Written and edited by Glenn Pease

The following commentary consists of my own thoughts combined with the thoughts of the many authors both ancient and modern who have made comments on this most important letter of Paul. I have quoted so many others because I have found in each a unique way to convey the ideas that Paul is seeking to communicate. Sometimes I have not been able to give credit, and if anyone discovers the name of the author quoted and lets me know, I will gladly give credit where credit is due. If anyone does not want their quotes expressed in this commentary, they can let me know as well, and I will delete them. My e-mail is The purpose of this commentary is to bring the thoughts of many authors together in one place in order to save the Bible student a lot of time in research. All of the comments are available to anyone, but it takes an enormous amount of time to read all of the resources. I have brought together what I feel are the best thoughts on the text in this one place to save others the time. It is my pleasure to do so, and I use these studies myself to teach a class of about 20 people. The numbering system uses letters as well as numbers because it gives me the freedom to add new material I discover without doing the numbers all over. I welcome any comments, and I will add them to this commentary if they contribute new and valued insight. I share comments of scholars who differ in their views, and leave the reader to decide which are most consistent with God's full revelation. Some of the material is copied as is with its mistakes and strange breaks, but it is still of value in getting insights into the text. Each of the authors I quote has much more than what is here, and so for more study look up each of those that impresses you for more details. Prof. James M. Stifler wrote a small book of comments on Romans, and he had a paragraph of introduction I share here, for it conveys my attitude as well. He wrote, “THIS book has no other aim than to make the somewhat difficult Epistle to the Romans better understood to report to the reader what the apostle has written. It is not put forth in the interest of any theological system ; it has no theory of any kind to advocate and no point to make, except by dispassionate study to ascertain the meaning of Paul's language. The commentator, even more than the preacher of the gospel, is under solemn obligation not to bear false witness against the sacred penman, not to misinterpret him, not to overlay his thought with personal views ; the commentator's work is to follow down the stream of the inspired text, to measure its width and if possible its depth, but not to dig new channels for it and not to divert its flow to water his own garden.”

1. William Barclay wrote, “There is an obvious difference between Paul's Letter to the Romans and any other of his letters. Anyone coming from, say, a reading of the Letters to the Corinthians, will immediately feel that difference, both of atmosphere and of method. A very great part of it is due to one basic fact--when Paul wrote to the Church at Rome he was writing to a Church with whose founding he had had nothing whatever to do and with which he had had no personal contact at all. That explains why in Romans there are so few of the details of practical problems which fill the other letters. That is why Romans, at first sight, seems so much more impersonal. As Dibelius put it, "It is of all Paul's letters the least conditioned by the momentary situation." We may put that in another way. Romans, of all Paul's letters, comes nearest to being a theological treatise. In almost all his other letters he is dealing with some immediate trouble, some pressing situation, some current error, some threatening danger, which was menacing the Church to which he was writing. Romans is the nearest approach to a systematic exposition of Paul's own theological position, independent of any immediate set of circumstances.” 2. Barclay continues, “All his life Paul had been haunted by the thought of Rome. It had always been one of his dreams to preach there. When he is in Ephesus, he is planning to go through Achaea and Macedonia again, and then comes a sentence obviously dropped straight from the heart, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome" (Acts 19:21). When he was up against things in Jerusalem, and the situation looked threatening and the end seemed near, he had one of those visions which always lifted up his heart. In that vision the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage, Paul. For as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome" (Acts 23:11). In the very first chapter of this letter Paul's desire to see Rome breathes out. "I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you" (Rom. 1:11). "So, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome" (Rom. 1:15). It might well be said that the name Rome was written on Paul's heart.” 3. Greg Herrick, “Paul’s letter to the Romans is probably the most systematic presentation of the gospel in all of his writings, and indeed in all of the T. The letter can be broken down into two major sections, namely, doctrine (1:18-11:36) and then application (12:1-15:13). This large body of material is bracketed by an introduction (1:1-17) and a postscript (15:14-16:27).” 4. Mike Ramsey, “To Martin Luther he loved his wife Catherine Von Bora, & he said of the Book of Romans… “It is my Catherine Von Bora”.Paul gives the grandest presentation of Christian Doctrine found anywhere in Scripture. In this

