these social-gospellers call "society," is to forget that "except a man be born again he 
cannot see the kingdom of God." 

3. It flatters men's vanity, of course, and shelters them from conviction, to be dealt with as 
"society," and not as guilty souls needing personal pardon through the shed blood of Christ. 
Therefore this gospel (which is not a gospel, but a lie, a delusion of Satan), draws together vast 
concourses of unconverted men and women, "church-members" and "non-church-members." Its 
preachers are plausible and popular, for if "society" is going to be saved in a mass, individual 
repentance need not be mentioned. The Jesus of these men, — the Stanley Joneses, the Sherwood 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Eddys, the Frank Buchmans, the Bishop McConnells, the Kagawas, and a whole host of drifters 
and on-the-fencers, is not the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world by an atoning sacrifice, 
not the One despised, forsaken, smitten of God, of the fifty-third of Isaiah! He is not at all the 
substitutionary Sacrifice drinking the cup of wrath for man's guilt! But He is "the Christ of the 
Indian Road" — or the American road, the Canadian road, the English road, as you please; walking 
by the wayside, teaching the multitudes, as in the Four Gospels, BEFORE HE WAS REJECTED 
AND DIED. He is not the RISEN CHRIST, with all power in heaven and earth given unto Him, 
pouring forth the Holy Spirit and doing mighty works, as in the early church days. 

I affirm that the present day popular preachers DO NOT KNOW what human guilt, before God, 
is! DO NOT KNOW that Christ really bore wrath under God's hand for the sin of the world! DO 
NOT KNOW that He was forsaken of God, as the whole race, otherwise, must have been! I affirm 
that they are preaching as if an unrejected, uncrucified Christ were still being offered to the world! 
They preach the "character" of Jesus, saying "nice things" of Him, and telling people to "follow 
His example": while the truly awful fact that Christ "bare our sins in His own body on the tree," 
that He was "wounded for our transgressions," that He was "forsaken of His God"; that "God spared 
not His own Son, but delivered Him up," — and that "for our trespasses," is never told to the poor, 
wretched people! Nor are they warned of that literal lake of fire and brimstone into which "every 
one not found written in the book of life" will be cast, and that forever. 

One look into the lost eternity to which these last-days "preachers" are leading those who follow 
them, renders even the briefest consideration of these men who dare to call themselves "preachers 
of the gospel," beyond all enduring. As Jeremiah cries: 

"Concerning the prophets. My heart within me is broken, all my bones shake; I 
am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of 
Jehovah, and because of His holy words. 

"Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that 
prophesy unto you: they teach you vanity; they speak a vision of their own heart, 
and not out of the mouth of Jehovah. They say continually unto them that despise 
Me, Jehovah hath said, Ye shall have peace; and unto every one that walketh in the 
stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come upon you . . . Behold, 
the tempest of Jehovah, even His wrath, is gone forth, yea, a whirling tempest; it 
shall burst upon the head of the wicked ... I sent not these prophets, yet they ran: 
I spake not unto them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, 
then had they caused My people to hear My words, and had turned them from their 
evil way, and from the evil of their doings" (Jer. 23:9, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22). 

And Ezekiel: 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of Man, prophesy against 
the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of 
their own heart, Hear ye the word of Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Woe 
unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! . . . 
They have seen falsehood and lying divination, that say, Jehovah saith; but Jehovah 
hath not sent them: and they have made men to hope that the word could be 
confirmed. Have ye not seen a false vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, 
in that ye say, Jehovah saith; albeit I have not spoken? 

"Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there 
is no peace; and when one buildeth up a wall, behold, they daub it with untempered 
mortar: say unto them that daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall" (Ezek. 


"When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die, and thou 
dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his 
iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the 
wicked of his way to turn from it, and he turn not from his way; he shall die in his 
iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul" (Ezek. 33:8, 9). 

You may say, Those were Old Testament prophets — Jeremiah and Ezekiel; and Those were 
messages to the Jews. Wait till you meet, as you will shortly, the God Who inspired these prophets. 
Let us see what you will say to Him, — you who profess to preach the gospel of Christ, and yet 
preach it not! 

And Paul saith: "Though we, or an angel from heaven should preach unto you any gospel other 
than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema." "For I delivered unto you first of all 
that . . . Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, . . . that He was buried; and that He 
hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." This very declaration of the gospel 
after Christ died, is that atoning death of His. When you leave that out, and prate about the "beautiful 
life" of Jesus, you are deceived by the devil and are a deceiver of other souls. 

4. We know that this "social gospel," the false news that humanity is to be reached in the mass, 
and not by individual conviction, individual faith, individual new birth by the Holy Spirit, is a lie, 
because Scripture directly contradicts any such notion: 

Hear Paul: "In the last days, grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers 
of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, 
unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than 
lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof: 
from these also turn away!" (II Tim. 3:1-5). 

Peter also: "In the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after 
their own lusts, and saying. Where is the promise of His coming?" (II Pet. 3:3, 4). 

Paul again: "Evil men and imposters shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and 
being deceived" (II Tim. 3:13). And our Lord plainly says: 

"In the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from 
heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the 
Son of Man is revealed" (Luke 17:29, 30). 

How dare you call yourself a believer of Scripture, while you deny such plain words as these, 
and preach a fool's dream, that the world, with the devil still here, its prince and god; and man still 
unregenerate — that the world will by some "social gospel" gradually change in character? It is a 
lie! and those that preach it, preach a lie. The words of God shall be fulfilled, and not the mouthings 
of a McConnell or the fumings of a Fosdick. 

And, O social gospeller, if you are looking for a changed state of "society," who is going to 
help you bring it in? The Holy Ghost will not, for He has inspired men to write that the very opposite 
will occur! that men shall hate one another, and that the world will grow worse, to the very return 
of Christ. And we know that enlightened Christians will not go about to bring in what they know 
from God's Word is not coming in! And ignorant Christians cannot help you, — for they know not 
how. And we know that this selfish world will not go about to bring in your social dream: for you 
and we know they are set on their own interests, and will remain so. And Satan cannot do it, if he 

So, O social gospeller, who would go about to bring in a "new social order," you are left to do 
it yourself, without that regeneration by the Holy Spirit which alone truly saves men; without any 
message of pardon for guilty souls through the shed blood of a Redeemer (for you do not preach 
that!) without the help and prayers of true believers: for, these pray, "Thy Kingdom Come"; but 
they know that Christ must return to earth to bring in that Kingdom; and they know that all other 
promises are false and lying hopes! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


The Great Principles according to which God's Judgment of Human Action Must Proceed. 

1. Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, — any one 
judging [others]: for in the very matter in which thou judgest 
the other man, thou art giving judgment against thy very 
self: tor the same things thou art practising, — thou who art 

WE HAVE TRACED the awful history of the human race in iniquity and idolatry, especially 
since the Flood, and have seen that fearful indictment of above twenty counts which ends Chapter 

We now enter upon the greatest passage in all Scripture as to the principles and processes of 
God in His estimate, or judgment, concerning His creatures. If God is "Judge of all," and if the 
whole world is to be "brought under the judgment of God" (Rom. 3:19), God will surely take pains 
to make known the great principles of His action, so that men may know beforehand how He will 
decide and act. Otherwise, men would "imagine vain things" about the true God, and hug their 
delusions to their own damnation. 

The personal character of God's relations toward men, either in the matter of salvation or of 
damnation, is rapidly being forgotten by this generation. Yet, if God be God, He must be the Judge 
of All. Back of the whole revelation of His works and ways, in His Word, is God Himself. And it 
is only the fool that saith in his heart, "No God." Mark that it is in his heart, his desires, that he 
speaks; and not in his reason or judgment! 

God created man "in His own image." Since we are persons, — so is God. Since we have personal 
feelings, — so has God. 

Now every creature stands in relation to God according to what God is. God cannot change. 
Daniel Webster, in answer to the question: "What is the greatest thought that ever entered your 
mind?" said, at once, "My responsibility to my Maker!" You must meet God, and that as He is, not 
as you might wish Him to be. If you have Christ, you have already met Him ! If you have not Christ, 
you have still to face God in His infinite holiness, and that arrayed against you, at the Judgment 

Now this second chapter of Romans deals with those who do not believe that the awful things 
of the first chapter mean themselves. Consequently, we find two sets of such self-appointed "judges" 
of others 34 in Chapter Two: 

34 Note: The Greek verb for "judging" in the first verse does not mean to estimate a man's value but to condemn his person. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

First, Those who discountenance the "openly bad" of humanity, considering themselves 
"better" — because of race, civilization, environment, education, or culture; and, 

Second, Those who discountenance the bad, thinking themselves "better," because of their 
religion, — the possession of the Divine oracles: these, of course, were, in Paul's day, the Jews 


Concerning the first class, the "respectable" sinners, who esteem themselves "better," God lays 
down six great principles of His estimate or judgment of men; and adds a seventh concerning the 
second class, the "religious" sinners; of whom God declares that the world itself despises 
inconsistency between practice and religious profession. 

Now just because the history of our race has been so black, as shown in Chapter One ("God 
gave them up — God gave them up — God gave them up — "), we who read the record are ourselves 
in peculiar danger, for the doors into the death-chamber of self- righteousness so easily open to us! 
We readily fall into the delusion that God is speaking in this chapter concerning heathen idolaters, 
who finally descended to worshiping "creeping things," — and that He cannot be speaking to us! 

But will you remember that God comes quickly, through this sad history, to man's settled state. 
For at the end of the history, the announcement concerning men is, "being filled with all 
unrighteousness!" By and by God will announce that there is 'no distinction" as to sinners, and 
will publish the fact that there is but one way of salvation for all men alike, — and that through the 
shed blood of a Redeemer. But here, as we have above said, God is heading off from escape first 
the proud "judges" of others, of every sort, — the moralists, and moral philosophers, all the "moral" 
folks, — the "whosoevers" that "judge"; and, second, those who would escape the consciousness of 
guilt and judgment by running under a "religious" roof — whether a Jewish shelter, as in Paul's 
day, or a "Christian" one, in our day. 


1. God's judgment is "according to truth" (verse 2). 

2. According to accumulated guilt (verse 5). 

3. According to works (verse 6). 

4. Without respect of persons (verse 11). 

5. According to performance, not knowledge (verse 13). 

6. God's judgment reaches the secrets of the heart (verse 16). 

7. According to reality, not religious profession (verses 17-29). 


Verse two of this chapter describes the first principle of God's judgment: it is "according to 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

2 And we know that the judgment of God is according 
to truth against them that practice such things. 3 And dost 
thou reckon this, O man, judging them that practice such 
things, and thyself doing the same, that thou shalt escape 
the judgment of God? 4 Or dost thou even despise the riches 
of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not 
knowing that the goodness of God is meant to lead thee to 

First, then, the judgment of God is "according to truth." Every man is naturally blind to his own 
state and sins. Not unless mightily convinced by the Holy Ghost, can any man imagine God's 
dealing injustice with him! The third verse brings this out. Godet (though seeking to confine this 
passage to the Jews) strikingly renders it: "Dost thou reason that thou wouldst escape, — thou? 35 A 
being by thyself? A privileged person?" And he adds, "The Greek word here used (logid-zomai — to 
reason) well describes the false calculations whereby the Jews persuaded themselves that they 
would escape the judgment wherewith God would visit the Gentiles." 

But Paul does not begin with the Jews as a class until verse 17. Here in the first part of the 
chapter he is seeking to arouse all men from that sense of security arising from self-love and 
self-flattery. 36 We must apply these searching sentences to all "respectable" persons, to all those 
who, being themselves impenitent, yet "judge" others. 

God sees the facts, nay, the motives behind the facts, of the life of every creature. Of course, 
this whole second chapter, and the first part of the third, is meant by God, whose name is Love, to 
drive us out of our false notions of Himself and His judicial procedure, into the arms of our 
Redeemer, Christ; who has borne wrath, the wrath of God, as our Substitute. But whether you are 
brought to flee to Christ or not, you must face the facts: God is a God of judgment, and a God of 
truth. See how He "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up." It is not because God loves to 
judge and condemn, for He definitely says judgment is "His strange work" (Isa. 28:21). Nevertheless, 
He must judge, and it must be "according to truth," according to the facts, the realities which are, 
of course, known to Him. He needs no "jury" to decide any case. He is Himself Witness, Jury and 

Now, in the next two verses (3 and 4), we see God dealing with the accursed folly of the deceitful 
heart of man, who dreams that by merely judging others (though he practices the same things), he 
shall escape God's judgment. Some one says, "We hate our own faults when we see them in others." 
But this state goes beyond even that, for it puts God right off His throne, and makes Him connive 
with a guilty sinner, just because, forsooth, this sinner discerns clearly and decries loudly the sins 
of others, — while committing the same himself. 

35 The pronoun "thou" is emphatic in the Greek, indicating a fond conceit about oneself. 

36 Bengel, agreeing with Meyer and Godet, gives a searching word here: "Everyone accused, tries to escape; he who is acquitted, 
escapes." And Meyer: "But it is not by an acquittal that the Jew (or any religious person) expects to escape; but by being excepted 
entirely from the judgment of God. According to the Jewish notion, only the Gentiles shall be judged; while all Jews, as the 
children of the kingdom — of Messiah, — shall inherit it!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Furthermore, such a "judge" of others becomes, in his self-confident importance, blind to God's 
constant mercy toward himself — not feeling the need of it; and in his self righteous blindness knows 
not that the "goodness" of God is meant to lead him to personal repentance instead of to judgment 
of his fellows. 37 

Note the degrees or stages, also, of God's kindness during the earth-life of such a man: First, 
it is God's "goodness," in daily preserving him, providing for him, and protecting him. Second, 
Divine goodness being despised by him, God's "forebearance" is exercised, — God does not smite 
instantly the proud ingrate, but goes on in goodness toward him, withholding wrath even at times 
when disease, danger, or death threaten all about him. Third, all God's goodness and forbearance 
being despised, God's "long-suffering" keeps waiting, even over "vessels of wrath" (see 9:22). 


5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasures 
up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of 
the righteous judgment of God — 

We have here the second principle, the cumulative character of continued impenitence. This 
shows how the hardened and impenitent sinner "lays up" during a prosperous earth-life constant 
"treasures" of wrath, 31 which will be revealed at the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 
20, when all the evil works of the lost will be shown in all their ramifications and evil influences, 
and effects upon others, as well as in the fearful personal guilt of hardness and impenitence against 
God's mercy. Not until the last evil result of a life of sin has been marked and weighed, can the 
final reward of the sinner be shown, — as all will be shown in that "Day." This is the outlook, 
probably, with most people we meet! How dread and awful that outlook for the sinner who has 
taken God' s earthly gifts and blessings as a matter of course, — no brokenness of heart or contrition 
toward God! Nay, not even thankfulness! "Behold, this was the iniquity of Sodom: pride, fulness 
of bread, and prosperous ease" (Ezek. 16:49, 50). And our Lord, in speaking of the utter carnal 
security of the Sodomites, says, "They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they 

The goodness of God to us, remembered, reflected upon, heartily believed in, moves the heart, and changes the whole attitude 
toward God. The great preacher of repentance, John the Baptist, cried, "Repent, for the Kingdom" — all you Jews have been 
hoping for! "is at hand," He was stem, as was his Lord, only with religious pretenders. 

There is an evident correlation between the phrase, 'riches of goodness,' verse 4; and the Greek word translated 'treasure 
up'. The latter word, as well as the dative of favor, seauto, 'for thyself, have certainly a tinge of irony. What an enriching is 
that!" — Godet. 

AlsoBengel: "Note the antithesis between 'despising the riches of goodness,' and 'treasuring up wrath' ; between 'hardness' 
and 'goodness'; between 'impenitent heart' and 'repentance,' of verse 4. Also note that it is 'against thyself thou art treasuring 
wrath, not against others whom thou judgest. Finally, the unquestionable antithesis between 'forbearance' and 'revelation of 

And David Brown: "What an awful idea is here expressed, — that the sinner himself is amassing, like hoarded treasure, an 
ever accumulating stock of Divine wrath, to burst upon him 'in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of 
God' ! And this is said not of the reckless, but of those who boasted of their purity!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

builded; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, 
and destroyed them all; after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of Man is revealed" 
(Luke 17:28-30). 

So they are today, in these last days: "Treasuring up unto themselves wrath" for that fearful 
"day of wrath." 

Remember, if the goodness of God toward you is not leading you to repentance, then every 
day, every hour, you live, drops another drop into the terrible "treasure" of indignation which will 
burst the great dam of God's long-suffering — in the great Day of Wrath, when God shall reveal 
His righteous judgment! (Of course, if you flee to Calvary, you will "not come into judgment" 
(John 5:24): for Judgment has already struck there!) 


6 Who will recompense to each one according to his 
works: 7 to them that by patient continuance in well-doing 
seek for glory and honor and incorruptibility, life eternal: 
8 but to those who are contentious, and disobey the truth, 
being obedient to unrighteousness, shall be wrath and 
indignation, 9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of 
man that worketh evil, both of Jew first, and also of Greek; 
10 but glory and honor and peace to every soul of man that 
worketh good, both to Jew first, and also to Greek. 

The third principle then, is, "according to works": "Who will judge every one according to his 
works." How could it be otherwise? You know that when a case comes to trial in courts of law, 
men first endeavor, through questioning witnesses, to discover the facts. Now God knows all the 
facts about every one of Adam' s race, and His judgment must be in accordance with them. It is not 
that God desires you to be damned, but, contrariwise, to believe on His Son, upon Whom His 
judgment for human sin fell at Calvary. Nevertheless, those that come up at the Last Judgment 
(Rev. 20:11-15) will be "judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to 
their works" . . . "They were judged every man according to their works." 

But, as we shall see, it is the life as a whole, the life-choice, that is in question here. Consequently, 
we read here of the two great classes: the patiently enduring, and the rebellious; those whose 
life-practice is good, and those who work evil; those who obey the truth, and those who reject it in 
order to remain in the unrighteousness they love. 

Verse 7: The "patient continuance in well-doing" is not at all set forth as the means of their 
procuring eternal life, 39 but as a description of those to whom God does render life eternal. 


It must carefully and Constantly be borne in mind, as we have said above, that the question in this chapter is, the principles 
of God's judgment as Judge of all, and not the last assize itself, nor any account of the manner in which those said to be "working 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Well-doing is subjection to and obedience to the light God has vouchsafed. 40 To Abel, "well-doing" 
meant approaching God by a sacrifice, as a sinner, as he had been taught to do. To Noah, 
"continuance in well-doing" meant building an ark to save his house and preserve life upon the 
earth, involving years of labor, and the ridicule of man. To Abraham, it meant leaving his country, 
his relatives, and his father' s house, and becoming a stranger and pilgrim on earth. To Job, it meant 
his God-fearing, evil-rejecting life; and afterwards, in the midst of his great affliction, bowing 
before the presence of God in dust and ashes. To Matthew the publican, it meant rising from his 
business and following the Lord Jesus; to Cornelius the centurion, a life of patient prayer and 
generosity, — and then believing the gospel at Peter's lips. To Lydia, it meant humble and faithful 
attendance at "the place of prayer" till Paul came and "her heart was opened" to give heed to the 
gospel of grace spoken by the apostle, — whence followed her "obedience of faith." 

In every age since man sinned there have been those like Jabez, who was "more honorable than 
his brethren, and called upon God" (1 Chron. 4:9, 10); and like Joseph, who was "separate from 
his brethren." There always have been choosers of God and rejectors of God. 

Verse 8: We need only sketch in Scripture a few of the contentious, the factious 41 a Cain who 
was angry, and hateful at God's accepting Abel's sacrifice; an Esau who despised his birthright 
and hated to the end the people of God; a Pharaoh who said to Moses, "Who is Jehovah that I should 
hearken unto His voice?" A Saul who despised the word of Jehovah and sought to destroy His elect 
king, David; a Jehoiakim, apostate king of Judah, who "cut with his penknife" and burned the 
prophecies of Jeremiah; scribes and Pharisees, who rejected John's baptism of repentance, — and, 
consequently, our Lord's loving offer of eternal life for sinners through faith in Himself alone; 
infidel Sadducees, who obeyed not the truth, by ridiculing it, as Modernists do today. All about 

good" entered upon that path (which, of course, is always by a publican's trust in a God of mercy). But we are being shown in 
Chapter 2 how God must proceed in accordance with His being, toward two classes, — those subject to Him, and those refusing 

Alford well says: "The Apostle is here speaking generally, of the general system of God in governing the world, — the 
judging according to each man's works — punishing the evil, and rewarding the righteous. No question at present arises, how 
this righteousness in God's sight is to be obtained — but the truth is only stated broadly to be further specified by and by, when 
it is clearly shown that by works of law (erga nomou) no flesh can be justified before God. The neglect to observe this has 
occasioned two mistakes: ( 1) an idea that by this passage it is proved that not faith only, but works also in some measure, justify 
before God; and an idea that by well-doing here is meant faith in Christ. However true it be, so much is certainly not meant here, 
but merely the fact that everywhere, and in all, God punishes evil and rewards good." 

God often, in His saving-grace, meets an enemy like Saul of Tarsus in the very heat of his opposition to Christ; or saves, 
and reveals His truth to, young men of wild dissipation like Augustine; or takes up and leads all the way to the Celestial City a 
profane Bunyan. 

Nevertheless, of these also, it could be said, as Paul spake: "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision." After grace 
reached them, they too are described as "those who sought for glory and honor and incorruption." We repeat that verses 7 to 10 
are not a revelation of the way of salvation, but a general description of the character of those that are saved. 
Literally, it reads here, "those who are of contention"; that is, whose hearts, instead of believing and obeying, rise in opposition 
to the truth, contending inwardly against the truth and outwardly with them that proclaim it. The word "contentious" here evidently 
refers to the first conscious risings of man's wicked heart against God's revealed will. '"Of contention' defines unbelievers, as 
those who are 'of faith' defines believers" (Hodge). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

us we perceive them, — "the factious," those who oppose to Scripture their notions or arguments, 
and continue to obey unrighteousness. The world is filled with them, and they will fill hell shortly! 

And now we must faithfully read and believe what God declares will befall these "factious" 
unbelievers: Wrath — indignation — tribulation — anguish 42 thus is the fearful visitation of The 
Great Day upon the impenitent described, with concise but sweeping comprehensiveness: Wrath: 
this is "revealed from heaven" as the state of God's mind toward the unbelieving wicked — "the 
wrath of God abides upon him" (John 3:36). Indignation: this is vividly described in Nahum: "Who 
can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger?" Or Ezekiel: 
"I have poured out My indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath." 
It seems to be the outburst in visitation of wrath stored up. Then (verse 9), tribulation: Here the 
visitation strikes its object. The false peace of his hardened, impenitent earth-life is now horribly 
broken up by direct visitation from God in vengeance. Finally, anguish: which sets forth the result 
of that tribulation which meets the lost directly from an angry, indignant Creator and Judge. "I am 
in anguish in this flame," cried lost Dives, in Hades (God's prison for the lost until the Day of 
Judgment). What unspeakable horrors, then, will that Day bring! 

Verse 10: But God must again, in His heart of love, show in what sweet, heavenly contrast are 
those working good: glory, honor, peace, — to every such soul, Jew or Greek! The order of the 
words plainly points to that day when the righteous will be manifest. Then will be manifested in 
them that glory which they sought; there will be public honor; there will be everlasting peace! 

Now remember that although we have not yet come in this Epistle to the unfolding of the way 
of peace, yet it belongs to your peace to let this great passage we are studying fall full into your 


11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For 
as many as made a life-choice of sin, though without law, 
without law also shall perish; and as many as under law 
made a life-choice of sin, shall be judged by law. 43 

Verse ll:The fourth principle, then, is, "Without respect of persons." Among men, there is 
almost nothing else but what James and Jude denounce as "showing respect of persons" — "for the 
sake of advantage." The rich, the educated, the travelled, the cultured, the prominent, the influential, 
the pleasing, the strong, — are all sought after. The poor, the ignorant, the weak, are despised and 

42 Wrath {org ) and indignation (thumos) is the true Greek order here. Alford' s comment is excellent: "According to the arrangement, 
the former word denotes the abiding settled mind of God, as in John 3:36, towards them; and the latter, the outbreak of that anger 
at the Great Day of retribution." 

43 Literally: "For as many as without law sinned, without law also shall perish; and as many as under law sinned, through law shall 
be judged." But the tense of the verb sinned, in both cases is the aorist; and cannot refer to the mere fact that they committed 
sin; for "all have sinned." The word "sinned" must refer to the general choice of sin as against righteousness and holiness. 
Therefore have we translated it "life-choice of sin," because the whole life is here looked at as a unit, and that life was a choice 
of sin, whether by Gentiles without the Mosaic law, or by Jews under it. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

neglected. But not so with God. He sees men through His own eyes of holiness and truth always. 
He "seeth not as man seeth." It is a terrifying thought to earth' s great, — but an infinitely comforting 
thought to every humble God-fearing soul, — that there is an impartial One, with no respect of 
persons, with whom they have to do! 

Distinction in responsibility, according to privilege enjoyed, is constantly carried through 
Scripture. But light is light, — not darkness at all. Light is an absolute quality. If persons were lost 
in a forest at night, the least glimmer of light seen somewhere would attract those who desired 
deliverance from darkness, and they would hasten toward it; while those that feared light because 
of works of evil in which they desired to persist, would shrink back farther into the darkness; loving 
darkness not for its own sake, but, as our Lord said, "because their works are evil." 

In both cases, whether of those that do not have the (Mosaic) Law, or of those living, as the 
Jews did, under it if they choose sin, there is doom. There will be no respect of persons at all. Those 
"without law" choosing sin "shall perish": those "choosing sin under law shall be judged by 
that law," and consequently go into more terrible damnation. 44 


13 For not those hearing law are righteous before God, 
but on the contrary those doing law shall be accounted 
righteous. 14 (For when Gentiles not having law, by nature 


There is a poisonous vagary floating like a miasma through Christendom, that those who do not have the light of the gospel 
will be saved, either by a "second chance," or by "purgatorial fires," — because, forsooth, "God is too good to punish sinners." 
Paul will answer these theories in Chapter 3 by an unanswerable question: "Is God unrighteous who visiteth with wrath? God 
forbid: for how then shall God judge the world?" Meaning, that wrath is inseparably connected with judgment, whatever the 
degree of light sinned against may have been. 

How indescribably more awful will be the doom of those who now constitute a third company — even those who reject the 
love and grace of God manifested in His Son! (Heb. 10:28, 29). 

Always remember that the contemplation of an especially heinous degree of iniquity and consequent judgment is accompanied 
in the deceitful human heart by the delusion that those not chiefly guilty shall somehow wholly escape. But verse 12 distinctly 
says as many as chose sin, even though they be "without law" (anomos — Cfl Cor. 9:21 — without externally declared divine 
revelation), shall also perish. 

Now, the word perish here is a terrible word! When used in Scripture regarding human beings it never hints of annihilation, 
but rather the contrary: "And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him who 
is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna" (Matthew 10:28). What "destroy both soul and body in Gehenna" means as 
to time, is shown in Matthew 25:41-46: "Then shall He say unto them on the left hand, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into the 
eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.' And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous 
into eternal life," — compared with Revelation 20:10: "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and 
brimstone, where are also the Beast and the False Prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night unto the ages of the ages." 

Note the same word, aionios, eternal, concerning life and concerning punishment. "The ages of the ages" is God's constant 
phrase for the duration of His own endless existence; and for that of Christ, the Son; and for that of His saints. See Gal. 1 :5 (the 
first instance of this phrase, — used 21 times in the New Testament). Revelation 4:9; 1:18; 22:5, need to be compared with 20:10, 
as examples. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

do the things of the Law, these, not at all having law, unto 
themselves are law; 15 for such show forth the work written 
in their hearts of the Law, their conscience bearing 
joint- witness [to this "work" in their hearts], and their inward 
thoughts answering one to the other, accusing [them] or else 
excusing [them].) 

Verse 13: Not those hearing law, but those practising, accounted righteous before God. 

The fifth principle is, that hearing God's Word is no advantage without obedience. Paul addresses 
the Jew directly, beginning at verse 17; but here, in verse 13, the principle is announced in general. 
It is not yet the Jew as possessing circumcision and the Law, as in verses 17 to 29 (for the word is 
hearing law — not the Law). But it is, in verse 13, the great fact, (true of Jews or Gentiles), that the 
possession of Divine truth can avail nothing with God apart from subjection and obedience thereto. 
There is no form of the "deceitfulness of sin" more insidious and more prevalent (because of its 
subtle power over the self-righteous heart) than that of settling down into false peace because of 
merely knowing God's truth. Nor does God in this verse say any will be justified by "doing" (for 
He tells us plainly elsewhere that none will be), but He is saying here that doing, not mere hearing, 
is what His judgment calls for. We shall find that the gospel will speak of the "obedience of faith": 
whereas disobedience and unbelief are interchangeable words. 

We know that the blood of Christ is the only procuring cause for our being accounted righteous, 
and faith the sole condition. Yet it is deeply instructive here to quote a passage like that of Luke 
1:6, concerning Zacharias and Elizabeth: "And they were both righteous before God, walking in 
all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." Now their walk was not the ground 
of their acceptance, although only such as they are accepted! For they were subject to God's Word, 
not mere hearers, but doers. The first verse of the book of Job describes such another. Indeed, at 
heart all God's saints are such. 

Verses 14, 15: (For when Gentiles [ethn 45 — nations] not at all having law — that is Law as 
an external revelation from God (the Law if you will): these words alone, although there are many 
like passages, wholly refute the claim that God gave the Law to all nations. By nature, the things 
of the Law are doing — this does not mean that they are fulfilling the claims of the Law, for they 
do not have it, but that they are unconsciously aware, as moral beings, of what is right and wrong. 
These, law not at all having, to their own selves are law. We are giving the literal rendering of 
this passage. Note, first, that they do not at all have law, that is, external Divine enactment. Next, 
they are by their moral constitution, not by external enactments, "law to their very selves." Being 
such ones, as show out [by their actions] the work (of the law) written in their hearts — Here, 
note most carefully that it is not the Law that is written, for the word "written" agrees grammatically 
with "the work." It is a work that is written by God in the constitution of these whom He has 
"suffered to walk in their own ways" (Acts 14:16). For "as for His ordinances, they [the nations] 
have not known them" (Ps. 147:20). God is describing how He has constituted all men: there is a 

45 This Greek word ethn , translated "Gentiles" in our versions, could always, and in some cases with great advantage, be translated 
"nations." It means, like the Hebrew goyim, nations foreign to Israel — not having, as had they, the true God. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"work" within them, making them morally conscious. As we have said elsewhere, such a "work" 
would not be contrary to any succeeding revelation to Israel. Indeed, if the Israelites had not had 
this "work" within them, their moral constitution, the external enactments given by Moses might 
as well have been given to the stones of the wilderness. The conscience of these [nations] bearing 
fellow witness [with the Law, — though they have it not] and their inner-thoughts accordingly 
one with another accusing or else excusing) — Note that verses 14 and 15 are a parenthesis 
explanatory of verses 12 and 13: read verses 13 and 16 consecutively to see this fact. 


16 — in the day when God shall judge the secret counsels 
of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ. 

Verse 16: The sixth principle of God's judgment here is that it comprehends the very secrets 
of men. Within every human heart, in hours of consciousness, there is going on a constant dialogue, 
as we read in verse 15: "Their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with 
another accusing or else excusing them." There are those, indeed, in whom conscience has been 
"seared as with a hot iron," so that its voice is no longer heard in protest. In these, also, however, 
God continually reads the dark, secret things of sin. And in the coming "day" all secrets must come 
to light. For the wicked, what an outlook! Even the saints, when Christ appears the second time, 
will come before the judgment seat (bema) of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). And, while the question of their 
works as sins will not be brought up at all, — for it is "apart from sin" that He appears to His own 
(Heb. 9:28), — yet to these, nevertheless, it is said in I Cor. 4:5: "Judge nothing before the time, 
until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest 
the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God." It will be a solemn 
enough time, even for the saints, to have the works of their lives since their salvation examined, 
yea, even concerning the "counsels of the hearts," their hidden motives. For the saints will receive 
only such "praise from God" as is righteously possible for each. But how unutterably awful even 
the contemplation of appearing unfor given before a God Who will judge the secrets of men by 
Jesus Christ, — no longer a patient and willing Redeemer, but God' s appointed Judge in righteousness ! 
(Acts 17:31). 

In this great passage, verses 12 to 16, review carefully these facts: 

(a) Absence of degrees of privilege possessed by others, excuses no one. 

(b) The greater the privilege, however, the more searching and severe the judgment. 

(c) All have committed sin, but it is the life-choice of sin, the life looked at as a whole, that is 
considered, in this place. 

(d) Merely "hearing" the Law by a Jew (or, today, by Gentiles, the gospel) justifies no one. The 
Jew boasted in knowing the Law, but Christ said, "None of you keepeth the Law." Thus, today, 
millions conscious of "Christian" privilege, and making "Christian" profession are going steadily 
on to judgment. For the Jew did not obey the Law (which commanded righteousness), and the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

merely professing Christian has not obeyed the gospel, which commands personal faith in the shed 
blood of the Redeemer, and confession before men of faith in Christ Risen. 

(e) The Gentiles, by their very moral constitution, "by nature," approve the things of the Law: 
that is, all men know it is wrong to lie, steal, and murder. I asked Chinese who had never heard the 
Law or the gospel if they knew these things were wrong; they all admitted they did. Consequently, 

(f) They are said to be "a law unto themselves, since they show the work of the Law, written 
in their heart." It is an inner moral consciousness "written" in man's heart, a "work," which while 
not the Law (though of course not contrary to it), must nevertheless, not be confounded with that 
operation of God in the future in the hearts of redeemed Israel, when He restores them: "I will put 
my Law in their inward parts [they will love it], and in their hearts will I write it." [They will not 
have to try to recollect the Law: they will have it constantly and always before them] for the "stony 
heart" will have been "taken away" (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:24-27). It is then that the (Mosaic) 
Law will be fulfilled in "every jot and tittle," by redeemed Israel. 

But the work of the Law appears in every human being; so that we read, 

(g) Man's conscience bears fellow- witness to this law- work in his moral constitution; 
consequently men daily, hourly, constantly, are having "inward thoughts" which have voices of 
accusation or approval, according as a man's conduct may be. 

To repeat, then, God here declares that there is a righteous "work" Divinely written and 
maintained in all men's hearts, from which they cannot escape; because their consciences "agree" 
with it (with this inner working). This "work" is evidently what lies at the root of the human 
conscience. The Law (of Moses) has never been written in the hearts of the Gentiles; but a Divine 
"work" is present in all men. The moral and spiritual constitution of man came 2,500 years 'before 
Moses' Law; and the latter could only be the written expression of what existed before as a work, 
or witness, in man's being, to which his conscience attested. 46 


The seventh principle of His judgment, therefore, is, that even a Divinely revealed religion 
provides no security to its professor if devoid of reality: whether the "Jews' religion" at the beginning 
of the dispensation, or the "Christian religion" (as it has come to be called), today (verses 17 to 


Of course the Sabbath was not a part of this "work" in man's heart. For, although God. "blessed" the seventh day (Gen. 
2:3), and "hallowed" it, it was because He rested from all His work on that day. And it was into His rest that men failed to enter. 
For God first revealed the Sabbath to man when He gave it to Israel by means of the manna, and explained it at Sinai (Ex. 19). 
It was God's special token of a co venant between Himself and Israel. No one can read Ex 31:12-17, with an open mind, and fail 
to see that the Sabbath was a new revelation to Israel at that time! (Compare Neh. 9: 14) 

To Adam was given one simple test of his obedience — not a day, but a tree ! Israel to whom God' s rest was proposed twice, 
have ever failed to enter it (Heb. 4:3-8). 

See further discussion of the Sabbath in Chapter Fourteen. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

17 But if thou bearest the name of a Jew, and restest 
upon the Law, and gloriest in God, 18 and knowest His will, 
and approvest the things that are excellent, being instructed 
out of the Law; 19 and art confident that thou thyself art a 
guide of the blind, a light of them that are in darkness, 20 
a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having in the 
Law the form of knowledge and of the truth: 21 thou 
therefore teaching another! art thou not teaching thyself? 
thou, preaching not to steal — dost thou steal? 22 thou, saying 
not to commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou, 
holding idols in abhorrence, art thou a temple-robber? 23 
thou, who art glorying in the Law, through thy own 
transgression of the Law, art thou dishonoring God?24 For 
the name of God through you [Jews] is being blasphemed 
among the Gentiles, even as it is written! 25 For 
circumcision indeed does profit, if thou art a law-keeper: 
but if thou art a transgressor of law, thy circumcision is 
become uncircumcision.26 If therefore the uncircumcision 
be observing the moral requirements of the Law, shall not 
the uncircumcision of such a one be reckoned for 
circumcision? 27 and shall not the uncircumcision which is 
by nature, if it keep the Law, rise up in judgment against 
thee, who with the letter and circumcision art a transgressor 
of law? 28 For he is not a Jew, who is one in appearance: 
neither is that circumcision which is in appearance, in the 
flesh! 29 But on the contrary, he is a Jew who is one in 
secret; and circumcision is of the heart, in spirit, not in letter; 
whose praise is not from men, but on the contrary, from 

In the above verses Paul directly addresses the Jew. He shows that the Jew "rested" on The 
Law, — on having it; and was proud that the will of the true God had been revealed to him; that he 
"knew" that will, and was therefore able to "approve the things that are excellent." He developed 
a confidence in himself as a guide, a light, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher, because in the law 
he had "the form of knowledge and of the truth." But did he apply it to himself, — his teaching, his 
preaching, his saying what folks should be, his abhorring idols, his glorying in The Law? Nay! the 
name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles because of the selfishness, the pride, the 
covetousness, the general wickedness of the Jew! 

Paul goes on to declare that Jewish circumcision, which was the mark of that nation' s separation 
to God, was good only if one were thus really separated to God, but that if not, the Jew was really 
an uncircumcised one; that he was excelled instead, and "judged," by those who, wholly outside 
circumcision, feared and walked with God. Paul finally declares that a man is not a Jew who is 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

merely one outwardly, and that God does not regard mere outward circumcision: that the only Jew 
in God' s sight is an "Israelite indeed," like Nathaniel, sincere and without guile; and that circumcision 
is a heart matter, in the real spirit of separation to God and regard for Him. (See the same phrase 
by which God describes a real Jew [en t krupto] in Matt. 6:3, 6, etc.) 

So much for the Jew who was the "religious" man, when Paul wrote Romans. But the "religious" 
man today is the "professing Christian," and "church-membership" as they call it, has taken the 
place, in the thought of Christendom, of the Jew's consciousness of belonging to the favored 
Israelitish race. 

If we should thus apply this passage (17-29), must it not read something like this? — "If thou 
bearest the name of a Christian, and restest on having the gospel, and gloriest in God, and knowest 
His will, and approvest the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the gospel; and art 
confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, having in the gospel the form of knowledge and 
of the truth" — Then would follow the searching questions of verses 21 and 22; fordo we not know 
teachers that teach others, but refuse to follow their own teaching? And preachers that denounce 
stealing, but are accused by the world of being themselves money-grabbers? 47 So it would read, 
"Thou who gloriest in the gospel, through thy disobedience to the gospel, dishonorest thou God? 
The name of God is blasphemed among non 'church-members' 48 because of you! 
Church-membership 4 ' indeed profiteth if thou be an obeyer of the gospel; but if thou be a refuser 

The preaching of the gospel is called in the world a "learned profession," along with law and medicine, instead of a high calling 
of God. The world sneers at the ecclesiastical politics and self-seeking it sees displayed so often. Many professional evangelists, 
especially, have caused a stench by their reaching after men's pocket-books. 

Of course we are not referring here to humble, repentant people who may not have become connected as yet with any company 
of believers: for we have found some few of this class. On the other hand, neither do we at all refer, in the questions above, to 
the cynical, self-righteous, critics of the church, and church-fellowship, who complain: "The church is full of hypocrites, therefore, 
I will have nothing to do with it." The folly of such as these is at once manifest: hypocrites are going to hell; and these men, 
who pretend to be shunning the hypocrites on earth, if they reject personal faith in and public confession of Christ, are on their 
way to join them throughout eternity ! For whatever the failings of Christians, in their divisions into sects, their all too manifest 
weakness of faith, and their inconsistencies, true believers find themselves desirous at once of fellowship with other believers — be 
the weakness of those believers what it may! 

We repeatedly call attention to the fact which every student of Scripture discovers, that believers are not known in Scripture 
as members of a local assembly, but members of the Body of Christ (Eph. 5:30): "members of Christ" (I Cor. 6:15); and, "members 
one of another" (Rom. 12:5). This is the only membership found in Scripture. 

Although men use the word "member" of this or that local assembly or "denomination," the word should be fellowship 
instead of membership. There is but one Body: "There is one Body and one Spirit." This should be the constant consciousness 
of all Christians. To conceive of a Presbyterian body, or a Baptist body, or a Methodist body, is to defeat at once the one great 
Body-consciousness which the Holy Spirit desires to create in all true believers, in answer to our Lord's Great Prayer in John 
17:21 : "That they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us." 

This, of course, is the very farthest remove from the modernistic cry for "unity," (as they say), in which they would include 
all in an outward gathering together — whether believers, unbelievers (modernists), Jews, or what-not. The unity of the Body of 
Christ is in the Holy Spirit, and every believer is a member of that one Body of which Christ Himself is the Head. 

The essence of sectarianism is to be so committed to a system, or to a person, as to be unable to go on with God, in living 
faith. No man, no system is fully right. Only God's Word is perfect. If you are free, you will not be governed in reading God's 
Word by what any man may say, however excellent; or what any system holds. If you must run to this or that "authority," you 
are a mere sectarian. The Holy Spirit has come! "My children shall be taught of Me," God has said. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

of a gospel-walk, thy 'church-membership' is become non 'church-membership.' If therefore a 
non 'church-member' obey the gospel, shall not his non 'church-membership' be reckoned for 
'church-membership' ? And shall not non 'church-members,' if they obey the gospel, judge thee, 
who with the letter and 'church-membership' art a refuser of a gospel- walk? For he is not a Christian 
who is one outwardly, nor is that 'church-membership' which is outward in the flesh; but he is a 
Christian who is one inwardly; and 'church-membership' is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the 
letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God." 

Now before we proceed, remember yet once again, that God's great announcement of these 
principles of His throne is given to awaken men out of their false hopes about themselves, unto the 
truth about themselves; and is to be regarded as a description of God's judgment, as it must be — in 
order that men may be aroused, and not refuse His truth. But do not confuse Romans Two with 
Revelation Twenty! At the Judgment Day there will be no such preaching and reasoning with men 
as Paul here is doing, but damnation only — "according to their works — the things written in the 
books." O sinner, if God' s rebukes are still coming to thee, there is sweet hope for thee! There will 
be no rebukes in that Great Day: but "visitation" only! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


The Jews had God's Oracles — a Great Advantage: their Unfaithfulness Proves, not Hinders, 
God's Just Judgment. Verses 1-8. 

Sweeping Fourteen-fold Indictment from Old Testament Scriptures: All Men, Jews and 
Gentiles, Brought in Guilty before God; and so All Mouths Stopped. Verses 9-20. 

Grace, However, for the Guilty! God's Righteousness by Another Way than Law-through 
Faith in Jesus Christ. Verses 21-31. 

1 What advantage then hath the Jew [over the Gentile]? 
or what has been the profit of circumcision? 2 Much every 
way: foremost of all, because they were entrusted with the 
oracles of God. 3 For what if some were faithless to the 
trust? shall we at all think that their faithlessness annulled 
God's faithfulness? 4 Be it not thought of! Yea, let God be 
true, though every man aliar; as it is written, That Thou 
mightest be justified in Thy words, And mightest prevail 
when Thou comest into judgment [by man]. 5 But if our 
unrighteousness commendeth the righteousness of God, 
what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who visiteth with 
wrath? (I speak after the manner of men). 6 Be it not thought 
of! for then how shall God judge the world? 7 But if the 
truth of God through my lie abounded unto His glory, why 
am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 and why not (as we are 
slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say). Let 
us do evil, that good may come? — whose condemnation is 

OR TO PARAPHRASE this passage: "What preeminence then (if both Jewhood and 
circumcision are spiritual and inward only) hath the Jew? Or what has the Divine ordinance of 
circumcision amounted to? Much in every respect! But first and foremost that to that nation the 
oracles of God were entrusted. For what if some were faithless (to that trust)? Shall their faithlessness 
render inoperative the faithfulness of God (in carrying out those oracles)? Far be the thought! Yea, 
let God be found true, and every man, Gentile and Jew (found) false; as it is written (and that by 
king David, himself, confessing blood-guiltiness): 

'That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, 

And mightest prevail when Thou are judged (by 

sinful man as to the justice of Thy ways.') 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"But (it is further objected) if the unrighteousness of us Jews has proved and publicly commended 
the righteousness of God both as to His holy nature and' as to His truth — (for He plainly prophesied 
Israel would sin) can we not say that God would be unrighteous to visit us Jews with wrath? (I am 
speaking thus, — though with horror — because it is the way men talk). Now away with the thought! 50 
For how then (if it were unrighteous for God to visit a Jew with wrath) could God judge the 
WORLD? (as He indeed will). But (the Jewish objector continues) if the truth of God through my 
falsity has abounded unto His glory, why am I still judged as a sinner? and why not (since our 
Jewish evil-doings have in the past been made by God to bring about good) — why not keep doing 
evil that good may come? They are even slanderously reporting our teaching this awful 
doctrine! — because we preach righteousness by grace and faith and not by good works. The 
condemnation of those who bring such arguments is self-evident, and on the very face of it, is just!" 

Now to us, at this end of the dispensation, this insistence of God upon moral reality before Him 
of all, including the Jews themselves, "seems simplicity itself; but it was not so simple to those 
whom it seemed to strip of all their special and Divinely bestowed privileges." Paul assuredly tells 
us, in this third chapter, that there is "no distinction" before God between Jews and Gentiles as 
regards sinner-hood, but he will meet those objections which would arise (vv. 1-8) based in the 
Jew's mind on (a) the peculiar position of privilege given by God to Israel as Jehovah's separate 
people; and on (b) the righteous character of God Himself as conceived of by the Jew in his privileged 
position. These objections 51 are specious and daring — next to blasphemous: but they must be 

The importance of this great passage cannot be overestimated, for if the Jew as that end of the 
dispensation, or any "religious" person at this end, be allowed to plead special privilege or light as 
exempting him from judgment, he will spiritually (of course not actually) escape the general sentence 
of verse 19, where "all the world" is brought under the judgment of God. If a man escapes in spirit 
from God's pronouncement of "guilty," he will never truly rely upon the shed blood of the 
Guilt-Bearer, Christ! 

Now there are three Jewish questions raised in this passage: 

Question I 

50 The Greek expression m -genoita, translated in both A. V, and R. V. "God forbid," does not contain the name of God, and should 
not be so translated. It amounts to "Banish the thought!" Literally, it is, "Be it not so!" or, "Let it not be conceived of!" Paul 
uses it frequently, — as much as nine or ten times in this Epistle — to denote instant and horrified rejection of a conception. 


Probably Alford is right in viewing these objecting questions "not as coming from an objector, but as asked by the apostle 
himself anticipating the thought of his reader." I would suggest, however, that the questions beginning in this manner in verse 
1 proceed to Paul' s thinking Jew-wise in verse 5, and finally, in verse 7, quoting verbally what a Jew (not Paul) would say. This 
whole passage is generally regarded as one of the most difficult in the whole Epistle. But it will, as we spend work upon it, repay 
us, Bunyan says: 

"Hard texts are nuts — I would not call them cheaters: 
Whose shells do ofttimes keep them from the eaters." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verses 1 to 4: What advantage 52 or preeminence has the Jew and circumcision? 

Answer: That nation was entrusted with the oracles of God — inestimable, eternal advantage! 
despite their unfaithfulness. Every writer of the Bible is, we believe from this, an Israelite. Jewish 
faithlessness could not annul God's faithfulness in carrying out those oracles (whether of promise, 
prophecy, or judgment). God must be found true, though every man be false (to whatever God 
entrusts to him). Paul instances David's most humble confession and ascription of righteousness 
to God, after David's own great sin had shown David himself faithless to the royal covenant Jehovah 
had committed to him. 

Alford well says: "Because they have broken faith on their part, shall God break faith also on 
His? Rather let us believe all men on earth to have broken their word and troth, than God His. 
Whatever becomes of men and their truth, His truth must stand fast." 

The "faithlessness" here of the Jew is not his failure to believe God's oracles. (That subject 
Paul takes up in Chapters 9 to 11.) What is here before us, is the Jew's attitude toward the great 
primary privilege and responsibility of that nation as the depositary of the Divine oracles. In verse 
5, Paul makes the Jews call their conduct "our unrighteousness." It consisted in: 

1. National disobedience to God's oracles from Sinai onward. 

2. Such neglect of these oracles, that at times (as in Josiah's day), a single copy of the Law was 
a rarity! 

3. Pride, however, over their position as the possessors of these oracles, 53 even to the despising 
of nations that had them not, instead of ministering them to others (as Psalm 67 shows was Israel's 
real business). 

4. Appalling ignorance of the spiritual meaning of the Divine oracles, and of the "voices of 
their prophets," so they even killed the Righteous One! (Acts 13:27). 

We know that in this dispensation of Grace some Jewish "advantages" become actually a hindrance to one desiring to enter all 
Divine blessing wholly on grace grounds. This is set forth by Paul in Philippians 3:4-7 ff. There he enumerates seven natural 
advantages, of which, curiously, circumcision is the first mentioned, zealous persecution of the Church the sixth, and outward 
legal blamelessness the seventh! These were on the profit side (Greek, literally, "gains" side), of Paul' s ledger, but he transferred 
them to the "loss" side: "What things were gains to me, these have I counted loss for Christ." 

"As to the expression, "God's oracles" (Gr. logia) we quote: Olshausen: "No doubt in the first place the promises (Acts 
7:38; I Pet. 4:11, etc.), and indeed especially those of the Messiah and the kingdom of God, to which all others were related . . . 
but the whole Word of God is also indicated by this expression. The Divine promises were confided to the Jews, since in what 
follows it is just this faithlessness (apistia) in the possession of these promises which is spoken of. The mention is made of 
Divine faithfulness (pistia) only in connection with this faithlessness." 

Tholuck; "Oracles (logia) here are primarily, Divine declarations; hence, particularly, promises and prophecies." 

Alford: "Not only the law of Moses, but all the revelation of God hitherto made of Himself directly, all of which had been 
entrusted to Jews only." 

Meyer: "Paul means the Holy Scriptures and especially the prophecies of the Messiah and the kingdom. These are not 
destroyed by the Jews' unbelief." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Question II 

Verses 5 and 6: If God makes use of human sin to set forth His glory (as He will) would it not 
be unrighteous to punish that sin with wrath? Here Paul enters into the Jewish consciousness: "If 
our unrighteous Jewish history has commended the righteousness of God, what shall we say? God 
went right on fulfilling what His oracles said, despite the unfaithfulness of us to whom they had 
been committed, and, in fact, by means of our sinful Jewish history God's prophecies concerning 
our disobedience were fulfilled before the whole world, from Moses on." 

Read here Deuteronomy 31:14 to 32:47. For it is about Israel that Deuteronomy 32:35 to 47 is 
written. The Jew, knowing well his past disobedient history, yet holds fast to his national place of 
outward favor, resisting Paul's word of Chapter Two, "He is not a Jew that is one outwardly"; and 
daring to regard God as "unrighteous" who would "visit with wrath" individuals of His favored 
nation — for they had only carried out God's predictions! 

Paul, in even bringing up such a question as God's acting unrighteously in visiting disobedient 
Israelites with wrath, instantly puts in the reverent parenthesis: "I speak after the manner of men"; 
as, "putting himself in the place of the generality of men, and using an argument such as they would 

Answer: "Far be such a thought! for then (if God should be unrighteous in visiting a Jew with 
wrath) how shall God judge the worldV The Judge of all the earth will do right, and He will judge 
the whole world (Acts 17:31) which involves the infliction of wrath upon any and all impenitent, 
as all Scripture shows. 

Note that Paul assumes, and so do even these cavillers, that there will be a day of judgment: 
"God who visiteth with wrath." What the apostle is attacking is the false hopes of men to evade 
that judgment. Christ has been judged and smitten in our stead. But, alas, how a man hates to come 
to the cross as one "to whom that stroke was due" (Isa. 53:8). But if you manage to escape conviction 
of sin, and thus miss personal faith in the Crucified One, you will go to hell forever. 

Question III 

Verses 7 and 8: "If God's truth (as to His warnings and promises) was enhanced through my 
falsity — if He got glory through my (Jewish) sin, why does He find fault with me as a sinner?" 
Here the very words of the resisting Jew are, as it were, quoted. 

Answer: While such cavilling Paul will not deign to answer (for it answers itself!) Paul does 
return into the gainsaying Jews' teeth the constant slander against salvation by grace, — that it led 
to license: "The condemnation of such trifling is just! For it is evident both to the hearer and to the 
asker of such a question that doing evil that good may come, does not change the character of the 
evil, nor take away its guilt from him who commits it." 

"Slander" against the gospel of grace is still going on, and will go on until the Lord comes in 
righteousness. Moule well says, "The mighty paradox of justification (without works) lent itself 
easily to the distortions, as well as to the contradictions, of sinners. 'Let us do evil that good may 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

come' no doubt represented the report which prejudice and bigotry would regularly carry away and 
spread after every discourse and every argument about free forgiveness. It is so still: 'If this is true, 
we may live as we like' ; 'If this is true, then the vilest sinner makes the best saint.'" 54 

The Jews, deluded by pride, and falsely basing God's favor to their nation upon their own 
deserts, absolved themselves from judgment. Judgment they relegated to the "goyim," the "ethn ," 
the Gentiles. Paul himself shows the Jewish consciousness in his rebuke to Peter in Gal. 2: "We 
being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles." And the Pharisees said even of the common, 
non-religious sinners of the Jewish nation: "This multitude that knoweth not the Law, are accursed!" 
(John 7:49). 

But if we, professing Christians, consign this whole passage to the Jew, we fall directly into 
the same terrible trap. Whole multitudes today in Christendom, sheltered in their imagination by 
the fact that they have "joined" some church, resent the very doctrines that Paul here insists on. 
Thousands of so-called "church-members" not only have never been brought under real conviction 
of sin and guilt and personal danger, but rise in anger like the Jews of Paul' s day when one preaches 
their danger directly to them! 

Now if God paid no attention whatever to the claim of the Jew to be exempt from judgment 
because he was a Jew, neither will He pay any attention to the claim of the "Baptist" or 
"Presbyterian," "Episcopalian" or "Methodist," — as such. For all men are alike guilty, common 
sinners! What avails before a holy God the special religious names sinners may call themselves? 
This book of Romans will do you and me no good if we apply it to Jews or Mormons only! 

9 What then? are we [Jews] superior? Not at all! For we 
before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they 
are all under sin; 10 as it is written, There is none righteous, 
no, not one; 11 There is none that understandeth [divine 
things], There is none that seeketh after God; 12 They all 
abandoned the way [of God], together they became 
unprofitable; There is none that practiseth goodness, no, not 
so much as one: 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; With 
their tongues they have used deceit: The venom of asps is 
under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and 
bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 
Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way 
of peace they have not known: 18 There is no fear of God 
before their eyes. 

Verse 9: What then? — in view of all said of the Jews from Chapter 2. 17 to Chapter 3.8. 

54 "Godet says: "God cannot become guilty of any wrong toward any being whatever. Now this is what He seems to do to the 
sinner, when He at once condemns and makes use of him." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Are we Jews superior (as we generally think ourselves to be to them — that is, to the Gentiles?) 
Not at all! Paul here speaks as a Jew, — in sympathy with the Jewish nation, indeed, but rejecting 
wholly their boast of superiority, in view of the great general indictment of the whole human race, 
that began in this Epistle at Chapter 1.18 and continues to Chapter 3.20. This is what he means by 
having before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin. "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" (Hodge). 

Now this expression "under sin" is a remarkable and unusual one. We need to note the same 
expression and context in Galatians 3:22: "The Scripture shut up all things under sin, that the 
promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." "All things under sin" is a 
larger expression than "guilty of sin," or, "in bondage to sin." It is a general state described, as of 
convicts in a prison, or disease- stricken people "under quarantine." An even stronger expression 
concerning human beings, Gentiles or Jews, asserts: "God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that 
He might have mercy upon all" (1 1:32); and the words, "The Scripture shut up all things under sin, 
that the promise . . . might be given," bear out this fact. Moule says, "Being brought under sin, (as 
the Greek bids us more exactly render), giving us the thought that the race has fallen from a good 
estate into an evil." 

That the Jews and Greeks alike, that is, the whole world, are "under sin," is next abundantly 
shown by Paul from seven Old Testament Scriptures. It will not do to say, as do some, that since 
the Scriptures were given only to the Jews, therefore the Jews only are in view here, in verses 10 
to 18. For we read in Psalm 14, the very first Scripture here quoted: 

"Jehovah looked down from heaven upon the children of men, 
To see if there were any that did understand." 

"Children of men" is a wider term than Jews. Furthermore, Romans 3:9, which begins this great 
arraignment, includes both Jews and Greeks as being "all under sin." This, therefore, is a world-wide 


We shall find God speaking, in these fourteen counts, 55 first, as a Judge: verses 10 to 12; next, 
as a Physician: verses 13 to 15; and third, as a Divine Historian: verses 16 to 18. 


This awful list of fourteen facts about the human race, quoted from the Old Testament Scriptures, describes, of course, 
humanity as it is by nature. Therefore if we have believed the gospel, and are thus righteous before God in Christ, we have double 
reason to study these truths: first, that we may by understanding the facts, as God sees them, about ourselves, have a correct 
estimate of humanity, which, of course, unenlightened men never gain; and, second, that we may be constantly moved to give 
praise to God for His measureless grace that reached even such as we were! 

Meyer's outline of verses 10 to 18 is: "(1) A state of sin generally (verses 10-12); (2) practices of sin in words (verses 
13-14); in deeds (verses 15-17); and (3) the sinful source of the whole (verse 18)." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

First, then, as a Judge God describes man's condition: 

Verse 10: To begin with, There is none righteous [before God], no, not one (Ps. 14:1; 53:1; 
Job 9:2; Eccl. 7:20). No human being has in himself ever been righteous. Even Adam was not 
righteous: he was innocent — not knowing good and evil. Let us put far from our minds the fond 
falsehoods of philosophy, science, and human "religions," that there have been men of our race 
who have attained to a standing before God in righteousness. 

Verse 11: Next, There is none that understandeth [Divine things]. We have added the words 
"Divine things" even in the Scripture text, because this verb {suni mi) translated "understandeth" 
is one of those words which God reserves in Scripture unto a peculiar meaning. (See footnote on 
1:31.) Note its use in Matthew 13:13,14,15,19,23,51, as, for instance, verse 19: "When anyone 
heareth the word of the kingdom and understandeth It not." It is used twenty-six times in the New 
Testament, the last time in Ephesians 5:17: "Understand what the will of the Lord is." Now humanity, 
by nature, "understands" nothing of God. Men think they do, and write vast books on the subject; 
but God's sentence remains: "There is none that understandeth." "In the wisdom of God the world 
through its wisdom knew not God." Believe just that: it is true. 

The third of these solemn counts is, There is none that: seeketh after God. You say, How 
can this be possible in view of pagan lands filled with temples, and worshipers thronging them? 
God's answer is: "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to 
God" (I Cor. 10:20). 

Adam, sinning, turned his back and fled from a holy God. God had to take the place of the 
seeker: "Adam, where art thou?" So it has ever been. No human being has ever sought the holy 
God. Conscious of his creature weakness, and also of responsibility and guilt, and filled with terrors 
of conscience, or terrors directly demon- wrought; or perhaps under the delusion that some "god" 
(really, demon) might grant him this or that favor, man has built his temples and conducts his 
worship. Banish from your mind the idea that any human being has ever had a holy thought, or 
love for a holy God, in his natural heart! Grace "praeveniens et efficax" (grace "prevenient and 
efficacious") is the old phrase expressing the truth that God Himself takes the place of the seeker, 
convicter, persuader, giver, and final perfecter of all man's salvation. His sovereign grace goes 
ahead of, and brings into being, all human response to God. 

The fourth solemn count is that of universal human apostasy: They all abandoned the way 

[of God]. The same Greek word is used only twice elsewhere in the New Testament: "Now I beseech 
you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the 
doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them" says Paul (Chapter 16:17). The separation 

Haldane thus sums them up: "The first of them, verse 10, prefers the general charge of unrighteousness; the second, verses 
11 to 12, marks the internal character, or disorders of the heart; third, verses 13 to 14, those of the words; the fourth, verses 15 
to 17, those of the actions; the last, verse 18, declares the cause "of the whole." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

was to be absolute, and of choice. And in I Peter 3: 1 1, the saints are told (quoting Psalm 34): "Turn 
away from evil, and do good," — again a direct choice. In Psalm 14:3 it is: "They are all gone aside"; 
and in Psalm 53:3: "Every one of them is gone back." To Israel it was said: "Ye shall observe to 
do therefore as Jehovah your God hath commanded you" (Deut. 5:32). But Isaiah speaks of them 
(and we know the application becomes universal): "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have 
turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6); while Malachi in the closing sad message of the Old 
Testament bewails: "Ye are turned aside out of the way" (2:8). 

To understand Romans 3: 12, we must conceive of a race of creatures turned out of God' s way, 
as really as are Satan's angels, or the demons. The whole race of man is by nature in that awful 

As a result you have the fifth count: They are together become unprofitable. 56 The human 
race is useless, and worse than useless, to God. This word translated "unprofitable" was used by 
the Greeks concerning rotten fruit, or whatever was utterly, irrevocably bad, and therefore useless. 
Ask any housewife what can be done with rotten fruit! In Psalms 14:3 and 53:1, from which this 
is quoted, it is translated "become filthy." Unless we hold firmly in mind these statements of truth 
concerning humanity, we shall fail to see what man is, and so what God's grace sets before him. 

The sixth count is, There is none that practiseth goodness, no, not so much as one. Corruption 
rather than holiness, selfishness rather than goodness, cruelty rather than kindness, is the way of 
apostate mankind everywhere. Thus declares the Judge who looks upon men as they are. 


Verse 13: Next, God speaks as the all- wise, holy Physician, in diagnosis: Their throat is an 
open sepulchre. Doctors always insist first on looking down our throats: and we all know that the 
throat and tongue denote the state of health. There could be nothing more horrible than what we 
have here: death, decay, moral stench, and that not hidden, but open! Unhidden, unashamed 
putridity: — thus a holy God describes the throat of every one of us by nature! As Bishop Howe 
says: "Emitting the noisome exhalations of a putrid heart." We must remember we are here seeing 
man through God's all-holy eyes. 

With their tongues they have been using deceit [since man's fall]. The verb is in the imperfect 
tense, which denotes the habitual practice of the human race. This includes your tongue and mine, 
reader. But the case is still worse; for the Physician continues: 

The venom of asps is under their lips: The fangs of a deadly serpent lie, ordinarily, folded 
back in its upper jaw, but when it throws up its head to strike, those hollow fangs drop down, and 
when the serpent bites, the fangs press a sack of deadly poison hidden "under its lips," at the root, 

56 It is striking how God uses the aorist tense here and in the previous count. The race is looked at from Adam down, and as 
partaking of his guilt, and wilfully in his path. Note also hemarton of verse 23: "all sinned, and are [as a result] falling short,' 
We shall note this word further, in Chapter 5:12. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

thus injecting the venom into the wound. You and I were born with moral poison-sacks like this. 
And how people do claim the right to strike others with their venom- words! to use their snake-fangs! 

Verse 14: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness (Ps. 10:7) : To prove this, you need 
only take your stand upon any street, and strike upon the mouth a passerby. As well strike a hornets' 
nest! How men do curse others! Bitterness is ever ready! What fearful folly for a race speaking 
thus to imagine that by "being baptized," and "joining the church" they are ready to "go to heaven," 
and be in the holy company on high, with the meek and lowly Son of God and the holy angels, — and 
all this without a thought of being forgiven, washed, born again! 

Verse 15: Their feet are swift to shed blood (Isa. 59:7): I saw a child under two years raise 
its puny fist against another, crying, "I'll kill 'oo!" Murder is so common, now, that new hideous 
expressions are invented: "I'll get him"; "Bump him off; "Put him on the spot"; "Take him for a 
ride"; or, as the awful Communistic phrase puts it, "Liquidate him." When the restraining grace of 
God is withdrawn, it will be given to the Red Horse Sitter "to take peace from the earth, and that 
they should slay one another" (Rev. 6:4). Men's feet, like tigers', are ready and swift for 
blood- shedding: "For further details, read your daily papers!" 


Third, God speaks as the All-seeing Historian of fallen man: 

Verse 16: Destruction and misery are in their ways (Isa. 59:7). What an epitome of human 
history. It is said that the ancient Troy of which Homer sang was built upon the ruins of an earlier 
Troy, — and that seven other Troys, each constructed upon the ruins of a former, have been found! 
As Meyer vividly renders: "Where they go is desolations (fragments) and misery (which they 
produce)." Those who so loudly proclaim that the human race is "improving," "progressing," are 
blind deceivers, — blind to history, blind to present day facts, blind to the rising tide of human 
violence. "As it was in the days of Noah," our Lord said, "so shall be the coming of the Son of 
Man." In those days of Noah the earth became "full of violence" (Gen. 6:11). 

Verse 17: And the way of peace they have not known. (Isa. 59:8). It is a terrible thing God 
here reveals, that not one of the human race knows, or is by nature pursuing, the path of peace. It 
does not seem to me that the Spirit of God speaks here of that peace with God on the ground of 
accepted sacrifice which Chapter 5:1 describes (and which is always a direct revelation of God to 
the soul), but rather in consistence with the context and with the passage in Isa. 59:8 from which 
it is drawn: "The way of peace they know not; 57 and there is no justice in their goings: they have 
made them crooked paths; whosoever goeth therein doth not know peace." The unregenerate man 
does not know, follow, or really desire to know the way of wisdom, all whose paths are peace (Prov. 
3:17). Thomas Scott well says: "They know not the ways in which godly men walk, at peace with 
God and their neighbors; and so they go on in those paths which lead to misery and ruin both to 
themselves and to each other." 

57 This ignorance, of course, is itself a matter of guilt, as is abundantly shown in Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27: "If any of the people of 
the land sin unwittingly in doing anything . . . and be guilty." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 18: There is no fear of God before their eyes (Ps. 36:1). This last is the most awful 
count of all, and explains all the others. "To fear God consists in having such a due sense of the 
majesty and holiness and justice and goodness of God, as shall make us thoroughly fearful to offend 
Him. For each of these attributes of God is proper to raise a suitable fear in every Christian mind." 

A friend once pointed out to me a champion prize-fighter of America, and I heard another man 
remark, "How I'd hate to be hit by him!" He could fear a fellow-man. But in a few moments the 
same man's mouth was using the name of God, and even of Jesus Christ, in profanity! There was 
"no fear of God before his eyes." It meant nothing to him that God had said, "The Lord will not 
hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain." But what will it mean when that man steps out of 
this life into the realities of eternity! Bengel aptly notes, "The seat of reverence is in the eyes." 
Godet says: "The words 'before their eyes' show that it belongs to man freely to evoke or suppress 
this inward view of God on which his moral conduct depends." Haldane comments: "They have 
not that reverential fear of Him which is the beginning of wisdom, and which is connected with 
departing from evil. It is astonishing that men, while they acknowledge that there is a God, should 
act without any fear of His displeasure. They fear a worm of the dust like themselves, but disregard 
the Most High!" And Calvin says: "Out of the contempt of God cometh all wickedness. Seeing that 
the fear of God is the fountain of wisdom, when we are once departed from it, there abideth nothing 
right or sincere. If it be wanting, we are loosed unto all kind of licentious wickedness." 

This great passage then, (verses 9 to 1 8) needs to be pondered, prayed over, thoroughly believed, 
and preached continually, in these last days, when God-consciousness is dying out. It is no kindness, 
but a terrible wrong, to hide from a criminal the sentence that must surely overtake him unless 
pardoned; for a physician to conceal from a patient a cancer that will destroy him unless quickly 
removed; for one acquainted with the hidden pitfalls of a path he beholds someone taking, not to 
warn him of his danger! 

Verses 19 and 20 concern particularly that nation to whom the Law was given, for Paul plainly 
in verse 9 applies the passage through verse 18 to "both Jews and Greeks" as "all under sin." But 
now he turns directly to those who had the Law: 

19 Now we know that whatsoever the Law says it is 
speaking to them that are under the Law [i.e., to the Jews]; 
in order that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world 
[Gentile and Jew"] may come under the judgment of God; 
20 because out of works of law no flesh shall be declared 
righteous before Him; for through law comes knowledge 
of sin [not righteousness]. 

In verse 19, we repeat, and not till then, does Paul turn again to the Jews as those who were 
under law 58 to shut off their possible escape from that general arraignment by Scripture of "both 

58 Many insist that the words "the Law" of verse 19 include only all the quotations from Scripture from verse 9 to verse 18; and 
they would apply it only to the Jews, as alone possessing that Law, But God in verse 9 applies to both Jews and Greeks what is 
"written" in the following Scriptures (of verses 10-18). We would regard "the Law" in verse 19, then, in a stricter and more 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Jews and Greeks" beginning at the ninth verse. Thus every mouth was "stopped." Men's mouths 
keep talking of their own goodness or of someone else's badness, or of both, — as, for example, the 
Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14. But the moral history of mankind delineated in Chapter One; and the 
stern principles of God's judgment which considered neither man's high notions of himself, nor 
his religious professions, as shown in Chapter Two; and now, in Chapter Three, the fourteen 
sweeping statements of Scripture concerning the whole guilty human race, with the double conviction 
of the Jews as not only sinners, but also transgressors of the very Law they gloried in, — all this 
stops men' s vain mouths! For they are all brought into the presence of their Judge, and the sentence 
of guilty is upon them all. Not that they are brought in to have their just penalty executed upon 
them; but that they may be silent while God their Judge announces — astonishing thing! — that He 
has himself already dealt with the world's sin upon a sin-offering, Jesus, His Son; whom, we shall 
soon see, He set forth at the cross as a righteous meeting-ground between Himself in all His holiness 
and righteousness; and the sinner, whether Jew or Gentile, in all his guilt, — through simple faith 
in the shed blood of this Redeemer! 

Verse 20: Now Paul declares what the law cannot do, and what it can do. First, no one shall 
be declared righteous [justified] in God's sight by works of law ["doing right"]; and second, the 
business of God's Law is rather to make known to men their sin, and therefore, their need of a 
salvation which the Law cannot supply. 

In this verse we meet by far the most difficult Divine utterance for the human heart to yield to, 
that we have met in the entire Epistle. Even those "without law," — "Gentiles that have not the Law" 
(of Moses — 2:14), we find throughout history so committed to their own ideas of what is "right," 
and what will propitiate the demons that they worship, that they will desperately fight for their 
convictions. (See Paul at Lystra, and at Ephesus, in the Acts.) And how much more difficult the 
task becomes in dealing with those who, as the Jews, know that they have had a direct revelation 
from God, — "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not," and, "He that doeth these things shall live by them." 
When Paul told the Athenians that he acknowledged them to be "very religious" (their city indeed 
being filled with idols), but that they were ignorant of God, the Creator, who had raised up from 
the dead One who would be Judge in righteousness: "Some mocked: others said, We will hear thee 
concerning this yet again." Now, we say, if men are brought off only with great difficulty from the 
follies of idolatry, how much greater the task to persuade men to abandon their trust in a holy Law 
they know to have been given by the true God, from heaven, and on the fulfillment of which all 
their hopes for eternity have been dependent! 59 In just the same way Christendom has become fixed 
in its defense of its "religious" convictions. Scripture names, doctrines and ordinances — falsely 
explained — have seized hold upon the convictions of men, so that it is more difficult to dislodge 

confined sense, — as when our Lord said to the Jews, "Did not Moses give you The Law?" Our Lord' s general division was "The 
Law and The Prophets" (Luke 16:16); and in Luke 24:44 He speaks of "the things that are written in the Law of Moses, and the 
Prophets, and the Psalms concerning Me." In John 10:34 He uses the term "Your Law," covering even the Psalms. And yet, as 
we said above, the quotation from Psalm 14, includes the whole human race. And if it be argued that this psalm uses God's 
name Jehovah, His special name for Israel, we reply that in the parallel psalm, the Fifty-third, the name used is God, Elohim, 
the Creator of the whole earth. 

Someone says, "It is not the good works men have done so much as the good works they persuade themselves they some time 
will do, in which they hope." For almost all know themselves to have failed; yet they promise themselves that they will be 
"better"; and the thought of being declared righteous by a work altogether outside of themselves, never once occurs to them! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

them from their position than the heathen themselves. We know from Scripture, for example, that 
"days, seasons, months and years," do not belong to the Christian position in the least degree, but 
are Jewish or pagan in origin. Christmas, Lent, Easter, the whole "church calendar," forms, ritualism, 
the confessional, the mass, clergy, — where are these found in the Epistles of the New Testament? 
They are not found! Yet try once to dislodge them from those in whose hearts they have been 
planted! For their heart- hopes are bound up with these false traditions. 

None but those taught of God, and they with extreme difficulty and constant watchfulness, 
escape legal hope. For the question ever before the conscience is, If keeping God's Law avails me 
nothing for righteousness in His sight, why did He give it? WHY DID HE GIVE IT? 

And this difficulty becomes all the greater, the more the excellency of the Law is discovered! 
For our judgment sees these things of the Law to be "holy, and righteous, and good." And we know 
(if we are honest) that "God spake all these words" — of the Law. 

Therefore, the heart's only relief is to hear God's own Word concerning seven questions; to all 
of which the coming chapters of Romans will give answer: (1) To what nation did He give the Law; 
(2) Why He gave the Law; (3) What the Law' s ministry was; (4) How it was set aside, or "annulled," 
for another principle entirely; (5) What is meant by the words "under grace"; (6) How the walk "in 
the Spirit" takes the place of walking by external enactments; and, (7) How that only in those not 
under law is "the righteous state" (dikaioma) of the Law fulfilled! 

Now it is apparent that to bring men off from their false hopes in their law-obedience, three 
things must become evident to them: 

(a) That law, having been broken, can only condemn. 

(b) That even were men enabled now to begin keeping perfectly any law of God, that could not 
make up for past disobedience, or remove present guilt. 

(c) That keeping law is NOT God's way of salvation, or of blessing. 

In connection with verse 20, we will emphasize only the third of these points, for that is what 
is insisted upon in this verse. We quote in the footnote below verse 20, and then a number of plain 
statements of Scripture to the same effect, that we may compare Scripture with Scripture: 60 


By works of law shall no flesh be Justified in his sight; for through law cometh the recognition of sin (3:20). 

A man is justified by faith, apart from works of law (3:28). 

To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness (4:5). 

Not through the Law was the promise made to Abraham . . . but through the righteousness of faith (4:13). 

For if they that are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect (4:14). 

Through the obedience of the One shall the many be constituted righteous. And law came in alongside, that the trespass 
might abound (5: 19, 20). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The knowledge (or recognition) of sin comes through law, — by (1) its revealing what God 
approved in man, and what God disapproved and forbade; (2) causing man to undertake obedience; 
and (3) condemning him for failure to obey. 

To all seven of the questions above, the coming chapters of Romans, compared with other 
Scriptures, will, as we have said, fully give the answers. But it will be wise, perhaps, to look a 
moment more, in this place, at questions 2, 3 and 4: 

As to Question Two, Why God gave the Law, we call attention now, as elsewhere, to the fact 
that in His dealing with Abraham, and, in fact, in all His ways with the patriarchs, there was not 
the Law, but simply and only the promise. We plainly see in Rom. 5:14 that they were not under 
law. They walked by simple faith, which is, of course, the only principle according to which God 
has saving relations with man since he became a sinner. But (and this is important) God must show 
man his sinnerhood and this could not be done but by His revealing His holiness and righteousness, 
and asking man to conform his life and ways to that holy and righteous rule. God knew he would 
not and could not do this; but man did not know it, and must discover it through failure. Therefore 
and thereunto did God give the Law. "By the Law is the knowledge of sin." 

We have now partly answered Question Three, as to what was the appointed ministry of the 
Law. But the matter needs to be further emphasized. God names the Law a "ministration of 
condemnation and death" and not of righteousness. As Paul says in Chapter Seven, "Sin, that it 
might be shown to be sin, wrought death to me through that which was good" (the Law). 

As to Question Four, the Law was set aside or "disannulled." We have God's oft-repeated and 
most emphatic assertion, that this has been done: "There is a disannulling of a foregoing 
commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the Law made nothing perfect), 
and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, [Christ's death, burial and resurrection], through which 
we draw nigh unto God" (Heb. 7:18, 19). We repeat this over and over, because that is the way 
God does — He asserts and re-asserts this great fact: knowing man's self-righteousness will hardly 
suffer the Law to be taken away. 

Ye are not under law, but under grace (6:14). 

Ye were made dead to the Law through the body of Christ (7:4). We have been discharged from the Law (7:6). 

Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth (10:4). 

Until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remaineth, it not being revealed to them that it is done 
away in Christ (II Cor. 3:14). 

A man is not justified by works of law but through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16) 

If ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under law (Gal. 5:18). Law is not made for a righteous man (I Tim. 1:9). 

For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment [by Him who gave it] because of its weakness and unprofitableness 
(for the Law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, [Christ's work] through which we draw nigh 
unto God (Heb. 7:18, 19). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now it was not that God changed His plan, though to the thoughtless mind He might seem to 
have done so: (1) by beginning with man on the faith principle — from Abel onward; then (2) 
conditioning Israel's relationship and blessing upon their legal obedience; and then (3) "changing 
back" again, since the cross, to the way of simple faith apart from law. No, there has been no 
"change" in God. God's way with man has always been that of faith. Neither was the Law a thing 
additional to faith to secure God's favor; nor was God's "disannulling the foregoing commandment" 
an evidence that He had been seeking and expecting righteousness in man by the Law; and that 
now since the Law had failed He resorted to grace, apart from works of the Law. Not at all! The 
Law came in simply that the trespass might abound, — that is, that by breaking it man might discover 
his guilt and sinfulness; and his helplessness to relieve himself. Moses had prophesied in Leviticus 
and Deuteronomy that Israel would utterly fail, and that they would be provoked to jealousy by 
God's bringing in the Gentiles, "a foolish nation"; and that the remnant of Israel finally, its whole 
legal hope cut off, would be restored by God in sovereign mercy (Rom. 1 1:31, 32). 

We know we are saying these things over and over. An old German educator said: "The first 
principle of teaching is repetition; and the second principle of teaching is repetition; and the third 
principle is repetition." 

So we come to the next great section of the Epistle, Chapter Three, verses 21 to 31. This will 
describe God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. 


21 But now apart from law, God's righteousness hath 
been manifested, — borne witness to by the Law and the 
Prophets: 22 God's righteousness, moreover, through faith 
concerning Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there 
is no distinction [between Jew and Gentile]; 23 for all 
sinned, and are falling short of the glory of God; 24 being 
reckoned righteous gift-wise by His grace through the 
redemption that is in Jesus Christ: 25 whom God set forth 
a propitiation [mercy-seat] through faith in His blood, unto 
showing forth His [God's] righteousness in respect of the 
passing over of the foregoing sins in the forbearance of God: 
26 for the showing forth of His righteousness in the present 
time, — unto the being Himself righteous, and the One 
declaring righteous-the person having faith in Jesus. 27 
Where then is the [Jewish] boasting? It is excluded. By what 
manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. 28 
For we reckon that a man is accounted righteous by faith 
apart from law- works. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? 
[who had the Law] . Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, 
of Gentiles also: 30 if so be that God is one! And He shall 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

declare righteous the circumcision on the principle of faith 
[instead of law], and the uncircumcision through their 
[simple] faith. 31 Do we then annul law through faith? Far 
be the thought! on the contrary, we establish law! 

We now come to the unfolding of that word which Paul in Chapter One declares to be the very 
heart of the gospel, — the reason it is "the power of God unto salvation": namely, "therein is God's 
righteousness on the faith-principle revealed to any having faith" (1:17). 

The first work of the apostle, as we have seen in studying Chapter 1:18 to Chapter 3:20, was 
to bring the whole world under the judgment of God, guilty, helpless. His second task (and it is a 
blessed one!) is to reveal God's coming out in rightousness at the cross unto us. Let us most diligently 
read, ponder, yea, and commit to memory verses 21 to 26; for it is God's great statement of 
justification by faith. Its first announcement is: 

Verse 21: But now apart from law God's righteousness hath been manifested, — borne 
witness to by the Law and the Prophets — The first words, "But now," should be hailed by us 
joyfully, as beginning an account of something heavenly different from our guilt and helplessness, 
detailed in the preceding part of the Epistle (1:18-3:20). 

The next phrase is: "apart from law" 61 — lay it to heart! Unfortunately, the King James Version 
misses the emphasis here. For the Greek puts to the very front this great phrase "apart from law" 
(ch ris nomou), and thus sets forth most strongly the altogether separateness of this Divine 
righteousness from any law-performance, any works of man, whatsoever. Luther' s rendering was, 
"without accessory aid of law." In this revelation of God' s righteousness, law was left out of account. 
Righteousness is on another principle than our right-doing! 

Now the great and most common error in setting forth God's righteousness here, is, to allow 
law at least some place. Men cannot, it seems, get over reasoning thus: that since God once 
promulgated the dispensation of law, which called for human righteousness. He must thereafter be 
bound by it forever. And this despite Divine assurance, over and over and over, that the present 
dispensation proceeds on an altogether different principle; that there has been a "disannulling of a 
foregoing commandment" (Heb. 7:18); for He who had the right to command had also the right to 
disannul. It was "because of its weakness and unprofitableness — for the Law made nothing 
perfect," — that the "foregoing commandment" was set aside. It had served its purpose — to make 
the trespass "abound" (5:20). 6! 

The absence of the definite article, the, before the word law, in 3:21, 28, 31; 4:13, etc., shows that it is the abstract principle of 
law that is before us rather than the specific, concrete, thing — the Law of Moses, the ten commandments. It will become evident 
to us that God is dealing with men now upon a different principle altogether than that of law: for grace confers the blessing, and 
lets the fruit flow from "faith working through love" by the power of the Spirit. Law demands fulfilment of conditions before 
blessing: grace announces that Christ has fulfilled all conditions. 

"The Law has no such office in the present state of human nature manifested in history and in Scripture as to render righteous: 
its office is altogether different, viz., to detect and bring to light the sinfulness afman" (Alford). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

It is not that God has not the right to demand legal righteousness from us: but that He does not 
do it. "Righteousness which is of God" speaks in a way diametrically opposite to man's 
law — obedience, of any sort whatsoever. 

Men who do not see or believe that the whole history of those in Christ ended at the cross (for 
they died there, with Christ) must hold that God is still demanding righteousness: for "the law hath 
dominion over a man so long as he liveth!" 

The "teachers of the Law" (I Tim. 1:7) say: "Behind God, as He talks with you in 'grace' is 
His eternal Law. And He must carry out what He has expressed in that Law. But, because you are 
not able to perform it, He has 'graciously' given Christ, to perform all its requirements for you. 
And the positive, or 'active' requirements are, the observance of all the commands of the Law to 
the letter, — which (these teachers say) Christ has by His perfect life of obedience to the Law on 
earth, furnished for you. And the negative, or 'passive' obedience, as they call it — that is, the penalty 
of death for your sins which the Law (say they) demanded, Christ has paid on the cross. So that, 
now your debts cancelled by Christ's death, you have Christ's legal 'merits' as your actual 
righteousness before God: for God must demand (they say) perfect righteousness from you, as 
measured by His holy Law," — etc., etc. 

This seemingly beautiful talk is both unscriptural and anti- scriptural. 

God says that the believer is not under law, that he is dead to law, — to that whole principle, 
being in the Risen Christ; and Christ is certainly not under law in Heaven! Believers are "in Him"; 
they are "not in the flesh" (Rom. 8:9). They were formerly in the flesh (in the old natural life of 
Adam); but are now "new creatures" in Christ Risen! 

If you put believers under law, you must put their federal Head, Christ, back under law; for "as 
He is, even so are we in this world." To do this you must reverse Calvary, and have Christ back 
again on earth "under law." For law, we repeat, was not given to a heavenly company, but to an 
earthly nation. Scripture says it was to redeem that earthly people (Israel) who were under law, that 
Christ was "born under the Law" (Gal. 4:4). You must thus, if you are "under law," be joined to a 
Christ belonging to Israel, a flesh and blood Christ; and must consent to be an Israelite — to which 
nation He was sent. But alas! You find that such a Christ is not here! That He said He must "abide 
alone," — like the grain of wheat unless it "fall into the ground and die." To an earthly, Jewish 
Christ, you therefore cannot be united. And so your vain hope of having Moses and Christ is wholly 
gone. Therefore you must be united with a Risen Christ, or with none at all! But if to a Risen Christ, 
it is unto One who died unto sin (6: 10); and those (Jewish) believers who were under the Law died 
with Him unto it (7:4). And you, if you are Christ's, are now wholly, as Christ is, on resurrection 
ground. This truth will be brought out fully in chapters Six and Seven; we can but note it here. 63 

The words hath been manifested (of verse 21) Conybeare lucidly paraphrases, "not by law 
but by another way, God's righteousness is brought to light." God had always dealt righteously, 

63 Your body — you are waiting for the redemption of that. But your body is only the "tabernacle" in which you dwell, — it is not 
yourself. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Cor. 6:17). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

although His way was not as yet plain. He pardoned many, and He did not seem wholly to judge 
sin even in the unsaved world. But at the cross "He spared not His own Son." Here was revealed, 
indeed, righteousness to the uttermost! 

Borne witness to by the Law and the Prophets — by the Law, in its sacrificial offerings; by 
the Prophets, in direct statements: "This is His name whereby He shall be called: Jehovah our 
righteousness" (Jer. 23:6); and again, "Thy righteousness" — 21 times in the Psalms! as, "I will 
make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only" (71:2, 15, 16, 19, 24); and Isaiah: "By 
the knowledge of Himself shall my righteous Servant make many righteous" (53: 1 1). 64 Yet it was 
not brought to light how this should be, until "the fulness of the time" came, and God sent His Son 
to "suffer for sins, the just for the unjust," to "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself," that God's 
righteousness might be "manifested," both in His dealing with sin, and in glorifying His Son in 
heaven, who had glorified His Father on earth. 

It would have been righteous for God to smite Adam and Eve as He did the angels that sinned. 
He could have revealed Himself in righteousness of judgment in accord with His holiness and 
justice. He was not obliged to save any man. But it was God's will to reveal Himself: for He is 

Therefore He now comes forth at the cross in love, — albeit He must there come forth also in 
righteousness, — for He Himself must righteously and fully judge sin upon the person of His own 
provided Lamb. The sword "awakened against His Shepherd, the Man who was His Fellow," — the 
"fellow" of Jehovah of hosts! The Shepherd was smitten: "He was bruised for our iniquity, the 
chastisement of our peace [that would procure peace for us] was upon Him." God spared not His 
own Son, but delivered Him up, and the penalty for our sin was visited upon Him, Jesus, God's 
provided Sacrifice (Zech. 13:7; Isa. 53:5, 6). 

God is able to come forth to us now in absolute GRACE, sending out His messengers "preaching 
peace by Jesus Christ"; — nay, preaching much more than peace. In effect, God says, "Utter and 
infinite oceans of grace shall roll over the place where judgment and condemnation were!" Forgiving 
us all our trespasses, He goes further: having raised up Christ from the dead. He says, I will now 
place you in my Son. I will give you a standing fully and only in Him risen from the dead! Not 
only did He bear your sins, putting away your guilt, but in His death I released you from your 
standing and responsibility in Adam the first. You who have believed are now new creatures in 
Christ: for I have created you in Him.' 

