It was probably about the same time when St. Paul dispatched to Ephesus the messengers who bore his energetic remonstrance to the Galatians, that he was called upon to inflict the punishment which he had threatened upon those obstinate offenders who still defied his censures at Corinth. We have already seen that these were divided into two classes: the larger consisted of those who justified their immoral practice by antinomian 1 doctrine, and, styling themselves ‘the Spiritual,’ considered the outward restrictions of morality as mere carnal ordinances, from which they were emancipated; the other and smaller (but more obstinate and violent) class, who had been more recently formed into a party by emissaries from Palestine, were the extreme Judaizers, who were taught to look on Paul as a heretic, and to deny his Apostleship. Although the principles of these two parties differed so widely, yet they both agreed in repudiating the authority of St. Paul; and, apparently, the former party gladly availed themselves of the calumnies of the Judaizing propagandists, and readily listened to their denial of Paul’s divine commission; while the Judaizers, on their part, would foster any opposition to the Apostle of the Gentiles, from whatever quarter it might arise.
But now the time was come when the peace and purity of the Corinthian Church was to be no longer destroyed (at least openly) by either of these parties. St. Paul’s first duty was to silence and shame his leading opponents, by proving the reality of his Apostleship, which they denied. This he could only do by exhibiting ‘the signs of an Apostle,’ which consisted, as he himself informs us, mainly in the display of miraculous powers (2 Cor. 12:12). The present was a crisis which required such an appeal to the direct judgment of God, who could alone decide between conflicting claimants to a Divine commission.
It was a contest like that between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. St. Paul had already in his absence professed his readiness to stake the truth of his claims on this issue (2 Cor. 10:8, and 13:3 6) ; and we may be sure that now, when he was present, he did not shrink from the trial. And, doubtless, God, who had sent him forth, wrought such miracles by his agency as sufficed to convince or to silence the gainsayers. Perhaps the Judaizing emissaries from Palestine had already left Corinth after fulfilling their mission by founding an anti Pauline party there
If they had remained, they must now have been driven to retreat in shame and confusion. All other opposition was quelled likewise, and the whole Church of Corinth were constrained to confess that God was on the side of Paul. Now, therefore, that’ their obedience was complete,’ the painful task remained of ‘punishing all the disobedient’ (2 Cor. 10:6). It was not enough that those who had so often offended and so often been pardoned before, should now merely profess once more a repentance which was only the offspring of fear or of hypocrisy; unless they were willing to give proof of their sincerity by renouncing their guilty indulgences. They had long infected the Church by their immorality; they were not merely evil themselves, but they were doing harm to others, and causing the name of Christ to be blasphemed among the heathen.
It was necessary that the salt which had lost its savor should be cast out, lest its putrescence should spread to that which still retained its purity (2 Cor. 12:21).
St. Paul no longer hesitated to stand between the living and the dead, that the plague might be stayed.’ We know, from his own description (1 Cor. 5:3 5), the very form and manner of the punishment inflicted. A solemn assembly of the Church was convened; the presence and power of the Lord Jesus Christ was especially invoked; the cases of the worst offenders were separately considered, and those whose sins required so heavy a. punishment were publicly cast out of the Church, and (in the awful phraseology of Scripture) delivered over to Satan.
Yet we must not suppose that even in such extreme cases the object of the sentence was to consign the criminal to final reprobation. On the contrary, the purpose of this excommunication was so to work on the offender’s mind as to bring him to sincere repentance, ‘that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’ (1 Cor. 5:5) If it had this happy effect, and if he manifested true contrition, he was restored (as we have already seen in the case of the incestuous person 2) to the love of the brethren and the communion of the Church.
We should naturally be glad to know whether the pacification and purification of the Corinthian Church thus effected was permanent; or whether the evils which were so deeply rooted, sprang up again after St. Paul’s departure. On this point Scripture gives us no further information, nor can we find any mention of this Church (which has hitherto occupied so large a space in our narrative) after the date of the present chapter, either in the Acts or the Epistles.
Such silence seems, so far as it goes, of favorable augury. And the subsequent testimony of Clement (the ‘fellow laborer’ of Paul, mentioned Phil. 4:3) confirms this interpretation of it. He speaks (evidently from his own personal experience) of the impression produced upon every stranger who visited the Church of Corinth, by their exemplary conduct; and specifies particularly their possession of the virtues most opposite to their former faults. Thus, he says that they were distinguished for the ripeness and soundness of their knowledge in contrast to the unsound and false pretence of knowledge for which they were rebuked by St. Paul.
Again, he praises the pure and blameless lives of their ’women; which must therefore have been greatly changed since the time when fornication, wantonness, and impurity (2 Cor. xii. 21) were the characteristics of their society. But especially he commends them for their entire freedom from faction and party spirit, which had formerly been so conspicuous among their faults. Perhaps the picture which he draws of this golden age of Corinth may be too favorably colored, as a contrast to the state of things which he deplored when he wrote. Yet we may believe it substantially true, and may therefore hope that some of the worst evils were permanently corrected; more particularly the impurity and licentiousness which had hitherto been the most flagrant of their vices.
Their tendency to party spirit, however (so characteristic of the Greek temper), was not cured; on the contrary, it blazed forth again with greater fury than ever, some years after the death of St. Paul. Their dissensions were the occasion of the letter of Clement already mentioned; he wrote in the hope of appeasing a violent and long continued schism which had arisen (like their earlier divisions) from their being ‘puffed up in the cause of one against another.’ (1 Cor. 4:6) He rebukes them for their envy, strife, and party spirit; accuses them of being devoted to the cause of their party leaders rather than to the cause of God; and declares that their divisions were rending asunder the body of Christ, and casting a stumbling block in the way of many.
This is the last account which we have of the Corinthian Church in the Apostolic age; so that the curtain falls upon a scene of unchristian strife, too much like that upon which it rose. Yet, though this besetting sin was still unsubdued, the character of the Church, as a whole, was much improved since the days when some of them denied the resurrection, and others maintained their right to practice unchastity.
St. Paul continued three months (Acts 20:3) resident at Corinth; or, at least, he made that city his headquarters during this period. Probably he made excursions thence to Athens and other neighboring Churches, which (as we know) he had established at his first visit throughout all the region of Achaia, and which, perhaps, needed his presence, his exhortations, and his correction, no less than the metropolitan Church. Meanwhile, he was employed in completing that great collection for the Christians of Palestine, upon which we have seen him so long engaged. The Christians of Achaia from whose comparative wealth much seems to have been expected, had already prepared their contributions, by laying aside something for the fund on the first day of every week; (1 Cor. 16:2) and, as this had been going on for more than a year, 3 the sum laid by must have been considerable. This was now collected from the individual contributors, and entrusted to certain treasurers elected by the whole Church, who were to carry it to Jerusalem in company with St. Paul.
