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4. Therefore, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, thus incarnate, and thus raised to glory, there are glad tidings of great joy (Gospel) declared to all men. (chap. i. 1--5.) Then follows the salutation to all the saints in Rome, and the benediction of the Apostle ; his thanksgiving to God for the report of their faith ; his desire to visit them, to impart some gift of the Spirit, for their establishment, that he might have fellowship in the Spirit with them (συμπαρακληθήναι εν υμιν) through their mutual faith ; his purpose to come to them, which had been hindered ; his debt to all men, in all places; and his readiness to preach the Gospel to them at Rome, not being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (vers. 6–16).
II. The definition of the Gospel, glanced at in the name of Christ, as above-namely, “ good news from God concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord”-is now more fully stated (being, in truth, the substance or subject-matter of the whole Epistle) thus : “ The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to Jews first (preached), but to Greeks also; for in it (rather, in him) the righteousness of God by faith is revealed to faith, as it is written, The righteous by faith shall live.” Observe in this definition : 1. There are good news to man concerning Christ. 2. The righteousness of God (the Father) is revealed. 3. This revelation is made in Christ—his person, work, and
glory; (his humiliation and exaltation); 4. And that by faith (the faith of Christ); 5. And made unto faith in order to be believed); 6. Becoming the power of God unto salvation to every one that
believeth. 7. Which salvation is life, life of righteousness, life of Christ,
life eternal. 8. This revelation of the righteousness of God was made to the
Jews first, but now to the Gentiles also, to all men, to
every creature. [This enumeration of the distinct points of the proposition contained in vers. 16, 17, will be found to be, as near as possible, in the order of the discourse of the Epistle, onwards to the end. of the xi th chapter.]
III. The good news concerning Christ being declared to all men, the condition of man, as the subject of God's love, and the being for whose benefit this Gospel is revealed, is first detailed. Man stands in need of salvation, being universally overwhelmed with all evils; spiritual, moral, and physical.
1. The Gentiles are declared to be full of every thing against which the wrath of God is revealed from heaven,
(a) Ungodliness, unrighteousness, inexcusable ignorance, vanity, folly, and disgusting idolatry (18--23).
(6) Uncleanness through the lusts of the heart, and all vile affections (24-27).
(c) Void of judgment, and filled with all the venom and power of Satan (28-31)*.
(d) Therefore the judgment of God (dikawwua tov Okov) against such evil workers is, that they are worthy of death.
(e) But, instead of this righteous judgment of God being now executed, behold! riches of goodness, and forbearance, and long suffering, now bestowed on man, to lead him to repentance (ii. 1-4).
(f) And a day of judgrnent by Jesus Christ revealed, when the secrets all men shall be judged according to the Gospel (5-16).
2. The Jews are also proved to lie under the same righteous condemnation, by their
(a) Apostasy from the law of God, manifested in their vain confidence, formality, hypocrisy, and disobedience of all the holy commandments; (17—23);
(6) Blasphemy of the name of God among the Gentiles, caused by them; (24);
(c) Peculiar aggravation of their sin by reason of the privileges they enjoyed (25—29; iii. 1-8).
3. Both Jews and Gentiles thus together condemned; the word of God verified which had been spoken of old to warn them of sin; every mouth stopped, and all the world guilty before God, or subject to the judgment of God (9—19)+.
IV. The good news concerning Christ, to be declared to all men, reveal the righteousness of God the Father, in, or by, the faith of Jesus Christ, and not by any works of law, for law can but exhibit or make manifest sin. But as in the development of this part of the mystery of God's dealings by sinners, all the points of the preceding definition of the Gospel, in chap. i. 16, 17, are necessarily absorbed, let us follow the argument of the Epistle here very closely (vers. 20—30). 1. By deeds of law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of
God (for by law is the knowledge of sin). 2. But now the righteousness of God without law is manifested; 3. Being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 4. Even the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ, 5. Unto all, and 6. Upon all them that believe
# In this fearful detail of the desolation of human nature we see the exact reversal of the image of God, which stood in knowledge, holiness, and royal dominion : man was made to be the prophet, priest, and king of God; but now, alas ! fallen from his glory, he is the prophet, priest, and slave of the devil.
+ Such is the ruined condition of man, lost, fallen, ready for righteous destruction at the hand of God. But the subject of the Epistle is salvation, not destruction; and therefore the method of God's dealing by his creatures, and the end and purpose of it, is next detailed.
7. For there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come
short of the glory of God: 8. Being justified freely by his grace, 9. Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; 10. Whom God hath set forth a propitiation (a mercy-seat),
through faith in his blood 11. To declare His righteousness through the remission of sins
that are past, in, or by, the forbearance of God : 12. To declare, in this present time,or season, his righteousness; 13. That he might be just, and the justifier, or maker righteous,
of him (who is) of the faith of Jesus. 14. Thus all boasting is excluded; and 16. The conclusion is, that a 'man is inade righteous by faith
without deeds of law : for God is the one God of both Jews and Gentiles, and makes the former righteous by
faith, and the latter also through faith. In this passage we have the full exposition of the Gospel, and the argument of the entire Epistle, as will be more readily perceived by arranging the several propositions in order, and slightly anticipating the bearing of each on the subsequent parts of the discourse, as nearly as possible in the words of the Epistle.
1. All men have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ;--are ungodly; enemies to God; under condemnation, and death, the wages of sin.