And because this is so, it is announced further: "Him who knew no sin, God made to be sin on 
our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." These astonishing words state 

64 Peter indeed declares that "God had foreshawed by the mouth of all the prophets that His Christ shoudl suffer" and "to Him bear 
all the prophets witness, that through His name every one that believeth on Him shall reeive remission of sins" (Acts 3:18; 10:43. 
It is well to remember that Paul reminds his hearers in Pisidian Antioch that it is possible to hear the prophets read and really 
not undrstand "the voice of the prophets" nor Him of whom they spake (Acts 13:27. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

the present fact as to all believers, — of all those in Christ: they are the righteousness of God in 
Him! 65 

In the book of Romans, Paul is describing God's action toward a believing sinner in view of 
the shed blood of Christ. It is as if God were holding court with the infinite value and benefit of 
the propitiatory sacrifice and resurrection of Christ only and ever before Him. No other apostle will 
be called upon to set this forth fully as does Paul. Of course it could not be stated by the Old 
Testament writers in its fulness and clearness; for our Lord had not then offered Himself, and all 
the Law and Prophets could do was to declare sin temporarily "covered" (Heb., kaphar) from God's 
sight; and so the Old Testament believer was one who rested on what God would do, in view of 
these types and shadows and promises. 

John the Baptist, however, pointing to Christ, said, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away 
the sin of the world," something that had never before been ! Therefore, after the cross, it is written, 
"Once in the consummation of the ages, hath He [Christ] been manifested to put away sin by the 
sacrifice of Himself 

In the Old Testament, we repeat, sin is covered, — which is the meaning of the word kaphar, 
"atonement," — used only in the Old Testament, and there constantly (some 13 times in one 
chapter — Leviticus 16), to express the covering from God's sight of sin: though the sin remained 
untaken away until Christ died. In the New Testament, therefore, sin is said to be put away by 
Christ's sacrifice." 

God can, therefore, not only forgive the sinner, but also proceed to declare the believing sinner 
righteous, not at all meaning that he has any righteousness of his own, or that "the 'merits' of Christ 
are imputed to him" (a fiction of theology); but that God, acting in righteousness, reckons righteous 


"The resurrection of Christ was not only Divine power in life; there was another truth in it. Divine righteousness was shown 
in it. His Father's glory, all that the Son was to Him, was concerned in His resurrection; Christ having perfectly glorified God 
in dying, and having finished His Father's work, Divine righteousness was involved in His resurrection. And He was raised, and 
righteousness identified with a new state into which man, in Him, was brought; and more than that, indeed, for more was justly 
due to Him — He was set in glory as man at the right hand of God. Not only did the blessed Lord meet for us who believe all our 
sin as children of Adam, by His death, so as to clear us according to the glory of God from it all in His sight; but He perfectly 
glorified God Himself in so doing. Man, in the person of Christ, then entered into the glory of God. 'Now is the Son of Man 
glorified, and God is glorified in Him, . . . and shall straightaway glorify Him.' But all Christ's work was wrought in us; our sin 
was put away by it. Christ, as having thus glorified all God is, is our righteousness. We are thus 'the righteousness of God in 

"Either Christ, in His own present perfectness, risen from the dead, is my righteousness, His place my place, and I myself 
absolutely dead and gone as regards the old man; or I am making Christ a completer of my standing, as alive in the old man. 
Scripture teaches me that I am not alive as a child of Adam in this world. 'If ye died with Christ . . . why as though alive in the 
world? says Paul. 

"And now I am in Christ, risen and ascended; and have no righteousness to make out, but to glorify God as His child, being 
the righteousness of God in Christ already. My defects have nothing to do with my righteousness. They have with respect to my 
living to God and enjoying communion with Him" (Darby). 

We call attention to the error in the King James Version at the end of Romans 5:11 where those translators render "atonement" 
when it should be "reconciliation" (katallang ). Therefore, properly speaking, the idea of covering up sin ("atonement," kaphar, 
of the Old Testament) is entirely absent in any mention in the New Testament of the effect of Christ's sacrifice, which does not 
cover up bwtputs away sin from God's sight forever. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

the ungodly man who trusts Him: because He places him in the full value of the infinite work of 
Christ on the cross, and transfers him into Christ Risen, who becomes his righteousness. 

We may look at the term God's righteousness from God's own side; then from that of Christ; 
and, finally, from that of the justified sinner. 

1. From. God's side, the expression "God's righteousness," must be regarded as an absolute 
one. It is His attribute of righteousness. It can be nothing else. He must, and ever will, act in 
righteousness, whether it be toward Christ, toward those in Christ, or toward those finally impenitent, 
whether angels, demons, or men. 

2. From Christ's side, it is His being received by God into glory according to God's estimation 
of His mediatorial work. Our Lord had said that when the Spirit would come, He would "convince 
the world ... of righteousness, because I go unto the Father, and ye see me no more" (John 16); 
and He had said, "I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work Thou gavest me to 
do. And now, Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self, with the glory I had with Thee before 
the world was" (John 17). In answer to this prayer Christ was "raised from the dead through the 
glory of the Father" (Rom. 6:4), and was "received up in glory" (I Tim. 3:16). Now our Lord was 
man, as well as God. And when the Father glorified Him "with His own self," with that glory Christ 
"had with Him before the world was," it was as man that God thus glorified Him. So that, at God's 
right hand, Christ set forth publicly the righteousness of God; for (a) as the slain Lamb He shows 
the holiness of God and God's righteousness fully satisfied, — since God had "spared not His own 
Son" when sin had been laid upon Him. The truth of God as to the wages of sin had been shown 
in Christ's death; thus the majesty of the insulted throne of God had been publicly vindicated, so 
that Christ' s being raised and "received up in glory" set forth the righteousness of God; for it were 
unrighteous that Christ should not be glorified! And (b) Christ not only thus set forth the 
righteousness of God, but being God the Son, as well as man, He was that righteousness! Christ 
dead, risen, glorified, is the very righteousness of God! 

3. From the believer's side, the justified sinner's side, what do we see? The amazing declaration 
of God concerning us is, "Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf, that we might 
become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21). The saints are said to be the righteousness 
of God, in Christ. Of course self-righteousness simply shrivels before a verse like this! All is in 
Christ: we are in Christ — one with Him! 

The expression "God's righteousness" then signifies: 

1. God Himself acting in righteousness (a) toward Christ in raising Him from the dead and 
seating Him as a man in the place of absolute honor and glory; (b) in giving those who believe on 
Christ the same acceptance before God as Christ now has, inasmuch as He actually bare their sins, 
putting them away by His blood, and also became identified with the sinner — was "made to be sin 
for us" and, our old man was thus "crucified with Him." Just as it would have been unrighteousness 
in God not to raise His Son after His Son had completely glorified Him in His death; so it would 
also be unrighteous in God not to declare righteous in Christ those who, deserting all trust in 
themselves, have transferred their faith and hope to Christ alone. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

2. Thus Christ, now risen and glorified, is Himself the righteousness of believers. It is not that 
He acted righteously while on earth, and that that is reckoned to us. This is, we repeat, the heresy 
of "vicarious law-keeping." He was indeed the spotless Lamb of God; but He had no connection 
with sinners until His death. He was "separate from sinners." "Except a grain of wheat fall into the 
earth and die, it abideth by itself alone." It is the Risen Christ who is our righteousness. "Christianity 
begins at the resurrection." The work of the cross of course made Christianity possible; but true 
Christianity is all on the resurrection side of the cross. "He is not here, but is risen," the angel said. 

3. Thus Christians find themselves spoken of as the righteousness of God in Christ. Not as 
"righteous before God," for that would be to think of a personal standing given to us, on account 
of Christ's death, rather than a federal standing, as in Him, united to Him, — which we are! John 
Wesley said a wise thing indeed: "Never think of yourself apart from Christ!" 

Now to be or become "righteous before God"; to have or obtain a standing that will "bear God' s 
scrutiny," is the fond dream of very many earnest Christians. But however stated, and by whomsoever 
stated, that idea of our obtaining a "standing before God" falls short, and that vitally, of Paul's 
gospel of our being made the righteousness of God in Christ. It denies that we died with Christ; 
and that we have been made dead to the whole legal principle in Christ' s death (7:4). Thus it leaves 
us under the necessity of "obtaining a standing" before God; whereas believers federally shared 
the death of Christ, and Christ Risen is Himself now our standing ! 

Negatively, then (as Paul begins to declare in his first recorded discourse. Acts 13:39), "Every 
one that believeth on Him is justified from all things"; — "justified in His blood" (Rom. 5:9); and 

Positively, Christ was "raised for our justification" (4:25): that we might receive a new place, 
a place in a Risen Christ, — and be thus the righteousness of God in Him, as one with Him who is 
that righteousness. 

God declares that He reckons righteous the ungodly man who ceases from all works, and believes 
on Him (God), as the God who, on the ground of Christ' s shed blood, "justifies the ungodly" (4:5). 
He declares such an one righteous: reckoning to him all the absolute value of Christ's work, — of 
His expiating death, and of His resurrection, and placing him in Christ: where he is the righteousness 
of God: for Christ is that! 

Does Christ need something yet, that He may stand in acceptance with God? Then do I need 
something, — for I am in Christ, and He alone is my righteousness. If He stands in full, eternal 
acceptance, then do I also: for I am now in Him alone, — having died with Him to my old place in 

Earnest and godly men, wonderfully used of God, have brought out, as did the Reformers, that 
we are justified by faith, not works: without, however, going on to show, as does Paul, our complete 
deliverance, in Christ, from our former place in Adam, and from the whole principle of law. 

The Reformation statements were as follows: 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Luther: "The righteousness of God is that righteousness which avails before God." This means 
a "substantive righteousness," — a quality bestowed which "avails." But I am not in these words 
seen as dead, and now in Christ only. 

Calvin: "By the righteousness of God I understand that righteousness which is approved before 
the tribunal seat of. God." Here again is a quality, not Christ Himself, who is made righteousness 
unto me, and I myself "of God," in Him (I Cor. 1:30). And according to Calvin I must stand before 
God's "tribunal"! But Christ at the cross met all the claims of God's "tribunal," — and that forever; 
and I am now in Christ Risen! 

Again, Calvin, writing on II Cor. 5:21, concerning our being made or becoming "the 
righteousness of God in Christ," says: "In this place nothing else is to be understood than that we 
stand supported by the expiation of Christ's death before the tribunal of God." Here is still the 
thought of a future (or present) "tribunal." Only the negative side — expiation of guilt, is brought 
out. But this text in II Corinthians is positive: we are God's righteousness in Christ! Believers are 
not seen by Calvin as having died with Christ, and having no connection at all with Adam's 
responsibility to furnish a righteousness and holiness before God's "tribunal." Believers, says Paul, 
are not now "in the flesh" in their standing, — they are seen by God in Christ only! (Rom. 8:9). 
Calvin) and all the Reformers, and the Puritans after them, placed believers under the Law of Moses 
as a "rule of life"; because they did riot see that a believer's history in Adam ended at the cross. 
But Paul, in Gal. 6:15, 16, says that those in Christ are to walk as "new creatures": they are a new 
creation! "And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them!" This is God's prescription 
for your walk, whatever men may teach! 

We do quote Luther, that great man of God, in connection with Chapter Seven, in the expressions 
of his wonderful personal faith, as saying: "These words, 'am dead to the Law' (Gal. 2:19) are very 
effectual. For he saith simply, T am dead to the Law' ; that is, I have nothing to do with the Law 
. . . Let him that would live to God come out of the grave with Christ." (Luther on Galatians; in 
which book is often shown a vigor and boldness of faith hardly to be matched since Paul!) 

Dr. Scofield in his note on Romans 3:21, says that the righteousness of the believer "is Christ 
Himself, who fully met in our stead and behalf every demand of the Law." Yet Scripture says that 
the Law was given to Israel; and that Gentiles are "without law," as contrasted "with Israel," who 
were "under the Law." Paul's words to us in Rom. 6:14: "Ye are not under law, but under grace," 
do not mean that we were once under law (as were the Jews) and have now been delivered; but 
rather mean that we, having died with Christ (our old man crucified with Him, and our history in 
Adam closed forever before God), are not placed at all under law ! It is unfortunate that Dr. Scofield 
goes on to quote beloved Bunyan: "The believer in Christ is now, by grace, shrouded under so 
complete and blessed a righteousness that the Law from Mt. Sinai can find neither fault nor 
diminution therein. This is that which is called the righteousness of God by faith." 

Now it is at once evident that such a statement as Bunyan' s leaves "the Law from Mt. Sinai" 
master of the field, lord over us. According to this the Law remains Inspector General of those in 
Christ! We are not "discharged" from it. We are still on earth, under legal trial, men "in the flesh." 
The gospel, however, is that we are, in Christ, not under the law-principle at all! "Ye are not in the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

flesh, but in the Spirit." Those who believe are not now under law, but under grace, being "in 
Christ." We are now in a Risen Christ, who as such "lives unto God"; and it is unthinkable that He 
is under law! The Word of God says that Christ was "born of a woman," — thus reaching the whole 
race; and "born under the Law, that He might redeem them that were under the Law," — that is, 
Israel. But to maintain that the Risen Christ is "under law" in Heaven, is both to deny Scripture 
(Rom. 6:4) and also to close our eyes to the manner of His risen life (6:10). Christ in Heaven lives 
under no legal conditions, but freely, in love unto God. And God has sent forth "the Spirit of His 
Son" — mark that! — into our hearts. This means not only the witness that we are adult sons (huioi) 
of God, but that the very same emotions of relationship and nearness to the Father belonging to 
Christ, God's Son, are ours — witnessed in our hearts by the Spirit of His Son! 

We find hardly any writers except indeed certain devoted saints among the "Friends of God" 
of the fourteenth century; and later, certain among the mystics like Tauler, Ter Steegen, Suso and 
the "prince of German hymnists," Paul Gerhardt; together with many early Methodists; and in the 
nineteenth century, certain of those remarkable men whose followers were later called "Plymouth 
Brethren," who have seen or dared believe our complete deliverance before God from Adam the 
First: that is, from our former place "in the flesh," "under law." The last, the Brethren, indeed speak 
with more Pauline accuracy. But these earlier saints, though much persecuted, exhibit marvelously 
in their lives and testimony that heavenly freedom of those taught of God their place in Christ! 
Hear one of them singing: 

"Thou who givest of Thy gladness 

Till the cup runs o'er — 
Cup whereof the pilgrim weary 

Drinks to thirst no more — 
Not a-nigh me, but within me 

Is Thy joy divine; 
Thou, O Lord, hast made Thy dwelling 

In this heart of mine. 

"Need I that a law should bind me 

Captive unto Thee? 
Captive is my heart, rejoicing 

Never to be free. 
Ever with me, glorious, awful, 

Tender, passing sweet, 
One upon whose heart I rest me, 

Worship at His Feet." 

— Gerhard Ter Steegen. 

The Law was given to man in the flesh; not to those on resurrection ground. Our relationship now 
to God is that of standing in the same acceptance as Christ; and we have the same Spirit of sonship 
as Christ! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now, Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, and the life that He now 
liveth, He liveth unto God. And He lives unto God as man. He is God; but He is also a Risen Man. 

It is into this Risen Christ, thus glorified, that God has brought us. 67 

We do not need therefore a personal "standing" before God at all. This is the perpetual struggle 
of legalistic theology, — to state how we can have a "standing" before God. But to maintain this is 
still to think of us as separate from Christ (instead of dead and risen with Him), and needing such 
a "standing." But if we are in Christ in such an absolute way that Christ Himself has been made 
unto us righteousness, we are immediately relieved from the need of having any "standing." Christ 
is our standing, Christ Himself! And Christ being the righteousness of God, we, being thus utterly 
and vitally in Christ before God, have no other place but in Him. We are "the righteousness of God 
in Christ." 

Not to the cherubim, not to the seraphim, not to the elect angels, has been given such a place 
as this! They may be sinless, — they are. They may be holy, — they are. They may be glorious, — they 
are. But they are not "the righteousness of God"; for they are not in Christ. They were never cut 
off, as we have been, by a death that ended completely their former history and standing, and then 
placed in Christ! 

And so we come to a verse the very reading of which has been used to save and bring into the 
light thousands: 

Verse 22: God's righteousness, moreover, through faith concerning Jesus Christ unto all 
them that believe — If it were man's righteousness, it would be through something man 
accomplished. But it is God's righteousness; it is apart from out right-doing — that is, law -keeping 
altogether; for keeping law would be the only way man could get a righteousness of his own. 

But the moment we mention righteousness here, people can hardly be restrained from the notion 
that they are to have a new quality bestowed upon them. Since they have themselves lost this quality 
of righteousness, they are anxious to get it back, — the consciousness of it. But this is really 
self-righteousness, — and that at its worst. 

For we read here the words, "through faith in [or concerning] Jesus Christ." And people rush 
to talking of Christ's "merits" becoming theirs, being "imputed," or reckoned to them: so that they 
are, thereby, in a righteous state! 

But we shall see in Rom. 4:5 that God accounts righteous the believing ungodly as such; not 
those who are first to be in any wise "changed," and then reckoned righteous; not those to whom 
certain "merits" of Christ are to be given, so that they are thereby righteous — not at all. But the 

67 The "righteousness of God" is the justification of the sinner, is His own attribute of righteousness; that is, His acting in accordance 
with His own holy nature; manifested, however, not in demanding righteousness from the sinner, but in setting the believing 
sinner in His own presence, because of the righteous judgment of his sins already visited by God upon his Subtitute, Christ. And 
God is not only Himself righteous, in remitting the penalty of sin; but He sets the sinner in the very standing in which Christ is, 
with Him! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

believing ungodly are to be reckoned righteous — while they are still ungodly: it is that fact that 
makes the gospel! 

Justification is God's reckoning a man righteous who has no righteousness, — because God is 
operating wholly upon another basis, even the work of Christ. If Christ fully bore sin for man, and 
has been raised up by God, a believing man has reckoned to him by God all that infinite work of 

Thus, no change in the ungodly man is necessary for justification. 68 He believes, certainly. But 
faith is not a "meritorious" work. It is simply giving God the credit of speaking the truth in the 
gospel about Christ. It is Christ' s shed blood, and that alone, which is the procuring cause of God' s 
declaring an ungodly man righteous: while God's grace is the reason for it. Our faith is simply the 
instrumental condition. God counts our faith for righteousness, because by it we give God and 
Christ the full glory of our salvation. Faith in God also brings the heart into His light; for, when 
"with the heart man believeth unto righteousness," the heart, in thus believing, is turned to God 
directly, in the simplicity of a little child. When Adam sinned, he fled from God; when a sinner 
believes, he comes back! 

Now concerning this chiefest revelation of Romans, we must go to Scripture only. It will never 
do to accept men's writings as "authorities'" or as "standards," — as men call them. For to do this 
is not to interpret the Scriptures, but to proceed along Romish lines. Nor will it do to rely on men's 
devotedness to God, however real, as proof of their reliability in statements of Divine truth. 

Take the Reformers: God brought them back, in principle, to the Scriptures as their only guide. 
(Would that there were the same devotedness and zeal today!) But, after mounting up to Heaven 
as it were, in personal grasp and use of the truth of justification by faith apart from all works, yet 
the Reformers put Christians back under Moses as a "rule of life," under law I "What is required? 
and what is forbidden?" in this Mosaic commandment, or that, is the burden of Christian living, 
according to this theology. 

Godly and earnest men have thus held; but the only question is, what are the words of Scripture? 
We must "prove all things" men write, in the light of Scripture: for God says we are not under law: 
and that the "rule of life" is, that we are a new creation (Gal. 6:15, 16). Is the Pauline revelation 
that we died with Christ from all earthly "religious principles" (Col 2:20), (such as God declares 
the Mosaic system now to be: Gal. 4:9) — is this glorious fact once set forth in all the reformed 
"standards"? By no means! Believers were not seen by the Reformers as having had their history 
ended at the cross, and being now wholly in a new creation. Neither did the Puritans enter into this 
truth. This Pauline doctrine was not fully recovered until God wrought, — again in a reviving, almost 
a Reformation power, through godly and devoted servants of His, 300 years after Luther and Calvin. 
Truth is truth: and those seeking God's truth welcome it wherever they find it! Revealed Truth 

Of course, God will — does — give him life: it is "justification of life," in Christ. But he is justified, accounted righteous, while 
ungodly; and only by the blood of Christ. God will also finally, indeed, present him faultless. But he declares him righteous 
upon believing — while he is ungodly! If God changed him first, he would not be "ungodly." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

belongs to the whole Church, to every believer. Those attached to, and entrenched in tradition, will 
always be found fighting for that. 69 

Simple faith, then, receives "God's testimony concerning His Son," and rests there. They used 
to say of Marshall Field in Chicago, "His word is as good as his bond." It was no credit to the 
merchants that trusted Mr. Field, but it was a great credit to him! It gave him the public honor of 
his integrity. 

God's righteousness, moreover, through faith concerning Jesus Christ — Here we must 
study carefully. The King James Version reads, "by faith of Jesus Christ." "Through faith" is more 
accurate, as the preposition is, dia, "through,"' as the Revised Versions, both English and American, 
read. Concerning the form, "of Jesus Christ," see Mark 11:22, Acts 3:16, Gal. 2:16, Jas. 2:1 where 
the same Greek construction appears. 

The expression "faith concerning Jesus Christ," literally, "faith of Jesus Christ" must be regarded 
either as: 

1 . Faith in the gospel of God concerning Jesus Christ, as set forth at the beginning of the Epistle, 
involving of course appropriation of Christ with all His benefits for oneself; or, 

2. Trust in Christ. But Christ has already died for sin, for the world; and trust, here, would mean 
relying on Christ to do something for the soul; either to put forth power to deliver; or, as they say, 
to become one's "personal Saviour"; or, "to see one through to the end," or the like. This is in 
accordance with man's gospel: "Jesus Christ will save you if" — rather than in accordance with 
Paul's gospel of believing God's Word concerning Christ as having accomplished for us a work 
that was finished once for all on the cross. 

3. The rendering received by many today in certain circles which would make "the faith of 
Jesus Christ" mean Christ's own believing on our behalf! which, they explain, is "exercising His 
own mighty faith," instead of calling upon the strengthless hearts of men to believe. But this avoids 


We are glad to note, in Sanday and Headlam' s Romans, this word regarding William Kelly's Notes on Romans: "His Notes 
are written from a detached and peculiar standpoint; but they are the fruit of sound scholarship, and of prolonged and devout 
study, and they deserve more attention than they have received." This is a fair and honest admission. For its irrefutable setting 
forth of truth, its Christian fairness and love, and its brevity, make Kelly's Notes invaluable. 

Men prefer "belonging" to a system: (1) Because where faith is not vigorous it comforts the flesh to find oneself among a 
party. (2) Where direct personal knowledge of Scripture is lacking it is a comfort to the heart to be told "authoritatively" what 
to believe — what the party to which one belongs, holds, (3) It is abhorrent to the flesh to walk by the Spirit. It is infinitely easier 
to be occupied with the "Christian duties" practiced or prescribed by your sect. (4) The flesh cannot bear to be little, despised, 
but desires to be of those that have the regard of "the Christian world" (an awful phrase!). (5) Even among the most earnest 
Christians the temptation and the tendency have always been to seize upon those truths emphasized by the leaders of the sect 
they follow and claim those truths and principles as their own! But this in effect denies the unity of the Body of Christ, and that 
all truth belongs to the whole Church of God. 

Now all this is of the very essence of Sectarianism. If your Christian consciousness is of anyone but Christ as Head over 
all things to the Church, and of any body but the Body of Christ, of which all true believers are members, and you members of 
them — then you are on forbidden, sectarian, "carnal" ground: "For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; 
are ye not men . . . are ye not carnal, and do ye not walk after the manner of men?" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

our responsibility to believe God. They quote here Mark 11:22: "Have faith in God," as, "Have the 
faith of God"; a grotesque, unbiblical, impossible meaning! Our Lord said, "If thou canst believe, 
all things are possible to him that believeth." He did not say, "I will believe for you." Again He 
did say, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He [the Father] hath sent" (John 

4. Finally, some have thought to render, "the faith of Jesus Christ" as His faithfulness to us; 
which is not the meaning of the Greek, is out of place, and is contrary to the apostle's usage. 

We believe that the first meaning we have indicated — that is, faith in the gospel of God 
concerning Jesus Christ as set forth at the beginning of the Epistle, is the true one here; for it accords 
perfectly with this first great expansion in Chapter Three, of the announcement of Chapter 1:1-3, 
"the gospel of God concerning His Son": the power of which is that "therein is revealed God's 
righteousness on the principle of faith.'" 

Faith is not trust, and must be carefully distinguished therefrom, if we would have a clear 
conception of the gospel. Faith is simply the acceptance for ourselves of the testimony of God as 
true. Such faith, indeed, brings one into a life of trust. But faith is not "trusting," or "expecting God 
to do something," but relying on His testimony concerning the person of Christ as His Son, and 
the work of Christ for us on the cross. So faith is "the giving substance to things hoped for." After 
saving faith, the life of trust begins. In a sense that will be readily perceived by the spiritual mind, 
trust is always looking forward to what God will do; but faith sees that what God says has been 
done, and believes God's Word, having the conviction that it is true, and true for ourselves. 

In saving faith, then, you do not trust God to do something for you: He has sent His Son, who 
has borne sin for you. You do not look to Christ to do something to save you: He has done it at the 
cross. You simply receive God's testimony as true, setting your seal thereto.™ You rest in God's 
Word regarding Christ and His work for you. You rest in Christ's shed blood. 

It is GOD that justifieth (8:33), as it is God against whom we sinned. And it is God whom we 
find in Chapter 3:25 setting forth Christ on the cross as a righteous meeting-place (between the 
sinner and God) through faith in His blood. And again: "To him that worketh not, but believeth on 
Him [God] that justifieth the ungodly" (on the ground, of course, of the blood of Christ). 
"Righteousness shall be reckoned unto us who believe on Him that raised Jesus our Lord from the 
dead" (4:5 and 24). This, it seems, is what the Lord meant in His last public message to the Jews, 
John 12:44: "Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that 
sent Me." Faith, indeed, lays claim to Christ and possesses Him, but it is through believing the 
testimony of God the Father concerning His Son. 

And this seems to me the meaning of the words in Chapter 3:22, "through faith concerning 
Jesus Christ." Peter also says not only that we have "the answer of a good conscience toward God, 

70 I often quote I Tim. 1 : 1 5 to inquiring sinners: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." In response to my question, 
they confess that "came" is in the past tense. Then I say, "How sad that you and I were not there, so that He might have saved 
us, for He has now gone back to heaven!" This shuts them up to contemplate the work Christ finished when He was here; upon 
which work, and God's Word concerning it, sinners must rest: that is faith. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 3:21), but: "through Him [Christ] ye are believers 
in God, that raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory; so that your faith and hope might be 
in God" (I Pet. 1:21). Thus also, he says, "Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the 
unrighteous, that He might bring us to God" (I Pet. 3:18). 

We must remember that it is the "gospel of God" (Rom. 1:1) in its general aspect, which we 
are now studying; and that it is "concerning His Son." Christ says also in John 5:24, "He that heareth 
My word, and believeth Him that sent Me hath everlasting life and cometh not into judgment." 

Now we believe concerning Jesus Christ: (a) that He is the Son of God, (b) that He has put 
away sin by His blood (as Paul will soon show); and (c) that He is and has become through simple 
believing our very own, so that what He has done was really done for us. 

You may say, this is simply "believing on the Lord Jesus Christ." Yes; but it is believing God 
concerning Christ. In Chapter Four we find that Abraham believed God, and righteousness was 
reckoned unto him. We also "believe on Him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was 
delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification." Here the faith is in God, and 
is made possible by His raising Christ, upon whom He had placed our sins. Sanday says: '"By faith 
of Jesus Christ': that is, by faith which has Christ for its object." In the gospel of God concerning 
Christ, God announces not only Christ's person as Son of David, and Son of God; but also His 
finished work, that He has been set forth by God as a propitiation, a righteous meeting-place between 
the sinner and God. It is therefore God whom the sinner believes; and in believing God he 
appropriates Christ, and His saving work. 

There is another question in this 22nd verse which must be answered. The King James Version 
adds, after "The righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ unto all," the words "and upon all 
them that believe." The Revised Version omits "and upon all." This, we believe, is the correct 
reading. The righteousness of God is not put "upon" any one. That is a Romish idea, — still held, 
alas, among Protestants who cannot escape the conception of righteousness as a something bestowed 
upon us, rather than a Divine reckoning about us. But the best authorities omit these words "and 
upon all," as do the oldest manuscripts, and both the English and American Revised Versions. The 
words, "God's righteousness through faith concerning Jesus Christ unto all them that believe," 
describe it all, and fully. 

I know people argue that "unto all" describes the "direction of the blessing"; and "upon all" 
those who (as they put it) have the blessing actually "conferred upon them." But please notice the 
present passage is setting forth the fact of a new, present revelation — God's righteousness by faith 
in Christ, as over against man's legal righteousness. Since we find this righteousness is God's 
accounting or holding righteous a man who believes, rather than a conferment of a quality upon a 
man, we must read the passage thus. It sets forth this present by-faith righteousness. It is God 
accounting a man (even as he is, "ungodly" — 4:5) righteous in His sight. Do not destroy the gospel 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

by adding to Romans 3:22 words which evidently have been supplied by some one ignorant of the 
truth. It is simply "God's righteousness through faith about Jesus Christ." 71 

Righteousness is a court word. Righteousness is reckoned by God to them that believe. The 
faith of the ungodly man who believes is "counted for righteousness" (4:5). 

The words that close verse 22, "for there is no distinction," should be joined with verse 23: 
"for all sinned, and are falling short of the glory of God." Pridham well says, "The all-important 
point to be regarded here is the complete setting aside of the creature-title." That there is no difference 
as to the fact of sin, between Jews and Gentiles, is, of course, primarily before us in the words "no 
distinction." Exactly the same expression is found as to the availability of salvation in Chapter 
10: 12: "no distinction between Jew and Greek." We may well apply it to everybody, as does Pridham 
in his "no creature title." There is no distinction between sinners — between great offenders and 
small, with respect to this matter of sinnership. Not the degree of sin, but the fact of sin is looked 
at here. If you should visit a penitentiary, you would find some imprisoned for terrible crimes, and 
others for lesser offences, but you would find, in the eyes of the law, no innocent men! 


I have found Mr. Darby's explanations of "God's righteousness" more clear and illuminating than those of any other. It is 
therefore unfortunate, as it seems to me, that he adds to verse 22 the confusing phrase, "and upon all." I ask, what is "upon all"? 
If, as Mr. Darby holds, the act of justification is a forensic one, a declaration about a sinner who believes, accounting him 
righteous (although he is not intrinsically so), then why add that this righteousness is "upon" him? For the human mind is unable 
to conceive of a meaning for such a phrase other than something that a man does not possess being placed upon his person. But 
this is the exact meaning that Mr. Darby so constantly and justly wars against! 

The very thing Mr. Darby so assiduously avoids, that is, the bestowal on a person of a quality, (or of, as he says, "a quantum 
of righteousness"), he opens the way to, in retaining the phrase "and upon all." Bishop Moule, for example, remarks: "As to 
'unto all and upon all,' the Greek phrases respectively indicate destination and bestowal. The sacred pardon was prepared for 
all believers, and is actually laid upon them as a 'robe of righteousness.'" We would expect such a comment as this from a 
churchman, or any one of the Reformation theologians, but it is the very thing that Paul does not say; and it darkens all counsel 
concerning justification. 

The expressions "the righteousness of Christ," "the merits of Christ," though not in Scripture, are continually in the mouths 
even of earnest men, who do not see that our history in Adam ended at the cross, that we died with Christ, and now share His 
risen life; and that we therefore do not need to have anything whatever 'put upon" us, nor any qualities or "merits" of Christ 
made the basis of God's blessing us. We were in Adam: we are now in Christ, standing in the full, the infinitely complete 
acceptance of Christ's own Person! 

We gravely fear that some brethren, in their resentment against the Revised Version (which we well know is not perfect, 
though incomparably more accurate than the King James), have kept this phrase "and upon all," in spite of the fact that the 
earliest manuscripts do not have it. Bishop Gore well remarks, "It is not an exaggeration to say that, in this and very many places 
of the epistles, the Revised Version for the first time renders the thought of the apostles again intelligible to the English reader. 
And if the Revised Version is not popular, this is, I fear, only a sign that the majority of English Christians do not really care to 
understand the meaning of the message with which, as a matter of words, they are familiar." 

Mr. Darby himself says that neither the Reformers nor any other human teachers, are an authority for him, so we, agreeing, 
say that Mr. Darby is in no sense an authority for any Christian. "Prove all things," said the Apostle. 

F. W. Grant admits that the earliest manuscripts omit "and upon all." He then says, "The earliest of all is corrected." But 
why was the earliest manuscript "corrected"? Some hand of legal unbelief "corrected" that manuscript, we certainly believe. 

Sanday frankly says: "These words, 'and upon all,' are wanting in the best manuscripts, and should be omitted." As also 
agrees an excellent Plymouth Brother: "The best Uncial mss. omit 'and upon all.' The context confirms the correctness of this, 
for the Apostle is writing of those who are justified (verse 24)" (C. E. Stuart). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 23: for all sinned, and are falling short of the glory of God — Note the difference in 
the tenses: "all sinned" is in the past tense, while "falling short" of God's glory is stated in the 
present tense. When Adam had once sinned, in Eden, he continually fell short, outside of Eden, as 
did all his race, by him and after him. 

While it is true, as both the old Version and the Revised translate, that "all have sinned"; yet I 
am more and more persuaded that inasmuch as the Spirit of God uses in verse 23 the same Greek 
word and tense as in Chapter 5:12, h marton: that is, "all sinned" (aorist, not perfect, tense), God 
is looking back even here at Adam's federal headship involving us all. He looks at the race as fallen 
and lost and gone, in their federal head; and then as individually continuing in sins. 72 

As a natural consequence, all that race "are falling short" of His glory. This "falling short" may 
mean ( 1) to fail to earn God' s holy approbation (compare John 12:43); or (2) to come short, because 
of the loss of all spiritual strength through sin (Rom. 5:6), of that estate God prescribed for and 
must demand of man; or (3) guilty inability to stand before Him or in His glorious holy presence. 
Probably all these and more are included in the thought. We know that those now justified by faith 
in Christ "rejoice in hope of the glory of God," — meaning that state of being glorified together with 
Christ, which is the high, heavenly hope of the Christian. It is in and through Christ alone that 
sinners ruined in Adam, and daily falling short of the glory of God, find redemption from sin's 
guilt and deliverance from its power. 

How sad and awful, then, man's condition! Suppose I should say, for example, to a New York 
audience, "Let us all go down to the Battery and jump across to England." Some vigorous young 
man might jump over twenty feet, 'but he would "fall short" of England. And some little old lady 


Godet remarks, "The aorist h marton, 'sinned,' transports us to the point of time when the result of human life appears as 
a completed fact, the hour of judgment." With this Burton agrees, calling it a "collective aorist." See Sanday. 

This word is a verb, second aorist tense, meaning, in Paul's epistles to miss the mark; then, to err, to wander from the path 
of righteousness; then, to do or go wrong; then, to violate God's law, — to sin. As we all know, the aorist is a statement of past 
fact, not of present condition or fact; neither does it have the force of the perfect, — that is, of the finishing of prolonged action. 

The King James version translates the same verb-form in 5:12 also: "all have sinned," It is our contention that this too is 
an incorrect translation, beclouding the meaning of Scripture. 

It is remarkable in 3:23 that a past tense should be used for the verb sin, and a present tense for the universal consequent 
result! As we find throughout Scripture, the sin of Adam is evermore in the Divine view. "Thy first father sinned," is God's 
continual testimony. The consequent translation of this aorist h marton in 5:12 is, "all sinned" — that is, in Adam's act; and also 
in 3:23; "all sinned [in Adam] and [consequently] are falling short of the glory of God": the history of the whole race since. 

Of course it will be objected that individual sins and transgressions are treated in the first three chapters of Romans, and 
federal sin not until the second part of Chapter Five, where the two federal men, Adam and Christ, are set forth, and the effects 
of their representative acts contrasted. This is true, but why the same aorist form in both 3.23 and 5.12? 

Even if Paul used h marton in 3.23 as summing up in one word the actions of both Gentiles and Jews as detailed in 1:18 to 
3:18, we must still note that it is the aorist and not the perfect tense that he uses. It would then resemble the use of the same 
aorist, h marton, in 2:12: "as many as sinned without law," — the aorist here expressing the life-choice, looked at in the day of 
judgment as a past act (as see Godet above). This would make 3:23 say: all made the life-choice of sin, — which we know is not 
true of those whom God saves and delivers. So that it seems best to read "all sinned," — as God's view of men looked at as being 
sinners, indeed; but their sin a past fact — soon to be connected definitely with Adam' (5.12, ff.) 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

might not jump one foot. But all would "fall short" of the coast of England. And, for that matter, 
the one who leaped the farthest would be in the deepest water! Paul, the chief of sinners, leaped to 
the farthest distance of self-righteousness, only to cry, "Wretched man that I am" and to find he 
must put his faith only in Christ! 

We now come to the greatest single verse in the entire Bible on the manner of justification by 
faith: We entreat you, study this verse. We have seen many a soul, upon understanding it, come 
into peace. 

Verse 24: Being declared righteous giftwise by His grace through the redemption that is 
in Christ Jesus — God having brought the whole world into His courtroom and pronounced them 
guilty (vs. 19), — "under sin," now exhibits Himself in absolute sovereign grace towards the guilty! 

Being declared [or accounted] righteous — Justification, or accounting righteous, is God's 
reckoning to one who believes the whole work and effect before Him of the perfect redemption of 
Christ. The word never means to make one righteous, or holy; but to account one righteous. 
Justification is not a change wrought by God in us, but a change of our relation to God. 

Declared righteous giftwise — The Greek word dorean means, for nothing, gratuitously, 
giftwise, as a free gift. Paul, for example, uses the same word in reminding the Corinthians of his 
labors to make the gospel "without charge." "Freely [dorean] ye received, freely give," said the 
Lord to the twelve (Matt. 10:8). "I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of 
life freely" {dorean), — for nothing (Rev. 21:6); and it occurs in almost the very last verse of the 

"Let him take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). Perhaps the most striking use of this 
word, dorean, is by our Lord: "They hated me without-a-cause" (dorean) (John 15:25). The cause 
of the hatred was in them, not in Christ. Turning this about: the cause of our justification is in God, 
not in us. We are justified dorean — freely, gratis, gratuitously, giftwise, without a cause in us! This 
great fact should deliver just now some reader who has been looking within, to his spiritual state, 
or feelings, or prayers, as a ground of peace. 

By His grace — We get our word "charity" — from the Greek word translated "grace" here 
(charis). True, our word "charity" has been narrowed down in our poor thought and speech to 
handing out a dole to the needy. But as used by God, this word grace (charis), means the going 
forth in boundless oceans, according to Himself, of His mighty love, who "so loved the world that 
He gave His only begotten Son." The grace of God is infinite love operating by an infinite 
means, — the sacrifice of Christ; and in infinite freedom, unhindered, now, by the temporary 
restrictions of the Law. 

Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus — Remember that everything connected with 
God's salvation is glad in bestowment, infinite in extent, and unchangeable in character. Christ's 
atoning work was the procuring cause of all eternal benefit to us. Concerning the Greek word 
translated "redemption" here (apolutr sis) Thayer says: "Everywhere in the New Testament this 
word is used to denote deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the retributive wrath 
of a holy God and the merited penalty of sin." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The effect of redemption is shown in Ephesians 1 :7 : "In whom we have our redemption through 
His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses." Otherwise we were unpardoned and exposed to Divine 
wrath for ever. Compare Colossians 1:14: "In whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of 
our sins"; as also Hebrews 9:15: "A death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions 
that were under the first covenant." Here Thayer' s interpretation of this word "redemption" is again 
excellent: "Deliverance from the penalty of transgressions effective through their expiation." 

Before you leave verse 24, apply it to yourself, if you are a believer. Say of yourself: "God has 
declared me righteous without any cause in me, by His grace, through the redemption from sin's 
penalty that is in Christ Jesus." It is the bold believing use for ourselves of the Scripture we learn, 
that God desires; and not merely the knowledge of Scripture. 

Verse 25: Whom God set forth a propitiation through faith in His blood, unto showing 
forth His [God's] righteousness in respect of the passing over of the foregoing sins in the 
forbearance of God — This verse looks back to the whole history of human sin before it was judged 
at the cross, — the vast scandal (so to speak) of the universe! — a holy God letting sin pass for four 
thousand years, from Adam to Christ. God had been righteous in thus passing over 73 human sin, 
both in pardoning without judgment, the sins of the Abels, Enochs, Noahs, and the patriarchs, — even 
all whom He knew as believing Him; and not only so, He was righteous in forbearing with the 
impenitent. His enemies: for He purposed both sending Christ to become the propitiation for the 
whole world; and He would also deal in due time in righteous judgment with those rejecting all 
His goodness. 

But now, in the gospel, His righteousness in all this is publicly shown forth; and the ground of 
it all seen — even the Lamb "foreordained, indeed, from the foundation of the world, but now 
manifested," and sacrificed. At the cross was sin seen at its height; and also the righteousness of 
God in dealing in judgment 74 with it. It was not until the gospel that all this was manifested. Although 
God had been dealing righteously in the past ages, it was first seen clearly when He judged human 
sin openly in the Great Sacrifice: where His own Son was not spared! 

Whom God set forth a propitiation — Let us consider now this word "propitiation," concerning 
the meaning of which there is much uncertainty in many hearts. 

Inasmuch as Christ died for our sins "according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3), we must go to 
those Scriptures (Old Testament, of course) to find what is there set forth concerning His death. 

Now the two goats, on the Great Day of Atonement, represent two great effects of Christ' s 
sacrifice. To quote: "Aaron shall take the two goats, and set them before Jehovah at the door of the 

73 "Passing by or over"; Xenophon uses this word thus: "A trainer of horses should not let such faults pass by 
unpunished' — Hipparchus 7.10. 

74 There are, respecting human sin, three judgment-days: (1) of the human race, in Eden; (2) of human sin, at the cross; and (3) of 
human rebels, at the Great White Throne of Revelation 20. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for Jehovah, and the other 
lot for Azazel" ("removal" — the goat of removal of sins) 75 (Lev 16:7, 8). 

On the great Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) the high priest presented before Jehovah these 
two goats: one was slain, and its blood brought by the high priest into the tabernacle, through the 
holy place, and past the second veil into the holy of holies. There the high priest sprinkled the blood 
upon "the mercy-seat" (the covering of the ark of the covenant, where the Shekinah glory of God' s 
presence was above the cherubim), and also before the mercy-seat, seven times. This was the blood 
of the goat upon which the lot fell "for Jehovah"; therefore we have here first the holy and righteous 
claims of the throne of God as to sin completely met. The golden covering of the ark was called 
the "mercy-seat" (Hebrew, kapporeth). In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, 
this golden covering of the ark is always called by the same Greek word, hilast rion, 16 which we 
find translated "propitiation" here in verse 25; and "mercy-seat" in the only other New Testament 
occurrence of the word, Hebrews 9:5. 

Does "propitiation" (hilast rion), here in Romans 3.25, then mean that the death of Christ made 
expiation for human sin? Or does it mean also that Christ, having thus died, therefore becomes to 
the soul the "mercy-seat" where God in all His holiness, and the sinner in all his guilt, may meet? 

The latter may be included; for the type is thus carried out; inasmuch as the blood was sprinkled 
upon the mercy-seat (Lev. 16:14), the covering of the ark of the covenant, which was called the 
mercy-seat; the "mercy-seat" thus calling attention to the effect of the sacrifice as affording a 
righteous meeting ground between the sinner and God. But in Chapter 3.25 it was to show forth 
God's righteousness that Christ was "set forth," — the fact that God, though forbearing 4000 years, 

Azazel, the Hebrew word, means goat of dismissal, or departure, figuring most vividly the effect for Israel of the blood shed by 
the first goat: for the two goats are one in representing Christ's work in its double effect. First, as answering all the claims of 
the being and throne of a holy, righteous God; and, second, in removing the transgressions from the people "as far as the east is 
from the west." 

The meaning of the Greek word hilast rion, translated "propitiation" in Romans 3:25 plainly is, propitiatory sacrifice. How 
else could it be for "the showing of God' s righteousness"? If we translate it only "mercy-seat," we forget that it was the propitiatory 
sacrifice, in its death, which made a mercy-seat possible. It was the slain goat, on the Day of Atonement, (in Lev. 16: 15), the 
blood of which was brought in to be sprinkled upon and before the mercy-seat. The righteousness of Jehovah was proclaimed 
in the offering's death, and in the meeting, on the ground of this shed blood, of Jehovah and man, at the mercy-seat. Therefore 
righteousness is set forth in the death of the victim; mercy in its effect at the "mercy-seat." 

It will he noticed that all explanations (of hilast rion) rest on the thought that "Christ' s death was sacrificial and expiatory; 
a real atonement, required by something in the character of God, and not merely designed to effect moral results in man. We 
may not know all that this propitiation involves, but since God Himself was willing to instruct His ancient people, by types, of 
this reality, we ought to know something positive respecting it. The atoning death of Christ is the ground of the 'reconciliation,' 
since it satisfies the demands of Divine justice on the one hand, and on the other draws men to God. Independently of the former, 
the latter could not be more than a groundless human feeling" (Schaff and Riddle). 

"All that God was in His nature, He was, necessarily, against sin. For, though He was love, love has no place in wrath 
against sin, and the withdrawal of the sense of it — consciousness in the soul of the privation of God, is the most dreadful of all 
sufferings, the most terrible horror to him who knows it: but Christ knew it infinitely. But God's Divine majesty, His holiness, 
His righteousness. His truth, all in their very nature bore against Christ as made sin for us. All that God was, was against sin, 
and Christ was made sin. No comfort of love enfeebled wrath there. Never was the obedient Christ so precious; but His soul was 
to be made an offering for sin, and to bear it judicially before God" (Darby). 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

had not forgotten or abated His wrath against sin: so that it is Christ'?, actual death as an expiation 
of human sin that is seen here as showing God's righteousness. We may well read, "God set forth 
Christ propitiatory": thus showing Himself righteous, and also a gracious Justifier of sinners. 

The other question connects itself with what we have just said: Should we regard our faith as 
making the propitiation actual? Of course, the expiatory death of Christ becomes effectual only for 
those who believe, who rest upon it. But the expiation was made to God for human sin and the 
propitiation effected, apart from any man's faith therein! This is a plain fact of revelation. Christ 
"tasted death for every man." "He gave Himself a ransom for all" — whether any avail themselves 
of it or not. Faith does not have any part in the propitiation, though it avails itself of it. Propitiation 
is by blood alone. 

It is forgotten that our God is a consuming fire. Many there are who, in the blindness of unbelief 
of the last days, proudly say, "We reject the Jehovah of the Old Testament." It is "the Jesus that 
loved little children," and "went about doing good," who "taught us to call God, Father": — this is 
the one in whom people say they believe. But will you remember that this same Jesus is called in 
the Old Testament Jehovah's Servant, and that under Jehovah's smiting hand of wrath He poured 
out His blood on Calvary and was laid in a tomb, dead, and that it is this Jesus, the Son of God, 
dead and risen, upon whom you are called to believe? 

Now, why did He thus die? or, if you wish, Why must He die, at all? Death is the wages of sin, 
and He had none! Why should He die? 

The answer to this question, false teachers crowd to give you. But we must find the answer in 
what Scripture says, or risk our eternity! For Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and His death is His 
one saving act. Concerning His person, therefore, and His death, you must learn what God says 
from His own Word, and believe it. I find thousands of people ready to say, "Christ died for us, to 
save us"; thousands, I say, who speak thus, but who are able to give no account whatever of salvation; 
who exhibit, upon being questioned, the most awful ignorance of the character and attributes of 
God, and of where lay the necessity for Christ's death, and what it really accomplished. 

The shed blood on the Day of Atonement witnessed that a death had taken place. The person 
for whom the blood was shed could not approach or stand for a moment in the presence of the 
infinitely holy God. When the high priest came in before Jehovah on the Great Day of atonement, 
carrying the basin containing the poured out life blood of the slain goat, he swung the censer, and 
the cloud of incense filled the holy of holies, covering from all human sight or approach, the 
mercy-seat where dwelt, upon the cherubim, the Shekinah Presence of God. He approaches and 
sprinkles the blood upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat seven times, and retires. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now, what does this witness? Not an angry, vengeful God, 77 but infinitely the opposite — One 
who would send the Son of His bosom as the spotless Lamb to pour out His blood for us sinners, 
and then ascend to His God and Father, — and, unspeakable grace, now our God and Father also! 

But, this laid-down-life witnesses that all approach to God on our personal part is impossible 
forever! To be made nigh unto God in the blood of Christ means that we come as those whose 
Substitute has been smitten unto death, — and that under forsaking and wrath by God Himself. There 
is peace through this blood, but a peace that leaves for us in our own right, no place whatever. 
Herein is the "offense" of the cross. Shall Christ be smitten for my sin? Then I deserve such smiting. 
Shall Christ be forsaken? Then I should have been forsaken. Shall Christ give up the ghost? Then 
all my hopes in myself have perished forever; for He who stood in my place has been smitten, 
forsaken; has died. 

All this men hate and will not hear. 

The essence of the truth concerning what men call "atonement," is that God's wrath fell upon 
Christ bearing our sins. Man's unbelief has sought in every way to avoid or mitigate this awful 
truth. But if Divine wrath fell not upon Christ, it must fall upon us; for God can not let sin pass. 
The preacher must study the Scriptures until he sees for himself from God' s Word this most solemn 
of all Divine revelations: in the coats of skins — obtained by death as a covering for Adam and Eve 
in God's presence; in Abel' s accepted sacrifice; in all the offerings of the patriarchs; and afterwards 
in those prescribed to Israel in Leviticus, — where neither remission of the penalty of sin to the 
offender nor the bringing of man into God' s presence was possible except through blood- shedding; 
and alike strikingly in the Psalms of Christ's sufferings, — as 16, 22, 40, 69, 88, 102, 109; and in 
the prophets: "It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him," "The chastisement of our peace was upon Him"; 
"Awake, O sword against My Shepherd, against the Man Who is My Fellow, saith Jehovah of 
Hosts"; and in the gospels — "The Son of Man must be lifted up"; "The cup [of what but wrath?] 
that my father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" "My God, My God Why hast Thou forsaken 
Me?" Throughout the New Testament, as in the Old, this is taught, that God's wrath for sin fell 
upon Christ upon the cross. 

It has ever been the first step to heresy — the denial that Divine wrath for sin fell on Christ. It 
was, indeed, certainly not anger at Christ' s Person — He was obediently drinking a cup His Father 
had given Him. Nor was it anger at the sinner: "God so loved that He gave." But it was wrath 
against sin, — the going forth of the infinitely holy nature of God against sin. Alas, how little we 
feel its awfulness! How poor our knowledge of it; how weak our hatred of it! But wrath against it 
fell full on Christ. We beseech you, hold this fast. "God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him 
up for us all." 

The doctrine of atonement produces in us its proper effect when it leads us to see and feel that God is just; that He is infinitely 
gracious; that we are deprived of all ground of boasting; that the way 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. 

"In the gospel all is harmonious: Justice and mercy, as it regards God; freedom from the Law, and the strongest obligations 
to obedience, as it regards men" (Hodge). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

God is holy in His being: He is righteous in His character. Righteousness appears in His dealings 
with others. The term righteousness is a relative one; it assumes the existence of others. It is a word 
of relationship: whether in attitude or in government, God will ever be righteous. But holiness is 
not a word of relationship, but of nature, of being. God is holy: if there were no creatures He would 
yet be holy, the Holy One, "Whose Name is Holy." 

It is in this holiness of God that we must look for the necessity of propitiation. That there must 
be propitiation does not indicate, primarily, that God is offended and must be appeased; but that 
God is holy and cannot by sinful creatures be approached. Only holy beings (like the seraphim, 
the cherubim of glory, and the elect angels) can possibly abide in His presence. Sin cannot come 
nigh Him. It is not that He hates sinners (He gave His Son to ransom them!) but it is that He is holy 
and cannot look upon sin. And if there be sin, there must 'be wrath against it: not merely the 
vindication of God's offended government, but the infinite abhorrence of His holy nature! He 
"dwelleth in light unapproachable." It is death to draw nigh: not because God is vindictive, — He 
is love: but because He is holy, and we are sinful, unclean, unholy. 

True, we are also guilty: the, penalty of sin is upon us. And that means judgment, and the infliction 
of wrath. But behind this, and deeper than even our guilt, is the abhorrence of a holy God of our 
sin itself. It is the abominable thing His holy being hates. We must be banished under wrath from 
His sight! Let all those who think to stand in the day of judgment before God think on this. The 
atonement arises out of a necessity in the nature of God Himself. 

Now in the type of the great Day of Atonement of Leviticus 16, we have the two goats setting 
forth two great facts, which we must not confuse: First (and most important) the blood of the slain 
goat brought into God's presence in the holy of holies: the sprinkled blood being the witness that 
there has been death, a life laid down: 78 and no effort to come otherwise into God's presence, — no 
Cain- way, which does not recognize sin, or that holiness of God which was wrath and death toward 
sin. The blood of the goat sprinkled on the mercy- seat was the witness that all the claims of God, 
His holiness, His truth, His righteousness, and the majesty of His throne, had been admitted and 
met by a substitute which had laid its life down. 

Then, second, there was the transferring in type of the actual sins, — all of them, to the head of 
the scape-goat (the "goat of dismissal"), which was then led to the wilderness, never to be found 
again: thus setting forth the result of the death of the first goat, — for the two are really one, in that 
the two set forth the effect of Christ's death: (1) toward God; and (2) toward sinners. 

It is this latter phase of Christ's work, — His taking away our sins forever, that we so constantly 
find in our hymns (and rightly). But it is the first phase that the Word of God calls "the lot for 
Jehovah" (Lev. 16:8, 9, 15). It is of first importance that God should be glorified where sin had so 
dishonored Him! Sin outraged His holiness, insulted His Majesty, defied His righteous government. 
And the cross made good all this, and publicly, before the universe. This was first. And second, 
God could now let 'sinners, in all their guilt, turn to Him! And we should learn to look at the cross 

78 "The great idea in all these offerings (of Leviticus) was that the life of the victim was accepted for the life of the offerer" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

as first of all glorifying God; and not solely from the viewpoint of the blessed and eternal benefits 
accruing to us thereby! 

It is the character of God and the character of sin that are before us in Leviticus 16, in the Great 
Day of Atonement. "That I die not" (verse 13) was upon the mind of the high priest as he swung 
the censer when entering the presence of Jehovah, the Holy One, to sprinkle the blood, "to make 
atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleannesses of the children of Israel, and because 
of their transgressions, even all their sins." Note here that it is "uncleannesses" that are mentioned, 
even before "transgressions" or "sins"! Read carefully Leviticus 16, — especially verses 15 and 16. 

Taking the blood in before God, in the holy of holies, was not a gift to God! Nor was it that 
God "delighted in bloodshed" — the monstrous claim of God's enemies. Christ's blood witnesses 
that a life has been laid down (though that of a Substitute, a Lamb, God Himself in love has 
provided). So that a sinner, unable to be in God's presence at all, and guilty, might, in the Name 
and Person of that Substitute, be in God's presence, pardoned and justified. So that the blood 
witnesses at once the infinite holiness and righteousness of God, and also His fathomless love! The 
words "made nigh in Christ's blood" should be in the constant consciousness of every Christian! 

Now in order that these things may be impressed on our hearts, we quote a few of the ever 
recurring references in Scripture to the holiness of God: its effect in godly fear upon the saints, and 
also its effect upon the wicked. We have placed these passages in a footnote. We beg you to stop 
and humbly read them; for the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New. Indeed, that great 
passage in the Sixth of Isaiah in which the seraphim veil their faces, crying, "Holy, holy, holy, is 
Jehovah of hosts," is directly declared in the Twelfth of John to have been spoken of the Lord Jesus 
Christ: "These things said Isaiah, because he saw His glory [Christ's] and he spake of Him" (John 
12:39-41). The fact that the Son of God has come, sent by a God of love, and has borne sin for us, 
so that we who believe shall not come into judgment, but draw near to God by Christ's blood, does 
not at all change the character of the holy God; but, on the contrary, reveals His holiness as nowhere 
else! 19 


Ex. 3:5: Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 

19:22: And let the priests also, that come near to Jehovah, sanctify themselves, lest Jehovah break forth upon them. 

24: 1 , 2: Worship ye afar off, and Moses alone shall come near unto Jehovah; but they shall not come near; neither shall the 
people go up with him. 

Ex 24: 17: And the appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the 
children of Israel. 

Lev. 9:7: And Moses said unto Aaron, Draw near unto the altar, and offer thy sin-offering, and thy burnt-offering, and make 

10:1-3: Nadab and Abiliu offered strange fire before Jehovah . . . And there came forth fire from before Jehovah, and 
devoured them, and they died before Jehovah. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that Jehovah spake, saying, I will be 
sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. 

Deut. 4:24: For Jehovah thy God is a devouring fire, a Jealous God. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Therefore we see m the word translated "propitiation" a propitiatory sacrifice that has expiated 
guilt; and therefore the "mercy-seat" where God is in all His holiness, and the effect of Christ's 
expiatory sacrifice, in the bringing into God's holy presence sinners, the defiled and guilty, — whose 
Substitute has borne their defilement and guilt, His blood becoming the witness thereto before God. 

We know that we read in Hebrews 9:8 concerning the sacrifices in that first tabernacle: "The 
Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holy place hath not yet been made manifest, while 
the first tabernacle is yet standing." Besides, we also read in Hebrews: "Having therefore, brethren, 
boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us, 
a new and living way ... let us draw near with a true heart, in fulness of faith" (Heb. 10:19, 22). 
God's being and character do not change. The cross is the deepest witness of all to that fact! 

In every great revival in church history, as in the Old Testament, there has been a coming back 
into the consciousness of being guilty, lost sinners, dependent on the shed blood of a Redeemer. If 
the world has gotten past being recalled to that blessed sinner-consciousness in the presence of a 
God of mercy at the cross — there is nothing left but judgment! 

Verse 26: For the showing forth of His righteousness at this present season: that He might 
be Himself righteous, while declaring righteous the person having faith in Jesus. 

Both in verse 25 and verse 26 it is the effect of Christ's sacrifice, as displaying the Divine 
righteousness, that is before us. From Adam to Christ God had "passed over," not judged and put 
away, sin. The word translated "passed over" (paresis) in Chapter 3:25, is not the word for 
"remission," of Matthew 26:28, which is used fifteen times for the active pardon of sins; whereas 
the present word (paresis) is used in Romans 3:25 only. This word carries, in a sense, almost the 
same thought as the word "overlooked," in Acts 17:30. Of course there had to be, before the cross, 
such displays of Divine government as the Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the 
plagues in Egypt, and the dispersion of rebellious Israel. Nevertheless, God did not take up man's 
sin for judgment according to His own being, until the cross. There He held the public Judgment 
Day of human sin, displaying His absolute righteousness in not sparing His own Son. Before the 
cross, as Bengel says, "the righteousness of God was not so apparent, for He seemed not to be so 
exacting with sin as He is, but to leave the sinner to himself, to regard not." But in the atoning death 
of Christ, God's righteousness was fully exhibited in His wrath against sin as it was in His holy 
sight. He was shown righteous, at the very moment He was, in love, working out the deliverance 
of the sinner from the wrath due. He was the Justifier, and yet just! 

In the words, "at this present season," God directs our gaze back to the cross, where Christ was 
publicly set forth and judged for our sin; and also He covers this whole "season" of mercy the 

5:4, 5: Jehovah spake with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire ... ye were afraid because of the fire, 
and went not up into the mount. 

Isa. 33:14: The sinners in Zion are afraid: trembling hath seized the godless ones: Who among us can dwell with the 
devouring fire? who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings? 

Heb. 12:29: For our God is a consuming fire. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

present dispensation. Old Testament believers looked forward: they were forgiven on credit. But 
"this present season," is better. It is characterized by a righteousness already displayed in God's 
judging our sin at the cross; and therefore by God as the righteous Justifier of all who believe. 

Now our faith is that one act of our hearts that appropriates the work of Christ; and we stand, 
by virtue of that work alone in the immediate presence of the infinitely holy God. The words "most 
holy" occur about forty times in describing the sanctuary matters of the Old Testament; but faith 
in the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ who fulfills all those shadows, takes the place of all this: 
therefore, in the New Testament, our faith is called "our most holy faith"! (Jude 20). 

Verse 27: Where then is the [Jewish] boasting? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of 
works? Nay: but by a law of faith. 

Where then is the [Jewish] boasting? It is plain all through this discussion that Paul has the 
religious position and opposition of the Jews in mind. Boasting "was excluded at the moment when 
the law of faith, that is, the gospel, was brought in." 80 

In view of this new gospel-revelation of the finished work of Christ, who did the whole work 
for us on Calvary, and that by God's appointment, everything is seen to be of God, and not at all 
of man. Therefore, even the Jews, to whom the Law had been given, had their mouths completely 
stopped, "because there was no work done," and no ground for boasting! 

By what manner of law? of works? Not at all! but by a law of faith. "Law" in this instance 
is rule, or plan. This "law," or principle, of faith, applies not only to our justification, but to every 
aspect of the believer's life thereafter, — "building up yourselves on your most holy faith." "That 
life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God." 

Verse 28: For we reckon that a man is declared righteous by faith, apart from Works of 

law — This verse is not a conclusion arrived at, but a reason given why boasting is excluded. 

Verses 29 and 30: Or is God [the God] of Jews only? [who alone had the Law]. Is He not [the 
God] of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: since it is one God who shall declare righteous 
the circumcision on the principle of faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. To paraphrase: 
"Or is God the God of the Jews only? (as He must be, if justification is by the Law: for only to the 
Jews did God give the Law). Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: since God 
is One (in His being, and alike to all nations). And He shall justify the circumcision (Jewish believers) 
out of simple faith (and not by their keeping Moses' Law though they had it from God), and the 
uncircumcision (Gentiles, who had nothing) through their faith (apart from His giving them the 

Verse 31: Do we then annul law through faith? Banish the thought! on the contrary, we 
establish law. 

As one has quaintly said, "The Feast of Mercy was on, and the damsel Grace was at the door, admitting everyone who came on 
the ground of mercy alone. Old Mr. Boasting, in a high hat and fine suit, presented himself. 'Oh,' said Grace, as she quickly 
shut the door in his face, 'There is no room for you here! The people here are feasting on the free gifts of God.' So Mr. Boasting 
was shut out!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

It is the constant cry of those who oppose grace, and most especially that declaration of grace 
that our justification is apart from law — apart from works of law — apart from ordinances, that it 
overthrows the Divine authority. But in this verse Paul says, "We establish law" through this doctrine 
of simple faith. 

To illustrate: In the wilderness a man was found gathering up sticks to make a fire on the Sabbath 
day. Now, the Law had said, "Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Sabbath 
day." How, then, was this Law to be "established"? By letting the law-breaker off? No. By securing 
his promise to keep the Law in the future? No ! By finding someone who had kept this commandment 
always, perfectly, and letting his obedience be reckoned to the law-breaker? No, in no wise! 

How then, was the Law established? You know very well. All Israel were commanded by 
Jehovah to stone the man to death. We read: 

"And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, 
and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it had not been 
declared what should be done to him. And Jehovah said unto Moses The man shall 
surely be put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the 
camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him to 
death with stones; as Jehovah commanded Moses" (Numbers 15:33,ff). 

Thus and thus only was the commandment of Jehovah established — by the execution of the 

Paul preached Christ crucified: that Christ died for our sins, that "He tasted death for every 
man." And that Israel, who were under the Law, He redeemed from the curse of that Law by being 
made a curse for them. Thus the cross established law; for the full penalty of all that was against 
the Divine majesty, against God's holiness. His righteousness, His truth, was forever met, and that 
not according to man's conception of what sin and its penalty should be, but according to God's 
judgment, according to the measure of the sanctuary, of high heaven itself! 

The Jew, prating about his own righteousness, went about to kill Paul, crying that he spake 
against the Law; whereas it was that very Jew who would lower the Law to his own ability to keep 
it, instead of allowing it its proper office; namely, to reveal his guilt, curse him, and condemn him 
to death, and thus drive him to the mercy of God in Christ, whose expiatory death established law 
by having its penalty executed!* 1 

81 As to the "modernist," being more shallow by far than even the Sadducees of our Lord's day, he is not even exercised in his 
conscience concerning the Law, or the difference between law and grace as a means of righteousness, — of righteous standing 
with God. For, forsooth, the "modernist" has already a "character," an "innate nobility," though where the poor fellow gets these 
things, alas, who can discern? We know from Scripture that his first father was Adam; and that this "modernist," was, like David, 
"shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin." We have immeasurably more respect for a Jew, who is at least endeavoring by his 
imagined law-keeping to attain righteousness, — which presupposes that he knows he has it not! Even the Seventh Day Adventists, 
with their unscriptural bondage to law, are worried in conscience: the "modernist" is smugly secure, for what means Thus saith 
the Lord to him? But wait — till he faces the Great White Throne! 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


If God announces the gift of righteousness apart from works, why do you keep mourning over 
your bad works, your failures? DO you not see that it is because you still have hopes in these works 
of yours that you are depressed and discouraged by their failure? If you truly saw and believed that 
God is reckoning righteous the ungodly who believe on Him, you would fairly hate your struggles 
to be "better"; for you would see that your dreams of good works have not at all commended you 
to God, and that your bad works do not at all hinder you from believing on Him, — that justifieth 
the wngodly! 

Therefore, on seeing your failures, you should say, I am nothing but a failure; but God is dealing 
with me on another principle altogether than my works, good or bad, — a principle not involving 
my works, but based only on the work of Christ for me. I am anxious, indeed, to be pleasing to 
God and to be filled with His Spirit; but I am not at all justified, or accounted righteous, by these 
things. God, in justifying me, acted wholly and only on Christ's blood- shedding on my behalf. 

Therefore I have this double attitude: first, I know that Christ is in Heaven before God for me, 
and that I stand in the value before God of His finished work; that God sees me nowhere else but 
in this dead, buried, and Risen Christ, and that His favor is toward me in Christ, and is limitless 
and eternal. 

Then, second, toward the work of the Holy Spirit in me, my attitude is, a desire to be guided 
into the truth, to be obedient thereto, and to be chastened by God my Father if disobedient; to learn 
to pray in the Spirit, to walk by the Spirit, and to be filled with a love for the Scriptures and for the 
saints and for all men. 

Yet none of these things justifies me! I had justification from God as a sinner, not as a saint! 
My saintliness does not increase it, nor, praise God, do my failures decrease it! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


Abraham and David, in Whom the Jews Specially Gloried, Accounted Righteous by Faith, 
not by Law or Works. Verses 1-8. 

Righteousness is also Apart from Ordinances (as Circumcision). Verses 9-12. 

Abraham's "Heirship of the World," not at All by Law but by Promise; and So, Only, Believers 
Are All Made Certain of its Blessings. Verses 13-17. 

The Way and Walk of faith Wondrously Exemplified in Abraham the Father of All Believers. 

Verses 18-22. 

The Connection of Our Justification with Christ's Resurrection. Verses 23-25. 

1 What then shall we say that Abraham our forefather 
according to the flesh hath found? 2 For if Abraham was 
justified on the principle of works, he hath whereof to boast. 
3 But [we find] he is unable to boast before God: For what 
saith the Scripture? And Abraham believed God, and it [his 
faith] was reckoned unto him as righteousness. 4 Now to 
him that worketh the reward is not reckoned as of grace but, 
on the contrary, as a matter of debt. 5 But to one not 
working, but believing upon the God that justifieth the 
ungodly, — his faith is reckoned for righteousness. 

THE JEWS ESPECIALLY gloried in Abraham and David, — just as we all naturally glory in 
the assumed personal righteousness of great saints, as the ground of God's favor to them. But 
whatever blessing, says Paul, Abraham obtained, Scripture forbade the thought that he could glory 
before God; because he simply believed what God told him, that his seed should be in number like 
the stars of heaven. (Read Gen. 15:6) Abraham gave God His proper glory as the God of truth. We 
cannot conceive of Abraham as boasting before his house and before the Hittites that he had 
performed an act creditable to himself in believing God! 

Paul now answers Jewish objectors to the doctrine of justification by simple faith; and he uses 
as examples those two great men of faith whose names were constantly on Jewish 
tongues, — Abraham and David. 

The question about Abraham, What has Abraham our fleshly forefather found? is practically 
the same as in Chapter Three, "What advantage, then, hath the Jew?" We do well, while standing 
absolutely with Paul, to understand with sympathy the state of mind of the Jew, who had the Old 
Testament Scriptures, and a national history of marvelous Divine instruction and providence, and 
also remarkable religious prominence everywhere, in Paul's day. "To Israel pertained the fathers" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

(Rom. 9:5); Paul here in Romans 4:1, places himself, therefore, among the Israelites, and says, 
"Abraham our forefather according to the flesh." 82 

Verses 2, 3: Now argues Paul, if Abraham had been declared righteous before God on the 
works principle, he would indeed have had something to boast of! But the Scripture record showed 
there was nothing of which he could boast before God. For concerning Abraham more definitely 
and directly than of any other human being, God's word was specific: Abraham believed God, 
and it [his faith] was reckoned 13 to him as righteousness. 

To discover that the greatest saints have no other standing than the weakest saints, is a lesson 
that is difficult for all of us! So now for the Jew to find that great Abraham has nothing in the flesh, 
but must be justified by simple faith, like any sinner, is a great shock. There was no honor, no 
"merit," in Abraham's believing the faithful God, who cannot lie. The honor was God's. When 
Abraham believed God, he did the one thing that a man can do without doing anything ! God made 
the statement, the promise; and God undertook to fulfill it. Abraham believed in his heart that God 
told the truth. There was no effort here. Abraham's faith was not an act, but an attitude. His heart 
was turned completely away from himself to God and His promise. This left God free to fulfill that 
promise. Faith was neither a meritorious act by Abraham, nor a change of character or nature, in 
Abraham: he simply believed God would accomplish what He had promised: "In thee shall all the 
families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3). 

Verses 4 and 5: Now to him that worketh the reward is not reckoned as a matter of grace, 
but, on the contrary, as a matter of debt. But to one not working, but believing upon the God 
that justifieth the ungodly, — his faith is reckoned for righteousness. 

Here Paul writes two verses which every believer should commit to memory: for they state 
what no mind of fallen man ever imagines; for do not people naturally believe that the way to be 
saved is to "be good"? 

To him that worketh — To a man that works for wages, the wages are due as a debt. That is a 
simple enough principle. But do not seek to apply it to salvation! No one ever got righteousness 
by work or worth! Righteousness is not by doing right, strange and impossible as that may seem. 

But to him that worketh not — to him who "casts his deadly doing down"; who, seeing his 
guilt, and his entire inability to put it away, ceases wholly from all efforts to obtain God's favor by 



The doctrine of Abraham as being the "father of all that believe," has yet to be announced, — as is done later in this same chapter. 

(l)"It was reckoned unto him as righteousness"; here the word "reckoned" is logidzomai, a great word with Paul, used 41 
times in the New Testament, 35 of which are in Paul's epistles, 1 1 of these here in Chapter Four. Where it is used as in verse 3, 
here, of God, it is always a court word, God acting as Judge and accounting or holding as righteous those who, as Abraham, 
believe in Him; or the contrary, as is implied in verse 8; "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not reckon sin," — implying 
that there are those to whom He will reckon sin and its guilt. 

In Chapter 4:5, we see what is reckoned by God as righteousness: "his faith is reckoned as righteousness," This does not 
mean that faith is a meritorious act, as indeed it could not be, — being simply extending credence to One who cannot lie ! Therefore, 
without being itself righteousness, it is reckoned as righteousness; the ground of such reckoning being of course the work of 
Christ on the cross. (Compare on this (Compare on this word the note on Chapter 5:11) 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

his own doings, or self-denying s, — even by his prayers: but believeth on the God that declareth 
righteous the ungodly — not the godly or the good! But, you say, God cannot do that! God cannot 
declare a man godly if he is really ungodly. Now God did not say "godly," but He said 
righteous, — "declareth righteous those ungodly who believe." God can do that! For God can reckon 
to an ungodly man who dares cease trying to change himself, and relies on God just as he is, a 
sinner, — God can and does reckon to such a one the glorious benefit of Christ's death and 
resurrection on behalf of sinners. And of such a believing sinner, God declares his faith is counted 
as righteousness. 

It cannot be too much emphasized that the words, "the ungodly," in verse 5, wholly shut out 
any other class from justification. If we say, God, indeed, has in some special cases justified 
notoriously, openly, evidently ungodly ones; while His general habit is, to justify the godly (which 
is what human reason demands), then we at once deny all Scripture. For God says, "There is no 
distinction; for all sinned; there is none righteous, — not one." And if you claim that God justifies 
the godly, we ask, on what ground? If you say on the ground of their godliness, you have left out 
the blood of Christ, — on which ground alone God can deal with sinners; and you have really denied 
this so-called "godly" man to be a sinner before God at all, since he is to be justified on another 
ground than is the openly ungodly sinner, — the shed blood of Christ. 

Do you not see that all this distinction between sinners is an abomination before a holy God? 
What does it matter whether you are a nobleman or a knave, if God has said He declares sinners 
righteous by Christ's blood? What matter whether you are an honorable woman or a harlot, if God 
says you are a sinner (and He does!) and that the only ground of being declared righteous is the 
blood of His Son? 

The burning question is, have you and I been so really convinced of the fact of our sinnerhood 
and guilt, and of our utter helplessness, and lost state, as to be able to believe on a God who can 
and does "declare righteous the UNgodly — those who believe, as ungodly, on Him? 

A child, without Christ, is "ungodly," in this sense. "Ye were by nature children of wrath," is 
an awful word, but a true word, — going back to our mother's womb, who, "in sin conceived us!" 
We were born into a lost, guilty race, — we were born part of that race! And it was written of all of 
us, concerning Adam's sin: "Through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners." 

We are all ungodly! And when we place our faith in the God who is in the business of declaring 
righteous the ungodly — who trust Him as they are, — on the sole ground of the shed blood of 
Christ, — then we are justified, — accounted righteous, by God. 

No, it is not the regenerate, the born again man, who is declared righteous, — it is the ungodly. 
It is not the penitent man or the praying man, as such, but the ungodly. It is not the professing 
Christian who has "escaped the defilements of the world" (II Peter 2) through certain spiritual 
experiences (it may be of a high order), but the ungodly, who believes, as such, on the God who 
declares righteous the ungodly who believe on Him — AS SUCH! 

And of course it is not the "church-member," — Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, 
Roman Catholic, or Plymouth Brother, as such, — but, the ungodly. This is not, either, putting a 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

premium on ungodliness, but telling the truth! If you have not relied on God as an ungodly one, 
you have yet to be declared righteous; for He is the God who declares righteous the ungodly who 
believe on Him. M 

(l)We beg the reader's permission to relate below an experience of our own, as illustrating "To him that worketh not, but 
believeth on Him that declares righteous the ungodly": 

Years ago in the city of St. Louis, I was holding noon meetings in the Century Theater. One day I spoke on this 
verse, — Romans 4:5. After the audience had gone, I was addressed by a fine-looking man of middle age, who had been waiting 
alone in a box-seat for me. 

He immediately said, "I am Captain G — ," (a man very widely known in the city). And, when I sat down to talk with him, 
he began: "You are speaking to the most ungodly man in St. Louis." 

I said, "Thank God!" 

"What!" he cried. "Do you mean you are glad that I am bad?" 

"No," I said; "but I am certainly glad to find a sinner that knows he is a sinner." 

"Oh, you do not know the half! I have been absolutely ungodly for years and years and years, right here in St. Louis. I own 
two Mississippi steamers. Everybody knows me. I am just the most ungodly man in town'" 

I could hardly get him quiet enough to ask him: "Did you hear me preach on 'ungodly people' today?" 

"Mr. Newell," he said, "I have been coming to these noon meetings for six weeks. I do not think I have missed a meeting. 
But I cannot tell you a word of what you said today. I did not sleep last night. I have hardly had any sleep for three weeks. I have 
gone to one man after another to find what to do. And I do what they say. I have read the Bible. I have prayed. I have given 
money away. But I am the most ungodly wretch in this town. Now what do you tell me to do? I waited here today to ask you 
that. I have tried everything; but I am so ungodly!" 

"Now," I said, "we will turn to the verse I preached on." I gave the Bible into his hands, asking him to read aloud: "To him 
that worketh not." 

"But," he cried, "how can this be for me? I am the most ungodly man in St. Louis!" 

"Wait," I said, "I beg you go on reading." 

So he read, "To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly." 

"There!" he fairly shouted, "that's what I am, — ungodly." "Then, this verse is about you," I assured him. 

"But please tell me what to do, Mr. Newell. I know I am ungodly: what shall I do?" 

"Read the verse again, please." 

He read: "To him that worketh not," — and I stopped him. "There," I said, "the verse says not to do, and you want me to 
tell you something to do: I cannot do that." 

"But there must be something to do; if not, I shall be lost forever." "Now listen with all your soul," I said. "There was 
something to do, but it has been done!" 

Then I told him how God had so loved him, all ungodly as he was, that He sent Christ to die for the ungodly. And that 
God' s judgment had fallen on Christ, who has been forsaken of God for his, Captain G ' s, sins there on the cross. 

Then, I said, "God raised up Christ; and sent us preachers to beseech men, all ungodly as they are, to believe on this God 
who declares righteous the ungodly, on the ground of Christ's shed blood." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

So we have seen in verses four and five the working method and the believing method contrasted. 
What a place heaven would be if men were allowed to pay their way! They would boast all through 
eternity, one about this, another about that. But the works method and the grace method are mutually 
exclusive. Each shuts out the other. Men must cease even seeking; they must cease all 
works — weeping, confessing, repenting, even earnest praying, and simply believe God laid their 
sins, their very own sins, all of them, on Christ at the cross. There comes a moment when a man 
ceases from his own works, hearing that Christ finished the work, paid the ransom, at the cross. 
Then he rests! Such a soul believes, — knowing himself to be a sinner, and ungodly, — but he 'believes 
on God, just as he is, and knows he is welcome! 

Note that Scripture does not say that God justifies the praying man, or the Bible reader, or the 
church member, but the ungodly. Have you yourself believed on the God that accounts righteous 
the ungodly? Have you ever really seen yourself in the ungodly class, a mere sinner, and as such 
trusted God, on only one ground, the blood of Christ? 

6 Even as David also pronounceth blessing upon the 
man, unto whom God reckoneth righteousness apart from 
works [saying], 7 Blessed are they whose iniquities are 
forgiven, And whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man 
to whom the Lord will not reckon sin. 

Verses 6 and 7: Now David also, in the Spirit, sets his seal to this blessed doctrine with great 
joy: saying twice in the beautiful Hebrew of Psalm 32: Oh, the blessednesses of the man! Of what 

First, of the man whose iniquities are forgiven — Forgiveness is more than mere remitting of 
penalty. Even a hard-hearted judge might remit a man's fine if it were paid by someone else, but 
forgiveness involves the heart of the forgiver. God' s forgiveness is the going forth of God' s infinite 

He suddenly leaped to his feet and stretched his hand out to me. "Mr. Newell," he said, "I will accept that proposition!" 
and off he went, without another word. 

Next noonday, at the opening of the meeting, I saw him beckoning to me from the wings of the stage. I went to him, 

"May I say a word to these people?" he asked. 

I saw his shining face, and gladly brought him in. 

I said to the great audience, "Friends, this is Captain G , whom most, it not all of you, know. He wants to say a word 

to you." 

"I want to tell you all of the greatest proposition I ever found," he cried: "I am a business man, and know a good proposition. 
But I found one yesterday that so filled me with joy, that I could not sleep a wink all night. I found out that God for Jesus Christ' s 
sake declares righteous any ungodly man that trusts Him. I trusted Him yesterday; and you all know what an ungodly man I was. 
I thank you all for listening to me; but I felt I could not help but tell you of this wonderful proposition; that God should count 
me righteous. I have been such a great sinner." 

This beloved man lived many years in St. Louis, an ornament to his confession. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

tenderness toward the object of His mercy. It is God folding the sinner, as the returning prodigal 
was folded, to His bosom. Such a one is blessed indeed! 

Then, whose sins are covered — "Covered" is the Old Testament word, (Heb. kaphar); for 
those sacrifices could never "take away" sins, but only "cover" from sight. "In those sacrifices 
there is a remembrance made [not a removal] of sins year by year" (Heb. 10:11, 3). There was a 
type of Christ' s coming work, but the sins were yet there before God till Christ took them away on 
the cross. If then, one like David could pronounce blessed the man whose sins were "covered," out 
of God's sight in His mercy (though not yet removed), much more should we rejoice to know that 
Christ has been manifested "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself! (Heb. 9:26). 

Verse 8: The third element David here describes, in "righteousness without works," is the 
inflexible purpose of God never to bring up again the sin of the "blessed" man: Blessed is the man 
to whom the Lord will not reckon sin. (Again the Hebrew repeats "Oh, the blessednesses!" — Ps 
32:2). Many believers indeed, like David and Peter, have sinned deeply. But, as Nathan said to 
David on the very occasion of the announcement of both the King's sin and its being "put away," 
celebrated in this Psalm 32: "Jehovah hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." So have many 
been forgiven. High offences were David's indeed: adultery, hypocrisy and murder. But they were 
not "reckoned" against David. True, the king was chastened: "The sword shall never depart from 
thy house." At Nathan's parable David's indignation (how righteously indignant we can become 
at our own sins when we see them in others!) called for a four-fold payment by the rich man who 
took the poor man's lamb (II Sam 12:5, 6). And God allowed four sons of David's to be smitten: 
the child of Uriah's wife, then his first-born, Amnon; then fair Absalom; and, last, goodly Adonijah. 
Nevertheless, God had not "reckoned" the guilt against him! No wonder he pronounces blessed 
the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works! 85 

Next we have the fact that even Divine ordinances like circumcision have nothing to do with 
righteousness, — any more than have good works; that even Abraham's circumcision was merely 
a seal of the righteousness of a faith he before had. 

9 Is this blessing [of righteousness without works] 
pronounced upon the circumcision, or upon the 
uncircumcision also? for we say, To Abraham [a 
circumcised man] his faith was reckoned as righteousness. 
10 Under what circumstances, then, was it reckoned? When 


This world hates the God of David, because it hates grace. The world rather likes David's taking Uriah's wife (for that is 
the world's manner of life!). But for Jehovah not to reckon this sin as damning guilt, and freely to forgive David, — and that so 
fully as to give "her that had been the wife of Uriah" another son, and bestow His special love on him (Solomon) to the extent 
of giving him a personal name, Jedidiah "for Jehovah's sake" (JJ Sam. 12:24, 25) and placing this woman Bathsheba in the 
official genealogy of Christ (Matt. 1 :6); and, above all, for God to call David a man "after His own heart," — all this rouses the 
ire of a vile, self-righteous, neighbor-judging, blind, grace- ignorant, impenitent world, — a world that has neither repented, nor 
means to repent, of the very sins, into which David fell, and of which he repented most deeply. God' s record of David is "a man 
that will do all my purposes" (Acts 13:22, margin). How about it, critic of David's God? Have you repented? Do you desire to 
do all God's purposes? If not, — well, you will shortly meet the God of whom your false mouth has prated! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in 
circumcision, but, on the contrary, in uncircumcision! 11 
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the 
righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in 
uncircumcision: that he might be the father of ALL them 
that believe, though they be in uncircumcision, — that 
righteousness might be reckoned unto them; 12 and the 
father of circumcision to them who not only are of the 
circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of 
our father Abraham which he had in uncircumcision. 

Verses 9 and 10: Paul had to have Jews in mind, just as we today have to have "professing 
Christians" in mind. The Jew relied upon and boasted in the outward mark of circumcision (which 
God, in Genesis 17, prescribed to Abraham and his fleshly seed), entirely forgetting that God, 
fourteen or fifteen years before circumcision (Gen. 15:6), had accounted Abraham righteous wholly 
apart from circumcision. 86 Circumcision was an outward sign or symbol, both to Abraham and to 
the world about him: to Abraham, that God was his God; to the world, that Abraham was separated 
from the world unto God. Just so baptism today is an outward sign that we are Christ's in faith and 
identification, and that we no longer belong to the world: but how deadly is the delusion that baptism 
in itself amounts to anything before God! 17 

After the same manner with the Jews, the vast majority of those calling themselves Christians 
place reliance, alas, today, on some ordinance (or, as it is called, "sacrament"), saying, "Christ told 
us to repent and be baptized, did He not? Christ commanded us to take the Lord's supper." But 
remember that God justifies NOT those observing ordinances, but the ungodly who believe. If you 
are still regarding baptism, or the Lord's supper, or "the mass," or "christening," or "confirmation," 
as having anything whatever to do with God's declaring you righteous, you do not understand being 
declared righteous as an ungodly one. And in the gospel, since the cross, you are not told first to 
cease being ungodly, and then believe; but, as ungodly, to believe! 

Neither baptism nor the Lord's supper (upon both of which, in distorted form, thousands have 
rested, as "sacraments" commending them unto God), has power to give any standing whatever 
before a righteous God: that belongs only to the shed blood of the Redeemer of guilty and hopeless 
ones such as are we all! 

Note that here, first, human works are set aside as a ground of righteousness; and then Divine 
ordinances also are just as fully set aside. Circumcision had been commanded to the Jew. The Jew 

"Paul has turned the Jew's boast upside down. It is not the Gentile who must come to the Jew's circumcision for salvation; it is 
the Jew who must come to a Gentile faith, such faith as Abraham had long before he was circumcised . . . When Isaac was saved, 
he was not saved by his circumcision any more than was his father before him. God never promised salvation except to faith. 
He never promised a perpetual nationality except to circumcised men who believe" — Stifler. 

"The sacraments and ceremonies of the Church, 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" — Hodge. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

trusted in it, and became utterly blind to the fact that even Abraham, "the father of circumcision," 
had been declared righteous on another principle, — by simple faith, years before his circumcision! 
Uncircumcised, then, a common sinner (a "Gentile" — if there had been at that time "Jews"), Abraham 
just believed God: gave Him the honor of being a God of truth. And be it so that God saw that one 
day He would make Abraham as righteous in glory as He in that past day reckoned him in grace; 
yet it remains that God reckoned him what he was not, as yet, in experience; and that Abraham 
stood before God thus righteous the moment he believed! And not what Abraham would become, 
but what Christ would do on the cross for him was the ground of God's reckoning! 

Each year I live I become more impressed with the solitary grandeur of this great friend of God. 
Behold him! Late come from the very home of idolatry, he walks among the Hittites as a "Prince 
of God" — their name for him (Gen. 23:6). Behold him, to whom "the God of glory" had appeared 
in his old place, Ur of the Chaldees; and to which blessed God he is so drawn by the cords of trust 
and love, that his whole life is as God's friend — walking with Him, ever learning of Him more and 
more; taking a mark of absolute separation to Him; ever building altars to Him, and calling on His 
name. Behold him, called to part with Isaac, his only son, readily giving him up to God! 

Verses 11 and 12: It was in order to become the father of ALL them that believe that 
Abraham received the sign of circumcision: that is, he would have been the father of uncircumcised 
believers apart from his own circumcision (for he himself believed while uncircumcised); but God 
desired a circumcised separate nation, and so would have Abraham also the father of circumcision 
to those who not only had circumcision, but also (rare thing among the Jews!) should walk in 
the steps of that faith of their father Abraham which he had — while yet uncircumcised. 88 How 

These "steps of faith" of the uncircumcised Abraham would embrace all Abraham' s story from his "call" in Genesis 1 2 to 
his circumcision in Genesis 17, — when he was 99 years old: (1) The revelation of the God of glory to Abraham, while yet inUr 
of the Chaldees, and his evident turning from idols to Him. (2) Obedience to the command to get out of his country, from his 
kindred, and from his father' s house (Ge 12: 1-4); tarrying indeed at Haran on his way until his father died (Acts 7:4; Gen. 11:31). 
(3) The altar-worship of Jehovah in Canaan (Gen. 12:7, 8). (4) Choosing his portion with God: Lot's separation from Abraham 
(Gen. 13), and Abraham's arrival at Hebron ("fellowship"). (5) The victory over the kings (Gen. 14), (6) Accepting through 
Melchizedek the new revelation of "God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth," and the rejection of riches from men (Gen. 
14). (7) Believing God's bare word concerning his seed, and being thus "accounted righteous" (Gen. 15). 