While the Apostle was preparing for this journey, destined to be so eventful, one of his converts was also departing from Corinth, in an opposite direction, charged with a commission which has immortalized her name. This was Phoebe, a Christian matron resident at Cenchrea, the eastern port of Corinth. She was a widow of consideration and wealth, who acted as one of the deaconesses of the Church, and was now about to sail to Rome, upon some private business, apparently connected with a lawsuit in which she was engaged. St. Paul availed himself of this opportunity to send a letter by her hands to the Roman Church. His reason for writing to them at this time was his intention of speedily visiting them, on his way from Jerusalem to Spain. He desired, before his personal intercourse with them should begin, to give them a proof of the affectionate interest which he felt for them, although they ‘had not seen his face in the flesh.’ We must not suppose, however, that they were hitherto altogether unknown to him; for we see, from the very numerous salutations at the close of the Epistle, that he was already well acquainted with many individual Christians at Rome. From the personal acquaintance he had thus formed, and the intelligence he had received, he had reason to entertain a very high opinion of the character of the Church; and accordingly he tells them (Rom. 15:14 16) that, in entering so fully in his letter upon the doctrines and rules of Christianity, he had done it not so much to teach as to remind them; and that he was justified in assuming the authority so to exhort them, by the special commission which Christ had given him to the Gentiles.
The latter expression shows us that a considerable proportion, if not the majority, of the Roman Christians were of Gentile origin, which is also evident from several other passages in the Epistle. At the same time, we cannot doubt that the original nucleus of the Church there, as well as in all the other great cities of the Empire, was formed by converts (including more Gentile proselytes than Jews) who had separated themselves from the Jewish synagogue. The name of the original founder of the Roman Church has not been preserved to us by history, nor even celebrated by tradition. This is a remarkable fact, when we consider how soon the Church of Rome attained great eminence in the Christian world, both from its numbers, and from the influence of its metropolitan rank.
Had any of the Apostles laid its first foundation, the fact could scarcely fail to have been recorded. It is therefore probable that it was formed in the first instance, of private Christians converted in Palestine, who had come from the eastern 4 parts of the Empire to reside at Rome, or who had brought back Christianity with them, from some of their periodical visits to Jerusalem, as the ‘Strangers of Rome,’ from the great Pentecost. Indeed, among the immense multitudes whom political and commercial reasons constantly attracted to the metropolis of the world, there could not fail to be representatives of every religion which had established itself in any of the provinces.
On this hypothesis, the earliest of the Roman Christians were Jews by birth, who resided in Rome, from some of the causes above alluded to. By their efforts others of their friends and fellow countrymen (who were very numerous at Rome) would have been led to embrace the Gospel. But the Church so founded, though Jewish in its origin, was remarkably free from the predominance of Judaizing tendencies. This is evident from the fact that so large a proportion of it at this early period were already of Gentile blood; and it appears still more plainly from the tone assumed by St. Paul throughout the Epistle, so different from that in which he addresses the Galatians, although the subject matter is often nearly identical. Yet, at the same time, the Judaizing element, though not preponderating, was not entirely absent. We find that there were opponents of the Gospel at Rome, who argued against it on the ground of the immoral consequences which followed (as they thought) from the doctrine of Justification by Faith; and even charged St. Paul himself with maintaining that the greater man’s sin, the greater was God’s glory. (See Rom. 3:8.)
Moreover, not all the Jewish members of the Church could bring themselves to acknowledge their uncircumcised Gentile brethren as their equals in the privileges of Christ’s kingdom (Rom. 3:9 and 29; 15:7 11); and, on the other hand, the more enlightened Gentile converts were inclined to treat the lingering Jewish prejudices of weak consciences with scornful contempt (Rom. xiv. 3). It was the aim of St. Paul to win the former of these parties to Christian truth, and the latter to Christian love; and to remove the stumbling blocks out of the way of both, by setting before them that grand summary of the doctrine and practice of Christianity which is contained in the following Epistle.
PAUL, a bondsman of Jesus Christ, a called Apostle, set apart to publish the Glad tidings of God, which He promised of old by His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son (who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, but was marked out as the Son of God with mighty power, according to the spirit of holiness, by resurrection from the dead), even Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master. By whom I received grace and apostleship, that I might declare His name among all the Gentiles, and bring them to the obedience of faith. Among whom ye also are numbered, being called by Jesus Christ – to ALL GOD’S BELOVED, CALLED TO BE SAINTS, WHO DWELL IN ROME.
Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all because the tidings of your faith are told throughout the whole world. For God is my witness (whom I serve with the worship of my spirit, in proclaiming the Glad tidings of His Son), how unceasingly I make mention of you at all times in my prayers, beseeching Him that, if it be possible, 1 might now at length have a way open to me according to the will of God, to come and visit you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, for the establishment of your steadfastness; that I may share with you (I would say) in mutual encouragement, through the faith both of you and me together, one with another. But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that I have often purposed to come to you (though hitherto I have been hindered), that I might have some fruit among you also, as I have among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and Barbarians, both to wise and foolish; therefore, as far as in me lies, I am ready to declare the Glad tidings to you that are in Rome, as well as to others. For [even in the chief city of the world] I am not ashamed of the Glad tidings of Christ, seeing it is the mighty power whereby God brings salvation to every man that has faith therein, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. 6 For therein God’s righteousness 7 is revealed, a righteousness which springs from Faith, and which faith receives, as it is written: “By faith shall the righteous live.” (Hab. 2:4)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who keep down the truth [which they know] by the wickedness wherein they live. Because that which can be known of God is manifested in their hearts, God Himself having shown it to them; for His eternal power and Godhead, though they be invisible, yet are seen ever since the world was made, being understood by His works that they [who despised Him] might have no excuse; because although they knew God they glorified Him not as God nor gave Him thanks, but in their reasoning they went astray after vanity, and their senseless heart was darkened. Calling themselves wise, they were turned into fools, and forsook the glory 3 of the imperishable God for idols graven in the likeness of perishable men, or of birds and beasts, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to work uncleanness according to their hearts’ lust. to dishonor their bodies one with another; seeing they had bartered the truth of God for lies, and reverenced and worshipped the things made instead of the Maker, who is blessed forever, Amen.
For this cause God gave them up to shameful passions; for on the one hand their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature; and on the other hand their men, in like manner, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working abomination, and receiving in themselves the due recompense of their transgression. And as they thought fit to cast out the acknowledgment of God, God gave them over to an outcast mind, to do the things that are unseemly. They are filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, depravity, covetousness, maliciousness. They overflow with envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity. They are whisperers, backbiters, God haters; outrageous, overweening, false boasters; inventors of wickedness; undutiful to parents; bereft of wisdom; breakers of covenanted faith; devoid of natural affection; ruthless, merciless. Who knowing the decree of God whereby all that do such things are worthy of death, not only commit the sins, but delight in their fellowship with the sinners.
Wherefore thou, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest others, art thyself without excuse; for in judging thy neighbor thou condemnest thyself, since thy deeds are the same which in him thou dost condemn. And we know that God judges them who do such wickedness, not by their words, but by their deeds. But reckonest thou, O thou that condemnest such evil doers, and doest the like thyself, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? or does the rich abundance of His kindness and forbearance and long suffering cause thee to despise Him? and art thou ignorant that God, by His kindness [in withholding punishment], strives to lead thee to repentance?
But thou in the hardness and impenitence of thy heart, art treasuring up against thyself a store of wrath, which will be manifested in the day of wrath, even the day when God will reveal to the sight of men the righteousness of His judgment. For He will pay to all their due, according to their deeds; to those who with steadfast endurance in well doing seek glory and honor incorruptible, He wills give life eternal; but for men of guile, 8 who are obedient to unrighteousness, and disobedient to the truth, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish shall fall upon them; yea, upon every soul of man that does the work of evil, upon the Jew first, and also upon the Gentile.
