« PreviousContinue »
livered for our offences, and raised again for our justification (iv. 23–25).
VII. Therefore, as this Gospel of Christ is to every believer the power of God unto salvation, making him righteous or blessed, we, having become righteous through faith in this true record, are blessed in having
1. Peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ :
3. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God : and not only so, but,
4. We glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad (poured forth) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us. (v. 1-5) *.
VIII. Having thus in a measure anticipated the effect of the manifestation of the righteousness of God upon every one that believeth-namely, salvation-we are next taught fully the groundwork of all the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; in other words, what God hath done for us, for the nature of man, in the person of Christ, independent of onr faith, in preparing the object of our faith ; and what we receive and enjoy only through faith : in the following argument (v. 6—21):
1. When we were without strength-ungodly sinners-enemies— lying under the curse of death, through sin ;
2. God commended his love towards us, in that Christ died for us, and by his death reconciled us to God, and by his blood justified us from that curse :
3. So that, as by one man the sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and through the offence of one the many were dead; now much more by the obedience of one, by the righteousness of one, the grace of God, and the gift by grace, by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto the many (οι πολλοι--τους πολλους).
4. And therefore the love of God in the gift of his Son, who hath put away sin and removed the condemnation, is upon all men unto justification of life, shewn in all riches of
* As we saw, in the fearful portrait of fallen man, the exact reversal of the image of God wherein he was created ; so here we find the full recovery of that image, as shewn in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ : peace, the fruit of acquaintance with God, restoring man to his dignity of prophet ; access, the high and holy privilege of priest ; and joy in the hope of the glory, the earnest now of his reigning with Christ as King : and all this love in the midst of the present evil world enjoyed by faith, through the Spirit, as Jesus enjoyed it in the days of his humiliation ; for the believer must follow his footsteps in every thing ; suffering with him now, glorified with him hereafter; deliverance from sin now, and from suffering and death hereafter.
goodness and forbearance now, and to be declared openly hereafter in the resurrection of all flesh *.
5. But Jesus our Lord was raised from the dead to manifest the righteousness of God upon all them that believe : for although justification is by his blood, and reconciliation by his death, salvation is through his life-that is, the Holy Ghost, given to the believer; who alone can shed abroad in our hearts the love of God, and cause us to joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And by thus receiving of the abundance of the grace and of the gift of the righteousness, we shall reign in life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is salvation.
IX. Here, then, we perceive at once the end of all God's dealings with us to be, to make us boly, to conform us to the image of his Son; that we may be like him now, and with him in glory for ever : and the solemn question is, By what power can we be made to cease from sin now, and be transformed into the likeness of his glory hereafter? which is thus largely answered ; We, who believe the Gospel-having peace, and access, and joy in the hope of the glory of God, and patience, and experience, and unashamed hope, all because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, given unto us—may not continue in sin. For
a. We are dead to sin. In the person of our Lord Jesus, the God-Man, our flesh,
was crucified. b. In that Christ died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God: he was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, and, being raised, dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him.
c. We are baptized into Jesus Christ, in order to walk in newness of life; but as this life can only be reached through the death of the flesh, we are baptized into his death, that we may receive the new life, the glory of the Father, the Holy Ghost.
d. For as Jesus, by taking a mortal body, was made like unto his brethren in all things (Heb. ii. 17); so we, by receiving of the new life, the life of God, are called and enabled to walk in newness of life; to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord ; no longer yielding our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yielding ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and our members as instru
* This is the Gospel which God declares to men concerning his Son Jesus Christ, that men may know with whom they have to do; in whose hand they now are for present teaching and for future judgment. To all men God the Father now speaks thus : “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear
ye Him.” And the Spirit speaks thus : “ Kiss ye the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way.”
ments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over us, for we are not under the law, but under
grace (vi. 1-14). X. This is the first part of the answer to the solemn question, How can man be holy? And having recorded it, the Spirit in the Apostle pauses to thank God on behalf of the saints to whom the Epistle is addressed, and again to reiterate the vast truth of their high and holy calling; and thus leaves upon record for us, not only the fact, but also the explanation of the fact, that sinners of mankind were servants to God, and, having obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine delivered to them, were made free from sin, and had their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. And again it is summed up and made plain, that the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord (vi. 14—23).