"Notice that in the seventh of these steps, there is the peculiar element of counting on God, as God, to do the impossible. 
On the God who calleth the things not being, as being! 

No doubt, there were further walkings and testings until the offering of Isaac in Chapter 22, after which we find no more 
testings: Abraham's faith had become perfected. So James writes (see above), "The Scripture was fulfi lied that saith, Abraham 
believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness." This word "fulfilled" is deeply significant. There was and always 
is, the prophetic, as well as the declarative element in justification, (that is, in God's accounting a sinner righteous). It is "the 
God who calleth the things that are not as though they were," (Rom. 4:17) who acts in justification. The moment He declares 
sinners righteous, they are so, having immediately the standing of being in Christ before Him. But they will also be manifested, 
by and by, and be glorified with Christ. "Glorified" they are already in God's mind (8:30). What James insists on is that there 
will be a living walk, fulfilling the Divine declaration that the man is righteous. 

This living walk also is before Him whom we believe, even God (4: 17). It has no reference whatever to men. The explanation 
by some that Abraham was "justified by faith before God and by works before men" is trivial! Both in Gen. 15:6, when God 
accounted him righteous, and in 22:15 to 18, Abraham was alone with his God. When James says, "By works was faith made 
perfect," he is expanding the statement, "Faith wrought with his works." Paul has almost the same Phrase: "In Christ Jesus, 
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6). Of course saving faith 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

few Jewish teachers or preachers can challenge Gentiles with the freedom and truth of the apostle 
Paul; "I beseech you, brethren, become as I, for I also am as ye" (Gal. 4:12). The Galatians were 
raw Gentiles, "without law." Paul cries, "I am as ye are: I have no reliance on circumcision; if ye 
Gentiles receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing!" 

The blessing of righteousness, then, comes not only without works, but also without ordinances, 
whether Jewish or Christian. And we see that only those Jews are really accounted circumcised in 
God's sight, who have heart-belief, as mere sinners, in the Redeemer. Faith, like true circumcision, 
is "that of the heart" (Rom. 2:29 and 10:10). According to this, there are very few real Jews on 
earth; yea, and relatively few true Christians, also; if righteousness be wholly by faith, apart from 
works, and apart from ordinances. 

13 For not through law was the promise to Abraham or 
to his seed that he should be heir of the world, but, on the 
contrary, through righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which 
are of law be heirs, faith is made empty, and the promise is 
made useless: 15 for law works out wrath [to sinful man]; 
but where there is not law [to transgress], there is no 
transgression [of it]. 16 On this account the inheritance is 
on the principle of faith, in order that it may be according 
to grace: so that the promise [which could not be broken], 
might be made sure to all the seed [of Abraham] : not to that 
which was of the Law only, but also to that which [although 
not having had Moses' Law] was yet of the faith of 
Abraham; who is the father of all of us [believers] 17 (as it 
is written, I made thee father of many nations) in the sight 
of Him whom he believed, even God [the God], who makes 
alive the dead, and calls things not existing, as existing. 

Verses 13 to 17: Here the further question of Abraham's "inheriting the world" is considered, 
and this again is only through the righteousness of faith: this expression not meaning that faith is 
a righteous, meritorious thing, but that, as explained before faith, not law, is the Divine mode of 

Verse 13: For not through law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he should 
be heir of the world, but, on the contrary, through righteousness of faith. "Heir of the world": 
Behold, then a new order of all things! Adam had failed, and his fleshly seed were fallen. Abraham 
has succeeded, to become the father of spiritual seed, — "of all them that believe": it will be a 
believing seed, not a natural seed. This man and that seed shall enter into the inheritance Adam 

is a living, acting thing, as against mere opinion or profession; and this again is what James is insisting on. Works are the result 
of a true faith; but they are not, like faith itself, a condition of salvation. What "works" did the dying thief perform? You say. 
None: he cast himself on Christ as he was. Good. So must you and I: only that! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

forfeited for headship! What can "heir of the world" 89 mean? Nay, what shall it not mean? "The 
meek shall inherit the earth." And who are they? Not Adam's but Abraham's seed. Bishop Moule 
beautifully says: "Then and there, perhaps side by side with his Divine Friend manifested in human 
form, Abraham is told to count the stars under the glorious canopy, the Syrian 'night of stars' ; and 
he hears the promise, 'So shall thy seed be.' It was then and there, that as a man uncovenanted, 
unworthy, but called upon to take what God gave, he received the promise that he should be 'heir 
of the world.' In his 'seed,' — that childless senior was to be a King of Men, Monarch of continents 
and oceans. 'All nations,' 'all the kindreds of the earth' were to be blessed in him, as their patriarchal 
Chief, their Head, in covenant with God." 

How hardly do we banish the thought of human "merit" in God's great saints! ("Merit" is a 
Romish term: away with it!) Faith is the ground of God's blessing. Abraham was a blessed man, 
indeed, but he became heir of the world on another principle entirely — simple faith.' 

Verse 14: For if they which are of law be heirs, faith is made empty, and the promise is 
annulled — Here Paul enlarges, that for God to bless the merit- folks," would make God's 

89 Dean Alford with his usual clearness says: "The inheritance of the world then is not the possession of Canaan merely, either 
literally, or as a type of a better possession, — but that ultimate lordship over the whole world which Abraham, as the father of 
the faithful in all peoples, and Christ, as the Seed of Promise, shall possess: the former figuratively indeed and only implicitly, — the 
latter personally and actually." 


2.Now Paul completely shuts out the legalists from heirship with Abraham' s seed. Because, as Weiss says, "If those persons 
were the possessors of the promise, who on the basis of a law had entered upon this inheritance of their father Abraham, (on the 
ground that it had been offered to them as a reward for the fulfillment of this law), then faith, which according to its essence is 
a confidence in the attainment of salvation, would be rendered void, and the promise, which has full assurance of that which is 
promised, would be made of no effect. For the law, in view of the sinful condition that prevails, can be completely fulfilled by 
none, and necessarily produces wrath. But the bestowal of that which is promised pre supposes the continuation of the graciousness 
of Him who made the promise; and this graciousness becomes equally impossible, as does the believing confidence — if law 
must be fulfilled to secure it!" 

When law comes in, it conditions everything upon obedience to it. It had to be "disannulled" when a better hope was brought 
in!(Heb. 7:18, 19) 


The reason God hates your trust in your "good works" is, that you offer them to Him instead of resting on the all-glorious 
work of His Son for you at the cross. 


1. What it cost God to give Christ. 

2. What it cost Christ to put away sin, — your sin, at the cross. 

3. What honor God has given Him "because of the suffering of death." 

4. What plans for the future God has arranged through Christ's having made peace by the blood of His cross, to reconcile 

"things upon the earth and things in the heavens, unto Himself." 

Now, by that uneasiness of conscience on account of which you keep doing "dead works," you neglect all God is, has done, 
and desires, for you; and substitute your own uncertain, fearful, trifling notions of "works that shall please God." You would 
make God come to your terms, instead of gladly accepting His great salvation and resting in the finished work of Christ. 

It is ominously bold presumption, when God is calling all to behold His Lamb, to be found asking God to behold your 
goodness, your works! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

promise-method impossible, and so our faith in His promises, empty and void. 92 Faith and law are 
contradictory principles, the apostle shows: absolutely diverse means of blessing. 

Verse 15: Law, Paul explains, given to sinners, simply brings forth God's wrath, — for sinners 
in the nature of the case will transgress. Law gives no life, and has no power over the flesh. So Paul 
calls law a "ministration of death and condemnation" (II Cor. 3:7, 9). Alford well says, "From its 
very nature, law excludes promise, — which is an act of grace, and faith, which is an attribute of 
confidence." Where law is not, neither is there transgression. This brings out several things: 
First, that it takes law to bring forth transgression of it, — though sin may be present. There can be 
no transgression of a law which exists not. The absence of law is the absence of transgression. The 
entrance of law (in the case of a fallen being) is the entrance of transgression. Second that there 
may be Divine dispensations where law is not the principle of relationship with God. Third, that 
to come into a spiritual place where there will be "no transgression," men must be removed 
completely from under the principle of law. (This will appear in Chapters Six and Seven. God 
indeed has an entirely different manner of life for those in Christ than being under the principle of 
law!) Fourth, that only the place of freedom from law is the place of the inheritance. 

Verse 16: Here we see anew God's great kindness. He desired that all the seed of Abraham, 
whether Jewish or Gentile believers, might have security, — that the promise might be sure to all 
the seed. Now if you introduce man's works (for man always says, "I must do my part"), you 
introduce an element of insecurity and uncertainty. For no man, trying to "do his part," is ever 
certain that he has done, or will do, his "part." Salvation is of God, not of man. It is of faith, and 
so, of grace; and thus, of God. For faith is unmixed with the vain promises and hopes of man to 
accomplish "his part"; but looks to what God has done, in sending His Son, to do a finished work 
on the cross; and to the fact that God has raised up Christ; and that Christ is our unfailing High 
Priest in heaven. 

Abraham is declared to be "the father of us all," — of all who believe. Believers will come from 
all nations of the earth, and Abraham is called "the heir of the world"; which he will be openly seen 
to be in the millennial kingdom that is shortly coming: "Ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, 
in the kingdom of God" (Luke 13:28). 

Verse 17: (as it is written, I made thee father of many nations) in the sight, of Him whom 
he believed, even God [the God], who makes alive the dead, and calls things not existing, as 
existing. The words "Abraham, who is the father of us all" in verse 16, are to be connected with 
"before Him whom he believed" in verse 17, the intervening words being a parenthesis. There is 
a great household of faith! Whether believers realize it or not, they are sharing Abraham's 
inheritance. The mighty promises of God to Abraham and to His Seed, Christ (Gal. 3:16), should 
be studied deeply and often by all Christians. "For if ye are Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, 

92 Greek, katargeo, from kata, "down from"; and ergon, "work"; literally, therefore, to put out of work, or out of business, to render 
ineffective; a word often used by Paul, and most important in his exposition. Its uses in Romans are seen in Chapters 3:3, 31; 
4:14; 6:6; 7:2, 6. It occurs in his epistles 26 times, and elsewhere only once, but that once is illuminative: "Cut it down: why 
doth it also cumber (katargei) the ground?" (Luke 13:7). The ground was unchanged, but rendered wholly unproductive through 
the shade of, and the use of all the moisture by, the fig tree. This is the exact meaning: a result otherwise to be expected is by 
some hindering power annulled. Remember this word! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

heirs according to promise" (Gal. 3:29). God lodged the promises in Abraham: Christ fulfilled the 
conditions (of redemption), and we share the benefits! Abraham got us by promise; Christ bought 
us by blood. Abraham is the "father of all them that believe," whether his earthly seed, Israel; or 
his heavenly seed, the Church; or any who shall ever believe. As to our regeneration, of course, 
God is the Father of all believers. But as to our relation in the household of faith, Abraham is our 
father: Abraham believed for us all. That is, he believed a promise that included us all. 

Believers may indeed be said to have a three-fold fatherhood: (1) that of Abraham, of the whole 
household of faith; (2) that of the teacher of the gospel who was used to win them to Christ ("For 
though ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I 
begat you through the gospel" — I Cor. 4:15); (3) that of God, who is our actual Father, who begat 
us by the Holy Spirit through His Word. The first two fatherhoods, of course, are fatherhoods of 
relationship, so to speak; the last only is of life and reality. Yet the first two fatherhoods are also 
real, and should be recognized, — especially that of Abraham. 

Let us hold fast in our hearts the great revelation about God which closes verse 17: "God, who 
makes alive the dead, and calls the things not existing as existing." The translation in both the King 
James and the Revision Version surely comes short of the meaning here. The Greek literally is, 
God making alive dead ones, and calling things not being, being! It is as when God spoke to 
the darkness, back in Genesis One (Hebrew), the creative word, "Let light be! — and light was." It 
shone, too, "out of darkness" — not a ray that was projected from already existing light! His word 
was a creative fiat; and, answering it, "out of darkness" sprang the heretofore nonexistent, now 
created, light! 

Note that it is the God who makes alive 93 dead ones; — not those with some faint and feeble 
existence, but actually dead ones, those utterly gone! It is the God who calls non-existent things 
existent, — not, "as though" they existed, a translation which, not reaching the Divine view, really 
involves doubt. "Not being, being," is what the text reads. It is as when God says of His words, "I 
make all things new," — "they are come to pass!" (Rev. 21:5, 6). This is the God whose word 
Abraham trusted. It was in this character, that of Life-Giver to the dead, and the Caller of not-things 
existent, that he trusted Him. Thus Abraham was nothing (but dead), and the seed, non-existent! 
Yet Abraham believed God's word that he should be "Father of a multitude"; and obediently 
changed his own name from Abram to Abraham! 

Therefore the actual process and progress of Abraham's life of faith in such a God, is vividly 
set before us as our pattern. We should study it over and over. The character of faith will be the 
same, with this consideration: Abraham believed on God in view of what He said He would do; 
we believe on Him who has raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. 

93 This remarkable compound word (zo , life, plus poie , make) is translated in the King James Version by the poor word "quicken." 
The Revised Version is right. The King James Version uses the same feeble word, "quicken" to translate the mighty word of 
Ephesians 2:5, a marvelous word of three components: a preposition, ("together with," — sun) — plus our compound word, 
"make-alive," of Romans 4: 17, above, — the whole really meaning, "made-alive-together-along-with" — Christ' God enlifes us 
in Him, — us who once were in the other Adam, dead in sins! "Quicken" is not only pitiful, but lamentable in such a verse, as it 
hides the fundamental truth of a believer's union with Christ in life and position. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

So, in His counsels and reckoning the believer, in Chapter Eight, is seen already glorified! Of 
course, in counting things not being as being, God is committed to bring into outward actuality all 
that He reckons; thus the believing ungodly not only is accounted righteous, but will one day be 
publicly manifested as the very "righteousness of God"! Indeed, justification involves God's giving 
him life, as see 5:18. But that is not the ground of his being reckoned righteous — that some day he 
will be in experience as righteous as he is now reckoned — any more than that he is accounted 
righteous on the ground of his own good works. For justification is a sovereign, judicial — not 
creative-act of God, based wholly upon the death and resurrection of Christ. When a sinner is to 
be justified, then, righteous is that which he is not! But, he believing, God counts him, holds him 
as righteous. He has no more righteousness (as a quality) than when he a moment ago, believed. 
But he stands in all Christ's acceptance by the act of God, the Judge! Though we have said, God 
will make this standing good in glorious manifestation, yet no degree of sanctification or glorification 
is the basis of his being declared righteous, but the blood of Christ only, and His resurrection, — the 
sacrifice of Christ and God's sovereign act in view of it. 

For God to call the things not being as being; to extend to a man the complete value of Christ' s 
atoning work and "reckon" him justified and glorified in His sight, although not yet so in 
manifestation, is God's own business. Let us praise Him for His grace! 

18 Who against hope in hope kept on believing, to the 
end that he might become a father of many nations, 
according to what was spoken: So shall thy seed be! 19 And 
not at all weakened in his faith, he took full account of his 
own body, as in a dead condition (he being about a hundred 
years old), and also the deadness of Sarah's womb, 20 but, 
looking unto God's promise, he wavered not through 
unbelief, but on the contrary became inwardly strengthened 
through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being full of 
assurance that what He had promised. He was able to 
perform. 22 Therefore also it [his faith] was reckoned to 
him as righteousness. 23 Now this was not written for his 
sake only, that it [his faith] was thus reckoned to him: 24 
but for our sakes likewise; for it [our faith] will be reckoned 
[for righteousness] to us also who are believing on Him who 
raised Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 who was delivered 
up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justifying. 

Here, then, in verses 18 to 25 we have the difficult, though blessed and glorious, yea, and 
God-glorifying path of faith, exemplified in Abraham. He kept on in hope, believing contrary to 
all human hopes! There were many trials to his faith, the essence of the difficulty, however, always 
being to "look unto the promise of God" alone, and not to circumstances, or to the impossibility, 
according to the flesh, of the promise's being fulfilled. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

We inherit what Abraham believed for and received. Mark down two points, naming the first 
"A" for Abraham; and the second, "C" for Christ. Now draw a line from "A" to "C" and then 
onward, and let that line represent the line of God's blessing. The promises of blessing were lodged 
in Abraham, and all conditions of blessing were fulfilled by Christ; and you and I merely step into 
the line of blessing from Abraham through Christ. It is good to be born into a good family on earth; 
how blessed to be in the great family of faith, the family of God, along with Abraham! 

Satan hates active faith in a believer's heart, and opposes it with all his power. The world, of 
course, is unbelieving, and despises those who claim only "the righteousness of faith." The example 
of professing Christians generally is also against the path of simple faith. Among the "seven 
abominations" that Bunyan said he still found in his heart, was "a secret inclining to unbelief." 
"Against hope," against reason, against "feeling," against opinions of others, against all human 
possibilities whatever, we are to keep believing. 

This is the very article and essence of faith, 94 that it reckons as God does, — that is, upon God 
as described here, giving life not to the feeble, but to the dead, to those who cannot be "recovered" 


1. 1 cannot refrain from quoting John Bunyan' s Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ, in his contrasts of faith and unbelief: 

"Let me here give the Christian reader a more particular description of the Qualities of unbelief, by opposing faith unto it, 
in these particulars: 

1. Faith believeth the Word of God, but unbelief questioneth the certainty of the same. 

2. Faith believeth the word, because it is true, but unbelief doubteth thereof, because it is true. 

3. Faith sees more in a promise of God to help than in all other things to hinder; but unbelief, notwithstanding God' s promise, 
saith. How can these things be? 

4. Faith will make thee see love in the heart of Christ when with His mouth He giveth reproofs, but unbelief will imagine 
wrath in His heart when with His mouth and word He saith He loves us. 

5. Faith will help the soul to wait, though God defers to give, but unbelief will snuff and throw up all, if God makes any 

6. Faith will give comfort in the midst of fears, but unbelief causeth fears in the midst of comforts. 

7. Faith will suck sweetness out of God's rod, but unbelief can find no comfort in the greatest mercies. 

8. Faith maketh great burdens light, but unbelief maketh light ones intolerably heavy. 

9. Faith helpeth us when we are down, but unbelief throws us down when we are up, 

10. Faith bringeth us near to God when we are far from Him, but unbelief puts us far from God when we are near to Him. 

1 1 . Faith putteth a man under grace, but unbelief holdeth him under wrath. 

12. Faith purifieth the heart, but unbelief keepeth it polluted and impure. 

13. Faith maketh our work acceptable to God through Christ, but whatsoever is of unbelief is sin, for without faith it is 
impossible to please Him, 

14. Faith giveth us peace and comfort in our souls, but unbelief worketh trouble and tossings like the restless waves of the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

or "helped" or so wrought upon or patched up as to become something that they were not before; 
but who are absolutely hopeless, dead! 

That God should call the things that are not as being, is what faith rejoices in! Only God could 
call things thus. Abraham becomes before our eyes the particular shining example of this. 

Verse 19: His own body as in a dead condition — "he considered" 95 it, and knew it to be thus, 
and was therefore wholly hopeless in himself. Moreover, Abraham knew Sarah was "past age," 
unable to bear a child. He had before him, then, himself as dead, and the deadness of Sarah's 
womb. But he also had before him the promise of God: "Thou shalt become a father of many 
nations"; "So shall thy seed be." 

Verse 20: It was plainly and only a question of the veracity of God, and of His ability to carry 
out what He had promised. Abraham, therefore, believed 6 in Jehovah (Gen. 15:5, 6); and he wavered 

15. Faith maketh us see preciousness in Christ, but unbelief sees no form, beauty, or comeliness in Him. 

16. By faith we have our life in Christ's fulness, but by unbelief we starve and pine away. 

17. Faith gives us the victory over the law, sin, death, the devil, and all evils; but unbelief layeth us obnoxious to them all. 

18. Faith will show us more excellency in things not seen than in them that are, but unbelief sees more of things that are 
than in things that will be hereafter. 

19. Faith makes the ways of God pleasant and admirable, but unbelief makes them heavy and hard. 

20. By faith Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob possessed the land of promise; but because of unbelief neither Aaron, nor Moses, 
nor Miriam could get thither. 

21. By faith the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea, but by unbelief the generality of them perished in the 

22. By faith Gideon did more with three hundred men and a few empty pitchers than all the twelve tribes could do, because 
they believed not God. 

23. By faith Peter walked on the water, but by unbelief he began to sink, thus might many more be added, which, for 
brevity ' s sake, I omit, beseeching every one that thinketh he hath a soul to save or be damned to take heed of unbelief lest, seeing 
there is a promise left us of entering into His rest, any of us by unbelief should indeed come short of it." 

95 The King James Version along with certain commentators reads "considered not." William Kelly says: "There is excellent and 
perhaps adequate authority of every kind (mss., versions and ancient citations) for dropping the negative particle." It is remarkable 
in this nineteenth verse that whichever reading we adopt, the resultant statement is not inconsistent with the context, though the 
two readings are opposite as can be. 


l.The moral grandeur, yea, sublimity, of Abraham's position cannot be put into human description. 

Alone (except for Melchizedek) in a world that had left God, Abraham became by his faith, the silver thread that bound his 
seed to the God the world had deserted! Out from Eden man had gone, and then away from God' s presence, to found, in Cain' s 
city, a state of human affairs with God left out. Condemned and judged by the Deluge, they had built their proud Babel-tower. 
Scattered, again by Divine judgment, over the earth, they set up wood and stone "gods," and sacrificed to demons, glorifying 
the very lusts of their degradation: such was man's state, without God and without hope, in the world. 

And then — Abraham! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

not through unbelief, but became inwardly strengthened through faith, giving glory to God; 

and also even Sarah herself "counted Him faithful who had promised; and received power to 
conceive seed." 

We find in Genesis 17:17 that Abraham not only considered the natural deadness of his body, 
but also brought up the question before the Lord: "Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred 
years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?" But, Jehovah having answered his 
objection with a definite promise, Abraham thereafter refused to have his faith weakened by any 
natural thought of himself and Sarah, but set God' s promise only before his mind, without wavering, 97 
as "double-minded" people, in their doubting, do (James 1:6-8, R.V.). Indeed, his constancy was 

Walking by a principle the world could not know, direct faith in God as He is, — as He reveals Himself step by step to this 
friend of His, Abraham comes quietly, but how wondrously, upon the scene. Even the Hittites, though they said of him, "Thou 
art a prince of God among us," yet knew him not, — neither Abraham, nor his blessed God. 

Faith in God cannot be understood, nor those who have it known, except by the men of faith. And because real faith in God 
enters into all the walk and ways of a trusting soul, such a one becomes, like Abraham, a "stranger and pilgrim on earth." 

The Lots, the Ishmaels, one by one, withdraw from Abraham. He dwelt at "Hebron," which word means "communion." 
Lot, though saved at last, walked as a worldling, — "by sight." Ishmael, as after him Esau, knew nothing of God. 

But Abraham knew, and progressed steadily in knowledge of his God, even to the ready offering of Isaac upon the altar. 

There was a seven-fold revelation of God to Abraham: First, it was as "the God of glory" that He appeared first in Ur of 
the Chaldees (Acts 7:2). Second, He revealed Himself to him as Jehovah (Gen. 12:8; 14:22; 15:2, 8), — although not opening to 
him, as afterwards to Moses in Israel the meaning of that Name (Ex. 3:15); third, as El Elyon, God Most High, "Possessor of 
heaven and earth": and the Disposer of lands, and kings: (Gen. 14:19 to 22; Dan 3:26; 4.2; 5:18, 21); fourth, as Lord (Adonai, 
Jehovah — 15:2, 8); fifth, as El Shaddai, the Almighty God (17:1); sixth, as "the Everlasting God" (21:33); and seventh, as 
Jehova-Jireh" (22:14): The God who will Provide, — Especially, a Lamb for sacrifice (22:8). 

Christ, in His ministry on earth, said "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad!" And, 
finally, Paul tells us in Hebrews 1 1 that this great man of faith "looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose Architect 
and Maker is God" (Heb. 1 1 : 10), — that is, the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21; 22. Thus Abraham was taken into God's complete 
confidence — as he himself had had complete confidence in God! "The Friend of God" — what a title! No angel or seraph had 
that name! 

The word translated "wavered" (Rom. 4:20), originally means to discriminate; then to learn or decide by discrimination; 
then to dispute or contend inwardly; then to be at variance with oneself, to hesitate, doubt. See Thayer's Lexicon, where he 
finally translates: "Abraham did not hesitate through want of faith." 

Uncertainty, inward balancings and stragglings of faith with unbelief (as the father of the demoniac cried, "Lord, I believe; 
help thou mine unbelief) such was not the state of Abraham's soul. Having committed himself to God's promise, which was 
wholly beyond human possibility, he went steadily forward. This had the double result of giving glory to the God whom he 
believed, and of making Abraham himself stronger and stronger in faith. 

Two travelers on their way home came to a river frozen over, but evidently not as yet with thick ice. One said, "I am afraid 
that ice will not bear my weight," and he sat down in the cold. The other said, "I am going home," and strode forward over the 
ice with steady step. He had committed himself! He refused to look at circumstances; and every step strengthened his resolve 
to go ahead. He reached the other bank, and eventually his home. The other man stayed back in the cold. 

Mr. Moody used to say, "Unbelief sees something in God's hand, and says, I wish I had that. Faith sees it, and says, I will 
have it! — and gets it." As one has said: 

"The steps of faith fall upon the seeming void, 
And find the rock beneath!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

such that it evidently wrought upon the doubting Sarah, who learned that He was "faithful who had 
promised." 98 Sarah's incredulous but eager laugh (Gen. 18:12, 13, 15) Jehovah charged her sternly 
with; for He had before when Abraham laughed (Gen. 17:16-19), named the son whom she was to 
bear "Isaac" — which means laughter! Thus both Abraham and Sarah thought this thing "too good 
to be true"; but God in faithfulness brought it to pass. And we remember the happy laughter into 
which Sarah finally entered: "Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh; every one that heareth will 
laugh with me" (Gen. 21:5-7). Every time she spoke the name "Isaac" she could remember her 
doubt, and how gracious Jehovah had been to her. 

Verse 21: Being full of assurance that what He had promised. He was able to perform. 

What a blessed assurance of faith, resting wholly upon God's performance of what He had 
promised, — how that puts us to shame! Since Abraham's day we have the written Word; and Christ 
has come Yet how often we doubt!" 

Verse 22: Now God tells us that His word concerning Abraham, that "his faith was reckoned 
as righteousness," was written not for him only, but for us, also, — for all Abraham' s children. There 
is no more striking description of the principle and process of faith than in this passage. Look at 
the "also" of verse 22: Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him as righteousness. That evidently 
looks toward Genesis 22; at the end of Abraham's testing time, when he offered up Isaac. Let us 
see what is here: 

(1) We are not told that Abraham was reckoned righteous because of the vision of the God of 
glory that was vouchsafed to him in Ur of the Chaldees (Acts 7:2). Nor do we read that he was 
reckoned righteous because he forsook his own land and was brought to the land of Canaan, nor 
because he built altars to Jehovah and worshipped him; nor because he had such high courage as 
to slaughter the kings and deliver Lot. All these things occurred before the amazing scene of Genesis 
15: where God proposed to him something absolutely impossible of accomplishment, except in 
God Himself. 

(2) Abraham was reckoned righteous when he "believed in Jehovah," in His word, to bring 
about concerning Abraham something that could not humanly be — that he should be a "father of 
nations." God came to him years after this (Genesis 17), commanding him to change his name from 
Abram, "high father" (but desolate, like a lonely peak), to Abraham, "father of a multitude." And 
Abraham obeyed, and changed his name thus; although God had just rejected Ishmael, the only 
offspring he had in sight, from being the seed of promise and covenant! 

(3) Abraham "gave glory to God," because he counted on God's bringing to pass His word, 
about that which only His glorious power could effect; a thing completely outside human possibility, 

98 God let Abraham wait many years, over thirteen at least (compare Gen. 16:16 with Gen. 17:1) before He began to let him realize 
the promises in the birth of Isaac. 

" "We have also a precious suggestion of some reasons (if we may say so) why God prescribes Faith as the condition of the 
justification of a sinner. Faith, we see, is an act of the soul which looks wholly away from 'self (as regards both merit and 
demerit), and honours the Almighty and All-graciousm a way not indeed in the least meritorious (because merely reasonable, 
after all), but yet such as to 'touch the hem of His garment.' It brings His creatures to Him in the one right attitude — complete 
submission and confidence. We thus see, in part, why faith, and only faith, is the way to reach and touch the Merit (value and 
power) of the Propitiation" — Moule. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

but which all God's faithfulness and truth were pledged to accomplish. Thus Abraham let God in 
upon the scene, to act according to His own truth and power. Probably at that time he was the only 
man on earth who was giving God His due praise as the God of truth, who has "magnified His 
Word above all His Name" (Ps. 138:2). Our reason, yea, and our conscience also, keep telling us 
that right living is essentially better than right believing; but both conscience and reason are wrong ! 10 ° 

(4) Jehovah reckoned Abraham righteous not because he was either righteous or holy, but acting 
absolutely, and entirely according to Himself — who "giveth life to the dead" (Abraham was dead: 
he could beget no seed); and "calleth the things that are not" (Abraham was a sinner, not righteous 
in himself) "as though they were." 

(5) The purpose, then, of God concerning Abraham, Abraham thus allowed God to fulfil. Some 
day you will see Abraham just as righteous and holy in character and in evident fact, as His God, 
in that far day, reckoned him. It was not however, on the ground of what God would make him in 
the future that He reckoned Abraham righteous when he believed Him. The ground, as we see 
plainly in 3:25, was Christ set forth as a propitiation, — through faith in Christ's blood. For "God 
set Him forth as a propitiation . . . because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime" (that is, 
by Abraham and by all who lived before Christ's death). 

God had His own foreknown ground, Christ, as the Lamb "without blemish and without spot," 
foreknown "before the foundation of the world" (I Pet. 1:19, 20). We keep repeating these things 
because of the continual tendency of our wretched hearts to find some cause in ourselves, or in our 
own faithfulness, for God's reckoning us righteous. 

(6) Verses 23 and 24: Now it was not written for his sake only, that it was reckoned unto 
him, but for our sakes likewise, for it [our faith] will be reckoned [as righteousness] to us also 
who are believing on Him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. This is a blessed and sweet 
revelation for believers, that we, like Abraham, have righteousness reckoned to us; and that the 
story in Genesis was "written for our sake." The Old Testament is a living book for God's real 

But we must remember that God's methods with faith are always the same. Abraham's faith 
was tried: are not we also told to expect the trial of our faith? 101 


Ernest Gordon in the Sunday School Times says, "A French Unitarian preacher, M. Lauriol, in speaking at the recent synod 
of Agen, said, 'Purity of heart and life is more important than correctness of opinion,' to which Dean Doumergue answers 
shrewdly, 'Healing is more important than the remedy, but without the remedy, there would be no healing.'" 

Faith is the only faculty by which we can lay hold of God. "Let him take hold of My strength," is God's command (Isa. 
27:5). But we cannot reach His greatness — we are dust. We cannot look upon His face, for He dwelleth in light unapproachable. 
We cannot apprehend His wisdom, for it is infinite, incomprehensible , — "reasonings of the wise, (regarding God) are vain," 
Then how shall we lay hold of God at all? By believing Him! The weakest of men can believe what God tells him! Praise be to 
His Name! Faith, simple faith, connects us with the Mighty One! Paul says, "The faith of God's elect" involves "the knowledge 
of the truth which is according to godliness" (Titus 1:1). "Purity of heart and life" without the correct, accurate, constant teaching 
of doctrine, — "the doctrine which is according to godliness" (I Tim. 6:3) — is simply a philosopher' s speculation or a Romanist' s 
lie, or a "Modernist's" imagination. 
101 Satan, our deadly foe, has one target at which he constantly aims, — the faith of a believer. We believe that Satan's whole effort 
is engaged directly against faith in Christ. Millions of demons — unclean spirits, dumb spirits, lying spirits — swarm the air of 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

There is also a beautiful message in the literal rendering of verse 24, that can scarcely be supplied 
in English: It was on account of us also, unto whom it [righteousness] is about to be reckoned, 
to those who believe — as if God were eager (as indeed He is) to write down righteous those who 
believe His testimony concerning His Son! 

Note two things here: First, it is upon God we believe. The very God who was, in the opening 
chapters of the Epistle, bringing all of us under His judgment, without righteousness and helpless 
to attain it, is here believed on; as our Lord Jesus indeed said in John 12:44: "He that believeth on 
Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me." 

But, second, it is upon Him as having raised Jesus our Lord from the dead that we believe on 
God in verse 24. It is not merely on the God who set forth Christ to be a propitiatory sacrifice for 
our sins, but it is on the God who has set a public seal to the truth of our Lord's last words, "It is 
finished," by raising Him from the dead. "He is not here, but is risen," was the angel's word that 
thrilled those saints early at His tomb. And since then He has been received up in glory, and the 
Holy Spirit has come, witnessing to the amazing fact that the One who hung on a Roman cross, 
numbered with transgressors by men, and forsaken of God in the just judgment of our sins, was 
raised and glorified by the same God who forsook Him on Calvary. This glorious fact should be 
held fast by our hearts. For not only does God's raising up Christ prove our sins to have been put 
away; but a Risen Christ becomes a new place for us! We were justified from all things by His 
blood; we are now set by God in Christ Risen! 

And thus we are prepared for the last great verse in this blessed chapter. 

Verse 25: Who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justifying. Here 
we have Jesus our Lord delivered up for our offences. Now the Greek word for "delivered up" 
occurs again in Chapter 8:32: "God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." The 
meaning is evident: on account of our trespasses, of what you and I have done, our Lord was 
delivered up by a holy God to bear our sin, with its guilt and penalty, even to God's forsaking His 
Son: for He must otherwise have forsaken us forever! — yea, to His smiting our Substitute instead 
of smiting us: "He was bruised for our iniquities." 

And was raised for our justifying — This must be the sense here: for we are not justified till 
we believe. Furthermore, if Christ's resurrection was merely to prove that we had been justified 
(as some teach), a verb-construction would have been used, which would signify, on account of 
our having been justified. But God uses the noun-construction (dikai sis) meaning, "the act of 

this earth to carry on, together with those angelic principalities and powers who fell with Satan, the terrible program, with its 
"lusts of the flesh" and "of the eyes," and "the vainglory of life," called in Ephesians 2:2 "the course of this world" (literally, — the 
aion of this cosmos, that is, the present stage of this world-order). But Satan himself, filled with hellish jealousy against the Son 
of Man who came and spoiled the strong man's house (in the wilderness temptation); and triumphed over all Satan's baits at 
Calvary, when He put away the sin of the world from God's sight (a fact which is true already, as Satan, and instructed saints, 
well know, and which will be made good openly soon, in the new heavens and new earth), — Satan himself, we say, is at present 
chiefly occupied blinding men to the redemption and glory that are in Christ, and in preventing and hindering the progress of 
every believer. Every one who confesses the Lord Jesus is openly challenged by the prince of this world. It is well that "the God 
of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly!" But God meanwhile says, "Whom resist, steadfast in your faith!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

justifying"; showing that Christ's resurrection was for the purpose of justifying us, positively, in a 
Risen Christ, (Compare 5:10) 

Matthew Henry says: "In Christ's death He paid our debt; in His resurrection, He took out our 
acquittance." But Scripture goes much further in this matter of justification than the satisfaction of 
all claims of God's justice against us. We are set in a new place of acceptance, the Risen Christ, 
that has nothing to do with our old place. God will now go on to "create us in Christ Jesus." It will 
be "justification of life," as we shall see in Chapter Five. 

Only, we repeat, let us always remember that we are justified as ungodly, and now we are "new 
creatures in Christ Jesus.' Here, indeed, is a great mystery. God does not declare us righteous as 
connected with the old Adam — old creatures, we might say. Nor does He declare us righteous 
because we are new creatures. But God that calleth the things not existing as existing, acts in 
justification, declaring the ungodly who believe on Him, righteous: not because of any process of 
His operation upon the creature, but by His own fiat, reckoning to the beliving one the whole work 
of Christ on his behalf. This involves God's giving this ungodly believing one a standing in Christ 
Risen; and God will go on by an act of creation, to cause him to share Christ's risen life, which is 
justification of life. But it is as ungodly that he is declared righteous. We must hold fast to this, the 
first point of the gospel (I Cor. 15:3). 

We are indeed said to be justified by or in His blood (5:9), but if there had been no resurrection, 
His death would have availed us nothing. So Paul says that both Peter and he were "justified in 
Christ" (Gal. 2: 17): that is, in the Risen Christ, in view, of course, of His finished work on the cross. 
When our Lord said, "It is finished," He announced the penalty paid for every believer that shall 
be. But He lay under the power of death for three days and nights, His body in Joseph's tomb and 
His spirit in Paradise. 

Now justification involves not only, negatively, the putting away of our guilt; but, positively, 
a new place and standing. For the old Adam was utterly condemned, as his history, and the law, 
and finally the cross, fully showed. If I am a sinner, and my sins are transferred to the head of Christ 
my Substitute, and He bears the penalty of them in death, then where am I, if Christ be not raised? 
His death and resurrection are one and inseparable as regards justification. Christ being raised up, 
God announces to me, "Not only were your sins put away by Christ' s blood, so that you are justified 
from all things; but I have also raised up Christ; and you shall have your standing in Him. I have 
given you this faith in a Risen Christ, and announce to you that in Him alone now is your place 
and standing. Judgment is forever past for you, both as concerns your sin, and as concerns My 
demand that you have a standing of holiness and righteousness of your own before Me. All this is 
past. Christ is now your standing! He is your life and your righteousness; and you need nothing of 
your own forever. I made Christ to become sin on your 'behalf, identified Him with all that you 
were, in order that you might become the righteousness of God in Him." 

I must here quote the vigorous, triumphant words of Martin Luther, from his commentary on 
Galatians, touching these words, "delivered up for OUR trespasses": "Christ verily is the innocent, 
as concerning His own person, and the unspotted and undefiled Lamb of God, and therefore He 
ought not to have been hanged upon a tree: but because, according to the law of Moses, every thief 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

and malefactor ought to be hanged, therefore Christ also, according to the law, ought to be hanged. 
For He sustained the person of a sinner and of a thief: not of one, but of all sinners and thieves. For 
He being made a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, is not now an innocent person, but a 
sinner which hath and carrieth the sin of Paul, who was a blasphemer, an oppressor, a persecutor; 
of Peter, who denied Christ; of David, who was an adulterer and a murderer; and, briefly, Christ, 
who hath and beareth the sin of all men in His own body, not that He Himself committed them, but 
for that He received them, being committed or done of us, and laid upon His own body, that He 
might make satisfaction for them with His own blood. Therefore whatsoever sins I, thou, and we 
all have done and shall do, hereafter, they are Christ's own sins, as verily as if He Himself had 
done them. To be brief, our sin must needs become Christ's own sin, or else we shall perish forever. 

"Also learn this definition diligently ('Who was delivered for OUR trespasses'), that this one 
syllable being believed, may swallow up all thy sins: that thou mayest know assuredly, that Christ 
hath taken away the sins, not of certain men only, but also of thee. Then let thy sins be not sins 
only, but even thy own sins indeed. 

"Thus may we be able to answer the devil accusing us, saying, Thou art a sinner, thou shalt be 
damned. No, say I, for I flee unto Christ who hath given Himself for my sins. Therefore, Satan, 
thou shalt not prevail against me in that thou goest about to terrify me, in setting forth the greatness 
of my sins, and so to bring me into heaviness, distrust, despair, hatred, contempt, and blaspheming 
of God. Yea, rather, in that thou sayest, I am a sinner, thou givest me armour and weapons against 
thyself, that with thine own sword I may cut thy throat, and tread thee under my feet; for Christ 
died for sinners ! Moreover, Satan, thou thyself preachest unto me the glory of God; for thou puttest 
me in mind of God's fatherly love toward me, wretched and damned sinner: 'Who so loved the 
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but 
have everlasting life' (John 3:16). And as often as thou objectest that I am a sinner, so often thou 
callest me to remembrance of the benefit of Christ my Redeemer, upon whose shoulders, and not 
upon mine, lay all my sins; for the Lord hath laid all our iniquity upon Him' (Isa. 53:6). Again, 
'For the transgressions of His people was He smitten' (53:8). Wherefore, when thou sayest I am a 
sinner, thou dost not terrify me, but comfortest me above measure." 

So Paul closes his setting forth of this great resurrection side of our salvation, saying, He was 
raised for our justifying. Doubtless other and eternal ends were in view in God' s raising up Christ; 
but lay fast hold of this, that in your case it was for the purpose of declaring you who believe 
righteous, that God raised Christ. And further, of giving you a hitherto unheard of place, to be in 
Christ, one with Him before God forever, loved as Christ is loved, seen in all the perfectness and 
beauty of Christ Himself, glorified with Him, associated with Him as companions, that He might 
be the First-born among many brethren! 

There is no limit to God's favor toward those in Christ! 


I. What It Is Not 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

1. It is not regeneration, the impartation of life in Christ; for although it is "justification of 
life" — meaning God will give life to the justified, he is justified as ungodly. 

2. It is not "a new heart," or "change of heart," — indefinite expressions at best, but having in 
them no proper definition of justification. 

3. It is not "making an unjust man just," in his life and behavior. The English word justified, 
as we all know, comes from the Latin word meaning to make just or righteous; but this is exactly 
what justification is not, in Scripture. 

4. It is not to be confused with sanctification; which is the state of those placed in 
Christ, — "sanctified in Christ Jesus"; and consequently the manner of their walk in the Spirit. 

II What It Is 

1. It is a declaration by God in heaven concerning a man, that he stands righteous in God's 

2. God justifies a man, on the basis or ground of the "redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (3:24). 
See 5:6: We are "justified by [or in] His blood"; — the blood the procuring ground, or means; God 
the acting Person. 

3. God who has already acted judicially, in pronouncing the whole world guilty (Rom. 3:19), 
now again acts judicially concerning that sinner who becomes convinced of his guilt and helplessness, 
and believes that God's Word concerning Christ's expiatory sacrifice applies to himself; and thus 
becomes "of faith in Jesus" (3:26,RSV, margin): God's judicial 102 pronouncement now is, that such 
a believing one stands righteous in His sight. 

4. Justification, or declaring-righteous, therefore, is the reckoning by God to a believing sinner 
of the whole value of the infiinte work of Christ on the cross; and, further, His connecting this 
believing sinner with the Risen Christ in glory, giving him the same acceptance before Himself as 
has Christ: so that the believer is now "the righteousness of God in Him" (Christ). 

Negatively, then, God in justifying a sinner reckons to him the putting away of sin by Christ's 
blood. Positively, He places him in Christ: he is one with Christ forever before God! 

Wondrous prize of our high calling! 
Speed we on to this, 
Past the cities of the angels, — 
Farther into bliss; 

On into the depths eternal 

102 "Wherefore as condemnation is not the infusing of a habit of wickedness into him that is condemned, nor the making of him to 
be inherently wicked who was before righteous, but the passing of a sentence upon a man with respect to his wickedness; no 
more is justification the change of a person from inherent unrighteousness by the infusion of a principle of grace, but a sentential 
declaration of him to be righteous" (i.e., in his standing before God) — John Owen. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Of the love and song, 

Where in God the Father' s glory 

Christ has waited long; 

There to find that none beside Him 
God's delight can be: 

— C. P. C., in Hymns ofTer Steegen. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


The Glorious Results of Justification by Faith: Peace With God, a Standing in Grace, Sure 
Hope of Coming Glory, Present Patience, Joy in God. Verses 1-11. 

The Two Representative Men, Adam and Christ, Contrasted: Condemnation and Death by 
Adam to All in Him, Justification and Life by Christ to All in Him. Verses 12-19. 

By the Law, Sin Became Trespass; but GRACE TRANSCENDED ALL! Verse 20. 

Grace Now Reigns, "Through Jesus Christ our Lord." Verse 21. 

THIS GREAT CHAPTER naturally falls into two parts: 

In the first eleven verses we have the blessed results of justification by faith, along with the 
most comprehensive statement in the Bible of the pure love and grace of God, in giving Christ for 
us sinners. 

In the second part, verses 12 to 21, God goes back of the history and state of human sin, (which 
in Chapters 1:21 to 3:20 have been before us) to Adam, as our representative head, who stood for 
us, and whose sin became condemnation and death to us; and shows us Christ, as the other 
representative Man (whom Adam prefigured), by His act of death on the cross bringing us 
justification and life. The emphasis in this great passage will be in each case upon the fact that the 
act of the representative, and not of the one represented, brought the result to pass. 

1 Therefore having been declared righteous on the 
principle of faith, we have peace towards God, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ: 2 through whom also we have obtained 
access into this Divine favor wherein we are standing: and 
we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, 
but we also exult in the tribulations [which beset us]: 
knowing that tribulation is working out endurance; 4 and 
endurance [a sense of] appro vedness [by God]; and [the 
sense of] approvedness works out [a state of] hope: 5 and 
[our state of] hope does not make us ashamed: because 
God's love [for us] is poured out in our hearts through the 
Holy Spirit which has been given to us. 

6 For Christ, we being yet helpless [in our sins], at the 
appointed time died for ungodly ones. 7 For hardly for a 
righteous man will any one die: for perhaps for a good 
[generous] man some one might venture to die. 8 But God 
commends His own love toward us, in that, while we were 
yet sinners, Christ died for us ! 9 Much more then, having 
been now declared righteous by [means of] His blood, shall 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

we be saved through Him from the [coming] wrath. 10 For 
if, being enemies, we were reconciled to God through the 
death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be 
saved by His [risen] life. 

11 And not only so, but we even exult in God through 
our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received 
the reconciliation. 

Verse 1 : Therefore having been declared righteous on the principle of faith — We must note 
at once that the Greek form of this verb "declared righteous," or "justified," is not the present 
participle, "being declared righteous," but rather the aorist participle, "having been declared 
righteous," or "justified." You say. What is the difference? The answer is, "being declared righteous" 
looks to a state you are in; "having been declared righteous" looks back to a fact that happened. 
"Being in ajustified state'" of course is incorrect, confusing, as it does, justification and sanctification. 
"Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever." The moment you believed, God declared you righteous, 
never to change His mind: as David says, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not reckon 
sin" (Rom. 4:8). If therefore you are a believer, quote this verse properly, and say, "Having been 
declared righteous on the principle of faith I have" — these blessed fruits and results which are now 
to be recorded. 

The Epistle takes on a new aspect in each chapter: in Chapter Three, Christ was set forth as a 
propitiation for our sins; in Chapter Four, Christ was raised for our justification; in Chapter Five, 
we have peace with God through Christ, a standing in grace, and the hope of the coming glory. 

We have three blessings, then, in this first part of our chapter: (1) peace with God, in looking 
back to Calvary where Christ made peace by His blood; (2) a present standing in grace, in unlimited 
Divine favor; and (3) hope of the glory of God — of being glorified with Christ when He comes. 

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ — "Peace" means that the war is 
done. "Peace with God" means that God has nothing against us. This involves: 

1. That God has fully Judged sin, upon Christ, our Substitute. 

2. That God was so wholly satisfied with Christ's sacrifice, that He will eternally remain 
so — never taking up the judgment of our sin again. 

3. That God is therefore at rest about us forever, however poor our understanding of truth, 
however weak our walk. God is looking at the blood of Christ, and not at our sins. All claims against 
us were met when Christ "made peace by the blood of His cross." So "we have peace with God." 103 

103 As to the Greek text having the subjunctive in verse 1 , we believe that the Authorized Version and the American Revised Version 
are correct in reading "we have peace" rather than the English Revised Version, "Let us have peace." See Jamieson, Fausset and 
Brown, Darby, Meyer, Godet and many others. The whole context proves that "we have peace" is correct, for the passage is not 
an exhortation, but an assertion of facts and results, true of all those declared righteous or justified. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"If Thou hast my discharge procured, 
And freely in my place endured 

The whole of wrath Divine: 
Payment God will not twice demand, 
First at my bleeding Surety's hand, 

And then again at mine!" 

Our peace with God is not as between two nations before at war, but as between a king and 
rebellious and guilty subjects. While our hearts are at last at rest, it is because God, against whom 
we sinned, has been fully satisfied at the cross. "Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" 
does not mean peace trough what He is now doing, but through what He did do on the Cross. He 
"made peace" by the blood of His cross. All the majesty of God's holy and righteous throne was 
satisfied when Christ said, "It is finished." And, being now raised from the dead, "He is our peace." 
But it is His past work at Calvary, not His present work of intercession, that all is based upon; and 
that gives us a sense of the peace which He made through His blood. 104 

This peace with (or towards) God must not be confused with the "peace o/God" of Philippians 
4:7, which is a subjective state; whereas peace with God is an objective fact — outside of ourselves. 
Thousands strive for inward peace, never once resting where God is resting — in the finished work 
of Christ on Calvary. 105 

"I hear the words of love, 

I gaze upon the blood; 
I see the mighty Sacrifice, 

And I have peace with God. 

" 'Tis everlasting peace, 

Sure as Jehovah's name; 
'Tis stable as His stedfast throne, 

For evermore the same. 

"My love is oftimes low, 

My joy still ebbs and flows; 
But peace with Him remains the same, 

No change Jehovah know. 

104 The Romanist will go to "mass" and "confession"; and the Protestant "attend church"; but neither will find peace with God by 
these things. Prayers, vows, fastings, church duties, charities — what have these to do with peace? — if Christ "made Peace by 
His blood" ! 

105 The difference may be brought out by asking ourselves two questions: First. Have I peace with God? Yes; because Christ died 
for me. Second, Have I the peace of God in quietness from the anxieties and worries of life in my heart? We see at once that 
being at peace with God must depend on what was done for us by Christ on the cross. It is not a matter of experience, but of 
revelation. On the contrary, the peace of God "sets a garrison around our hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus," when we refuse 
to be anxious about circumstances, and "in everything (even the most 'trifling' affairs) by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
let our requests be made known unto God." Every 'believer is at peace with God, because of Christ's shed blood. Not every 
believer has this "peace o/God" within him; for not all have consented to judge anxious care and worry as unbelief in God's 
Fatherly kindness and care. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

* * * 

"I change, He changes not, 

God's Christ can never die; 
His love, not mine, the resting-place, 

His truth, not mine, the tie." 
— (Bonar) 

Verse 2: Look a moment at the second benefit: Through whom also we have had our access 
into this grace wherein we stand — The word "also" sets this blessing forth as distinct from and 
additional to that of peace with God. Through Christ, in whom they have believed, there has been 
given to the justified "access" into a wonderful standing in Divine favor. Being in Christ, they have 
extended to them the very favor in which Christ Himself stands. Notice that the words "by faith" 
(as in A.V.) here should be omitted. It is not by an additional revelation, and acceptance thereof, 
that believers come into this standing in grace. It is a place of Divine favor given to every believer 
the moment he believes. In Chapter 6:14 we are to be told that we are under grace, not law. It is a 
glorious discovery to find how fully God is for us, in Christ. 106 

Now, as to this third great matter: We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This is the future 
of the believer: to enter upon a glorified state, glorified together with Christ, as it is in Chapter 
8:17. It is not merely to behold God's glory, but to enter into it! "When Christ, who is our life, shall 
be manifested, then shall we also with Him be manifested in glory" (Col. 3:4). "The glory which 
thou has given Me I have given unto them" (John 17:22). We shall speak of this further, in its place 
in Chapter Eight. The translation "exult" rather than "glory," or "boast," suits Paul' s meaning here. 
So in the next verse, we exult in our tribulations. It is an inner, joyful confidence, rather than an 
outward glorying or boasting before others, although this latter will often necessarily follow ! 

Verses 3 and 4: And not only so, but we also exult in the tribulations [which beset us]: 
knowing that tribulation is working out endurance: and endurance [a sense of] approvedness 

[by God]; and [the sense of] approvedness works out a state of hope — So now we find that not 
only does the believer look back to peace made with God at the cross; at a God smiling upon him 
in favor; and forward to his coming glorification with Christ, but he is able also to exult in the very 
tribulations that are appointed to him. Paul constantly taught, as in Acts 14:22; II Thessalonians 
3:3, that "through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God," and that "we are 
appointed unto afflictions." The word means pressure, straits, difficulties; and Paul had them! 
"Pressed on every side, perplexed, pursued, smitten down"; "in afflictions, in necessities, in 
distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by evil 
report, ... as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, — yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making 


Sanday quotes Ellicott's translation: "Through whom also we have had our access," and adds, '"have had' when we first 
became Christians, and now while we are such." 

And Darby comments: "We are not called on to believe that we do believe, but to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, by 
whom we have access, and are brought into perfect present favor, every cloud that could hide God's love removed; and can 
rejoice in hope of the glory of God." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things!" (II Cor. 4:8, 9; 6:4-10). He regarded 
these as "our light affliction" said he, "which is for the moment, and is working for us more and 
more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory," (II Cor. 4: 17); and so Paul "took pleasure" in them! 
(II Cor. 12:10). 

We need to take a lesson from the martyrs, who lived in the freshness and strength of the early 
faith of the Church of God, who often sang in the midst of the flames! We hear today of Just the 
same courage where persecution and trial are greatest. We can but give here a testimony from 
Russia that will reach all our hearts. It is a classic on suffering for Christ's sake. 107 

The Divine process is as follows: God brings us into tribulations, and that of all sorts; graciously 
supplying therewith a rejoicing expectation of deliverance in due time; and the knowledge that, as 
the winds buffeting some great oak on a hillside cause the tree to thrust its roots deeper into the 
ground, so these tribulations will result in steadfastness, in faith and patient endurance; and our 
consciousness of steadfastness — of having been brought 'by grace through the trials, — gives us a 
sense of Divine approval, or approvedness, we did not before have; and which is only found in 
those who have been brought through trials, by God's all-sufficient grace. This sense of God's 
approval arouses within us abounding "hope" — we might almost say, hopefulness, a hopeful, happy 
state of soul. 


1. A letter that lately came out of Northern Siberia, signed "Mary," reads: "The best thing to report is, that I feel so happy 
here. It would be so easy to grow bitter if one lost the spiritual viewpoint and began to look at circumstances. I am earning to 
thank God for literally everything that comes. I experienced so many things that looked terrible, but which finally brought me 
closer to Him. Each time circumstances became lighter, I was tempted to break fellowship with the Lord. How can I do otherwise 
than thank Him for additional hardships? They only help me to what I always longed for — a continuous, unbroken abiding in 
Him. Every so-called hard experience is just another step higher and closer to Him." 

Another recent letter from "Mary" reads, "I am still in the same place of exile. There is a Godless Society here; one of the 
members became especially attached to me. She said, "I cannot understand what sort of a person you are; so many here insult 
and abuse you, but you love them all" . . . She caused me much suffering, but I prayed for her earnestly. Another time she asked 
me whether I could love her. Somehow I stretched out my hands toward her, we embraced each other, and began to cry. Now 
we pray together. My dear friends, please pray for her. Her name is Barbara" 

In a letter a month later, "Mary" writes; "I wrote you concerning my sister in Christ, Barbara. She accepted Christ as her 
personal Savior, and testified before all about it. We both, for the last time, went to the meeting of the Godless. I tried to reason 
with her not to go there, but nothing could prevail. She went to the front of the hall, and boldly testified before all concerning 
Christ. When she finished she started to sing in her wonderful voice a well-known hymn, 

T am not ashamed to testify of Christ, who died for me, 
His commandments to follow, and depend upon His cross!' 

The very air seemed charged! She was taken hold of and led away." 

Two months later, another letter came from "Mary": "Yesterday, for the first time, I saw our dear Barbara in prison. She 
looked very thin, pale, and with marks of beatings. The only bright thing about her were her eyes, bright, and filled with heavenly 
peace and even joy. How happy are those who have it! It comes through suffering. Hence we must not be afraid of any sufferings 
or privations. I asked her, through the bars, 'Barbara, are you not sorry for what you have done?' 'No,' she firmly responded, 
'If they would free me, I would go again and tell my comrades about the marvelous love of Christ. I am very glad that the Lord 
loves me so much and counts me worthy to suffer for Him.'" The Link 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 5: And [our state of] hope does not make us ashamed: because God's love [for us] is 
poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. Furthermore, 
then, no matter how much the world or worldly Christians may avoid or deride us, this hopefulness 
is not "ashamed," or is not "put to shame": because there is supplied the inward and wonderful 
miracle of the consciousness of God's love shed abroad in our hearts through that second mighty 
gift of God to us (Christ Himself being the first), — the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

Paul now takes up this "love of God" in what is, as regards Gods sheer grace, the highest place 
in Paul's epistles. It is the greatest exposition in Scripture of God's love, as announced in John 
3:16: "For God so loved the world .that He gave — ." Ephesians unfolds the marvelous heavenly 
calling into which God's grace has brought us. But, as to God's love itself, what it is, we must come 
to the present verses of Romans: as John says, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He 
loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). 

First of all, the indwelling Holy Spirit, given freely to all believers, sheds abroad in our hearts 
this love of God — making us conscious of it in a direct inner witness: and that especially in times 
of trial or need. 


Next, we see three stages of our sinnerhood, each connected in a peculiar, fitting, and touching 
way with God's love. 

1. Verse 6: For Christ, — we being yet helpless [in our sins], at the appointed time died for 
ungodly ones — The fact of man's total moral inability is stated here in the gentlest possible terms. 
It is a bankruptcy of all moral and spiritual inclination toward God and holiness, as well as of power 
to be or do good. Yet into a scene of helplessness like this, God sends His Son, — for what? To die 
for the "ungodly." No return or response is demanded: it is absolute grace — for the ungodly. 

Verse 7: For scarcely for a righteous man will anyone die: though perhaps for a good man 
some one might even venture to die — Paul proceeds with his wonderful pean of praise concerning 
God's love: Among men, while for a sternly honest man no one would die, yet some one might be 
found to venture death for a "noble" person, one of generous-hearted goodness. But what of God's 

2. Verse 8. God commendeth His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, 
Christ died for us — Now "sinning" is a stronger word than "strengthless": but it is strong in the 
wrong direction! Strengthless indeed toward God and holiness, we were all; yet vigorous and active 
in sin. And what did God do? What does God here say? It was while we were thus sinning that 
Christ died for us! And thus doth God "commend" 108 His peculiar love toward us. It is most 
astonishing, this announcement that God is "commending" this love of His for us, — a love "all 

108 "Proves, as in 3:5" (Meyer); "establishes" (Godet); "confirms" (Calvin); "manifests" (Haldane); "gives proof of (Alford); 
"demonstrates" (Williams); "commendeth" (Sanday). The English word "commendeth" happily covers the double meaning of 
the Greek: (1) approving or establishing things, and (2) recommending persons (16:1). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

uncaused by any previous love of ours for Him." 109 Salesmen "commend" their wares to those 
whom they deem able and willing to buy them. God "commends" His tender love to us; for He 
loved us as wretches occupied in sin, unable and unwilling to pay Him or obey Him. This is absolute 

3. Verse 10: For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the DEATH 
of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved in His LIFE. 

Now, "enemies" is a much worse word than either "strengthless" or "sinners"; it involves a 
personal alienation and animosity. "The mind of the flesh is enmity against God . . . not subject to 
the law of God, neither, indeed, can it be." What a condition! And yet, while we were going about 
avoiding and hating God, that same God was having His Son, Christ, meet all the Divine claims 
against us by His death on Calvary! 

Mark that, while we were enemies, He did this. No change of our hateful attitude was demanded 
by God before He sent His Son. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us, and 
sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Grace, brother, grace, — unasked, undesired, and, 
of course, forever undeserved, — Divine kindnessl "When the kindness of God our Savior, and His 
love toward man appeared, not by works which we did ourselves, but according to His mercy. He 
saved us." 

Here, then, whoever you are, read your record: strengthless, sinning, hating: then you can begin 
to conceive of, if you will believe, this sovereign, uncaused love which God here in this great 
passage "commends" to you. Do not try to be "worthy" of it; for offers to pay, by an utter bankrupt, 
are not only worthless, but an insult to gracel Self-righteousness seeks to discover in itself some 
cause for that Divine favor that God declares has its only source in Himself and His love. 
"Strengthless" — "sinners" — "enemies" — such were we all, and God sent His Son to die for us as 

Now let us not dare try to get God to be reconciled to us through our prayers, our consecration, 
our works. We were reconciled to God while His enemies, through the death of His Son. One who 
has believed is overwhelmed to find that this reconciliation was effected while he himself was an 
enemy to God; and so the "much more" gets hold of his heart: I was reconciled by His death while 
I was an enemy: how much rather, now that I have accepted this reconciliation and share Christ's 
own risen life, shall God pour His salvation-favor upon me! I was an enemy then, and God gave 
Christ for me; now that I am God's friend, He cannot do less! 1 10 

109 "In sovereign grace He rises above the sin, and loves without a motive, save what is in His own nature and part of His glory. 
Man must have a motive for loving, God has none but in Himself, and 'commendeth His love to us' (and the 'His' is emphatic 
as to this very point), in that, while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us; the best thing in heaven that could be given for the 
vilest, most defiled, and guilty sinners" (Darby). 


To illustrate reconciliation: 

Suppose I am the master of a school and I make a rule that there is to be no profane swearing. I write that rule on the 
blackboard, and the whole school sees and hears it. The penalty I announce, too: there is to be a whipping if any one breaks the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

This is the important thing to see, in the matter or reconciliation: it was necessary for us to 

be reconciled to God Himself, to that holiness and righteousness in God, that was infinitely against 
sin. This was brought about in Christ's death. 

So, we read, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (II Cor. 5:19). "While we 
were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." All sin is contrary to God's 
holiness, righteousness, truth, and glory, but sin was put by God on Christ, and God "spared Him 
not." And now God says to His messengers: "Go be ambassadors on behalf of Christ. Tell sinners 
that I have smitten Him instead of them. Tell them I forsook Him on the cross, that I might not 
forsake them forever!" 


There are in this remarkable chapter four "much mores" which it is interesting and profitable 
to note. Two are in this first section; and two in the second. First, we have the two "much mores" 
of future safety; verses 9 and 10; then the two "much mores" of grace's abundance: verses 15 and 
17, which are developed in the other section of the chapter. 

Verse 9: Much more then, having been now declared righteous by [means of] His blood, 
shall we be saved through Him from the [coming] wrath — God has done the harder thing: He 
will do the easier thing. He has had Christ die for us while we were "yet sinners"; "much more" 
will He see that we, being now believers and accounted righteous in view of Christ' s blood, shall 
be saved from the coming wrath through Him (Christ). 111 

Now, there is a boy named John Jones in my school, a boy I am fond of. At recess-time he swears. Everybody hears him; 
I hear him; everybody knows I hear him. When I call the school to order, all the scholars are looking at me to see what I will 

I have a son of my own in that school room, a beloved son, Charles. I call him, and we go outside to counsel, while the 
school waits. I say, "Son, will you bear John Jones' whipping for him? He doesn't believe that I love him. He thinks I hate him 
because he has broken my rule. There must be a whipping. I must be true to my word, but you know how I love John." My son 
says, "Yes, father, I'll do anything for you that you wish. And I love John Jones, too." 

I bring my boy, Charles, out before the whole school, and I say, "This is John Jones whipping I am giving to my son Charles. 
The law of the school was broken by John Jones. I am putting the penalty on my boy. He says he will gladly do this for me, and 
for John." Then I whip my son Charles; and I do not spare him. I whip him just as if he were John Jones, just as if he had broken 
the rule himself. 

When the whipping is over, I say to some scholar, "Go and tell John Jones I have nothing against him, — nothing at all. And 
ask him to come and give me his hand." This breaks John Jones up, and he comes forward, in tears, and says, "I didn't know 
you loved me that much! I thank you from my heart!" 

Now he is reconciled from his side, to me. But you see I reconciled him to myself, first. I had to deal with his disobedience, 
or be myself unrighteous. 


1. Concerning Christ's bearing in our place God's wrath against sin, let us say: 

To regard God as "angry," or as demanding that Christ suffer "the exact equivalent of all the agonies the elect would have 
suffered to all eternity," is to miss the whole meaning of propitiation. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Notice that shed blood is the justifying ground, the procuring cause, of our being accounted 
righteous; and that instead of our being uncertain of preservation from the wrath which is coming 
at the Last Judgment, the fact that Christ died for us while were were still sinners should give us a 
constant state of calm security! 

Verse 10: Much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His [risen] life — Again, God 
has done the harder thing — delivering Christ to death to reconcile us to Himself. He will 
certainly — much more! do the lesser thing for us: He will see that we share Christ's risen life 
forever; and thus, even in the hour of visitation upon the wicked, we shall be "saved by His life." 
(This will more fully come out in Chapter Eight, where the blessed Spirit supplies that life which 
is in Christ to us, as a very "law of life.") 

We were reconciled to God by God's having Christ meet in His death all the claims of His 
throne, — His majesty, His holiness, His righteousness, His truth. "Much more," being from our 
side reconciled, shall we be saved now and in the future by and in Christ' s risen life which we now 

This "saved by His life" evidently looks forward to the coming Day of Judgment referred to in 
verse 9 112 as the coming wrath, into which judgment our Lord has told us we shall not come (John 

1. Remember it is God Himself who "loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." God held no enmity 
against us. God loved us. 

2. Therefore, strictly speaking, it was not punishment which Christ bore on the cross, but wrath. Punishment is 
personal, — against the offender; but wrath upon Christ was against the thing — sin. Christ bore that wrath which God's being 
and nature always and forever sustains toward sin. The sinner cannot come nigh Him, but must die, must perish in His holy 
presence, — not because God hates him, but because God is the Holy One. Therefore did Christ die, — and that forsaken of God 
under wrath — because He was bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. So it was, that, sin being placed on Christ, judgment 
and wrath fell upon Him. So it is, also, that the believer has not been "appointed unto wrath" (I Thess. 5:9): the wrath has fallen 
on Christ. 

3. The conception that Christ on the cross was enduring all the agonies of the elect for all eternity grew directly out of the 
Romish legalism from which the Reformers did not escape, — to wit: that we still have connection with our responsibilities in 
Adam the first; that our history was not ended at the cross. But the shed blood brought in before God on the Day of Atonement 
simply witnessed 'that a life had been laid down, ended. "The sufferings of all the elect for all eternity" could never take the 
place of the laid down life of the great Sacrifice. God did not ask for agonies: sin simply could not approach Him! There must 
be banishment of the sinner from His presence — unless a substitute should come, who, taking the place of the sinner, and bearing 
his sin, could lay down his life. Such was Christ. He "laid down His life that He might take it again," But remember both parts 
of this great utterance: (a) "He laid down His life," bearing our sin, putting it away from God' s presence forever. But even Christ, 
when bearing our sin, could not, as it were, come nigh God, but was forsaken, under holy wrath against sin. Not the agonies of 
Christ could avail, but that, bearing sin, He laid His life down, poured out His soul unto death. Thus He owned God's holiness 
to be absolute and infinite, and said, "It is finished." (b) Now in taking up His life again, it was not that life which, according to 
Leviticus 17:11, was "in the blood," because the blood was "all one with the life" (Lev. 17: 14), and therefore "given to make 
atonement for souls,"; "it was not the blood-life" which He took up, but newness of life" in resurrection! 

God indeed permitted man to inflict the terrible sufferings of crucifixion upon His Son. But those sufferings were not "the 
cup" that His Father had given Him drink. The cup was the cup of Divine wrath against sin, and it involved His being "cut off 
out of the land of the living" under the hand of Divine judgment. 


The Greek preposition en in verse 9, is not fully or exactly rendered by tht English word "in"; for the Greek en here includes: 
in the shed blood of Christ (vs. 9), as the ground before God of our justification; in view of that blood' s power as seen by God 
the Justifier; in the eternal availingness of that blood before God; and the consequent eternal redemption it has procured. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

5:24). Indeed, Paul writes in I Thessalonians 1:10, — "Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to 

And now the apostle closes up this section of the Epistle with a note of highest exultation: 

Verse 1 1 : And not only so, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through 
whom we have now received the reconciliation — He says. We exult in God. How great a change! 
Three chapters back, we were sitting in the Divine Judge's court, guilty — our mouths stopped, and 
all our works rejected! Now, "through our Lord Jesus Christ" and His work for us, we are rejoicing, 
exulting, in Him who was our Judge! This is what grace can do and does! And we see that it is 
simply by receiving the reconciliation that has been brought in by Christ. For the word here is not 
"atonement," which means to cover up, and is applied to the Old Testament sacrifices. The word 
reconciliation here (katallaga) is simply the noun form of the verb "reconcile," in verse 10. Compare 
"God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses 
(II Cor. 5:19). 

To "receive" a complete, accomplished reconciliation, — how simple! We have seen men and 
women exult in God, thus! Every believer has this great right of exultation. This is a "song of the 
Lord" that lasts forever — "through our Lord Jesus Christ" 


Romans 5:12-21 


ADAM 1 Verse 14. 



ADAM— one trespass: Verses 12,15,17,18,19. 
CHRIST — one righteous act (on the cross): Verse. 18. 


By ADAM — Condemnation, guilt, death: Verses 15, 16, 18, 

By CHRIST— Justification, life, kingship: Verses 17, 18, 19. 


Likewise, in the same construction in verse 10, we translate, "in His life": meaning that the believer shares that risen life 
of Christ; that in the power of that endless life the believer will abide both now and forever: as John says, "we may have boldness 
in the day of judgment; because as He is, even so are we in this world," 


Romans Verse-by-Verse 

William R. Newell 

In degree f 

V erse 15 

In kind or 

Verse 16 

God the Creator's 
grace by Christ, 
abounds beyond the 
sin of the creature, 

One sin, by 
and reign of death. 

Many sins on 
Christ — justification 
and "reigning in 
life" for those 
accepting God's 
grace by Him. 


SIN — reigning through Death: Verse 17. 

GRACE — reigning through Righteousness: Verse 21. 



Verse 17. 



12 Therefore it [salvation through Christ's work] is just 
as when through one man sin entered the world, and through 
the sin, death: and in that way death passed to all men, for 
that all sinned [in Adam]: for before the Law [of Moses] 13 
sin was in the world: but sin is not put to account if there is 
not law [against it]. 14 Notwithstanding, death 
reigned-as-king from Adam until Moses, even over those 
not having sinned after the likeness of the transgression of 
Adam, — who is a type of the Coming One [Christ]. 

15 But not as the trespass, so also is the grace-bestowal 
(charisma). For if by the trespass of the one the many died, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

much more did the grace of God, and the free-gift (dorea) 
of the One Man. Jesus Christ, abound unto the many! 16 
And not as through one that sinned, so is the act of giving 
{dorema): for the judgment came out of one [trespass] unto 
condemnation; but the grace-bestowal {charisma) came out 
of many trespasses unto a righteous [or justifying] act 
{dikaioma) [at the cross]. 

17 For if by the trespass of the one, death 
reigned- as-king through the one, much more those accepting 
the abundance of grace and of the free-gift {dorea) of 
righteousness, shall reign-as-kings in life through the One, 
Jesus Christ! 

18 So then just as [the principle was] through one 
trespass unto all men to condemnation; even so also [the 
principle is] through one righteous [or justifying] act 
[dikaioma] unto all men to justification of life! 19 For just 
as through the disobedience of the one man the many were 
set down as sinners, even so, through the obedience of the 
One the many shall be set down as righteous. 

20 Law, moreover, came in alongside, that trespass [of 
law] might abound. But, where the sin abounded, the grace 

21 In order that, just as sin reigned-as-king by means of 
death: grace might reign-as-king, through righteousness, 
unto life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


We have seen, in Chapters One to Three, the fact of universal human guilt, that all thus are 
"falling short of God's glory"; and we have seen Christ set forth by God as a "propitiation through 
faith in His blood." We also found that believers were declared righteous; and seen connected with 
a Risen Christ, in Chapter Four. Then we saw, in the first part of Chapter Five, the blessed results 
of this "justification by faith." 

When we come to Romans 5: 12, a new phase or view of our salvation appears. (Although note 
our comments on Chapter 3:23.) A general view of the passage will be helpful. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The two men, Adam and Christ, with their distinct federal 113 or representative consequences, 
are before us. It is no longer what we have done — our sins, but the one trespass of Adam that is in 
view. And it is the work of Christ, also, looked at as an "Adam," — His "righteous act" of death; 
with its effect of justification for us. So now we look back to the act that set us down as sinners, 
instead of to our own deeds; and to the act that sets us down righteous, apart from our own works. 

There is no more direct statement in Scripture concerning justification than we find in verse 
19: Through the obedience of the One shall the many be constituted righteous [before God]. 
It is true that up to verse 1 1 the question has been one of sins rather than the thing sin itself. It is 
true also that in verse 18, in the expression justification of life, the resurrection- side of salvation 
is before us. But we need to mark that God, in the great passage from verse 12 to verse 21, grounds 
our justification wholly in the work of Another than ourselves, even Christ; showing also the 
incidental place that the Law had — "that the trespass might abound"; thus opening the flood-gates 
of Grace! 

The key word of this great passage is "one." You will find it as follows (14 times in all) : 

"One man" — "one man" — "one man" — verses 12, 15, 19. 

"The one"— "the one"— "the One"— verses 15, 17, 19. 

"One" — "one" — "one" (trespass) "one" (righteous act) — verses 16 (twice), 18 (twice). 

"Through — one act of righteousness" — verse 18. "Through — the obedience of THE 
ONE"— verse 19. 

"Through t one trespass" — verses 15, 

1 17, 18. 

one man's 

disobedience" — verse 19. 

"Through t one act of 

*■ righteousness" — verse 18. 

the obedience of THE 
ONE"— verse 19. 

It will never do to go about counting ourselves justified in the sense merely of having our own 
trespasses, those we have committed, forgiven; for this would amount to counting ourselves as 
innocent before we personally sinned, and to have become guilty merely because we personally 
sinned. But this is to forget that we all were made sinners 'by Adam's act, — not our own. Nor does 
this mean that we got a "sinful nature" from our "first parents": "By nature" we were, indeed, 
"children of wrath," Paul tells us in Eph. 2; and David declares: "In sin did my mother conceive 
me." But Romans Five does not talk of a nature of sin received by us from Adam, but of our being 
made guilty by his act. We were so connected with the first Adam that we did not have to wait to 

113 Federal: in this book we use this word as indicating the action of one for all in a representative manner; or for the consequences 
of such action. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

be born, or to have a sinful nature; but when Adam, our representative, acted, we acted. Verse 19 
plainly says, Through the one man's disobedience the many were set down as sinners, while 
the preceding verse says the principle was, through one trespass — unto all men to condemnation. 

"Condemnation" is a forensic word, it belongs to the court, not to the birth-chamber. 

The same Divine principle is illustrated in the fact that "through Abraham even Levi," Abraham' s 
great-grandson, 'who receiveth tithes, hath paid tithes, for he was yet in the loins of his father when 
Melchizedek met him" (Heb. 7:9). God says of Levi, who was not yet born, whose father was not 
yet born, whose grandfather (Isaac) was not yet born: "LEVI PAID TITHES !" 

The great truth of Romans 5:12 to 21 is that a representative acted, involving those connected 
with him. 

We see immediately how Paul in a seven-fold way insists on the fact that Adam' s act of sin 
affected his race: 

1. Through one man sin entered into the world (vs. 12a). 

2. So in that way death passed unto all men, for that all sinned, [when Adam sinned] (vs. 

3. By the trespass of the one the many died (vs. 15). 

4. The judgment came out of one [trespass] unto condemnation (vs. 16). 

5. By the trespass of the one, death reigned-as-king through the one (vs. 17). 

6. Through one trespass [the effect was] towards all men to condemnation (vs. 18). 

7. Through the one man's disobedience the many were set down as [or made to become] 
sinners (vs. 19). 

On the other hand, as regards Christ, we find: 

1. That He is also an Adam — a representative or federal Man who acts for all, and in whom all 
in Him are seen. Adam is called a figure [Greek: typos — type] of Him that was to come — Christ 

(vs. 14). 

2. That by the One Man Jesus Christ, the grace of God, and the free-gift [by that grace] did 
abound unto the many much beyond the evil results of Adam's sin (vs. 15). 

3. That through our Lord's one righteous act [His death on the cross] the free-gift goes out 
to all men to justification of life, just as through [Adam' s] one trespass the judgment came to 
all men to condemnation (vs. 18). 

4. That through the obedience [unto death] of the One [Christ] the many [those who received 
the gift] shall be set down righteous [before God] (vs. 19). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

5. That those who receive the abundance of [God's] grace and of the gift of righteousness 
shall reign-as-kings in life through the One, Jesus Christ, — much beyond death s reigning 

through the one [Adam] (vs. 17). 

We may now consider this passage briefly, verse by verse: 

Verse 12: This whole plan of salvation, — by Christ's work, not ours, which we have been 
considering in Chapters Three, Four and Five, gives rise to the "therefore" which introduces this 
verse: Therefore [this plan of salvation of all by a single Redeemer], is on the same principle as 
when through [the other] one man sin entered the world; and, with it, its wages, death. Paul 
proceeds to emphasize that it was in that way, — that is, by one man, that death passed to all men, 
because when Adam sinned, all sinned. It was a federal representative act. Evidently physical death 
is primarily in view. "Man's breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts 
perish" (Ps. 146:4). And read carefully the note below. 114 So death passed unto all men, for that 
all sinned — The word "so" refers to the sin of the one man, but the words all sinned must not be 
read "all have sinned" (as the King James Version unfortunately mistranslates). The whole point 
is that all acted when Adam acted: all sinned. We have remarked on the aorist tense, "sinned" 
(Greek: h marton) in connection with its use in Chapter Three. To translate it here (5:12) "have 
sinned" is utterly to obscure the Scripture, making man's "sinnership" to depend on his own acts 
rather than on Adam's — which latter is the whole point of the passage. 

Verses 13 and 14: Now comes the remarkable statement that although sin was in the world 
during the first 2500 years, from Adam to Moses, it is not put to account when there is no law. 

The Greek word "put to account" used here occurs only one other time — Philemon 18. It signifies 
to charge up something to anyone as a due. (The wholly different word "reckon" in Chapters 3:24 
and 4:23, 24 regards the person; this word in 5:13 regards some item put to one's account.) It was 
to Adam, not to us, that God said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." It was 
to Israel through Moses that God gave the ten commandments. The general argument of the apostle 
here is to show the effect of a federal or representative sin, in which an Adam acted, bringing an 


Death is a Divine decree: "It is appointed unto men once to die and after this cometh judgment," Death involves four 

First, the utter ending of what we call human life. 

Second, falling consciously into the fearful hands of that power under which men have during their lifetime lightly lived, 
unprotected from the indescribable terrors and horrors connected therewith. 

Third, being imprisoned in Sheol or Hades — in "the pit wherein is no water," as was Dives in Luke 16. Compare Zech. 

fourth, exposure to the coming judgment and its eternal consequences. Of course, the believer is rescued from all this — even 
physical death, — from bodily, "falling asleep," if Christ comes during his lifetime! while it is true of all saints, those who keep 
Christ's word, that they shall "never see death" (John 8:51). Death and judgment are past for the believer, Christ his Substitute 
having endured them. 

Nevertheless, in this day of mad pleasure-seeking, it certainly behooves all of us to reflect on the fearful realities connected 
with death! (See also Note on Chapter 6:23.) 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

effect upon the individuals connected with him. Paul is about to prove that death passed to all 
men not because they sinned, but because Adam sinned. He is also about to show (verse 18) that 
all men were condemned by Adam's act, — were made to become sinners. 

To understand, therefore, the force of the words, sin is not put to account where there is no 

law, — or, as Conybeare enlighteningly paraphrases, "Sin is not put to the account of the sinner 
when there is no law forbidding it," — we must remember: 

1. That sin was in the world, between Adam and Moses. 

2. That, according to Chapter One, the race had rejected light and were without excuse; though 
they were "without law" (anomos): for God' s definition of sin is not "transgression of law" (I John 
3:4, A.V.), but anomia, which means refusal to be controlled — self-will. 

3. That there was a "work" (working) written in their hearts, to which their consciences bore 
witness, either accusing or else excusing them; and that this working necessarily corresponded 
morally to any law to be afterwards revealed by Jehovah. 

4. That condign judgments, such as the Flood, and the overthrow of Sodom, and the destruction 
of the Canaanites, followed the "filling up of the cup of iniquity" at such times: for such sinners 
both trampled on their own consciences, and inherited the previous generations of guilt. 

5. That, nevertheless, the sins between Adam and Moses did not bring about the sentence of 
death upon humanity, however much individuals or nations might hasten death's overtaking them. 
For these people, though they sinned, had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, 

which was a wilful violation of a direct command of a revealed God; as was Israel' s making, through 
Aaron, the calf at Sinai: evolving judicial consequences to others besides themselves. For we read 
in Exodus 32:34 of a set future "visitation" on Israel, because of that sin at Sinai of their fathers: 
"In the day that I visit, I will visit their sin upon them"; this will be in "the time of Jacob's trouble," 
in the Great Tribulation — long after the calf- worship; indeed, still future! 

6. We therefore must regard the human race as under a sentence of death they did not bring 
upon themselves: death reigned from Adam until Moses (vs. 14). Unlike Adam, and unlike Israel 
after Moses, those who lived between the two had no positive outward Divine law, the breaking 
of which would be a direct transgression and a threatening of death therefor. Nevertheless "death 
reigned" — even over them. Constantly before our eyes is the attestation to the same truth: babes 
that know nothing of right or wrong, die. Every little white coffin, — yea, every coffin, should 
remind us of the universal effect of that sin of Adam, for it was thus and thus only that "death 
passed to all men." 

We see then, that from Adam until Moses, death "reigned-as-king" 115 on account of Adam's 
sin. Paul has said(Rom. 4:15), "Where there is no law neither is there transgression"; so that those 
between Adam and Moses, not having direct commands of God, consequently had not transgressed 

115 We say, "reigned-as-king," because the Greek word means that. Not the power of sin to hold in bondage, as in Chapter Six, is 
here meant; but the royal word, basileuo, is used, denoting sovereignty, not mere lordship. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

known commands as Adam had done. Nevertheless, Adam's transgression had involved his whole 

Verse 14: Here Adam is declared a type of the One who was to come — that is, of Christ, the 
last Adam. We cannot sufficiently urge the study of this great passage: until the mind sees, and the 
heart understands — and that gladly, condemnation by the one, and justification by the Other. It is 
just as necessary to see this "by the one" doctrine regarding our spirits, as regarding our bodies. As 
to the latter, Paul says, "As in Adam all die, so also In Christ shall all be made alive"; "The first 
man is of the earth, earthy; the second Man is of heaven . . . And as we have borne the image of 
the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (I Cor. 15:22, 47, 49). To discover that 
we are even now no longer connected with that first Adam in which we were born, but with the 
Risen Christ, the last Adam — this will be our joy in Chapters Six to Eight. But the foundation of 
this blessed truth is laid here in the Doctrine of the Two Men. 

We find in verses 15 to 17 a sort of parenthesis in which the results of Adam's trespass and 
Christ's act of obedience are shown to differ in two respects (but not at all in the principle of the 
one involving the many). In the first case (verse 15) there is the difference of degree in the result, 
because of the infinite chasm between the creature Adam, and the Creator — God and His Son Jesus 
Christ! So we read: 

Verse 15: For if by the trespass of the one [Adam] death came to the many; MUCH MORE 
did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of THE ONE MAN, JESUS CHRIST, abound 
unto the many! It takes faith to esteem this true now, seeing, as we do, the cemeteries all about 
us; death on every hand, — the general dire results of sin; but we must believe that the free gift will 
finally be seen, in its results, to be as far beyond the results of the trespass, as God and Christ are 
greater than the creature Adam! 116 

Verse 16: And not as through one that sinned, so is the act of giving: for the judgment 
came out of one unto condemnation; but the grace-bestowal came out of many trespasses 
unto a righteous act. This tells us that out of Adam's one trespass came judgment, but that out of 
many trespasses laid upon Christ came not judgment, but a righteous act (dikaioma). 111 In short, all 
men acted, — sinned in Adam's act of sin. They that receive is on the principle of "the one for the 
many," but manifestly does not include all men, because some reject; although we find in verse 18 
that the free gift "came" unto them, — "unto all men." 


David Brown (in Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's excellent commentary) disagrees here, saying: "The 'much more' here 
does not mean that we get much more of good by Christ than of evil by Adam (for it is not a case of quantity at all); but, that 
we have much more reason to expect, — or, it is much more agreeable to our ideas of God, that the many should be benefited by 
the merits of one; and, if the latter has happened, 'much more' may we assure ourselves of the former." 

But after all this does not disagree with what we have above said, for it is Adam, the sinning creature, on the one hand; and 
the infinitely great and good God, and His grace by His Son Christ, on the other. Measure, quantity, must enter in: as, indeed, 
in saying of God "we have much more reason to expect," Dr. Brown tacitly admits. "Much more," says Paul, "did the grace" — of 
whom? GOD. This emphasizing God brings out everything! 
1 ' 7 To the student of Greek (and to others, also), it is most instructive to note Paul' s use of the words connected with righteousness: 
dikaios means righteous; dikaiosune means righteousness; dikaio is to declare righteous; dikai sis means justification, or the act 
of declaring one righteous; dikai ma, the "righteous act," that makes justification possible. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Note what it is that believing ones "receive": 

First, abundance of grace: The cross having met righteously all the claims of the Divine being, 
and the Divine throne, against sinners, God has now spoken to us as He is, in abounding grace, for 
"God is Love." Over and over are "abound," "abundance" used here to express God's attitude; and 
the free motion, since the cross, of His infinitely loving heart toward sinners, in gracious kindness. 
Those who "receive" God's grace give Him the honor of His graciousness. 

Second, Those that "receive" this abundance of grace have therewith the gift of righteousness. 
What a gift! Apart from works, apart from the Law, apart from ordinances, apart from worthiness, 
an out and out gift of righteousness from God! Many times in teaching this passage to Bible classes 
I have asked them to repeat three times over each of these expressions: "The abundance of grace," 
"the gift of righteousness." We earnestly commend this to you, dear reader! Try it. 

Alas, how few believers have the courage of faith! We have looked so long at our unworthiness 
that the very thought of pushing away from the shore-lines and launching out on the limitless, 
fathomless ocean of Divine grace makes us shrink and waver. When some saint here or there does 
begin to believe the facts and walk in shouting liberty, we say (perhaps secretly), "He must be an 
especially holy, consecrated man." No, he is just a poor sinner like you, who is believing in the 
abundance of grace] And if we hear some one praising God for the gift of righteousness, because 
he is now righteous in Christ before God, we are ready to accuse him of thinking too highly of 
himself. No, he is just a poor sinner like you and me, but one who has dared to believe that he has 
received an outright gift of righteousness, and is rejoicing in it. 

Verse 17: For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned-as-king through the one, much 
more those accepting the abundance of grace and of the free-gift of righteousness, shall 
reign-as-kings in life through the One, Jesus Christ! It is not only that you have life, and that 
eternal life, in Christ: but here in verse 17 we find two kingdoms: 

First, By the trespass of the one death reigned-as-king through the one. And is that not true? 
I travelled around this world from west to east, beginning from Chicago. As we went eastward to 
the older parts of the States, we saw the stones thicker and thicker in the cemeteries. Then in England 
and Scotland, still more cemeteries, with still more monuments to the reign of death. But when we 
got out to old China, I was literally appalled at the number of the tombs and the coffins! Surely 
death has reigned, through Adam! 