But glory and honor and peace shall be given to every man who does the work of good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentiles; for there is no respect of persons with God.
For they who have sinned without [the knowledge of] the Law, shall perish without [the punishment of] the Law; and they who have sinned under the Law, shall be judged by the Law. For not the hearers of the Law 8 are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the Law shall be counted righteous. For when the Gentiles, having not the Law, do by nature the works of the Law, they, though they have not the Law, are a Law to themselves; since they manifest the work of the Law written in their hearts; while their conscience also bears its witness, and their inward thoughts answering one to the other, accuse, or else defend them; [as will be seen] in that day when God shall judge the secret counsels of men by Jesus Christ, according to the G lad tidings which I preach.
Behold thou callest thyself a Jew and restest in the Law, and boastest of God’s favor, and knowest the will of God and givest judgment upon good or evil, being instructed by the teaching of the Law. Thou deemest thyself a guide of the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the simple, a teacher of babes, possessing in the Law the perfect pattern of knowledge and of truth. Thou therefore that teachest thy neighbor, dost thou not teach thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that sayest a mall should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou rob temples? thou that makest thy boast in the Law, by breaking the Law dost thou dishonor God? Yea, as it is written, “Through you is the name of God blasphemed among the Gentiles.” (Isa. 52:5)
For circumcision avails if thou keep the Law; but if thou be a breaker of the Law, thy circumcision is turned into uncircumcision. If then the uncircumcised Gentile keep the decrees of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not he, though naturally uncircumcised, by fulfilling the Law, condemn thee, who with Scripture and circumcision dost break the Law? For he is not a Jew, who is one outwardly; nor is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise comes not from man but from God.
But if this be so, what advantage has the Jew, and what has been the profit of circumcision?’ Much every way. First, because to their keeping were entrusted the oracles of God. For what, though some of them were faithless to the trust? shall we say that their faithlessness destroys the faithfulness of God? That be far from us. Yea, be sure that God is true, though all mankind be liars, as it is written: “That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Psa. 51:4) But if the righteousness of God is established by our unrighteousness [His faithfulness being more clearly seen by our faithlessness], must we not say that God is unjust,” (I speak as men do), “in sending the punishment?” That be far from us, for [if this punishment be unjust], how shall God judge the world? since 9 [of that judgment also it might be said]: ‘If God’s truth has by the occasion of my falsehood more fully shown itself, to the greater manifestation of His glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner? and why should we not say’ (as I myself am slanderously charged with saying) ‘Let us do evil that good may come?’ Of such men the doom is just.
What shall we say then? [having gifts above the Gentiles] have we the pre eminence over them? No, in no wise; for we have already charged all, both Jews and Gentiles, with the guilt of sin. And so it is written, “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God, they are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher, with their tongue they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Psalm 14:1 3)
Now we know that all the sayings of the Law are spoken to those under the Law; [these things therefore are spoken to the Jews] that every mouth might be stopped, and the whole world might be subjected to the judgment of God. For through the works of the Law, “shall no flesh be justified in His sight,” (Psalm 143:2) because by the Law is wrought [not the doing of righteousness, but] the acknowledgment of sin.
But now, not by the Law, but by another way, God’s righteousness is brought to light, whereto the Law and the prophets bear witness; God’s righteous (I say) which comes by faith in Jesus Christ, for all and upon all, who have faith; for there is no difference [between Jew and Gentile], since all have sinned, and none have attained the glorious likeness of God. But they are justified freely by His grace through the ransom which is paid in Christ Jesus. For Him hath God set forth, in His blood to be a propitiatory sacrifice by means of Faith, thereby to manifest the righteousness of God; because in His forbearance God had passed over the former sins of men in the times that are gone by. [Him (I say) hath God set forth in this present time to manifest His righteousness, that He might be just and [yet] might justify the children of Faith. Where then is the boasting [of the Jew]? It has been shut out. By what law? by the law of works? no, but by the law of Faith. For we reckon that by Faith a man is justified, and not by the works of the Law; else God must be the God of the Jews alone; but is He not likewise the God of the Gentiles ? Yea, He is the God of the Gentiles also. For God is one [for all men J, and He will justify through Faith the circumcision of the Jews, and by their Faith will He justify also the un circumcision of the Gentiles.
Do we then by faith bring to nought the Law? Yea, we establish the Law.
What then 1 can we say that our father Abraham gained by the fleshly ordinance? For, if Abraham was justified by works he has a ground of boasting. But he has no ground of boasting with God ; for what says the Scripture: “Abraham had faith in God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6) Now if a man earn his pay by his work, it is not reckoned to him as a favor, but it is paid to him as a debt; but if he earns nothing by his work, but puts faith in Him who justifies the ungodly, then his faith is “reckoned to him for righteousness.”
In like manner David also tells the blessedness of the man, to whom God reckoneth righteousness, not by works but by another way, saying, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgive, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord shall not reckon sin.” (Psalm 32:1,2) Is this blessing then for the circumcised alone? or does it not belong also to the uncircumcised? for we say, “his faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.”
How then was it reckoned to him? when he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not in circumcision but in uncircumcision, And he received circumcision as an outward sign of inward things, a seal to attest the righteousness which belonged to his faith while he was yet uncircumcised. That so he might be father of all the faithful who are uncircumcised, that the righteousness [of Faith] might be reckoned to them also; and father of circumcision to those who are not circumcised only in the flesh, but who also tread in the steps of that Faith which our father Abraham had while yet uncircumcised.
For the promise 10 to .Abraham and his seed that he should inherit the world came not by the Law, but by the righteousness of Faith. For, if this inheritance belong to the children of the Law, Faith is made of no account, and the promise is brought to nought; because the Law brings [not blessings but] punishment, 11 (for where there is no law, there can be no law. breaking). Therefore the inheritance belongs to Faith, that it might be a free gift; that so the promise [not being capable of forfeiture] might stand firm to all the seed of .Abraham, not to his children of the Law alone, but to the children of his Faith; for he is the Father of us all [both Jews and Gentiles], (as it is written, “I have made thee the father of many nations,” (Gen. 17:5) in the sight of God, who saw his faith, even God who makes the dead to live, and calls the things that are not as though they were. For .Abraham had faith in hope beyond hope, that he might become “The father of many nations;” as it was said unto him, “Look toward heaven and tell the stars if thou be able to number them; even so shall thy seed by.” 12 And having no feebleness in his faith, he regarded not his own body which was already dead (being about a hundred years old), nor the deadness of Sarah’s womb; at the promise of God (I say) he doubted not faithlessly, but was filled with the strength of Faith, and gave glory to God; being fully persuaded that what He has promised He is able also to perform. Therefore “his faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.”
But these words were not written for his sake only, but for our sakes likewise; for it will be “reckoned unto righteousness” to us also, who have faith in Him that raised from the dead our Lord Jesus; who was given up to death for our transgressions, and raised again to life for our justification.