XI. The next part of the answer declares how the Law, which had been given to witness the righteousness of God until Christ came (Gal. iii. 24), having fulfilled its end, is no longer the ruler over us, nor the rule of life to us. Thus: the Law was given to regulate, and chastise, and condemn, and punish, the flesh; but when once it had put the flesh to death, its office and power of necessity ceased : as the law of husband and wife can hold only while the parties live; but we, who are baptized into Christ, being dead with him, have received a new life, the life of the Spirit, which is beyond the reach or power of the Law, and are thus dead to the Law by the body of Christ, that we should be married to another, even to him that is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins which were by the law did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death! but now we are delivered from the law, being dead to that wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (vii. 1-6).
XII. And the conclusion of this argument respecting the law, is, that from the very condition of flesh through the fall-being first, a subject of temptation; and next, when once overcome, a fountain and source of sin-the law, when brought at all into contact with it, must of necessity work wrath, provoke sin, and so slay every individual on whom it comes. For, even in the body of a Christian, flesh is still flesh, and, if allowed to live or move at all, must follow the law of flesh. This the Apostle is made to declare freely, by reference to his own person, regarded in three conditions:
1. Before he knew law at all: then he was alive, not knowing sin; but the instant the commandment came, sin rose up and slew him (vers. 7-11).
2. After he knew the law to be holy, and the commandment holy and just and good, and his inward man (conscience) responded to this character of the law; yet, regarding for a moment the condition of his own person, as apart from the Holy Ghost (the life of the Christian), in such a case he cannot move one jot to do good, but must be led away captive by the power of the law of sin in his members, and therefore cries out, Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! (vers. 12—24.)
3. When standing as a Christian in his strength, the spiritual man, abiding in Christ, and Christ in him by the Spirit, then he exults in deliverance, thanking God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord ; and then he can boldly say, There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit: for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (vii. 25; viii. 2).
XIII. This, then, is salvation; and thus the mystery of God is revealed, How God can be just in making righteous him that is of the faith of Jesus : and the whole of the argument is here gathered into a point, and fixed like a nail in a sure place; yea, like the inscription on the High Priest's mitre, “ Holiness to the Lord.” And thus the concentration of this glorious discourse speaks out the love and wisdom and power of our God and Saviour. What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (oapkog åpaprias), and concerning sin (Tepe åpapriac), hath condemned the sin, in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk about not according to the Aesh, but according to the Spirit” (vers. 3, 4).
XIV. The conclusions flowing from such a blessed revelation of the righteousness of God are numerous and weighty. Suffice it to specify these :
a. They who are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh—which is death, it being enmity against God, and not subject to the law of God, nor can be, and therefore cannot please God; but shall die.
b. They who are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit--which is life and peace-do mortify the deeds of the body, and are sons of God.
c. If the Spirit of God dwell in us, we are not in the flesh (carnal), but in the Spirit (spiritual), and have the pledge of blessed resurrection.
d. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
e. And if Christ be in us, the body is dead through sin ; but the spirit is life, through righteousness.
f. As many as are led by the Spirit of God have received the Spirit of adoption, in which we cry “ Abba, Father : “the Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ : if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (5–17). XV. To perfect the salvation of man, and exhibit to the universe, throughout eternity, the restoration of the fulness of his original glory, as the prophet and priest and king of God, having dominion over all the works of his hands; the Spirit not only reveals to hope the adoption or redemption of these mortal bodies from the hand of the grave, to abide for ever in resurrection glory the manifest sons of God; but also the deliverance of the whole groaning and travailing creation from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God: by which hope we are sustained under the sufferings of the present time; and through patient waiting for what we see not now, and the intercession of the Spirit (with groans unutterable by and unintelligible to man, but known to Him who searcheth the hearts to be according to God), we are saved; for this is fellowship with Christ our Head (vers. 18-27).
XVI. From which elevation of glory in the Spirit we can survey the vast design, development, and end of all things past, and present, and to come (“all time and all eternity at once"),— creation, fall, redemption, judgment, glory; the flesh, the Spirit; life and death; yea, all the powers of heaven, the Father, Son, and Spirit; the ordinance of hell ; with every thing and every being, known or unknown to man—"all working out together for good to them who love God, even those who are the called according to his purpose." And as at first by the one death of flesh all boasting was cut off, so here, at the grand consummation of the mystery of love, all flesh must be for ever silent, and hear what is the good pleasure of Jehovah's will. “ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also made righteous; and whom he made righteous, them he also glorified” (28-30).
XVII. À sublime song of exulting transport closes this part of the argument, wherein the successive steps of the manifestation of the righteousness of God, already considered, are all pleaded in a swelling climax; and the grand fact that God is