But second (for the fourth time in this chapter), God now uses the words "much more," applying 
them to those who accept the abundance of His grace and of His gift of righteousness, saying these 
shall reign-as-kings in life through the One, even Jesus Christ. Look now at this expression, 
reign-as-kings in life. I am writing this during the week of the coronation of George VI of England, 
and have heard of the splendors with which the ceremony was attended; and we do thank God for 
the British Empire, and honor, with her subjects, her monarch. But, ah, believer, look closely at 
these words of Paul, reigning in life. Here is a kingdom before which all of earth is dust. And who 
are the kings here? Believers! Those whose humble faith has "received the abundance of grace and 
of the gift of righteousness": these shall reign-as-kings through Jesus Christ. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

God has "the ages to come" in which to manifest fully this mighty reigning! But it is already 
begun for those in Christ. Gideon, speaking of certain Israelites, asked the kings of Midian, "What 
manner of men were they?" "As thou art, so were they," they answered; "each one resembled the 
children of a king.'" "They shall reign forever and ever," is God's description of the saints of the 
New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:5). And their reign has already, in this life, begun; because they are in 
Christ the mighty Victorl Satan would fain keep from your ears this news, believer, that you stand 
in the abundance of God's grace; that you have received the gift of righteousness in Christ; and 
that you are to reign-as-a-king-in-life now and forever, through the One, Jesus Christ. May God 
awaken us to the facts\ Ui Satan is deathly jealous of the Church of God, which is already in the 
heavenlies, from which he is soon to be cast out. He knows that the Church will share Christ's 
throne and soon reign with Him in indescribable glory. Therefore he will blind you, if he can, to 
your present place of royal power of life in Christ. It will, we are sure, be a matter of fathomless 
regret to many Christians, at Christ's coming, that their lives on earth were characterized by doubt, 
defeat and depression; rather than by victorious reigning in life in Christ. God has no favorites. 
Each one who is in Christ has a complete Christ. The exhortations of the Epistles are addressed 
alike to all. David Livingstone early wrote in his diary, "I have found that I have no unusual 
endowments of intellect, but I this day resolved that I would be an uncommon Christian." Concerning 
such it is written, "Considering the issue of their manner of life, imitate their faith" (Heb. 13:7). 
Let us refuse to be content with a Christian existence that cannot finally be summed up as "He 
reigned in life through Jesus Christ," — over sin, Satan, the world, difficulties, adverse surroundings 
and circumstances. Let us remember the apostles, the martyrs. Reformers, godly Puritans, the holy 
Wesleys, and Whitefields, the Havergals and Crosbys; and the humble saints we know, whose 
existence is described by Paul's glorious phrase "reigning in life through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Verse 18: So then, just as [the principle was] through one trespass unto all men to 
condemnation; even so also through one righteous [or justifying] act [the principle is] unto all 
men to justification of life! Through one trespass [it was] unto all men to condemnation — The 

expression "the many" in verses 15 and 19 indicates the principle of the evil effect of the act of the 
one going forth to others; the expression "all men," of verse 18, emphasizes the extent of the 
application of that principle: absolutely all human beings were condemned when Adam sinned. 

Now do not question either God's right or His wisdom here, or His love. He had the right to 
have a judgment day of our whole race in Eden, in our head, Adam; and He did so. He always does 
right. Furthermore, He knew that creatures would ever fail, — there is no sufficiency in the creature, 
but only in the Creator. You and I would fail, as did Adam! and God desired that believers should 
be secure forever, by Christ's work. It was in love He held that judgment day in Eden. In love He 
judged us, condemned us, in our federal head, Adam, that He might justify us in the work and 
Person of the other federal Head, Christ! 

1 1 8 When Israel inquired of the Lord about Saul, the eon of Kish, who had been anointed as their King (for they could not find him), 
the Lord answered, you remember' "Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff." "And they ran and fetched him thence" (I 
Sam. 10:22-23). How sad if some of us who have received the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, and whom 
God desires to be reigning in life in Christ, have gotten ourselves hidden "among the stuff," — of earthly goods, and ambitions, 
"religious" traditions, and the literature of this world! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The ordinary conception of justification does not go beyond the pardon of sin. This indeed is 
first; and we should also have confidence that our sins will never be reckoned against us — whether 
they be past, present, or future sins. This is seen in Chapter 4:7, 8; and in Chapter 5:9, we see 
ourselves "justified in His blood," "justified from all things," as Paul says in Acts 13:39. But this 
leaves the believer without a positive standing. We do not come to "justification of life" 119 until 
Chapter 5:18. 

Now it is Christ Risen who is made our "standing": so that, as we see else where, we do not 
need aught else: for we are in Christ. Justification provides therefore not only release from the 
penalty of sin, but also a place in the Risen Christ Himself. This begins to be indicated in Chapter 
Four, where righteousness is reckoned to those who "believe on Him who raised Jesus our Lord 
from the dead." It is, of course, necessarily comprehended in the astonishing phrase IN CHRIST 
JESUS, — used first in Chapter 6:11! And it is amplified and developed through the rest of Paul's 
epistles. In I Corinthians 1:30 we see that Christ Himself, Risen, was made unto the believer, 
righteousness. Paul also in Galatians 2:20, 21 directly connects his having been "crucified with 
Christ" with righteousness. That is, the history in Adam of believers was ended at the cross. (Yet 
always remember that it was as ungodly ones that they believed!) 

In Colossians 1:12 we read: "Giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers 
of the inheritance of the saints in light." Then hear again that most stupendous utterance of all: 
"Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness 
of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21). It is this glorious revelation, which men have been loathe to read, 
teach, or refer to, which we must apprehend by God's grace, and by that grace believe! 

Now, how, in what sense, are we "the righteousness of God" in Christ? 

It is at once evident that to set us in His own presence in Christ as He has done, God must ( I ) 
reckon to us the infinitely perfect expiation of Christ in putting away our sin by His blood; (2) make 
us one with Christ in His death; and (3) place us in Christ Risen, even as Christ is received before 
Him. All this He has done; so that He says we are the righteousness of God in Christ. If we are in 
Christ, we are before God in Christ, "even as He," — "accepted in Him." 

Verse 19: For just as through the disobedience ot the one man the many were set down as 
sinners, even so, through the obedience of the One the many shall be set down as righteous. 

Set down as sinners — the word "sinners," here, is not an adjective (sinful), but a 
substantive, — sinners. 11 " Verse 19 first sums up the doctrine of our federal guilt by Adam's sin, 
then sums up our justification by Christ's death. 

1 19 The expression "justification of life" seems to stand over against that condemnation and death which came by Adam's trespass. 
It is a characterizing word: What is offered unto all men, through Christ' s act of righteousness at the cross is not only a cancellation 
of guilt, but life in the Risen One. For, since Adam's sin, there was only spiritual death in his race. The words of John 1 :4, 
regarding Christ, "In Him was life," describe the only source of life for man. And justification must be of life: for those justified 
are most certainly taken, out of their place of death in Adam, and given a place of life in Christ. 


The Greek word (hamart los) means not merely one possessed of a sinful nature or tendency, but one who is regarded as 
having committed sin. The same word is used in 3:7 and 5:8. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The whole emphasis of verses 12 to 19 is upon the fact that the effect, whether in the case of 
Adam or in the case of Christ was produced by a federal head acting apart from any actions of those 
affected. There was a judgment held in Eden, by the righteous God, the pronouncement of which 
is, "unto all men to condemnation." 121 This, of course, has no reference to eternal damnation, which 
is a consequence of the rejection of "the Light which has come into the world" — men loving darkness 
rather than light "because their deeds are evil." But it does assert a judgment of sinnerhood, by the 
guilt of Adam's action, upon the whole human race. 

The whole lesson of this passage is, that just as we have Christ only as our righteousness, we 
have Adam only as sin and death to us. (God's Word, however, puts Adam's act and its effect first, 
as a type of Christ's work.) We repeat these things over and over, because of their importance, both 
for our settled peace, and also for our enjoyment of the normal, joyous Christian life. 

Even so through the obedience of the One — This was our Lord's death, as an act of 
obedience: 1 " "He became obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross." He was of course always 
obedient to His Father, but it cannot be too strongly emphasized that His life before the cross, — His 
"active obedience" as it is called, is not in any sense counted to us for righteousness. "I delivered 
to you," says Paul, "first of all, that Christ died for our sins." Before His death He was "holy, 
guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners." He Himself said: "Except a corn of wheat fall into 
the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Do you not see that 
those who claim that our Lord's righteous life under Moses' Law is reckoned to us for our "active" 
righteousness; while His death in which He put away our sins, is, as they claim, the "passive" side, 
are really leaving you, and the Lord too, under the authority of the Law? 

"Justified in (the value or power of) His blood," and of that alone, gives the direct lie to the 
claim that man must have "an active righteousness" as well as "a passive righteousness." The 
specious assertion is, that "inasmuch as we have all broken the Law (although God says that Gentiles 
were 'without law' — and those in Christ are not under it!) and inasmuch as man cannot by his 
works himself recover his righteous standing, Christ, forsooth, came and kept The Law in man's 
place (!); and then went to the cross and suffered the penalty of death for man's guilt so that the 
result is an 'active righteousness' reckoned to man: — that is, Christ's keeping The Law in man's 
place; and, second, a 'passive righteousness,' which consists in the putting away of all guilt by the 
blood of Christ." 

Now, the awful thing here is the unbelief concerning man's irrecoverable state before God. For 
not only must Christ' s blood be shed in expiation of our guilt; but we had to die with Christ. We 

"Substantive, hamart los, a sinner; common acceptance, LXX, New Testament, etc." — Liddell and Scott. This word is used 
in NT. to designate sinners 41 times' beginning with Matthew 9:10; five times in Luke 15:1-31, and four times in John 9:1-41; 
and only four times in an adjectival sense (Mark 8:38; Luke 5:8; 24:7; Rom 7:13). 

121 Human reasoning is futile and dangerous here. Men form themselves into "schools of theology" over this subject, each founding 
a "system" upon his notion of how Adam' s trespass affected all. But that a man may act before he is born in person of his 
responsible forbear is evident, as we have shown, in the case of Levi, in Heb. 7:9. 

122 Vaughan (as so frequently) gives a rendering of startling accuracy concerning disobedience and obedience in verse 19: "The 
one (parakoees) is properly, mishearing; the other, hupakoees, submissive hearing." Disobedience in its essence is refusal to 
hearken; and obedience is bowing the ear to submissive listening. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

were connected with the old Adam; and the old man — all we had and were in Adam, must be 
crucified — if we were to be "joined to Another, even to Him that was raised from the dead." 
Theological teaching since the Reformation has never set forth clearly our utter end in death with 
Christ, at the cross. 

The fatal result of this terrible error is to leave The Law as claiment over those in Christ: for, 
"Law has dominion over a man as long as he liveth" (7:1). Unless you are able to believe in your 
very heart that you died with Christ, that your old man was crucified with Him, and that you were 
buried, and that your history before God in Adam the first came to an utter end at Calvary, you will 
never get free from the claims of Law upon your conscience. 123 

I say again, that the Law was given to neither Adam. The first Adam had life: God did not give 
him law whereby to get life! Not until Moses did the Law come in, and then only as an incidental 
thing to reveal to man his condition. The Law was not given to the first Adam, nor to the human 
race; but to Israel only (Deut. 4:5-8; 33:1-5; Ps. 147:19, 20). Again, the Law was not given to the 
Last Adam! "The Last Man Adam became a life-giving spirit": this is Christ, Risen from the dead, 
at God's right hand, communicating spiritual life. Is He under law? It is only the desperate legality 
of man's heart, his self-confidence, that makes him drag in the Law, and cling to the Law, — even 
though Christ must fulfil it for him! "Vicarious law-keeping" is Galatian heresy! 

Our Lord said plainly that His work in this world was to die: "The Son of Man came to give 
His life a ransom"; and indeed, "through the Eternal Spirit He offered Himself without blemish 
unto God." True, He must be a spotless Lamb. But for what? For sacrifice^. He did not touch our 
case, had no connection with us, until God laid our sins upon Him and made Him to become sin 
for us at the cross. Christ was not one of our race, "the sons of men": He was the Seed of the woman, 
not the man. He was the Son of Man, indeed, for God prepared for Him a body (Ps. 40; Heb. 10), 
by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). But, though He moved among sinners, He was 
"separated from sinners," and had no connection with them 'until God made Him their sin offering 
at the cross. 

Christ Himself, Risen, is our righteousness. His earthly life under the Law is not our 
righteousness. We have no connection with a Christ on earth and under the Law. We are expressly 
told in Rom. 7:1-6, that even Jewish believers who have been under law were made dead to the 
Law by the Body of Christ, that they might be joined to Another, even to Him who was raised from 
the dead. One has beautifully said, "Christianity begins with the resurrection." 

Verse 20: Law, moreover, came in alongside [of sin] that the trespass [of law] might 
abound — The reference to law here shows that Paul has justification from guilt, and not our state 
of sinfulness, in view. "Law entered alongside" (pareis lthen) ,u not, in this connection, to reveal 
sinfulness, but thatthe trespass of law, — the act of law-breaking might abound. The Law, being 

123 "Both Calvinists and Arminians think that the flesh is not so bad that it cannot be acted on for God by Christ using the Law of 
God and giving it power through the Spirit" — This is Wm. Kelly's shrewd and correct comment. 

124 It is very striking to note that in verse 13 where we read "through one man sin entered into the world," the word for entered is 
eis Ithen; and now law enters alongside, — the word being the same — eis Ithen — with the preposition para, alongside, prefixed. 
And so, "through law is the knowledge of sin." Sin entered, and law, entering alongside, revealed the sin. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

given to neither Adam, came in alongside sin, — after sin had been there 2500 years, that vain 
self-confident Israel (as a public example for us all!) might see God's standard for those in the first 
Adam, and promising to obey it, fail; and thus know sin in order that Grace might overflow. That 
so, where sin had reigned, Grace might reign-as-king, through the righteous work of Christ on the 
cross, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Thus neither our sins nor our "sinful nature" has, in this passage, anything to do with our 
condemnation: but Adam's act only. And not our new life in Christ, nor our walking in the good 
works unto which we are created (Eph. 2:10), has anything to do with constituting us righteous, 
but Christ's act of death only (vv. 18, 19). As we have said, law "came in alongside," — not as in 
any sense a means of salvation, but that Israel (and through Israel, all of us) might discover guiltiness 
by breaking law; for law gives no power to keep law! 

But, where sin abounded, grace did completely overflow. Grace began to work for Israel 
immediately after the Law was broken! For instead of cutting off Israel as a nation, God appointed 
Moses a mediator; and when sin came to a climax with the Jews' crucifying their Messiah, the 
Lord' s words were "Father, forgive them." And as we shall read in Chapter Eleven, God will indeed 
yet forgive them, — will take away their sins and "bring in everlasting righteousness." Grace will 
yet over flow for Israel, nationally, as it has now overflowed to us as individual sinners, both Jews 
and Gentiles. 

"Where sin abounded, grace overflowed," for such is ever the result of the work of the cross. 
Paul, who had been Christ's greatest enemy, the chief of sinners, declares himself to be the great 
example of mercy and grace: "I obtained mercy," he says "that in me as chief might Jesus Christ 
show forth all His long-suffering, for an example of them that should hereafter believe on Him 
unto eternal life." And again: "By the grace of God I am what I am" (I Cor. 15:10; I Tim. 1:16). 

We might turn to David and Manasseh in the Old Testament as examples of the overflowing 
heart of mercy of God. Or we might call up such examples in Church History as the reckless 
profligate Augustine, whom God made a shining light in His Church; or John Bunyan, the profane 
tinker, who wrote his wonderful experience of the Divine goodness in "Grace Abounding to the 
Chief of Sinners"; or John Newton, once a libertine and infidel, "a servant of slaves in Africa," as 
he wrote of himself for his epitaph, — whom God transformed into one of the great vessels of mercy 
of the eighteenth century, and whose hymns of praise all the saints sing. It was Newton who wrote: 

"Amazing grace! how sweet the sound 
That saved a wretch like me." 

and who told his own experience — so really that of all the saints — in the words of the beautiful 

"In evil long I took delight 

Unawed by shame or fear, 
Till a new object met my sight, 

And stopped my wild career. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"I saw One hanging on a tree, 

In agonies and blood; 
Who fixed His languid eyes on me, 

As near His cross I stood. 

"Sure, never till my latest breath, 

Can I forget that look; 
It seemed to charge me with His death, 

Though not a word He spoke. 

"My conscience felt and owned the guilt, 

And plunged me in despair, 
I saw my sins His blood had spilt, 

And helped to nail Him there. 

"Alas, I knew not what I did, 

But all my tears were vain; 
Where could my trembling soul be hid, 

For I the Lord had slain! 

"A second look He gave, that said, 

'I freely all forgive! 
This blood is for thy ransom paid, 

I died that thou mayest live.'" 

On November 18,1 834, Robert Murray McCheyne, of St. Peter' s Free Church, Dundee, Scotland, 
whose memory is like ointment poured forth, wrote his remarkable confession that his sins had 
caused Christ's death. The title, "Jehovah Tsidk nu" is the Hebrew for "The Lord Our 
Righteousness." Let it serve our use also, as it has that of thousands: 


"I once was a stranger to grace and to God, 
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load; 
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree, 
Jehovah Tsidk nu was nothing to me. 

"I oft read with pleasure, to soothe or engage, 
Isaiah's wild measure, and John's simple page; 
But e'en when they pictured the blood- sprinkled tree, 
Jehovah Tsidk nu seemed nothing to me. 

"Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll, 
I wept when the waters went over His soul; 
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree 
Jehovah Tsidk nu — 'twas nothing to me. 

When free grace awoke me, with light from on high 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die; 
No refuge, no safety, in self could I see, — 
Jehovah Tsidk nu my Savior must he. 

"My terrors all vanished before the sweet Name; 
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came 
To drink at the fountain, life-giving and free — 
Jehovah Tsidk nu is all things to me. 

"Jehovah Tsidk nu! my treasure and boast; 
Jehovah Tsidk nu! I ne'er can be lost; 
In Thee I shall conquer, by flood and by field — 
My cable, my anchor, my breastplate and shield!" 

We might multiply examples like these: but these words, "Where sin abounded, grace did 
completely overflow," with the salvation of Saul of Tarsus as the Scripture example, will suffice. 
I stood on the bluff at Memphis, Tennessee, and saw the mighty Mississippi, normally a mile wide, 
stretch over forty miles in flood, covering deep under its multitude of waters the land as far as I 
could see. So, where sin abounded, the grace of God overflowed everything. 125 

Verse 21: In order that, just as sin reigned-as-king by means of death: grace might 
reign-as-king, through righteousness, unto life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This 
verse unfolds God's great object: that Grace should have a kingdom where Death had had its 
kingdom: and that, of course, through righteousness, — that is, that all Divine claims should be first 
righteously met at the cross, and thus that all should be "through Jesus Christ our Lord." 


Two entirely different Greek words are translated, in the Authorized Version, "abounded." But the first, used of sin, means 
to increase, he augmented; while the Second, used of grace, means to abound beyond measure, to overflow. Second (Thayer) 
These words come from entirely different roots, and should have been so distinguished in translation. But one who undertakes 
to express in English the depth of the Hebrew, and the extent of the Greek language, will soon discover the frequent poverty of 
the English tongue. Hebrew seems to be the language in which God first spoke with men; it is the vehicle of praise. But to the 
Greeks He gave that great intellectual development of their "Golden Age" in which their endeavor to perfect their language 
extended even to public assemblies where the most exact possible phrasing to express an idea was decided by contest. So when 
our Lord came as "the Savior of the World," that coming, according to the grand old Hebrew prophecies, was recorded in the 
Greek, which Alexander the Great had spread throughout the known world. The Romans, to whom had been given the power 
to govern, themselves admitted that they must borrow from the Greeks not only their philosophy, but also their method and 
manner of literary expression. Then also when the Roman Empire went into collapse, and the dark "Middle Ages" came in, the 
so-called Renaissance was the bringing of the Greek classics into crude Europe after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. And 
above all, the translation directly from the Greek New Testament manuscripts of our English Scriptures; for men had so long 
depended upon the faulty Latin (or Vulgate) translation. 

Perhaps the greatest wonder the last century and a quarter has seen is the translation into over 800 tongues and dialects of 
these same Hebrew and Greek Scriptures — with such transforming power that It is written of one Bible-bearing missionary, a 
man of God, in the South Sea Islands: "When he came, there were no Christians; when he left, there were no heathen." 

How wonderful that God should have a language of spiritual praise and worship — the Hebrew; and a language exact, 
intellectually rich, — the Greek, in which He could express the great doctrines concerning His Son! And both languages capable 
of being reproduced as to their spirit and meaning, not only in English, German, and French, but in the dialects of the most 
benighted heathen tribes, — "every man in his own language." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The question of justification is still on in Chapter Five, and not until Chapter Six is "our old 
man" — all we were from Adam — brought in. Furthermore, to bring into Chapter Five our sinful 
state by nature, is to confuse our sinful condition with that condemnation which over and over God 
says was brought about by Adam's single act, and by that only. "The judgment came of ONE 
TRESPASS unto condemnation," etc. 

Now if you and I were condemned in Adam's sin, it is plain that to be justified we must be 
cleared not only of our own sins, but of our condemnation in Adam: our justification must cover 
all our condemnation. 

Our justification, is, therefore, in this great passage, related not to our personal sins, as in 
Chapters Three and Four; but to our guilt by and in Adam, from which we are cleared by Christ' s 
death. And Christ being now raised, we, connected with Him at the cross, now share His life: so 
that our justification is called "justification of life" (vs. 18). 

It is true that we are not spoken of as "in Christ" until Chapter Six, where death with Christ is 
unfolded and our history in the first Adam, and our relation to sin, ended. But Paul speaks of being 
"justified in Christ" (Gal. 2:17). And certainly the subject in the last section of Chapter Five is 
justification: condemnation by Adam's trespass, and justification by Christ' s righteous act of death. 

Thus, not until we come to Chapter Six is our walk, our sanctification, taken up. It is true that 
the doctrine of the two men (5:12-21) makes possible of understanding the great fact of Chapter 
Six, — that we died with Christ. But the subject of the latter section of Chapter Five is condemnation 
by Adam, justification by Christ. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


We Died with Christ: Our Baptism being Witness; and are to Reckon Ourselves Dead unto 
Sin and Alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Verses 1-11. 

Presenting Ourselves to God as Risen Ones, not under Law but under Grace, Sin loses Its 
Dominion over Us. Verses 12-14. 

Grace Not to be Abused, for Sin Always Enslaves, and would End in Death; Obedience brings 
Freedom, with the End, Eternal Life, — God's Free Gift in Christ Jesus Our Lord. Verses 15-23. 

1 What then shall we say? Are we to keep on in sin in 
order that grace may be abounding? Far be the thought! 2 
Such ones as we, — who died to sin! how shall we any longer 
be living in it? 

3 Or [in the very matter of our baptism] are ye ignorant 
that all we who were baptized unto Christ Jesus unto His 
death were baptized? 4 We were buried therefore [in figure] 
with Him through that baptism unto death; in order that, 
just as Christ was raised from among the dead through the 
glory of the Father, thus also we might be walking in 
newness of life. 

5 For if we became united with [Him] in the likeness of 
His death, so shall we be also [in the likeness] of His 
resurrection: 6 coming to know this, that our old man was 
crucified with Him, in order that the body of sin might be 
annulled, that we might no longer be in slave-service to sin: 
7 for the person who hath died [as have we] is justified from 

8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall 
also be living with Him [in this world]: 9 knowing that 
Christ having been raised from among the dead dieth no 
more: death over Him no longer hath dominion. 10 For in 
that He died, unto sin He died once for all; but in that He is 
living, He is living unto God. 11 Thus do ye also reckon 
yourselves dead indeed to sin, but alive to God, in Christ 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

WE COME NOW to the second part of Christ' s work for us — our identification with His death. 126 

It is not until we come to Chapter Six that the question of a holy walk as over against a sinful 
walk, comes up. For the blessed verses which describe the results of the discovery of peace with 
God, and of "justification of life" and "reigning in life" through Christ, as revealed in Chapter Five, 
are things of experience, of rejoicing, — even in the hope of the glory of God Himself! But the 
question of a holy walk under this "abounding grace" is now brought up, in Chapter Six, in the 
answers to two questions: First, Shall we keep sinning that grace may keep abounding? and, Second, 
The fact having been revealed that we are not under the principle of law but under that of grace, 
shall we use our liberty to commit sin? That is, Shall we use our freedom from the law-principle 
for selfish ends? 

The answer to the first question is, that for all who are in Christ, the old relationship to sin is 
broken, — for they federally shared Christ' s death to sin, and are to reckon it so, and walk in "newness 
of life" unto God. The answer to the second question is, that anyone "yielding his members" becomes 
servant that to which he yields, — whether of sin unto death, or of righteousness unto sanctification. 

Verse 1: Are we to 2 remain in sin that grace may be abounding? This question arises 
constantly, both in uninstructed believers, and in blind unbelievers. The message of simple grace, 
apart from all works, to the poor natural heart of man seems wholly inconsistent and' impossible. 
"Why!" people say, "If where sin abounds grace overflows, then the more sin, the more grace." So 
the unbeliever rejects the grace plan. 

Moreover, the uninstructed Christian also is afraid; for he says, "If we are in a reign of pure 
grace, what will control our conscious evil tendencies? We fear such utter freedom. Put us under 
'rules for holy living,' and we can get along." 

Another sad fact is that some professing Christians welcome the "abounding grace" doctrine 
because of the liberty they feel it gives to things in their daily lives which they know, or could 
know, to be wrong. 


There are five parts to our salvation: 

1 . Christ' s propitiatory work toward God through His blood: bearing the guilt and condemnation of our sins. 

2. Christ's identification with us as connected with Adam, "becoming sin for us," releasing us from Adam, our federal head: 
"our old man" being crucified with Christ. 

3. The Holy Spirit's whole work in us, as "the Spirit of grace," involving conviction, regeneration, baptism into Christ's 
Body; being in us as a "law of life" against indwelling sin, the Witness of our sonship; our Helper, Intercessor, and, finally, the 
mighty Agent in the Rapture. 

4. Christ's present work in Heaven; leading our worship and praise as our Great High Priest; and protecting us should we 
sin, as our Advocate with the Father (as against our accuser). 

5. Christ's second coming to redeem our bodies, and receive us to Himself in glory: The Rapture. 

127 It is what is called the deliberative subjunctive here; "May we?" or "Should we? But best rendered in English by the form we 
have chosen: "Are we to" — "is such the path?" And so in verse 15. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 2: Such ones as we, who died to sin! how shall we any longer be living in it? 

Here we have, (1) such ones as we (hoitines). This is more than a relative pronoun: it is a 
pronoun of characterization, "placing those referred to in a class" (Lightfoot). Paul thus has before 
his mind all Christians, and he places this pronoun at the very beginning: "such ones as we!" 

(2) He characterizes all Christians as those who died. The translation, "are dead" is wrong, for 
the tense of the Greek verb is the aorist, which denotes not a state but a past act or fact. It never 
refers to an action as going on or prolonged. As Winer says, "The aorist states a fact as something 
having taken place." Note how strikingly and repeatedly this tense is used in this chapter as referring 
to the death of which the apostle speaks: 128 Mark most particularly that the apostle in verse 2 does 
not call upon Christians to die to sin but asserts that they shared Christ's death, they died to sin! 

(3) Paul here therefore affirms that it was in regard to their relationship to sin that believers 
died. He is asserting concerning Christians that they died — not for sin, but unto it. 

(4) Paul now asks the question: "How shall those whose relationship to sin has been broken by 
their dying, be still, as once, living in sin?" The answer to this can only be, It is an impossibility. 
In this second verse, therefore, the apostle is not making a plea to Christians not to live unto sin; 
but asking how they who died to sin could go on living in it. It is as if one would say, Those who 
died in New York City, shall they still be walking the streets of New York City? 

This does not mean that all Christians have discovered, or walk in, the path of victory over sin; 
for in this second verse Paul is answering directly the bald bold insinuation of verse 1 — that grace 
abounding over sin warrants and enables one believing that doctrine to go right on in his old life! 
We know from other Scriptures the impossibility of this: "Whosoever is born of God doth not 
practise sin, because His [God's] seed abideth in him, and he is not able to practise sin, because he 
is begotten of God." 12 ' 

Note the repeated declarations in this Sixth Chapter of our actual identification with the death 
of Christ: 

Verse 2: "We who died to sin." 


Verse 2, "We died to sin" (an aorist tense, — definite past fact). 

Verse 6: "Our old man was crucified with Him" (another aorist tense); not "is crucified," as in the Old Version, which 
expression is a relic of Romanism, and the meaning of which no one knows. 

Verse 7: "The one having died" (aorist again; and meaning anyone in Christ) "is declared righteous from sin." 

Verse 8: "If we died [aorist] with Christ." 

Verses 10 and 1 1 : "The death that He died. He died unto sin, once for all. (Aorist tenses, the second specially emphasized 
by "once for all.") 
129 Of course, John deals with the new life; Paul, with the new relationship, the new creation. See II Corinthians 5:17: "If anyone 
is in Christ, — a new creation! the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new." The seed of God the new creature, 
being of God does not consent to sin: however weak and ignorant of the truth of the deliverance of the cross they may be, there 
is always the absolute difference between those in Christ and those not in Christ. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 3: "We were baptized into His death." 

Verse 4: "We were buried with Him through baptism into death " 

Verse 5: "We became united with Him in the likeness of His death." 

Verse 6: "Our old man was crucified with Him." 

Verse 7: "He that hath died is justified from sin." 

Verse 8: "We died with Christ." 

Verse 11: "Reckon yourselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus." 

Verse 13: "Present yourselves unto God as alive from the dead." 

The same great federal fact is brought out in Colossians 2:20: "If ye died [aorist tense, past fact, 
again] from the religious principles of the world"; and Colossians 3:3: "For ye died [aorist tense 
again] and your life is hid with Christ in God." 

It is most evident that the apostle is not here speaking of some state that we are in, but of a 
federal fact that occurred in the past, at the cross. 

It was upon this federal fact that Paul's whole life hung, as he testified to Peter: "I have been 
crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). 

Such ones as we, who died to sin! How shall we go on living in it? Paul expresses his very 
soul in that opening word — "Such ones as we!" Believers were seen by him as risen ones, — dead 
with Christ to sin. How shall we any longer be living in sin — if indeed we died to it? This perplexes 
many, this announcement that we died to sin, — inasmuch as the struggle with sin, and that within, 
is one of the most constant conscious experiences of the believer. But, as we see elsewhere, we 
must not confound our relationship to sin with its presence! Distinguish this revealed fact that we 
died, from our experience of deliverance. For we do not die to sin by our experiences: we did die 
to sin in Christ's death. For the fact that we died to sin is a Divinely revealed word concerning us, 
and we cannot deny it! The presence of sin "in our members" will make this fact that we died to it 
hard to grasp and hold: but God says it. And He will duly explain all to our faith. 

Verse 3: Or [in the very matter of our baptism] are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized 
unto Christ Jesus unto His death were baptized? 

Here the apostle turns them back to their baptism, that initial step in public confession of the 
Lord upon whom they had believed. Did they not realize the significance of that baptism — that it 
set forth their identification with a crucified and buried Lord? For in their baptism they had confessed 
their choice of Him, as against sin and the old life. But Christ having been "made sin on our 'behalf," 
had died unto sin; had been buried, and had been raised from the dead through the glory of the 
Father; and now lived unto God in a new, resurrection life. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Therefore they could see in their baptism the picture of that federal death and burial with Christ 
which Paul sets forth so positively in the second verse: "Such ones as we, who died." 

We must first of all receive the statement of our death unto sin with Christ (verses 2 and 1 1) as 
a revealed federal fact; and then allow the Apostle to press the symbolical setting forth of that 
federal death by the figure of water-baptism. For these early Christians had not been befuddled 
regarding the simple matter of baptism, — as later generations have been! To them it was a vivid 
and happy memory, — the day they dared step out, against the whole world, and often in the face 
of persecution and even death, and confess the Lord Jesus, definitely and forever, as their own 
Savior and Lord. 

Now, says Paul, in that very matter of your baptism, you set forth what I am teaching you, that 
you who are Christ's died with Him. Not only so, but your baptism set forth further that you were 
buried with Him: for was it not a vivid portrayal of your death and burial, when you went down 
into the waters which signified — not cleansing, but death? "Water," says Peter, "which after a true 
likeness doth now save you — even baptism: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the 
answer of a good conscience toward God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Eight souls. 
Peter here says, were saved in Noah's day in the Ark — type of Christ. For those eight were, in the 
Ark, brought safely through the waters of judgment which drowned the world; as we were bought, 
through Christ, safely through the judgment of sin at the cross; and now have "a good conscience 
toward God" — through God's having raised up Christ: all of which, baptism sets forth — "after a 
true likeness" (I Pet. 3:20, 21). 

Scripture here connects baptism with death, not with cleansing; with burial, not with exaltation; 
with the ending of a former connection that we may enter a new one. 

Or [in the very matter of our baptism] are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized unto 
Christ Jesus unto His death were baptized? We find therefore, here in Romans 6:3: 

1. That Paul, along with all believers of his day, had been baptized. He offers no explanatory 
word, thus showing that the matter of having been baptized was a common consciousness among 

2. That it was unto Christ Jesus that believers had been baptized. The preposition "unto" (eis) 
seems best rendered here as in I Corinthians 10:2, where we read that the fathers of Israel were all 
"baptized unto (eis) Moses." Those Israelites were not baptized into Moses, but were indeed 
judicially associated by God with the Mosaic economy, — "into a spiritual union with Moses, and 
constituted his disciples." So believers are baptized unto Christ Jesus, which we believe, must be 
the meaning here. They were indeed so "baptized unto the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5), 
that they thereafter bore His Name (James 2:7, marg.). But we must not confuse this water-baptism 
of Romans Six, which stands for the identification of believers with Christ in death, burial, and 
resurrection; with that Holy Spirit baptism of I Corinthians 12:13. For our identification with 
Christ-made-sin, and our death in and with Him) must never be confounded with what follows our 
Lord's ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit, — baptism into the one Body. These are two 
absolutely different things. One has to do with taking us out of our old man, justifying us from sin, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

as well as from sins. The other, the Spirit's baptism into "one Body," has to do with the glorious 
heavenly position God gives us in a Risen Christ. 

To seek to have a man baptized by the Spirit into Christ before he has been identified with 
Christ at the cross in death and burial, is really to ignore man's awful state in the old man which 
God had condemned to crucifixion with Christ made sin. So with the Bullingerites and many others: 
they do not distinctly see or solidly preach our identification with Christ in death and burial. "Buried 
with Him in baptism" — how can these words of Colossians 2:12 possibly apply to the work of the 
Holy Spirit? We beg all to consider this. Death to sin, and burial with Christ, water-baptism, and 
that alone, sets forth. 

3. Unto His death were baptized. Neither must we confuse baptism unto Christ Jesus here 
with that actual identification in Christ's death of which baptism is a symbol. That our old man 
was crucified with Christ is one thing; baptism, quite another. However much baptism portrays our 
death with Christ, it in no wise brings about that death. If we had not died with Christ, there would 
be no meaning to baptism. 

Certainly baptism sets forth the fact of our death with Christ. Christian baptism in water is the 
Scripture picture, — not of our being cleansed, nor of our being introduced into the Body of Christ 
by the Holy Spirit (which is an entirely different matter); and not, of course, of our regeneration. 
But it is a setting forth of the great fact that we federally died and were buried with Christ, unto 
sin, unto the world, and unto all of the old creation; and are now raised with Him and share His 
risen life; — on new ground altogether. 

Verse 4: We were buried therefore with Him through the baptism unto [His] death. Here 
the apostle declares that all believers by the very matter of their baptism, proclaimed themselves 
as having been so identified with Christ' s death that they were buried: that their past was ended, — not, 
of course, by the ordinance, though the ordinance confessed and proclaimed it. 130 And now the 
object of our identification with Christ' s death is set forth: in order that, just as Christ was raised 
from among the dead through the glory of the Father, thus also we might be walking about 
in newness of life. 

Christ on the cross not only bare our sins in His own body, but He was also made to be sin, — to 
be the thing itself. Then God the Father, through His glory, raised Him from the dead, — "that 


l.Godet remarks: "Burial is the act which consummates the breaking of the last tie between man and his earthly life. This 
was likewise the meaning of our Lord' s entombment. Similarly, by baptism there is publicly consummated the believer' s breaking 
with the life of the present world, and with his own natural life." 

And he relates this striking incident, which proves how these sayings of the apostle, apparently so mysterious, find an easy 
explanation under the light of the lively experiences of faith: 

A missionary was questioning a converted Bechuana as to the meaning of a passage analogous to Romans 6:5, — namely, 
Colossians 3:3. The Bechuana said to him: "Soon I shall be dead, and they will bury me in my field. My flocks will come to 
pasture above me. But I shall no longer hear them, and I shall not come forth from my tomb to take them and carry them with 
me to the sepulchre. They will be strange to me, as I to them. Such is the image of my life in the midst of the world since I 
believed in Christ." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the 
dead." This was the most marvelous display of glorious. Divine power ever known. The words 
"through the glory of the Father," bring into action all that God is. Christ had fully glorified God 
in all that He is, in His earthly life, and on the cross (as we saw in Chapter 3:24 and 25). Then God 
raised Christ from the dead in glorious triumph. And thereafter Christ walked for forty days on 
earth "in newness of life." He was "the First-born from the dead." He was the Last Adam, now 
become (though having His flesh and bones body) "a spirit making [others] alive," the Second 
Man, "a new starting point of the human race." The old man was crucified with Christ, and all that 
belonged to "man in the flesh" was ended before God there on Christ's cross. Now the "glory of 
the Father" is put forth in raising Christ and placing Him in that risen "newness of life" never known 
before, and in receiving Him up in glory! 

Walking in newness of life. Note that walking presupposes the possession of life. The literal 
translation of this word is seen in I Peter 5:8, "walking about." 131 Now mark in this verse that it is 
Christ who is raised from the dead, and the saints are to walk, consequently, in "newness of 
life" — showing at once their union with Him; that as He was raised, so also they, when they are 
placed in Him, walk about in newness of life. 

Note that it is life — not a mere manner of living. Then it is newness, or a new kind of life, for 
that is the meaning of the word. Resurrection life was never known until Christ was raised from 
the dead. Lazarus, and the widow of Nain's son and Jairus' daughter, were brought back into this 
present earth-life. Indeed, it is written concerning Jairus' daughter, that when the Lord said, "Maiden, 
arise!" her "spirit returned," and she rose up instantly. The spirit had left the body, the earth-life 
had ceased; it was now resumed. 

But in Christ's resurrection this was not so. He was the First-born from the dead, the First-fruits 
of them that slept. It was not back into the old flesh and blood earthly existence that He came. He 
had, indeed, His body: "Handle Me and see." "Have ye here anything to eat?" Yet He had poured 
out His blood. The life of the flesh was in the blood (Lev. 17:11). He had laid that life down. He 
is now a heavenly Man. He is in the heavenlies. And He is there as to His human body: "God . . . 
wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at His right hand in 
the heavenlies." Poor human reason attempts to follow here; but this revelation is addressed to faith 
only. The disciples "were glad when they saw the Lord." Into the upper room He came, and stood 
in the midst; and "He showed unto them His hands and His side." And Thomas was told, "Reach 
hither thy finger, and see My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into My side: and be not 
faithless, but believing"; and further, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." 

It is in this newness, this new kind of life, which they now share,"- that believers are to walk 
about in this world. They are one with this Risen Christ! Being "joined unto the Lord," they are 

131 Unfortunately, we do not have this word "walk" in this Pauline sense in ordinary English use. Men have substituted the word 
"live," and that in a legal sense: "Live the Christian life," "Live as you ought to live," etc. 


Many quote Paul's words in I Corinthians 15:31: "I die daily," to prove the Romish idea of our "dying daily to sin." But 
we need only remember that the great message of I Corinthians 15 has to do with the body, to refute this. Indeed the preceding 
verse and the following verses (30 and 32) show what Paul meant by "dying daily." "We stand in jeopardy every hour," — meaning 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"one spirit" with Him now; and shall have bodies, shortly, conformed unto the body of His glory 
(I Cor. 6:17; Phil. 3:20, 21). 

Verse 5: For if we became united with [Him] in the likeness of His death, so shall we be 
also [in the likeness] of His resurrection: Here Paul looks back to verse 2, to the fact he declared 
true concerning all believers, that they died to sin; and he now insists that that death is a fact about 
true believers only — those who have been vitally enlifed with Christ. The word means to grow 
together™ — as a graft in a tree, so that the graft shares the tree's life. The meaning of Verse 5 may 
be paraphrased: If we became actually united with Him, which, in our baptism — the "likeness of 
His death," we profess; so we shall also be united in the likeness of His resurrection: (so therefore 
to be walking in newness of life!). Conybeare well remarks concerning verse 5: "The meaning 
appears to be, If we have shared the reality of His death, whereof we have undergone the likeness" 
(in baptism). 

Now when the apostle says we are to be united with "the likeness of His resurrection," he refers 
to the walking in "newness of life" just spoken of in the preceding verse. (For this verse explains 
that.) To be joined in life with the Risen Christ, and thus daily, hourly, to walk, is a wonder not 
conceived of by many of us. But it is the blessed portion of all true Christians. They shared Christ' s 
death, and now are "saved by [or in] His life" — as we read in Chapter 5:10. But not only saved: 
we walk here on earth by appropriating faith, in the blessedness of His heavenly "newness" of 
resurrection life! This is what Paul meant when he said, "To me to live is Christ"; "our inward man 
is being renewed day by day"; "I was crucified with Christ; Christ liveth in me . . . the life I now 
live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." 

Of course this fifth verse may look on, also, to that day when our bodies will share this 
resurrection-life, — as we have seen in the verse before; but the context here shows Paul is speaking 
of our "walking about in newness of life" in Christ today! 

We reap the exact effect of what Christ did. Did Christ bear our sins in His own body on the 
tree? He did. Then we hear them no more. Was Christ made to be sin on our behalf and did He die 
unto sin? Truly so. Then Christ's relation to sin becomes ours! 

Verse 6: Coming to know this, that our old man was crucified with Him, in order that the 
body of sin might be annulled, that we might no longer be in slave service to sin. The word 

the physical dangers that beset his ministry. And, "If after the manner of men we fought with beasts at Ephesus," — referring to 
the terrible outward trials he had faced and yet would face. 

To make the words "I die daily" mean an inward spiritual struggle with sin, is to falsify Paul's plain testimony: "I have 
been crucified with Christ"; "Our old man was crucified with Him"; "He that hath diedis righteously released from sin"; "Reckon 
ye yourselves dead unto sin." 

Paul indeed says he desired to be "conformed unto" Christ's death (Phil. 3:10); but as one who had federally shared it: and 
not as one who sought to approximate, ,or imitate, Christ's death! This last is Romanism. But Paul was a believer, — in the work 
of the Cross! 
133 The Greek word is sumphutoi — used only here. It was confounded by the King James translators with sumphuteuo, translated 
in Rom. 6:5, "planted together," whereas the proper word means to be actually enlifed together with. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

translated "coming to know," means, in the Greek, coming into knowledge , — a discriminating 
apprenhension of facts. See note below. 134 

Our old man — This is our old selves, as we were in and from Adam. It is contrasted with the 
new man (Col. 3:9, 10) — which is what we are and have in Christ. The word our indicates that 
what is said, is said of and to all those who are in Christ. The expression "our old man," of course 
is a federal one, as also is "the new man." The "old man," therefore, is not Adam personally, any 
more than the "new man" is Christ personally. Also, we must not confuse the "old man" with "the 
flesh." Adam begat a son in his own likeness. This son of Adam, as all since, was according to 
Adam, — for he was in Adam; possessed of a "natural" mind, feelings, tastes, desires, — all apart 
from God. He was his father repeated. Cain is a picture before us of the meaning of the words, "the 
old man." Moreover, since man's activities were carried on in and through the body, he is now 
morally "after the flesh." Inasmuch as his spirit was now dead to God, sin controlled him both spirit 
and soul, through the body. And thus we read a little later, in the Sixth of Genesis, upon the 
recounting of the horrible lust and violence that filled the earth, God's statement: "In their going 
astray, they are flesh!" (R. V. margin.) What a fearful travesty of one created in the image of God, 
and into whose Divinely formed body God had breathed the spirit of life, so that he was "spirit and 
soul and body" (I Thess. 5:23); and with his innocent spirit able to speak with his Creator! with his 
unfallen soul-faculties, and with body in blessed harmony. 

When we are told, for instance, in Colossians, that we have put off the old man, we know that 
we are being addressed as new creatures in Christ, and that the old man represents all we naturally 
were, — desires, lusts, ambitions, hopes, judgments: looked at as a whole federally: we used to be 
that — now we have put that off. We recognize it again in the words "Put away as concerning your 
former manner of life the old man" (Eph. 4:22). 

1. First, then, our old man was crucified (Romans 6:6). That is a Divine announcement of fact. 

2. Those in Christ have put off the old man. 

3. He still exists, for "the old man waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit" (Eph. 4:22). 

4. He is to be put away as belonging to our former manner of life: for we are in Christ and are 
"new creatures; old things are passed away; behold they are become new" (II Cor. 5:17). 

Now as regards the flesh: 

134 The Greek word for "know" (gign sk ) here, means to get to know, come in the knowledge of, become acquainted with the fact. 
It is an entirely different word from the one translated "knowing" in verse 9 (eid ), meaning "a clear and purely mental conception, 
in contrast both to conjecture and to knowledge derived from others" (Thayer). In this latter verse the fact spoken of is a matter 
of common knowledge. We, by God's word here, come to know (verse 6) that our old man was crucified with Christ; whereas 
we know as a necessary thing that Christ, being raised, dieth no more (verse 9). This is not a fact we "come to know," as in the 
matter of our vital connection with His death, verse 6. The manner in which we "come to know" our old man was crucified is 
by faith in God's testimony to fact! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

1. While our old man has been crucified, by God, with Christ at the cross, — the federal thing 
was done; yet of the flesh we read, "They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the 
passions and the lusts thereof (Gal. 5:24). 

2. The flesh has passions and lusts. 

3. It has a mind directly at enmity with God. 

4. As we shall see in Chapter Seven, the flesh is the manifestation of sin in the as yet unredeemed 
body. "Our old man," therefore, is the large term, the all-inclusive one — of all that we were federally 
from Adam. The flesh, however, we shall find to be that manifestation of sin in our members with 
which we are in conscious inward conflict, against which only the Holy Spirit indwelling us 
effectively wars. Our bodies are not the root of sin, but do not yet share, as do our spirits, the 
redemption that is in Christ. And as for our souls (our faculties of perception, reason, imagination, 
and our sensibilities), — our souls are being renewed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Not so the body. 
"The flesh," which is sin entrenched in the body, is unchangeably evil, and will war against us till 
Christ comes. Only the Holy Spirit has power over "the flesh" (Chapter 8:1). 

Our old man was crucified — The matter of which we are told to take note here is the great 
federal fact that our old man was crucified with Christ. Perhaps no more difficult task, no task 
requiring such constant vigilant attention, is assigned by God to the believer. It is a stupendous 
thing, this matter of taking note of and keeping in mind what goes so completely against 
consciousness, — that our old man was crucified. These words are addressed to faith, to faith only. 
Emotions, feelings, deny them. To reason, they are foolishness. But ah, what stormy seas has faith 
walked over! What mountains has faith cast into the sea! How many impossible things has faith 

Let us never forget, that this crucifixion was a thing definitely done by God at the cross, just 
as really as our sins were there laid upon Christ. It is addressed' to faith as a revelation from God. 
Reason is blind. The "word of the cross" is "foolishness" to it. All the work consummated at the 
cross seems folly, if we attempt to subject it to man's understanding. But, just as the great wonder 
of creation is understood only by faith: ("By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed 
by the Word of God," — Heb. 11:3) so the eternal results accomplished at the cross are entered into 
by simple faith in the testimony of God about them. 

No, it is no easy or light thing that is announced to you and me, that all we were and are from 
Adam has been rejected of God. Scripture is not now dealing with what we have done, but with 
what we are. 

And really to enter spiritually into the meaning of this awful word, Our old man was crucified, 

involves, with all of us, deep exercise of soul. For no one by nature will be ready to count himself 
so incorrigibly bad as to have to be crucified! But when the Spirit of God turns the light upon what 
we are, from Adam, these will be blessed words of relief: "Our old man was crucified." 

Now here is the very opposite of the teaching of false Christianity about a holy life. For these 
legalists set you to crucifying yourself! You must "die out" to this, and to that. But God says our 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

old man, all that we were, has been already dealt with, — and that by crucifixion with Christ. And 
the very words "with Him" show that it was done back at the cross; and that our task is to believe 
the good news, rather than to seek to bring about this crucifixion ourselves. 

The believer is constantly reminded that his relation to sin was brought about by his identification 
with Christ in His death: Christ died unto sin, and the believer shared that death, died with Him, 
and is now, therefore, dead unto sin. This is his relationship to sin — the same as Christ's now is; 
and believing this is to be his constant attitude. 

Difficulty there will be, no doubt, in taking and maintaining constantly this attitude: but faith 
will remove the difficulty, and faith here will grow out of assiduous, constant attention to God's 
exact statements of fact. We are not to go to God in begging petitions for "victory," — except in 
extreme circum stances. We are to set ourselves a very different task: "This is the work of God, 
that ye believe" We may often be compelled to cry, with the father of the demoniac, "Lord, I believe; 
help Thou mine unbelief!" But it is still better to have our faces toward the foe, knowing ourselves 
to be in Christ, and that we have been commanded to reckon ourselves dead to sin, no matter how 
great and strong sin may appear. Satan's great device is to drive earnest souls back to beseeching 
God for what God says has already been done! 

"Our old man was crucified with Christ." This is our task: to walk in the faith of these words. 
Upon this water God commands us to step out and walk. And we are infinitely better off than was 
Peter that night, when he "walked on the water to come to Jesus"; whereas we are in Christ. And 
our relationship to sin is His relationship! He died unto it, and we, being in Christ Risen, are in the 
relationship Christ's death brought about in Him, and now to us who are in Him: whether to sin, 
law death, or the world. 

If I did not die with Christ, on the cross, I cannot be living in Him, risen from the dead; but am 
still back in the old Adam in which I was born! 

Christ died once — once for all, unto sin. He is not dying continually. I am told to reckon myself 
dead — in that death of Christ. I am therefore not told to do my own dying, to sin and self and the 
world: but, on the contrary, to reckon by simple faith, that in His death I died: and to be "conformed 
unto His death." But, to be conformed to a death already a fact, is not doing my own dying, — which 
is Romanism. If you and I are able to reckon ourselves dead — in Christ's death: all will be simple. 

That the body of sin might be annulled — The word for "annulled" is katargeo. See note on 
Chapter 4:14. The meaning is, to "put out of business." The "body of sin" refers to our bodies as 
yet unredeemed, and not delivered from sin's rule; as Paul says in the Eighth Chapter: "If Christ 
be in you, the body is dead because of sin." Now we shall find that we have no power to deliver 
our body, our members, from "the law of sin" (See Chapter 7:8-24). But since our old man has 
been crucified with Christ, all the rights of sin are gone; and the indwelling Holy Spirit can annul 
"the body of sin"; thus delivering us from sin' s bondage. We know the Spirit is not mentioned here 
(as He will be constantly in Chapter Eight); but inasmuch as it is His work to apply all Christ's 
work to us, we speak of His blessed annulling of the power of indwelling sin. It is blessed to know 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

that we do not have to crucify the old man: that was done in Christ's federal death at the cross. Nor 
do we have to "annul" the "body of sin": that is done by the blessed Spirit as we yield to Him. 

Verse 7: For he that hath died hath been declared righteous from sin! 

We must seize fast hold of this blessed verse. 

Let us distinguish at once between being justified from sins — from the guilt thereof — by the 
blood of Christ, and being justified from sin — the thing itself. 

"Justified from sin" is the key to both Chapters Six and Seven and also to Eight! It is the 
consciousness of being sinful that keeps back saints from that glorious life Paul lived. Paul shows 
absolutely no sense of bondage before God; but goes on in blessed triumph! Why? He knew he 
had been justified from all guilt by the blood of Christ; and he knew that he was also justified, 
cleared, from the thing sin itself: and therefore (though walking in an, as yet, unredeemed body), 
he was wholly heavenly in his standing, life and relations with God! He knew he was as really 
justified from sin itself as from sins. The conscious presence of sin in his flesh only reminded him 
that he was in Christ; — that sin had been condemned judicially, as connected with flesh, at the 
cross; and that he was justified as to sin; because he had died with Christ, and his former relationship 
to sin had wholly ceased! Its presence gave him no thought of condemnation, but only eagered his 
longing for the redemption body. "Justified from sin" — because, "he that hath died is justified from 
sin." Glorious fact! May we have faith to enter into it as did Paul! 135 

It is the deep-seated notion of Christendom that gradually we become saints, — gradually worthy 
of heaven: so that sometime, — perhaps, on a dying bed, we will have the right to "drop this robe 
of flesh and rise." 

But Scripture cuts this idea off at once, by the declaration that we died, and that we are now, 
here, justified from sin! "Giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the 
inheritance of the saints in light." The saints in light are those in glory, and they are there for one 
reason alone: the work of Christ on the cross. 

How unspeakably sad is our little faith! And I am speaking of true believers, certainly. 

1. Many have turned truly to God, but not knowing the finished work of Christ, that is, that He 
actually bare their sins and put them away, are never sure of their own salvation. 

135 "Justified from sin" does not mean "sinless perfection," — but something utterly different, and infinitely beyond that! It is different, 
in that it does not refer to an "experience" of deliverance from sin, but a passing beyond, in death with Christ at the cross, the 
sphere where the former relationship to sin existed! We are justified, accounted wholly righteous, with respect to the thing sin 
itself! This, therefore, is infinitely beyond any state whatever of experience. It is a newly-established relationship to sin, which 
the saints have because they died with Christ: in which they stand in Christ as He is toward sin. They are "meet to be partakers 
of the inheritance of the saints in light." They are heavenly. Their old relation to sin is over forever. They are justified/ram it. 
They rejoice, indeed, and have a most blessed "experience." But they do not say sin is gone from their flesh: but that they, having 
died, are declared righteous from it; that they are cleared, before God, of all condemnation because of sin's presence in this 
unredeemed body; and delivered from all sin's former rights and bondage over them. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

2. Many have appropriated gladly Christ' s finished work, as respects the guilt of their sins, and 
they no longer have apprehensions of judgment, knowing that He met all God's claims against 
them on the cross. But as to their relation to sin itself, it is an "O- wretched-man" life that they live, 
for they see honestly their own sinfulness and unworthiness, but have never heard how they are 
now in a Christ who died to sin, and that they share His relationship now, dead to sin and alive to 
God (6:10, 11). 

3. Thank God, there are some who have seen and believed in their hearts that their relationship 
to sin itself was completely changed when God identified them with Christ in His death. Their 
relationship to sin was broken forever; and they present themselves unto God as alive from the 
dead, and, through an ever increasing faith, walk about on earth in newness of life; knowing that 
the same God who declared them justified from the guilt of their sins through Christ's shed blood, 
has now declared that, in being identified with Christ in His death to sin, they are themselves 
declared righteous 136 from sin itself! 

As we have elsewhere remarked, relief from guilt and danger, through the shed blood of Christ, 
comes first. And the conscience concerning judgment being relieved, the heart ever rests in the 
blood of Christ. But to have God tell us further, that we, having died with Christ, are declared 
righteous/rom sin itself, is a new, additional, and glorious revelation, which sets us in the presence 
of God not only declared righteous from what we have done, but declared righteous from what we 
were — and as to our flesh, still are! We should have no more dejection and self-condemnation when 
we see our old selves; for we have been declared righteous from that old state of being, as well as 
from what we had done! Very excellent and godly men, not recognizing this blessed fact, have 
spent much time before God "bemoaning the sinfulness" of their now revealed old nature. But this 
was really not to recognize the Word of God that we have been justified, declared righteous, from 
the old state of being, from sin itself! 111 

136 The Greek word is the perfect tense of the verb dikaio , to declare righteous. 


The author many years ago edited a little book called Extracts from the Journal of Da vid Brainerd — the wonderful missionary 
to the Indians in New Jersey in the eighteenth century, whose prayer-life has inspired hundreds; whose devotion to Christ was 
sublime. But many, many pages of his diary were found to be occupied with bemoaning (often alone on the room-floor, or in 
the forest, before God) his sinful state. 

For example, "May 13, 1742. Saw so much of the wickedness of my heart, that I longed to get away from myself. I never 
before thought there was so much spiritual pride in my soul. I felt almost pressed to death with my own vilencss. Oh what a 
body of death is there in me! Lord, deliver my soul. 

"May 15. Indeed I never saw such a week as this before; for I have been almost ready to die with the view of the wickedness 
of my heart. I could not have thought I had such a body of death in me. 

"June 30. Spent this day alone in the woods, in fasting and prayer; underwent the most dreadful conflicts in my soul that 
ever I felt, in some respects. I saw myself so vile, that I was ready to say, T shall now perish by the hand of Saul.' I thought, and 
almost concluded, I had no power to stand for the cause of God, but was almost afraid of the shaking of a leaf. Spent almost the 
whole day in prayer, incessantly. I could not bear to think of Christians showing me any respect." 

God forbid that we should disparage in the least such a very saint as Brainerd, whose Memoirs draw out our hearts with 
their sincere godliness as do almost no other uninspired writings. Yet Paul's attitude is the Divine example. He believed what 
he wrote — that he had been justified from sin itself. So that all struggles from self-condemnation were over. He knew that in 
him was "no good thing"; but that he had been justified from even indwelling sin. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

If Gabriel, the presence angel, were to appear before you, your natural thought would be. He 
is holy, sinless; and I am unholy, sinful. Therefore, I am not worthy to stand in his presence. But 
this would be completely wrong. If you are in Christ, you stand in Christ, — in Christ alone, — even 
as He! The presence of sin in the flesh has no more power to trouble your conscience, than have 
your sins: for both were dealt with at the cross! Your old man was crucified, sin in the flesh was 
condemned (8:3) at the cross. And Paul definitely declares that we have now come "to the 
innumerable hosts of angels," as well as that we have been made meet to be "partakers of the 
inheritance of the saints in light"! 

One of the most astonishing things (and yet, why astonishing?) that came to us in the study of 
the book of the Revelation was, that once the apostle John had "fallen as one dead" at the feet of 
the glorified Christ, in Chapter One, and the Lord had "laid His right hand" upon him, saying, "Fear 
not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold I am alive for 
evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades" (Rev. 1:17, 18) — after that, John, all 
unconsciously, but really, fears nothing, and no one! Not even the vision of the glorious throne in 
heaven before which the four living ones and the four and twenty elders are falling down, crying, 
"Holy, Holy, Holy," stirs John with the least emotion of fear or shrinking. In fact, he is found 
weeping because no one can take the sealed book. Not once is he concerned about his own moral 
or spiritual condition. He goes boldly up to the mighty angel in the Tenth Chapter, requesting 
according to Divine direction, that he give him the little book in his hand. Twice he falls at the feet 
of the angelic messenger that is revealing these glorious things to him, but it is not on account of 
a sense of moral or spiritual unfitness, but rather a being enraptured, overwhelmed with the glory 
of the scene. 

Now why is this? Or how could Paul be caught up to the third heaven, into Paradise, and hear 
unspeakable words? 

Simply because the work of the cross was complete! Not only were sins put away by the blood 
of Christ, but our connection with Adam was ended, our old man was crucified, we died to sin; our 
former history was completely over, before God. Thus it is written, as we quoted, "Giving thanks 
unto the Father who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 

George Whitefield used to say, "When I see myself I seem to be half devil and half beast," and again, as he passed through 
great crowds on his way to preach: "I wondered why the people did not stone so vile a wretch as myself." 

You may say, This is just the Seventh of Romans, and Paul had that experience. Yes, Paul had it; and found that in him, in 
his flesh, there was no good thing. But, having come to this vision of himself, and agreeing with God as to the evil of the flesh, 
he found deliverance in Christ and afterwards rejoiced in Him alway . There is no hint in his epistles of a continued struggle, nor 
of the slightest consciousness of Divine condemnation because of the presence of the flesh within. He walked in the consciousness 
of justification not only from guilt, but from sin itself! therefore, the Risen Christ, rather than ill thoughts of his old self, filled 
his vision! The trouble with most of us is, we do not believe we are utterly bad. Or if, like Brainerd or Whitefield, we see and 
own it, we do not see ourselves where God sees us, only in Christ. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now as to the fact, all this is as true of us here on earth, as it will be in the ages to come. Our 
realization of the truth may be small; yea, sad to say, our faith may be weak; but the fact is the 

How utterly marvelous, then, to know that we have been justified from sin itself Not only has 
it lost all right and power over us, but we are declared righteous from the hideous thing itself; we 
are standing with God, in Christ, outside the region of sin, "children of light," yea, even called 
"light in the Lord" (Eph. 5:8). 

Verse 8: But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also be living with Him [in 

this world]. 

Here we take it for granted that we died; that our old man was crucified with Christ. And we 
go on to the expectation of a blessed life in Christ. For it is not only that we shall "live with Him" 
in resurrection glory when He comes, but even now we walk in newness of life in Him, as verses 
10 and 13 set forth. This is no uncertain confidence, because "Christ, being raised from the dead, 
dieth no more." The brief lordship of death over Him is ended forever, and it is His death and life 
we share. 

Meyer well paraphrases: "Whosoever has died with Christ is now also of the belief that his life, 
i.e., the positive, active side of his moral being and nature, shall be a fellowship of life with the 
exalted Christ; that is, shall be able to be nothing else than this." And Rotherham: "If we jointly 
died with Christ, — we believe that we shall also jointly live with Him." And Conybeare: "If we 
have shared the death of Christ, we believe that we shall also share His life." 

This word, shall also be living with Him, must finally include, doubtless, the consummation 
of our salvation at the coming of Christ, and the fashioning anew of our mortal bodies. But the 
word refers directly to that expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ, 
and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me." Here in Romans Six it is called a living 
with Him, as over against our death with Him. Hodge well says: "The future tense is used here, 
referring not to what is to happen hereafter, so much as to what is the certain consequence of our 
union with Christ." And Alford: "The future ('we shall also live with Him') as in verse 5, is used, 
because the life with Him, though here begun, is not here completed." 

And now the reason for this assurance that we shall keep on sharing the risen life of Christ, is 

Verse 9: Knowing that Christ having been raised from among the dead dieth no more: 
death over Him no longer hath dominion. 

Knowing — "This participle justifies the 'we believe' of verse eight." We know (eidotes) both 
that our present spiritual participation in Christ's risen life will continue, and also that our mortal 
bodies will be finally delivered, in view of the fact we are conscious of, that Christ has been once 
and irrevocably raised; that God "loosed the pangs of death"; that "He raised Him up from the dead, 
now no more to return to corruption," — for it was written, "Thou wilt not give Thy Holy One to 
see corruption." Sin never had dominion over Him; and death could have had no dominion except 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

that our sin was transferred to Him! Death, therefore, the "wages," had a brief dominion, but now 
that is ended forever, and we are in Him, — also forever! Therefore death with its dominion is for 
the believer forever passed away. Our identification with Christ in death at the cross made possible 
of fulfillment His wonderful promise in John 8:51, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep 
my word, he shall never see death." If a believer falls asleep (God' s word for a believer' s physical 
death) his spirit goes to be with Christ: there is no "dark valley." On the tomb of an early Christian 
were these words: "I sinned, I repented, I trusted, I loved; I slept, I shall rise, I shall reign!" 

It is a terrible thing to contemplate — that death once held the Prince of Life, the Lord of all. 
Yet behold the Lord of Life, under the dominion of death! But He is not making atonement during 
those three days and nights, — that was all finished on the cross. 138 And now, praise God, we read, 
Death no more hath dominion over Him. He liveth unto God, in a glad resurrection life which 
shall never end. This is the life that we share, for we shared His death. 

Verse 10: Therefore we must go on to verse 10 and read God's statement of Christ' s death unto 
sin: For in that He died, unto sin He died once for all; but in that He is living, He is living unto 

Now we beseech you, do not change God's word "UNTO," here! Do not confuse with this 
passage those other Scriptures that declare that Christ died FOR our sins. For this great revelation 
of Romans 6: 10 is that Christ died UNTO sin! There is here, of course, no thought of expiation of 
guilt. That belongs to Chapters Three to Five. Here, the sole question is one of relationship, not of 
expiation. Christ is seen dying to sin, not for it, here. 

What is meant by that? 

In II Corinthians 5:21, God declares: "Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf; 
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Christ is made to be what we were, that 
we might become, in Him, what He is ! Might not Christ, the Sinless One, bear the guilt of our sins 
and that be all? Nay, but we were connected federally with Adam the first — with a race proved 
wholly unrighteous and bad. And that we might be released from that Adam- state, there must be 
not only our sins borne, but we ourselves released from the old- Adam headship, — all we had from 
Adam: which involved the responsibilities we had in him — responsibility to furnish God, as morally 
responsible beings, a perfect righteousness and holiness of our own. 

Now God's way was, not to "change" the old man, but to send it to the cross unto death, and 
release us from it. No one who remains in Adam's race will be saved! "Ye must be born again!" 
should sound the tocsin of alarm, yea, terror, to every one not yet in Christ. For God's method was 
to set forth a Second Man, a Last Adam, — Christ; (with whom indeed all God's eternal plans were 
connected), whom God would not only set forth to make expiation of guilt, but would make to 
become sin itself: thus to get at what we were, as well as what we had done. Our old man would 

138 Our Lord's last words were, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." As Peter writes: "Being put to death in the flesh, but 
made alive in the spirit, in which [quickened spirit] He went and preached unto the spirits in prison," etc. (I Pet. 3:18, 19). Christ's 
human spirit, we know, from His own word, was to be "three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40) in the heart of the earth." 
This of course does not refer to His body, which lay in Joseph's tomb on the surface of the earth. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

thus be crucified with Christ, so that all the evil of the old man, and all his responsibilities also, 
would be completely annulled before God for all believers. For they must righteously be released 
from Adam, before they are created in Christ, another Adam! And this must be by death. 

Thus God would say to believers, to those in Christ, "Your history now begins anew!" just as 
He said to Israel at the Passover: "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall 
be the first month of the year to you." So Paul triumphantly writes, "If any man is in Christ, he is 
a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new." What a day was 
that when Christ, made to be sin itself, died to it, and was forever done with it! So that now He 
lives unto God in light and joy eternal without measure! 

Verse 1 1 : Therefore the eleventh verse becomes a necessity: God must say to us: Thus [because 
of the facts of the preceding verse] do ye also reckon, yourselves dead, indeed, to sin, but living 
to God, in. Christ Jesus! 139 Your relationship to sin is exactly the same as Christ' s ! Why? Because 
Christ is now your only Adam: you are in Him! His act of death unto sin involved all who are 
connected with Him. 

Thus, in His death, all Christ's connection with sin was broken, ended, forever. Not only did 
He no longer bear sin; but He had died unto sin. When He was raised, it was as One who lived unto 
God, in an endless life with which sin had nothing to do, — resurrection-life, newness of life! 

And, because believers were united with Him in His death, they too died to sin in and with 
Him. And their relationship to sin is now exactly His relationship: they are dead to it. They are also 
"alive unto God" in Christ Jesus. 

This is not a matter of "experience," but of fact. The truth about believers is, that they are dead 
to sin and alive to God, being in Christ! And they hear it said by God, and are asked to reckon it 
so! Their path of faith is plain: "Reckon 140 ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto 
God, in Christ Jesus." 

John Wesley truly counselled: 

"Frames and feelings fluctuate: 

139 The A. V. translation, "through Christ Jesus," is unfortunate, as it does not, as does God's Word, emphasize the place of blessing 
in which we now are — in (Gr. en) Christ Jesus. It is not, in this verse, what shall be done through Christ for us; nor only what 
has been done through Him; but the place of federal blessing in which we now are, that is in view: we are lit Him who died to 
sin, and His death was ours. 


2. This word "reckon" is a favorite word of Paul's in Romans, where he uses it 19 times, and only 16 times in all his other 
epistles. The Greek word (logidzomai) might be called both a court word and a counting-room word. Paul uses it as a court word 
as to God's action in accounting the believer righteous. In this sense it is used 1 1 times in Romans Four alone — where it should 
be studied: see verses 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 1 1, 22, 23, 24. 

Again, this word logidzomai is used to express man's belief and consequent attitude as illustrated in Romans 14: 14: "To 
him that reckoneth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." Here, we repeat, an expression of belief, and of an attitude in 
view of that belief, is included in this word. This is its meaning in Chapter 6:11: "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto 
sin." The belief of the fact and the attitude in view of the belief, are both involved in the word "reckon" in this verse. (Consult 
note on Chapter 4:3.) 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

These can ne'er thy saviour be! 

Learn thyself in Christ to see: 
Then, be feelings what they will, 
Jesus is thy Saviour still!" 

Lay to heart the very words of the eleventh verse: Reckon yourselves dead indeed to sin, but 
living to God, in Christ Jesus. There are two words signifying death in this passage. The word 
for dead (nekros) here in verse 11, does not refer to the act or process of dying, but to the state or 
effect produced by death. The other word (thn sko) signifies the act, and occurs in verses 3, 4, 5, 
7, 8, 9 and 10; and is used when Christ's dying, or our dying with or in Him, is set forth. It is, 
therefore, with the already accomplished death unto sin of our great Substitute and Representative, 
Christ, that believers — those now in Christ — find themselves connected; and as we said above, the 
believer is to reckon himself dead (nekros) unto sin, but alive unto God, — because he is in Christ 
Jesus, who died unto sin once for all; but now, in resurrection life, is living unto God. You will 
realize anew the meanings of these two words for death, when you notice, in verses 4 and 9, that 
Christ, having died (thn sko) was raised "from among dead ones" (nekroi). Christ's body lay in 
Joseph's tomb. He was not now dying: that was over. He was dead. And so we are not told to die 
to sin: because we are in Christ who did die to it; and therefore we also are dead to it, in His death; 
and reckon it so. 

This should make the believer' s task simplicity itself. The only difficulty lies in believing these 
astounding revelations! That we should be dead to sin, and now alive unto God as risen ones, sharing 
that newness of life (verse 4) which our Lord began as "the First-born from among the dead," is at 
first too wonderful for us. We see in ourselves the old self-life, the flesh — and straightway we 
forget God's way of faith, and turn back to our "feelings." We say, Alas, if I could escape from 
this body, I would be free. But that is not at present God's plan for you and me. We wait for the 
redemption of our body. This body is yet unredeemed. Nevertheless, we are to reckon ourselves 
dead unto sin and alive unto God. Not dead to sin, notice, through prayers and stragglings, nor dead 
to sin in our feelings or consciousness; but in that death unto sin which Christ went through on the 
cross, and which we shared, and in that life which He now lives in glory! 

Indeed, when we come down to verses 12 and 13, we shall find Paul's definite directions to us 
to present ourselves unto God "as those that are alive from among dead ones." (All out of Christ 
are of course "dead ones," in God's sight.) 

This is really the heart of the struggle in the matter of our walk, — of our having our "fruit unto 
sanctification." It is hard to reckon and keep reckoning that we shared Christ's death to sin, and 
that we are alive unto God in Him. Yet, there is no establishing of our souls along any other line! 
To turn back from this sheer faith that we died with Christ and now are alive to God in Him, is to 
turn back — to what? to the weary, hopeless struggle Paul tells us in Chapter Seven he "once" went 
through to make the flesh obey God; or else back to groanings before God, begging Him to give 
us personal deliverance. And all the time God is saying, The word of the cross is the power of God. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

It is God's word as to what was there done that will establish your heart. God says you died with 
Christ. Reckon it so. "If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established" (Isa. 7:9). I41 

Now if the declaration in verse 2 that we died to sin meant that sin is now absent from our flesh, 
there could be no exhortation in verse 1 1 to "reckon" ourselves dead to sin. If the fact that we died 
to sin with Christ means that sin is gone from these bodies of ours, there would be no thought of 
"reckoning." The statement would simply have been, "Sin is absent, — no longer a present thing 
with you!" The word reckon is a word for faith — in the face of appearances. 

The same place for faith is left in the matter of our justification. Christ is "the propitiation for 
the whole world" (I John 2:2). But in Romans 3:25 it is said, "God set Him forth as a propitiation 
through faith in His blood." 

So in Romans 6:2 it is said that we died to sin, while here in the eleventh verse we are told to 
"reckon ourselves dead to sin." The reckoning does not make the fact, but is commanded in view 
of the fact. 

It has pleased God to call for our faith, both in connection with salvation and with deliverance. 
Therefore, if we would obey and please God, let us follow His method! Let us learn to reckon 
ourselves dead, — that Christ's death to sin was our death; and is the present relation of us who are 
in Christ, unto sin. 

The path of faith is always against appearances, — or, if you will, against human consciousness. 
God says certain things; and we, obeying the "law of faith," say the same things; like Abraham, 
not regarding our own body, which says the contrary thing. Facts are facts: and these are what God 
reveals to us. Appearances, or "feelings," are a wholly different thing from facts! God says, "You 
died to sin: reckon yourself dead!" 

Obedient souls do so, and enter the path of deliverance in experience. Doubting souls fall back 
on their "feelings," and turn back to prayers and struggles, avoiding faith. 

Now note carefully again: the apostle does not tell us to reckon sin dead, but ourselves dead to 
it. We are now in Christ, and His history becomes ours. He died unto sin (verse 10), and left the 
whole sphere of sin forever. It is not said even concerning Christ that He reckoned sin dead, but 
that being made sin, the thing itself. He died unto it, and now liveth unto God. It seems to us most 
unfortunate that some very excellent teachers fall into the manner of saying that "sin is to be 


On our way to the Far East, out in the Indian Ocean, our ship entered on what has always seemed to me the blackest night 
I have ever known. It was the dark of the moon, and the clouds had hung heavy all day, and now the very pall of darkness ! One 
of the ship's officers invited me to the bridge. Answering the captain's greeting, I said to him, "Do you know where you are?" 

"Yes," he said. "We have sailed by 'dead reckoning' all day, and now I will show you where we are." And he took me into 
the chart room. Bending over the chart, he said, "We are within several miles of where my finger points. We have a watch aloft, 
of course; but the sea is very deep here; there are no obstacles. We shall sail on through by 'dead reckoning.'" 

I laid the lesson to heart. It is difficult to accustom ourselves to "dead-reckoning," — right through the darkness, in what 
seems so untrue to the facts of our consciousness. But, obeying God, we reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive unto Him in 
Christ Jesus. And God will bring us through! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

reckoned dead" and that "our old man is counted dead and gone," and so forth. One of the clearest 
teachers of Pauline gospel that I know, though generally speaking accurately, in Paul's language, 
that we ourselves died to sin, and that the old man is to be regarded as having been crucified with 
Christ, yet sometimes lapses into such expressions as "we are to hold the old man as dead and 

Yet the old man, though having been "crucified with Christ," and having been "put off' by the 
believer, still exists; and believers are commanded to "put away, as concerning your former manner 
of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit." We have spoken of this elsewhere. 
It is of course the intense desire of a saint truly exercised by the Spirit to be quit of the consciousness 
of the old man. This has been so in all ages. But the temptation is very strong in Christians, in times 
of great spiritual uplifting, to regard the old man as having disappeared. 

But it is the very essence of a holy walk according to Scripture, to receive God's testimony 
concerning the old man's having been crucified. To reckon ourselves dead to sin while conscious 
of sin in our members, is faith indeed; and is walking according to God' s Word, instead of according 
to our feelings. "Those that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh and its lusts": because they 
know that the federal thing, the "old man," has been crucified (Gal. 5:24). It is in the power of the 
faith that God has dealt with all that we were, that we are able to deal with the manifestations of 
the self- life. 

Nevertheless, this life in this present world, is not the Christian's place of resting. Christ will 
bring him rest at His second coming (II Thess. 1:7). 

It is to those who are described in the opening chapters of Romans, — guilty, under Divine 
judgment; and also in the flesh, under the old man; far from God, without hope, — to such the gospel 
message has come! These statements that we belong up there, in Christ, are issued by the High 
Court of Heaven, itself. God says that no matter how things may seem, we died with Christ, and 
share His newness of life; and we are to present ourselves unto God as those alive from the dead. 142 

A solemn question: 

To those who refuse or neglect to reckon themselves dead to sin as God commands, we press the question. How are you 
able to believe that Christ really bare the guilt of your sins and that you will not meet them at the judgment day? It is only God's 
Word that tells you Christ bare your sins in His own body on the tree. And it is that same Word that tells you that you, as connected 
with Adam, died with Christ, that your old man was crucified, that since you are in Christ you shared His death unto sin, and 
are thus to reckon your present relation to sin in Christ — as one who is dead to it, and alive unto God. 

If we claim that this is too difficult, because we feel the consciousness of sin dwelling in us, then reflect that it is only by 
faith that we know that our sin's guilt was borne by Christ. And it is by faith alone that we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin. 

Let us beware, then, lest we be found making a secret truce with indwelling sin, while yet hoping to be saved from the guilt 
of the sins we have committed by Christ's shed blood. 

Again, we repeat, if we are in Christ, we are in a Christ who was made to be sin on the cross and died unto it. This, therefore, 
is our relationship to sin; and God expects all of us to assert by simple obedient faith this revealed fact, — to reckon ourselves 
dead unto sin and alive unto God, in Christ Jesus. 

A danger to be avoided: 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The glorious promise follows: "Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, 
but under grace." We have not been brought to a Sinai, to a hard, demanding master, but are under 
the sweet favor in which Christ Himself is, being ourselves in Him, yea, the very righteousness of 
God in Him! 

12 Let not sin, therefore, be reigning-as-king in your 
mortal body, that ye should obey the desires of it [the body]. 
13 Neither be presenting your members unto sin as 
instruments of unrighteousness. But on the contrary present 
yourselves to God as being alive from among the dead; and 
your members to God, as instruments of righteousness. 14 
For sin shall not have lordship over you. For you are not 
under law, but, on the contrary, under grace. 

Verse 12: Do not, therefore, be allowing sin to reign-as-king in your mortal body, that ye 
should obey the desires of it (the body): — and the Greek is emphatic: "Be not at all allowing sin 
to reign!" 

1. Notice first, our present body is mortal, that is, subject to physical death. We are waiting for 
the redemption of the body, at Christ's coming. 

2. Sin is present in our members, and ready to reign-as-king, if permitted. That is, our bodies 
have not yet been redeemed from the possibility of sin's being king, if we permit such kingship. 

3. It is through the lusts or desires of the body that sin is ready to assume control. The body has 
many desires not in themselves evil. Paul, speaking of foods, says, "All things are lawful for me; 
but I will not be brought under the power of any" (I Cor. 6:12). It is when natural desires are yielded 
to in self-will or self-indulgence, that sin uses the desires of the body to assert sin's power and 
establish its reign. 

It is not as having died with Christ that we are justified from the guilt of sin; but it is after we have been justified by His 
blood, as ungodly, that we are told this second great truth, — that our old man was crucified with Christ — that we died with Him. 
I have seen professing Christians begin to be exercised in conscience regarding the guilt of sin, who, when they heard that those 
in Christ were dead to sin, immediately seized hold of this latter truth, and that with great relief. This false peace lasted, in some 
cases, a good while, and gave its possessors much complacence and sweetness of spirit, for they went on in secure Christian 
profession. But, not having been previously really convinced of their personal guilt before God, and consequently not having 
fled for refuge to the shed blood of Christ, they became finally the very chiefest targets of the devil, and were sometimes driven 
back into black despair itself. 

God had announced, long before, their common guilt with the worst wretches: "None righteous, — no, not one"; "All under 
sin." But these had somehow slipped in past that message; and had taken hold of this, that they were "dead unto sin." For a true 
believer, this is a blessed word of deliverance. But for one who is Christianly religious, who has not really rested, as a guilty 
ungodly one, in Christ's shed blood, this is a truth dangerous above all. And when Satan attacks such souls, what shall they do? 
They cannot plead "I am dead to sin," against the devil! Saints overcome him only by the blood of the Lamb. Only the blood of 
Christ will avail against Satan, or as a real ground of peace, in your own conscience (Heb. 9: 14). Christ made peace by the blood 
of His cross. If you have not yet learned to rest in that only, for eternal peace with God, and as the answer to all Satan's power, 
let all else alone until you have learned this: if it be at the cost, even, of confessing openly that you have never known true peace 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

4. The believer is directed to reject this reigning of sin, which would involve our obeying the 
desires of the body. 

5. Note the important word, "therefore." This looks back at the first part of Chapter Six, in 
which our death with Christ unto sin has been asserted, our relationship to sin being now the same 
as Christ' s — we have done with it in death and burial. Notice that these present verses of exhortation 
are built wholly upon the fact that we died with Christ: we reckon ourselves dead because we 
participated in Christ's death. Therefore we dare refuse sin's dominion. We owe sin nothing. We 
are dead to it; justified from it, and living in another sphere! 

Verse 13: Neither be presenting your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness. 
But on the contrary present yourselves to God as being alive from among the dead; and your 
members to God, as instruments of righteousness. 

The moment we come to exhortation, we have to do with the will; whereas believing is a matter 
of the heart: "With the heart man believeth." In learning that I am dead to sin, all I need to do is to 
listen to God's marvelous unfolding of the fact that I was identified with Christ in His death, and 
in my heart believe it. My will has nothing to do with that. When God says, "Your old man was 
crucified with Christ," that is Divine testimony. It is a revealed fact. I hear it and from my heart 
believe it, because God is true. I reckon myself to be "dead unto sin and alive unto God in Christ 
Jesus," because God has said that I was. 

But when it comes to the application of this stupendous fact, my will is addressed: "Let not sin 
therefore reign." Well, some one asks, if I am dead to it, how can it still reign? We answer, By your 
presenting your bodily members unto sin for sin to use, as "instruments of unrighteousness." Your 
tongue, for instance, which James calls "an unruly member," — you have only to hand it over to 
sin, and it will talk angrily, lyingly, filthily. 

Now, what is God's way? Present yourselves unto God, as those in a Risen Christ, those "alive 
from among the dead." Of course, this will test your faith: you will not feel dead to sin. Your old 
man will seem anything but crucified. But the path of true faith is always one of obedience; and 
God has commanded you to reckon yourself dead unto sin and alive unto Him (as a risen one) in 
Christ Jesus. It is in this character, of being alive from the dead, that you are commanded to "present 
yourselves unto God." 

Now two things about this word "present": 

First, as to its meaning here: it does not in Chapter Six signify consecration: but the taking of 
an attitude in accordance with the facts. In Chapter Twelve, it is true, the same word is used to 
signify consecration to God (12:1). But here, "present" (A.V., "yield"), signifies an attitude to be 
taken in recognition of the facts: "Present yourselves as those alive from among the dead." We are 
not here looked at as giving ourselves to God, but as believingly assuming the aspect toward God 
of those in Christ — those who died to sin in Christ's death, and are now alive in Christ unto God. 

If the colonel of a certain regiment of soldiers, — say the One Hundredth, should give notice to 
all his regiment to repair to his headquarters at a stated hour for review, they would "present" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

themselves there as members of the One Hundredth Regiment. It would be as such and in that 
consciousness that they would come. So believers are to take the attitude toward God of risen ones 
because they are risen ones. They are in Christ, they are alive from among the dead This is the 
fundamental consciousness of a believer, as described in the Pauline Epistles: "If then ye were 
raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is . . . For ye died, and your 
life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3: 1, 3). If you do not have risen life, you are not in Christ; for 
those in Christ are all alive from among the dead. 

Second, the command to present ourselves thus unto God is in the aorist tense, which indicates 
a definite entering upon this attitude of presenting ourselves as risen ones to God. As to sin it is, 
"Do not be presenting (present tense of habitual and continued action) your members unto sin." 
The exhortation is believingly to take the attitude of a risen one in Christ, and thus present yourself 
once for all to God. Whether in prayer or thanksgiving, or praise or service, you are alive from the 
dead. It is not that you make yourself alive by presenting yourself unto God; but that since you are 
in Christ, you are alive to God in risen life, and you thus present yourself. And it becomes an 
habitual attitude, — you keep on presenting your members unto God as a habit of life. He will now 
use them as "instruments of righteousness"; as, before, — you well remember! your members were 
instruments of sin. 

Then comes a glorious promise, and also a royal pronouncement: 

Verse 14: For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under law, but under 

Note the two "fors." The first "for" announces the Divine decree that sin's lordship over us 
shall be ended. The second reveals the happy condition of things in which such a release is possible: 
we are not under the legal principle, — which first demanded duty, and then offered blessing; but 
we are under the grace principle, — which confers blessing first, and, behold, fruits follow! 

It is deeply significant here that even to us, new creatures in Christ, and recipients of the Holy 
Spirit, it is definitely announced to us that we are not under law, — else bondage and helplessness 
would still be our lot. Note, God does not say we are not under the Law, — the Mosaic Law: (Gentiles 
never were!) But, God says we are not under law, — under the legal principle. In the opening part 
of Chapter Seven, Paul will show the Jewish believers, (who had been under law), that only death 
could release them from their legal obligation; and that they had been made dead to the Law, through 
being identified with Christ in His death. 

Only when we believe that our history in Adam, with all its responsibilities and demands to 
produce righteousness, ended at the cross, shall we find ourselves completely free to enjoy these 
words of heavenly comfort— UNDER GRACE! 143 


Many honest souls cannot believe that obedience to God can be secured in any other way than by law. They say, "Set a 
man completely at liberty, and you cannot control him." But consider: 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Study carefully the contrast between Romans 6:14 and I Corinthians 9:21. Paul declares in the 
former passage, "We are not under law." The Greek here is, hupo nomon. This expression evidently 
indicates placing one under external enactments — under that principle. Now in I Corinthians 9:21, 
Paul, in describing his ministry to souls, says, "To those without law (anomois), I became as without 
law (anomos), not at all being without law Godward, but, on the contrary, en-lawed (ennomos) to 
Christ," — as the members of a body to the head, controlled naturally by the one spirit and will. 

There is every possible difference between the two, — between being "under law," and 
"en-lawed." Israel under law, placed under the Law at Sinai, with a veil between them and God, 
had to think of their behavior, in all its details, as affecting their relationship to God. The Law was 
"written on tables," by the hand of Divine authority. It was external to them: there was no union 
between them and Jehovah; nor was the Holy Spirit within them (although He was upon certain of 
them, for certain service, at certain times). 

But, with us, all is different. We are in Christ, members of Christ. The Spirit of God' s Son, also, 
has been sent forth into our hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!" We are "no longer bondservants, but 
adult sons" (Gal. 4:4-7). Our relationship is settled. 144 

1. No human being has ever been really controlled by the principle of law. Israel, whom God placed under law, and that 
"with marvelous and glorious manifestations of His own presence and authority," immediately renounced the obedience which 
they had promised. 

2. Consider the relationship of a bride and a bridegroom: it is one of love, and delighted seeking of mutual benefit. It is not 
a relationship of enactments of law at all. The husband does not go about the house tacking up rules for the wife to "observe": 
and upon the observance of which the relationship shall continue! Such rules are for servants! Yet, you find the wife eagerly 
asking the husband what he would like for dinner, and how, in any other way, she can make him comfortable and pleased. And 
all this arises from the principle of love, not law! 

3. Now God declares, and that repeatedly, that we have been removed from under the principle of law "in Christ's death." 
And now, being under grace, we bring forth "fruit to God," We serve in "newness of the spirit": which can only mean that, (like 
the wife thrilled with delight at the prospect of pleasing her husband), the very spirit of service, which is personal devotion, 
animates the believer. 

4. But we really have no hope of any person's willingness or ability to see the power of this newness-of-spirit plan, this 
love-plan of God' s, until such a one has seen and believed that he died with Christ, — that he was so bad that his entire "old man" 
was sent to the cross to be crucified; so that now he is married to Another, to Him that was raised from the dead, that he may 
bring forth fruit unto God. 

That God can be a Savior-God and not be a Law-giver, is beyond the reach of the human mind to conceive, and is to be 
received by faith alone. That in those not under law is brought about all — and much morel than the Law demands, is foolishness 
to all but faith! 


Seven things believers enter into since the cross, and the coming of the Holy Spirit that were not true of believers before, 
may be stated here: 

1. Sin has been put away on the cross. (It had been only "covered" year by year before that.) 

2. Our old man has been crucified with Christ, — opening the way for complete deliverance from the power of sin, by the 
indwelling Spirit. 