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have received entrance into this grace wherein we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we exult also in our sufferings; for we know that by suffering is wrought steadfastness, and steadfastness is the proof of soundness, and proof gives rise to hope; and out hope cannot shame us in the day of trial; because the love of God is shed forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to unto us. For while we were yet helpless [in our sins], Christ at the appointed time died for sinners. Now hardly for a righteous man will any be found to die (although some perchance would even endure death for the good), but God gives proof of His own love to us, because while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
Much more, now that we have been justified in His blood, shall we be saved through Him from the wrath to come. For if, when we were His enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being already reconciled, shall we be saved, by sharing in G His life. Nor is this our hope only for the time to come; but also [in our present sufferings] we exult in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom we have now received reconciliation with God.
This therefore is like the case when through one man [Adam], sin entered into the world and by sin death and so death spread to all mankind because all committed sin. For before the Law was given [by Moses] there was sin in the world; but sin is not the reckoned against the sinner, when there is no law [forbidding] it; nevertheless death reigned from Adam till Moses even over those whose sin [not being the breach of law] did not resemble the sin of Adam. Now Adam is an image of Him that was to come. But far greater is the gift than was the transgression; for if by the sin of the one man [Adam], death came upon the many, much more in the grace of the one man Jesus Christ has the freeness of God’s bounty overflowed unto the many. Moreover the boon [of God] exceeds the fruit of Adam’s sin; for the doom came, out of one offence, a sentence of condemnation; but the gift comes, out of many offences, a sentence of acquittal. For if the reign of death was established by the one man [Adam], through the sin of him alone; far more shall the reign of life be established in those who receive the overflowing fullness of the free gift of righteousness, by the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as the fruit of one offence reached to all men, and brought upon them condemnation [the source of death]; so likewise the fruit of one acquittal shall reach to all, and shall bring justification, the source of life. For as, by the disobedience of the one, the many were made sinners; so by the obedience of the one, the many shall be made righteous. And the Law was added, that sin might abound; I but where sin abounded, the gift of grace has overflowed beyond [the outbreak of sin]; that as sin has reigned in death, so grace might reign through righteousness unto life eternal, by the work of Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? shall we persist in sin that the gift of grace may be more abundant ? God forbid. We who have died to sin, how can we any longer live in sin? or have you forgotten that all of us, when we were baptized into fellowship with Christ Jesus, were baptized into fellowship with His death? With Him therefore we were buried by the baptism wherein we shared His death [when we sank beneath the waters]; that even as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we likewise might walk in newness of life. For if we have been grafted 13 into the likeness of His death, so shall we also share His resurrection. For we know that our old man was crucified with Christ, that the sinful body [of the old man] might be destroyed, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin; (for he that is dead is justified from sin). Now if we have shared the death of Christ, we believe that we shall also share His life; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, can die no more; death has no more dominion over Him. For He died once, and once only, unto sin; but He lives [for ever] unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but living unto God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your dying body, causing you to obey its lusts; nor give up your members to sin, as instruments of unrighteousness; but give yourselves to God, as being restored to life from the dead, and your members to His service as instruments of righteousness; for sin shall not have the mastery over you, since you are not under the Law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not that He to whose service you give yourselves, is your real master, whether sin, whose end is death, or obedience, whose end is righteousness. But God be thanked that you, who were once the slaves of sin, obeyed from your hearts the teaching whereby you were molded anew; and when you were freed from the slavery of sin, you became the bondsmen of righteousness. (I speak the language of common life, to show the weakness of your fleshly nature [which must be in bondage either to the one, or to the other]). For as once you gave up the members of your body for slaves of uncleanness and licentiousness, to work the deeds of license; so now must you give them up for slaves of righteousness to work the deeds of holiness. For when you were the slaves of sin, you were free from the service of righteousness. What fruit had you then in those things, from the deeds whereof you are now ashamed? yea, the end of them is death. But now, being freed from the bondage of sin, and enslaved to the service of God, your fruit is growth in holiness, and its end is life eternal. For the wage of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord and master.
[I say that you are not under the Law ]; or are you ignorant, brethren (for I speak to those who know the Law), that the dominion of the Law over man lasts only during their life? thus the married woman is bound by the Law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband be dead, the Law which bound her to him has lost its hold upon her; so that while her husband is living if she be joined to another man, she will be counted an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from the Law, so as to be no adulteress although joined to another man.
Where you also, my brethren, were made dead to the Law, by [union with] the body of Christ; that you might be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead; that we might bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions occasioned by the Law wrought in our members, leading us to bring forth fruit unto death. But now that we have died [with Christ] the Law wherein we were formerly held fast, has lost its hold upon us: so that we are no longer in the old bondage of the letter, but in the new service of the spirit.
What shall we say then? that the Law is Sin? That be far from US! But then I should not have known what sin was, except through the Law; thus I should not have known the sin of coveting, unless the Law had said “Thou shalt not covet.” (Exodus 20:17) But when sin had gained by the commandment a vantage ground against me , it wrought in me all manner of covetousness (for where these is no law, sin is dead). And I felt that I was alive before, when I knew no law; but when the commandment came, sin rose to life, and I died; and the very commandment whose end is life, was found to be the cause of death; for sin, when it had gained a vantage ground by the commandment, deceived me to my fall, and slew me by the sentence of the Law.
Wherefore the Law indeed is holy, and its commandments are holy, and just, and good. Do I say then that Good became to me Death? Far be that from me. But I say that win wrought this; that so it might be made manifest as sin, in working Death to me through [the knowledge of] Good; that sin might become beyond measure sinful, by the commandment.
For we know that the Law is spiritual; but for me, I am carnal, a slave sold into the captivity of sin. What I do, I acknowledge not; for I so not what I ·would, but what I hate. But if my will is against my deeds, I thereby acknowledge the goodness of the Law. And now it is no more I myself who do the evil, but it is the sin which dwells in me.
For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good abides not; for to will is present with me, but to do the right is absent; the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if my own will is against my deeds, it is no more I myself who do them, but the sin which dwells in me. I find then this law, that though my will is to do good, yet evil is present with me; for I consent gladly to the law of God in my inner man; but I behold another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and making me captive to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God [that He has now delivered me] through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So then in myself, though I am subject in my mind to the law of God, yet in my flesh I am subject to the law of sin.
Now, therefore, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus; for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and death. For God (which was impossible to the Law, because by the flesh it had no power), by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. and on behalf of sin, overcame 14 sin in the flesh; to the end, that the decrees of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit. 15 For they who live after the flesh, mind fleshly things; but they who live after the Spirit mind spiritual things, and the fleshly mind is death; but the spiritual mind is life and peace. Because the fleshly mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor can be; and they whose life is in the Flesh cannot please God. But your life is not in the Flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God be dwelling in you; and if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not Christ’s. But if Christ be in you, though your body be dead, because of sin [to which its nature tends], yet your spirit is life, because of righteousness [which dwells within it]; yea, if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead be dwelling in you, He who raised Christ from the dead shall endow with life also your dying bodies, by His Spirit which dwells within you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors bound not to the Flesh, that we should live after the Flesh [but to the Spirit]; for if you live after the Flesh, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you destroy the deeds of the body, in their death you will attain to life.
