Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ | seed of David according to the our Lord, which was made of the flesh;

recorded, and were held in reverence by the Jews. In the holy scriptures. The books, or writings, of the Old Testament, in which the divine predictions were recorded. These were styled Holy Scriptures, because they were believed to have been written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and therefore worthy of reverence. This phrase is now applied to the New Testament, as well as to the Old but when the apostle wrote, the New Testament, as a book, or a collection of sacred writings, did not exist; the reference therefore is here exclusively to the Old Testament. "The apostle here declares that he was not about to advance anything new. His doctrines were in accordance with the acknowledged oracles of God. Though they might appear to be new, yet he regarded the gospel as entirely consistent with all that had been declared in the Jewish dispensation; and not only consistent, but as actually promised there. We may see here the reverence which Paul showed for the Old Testament. He never undervalued it. He never regarded it as obsolete, or useless. He manifestly studied it; and never fell into the impious opinion that the Old Testament is of little value."- Barnes. Even when contrasting the two dispensations, and exhibiting the superior glory and value of the second, on account of its greater definiteness and distinctness, its exhibition of the spirit and actual substance of the truth, he nevertheless admits that the old dispensation was glorious, and that the books containing its revelation were sacred. 2 Cor. iii. 6-18. See also Gal. iii. 19-25.

3. Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The preceding verse is parenthetical, and this is to be taken in immediate connection with ver. 1. Paul was "separated unto the gospel of God, concerning his Son Jesus Christ." The great theme of the gospel is Jesus Christ, his character, his instructions, his resurrection and ascension, and the blessings he was commissioned by the Father to bestow on mankind. As all spiritual blessings are to be communicated through him, Acts iv. 12, the good news of peace on earth, good will

toward men, life from the dead, and universal and endless holiness, may well be styled the gospel concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence Paul declared that he was determined to know or preach nothing among his brethren, "save Jesus Christ and him crucified." 1 Cor. ii. 2. See Col. i. 19. T Which was made of the seed of David. That is, who by birth was one of the posterity of David. See note on Matt. i. 1. The ancient predictions concerning the Messiah uniformly pointed to the house of David, as that from which he should be selected; and hence the apostles were careful, in their addresses to Jews, to enforce the fact that this portion of prophecy had its exact fulfilment in Christ. Moreover, it was well understood, by the enlightened heathen, that such was the character of the Jewish expectations, and such their understanding of the ancient predictions. It was one step gained, towards their conversion, therefore, that they should perceive the fulfilment of those predictions. According to the flesh. That is, in regard to his human nature, or, in regard to the body prepared for him. Heb. ii. 16; x. 5. The word here rendered flesh is used in the Scriptures with various shades of signification. It sometimes denotes literally the flesh, as distinguished from the bones and other parts of the human frame; sometimes, the whole body, or the material part of the human frame, as distinguished from the mental and moral faculties; sometimes, the whole man, existing in a mortal state, as distinguished from his condition in the future life. In this latter sense it seems to be used here. However highly exalted in the scale of being our Lord may have been, it is the clear testimony of the Scriptures, that, during his personal ministry on the earth, he dwelt in a human body, subject to the pains and the mortality incident to humanity. In this respect, namely, in respect to his body, he descended from David, agreeably to the concurrent predictions of the ancient prophets This was truly an honorable descent, of which almost any Jew might well be proud. Yet neither our Lord nor

|

4 And declared to be the Son of | Spirit of holiness, by the resurrecGod with power, according to the tion from the dead:"