3. Christ has been glorified (Acts 1:3; John 7:39). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"Walking by the Spirit," who indwells us, takes for us today the place that observing the things 
written in the Law had with Israel. "Being dead to the Law, and discharged therefrom," says Paul, 
"we bring forth fruit unto God"; "We serve in newness of spirit and not in oldness of letter" (7:4, 

When Paul says (as above) in I Corinthians that he was "en-lawed to Christ," the Greek word 
ennomos signifies that blessed control by the Holy Spirit proceeding from Christ as the Head, which 
corresponds to the control of our natural bodies by our physical heads. This, of course, is the very 
opposite of being "under law" in the sense of verse 14. To speak of a believer's being "under the 
Law to Christ," would be no more true, than to say that your hand has a set of external rules by 
which it obeys your head and seeks to render itself pleasing to you! No, your hand is en-lawed to 
your head, in that it is one with your head; your spirit dwells in every member of your body, and 
the head intelligently directs every member. 

I am more and more inclined to the belief that in order to a consistent interpretation of the New 
Testament, we must scrupulously regard Israel only as having been placed under The Law, though 
doubtless all men have moral responsibility. See Paul regarding this below. 145 

Whether then it be the Jew under law, or the race of Adam under conscience, the freedom that 
is in Christ means deliverance from trying to "be good" to be accepted of God. Sinners are accepted 
freely on account of Christ' s sacrifice, and placed in Him Risen. For such, therefore, as are in Christ, 
the walk is one of rejoicing faith, — appropriating Christ, — and nothing else. The Law of Moses 

4. The Holy Spirit has been given, at Pentecost, dispensationally; and upon hearing and believing the gospel, individual 
believers are hereafter sealed by this "Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13); who witnesses in them, as "the Spirit of God's Son," 
their adult sonship. 

5. God began at Pentecost to create "new creatures in Christ Jesus" (II Cor. 5:17): "a kind of first-fruits of His creatures" 
(Jas. 1:18). Christ, the First-born from among the dead, is the Head of this new creation. 

6. Believers were, at Pentecost and thereafter, "baptized into one Body," the Body of Christ, — becoming members of Christ 
and members one of another, a marvelous thing and a new! 

7. After Pentecost the "house of God" was not at Jerusalem, but "in the midst" with believers anywhere, — even of twos or 
threes gathered in Christ's Names for there He Himself is (Matthew 18:19, 20); and there the Holy Spirit is (I Cor. 3: 16; Eph 

2:21, 22). 


"We [Jewish Old Testament saints, contrasted with Gentile [believers] were kept under the Law . . . The Law was our tutor 
to lead us unto Christ — to be justified by faith. But now that faith is come, we [Hebrew believers] are no longer under a tutor" 
(Gal. 3:23, 24). 

"Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the Law; ye are fallen away from grace" (Gal. 5:4). 

"If ye are led by the Spirit, YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW"! (Gal. 5:18). 

"Christ abolished in His flesh the enmity [between Jew and Gentile], the Law of commandments contained in ordinances" 
(Eph. 2:15). 

"... For there is a disannulling of aforegoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, (for The Law 
MADE NOTHFNG PERFECT), and a bringing in thereby of a BETTER hope, through which we draw nigh unto God" (Heb. 
7:12, 14, 18, 19). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

has nothing to say to a believer! We know the legalists and the pretenders to human righteousness 
will cry out at this. But God says about the Law two things that cannot be escaped: 

First, that the Gentiles were not under Moses' Law, that Law having never been given to them, 
but to Israel only. 

And, second, that God, who gave to Israel the "foregoing commandment" — the Law — has 
"disannulled" the same, and brought in by another way, even simple faith in Christ, "a better hope," 
through which alone all believers, Jew or Gentile, "draw nigh to God" (Heb. 7:18, 19). 

Not behaving, but believing, is God's way: behaving follows believing! 

I know that true faith is a living thing, and has two feet, and will walk; but it will be "walking 
in works" — not working in works! — "Good works that God afore prepared." Walking by faith in 
"prepared" works; discovering in this walk of faith, the beautiful will of God day by day; treading 
this fresh and living path, is the believer's great secret! The children of Abraham all follow their 
father in walking by faith! 

The believer is not under law, not under external enactments, not under conditions; but he has 
already an eternal standing in grace, — that is, in already secured Divine favor, by a sovereign act 
of God; which has not only reckoned to him Christ's atoning work, but has placed him fully in the 
place of Christ's present acceptance with God! 

The believer today is neither in the Old Testament with the Patriarchs, nor with Israel at Sinai; 
nor walking with the disciples during our Lord's earthly life and kingdom ministry! The believer 
lives now after the cross, and in the full right and power of all that Christ did there. God gave Israel 
at Sinai a Law, — a holy, just and good Law, but they kept it not. The Lord Jesus when on earth 
said to His disciples, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, 
and follow Me"; but they all failed and fled. Why? Man was still under testing. The cross ended 
that; revealing, as it did, utter wickedness in man; and, also, complete weakness in the disciples, — in 
God's saints! 

Then what? Christ is raised from the dead through the glory of the Father: that we may walk 
in newness of life. Not only are our sins forever put away by His blood, but we ourselves find our 
history in Adam over, we being dead with Christ, crucified with Him. 

Then the Holy Spirit is given at Pentecost as the power of this new, heavenly walk. Men were 
then, for the first time, transferred into the Risen Christ. They shared His risen life; for they had 
been identified with Him as an Adam, a federal man, in His death, at the cross; and were now placed 
by God in Christ Risen: yea, they were "created," now, in Him; and even made members of His 
Body, — which, of course, is an additional favor, based on their identification with Him, as an Adam, 
at the cross. 

Now Paul could say, in triumph, "I through law died to law!" "I have not [desire not] the 
righteousness of law; yet I know nothing against myself." "Thanks be to God, who always leadeth 
us in triumph in Christ"; "For me to live is Christ"; "Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." And he could say this right in the teeth of sin, and of the Law which 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

gave sin its power! (I Cor. 15:56, 57). Both sin and the Law had passed away for Paul, at the cross, 
as victors over him! 

Yet, alas, most believers are not walking on the resurrection side of the cross, and by the "new 
creation rule" of Galatians 6: 14, 15: "Far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For neither is 
circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as many as shall walk by this 
rule, peace be upon them, and mercy!" 

If you had been in heaven fifty years, and were then sent down by God to earth to live and 
witness for fifty years, then to be taken back to Heaven: — how would you live? Would you fall 
under daily doubt as to whether you should count yourself as belonging to Heaven? Would you 
not, rather, be a constant witness, both in walk and word, that you really belonged in and to Heaven? 

Now God says He has "made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him, and made 
us to sit with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5, 6). Are you going to try to add to 
that glorious heavenly calling the Law, — that was given to Israel down here on earth to make them 
know their sin? A Law under which God says you are NOT? May God forbid such folly in any of 
us! For we all tend toward it. 

May Colossians 1:5, 6 be fulfilled in us all: "The word of the truth of the good news which is 
come unto you; even as it is also in all the world bearing fruit and increasing, as it doth in you 
also,— since the day ye heard and knew THE GRACE OF GOD IN TRUTH" ! 

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under 
law but under grace? Be it not thought of! 16 Do ye not 
Know that to whom ye present yourselves as bondservants 
unto obedience, his bond-servants ye are whom ye 
obey, — whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto 

17 But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were 
bondservants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to 
that pattern of doctrine [salvation by the cross] unto which 
you were handed over [by God in the gospel]. 18 And being 
set free from sin, ye were made bondservants to 

19 I am speaking in human terms on account of the 
[moral] strengthlessness of your flesh: for just as ye did 
present your members as bondservants to uncleanness, and 
to lawlessness unto [further] lawlessness, so now present 
your members bondservants to righteousness unto 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

20 For when ye were bondservants of sin, ye were free 
in regard of righteousness. 21 What fruit then had ye at that 
time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the 
end of those things is death! 22 But now, being made free 
from sin, and being put into bondservice to God, ye have 
your fruit unto sanctification, and the end, eternal life! 

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God 
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Verse 15: What then? Are we to sin, because we are not under law but under grace? Far 
be the thought! 

Here Paul warns against the abuse of that liberty which the believer has: He shows that those 
who commit sin come under the bondage of sin as master, even as the Lord said in John 8:34: 
"Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin." 

The two questions in Chapter Six: "Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" (verse 
1); and, Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? (verse 15); are distinct, 
but not really diverse, questions. For each considers that same lawlessness, that same independence 
of the Creator, which is ever the creature's great temptation. The fact that these two questions are 
written down here is the proof of this. Now Paul, with holy abhorrence, repudiates at once both 
these thoughts: 

The answer to the first question is: We are in the Risen Christ, and we shared His death; our 
relation to sin is broken forever; we walk "in newness of life." 

Verse 16: Do ye not know that to whom ye present yourselves as bondservants unto 
obedience, his bondservants ye are whom ye obey, — whether of sin unto death, or of obedience 
unto righteousness? 

And the answer to the second question is: God has set believers free, to serve Himself. The only 
other master is sin. And bondage to sin results from serving sin. But the Word of God says to the 
believer. Ye are not under law, but under grace. 

Many people who have been convicted of the guilt of sin and have relied on the shed blood of 
Christ as putting away that guilt, have not yet, however, seen a state of sin as abject slavery. The 
strength of sin is just as real as its guilt. No creature can free himself from the bondage of sin. Sin 
brought to fallen man the inability to do anything else but sin (Gen. 6:5). Although contrary to 
conscience, to reason, to desire for liberty; in spite of the terror inspired by the tragic examples 
about them, — yea, despite awful warnings and expectations of personal impending ruin, men 
continue in sin and its bondage. 

But there is another "obedience," — that unto righteousness. And the case turns on the words, 
to whom ye present yourselves as servants. Although we cannot free ourselves, or change our 
own spiritual condition, the great fact of human responsibility is plainly written here. God, who 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

would have all men to be saved, is always ready to have them present themselves to Him. And it 
is by means of the gospel that we do so, — whether to take our place as sinners, in the first instance; 
or, after we have believed, when we present ourselves to Him and our members as instruments of 

We all know this, be our theological training what it may. We all know we are doing wrong if 
we do not obey the gospel of God concerning His Son. "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He 
will convict the world in respect of sin . . . because they believe not on Me" (John 16:8, 9). 

Let us remember then, that the obedience unto righteousness of verse 16, is "the obedience of 
faith,'" always. 

Verses 17, 18: But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were bondservants of sin, ye became 
obedient from the heart to that pattern of teaching [salvation by the cross] unto which ye were 
handed over [by God in the gospel]. And, being set free from sin, ye were made bondservants 
to righteousness. 

Now, our becoming obedient from the heart to the Word of the cross involves a work of Divine 
wisdom and power far beyond that involved in the creation of the world! For how shall a creature 
remain, and behold his utter judgment on the cross? How shall he despair eternally of himself, and 
yet find hope? How shall he continue a free being and yet consent to be bound forever, — "with 
cords of a Man, with bands of love"? How shall he walk with confidence into the Court where very 
thoughts come into judgment? Moral and spiritual impossibilities are greater than physical 
impossibilities. It was impossible that where nothing at all existed the physical universe should 
leap into being — out of nothing but God's word! Man, having sinned, ran from God. Men yet sin 
and flee from God. Now God's holy nature. His infinite righteousness, bar the way back. But Christ 
comes, sent of the Father. And there is the blood of the cross. And from the North and South, and 
East and West, men, women, — and children, too, come, obeying from the heart this impossible 
news: of peace by the blood of His cross, — peace for those 'whose sins slew Christ! They come to 
be gladly bound with the unbreakable "bands of love, the cords of a Man" — Christ Jesus! (See Hos. 

And we see that mighty work of response to grace in such hearts abide and endure. We see 
God's willing "bondservants" pouring out their lives in glad service, in all lands, to all limits! 

Now, this becoming obedient from the heart to that pattern of doctrine of salvation by the 
blood of the cross, and the freedom from sin that goes with it, may be enjoyed even in this life, 
"without stint or limit." For "all things are possible to him that believeth.'" 

Note that the Old Version misses the entire sense of this seventeenth verse in translating: "that 
form of doctrine which was delivered unto you," whereas the true rendering is, that form of doctrine 
unto which ye were handed over (or, delivered). For the verb is in the plural — ye were delivered 
over! This statement instructs us deeply in the Divine arrangements. The Israelites, for example, 
were delivered over to Moses and the Law. It was not only that the Law was delivered by Moses 
to them; they were themselves delivered over to a legal dispensation — to a "mold of doctrine," 
which had the Ten Commandments as the foundation, and the "ten thousand things of the Law" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

spoken in accordance therewith. The Jews knew they were under the Law. They had been handed 
over to it, to its demands, and to its whole economy. Likewise, believers now are delivered over 
to a form or pattern of teaching. Summarily, this is the Gospel, — particularly, the work of Christ 
on the cross. Believers have been handed over by God to the mighty facts, not only that their guilt 
was put away on the cross, but that they, as connected with Adam, died with Christ; that their 
history in Adam is thus entirely ended before God; and that they now share the risen life of Christ, 
and are before God as risen ones (Romans 6:10, 11). And all believers are comprehended in these 
great truths, whether they apprehend them or not! It is the first duty of every teacher of God's saints 
to open to them the glorious facts already true about them, and unto which great mold or form of 
doctrine, they have been "delivered over" by God. 146 

Now in verse 17 we see that these Roman believers had become obedient from the heart unto 
this mold of doctrine, — that of salvation by Christ on the cross. They had yet much to learn 
concerning their salvation, (and Paul was coming to "establish" them). But they had seen and 
accepted redemption by the blood of the despised Lamb of God: which involved everything, — of 
separation from a sinful world, as well as of safety from Divine judgment. 

Verse 18: Being set free from sin, ye were made bondservants to righteousness. It will help 
us to note carefully that in this verse is the first description of "experience" in this Sixth of Romans. 
Bit it is the result of that "obedience of faith" in which these believers had received the good news 
of their salvation by Christ crucified; for lo ! they found themselves thereby "set free from sin," — sin 
was no longer their master. U1 

Verse 19: 1 am speaking in human terms on account of the [moral] strengthlessness of your 
flesh — Paul here explains why he is using this word "bondservants" throughout this passage. He 
declares the "infirmity of our flesh" to be such, that we must necessarily be in bondservice — either 
to sin or to God. Rome was full of slaves, — indeed, many of the Christians to whom he was writing 
were slaves, as seems to be indicated in Chapter Sixteen (which see). In the Roman Empire, freedom 
was a most difficult thing to secure (Acts 22:28). So Paul speaks in human terms, "after the manner 
of men," and he says that we are strengthless naturally, that we must be servants, either of God or 
of sin. 


The word "delivered" is the word constantly used, for instance, of our Lord's being handed over to His enemies (Matthew 
20:18, 19; John 19:11, 16); and of the disciples' being delivered over to councils (Matt. 10:17, 19). It is used of the Jews' being 
"delivered over to serve the host of heaven," in Acts 7:42 (most significant as to its force in Rom. 6:17); and I Corinthians 11:23 
contains the word in both its significances: Paul delivered over to the Corinthians directions concerning the Lord's supper; Christ 
was delivered over to His enemies. It is the same Greek word in both cases. 

This distinction is vital, because people conceive of the Gospel as something delivered to them to "live up to," or to lay 
hold of by their own wills, rather than as of a body of truth unto which they, as believers, have already been blessedly handed 
over! "Obedience of faith" can be nothing else than walking in the light of facts Divinely revealed. 
147 To make the words "free from sin" of Chapter 6:18 denote what is called "eradication of the sin-principle," a sinlessness in the 
flesh, is a terrible perversion. Paul constantly preached and testified the contrary. Our bodies will not be redeemed (no matter 
how much we may be blessed or filled with the Holy Spirit) until "the redemption of the body" at Christ's second coming. Till 
that time, sin will be in the flesh, although those who "obey from the heart" in simple faith that word of the cross unto which 
they have been delivered, will find themselves in a state of blessed relief from sin's bondage. For Scripture does teach 
heart-cleansing, a "pure heart," as we have elsewhere shown. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Man hates this fact. He boasts his independence, whether it be in the realm of intellect — "free 
thought!" in the matter of private wealth — "independent!" or in the manner of government — "free!" 
But it is all really a delusion. We indeed rejoice at the intellectual shackles thrown off at the 
Renaissance, and at liberty of thought and expression, wherever found among men. We also honor 
those who, like Boaz, are "mighty men of wealth," — for God has permitted it to be so; and we 
rejoice at that relief from governmental tyranny which is yet found in some parts of this earth. 

But what we most earnestly assert is that not only Paul here, but our Lord Himself, and Scripture 
generally, sets forth that only those that know the truth and walk therein, are free. The Jews (in 
John 8:33 ff) horribly rebel against our Lord's saying: "If ye abide in My word, then are ye truly 
My disciples: and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free! . . . Every one that 
committeth sin is the bondservant of sin . . . If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." 
There is no freedom out of Christ. "Whose service is perfect freedom" is the beautiful expression 
of obedience to God. 

We must see this necessity of service to God or service to sin for our own lives. When John 
wrote to believers, "We know that we are of God, and the whole earth lieth in the evil one" (I John 
5:19), — what a revelation was that! 

These Roman Christians had formerly, like the pagans among whom they lived, presented 
their members bondservants to uncleanness [in every inward thought], and to lawlessness unto 
[further] lawlessness [in outward practice] . A blacker page of iniquitous abominations history does 
not write than that of the Roman Empire of Paul's day. And out of these fearful states of sin, God 
had de livered these believers! Compare I Corinthians 6:9-11. 

Verses 20 and 21: For when ye were bondservants of sin, ye were free in regard of 
righteousness. What fruit had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? For 
the end of those things is death! 

And in those former evil days, they had been, as Paul says, free in regard of righteousness. 

They were altogether given to iniquity, without any check whatever. 148 And those were fruitless 
days of which they were now ashamed. Free and fruitless ! what a pair of words to describe the 
life of one who is going on daily toward eternity! Let each believer look back to those days when 
God was "not in all his thoughts." The pleasures and treasures of sin we sought — free in regard of 
righteousness, like the beasts which perish. What saved one can say of his unsaved life, I can 
treasure this or that as fruit? of any particular iniquity, I cherish good results from it? What fruit 
had you? Shame, only: things of which ye are now ashamed. Furthermore, we were going on 
steadily in that path unto the end, which was death, and that eternal. Remember the relentless but 
true description of sin's horrid birth and end, in James 1:14,15. 

Now from all this, God has in sovereign grace rescued us, and should we not, do we not, gladly 
enter upon the path of loving service, yea, bondservice, to Him? 

148 "There seems to be a grave but cutting irony in this allusion to their old condition, when the only freedom they knew was in 
respect to righteousness! They were slaves of sin, and had nothing to do with righteousness!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 22: But now, having been freed from the fearful Master, Sin, and brought into a sweet, 
willing bondservice to God, there was not only the daily delightful fruit, which those given over 
to sanctification were ever bearing; but there was the consciousness that every day brought nearer, 
the full realization of that blessed eternal life, — which they already possessed, but the full enjoyment 
of which was the end of the path of God's saints! 

They were now and would be forever under the domination of that motive which is the strongest 
of all, — LOVE. Their service to God would be no longer one of seeking to fulfil certain enactments 
by Him (as under law) but a glad willingness, such as Christ expressed toward His Father in the 
prophetic words of Psalm 40:8: "I delight to do Thy will, O my God!" There is no relief comparable 
to this surrender to the all- wise and all-loving will of God! Our Lord prescribes for those "laboring 
and heavy-laden," first, to come to Him, and He will give them rest (that is, salvation); and then, 
having come, to take His yoke upon them (the yoke of Him who is meek and lowly in heart) and 
they shall find rest to their souls (that is surrender)! 

Verse 23: For sin, which they had once served, was a terrible Paymaster' Sin's wages was 
death, — appointed so by God Himself. What a hideous employer — Sin! What a horrid service! 
What hellish wages! Yet sin is the chosen master of all but Christ's "little flock"! Of sin's flock, 
it is written: "Death shall be their shepherd." 

Death, as we read in verse 23, is the "wages of sin." Men. speak of it lightly. But it is indeed 
"the king of terrors" for the natural man (Job 18:14). A well-known writer says: "Man finds in 
Death an end to every hope, to every project, to all his thoughts and plans. The busy scene in which 
his whole life has been, knows him no more. His nature has given way, powerless to resist this 
master (death) to which it belongs, and who now asserts his dreadful rights. But this is far from 
being all. Man indeed, as man alive in this world, sinks down into nothing. But why? Sin has come 
in; with sin, conscience; with sin, Satan's power; still more with sin, God's judgment. Death is the 
expression and witness of all this. It is the wages of sin, terror to the conscience, Satan's power 
over us, for he has the power of death. Can God help here? Alas, it is His own judgment on sin. 
Death seems but as the proof that sin does not pass unnoticed, and is the terror and plague of the 
conscience, as witness of God's judgment, the officer of justice to the criminal, and the proof of 
his guilt in the presence of coming judgment. How can it but be terrible? It is the seal upon the fall 
and ruin and condemnation of the first Adam. And he has nothing but this old nature. 

"But Christ has come in. He has come into death — O wondrous truth, the Prince of life! What 
is death now for the believer? 'Death is ours,' says the apostle, as all things are. By the blessed 
Lord's entering into it for me, death, — and judgment too, is become my salvation. The sin, of which 
it was the wages, has been put away by death itself. The judgment has been borne for me there." 

But the grace-bestowal (charisma) of God — here is the same dear word as in Rom. 5:15,16. 
It is the expression which describes what is behind God's gift, — his grace (Greek, charis). And 
what is, here, God's grace-bestowal? Eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord! What a bestowment 
of grace is this! Sins borne, pardoned, gone, — and more! A welcome in Heaven, — and more! Life 
granted to a lost soul dead in sins, — and more! Eternal life, — to last as long as God its Giver. But 
more, — life in Christ Jesus our Lord Himself! Sharing His life, who is the Well-Beloved of the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Father, sharing "the love wherewith God hath loved Christ." Life, eternal life, in Christ Jesus, — God' s 

The wages of sin as over against the free gift of God! 

Mark this, that God will keep the contrast constantly before us, even at the end of this chapter, 
between what is earned and what is given. In verses 21 and 22, "the end" of two paths is seen: one, 
death; the other, eternal life. But it must finally be said here, at the chapter's close, that while 
death is earned wages, eternal life is a FREE GIFT! 

And also note the blessed Sphere of this Eternal life: In Christ Jesus our Lord. Every advance 
in the glorious truth of salvation is marked by Christ's own Name! — from His being "set forth" by 
God as "Christ Jesus, — a propitiation through faith in His blood (3:24, 25); raised as Jesus our Lord 
from the dead (4:24); our exulting in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:11); and grace reigning 
through righteousness and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (5:21); reckoning ourselves 
dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus (6:11); and now the gift of God, eternal life in 
Christ Jesus our Lord (6:23). And victory will come, in Chapter 7:25: "I thank God through Jesus 
Christ our Lord." And, at last, no separation "from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our 
Lord"! (8:39). 


The Nature of Grace 

1. Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature as Love; with no promises or 
obligations to fulfil; and acting of course, righteously — in view of the cross. 

2. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD. 

3. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man's part to 
wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst 
deservers in the highest favors. 

4. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help — it is absolute, 
it does all. 

5. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be 
brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace. 

6. The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of Divine grace, works the utmost 
humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his 
complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed, — on another principle, outside 
of himself! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

7. Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is 
hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he 
knows that "in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing"; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, 
just as he is! 


The Place of Man under Grace 

1. He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing! 

2. He is not "on probation." 

3. As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at the Cross, and Christ is his life. 

4. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies beforehand: 
His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them. 

5. The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed grace (as it would under 
law). For example: the man in I Cor. 5:1-5; and also those in 11:30-32, who did not "judge" 
themselves, and so were "judged by the Lord, — that they might not be condemned with the world" ! 


The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace 

1 . To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret. 

2. To refuse to make "resolutions" and "vows"; for that is to trust in the flesh. 

3. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth. 

4. To testify of God's goodness, at all times. 

5. To be certain of God's future favor; yet to be ever more tender in conscience toward Him. 

6. To rely on God's chastening hand as a mark of His kindness. 

7. A man under grace, if like Paul, has no burdens regarding himself; but many about others. 


Things Which Gracious Souls Discover 

1. To "hope to be better" is to fail to see yourself in Christ only. 

2. To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself. 

3. To be discouraged is unbelief, — as to God's purpose and plan of blessing for you. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

4. To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves. 

5. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not fromfailure of devotion. 

6. Real devotion to God arises, not from man's will to show it; but from the discovery that 
blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted. 

7. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God's order, and preach law, not 
grace. The Law made man's blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional 
blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so, — in proper measure. 

Baptism in Romans not Baptism by the Spirit 

As to the Holy Spirit's "baptizing us all into one Body" (I Cor. 12:13): we are said indeed to 
be baptized by Him into the Body, — but only after we died with Christ made sin: — a theological 
distinction, no doubt, but a most necessary one. 

Christ as Head of the Body, the Church, comes after Christ as the Second Man, the Last Adam, 
It would not be accurate, or indeed, possible, to speak of Christ as the Head of the Body bringing 
about our death with Him, any more than to say that Christ as the Head of the Body had borne our 
sins. The Body, the Church, came after Christ, as the Last Adam, had put away our sin, and by His 
"one act" constituted us righteous; and after we had died with Christ made sin. 

In a man's history before God, he is not made a member of Christ's Body before he has died 
with Christ made sin! Let us trace this: 

1. An ungodly man, as such, believes on God about Christ, and is justified, — declared righteous. 

2.His justification, however, involved the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was 
"delivered up for his trespasses, but was raised for his justifying" (Romans 4:25). 

3. His justification, therefore, becomes what is called in Chapter 5:18 "justification of lifer 

4. Now, it is not as a member of Christ's mystical Body that we can assert justification of him. 
Doubtless he is made member of Christ Risen, but, 

5. When he is told to reckon himself dead unto sin and alive unto God in Christ Jesus, it is not 
as a member of Christ's Body that he is thus to reckon, but as one who was in Adam, on whose 
behalf Christ was made to be sin and died unto sin. 

6. Doubtless by one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body, and are made to drink of the one 
Spirit; but this truth of I Corinthians 12 is not fundamental truth, but positional truth, A man cannot 
say, Because I am a member of Christ's Body, therefore I am made dead to sin, But he can say, I 
was in Adam the First, guilty, a man "in the flesh," in "the old man." But by God's grace I am now 
in Christ, the Last Adam. This is fundamental truth, And it is fundamental truth that Romans 
contemplates. As we state elsewhere, there will be saved Israelites, and others, besides Church 
saints, who will partake of the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection; but who will not be of 
the Body of Christ. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

7. Therefore, in carrying out the believer's walk as directed in Roman's Six to Eight, we must 
go back of and beyond our consciousness of the Body of Christ, to Christ as an Adam, a federal, 
representative Man. Our standing is in Christ as the Last Adam; our membership: in that blessed 
corporate company called the Body of Christ, Christ being the Head. 

In other words, we had no right to be put into Christ the Head of the Body until we had died 
with Christ made sin, died to our position in the other Adam. You will notice when Paul describes 
his personal manner of life, he says "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that 
live, but Christ liveth in me." This is not Body truth, but federal truth, which is fundamental, Body 
truth comes after federal truth, Federal truth has to do with our relationship to God. We are either 
in Adam or in Christ, before God. 

Only in Romans 12:4, 5 is the Body of Christ referred to; for Romans is fundamental, and deals 
with our relation to God, — as in Adam or in Christ; and therefore does not deal with the corporate 
character of the Church as such. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


Release from the Legal Principle Illustrated: Jewish Believers, to whom the Law of Moses 
was given. Dead to that Law by Identification in Death with Christ Made Sin; now joined to the 
Risen Christ: thus Bearing Fruit to God and Rendering Glad Service. Verses 1-6. 

Paul's Vain Struggle to be Holy by the Law, — Before he knew of Indwelling Sin and his 
Helplessness against it; and that he had Died with Christ to Sin, and to the Law, which gave Sin 
power. Verses 7-24. 

Deliverance seen through Christ; and the Flesh declared Hopeless. Verse 25. 

1 Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men 
acquainted with law), that the law rules over a man as long 
as he liveth? 

2 For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law 
to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she 
is discharged from the law of the husband. 3 So then, if 
while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she 
shall be called an adulteress: but, if the husband die, she is 
free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she 
be joined to another man. 

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to 
the Law, through the body of Christ, that ye should be joined 
to Another, — to Him who was raised from among the dead, 
that we might bring forth fruit unto God. 

5 For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins 
which were through the Law wrought in our members to 
bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we have been 
annulled from the Law, having died to that wherein we were 
held: so that we serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness 
of letter. 

HERE WE HAVE a chapter of two sections, — (1) verses 1 through 6; and (2) verses 7 through 
25: both of which we are prone to misunderstand and misapply, unless we exercise much prayerful 

In the first section, God shows how those that were placed by Him under law were released 
from that relation by sharing in the death of Christ; so that, joined to a Risen Christ, they bear fruit; 
and, released from law, they give glad and willing service. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

In the second section, we have Paul describing his struggle under the Law, as a converted 
Israelite, before he knew the great facts of this first part, — that in Christ he was dead to the Law: 
"I was alive apart from law once." It is the struggle of one that is born again, and "delights in the 
Law of God," seeking to compel the flesh to obey God' s Law. The end, of course, is a cry of utter 
despair (for the Law was a "ministration of death"); and a new view of Christ, as the One through 
whom is found deliverance from sin's power and from the Law that gave it that power! 149 

The Gospel-Announcement of Chapter Seven: 
Dead to and Discharged from Law 

Verse 1: Or — the opening word of verse 1 connects the first six verses of Chapter Seven directly 
with verse 14 of Chapter Six, "Ye are not under law but under grace." (For the last part of Chapter 
Six is parenthetical, — a warning against abuse of our "not under law" position.) Therefore connect 
these words "Ye are not under law" with the "Or" of verse 1, Chapter Seven. Conybeare aptly 
paraphrases: "You must acknowledge what I say, (that we are not under law) or be ignorant," etc. 

The King James, by its failure to translate the chapter' s opening word "Or," to which God gives 
the emphatic position in this argument, obscures the whole meaning of the passage and context. 
Unless we connect Chapter 7:1 with Chapter 6: 14, (as the proper translation "or" does), we cannot 
properly understand the passage. 

Are ye ignorant, brethren — Some one remarks that when Paul uses this expression concerning 
the saints, it often turns out that they are ignorant! (Compare Rom. 6:3; 11:25; I Thess. 4:13, etc.) 

(For I speak to men acquainted with law) — In this first verse it is law in general, 150 because 
this whole verse is connected with Chapter 6.14: "Ye are are not under law," (not under that 
principle) referring, of course, to all believers. 

That the law rules over a man as long as he liveth — Paul here declares that the claims of law 
endure throughout a man's life, — death being the only deliverance. The Roman world well knew 
the reach and authority of human law — of which Paul is here speaking. 

Verses 2, 3: For the woman that hath a husband — Here Paul uses the fundamental law of 
domestic relationship to illustrate the fact that only death breaks a legal bond. This is the evident, 
simple meaning in this passage. This husband-and-wife illustration is marvelously chosen. It is of 
world-wide application — instantly understood everywhere; and it sets forth perfectly what the 


"I," "me," "myself are used 47 times in the 19 verses of Chapter Seven, — capital "I" 28 times! In Chapter Eight, "me" 
occurs once; and that, "Christ made me free"; "I" twice, and that, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy 
to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us- ward"; and, "I am persuaded that nothing shall be able to separate 
us from the love of God." 

In Chapter Eight "we," "us," "our," and like words occur 41 times! For in Chapter Eight we are conscious at last of the 
blessed indwelling Spirit: and so, of all other saints. While the legal struggle is carried on in a terrible loneliness. 
15(1 When "law" as a principle is spoken of, we have used the small "1"; when the Mosaic Law is evidently meant, a capital "L"; and 
when the use of the latter is emphatic, we have several times written it "The Law." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

apostle desired — that is, to describe the dissolution of a relationship by death, thus making possible 
a new relationship. 

Now the simple, and to me obvious path of interpretation is to proceed immediately to the fourth 
verse, spending no more time on verses 2 and 3 than will suffice to appreciate their force as an 
illustration of the fact announced in verse 1, that only death breaks a legal claim. We should proceed, 
therefore, according to the principle illustrated in verses 2 and 3, to the application of the principle 
in the case of those believers who had been openly placed by God under a law: that is, Jewish 

For in the example of the woman and her husband, there seems no real intention on Paul's part, 
other than to set forth the fact that death ends a relationship, and sets one free to enter upon a new 
relationship; as we have, to Christ Risen. 

If Adam was our federal head, Christ now is so. And this was made possible by our death with 
Christ made sin. 

The obligation that governed our former condition as in Adam, no longer calls for righteousness 
or holiness of our own in the flesh: we have died as to that place in Adam; and are in the Second 
Man, the last Adam, Christ, — who is Himself our righteousness and sanctification. 

If we undertake to apply verses 4 to 6 directly to any but Jewish believers, we encounter this 
difficulty: that it is distinctly said, and that repeatedly, that the Jews, being under the Law, were in 
contrast to the Gentiles, who were "without law." These verses then must first be applied to those 
who were under the Law, knew themselves to be under it, and were exercised by its commands. 
Otherwise verse 5 becomes unintelligible: 

When we [Jewish believers] were in the flesh [they were now in Christ, and so in the Spirit] 
the arousings of sins which were through the Law wrought in our members to bring forth 
fruit unto death. 

These words would not be written by Paul concerning Gentiles, but they express exactly the 
state of Jewish believers as exemplified in the latter part of our chapter. And now for the gospel, 
which lies in verses four and six: 

Verse 4: Wherefore my brethren, ye also were made dead to the Law through the body of 

As touching Gentile believers, this latter fact was to be reckoned on for the disannulling (Chapter 
6:6) of "the body of sin," relieving them of sin's bondage. But for the Jewish believer, there was 
the additional fact that he was under the Law, which bound his conscience, and gave sin very 
peculiar power over him. For he must obey the Law, for it had been given his nation by Jehovah, 
and they had covenanted at Sinai to let their obedience be the condition of their relationship to Him. 

To the Jewish believer, then, the announcement is now directly made that he was made dead 
to the Law through the body of Christ, in order to be to Another, to the risen Christ, thus to 
bring forth fruit to God; and that he has been [verse 6] discharged from the Law [literally, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

annulled with respect to the Law], thus bringing him out into service in newness of spirit. 151 This 
was the startling announcement made to those who, for 1500 years had known nothing but the Law: 
they had died to it all; the Law knew them no more. 

Now what Paul affirms in Romans 6: 14 covers, of course, both the Gentile and Jewish believer: 
"Ye are NOT UNDER LAW": that is, not under that principle in any sense. The Gentiles had moral 
obligations as responsible children of Adam, though not under the Law, indeed, "without law." 
There was the work of the Law in their hearts (as we saw in Chapter Two), with which their 
consciences bore witness. To Gentiles, therefore, the announcement that in Christ they are not at 
all under the principle of law, sets them free to delight in Christ, and to surrender to the operations 
of the Holy Spirit within them. The additional announcement is made to those under the Mosaic 
Law that they have the same liberty, having died to that wherein they were held. 

The great lesson which each of us must lay to his own heart, is, that those in Christ, whether 
Jew or Gentile, are not under law as a principle, but under grace, — full, accomplished Divine 
favor — that favor shown by God to Christ ! And the life of the believer now is ( 1 ) in faith, not effort: 
as Paul speaks in Galatians 2:20: "The life which I now live in the flesh, / live in faith, the faith 
which is in the Son of God"; (2) in the power of the indwelling Spirit; for walking by the Spirit has 
taken the place of walking by external commandments; and (3) exercising ourselves to have a good 
conscience toward God and men always: particularly, not wrongly using our freedom. 

While the form of the language in the first six verses makes it evident that the Mosaic Law was 
before Paul's mind, at the same time it is of profit to us because: (1) We all have a moral 
responsibility to produce a righteousness and holiness before God and we cannot; (2) Both Jew 
and Gentile are included in the tremendous statement of Chapter 6:6, "our old man was crucified." 

Through the body of Christ — This is a peculiar manner of speech. God speaks not here of 
propitiation or justification, which are through the blood of Christ (Rom. 3:25; 5:9; Eph 1:7). But 
God speaks here of that identification with Christ in which; in God's view, all believers were 
brought to the end of their history at the cross, so that their former relationships (to sin, law, the 
world), are ended. It is to be noted that both concerning Christ's death for us, and our death with 
Christ, Christ's own body is mentioned. As to the first, we remember I Peter 2:24: "Who His own 
self bare our sins in His body upon the tree." And as to the second, the present verse: made dead 
. . . through the body of Christ. 15! 

151 The expressions dead to the Law (vs. 4) and discharged from the Law (vs. 6) cannot possibly be referred directly to Gentiles, 
who had never been alive to the Law — it never having been given to them; and who could not be discharged therefrom, because 
they were not under it. 


To any one who has examined their writings, there is the inescapable conclusion that the Reformed theologians — truly 
godly men — have kept the vision of believers confined generally to the propitiatory work of Christ, not seeing — at least, not 
setting forth clearly, the ending of our history in identification with Christ, — thus freeing us from sin, law, and the old creation, 
and setting us wholly on resurrection ground, in Christ Jesus. 

God's identifying us with Christ in His death was just as sovereign an act as was God's transferring our sins to Christ. It 
did not proceed from His incarnation: for He was "holy," and "separated from sinners." There was absolutely no union with 
sinful humanity except at the cross! There was no "union with humanity" with Christ in His earthly life! We would be horrified 
at the teaching that Christ was bearing our sins from His incarnation! But, if these were "laid on Him" at the cross, so also was 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

That ye should be joined to Another, to Him who was raised from among the dead. The 

great lesson to learn in this whole passage lies in what we might call the two Christs: first, there is 
"the body of Christ," of Christ made sin, and our old man crucified with Him: our history in Adam 
thus ended before God; and, second, Christ raised from the dead. It is this latter Christ to whom 
we are now vitally united, to Him only. 

That we might bring forth fruit unto God. In this Risen Christ, as we saw in Chapter 6:22: 
"Ye have your fruit unto sanctification"; or Philippians 1:11; "being filled with the fruits of 
righteousness which are through Jesus Christ," brought about — made to bud, blossom, grow and 
ripen, through the indwelling Spirit: or "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22) — what a cluster of grapes that 
is: fruit unto God, indeed! 

Now — however the principle may apply to all believers — Paul evidently, in verses 4, 5 and 6, 
has the Jew under the Law definitely before him; for he says "Ye were made dead to the Law." It 
is implicitly asserted here that those under law could not bring forth fruit to God. Because, in order 
to bring forth such fruit, they had to be made dead to the Law. This cannot be sufficiently 
emphasized, for all about us we find those who are earnestly seeking to bear fruit to God, while 
"entangled with the yoke of bondage," not knowing themselves dead to the legal principle. 

But before our very eyes those publicly placed under law, yea the Mosaic Law directly from 
God, did not bring forth fruit in that condition. Else would God have had them die wholly out of 
that position with Christ on the cross? 

No, it is only those who see themselves to have died with Christ and to be now joined to a Risen 
Christ in glory, that fully bring forth fruit to God. 

It Is a glorious day when a believer sees himself only in a Risen Christ — dead, buried and risen; 
and can say with another, "I am not in the flesh, not in the place of a child of Adam at all, but 
delivered out of it by redemption. The whole scene of a living man, this world in which the life of 
Adam develops itself, and of which the Law is the moral rule, I do not belong to, before God, more 
than a man who died ten years ago out of it." 

Verse 5: For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins which were through the Law 
wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. Now in this one verse is seen the whole 
of the great struggle detailed by the apostle in the latter part of this chapter: When we were in the 
flesh — Note, it does not say, in the body, for we are all that! Being in the body has no moral 
significance, but the words are, in the flesh — the condition of those not saved, as we see from 
Chapter 8:8, 9: "For ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth 
in you." This does describe a moral state or condition, — absence of life, absence of the Holy Spirit, 
and control by the fallen nature. 

"our old man" then, at the cross, and not before, so identified with Him as to be crucified with Him. It was God's sovereign, 
inscrutable act, in both matters: done at the cross, not before! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The passions of sins which were through the Law — To those in the flesh controlled by the 
evil nature through a body dead to God, legal restraint was intolerable. As we shall see in the last 
part of the chapter, sin was there, but quiescent, until the Law came, demanding obedience and 
holiness. Thus came the arousings [or passions] of sins — sins of all sorts. It is evident that the Jew 
who had the Law, is distinctly and especially before the apostle' s mind here. For these words could 
not be written of "Gentiles who have not the Law" (2: 14, 15); although these very two verses assert 
that there was a "work" written in the hearts of the Gentiles, which is called "the work of the Law," 
unto which their consciences bear fellow-witness. (See carefully, comment on Chapter 2:14.) 
Nevertheless, it cannot be said that verse 5 describes accurately any but an Israelite to whom the 
Law was given, and in whom the commandments of that Law directly aroused the opposition of 
sin in the flesh. 

Wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death — Even in the last part of the chapter, 
in Paul's great struggle — after he is saved, we find a law of sin in his members, against which he 
is powerless, and which would have engulfed him in everlasting hopelessness, except for the 
revelation of deliverance in Christ. Here, in verse 5, where an unsaved man, a man in the flesh, is 
in view, fruit unto death is brought forth by those "arousings of sins" which came through the 

Verse 6: But now we have been annulled from the Law, having died to that wherein we 
were held: so that we serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of letter. 

This word which we have rendered annulled, is Paul's old word katargeo, — "put out of 
business." In Chapter Six we read that "our old man was crucified with Him in order that the body 
of sin might be annulled" — put out of business. That blessed message could be given to all believers, 
Jew or Gentile. For it is a federal one, as the words "our old man" reveal. But the Jew had not only 
the body of sin: he had distinctly given to him the Mosaic Law. Therefore it is written, in Chapter 
7:6, that he has been annulled, put out of business, from that Law, having died 153 to it. 

The Law which once "held" him now had nothing to do with him, for he had been put out of 
the Law' s domain, out of the place of business in which the Law operated, that is, on natural children 
of Adam, on men in the flesh. What a glorious deliverance! 

Now let us who are Gentile believers most carefully note two things: (1) that the Jewish believer, 
who was put publicly, and under sanctions of death, under the Law, by God at Sinai, has been 
declared by that same God to have died to that wherein he was held, so that the Law has no more 
business with him. (2) That therefore, however deeply taught by tradition that we Gentile believers 
are under law, we must throw that tradition all away. For if the Jew, who was Divinely placed under 
the Law, has been made dead to it and discharged therefrom, put out of the sphere and domain of 
the Law, then what presumption for a Gentile to claim that he is under that Law before God! 

153 Note that the King James Version wrongly renders that the Law died. But the verb number is plural, as the Revised Version and 
all the best mss. read. It was believers who died, not the Law! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

So that we serve! — Wonderful paradoxes of the gospel! In verse 4, having died, they bear fruit; 
and here, having been discharged, they serve. What an unspeakable satisfaction filled the apostle's 
heart, at finding himself serving God, in all the capacities of his love-filled being, the more he felt 
his complete freedom from that Law that once "held" him. In the old days, it was, "I verily thought 
I ought to do"; now it is, "I delight to do." As we say elsewhere, the instructed believer finds himself 
doing the will of God as it is in heaven, that is, in the very spirit of service, and not by forms, or 
ordinances — which are earthly "rudiments." Oldness of letter it once was — minute particulars of 
legal observances according to the tradition of the fathers; newness of spirit it had become when 
the apostle learned that he had died out to the whole legal sphere, to the Adam-position — man in 
the flesh, 154 unto whom the Law had been given at Sinai. 

Truly Paul could say to his Jewish fellow-believers, God has here, concerning the Law, conferred 
on us a heavenly degree of D.D.: "Dead, Discharged." (Beware that you do not turn into an LL.D. 
and go about "desiring to be teachers of the Law, understanding neither what you say, nor whereof 
you confidently affirm!" (I Tim. 1:7) 

Now unto us Gentile believers, what a breeze from the delectable mountains this passage is! 
For our poor consciences are always — sad to say — ready to hear of some new "duty" or "path of 
surrender," or "dying out" to this or that: not satisfied with God's plain announcement that we died 
to sin, are not under law: that even those whom He placed under The Law had died to it, and been 


But inasmuch as the endeavor is widely made to make the Law "the first husband," it seems well to urge the fact that this 
would be to depart from the illustration entirely. 

For the fact to be illustrated is, that law rules humanity till death. The illustration is this universal one of a woman bound 
by law to a husband; not to the Law as a husband! Death now intervenes, and "the law of the husband" binds her no more. The 
Law was seen only as governing a relationship, — between husband and wife. A common conception would make the Law the 
husband! But the husband and wife are both ruled over by law: and if we make the Law the husband, what law would be over 
that Law? Furthermore, it is said, "if the husband die," This word excludes all idea of the Law being a husband: for God's Law 
does not die, God would not speak thus. 

And again, if we are to carry out this illustration, we must find one with whom the person to be set free (here called "the 
woman") is lawfully connected, and that connection broken by death. Now who, or what, is this? 

Does not the whole passage — from Chapter 5:12 onward tell us plainly? With whom were we first connected except Adam 
the first? All our standing and our responsibilities were in him. Our relation to him was such as nothing but death could break! 
We were responsible to furnish God a perfect righteousness and holiness in the flesh. No matter if we could not: we ought to do 
so. Our inability does not at all diminish our responsibility. 

Now, what did God do? "Our old man was crucified." We shared Christ's death as made sin for us. We died to our whole 
position in Adam, and to our obligations connected with him. 

However, inasmuch as the Mosaic Law was a complete economy under which God placed His chosen nation, we do not 
wonder that many who carry the illustration to its limits have regarded the Law as the "first husband." We do not desire to quarrel 
with these expositors: only let them confine the Mosaic economy where God confined it — to Israel. Let Israel's deliverance 
therefrom be to the Gentile believer a glorious illustration of his own blessed position — not under law as a principle, but under 
grace (6:14). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

discharged therefrom! And that we are to present ourselves to Him as "alive from the dead, and 
our members as instruments of righteousness unto God — 'whose service is perfect freedom.' " 155 

Paul's Law-struggle — before he knew the Gospel-revelation, 
that he had died to the Law 

7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Banish the 
thought! On the contrary, I had not become conscious of 
sin, except through law: for I had not perceived evil-desire, 
except the Law had said, Thou shalt not have evil-desire. 8 
But sin, seizing occasion through the Commandment, 
wrought out in me all manner of evil-desire. For apart from 
law sin is dead. 

9 And I was alive apart from law once. But upon the 
coming of the Commandment [to my conscience] sin sprang 
into life, and I died. 10 And the Commandment, which was 
unto life, this I found to be unto death: 11 for sin, seizing 
occasion, through the Commandment beguiled me, and 
through it slew me. 

12 So that the Law indeed is holy, and the 
Commandment holy, and righteous, and good. 

13 Did then that which is good become death unto me? 
Banish the thought! But sin, that it might appear as sin, by 
working out death to me through that which is good; — that 
through the Commandment sin might become exceeding 

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual: but I am 
carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I am working out, 
I do not own: for not what I am wishing this am I doing: 
but what I am hating — this I am practicing. 16 But if what 
I am not wishing, I am practicing, I am consenting unto the 
Law that it is right. 

17 So, therefore, no longer is it I that am working it out, 
but sin which is dwelling in me. 18 For I know that there 
does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh, a good thing: for 
the wishing is present with me, but the working out that 
which is right, is not. 19 For not what I am wishing am I 

155 N te carefully that It is to God that we are to present ourselves, and that as in Christ (Rom. 6:11, 13), We are not told to present 
ourselves to Christ, for we are already vitally in Him. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

practicing — that is, the good; but on the contrary, what I am 
not wishing — that is, the evil, this I am doing! 20 But if 
what I am not wishing, this I am practicing, no longer is it 
I that am working it out, but on the contrary, sin which 
dwelleth in me. 

21 I find then the law, that to me, desiring to be 
practicing the right, the evil is present. 22 For I delight in 
the Law of God after the inward man: 23 but I see a different 
law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, 
and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which 
is in my members. 

24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out 
of the body of this death? 

25 I thank God, [for deliverance] through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. 

So then, I myself with the mind, indeed, serve God's 
Law; but with the flesh sin's law. 

Before beginning the study of this great struggle of Paul's, let us get it settled firmly in our 
minds that Paul is here exercised not at all about pardon, but about deliverance: "Who shall deliver 
me from this body of death?" The whole question is concerning indwelling sin, as a power; and 
not committed sins, as a danger. 

Mark also that while (as we shall show) the indwelling Holy Spirit is the Christian's sole power 
against the flesh, He is not known in this struggle; but it is Paul himself against the flesh — with the 
Law prescribing a holy walk, but furnishing no power whatever for it. 

Even the fact of deliverance through Christ from the Law (described in the fourth and sixth 
verses), is most evidently not known during this conflict with the flesh, (This fact itself marks the 
conflict as one that preceded the revelation to the apostle of his being dead to the Law, not under 
law: for such knowledge would have made the struggle impossible.) 

Therefore this conflict of Paul's, instead of being an example to you, is a warning to you to 
keep out of it by means of God's plain words that you are not under law but under grace. 

But now you will adopt one of two courses: either you will read of and avoid the great struggle 
Paul had, under law, to make the flesh obedient by law, — with its consequent discovery of no good 
in him, and no strength; with his despairing cry, "Who shall deliver me?" and the blessed discovery 
of deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ and by the indwelling Spirit: and this is, of course, 
the true way, — for you are not under law. It is the God-honoring path, for it is the way of faith. It 
is the wisest, because in it you profit by the struggle and testimony of another, written out for your 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The second course, (and alas, the one followed by most in their distress and longing after a holy 
life), is to go through practically the same struggle as Paul had, — until you discover for yourself 
experimentally what he found. In this latter course you will be like Bunyan's pilgrim who fell into 
the Slough of Despond. You will enjoy reading the quotations below from Bunyan's Pilgrim's 
Progress. We suppose you have this priceless book: but quote, to save the trouble of reference. 

If we (as Gentiles who were not put under the Law by God), were able to believe, simply to 
believe, I say, that we died federally with Christ, we should enter into the blessed state of deliverance 
belonging to a risen one, who knows 'both that he died and that he is in Christ — not under law: 
and the "struggle" would be avoided. Rather, there would be a walk of faith, both in Christ' s work, 
and the Holy Spirit's indwelling power. 156 

And, if we can learn from Paul's struggle in this Seventh Chapter, the lessons Paul seeks to 
teach us — of the fact that we cannot be what we would, because of the inveterate, incurable evil of 
our flesh — of "the sin that dwelleth in us," and that deliverance is "through Christ Jesus our 
Lord," — through faith in Him, as having become identified with us as we were, and having thus 
effected our death, with Him, to sin, and all the "I must" claims of our old standing: so that we 
count ourselves dead to sin, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus, — it will be well! We shall be 


Wherefore Christian was left to stumble in the Slough of Despond alone; but still he endeavored to struggle to that side of 
the slough that was furthest from his own house, and next to the Wicketgate; the which he did, but could not get out because of 
the burden that was upon his back. But I beheld, in my dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him. 
What he did there? 

Sir, said Christian, I was bid to go this way by a man, called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might 
escape the wrath to come: and as I was going thither I fell in here. 

HELP; But why did you not look for the steps? [The great and precious promises of God,] 

CHRISTIAN: Fear followed me so hard, that I fled the next way and fell in. Then said Help, Give me thy hand; so he gave 
him his hand, and he drew him out, and set him upon sound ground, and bid him go on his way. 

Then I stepped to him that plucked him out and said: Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the way from the City of 
Destruction to yonder gate, is it that this plat is not mended, that poor travelers might go thither with more security? and he said 
unto me, This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended: it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction 
for sin doth continually run, and therefore it was called the Slough of Despond: for still as the sinner is awakened about his lost 
condition, there arise in his soul many fears and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and 
settle in this place. And this is the reason of the badness of this ground, 

It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad; his labourers also have, by the directions of his 
Majesty' s surveyors, been for above these sixteen hundred years employed about this patch of ground, if perhaps it might have 
been mended: yea, and to my knowledge, said he, here hath been swallowed up at least twenty thousand cart-loads; yea, millions 
of wholesome instructions, that have at all seasons been brought from all places of the King's dominions, (and they that can tell, 
say, they are the best materials to make good ground of the place), if so be it might have been mended; but it is the Slough of 
Despond still; and so will be, when they have done what they can. 

True, there are, by the direction of the Lawgiver, certain good and substantial steps placed even through the very midst of 
this slough; but at such times as this Place doth much spew out its filth, as it doth against change of weather, these steps are 
hardly seen; or if they be, men through the dizziness of their heads step besides; and then they are bemired to purpose, 
notwithstanding the steps be there: but the ground is good when they are once got in at the gate. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

But if we refuse to learn the lessons Paul would teach us here — of the great facts of our 
deliverance in Christ from "the power of sin which is the Law" (I Cor. 15:56), we shall not only 
fail of personal deliverance from sin's power, but we shall soon be traducing all the glorious 
doctrines of Paul, and be sinking to the doctrine that we must expect to go on sinning and getting 
forgiveness "till we die," — which is, of course, putting our own death in the place of Christ' s death: 
for God says we died with Him, and are now free in Him Risen! 

Verse 7: What shall we say, then? Is the Law sin? — Paul has been telling us in Chapter Six 
of having died to sin, and now, in the first section of Chapter Seven, he tells us of having been 
made dead to the Law and discharged therefrom. His enemies (and he must always keep them in 
mind — the enemies of grace) — would immediately accuse him thus: "You say we died to the Law; 
therefore you class the Law with sin." Banish the thought! is Paul's answer — his usual holy, 
horrified rejection of what is false. On the contrary, I had not become conscious of sin except 
through law: That is, forbidding a thing to one who cannot abstain from that thing, is the way to 
make him know his bondage — his own helplessness. "By the Law is the knowledge of sin." 

For I had not perceived evil-desire, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not have evil 
desire — Here Paul begins to show the spiritual character and reach of the Law. He will proceed 
through the rest of the Chapter to show in detail the spiritual effect of the Law on him. 

The direct reference in this word "desire" is to Deuteronomy 5:21, where the correct translation 
is, "Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's house, his field, or his man-servant, or his maid-servant, 
his ox, or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor's." Now, Saul of Tarsus had been occupied with 
the outward things, positive and negative) of the Law. But when God quickened to his heart the 
real meaning of the word covet, or desire — showing him that "desire not" forbade the reaching out 
of the heart after anything other than loving God with all the heart, soul, and mind, and his neighbor 
as himself; he discerned for the first time that such desire is sin. For desire, in a creature, for aught 
else but God's glory, is sin. Imagine Gabriel in God's presence entertaining desire for something 
for himself 157 : It would be the beginning of another Lucifer! 

It will be well, by the way, for all legalists — for those who seek either righteousness or holiness 
through the Law, to HEAR the Law: "Thou shalt not have evil desire"! 

Verse 8: But sin, seizing occasion through the Commandment, wrought out in me all 
manner of evil-desire. For apart from law sin is dead. 

That indwelling sin which was in Paul' s members, — left there by God, had no means of making 
itself known to Paul, except by a quickened Law that became direct Divine Commandment to his 
very self. Then, indeed, when God revealed to Paul, (already renewed but not knowing the incurable 
evil of the flesh) the spiritual nature and character of His holy Law, together with the demand on 
his conscience to fulfil it, — then came Sin's chance! Paul had no strength, — only the renewed will: 

157 The word epithumia (desire) is used 37 times in the New Testament, — in all but three of these passages denoting evil-desire. 
The three exceptions, however, indicate that the context must determine the meaning in any case. (Luke 22:15; Phil. 1:23; I 
Thess. 2:17: contrasted, for example, with Mark 4: 19; John 8:44; Rom. 1:24; Titus 2:12; James 1:14; I John 2:16; II Pet. 3:3). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Let Paul undertake — as he will — to fulfil what was commanded! Then it will be seen that "the 
strength of sin is the Law": that sin will prove itself stronger than Paul, through the Commandment! 

Wrought out in me all manner of evil-desire. This discovery that desire is sin would not be 
confined to the letter of the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not desire, or covet": but would in 
Paul's inner consciousness extend itself through the whole Decalogue: For the Law is one! 

To illustrate the words apart from Law, sin is dead: Suppose a man determined to drive his 
automobile to the very limit of its speed. If (as is not quite yet done!) signs along the road would 
say, No Speed Limit, the man's only thought would be to press his machine forward. But now 
suddenly he encounters a road with frequent signs limiting speed to thirty miles an hour. The man' s 
will rebels, and his rebellion is aroused still further by threats: Speed Limit Strictly Enforced. Now 
the man drives on fiercely, conscious both of his desire to "speed," and his rebellion against restraint. 
The speed limit signs did not create the wild desire to rush forward: that was there before. But the 
notices brought the man into conscious conflict with authority. 

For apart from Law, sin is dead — Sin, like a coiled serpent, is in the old nature, but cannot 
get at the conscience to condemn it: for indwelling sin has no means of "springing into life," as 
sin, apart from law: it is quiescent, dormant, "dead." 

Every impulse of the flesh, the old natural life, is sin. Take desire, or coveting: who is to know 
that this inward, universal, natural desire is sin, till the Law says to the conscience, "Thou shalt not 
covet"? This command not to covet does not remove the covetousness, but rather calls attention to 
it. And in forbidding it, immediately puts into conflict the renewed human will with the power of 
indwelling sin, — in this case with covetousness. 

Now, however quickened or renewed the human will may be, strength, power against sin, does 
not reside in the human will. Furthermore, human strength is not God's way to overcome indwelling 
sin. That power resides always and only in the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

Verses 9, 10: And I was alive apart from law once: but when the Commandment came, 
sin revived, and I died; and the Commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto 

The words alive apart from law once — to what stage of his life does this refer? We have noted 
that the Law had not come as a spiritual thing, as commandment, to him in his unregenerate state. 
Now let us mark that it was not "the Commandment" that came to save him: it was Jesus of Nazareth, 
in absolute grace, who appeared to him on the Damascus road. Surely if absolute grace ever met 
a man, it met Saul of Tarsus that day! And the questions that came out of his mouth, "Who art thou, 
Lord?" "What shall I do, Lord?" have nothing whatever to do with law. He has met a Person, not 
a code! And when Ananias comes to Saul as he prays, in Judas' house in Straight Street, he speaks 
nothing to Saul of law: but, "The Lord, even Jesus, who appeared unto thee in the way which thou 
earnest, hath sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 

Then Saul immediately begins his joyful, triumphant testimony in the synagogues in Damascus 
that "Jesus is the Son of God." That was no time for the Commandment to come. God is not speaking 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

to him yet of indwelling sin, but of full and free pardon and justification, through the shed blood 
of a Redeemer. This fills his soul during the first stage of his Christian life. 

Then he goes away into Arabia, and God begins to exercise him, evidently — as we have 
shown — no longer concerning sins, for they are pardoned; but concerning indwelling sin. 

It is to that happy, first stage of his Christian life, we believe, that Paul refers when he says, "I 
was alive apart from law once." He says, "I was alive." Paul would not affirm that a man dead in 
trespasses and sins was "alive"! 

But let us go over the ground very carefully. 

Apart from law — these words "apart from law" (Greek, choris nomou) are exactly the same 
as in Chapter 3:21 concerning justification! They indicate therefore, a state of no connection with 
law. Justification was on grounds where law did not come; and Paul' s first condition after salvation 
was also thus, as we shall see. 

Paul connects with this word "once" the Law's becoming quickened to his soul: When the 
Commandment came. No: this could not have been during the Tarsus, or Gamaliel, or persecuting 
days: for Paul says of those very days, "I verily thought I ought to do many things contrary to the 
Name of Jesus of Nazareth." There was no hint there, surely, of a conflict with indwelling sin! But 
only a steady certainty that he was right. Those who would make the struggle of Romans Seven in 
any sense that of an unregenerate Jew under the Law should remember that for a Jew there was no 
such struggle! An unregenerate Jew was occupied with outward things, and rested there! If he were 
ceremonially "clean," and kept the "feasts, new moons, and Sabbath days," there was no "struggle" 
in his heart. Why should there be? Was he not of the chosen people? and walked he not "according 
to the ordinances"? Paul was a Pharisee — "a Pharisee of Pharisees" — being "more exceedingly 
zealous for the traditions of the fathers." Let him alone at that! There was no "struggle." He was 
satisfied, serene, apart from any spiritual knowledge of the Law! The Law was a terrible thing. It 
was a "fiery Law." When Israel heard it, at Sinai, they stood afar off, in terror, and said to Moses, 
"Let not Jehovah speak with us any more, lest we die"! 

The Jews, in Paul' s day, (as today) held it in the letter. They knew nothing of its holy, "spiritual" 
character. They were occupied with the length of a "Sabbath day's journey"; or the question of 
how many nails a man could have in his sandals without "bearing a burden on the Sabbath"; and 
of "washing their hands to the elbows" before eating (Mark 7:3, marg.). There is not the slightest 
reason for differing Saul of Tarsus from those other Pharisees who would let the sick, palsied and 
demon-possessed remain under Satan's bondage — if only their Sabbath were observed their way! 
(There is nothing so merciless as self-righteous religion: witness all History!) See Saul holding the 
clothes of Stephen's murderers! See him "breathing out threatening and slaughter" — mark 
it — slaughter, wholesale murder, toward "any that were of the Name" of Jesus. 

What perfect theological folly to conceive that the struggle of Romans Seven had been all along 
in Saul' s heart! That such a monster of murder was at the same time "delighting in the Law of God 
after the inward man"! No, no! That was before the holy Law, with its "Commandment" for an 
inner personal holiness, — free, even, from unlawful desire (epithumia) had been quickened to him! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Saul of Tarsus could have headed the Spanish Inquisition, and have had no qualms of conscience! 
He was on his way to Damascus as a regular, merciless Duke of Alva, to crush Christ's 
confessors, — with a good conscience: "I verily thought I ought to do." 

Paul certainly distinguishes here between his early Christian life of rejoicing in the new-found 
Redeemer, and that later experience in which God exercises him about indwelling sin and deliverance 

But upon the coming of the Commandment [to my conscience] sin sprang into life, and I 

Here is seen that crisis described by so many godly saints, it is what some people call "coming 
under conviction for holiness." "Ye are yet carnal," Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Here he is 
discovering that state in himself. To Paul, converted, but still thinking himself under law, God uses 
"the Commandment." He discovers to Paul the spirituality of the Law and lets it command him to 
be and do. This Paul undertakes, not knowing of the sin dwelling in his members. So, Sin sprang 
into life, with the result that, — I died, as the following verses describe: it is the death of all hopes 
in himself, in his flesh. 

And the Commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto death — its proper 
ministry, condemnation and death (II Cor. 3:7, 9) — to all hopes in flesh, even in the flesh of people 
born again, as Paul was. 

Verse 1 1 : For sin, seizing occasion, through the Commandment beguiled me, and through 
it slew me. 

Sin is personified all through this passage: Let Paul, says Sin, undertake to fulfil this 
Commandment! Let him keep on trying it! 

How wonderful the consistency of Scripture! Paul was not under Law, being in Christ. God 
was not "beguiling" Paul in commanding what He knew Paul could not fulfil. But God permitted 
Sin to "beguile" him, by leading him to rely on his own power to obey, that Paul might find his 
utter powerlessness, and finally despair of delivering himself. 

And through it slew me — That is, killed off all his hopes in himself, his "flesh." We all know 
how endlessly "resolutions" are formed by earnest Christians — honest resolutions to be "better" 
Christians, to "quit" this or that sin or bad habit: and what failure and despair is the result of relying 
on our own wills! 

But to Paul, failure was terrible: for there was the Law, the Law of Moses, given by God, under 
which he had been born and brought up, and constantly instructed. The Law was his hope. And 
now it helps him? Not at all! Indeed it becomes the very means by which Sin attacks him. And Sin 
slays him — that is, all hopes in himself lie vanquished dead ! And that by means of a holy instrument! 
for, Paul cries: 

Verse 12: The Law is holy, and the Commandment holy, and righteous and good — Here 
Paul positively refutes the charge that he dishonored God's Law. Nay, more, the Commandment 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

(entol ), the direct application to him of the Law, with its fatal consequences to himself, to his 
self-hopes, he defends. This is the mark of a saint: he upholds God, and condemns himself. 

Verse 13: But now he answers the further question: Did then that which is good become death 
unto me? And again his answer is, Banish the thought! But it was indwelling sin that wrought 
death to me, — using indeed, that which was good. Through the Commandment, thus, Sin was 
shown to be sin. The more fully and widely the Law resolved itself in new and fresh commands 
to Paul's soul, the more intense and desperate became indwelling Sin's horrid opposition to it. Thus 
was Sin's hideous countenance seen in full! It became exceeding sinful! 

In general, we may say that in verses 14 to 17, the emphasis is upon the practicing what is 
hated, — that is, the inability to overcome evil in the flesh; while in verses 18 to 21, the emphasis 
is upon the failure to do the desired good, — the inability, on account of the flesh, to do right. 

Thus the double failure of a quickened man either to overcome evil or to accomplish good — is 
set forth. There must come in help from outside, beyond himself! This, of course, is the indwelling 
Spirit, as the eighth chapter so vividly portrays. 

In narrating in particular the account of his great struggle in verses 14 to 23, we find the apostle 
arriving at three definite conclusions. 

First, In doing what he is not wishing, but practicing what he is hating, his conclusion is: "If 
what I am not wishing, that I am doing, I am consenting unto the Law that it is right." Verses 14 
to 16. 

Second, It is indwelling sin, and not his real self, that is working out this evil: "But if what I 
am not wishing, this I am practicing, no longer is it I that am working it out, but on the contrary, 
sin which dwelleth in me." Verses 17 to 20. 

Third, There is the terrible revelation of a positive Law (or settled principle) of sin in his 
members, defeating him despite his inward delight in the Law of God: — "bringing me into captivity 
under the law of sin which is in my members." Verse 23. 

For we know that the Law is spiritual: but I 158 am carnal, sold under sin. For that which 
I am working out, I do not own: for not what I am wishing this am I doing: but what I am 
hating — this I am practicing. 

The Law is spiritual: but I am carnal — "Spiritual" may include: 

(1) Addressed to man by God, who is "spirit"; 


"The apostle does not say, 'We know that the Law is spiritual and we are carnal.' Had he done so, it would have been to 
speak of Christians, as such, in their Proper and normal condition." 

Romans Seven is not the present experience of any one, but a delivered person ascribing the state of an undelivered one. 
A man in a morass does not quietly ascribe how a man sinks into it, because he fears to sink and stay there. The end of Romans 
Seven is a man out of the morass showing in peace the principle and manner in which one sinks in it" (Darby). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

(2) To "the spirit of man that is in him" (I Cor. 2:11); 

(3) Consisting of communications adapted to and only understandable by beings of a spiritual 
realm or sphere. 

(4) "Spiritual," also, in the moral sense; holy because communicated by a holy God. 

Thus Law is spiritual. 

But I am carnal: Paul speaks of himself here as he is by nature. He does not say body-ish 
(sema, body, as opposed to pneuma, spirit) but "carnal": The word sarkinos, translated "carnal," 
comes from the root, sarks, "flesh." 

1 . If Paul had been speaking of himself before being quickened, he would have used the word 
natural: "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God" (I Cor. 2:14). 

2. "Carnal" is not used to describe an unregenerate person, but a Christian not delivered from 
the power of the flesh: "I, brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, 
as unto babes in Christ" (I Cor. 3:1). 

3. In this connection, note that while Paul's condition at the time of this struggle was that of 
being carnal, there are those that are spiritual: "He that is spiritual judgeth all things" (I Cor. 2:15). 
"Ye who are spiritual, restore" (Gal. 6:1). 

4. Therefore, by the word "carnal" Paul was describing a state out of which there was deliverance. 

We know that carnal, sold under sin — is evidently meant by the apostle in this fourteenth 
verse to indicate the state of human nature as contrasted with God's holy spiritual Law. 

Sold under sin: This is slave-market talk: and it describes all of us by nature. Instead of being 
spiritual and therefore able to hearken to, delight in and obey God's holy spiritual Law, we are 
turned back, since Adam sinned, to a fleshly condition, our spirits by nature dead to God, and our 
soul-faculties under the domination of the still unredeemed body. Now Paul, though his spirit was 
quickened; and his inward desires, therefore, were toward God's Law; found to his horror his state 
by nature "carnal," fleshly, "sold under sin." How little humanity realizes this awful, universal fact 
about man — "sold under sin"! 

"Sold under sin" is exactly what the new convert does not know! Forgiven, justified, he knows 
himself to be: and he has the joy of it! But now to find an evil nature, of which he had never become 
really conscious, and of which he thought himself fully rid, when he first believed, is a "second 
lesson" which is often more bitter than the first — of guilt! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

For that which I am working out, I do not own [as my choice] : for not what I am wishing 
this am I doing 159 , but what I am hating, this I am practicing. 

We must constantly remember throughout this struggle that it is not a description by the apostle 
Paul of an experience he was having when he wrote this Epistle! but an experience of a regenerate 
man before he knows either about indwelling sin or that he died to sin and to the Law which gives 
sin its power; and who also does not know the Holy Spirit, as an indwelling presence and power 
against sin. God let Paul have this experience. And he now writes about it that we may read and 
know all the facts of our salvation: not merely of the awful guilt of our sins, and our forgiveness 
through the blood of Christ; but also of the moral hideousness of our old selves; and our 
powerlessness, though regenerate, to deliver ourselves, from "the law of sin" in our members. 

Therefore Paul said that in that struggle he found himself "working out" a manner of life he 
refused to "own" — to admit as his real choice. For, he says, Not what I am wishing, that am I 
practicing. The word "wish" or "desire" is not quite strong enough for the Greek word here, (thelo); 
but the word will is too strong; for "will" has come in English to have the element of carrying a 
purpose through; which Paul was unable to do. His holy wish never mounted the throne of / will. 

Verse 16: But now he gains a further step: But if what I am not wishing, I am practicing, I 
am consenting unto the Law that it is right. The wicked man does what he is wishing; and is 
willing to condemn God's Law if it interferes with him. But Paul cries in this struggle, "I have just 
discovered that I am not at all in my heart opposing the Law; but am in my heart of hearts consenting 
that it is right." And that is a very real step. In the matter of forgiveness, the thief on the cross took 
that step, in saying to his fellow, "We receive the due reward of our deeds." And Paul, forgiven 
but undelivered, cries, The Law is right! My heart consents to God's Word and God's 
Way, — however far I am from following it! And now he pursues his advantage: 

So therefore, no longer is it I that am working it out, but sin which is dwelling in me. 

Verse 17: "No longer I!" That was a wonderful discovery! For a forgiven Saul, who had gone 
on in joy awhile without inward trouble, it was indeed a terrible awakening to become again 
convicted — not now of sins, but of indwelling sin, of a hateful power that seemed one's very 
self — but was really "our old man." 1 60 But he is making discoveries about himself — amazing things, 
brought out for the first time in Scripture. He is going much further than "consenting to the Law 
that it is right" (verse 16); for now, instead of being completely over whelmed by this holy, righteous 
Law; he arrives at (and writes down for us!) a conclusion that is daring: Since I am doing what I 

159 Three Greek verbs expressing conduct are used in these verses: (1) prasso, do! (2) poieo, practise, make a business of; (3) 
katergadzomai, work out to a result (whether by personal choice or nature). By translating literally we can better get the vivid 
sense of the original. 


For, though our old man was crucified with Christ, put in the place of certain, though not instant death — we find, though 
we have "put him off (Col. 3:9) we must "put away," as to every thing of the former life, "the old man" (Eph. 4:22). And, to 
be put away, he must be discovered to us, and this is what is so vividly set before us in this struggle. 

Note, it is never said the old man is dead, but that we died. We were federally identified with Christ, and passed on with 
Him into burial, and. now share His Risen life. The old man is not to be "counted dead" (as some very dear brethren have put 
it): but to be counted crucified — his place being there only. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

am not wishing, there must be another and evil principle working within me. For it is not my real 
self that is working out this evil, but sin which dwelleth in me. An unwelcome, hateful presence! 

Verse 18: For I know that there does not dwell in me, that is in my flesh, a good thing: for 
the wishing is present with me, but working out that which is right, is not. 

Here is that man who wrote in Philippians Three, "If any man hath whereof to glory in the flesh, 
I yet more!" And he gave there seven facts he could glory in, — beyond the greatest Greek, or 
Roman, or English, or any Gentile — "I yet more" ! but now saying, "In me dwelleth no good thing." 
And also: "I can will, but cannot do!" This great double lesson must be learned by all of us! (1) 
There is no good thing in any of us — in "our flesh" — our old selves. (2) We cannot do the good 
we wish or will, to do. Most humbling of all confessions. Renewed, desiring to proceed — we cannot! 
We are dependent on the Holy Spirit as our only spiritual power, just as on Christ as our only 

Alas, how incompletely are these two facts taught and learned! We have seen hundreds of eager 
young believers who are being told to "surrender to Christ," that all depended upon their yielding, 
etc. But these dear children, what did they know of the tremendous truths Paul has taught in the 
early part of Romans, before asking that believers present themselves to God as alive from the 
dead? (Rom. 6:13). He has taught the terrible, lost guilty state of all men; their inability to recover 
righteousness; then Christ set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood as their only hope; 
then identification, as connected with Adam, with Christ in His death; and the command to reckon 
themselves dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus; together with, the fact that they are not 
under law, but under grace. 

All this before the real call for surrender for service, in the Twelfth Chapter is given at all! 

Our hearts are weary with the appeals to man 's will, — whether the will of a sinner to "make a 
start," "be a Christian," etc.; or the appeal to the will of believers who have not yet been shown 
what guilt is, and what indwelling sin is. For God' s Word in Romans 7.18 tells us that while to will 
may be present with us, to work that which is right is not present. Paul told those same Philippians 
that believers were such as had "no confidence" in the flesh, and that it is God that worketh in us, 
"both to will and to work, for His good pleasure." 161 


The author must be permitted to say that he had part in the Student Volunteer Movement for foreign missions of fifty years 
ago; that he saw hundreds of earnest and honest students "volunteer" for the mission field. 

But afterwards, in teaching the book of Romans, especially in China, he had many a missionary say, "We never knew this 
gospel before." It is nothing short of tragic to send men and women out against the hosts of hell in heathendom without teaching 
them through and through and through and through this mighty gospel Paul preached! — which gospel he says is "the power of 
God unto salvation." And he comes to further detail in saying, "The word of the cross is the power of God." Education, medication, 
sanitation, and general sweetness — what does Satan care for that. The word of the cross is the great wire along which runs the 
dynamic of God — and it runs along no other wire. If God is permitting great investments of money, men and time along other 
lines to be swept away, let us remember that the real Church of God, having the Holy Ghost, does not need great outward things. 
Paul built no colleges, schools, or institutions — which may be useful, never essential, But Paul's last epistle, just before his 
martyrdom, says "The Lord stood by me and strengthened me; that through me THE MESSAGE might be fully proclaimed, and 
that all the Gentiles might hear." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 19: For not what I am wishing am I practicing — that is, the good; but on the contrary, 
what I am not wishing — that is, the evil, this I am doing. 

Now this verse must not be for one moment misapplied, that is, it must not be made to describe 
Paul's "manner of life in Christ Jesus," which was, as we know, victorious, and fruitful and always 
rejoicing. But verse 19 does indeed express concerning Paul, and all of us, all the time, our utter 
powerlessness in ourselves (though Christians) against the evil of the flesh: whether we are 
consciously under Moses' Law, as was Paul, or convicted by the power of an awakened conscience 
that we ought to have deliverance from our sinful, selfish selves, and walk in victory in Christ. 
Verse 19 is not normal Christian experience, certainly. But it may describe our very case, if we 
have not learned God's way of faith. 

Verse 20: But if what I am not wishing, this I am practicing, no longer is it I that am 
working it out, but on the contrary, sin which dwelleth in me. 

Paul reasserts the blessed fact (which is, alas, no comfort to him as yet!) that it is no longer the 
real "I," but indwelling sin, that is working out this hated life of defeat. 

Verse 21: 1 find then the law [or principle] that to me, desiring to be practicing the right, 
the evil is present. 

He now states as a settled conclusion, what he has experimentally discovered. And we all need 
to consent to the fact — even if we have found God's way of deliverance, that evil is present. It is 
the denial of this fact that has wrecked thousands of lives! For evil will be present until the Lord 
comes, bringing in the redemption of our bodies. 

Verses 22, 23: For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man: but I see a different 
law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity 
under the law of sin which is in my members. 

Here is first, delight, second, discernment, and third, defeat. 

1. First, delight: in God's Law, Paul delights — this is a strong and inclusive word. And, after 
the inward man, — thus revealing himself as regenerate throughout this struggle: No unregenerate 
man would say, (unless profane) "It is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me:" For, 

(1) An unregenerate man is not conscious of a moral power which is not himself: for he has 
but the one nature, — he is "in the flesh." 

(2) An unregenerate man could not say, "What I hate, that I do." For only born-again people 
hate evil. "Ye that love Jehovah, hate evil" (Ps. 97:10), and David could say of himself, "I hate 
every false way" (Ps. 119:104). But of the wicked he wrote, "He abhorreth not evil" (Ps. 36:4). 

(3) An unregenerate man could not say, "What I would not, that I do, — I consent to the Law 
that it is good." An unregenerate man resists the Law, that he may "justify himself." A regenerate 
man consents to the Law's being good, no matter how it judges what he finds himself doing! (verse 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

(4) The unregenerate man could not say, "I delight in the Law of God after the inward man." 
For by nature all men are "children of wrath," "alienated from the life of God"; and "the mind of 
the flesh is enmity against God, not subject to the Law of God." Before his conversion, Saul, as 
we saw, could help to stone Stephen, — "verily thinking he ought" to do it; but Paul was not then 
seeking holiness (as the man in Romans Seven is), but was secure in his own righteousness as a 

(5) The unregenerate man could not say, "Wretched man that I am!" For he could not see his 
wretchedness! His whole life was to build up that which was the flesh. 

(6) If you claim that the "wretched man" of Romans Seven is an unregenerate man under 
conviction of sin, the complete reply is, that this man of Romans Seven is crying for 
deliverance, — not from sin's guilt and penalty, but from its power. Not for forgiveness of sins, but 
help against indwelling sin. This man is exercised, not about the day of judgment, but about a 
condition of bondage to that which he hates. The Jews on the Day of Pentecost, and the jailor at 
Philippi, cried out in terror, "What shall we do to be saved?" It was guilt and danger they felt. But 
this man in Romans Seven cries, "Who shall deliver me" (not from guilt) but, "from this body of 
death?" No one but a quickened soul ever knows about a "body of death"! 

(7) But perhaps the most striking argument of all is in the closing words of Chapter Seven — verse 
25: "Therefore then I myself with the mind, am subject to God's Law, but with the flesh to sin's 
law." Here we have both spiritual life and consciousness; also, discernment, and discrimination of 
both his real true new self, which chooses God and His will and of the flesh which will continue 
to choose "sin's law": and all this conclusion after he has realized deliverance from the "body of 
death" through our Lord Jesus Christ! 

2. Second, discernment: I see a different law in my members. It is the unwillingness to own 
this different law, this settled state of enmity, toward God, in our own members, that so terribly 
bars spiritual blessing and advancement. As long as we think lightly of the fact of the presence with 
us of the fallen nature, (I speak of Christians) we are far from deliverance. In the law of 
leper-cleansing (Lev. 13:2 ff), "if a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising," or even "a 
white rising" — he was unclean. (See the various degrees of the plague.) But, "If the leprosy break 
out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his head 
even to his feet, as far as appeareth to the priest; then the priest shall look; and, behold, if the leprosy 
have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: 
he is clean"! It is significant that at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, (Matt. 8:1-4) two 
things should be there: (1) A leper — showing the Law could cleanse no one. (2) A leper, as Luke 
the physician tells us, "full of leprosy" (Luke 5:12). It is because people do not recognize their 
all-badness that they do not find Christ all in all to them. 

3. Third, defeat: There is no strength or power in ourselves against the law of sin which is in 
our members. God has left us as much dependent on Christ' s work for our deliverance as for our 
forgiveness! It is wholly because we died with Him at the cross, both to sin and to the whole legal 
principle, that sin's power, for those in Christ, is broken. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 24: Wretched man that I am! The word here translated "wretched" meant originally, 
"wretched — through the exhaustion of hard labor," (Vincent). But the word reads in the Septuagint 
of Isaiah 33:1, Jeremiah 4:30 "desolate, bound for destruction," as also in Revelation 3:17. The 
hopelessness of Paul's condition, unless he be delivered, is thus appallingly revealed! 

Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? Note now at once that all self -hope has 
ceased! It is not, How shall I deliver myself? or even, How shall I be delivered? But it is a frantic 
appeal for a deliverer! Who shall deliver me? Instinctively and absolutely Paul knows that no 
process will deliver him. The awful shallowness of the "Christian Scientist," who would get rid of 
all evil by "demonstrating" with the human will against it is seen at once! So is the silly (and 
damning) folly of the Buchmanites, the "life-changers." Where do such folk come in, in such a 
struggle as this of Paul with this body of death? They simply do not come in, for they know nothing 
of it. The Holy Spirit is not in their vain self-processes, any more than in the mumblings of human 
priests, — pagan or popish. 

The body of this death — what a fearful description of the body! — unredeemed, unchanged, 
under the law of sin in all its members. No matter what the "delight" of the quickened human spirit 
in the things of God may be, to dwell undelivered in such a body is to find it a "body of death." 

Verse 25: 1 thank God, [for deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord. Ah! The answer to 
Paul's self-despairing question, "Who shall deliver me?" is a new revelation, — even identification 
with Christ in His death! For just as the sinner struggles in vain to find forgiveness and peace, until 
he looks outside himself to Him who made peace by the blood of His cross, just so does the 
quickened soul, struggling unto despair to find victory over sin by self-effort, look outside himself 
to Christ — in whom he is, and in whom he died to sin and to law! Paul was not delivered by Christ, 
but through Him; not by anything Christ then or at that time did for him; but through the revelation 
of the fact that he had died with Christ at the cross to this hated indwelling sin, and law of sin; and 
to God's Law, which gave sin its power. It was a new vision or revelation of the salvation which 
is in Christ — as described in verses 4 and 6 of our chapter. 

The sinner is not forgiven by what Christ now does, but by faith in what He did do at the cross, 
for, "The word of the cross is the power of God." Just so, the believer is not delivered by what 
Christ does for him now; but in the revelation to his soul of identification with Christ's death at the 
cross: for again, "The word of the cross is the power of God." 

It will be by the Holy Spirit, that this deliverance is wrought in us; as we shall see in Chapter 
Eight. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, and by "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," is God' s 

To sum up Paul's Great Discoveries in this Struggle of Chapter Seven: 

l.That sin dwelt in him, — though he delighted in God's Law! 

2.That his will was powerless against it. 

3. That the sinful self was not his real self. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

4.That there was deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ! 162 

I thank God [for deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul had cried, Who shall 
deliver me? The answer is, — the discovery to his soul of that glorious deliverance at the cross! of 
death to sin and Law with Him! So it is said, "Through Jesus Christ our Lord." The word of the 
cross — of what Christ did there, is the power of God — whether to save sinners or deliver saints! 

But ah, what a relief to Paul's soul — probably out yonder alone in Arabia, struggling more and 
more in vain to compel the flesh to obey the Law, to have revealed to his weary soul the second 
glorious truth of the Gospel — that he had died with Christ — to sin, and to Law which sin had used 
as its power! 

And now the conclusion — which is the text of the whole chapter! So then — always a quod erat 
demonstrandum with Paul! I myself, with the mind, indeed — this is the real renewed self, which 
the apostle has over and over said that "sin that dwelleth in him" was not! "With the mind" — all 
the spiritual faculties including, indeed, the soul-faculties of reason, imagination, sensibility — which 
even now are "being renewed" by the Holy Spirit, day by day. Am subject to God's law [or 
will] — all new creatures can say this. But with the flesh sin's law. He saw it at last, and bowed to 
it, — that all he was by the flesh, by Nature, was irrevocably committed to sin. So he gave up — to 
see himself wholly in Christ (who now lived in Him) and to walk not by the Law, even in the 
supposed powers of the quickened life — but by the Spirit only: in whose power alone the Christian 
life is to be lived. 


It is of the utmost importance clearly to see that the great struggle of the latter part of Romans 
Seven is neither a purely Jewish one, nor a normal Christian walk, nor a necessary Christian 

It is not a purely Jewish struggle. Jewish struggles are set forth in the Psalms, and are a conflict 
with outward enemies, or the questioning cry (as in Ps. 88) as to why God seems far off, or even, 
for the present, seemingly against the supplicator (typically — the Remnant in the Last Days). But 
not even in the deepest Psalm of trouble is there ever a hint of two natures within the struggler! 
(For example. Ps. 10, or Ps. 88, or Ps 77, or even such Psalms as Ps. 51, Ps. 32.) 

Neither is this struggle a normal Christian experience. For, (1) there is no mention of Christ 
until the legal struggle is ended in self-despair, — and, (2) There is no mention whatever of the Holy 
Spirit — whose recognized presence and power make possible proper Christian experience: which 
is "walking by the Spirit." 

Archbishop Leighton, on Rom. 8:35, says, "Is this he that so lately cried out, 'Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver 
me?' that now triumphs, O happy man! 'who shall separate us from the love of Christ?' Yes, it is the same. Pained then with 
the thoughts of that miserable conjunction with a body of death, and so crying out, who will deliver? Now he hath found a 
Deliverer to do that for him, to whom he is forever united. So vast a difference is there betwixt a Christian taken in himself and 
in Christ!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

That it is not a normal Christian walk, we have also shown from Paul's own triumphant life. 

And that it is not a necessary Christian experience, is seen from the fact that Paul is, in this 
struggle, occupied with the Law, — under which God says believers are not! (6:14.) The complete 
Gospel believed, makes such a struggle unnecessary and indeed impossible. For the gospel reveals 
(as in Romans 6:1-11 and 7:1-6, and all Chapter 8) (1) that we died with Christ and are now alive 
unto God in Christ Risen; (2) that those under Law were made dead to and discharged from the 
legal economy; (3) that the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer has taken over the conflict with the 
flesh; and is the whole power of a triumphant walk; (4) that therefore there is no condemnation to 
those in Christ Jesus, and no separation from God's love to those in Him! 

Doubtless we often see other Christians having a Seventh-of-Romans struggle, and shall easily 
find ourselves falling into such a struggle. But as the gospel concerning our death with Christ both 
to sin and to the legal principle becomes clear to us, and our faith therein becomes strong; and our 
reliance upon the Holy Spirit becomes more constant, we shall walk as Paul did: — "Thanks be unto 
God who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ." 

The path of faith is the most hateful path possible for the flesh. Faith gives the flesh no 
place — leaves no "part" for man's will and energy. The flesh will go to any degree of religious 
self-denial, or self-inflicted sufferings — anything but death! 

But faith begins right there: we died with Christ, we live in Him! We have no righteousness, no 
strength, — and desire none: Christ is our righteousness, and "when we are weak, we are strong." 

Thus the walk of simple-hearted faith is indeed in another realm from the struggle of Romans 
Seven. God give us to have faith "as a little child," a cloudless, unmixed vision, as had Paul at last! 

When the demand, however, arises in our hearts that we be what we find written in the Epistles, 
the effect is the same exactly as in Paul's case as regards the discovery of powerlessness. The 
"Holiness" people call it, as we said, "becoming convicted for holiness." The conscience becomes 
suddenly awakened. We see that we have been content with a righteous standing, without a really 
holy walk. If we have seen that we died with Christ; and are properly instructed, we shall, upon 
such awakening, 

(1) Know that there is deliverance in Christ for us, whether we are yet able, or not, in living 
faith to reckon that we are dead unto sin and alive unto God. 