book, Augustine, Luther, & Wesley all came to assured faith through the impact of Romans. John Chrysostom (5th century’s greatest preacher) had Romans read aloud to him once a week! Kent Hughes, “it is…grace-filled, God-exalting theology that beckons the mind to stretch, the heart to soar, & the soul to sing.” “Romans is no light snack for the soul. It’s a full-course meal meant to be savored over time.” 5. John Calvin, “With regard to the excellency of this Epistle, I know not whether it would be well for me to dwell long on the subject; for I fear, lest through my recommendations falling far short of what they ought to be, I should do nothing but obscure its merits: besides, the Epistle itself, at its very beginning, explains itself in a much better way than can be done by any words which I can use. It will then be better for me to pass on to the Argument, or the contents of the Epistle; and it will hence appear beyond all controversy, that besides other excellencies, and those remarkable, this can with truth be said of it, and it is what can never be sufficiently appreciated -- that when any one gains a knowledge of this Epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture.” 6. Alan Carr, “Romans is, without question, the greatest theological work of the Apostle Paul. This book has been called "The Constitution Of Christianity"; "The Christian Manifesto"; and "The Cathedral Of The Christian Faith". Without a doubt, this book has been responsible for more change in the church than any other. It was this book that in September of 386 AD touched the heart of a orth African native who was a professor in the city of Milan, Italy. As Augustine sat weeping in the garden of a friend while contemplating the wickedness of his life, he heard a child singing, "Tolle, lege. Tolle, lege." These words from Latin mean, "Take up and read. Take up and read." Beside of Augustine was an open scroll of the Book of Romans. He picked it up and read the first verses that caught his eyes. They were Rom. 13:13-14. These verse brought about the conversion of Augustine and he became, in the mind of many, one of the greatest theologians and leaders in the history of the church. 1,000 years later, a Roman Catholic monk of the Augustinian Order named Martin Luther, who was a professor at the University of Wittenburg in Germany, was teaching his students the Book of Romans. As he studied the text, his heart was arrested by the theme of justification by faith, Rom. 1:17. The Holy Spirit used this verse to bring Luther to Christ and the Reformation to the world. A few hundred years later, an ordained minister in the Church of England named John Wesley was repairing to take the Gospel to America as a missionary. However, even though Wesley was a preacher and was going to cross the Atlantic as a missionary, he was confused about the Gospel and was seeking a genuine conversion experience of his own. Then, one Wednesday evening, he attended a Bible Study in London. While there, he heard some of Luther's comments on Romans being read and this brought about his conversion to Christ. Then John, along with his brother

Charles, would be the tolls God would use to bring the great Wesleyan revivals to the world.” 7. David Guzik, “Consider the testimony of these men regarding Romans: a. Martin Luther praised the Book of Romans: "It is the chief part of the ew Testament and the perfect gospel . . . the absolute epitome of the gospel." b. Philip Melancthon called Romans, "The compendium of Christian doctrine." c. John Calvin said of Romans, "When any one understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture." d. Samuel Coleridge, English poet and literary critic said Paul's letter to the Romans is "The most profound work in existence." e. Frederick Godet, 19th Century Swiss theologian called the Book of Romans "The cathedral of the Christian faith." f. G. Campbell Morgan said Romans was "The most pessimistic page of literature upon which your eyes ever rested" and at the same time, "the most optimistic poem to which your ears ever listened." g. Richard Lenski wrote Romans is "Beyond question the most dynamic of all ew Testament letters even as it was written at the climax of Paul's apostolic career." i. It is almost universally agreed that Paul wrote Romans from the city of Corinth as he wintered there on his third missionary journey as described in Acts 20:2-3. This is based on Romans 16:1 and 16:23 along with 1 Corinthians 1:14. A variety of commentators pick the date of writing anywhere from 53 to 58 A.D. ii. By the time Paul wrote Romans, he had been a Christian preacher for some 20 years. In Corinth, on his way to Jerusalem, he had three months without any pressing duties. He perhaps thought this was a good time to write ahead to Rome, a church he planned to visit after Jerusalem. iii. As Paul endeavored to go to Rome, the Holy Spirit warned him about the peril awaiting him in Jerusalem (Acts 21:10-14). What if he were unable to make it to Rome? Then he must write them a letter so comprehensive that the Christians in Rome had the gospel Paul preached, even if Paul himself were not able to visit them. iv. Because of all this, Romans is different than other letters Paul wrote to ew Testament churches. Other ew Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems. The letter to the Romans focuses more on God and His great plan of redemption.