For all who are led by God’s Spirit, and they alone, are the sons of God. For you have not received a Spirit of bondage, that you should go back again to the state of slavish fear, but you have received a Spirit of adoption wherein we cry [unto God] saying “Father.” The Spirit itself bears witness with our own spirit, that we are the children of God, And if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; that if now we share His sufferings, we should hereafter share His glory. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are nothing worth, when set against the glory which shall soon be revealed unto us. For the longing of the creation looks eagerly for the time when [the glory of] the sons of God shall be revealed. For the creation was made subject to decay, not by its own will, but because of Him who subjected it thereto, in hope: for the creation itself also shall be delivered from its by slavery to death, and shall gain the freedom of the sons of God when they are glorified. For we know that the whole creation is groaning together, and suffering the pangs of labor, which have not yet brought forth the birth. And not only they, but ourselves also, who have received the Spirit for the first fruits [of our inheritance], even we ourselves are groaning inwardly, longing for the adoption 16 which shall ransom our body from its bondage. For our salvation lies in hope; but hope possessed is not hope, since a man cannot hope for what he sees in his possession; but if we hope for things not seen, we steadfastly endure the present, and long earnestly for the future. And, even as we long for our redemption, so the Spirit gives help to our weakness; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us, with groans [for deliverance] which words cannot utter. But He who searches our hearts knows [though it be unspoken] what is the desire of the Spirit, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Moreover, we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be made like to the pattern of His Son, that many brethren might be joined to Him, the firstborn. And those whom He predestined, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? What accuser can harm God’s chosen? it is God who justifies them. What judge can doom us? It is Christ who died, nay, rather, who is risen from the dead; yea, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can suffering, or straitness of distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or the peril of our lives, or the swords of our enemies? [though we may say,] as it is written, “For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Psalm 44:22)
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, all the Principalities and Powers of Angels, nor things present, nor things to come, nor things above, nor things below, nor any power in the whole creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I speak the truth in Christ (and my conscience bears me witness, with the Holy Spirit’s testimony, that I lie not), I have great heaviness, and unceasing sorrow in my heart; yea, I could wish that I myself were cast out from Christ as an accursed thing, for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; who are the seed of Israel, whom God adopted for His children, whose were the glory of the Shekinah, and the Covenants, and the Lawgiving, and the service of the temple, and the promises of blessing. Whose fathers were the patriarchs, and of whom (as to His flesh) was born the Christ who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Yet I speak not as if the promise of God had fallen to the ground; for not all are Israel who are of Israel, nor because all are the seed of Abraham, are they all the children of Abraham; but “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” (Gen. 21:12) That is, not the children of the flesh of Abraham are the sons of God, but his children of the promise are counted for his seed. For thus spoke the word of promise, saying, “At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Gen. 18:10) [so that Ishmael, although the son of Abraham, had no part in the promise]. And not only so, but[Esau likewise was shut out; for when Rebekah had conceived two sons by the same husband, our forefather Isaac, yea, while they were not yet born, and had done nothing either good or bad (that God’s purpose according to election might abide, coming not from the works of the called, but from the will of The Caller,) it was declared unto her “The elder shall serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23) according to that which is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Mal. 1:2,3)
What shall we say, then? Shall we call God unjust [because He has cast off the seed of Abraham]? That be far from us. For to Moses He saith, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19) So then, the choice comes not from man’s will, nor from man’s speed, but from God’s mercy. And thus the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “Even for this end did I raise thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)
According to his will, therefore, He has mercy on one, and hardens another. Thou wilt say to me, then, “Why does God still blame us? for who can resist His will?” Nay, rather, oh man, who art thou that disputes against God? “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Isa. 14:9) “Hath not the potter power over the clay?” 17 to make out of the same lump one vessel for honor and one for dishonor? But what if God (though willing to show forth His wrath, and to make known His power) endured with much long suffering vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction, [and cast them not at once away]? And what if thus He purposed to make known the riches of His glory bestowed upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared for glory?
And such are we, whom He has called not only from among the Jews, but from among the Gentiles, as He saith also in Hosea, “I will call them my people which were not my people, and her beloved which was not beloved; (Hos. 2:23) and it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there shall they be called the sons of the living God.” (Hos. 1:10) But Isaiah cries concerning Israel, saying, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, [only] the remnant shall be saved; for He doth complete His reckoning, and cuts it short in righteousness; yea, a short reckoning will the Lord make upon the earth.” (Isa. 10:22,23)
And as Isaiah said before, “Except the Lord Sabaoth had left us a seed remaining, we had been as Sodom, and had been made like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa. 1:9)
What shall we say, then? We say that the Gentiles though they sought not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but that the house of Israel, though they sought a law of righteousness, have not attained thereto. And why/ Because they sought it not by faith, but thought to gain it by the works of the Law; for they stumbled against the stone of stumbling, as it is written, “Behold I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; and no man that hath faith in Him shall be confounded.” 18
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved; for I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, yet not guided by knowledge of God; 19 for because they knew not the righteousness of God, and sought to establish their own righteousness, therefore they submitted not to the righteousness of God.
For the end of the Law is Christ, that all may attain righteousness who have faith in Him. For Moses writes concerning the righteousness of the Law, saying, “The man that hath done these things shall live therein;” 20 but the righteousness of faith speaks in this wise. Say not in thine heart, “Who shall ascend into heaven?” 21 that is, “Who can bring down Christ from heaven?”, nor say, “Who shall descend into the abyss?”, that is, “Who can raise up Christ from the dead?” But how speaks it? “The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart;” that is, that is, the Word Faith which we proclaim, saying, ‘If with thy mouth thou shalt confess Jesus for thy Lord, and shalt have faith in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ For faith unto righteousness is in the heart, and confession unto salvation is from the mouth. And so says the Scripture, “No man that hath faith in Him shall be confounded;” 22 for there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, because the same [Jesus] is Lord over all, and He gives richly to all who call upon Him; for “Every man who shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 23
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have put no faith? And how shall they put faith in Him whom they never heard? And how shall they hear of Him if no man bear the tidings? And who shall bear the tidings if no messengers be sent forth? 24
As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of them that bear glad tidings of peace, that bear glad tidings of good things.” 25 Yet some have not hearkened to the glad tidings, as saith Esaias, “Lord, who hath given faith to our teaching?” 26
So then, faith comes by teaching; 27 and our teaching comes by the Word of God. But I say, have they not heard [the voices of the teachers]? Yea, “Their sound has gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the earth.” 28
Again I say, did not Israel know [the purpose of God]? yea, it is said first my Moses, “I will make you jealous against them which are no people, against a Gentile nation without understanding will I make you wrath.” 29
I say, then, must we think that God has cast off His people? 32 That be far from us; for I am myself an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast off His people whom He foreknew. Yea, know ye not what is said in the scriptures of Elias, how he intercedes with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed thy prophets and digged down thine altars, and I only have been left, and they seek my life also.” 33 But what says the answer of God to him? “I have yet left to myself a remnant, even seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
So likewise at this present time there is a remnant [of the house of Israel] chosen by gift of 6 grace. But if their choice be the gift of grace, it can no more be deemed the wage of works; for the gift that is earned is no gift: or if it be gained by works, it is no longer the gift of grace; for work claims wages and not gifts. ’What follows then? That which Israel seeks, Israel has not won; but the chosen have won it, and the rest were blinded, as it is written, “God hath given them a spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this way.” 34 And David
says, “Let their table be made a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block and a recompense unto them. Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back always.” 35
Shall we say, then, 36 “they have stumbled to the end that they might fall?” That be far from us; but rather their stumbling has brought salvation to the Gentiles, “to provoke Israel in jealousy.” Now if their stumbling enriches the world, and if the lessening of their gain gives wealth to the Gentiles, how much more must their fullness do!