his apostles ever alluded to this fact as in itself demanding any peculiar regard, but only as the fulfilment of prophecy. This phraseology denotes, very evidently, that, in some other respect, our Lord was not made or born of the seed of David, or was not to be regarded merely as one of his posterity. In regard to no other person is it declared in the Scriptures that he was born of any particular family according to the flesh. The saine phrase is elsewhere used to denote other relationships or conditions; as ch. ix. 3; Eph. vi. 5; Col. iii. 22; but never to denote lineal descent. Its use here, of itself, is sufficient evidence that the apostle did not regard Jesus as a descendant of David, in regard to his entire personality. But he does not leave us to infer his meaning. He states it distinctly in the succeeding verse. 4. Declared. The word used here lit-power displayed in our Lord's resurrecerally denotes constituted or ordained. tion from the dead; but it is generally, But, as it conveys the sense of marking and perhaps more accurately, underout, designating, or fixing by limits, stood adverbially, as equivalent to the most commentators unite in opinion that single word powerfully. He was powerit is properly translated in this place. fully declared, or irrefragably demonIt is understood to mean exhibited, or strated, to be the Son of God. T According demonstrated. T The Son of God. to the spirit of holiness. The same Jesus Paul believed that Jesus Christ was a who was made of the seed of David man, as is evident from the preceding according to the flesh," was demonverse; see also 1 Tim. ii. 5; but he strated to be the Son of God, accordalso believed that he was more than ing to the spirit of holiness." His man. He believed him to be more ex- relationship to the Father, by the spirit, alted in the scale of being than any was, at the least, as intimate as his other, the great Source of all exist- relation to David, by the flesh. The ence only excepted. And this he purity and holiness of his life, his devoexpresses by the phrase Son of God. tion and filial submission to the divine In all his epistles, Paul is uniform in will, as plainly indicated his relationattributing to Jesus a character and a ship to God, as his hunger, thirst, and nature far superior to mere humanity. other bodily infirmities, proved his He describes him as "the image of the relationship to man. "The design is, invisible God, the first-born of every doubtless, to speak of him as a man, creature," Col. i. 15; as one whom and as something more than a man: all created beings should acknowledge he was one thing as a man; he was to be "Lord, to the glory of God the another thing in his other nature. In Father," Phil. ii. 9-11; as exalted the one, he was of David; was put to "above all principality, and power, death, &c. In the other, he was of and might, and dominion, and every God; he was manifested to be such; name that is named, not only in this he was restored to the elevation which world, but also in that which is to he had sustained before his incarnation come," Eph. i. 21; and in that sub- and death. John xvii. 1-5; Phil. ii. lime description of the result of Christ's 2-11. The expression, according to the ministry, the utter destruction of all spirit of holiness, does not indeed of obstacles to universal holiness and hap- itself imply divinity. It denotes that

piness, and the cordial and cheerful subjection of all souls to Him, even as he also is subject to the Father, the apostle uses such strong language in depicting the exalted nature and station of our Lord, that he thinks it proper to remind us that there is one Being superior to him. 1 Cor. xv. 27. Had he supposed there were any other exceptions, we might expect an intimation of it; but we find none. The natural inference is that, while Paul believed that Jesus "took on him the seed of Abraham," and in this respect was "made like unto his brethren," Heb. ii. 16, 17, and thus "was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh," verse 3, yet he believed also that he was, in other respects, so far superior to man, that he owed subjection only to the supreme God. T With power. This phrase may indicate the divine

5 By whom we have received | ence to the faith among all nations grace and apostleship for obedi- for his name :

holy and more exalted nature which he possessed, as distinguished from the human. What that is, is to be learned from other declarations. This expression implies simply that it was such as to make proper the appellation, the Son of God."-Barnes. By the resurrection from the dead. This was the crowning evidence that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Various testimonies had previously been given. The circumstances attending his birth, Luke ii. 1-20; the heavenly attestation at his baptism, Matt. iii. 13-17; his immaculate purity of heart, as manifested in his conduct; his surpassing wisdom, constraining even unbelievers to acknowledge that "never man spake like this man," John vii. 46; the miraculous power, by which he controlled the elements, gave sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, healed the sick, and even raised the dead, Matt. viii. 23-27; Mark x. 46-52; vii. 32-37; Luke viii. 41-56; vii. 11-16; John xi. 11-47; -all these and other testimonies clearly indicated his heavenly origin and divine mission. To these he appealed while on earth, as of such convincing character, that unbelief was inexcusable. John x. 3438; xv. 22-24. Superadded to all these testimonies to his Sonship, was his resurrection from the dead. And by this display of divine power it pleased the Father to demonstrate to man, beyond all reasonable doubt or cavil, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. To this proof the apostles uniformly and constantly appealed, as conclusive. Acts ii. 22-36; iii. 13–16; iv. 10; 1 Cor. xv. 1-28. True, it is sometimes alleged that sundry persons were raised from the dead by the ancient prophets, by Jesus himself, and by his apostles; and, therefore, that such a resurrection cannot prove the Messiahship of the person raised. To this allegation there are two replies, either of which is sufficient. (1.) There is no evidence that any of the persons referred to, except Jesus, were raised to immortality; they were mortal, after their bodies were reänimated, and again went down to the grave. But Jesus returned no more to the place of corruption; see note