v. We know the letter to the Romans was prized by the Christians in Rome; Clement of Rome's letter in 96 A.D. shows great familiarity with Paul's letter. It may be that he had memorized it, and that the reading of it became a part of virtually every meeting of the Roman church. As well, many scholars (Bruce and Barclay among them) believe that an edited version of Romans - without the personal references in Romans 16 - was distributed widely among early churches, as a summary of apostolic doctrine. 8. Morris, “The gospel of God: Other ew Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems; Romans focuses more on God. "God is the most important word in this epistle. Romans is a book about God. o topic is treated with anything like the frequency of God. Everything Paul touches in this letter he relates to God. In our concern to understand what the apostle is saying about righteousness, justification, and the like we ought not to overlook his tremendous concentration on God." Guzik adds, “The word "God" occurs 153 times in the book; an average of once every 46 words - this is more frequently than in any other ew Testament book. In comparison, note the frequency of other words used in Romans: law (72), Christ (65), sin (48), Lord (43), and faith (40). Romans deals with many different themes, but as much as a book can be, it is a book about God.” 9. John Piper, “Leon Morris is exactly right when he says, "God is the most important word in this epistle. Romans is a book about God. o topic is treated with anything like the frequency of God. Everything Paul touches in this letter he relates to God. In our concern to understand what the apostle is saying about righteousness, justification and the like we ought not to overlook his tremendous concentration on God. There is nothing like it elsewhere" Indeed there isn't. This is why the epistle has had the effect it has. It is from God and through God and to God. God chose the author before he was born. God purchased his freedom by the death of his Son. God called him to be an apostle. And then God gave him a gospel the Gospel of God himself. So God is at the bottom and God is at the top and God is in the middle.” 10. William Tyndale, wrote in the preface to the Book of Romans in his 1534 edition of the English ew Testament: “Forasmuch as this epistle is the principal and most excellent part of the ew Testament, and most pure gospel, and also a light and a way in unto the whole Scripture, I think it meet that every Christian man not only know it by rote and without the book, but also exercise himself therein evermore continually, as with the daily bread of the soul. o man verily can read it too oft or study it too well; for the more it is studied the easier it is, the more it is chewed the pleasanter it is, and the more groundly it is searched the preciouser things are found in it, so great treasure of spiritual things lieth hid therein.” 11. James M. Stifler, “ THE ORIGI OF THE ROMA CHURCH is historically obscure. There is no record, and little from which a record can be constructed, either of the date of its beginning or of the agent or agents of its founding.