(2) We shall be, or become, willing to have God show us how, or wherein, we are still holding 
fast to any sin, or any indulgence of the flesh. 

(3) We shall be brought, by God's grace, to agree to the sentence of death that has already been 
pronounced on this particular thing, when our old man, — all our old self, was crucified with Christ. 

(4) Then we shall enter into the place of reckoning ourselves dead to sin, and to this darling 
sin, and to all sin, — as God commands His saints who have died with Christ. 

(5) We may have, if necessary, a struggle here: as James shows: 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? . . . God 
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Be subject therefore to God; but resist the devil, 
and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you!" 

And now see his following words: 

"Cleanse your hands, ye sinners" — those saints indulging known sin. "And. purify your hearts, 
ye doubleminded" — those believers who have been half for the world, while half for heaven. "Be 
afflicted, and mourn and weep" (Not that God is unwilling, but that we are!) "Let your laughter" 
(which has been the fool's laughter of this condemned world!) "be turned to mourning, and your 
joy" (which has been the joy of worldlings, not of heaven-bound saints) "to heaviness. Humble 
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall exalt you!" 

This is the path for worldly Christians. Not that the grace of God is insufficient: but they have 
been rejoicing with a condemned world! And they must come out of that, though in bitterness. 

However, the bitterness need not be, — if we are willing ! "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall 
eat the fruit of the land." And nothing will persuade our hearts like the goodness of God, in the gift 
of His Son, and the work of the cross, already accomplished on our behalf. 

Whether, then, it be a soul under law, or one in greater light: there will be the discovery of our 
own utter powerlessness, and of deliverance — from sin and self, in our Lord Jesus Christ! And this 
is the object of the revelation of Paul's great struggle, — not mere information, but application of 
these lessons to ourselves. For if we go through Chapters Six and Seven unexercised of soul, how 
shall we learn the blessed walk in the Spirit of Chapter Eight? 

For "the flesh" is there — in Chapter Eight — all unchanged! And unless we practically 
learn, — learn for and regarding our own selves — the great lesson that in ourselves, in "the whole 
natural man," there is no good; that even when we will to do good, evil is yet present, and dominant! 
and that help for us, for our very selves, must come from without: unless we learn this holy 
self-despair; we will not enter into actual spiritual deliverance in Christ: but will only be "puffed 
up" by our study. For mere knowledge "puffeth up." But we all know that Paul was not puffed up 
when he cried, "O wretched man that I am!" And if Paul found a body of death to be delivered 
from, you and I have that same body of death! And we too must be brought to say, "I thank God 
through Jesus Christ our Lord." It may be that you will be found like the remarkable case below, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

related by Mr. Finney 163 : and be ready to step immediately into any new revelation of blessing in 
Christ 164 It should be a true illustration of every believer! 


In his remarkable Autobiography Mr. Charles G. Finney relates the case of a lady who had always been marked for simplicity 
and uprightness of spirit. She had been, when a young woman, very highly regarded, but when she heard the gospel, she believed 
it, immediately entering fully into the admission of her guilt before God, and trusting Him implicitly on the ground of the shed 
blood of Christ, But in Mr, Finney's meetings she heard that God had commanded her to yield herself to Him and be filled with 
the Holy Spirit. She instantly complied again. And her husband came to Mr. Finney saying, "I cannot understand my wife. She 
was the most perfect creature I ever knew, when we were married. Then she was converted, and has been absolutely exemplary 
ever since. But she says now that at your meeting the other night she yielded herself in a new way to God; and I myself can see 
the most astonishing change, but cannot account for it at all." (We relate from memory.) 

This was a case of simplicity of heart and mind, perhaps not often found. Since the work on the cross, anyone can appropriate 
just as simply the whole benefit of Christ's work. 


But if you find yourself not spiritual, not even ready of heart to become so, can at least pray the prayer Mr. F. B . Meyer — of 
blessed memory! taught so many: 

"Lord, make me willing to be made willing!" 

There is a blessed walk in the Spirit for you ! Believe that. And cast yourself upon the grace of God! He will bring it to pass ! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


The Holy Spirit's Work in the Believer: as Against the Flesh, verses 1-13; as Witnessing our 
Sonship and Heirship — even though Suffering, verses 14-25; As Helping our Infirmity by 
Intercession, verses 26, 27. 

God's Great Purpose in His Elect: Conformity to Christ's Image, and Association with Him: 
Their Heavenly Destiny. All Earthly Providences for their Good. Verses 28-30. 

Triumphant Response of Faith to These Things! Verses 31-34. 

No Separation from God's Love, since it is IN Christ Jesus our Lord! Verses 35-39. 

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that 
are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ 
Jesus freed me from, the law of sin and of death. 

3 For, (the thing the Law could not do, because it was 
powerless on account of the flesh) God, having sent His 
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, 
condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the righteous result of the 
Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to 
flesh, but according to Spirit. 

5 For those who are according to flesh, the things of the 
flesh do mind; but those according to Spirit, peace. 7 
Because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God: for it 
is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be: 
8 and those being in the flesh cannot please God. 

9 But ye are not in flesh but in Spirit, if so be that the 
Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the 
Spirit of Christ, he is none of His 10 And if Christ is in you, 
the body, indeed, is dead on account of sin; but the Spirit is 
life on account of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him 
that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you. He that 
raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to 
your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwelleth in you. 

WE HAVE NOW COME to that great chapter which sets forth that part in our salvation which 
is exercised by the third Person of the Godhead, the blessed Holy Spirit. Without Christ's work on 
the cross there would be no salvation, and without the presence and constant operation of the Holy 
Spirit, there would be no application of that salvation to us, — indeed, no revelation of it to us! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Let us therefore with the profoundest reverence, and greatest gladness, take up the study here 
in Romans Eight of that work of the Holy Spirit which is directly concerned with our salvation: for 
Romans is a book of salvation. Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the message that concerns salvation. 
Christ Jesus and Him glorified is that which concerns our perfecting as believers. The latter, other 
epistles will unfold more fully. But the teaching of the work of the Holy Ghost in Romans regards 
His fundamental operations, — just as it is fundamental phases of Christ's work that are presented 

The Eighth Chapter of Romans is the instinctive goal of the Christian. Whether or not he can 
tell why — whether or not he can give the great doctrinal facts that give him comfort here, he is, 
nevertheless, like a storm-tossed mariner who has arrived at his home port, and has cast anchor, 
when he comes into Romans Eight! 

The reasons are: 

1. He finds himself in the hands of the blessed Comforter, the indwelling Spirit, in whose 
almighty and loving ministry he finds "life and peace." 

2. He finds himself, without cause in himself, called "God' s elect," — involved in a great Divine 
purpose, that will end in his being conformed to Christ' s image, Christ being "the First-born among 
many brethren." 

3. He finds himself beloved in Christ; and therefore never to be "separated" from that love. 

And these are both the "upper and nether springs" of eternal comfort. 

This Eighth of Romans, then, comes after the work of Christ — after His atoning blood has put 
the believer's sins away; after he has seen, also, that he died with Christ, — to sin, and also to that 
legal responsibility he had in Adam; after the words, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for 
ye are not under Law, but under Grace"; and, finally, after the hopeless struggle of the apostle has 
shown "the flesh" to be incurably bad; and that there is a blessed deliverance, which, though not 
changing "the body of this death," nevertheless gives freedom therefrom "through our Lord Jesus 

Verses 1,2: There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For 
the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed me from the law of sin and of death. 

Therefore looks back to the struggle of Chapter Seven, and the thankful shout of verse 25; and 
not to the expiatory work of Christ for us in Chapters 3:21-5:11. Those that are in Christ Jesus, 
and none others, can be before us in all this section. 

It is on account of the Spirit's acting as a law of life, delivering the believer from the contrary 
law of sin and death in his yet unredeemed members, that there is no condemnation. It is of the 
utmost importance to see this. The subject here is no longer Christ's work for us, but the Spirit's 
work within us. Without the Spirit within as a law of life, there would be nothing but condemnation: 
for the new creature has no power within himself apart from the blessed Spirit, — as against a life 
of perpetual bondage to the flesh, — "the end of which things is death" (6:21). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer as set forth in Chapter Eight is fundamental, 
essential to the believer's salvation and must be understood by all of us, for Romans is the book of 
foundation truth. 

In Christ Jesus — Here the verse should end, as see note below. 165 The words in Christ Jesus 

express that glorious place God has given the believer. The question is not at all now one of 
justification, but one of position, in Christ Risen, "where condemnation is not, and cannot be." 
There cannot be degrees here: men either are in Christ, or not in Him. 

There is no condemnation — Those in Christ Jesus have more than justification from all things 
by His blood. They have "justification of life," which means that they share His risen life. No 
condemnation — means, no condemnatory judgment. The question of rewards for work for our 
Lord will indeed come up at His judgment seat — b ma (II Cor. 5:10); but it is after the Church is 
caught up that this judgment occurs, when Christ comes, "apart from sin, to them that wait for 
Him." Blessed hope! (See Heb. 9:28.) 

For 6 6 the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, freed me from the law of sin and of death. 

"The law" in both occurrences here indicates "a given principle acting uniformly." Now as to "the 
law of sin and of death," the latter part of Chapter Seven made abundantly clear what that was — the 
power of sin working in our unredeemed bodies against which even man's renewed will was 


The Revised Version correctly omits "who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." Since the King James translation, 
over 300 years ago, many., and the best, most accurate, ancient Greek manuscripts which we have, have been recovered; and 
earnest, godly men have gone steadily ahead with the tedious but fruitful work of correcting errors that had crept in in copying. 
For, as we all know, we have not the original manuscripts of Scripture: God has been pleased to withhold these from creatures 
so prone to idolatry as the sons of men. 

We must close verse 1 with the words "in Christ Jesus," for four reasons: (1) The evidence of the Greek manuscripts is 
overwhelmingly in favor of the omission of the clause "who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit" from verse 1, — as the 
evidence is universally for including these words in Verse 4. (2) Spiritual discernment also agrees, for the introduction of these 
words in verse I makes our safety depend upon our walk, and not upon the Spirit of God, But all in Christ Jesus are safe from 
condemnation, as is plainly taught throughout the epistles. Otherwise, our security depends on our walk, and not on our position 
in Christ. (3) The clause is plainly in proper place at the end of verse 4, — where the manner of the believer' s walk, not his safety, 
from condemnation, is described. (4) That the clause at the end of verse 1 in the King James is a gloss (marginal note by some 
copyist) appears not only from its omission by the great uncial manuscripts, Aleph, A, B, C, D, F, G; A, D (corr.); with some 
good cursives and ancient versions (see Olshausen, Meyer, Alford, J. F. and B ., and Darby' s excellent discussion in his Synopsis, 
in loc); but it also appears from the similarity of this gloss to like additions made through legal fear, found in other passages. 

That God chose to have His Word translated and still authoritative is seen from the use in the New Testament of the Greek 
translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, the Septuagint. 

We should thank God for those devoted men who have spent their lifetimes in profound study of the manuscripts God has 
left us, and who have given us so marvelously perfect a translation as we have. We should distinguish such scholars absolutely 
and forever from the arrogant "Modernists" (or, in former days, the "Higher Critics"), who undertake to tell us what God ought 
to say in the Bible, rather than with deep humility seeking to find out what God has said. 
166 Here we have at the very beginning of the chapter, one of the most common words of argument in Paul's epistles — for (Gr. gar). 
It occurs some 17 times in this Eighth Chapter, and about one half as many in Chapter Seven, etc. In general, it assigns the 
reason. Let us not be among those who avoid Paul's epistles because of the mental attention they demand. Most people would 
rather read a novel or go to the picture shows than study. A chapter with 17 "fors" in it, is closely knit, and must be patiently 
followed. Unmeasured blessing will result. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

But now, another "law" has come in: not only has the believer life in the Risen Christ, but to 
him has been given the Holy Spirit as the power of that life: so that the Spirit becomes the Almighty 
Agent within the believer, securing him wholly, making effectual in experience that "deliverance 
which Paul saw when he cried in Chapter 7:24, 25: "Who shall deliver me out of the body of this 
death? I thank God [for deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord." Of course, the deliverance 167 
is through Christ, for it is Christ's own risen life the believer now shares. But it is the blessed Holy 
Spirit as "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," who makes the deliverance an experience. That is, the 
constant operation of the Spirit makes effectual in those who have life in Christ Jesus, that 
deliverance which belongs to those in Christ. 

How wonderful, how limitless, the patience of the blessed Spirit of God! Moment by moment, 
day by day, month by month, year by year, through all the conscious and unconscious processes 
of tens of thousands of believers, the Spirit acts with a uniformity that is called "the law of the 
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." In the newest convert, in the oldest saint, He gives freedom from the 
law of sin and of death! "Sin in the flesh, which was my torment, is already judged, but in Another; 
so that there is for me no condemnation on account of the flesh. . . . We lose communion with God, 
and dishonor the Lord by our behavior, in not walking, according to the Spirit of life, worthy of 
the Lord. But we are no longer under the law of sin, but, having died with Christ, and become 
partakers of a new life in Him and of the Holy Spirit, we are delivered from this law." 

Verses 3, 4: For, (the thing the Law could not do, because it was powerless on account of 
the flesh), God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, condemned 
sin in the flesh: that the righteous result of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not 
according to flesh, but according to Spirit. 

Several things appear at once from this passage: 

1. God did a thing that the Law could not do. 

2. The thing that God did was to make possible a holy life for those walking by His indwelling 

3. The reason that the Law was unable to bring about this holy life, lay in the flesh (Greek, 
sarks), the "mind" of which (verse 7) is enmity against God, and not subject to His Law or Will. 
Thus, though the Law was holy, just, and good, in itself, it only irritated by its commands a sinful 
flesh that was not subject to it. 

167 John Wesley' s testimony is well known, concerning the beginning of his life of real faith (in his 35th year, after 1 3 years in a 
relatively common-place ministry): "In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street where one was 
reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which 
God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for 
salvation; and an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and 
death. For the next 53 years Wesley was "the outstanding figure and the greatest force in the English speaking world." But notice 
that he realized at Aldersgate Street, the two great elements of our salvation: (1) forgiveness of sin's guilt; and (2) deliverance 
from sin's power — from the law of sin and death! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

4. God's plan (which, we must remember, is "apart from law," without law's help or "rule," 
but the very opposite — 3.21; 6: 14; 7:4, 6) was to send His own Son, who had a body "prepared for 
Him" (Heb. 10:5), and was born according to the angel's words to Mary in Luke 1:35: 

"The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall 
overshadow thee: wherefore also that which is to be born shall be called holy, the 
Son of God." So, although sinless, our Lord Jesus Christ was born in the likeness 
of "flesh of sin," — in the likeness of the bodies of the children of Adam, bodies 
under bondage to sin. 

5. God's purpose, as revealed in this passage, was to get at sin as connected with human flesh, 
and deal with it at the cross in the way of righteous condemnation, so that sin would no longer have 
rights in human bodies. The preposition "for" (Gr. peri) in the words and for sin is the common 
word in the Septuagint for sacrifices for sin. But it refers here in Romans 8:3 not so much to 
atonement for sin's guilt before God, — that has already been fully set forth in Chapters Three to 
Five. The question here (and in Chapters Six to Eight entire) regards the thing Sin itself rather than 
its guilt. 168 

It is of the very first importance for the believer to recognize the two great facts which Paul 
develops concerning Christ's work on the cross: 

First, His blood shed for us in expiation of our guilt. Considering this, one always thinks of the 
righteous claims of God' s throne against us, and of their being satisfied, fully met, by Christ' s shed 
blood; and of our being thus brought nigh to God. 

Second, Our death with Christ, as "made sin for us." Because of our condition of sinfulness, 
as connected with Adam, and thus "in the flesh," we died with Christ. When we believed upon 
Him, Christ became our Adam, and God dated our history back to Calvary, and commanded us to 
reckon ourselves dead to sin because we died with Him federally, — thus our history in Adam was 
ended before God: so that He plainly says to us, "Ye are not in flesh" — where once we were: 
Chapters 8:9 and 7:5. Compare Eph. 2:1-3. 

Now, in Chapter 8.3, God goes more explicitly into having Christ identified with us, made to 
become sin on our behalf, our old man crucified with Him. It was that God might thus condemn 
sin in the flesh, dealing with it judicially: as connected potentially with the whole human race, and 
actually with believers. 

When Adam sinned, his federal relationship involved all his posterity in condemnation (5:18, 
19), but he also "begat a son in His own likeness." ALL since Adam have participated in the fallen 
nature of Adam. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." "Behold, I was shapen 

168 "The expression is purposely a general one, because the design was not to speak of Christ's mission to atone for sin, but, in 
virtue of that atonement, to destroy its dominion and extirpate it altogether from believers. We think it wrong, therefore, to render 
the words (as in margin) "by a sacrifice for sin" (peri hamartias) for this sense is too definite, and makes the idea of expiation 
more prominent than it is" — Jamieson-Fausset-Brown. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." "We [now believers] were by nature children 
of wrath." 

Now, human thoughts and philosophies, being under, and recognizing, this proneness to evil, 
and referring it to the body as the conscious abode of sin and source of sin's lusts and temptations, 
have praised a disembodied state as the only desirable one. Not only the Manicheans and the 
Buddhists, but real Christians who ought to know better, have regarded a disembodied spiritual 
state as their hope: "This robe of flesh I'll drop, and rise," etc. "Modernists" today, generally, — as 
unbelievers in all periods, deny the resurrection of the material body. 

But in Romans 8:3 God tells us that sin as connected with flesh has been condemned, dealt 
with; although it has not yet been removed. Some pious and very earnest people have spoken of 
and sought after "eradication of the sin-principle from the body." But the redemption of the body 
lies in the future, at Christ's coming. Meanwhile, "We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being 
burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, [disembodied spirits] but that we would be clothed 
upon . . . with our habitation which is from Heaven" (our glorified bodies at Christ' s coming): "that 
what is mortal may be swallowed up of life" (II Cor. 5:4). 

But the foundation both for the resurrection of the sleeping saints when Christ comes, and for 
the changing of living believers, lies here in Romans 8:3: sin has been condemned as connected 
with human flesh. This gives God, speaking reverently, the righteous right to transform and catch 
up into glory the bodies of His saints. 

It also gives the Risen Christ the glorious right to live in these bodies of ours while they are on 
earth; and to walk in us, therefore, daily, in resurrection victory! The only condition of such 
victorious life, is that we ourselves walk by that indwelling Spirit which has been given to us. 

Again, speaking reverently, the Spirit has no commission in this dispensation to go beyond the 
work done by our Lord on the cross. But that work on the cross was perfect, and far-reaching indeed. 
Not only did Christ there put away our guilt before God by His blood, but there our old man was 
crucified with Him: sin was condemned as having any connection with human flesh! 

And for sin — The evident reference to the second phase of the sin-offering is apparent in these 
words. The question in this verse is not one of atonement for guilt, but of the dealing in judgment 
with that which was not to be atoned for! The evil of our natures is not atoned for, but judged, at 
the cross. The first phase of the sin-offering of Leviticus Four is the sprinkling of the blood before 
Jehovah, outside the veil of the most holy place, and the putting of the blood upon the horns of the 
altar of sweet incense before Jehovah, which golden altar, according to Heb. 9:3, 4 pertained to the 
holy of holies, the Shechinah presence of God; and the pouring out at the base of the brazen altar 
at the door of the tabernacle, the rest of the blood; together with the burning of the fat — symbol of 
the inner affections — upon that brazen altar. 

This first phase is seen to represent the power of the shed blood of Christ to bring us nigh to 
God — always the first thing. 

Then the second phase is seen in verses 1 1 and 12 (Lev 4), where 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

— "the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where 
the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire: where the ashes are poured 
out shall it be burnt." 

Here, surely, is something further than the putting away of guilt by the shed blood. The fire, 
burning to ashes that sin-offering, seems to indicate God's holy dealing with sin itself, after the 
shed blood has made the offerer nigh. It surely has a most solemn significance, for there is no 
atonement to be made for our evil nature. 

At the cross, God having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and having laid on 
Him as our Substitute our sins, now secures that opportunity which He sought — to deal with sin 
itself as connected with flesh. And He did deal in judgment. Sin, as connected with flesh, is a 
condemned, though not yet removed, thing. 169 

The thing the Law could not do — was accomplished by God! The law was powerless on 

account of the flesh. The Law holy, just and good, could command; but the flesh was not subject 
to it, and could not be. Therefore the Law could forbid, rebuke, reprimand, and curse, sin; but could 
not effectually condemn it, as connected with the flesh. When Christ comes, thank God, we shall 
be freed from the very presence of sin. But it has already been condemned in the flesh, and should 
be reckoned so by us all. Just as really as our sins were put away by the blood of Christ, so was sin 
in the flesh condemned, judgment executed on it. 

In Romans 8:3, God so "condemned" sin, — so dealt with it, that it was thereafter a convict — as 
regards the flesh. 

This had no more been done before, than our sins had been borne before! Not until the Cross 
were sins borne, and not until the cross was Sin judicially dealt with in the flesh. Sin has thus no 
more rights in us now, than it will have in our glorified bodies! 

As we shall see in verse 9, believers are not in the flesh before God, at all. This is the second 
glorious truth; the first being that because sin as connected with human flesh has been dealt with 
by God, all danger from it, all possible condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, is over. 

Verse 4: That the righteous result of the Law [which the Law sought in vain] might be 
fulfilled in us — Now let us say at once that a righteous state of living, while it is to be brought 
about in the Christian, is not what God primarily seeks; but rather "that we should be holy and 
without blame before Him IN LOVE." This will begin to be developed in Romans, but more 
thoroughly in other epistles. Nevertheless, our first occupation must be with the truth as set forth 

169 God condemned, or, as you might say, executed sin in the flesh for us by the death of Christ. He did not die only for my sins 
(though that's true), but for my sin. The root of sin that is in my nature, and that which worries and distresses the heart of the 
sincere believer daily, is put away for faith by death, and we are dead to it . . . God has settled the question, condemned the sin 
in you, which you condemn. But where has He done it? Outside of yourself altogether ... He takes away the condemnation of 
sin in the nature, by God's judgment being executed on the sinless flesh of His own Son. Thus sin in my flesh is judged, as well 
as my committed sins" — Darby, Notes on Romans, in loc. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

in God's order. The Law commanded a wholly righteous walk toward God and toward our neighbor. 
But David said: 

"I have seen an end of all perfection; 
Thy commandment is exceedingly broad." 

Throughout the Psalms, and all the Old Testament Saints' experiences, we find that there is under 
the Law, an almost constant striving and groaning after a righteous state, — seen, but not experienced, 
because the Law consisted of outer enactments, to be fulfilled by man. The Law furnished no power. 
Now in Romans 8:4 we have three things: first, this righteous state or result; second, the fact that 
it was not fulfilled by us — we have no more power in ourselves than had the Old Testament saints: 
but it is fulfilled in us — it is the passive voice: be fulfilled. Third, it is fulfilled in us as we consent 
to reject the flesh and choose to walk according to the Spirit. In the Spirit lies all the power. With 
us, the responsibility of choice — a blessed, solemn one! 

Verse 5: For those who are according to flesh, 170 the things of the flesh do mind; but those 
according to Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 

The word phronousin, "mind," does not here have reference to intellect or understanding, but 
to the attention or occupation of the being, caused by its natural disposition. And we find thus two 
classes; first, those according to flesh. This we believe includes here all those not born of God, 
that is, still in a state of nature, in which class Ephesians 2:3 shows believers once to have been: 
"We also once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts." 
Second, those according to Spirit. These are God's true children, the Holy Spirit, of whom they 
were born, indwelling all of them. 

The distinction between these two classes is as real as that between the sheep and goat nations 
at Christ's coming, or between those written in the book of life and those not written, at the last 
judgment. An unconquerable sadness rises in our hearts at the fact that after these centuries upon 
centuries of Divine dealing with man, and especially since the gospel has been preached, as Paul 
declares, "in all creation under heaven" (Col. 1:23), there are yet those like Cain, Esau, Balaam, 
Saul, Judas, that are according to flesh. Alas, this description includes the mass of our race, for it 
is only "a little flock" that can be described as being according to Spirit. 

Now all those according to flesh cherish, desire, are occupied with, and absorbed in, talk of, 
think of, follow after, the things of flesh; those according to Spirit, likewise discern, value, love, 
are absorbed in, the things of Spirit." 1 

170 \\? e fj nc j (hg definite article "the" in the Greek before the word Spirit, where the Holy Spirit's person or personal action is 
emphasized. But where His power, or nature as a sphere of being, and not His person, is before us, the article generally disappears. 
To translate literally several instances in this chapter: The Holy Spirit is introduced in verse 2 as "the Spirit of life in Christ 
Jesus"; but in verse 4, it is "who walk not according to flesh but according to Spirit." In verse 5, "they that are according to 
Spirit, the things of the Spirit." Here "according to Spirit" is a matter of characterizing; whereas in "the things of the Spirit," the 
Holy Spirit' s person is brought to the fore. He has certain things — "the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God" (II 
Cor. 2: 1 1). Again, in Romans 8:9, "Ye are not in flesh but in Spirit." 


"Man earthy, of the earth, an hungred feeds 

Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Those according to flesh "mind" the flesh's things: its physical lusts, — gluttony, uncleanness, 
slothfulness; its soulical lusts, — mental delights, pleasures of the imagination, esthetic indulgences, 
or "tastes" — whether art, music, sculpture, or what not; its spiritual lusts, — of pride, envy, malice, 
avarice: in a word, every unclean thing, and every good thing used by unclean persons, — that is, 
persons not cleansed by the blood of Christ, not new creatures in Him. Then, too, there is the 
"religion" of the flesh, which includes all not of and in the Holy Ghost. 

And there are those who are according to Spirit, — who "mind" the Spirit's things: salvation, 
the person of Christ, the fellowship of the saints, the Word of God, prayer, praise prophecy, the 
blessed hope of Christ's coming, walking as He walked before men. True, many, many of these 
fall woefully short (as they well know); yet they mind the things of Spirit, the things of God, to 
some degree, while others will have nothing of them. 

The reason immediately appears: 

Verse 6: For the mind (phron ma — noun form of the verb of verse 5) of the flesh is death; 
but the mind of the Spirit, life and peace. It is terrible to contemplate a mind, disposition, purpose, 
so set on death (which is its end) that it can be said to be death. It is a most solemn contemplation 
that we who are in Christ were once in the flesh, the mind and disposition of which we could not 
and would not change, and which was death itself! 

The King James rendering in this verse is hopelessly obscure. God does not say that "to be 
carnally minded" is death, but that the mind of the flesh, in which they are, is death. Further, He 
does not say, "to be spiritually minded is life and peace," as if it were a state into which the believer 
came; but He does say, the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. In neither case does God speak 
of people, but of the flesh and of the Spirit. If you are according to Spirit, having been born of God, 
there is indwelling you a mighty One, the Comforter, whose whole mind, disposition, and manner 
of being and ruling within you, is life and peace. This "life" is the life of the Risen Christ, which 
the Spirit, as "the Spirit of grace," supplies (Heb. 10:29, Gal. 3:5); and this "peace" is that of Christ 
as spoken of in Isaiah: "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." 

Verse 7: Because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the 
law of God, neither indeed can it be. Here the disposition (mind) of the flesh is shown to be the 
reason why that disposition is death. Perhaps no one text of Scripture more completely sets forth 
the hideously lost state of man after the flesh. For the disposition (mind) of the flesh is enmity itself 
toward God! There was indeed, as we saw in Chapter 5:10, reconcilement to God while we were 
enemies, but it did not in any wise consist in changing the nature of the flesh. On the contrary, we 

On earth's dark poison tree — 
Wild gourds, and deadly roots, and bitter weeds; 

And as his food is he. 
And hungry souls there are, that find and eat 

God's manna day by day; 
And glad they are, their life is fresh and sweet, 

For as their food are they! 

— Ter Steegen. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

were transferred by death with Christ, into the Risen Christ, the flesh remaining unchanged. Your 
estate while in the flesh was as lost by nature as that of the demons. For nothing worse could be 
said of them than that they are enmity toward God and are not able to be subject to His law. God 
certainly has given the flesh up, and nothing but sovereign mercy ever redeemed a human being. 172 

Verse 8: And those who are in flesh cannot please God — This is God's sweeping 
announcement concerning all mankind that are out of Christ. In this sense, all in the flesh are out 
of Christ. Those in the flesh, even if, like Cain, they would worship God, would come in their own 
way, — the flesh's way, which God cannot accept. Terrible prospect! in a state forever displeasing 
to Him in whom is all blessing. Such are all not born of God. 

Verse 9: But ye are not in flesh but in Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. 

Here the great mark of a true Christian is, that the Spirit of God dwells in him. If he is indwelt by 
the Spirit of God, he is not "in flesh," but instead an entirely different kind of being, — "in Spirit." 
The Spirit becomes now the element in which the believer lives, like water to the fish, or air to the 
bird, vital, supplying, protecting. 

Practically, there are those, like the men of Ephesus — "about twelve (Acts 19:1), who were 
disciples," but did not have the Holy Spirit, — a fact Paul instantly discerned. Their answer to his 
question in verse 2, is wrongly translated in the King James. They really said, "We did not so much 
as hear whether the Holy Spirit was" (or, "was given": it is exactly the same form as John 7:39, 
"The Spirit was not yet; because Jesus was not yet glorified"). John the Baptist had constantly 
taught about the Holy Spirit, that He that should come after him would give them the Holy Spirit. 
It was concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that these at Ephesus were ignorant. 
They were honest: they were converted men; they had been baptized with John's baptism of 
repentance. John had said that they should, however, believe on Him that should come after him — on 
Jesus. Now Paul takes them and instructs them that Christ's redeeming work having been fully 
finished on the cross, the Holy Spirit was come, and was given to all believers. 

"And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake 
with tongues, and prophesied" (vs. 6). 

Now they were in the full Christian position. Thousands upon thousands of earnest, professing 
Christians have, we believe, like these, not yet heard "that the Holy Spirit was," that is, had definitely 
come on the scene at Pentecost, to be given to every believer. He is here! The gift of Him and His 
indwelling constitutes the distinctive mark of Christians. 

Many sincere people are yet spiritually under John the Baptist's ministry of repentance. Their 
state is practically that of the struggle of Romans Seven, where neither Christ nor the Holy Spirit 


Very many years ago a deep revival was in progress in New Haven, Conn., and in Yale College there. Many, especially of 
the society class, were falling under profound conviction. Several young ladies who had found peace in the blood of Christ, went 
to a very prominent friend, — a young woman whose generosity, grace and kindness had endeared her especially to her circle of 
friends. They besought her to come to the revival meetings. When she objected, they protested, "But God has a claim on you. 
He loves you. He gave His Son to die for you," Fiercely she burst forth, stamping her foot: "I hate God!" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

is mentioned, but only a quickened but undelivered soul in straggle under a sense of "duty," not a 
sense of full acceptance in Christ and sealing by the Holy Spirit. 173 

But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. 

Now this sentence would seem at first to rule out what we have been saying in the foot-note on 
the Holy Spirit. But, that the apostle is not speaking of those who will shortly have the Spirit of 
Christ, they being sincere, godly souls, is at once evident when we remember that Cornelius, and 
those twelve men at Ephesus, were sincere disciples as far as their light went: and in them God is 
simply showing us the processes of the work of salvation in real saints. Whereas, when Paul says 
none of His, he is speaking in an absolute way of those who are Christ's and those who are not. 
Those who are Christ's either have or will have the Spirit. Sad to say, it may not be until on a 
death-bed, when at last the soul renounces all hope but the shed blood of Christ, and is then sealed 
by the Spirit. Notice also here that the Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ. This is, of course, the 
Holy Spirit, (not the mind or disposition of Christ)." 4 He is called the Spirit of Christ, because 
Christ promised and sent Him: "The Comforter, whom I will send unto you from the Father, — the 
Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father," (John 15:26); "Having received of the Father 
the promise of the Holy Spirit, He [Christ] hath poured forth this which ye see and hear" (Acts 
2:33). And also because He manifests Christ: "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and 


Of earnest "church members" today have all the Holy Spirit? Here and there is one who has the witness, "Abba, Father"; 
who testifies boldly that Jesus Christ is his Lord; who has a burden of prayer for the lost; who has a yearning for the fellowship 
of the saints, and a hunger for God's Word. What about the rest? They are occupied with various "Christian" activities. Or, 
having in most cases, (I speak of earnest souls) a Seventh of "Romans experience, not knowing themselves fully accepted of 
God on the ground of Christ's work, and not knowing the deliverance that is through Christ Jesus by the indwelling Holy Spirit 
from the power of sin and selfishness and worldliness, and sometimes — awful to say! not willing to come out and be separate 
from that world which crucified their Lord (and is not sorry!), they become part of the present ecclesiastical system, — as Jews 
were of that system. 

You ask, are such people Christians? If they have finally broken with sin, and are "praying to God alway," they belong, 
indeed, in the company of Cornelius (Acts 10), who was a devout man, but was not yet in the Christian position. Two steps led 
him to the Christian position: first, faith in Christ that his sins were remitted. (Acts 10:43); second, the gift of the Holy Ghost, 
which followed (Acts 11:15-18.) 

Of course, we cannot agree with the Pentecostal people that only those that speak with tongues have the Holy Ghost. We 
believe that gift was given at Cornelius house to convince Peter, as we read in the following chapter (Acts 11:17) that they had 
"the like gift," that had been conferred on the hundred and twenty on the Day of Pentecost. That gift was the Holy Spirit; and 
not a gift — charisma — which the Spirit Himself afterwards conferred. The same thing applies to Acts 19:6: "The Holy Spirit 
came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." The essential thing was the conferring of the Holy Spirit, and not 
the Spirit's operations thereafter. 

(What we say does not mean that we "forbid to speak with tongues" — which God forbids us to forbid: — I Corinthians 
14:39; — and concerning "prophesying" we comment in Chapter Twelve.) 
174 "It is astonishing to find many commentators insisting on "Spirit" with a small "s" here, stating that it is "the human spirit, . . . 
essentially that part of man that holds communion with God" (Sanday). But such a notion defeats the whole meaning of the 
passage, which is, that that possession by the believer of the Holy Spirit in person is the seal and mark of a true believer over 
against those that are merely "soulical" (literally, "psychical"); as in Jude 19: "These are they who make separations, sensual, 
[Greek: psychikoi], having not the Spirit." Paul says to the Ephesians concerning Christ: "In whom, upon believing, [aorist] ye 
were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:13, 14). Having the Holy Spirit is 
the unvarying apostolic sign of the true Christian. "Hereby we know that He abideth in us by the Spirit which He gave us" (I 
John 3:24). Compare Gal. 3:2, 3; I Cor. 12:3, 13. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

shall declare it unto you" (John 16:14). Those therefore who belong to Christ have thus His Spirit 
given to them, always, as we said above, (if they are not still in the preparatory states of repentance, 
or legal struggle against sin, as in Romans Seven) when they rest believingly in Christ and His 

Dwelleth in you — This word dwelleth is a touching word, used five times of the Spirit's making 
His home within us, in every redeemed one! 

Verse 10: And if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead, on account of sin; but the Spirit 
is life, on account of righteousness. 

Here in this tenth verse we have the answer to our Lord's prayer in John 17:21, 22: "I pray . . . 
that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in 
us: . . . that they may be one, even as we are one." 

We have seen in an earlier chapter how we came to be in Christ: that God, having ended our 
history before Himself as connected with the first Adam, at the cross, created us in Christ, the Last 
Adam, the Second Man. Thus was the one part of our Lord's intercession answered. We are in 
Christ. But the other part of the great mystery is here before us in Romans 8:10: Christ is in us. 
Although, as we know, He is within us by His Spirit, yet it is Christ Himself who is in us. That the 
Spirit can make Christ present in us, we see in the beautiful words of II Corinthians 3:17, 18: "Now 
the Lord is the Spirit: . . . We ... are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even 
as from the Lord the Spirit. Or, as Paul says in the solemn words of II Corinthians 13:5: "Know ye 
not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?" 175 

Our Lord said in John 14:10, 11: "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me." 
Christ and His Father were distinct persons, yet one, in being, life, love, and purpose. "I and the 
Father are one." "The living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father." "The Father loveth 
the Son ... I love the Father." "I glorified Thee . . . glorify Thou Me with Thine own self." A 
similar marvelous union our blessed Lord asked and obtained for us with Himself: "That they may 
be one, even as We are one!" "That they may be in Us" (John 17:21-23). 

Returning to Romans 8:10: There is a double fact stated concerning those in whom Christ by 
His Spirit is. First, the body is dead. Second, the Spirit is life. It is evident that our bodies here 


"Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27), is called by the apostle there "the riches of the glory of this mystery" — the 
great revelation which Paul's gospel contains. 

But it is a terrible error to confine the revelation of that mystery to what are called "the prison epistles," beginning with 
Ephesians. The two sides of the gospel, We in Christ, and, Christ in us, are constantly set forth from Romans on. The very words 
of our verse in Romans (8:10): If Christ is in you, are as wonderful as we find! In Galatians also (2:20): "It is no longer I that 
live, but Christ liveth in me." And in II Corinthians 13:3: "Christ that speaketh in me"; and in Gal. 1:16: "To reveal His Son in 
me." (These last two refer especially to testimony.) In Ephesians 3:14 to 21 we have the great prayer, "that Christ may make 
His home down in your hearts through faith." He lives in all saints (II Cor. 13.5), just as all saints are in Him. But the Ephesians 
passage is like Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will 
come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." Let us beware of the false teaching, that only the so-called "prison 
epistles" are "church truth." For in all Paul's epistles we find this great double truth, we in Christ, and Christ in us. Each epistle 
has its particular object and phase of truth, certainly, but they are one; and are all for the Church, the one Body ! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

are contrasted with our spirits, and these as in the Holy Spirit. It is well that we thoroughly understand 
and believe that our bodies are in no sense redeemed as yet. They are "dead" as regards any emotion 
Godward; and this "because of sin." Those who teach and seek "eradication of the sinful principle," 
as they call it, would do well to ponder this tenth verse. 

The other blessed fact, that the Spirit is life because of righteousness, is enough for our present 
walk. "Him who knew no sin God made to become sin on our behalf, that we might become the 
righteousness of God in Him." Not only are our sins put away and we ourselves "justified from all 
things"; but we have been created in Christ Jesus. The new creature, Paul tells us, "hath been created 
after God in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Eph. 4:24). It is striking in Romans 8:10 that the 
noun life is opposed to the adjective dead. Our spirits before they were new-created in Christ, were 
alive so far as existence is concerned but had no life as God counts life — for that is only in Christ 
and by the Spirit. 

We read "Spirit" in this verse, meaning the Holy Spirit. The sense being, that the Spirit, by 
whose power we were made partakers of the risen life of Christ, acts constantly as "the Lord the 
Spirit," (as quoted above from II Cor. 3:17) as the maintainer and supplier of that life of Christ in 
us. The Holy Spirit alone could be called life! We recognize that the human body and the human 
spirit seem to be contrasted in the verse before us. 176 Yet we remember Galatians 5:25: "We live 
by the Spirit"; and Romans 8:2: "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus"; and "The mind of 
the Spirit is life" (verse 6). Our spirits are now alive — and that to God! But "Christ is our life"; and 
the Administrator of that life in us is the Spirit of God. 

Verse 11: But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He 
that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies, through 
His Spirit that dwelleth in you. 

The body — the mortal body — is the subject of this verse. Our spirits have been shown to have 
life, — now: while the body is still dead — as to God: But now God announces that to these bodies, 
so dead to God, holiness and heaven, is by and by to be given life! 

First, we are reminded that the Spirit of that God who raised up Jesus is dwelling in us. Now, 
Jesus is our Lord's personal name: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus." It was Jesus whom they 
crucified, and buried in Joseph's tomb. With Jesus, before His death and resurrection, we were not 
joined; but with Christ Jesus, the Risen One! This is His resurrection Name: indeed, He is never 
named thus until the Epistles. 

Now we are asked to reflect on that place of weakness and deadness in which Jesus once was. 
But God raised Him up from the dead. And the Spirit of the God who thus raised Jesus is dwelling 
in us! 

So that, although our bodies are yet dead on account of sin, — dead to God, — the Spirit of Him 
who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead, — Christ Jesus, in whom we now are, — this God will 

176 It is "body" (soma), not flesh (sarx). It it were sarx, we would at once know the Holy Spirit is meant, — from Galatians 5.17. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

give life also to these poor mortal bodies of ours! And it will be by His Spirit who now indwells 
us! (This word "mortar means, subject to physical death; and is used in Scripture only of the body.) 

What an unutterable comfort! "Whether we wake or sleep," this blessed indwelling Spirit of 
God will give life to these mortal dead-to-God bodies of ours, so that they shall be as alive Godward 
as our redeemed spirits now are! 

It is present comfort beyond measure to know that when the day comes, God will do this blessed 
giving of life to our bodies through His Spirit that is now dwelling in us! 

Mortal bodies — "Mortal" and "immortal," always, as we note above, in Scripture refer to the 
body. It is "this mortal" which will "put on immortality" when Christ comes. "What is mortal shall 
be swallowed up of life" (I Cor. 15:35, 54; II Cor. 5:4). 

What blessed phases of our salvation lie in the hands of the indwelling Spirit! 

"Who shall deliver me?" That question of Chapter Seven is abundantly answered here in Chapter 
Eight! Not only from guilt, by the shed blood of Christ (in Chapter Five); but from the "law of sin" 
in the members, over which even man's quickened will was so impotent; and from a "mind" that 
is death, into the mind and walk of the blessed indwelling Spirit Himself: into a mind that is "life 
and peace." But further, now, we find that God, by that same indwelling Spirit, will bring our very 
mortal bodies, — now dead to God, and subject to death, to share that life in Christ which our spirits 
now have! 

12. So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the 
flesh, — according to flesh to be living! 13 For if ye live 
according to flesh, ye are about to die: but if, by the Spirit, 
ye put to death the doings of the body, ye shall live. 14 For 
as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons of 
God. 15 For ye received not a spirit of bondage again unto 
fear; but ye received a Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, 
Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit Himself beareth witness with 
our spirit, that we are children of God: 17 and if children, 
then heirs: heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be 
that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with 

Verse 12: So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh — according to flesh to be 
living. "So then" has all the great truths in mind from Chapter 6:1 to this verse! Identified with 
Christ, our old man was crucified with Him, our connection with Adam the first being thus broken 
by death. Next we share His newness of life as being in Christ Risen. Next the Spirit of life is caused 
to indwell us, by His almighty power setting us free from the law of sin and of death — because all 
rights of sin as connected with flesh were cancelled at the cross. Finally, although our body is still 
dead to God, yet the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus personally dwells within us, guaranteeing that 
He who raised Christ federally and caused us to share His risen life will make our bodies also alive 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

toward Him when Christ returns. And meanwhile the indwelling Spirit becomes an "earnest" of 
the coming redemption of our bodies. "So then" — let the power of all these mighty truths govern 
our thoughts here. 

Now note the form of statement in verse 12: We are debtors — (indeed we are) to God, to Christ 
and to the indwelling Spirit! But this debtorship to God is not here pressed at all. But rather the 
negation of any debtorship whatever to the flesh ! in view of our wonderful deliverance just recited. 
We are indeed debtors, but not to the flesh — according to flesh to be living. God formed man's 
body, first, calling: him man (Gen. 2:7). Then he breathed into his nostrils the breath (literally, 
spirit) of life; and man became a living soul. His bodily functions we all know. His soul-life put 
him in touch with the world into which by Divine creation he had now been introduced, but man 
was essentially a spirit, living in a body, possessing a soul. It was with his spirit that God communed 
and in which alone man was God-conscious. 

Now when man sinned, all was overthrown! The body, that was to be the tabernacle of this 
Divinely inbreathed or created spirit, took immediate lordship. The life of God was withdrawn 
from man' s spirit. He had died to God! The spirit became the slave of the body; and the propensities 
of the latter, normal and controlled before, became the whole urge or driving force of man's 
existence! His soul, also, which included his five "senses," — which perceived and enjoyed the 
external universe; with his reason and imagination, became controlled by what God called "the 
flesh." "The thoughts of man's heart," became "only evil and that continually." 

Now in the new birth the dead spirit (dead to God) is by Divine creation made alive, or enlifed 
with Christ; and the Holy Spirit becomes the sphere of man's newly created spirit; for whatever 
the believer's progress may be, he is no longer in flesh but in Spirit! 

The body's demands are the same as ever, because the body is not yet redeemed; and to live 
after the desires of the body — "according to flesh" Paul warns: 

Verse 13: For if ye live according to flesh, ye are about to die — Here is a terrible warning: 
( 1) It is one of the great red lights by which God keeps His elect out of fatal paths. (Compare I Cor. 
15:2, Col. 1:23.) (2) It shows how those who have received a knowledge of the truth and are 
addressed by the apostle as among God' s people, may yet be choosing a flesh- walk — which involves 
the refusal of the Spirit — refusal to be led by Him, as are all God's real sons (verse 14). (3) Death, 
here, is of course eternal death, as in Chapter Six: "The end of these things is death"; and here in 
Chapter Eight: "The mind of the flesh is death." (4) Note that expression "about to die" (mellete). 
Those following a flesh- walk are not yet viewed as dead, so let them hear and repent quickly, lest 
they become as those professing Christians became in Jude 12: Autumn trees without fruit, twice 
dead, plucked up by the roots," — summer ended, a fruitless autumn, and Divine cursing, or "twice 
dead" means that there was an awakening, a quickening, and a tasting, as in Hebrews Six; tasting 
of the heavenly gift — eternal life; then, final apostasy, and withdrawal of all gracious influences; 
the very roots, as in the barren fig tree, plucked up and withered. Born again? No. Yet "escaping 
the defilements of the world," only to choose to go back to a "twice-dead" condition. Surely the 
mind of the flesh is death! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

But if, by the Spirit, ye put to death the doings of the body, ye shall live — Here is a most 
definite word that the body is under the control of sin; and a most definite statement as to the manner 
of a holy life. 

1. The deeds, or doings of the body are naturally selfish, and so, evil, for the body is not 
redeemed. (See same word "deed" in Luke 23:51.) The body would have its every desire 
gratified — because it so desires. It has no governor in itself but the sin by which it is still dead — to 
God and all holiness. Even the lawful needs and desires of the body become sinful and deathful if 
the body is allowed to rule. In Chapter 6:12 we hear: "Let not sin reign in your mortal body that 
ye should obey the desires of it" (the body). The beasts and birds follow the instincts and desires 
of their bodies, being without spirit, conscience or sin. But man cannot do so. For he has, — yea, he 
is, essentially a spirit, — though he dwells in a bodily tabernacle, and has a conscience, under the 
eye of which all his consents or refusals pass, and that constantly. And to let his unredeemed body 
govern him, is to fall far below the very beasts: for he lets sin reign in his mortal body, when he 
lets the lusts of the body control his decisions. 

2. Now God says the "doings" of the body are to be put to death. Not that our bodies are not 
dear to God. They are, — and if we are Christ' s our bodies are members of Christ (I Cor. 6:15). But 
they are not redeemed as yet. And God has left us in these unredeemed bodies, that we may 
learn — ( 1) the badness of our old self-life, as we see that in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing; 
(2) the exceeding sinfulness of sin, — and learn to hate and abhor it; (3) the sweet and blessed path 
of relying on the indwelling Holy Spirit, — nay, even of using His Almighty and willing power by 
acts of simple faith; for it reads, "If WE, by the Spirit, put to death the doings of the body." 

For we must note most carefully that a holy life is to be lived by us. It is not that we have any 
power, — we have none. But God's Spirit dwells in us for the express object of being railed "upon 
by us to put to death the doings of the body." Self-control is one of that sweet cluster called "the 
fruit of the Spirit," in Galatians 5:22. 

How confidently Paul walked in this power of the Spirit! "In the Holy Spirit," he says, in II 
Corinthians 6:6, — "in pureness," etc. And again, "I will not be brought under the power of any" 
bodily desire, — however lawful. And again, "I buffet my body, and bring it into subjection; lest, 
having preached to others, I myself should be rejected" (I Cor. 6:13; 9:27). 

A holy life without a controlled body is an absolute contradiction; not to be dreamed of for a 
moment. Indeed, God goes further here, and says, "Ye shall live, — if ye by the Spirit put to death 
the doings of the body": the opposite path being, "If ye live according to flesh, ye are about to die!" 

When we announce that the Scripture teaching is that walking by the Holy Spirit has taken the 
place of walking under the rule of the Mosaic law, there remains to be examined, and that most 
carefully, just what walking by the Spirit means. 

1 . It does not mean to desert the use of our faculties of moral perception or of moral judgment. 

Although there doubtless are occasions in which the believer, being filled with the Spirit, acts 
in a wholly unanticipated way; and although there may be times when he will be carried quite out 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

of himself in ecstasies of joy or love; and although the believer walking by the Spirit will normally 
be conscious of the almighty power within, of triumph over the world and the flesh: nevertheless 
the feet of the believer will never be swept from the path of conscious moral determination. He 
will always know that so far as decisions of moral matters are concerned, he has still the sense of 
moral accountability, or, perhaps better, responsibility. The believer's own conscience will protest 
against any such letting go of himself as has been unfortunately found throughout Church history 
when people have submitted themselves to such ecstatic states that moral judgment and self-control 
were cast to the winds. 

We do indeed read of most remarkable experiences, and that in deeply approved saints, in which 
their spirits were overwhelmed by the vision of Divine things, and we must adduce that in such 
experiences they were rapt and ecstatic; but never to the losing of that self-control which, we read 
in Galatians 5:22, is a fruit of the Spirit. Even in the exercise of the gifts spoken of by the apostle 
in I Corinthians 12 to 14, it is definitely declared, "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the 

It is in the abandonment of the sense of moral responsibility into unscriptural surrender of the 
mental and spiritual faculties, — into other control than self-control directed by the Holy Spirit, that 
such awful extravagances have occurred in Church history. 

2. To be led by the Spirit does indeed involve the surrender of our wills to God. But God, on 
His side, does not crush into fatalistic abandon those very faculties with which He has endowed 
men. On the contrary, the surrendered saint immediately finds His faculties marvelously 
quickened, — his faculties both of mind and of sensibility. All the powers of his soul-life (which 
include his intellect, tastes, feelings, emotions, and recollective memory) are renewed. His will 
being yielded to God, God now "works in Him to will" as well as "to do of His good pleasure," — in 
which the surrendered saint rejoices. 

But while it is indeed God who works in us even to will, yet it is true that walking in the Spirit 
is still our own choice: "If ye by the Spirit put to death the doings of the body" — we read. The Holy 
Spirit is infinitely ready, but God leads rather than compels. 

There is deep mystery, no doubt, in the great double fact of God is working in us to will, and 
on the other hand, of our choosing His will, moment by moment. We can only affirm that both are 
taught in Scripture, and we ourselves know both to be blessedly true. 

Verses 14, 15: For as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For ye 
received not a spirit of bondage again unto fear; — Let us look first at the words "sons of God"; 
and second at what is meant by being "led by the Spirit"; third, let us see that our being thus in the 
Spirit's sphere and control is the proof of the reality of our sonship. 

1. "Sons" means "adult-sons," sons come of age (see footnote, verse 15). The term, when 
referring to saints, is applied in Paul's epistles both to Christ (Rom. 1:3, 4, 9); and to those associated 
with Him since His resurrection (Gal. 4:4-7); therefore to His own saints, sealed by the Spirit — those 
sons whom God is "bringing unto glory." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

2. Being "led by the Spirit" does not refer here to service, nor to "guidance" in particular paths. 
It refers to that general control by the blessed Spirit of those born of the Spirit, living by the Spirit, 
in the Spirit. He is the sphere and mode of their being, and is their seal unto the day of redemption. 

3. That our being thus in the Spirit' s sphere and control is the proof of the reality of our sonship, 
is evident from what has been said; but let us avoid the thought that assurance of our sonship is 
based on our perfect obedience to the Spirit. Nothing is based upon us. If one of God's true saints 
disobeys, it is the office of that same Spirit to convict him of his sin, interceding in Him "according 
to God" (Rom. 8:27), while Christ intercedes for him above (I John 2:1). 

Israel received a spirit of bondage when they were placed under the Law. And how sad that 
perhaps the most of Christians regard themselves as under the Law and so under bondage. In this 
they are like the world, which fears Christ as (they think) a hard taskmaster. Now the result of a 
spirit of bondage was fear. When Israel walked in the wilderness with Jehovah dwelling in darkness 
in the holy of holies in the tabernacle, they were taught to fear. For Jehovah was teaching a sinful 
people His holiness and separateness from them, and how to draw near Him only by sacrifices. 

But when Christ came, all was different. He came not noticing or marking sin. Quickly the 
common people became glad. Proud religion called Him "a friend of publicans and sinners" — and 
He was. We have no words to express the limitless graciousness of God manifested in the flesh — in 

But how much beyond even those favored to see "the days of the Son of Man" on earth is the 
position of those in Christ Risen: sin put away forever, released from the old Adam life and 
responsibilities, and now the Spirit sent witnessing in our hearts — the very Spirit of God's Son. A 
spirit of fear and bondage is as out of place now as if one caught up with Christ in the Rapture were 
afraid to face God, in whose Son he is! 

Ye received a spirit of adult-sonship, 177 whereby we cry Abba, Father! 


We have sought in vain for some simple English expression to set forth the Greek word so poorly rendered "adoption." 
This word is huio-thesia: from, huios, "son come of age"; and thesia, a placing, or setting a person or thing in its place. In earthly 
affairs, "adoption" is the term applied to the selection as child and heir of one not born of us; and the execution of legal papers 
making such child our own, inheriting legal rights, etc. 

But God's children are begotten and born of God, and are called tekna, "born-ones," of God. Thus are they directly related 
to God, "partakers of the Divine nature" (II Pet. 1:4). All God's children, whether in Old Testament days or today, are thus born. 
But the word huios means, a child come of age; no longer "as a servant" (Gal. 4:7). And huiothesia means God's recognizing 
them in that position! This will be consummated fully at the coming of Christ, when our bodies, redeemed, and fashioned anew, 
shall be conformed to Christ's glorious body. 

Meanwhile, because we are already adult sons ihuioi), God has given us a spirit of adult-sonship! No Jew called God 
"Father," or "Abba"; but "Jehovah." (Indeed) fearfulness, even prevented, generally, the use by the Jews of God's 
memorial-name — Jehovah — for that nation: they called Him Ado nai — "Lord." And the English translations of the Old Testament, 
except the A.R.V., do the same thing, — only printing Jehovah as "LORD" — in capitals! But this is no translation; and is legal 

"Because ye are adult-sons (huioi) God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6, 7). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 1 6 : The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are born-ones of God. 

The manner of communication between the Holy Spirit and our spirit is a profound mystery. 
Indeed all man's vaunted knowledge is challenged by Jehovah's word to Job: "Who hath given 
understanding to the mind?" We do not speak now with the mere purpose of ridiculing man's 
vaunted knowledge, but simply to state facts. Human philosophy and science know absolutely 
nothing about the quality or nature of spirit. 

God, in this passage in Romans, does not address Himself at all to human intellect, but to the 
consciousness of His saints. 178 The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit. There is no 
certainty comparable with this! 

"With our spirit" — We are not told that the Spirit bears witness to our spirit, as if the knowledge 
that we are God's children were some unheard of, undreamed matter to our own spirits. But He 
beareth witness with our spirit, showing that the child of God, having had communicated to him 
God' s own nature (II Pet. 1 :4), Christ' s own life (I Cor. 6:17), is fundamentally, necessarily conscious 
of the glorious fact of filial relationship to God. Along with this consciousness, the Spirit indwelling 
witnesses, enabling us, moving us, to cry, "Abba, Father." There is life before this, just as the 
new-born babe has life and breath before it forms a syllable. It is significant that the Spirit indwelling 
is the power whereby we cry, Abba, Father, — by His enlightenment. His encouragement, His energy. 

Even as to the strong Roman law concerning "adoption" of those not born in the family, (and Paul is writing to Romans) 
the following is instructive: 

"The process of legal adoption by which the chosen heir became entitled not only to the reversion of the property but to 
the civil status) to the burdens as well as the rights of the adopter — made him become, as it were, his other self, one with him 
. . . We have but a faint conception of the force with which such an illustration would speak to one familiar with the Roman 
practice; how it would serve to impress upon him the assurance that the adopted son of God becomes, in a peculiar and intimate 
sense, one with the heavenly Father." (Merivale, quoted by Vincent.) 

l.Much unnecessary and unfruitful questioning as to what is the witness of the Spirit has arisen. 

It is plain both in this passage (verses 15, 16) and from the great verse in Galatians 4:6: "Because ye are sons, God sent 
forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father," that the "witness of the Spirit" is the producing of the 
consciousness of being born of God, of belonging to His family, in Christ. And for us today who are in Christ, there should be 
the consciousness, not merely of babes, but of adult-sons. "God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father," It is a sense of the very relation to the Father which Christ Himself has as Son! Mark, in this we do not "know" the Son, 
for He is the second person of the Deity; but we do know the Father, and the Son "willeth to reveal Him" by sending the blessed 
Spirit for that purpose. (See Matt. 1 1 :27.) 

How beautifully sweet is the recognition of its parents by a babe, a child! unconcious, instinctive, yet how real! 

Now the witness of the Spirit is to the fact of our relationship. How foolish it would be, and how sad, if a child should fall 
into the delusion that it must have certain "feelings" if it is to believe itself a child of its parents. The unconscious certainty of 
the relationship is the beauty of it. There are, indeed, certain tests Divinely given us, by which to assure ourselves. Most of these, 
perhaps, are in the great Epistle of Fellowship, First John; — "fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ": "I have 
written unto you, little children, because ye know the Father (2: 13). Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made 
manifest what we shall be. We know that, if He shall be manifested, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him even as He is 
(3:2). Hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He gave us" (3:24). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The operations of a man's mind either in philosophy or in science constitute an eternal quest 
for certainty. The conclusions of philosophy are based upon theories and hypotheses and are always 
being challenged and perpetually overthrown by succeeding new schemes of philosophy. And even 
the dearest discoveries of science await new explanations — of the very constitution of the universe 
they are invented in. 

But with the child of God — the born-again family, there is no such uncertainty! A child of God 
knows. And the blessed Holy Spirit, by whose inscrutable power he was born again, keeps forever 
witnessing with his consciousness, — and that through no processes of his mind, but directly, that 
he is a born-one of God. 

This is most natural and could not be otherwise. Children in an earthly family grow up together 
as a family, their parents addressing them as children, their brothers and sisters knowing them to 
be such. It is the most beautiful thing in the natural world! 

How much more certain, yea, how much more wonderful and beautiful, is the constantly 
witnessed relationship of His children to God: the Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, 
that we are born-ones 179 of God. Believers will find themselves calling God Father, in their prayers 
and communion. This witness will spring up of itself in the heart that has truly rested in Christ and 
His shed blood. 

Conversely, if we find ourselves always in our prayers saying Lord, Lord, and never Father, 
we should be concerned, and should go back to the beginnings of things, — that is, to the record 
concerning our guilt, in Romans Three, and our helplessness, and to the fact that God has set forth 
Christ as a propitiation; and resting there, in His shed blood, we should boldly call God Father, and 
cultivate that habit. 

Nor, in our judgment, should Christians permit themselves habits of address in prayer not 
authorized and exemplified in Scripture. Our Lord Jesus prayed saying, "Father," "My Father," "O 
righteous Father." He did not say, "Almighty God," nor did He use the name "Jehovah," as Israel 
did in the Psalms and elsewhere. He said, "Father." And He said to us, "When ye pray, say, Father." 
(Note Luke 1 1:2 in the Revised Version.) "We have our access," says Paul, "in one Spirit unto the 
Father." "To us there is one God, the Father" (I Cor. 8:6). Today, also, some devoted Christians 
address God as "Father-God." But why not say, "Father," as our Lord directed and the Spirit 
witnesses? To say "Father-God," makes the first word an adjective! 


This word tekna means "born-ones," offspring. The several other Greek words for child are used accurately in Scripture: 
brephos, — an unborn child or a newborn child (Luke 1:44 and 2: 12 and 16); nepios, babes or small children, — children not come 
of age (Matt. 21:16; I Cor. 3:1; 13:11; Gal. 4:1, 3; Eph 4:14), as over against adults or those come of age; pais, paidion and 
paidarion, children, generally; and with regard to their need of training and teaching. (The verbal for paideo means to train 
children, or to cause any one to learn; thus arises its use in Hebrews 12:6.) Finally, huios, which is the word of sonship, of adult 
understanding: Paul contrasts this word, with nepios in both Galatians 4:6, and I Corinthians 13:1 1, as adulthood over against 
childhood, or infancy. 

These distinctions are not absolute, but practically so. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Some may say, "It is foolish and unnecessary to make such discriminations." But if God "sent 
forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father," we speak to the Father as did our 
beloved Savior Himself. This is infinite grace, and should be appreciated and cultivated by us. 
Moreover, if you were going into the presence of the King of England, you would take thought for 
a proper form of address. How infinitely rather when you address God! 

Verse 17: ff born-ones, then heirs — We have noted that the word for children here, tekna, is 
different from the word for adult- sons (huioi) of verse 14. The word indicates the fact that we are 
really begotten of God through His Word by His Spirit, and are partakers of His nature. Heirship 
is from relationship. The young ruler who came running to the Lord saying, "What good thing shall 
I do that I may inherit eternal life?" was a perfect example of a legalist. Indeed, Nicodemus, beloved 
man, "understood not these things" — of being born again. Now, if a man is really a child of God 
by begetting and birth, he becomes indissolubly God's heir! This is a fact of such overwhelming 
magnitude that our poor hearts hardly grasp it. It is said of no angel, cherub, or seraph, that he is 
an heir of God. Believer, if you will reflect, meditate deeply, on this, / am born of God; I am one 
of His heirs! earthly things will shrink to nothing. Now, J. D. Rockefeller, Jr., has inherited his 
father's wealth: why? Because he was his father's born son. The young ruler said, "What must I 
do to inherit?" a contradiction in itself! 

Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ — I could not have the presumption to write these 
words if they were not in God's holy Book. That a guilty, lost, wretched child of Adam the First 
should have written of him, a joint-heir with Christ, the Eternal Maker of all things, the 
Well-beloved of the Father, the Righteous One, the Prince of life — only God the God of all grace 
could prepare such a destiny for such a creature! 

And, we may humbly say, perhaps, that God could only do this by joining us in eternal union 
with His beloved Son, as the Last Adam, the Second Man; having released us from Adam the First 
and all his connections, at the cross, and having placed us in Christ Risen, in all the boundless and 
everlasting rights of His dear Son, whom He has "appointed heir of all things!" Ages after ages of 
ever-increasing blessing forever and forever and forever, lie in prospect for believers — for the 
joint- heirs! 

ff so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him. — Here two schools 
of interpretation part company, one saying boldly that all the saints are designated, and that all shall 
reign with Christ; the other, that reigning with Christ depends upon voluntary choosing of a path 
of suffering with Him. Well, the Greek word eiper translated "if so be," will support either of these 
interpretations. 180 

180 Eiper — "if so be that," Is used six times in the New Testament; Romans 8:9 and 17; I Cor. 8:5; 15:15; II Thess. 1:6; I Pet. 2:3. 
An examination of these references shows that this word eiper can only be interpreted in one passage, I Cor. 15:15, as introducing 
a non-existent state of things; and here it is only most evidently for the sake of argument only: "if so be that the dead rise not." 
This use in Rom. 8:9, the text proves to be in connection with a positive asserted fact, "if so be the Spirit of God dwelleth in 
you." This word eiper can be rendered in all six passages by "if, as is supposed." I would suggest the rendering, "inasmuch as," 
for Rom. 8:17. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"That we may also be glorified together" This is the key to our question: WHO are to be 
glorified with Christ when He comes? In Chapter Five Paul says (and that of, and to, all the saints), 
"We rejoice in hope of the glory of God." And in II Thessalonians 1:10 we read, "When He shall 
come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believed?' And in I 
Corinthians 15:23: "Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at His coming." And again 
(Col. 3:4): "When Christ our life shall be manifested, then shall ye also [evidently all the saints!] 
with Him be manifested in glory." Again (I John 3:2): "Now are we [all the saints] children of God 
. . . We know that, if He shall be manifested, we [all the saints] shall be like Him; for we shall see 
Him even as He is!" 

Such passages leave no room at all for a "partial rapture!" All the saints will share Christ's 

Now, as to places in the Kingdom, what reward we shall have, what responsibilities of kingdom 
government (in the 1000 years), we shall each be able to bear, or be entitled to, our "suffering with" 
Christ Jesus, seems to determine. "If we died with Him [as did all believers] we shall [all] also live 
with Him [in glory]; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him" (II Tim. 2:12, R. V.) 

Now the Greek word used in Romans 8: 17 for "suffer with" (sumpascho) is used just once more 
in the New Testament: in I Corinthians 12:26: "If one member suffer, all the members suffer with 
it." Here Paul is speaking of the Body of Christ into which all believers have been baptized by the 
Spirit (I Cor. 12:12, 13): "As the [human] body is one, and hath many members, and all the members 
of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ; For in one Spirit were we all baptized into 
one Body." Here note all believers are in this Body. And then, verse 26: "Whether one member 
suffereth, all the members suffer with it." Here (and mark again this is the only occurrence of the 
word besides Rom. 8:17) "suffering with" is not a voluntary matter, but one necessitated by the 
relationship. If someone should tread upon your foot, your whole body would be exercised. So it 
is with Christ and His members. 

Now as to the other word, of II Timothy 2:12: "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him"; 
this word is entirely different: but (and note this), the subject of which it treats is different. Being 
a joint-heir with Christ, and being a member of His Body, and therefore, sharing necessarily those 
sufferings that every member of a living Christ will suffer in a world where Satan is prince, is one 
thing; gaining the ability to have victory over Satan and the world, entering gladly into the conflict 
those sufferings involve, and enduring, is perhaps an additional thing, fitting one for reigning with 
Christ, though all His members are joint-heirs with Him. 

(Notice "endure" — (Gr. hupomeno) — of II Timothy 2:12 in several instances: Heb. 12:2, 3, 7; 
Jas. 1:12; 5:11; I Cor. 13:7.) 

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time 
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall 
be revealed to us-ward. 19 For the earnest expectation of 
the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its 
own will, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope: 
21 because the creation itself also shall be delivered from 
the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the 
children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation 
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 

23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the 
first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within 
ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to-wit, the redemption 
of our body. 24 For unto [a state of] hope were we saved: 
but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that 
which he seeth? 

25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we 
with patience wait for it. 

Verse 18: The word I reckon (logidzomai), is a favorite with Paul. It expresses faith in action. 
Paul had known abundant sufferings: read II Corinthians Eleven, and all his epistles. But like our 
Lord, "the File-Leader" {archegos — Heb. 12:2) of the column of believers, who endured the cross 
in view of the joy set before Him, despising the shame, Paul "reckoned" in view of the coming 
glory: which should be the constant attitude of all of us. 

The sufferings of this present time — "This present time"; it is necessary to have God's estimate 
of these days in which we live or we will be deluded into man's false thoughts. Note: "this present 
evil age" (Gal. 1 :4); "the days are evil"; "this darkness" (Eph. 5:16; 6:12); "the distress that is upon 
us"; "the fashion of this world is passing away" (I Cor. 7:26, 31). 

Are not to be compared with the glory — These Words need to be pondered in view of passages 
like Heb. 11:35-38; "tortured . . . mockings and scourgings . . . bonds and imprisonment, stoned 
. . . sawn asunder . . . tempted . . . slain with the sword . . . went about in sheepskins, in goatskins 
. . . destitute, afflicted, evil-treated . . . wandering [through] the earth." In spite of the horrors of 
the days of Nero, Diocletian and the rest; and the nameless terrors of the Spanish Inquisition: the 
"glory which shall be revealed" so swallows up these brief earthly troubles, that they shall not be 
named nor remembered in that day when Christ shall come. 

It is difficult, impossible, to depict in language all of, or any real measure of, what is meant by 
the glory which shall be revealed toward us. In fact, as we know, we are to be glorified with Christ, 
to share His glory, and appear with Him in glory. 181 In Colossians 3:4 we read, "When Christ, who 
is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory"; and in II 

181 The expression "the glory which shall be revealed toward us," is translated "in us" in the King James. This preposition (eis) is 
used twice, for example, in II Thess. 2: 14: "Unto which also He called you through our gospel unto the obtaining of the glory 
of the Lord Jesus Christ," This "glory" is to be revealed "to usward": not only to us, but in us, and therefore through us, to an 
astonished universe; and that forever! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Thessalonians 1:10: "When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in 
all them that believed." Such passages show that not only will the saints behold Christ's glory, but, 
beholding, they will share that glory, and be glorified with Him. This is the great object before 
God's mind now, to "bring many sons unto glory" (Heb. 2:10), that they may be conformed to 
Christ's image (Rom. 8:29). 

In constant view of that glory to be revealed in and through the Church, the sufferings which 
God called the saints to go through, no matter what they were, seemed as nothing. 

Verse 19: For the earnest expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the 
sons of God. 

The world knows nothing of this astonishing verse. All the saints should always have it in 
remembrance! Man's philosophy and science, taught in their schools, continually prate of "evolution" 
and "progress" in the present creation. And they go back in pure imagination millions of years and 
forward millions of years, telling you confidently how things came to be, and when, and what they 
will come to be; but they know nothing. Here God tells us unto what creation is coming — for what 
it is waiting: "earnestly." Whether inanimate things on earth (for even the rocks and hills shall sing 
for joy shortly!) or whether the moving creatures on earth or sea; or whether, may we say, the hosts 
on high — all are waiting in expectation for that "unveiling of the sons of God." For the word here 
translated "revealing" is apokalupsis, a removal of a covering, — as when some wonderful statue 
has been completed and a veil thrown over it, people assemble for the "unveiling" of this work of 
art. It will be as when sky rockets are sent up on a festival night: rockets which, covered with brown 
paper, seem quite common and unattractive, but up they are sent into the air and then they are 
revealed in all colors of beauty, and the multitude waiting below shout in admiration. Now the 
saints are wrapped up in the common brown paper of flesh, looking outwardly like other folks. But 
the whole creation is waiting for their unveiling at Christ's coming, for they are connected with 
Christ, one with Him, and are to be glorified with Him at His coming. 

Verse 20: For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of 
Him who subjected it in hope: 

Now God, in His infinite wisdom, thus subjected the creation, 182 — that is, the earth. "The whole 
creation" must refer to the earth, for the Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the holy angels were not 
"subjected to vanity"! 

Vanity — Here look back to the garden of Eden, and to Adam' s first sin, the judgment of which 
fell not upon the man, but we read: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it 
all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." Here we find God 
subjecting the whole creation to "vanity," — that is, to unattainment. The book of Ecclesiastes dwells 
long, with a mournful tone upon this vanity, this unattainment; things "putting forth the tender 

182 The expression creation seems to refer to this earth, even although the words in verse 22 are the whole creation. In Colossians 
1:23, Paul speaks of the gospel having been preached "in all creation under heaven." God announced as a result of man's sin, 
"Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee," The creation — the old version here reads 
"creature," which is not accurate or clear. The reference is especially to the present world and the order of life upon it. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

leaves of hope" only to have the "sudden frost" of disease and death end earthly hopes. "Our days 
on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no abiding," as David said in his great prayer (I Chron. 

Not of its own will, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope — God had a vast plan, 
reaching on into eternity, and "hope" lies ahead for creation: for the Millennium is coming, and 
after that, a new heaven and earth. 

Verse 21: Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of 
corruption — Now although we who are in Christ are new creatures, yet God has left our bodies 
as the link with the present "groaning" creation. Meanwhile, how "the bondage of corruption" 
appears on every side! Death — are not all creatures in terror of it, seeking to escape it? Every 
decaying carcass of poor earth-creatures speaks of the 'bondage of corruption." What ruin man's 
sin has effected throughout the creation, as well as upon himself! It was God's good pleasure, that 
when man sinned and became estranged from his God, all creation, which was under him, should 
be subjected to the "bondage of corruption" along with him, in decay and disease and suffering, 
death, and destruction, everywhere, — of bondage, with no deliverer. 

Into the liberty of the glory of the children of God — As Paul shows) we already have liberty 
in Christ, — the liberty of grace. The "liberty of the glory of the children of God" awaits Christ's 
second coming. How blessed it is to know that into that glorious liberty, creation, which has shared 
"the bondage of corruption," will be brought along with us! 

Contrast the state of creation now with the Millennial order described in Isaiah 11:6-9: The 
wolf dwelling with the lamb the leopard with the kid; the calf, the young lion, and the fading 
together, and the little child leading them. The cow and the bear feeding, their young ones lying 
down together; the lion eating straw like the ox; children playing over the serpent's hole: "They 
shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of 
Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea." 

Verse 22: For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together 
until now. 

We know — Always this is the expression of Christian knowledge. This earth's poets, 
philosophers, scientists, face to face with death with a capital D, — in every crushed ocean shell, in 
every rotten log, in the very minor keys in which the voices of beasts and birds are pitched, seem 
never even to get a glimpse of the bondage of corruption in which all creation is groaning; but talk 
in sprightly ways of "progress," of "evolution"! How far from understanding the creation around 
them are human beings all, — except Spirit-taught Christians! "Their own poets" write thus, — of a 
"groaning creation": 

"The year's at the spring, 
And day's at the morn; 
Morning's at seven; 
The hill- side's dew-pearled; 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The lark's on the wing; 
The snail's on the thorn; 
God's in His heaven — 
All's well with the world!" 

To think of writing "All's well," in a world where all are dying! Christians, and only Christians 
see the present creation with new vision, as the work of their dear Father. As Wade Robinson's 
hymn says, 

"Heaven above is softer blue, 

Earth around is sweeter green! 
Something lives in every hue 

Christless eyes have never seen: 

Birds with gladder songs o'erflow, 

Flowers with deeper beauties shine, 
Since I know, as now I know, 

I am His, and He is mine." 

Groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now — Ever since Adam's sin, the curse lies 
on all the earth. The earth and the creatures are away from God. All is estranged, consequently 
"groaning" and "travailing" are everywhere. (But travailing, though painful, looks toward a birth!) 

Until now — No "evolution," "progress," — but the opposite, — until Christ shall come with the 
"liberty of the glory." 

Verse 23: And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even 
we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to-wit, the redemption of our 

Let us note that the Spirit does not take us out of sympathy with groaning creation, but rather 
supports us in such sympathy! Being ourselves, as to the body, in a groaning condition, — "longing 
to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven" (II Cor. 5:2) we are able to sympathize 
with the creatures about us, which is a precious thing! No one should feel as tender as should the 
child of God toward suffering creation. No one should be as gentle. Not only should this be true 
about us as concerns unsaved people: as Paul says, "Be gentle, showing all meekness toward all 
men," but, I say, we should be tender and patient toward animals, for they are in a dying state — until 
our bodies are redeemed. 

What a marvelous position, then, is the Christian's! On the heavenly side, the side of grace, in 
Christ, sharing in His risen life, delivered from sin and law and all worldly things. On the other 
hand, not yet partaker of glory (though expecting and awaiting it), but kept in an unredeemed 
body, — not fitted yet for heaven: and in which the longing spirit, knowing itself "meet to be partaker 
of the inheritance of the saints in light," can only "groan"! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

This groaning is not at all that of the "wretched man" of Romans Seven. For not only is spiritual 
victory known; but the "redemption body" is longed for and awaited as that which the Lord's 
coming will surely bring! 

Thus, then, does the Christian become the true connection of groaning creation with God! He 
is redeemed, heavenly; but his body is unredeemed, earthly. Yet the blessed Holy Spirit as the 
"firstfruits" of coming bodily redemption, dwells in him. Thus the believer and the whole creation 
look toward one goal the liberty of the coming glory of the sons of God! 183 

Ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan — Here then 
is a wonderful scene: (1) new creatures in Christ, whose citizenship is in heaven; (2) the presence 
of the Spirit within them as "firstfruits" of their coining inheritance — witnessing of it, giving them 
to taste of its glory; (3) a state of groaning despite all this; (4) a waiting for bodily redemption. 

Waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body — The instructed Christian, 
knowing that his body belongs to the Lord, and is not yet redeemed, longs for, yearns for, groans 
for that day when his body will be placed in a position of openly acknowledged sonship and glory, 
even as his spirit now, is. Till that day he cannot be satisfied. 

This scene is deeply touching. One who, redeemed, belongs in heaven, yet kept in a body in 
which he groans with groaning creation. Then — amazing goodness! the blessed Spirit, we may say, 
represents God' s tender feeling toward His creation, abiding, as He does, in us the while our bodies 
are not redeemed. We repeat and repeat that the Christian's hope is not disembodiment, or mere 
"going to heaven." For, knowing that "our citizenship is in heaven; we patiently wait for a Savior, 
the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed 
to the body of his glory." There is an element, we fear, of cowardice, as well as of unbelief in setting 
our hope on "getting to heaven," and leaving, so to speak, our body behind. God began with man's 
body in Eden (Gen. 2); and He will end with redeeming our bodies. The heart of God and of 
Christ, — yea of the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8: 1 1) is set upon that. Let our hearts, also, be set upon 

Verse 24: For unto [a state of] hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for 
who hopeth for that which he seeth? 

This places us, along with all creation, in hope. For, as verse 24 announces, unto [a state of] 
hope were we saved. There is a longing for and expectation of something better, no matter what 
spiritual blessing comes to the believer. This that is longed for, is, of course, "the liberty of the 
glory," that belongs, by God's grace, to the children of God (verse 21). Creation will share this 
"liberty." Therefore we have a double feeling toward creation: sympathy with its suffering, and 
joy in its prospect of sharing the "liberty of the glory" into which we shall shortly come. 

183 Major D. W. Whittle — of blessed memory! used to say, "The trouble with most Christians is that they are not willing to groan! 
Unwilling to face constantly the fact of being 'in a tabernacle' our earthly body, in which we groan, being burdened; and thus 
to long for the coming of Christ in the redemption of their bodies, most Christians get weary and long for death — disembodiment, 
which is not the Christian's hope. Or else they turn back for some kind of satisfaction ,to the things of this poor wretched dying 
world. Or they seek to have sin 'eradicated' from their bodies." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 25: But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 

Now hope is expecting something better! The very fact that we have not seen it realized as yet, 
begets within us that grace which is so precious to God — patience. But note, it is not patience in 
the abstract that is set forth here: but patient waiting for the coming liberty of the glory of the 
children of God. 

26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our 
infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the 
Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings 
which cannot be uttered! 27 and He that searcheth the hearts 
knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh 
intercession for the saints according to God. 

28 And we know that to them that love God all things 
work together for good, to them that according to His 
purpose are called ones. 29 For whom He foreknew He also 
foreordained conformed to the image of His Son, that He 
might be the First-born among many brethren! 30 and whom 
He foreordained, them He also called: and whom He called, 
them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He 
also glorified. 

Verse 26: And in like manner also — We have just read that "we that have the firstfruits of the 
Spirit groan within ourselves," waiting for that blessed day of "the liberty of the glory of the sons 
of God." These words "in like manner," refer to that operation within us of the Spirit, which makes 
us in real sympathy, one with the groaning creation about us. "In like manner," then, with this truly 
wonderful help, the Spirit "helps our infirmity," — in its ignorant and infirm dealing with God. Note, 
the word "infirmity" is singular number: for we have nothing but infirmity! We know not how to 
pray as we ought. Oh, beware of the glib and intimate chatter of the "Modernist" preacher in his 
prayers! He would flatter both the Almighty and his hearers, and most of all, himself, in his 
"beautiful" and "eloquent" addresses to God! Not so with Paul, and the real saints of God, who 
have the Holy Ghost. There is with them the sense of utter and boundless need, and along with this 
the sense of ignorance and inability. Yet, still, bless God! there is, with all this, the sense of the 
limitless help of the Holy Spirit! 

The Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered — We 

know that Christ maketh intercession for us at the right hand of God, but here the Spirit is making 
intercession within us: The Spirit, who knows the vast abysmal need of every one of us, knows that 
need to the least possible particular. 

Groanings which cannot be uttered — expresses at once the vastness of our need, our utter 
ignorance and inability, and the infinite concern of the blessed indwelling Spirit for us. 
"Groanings" — what a word! and to be used of the Spirit of the Almighty Himself! How shallow is 
our appreciation of what is done, both by Christ for us, and by the Spirit within us! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Which cannot be uttered — Here then, are needs of our, of which our minds know nothing, 
and which our speech could not utter if we could perceive those needs. But it is part of God' s great 
plan in our salvation that this effectual praying should have its place — praying, the very meaning 
of which we cannot grasp. Men of God have testified to the spirit of prayer prostrating them into 
deep and often long-continued "groanings." We believe that such consciousness of the Spirit's 
praying within us is included in this verse, but the chief or principal part of the Spirit's groaning 
within us, perhaps never reaches our spirit's consciousness. 

Verse 27: And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is in the mind of the Spirit, 
because He maketh intercession for the saints according to God. 

It is God the Father here that is "searching the hearts." How we used to shrink from the thought 
of such Divine searching! But here God is "searching hearts" to know what is the mind of the 
indwelling, holy Spirit concerning a saint, to know what the Spirit groans for, for that saint; in order 
that He may supply it. 

For in the plan of salvation, God the Father is the Source, Christ the Channel, and the Spirit the 

Because He maketh intercession for the saints according to God — We feel that the 
introduction of the words "the will of before the word God, merely obscures the meaning. 
"According to God" — what an all-inclusive, blessed expression, enwrapping us as to our salvation 
and blessing, wholly in Divine love and power. We know not how to pray as we ought; but the 
Spirit makes intercession in us, "according to God," according to His nature (of which we are 
partakers); according to our needs, which He discerns; according to our dangers, which He 
foresees — according to all the desires He has toward us. 

Verse 28: And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good — The 

words we know are used about thirty times as the expression of the common knowledge of the 
saints of God as such, in the Epistles: (in Romans, five times) — indicating always Christian 
knowledge; also I Corinthians 8:4, 1 John 5:19, — and John 21:24, are perfect examples. Lodge 
members, having been "initiated," go about as those that "know." The Christian is traveling to glory 
along with a blessed company that can say "We know," in an infinitely higher and surer sense. 184 
And here, what a knowledge! that to them that love God all things work together for good! 

Now as to them that love God John tells us in his first Epistle, "We love, because He first 
loved us"; and, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us"; and "We know and 
have believed the love which God hath in our case." Real faith in the God who gave His Son, will, 
Paul tells the Galatians (5:6)), be "working through love." Only those can and do really love God 
whose hearts have been "sprinkled from an evil conscience" — delivered from fear of God's just 
judgment. The question therefore, comes right back to this: Have we believed, as guilty lost sinners, 

184 As for the "Modernist," his shallow, ignorant, blatant boast if, "We do not know; we are not sure," thus giving continual open 
evidence that he does not belong to that company of whom John writes: "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given 
us an understanding, that we know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true 
God, and eternal life." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

on this propitiation by the blood of God's Son on the cross? Is that our only hope? If so, I John 
4:16 becomes true: "We know and have believed the love which God hath in our case," and verse 
19 follows: "We love, because he first loved us." We cannot work up love for God, but His 
redeeming love for us, believed in, becomes the eternal cause and spring of our love to God. 

Now we find in Romans 8:28 a great marvel: all things work together for good to these 
believing lovers of God. This involves that billion billion control of God's providence, — of the 
most infinitesimal things — to bring them about for "good" to God's saints. When we reflect on the 
innumerable "things" about us, — forces seen and unseen of the mineral, vegetable, and animal 
worlds; of man at enmity with God; of Satan, and his principalities and powers, in deadly array; in 
the uncertainty and even treachery of those near and dear to us, and even of professed Christians, 
and of our own selves, — which we cannot trust for a moment; upon our unredeemed bodies; upon 
our general complete helplessness: — then, to have God say, "All things are working together for 
your good," — reveals to us a Divine providence that is absolutely limitless! The book of Proverbs 
sets forth just such a God: for it describes the certain end, good or bad, of the various paths of men 
on earth — every minute detail ordered of God. So also Ephesians (1:11): "The purpose of Him who 
worketh all things after the counsel of His will"; and David: "All things are Thy servants" (Ps. 
1 19:91); as also the whole prophetic Word, — yea, the whole Word of God; for the God of Providence 
is in all of it! 

For good — Dark things, bright things; happy things, sad things; sweet things, bitter things; 
times of prosperity, times of adversity. The "great woman," the Shunammite, with her one child 
lying at home dead, answers Elisha's question, "Is it well with the child?": "It is well." "A soft 
pillow for a tired heart," Romans 8:28 was called by our beloved Brother R. A. Torrey. 

To them that are called according to His purpose — We come now up on the high, celestial 
mountains of Divine Sovereign election, and find those who love God are further defined as those 
that are "called" (not "invited," 185 but given a Divine elective calling) according to His Purpose. 


"Called" here does not mean invited, — as in Proverbs, for instance. "Unto you, O men, I call"; for this would be an appeal 
to man' s will instead of a description of those who are the objects of God' s will, His purpose. "Called," in the sense of Romans 
8:28, is illustrated in I Corinthians 1:24: where "Christ crucified" is declared to be a "stumbling-block" to Jews (to people whose 
thought was religion) and "foolishness" to Greeks (to those whose life lay in philosophy): but to 'the called themselves" (Gr. 
margin) "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." Here "the called" are seen to be a. company whose mark is neither 
religious response nor intellectual apprehending; but the electing grace of God which has so marked out the sphere of their being, 
that they are named "the called." They are called according to His (God's) purpose! 

Now, that purpose is not merely an expressed Divine desire, but a fixed and vast will, that itself subordinates, necessarily, 
all things; submerges all opposition; effects its object. God's purpose, in regard to "the called," His "elect," does, indeed, arise 
out of His desire, as well as being according to His infinite wisdom. 

This is shown in: 

"Jehovah hath chosen Zion; 

He hath desired it for His habitation. 

Here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (Ps. 132: 13, 14). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Meditation upon the purpose of the eternal God greatens every soul thus occupied. God is infinite; 
man, a bit of dust. If God had a purpose, a fixed intention, it will come to pass, for He has limitless 
resources, — as David says, "All things are Thy servants." 

We have been dealing in the first part of the chapter with the human will and its consent to walk 
by the Spirit. Not so from the 28th verse to the chapter's end. It will be all God from now on! 
Purpose means an intelligent decision which the will is bent to accomplish. The Greek word, 
prothesis, is used twelve times in the New Testament. As to man, the word is seen to indicate what 
he is entirely unable to carry through, as in Acts 27:13: They supposed "that they had obtained 
their purpose," but the ship was wrecked. In the saints, their purpose is carried on by Divine grace, 
often with many failures: Acts 11:23, "He exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would 
cleave unto the Lord." And in II Timothy 3:10, Paul refers Timothy to that "manner of life, purpose, 
faith," which the apostle had shown at Ephesus, a purpose carried out to final victory in finishing 
his course. But, as he says, "By the grace of God I am what I am." 

In God, however, purpose is absolute, — wholly apart from contingencies. In the very next 
occurrence after Romans 8:28 we read, "that the purpose of God according to election might 
stand" — everything subordinated, and the end predicted. We read also in Ephesians 3:11 of a 
"purpose of the ages" which God has ordained and will carry through, just as our salvation is 
referred to as "not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was 
given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages" (II Tim. 1:9). 

Therefore we beg the reader in examining the great verses 29 and 30, to distinguish the things 
that differ, utterly refusing to confuse or mix them: (1) First, we shall find many Scriptures in which 
the consent of man's will is asked, and blessing is contingent upon his consent; and some ("rocky 
ground people) will receive the Word "immediately with joy, and for awhile endure," but in time 
of tribulation or persecution "fall away." (2) Second, we shall find plainly written in Scripture the 
purpose of God according to which He works effectually; and all His elect are brought safely in, 
and there is no separating them from His love which was given them in Christ Jesus, in whom they 
were "chosen before the foundation of the world." 

Now do not seek to mix these two things; and still more emphatically we say, do not try to 
"reconcile" them! Profitless controversy and partisan feeling will be the only result. Who told us 
to "reconcile" in our little minds, these seemingly contradictory things? Have we ceased to believe 
where we do not understand? 