For to you who are Gentiles I say that, as Apostle of the Gentiles, I glorify my ministration for this end if perchance I might provide to jealousy my kinsmen, and save some among them. For if the casting of them out is the reconciliation of the world [to God], what must the gathering in of them be, but life from the dead?
Now, if the first of the dough be hallowed, the whole mass is thereby hallowed; and if the root be hallowed, so are also the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou being of the wild olive stock wast grafted in amongst them, and made to share the root and richness of the olive, yet boast not over the branches: but if thou art boastful thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, “the branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’
It is true, for lack of faith they were broken off, and by faith thou standest in their place: be not high minded, but fear; for if’ God spared not, the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and the severity of God; towards them who fell, severity, but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue steadfast to His goodness; for otherwise thou too shalt be cut off. And they also, if they persist not in their faithlessness, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in where they were before. For if thou wast cut out from that which by nature was the wild olive, and wast grafted against nature into the fruitful olive, how much more shall these, the natural branches, be grafted into the fruitful stock from whence they sprang ?
For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness upon a part of Israel until the full body of the Gentiles shall have come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, “Out of Zion shall come the deliverer, and He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them.” 37 “When I shall take away their sins.” 38
In respect of the Glad tidings [that it might be borne to the Gentiles], they are God’s enemies for your sakes; but in respect of God’s choice, they are His beloved for their fathers’ sakes: for no change of purpose can annul God’s gifts and call. And as in times past you were yourselves disobedient to God, but have now received mercy upon their disobedience; so in this present time they have been disobedient, that upon your obtaining mercy they likewise might obtain mercy. For God has shut up all together under disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all. O depth of the bounty, and the wisdom and the knowledge of God; how unfathomable are His judgments, and how unsearchable His paths ! Yea, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counselor?” 39 Or, “Who hath first given unto God, that he should deserve a recompense?” 40
For from Him is the beginning, and by Him the life, and in Him the end of all things.
Unto Him be glory forever. Amen.
I EXHORT you, therefore, brethren, as you would acknowledge the mercies of God, to offer your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and well pleasing unto God, which is your reasonable worship. And be not conformed to the fashion of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by an unerring test you may discern the will of God, even that which is good, and acceptable, and perfect.
For through the grace bestowed upon me [as Christ’s Apostle], I warn every man among you not to think of himself more highly that he ought to thing, but to seek a sober mind, according to the measure of faith which God has given him.
For as we have many limbs, which are all members of the same body, though they have not all the same office; so we ourselves are all one body in Christ, and fellow members one of another; but we have gifts according to the grace which God has given us. He that has the gift of prophecy, let him exercise it according to the proportion of his faith.
He that has the gift of ministration, let him minister; let the teacher labor in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation. He who gives, let him give in singleness of mind. He who rules, let him rule diligently. He who shows pity, let him show it gladly. Let your love be without feigning. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another in brotherly love; in honor let each set his neighbor above himself. Let your diligence be free from sloth, let your spirit grow with zeal; be true bondsmen of your Lord.
In your hope be joyful; in your sufferings be steadfast; in your prayers be unwearied. Be liberal to the needs of the saints. And show hospitality to the stranger. Bless your persecutors; yea, bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of one mind amongst yourselves. Set not your heart on high things, but suffer yourselves to be borne along with the lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits. Repay no man evil for evil. “Be provident of good report in the sight of all men.” 41 If it be possible, as far as lies in yourselves, keep peace with all men.
Revenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath [of God];for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” 42 Therefore, “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.” Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Let every man submit himself to the authorities of government; for all authority comes from God, and the authorities which now are, have been set in their place by God: therefore, he who sets himself against the authority, resists the ordinance of God; and they who resist will bring judgment upon themselves. For the magistrate is not terrible to good works, but to evil. Wilt thou be fearless of his authority? do what is good, and thou shalt have its praise. For the magistrate is God’s minister to thee for good.
But if thou art an evil doer, be afraid; for not by chance does he bear the sword [of justice], being a minister of God, appointed to do vengeance upon the guilty. Wherefore you must needs submit, not only for fear, but also for conscience sake; for this also is the cause why you pay tribute, because the authorities of government are officers of God’s will, and this is the very end of their daily work.
Pay, therefore, to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; customs to whom customs; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no debt to any man, save the debt of love alone; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For the law which says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet.” 43 Love works no ill to his neighbor; therefore Love is the fulfillment of the Law.
This do, knowing the season wherein we stand, and that for us it is high time to awake out of sleep, for our salvation is already nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk (as in the light of day) in seemly guise; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in dalliance and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and take no thought to please your fleshly lusts.
Him who is weak in his faith receive into your fellowship, imposing no determinations of doubtful questions. 44 Some have faith that they may eat all things; others, who are weak, eat herbs alone. 45 Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, nor let him who abstains judge him who eats, for God has received him among His people.
Who art thou that judges another’s servants? To his own master he must stand or fall; but he shall be made to stand, for God is able to set him up.
There are some who esteem one day above another; and again there are some who esteem all days alike; let each be fully persuaded in his own mind. He who regards the day, regards it unto the Lord. He who eats, eats unto the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who abstains, abstains unto the Lord, and gives thanks to God likewise.
For not unto himself does anyone of us either live or die; but whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; therefore, living or dying, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died, and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
But thou, why judgest thou thy brother? Or thou, why despisest thou thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. And so it is written, “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall acknowledge God.” 46
So, then, everyone of us shall give account to God [not of his brethren, but] of himself. Let us then judge each other no more, but let this rather be your judgment, to put no stumbling block or cause of falling in your brother’s way. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is in itself unclean; but whatever a man thinks unclean, is unclean to him. And if for meat thou grievest thy brother, thou hast ceased to walk by the rule of love. Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died.
I say then, let not your good be evil spoken of. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit; and he who lives in these things as Christ’s bondsman is well pleasing to God, and cannot be condemned by men. Let us therefore follow the things which make for peace, such as may build us up together into one. Destroy not thou the work of God for a meal of meat. All things indeed [in themselves] are pure; but to him that eats with stumbling all is evil. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do any other thing, whereby thy brother is made to stumble. Hast thou faith [that nothing is unclean]? keep it for thine own comfort before God. Happy is he who condemns not himself by his own judgment.
But he who doubts, is thereby condemned if he eats, because he has not faith that he may eat; and every faithless deed is sin.
And we, who are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for good ends, to build him up. For so Christ pleased not Himself, but in Him was fulfilled that which is written, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell upon me.” 47 For our instruction is the end of all which was written of old; that by steadfast endurance, and by the counsel of the Scriptures, we may hold fast our hope. Now may God, from whom both counsel and endurance come, grant you to be of one mind together, according to the will of Christ, that you may all [both strong and weak], with one heart and voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore, receive one another into fellowship, to the glory of God, even as Christ also received you.