When the Epistle to the Romans was written the church had already a world- wide reputation (i. 8). But little can be inferred from this as to the length of time which the church had already existed. In five years it might have become known ' ' throughout the whole world. " The Thessalonian church in less than a year after Paul's first visit was widely known ; for Paul writes them from Corinth (A.D. 52 or 53) : " In every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad ; so that we need not to speak anything " ( I Thess. i. 8). That the Roman church was not much if any older than the earlier Gentile churches is probable. It was a Gentile church. It is not easy to conceive how such a one could have come into existence before the church in Antioch in Syria (Acts xi. 19-21), many years after Pentecost. And this first Gentile church did not get its authority to be strictly such until after the council in Jerusalem (A.D. 50). The matter and the spirit of the Epistle to the Romans show that the latter were thoroughly settled on the question of their right to be just what they were a Gentile church, grounded on faith in Christ. ow who made them such? Who was qualified to teach them that in Christ there was no distinction between Jew and Gentile, a doctrine that was not promulgated before Peter's visit to the household of Cornelius (Acts x.), and that did not gain authoritative recognition until a " good while " (Acts xv.) afterward? It seems almost necessary to believe that the Roman church was founded by teachers from some of the Gentile centers, and that, too, after such teachers had come to clear vision of the intent of the gospel for Gentiles as such, and that they could be saved as Gentiles. The Gentile character of the church is now pretty generally admitted, and this admission makes necessary the other, that its founders must have been men of Paul's way of presenting the gospel. This disposes of two theories in reference to the establishment of the gospel in the imperial city. First, it could not have been carried thither by the " strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes " (Acts ii. 10), who were present at Pentecost. How could these men have founded a Gentile church? The door to the heathen was not opened until years after the descent of the Spirit. It would be a much better guess to say that some from the household of Cornelius (Acts x.) carried to Rome the news of a Savior for the Gentiles.” 12. Mike Taylor, “The church in Rome was a mixture of Gentiles and Jews, dominated by the former. There was conflict between them, not ethnic in basis, but doctrinal: the Jews considered Christianity as merely a ``denomination'' of Judaism, and believed that Christians - including non-Jewish Christians - were required to keep the law of Moses; but the Gentiles believed they were free from Jewish law. This conflict underlies much of Romans.” John Stott says: ``Paul is seen from beginning to end as an authentic peacemaker, pouring oil on troubled waters, anxious to preserve both truth and peace without sacrificing either to the other.''

13. Given Blakely, “Throughout Divine history, there have been men who have so distinguished themselves in their service to God, that their names have been sanctified. It is, after all, the person who makes the name, and not the name who makes the person. Think of the renowned names of Abel, Enoch, oah, Abraham, Job, Joseph, David, Peter, John, and others. Who can forget such names as Sarah, Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Mary, and Elizabeth. Their faith and manner of life made those names significant to the entire world. Others have brought reproach upon names through their unbelief and sin-people like Cain, imrod, Aachan, Korah, Herod, and Judas. The power of character can thus be seen-power to cause honor or reproach to be brought upon a name. The name "Paul" has been recognized by saints and sinners alike from the beginning of his life in Christ Jesus. The distinction given to that name is owing to his faith, and the aggressive manner in which he served the Lord Jesus Christ. This name is mentioned no less than 156 times in Scripture, and every single time it refers to the same individual. Formerly, Paul was known as "Saul, of Tarsus" (Acts 9:11). The name "Saul" means "Desired,"Strongs certainly befitting of one so eagerly sought by the Lord Jesus Himself. Precisely when he began to be known exclusively as Paul is not clear. The first reference to the Apostle of the Gentiles as "Paul" is found in Acts 13:9, around A.D. 46, or nine years after his conversion. "Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,)." From that point on, he is referred to as "Paul." The only reference to "Saul" after that is when Paul recounts the appearance of Jesus to him in his call to the apostleship (Acts 22:7,13,14). The name "Paul" means "Small," or "Little."Strongs By way of comparison, when Samuel upbraided king Saul for his flagrant disobedience, he referred to the time when he was in God's favor. "When thou wast LITTLE in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?" (1 Sam 15:17). In the case of Paul, his commendable smallness was the latter part of his life, as compared with king Saul, whose latter life was his worst time. Paul's smallness consisted of his renunciation of everything that was gain to him. He did this in order to "win Christ" and be "found in Him not having a righteousness" of his own (Phil 3:7-14). Everywhere his name is mentioned, his zeal for the Lord is what comes to mind.”