2. No man can be justified in the sight of God by deeds of law-for law worketh wrath; and cannot reconcile, but banishes from God, and holds under death all offenders against him.
3. But there is redemption in one man, Christ Jesus, who, being made of the seed of David, under the law, in the likeness of flesh of sin, hath done what law could not do-made peace or atonement by his blood--and, being raised from the dead, has borne away the curse (banishment and death), and changed the condition and destiny of all flesh, by bringing life and immortality to light.
4. Through which redemption of the nature of man in the person of Jesus Christ (God and man in two natures, but one person), all are now justified freely by the grace of God—that is, redeemed from under the law, placed now under grace, and committed to abide the righteous judgment of Christ, by the Gospel, in the resurrection day.
5. God hath thus, in the gift of his Son, manifested his righteousness without law; declared his grace, his love, his holiness, his faithfulness-in a word, his Name,
6. As that Name (forgiving sin, yet not clearing the guilty) was witnessed before by the law, and by all the prophets, in all the Holy Scriptures.
7. This manifestation of the righteousness of God without
law is by the faith of Jesus Christ. Jesus believed God, gave glory to God, lived unto God, yielding all his members always as instruments of righteousness unto holiness, brought forth fruit unto God, condemned sin in the flesh, and, having passed into death depending on the Father's faithful promise, was raised from the dead, and made both Lord and Christ, the Judge of all flesh, Lord both of the dead and living, to whom every knee must bow, and every tongue confess.
8. God hath manifested his righteousness in having set forth Jesus Christ a propitiatory (a mercy-seat) through faith in his blood, where He meets with sinners, and communes with them from above of all his free gift of love to them in putting away their sins, and speaking glad tidings of peace and reconciliation. Compare Exod. xxv. 17–22, with Heb. x. 5–14.
9. — To declare the righteousness of God through the remission of by-pastsins in his forbearance, who delivered Jesus for our offences and raised him again for our justification, fulfilling what was witnessed in the law and the prophets by the day of atonement (Lev. xvi.). .
10. —To declare the righteousness of God in this present time or season, (£v TỤ VUV kaipo) the day of grace, when love and reconciliation and liberty are proclaimed to all men, being what was witnessed by the year of Jubilee (Lev. xxv.); every bond loosed, every debtor and slave set free, every forfeiture restored, and all commanded to return to enjoy what God had given them.
11.--And this unto all men, to every creature; to lead them to repentance, to call upon the name of the Lord, to confess the Lord Jesus, and to believe that God raised him from the dead ; that so they all might be saved.
12. -- And upon all them that believe; making them righteous and blessed in giving glory to God, in having peace with him, and access to him, and joy in the hope of his glory, because the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto them; thus making them dead to sin, but alive unto righteousness; to be free from the law of sin and death, and to fulfil the righteousness of the law, by walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit; in a word, by having the Spirit of God dwelling in them, preparing them for the glory to be revealed in them, in the day of the manifestation of the sons of God: (in the words of the first definition, chap. i. 16, being to them the power of God unto salvation).
13. In order that God might be thus manifested just, even making righteous and blessed him that is of the faith of Jesus (Tov EK TLOTEWÇ Ingov), who believes God, and walks not
after the flesh, but after the Spirit, who also bears witness with his spirit that he is a child of God; and if a child, then an heir, an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ.
14. Thus all boasting is excluded ; the Gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ being declared to poor, lost, self-destroyed sinners; the righteousness of God the Father being manifested in the outset without law, in the faith of Jesus Christ the Son-the power applying and quickening, and conforming to Christ, being the power of God the Spirit;-and the salvation of the believer shewn in the end to be the manifestation of the foreknowledge and predestinating purpose of God.
15. And the whole mystery is wound up in one word of conclusion, that a man can be made righteous in the sight of God only by faith, without any deeds of Law; because God is the one God of Jew and Gentile, and there is but one Mediator, one way of access, one Spirit, one body, one bope, one glory to be revealed, even as there is but one love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
V. Having thus seen the method and purpose of the manifestation of the righteousness of God, we are next called to mark the grounds upon which God calls for the faith of man, and the results that necessarily attend the faith of the Gospel.
And first, the question, 'Does the faith of the Gospel make void Law ?' is put and answered : By no means; yea, faith is the establishment of law, as the case of Abraham most clearly proves, who did not find righteousness in a way pertaining to the flesh-by any works of law-but simply by believing what God said to him. Now God's testimony concerning Abraham is, that he was a righteous man ; being a believer, yea, the father of all believers; not considering obstacles, however great, but strong in faith, giving glory to God; and therefore God declared him righteous, and he received and enjoyed the blessing : which blessing, as described by David in Psalm xxxii. is the enjoyment of God by a heart in which there is no guile, through the gospel of forgiveness of iniquity and non-imputation of sin, which is only to be found in Christ. Thus the righteousness of Abraham, and the blessedness described by David, being one and the same, are set forth to all men as the law or constitution of things under the Gospel; the one having been declared long before the Law was given (430 years, Gal. iii. 17), and the other being the eternal and unchangeable rule of blessedness, the enjoyment of God (iii. 31-iv. 22).
VI. But the truth revealed unto us, Gentiles, is different from what was declared to Abraham, although faith in God be the law of blessedness in both ; and the record to us of Him that raised
Jesus our Lord from the dead is, that Jesus was de