For I say that Jesus Christ came to be a minister of the circumcision, to maintain the truthfulness of God, and confirm the promises made to our fathers; and that the Gentiles should praise God for His mercy, as it is written, “For this cause I will acknowledge thee among the Gentiles, and will sing unto thy name.” 48 And again it is said, “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people;” 49 and again, “Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and laud Him, all ye peoples.” 50 and again Esaias says, “There shall come the root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.” 51
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the mighty working of the Holy Spirit.
But I am persuaded, my brethren, not only by the reports of others, but by my own judgment, that you are already full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able, of yourselves to admonish one another. Yet I have written to you somewhat boldly in parts [of this letter], to remind you [rather than to teach you], because of that gift of grace which God bestowed upon me that I should be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, serving in the Glad tidings of God, that I might present the Gentiles to God, as a priest presents the offering, 52 a sacrifice well pleasing to Him, hallowed by the working of the Holy Spirit. I have therefore the power of boasting in Christ Jesus, concerning the things of God; for I will not date [as some do] to glorify myself for the labors of others, but I will speak only of the works which Christ has wrought by me, to bring the Gentiles to obedience, by word and deed, with the might of signs and wonders, the might of the Spirit of God; so that going forth from Jerusalem, and round about as far as Illyricum, I have fulfilled my task in bearing the Glad tidings of Christ. And my ambition was to bear it according to this rule, [that I should go] not where the name of Christ was known (lest I should be building on another man’s foundation), but [where it was unheard] ; as it is written, “To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see; and the people who have not heard shall understand.” 53
This is the cause why I have often been hindered from coming to you. But now that I have no longer room enough [for my labors] in these regions, and have had a great desire to visit you these many years, so soon as I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you; for I hope to see you on my way, and to be set forward on my journey thither by you, after I have in some measure satisfied my desire of your company.
But now I am going to Jerusalem, being employed in a ministration to the saints. For the provinces of Macedonia and Achaia have willingly undertaken to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Willingly, I say, they have done this; and indeed they are their debtors; for since the Gentiles have shared in the spiritual goods of the brethren in Jerusalem, they owe it in return to minister to them in their earthly goods. When, therefore, I have finished this task, and have given to them in safety the fruit of this collection, I will come from thence, by you, into Spain. And I am sure that when I come to you, my coming will receive the fullness of Christ’s blessing. But I beseech you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love which the Spirit gives, to help me in my conflict with your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the disobedient in Judea, and that the service which I have undertaken for Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Saints; that so I may come to you in joy, by God’s will, and may be refreshed in your companionship. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a ministering servant of the Church at Cenchrea; that you may receive here in the Lord, as the saints should receive one another, and aid her in any business wherein she needs your help; for she has herself aided many, and me also among the rest.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow laborers in the work of Christ Jesus, who, to save my life, laid down their own necks; who are thanked, not by me alone, but by all the Churches of the Gentiles. Greet likewise the Church which assembles at their house.
Salute Epaenetus my dearly beloved, who is the first fruits of Asia unto Christ.
Salute Mary, who labored much for me.
Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and fellow prisoners, who are well known among the Apostles, and who were also in Christ before me.
Salute Amplias, my dearly beloved in the Lord.
Salute Urbanus, my fellow workman in Christ’s service, and Stachys my dearly beloved.
Salute Apelles, who has been tried and found trustworthy in Christ’s work.
Salute those who are of the household of Aristobulus.
Salute Herodion, my kinsman.
Salute those of the household of Narcissus who
are in the Lord’s fellowship.
Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, the faithful laborers in the Lord’s service.
Salute Persis the dearly beloved, who has labored much in the Lord.
Salute Rufus, the chosen in the Lord and his mother, who is also mine.
Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them.
Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus and. his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
Salute one another with the kiss of holiness.
The Churches of Christ [in Achaia] salute you.
I exhort you, brethren, to keep your eyes upon those who cause divisions, and cast stumbling blocks in the way of others, contrary to the teaching which you have learned. Shun them that are such; for the master whom they serve is not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly: and by their fair speaking and flattery they deceive the hearts of the guileless. I say this, because the tidings of your obedience have been told throughout the world. On your own behalf, therefore, I rejoice: but I wish you not only to be simple in respect of evil, but to be wise for good. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet speedily.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Timotheus, my fellow laborer, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. I, Tertius, who have written this letter, salute you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is the host, not of me alone, but also of the whole Church, salutes you.
Erastus, the treasurer of the city, and the brother Quartus, salute you.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Now I commend you unto Him who is able to keep you steadfast, according to my Glad tidings, and the preaching of Jesus Christ whereby is unveiled the mystery which was kept secret in eternal times of old, but has now been brought to light, and made known to all the Gentiles by the Scriptures of the Prophets, by command of the eternal God; that the Gentiles might be led to the obedience of faith unto Him, the only wise God, I commend you through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever. AMEN
(1.) St. Paul had never yet been to Rome (1:11, 13, 15).
(2.) He was intending to go to Rome, after first visiting Jerusalem (15:23-28). This was exactly his purpose during his three months’ residence at Corinth. See Acts 19:21.
(3.) He was going to bear a collection of alms from Macedonia and Achaia to Jerusalem (15:26 and 31). This he did carry from Corinth to Jerusalem at the close of this three months’ visit. See Acts 24:17.
(4.) When he wrote the Epistle, Timothy, Sosipater, Gaius, and Erastus were with him (xvi. 21, 23) ; of these, the first three are expressly mentioned in the Acts as having been with him at Corinth during the three months’ visit (see Acts 20:4) ; and the last, Erastus, was himself a Corinthian, and had been sent shortly before from Ephesus (Acts 19:22) with Timothy on the way to Corinth. Compare 1 Cor. 16:10, 11.
(5.) Phoebe, a deaconess of the Corinthian port of Cenchrea, was the bearer of the Epistle (16:1) to Rome.