Every system of theology undertakes to subject the words of God to categories and catalogs of 
the human intellect. Now, if you undertake to "reconcile" God's sovereign election with His free 
offer of salvation to all, you must sacrifice one truth or the other. Our poor minds may not "reconcile" 

Also, "Because He [Jehovah] loved thy [Israel's] fathers, therefore He chose their seed after them" (Deut. 4:37). Even those 
"chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world," are said to be "loved in Christ Jesus our Lord." "Go is love, " and acts 
according to that nature. Out of His infinite, holy desire arose His Purpose. Reverse this order, and you have the god of the 
fatalist, not of the Bible. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

them both, but our faith knows them both, and holds both, to be true! And Scripture is addressed 
to faith, not to reason. 

Verse 29: For whom He foreknew He also foreordained conformed to the image of His 
Son, that He might be the First-born among many brethren. 

For whom He foreknew — This for looks back at the word purpose, and opens out that great 
word before us. 

And first we have, foreknew. This foreknowledge of God. — what is it? In seeking its meaning 
we dare not turn to men's ideas, but to Scripture only. 186 In Amos 1:2 to 2:8, Jehovah gives in detail 
His exact knowledge of the sins and of the coming judgments of Syria, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, 
Ammon, Moab; and then also of Israel. But to Israel He says, "You only have I known, of all the 
families of the earth." What did such language mean? That He had acquaintanceship with "the 
whole family which He brought up out of the land of Egypt." Of Israel again — especially the godly 
Remnant, He speaks: "God did not cast off His people which He foreknew." Now, even of Christ 
it is written in I Peter 1:20, "He was foreknown indeed before the foundations of the world." This 
is the same Greek word as in Romans 8:29. Now Christ was the Eternal Son of God, the Eternal 
Word. But, "The Word become flesh": that occurred when He came into the world. And as thus 
manifested, "He was foreknown." It was not a mere Divine pre-knowledge that He would be 
manifested; but a pre- acquaintance ship before His manifestation, — with Him as such! From which 
"foreknowledge," or pre- acquaintance, flowed the most intimate prophecies of Him, His lowly 
coming, His rejection, and the manner of His death. All this is wrapped up in this word 

He also foreordained — Foreknowledge is first — by the God that "calleth the things not being, 
being" (4.17, Gr.). Then, the marking out a destiny befitting such foreknown ones. The words "to 
be" need not be here: but we may read, foreordained conformed to the image of His Son. Here 
we come to words of plain meaning, but limitless reach! Christ the Son, for whom and by whom 
all things were made; Christ the Son, the appointed Heir of all things; Christ the Son — center of 
all the Divine counsels! Christ the Son, God's Son, the Son of His love! Conformed to His 
image, — nothing lacking, nothing short: like Christ — conformed to His image: in glory, in love, in 
holiness, in beauty, in grace, in humility, in tenderness, in patience! Our very bodies at last alive 
unto God! For we know that this also shall be: "When Christ, our life shall be manifested, then 
shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory!" And thus to be with Christ, like Him forever and 
ever! Only God can show, and only simple faith respond to, grace such as this! 

That He might be the First-born among many brethren — In Christ, like Christ, brethren 
there with the First-born! This is the highest place, shall we not say, that God could give creatures! 
God puts us there: and of Christ it is written, "He is not ashamed to call them brethren"; because 

186 "It is important to observe that the apostle does not speak of a passive or naked foreknowlege as if God only saw beforehand 
what some would be, and do, or believe. His foreknowledge is of persons, not of their state or conduct; it is not what, but 'whom' 
He foreknew" (Kelly). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

we are "all of one with Christ! (Heb. 2:11). "This, in fact, is the thought of grace, not to bless us 
only by Jesus, but to bless us with Him". 

Verse 30: And whom He foreordained, them He also called — Since we are here considering 
God's unfolding of His purpose (of verse 28), we must regard called from God's side, — who counts 
things not being, being. Further, calling is here that determination by God of the sphere and mode 
of life those should have whom He foreknew and foreordained. This "calling" belongs to Eternity 
past; as "calling," for example in II Thessalonians 2:14; Gal. 1:6, belongs to experience in present 

And whom He called, them He also justified — God does not here speak of that entering upon 
justification by faith — of which this Epistle is full. For only believing souls are accounted righteous, 
justified, as we well know. Yet in God's counsels are all His elect already before Him, accounted 
righteous — justified. This is wonderful truth: and its power to stay the soul will be seen in the last 
part of this great Chapter! 

And whom He justified, them He also glorified — This is the necessary end of this amazing 
series — glorified! Thus must these foreknown ones be ever, before God, since God foreknew them 
in Christ. None has yet been glorified in manifestation. Indeed, Christ Himself has not yet been 
"manifested"; although He has entered into His glory. And it is in this glorified Christ that God 
chose us long ago, — before the foundation of the world! God, who could thus connect us with 
Christ, can also say of us, I have glorified them! And so the saints go on to a glory already true of 
them by the word of their God! 

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for 
us, who is against us? 32 He that even spared not His own 
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also 
with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay 
anything to the charge of God's elect? [It is] God that 
justifieth: who is he that condemneth? 34 Christ Jesus 
[God's own Son] is the one that died, — yea rather, that was 
raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who 
is also making intercession for us! 35 Who shall separate 
us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or 
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 
Even as it is written, 

On account of thee we are killed all day long: 

We were reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. 

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors 
through Him that loved us! 

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor 
angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to 
come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of 
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Concerning this great passage, Bengel says, "We can no farther go, think, wish." Olshausen 
emphasizes "the profound and colossal character of the thought"; and Brown says: "This whole 
passage, to verse 34 and even to the end of the chapter, strikes all thoughtful interpreters and readers 
as transcending almost everything in language." 

Paul here arrives at the mountain-height of Christian position! And that, so to speak, by way 
of experience. He does, indeed, in the word "us" bring all the saints with him. There was first our 
state of awful guilt — and Christ's work for us, and justification thereby. Then came the knowledge 
of indwelling sin, and the Spirit's work within us, and deliverance from sin's power thereby. Now 
he has arrived upon the immovable mountain-top of Divine sovereign election, and he sees God 
Himself for us! Not at all meaning, here, God merely on our side in our struggles, but God's uncaused 
unalterable attitude with respect to those in Christ. God is for them: nothing in time or in eternity 
to come has anything whatever to do with matters here. Our weak hearts, prone to legality and 
unbelief, with great difficulty receive these mighty words: God is for us. Place the emphasis here 
where God places it — on this great word "for." God is for His elect. They have failed, but He is 
for them. They are ignorant, but He is for them. They have not yet brought forth much fruit, but 
He is for them. If our hearts once surrender to the stupendous fact that there are those whom God 
will eternally be for, that there is an electing act and attitude of God, in which He eternally commits 
Himself to His elect, — without conditions, without requirements; whose lives do not at all affect 
the fact that God is for them — then we shall be ready to magnify the God of all grace! 

Verse 31: What then shall we say to these things? By "these things" Paul evidently indicates 
not only the whole process of our salvation by Christ, from Chapter Three onward, with that great 
deliverance by the help of the Holy Spirit set forth in this Eighth Chapter; but he also points most 
directly to what He has been telling us of the purpose of God: "Whom He foreknew, foreordained, 
called, justified, glorified!" Now it is a sad fact that many dear saints have said many poor, even 
lamentable things, to these things of Divine sovereign foreknowledge and election. Some, indeed, 
will not hear "these things," as Paul sets them forth. Let us not be of this company! What shall we 
say to these things? To doubt them is to deny them: for God asserts them — from foreknowledge 
to glorification. To question whether they apply to us is to question — not election, but the words 
"whosoever will," of the gospel invitation. You can let God be absolutely sovereign in election, 
and yet, if you find the door opened by this sovereign God, and "whosoever will" written over it 
by that same sovereign God, by all means enter! Set your seal to this, that God is true, by receiving 
His witness (John 3:33). Do not allow any "system of theology" to disturb you for one moment! 
What will you say to these things? Say, with Paul: God is for me: He spared not His own Son — for 
me! This question, What shall we say to these things? is a testing word, as well, as a triumphant 

Concerning "these things," if we simply rejoice, with Paul, saying, "God is for me, who is 
against me?" it is well! But if we cannot rejoice in Divine, sovereign foreknowledge, foreordination, 
and calling, this also is the fruit of subtle unbelief and self-righteousness. "I know," said Spurgeon, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"that God chose me before I was born' for He never would have chosen me afterwards!" Let us 
not be of the Little-faiths, or of the Faint-hearts; but let Mr. Greatheart himself, even Paul, set forth 
the case: If God be for us, who is against us? This "if does not imply doubt, but amounts to 
since. We are expected to have heard understood, and believed all the previous marvels of our 
salvation written in this epistle. The conclusion is: GOD IS FOR US. The Creator of the universe, 
the Upholder of all things, the Redeemer God Himself, for us! 

Therefore the challenge: who is against us? Paul knew as none have ever known, the power 
and malignity of Satan and his hosts, the persecuting energy of the haters of the gospel, the relentless 
watchfulness of the Roman Empire — that had flung justice to the winds, and crucified Paul' s Lord, 
and ever stood ready, upon occasion, to seize him. Yet he challenges all! It is not a question of 
logic, as the King James puts it: "Who can be against us?" But it is a direct challenge in the lists: 
to all and any in the whole possible universe: literally. If God for us — who against us? 

Verse 32: He that even l87 spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all — This is 
the God who is for us; and this is the proof! Spared not — what that word shows! Of the infinite 
price of redemption! of the measureless unconquerable love of God that would not be stopped at 
such frightful cost! "His own Son"; His only Son; His well-beloved Son, — from all eternity! And 
for us! Ah, how wretched we are, even in our own sight! guilty, undone, defiled, powerless, 
worthless, — for us all! Verily, "the most miserable of sheep!" (Zech. 11:7). 

Then, delivered Him up — We remember immediately the same word in Chapter 4:25: "delivered 
up for our trespasses." Yea, we know for why: but unto what? gainsaying, mocking, spitting, 
scourging, crucifying — by men; and to the awful cup of wrath for our sin at God's hand — infinitely 
more appalling that any creature stroke! Yet God spared not — His own Son, but delivered Him up! 

For us all — Here the saints are spoken of. (Paul never uses "us" of any others!) And who are 
the saints? Sinners who have heard God's good news concerning His Son, and have simply believed! 
Only faith can walk here! Unbelief, coming to the fearful gulf between the infinitely holy God and 
the awful guilt of the sinner, shrinks back; while faith, seeing Christ crucified, cries, God is for me! 
and passes gladly over the bridge God made — who spared not His own Son! 

How shall He not also with Him freely give us all things? — The great gift, the unspeakable 
gift, being made, all must follow! "How shall He not, with Him?" If you buy a costly watch at the 
jeweller's, he sends it to you in a lovely case which he gives you freely — with your purchase. It is 
as in Chapter Five, with the "much mores." God has not spared His Son: what are all else to Him? 
God has opened to us His heart, He has spared not, — giving us His best, His all — even Christ. 
Now, with Him, all things come! God cannot but do this. Shall He give us His dear Son, and then 
hold back at trifles? For "all things" of this created universe, — yea, even all gifts or blessings God 
may give us, here or hereafter, are but nothing, compared with Christ! 

187 Both the R.V. and the King James neglect to translate the little particle (Gr. ge) which gives this passage its peculiar emphasis: 
Literally: "God for US .... who even spared not His own Son!" went even that length. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"All things": It will greatly please God for us boldly to beg Him for this or that, saying: Thou 
didst not spare Thy Son, but gavest Him for me. Now I need a thing from Thee; and I ask it as one 
to whom Thou gavest Christ! "How shall He not?" not, "How shall He?' — as doubt would put it! 
Let "all things" be all things indeed to thee, — only seeking wisdom in asking. This verse is a great 
feeder of faith! 

Verse 33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? Note (1) It is God's elect 
whom this passage concerns. (2) God's elect not only believe, but are confident! For there can be 
no charge laid against them. (3) They boldly challenge any and every foe, concerning any possible 
charge against them before God! It is not that those triumphing are without fault in themselves — they 
know that! But God is for them! They are His "elect," and we know from the next chapter that the 
purpose of God according to election is not of works'": but on the contrary, "of Him that calleth" 
(Romans 9:11). As absolutely as righteousness is "not of works," so neither is election! Both have 
God Himself as the only Source! So, "the purpose of God according to election stands!" 

It is God that justifieth: 188 who is he that condemneth? — Here the emphasis is upon God. 
He is the Judge; and He has declared His elect, — those "of faith in Jesus," righteous. Now will any 
condemn? Shall any stand before God's High Court and condemn whom He has justified? Never! 
Satan may accuse us in our consciences; but the day of our condemnation was past forever — when 
Christ our Substitute "bore our sins in His own body on the tree!" When it is announced as toward 
all possible foes: "It is God that justifies," we feel in our hearts God taking our part! 

Verse 34: Christ Jesus [God's own Son] is the one that died, — yea, rather, that was raised 
from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who is also making intercession for us! 

Some would render the answer to the question of verse 33, "Who shall lay anything to the 
charge," etc., entirely in the question form: "Shall God that justifieth? Shall Christ that died?" We 
have not yielded to rendering it thus; for this question-form does not fit the bold challenge here: 
for this whole passage is governed by the great word: Who shall lay anything to the charge of 
God's elect? And further, verse 35, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? God then, 
is seen "for us," as justifying; His own Son Christ Jesus as dying and as interceding for us. All of 
which commits God to us irreversibly! The Yea, rather, that was raised from the dead, follows 
the exact order of the development of the truth of Christ's work in this epistle: set forth as a 
mercy-seat through faith in His blood in Chapter Three; God seen raising Him who was delivered 
on account of our trespasses in Chapter Four. There is no crucifix, no Romanism, here; no dead 
Christ, but One raised. 

Nay, more, Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God, — We have here the first of seven historical 
statements in the Epistles that He is there, 11 ' and not merely there in the place of honor and power, 
but occupied (as ever) for our benefit: who also is making intercession for us. In verse 8:22, the 
indwelling Spirit is making intercession for the saints; in verse 31, God is for us; in verse 34, Christ 

188 ]Sf te that the last statement of verse 33 — "It is God that justifieth," is connected with the opening question of verse 34. The verse 
division is unfortunate, and beclouds the meaning. The second sentence of verse 34, Christ Jesus is the one that died, etc., is 
entirely separate from and an advance upon, the preceding verses. 

I8 ' The other instances: Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Col. 3:1. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Jesus is making intercession for us. What a wonderful salvation this is, in which all three persons 
of the Trinity are constantly occupied in our behalf! 190 

Verse 35: When Paul says. Who shall separate us from Christ's love? and then begins to 
enumerate things, it is plain that in the word "Who" he has in mind the great enemy who opposes 
"things" to God's saints! Satan is "prince of this world," and "god of this age": this the apostle 
always has before him: "that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant 
of his devices." So he says: Who shall separate us? shall tribulation? Thirty-seven times this 
word rendered "tribulation" (thlipsis) and its verb are used to denote those direct troubles that afflict 
the saints, — because of the gospel! Satan has sought, — and, oh, how desperately, — but has never 
succeeded in separating one saint from Christ's love by tribulations! (See this word in Matt. 13:21; 
I Thess. 1 :6; 3:3; John 16:33.) And God sees to it that the path of the Christian is a narrow, "straitened 
one! (Matthew 7:14 has the same word — "narrow." See also II Cor. 4:8; 7:5) 

And now the next word — distress. This word (stenochoria) is rightly translated "anguish" in 
Chapter 2:9; for there it evidently means a fixed place in which "every soul of man that doeth evil" 
is held while Divine judgment is visited. The word means a narrow, cramped place, where one is 
"in straits." For the lost this is unendurable; for the saved, it. only affords room for God's help, 
when naught else can avail. So, distresses — how terrible soever — cannot separate from Christ's 
love. (See the note on the Russian women in Chapter Five.) Remember Christ, the Lord of glory, 
had not a place to lay His head: He knows what distresses are! 

Or persecution — (di gmos). This is a word used ten times in the New Testament, and always 
in reference to the gospel. It's verb means, "to make to run," or "to run swiftly to catch" those 
pursued; so, to persecute. No saint thus persecuted has yet been forsaken by Christ, — nor ever will 
be! "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." Christ never forsakes, but has the sweetest 
fellowship with those persecuted by the world, — directed (under God's permissive decree only!) 
by Satan. Christ is always saying, "Be of good cheer!" (Acts 23:11.) 

Famine — comes next. And you would think that the Lord of all would ever provide liberally 
for His saints. Not always! The "present distress" is on. Christ the Heir was cast out of Israel's 
vineyard and slain! The Head of the new Body has indeed been glorified. But why should not the 
members of His Body know by experience what the Head passed through and thus find fellowship 


Christ Jesus making intercession for us at the right hand of God in Heaven, is not properly Romans truth, but is brought in 
here simply to show His eternal commitment to our cause. We say this because the remnants of Romish unbelief lie in most or 
all of us. For instance, take the lines, 

"O blessed feet of Jesus, weary with seeking me, 
Kneel at God's bar of judgment, and intercede for me!" 

What a mixture and hodge-podge such words are! Christ is not "appeasing God" in Heaven. That was all done forever on the 
cross where our sins were put away. Our Lord as our High Priest in Heaven now leads our worship and praise, and looks after 
us in our infirmity. The book of Hebrews opens out this. But it is that same book which says, "He, when He had offered one 
sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God" (10:12). The work on which faith rests has been done, and those 
who rely on Christ's work on the cross will find their needs taken care of by Christ in Heaven. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

with the Head? Thus they come to have one heart with Him! "Famine?" Yes. But not to separate 
us from Christ's love! "I know how to be in want," says Paul. Twelve times is "famine" (limos) 
mentioned in the New Testament: though only twice (here in Rom. 8:35; II Cor. 11:27 — this last 
concerning an apostle!) does it directly touch the saints. In Acts 1 1:28, indeed they get relief (though 
by other saints, not by government agency!). Yea; you may be hungry in this Christ-rejecting world, 
'and yet be beloved of your Lord. "The meek shall inherit the earth" — but not yet! Not till He comes 

"All here is stained with blood! — 

Thy blood, O glorious Christ! 
And man and Satan do today 

Whate'er they list!" 

(Yet do not forget that, amidst it all, God lives! The God of Elijah still looks after His own!) 

Or nakedness — In I Corinthians 4: 1 1, Paul says, "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, 
and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place." (Read the whole 
passage.) How ashamed we feel, who are not as devoted to our Lord as was Paul, to hear him speak 
thus! This whole part of Romans Eight shows us as partakers with a Christ the world cast out. 

Or peril — Eight times in one verse, II Corinthians 11:26, does Paul use this word. Read that 
verse, remembering the same word in I Corinthians 15:30: "We stand in jeopardy [peril] every 
hour'' In Paul's bringing you this gospel, Jewish hatred, Roman jealousy, pagan blindness (Acts 
14:8-20) and false brethren (Acts 15) beset him round, — striving that "the truth of the gospel" might 
come unto us! God grant we cherish it! Many have suffered, that we might have these wondrous 

Or sword — The first use of this word (machaira) is connected with our Lord Himself: Matthew 
26:47: "A great multitude with swords and staves" to take Him; while Acts 12:2 ("Herod . . . killed 
James the brother of John with the sword"), and Hebrews 11:37 ("They were slain with the sword"), 
give only examples of the attitude of this world toward Christ and His saints. The world hates the 
saints; though sometimes those making most hideous use of the sword have worn "the sign of the 
cross." That was the world's religion; and, like Cain, it killed God's people. But, even in the hour 
of death most terrible, Christ was there: they were not separated from His love! 

Verse 36: 

Even as it is written, 

On account of Thee we are killed all the day long: 

We were reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. 

Here, then, is the description of God's saints: "killed perpetually," and "sheep for slaughter." 
We know that this quotation is taken from a Psalm (44:22) which describes that terrible hunting 
down by the Antichrist of the godly remnant of Israel in the days of the Great Tribulation. But 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

today — all the day [of grace] long, this is the real state of real saints: killed, and slaughter-sheep! 

To the student of God's Word, the many years of outward peace — from persecution, horrors, and 
death, — that have come to us is the unusual, the astonishing thing. Look at the "deaths oft" of the 
early Church, the martyrs; and again when truth burst out afresh at the Reformation! (See footnote 
p. 475) 

But now again! look at Russia, look at Germany, look all around! Ruthless hatred of God's 
saints is breaking out everywhere, as of old! 

Now, we ought not to view such things with alarm, but, on the contrary, to remember that Christ 
has not yet set up His kingdom, 191 nor will till His second coming ! Satan is the prince of this world, 
and shall yet be exhibited as the "god of this age" — see Revelation Thirteen. For, 

"The whole earth wondered after the Wild Beast [Satan's man, the Antichrist]; 
and they worshipped the dragon [Satan] . . . and there was given to him authority 
over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. And all that dwell on the earth 
shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation 
of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain." 

Let the saints rouse quickly from these false dreams of "peace." The saints are sheep for 
slaughter! Name yourself among them, and cease contending for your "rights" in a world that has 
cast out Christ! Persecution is shaping itself up again throughout Christendom — yea, even in the 
United States. Intolerance unto death for any who will not bow to a totalitarian state is ready, as in 
the days of the Roman emperors (who demanded worship) to assert itself, — is asserting itself, 
throughout the world. This "totalitarian" movement is setting the stage for Antichrist more rapidly 
than you dream! Therefore get ready. Put up over your mirror the motto: "I am Christ's: a sheep 
for slaughter." 

Verse 37: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved 

What a wonderful book this Word of God is! "Sheep for slaughter" naming themselves more 
than conquerors!" 2 

191 As we say elsewhere, the mouthings of the "Modernist" who knows not the prophetic Word (and would not bow to it if it were 
shown to him) must not be listened to for a moment. The "Stone" of the Second of Daniel strikes that great prophetic Image of 
Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron, and Iron-Clay feet, with a sudden unexpected impact, destroying the whole Gentile order of things, — away 
down in the feet and toes period. The Kingdom of the Most High is then, and not till then, set up. We all know that those born 
again shall "see the Kingdom of God" — indeed, are in that Kingdom, as spiritually existing. But no others, no "social order," 
no man-made conditions, are in the Kingdom! Further, to those born .again, God says, "The Kingdom of God is righteousness 
and joy and peace, in the Holy Ghost." Outside the Spirit, the Kingdom of God does not exist. Indeed, the Kingdom has not yet 
been given to Christ in heaven by the Father. When it is given to Him (Rev. 5; Psalm 2:7-9), He will Himself come and set up 
His Kingdom in power according to Matthew 13:36-43; 25:31-46. Read these words of Christ, and believe them, — hearkening 
to no "peace, peace" words of the "Modern" dreamers. 

192 It is evident that those whose description is "killed all the day long" "sheep for slaughter" will never become more than 
conquerors, or conquerors at all, through moral influence," human "merits," "the ballot box," "the betterment of humanity," 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now note three things in this verse: (1) We are conquerors in all this terrible situation, in all 
these things. (2) We are more than conquerors. (3) It is altogether through Him that loved us, 
and not through human energy of any kind, that we are more than conquerors. 

Now, what is it to be "more than conquerors?" (a) It is to come off conqueror in every difficulty, 

(b) It is to know that Divine, and therefore infinite, power has been engaged for us in the conflict, 

(c) It is the absolute confidence that this infinite and therefore limitless Divine help is granted to 
us against any possible future emergency, (d) It is to "divide the spoil" over any foe, after victory! 
(Isa. 53:12.) 

Him that loved us — Note first the past tense. That preaching which always emphasizes the 
present love of God or Christ for the soul, as the great persuading power over the human heart, 
falls sadly short. When our Lord described God's love for the world, it was, "God so loved that He 
gave His Son." Again, "Herein is love, that God loved us, and sent His Son." Again, when Paul 
describes Christ's love for His own it is by pointing to His sacrifice. Here (in Rom. 8:37) the cross 
is indicated, as in verse 32 of our chapter: "He that spared not His own Son." 

Further, when Christ's love for the Church is described, it is again the past tense — "Christ loved 
the Church and gave Himself up for it" (Eph. 5:25). And, "The Son of God loved me and gave 
Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). It is this past tense gospel the devil hates, — for "the Word of the Cross 
is the power of God." Let a preacher be continually saying, "God loves you, Christ loves you," and 
he and his congregation will by and by be losing sight both of their sinnerhood and of the 
substitutionary atonement of the cross, where the love of God and of Christ was once for all and 
supremely set forth, — and in righteous display! 

Now whether God or Christ is indicated in Him that loved us in this verse, what we have said 
holds true. 

Frankly we personally feel that the rendering "the love of God" in verse 35, is correct. And this 
because it is the love of God that is emphasized throughout this passage, from verse 31 to the end. 
For note, it is God that is for us, God spared not His Son; God justifieth. And it is Christ Jesus 
whom He had "not spared," that died, that was raised, who is at the right hand of God, and who 
intercedes. From such love of God (as good authorities read in verse 35), no difficulties can separate 

We know, however, that verse 39 definitely declares that it is "the love of God which is in 
Christ Jesus'" from which nothing can separate us. 

Therefore, we are also quite strongly drawn to read "the love of Christ" in verse 35, because 
(1) Christ's work for us has just been described in the immediately preceding verse; and also (2) 
because of the glorious historical fact that the martyrs were directly conscious, in the midst of the 
flames and when they were thrown to the beasts, of the presence and love of Christ, their Redeemer, 
Lord and Head. 

"interracial understanding"! No, not with Satan prince and god, here! And he will be such until cast into the abyss (Rev. 20) at 
Christ's coming. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

But, however we read, both are correct! 

Verse 38: For I am persuaded — Before we quote the last two verses of this triumphant paean, 
let us lay to heart this word persuaded, for it is the key to Paul's triumph as he goes shouting up 
these mountain heights of Christian faith. "Persuaded" is a heart word. The difference between 
knowing a truth and being heart-persuaded of it, Paul brings out in Chapter 14:14: "I know, and 
am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself." (See that passage.) Many people 
know, for example, that in this dispensation all distinctions of meats have been removed; yet their 
consciences are not relieved. Weakness and fear still trouble them — about meats and days and 
many things. To know a Bible truth, you have only to read it: to be "persuaded of it in the Lord 
Jesus" involves the fact, first, that the truth in question touches your own personal safety before 
God; and, second, that your heart has so been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and your will so won 
over — persuaded" — that confidence, heart- satisfied persuasion, results. 

Now Paul says in Romans 8:38: I am persuaded — Dear saints, had not Paul passed through 
all these terrible things of verse 35, tribulation, anguish, persecution, — all? Look at the scars on 
his body! Assurance? He had it: "In the sight of God speak we in Christ" (II Cor. 12:19); "Seeing 
that ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me" (II Cor. 13:3). Confidence? Hearken to his last 
epistle: "The Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will save me unto His heavenly 
kingdom: to whom be the glory unto the ages of the ages" (II Tim. 4:18). "Persuaded?" His mind, 
his conscience, his heart, his whole being, were sublimely committed to what he is about to say. 
The days of doubt and uncertainty were forever passed for him! 

Verses 38, 39: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other 
created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our 

How we do misquote this verse, putting it according to natural thought, "neither life nor death." 
But God says, neither death nor life. To the instructed believer, the fear of death is gone (see 
Hebrews 2:14, 15). Christ partook of it: "That through death He might bring to nought him that 
had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were 
all their lifetime subject to bondage." 

But life! Ah, life is so much more difficult than death! — life with its burdens, its bitternesses, 
its disappointments, its uncertainties; often with its physical miseries, — as Job said, "My soul 
chooseth strangling and death rather than these my bones." But just as death cannot separate us 
from this unchangeable love of God in Christ, neither can any circumstances of life do it! 

Nor angels — Whether we speak of the elect angels — the angels of God' s power, in the presence 
of whom the saints have felt overwhelmed by their utter unworthiness (as Daniel, Dan 10:8-17); 
or whether it be the malignant angels, who chose Satan's captaincy, and are a unity with him in 
evil; — no angels can separate us from that love of God which is fixed forever in Christ. 

Nor principalities — Here we touch a mysterious word. We know from Ephesians 1:21 that 
there is an ordered realm of unseen authorities whether of good or of evil (Eph. 2:2; 6:12). But with 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

none of them have we anything to do, for whatever they are, they cannot separate us from God's 
love in Christ. 

Nor things present nor things to come — In Job's case, Satan dealt in "things present" — and 
they were as bad as hellish enmity could make them. But they did not separate from God's love, 
for look at "the end of the Lord," with Job. In the cases of David and Elijah, Satan dealt in "futures": 
David said, "I shall now one day perish by the hand of Saul." Yet shortly he sat on the throne! And 
Jezebel threatened, "I will make thy life as the life of one of them [the slain prophets] by tomorrow 
about this time." When Elijah saw that, (alas, these "thats" of the devil!) "he arose, and went for 
his life." Yet God took him up by a chariot of fire into heaven! 

Nor powers — The word translated "powers" 193 here is dunamis, energy: and has reference 
evidently to those uncanny and horrible workings of Satan and his host seen in spiritism, theosophy, 
and all kinds of magic. Indeed, this very word is used in Acts 8:10 concerning Simon the Magician: 
"They said, This man is that power (dunamis) of God which is called Great." All kinds of 
bewitchment, sorcery, necromancy, "evil eye," and "mystic spells" cast upon people are included. 
Now I know that sorcery, the "evil eye," "spells," are potent over the unsaved. But, it is a sad fact 
that many dear saints are troubled by these things. They are afraid — of Friday the thirteenth, of 
passing under a ladder, of seeing a black cat, of breaking a mirror! Now this simply leaves God 
out! Who rules in earth's affairs, Satan or God? 

People say to me, "Do you believe there is anything in spiritism?" I say,"I certainly do — the 
devil's in it!" But none of these "powers" can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ 
Jesus, our Lord. There is no such thing as "luck." Let us cease to dishonor God by mentioning it! 
"God worketh all things after the counsel of His will." I have seen professing Christians "knock 
on wood" if making some confident statement! (I am ashamed as I write this.) Let us be "persuaded" 
of the love which God, without cause in us, has unchangeable toward us in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
No matter how real, insidious, terrifying these demon powers may be, we are safe in Christ! If you 
want to be free from superstition and fears, do as James directs: "Ye ought to say, If the Lord will, 
we shall both live and do this or that." That brings God in! 

Verse 39: Nor height, nor depth — The astronomers would frighten us with their figures of the 
vastness of the universe But Christ has passed through all the heavens, and is at the right hand of 
God! And God has loved us in Christ — there is no separation from that love. But "depth" — Ah, 
poor mortals we are afraid, even of earthly cliffs and chasms. Yea, but Christ descended into "the 
lower parts of the earth," into "the abyss" at "the heart of the earth" (Eph. 4:9; Rom 10:7; Matt. 
12:40). Moreover, He has said that His Church would not enter the gates of Hades (Matt. 16:18). 
And they shall not! But even if God had arranged that they should, Christ says to John, "Fear not; 
I am the First and the Last, and the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, 

193 In Ephesians 6:12, in the expression "principalities and powers," the first word, (archai) is the word translated "principalities" 
in Romans 8:38, meaning one in high position in the unseen world. The second word, "powers," in Ephesians 6:12, is the Greek 
exousia,and is directly connected with "principalities," being a word indicative of authority, rather than energy. See Matthew 
10:1; Acts 26:10,12. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

and / have the keys of death and of Hades!" This is indeed a glorious salvation! No "depth" can 
separate us from God's love in Christ. 

Nor any other created thing — There! That should banish all our fears, no matter what they 
be. The ability of the human heart to conjure up possible trouble and disaster is without limit, it 
seems: but this word gives us peace. No created thing shall be able to separate us from the love 
of God, which is in. Christ Jesus, our Lord. 

Notice that this love of God is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Why God set His love upon us, we 
cannot tell. Why He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, connecting our destiny 
eternally with Christ His beloved Son, we cannot tell. But, "Whatsoever Jehovah doeth, it shall be 
forever." We must therefore hold in mind this fact, that God has loved us even as He loved Christ 
(John 17:26): for He loved us in Him. 

Some dear saints seem to think that it is a mark of humility to doubt the security of God' s elect. 
But Romans has surely shown us the way to be certain! Do not try to assure your heart that you 
are one of God's elect. If you are troubled with doubts, go and sit down on the sinner's seat, and 
say, "God declares righteous the ungodly who trust Him. I renounce all thoughts of my own 
righteousness, and as a sinner I trust the God who raised Christ from the dead, — who was delivered 
up for my trespasses" This is the path our God in Romans shows us. Uncertainty about election 
arises from some kind of self-righteousness! 

As we have elsewhere noted, the saints are those who have received Him whom God in His 
great love gave to the world, and they by Divine grace welcomed this only-begotten Son whom 
God has given. Therefore the love of God in Christ Jesus is forever theirs. However the world of 
men may treat this astonishing unspeakable gift which God has proffered, and may go on rejecting 
Christ till a day when it must be eternally withdrawn; yet God's elect, the saints, "those who have 
believed" find themselves borne upon the irresistible tide of this Divine affection which "is in 
Christ Jesus," out into an eternity of bliss! "God is love," and "the Father loveth the Son." And 
now these connected with Christ find themselves wrapped in this same eternal affection shown by 
God to His dear Son. 

When we fail utterly, and are overwhelmed, then is the time to say: We have been accepted in 
Christ — only in Christ, wholly in Christ. Our place is unchanged by our failure. We are ashamed 
before God, but not confounded. Just now His eyes are on us in Christ, as they ever have been. His 
love is as deep and wonderful as ever, being "the love wherewith He loved Christ"! We do not 
resolve to "do better," for we are weak. We trust the grace of God in Christ and cast ourselves 
anew, and all the more wholly, upon His grace alone. We trust Him never to forsake or fail us: for 
He hath loved us in His beloved Son; and God will never forsake Christ! For His sake will He deal 
with us now and ever. 

How hard it is to turn away from its object the love even of a man, a creature, a bit of dust! 
How eternally impossible, then, that the infinite God should be turned away from His love to those 
that are in Christ Jesus! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The wonderful text of this passage, GOD IS FOR US, fills our amazed and grateful hearts more 
and more. 


By PaulGerhardt: A.D. 1676 

IS GOD FOR ME? I fear not, though all against me rise; 

I call on Christ my Savior, the host of evil flies. 

My friend the Lord Almighty, and He who loves me, God! 

What enemy shall harm me, though coming as a flood? 

I know it, I believe it, I say it fearlessly, 

That God, the Highest, Mightiest, forever loveth me; 

At all times, in all places, He standeth at my side, 

He rules the battle fury, the tempest and the tide. 

A Rock that Stands forever is Christ my righteousness, 

And there I stand unfearing in everlasting bliss; 

No earthly thing is needful to this my life from Heaven, 

And nought of love is worthy, save that which Christ hath given. 

Christ, all my praise and glory, my Light most sweet and fair, 

The ship wherein He saileth is scathless everywhere! 

In Him I dare be joyful, a hero in the war 

The judgment of the sinner affrighteth me no more! 

There is no condemnation, there is no hell for me, 
The torment and the fire mine eyes shall never see; 
For me there is no sentence, for me death has no stings, 
Because the Lord Who saved me shall shield me with His wings. 
Above my soul's dark waters His Spirit hovers still, 
He guards me from all sorrow, from terror and from ill; 
In me He works and blesses the life- seed He hath sown, 
From Him I learn the Abba, that prayer of faith alone. 

And if in lonely places, a fearful child, I shrink, 

He prays the prayers within me I cannot ask or think; 

In deep unspoken language, known only to that Love 

Who fathoms the heart's mystery from the Throne of Light above. 

His Spirit to my spirit sweet words of comfort saith, 

How God the weak one strengthens who leans on Him in faith; 

How He hath built a City, of love, and light, and song, 

Where the eye at last beholdeth what the heart had loved so long. 

And there is mine inheritance, my kingly palace-home; 
The leaf may fall and perish, not less the spring will come; 
As wind and rain of winter, our earthly sighs and tears, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Till the golden summer dawneth of the endless Year of years. 

The world may pass and perish, Thou, God, wilt not remove — 

No hatred of all devils can part me from Thy love; 

No hungering nor thirsting, no poverty nor care, 

No wrath of mighty princes can reach my shelter there. 

No Angel, and no Heaven, no throne, nor power, nor might, 
No love, no tribulation, no danger, fear, nor fight, 
No height, no depth, no creature that has been or can be, 
Can drive me from Thy bosom, can sever me from Thee. 
My heart in joy upleapeth, grief cannot linger there — 
While singing high in glory amidst the sunshine fair! 
The source of all my singing is high in Heaven above; 
The Sun that shines upon me is Jesus and His Love! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


Paul's Great Sorrow for Unbelieving Israel — Unbelieving Despite an Eight — Fold 
Preeminence. Verses 1 to 5. 

The Real Israel, however, were an Elect, not a Natural Seed: God's Sovereignty in Election 
Defended. Verses 6 to 29. 

The Astonishing Conclusion! The Gentiles, not Following after Righteousness, Attain to 
it by Simple Faith; Israel, Following after a Law — Method, Stumble at the By — Faith Way, — at 
Christ! Verses 30 to 33. 

IN ROMANS NINE, Ten, and Eleven, Paul turns aside from that glorious exposition of Grace, 
in the first eight chapters, to the explanation of God' s present dealing with Israel. God had committed 
Himself to bless this nation; and lo, now it is nationally set aside, while Paul's message goes out 
to all nations without distinction between Jew and Greek! Where, then, is the Divine faithfulness? 
How reconcile God's former condition of blessing, — through circumcision, the Law with its 
observances, the temple with its presence of Jehovah in the Holy of Holies, and the separateness 
of the elect nation, Israel,/ram all others: — how reconcile all this with such a by faith "no difference" 
message as Paul has been preaching to us — in the first eight chapters? A message, indeed, which 
he resumes from Chapter Twelve to the close, magnifying God's present mercy to the Gentiles; 
and ending up the Epistle as he began it, with the words: "My gospel, (revealing a heretofore hidden 
secret), is sent forth unto all the nations unto the simple obedience of faith" I 

The question, therefore, is, how to reconcile the "no distinction between Jew and Greek" message 
that Paul is here preaching, with God's former manner of speech to Israel, concerning which the 
Psalmist sings: 

"He showeth His word unto Jacob, 
His statutes and His ordinances unto Israel. 
He hath not dealt so with any nation; 
And as for His ordinances, they have not known them" 
(Ps. 147:19,20). 

And not only so, but the whole book of Psalms, for that matter; yes, and the prophets, also! 

Now it will not do merely to go back to Israel's idolatrous history, and denounce the nation; or 
even to our Lord's awful utterance, as He finally left their temple: 

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent 
unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen 
gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is 
left unto you desolate" (Luke 13:34, 35). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

It will not do to say they were a disobedient people, and God has rejected them entirely, and 
has brought blessing out to the Gentiles instead. Nor will it do, in these three chapters, merely to 
go forward to Ephesians (2:14-16) and say, "Christ is our peace, who hath made both [Jew and 
Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in his flesh the 
enmity [between them], even the Law of commandments in ordinances; that He might create in 
Himself of the two One New Man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in One Body 
unto God through the cross." Furthermore, it will not do to go on into Colossians and say concerning 
this new man, the Body of Christ, that "there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and 
uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in air (Col. 3:11). 
All these things are true for us who are in Christ. But it is the facts as they are set forth in Romans, 
that we must examine if we are to study Romans. And God, here in Romans, sets forth His ways 
in the past, and His ways in the future, with this chosen earthly nation, Israel. 

That God should so signally honor this nation Israel as to reveal His awful presence on Sinai, 
and speak in an audible voice to them, giving to them and them alone His holy "fiery Law," — this 
fact must have its true place with us. 

"For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day 
that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other 
whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like 
it? Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as 
thou has heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take Him a nation from the 
midst of another nation, by trials by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a 
mighty hand, and by an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that 
Jehovah your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?" (Deut. 4:32-34.) 

I say, for God to do all this, and then publicly set this nation aside, and send a Paul to all nations 
without distinction of Jew or Gentile, preaching salvation apart from the Law, and by simple faith, 
instead of by "the Jews' religion"; promising blessings, and that even heavenly blessings, 
inconceivably beyond those promised to Israel, — this was an astounding thing! The trouble with 
us Gentiles is, that we have become accustomed to it, we take it for granted. God's plans and ways 
with Israel do not concern most Christians. 

There is no more striking example of the deadly and deadening self-confidence into which 
human beings so quickly drift when they find themselves objects of Divine goodness: "Man that 
is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish" (Ps. 49:20). 

One has only to look about Christendom to see at once the evidence of this fateful delusion. 
Behold the "state" churches, the great cathedrals, the vested choirs and magnificent music; and the 
"church calendars" with their man-invented feast days, "holy" days, "Christmas-tides," "Lenten" 
periods, "Easter" services, — all that goes to make up the so-called "Christian religion"! And the 
high talk of the Gentiles about Israel as God's "ancient people": whereas God has never had and 
never will have any people, any elect nation, but earthly Israel! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

When we reflect that, after He has "caught up in the clouds" His Church saints, our Lord is 
coming back to this earthly people Israel, and will establish them in their land, with a glorious 
millennial temple and order of worship, to which the Gentile nations must and will submit: then 
we see that the present time is altogether anomalous! It is a parenthesis, in which God is making 
a "visit" to the Gentiles, to "take out of them a people for His name"; — after which, James tells us, 
our Lord "will Himself return," and "build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen" (Acts 
15:16), on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, where David lived. 

Romans Nine, Ten, and Eleven become an essential part of Christian doctrine in this respect: 
that while they do not set forth our salvation or our place in Christ, as do the first eight chapters, 
yet they unfold to us our relative place in God' s plans, along with national Israel' s place. They also 
reveal to us several matters absolutely essential to our proper estimate of God and His ways; and, 
properly believed, they "hide pride" from us: bringing in as they do the great fact that both ourselves 
and (in the future), the saved Remnant of Israel, are the objects of sovereign Divine mercy. We 
discover ourselves in Chapter 9:23 to be "vessels of mercy," as will future Israel discover themselves 
to be, by the example of the mercy shown to us. The grace of God has been spoken of in this Epistle 
often before; but not until these chapters is mercy named; and until mercy is understood, grace 
cannot be fully appreciated. 

In Luke 1:78 (margin) we read of the "heart of mercy" of our God; and in Ephesians 2:4, that 
God is "rich in mercy." God proclaimed His name to Moses: "Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful 
and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth" (Ex. 34:6). God's mercy 
is the sovereign going forth of His heart to us sinful wretched creatures; His grace follows, in His 
pardoning our guilt; and His loving-kindness is His proceeding with us in abundant goodness 

1 I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience 
bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have 
great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart. 3 For I could 
pray that I myself were [cast out] accursed from Christ for 
my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 
who are Israelites; whose is the [Divine national] adoption 
and the [earth-manifested] glory, and the covenants, and the 
custodianship of the law, and the sanctuary service, and the 
promises; 5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ 
as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed unto 
the ages. Amen. 

This most remarkable paragraph naturally divides itself into two parts: 

1. Verses 1 to 3: Paul's constant yearning pain for the unbelieving Israelites, his brethren and 
kinsmen, — a yearning to which he declares the Spirit bears witness, which could, were it right, go 
the length of his being lost if they could be saved! Thus Moses prayed: "If thou wilt not forgive 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

them, blot me, I pray thee, out of Thy book, which Thou hast written!" (Ex. 32:32, 33. ) 194 Dear old 
Bengel searchingly says, "It is not easy to estimate the measure of love in a Moses and a Paul. For 
our limited reason does not grasp it, as the child cannot comprehend the courage of warriors!" 

2. Verses 4 and 5: The rehearsing of eight matters which belonged to Israel, — yea, and yet 
belong to Israel, in spite of all their unfaithfulness. As Jehovah says to Jeremiah: 

"If these ordinances [of the sun, of the moon, of the stars and of the sea] depart 
from before Me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being 
a nation before Me forever. Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, 
and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all 
the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah" (Jer. 31:35-37). 

Therefore, first, let us deeply reflect on this thing of Paul's unceasing pain over Israel, lest in 
our Gentile shallowness we miss the correct judgment of the importance of this event before God, 
that Israel, among whom He had dwelt, became disobedient, and were broken off from blessing; 
and lest in our own affections we become so narrowed as to have no yearning over Israel. Shall we 
let Paul, our great apostle, have this "unceasing pain," this "great sorrow," in his heart, all alone? 
Nay for Paul would not have shared the fact with us except he expected our sympathy in the Spirit. 
Let us not be like those thousands of grace-hating Jews in Paul's day who kept following him in 
his blessed ministry, declaring that he was an apostate Jew, one really denying the faith of his 
fathers, bitter against his own race in order to curry favor among the despised Gentiles. They spread 
the report that Paul "taught all men everywhere against Israel and the Law and the temple" (Acts 
21:28). How Christ- like was the love in Paul's heart, that persisted even to be willing to be lost, 
for the unbelieving Israelites who were reviling him! 

Second, let us enumerate and examine the eight respects in which the apostle here declares the 
nation of Israel differed before God from all other nations: 

1. The Divine national adoption — "Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born" (Ex. 
4:22). "Thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God: Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a 
people for His own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth" (Deut. 7:6). 
"You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2). Let the nations, British, 
Americans, French, Germans, or whatever they be, lay this to heart before it is too late! For as to 
God's election of Israel as His chosen nation, it is absolute and eternal," 5 as He says in Isaiah 66:22: 

194 Bishop Moule remarks upon the impossibility of Paul's really making such a prayer: "To desire the curse of God would be to 
desire not only suffering, but moral alienation from Him, the withdrawal of the soul' s capacity to love Him. Thus the wish would 
be in effect an act of 'greater love for our neighbor than for God.' Again, the redeemed soul is 'not its own' : to wish the self to 
be accursed from Christ would thus be to wish the loss of that which He has 'bought and made His own.' But, the logical reason 
of the matter apart, we have only to read the close of Chapter 8, to see how entirely a moral impossibility it was for Paul to 
complete such a wish." 


The envy of other races and nations towards God's elect nation Israel has always existed. But there is a mild phase and a 
virulent phase of this Gentile sin-disease that should be noted: 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

"As the new heavens and new earth [of Rev 21 and 22] shall remain before Me, so shall your seed 
and your name [Israel] remain." 

2. The glory — We all know how God's presence accompanied Israel as a pillar of cloud by 
day and of fire by night through the sea and through the wilderness, and then filled the tabernacle! 
No other nation has had or will have God's presence thus. God said: 

"And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them . . . And thou 
shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the 
testimony that I shall give thee . . . And there I will meet with thee" (Ex. 25:8, 21, 

And concerning the dedication of Solomon's temple we read, 

"It came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one 
sound to be heard in praising and thanking Jehovah, and when they lifted up their 
voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised Jehovah, 
saying. For He is good; for His loving-kindness endureth forever; that then the house 
was filled with a cloud, even the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand 
to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of God" 
(IlChron. 5:13, 14). 

3. The covenants — With "covenants" Gentiles have absolutely nothing actively to do. 196 In 
Genesis Fifteen God made a covenant with Abraham, and gave to his earthly seed the token of 

First, the mild phase: this is Anglo-Israelism, the teaching that the Anglo-Saxons, especially Britain and America (Britain 
as Ephraim and America as Manasseh!) are the "lost ten tribes" who, carried away East across the Euphrates in God's 
Judgment, — turned East into West and landed at the British Isles! No; British and Americans are lost, but they are not The Ten 

Second, the virulent phase of this jealousy and envy towards elect national Israel appears in "anti-Semitism," or anti-Jewism; 
and has lately been carried to new depths of pagan infamy by Hitler in Germany. For this phase of Gentile envy rejects Scripture. 
Mr. Hitler hates the Jews and declares for "pure Aryan blood" — (pray where would you find it?). Carrying his boasting hatred 
to its logical conclusion, he rejects the Word of God as authority, and turns back to the old pagan gods of Northern Europe. 

Now all hatred of national Israel arises from rebellion against Divine sovereign election. We know that Israel has failed 
God: but God declares He will not fail them finally, whereas the hate of modern Gentiles (wiser than God — for are they not the 
"moderns"?) would seek to crush Israel and exalt Gentiledom. Of course, it will end in the Antichrist, but the Lord Jesus will 
end him, and all Gentile boasting, at "the forthshining of His arrival" (II Thess. 2:8, Rotherham). 
196 It is indeed an infinitely blessed fact that all who believe share in the benefits of that "everlasting covenant" of Heb. 1 3 : 20, made 
between the Father and the Son, on these conditions: that if the Son would come to earth and die for our sins, the Father would 
bring Him again from the dead as the great Shepherd of the sheep, Paul says in I Corinthians 1 1 :25, "In like manner also the 
cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood." (The "New Covenant with the house of Israel and with 
the house of Judah" has not yet been made; for we read that it will be made after these [Gentile] days. See Acts 15:13-16.) When 
our Lord said therefore, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood," He must, we believe, refer to that covenant of Heb. 13:20; 
to which covenant, as we have said, the Father and the Son were parties. Even concerning the New Covenant to be made in the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

circumcision. In Genesis Twenty-two, God "confirmed" the promise to Abraham's Seed, which is 
Christ (Gal. 3:16). With David God made an earthly kingdom-covenant, — that one of David's 
descendants should sit upon his throne forever (II Sam. 7:13); as we find Gabriel announcing to 
Mary in Luke 1:32, 33. God says He will make a New Covenant in the future with the house of 
Israel and with the house of Judah (Heb. 8:8-12 , quoted from Jer. 31:31, ff), in connection with 
which He promises to "bring Israel back into their land," to "take away the stony heart out of their 
flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, to put His Spirit within them, to cause them to walk in His 
statutes, and keep His ordinances, and do them" (Ezek. 36:24-27). 

4. And the custodianship of the Law — It was a great thing to be entrusted with God's holy 
Law, as we have seen in Chapter 3:2. Let me here repeat that every writer of Scripture is an Israelite. 
No other nation has ever been even directly spoken to, as a nation, by God: except to be warned, 
as were Egypt by Moses, and Nineveh by Jonah. There were written messages, — as Isaiah 13-23; 
but these were given to Israel, concerning other nations. 

5. And the sanctuary-service — The Greek word here (latreia), refers to those religious 
ordinances prescribed to Israel by God in connection with the tabernacle-worship, and afterwards 
the temple-worship, which will be resumed in the Millennium, as we read in the last nine chapters 
of Ezekiel. (The ordinances and offerings then will be memorial, rather than prophetic, as in the 
days before Christ died.) 

Note carefully that such outward form-worship belongs to the nation of Israel, and not to 
Christianity. To introduce it into Christianity is to return to paganism. For Paul plainly classifies 
the forms and ceremonies of Judaism as now belonging with "the weak and beggarly religious 
principles" which heathen Gentiles engage in! (Gal. 4:9, 10.) 

Until the "Aryans" (whoever they are) have been led out from all other races by God Himself 
in manifest presence, and have had a "fiery law" given them from heaven as had Israel, let them 
stop their mouths, and also stop their ears from any vain pagan prophet! And let the Gentiles all 
humble their miserable pride. What have they to do with the Law that God committed to Israel? or 
with the Jewish Sabbath, which God said was a token of His covenant with that chosen people? 
(Ex. 31:12-17.) 

6. And the promises — God's salvation-promises were lodged in Abraham; His 
kingdom-promises, in David. No promises were made to Gentile nations as such. For the gospel 
now proclaimed is not a promise, but the announcement of a fact to be believed; and it is not 
preached to nations as such, but to individuals — good news to sinners everywhere. But to Israel, 
promises, thousands of them, were committed, — as a nation. 

future with Israel, God says in Rom. 1 1:27: "And this is the covenant from Me unto them, when I shall take away their sins." It 
is no longer blessing conditioned on their obedience, but it is the day of Jehovah s "power" to Israel (Ps. 1 10:3), not merely a 
"visitation" (Luke 19:41-44). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now we do not have to become "Israelites" in any sense whatever to enjoy God's salvation in 
Christ. 197 The nation of Israel has been set aside for the present as the vessel of Divine blessing to 
the world, while the Gentiles, as set forth in Chapter Eleven, have now the privileged place, and 
Jews and Gentiles come individually, upon believing, into a heavenly inheritance. Nevertheless, 
"the promises" pertain nationally to Israel, and to no other nation as such. 

7. Whose are the fathers — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are directly referred to; and Jacob's 
sons also, especially Joseph, and Judah the vessel of royal promise and blessing to Israel (Ps. 77: 15; 
80:1; 81:5; Gen. 49:8,10; Heb. 7:14). Our hearts include Moses, Samuel, David, and the prophets 
when we think of Israel and remember "the fathers." But it is especially to Abraham, "the father 
of all them that believe," that our grateful memory turns; for, although we have no connection with 
Israel, we do have indeed a vital connection with Abraham, as his "children." 

8. And of whom is Christ as to the flesh — who is over all God blessed unto the ages! 
Amen." 1 In Chapter 1:3 God's Son is said to be "born of the seed of David according to the flesh"; 
in John 1:14, we read: "The Word became flesh"; in Hebrews 2:16: "He taketh hold of the seed 
of Abraham"; and in Matthew 1:1, it is: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of 
David, the Son of Abraham." 

Now this is an astonishing honor to Israel, — infinitely outranking all others: our Lord, "the 
Mighty God" (Isa. 9:6), is, "according to the flesh," an Israelite! For two other things are immediately 
affirmed of Him: He is over all, and He is God blessed unto the ages. The words "over all" are 
partly explained in I Corinthians 15:27: "He [God the Father] put all things in subjection under His 
[Christ's] feet." But in John 1:1,3: "The Word was God. All things were made through Him." As 
in Col 1 : 16, 17: "All things were created through Him and unto Him; and by Him all things consist" 
(hold together); so that Christ is indeed "over all, God blessed forever"! (As to this ascription of 
deity to Christ, see Kelly's Notes on Romans, pp. 165-171.) 

And now Paul falls back upon the sovereignty of God, accomplishing thereby three things: 

First he defends himself (and all of us) against the charge of teaching that God had been 
unfaithful in His promises toward Israel; (2) he shows that Israel's own Scriptures had foretold 
their temporary rejection, and the salvation of the Gentiles; and (3) he shows the great future blessing 
which will come to Israel, in God's sovereign MERCY. Let us read the text: 

197 Some accurate book setting forth the absolute difference between the Church and Israel should be read, such as Israel and the 
Church, by James H. Brookes; or Mr. Blackstone's (W. E. B.) always excellent Jesus Is Coming. 


The questions concerning both Romans 9:5 and I Timothy 3:16 have arisen from the mists of doubt rather than from the 
heights of childlike faith in God's revelation of the deity of Christ. See Alford's excellent and exhaustive note on 9:5, from the 
end of which we quote: 

"No conjecture arising from doctrinal difficulty is ever to be admitted in the face of the consensus of mss. and versions. 
The rendering given above is, then, not only that most agreeable to the usage of the Apostle, but the only one admissible by the 
rules of grammar and arrangement. It also admirably suits the context: for having enumerated the historic advantages of the 
Jewish people, he concludes by stating one which ranks far higher than all, — that from them sprung, according to the flesh, He 
who is God over all, blessed forever." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

6 But it is not as though the word of God hath come to 
nought. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel; 7 
neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all 
children: but. In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, It 
is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but 
the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed. 9 For 
this is a word of promise, According to this season willl 
come, and Sarah shall have a son. 10 And not only so; but 
Rebecca also having conceived by one, — by our father Isaac: 
11 for [the children] being not yet born, neither having done 
anything good or bad, that the purpose of God, according 
to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth, 
12 — it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 
13 Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. 

The great revealed truth of the sovereignty of God perplexes many, disturbs others, and some 
take occasion to stumble at it. 

Verse 6: But it is not as though the word of God hath come to nought — Paul here refers to 
those great promises God had made to Abraham, then to Isaac, then to Jacob; conferring blessing 
upon their seed, announcing Himself as God of Israel, giving them by oath the land of Palestine, 
placing in David's line the promise of perpetual royalty on earth; prophesying a great and glorious 
future for Israel, not only in the coming Millennium, or 1000 years kingdom here, but in the new 
earth which follows that (Isa. 66:22). Paul' s immediate explanation (for it looked as if these Divine 
promises had lapsed) was that not all that are of Israel are really Israel before God. 

Verse 7: Neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children: but. In Isaac 
shall thy seed be called. I know, said our Lord, that ye are Abraham' s descendants; but if you were 
Abraham's children you would do the works of Abraham. "If God were your Father, ye would love 
Me. Ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:37 to 44). To regard religious privilege as spiritual 
reality is the very deadliest delusion. The real sons of Abraham are defined in Gal. 3:7: "Know 
therefore, that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham." However, in the present passage, 
the point is not that Abraham' s real children are those that believe, but that Divine sovereign calling 
lies behind all. As God said to Abraham concerning Ishmael, "Nay, but Sarah thy wife shall bear 
thee a son; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an 
everlasting covenant for his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold, I have 
blessed him and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. But My covenant will 
I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year" (Gen. 
17:19-21). The direct quotation is from Gen. 21:12, when Ishmael was cast out. "In Isaac shall thy 
seed be called." This is Divine sovereign action. Now Paul explains it: 

Verse 8: That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children 
of the promise are reckoned for a seed. What does the apostle mean by "The children of the 
promise are reckoned for a seed"? It is most necessary that we perceive that Paul is speaking here, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

not of man's believing a promise and therefore being written down as one of God's children; but 
on the contrary, of the promise (of God to Christ) that characterizes the existence and calling of all 
the real children of God. He expounds this in the next verse. 

Verse 9: For this is a word of promise, According to this season will I come, and Sarah 
shall have a son — The quotation is from Genesis 18: 10. Read the connection there carefully. Isaac, 
the coming child, did not believe the promise in order to be born! But, God promised Isaac to 
Abraham, and kept His promise by a miracle. When Isaac was born, therefore, he was a child of 
promise, — a promised child, in God's sovereign will. 

Verses 10, 11: And not only so, but Rebecca also having conceived by one, even by our 
father Isaac — for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, 
that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that 
calleth, — 

In the former passage it is brought out that Isaac was a child of promise, not merely of natural 
generation. In the present passage the Divine sovereignty — "the purpose of God according to 
election" — is seen extending still further than birth, to the disposition of the condition and affairs 
of the children thus promised. The elder shall serve the younger, is not only a prophecy that Jacob 
would inherit and obtain the Divine blessing, and that his seed (as in the days of David and Solomon) 
would be temporarily triumphant over the Edomites, Esau's descendants; but also looks far into 
the future beyond the brief triumph of the Herodians, the Edomites, in the days of Christ and the 
apostles, to the day when, as Balaam was forced against his will to prophesy: 

"There shall come forth a Star out of Jacob, 

And a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, 

And shall smite through the corners of Moab, 

And break down all the sons of tumult. 

And Edom shall be a possession; 

Seir also shall be a possession, who were his enemies; 

While Israel doeth valiantly" (Num. 24:17, 18). 

"And they [Israel and Judah when the Lord returns, agrees Isaiah], shall 
put forth their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children 
of Ammon shall obey them" (Isa. 11:14). 

Verses 12, 13: The elder shall serve the younger, and, Jacob I loved, but Esau I 
hated — These words are chosen from the first and from the last books of the Old Testament. As 
to "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated," a woman once said to Mr. Spurgeon, "I cannot understand 
why God should say that He hated Esau." "That," Spurgeon replied, "is not my difficulty, madam. 
My trouble is to understand how God could love Jacob!" All men being sinners, we must allow 
God to "retreat into His own sovereignty," to act as He will. You and I may say, Esau proved 
himself entirely unworthy of the covenant blessings, for he despised them. This, however, will be 
seen to be a shallow view of the statement of the eleventh verse, that the prophecy of their future 
was told to their mother while the children were yet in her womb, not having done anything good 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

or bad. For the Divine statement concerning His own election, and His providence that carries out 
that election, is very plain, that it is not of works but of Himself, who gives the creature his calling. 
We have already in Romans seen and believed that righteousness is not of works but of Divine 
grace — uncaused by us. Now let us just as frankly bow to God's plain statement that His purpose 
according to election is likewise not of human works. That is to say, the favor of God to the children 
of promise (to those whom He has given to Christ) is not procured by their response to God' s grace, 
but contrariwise, their response to God's grace is because they have been given to Christ. 

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness 
with God? Far be the thought! 15 For He saith to Moses, I 
will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have 
compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 So then, it is 
not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God 
that hath mercy. 17 For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, 
For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show 
in thee My power, and that My name might be published 
abroad in all the earth. 18 So then He hath mercy on whom 
He will, and whom He will He hardeneth. 

We have now come upon that passage of Scripture against which the human mind — or rather 
heart, rebels most of all. For it sets the creature as he really is before God; not, indeed, as an 
automaton, nor in fatalistic compulsion, — otherwise there were no morals, and no appeal in the 

Nevertheless, it will be our only safe path to receive just as God writes it down, the truth we 
find here. 

Verses 14,15: What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Far be the 
thought! For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have 
compassion on whom I have compassion. We have only to remember the circumstances under 
which God thus spoke to Moses, to see the righteousness of God's sovereignty in mercy. There 
had been the awful breach at Sinai: Israel had "changed their glory for the likeness of an ox that 
eateth grass." The eternal ineffably glorious Jehovah in His indignation had said to Moses: "Let 
Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make 
of thee a great nation" (Ex. 32:10). Moses pleads for the people, and the next day offers, if God 
will forgive them, to be himself blotted out of God's book! He said to the people: "I will go up 
unto Jehovah; peradventure I shall make atonement for your sin" (Ex. 32:30). Forty days and forty 
nights this devoted man lay on his face interceding for Israel, and God brought about, as we know, 
Moses' mediatorship for Israel. (Study carefully Ex. 33; 34: especially Ex. 33:12-17; Ex. 34:1, 27, 
28, 32.) God shows Moses himself favor; and finally extends it to all the people. And note, it is in 
this connection, and under these circumstances, and in answer to the personal request of His beloved 
servant: "Show me, I pray thee, thy glory," that Jehovah says, "I will make all My goodness pass 
before thee, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I 
will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy" (Ex. 33:18, 19). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Now who can find fault with that? Unless Jehovah shows mercy, Israel must all righteously 
perish. There was no resource left in man\ God, whose name is Love, must come out to man and 
come in mercy, or all is over! And here we earnestly ask you to read the remarkable words of Darby, 
in the foot-note below. 199 It will accomplish in the heart which weighs it carefully that reconciliation 
of the sovereignty of God with God's love and grace which is possible alone to faith; and it will 
also enlighten the mind concerning God's dealings with Israel as recorded in these three great 
chapters of Romans. 

Verse 16: So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that 
hath mercy — Oh, that this great verse might sink into our ears, into our very hearts! Perhaps no 
statement of all Scripture so completely brings man to an utter end. Man thinks he can "will" and 
"decide," God-ward, and that after he has so "decided" and "willed," he has the ability to "run," 
or, as he says, to "hold out." But these two things, deciding and holding out, are in this verse utterly 
rejected as the source of salvation, — which is declared to be God that hath MERCY. Human 


Here the apostle shows Israel from their own history that they must leave God to His sovereignty or else they must lose 
their promises; and then that in the exercise of this sovereignty He will let in the Gentiles, as well as the Jews. If, says Paul, you 
Israelites will take your promises by descent, we will just see what comes of it. You say, we be Abraham's seed, and have a 
right to the promises by descent; for these Gentiles are but dogs, and have no right to share with us in God's promises. Well, if 
God has His sovereignty, He will in grace let in these Gentile dogs ! But now I will prove to you that you cannot take the promises 
by descent. In the first place, 'They are not all Israel which are of Israel' ; yet if it is by descent you must take in all Abraham' s 
seed, And if you take in Abraham' s children, then you must take in Ishmael — those Arabians ! Oh no, say they, we cannot allow 
that; what! Ishmaelites in the congregation of Israel, and heirs of promise? Yes, if by descent! You must take it by grace; and if 
it is by grace, God will not confine this grace to you, but will exercise it toward the Gentiles. 

"But now, to go further down in your history, you have Jacob and Esau; and if you go by descent, you must let in the 
Edomites by the same title as yourselves. But in verses 5 and 9, it says, 'The children of the promise are counted for the seed': 
so that it must rest on Isaac and Jacob, and Ishmael and Esau remain outside: therefore your mouth must now be closed as to 
descent, for your mouth is bound up by God's saying, 'Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.' He has chosen, according to 
His sovereign title, to bless you, and on that alone your blessing depends; as your own history shows, and your own prophetic 
testimony proves. You cannot rest it on a mere title by descent. But further, see how their (the Jews') mouth is stopped: for when 
did God say, T will have mercy on whom I will have mercy'? When every Israelite had lost all title to everything God had to 
give, then God retreated, if I may use the expression, into His own sovereignty, that He might not cut them off." 

[See Exodus 33:19, after the great breach made by Israel's worshipping the golden calf, while Moses was standing in the 
mount with Jehovah!] 

"By this act, Israel had forfeited everything: they had cast off the promises, which they had accepted on the condition of 
their own obedience (Ex. 19:8), and the God who made the promises, and who alone could fulfil them. Could God overlook this 
sin? Israel had undertaken to have the promises by their obedience; if God had dealt with Israel in righteousness, every one must 
have been cut off. What could God do, but retreat, as I said, into His own sovereignty? There He had a resource; for if any of 
them are to be spared, it must be in this way of mercy. T will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.' Man is entirely lost, so 
now God says, I will act for Myself. Taking a truth in connection with all other truth gives it its right and proper place, and its 
own Divine force. 

"Say now, you Jews, (and you, my reader, ask yourself the question), will you be willing to be dealt with in righteousness? 
No, you would not! Then do not talk about it, until you can go to God on that footing. But if you have such a conviction of sin 
as stops your mouth about righteousness, and so excludes all boasting, you will rejoice in the 'mercy ' and 'compassion ' of God, 
who retreats into His own sovereignty, that He may know how to spare; because in this sovereignty He can show mercy." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

responsibility is not at all denied here: man ought to will, and ought to run. But we are all nothing 
but sinners, and can do, — will do, neither: unless God come forth to us in sovereign mercy. 200 

Verses 17 and 18: For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh For this very purpose did I raise 
thee up, that I might show in thee My power, and that My name might be published abroad 
in all the earth. So then He hath mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth. 

Now in Pharaoh's case, it is customary to emphasize the fact that he said: "Who is Jehovah, 
that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not 
let Israel go" (Ex. 5:2). 

But we must go back of that to Exodus 4:21: "And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest 
back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thy hand: but 
I will harden [lit., make strong] his heart, and he will not let the people go." 

"And I will harden Pharoah' s heart and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 
But Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth My 
hosts. My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments" (Ex. 7:3, 4). 

Now it is not necessary nor right to make God the author of Pharaoh's stubbornness. No more 
is it right to insist that if God be a God of love He must save everybody, as all sorts of Universalists 
claim. Ex. 7:13, 14 records Pharaoh's attitude after the first "wonder"; and then God's report of 
Pharaoh's heart-condition, — for God sees the heart: "And Pharaoh's heart was hardened [lit., was 
strong], and he hearkened not unto them; as Jehovah had spoken." 

"And Jehovah said unto Moses, 'Pharaoh's heart is heavy.'" Now the Hebrew word translated 
"heavy" or "hard" here, is frequently used of that which weighs down, as in Exodus 17:12: "Moses' 
hands were heavy"; and in I Kings 12: 10: "Thy father made our yoke heavy." See especially Isaiah 
1:4: "A people laden [lit., heavy] with iniquity." On the whole, therefore, we are compelled to see 
that Pharaoh's heart was left by God simply in its natural state, — heavy with iniquity. Unlike 
Jehoshaphat (II Chron. 17:6), his heart had never been "lifted up in the ways of Jehovah." Unlike 
David, he had not even felt the weight of his sins, for David complains, in Psalm 38:4: 

"Mine iniquities are gone over my head; 

As a heavy burden they are too heavy for me." 

The word heavy here is the same Hebrew word which God uses to describe Pharaoh's heart, in 
Exodus 7:14. 


God has come forth at Calvary! He has set forth Christ as a propitiation through faith in His blood. Here is infinite love, 
displayed when human sin was at its topmost height of frightful guilt and malignity. "Father, forgive them; for they know not 
what they do" (Luke 23:34) were the words spoken in tenderness to God the Father by God the Son at the moment wicked hands 
were nailing Him to a cross of agony — spoken by One whose face was "marred more than any man." 

Therefore in the gospel is power to turn men's hearts, for it is the goodness of God that leadeth us to repentance. "That 
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in my Name," said our risen Lord, He of the pierced hands and feet and 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

God had a perfect right to allow Pharaoh to remain (where we all would have remained, apart 
from Divine sovereign mercy!), in a disobedient. God-defying attitude: "Who is Jehovah that I 
should obey Him?" Pharaoh fulfilled the Divine counsels. The plagues his rebellion brought on, 
and his overthrow at the Red Sea, are celebrated in Exodus 15:14: "The peoples have heard, they 
tremble." The pagan Philistines, even in Samuel's day said: "These are the gods that smote the 
Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness" (I Sam. 4:7, 8). Jehovah's name was indeed 
through this unregenerate rebel, Pharaoh, "published abroad in all the earth," just as He said! 

What God's Word tells us as to His dealing with Pharaoh, explains "He hardeneth." But nothing 
else than a subject heart of faith will enter, with reverent footstep, into the twice repeated words, 
"whom He will," here. And we say boldly, that a believer's heart is not fully yielded to God until 
it accepts without question, and without demanding softening, this eighteenth verse. 

Paul in the Spirit forestalls the natural operations of man's proud heart: 

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He still find 
fault? For who withstandeth His will? 20 Nay, but, O man, 
who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing 
formed say to Him that formed it, Why didst Thou make 
me thus? 21 Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, 
from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honor, 
and another unto dishonor? 

In His infinite wisdom and knowledge God reads with unerring accuracy the operations of the 
human heart: "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart." Man 
says, If I am not one of God' s elect, an object of His mercy, then I cannot do right, and God should 
not blame me. I asked an intelligent man in western Michigan if he had believed on the Lord Jesus 
Christ. He burst out into loud laughing, saying, "If I am elect, I will go to heaven; and if I am not 
elect, there is no use in my worrying about the question!" I rebuked him sternly, with these words: 
'"God commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: inasmuch as He hath appointed a 
day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He hath ordained.' 'God' s 
commands are God's enablings,' and if you will hearken to Him, you will be saved. But you will 
not dare to say to God in that day, I could not come because I was not of the elect; for that will not 
be true! The reason you refused to come, will be found to be your love of sin, not your non-election!" 
God says, "Whosoever will," and the door is open to all, absolutely all. God means "Whosoever" : 
and that is the word for you, sinner; and not election, which is God's business, not yours! 

Verse 20: Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed 
say to Him that formed it. Why didst thou make me thus? Literally, this reads: "O man, yes! 
but rather, — you! who are you, replying against God?" 

Alford well says: "The words 'yea, rather,' take the ground from under the previous assertion 
and supersede it by another: implying that it has a certain show of truth, but that the proper view 
of the matter is yet to be stated. They thus convey, as in Luke 1 1 :28, a rebuke, — here, with severity: 
'That which thou hast said may be correct human reasoning, — but as against God's sovereignty, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

thy reasoning is out of place and irrelevant; the verse implying. Thou hast neither right nor power 
to call God to account in this matter.' These verses are a rebuke administered to the spirit of the 
objection, which forgets the immeasurable distance between us and God, and the relation of Creator 
and Disposer in which He stands to us." 

And Stifler warns: "He who replies against God must mean that it is God's hardening that 
deprives a soul of salvation; that if God did not interpose with an election and take some and leave 
others to be hardened, all men would have at least an equal opportunity of salvation. This is false. 
If God did not elect, none would be saved, for there is 'none that seeketh after God' (Rom. 3:11). 
And, men are not lost because they are hardened; they are hardened because they are lost; they are 
lost because they are sinners. 

"God is not responsible for sin. He is under no obligation to save any one. Obligation and 
sovereignty cannot both be predicated of God. If He saves any one it is a sovereign act of mercy." 

Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it. Why didst thou make me thus? 

Thus speaks also Jehovah by Isaiah: 

"Woe unto him that striveth with His Maker! a potsherd among the potsherds 
of the earth! ... Ye turn things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as clay; 
that the thing made should say of him that made it. He made me not; or the thing 
formed say of him that formed it, He hath no understanding?" (Isa. 45:9; 29:16.) 

In the Scriptures, those who meet God, fall into the dust. "I am but dust and ashes," said 
Abraham, and Job: "Mine eye seeth Thee, and I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." 

A "thing," yea, and a formed thing, owing its very being to a Creator! Have we thus considered 
ourselves? Our only proper creature-attitude is one of faith, not questioning. As 

"Frail creatures of dust, 

And feeble as frail, 
In Thee do we trust, 

Nor find Thee to fail." 

These are days of man- vaunting, and God-despising. But they shall soon end, and the very earth 
on which man's legions marched in such pride, shall flee away "before the face of Him who sits 
upon the Throne"! (Rev. 20:11.) 

Verse 21: Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one 
part a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? As concerns the right of the Divine Potter 
over the human clay, we need to go with Jeremiah to "the potter's house": "I went down to the 
potter's house, and, behold, he was making a work on the wheels. And the word of Jehovah came 
to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Such as is the clay in the 
potter's hands, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel" (Jer. 18:3-6). God called man "dust" in 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Eden (Gen. 2:7; 3:19). And, "The nations are as a drop of a bucket and are accounted as the small 
dust of the balance" (Isa. 40:15). When the apothecary would weigh an article accurately, he whisks 
out with a breath from the balances any former dust remaining therein: and there go the nations, 
all, — as regards greatness before God! Yet here is one atom of this "small dust" replying against 
God, saying, "What right has He to do thus with me?" 

Now it will not do to answer, "God is love"; "God so loved the world." True, indeed. But God 
is God, and the nations are "less than nothing, and vanity," as you read in Isaiah 40: 17, and in many 
other Scriptures. God has rights high above all our poor comprehension. We know that God will 
always act righteously. We are not God's judges! God has a right "from the same lump of human 
clay to make one part a vessel unto honor, another unto dishonor." No godly person challenges that 
right. Nay, godly people most reverently bow to it! "What would the ability to fashion be worth, 
if it were under the dictation of that which is to be fashioned?" 

22 What if GOD, willing to show His wrath, and to make 
His power known, endureth with much longsuffering vessels 
of wrath fitted unto destruction: 23 and that He might make 
known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which 
he afore prepared unto glory, 24 even us, whom He also 
called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? 

Verse 22: What if GOD — the greatness of the Creator and the nothingness of the creature! 
God's will is supreme and right, even to His being willing to show publicly His wrath — both at 
the day of judgment, and on through eternity. His holiness and righteousness will be exhibited to 
all creatures in His visitation of wrath upon the wicked: 

And to make His power known — Job in astonishing words describes God's power as seen in 
creation and providence, but adds: 

"Lo, these are but the outskirts of His ways: 
And how small a whisper do we hear of Him! 
But the thunder of His power who can understand?" 
(Job 26:14.) 

But the day is coming when His power will be publicly exhibited in overwhelming and eternal 
visitation upon the vessels of wrath. Let us ponder this great passage: 

What if GOD, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with 
much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction? 

Here we find: 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

1. That certain were fitted unto destruction. It is not said that God so fitted them. 201 But in 
Chapter Two we find those who "despise the goodness and forbearance and long-suffering of God, 
not knowing that the goodness of God was meant to lead them to repentance." Of such it is said 
that they "treasure up for themselves wrath in the day of wrath." 

2. God had, we next read here, in their earth-life dealt with these with much longsuffering. 
They never learned however, as Peter urged, to "account that the longsuffering of our Lord is 
salvation" (II Pet. 3:15). This longsuffering is the enduring on earth of ungrateful rebels by a God 
surrounded in Heaven by the glad, obedient hosts of light! 

3. They thus became vessels of wrath: those in and through whom God could publicly and 
justly display His holy indignation against sin and godlessness, — for a warning to all ages and 
creatures to come. 

4. Thus these came to that destruction unto which their sin had duly fitted them. Now this 
"destruction" is not at all that cessation of being, of which we hear so much from Satan's false 
prophets in these days. But it is, according to II Thessalonians 1:7, 9, an eternal visitation of Divine 
anger "in flaming fire" from the very presence of the Lord Himself! It not only involves the final 
withdrawal of all mercy and long-suffering, but the eternal infliction of Divine punishment upon 
the bodies of the damned. 

5 . The terribleness of this is seen in the fact that this "destruction," this visitation of punishment 
upon the persons of the lost, will be made the occasion of God's exhibiting publicly both His holy 
wrath against sin, and also His power in the punishment of it. His hatred of sin is absolute, — and 
these will be made to experience it; His power is infinite, and these will be compelled to be an 
example of it. 

6. In the words What if GOD — should proceed thus? all creature-questionings are stilled into 
awful silence, if not today, some day! 


Nevertheless, we must let certain Scriptures lie Just as they are, whether or not they consort with our conceptions, or whether 
we find ourselves able to "reconcile" them with our "theological system" or not. We quote a few of these Scriptures: 

The wicked are estranged from the womb; 

They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies" (Ps. 58:3). 

Jehovah hath made everything for its own end; 

Yea, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Prov 16:4). 

They stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed" (I Pet. 2:8). 

"Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before 
him, he shall . . . die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he hath done shall not be remembered (Ezek 


"Because they had not executed Mine ordinances, but had rejected My statutes, ... I gave them statutes that were not good, 
and ordinances wherein they should not live" (Ezek 20:24,25). 

However, even in these passages, solemnly terrible as they are, we must separate God's actions from man's responsibility. 
God is not the author of evil; He tempteth no man; "He would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 23: Then at the next words: And that He might make known the riches of His glory 
upon vessels of mercy, we are just as silent as before, though in boundless, endless gratitude: for 
apart from mercy, we too had become "vessels of wrath." As Paul says in verse 29: Except the 
Lord had dealt in mercy with us, we also "had become as Sodom!" 

Note carefully that while it is God' s wrath and power that are to be made known in the "vessels 
of wrath"; and though the glory of God would be thus in His justice exhibited, He yet does not use 
the word glory in connection with the damnation of the wicked. In Exodus 15:11 Moses and the 
children of Israel do indeed celebrate the overthrow of Pharaoh, as setting forth God's praise, 

"Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? 
Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, 
Fearful in praises, doing wonders?" 

Yet we must ever remember that God is love, from past eternity, and now, and forever. So that it 
is written: "He delighteth in mercy" — lovingkindness: (Micah 7:18); and, "As I live, saith Jehovah, 
I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezek. 
33:11). God will not exult over the lost! witness Christ weeping over Jerusalem, and sorrowing 
over Judas (John 13:21); and the "lamentation" even over the fall of Lucifer (figured in the King 
of Tyre, in the remarkable passage of Ezekiel 28: 1 Iff.). 

But when God speaks in verse 23 of the vessels of mercy it is at once said that He afore 
prepared them unto glory, that is, for entering into His own glory (Romans 5:2), and that they 
will be the means of making known through eternity to come the riches of His glory. So He speaks 
in Ephesians 2:4 to 7 of His being "rich in mercy." If it is true of us that where our treasure is our 
hearts will be; it is infinitely more true of God! God's treasured riches are mercy and grace. 
Judgment, the execution of wrath, He calls His "strange work," His "strange act" (Isa. 28:21). 
Mercy is the work dear to His heart! 

Mark well here this word "afore." For the whole process of our salvation is viewed from that 
blessed future day when we shall enter, through Divine mercy, into that glory unto which God 
"afore" appointed us, and for which He "afore" prepared us, in the work of Christ for us, and the 
application to us of that work, by the blessed Holy Spirit. All was "afore" arranged by God! 

Verse 24: Even us, whom He also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles. 

How constant, in Paul's consciousness, the owing all to God's sovereign grace. "Prepared unto 
glory" 202 — in past eternity, in sovereign election, and having a calling befitting that "preparing." 
Surely no one can miss, in this apostle, the supreme consciousness that he is God's, — not by his 

202 Hodge' s remarks here are excellent: "The passive participle may be taken as a verbal adjective,//? for destruction. Of the vessels 
of wrath, it is simply said that they are fit for destruction; but of the vessels of mercy, that God prepares them for glory. Why 
this change if the apostle did not intend to intimate that the agency of God is very different in the one case from what it is in the 
other? God does not create men in order to destroy them. God did not make Pharaoh wicked and obdurate; but as a punishment 
for his sin, he so dealt with him that the evil of his nature revealed itself in a form, and under circumstances, which made him a 
fit object of the punitive justice of God." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

choice, but God's own choice, — an eternally settled thing, uncaused by Paul! All believers will 
have the same consciousness, when they find, (as Paul found), along with their Divine election, 
that there is in them, in their flesh, "no good thing" ! 

Now the apostle, having declared that these "vessels of mercy" were "called," both from Jews 
and Gentiles, adduces several plain Scriptures (which the gainsaying Jews should have laid to 

25 As He saith also in Hosea, 

I will call that my people which was not my 

And her beloved, that was not beloved. 

26 And it shall be, that in the place where it was said 

unto them, Ye are not My people, 
There shall they be called sons of the Living 

27 And Isaiah crieth concerning Israel, 

If the number of the children of Israel be as the 

sand of the sea, 
The Remnant shall be saved: 

28 For He is bringing the matter to an end, and cutting 

it short in righteousness; 
Because a matter cut short will the Lord make 
in the earth. 

29 And, as Isaiah hath said before, 

Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, 
We had become as Sodom, and had been made 
like unto Gomorrah. 

Verse 25: 1 will call that my people which was not my people; and her beloved that was 
not beloved. Paul here, in a most remarkable way, takes from the prophet (Hosea 2:23) a passage 
that distinctly refers to Israel: as Peter, quoting the same place says: "Ye are an elect race, a royal 
priesthood, a holy nation, who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God." For 
here we see the "Remnant according to the election of Grace," addressed by Peter, their Apostle. 
The nation after the flesh was apostate; but God views believing Israelites as perpetuating — not 
the national place, which has been forfeited for the present — but His lovingkindness to those which 
He had called His "people"; His "elect nation." "To you first," Peter said to Israel after Pentecost, 
"God, having raised up His Son, sent Him to bless you." So that Paul and Peter are in perfect 
agreement that Hosea 2:23 fits believing Israelites. 

And then we have Hosea quoted again! But now it is Chapter 1:10, last part. 

Verse 26: And it shall be, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my 
people, there shall they be called sons of the living God. Here now come the Gentiles, — according 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

to verse 24. No Gentile nation was ever called & people of God! Nor are the Gentiles today called 
such. Although in the Millennium all the Gentiles "upon whom the Lord's Name is called," will 
seek Him (Acts 15:17); yet Israel are his elect people, always. 

But now "some better thing" has been provided for us (Heb. 11:40) both Jewish and Gentile 
believers of this "day of salvation": Sons of the Living God! See Galatians 4:1-7. The Spirit of 
God's Son cries Abba, Father, in our hearts, who "partake of the heavenly calling." 

God's infinite grace takes up those who were once (and that by our Lord Himself) called 
"dogs" — as compared with the "children" — nation of Israel, and gives them a heavenly calling: far 
above that of earthly Israel, — even when restored! "Sons of the Living God" — oh, let us give praise 
unto Him! 

Verse 27: And Isaiah crieth concerning Israel, If the number of the children of Israel be 
as the sand of the sea, the Remnant shall be saved. Here the apostle takes another prophet, Isaiah, 
and quotes again from two passages; and again from the later one first. The 27th verse is from 
Isaiah 10:22. Some estimate the Jewish population as 20,000,000 (though that probably is too high). 
If we read Ezekiel 20:33-38, we see the Lord Jehovah, "with wrath poured out" bringing Israel 
out from the nations (He is beginning this now!); and cutting off "the rebels" amongst them, — the 
rebels against the national Divine calling as a separate nation to Jehovah. Only the Remnant will 
be left; for, as Isaiah says, "a destruction is determined!" How solemn these words! And let them 
sink into our foolish Gentile hearts; for only a "few men left" of all the nations, will enter the 

Verse 28: For He is bringing the matter to an end, and cutting it short in righteousness: 
Because a matter cut short will the Lord make in the earth. The ways of God should be the 
study of the saints. He waits long, — He forbears — He is silent: then He suddenly puts into execution 
an eternally-formed purpose! Thus it was at the Flood, and in the destruction of Sodom, and 
afterwards of the Canaanites. Also now, for a long season, God has been letting the nations go on 
in comparative quiet, filling up the earth with much the largest population ever known; and despite 
their various persecutions the Jews have also been relatively secure from that Divine "indignation" 
which all students of Scripture know is yet to be brought to a terrible "end" upon them. The awful 
words of Ezekiel 20:35, 36 are to be fulfilled — "cut short in righteousness." The expression there 
"the wilderness of the people," — where the Jews will have no national friend or refuge whatever, 
except Palestine; and Jehovah "entering into judgment" with them, "like as He entered into judgment 
with their fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt" (when he turned them back from 
Kadesh-barnea to die in the wilderness) — all this remains to be done, — and in "a short work." 

The Remnant shall be saved [the majority having been slain in the Great Tribulation] for He 
is ending up the matter [of His dealing with Israel] and cutting it short [in the time of "Jacob's 
trouble" — the "forty-two months"; the "time, times, and a half; — three and a half years, of Daniel's 
Seventieth Week] in righteousness, because a matter cut short will the Lord make on the earth. 

Every student of Scripture should be familiar by this time with the general "mould of prophecy." 
Therefore we have boldly inserted in brackets the evident meaning here. It is the great crisis of 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

prophecy here in view, the closing up not only of the times of the Gentiles, but of God's 
dispensational dealings with national Israel, the Remnant of whom — a "very small Remnant" — will 
be saved; preserved through the Great Tribulation to bless the earth after the Lord returns. Any 
reader of Scripture will be astonished, and deeply edified if he will take a concordance and study 
God's Word about the Remnant. 203 

God is now letting matters run on in general, both among the Gentiles and Israel. This will 
shortly be utterly changed, even to what scientists call the "laws" of the powers of the heavens — and 
a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. (See Author's book on The Revelation, p. 140, 

This involves, of course, that the most of the natural children of Israel will be cut off; that it 
will be only the elect Remnant who will be saved and share in the Millennial Kingdom; which, as 
the prophecies concerning the "Remnant" abundantly testify, that Remnant will enjoy. (See last 
nine chapters of Ezekiel; Isa. 10:21, 22; and Chapter 35; Jer. 31:1-14.) 

Verse 29: Israel might object to the doctrine of "the Remnant," the "election of grace" by God; 
but the quotation in verse 29, from Isaiah 1:9 shows that if God had not intervened in sovereign 
grace, they would have all become as Sodom [in iniquity], and been made like unto Gomorrah 
[in their damnation]. It was sovereign goodness that saved 204 any Israelites, — just as it is sovereign 
goodness that saves any Gentiles. 

Thus it becomes plain (for Israel is but a sample of the human race) that opposition to the truth 
of Divine elective mercy arises from ignorance of or blindness to the utter sinfulness and wholly 
lost state, of mankind. All would go to perdition unless God in mercy intervened! 

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, those not at 
all pursuing after righteousness, attained to righteousness, 
even the righteousness which is of faith: 31 but Israel, 
pursuing after a law [which should give] righteousness, did 
not arrive at [such a] law. 32 Wherefore? Because they 
sought it not by faith, but as it were by works. They 
stumbled at the Stone of stumbling; 33 even as it is written, 

203 See Gen. 45:7; Isaiah 1:9; 10:21,22; 11:11, 16; 46:3; Jer. 23:3; Ezek. 6:8; Amos 5: 15; Mic. 2:12; 5:7, 8; Zeph. 2:7, 9; 3:13; Zech. 
8:6, 11, 12. 