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-1. A servant of Christ Jesus.
a. The word for servant is the word for slave as well, and though masses of slaves in the Roman empire were like most slaves in history, in suffering great abuse, some of them took places of power and authority because of their knowledge and skills. Paul was that kind of slave to Jesus. He was a great asset to the kingdom of Christ because of his knowledge of the Word. He also had a knowledge of the Gentile world, and made a great servant to reach that segment of the population. He was a Roman citizen, which gave him an advantage with the Gentiles, and he was a Pharisee, which gave him and advantage with the Jews. Jesus did not choose him haphazardly, but with great wisdom, and he proved to be one of the greatest servants of Christ in all of history. b. Gill, “The name of the author of this epistle is Paul, who formerly was called Saul. Some think his name was changed upon his own conversion; others, upon the conversion of the Roman deputy Sergius Paulus, Act_13:7; others, that he was so called from the littleness of his stature; but rather it should seem that he had two names, which was usual with the Jews; one by which they went among the Gentiles, and another by they were called in their own land. c. Clarke, “The word δουλος, which we translate servant, properly means a slave, one who is the entire property of his master; and is used here by the apostle with great propriety. He felt he was not his own, and that his life and powers belonged to his heavenly owner, and that he had no right to dispose of or employ them but in the strictest subserviency to the will of his Lord. In this sense, and in this spirit, he is the willing slave of Jesus Christ; and this is, perhaps, the highest character which any soul of man can attain on this side eternity. “I am wholly the Lord’s; and wholly devoted in the spirit of sacrificial obedience, to the constant, complete, and energetic performance of the Divine will.” A friend of God is high; a son of God is higher; but the servant, or, in the above sense, the slave of God, is higher than all; - in a word, he is a person who feels he has no property in himself, and that God is all and in all.” d. Barnes, “The name Saul was Hebrew; the name Paul was Roman. In addressing a letter to the Romans, he would naturally make use of the name to which they were accustomed, and which would excite no prejudice among them. The ancient custom was to begin an epistle with the name of the writer, as Cicero to Varro, etc. We record the name at the end. It may be remarked, however, that the placing the name of the writer at the beginning of an epistle was always done, and is still, when the

letter was one of authority, or when it conferred any special privileges. Thus, in the proclamation of Cyrus Ezr_1:2, “Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia,” etc.; see also Ezr_4:11; Ezr_7:12. “Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest,” etc. Dan_4:1. The commencement of a letter by an apostle to a Christian church in this manner was especially proper as indicating authority. This name was what the Lord Jesus himself directed His disciples to use, as their general appellation; Mat_10:25; Mat_20:27; Mar_10:44. And it was the customary name which they assumed; Gal_1:10; Col_4:12; 2Pe_1:1; Jud_1:1; Act_4:29; Tit_1:1; Jam_1:1. The proper meaning of this word servant, δοῦλος doulos, is slave, one who is not free. It expresses the condition of one who has a master, or who is at the control of another. It is often, however, applied to courtiers, or the officers that serve under a king: because in an eastern monarchy the relation of an absolute king to his courtiers corresponded nearly to that of a master and a slave. Thus, the word is expressive of dignity and honor; and the servants of a king denote officers of a high rank and station. It is applied to the prophets as those who were honored by God, or especially entrusted by him with office; Deu_34:5; Jos_1:2; Jer_25:4. The name is also given to the Messiah, Isa_42:1, “Behold my servant in whom my soul delighteth,” etc.; Isa_53:11, “shall my righteous servant justify many.” The apostle uses it here evidently to denote his acknowledging Jesus Christ as his master; as indicating his dignity, as especially appointed by him to his great work; and as showing that in this Epistle he intended to assume no authority of his own, but simply to declare the will of his master, and theirs.” e. Greg Herrick, “First, Paul considered himself a slave (dou`lo") of Christ Jesus. While it was unthinkable to a cultured Greek that a relationship with a deity would involve the concept of slavery, it was not at all uncommon for a Jew. Undoubtedly the background for the use of the expression “a servant of…” is to be found in the Jewish Old Testament scriptures so that it does not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of Israel in general at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities including such great men as Moses (Joshua 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kings 10:10): all these men were servants of the Lord. Though there is indeed much honor in the use of the expression, for it was an extreme privilege to serve YHWH, it was not Paul’s desire in this context to simply place himself among venerated OT saints, or express his gratitude to be a servant of Christ Jesus (though both are true), but rather to communicate in plain terms his commitment and devotion to the Messiah Jesus. Though there are several reasons for his allegiance to Christ, it is ultimately due to his recognition of who Jesus is. Paul’s insertion of “Christ Jesus” into the OT formula “a servant of YHWH” shows the high view of Jesus that he maintained. He considered Jesus worthy of the same obedience and devotion as YHWH.” f. Barclay, “He calls himself the slave (doulos) of Jesus Christ. In this word slave there are two backgrounds of thought.