In applying this term Antinomian to the ‘all things lawful’ party at Corinth, we do not of course mean that all their opinions were the same with those which have been held by modern (so-called) Antinomians. But their characteristic (which was a belief that the restraints of outward law were abolished for Christians) seems more accurately expressed by the term Antinomian, than by any other.↩
2 Cor. 2:6-8↩
2 Cor. 8:10 and 2 Cor. 9:2↩
We cannot, perhaps, infer anything as to the composition of the Church at Rome, from the fact that St. Paul writes to them in Greek instead of Latin; because Hellenistic Greek was (as we have seen, p.32) his own native tongue, in which he seems always to have written; and if any of the Roman Christians did not understand that language, interpreters were not wanting in their own body who could explain it to them. Unquestionably, however, he assumes that his readers are familiar with the Septuagint (Rom. iv. 18). It is rather remarkable that Tertius, who acted as St. Paul’s amanuensis, was apparently (to judge from his name) a Roman Christian of the Latin section of the Church. It cannot, of course, be supposed that all the Roman Christians were of Oriental origin and Grecian speech. Yet it is certain that Greek remained the prevailing language in the Church of Rome for several centuries.↩
The date of this Epistle is very precisely fixed by the following statements contained in it :↩
St. Paul uses the word for ‘Greek’ as the singular of the word for ‘Gentiles’ because the singular of the latter is not used in the sense of a Gentile. Also, the plural ‘Greeks’ is used when individual Gentiles are meant; ‘Gentiles’ when Gentiles collectively are spoken of.↩
Not Righteousness, the attribute of God, but the righteousness which God considers such; and which must, therefore, be the perfection of man’s moral nature. This righteousness may be looked on under two aspects; 1. in itself, as a moral condition of man; 2. in its consequences, as involving a freedom from guilt in the sight of God. Under the first aspect it is the possession of a certain disposition of mind called faith. Under the second aspect it is regarded as something reckoned by God to the account of man – an acquittal of past offenses.↩
The Jews were “hearers of the Law’ in their synagogues, every Sabbath.↩
In this most difficult passage we must bear in mind that tit. Paul is constantly referring to the arguments of his opponents, which were familial’ to his readers at Rome, but are not so to ourselves. Hence the apparently abrupt and elliptical character of the argument, and the necessity of supplying ~something to make the connection intelligible.↩
The land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever,’ Gen. 13:15. St. Paul (according to his frequent practice in dealing with the Old Testament) allegorizes this promise. So that, as Abraham is (allegorically viewed) the type of Christian faith, he is also the heir of the world, whereof the sovereignty belongs to his spiritual children, by virtue of their union with their Divine Head.↩
Literally, “wrath”; i.e. the wrath of God punishing the transgressions of the Law.↩
Gen. xvii. 5. In such quotations, a few words were sufficient to recall the whole passage to Jewish readers; therefore, to make them intelligible to modern readers, it is sometimes necessary to give the context. It should be observed that this quotation alone is sufficient to prove that the majority of those to whom St. Paul was writing were familiar with the Septuagint version; for to none others could such a curtailed citation be intelligible. The hypothesis that the Homan Christians had originally been Jewish proselytes, of Gentile birth, satisfies this condition. See the introductory remarks to this Epistle.↩
Literally, have become partakers of a vital union [as that of a graft with the tree into which it is grafted] of the representation of his death [in baptism]. The meaning appears to be, if we have shared the reality of his death, whereof we have undergone the likeness.↩
Literally, condemned, i.e. put it to rebuke, worsted it. Compare Heb. 11:7↩
The contrast between the victory thus obtained by the spirit, with the previous subjection of the soul to the flesh, is thus beautifully described by Tertullian : “When the Soul is wedded to the Spirit, the Flesh follows-like the handmaid who follows her wedded mistress to the husband’s home-being thenceforward no longer the servant of the Soul, but of the Spirit.”↩
Adoption to sonship; by which a slave was emancipated and made ‘no longer a slave but a son.’ (Gal. 4:7.) In one sense St. Paul taught that Christians had already received this adoption (compare Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:5, Eph. 1:1) ; they were already made the sons of God in Christ. (Rom. 8:16, Gal. 3:26.) So, in a yet lower sense, the Jews under the old dispensation had the adoption to sonship; see 9:4. But in this passage he teaches us that this adoption is not perfect during the present life; there is still a higher sense, in which it is future, and the object of earnest longing to those who are already in the lower sense the sons of God.↩
Jeremiah 18:6, not quoted literally, but according to the sense. In this and in other similar references to the Old Testament, a few words were sufficient to recall the whole passage to St. Paul’s Jewish readers (compare Rom. 4:18) ; therefore. to comprehend his argument, it is often necessary to refer to the context of the passage from which he quotes. The passage in Jeremiah referred to is as follows :-Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hands of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter, saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in my hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to pull down and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. Similar passages might be quoted from the Apocryphal books; and it might be said that the above cited passage of Isaiah was referred to here. Yet this from Jeremiah is so apposite to St. Paul’s argument, that he probably refers especially to it.↩
Isaiah 28:16, apparently from LXX, but not verbatim, “stone of stumbling and rock of offence” being interpolated and not found exactly anywhere in Isaiah. In Isa. 8:14 there are words that are nearly similar.↩
The word for knowledge here is very forcible; and is the same which is used in 1 Cor 13:12 and Col. 1:10.↩
Levit. 18:5 (LXX) ; quoted also Gal. 3:12.↩
Deut. 30:12. St. Paul here, though he quotes from the LXX. (verse 8 is verbatim), yet slightly alters it, so as to adapt it better to illustrate his meaning. His main statement is, , the Glad-tidings of salvation is offered, and needs only to be accepted; to this he transfers the description which Moses has given of the Law, viz. ’the Lord is nigh thee; and the rest of the passage of Deuteronomy he applies in a higher sense than that in which Moses had written it (according to the true Christian mode of using the Old Testament), not to the Mosaic Law, but to the Gospel of Christ. The passage in Deuteronomy is as follows; “This commandment which I command thee this day is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off, It is not in heaven that thou shouldst say, Who shall go up for us to heaven and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and 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, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”↩
Isa. 28:16. See 9:33.↩
Joel 2:32, LXX.↩
This is a justification of the mission of the Apostles to the Gentiles, which was an offence to the Jews. See Acts 22:22.↩
Isa. 52:7, LXX↩
Isa. 53:7, apparently from the Hebrew and not from LXX.↩
There is no English word which precisely represents ajkohin its subjective as well as objective meaning. See note on 1 Thess. 2:13.↩
Psalm 19:4 (LXX). In the psalm this is said of ‘the heavens’ which by their wonderful phenomena declare the glory of their Creator. There seems to be no comparison in the psalm between the heavens and the word of God. Paul here quotes the Old Testament, not in its primary meaning, but applying it in a higher sense, or perhaps only as a poetical illustration. As to the assertion of the universal preaching of the Gospel, Dean Alford well observes that it is not made in a geographicalbut in areligious sense. The Gospel was now preached to all nations, and not to the Jews along.↩
Deut 32:21, LXX↩
Isa. 65:1 (LXX with transposition)↩
Isa. 65:2 (LXX)↩
Alluding to Psalm 94:14, Jehovah shall not utterly cast out His people. Perhaps Paul’s antagonists accused him of contradicting this prophecy.↩
1 Kings 19:10.↩
This quotation seems to be compounded of Deut 29:4 and Isaiah 29:10.↩
Psalm 69:23, 24, almost verbatim.↩
Literally, I say then, shall we conclude that …↩
Isaiah 40:13 (LXX, nearly verbatim)↩
Job 41:11 (according to the sense of the Hebrew, but not the LXX)↩
This is a quotation nearly verbatim from Prov. 3:4 (LXX).↩
Deut. 30:35 (LXX)↩
Literally, not acting so as to make distinctions[or determinations]which belong to disputatious reasoning.↩
These were probably Christians of Jewish birth, who so feared lest they should (without knowing it) eat meat which had been offered to idols or was otherwise ceremonially unclean (which might easily happen in such a place as Rome), that they abstained from meat altogether. Thus Josephus mentions some Jewish priests who, from such conscientious scruples, abstained while prisoners in Rome from all animal food. So Daniel and his fellow-captives in Babylon refused the king’s meat and wine, and ate pulse alone, that they might not defile themselves (Dan. 1:8-12). The tone and precepts of this chapter of Romans correspond with 1 Cor. 8.↩
Isaiah 45:23 (LXX)↩
Literally, a minister of Jesus Christ unto the Gentiles, a priest presenting an offering in respect of the Glad-tidings of God, that the Gentiles might be offered up as an offering well-pleasing unto Him. The same thing is said under a somewhat difference metaphor in 2 Cor. 11:2.↩