In these passages brought by the Spirit from the Old Testament and fitting present times precisely, we are again face to face 
with the marvels of God's inspiration. William Kelly well says: 

"What a witness of Divine truth, of indiscriminate grace, that the gospel, in itself unprecedented and wholly distinct both 
from what was seen under the Law and what will be when the Kingdom appears in power and glory, does nevertheless find its 
justification from words both of mercy and of judgment uttered hundreds of years before by the various servants God sent to 
declare His message to His people! But, as they blindly despised them and rejected His word then for idols, so now they fulfilled 
them yet more in the rejection of Christ and hatred of the grace which, refused by them, was sought and received by Gentiles, 
and thus yet more proved the word Divine, to the confusion of the unbelief which is as blind as it is proud and selfish" (Kelly, 
Notes on Romans, in loc) . 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Behold, I lay in Zion a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock 

of offence: 
And he that belie veth on Him shall not be put to shame. 

We here have a most remarkable passage, full of the deepest consolation on the one hand, and 
warning on the other. 

Here were the Gentiles, deep in the sin described in Chapters One and Two, occupied with 
superstition and idolatry. Paul said in Athens, a city full of idols, "I perceive that in all things ye 
are very religious" (lit., "demon-fearing"). There was no seeking after righteousness before a holy 
God! Paul quotes in Chapter Three those Psalms which declare there is "none that seeketh after 
God." For the Gentiles, of Antioch in Pisidia, for example, were not pursuing after righteousness; 
but here come Paul and Barnabas, preaching; and "the whole city is gathered together to hear the 
Word of God." And when the Jews reviled the blessed gospel of grace, 

"Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, and said, it was necessary that the word 
of God should first be spoken to you. Seeing ye thrust it from you, and judge 
yourselves unworthy of eternal life [How terrible! — dying men refusing life!] lo, 
we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, 

I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles, 

That thou shouldest be for salvation unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

And as the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of God: 
and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord 
was spread about throughout all the region" (Acts 13:44, 46-49). 

Here is good news for bad men! — men who had never read the Old Testament Scriptures, nor 
"pursued after righteousness"; yet, though Gentiles, hearing the gospel and believing, they walk 
right into righteousness by faith, past the Jews, who had been pursuing after — what? a law that 
should give them righteousness. Note, we are not told that even the Jews were pursuing after 
righteousness, but after a law by which, through their self-efforts, they hoped to attain righteousness! 
They did not, like the Gentiles, as sinners, simply believe the good news of a God of grace. But 
although their own Law would have convicted them of sin if they had really heard 205 it, yet they 
kept pursuing after a Law whose requirements they could not meet but in possessing and pursuing 
after which, they gloried! It was all as-it- were- works, — a dream! 

They did not arrive at that law, — it was always just ahead, out of reach! Why? Because they 
never directly trusted God! Having the conceit of the self-righteous, — that some day they would 

205 So Paul to the Galatians: "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not HEAR the law?" (Gal. 4:21.) Paul himself, he 
tells us, was "alive apart from the Law once," — although he knew the Law and gloried in it and observed its outward ordinances. 
But the day came, as he showed in Chapter 7, when he "heard" it; it became a distinct spiritual command to his soul to do the 
righteousness commanded. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

attain God's final acceptance of their works, they never thought of needing God's mercy, or of 
"simply trusting" Him, as they were, — as David does in Psalm Fifty-one! 

So when Christ came, saying, "Transfer your trust from yourselves to Me! Moses gave you the 
Law, but none of you keepeth the Law": — they turned in fury and slew the Righteous One! 

So the Jews stumbled. Now, it takes a spiritual mind and a subject heart to read with profit 
what is here. Were there Divine commands in the Law? Certainly. Were there hopes connected 
with fully keeping them? Certainly. "The man that doeth the righteousness which is of the Law 
shall live thereby" (Lev. 18:5; Rom. 10:5). Were there those that professed righteousness by the 
Law? Yes, on every side: Pharisees, priests, scribes, — who also became the crucifiers of Christ! 
But what else do we read in the Old Testament? We read from Genesis 3:15 throughout Scripture 
that there was a Seed, the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of David, through 
whom alone salvation and blessing would come. "This is the name by which He shall be called, 
Jehovah our righteousness." As David cried, "I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of 
Thine only" (Ps. 71:16). But also it was also plainly written of Him, "They shall smite the Judge 
of Israel with a rod upon the cheek"; and that He would "hide not His face from shame and spitting"; 
that He would be "despised and rejected"; that His hands and feet would be "pierced," but that 
"through the knowledge of Himself, God's Righteous Servant, [Messiah] should constitute many 
righteous" (Isa. 53: 1 1). So He, Christ, the meek and lowly One, who went about doing them good, 
who healed them, loved them, and finally died for them, — became to them the Stone of Stumbling! 
And it was in Zion, where they had the Law, that this Stone of stumbling was to be laid. Now the 
only way to have Him is to believe on Him: otherwise, He was a Rock of offence. He offended all 
the claims of the Jews as "children of Abraham"; He offended all their false claims of righteousness, 
by the light which He was, — the Holy One. He offended the leaders of Israel, by exposing their 
sin. He offended the hopes of an immediate, carnal, earthly kingdom, by showing that only those 
poor in spirit and pure of heart would be in that kingdom. In short, He offended the nation by 
overthrowing its whole superstructure of works built on sand, — as-it- were- works! 

However, there were those that believed on Him — the "poor of the flock," and they were not 
then, and shall not be put to shame. (See comment on Chap. 10:11.) 

Even so, today, the true gospel of Christ crucified, bringing out our guilt and the danger of 
Divine wrath, offends men who would like to come and "join the church" in their respectability! 
Respectability of what? Of filthy rags! 206 


Sir Robert Anderson relates: "A lady of my acquaintance, well known in the higher ranks of London society, called upon 
me one day to ask for police help, to relieve her from certain annoyances. Her evident distress at my inability to give her the 
protection she sought, led me to remark that the peace of God in the heart was a great antidote to trouble. "Ah," said she, "if I 
were only like you!" "If it depended on my merit," I replied with real sincerity, "it is you who would have the peace, not I", 
Presently her manner changed, and with tears in her eyes she told me something of her spiritual struggles. If she could be more 
earnest, more devout, more prayerful, she was sure that God would accept her. 

"I was greatly interested," I remarked, "by what I heard about the supper you gave the tramps last week. Did they offer you 
anything for it? Of course, they had no money, but they might have brought you some of their coats and shirts!" 

"If you had only seen their coats and shirts!" she exclaimed with a smile. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

It is a humanly incurable delusion of the human heart that salvation is within the natural reach; 
and that at any time if a man will "make up his mind like a man," and "hold out to the end," God 
will certainly accept him. But this conception leaves out entirely the word "mercy." The very name 
of this plan is Vain Confidence. It has doomed and damned its millions. For, salvation being 
altogether of God, the soul who is bugging the delusion that it is "of him that willeth," "of him that 
runneth," is making God a liar and walking in blind pride. 

You ask. Is there not a place for human responsibility? Does not God command all men to 
repent? Does He not say: "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely?" He does. But the 
Ninth of Romans is no place to discuss that subject, and that because God does not here discuss it. 
You say, If Christ "gave Himself a ransom for all"; and God "would have all men to be saved"; if 
Christ "tasted death for every man," if "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not 
imputing unto them their trespasses," and is now sending out His ambassadors to beseech men to 
be reconciled to God — how can these statements be reconciled with God's words in verse 18: "So 
then He hath mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth"? 

Friend, who set you or me to "reconcile" (which means to reduce to the compass or our mental 
grasp) the sayings of the infinite God of truth? If I wait to believe the statements of God the Creator 
until I can "reconcile" them with my creature conceptions, that is not faith, but presumption. 

Moreover, unless you receive both doctrines: on the one hand, that of the death of Christ for 
all, and the actual, bona fide offer of salvation through His cross, to all who will believe; and, on 
the other hand, that of the absolute sovereignty of the God who "hath mercy on whom He will, and 
whom He will, hardeneth," you will neither believe Scripturally either doctrine, nor clearly preach 
either. You will be either preaching a "limited atonement" — that Christ died only for the elect; or, 
on the other hand, refusing to surrender to God's plain statement of His sovereign election, you 
will preach that Christ having died for all, God's election depends on man's will. A shallow preacher 
in California cried, "It is election day: God is voting for you and the devil is voting against you, 
and you cast the deciding vote!" Of such antiscriptural statements the folly is evident. God distinctly 
says in Chapter 9:16: "It is net of him that willeth"; and in verse 11: "That the purpose of God 
according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth." 

You say, "What then shall we teach?" We answer: Teach the words of Scripture and let it go 
at that. God can "reconcile" His own Word! 

Many years ago a widely-known and beloved teacher of God's Word said to me, "I do not like 
to assert a truth too positively; I like always to teach a truth modified by any seemingly contradictory 
truth." I had myself observed in his discussion of a Scripture doctrine his citation of "authorities": 
"So-and-so says this; on the other hand, So-and-so says that: now take your choice." But in his 
later years, because he was a constant and devoted reader of God's Word, his manner of teaching 
quite changed: he was willing to take such a passage as the Ninth of Romans and teach it as it is, 

"Filthy rags they were. I'm sure," said I, "and what you don't believe is that in God's sight 'all our righteousnesses are as 
filthy rags."' 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

and say, "Thus saith the Lord"; and leave it there. And when there came up another line of truth 
that could not be "reconciled" with the first, in the mind of men, he taught this second truth also 
just as God stated it, and left it there. 

Now if there is any passage of God's Word in which He seems to say: / am Myself assuming 
all responsibility for what I here announce, it is this same Ninth of Romans. 

But remember it' s closing words: "He that believeth on Him [Christ] shall not be put to shame !" 
God's simple-hearted, trusting saints are quite ready, having received God's great gift of Eternal 
Life in Christ, to await the day when they shall "know fully" — as they have been known. Meanwhile, 
they walk by faith, with humble hearts, subject to what God says. 


1. Man was lost — he could not save himself. 

2. He was guilty — none could pardon him but the God he had sinned against. 

3. He was by nature "a child of wrath" not deserving good; nor being able to change his nature. 

4. He was allied with God's Enemy; and had a mind at enmity against God: a mind not subject, 
nor able to be subject to God's law or will. 

5. He knew he was doing things "worthy of death"; but not only persisted in them, but was in 
league-approval with those of like practice; he was "of the world," not of God. 

6. Therefore, if any move be made toward man's salvation, it must come from God, not man. 

7. God, being God, knew beforehand that the attitude of every man by nature toward his overtures 
would be to oppose them. 

8. Since any real response to these overtures, therefore, must come from God's grace, He must 
elect to overcome effectually man's resistance, either 

(a) In no case, 

(b) Or, in every case, 

(c) Or, in certain cases. 

9. To hold God unable to overcome man's resistance in any case is to limit His power. 

10. But to hold that God is unwilling to have certain saved is to deny His repeated word — "Who 
would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth"; "As I live, saith the 
Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way 
and live." 

11. Therefore, it would seem that only in those cases in which it would no longer be consistent 
with God's glory — that is, consistent with His holiness and righteousness, and His just government 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

of His creatures, would God withhold, or refuse longer to employ. His gracious operations in behalf 
of any creature. 

12. But, when we consider Election, we must remove our thoughts wholly from this world, the 
first Adam, the sin of man, and his "attitude" toward God. The purpose of God according to Election 
is "not of works, but of Him that calleth." It is outside human history altogether. It is of God. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


Paul's Prayer for Israel, who had Zeal, without Knowledge of, or Subjection to, God's 
Righteousness: Fundamental Contrast between the Righteousness of Doing and That of Believing. 

Verses 1-10. 

The Believing Method was According to Israel's Own Scriptures, — unto which They did not 
Hearken: as God had Foretold. Verses 11-21. 

1 Brethren, the dear wish of this heart of mine, and my 
prayer to God for them, [Israel] is for [their] salvation. 2 
For I bear witness to them that they have a zeal for God, 
but not at all according to knowledge. 3 For being ignorant 
of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, 
they did not subject themselves to God's righteousness. 4 
For Christ is the end of the Law unto righteousness, to every 
one that belie veth. 

BRETHREN, — HERE PAUL addresses all saints concerning his yearning for national Israel' s 
salvation. The words my heart's desire are literally, "the dear pleasure of my heart." Israel's 
salvation was to Paul a thing of delight to contemplate and hope for. Moreover, as always, Paul 
puts his wish for them into prayer to God: in which all spiritual longings should end! 

Verse 2: He bears them this witness, and gladly, that they had a zeal for God, but he most 
strongly denies that there was any real knowledge of God and His ways in that zeal. Mohammedans 
have zeal. When I passed through the Azhar Mosque, in Cairo, a Moslem merchant was kneeling, 
forehead on the carpet, in prayer. Four hours later I saw him still kneeling! And outside were over 
10,000 students, diligently learning the Koran! Zeal must not be Mistaken for knowledge in Divine 
things. See Josephus quoted below. 207 It is perhaps unkind in this place, (so tender with Paul), to 
cite the religious zeal of pagan or Mohammedan. But Paul himself classes the "beggarly elements" 
of Jew and pagan together! (Gal. 4:8-10), since the cross. 

Verse 3: But it is certainly a terrible thing we see. Here is the Jew with God's own Book, the 
Old Testament Scriptures, in his hand, and blind to that Scripture's revelation of his guilty, lost 
state before God. The Jews were in a fearful condition in two ways: 


l.'The Jew knows the Law better than his own name . . . The great feasts were frequented by countless thousands, . . . Over 
and above the requirements of the Law, ascetic religious exercises advocated by the teachers of the Law came into vogue . . . 
Even the Hellenised and Alexandrian Jews under Caligula died on the cross and by fire, and the Palestinian prisoners in the last 
war died by the claws of African lions in the amphitheatre, rather than sin against the Law. What Greek would do the like? . . . 
The Jews also exhibited an ardent zeal for the conversion of the Gentiles to the Law of Moses. The proselytes filled Asia Minor 
and Syria, and — to the indignation of Tacitus — Italy and Rome." 

Surely the Jews of Josephus' day had a "zeal for God." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

First, they were wholly ignorant of the one great, vital fact sinners must know: that 
righteousness, life, and all things are a free gift of the grace of God; and that the Law was meant 
only to make them discover their sin and their own helpless need of the outright gift of righteousness 
from God. The expression ignorant of God's righteousness, does not mean that the Jewish people 
were ignorant of holiness and righteousness as attributes of God, — in fact, they prided themselves 
on the knowledge of such a God as over against the hideous pagan gods. But the righteousness of 
which they were wholly ignorant was that while "God Himself was just," He was also "the Justifier 
of the ungodly'" of all who "believed on Jesus. " As we said in Chapter Nine, the Jews had seized 
upon their possession of the Law as in itself giving them a standing with God. Our Lord could have 
spoken to almost any Jew as He did to the woman at Sychar's well: "If thou knewest the gift of 
God, and Who it is that saith to thee!" For of a gift of righteousness they had no conception. 

The Law dispensation was necessarily unfruitful, "making nothing perfect," because it neither 
imparted life, nor gave strength to fulfil its demands. As Paul writes to the Hebrews, there was a 
"disannulling" of it, and a "vanishing away" of the legal covenant (Heb. 7:18; 8:13). 

When Christ came, although born under the Law in order to redeem Israel (Gal. 4:4, 5), yet He 
Himself, from the very beginning, took the place of the Law ! In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 
5, 6, and 7) He declared: "It was said . . . but / say." He came, indeed, not to destroy but to fulfil, 
and inasmuch as Israel was under the curse of the Law, He redeemed them that were under the Law 
'by becoming Himself a curse for them (Gal. 3:13). 

Although Christ in His ministry, ("lest we cause to stumble," — Matthew 17:27) paid due heed 
to Moses' directions (as in the case of the leper — "Go show thyself to the priest"), yet He never, 
for example, enforced the Sabbath: indeed He freely wrought healings on that day, in the face of 
the murderous hatred of the legalists. 

The Law was designed not to bring about self-righteousness or self-hope, but contrariwise, 
self-despair. The law witnessed to a man his need of a mediator — as at Sinai (Deut. 5:23-27). Christ 
Himself is the righteousness of God. When He died, bearing the sin of the world, the Law' s demand 
for human righteousness was over, ended, closed up, set aside. Christ has now been "made of God 
unto us righteousness": we want no other. But it is not easy to subject ourselves unto God's 
righteousness: for God justifies the wngodly. Justification is a gift for very beggars, the only hope 
for the guilty, lost and undone 208 The Jews, ignorant of God's gift of righteousness utterly refused 


l.'This is what God calls 'subjecting ourselves to God's righteousness': finding a righteousness which is neither of nor in 
ourselves, but finding Christ before God and the proud will, through grace, submitting to be saved by that which is not of or in 
ourselves. It is Christ instead of self — instead of our place in the flesh." 

Roland Hill, at the close of a great meeting, saw a lady riding in an elegant carriage, who commanded her coachman to 
halt, and beckoned Mr. Hill to approach her. 

"Sir," she said, "my coachman came to your meetings and says you told him how to be saved; so that he is now very happy. 
Please tell me how a lady of the nobility is to be saved, for I also desire to be happy." "Madame," said the preacher, "Christ died 
for the whole world. God says there is no difference. All are to be saved through simple faith in Him." 

"Do you mean," she said haughtily, "that I must be saved in the same way as my coachman?" 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

thus to subject themselves. They said "We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man 
[Jesus], we know not whence He is!" 

John the Baptist's ministry is full of meaning here. It is both a precious and an awful thing — the 
results of John's testimony. Luke tells us: "All the people, when they heard [John], and the publicans, 
justified God [when John preached repentance and confession of their sins], being baptized with 
the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, 
being not baptized of him" (Luke 7:29, 30). It is touching to the spiritual heart to find, for Instance, 
that all five of those converted in the first chapter of John were John's disciples. 

Second, to this day they seek to "establish their own righteousness." But in this path that 
"seemeth right unto a man" is the way of death, yea, of direct rebellion against God. 209 

They (the Jews) were desperately set on establishing, building up that which God had cast 
down, that is, human righteousness. They heard with deaf ears their own prophets' voices: "There 
is none righteous, no not one." "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Therefore, the Jews 
were, and are today, worse off than the heathen. Their Law — "whensoever Moses is read, a veil 
lieth upon their heart" (II Cor. 3:15). According to Isaiah 25:7, there is "a covering that covereth 
all peoples, a veil that is spread over all nations" (to be removed in Millennial days, thank God!). 
But over the face of the Israelite there is now not only the common blindness of man to his own 
condition as a sinner, but, added to that, the false confidence the Jew has in his own righteousness 
because the Law was given by Jehovah to his nation. 2 ' ° 

Verse 4: Christ is the end of the Law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. There 
has been much discussion of the meaning of the word "end" here. Let us see if Scripture does not 
clear up this matter for us. When Christ died, He bore for Israel the curse of the Law, for they, and 
they alone, were under the Law. Divine Law, being broken, does not ask for future good conduct 
on the part of the infractor; but for his death, — and that only. Now Christ having died, all the claims 
of the Law against that nation which had been placed under law were completely met and ended. 
So that even Jews could now believe, and say, "I am dead to the Law!" 

To him that believeth, therefore, Jew or Gentile, Christ, dead, buried, and risen, is the end of 
law for righteousness, — in the sense of law's disappearance from the scene! Law does not know, 
or take cognizance of believers! We read in Chapter Seven (verse 6) that those who had been under 
the Law were discharged from the Law, brought to nought, put out of business (katargeo), with 
respect to the Law! The Law has nothing to do with them, as regards righteousness. 

"Precisely. There is no other way." 

"Then," she said, "I will have none of it!" and she made her coachman drive away. 

209 As Stifler so well says: "The Jews claimed that in following the Law they were submitting to God, for He gave the Law. No, 
says Paul; in so doing you are not submitting to the righteousness of God. 'For Christ [whom God gave and you reject] is the 
end of the Law for [with a view of] righteousness to every one that believeth.' The Jew's system was one of doing; but God's 
was one of believing, one of grace. Law and grace are mutually exclusive and antagonistic systems. Because the Jew held to 
Law he was not in subjection to God. The proof that he was not is the great principle of grace here recorded." 

210 It is with unutterable sadness that we contemplate the even worse condition of the Laodicean Church of today! "Wretched, poor, 
miserable, blind, naked" — and knowing it not! Christ on the outside of the door! Yet outwardly rich, and increased with goods! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

The Scripture must be obeyed with the obedience of belief: "Ye are not under law [not under 
that principle] but under grace" (the contrary principle). "Ye are brought to nothing from Christ 
[literally, "put out of business from Christ"], ye who would be justified by the Law; ye are fallen 
away from grace" (Gal. 5:4). Paul writes in Heb. 7:18, 19: "There is a disannulling of a foregoing 
commandment, because of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the Law made nothing perfect), 
and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God." Again, "Christ 
abolished in His flesh the enmity [between Jew and Gentile], even the Law of commandments 
contained in ordinances" (Eph. 2:15); again, speaking as a Hebrew believer, Paul says, "Christ 
blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us which was contrary to us: and He 
hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross" (Col 2: 14). 

If these Scriptures do not set forth a complete closing up of any believer's account toward the 
Law, or to the whole legal principle, I know nothing of the meaning of words. 

The words Christ is the end of the Law, cannot mean Christ is the "fulfilment of what the law 
required'' The Law required obedience to precepts — or death for disobedience. Now Christ died! 
If it be answered, that before He died He fulfilled the claims of the Law, kept it perfectly, and that 
this law-keeping of Christ was reckoned as over against the Israelite's breaking of the Law, then I 
ask, Why should Christ die? If the claims of the Law were met in Christ's earthly obedience, and 
if that earthly life of obedience is "reckoned to those who believe" the curse of the Law has been 
removed by "vicarious law-keeping." Why should Christ die? 

Now this idea of Christ's keeping the Law for "us" (for they will include us among the Israelites! 
although the Law was not given us Gentiles), is a deadly heresy, no matter who teaches it. Paul 
tells us plainly how the curse of the Law was removed: "Christ redeemed us," (meaning Jewish 
believers), "from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). And how He 
became a curse, is seen in Deuteronomy 21:23: "He that is hanged is accursed of God." It was on 
the cross, not by an "earthly life of obedience," that Christ bore the Law's curse! 

There was no law given "which could make alive," Paul says; "otherwise righteousness would 
have been by it." Therefore those who speak of Christ as taking the place of fulfilling the Law for 
us, — as "the object at which the Law aimed" (Alford); or, "the fulfilment or accomplishment of 
the Law" (Calvin); give the Law an office that God did not give it. There is not in all Scripture a 
hint of the doctrine that Christ' s earthly life — His obedience as a man under the Law, is "put to the 
account" of any sinner whatsoever! That obedience, which was perfect, was in order that He might 
"present Himself through the eternal Spirit without spot unto God," as a sin-offering. It also was 
in order to His sacrificial death, as "a curse," for Israel. 

The gospel does not begin for any sinner, Jew or Gentile, until the cross: "I delivered unto you 
first of all, that Christ died for our sins" (I Cor. 15:3). 

And for those under the Law, that was the end (telos) of the law. The Law had not been given 
to Israel at the beginning as a nation. They came out of Egypt, delivered from Divine wrath by the 
shed blood of the passover; and from Egypt itself by the passage of the Red Sea; Jehovah being 
with them. Go now to Elim with its "twelve wells of water and three score and ten palm trees": 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

there the nation is encamped with their God. They have yet not been put under law at all. The Rock 
is smitten, giving them drink, and Manna, the bread of heaven, is given, all before Sinai! 

Therefore we must believe God when He says in Romans 5:20: "The Law came in [not as an 
essential, but] as a circumstantial thing." (The Greek word, pareis Ithe, "came in along-side," can 
mean nothing else.) 

In Paul's explanation of God's dealing with Israel in 9:31-33; 10:5-10; 1 1:5,6, the meaning of 
this word telos "end," appears: that, when an Israelite believed on Christ he was as completely 
through with the Law for righteousness as if it had never been given. He had righteousness by 
another way! 

The vast discussion among commentators concerning the expression "the end of the Law," 
would never have been, had it been recognized: (1) that God gave the Law only to Israel — as He 
said; (2) that it was a temporary thing, a "ministration of death," to reveal sin, and therefore the 
necessity of Christ's death; (3) that Christ having come, the day of the Law was over — it was 
"annulled" see Heb. 7:18. 

It is because Reformed theology has kept us Gentiles under the Law, — if not as a means of 
righteousness, then as "a rule of life," that all the trouble has arisen. The Law is no more a rule of 
life than it is a means of righteousness . Walking in the Spirit has now taken the place of walking 
by ordinances. God has another principle under which He has put his saints: "Ye are not under law, 
but, under grace!" 

5 For Moses write th that the man that doeth the 
righteousness which is of the Law shall live thereby. 6 But 
the righteousness which' of faith saith thus. Say not in thy 
heart. Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ 
down:) or, 7 Who shall descend into the abyss? (that is, to 
bring Christ up from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The 
word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the 
word of faith, which we preach: 9 because if thou shalt 
confess with thy mouth Jesus to be [thy] Lord, and shalt 
believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou 
shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto 
righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto 

The apostle now takes us into a great contrast between the way of the Law and the way of faith. 
He first quotes Leviticus 18:5, where God said to Israel: "Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and 
Mine ordinances; which if a man do, he shall live in [or by] them: I am Jehovah." You ask, Why 
did God make such a statement if no one was to obtain life by the Law? The answer is two-fold. 
First, in the plain utterance of Galatians 3:21: "If there had been a law given which could make 
alive, verily righteousness would have been of the Law": God never placed in the Law the power 
to give life! Second, the Law is called a ministration of death and condemnation: "But if the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

ministration of death, written, and engraven on stones, came with glory ... if the ministration of 
condemnation hath glory" (II Cor. 3:7-9). It was never intended that people should' gain hope by 
it, but rather that they should despair and be driven to cast themselves upon God's mercy, as did 
David (Psalm 51:1-19). Thus the Law becomes a "youth-leader" leading unto Christ (Gal. 3:24). 
Now, we humbly beg you, permit these Scriptures to "shut you up," — according to Gal. 3:22! God 
had a right to put Israel under the Law for 1500 years from Moses to Christ; and He did so, knowing 
they could obtain neither righteousness nor life by that Law, since both were through faith in Christ 
only: and, "the Law is not of faith" (Gal. 3:12). 

Now follows a most remarkable use by Paul of a Scripture out of Moses' own mouth which he 
spake to Israel concerning the Law, and which Paul here applies to Christ. It will be best to quote 
the passage from Deut. 30:11-14 in full: 

"For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for 
thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say. Who shall go 
up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? 
Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for 
us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? But the word is 
very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, .and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." 

Moses, who had been with Israel forty years, and had been their mediator in bringing the Law 
down from Mount Sinai unto them, is about to die. He is leaving with them not only the ten 
commandments, but also all the statutes, ordinances, precepts and judgments connected with them. 
Now what will be the natural reaction in the hearts of Israel, when Moses goes up to the top of 
Pisgah and dies, and Jehovah buries him? It will be this: "Moses, who brought us this Law, is gone! 
Moses received this Law from Jehovah, who came down from heaven to the top of Sinai in great 
majesty and display of glory. Now Moses is dead; and all we have left is, these written words! Our 
circumstances are altogether different from those of our fathers, who saw the awful presence of 
Jehovah on Sinai and heard His voice. Who will go up to heaven for us now, and come down, and 
make us hear this Law, in the same way our fathers heard, that we may do it? Or, if there be someone 
away beyond the sea, some wonderful teacher (like Moses) whom we can send for, to come across 
the sea and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it — ." 

Now Moses' answer to all this is, "The word is nigh unto thee — in thy mouth, and in thy heart, 
that thou mayest do it." That is, the written words of the Law the people knew: they could repeat 
them; they were told to teach them diligently unto their children, and, as David did, "hide them in 
their hearts " that they might not sin. It was all simple, indeed. And, of course, there were those, 
like Joshua, who said, "As for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah"; or who, like Zecharias 
and Elisabeth in Luke 1:6, were "righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and 
ordinances of the Lord blameless." 

But the great point Moses makes with Israel is that there was the Law, in simple, plain words. 
They needed no sign, no manifestation; that had all been done at Sinai. But the great difficulty in 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

the human heart (with Israel just as with us), is simple subjection to God's words. See how the 
Jews in our Lord's day kept asking of Him, "Show us a sign from heaven." 211 

Verse 6: Now Paul knows the human heart to be the same today as in the days of Moses, so he 
lifts out of Deuteronomy Moses's words about the Law and applies them to faith in Christ: The 
righteousness which is of faith [instead of asking a sign] saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who 
shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:). This would be the natural working 
of the heart of a Jew. The Messiah, Christ, was to be sent to him from God; in fact, the nation had 
kept looking for Him. But the perpetual rising of unbelief, apart from "a sign from heaven," was 

It is very striking, as has been observed by others, that the Spirit of God should select the verses 
quoted above from Deuteronomy. For this chapter plainly prophesies that the Jews will be scattered 
among the nations because of their despising of God's Law. So that all hope from the Law will 
have perished, and they will be cast wholly upon the mercy of God: 

"among all the nations, whither Jehovah thy God hath driven thee, and shalt 
return unto Jehovah thy God, and shalt obey his voice . . . with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul; that then Jehovah thy God will turn thy captivity, . . . and will 
bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, . . . and He will do thee good." 

Into this dead, hollow shell, then, of legal hope, Paul here in Romans Ten, takes verses 1 1 to 
14 of Deuteronomy Thirty, and puts faith in Christ in place of the Law! Israel will at last, at the 
end of the age, be cast upon the mercy of God! And then they will understand these great chapters, 
Romans Nine, Ten and Eleven, were written concerning them! 

Verse 7: So that the Jew said in his heart. Who can ascend to heaven to bring Him down 
unto me? Then further, Christ being proclaimed that He had been sent already, and had borne their 
iniquities according to prophecy, — that He had died, — there would come the question in the Jewish 
heart: Who shall go down into the abyss and bring Him up from the regions of the dead 2 - that 
I may see Him and thus believe on Him? 

Verse 8: Now, answering all these inquiries, these sign-askings, came the simple word of faith 
preached by Paul. This expression, "the word of faith," involves the whole story of the gospel: 

211 It is so to this day, and sad to say, the tendency to demand "signs" is increasing rather than lessening. If a man come announcing 
"healing meetings" (although no such "meetings for healing" are known in Scripture), the place will be crowded. History is full 
of spiritual wreckage caused by "Lo, here," and "Lo, there!" 

2 ' 2 Our Lord plainly said he would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 1 2:40). This was not Joseph' s 
tomb (which was on the surface of the earth), but the Hebrew Sheol (Greek, Hades), which is always in Scripture located below 
the earth's surface — even "the lower parts of the earth" (Eph. 4:9). To another compartment of these "lower parts" the wicked 
also went; as see Ps. 63:9. That this was in the general region called Hades, the rich man of Luke 16:22, 23 proves. (Always 
read the Revised Version about the words Sheol — Hades: for it transliterates them. The King James simply obscures them by 
various renderings.) While Christ's body lay in Joseph's tomb "not seeing corruption," His soul (or quickened spirit, I Peter 
3:18) — as Peter and Paul, quoting Ps. 16:10, plainly show (Acts 2:31; 13:34, 37) was duly brought up again "from the depths 
of the earth" (Ps. 71:20). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

that Jesus was the Christ, that He had come, died for sin, been buried, been raised, and been seen 
by many witnesses after His resurrection (I Cor. 15:3-8). 

Verses 9 and 10: Paul speaks, then, in these verses — as if addressing a Jewish hearer: If thou 
shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [literally, Jesus, Lord; or, Jesus to be (thy) Lord], 
and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. It is 

assumed the whole gospel has been preached to this hearer. And now is he persuaded that this Risen 
Jesus, was really the Messiah? And, though rejected by Israel, that He is Lord over all, — the Deity? 
And is his Lord? And is he willing so to confess Him as his own Lord before men? 

With thy mouth — We remember that in our Lord's ministry among the Jews, "Even of the 
rulers many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they 
should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God" 
(John 12:42, 43). 

Then does this Jewish hearer, in short, being persuaded of Jesus' Lordship and confessing it, 
believe in his very heart that God raised Him from the dead? For Christianity, as we have said, 
"begins with the resurrection." No matter how thoroughly persuaded a Jew might be that Jesus 
fulfilled the prophecies in His birth, life, ministry, and death; there remained this stupendous task 
of faith, to believe in the heart that God had raised Him from the power and domain of death, 
of that which was the wages of sin, — the "King of Terrors" (Job 18: 14) of the whole world! 

Those thus confessing Christ's Lordship, and believing in the heart that God had raised Him, 
would be saved! The explanation of the apostle of what has happened in such a case is, that with 
the heart the man, believed unto righteousness; while with the mouth the faith of the heart is 
boldly followed in confession, resulting in salvation. 

You may ask, would not a Jew (for these chapters particularly concern Jews) who had "believed 
unto righteousness" have, thus, salvation? 213 It is better to let the Scripture language stand. God 


1. Faith is directly connected with the word "righteousness" or "justification," about twenty times in the New Testament, 
but faith is directly connected with the word "salvation" only four times; and these four instances (Rom. 1:16, 1 Pet. 1:5, 9, 10) 
themselves show that whereas righteousness expresses the present standing of a believing one; salvation is a larger and more 
inclusive word — in the sense of Rom. 13:11: "Awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer to us than when we believed." 
(In this verse our bodily redemption at Christ's coming, is included). And, I Peter 1:5: "Guarded through faith unto a salvation 
ready to be revealed in the last time." This shows that although we do "receive the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls" 
(I Pet. 1:9), the word salvation in general includes not only the salvation of our souls, but also the consummation of our final 
deliverance at Christ's coming. 

I do not find "salvation," then, connected in Scripture with any but those who shall thus be found in Christ at His coming. 
The words of Paul in Corinthians (I Cor. 15:1-4) outlining His gospel, are, "Ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I 
preached unto you." In the preceding verse, he declares that they had "received" the gospel which he had preached unto them. 
But this gospel was not to be let go. As our Lord says concerning the good ground hearers in Luke 8: 15: "These are such as in 
an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience." In I Thess. 5:21 the same word 
is translated "hold fast that which is good." It is solemnly used also in Heb. 3:6, 14 and 10:23. This is no argument against Divine 
election, or the eternal security of the saints. But it is a truth that must be, and really is, faced by every godly soul. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

here connects the word salvation with the word confession, not with the word faith. Peter, in his 
second epistle, speaks of those who "had known the way of righteousness," which is always 
faith, — and then afterward "turned back from the holy commandment delivered unto them" (II 
Peter 2:20, 21); while our Lord in Luke 8 says of the rocky-ground hearer that he "believed for a 
while, and in time of temptation fell away." Therefore, while in both parts of Romans 10: 10, Paul 
refers to the man of verse 9 as one who is to be "saved," it is well to let the verse remain as it is. 
The Lord when on earth among the Jews asked that they confess Him publicly; the Spirit still asks 
this. Not only Jews but Gentiles must confess Him; although the form of presentation of the truth 
in Chapter Ten is as it would apply to a Jew, to whom had been offered a Messiah, concerning 
whose claims he had to decide, according to several Old Testament Scriptures. The Gentiles did 
not have the Scriptures, and the matter of the presentation of the gospel to them was much more 
simple. But "confession with the mouth" will follow "the faith of God's elect," Jew or Gentile. 

Now, as ever when dealing with the Jews, Paul turns to their Scriptures, and quotes eight times 
from the Old Testament, before this Tenth Chapter is out — thirty times altogether in these three 
chapters (9,10, and 11)! 

11 For the Scripture saith. Whosoever believeth on Him 
shall not be put to shame. 12 For there is no distinction 
between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, 
and is rich unto all that call upon Him: 13 for, Whosoever 
shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How 
then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? 
and how shall they believe in Him whom they have not 
heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and 
how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is 
written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad 
tidings of good things! 

Over and over, of course, in the Gospels, the word for saved (sodzo) is used. The word of our Lord is, "Thy faith hath saved 
thee," (or, A.V. "made thee whole" — same Greek word). It is also used concerning salvation: Matthew 19:25, Acts 2:21, 16:30, 
31. Paul also uses this word in Rom. 5:9, 10; 10:13, etc. 

What we are urging is that we connect in our own thinking, and confession of our Lord, — the word "faith" with righteousness, 
as Scripture in the Epistles so constantly does. In times of darkness and weak faith such as this, the rescue from doom is uppermost 
in the believer's mind; whereas God would have his standing in Christ uppermost! How constantly we hear in a testimony 
meeting, "I have been, or I was, saved ten years," etc.; and how very seldom, if ever, the testimony is: I have been declared 
righteous by faith, and have peace with God. I am righteous before God, through my Savior's death. I thank God I have been 
made the righteousness of God in Christ. The old Methodists used to testify to their justification, — "justified state," they called 
it. But then old-fashioned Methodist preachers, preached of coming judgment, of eternal punishment, of the sinner's terrible 
clanger; and they boldly spoke of pardon as what the sinner needed. We believe God has given still more light upon Scripture 
since those days, but would God we had the moral earnestness and the wonderfully bright experiences of the old-fashioned 

Again we say, God generally connects faith with righteousness. Let us do likewise. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verses 11 and 12: The Scripture saith: the believer learns to love this word, "the Scripture" 
(our old word graph /). The manner in which its Author, the Holy Spirit, makes the Scriptures of 
the Old Testament speak, in the New, is comfort without limit! And here is Isaiah 28:16 again, 
which was quoted (from the Septuagint) in the last verse of Chapter Nine. The Jews should have 
seen from that word whosoever believeth that simple faith in their Messiah was God's way, and 
that the message meant "whosoever." 

They should have been warned also that inasmuch as believing was God's way — the path in 
which those who walked would not be put to shame; those who chose the way of works, of 
self-righteousness, would surely be put to shame. This word "ashamed" or "put to shame" is in the 
Hebrew, to flee — from fear. Those who have exercised simple faith in Christ, and abide thus in 
Him, shall "have boldness: and not be ashamed before Him [Christ] at His coming" — ";boldness 
in the day of judgment; because as He is, even so are we in this world" (I John 2:28; 4:17). 

This "whosoever" message is further developed in verse 12, where we see the familiar words 
no distinction between Jew and Greek. We remember this as the exact expression used as to 
universal sinnerhood in Chapter 3:22; which is now used as to salvation. For, first, He is Lord of 
all, and second, He is rich unto all that call upon Him. 

These great words must be laid to heart. They bring great comfort, directly to any Jews who 
desire the Savior, and also to the hearts of all of us, Jew and Gentile, because the universal 
availability of salvation is so gloriously opened out here, based as it is upon the universal lordship 
of Christ. As Peter said at Cornelius' house to Gentiles, "The word which He sent unto the children 
of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)." It is a great day when 
a human heart turns to this Savior who is Lord of all, for he immediately finds Him "rich unto all." 

Verse 13: And then the great word by the prophet Joel is brought forward: Whosoever shall 
call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32). Now who could miss the meaning of 
this simplest of all messages? Now, (if we should preach on this verse!) First, salvation is promised. 
Second, it is a fee-saved, not save-yourself, salvation. Third, it is the Lord who is to do it. Fourth, 
He does it for those who call upon His Name. Fifth, He does it for the whosoevers, for anybody. 
What a preacher, Joel! But note that Paul is writing to Jews, and is giving Old Testament texts. For 
Paul's great gospel message is to hear and believe "the word of the cross, which is the power of 
God." This message goes away beyond that of the Old Testament. Paul preached the good news 
of a work finished. It was for the "whosoevers": and Joel' s use of that word should have convinced 
any Jew of God's purpose of salvation to any one, to all. But Paul does not mean that his gospel 
was "Call on the Lord." His gospel was, Christ died for our sins: He was buried, and was raised, 
for you: hear and believe. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

These "whosoevers" should have taught the Jews that the way of salvation was not by their 
Law or any special way for them, but for any and all. Alas, the word "whosoever" was too wide 
for the narrow Jewish mind in Joel's day and Paul's day and is so today. 214 

Verses 14 and 15: But now Paul takes these two "whosoever" verses, and from them answers 
the Jew, who not only relied on his law-keeping instead of on simple faith to save him, but also 
denied that either Paul or any of the apostles had any right to proclaim salvation by a simple 
message, — a message that left out the Law and Judaism. If salvation were to come unto them that 
"call on the name of the Lord" argues Paul, calling is impossible to one who has not believed on 
the Lord; and believing is impossible to one who has not heard the message about the Lord; and 
hearing is impossible unless some one comes preaching the message; and preaching is impossible 
except the messenger be Divinely sent! And again Paul clinches it with the Scripture (Isa. 52:7): 
How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! Moses' Law was not 
glad tidings, but a ministration of death and condemnation. "The Law worketh wrath." But the 
gospel — "Glad tidings! Good things!" And God who knows, calls "beautiful" the feet that carry 
such news. Are our feet "beautiful" — in God's eyes? 

Paul now, with a saddened heart, goes back to the record of Israel's refusing the glad tidings: 

16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For 
Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So faith 
is from a report, but the report through the word of Christ. 
18 But I say, Did they not hear? Yea, verily, 

Their sound went out into all the earth, 
And their words unto the ends of the world. 


And alas, also, there are those who insist that the Jew has a special place right through this dispensation; that he must always 
be "first," that there is a difference, although God says plainly in Chapter Three that there is no difference between Jew and 
Greek as to sinnership, guilt; and no difference as to the lordship of Christ and the availability of salvation to the "whosoevers," 
Jew or Gentile. If Paul were among us today, he would abhor and decry the special, esoteric methods of approach to the Jew in 
vogue in some pretentious quarters today. Become all things to the Jew, to win him, certainly. Paul did. But tell him the truth, 
that he is just a whosoever, and nobody else! 

The terrible prophecy of Ezekiel 20:33-38 (read R. V. only, here) is about to be fulfilled concerning the scattered millions 
of Israel: 

"As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, 
will I be king over you. And I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are 
scattered, with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness 
of the peoples, and there will I enter into judgment with you face to face." 

What the poor, wretched Jewish exiles need this hour is a Paul to go right in amongst them with a "whosoever" message 
for sinners, not a "literary-approach" Paul, but the exact opposite, with perhaps "bodily presence weak and speech of no account," 
but "provoking them to jealousy" by boasting in a Messiah whom their nation has lost, — a nation to whom God is not now 
offering a Messiah, but instead salvation, as common whosoevers, no-distinction people, ordinary guilty sinners, I protest that 
in Acts 28 God through Paul officially closed the door to the national offer of the gospel to the Jews, and that thereafter to treat 
the Jew as having a special place with God, is to deny Scripture. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

19 But I say. Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, 

I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no 

With a nation void of understanding will I anger you. 

20 And Isaiah is very bold, and saith, 

I was found of them that sought Me not; 

I became manifest unto them that asked not of Me. 

21 But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread 

out My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying 

Verses 16, 17: Astonishing thing, — refusing good news! Men will hearken to good news along 
all other lines, — business, pleasure, social preferment, ambition, physical health. Go to any stock 
exchange and see them watch the ticker tape; or behold the political candidates sitting up all night 
for election news favorable to them. But the apostle mourns along with Isa. 53:1: Lord, who hath 
believed our report? Probably men's unbelief is the greatest final burden before God of every 
man who speaks for God, "Lord, they do not believe." They said to Moses, "You take too much 
upon yourself!" (Num. 16:3); to Ezekiel, "Is he not a speaker of parables?" (Ezek. 20:49) ; to Amos, 
"The land is not able to bear all your words: Flee away to Judah and eat bread" — you are just 
looking for money! (Amos 7:10-13); to Jeremiah, "As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us 
in the name of Jehovah, we will not hearken unto thee" (Jer. 44:16-19). And hear that weeping 
prophet tell of his trouble: 

"Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud; for Jehovah hath spoken. Give glory to 
Jehovah your God before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the 
dark mountains, and while ye look for light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and 
make it gross darkness. But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for 
your pride; and mine eyes shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because 
Jehovah's flock is taken captive" (Jer. 13:15-17). 

Our Lord said to those of the multitudes that gathered to hear Him, 

"This people's heart is waxed gross, 

And their ears are dull of hearing, 

And their eyes they have closed; 

Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, 

And hear with their ears, 

And understand with their heart, 

And should turn again, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

And I should heal them" (Matt. 13:15). 

And He prophesied that His preachers would find "wayside hearers," "rocky ground hearers," 
"thorny ground hearers"; and then, in one out of four cases, a "good ground hearer." 

Verse 17: So faith is from a report; but the report through the word of Christ — The Greek 
term here for "word" is hr ma, not logos. It literally is, "saying," "speech," as in John 3:34; 14:10; 
Acts 11:14. Faith, indeed, however, does come from a report; and there must be a message and a 
messenger, sent of God; as we have seen. But Christ accompanies this preached word by His 
Almighty "voice," as we know from John 5:25: "The hour cometh, that the dead shall hear the 
voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." It is a "quickened" word, that creates living 

It is here that the missionary urge comes! Christ must, indeed, utter His creating word from 
Heaven to the dead soul, saying, Live! But in II Corinthians 5:18, 19, 20, we see that while "God 
was, indeed, in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself," He has "committed to us [Greek, "placed 
in us"] the word of reconciliation." So that God is entreating by us: we beseech (people) on behalf 
of Christ, "Be ye reconciled to God!" 

Faith, indeed, comes of hearing. Do not imagine men will be saved in any other way. Earnest, 
prayerful Cornelius is commanded (and that by an angel) to send for "Simon whose surname is 
Peter, who shall speak to thee words by which thou shaltbe saved" (Acts 11:14). "It pleased God 
by the foolishness of preaching [lit., the preached thing — Christ crucified] to save them that believe" 
(I Cor. 1:21 marg.). Note also that "faith cometh." If you hear, with a willing heart, the good news, 
that Christ died for you; that He was buried; that He was raised from the dead: — by truly "hearing," 
faith will "come" to you. You do not have to do a thing but hear! So there is God's part — He gave, 
by the Spirit, the written Word. And Christ's part, — He speaks, quickening the Word. And your 
part: "He that hath ears, hear." 

Verse 18: But Paul goes on to mourn: But I say, Did they [Israel] not hear? Yea, verily. And 

then he makes a quotation from a wholly unexpected Scripture, even Psalm 19:4: 

Their sound went out into all the earth, 
And their words unto the ends of the world. 215 

The use of the plural "their" — "their sound," "their words," here, is immediately evident in the familiar Psalm itself: 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; 

And the firmament showeth his handiwork. 

Day unto day uttereth speech, 

And night unto night showeth knowledge. 

There is no speech nor language; 

Their voice is not heard. 

Their line is gone out through all the earth, 

And their words to the end of the world," 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verse 19: Paul proceeds: Did Israel not know? — concerning this whosoever-plan, this 
believing-plan, this calling upon the Lord's name and being saved? Yea, even about this constant 
warning by their own Scriptures that if they were unfaithful God would extend His mercy to the 
Gentiles? First, he calls Moses to witness (Deut. 32:21): 

I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, 
With a nation void of understanding will I anger you. 

That which is no nation — compared with the marvelous place and privileges of the race of 
Israel, it could be said of every other people, "It is no nation, a nation void of understanding" (of 
the things of God). I will anger them — for Israel can be reached in no other way — either then or 
now! God seeks to provoke them to jealousy: beware how you palaver over them. 

Verse 20: Now finally Paul calls Isaiah again to the witness stand; and Isaiah gives a double 
testimony: he is indeed very bold in his prophecy of Gentile salvation: 

I was found of them that sought me not; 

I became manifest unto them that asked not of me. 

Then Isaiah becomes exceedingly mournful as to wretched Israel's disobedient and gainsaying 

attitude (see verse 21). 

How Jews could read this passage and remain unmoved, in their traditions, formalities, and 
unbelief, only faithful preachers can imagine, — who have had to deal with the titanic possibilities 
of evil and unbelief in the human heart. 

As showing how far Christendom has lost the whole spirit of the gospel, we remind you that 
everywhere people have the idea they ought to "seek" salvation; they are everywhere told they 
ought to "go to church." 216 

How many now reading these words believe that Romans 10:20 is God's program for this 
Gentile day? You say, Should we not seek God? No! You should sit down and hear what is written 
in Romans: first, about your guilt, then about your helplessness, and then about the inability of the 
Law to do anything but condemn you; and then believe on Christ whom God hath sent; and then 
praise God for righteousness apart from works, apart from ordinances! hear how God laid sin, 

"Their" voice is the vast chorus of the created universe, and of course plural. But Paul has just been speaking here of hearing 
coming by Christ's word. But, Christ is Himself the Creator of all this universe! For "all things were created by Him and for 
Him." We must keep this fact in mind and allow the words of the Psalm to witness to the universality of the testimony concerning 
Christ. The emphasis on into all the earth; unto the ends of the earth must have included Israel, The "invisible things of God 
were clearly perceived from the creation of the world, even His everlasting power and divinity," — as we saw concerning all men 
in Chapter One, — but the Jews had immeasurably more! God had come down and spoken to them on Mount Sinai; then their 
prophets, and then the Son, the Heir, had come; yea, and through the apostles and Stephen they had had the testimony of the 
Holy Spirit directly from Christ on high! So Israel had indeed "heard"! Therefore, in quoting Psalm Nineteen, Paul holds Israel 
to the "voice" of creation as if no other people existed. It was their Psalm! 
216 It is an excellent thing to go where God's saints gather; and to "meetings for unsaved people. But attending meetings saves no 
one. There is a Savior! And good news about Him to be believed for yourself! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

your sin, on a Substitute, His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and that now, sin being put away, 
God has raised Him from the dead. Seek God? No! God is the Seeker, and He has sought and is 
now seeking those that asked not of Him, and has been found of those who sought Him not! — but 
simply heard the good news and believed! Praise His Holy Name! 

Verse 21: But, alas, poor Israel! Jehovah, through Isaiah, speaks thus of them: All the day long 
did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people (Isa. 65:2). What yearning, 
what love, what pleading, what patience! And it is The Creator, God Himself, here, spreading out 
His hands! Towards whom? Towards a disobedient people; a people that, being rebuked, did deny 
and gainsay their prophets, and even their own Messiah, — as they do unto this day! 217 

It should astonish and warn us — every unbelieving Jew we see! Astonish us, that the human 
heart should treat God so! And warn us: for, as we shall see in the next chapter, we Gentiles are 
now being "visited" by God, — this same God of Love: and He is stretching out His hands to usward! 
May we early yield to Him! 

And here, lest we miss the lesson for us, in considering wretched Israel's rejection of their 
Messiah, let us read a message to our own hearts: 


WHY dost Thou pass unheeded, 

Treading with pierced feet 
The halls of the kingly palace, 

The busy street? 
Oh marvellous in Thy beauty, 

Crowned with the light of God, 
Why fall they not down to worship 

Where Thou hast trod? 
Why are Thy hands extended 

Beseeching whilst men pass by 
With their empty words and their laughter, 

Yet passing on to die? 

Unseen, unknown, unregarded, 
Calling and waiting yet — 


"And he (Manasseh) set the graven image of the idol, which he had made, in the house of God, of which God said to David 
and to Solomon his son. 'In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I Put My name 
forever': . . . And Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that they did evil more than did the nations 
whom Jehovah destroyed before the children of Israel." 

"All the chiefs of the priests, and the people, trespassed very greatly after all the abominations of the nations; and they 
polluted the house of Jehovah which He had hallowed in Jerusalem. And Jehovah, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his 
messengers, rising up early and sending, because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling-place." But alas, we 
read: "They mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah 
arose against His people, till there was no remedy" (II Chron. 33:7, 9; 36: 14-16). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

They hear Thy knock and they tremble — 

They hear, and they forget. 
And Thou in the midst art standing 

Of old and forever the same — 
Thou hearest their songs and their jesting, 

But not Thy name. 
The thirty-three years forgotten 

Of the weary way Thou hast trod — 
Thou art but a name unwelcome, 

O Savior God! 

Yet amongst the highways and hedges, 

Amongst the lame and the blind, 
The poor and the maimed and the outcast, 

Still dost Thou seek and find — 
There by the wayside lying 

The eyes of Thy love can see 
The wounded, the naked, the dying, 

Too helpless to come to Thee. 
So Thou art watching and waiting 

Till the wedding is furnished with guests — 
And the last of the sorrowful singeth, 

And the last of the weary rests. — 

C. P. C. (in Hymns ofTer Steegen). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 


Israel not Finally Cast Off: an Election Saved — Paul Being Proof Verses 1-6. 

Others Hardened, — as Scripture Foretold. Verses 7-10. "Fulness of Gentiles" Comes in 
Meanwhile. Verses 11,25,28. 

Gentile Salvation to Provoke Israel to "Jealousy" — Since They are the "Natural Branches" 
of the Tree of Promise. Verses 11-18. 

Gentiles Must Continue in Divine "Goodness"; Other' wise Gentiles to be "Cut Off from 
Place of Present Blessing. Verses 19-25. 

All Real Israel to be Saved at the Return to Them of Christ Their "Deliverer." Verses 26-32. 

Rapturous Praise of the Ways of God's Wisdom and Knowledge; God the One Source, Channel 
and End of All Things! Verses 33-36. 

ALL THE SAD RECORD of Chapters Nine and Ten concerning Israel having been shown, 
the apostle now turns to that question which naturally arises in our Gentile hearts (for in 11:13 he 
says, "I am speaking to you that are Gentiles"). 

1 I say then. Did God cast off His people? Far be the 
thought! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, 
of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not cast off His people 
which he foreknew. Or understand ye not what the Scripture 
saith in [the portion concerning] Elijah? How he pleadeth 
with God against Israel: 3 Lord, they have killed thy 
prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and I am left 
alone and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of 
God unto him? I have left for Myself seven thousand men, 
who have not bowed the knee to Baal. 5 Even so then at this 
present time there is a Remnant according to the election 
of grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: 
otherwise grace is no more grace. 

Verse 1: Here Paul rejects with horror — Far be the thought! that God had finally abandoned, 
"cast off His people Israel. 218 Let every Christian reject the suggestion with equal horror, 


The Eleventh of Romans should at once and forever turn us away from the presumptuous assertions of those who teach 
that God is "through with national Israel," — that it has "no future as an elect nation" in Palestine. 

Mr. Philip Mauro makes the astounding statements: "The last word of prophecy concerning this people Israel as a nation 
was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies," and "the 'all Israel' of Rom. 1 1:26 is the whole body of 
God's redeemed people." . . . "Zion is where the Lord Jesus is." While in utter blindness to the prophetic message he claims, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

First, Paul says, I myself am proof: an Israelite; not a Jewish proselyte either, but of the seed 
of Abraham, and a Benjamite, — not one of the ten tribes which separated from Judah! 

Verse 2: Then Paul defines the Israel that is not rejected: God's people whom He foreknew. 

In "You only have I known," He is not speaking of knowing about them or their affairs, but of the 
fact that to them only had He made Himself known; because they were foreknown of Him; that is, 
acquainted with beforehand, — before their earthly history began! 

(See note on Romans 8:29.) In Amos 3:1, 2 we read: 

"Hear this word that Jehovah hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, 
against — the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt, saying, You 
only have I known, of all the families of the earth: ..." 

Now in the preceding chapter of Amos, there is a remarkable series of messages of judgment 
concerning the various nations surrounding Israel. In each case the exact reasons for the judgment 
are detailed by God, beginning with Damascus (1:3), then Gaza (1:6), Tyre (1:9), Edom (1:11), 
Ammon (1:13), Moab (2:1), then Judah (2:4); and finally, the northern kingdom, (to which Amos 
spoke), Israel (2:6): showing that God knew the exact conduct of each nation. Therefore, when 
God says concerning Israel, "You only have I known," He is not speaking of knowing about them 
or their affairs, but of the fact that to them only had He made Himself known; 219 (as Paul says to 
the Galatians: "Now ye have come to know God, — or rather, to be known by God"). But here we 
have a fore-acquaintanceship with Israel. This foreknowledge is described in Romans 8:29 (which 
see), where the term is used in a wider sense, and therefore must include the foreknowledge of the 
Remnant "according to the election of grace" — of the nation of Israel, spoken of here. 

"Paul quotes the words, 'Behold, I lay in Zion' as being fulfilled in this present era (Rom. 9:33)" ! "Those who insist upon what 
they call 'literal fulfilment' of the promised blessings that were to come to Israel through Christ, have completely missed the 

Yet even Augustine, back in the fourth century, said, "Distinguish the dispensations, and all is easy." 

That there is a future for the nation of Israel in their land upon this earth, all faithful believers know very well. Let the saints 
steadily go forward into the increasing light, of these last days, no matter who turns about and takes the back track into the 
darkness of ignorance of medievalism or even the relatively faint dispensational light of the Reformation. 

I would earnestly commend those who desire a full discussion of Mauro's attack on "Dispensationalism" (for it is a typical 
one!) to read Dr. I. M. Haldeman's review of Mauro's book, "The Kingdom of God." It is able and unanswerable. 
219 God calls the Church His "saints," not a "people"; see Rom. 1:6, 7; I Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1. He never refers to the Church, as a 
"people," or nation. I Peter 2:9 is not an exception, but rather a proof of this fact, for Peter is writing to the elect of the Diaspora, 
(the individual Jewish believers of the Jewish Dispersion), in Asia Minor, just as James also wrote, "To the twelve tribes which 
are of the Diaspora." In both James and Peter, there is still the sufference by God of Jewish things; as in Acts they are allowed 
to keep the feasts, and are in the temple: although these were all past, in God's sight, and the temple left "desolate." God was 
acting in great patience, with Jewish believers. But Paul brought a new message, that the Church was not earthly, nor national, 
nor Jewish, in any sense; but a "new body," and altogether heavenly. So the Jewish saints now are called "partakers of a heavenly 
calling" (Heb. 3:1). 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Verses 3, 4: Again Paul lets the Scripture "speak," and here we find Israel's greatest prophet 
pleading against Israel! Because they had killed Jehovah's prophets and destroyed Jehovah's 

altars, Elijah believed himself left alone, and believed they were seeking his life. 220 But how utterly 
outside and beyond Elijah's conception of things was God's reply that He had left for Himself a 
"Remnant" (even 7000!) who had utterly refused Baal-worship. Here is Divine sovereignty 
marvelously illustrated! The nation is apostate, under Ahab and Jezebel; Baal's prophets number 
hundreds; and Elijah had fled the land, — back to Horeb, where the Law was given! Now comes 
the revelation that Divine sovereign intervention has been timely, ample, definite and perfect. God 
has preserved seven thousand. This reminds us immediately of the sealing of 144,000 of Israel in 
Revelation Seven. Unbelief or shallow interpretation would say this merely indicates some indefinite 
number. Well, then, go on to say, the 7000 of Elijah's day were an "indefinite number," — and see 
where your false wisdom (which is really unbelief) will bring you! 

Verse 5: Even so, says Paul, at this present time also there is a Remnant (of Israelites) being 
preserved by God, although the nation has crucified their Messiah, and rejected the testimony 
concerning Him by the Spirit through the apostles — an infinitely worse condition of things than 
Ahab's Baal worship! Only sovereign grace will do here; so it is a Remnant according to the 
election of grace. This "Remnant" are put now into the Body of Christ: they become "partakers of 
a heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1). Every saved Israelite has abandoned his Israelitish hopes, and 
believed on Christ as a common sinner! Of course only a few Israelites — a "remnant," do this. 

Verse 6: Paul insists, (as he does continuously throughout his Epistles): If it is by grace, it is 
no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace — Here is perhaps the most direct and 
absolute contrast in Scripture of two principles: for grace is God acting sovereignly according to 
Himself; works is man seeking to present to God a human ground for blessing. The two principles 
are utterly opposed. As Paul, in his conflict with Peter in Galatians 2:15, 16 and 21, says: "Even 
we, Jews by nature, and not 'sinners of the Gentiles' believed on Christ Jesus. I do not make void 
the grace of God, for if righteousness is through law, Christ died for nothing!" And as Peter said 
at the first Church council, "We [Jews] believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord 
Jesus, in like manner as they" (Gentiles) (Acts 15:11). 

7 What then? That which Israel is in search of 
[righteousness], that he [the nation] obtained not; but the 
election obtained it, and the rest were hardened: 8 according 
as it is written, God gave them a spirit of drowsiness, eyes 
that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, 
unto this very day. 9 And David saith, 
Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, 
And a stumblingbiock, and a recompense unto them, 
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, 

220 There is always the tendency, in a faithful man of God in dark days, (a tendency diligently cultivated by the devil!) to imagine 
himself alone. So he hunts the solitude befitting his imagined solitariness. But the voice of God came to Elijah, "What doest 
thou here?" Embarrassing question, that! It should bring out every Christian monk from his monastery! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

And bow Thou down their back always. 

Verse 7: Here, then, in this chapter, is the very height of Divine sovereignty: not only electing 
people, but even deciding the very time when they should come on the scene of this world's history. 
"Israel after the flesh" nationally was in search of righteousness, — that was their very business, in 
the preservation and application of the Law. But that was not the way of righteousness. We have 
seen that their own Scriptures set forth that "calling on the name of the Lord," and believing on the 
"Stone" (Christ) at whom others in legality "stumbled," was the true way. So the nation obtained 
not righteousness. But the election obtained it. And, as to the rest? God's answer is, they were 

But remember Chapter Nine and do not "reply against" God, — and hear a "Thou — who art 
thou?" from Him; but note carefully, how and why they were thus "hardened." 

Verse 8: Paul now says (quoting Isa. 29:10): According as it is written, God gave them a 
spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this 
very day. 

The process of that awful thing, spiritual hardening, is thus depicted, in Israel as nowhere else, 
for hearts harden most quickly when men are trusting in their place of special privilege, without 
fellowship with the God who gives it. (Thus, we fear, it is with thousands in Christendom, and even 
among those who have the Lord's table most frequently before them. What but a deadly snare to 
the soul is the table of the Lord, without real communion with the Lord of the table!) 

Verse 9: So it is written of Israel's "table": Let their table be made a snare. This is quoted 
from David, in Ps. 69:22, and evidently refers to the "table" at which the Israelites were privileged 
to eat with Jehovah. This was indeed a high and special privilege which Israel had: they ate with 
God. In Exodus 24:11, we read: "They saw God and did eat and drink"; and from the Passover of 
Exodus 12 onward, they ate in their sacred feasts. We know the priests "ate before God": Leviticus 
6:16; 7:18, 20. But not only was this true of the priests, but of the people in their peace offerings 
(Lev 7:18,19;23:6); and in their feasts, as in Leviticus 23:6 and Numbers 15:17-21; 18:26,30,31; 
Deuteronomy 12:7, 18; 14:23; 27:7. 

For the "table" of the Israelite was connected by Jehovah with Himself. Certain things the 
Israelite might eat, others not; because he was one of a holy nation unto Jehovah. But the Israelite 
quickly began to trust not in Jehovah, but in his manner of eating, as did Peter: "Not so, Lord; for 
I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean." Without true faith, therefore, their very 
table of privilege became a snare. 221 

221 An ominous comment on this — this "table made a snare," — is the story of the Last Supper: Judas was, it appears, sitting so near 
to Jesus, that "the sop," which should mark the betrayer, was handed to him without attracting the attention of the rest. (It has 
been my own belief that, while John was sitting on one side of our Lord, Judas was on the other side! It was the hideous 
presumption of callous sin.) "And after the sop, then entered Satan into him." And, "having received the sop, he went out . . . 
and it was night" (John 13:21-30). Judas typifies Israel. Indeed, he so became the spiritual representative of apostate Israel that 
rejected Christ, that we need only turn to that 69th Psalm, (Christ's great "reproach" Psalm) from which Paul is quoting here in 
Romans 11:9, 10, to see this. The 21st verse of this Psalm says, "In My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink." Evidently it is 
Christ speaking. Then verse 22, and following: "Let their table become a snare," — and through verse 28, that wicked generation, 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

It is to be noted carefully that each time the solemn Sixth of Isaiah is quoted, the sovereignty 
of God in hardening whom He will is increasingly emphasized. We see in Matthew 13:15, that it 
is the people's heart that had "waxed gross": their ears were "dull of hearing" because of lack of 
interest; their eyes they had closed, — not desiring to turn and understand, lest they should .perceive, 
and hear, understand, turn, and be healed of God! Then, in the fourth Gospel, at the end of our 
Lord's public testimony, (John 12:39): "They could not believe, for that Isaiah said, 

"He hath blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; 

Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart; 

And should turn, 

And I should heal them." 

This is judicial action, following the people's attitude. 

In the third occurrence of the words of Isaiah Six (in Acts 28), Paul officially shuts the door to 
national Israel: "Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers," — quoting 
this Isaiah Six, and declaring: "Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent 
unto the Gentiles: they also will hear." 222 

Verse 10: As to Israel, nationally, it is written. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not 
see. And bow Thou down their back always. It will be so until that future day, described in 
Zechariah 12: 10, when God "pours upon them the Spirit of grace and of supplication, and they look 
unto Him whom they have pierced." 

We dare not believe in any of the modern reports of national Jewish "turning to the Lord." They 
will go into yet greater darkness (after the Rapture of the Church). There will be the former evil 
spirit of idolatry "taking with itself seven other spirits more wicked than itself," entering in and 
dwelling in this present evil generation of Israel! (Matt. 12:45). Do not be deceived. At our Lord's 
coming, and not until that beleagured nation sees "the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven" (Matt. 
24:30), — which will be that "looking upon Him whom they pierced" of Zechariah 12, will they 
have faith. Thomas, in John 20, who "would not believe except he see in Christ's hands the print 
of the nails," is an exact type of the coming conversion of Israel. Until then, let us "provoke to 
jealousy" all of them we can, by boasting in Christ and His Salvation; and so we may save a few 
of them, — as sinners, the "Remnant according to the election of Grace." 

symbolized in Judas, is shown. And just as Satan entered into Judas at the table, — when he presumed most on his place as a 
chosen apostle, so it was Israel's very relationship to, knowledge of, and communion with, Jehovah, at their feasts and temples, 
that they presumed upon! Read Jeremiah 7:1-11. 
222 Since this awful use of Isaiah 6, the gospel has no Jewish bounds or bonds whatever! And it is presumption and danger, now, 
to give the Jews any other place than that of common sinners! "No distinction between Jew and Greek," says God. Those that 
preach thus, have God's blessing. Those that would give any special place whatever to Jews, since that day, do so contrary to 
the gospel; and, we fear, for private advantage. Tell Jews the truth! Their Messiah was offered to their nation, and rejected. And 
God is not offering a Messiah to Israel now, but has Himself rejected them: all except a "remnant," who leave Jewish earthly 
hopes, break down into sinners only, and receive a sinner's Savior, — not a "Jewish" one! Then they become "partakers of a 
heavenly calling." 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

11 I say then. Did they stumble that they might fall? 
God forbid: but by their fall salvation is come unto the 
Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall 
is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the 
Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 But I speak to 
you that are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of 
Gentiles, I glorify my ministry: 14 if by any means I may 
provoke to jealousy them that are my flesh, and may save 
some of them. 

15 For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of 
the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from 
the dead? 16 And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and 
if the root is holy, so are the branches. 

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and 
thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and 
didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness 
of the olive tree: 18 glory not over the branches: but if thou 
gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee. 

19 Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that 
I might be grafted in. 20 Well: by their unbelief they were 
broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not 
high-minded, but fear: 21 for if God spared not the natural 
branches, neither will He spare thee. 22 Behold then the 
goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, 
severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue 
in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 
And they also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall 
be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For 
if thou wast cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive 
tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive 
tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural 
branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 

Verse 11: Did they stumble that they might fall? Some individuals, alas, do, — both of Jews 
and Gentiles. Some are offended and turn away forever. But not finally the Israelitish nation! Banish 
the thought! We shall soon in this chapter see God's future salvation for that nation. But here the 
apostle notes that their fall was made the occasion of salvation to the Gentiles; and this again 
is to provoke them to jealousy — that they may be saved. God's manifest blessing to Gentiles 
causes the careless, self-satisfied Jew to awake, — first to ridicule Gentile testimony; then, — seeing 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

the reality of Divine visitation to the despised Gentile, to arouse to a deep jealousy: 223 "They have 
what we ought to have; but we have lost God's favor!" 

Verse 12: Their fall is the riches of the world; their loss the riches of the Gentiles. Before 
they fell, if a Gentile wanted to know the true God, he must become a "proselyte." He must journey 
up to Jerusalem three times a year; and even then he could not worship directly. He must have 
Levitical priests and forms. Contrast with this the day of Pentecost. Every man heard in his own 
tongue in which he was born, the wonderful works of God! And by and by Paul goes freely forth, 
apart from the Law, and "religion," to all the Gentiles: 

"Christ the Son of God hath sent me 

Through the midnight lands: 
Mine the mighty ordination 

Of the pierced hands!" 

See Ephesus, and Corinth, and then Rome, and the whole world, "rich," by Israel's fall! Wherever 
you are, you can call on the Lord, and walk by the blessed Holy Spirit, and witness of a free salvation 
to all and any who will listen! No "going up to Jerusalem" to keep feasts, and worship Jehovah 
afar off, but drawing nigh to God in Heaven through the blood of Christ, at any time, any place, 
under all circumstances! In everything, invited to "let your requests be made known unto God!" 
That is riches, indeed! If you do not now hold it so, you shortly will: for you will need the Lord, 
ere long! And He is so nigh! 

Alas, how much Israel lost in refusing Christ's "day of visitation" to them. How He wept over 
that! (Luke 19:41-44). We cannot blame God for Israel' s rejection of their Messiah, and their "fall." 
He foretold it, indeed: but Christ said, "Ye will not come to Me, that ye may have life!" 

But rather, let us see in the blessing that has resulted to us, "the heart of mercy" of God! (Luke 
1:78, margin.) He will show "kindness" somewhere. And, if the invited guests have had themselves 
"excused," let us who belong in "the highways and hedges" run quickly to the feast when we are 

If their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss has been "riches to the world" and to the 
Gentiles, how much more their fulness? 

In the days of David and Solomon, there were prodigal riches, — both of God's glorious presence 
(II Chron. 5:11-14) and of worldly wealth and honor (I Kings 10, entire). But this presence, and 


How amazingly different Paul's method of "provoking the Jews to jealousy," from that pursued by many Jewish mission 
workers today! The Jew must have a "special" place as a Jew! In some quarters they are even organizing "Jewish assemblies" 
and in other quarters advocating "the literary method of approaching Israel" ! All this, we cannot but feel, is abominable kow-towing 
to Jewish flesh, and hinders their salvation. Jews now are common sinners, who have for the present been set aside nationally, 
and must come to rely, as individual sinners, hopelessly guilty and helpless, upon the shed blood of Christ, and' upon Him risen 
from the dead. 

It is an awful thing to make present day "Jewish" claims, when God says Jews are for the present, no different from Gentiles, 
before God: but are just — sinners! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

this blessing, was for Israel. Now, as our Lord told the Samaritan woman, the hour has come, when 
"neither in this mountain nor at Jerusalem" do men go to worship the Father: but salvation has 
come out as "riches" to the whole world and to Gentiles, who had the place of "dogs" before (as 
compared with Israel). 

Now if this blessing be so great for the world, with Israel "fallen," how much more, when the 
time of restoration, and of fulness for Israel, be come! 

Verses 13, 14: 1 speak to you that are Gentiles 224 — There were many Jewish saints at Rome. 
But these three chapters of Romans (9, 10 and 1 1), are peculiarly fitted to our Gentile instruction. 
And particularly so is this word: In as much as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my ministry: 
if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them that are my flesh, and may save some of 
them. I boast, before the Jews, of how God works among the Gentiles, of His saving them, filling 
them with His Spirit, and with peace; using them in saving others, establishing them in heavenly 
joy. And why do I thus magnify my Gentile ministry? To provoke my fellow- Jews to jealousy — of 
an inward peace they have not, that they may desire it: and, perhaps, choose it! 

Verse 15: The casting away of them . . . the reconciling of the world — As long as God held 
fellowship with Israel on the ground of the old legal covenant, Gentiles were out of His direct favor, 
unless they became Jewish proselytes. Upon Israel's rejection of their Messiah and not until then 
(for Christ came first to Israel, — as see Matt. 10:5) could God "reconcile" the world to Himself. 
See II Corinthians 5:19: "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." 

The casting away of them — reconciling the world; receiving of them — life from the 
dead! — Paul speaks God's words; and God never exaggerates! Therefore, in understanding (so far 
as we may) these great words, we have only to compare our wretched Gentile state before the 
blessed reconciliation news, with our present Gentile blessing under the gospel, — as the fruit of 


The moment Paul says this, we know he is not addressing either Jewish believers or Gentile Christians as such — those "in 
Christ," for in Christ is neither Jew nor Greek. So he must be speaking to us Gentiles as having at present (not as the Church, 
but the Gentiles as over against the Jews) come into God' s general favor — which the Jews had, but of which they are at present 
deprived. Gentiles, not Jews, at present are the field of God's operations on earth. They are favored, as Israel once was. And 
they have, therefore, like responsibilities. If Israel was "cut off through unbelief, Gentiledom must beware lest not abiding in 
that "goodness" in which God has set the Gentiles (that is, in that direct Divine favor, — without law, or religion, in which Cod 
has put Gentiledom), it also shall be cut off! For God did not give Gentiledom a Law, with its "10,000 things," as He gave Israel. 
He gave Gentiledom the gospel only. He gave them Paul; and the message of GRACE. 

Now, if they go back to "religion," or if they forget or neglect God's great salvation, it is to desert God's "goodness"; and 
thus to be shortly "cut off." 

And they have done just that, — as we know too well ! If Gentiledom has "continued" in God' s uncaused grace and goodness, 
what meaneth then this bleating in our ears — of liturgies, masses, holy days, even prayers for the dead? What meaneth all this 
buzz of "administering sacraments," of "vestments," of "holy orders," of priestcraft? Why these vast cathedrals? This lavish 
outpouring for great "religious" establishments? The apostles had none of this! God commanded none of it. Nay, He forbade it! 
"The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands" ! The Jews stoned Stephen, who dared to say so ! And see the Popes 
burning like witnesses! And "Modern" Denominations turning faithful preachers out of churches! 

No; Gentiledom has deserted the "goodness" of God, for a Judao-pagan system With "Christian" names. And Gentiledom 
will be cut off. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

the "casting away" of the Israelites; and then judge what blessing will come when God "receives" 
them! It will indeed be "life from the dead"! For this world has never seen what shall then be seen: 
"The earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9). Not 
even in Eden, before man's sin, was that seen! And all this waits the "receiving" of God's earthly 
people, elect Israel! God must have them back in their land, to become "a joy to the whole earth." 
When Jehovah finally speaks ever lasting comfort to His people Israel and to Jerusalem, it is written, 
"And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" 225 (Isa. 40:1-5). 

Verse 16: And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the 
branches — The firstfruit here seems to me to be the believing Israel of the old days, as in Jer. 
2:2, 3: "Thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, . . . Israel was holiness unto Jehovah, the firstfruits 
of his increase"; and the lump to be the whole "Israel of God," of Galatians Six; that is, Israel, in 
God's sight as an always beloved nation; though now the saved "Remnant according to the election 
of grace" comes out of that nation into a risen, heavenly Christ, into a higher calling, where there 
is neither Jew nor Gentile. And, as has been said, the Gentile "is placed upon the root," not upon 
the trunk nor upon the branches. He became neither a Jew, nor of Israel. Blessing, however, had 
been promised through Abraham to "all the families of the earth." 

Now it is important to see that the root is Abraham, the depositary of the promises. The tree 
of Divine blessing grows up by these promises to Abraham, and His Seed, which is Christ. The 
natural branches, that is, those who first partook of the tree's root and fatness, were Jews. You 
cannot say that the tree is the Jewish nation, but rather that it is those partaking of the Divine blessing 
from Abraham through Christ. The most of the Jews were thus, because of unbelief, broken off. 
Those Jews who believed, as we know (the election of grace), came to partake of the heavenly 
calling in the Church "the assembly of God." Again, when that assembly is taken away to heaven, 
and God grafts back the remnant of the Jewish people, into their former ("their own") olive tree, 
Divine blessing on earth will have the earthly character it had before Church days: Israel will be 
the land, Jerusalem the city, and the temple- worship the form (see Ezek. 40-48). 

Verse 17: Some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted 

in. This simply means that we, as Gentiles, have been set in the place of blessing from Abraham. 
It does not mean that all Gentiles are in the Body of Christ, — for it is not of that Body as such that 
Paul is here speaking: but of Gentiles as having been put into that place of Divine blessing where 
Israel once stood. Nor do the words some of the branches mean that any whole tribe of Israel will 
be wholly lost; for all twelve tribes appear in Ezekiel, in the millennial kingdom. The word thou 
is generic, of Gentiles: but of course is addressed to individuals — those of the Gentiles who would 
hear. The warnings here are addressed not to brethren in Christ, but as being of the Gentiles." 

Verse 18: It is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee — How few of us Gentile 
believers understand and bear in mind that we are beneficiaries of those promises which God lodged 
in Abraham as a root of promise, — all the promises we inherit in Christ! This is illustrated by Gal. 

225 It must ever be remembered that the calling of the Church, the Body of Christ, is a heavenly one; as Israel's is not. Though by 
God's grace partaken of an ineffably higher place — members of Christ Himself, yet we, more than any, should regard Israel's 
coming blessing; for we have, as they will have, mercy: the sweetest conferment of God on sinners! 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

3:7: "They that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham"; and even the gift of the Holy Spirit is 
"the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus" coming upon the Gentiles (Gal. 3:14). 

There is a very great danger, as Paul shows in Romans 11:18, that we Gentiles glory over the 
Jewish branches, and forget it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee. Abraham was 
the root, the vessel of promise, and we (if we are in Christ) are his children. 

Verse 19, alas to say, voices the general consciousness and the consequent conduct of 
Christendom through the so-called "Christian centuries": Branches were broken off, that I might 
be grafted in! The despising of the Jews, and the horrid persecuting of them by Christendom, is 
one of the three great scandals of history. 226 

Verses 20, 21: The only wise attitude for Gentiles is now prescribed by our apostle — Well, by 
their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not high-minded, but 
fear; 22 ' — In other words, it was not the Gentiles' importance over that of the Jews, but the Jews' 


"The first scandal was the persecution of their own prophets by the Jews, God's own nation; the second was the hatred unto 
death against the witnesses and truth of the gospel by papal Rome (the professed church of God!) with its Inquisition tortures 
and stake; the third I have named above, the hatred of the Jews by professing Christians, — by those who professed faith in a 
Savior who is Himself "an Israelite after the flesh." 

I do not here mention pagan persecutions, either of Jews or of Christians, for such were to be expected. Dean Milman, in 
his History of the Jews, (and such a book could be read with great profit in these days of rising anti-Semitism), calls the persecution 
of the Jews during the middle ages "A most hideous chronicle of human cruelty (as far as my researches have gone, — fearfully 
true). Perhaps it is the most hideous," he goes on, "because the most continuous to be found among nations above the state of 
savages. Alas! that it should be among nations called Christian, though occasionally the Mohammedan persecutor vied with the 
Christian in barbarity . . . Kingdom after kingdom, and people after people, followed the dreadful example, [of hatred and 
persecution of the Israelites], and strove to peal the knell of the descendants of Israel; till at length, what we blush to call 
Christianity, with the Inquisition in its train, cleared the fair and smiling provinces of Spain of this industrious part of its population, 
and self-inflicted a curse of barrenness upon the benighted land." 

We may remark that the present fratricidal slaughter in Spain is simply a fulfillment of God's words to Abraham and his 
seed: "Him that curseth thee will I curse." In its persecutions both of Jews and of Christians, Spain sowed the wind: it is now 
reaping the whirlwind! 

Some, who deny the eternal safety of the saints, apply the warning of verses 20, 21, as if it were a personal, instead of a 
generic one, — a warning to individual believers, instead of to Gentiledom as such. But this is not only bad theology, but a missing 
of Paul' s whole point here. It is bad theology, for our Lord says of His sheep, that they "shall never perish" and when Paul warns 
believers of being "high-minded" (compare I Tim. 6:17 with Rom. 1 1 :20) it is not to threaten doom to them, but to counsel them 
how to walk. Then, it is bad interpretation: for the whole passage in Rom. 1 1:19-24, deals not with the Church, (where there is 
no) distinction between Jew and Greek!) but with Jew-position and Gentile-position in God's affairs on earth. Israel, unbelieving, 
was cut off for awhile from his place of Divine favor and blessing. Gentiledom comes into favor instead of Israel, for a while; 
and "the Church came into the administration of the promises in the character of Gentiles, in contrast with Jews." It is to a 
characteristic Gentile, that Paul speaks in Rom. 11.19: "Thou wilt say, Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in." 
He speaks genetically, to this characteristic Gentile, when he warns, in verse 22: "Toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue 
in His goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be [as was Israel before Gentiledom] cut off." Now we know, from God's prophetic 
Word, that Gentiledom will, indeed, be cut off, as was Israel, and Israel be restored to his former place, as the sphere and channel 
of God's blessing to earth. 

So that, when Paul says, "I speak to you that are Gentiles," he is talking, not to God' s saints as such, much less to the Church 
which is the Body of Christ; but to Gentiledom, which has been given to be, in God's "goodness," the place of His blessing, 
while Israel is for the time set aside. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

unbelief, that caused some — for the present all but a "remnant" — to be broken off: and the Gentile 
"stands" by his faith, — not by his superiority to the Jews! "High-mindedness" is the contrary of 
the "fear" here enjoined (the root of which is humility, — consciousness of unworthiness). And why 
fear? Verse 21 tells plainly: God spared not the natural branches [the Jews], neither will He 
spare thee [Gentiledom] ; if Gentiledom walks in forgetfulness of its sinnerhood, and of God's 
"goodness," — in self-importance, pride, and high-mindedness. 

Verse 22: Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; 
but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt 

be cut off — This is a most solemn word, indeed! It calls the Gentile world to behold the goodness 
and [its opposite] severity of God! Toward them that fell, severity: in spite of what had been 
the privileges of having Jehovah's temple among them; and the former faithfulness of the nation, 
and afterwards of individuals, Israel fell into self-righteousness, pride, and rejection of their Messiah. 
Toward such, "severity." Christ beheld Jerusalem and wept over it, for judgment is God's "strange 
work." But, we beg you, get Josephus, or any history, and read what befell the Jews when Titus 
took Jerusalem; and see Matthew Twenty-three, and our Lord's anguished words: "O Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! Behold, your house is 
left unto you desolate!" 

Now it is the common talk through Christendom that the Jews were God's "ancient" people; 
and that now the Gentiles are God's favored ones. People love to hear sermons on the "goodness" 
of God, but resent talk of Divine severity toward the Gentiles! But have the Gentiles proven 
themselves different from the Jews in their conduct toward God? Christendom is today sinning 
against greater light than ever Israel had! 

God says to the Gentile: Toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in His 
goodness — Now what is "the goodness" referred to here? 

We remember our Lord' s saying to the twelve apostles, when He first sent them out to the "lost 
sheep of the house of Israel," "Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of 
the Samaritans" (Matt. 10:5). He had come as "a minister of the circumcision" to His own. But 
when they had rejected and crucified Him, the Risen Lord said: "Go ye into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15) ; "Ye shall be My witnesses, both in 
Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Saniaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). 

So, the Holy Spirit having been given at Pentecost, Peter is shortly sent to the house of the 
Gentile, Cornelius: who believes the simple gospel of Christ, and, on "all them that heard the Word 
the Holy Spirit fell." Then Barnabas and Saul, Silas and Timothy, and the rest, go on to the Gentiles, 
turning the world "upside down" with the gospel of grace. No need for a "religion" now; they had 

Another proof of this is in the very admonition itself: "Be not highminded, but fear." If this (as some claim) is merely a 
warning to individual saints to avoid pride, why should it be addressed to Gentile saints only? Had Jewish believers no danger 
of pride? 

No; it is not of the Church at all, nor of His real saints, that God speaks here: but of Gentiledom. 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

Christ. No need for a temple, — they, the assembly, were "the temple of God"; for, as Stephen 
witnessed — and was stoned for it — "The Most High is not [now] dwelling in temples made by 
hands." No need for a ritual: they had the Holy Spirit, and worshipped by Him instead of forms! 
No need of a special priesthood, — all believers were alike priests, and drew near unto God by the 
shed blood, Christ Himself, over the house of God, leading their worship, as the Great High Priest 
in heaven. No need of seeking "merit," — they were in Christ, already accepted in Him, — yea, made 
the very righteousness of God in Him! 

Now this was God's goodness toward Gentile believers. 

And, as for the Gentiles all: they were no longer called "dogs," as contrasted with the favored 
race of Israel (Matt. 15:26). There was a complete change in the relationship of Gentiles as such 
toward God. They were put into the place of privilege and opportunity of Divine blessing: an 
"acceptable time," a "day of salvation," in God's "goodness" was extended to them. If one had 
sought to instruct a Gentile in the Old Testament days, he must have said, "God is the God of Israel: 
become a proselyte; go up to Jerusalem; keep the feasts according to the Law." If one should go 
to a Gentile in the coming Millennium, the like instruction would be necessary, for all the nations 
must then go up to Jerusalem by their representatives "to worship the King, Jehovah of Hosts" 
(Zech. 14:16-18). 

But now? No! An ambassador for God says anywhere, to the worst heathen, "Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." 

This is the Divine goodness. 

Now, have the Gentiles continued in that goodness? 

For if the Gentiles have not so continued, God's severity must be shown to them, as before to 
Israel: thou SHALT BE CUT OFF. 

What then is the record? It is ghastly! 

First, as to sending out the gospel: After nearly 2000 years, much of the human race knows 
nothing of Christ. 

Then, as to salvation by grace preached to lost men, apart from law and from ordinances, we 
see, instead, "good character" preached up as the way of acceptance; the simple supper of the Lord 
called "these holy mysteries," and baptism, instead of a glad confession of a known Savior, relied 
on as a "means of regeneration." 

Instead of simple gatherings (as at the first), of believers unto the Name of Christ their Lord, 
relying on the presence of the Holy Spirit solely, (as at the first), we see great Judao-pagan temples, 
and an elaborate "service." And would this were in Rome only! 

Instead of the free, general common priesthood of believers, in the fellowship of prayer and 
faith (as in apostolic days) we see thousands upon thousands of professing Christians that have 
never prayed nor praised openly in the assembly of His saints; myriads who do not have even the 


Romans Verse-by-Verse William R. Newell 

assurance of salvation (though Christ, who bore sin for them, has been received up on high). Contrast 
with this Acts 2:42: "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the 
breaking of bread and the prayers." 

We see open, general, horrible idolatry, in both the Greek and Roman cathedrals; and a growing 
tendency to put up "crosses" instead of preaching "the word of the cross," in so-called "Protestant" 

We see great State Churches, a thing unknown and impossible in Scripture; and we see professing 
Christians divided into "denominations," each with its own "program," — ignoring wholly Paul's 
words in I Cor. 1 : 12, 13; 3:2-4; and not at all walking in the consciousness of the One Body. Indeed, 
instead of the unity of the Spirit, they are ready to establish horrible outward earthly union, of all 
"professing Christians," "modernists," and Jews — in short, all "religionists." 228 

So that the Gentiles will be "cut off from that place of Divine privilege which they now have 
(and which Israel nationally has lost), and Israel will be restored to the privileged place, as before. 
Of course this "cutting off does not mean that individual Gentiles cannot be saved! But, as in the 
Old Testament, and in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Israel will be honored as the center and spring 
of Divine blessing on earth; the Gentiles becoming again subordinate to Israel, — as to spiritual 
things; and having again to "go up to Jerusalem" to worship Jehovah. The Church, the Body of 
Christ, will of course have been translated to heaven before this order of things comes in. The 
Church is "the fulness of the Gentiles," of Romans 11:25. 

Thus, instead of continuing in God's goodness. Gentile "Christendom" has setup the "Christian 
religion"; and has settled down upon earth as if the Church belonged here; and as if Christ might 
not come at any moment! If you dream Christendom has continued in the humble gospel of grace, 
and the goodness of God in giving His Son to shed His blood for lost sinners, just examine the 
"religious" pronouncements in the press! 

Verse 23: They also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in again — We know 
from a multitude of prophecies that Israel will not continue in unbelief! Thank God for this! They 
must, of course, see to believe. But Zechariah 12:10 declares that in a future day they shall "look 
on Him whom they pierced"; while the eighth and ninth verses of Zechariah' s very next chapter 
say, that, while "two parts of the nation shall be