(a) Paul's favourite title for Jesus is Lord (kurios). In Greek the word kurios describes someone who has undisputed possession of a person or a thing. It means master or owner in the most absolute sense. The opposite of Lord (kurios) is slave (doulos). Paul thought of himself as the slave of Jesus Christ, his Master and his Lord. Jesus had loved him and given himself for him, and therefore Paul was sure that he no longer belonged to himself, but entirely to Jesus. On the one side slave describes the utter obligation of love. (b) But slave (doulos) has another side to it. In the Old Testament it is the regular word to describe the great men of God. Moses was the doulos of the Lord (Josh. 1:2). Joshua was the doulos of God (Josh. 24:29). The proudest title of the prophets, the title which distinguished them from other men, was that they were the slaves of God (Am. 3:7; Jer. 7:25). When Paul calls himself the slave of Jesus Christ he is setting himself in the succession of the prophets. Their greatness and their glory lay in the fact that they were slaves of God, and so did his. So then, the slave of Jesus Christ describes at one and the same time the obligation of a great love and the honor of a great office. g. Greg Burdine, “A Successful Christian is a Servant of Jesus Christ. The Romans knew what a slave was. Of the 120 million people in the Roman Empire, 60 million were slaves. Of the six Greek words Paul could have used, he used doulos. It is the lowest slave. A doulos slave was one who was totally controlled by his Master. He was usually bought in the slave market and was brought as a captive from an enemy nation. We are slaves of Jesus Christ. He bought us with His blood from the enemy (Satan). We belong to Him totally and completely. 1 Cor. 6:19 – “What! Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” A Jewish slave could only be held for 7 years. The seventh year he was set free. However, if he wanted to stay with the family voluntarily, he could have his ear pierced, identifying him with that family till death. He would be a lifetime slave. Paul was a lifetime slave. His heart had been captured by the love Christ had for him? 2 Cor. 5:14 – “For the love of Christ constraineth me…” We know what a constraint is. It is a device that holds someone or something. Paul was a slave of love to Jesus Christ.” h. Waggoner, “It makes a vast difference whom one serves. The servant derives his importance from the dignity of the one served. Paul served the Lord Jesus Christ. Everybody may serve the same Master. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?" Rom. 6:16. Even the ordinary house servant who yields to the Lord is the servant of the Lord, and not of man. "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Jesus