on Acts xiii, 34; he ascended to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, John xvii. 5; Acts i. 9-11; and thus did he bring life and immortality to light, being in this important sense "the first fruits of them that slept." 1 Cor. xv. 20-23. (2.) When others were raised to temporary lite, the miracle was apparently performed, not on account of anything peculiar in the character of its subjects, but rather as an evidence of the divine power acting through the ageut, and as an act of benevolence to the bereaved and afflicted. But, in regard to our Lord's resurrection, the circumstances were widely different. He had repeatedly and distinctly declared himself to be the Son of God, specially cominissioned to perform a work of the highest importance: namely, to seek and to save the lost. He uniformly claimed to speak in the name of his Father, and to act by His authority and power. He claimed, indeed, to be the Father's representative on the earth, John v. 36; vii. 16; viii. 28; x. 36; and in other places, too numerous to specify. He also distinctly foretold his own resurrection from the dead. Is it for one moment to be supposed that God wouki set his seal to a gross imposture? That he would raise from the dead a person who had made such high pretensions, — blasphemous, if false, -unless he designed thereby to give assurance to the world that those pretensions were well founded, and that the person was truly his beloved Son? Whoever admits tie fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, must necessarily acknowledge his divine mission and authority, and recognize him as the Son of God.

5. By whom. That is, by Jesus Christ. What intervenes between the first clause of verse 1 and this place may be regarded as a parenthesis. Having mentioned the name of Jesus, the apostle gives a brief but graphic description of his character, before proceeding with his main subject. This method of writing is of frequent occurrence in Paul's epistles. A remarkable instance is found in Eph. iii. 2, where a parenthesis commences which extends through the whole chapter, the subject

6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

being resumed at the commencement of the next. The principal difficulty in understanding the writings of this apostle, 2 Pet. iii. 16, arises from this peculiarity in his style Much care is necessary to distinguish accurately between his main theme and that which is inserted by way of parenthesis, having a close relation, indeed, to the theme, but not, strictly speaking, a part of it. He professes here to have received grace from the same Lord who had called nim to the apostleship, and whose servant The manner of his calling is described in his noble address to King Agrippa, Acts xxvi. 12-18. He "was not disobedient to the heavenly vision ; but, without conferring with flesh and blood, or asking instruction or permission from men, he proceeded immediately to proclaim the glorious gospel to the Gentiles. Gal. i. 11-19.

he was.

Grace and apostleship. "That is, the grace or favor of apostleship. See Gal. ii. 9; Eph. iii. 2, where the apostolic office is styled grace. Or, if grace and apostleship are taken separately, apostleship may signify the office, and grace the supernatural endowments bestowed on Paul, to fit him for that office." Macknight. For obedience to the faith. Obedience according to faith, or resulting from faith. The great object of his mission was to convert men from sin to holiness; to inspire in them a lively faith in God, resulting in a cheerful obedience to his laws. No faith is truly profitable, unless it work by love and purify the heart. Acts xv. 9; Gal. v. 6; James ii. 19, 20. In other words, faith should embrace the character of God in such a lovely and benignant aspect as to excite the most fervent gratitude and trust of the soul. The natural fruit of such faith is a renunciation of the service of sin, and a cheerful obedience to the divine commandments. This was the effect produced in Paul; he humbly and earnestly inquired, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Acts ix. 6. And this effect he desired to produce in others by 6. Among whom. That is, among making them partakers of the same those who were embraced in the apesfaith. Among all nations. His apostolic commission. He had a right, and tleship was not limited to the Jews, nor to any select portion of mankind. was made a debtor both to the Greeks

He

it was his duty, to address them, be. cause they were among the number to whom he was commanded to testify con

and to the barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise." Verse 14. Our Lord, before his ascension, commanded his apostles to go and teach all nations; to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Matt. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 15. This command seems at first to have been very imperfectly understood. The apostles confined their ministry to Judea; and when Peter, instructed by a miraculeus vision, ventured to preach the gospel among the Gentiles, his brethren called him to a strict account: nor were they satisfied until they were convinced that God had actually bestowed on the Gentiles the same spiritual gift as on themselves. Acts xi. 1-18. But in the case of Paul there was no misunderstanding nor hesitation. He understood his commission to be unlimited in extent. Indeed, he regarded the Gentiles as his special charge. The Jews already had the ministry of the other apostles, and were not in great need of his services. But the Gentiles were as sheep without a shepherd; and to their service he devoted his life and all his powers. The fact that his commission extended to Gentiles as well as to Jews is distinctly and very properly announced at the commencement of this epistle to a distant church, composed in part of Gentiles, few of whom he had ever

seen. T For his name. Or, on account of his name; that is, the name, or the person, or the character, of Jesus Christ. It was the object of Paul's ministry to convince men that Jesus was truly the Son of God, so that through faith in his gospel they might love and obey the Father. The meaning of this whole verse seems to be substantially embraced in the paraphrase by Macknight: "From whom, since his resurrection, I have received miraculous powers and apostleship, in order that through my preaching him as the Son of God, the obedience of faith may be given to him, among all the Gentiles, on account of his being the Son of God."

7 To all that be in Rome, beloved | of God, called to be saints: Grace

cerning the Son of God. Not only were they included in his commission, but they had been made obedient through faith in the Son of God; for it is manifest that this epistle was particularly addressed to a church of Christian believers. Hence, some are inclined to interpret the words in this more limited sense. Either construction is consistent with the general scope of the address. The called of Jesus Christ. That is, Christians. See note on ver. 1. The brethren at Rome had heard the gospel, and believed. They acknowledged Jesus to be the Son of God, and were therefore Christians. Doubtless they were far from being perfect. They were still under the influence of many errors, both in faith and in practice; for the apostle labors to correct both, in this epistle. Nevertheless, he acknowledges them as Christians, and styles them the called of Jesus Christ.

1

7. To all that be at Rome. The address is not confined to Romans, or the permanent inhabitants of Rome; but it includes also all Christians who might be present at its reception. Rome, as a nation, was then the mistress of the world; and Rome, as a city, was the centre of attraction, where were gathered the representatives of all nations. Hence it was at once an important station for a church, whose influence might be felt to the remotest borders of the civilized world, through those visitors who there became acquainted with the gospel of Christ, and also the central Doint where representatives of the most listant churches were accustomed to congregate. To all, therefore, whom his message might reach, whether Gentile or Jew, whether Greek or barbarian, bond or free, the apostle extends his Christian salutation. T Beloved of God. All men, without exception, are beloved of God; for he is the Father of the spirits of all flesh, and loves his children with a more pure and fervent affection than was ever cherished by an earthly parent. Yet there is a peculiar sense in which Christians are beloved of God. They more fully realize his love; they enjoy an assurance of his approbation; they strive to mould their spirits into the fashion of his spirit, by obedience to his commandments, and

thus experience a degree of peace and joy to which the ungodly is a stranger. In this peculiar sense, the phrase, beloved of God, should be here understood. Nevertheless, it should never be forgotten that the love of God towards his children precedes their love towards him; that the mission of Christ was the fruit of divine love; that the only sufficient reason why we should love God is, that he first loved us, 1 John iv. 10, 19; that the only sufficient reason why we should trust in him, and surrender ourselves wholly to his disposal, in choice as well as in fact, is, that he is good unto all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. So that, in order to a true conversion, or in order to become true Christians, and thus to experience that peculiar sense of the divine love which is here indicated, we must first believe in that universal, unbounded love of the Father, which extends to all the children of his creation, even while they remain ignorant of him, or enemies to him, and which consults and secures their permanent good. Convince a man of that love, and the first step is taken to his conversion. Without this, all his obedience is that of a slave, dreading the lash; not of an affectionate child, rejoicing and trusting in his Father's love. In short, we must confide in God's universal love before we can realize what may not very improperly be styled his special love. This point is stated and fully illustrated in chapter v. of this epistle. Grace to you and peace. A phrase here importing generally all the blessings of the gospel. "In the apostolic benedictions, grace signifies the influences and fruits of the spirit, the favor and protection of God, the pardon of sin, the enjoyment of eternal life. All which are called grace, because they are gratuitously bestowed by God."- Macknight. Peace is opposed to war and contention; it is also opposed to agitation and disquiet of whatever kind. In this sense, the sacred writers declare that there is no peace to the wicked; but that great peace is the portion of such as love the divine law and obey it. The apostle also speaks of "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," Phil. iv. 7, referring, doubtless, to that state of quiet

« ÎnapoiContinuă »