Christ." Col. 3:22-24. Such a consideration as this can not fail to glorify the most menial drudgery.” iRobert Haldane, “Paul was of unmingled Jewish descent, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but educated at Jerusalem ; a Pharisee by profession, and distinguished among the disciples of Gamaliel, one of the most celebrated teachers of his age and nation. Before his conversion, he was an ardent and bigoted supporter of the traditions of his fathers violently opposed to the humbling doctrines of Christianity, and a cruel persecutor of the Church. From the period of his miraculous conversion from the hour when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus-down to the moment when he sealed his testimony with his blood, his eventful life was devoted to the promulgation of the faith which once he destroyed Throughout the whole of his long and arduous course, he experienced a continual alternation of trials and graces, of afflictions and benedictions ; always borne down by the hand of man, always sustained by the hand of God.... A servant of Jesus Christ. Paul, who once verily thought that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of azareth, now subscribes himself His servant literally, slave. This is an expression both of humility and of dignity of humility, to signify that he was not his own, but belonged to Jesus Christ ; of dignity, to show that he was accounted worthy to be His minister, as Moses and Joshua are called the servants of God. In the first sense, it is an appellation common to believers, all of whom are the slaves, or exclusive property of Jesus Christ, who has purchased them for Himself by the right of redemption, and retains them by the power of His word and Holy Spirit. In the second view, it denotes that Jesus Christ had honored Paul by employing him in His Church, and making use of his services in extending the interests of His kingdom. He assumes this title to distinguish himself from the ministers or servants of men, and in order to command respect for his instructions, since he writes in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ.

2. Called to be an apostle.
a. It was never Paul's plan for his life to be an Apostle. It means to be one sent on behalf of another to carry a message. An Apostle was an ambassador of the kingdom of Christ to bring about a peaceful relationship with the people of other nations. It was by means of the Gospel that this peace was to be achieved, for when people received the Gospel, and put their faith in Jesus Christ, they achieved a state of peace between themselves and God. b. Paul did not decide to do this for Jesus. He was called by Jesus, and in his case practically forced to become an Apostle. The other Apostles that Jesus chose were also called, or chosen, by him, but they had all kinds of freedom to follow or forsake him. Paul was lassoed like a steer on the run and brought to his knees, and then told what he was going to be for Jesus. He was more than called, for he was also pushed and pulled. He was a hand picked man to serve a special role in building the church

of Jesus Christ. Jesus said by the way he brought him into the kingdom that he was a man he needed, for only a Jewish man with his unique gifts would be successful in reaching the Gentile world. c. Gill, “called to be an apostle: an apostle was one that was immediately sent by Christ, and had his authority and doctrine directly from him, and had a power of working miracles from him, in confirmation of the truth of his mission, authority, and doctrine; all which were to be found in the author of this epistle, who did not thrust himself into this office, or take this honor to himself, of which he always judged himself unworthy, but was "called" to it according to the will, and by the grace of God.” d. Barnes, “Called to be an apostle - This word called means here not merely to be invited, but has the sense of appointed. It indicates that he had not assumed the office himself, but that he was set apart to it by the authority of Christ himself. It was important for Paul to state this, (1) Because the other apostles had been called or chosen to this work Joh_15:16, Joh_15:19; Mat_10:1; Luk_6:13; and, (2) Because Paul was not one of those originally appointed. It was of consequence for him therefore, to affirm that he had not taken this high office to himself, but that he had been called to it by the authority of Jesus Christ. His appointment to this office he not infrequently takes occasion to vindicate; 1Co_9:1, etc.: Gal_1:12-24; 2Co_12:12; 1Ti_2:7; 2Ti_1:11; Rom_11:13.” e. Barclay, “Paul describes himself as called to be an apostle. In the Old Testament the great men were men who heard and answered the call of God. Abraham heard the call of God (Gen. 12:1-3). Moses answered God's call (Exo. 3:10). Jeremiah and Isaiah were prophets because, almost against their will, they were compelled to listen to and to answer the call of God (Jer. 1:4-5; Isa. 6:8-9). Paul never thought of himself as a man who had aspired to an honour; he thought of himself as a man who had been given a task. Jesus said to his men, "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (Jn. 15:16). Paul did not think of life in terms of what he wanted to do, but in terms of what God meant him to do. f. Robert Haldane, “Every qualification of an Apostle centered in Paul, as he shows in various places. He had seen the Lord after His resurrection, 1 Cor. ix. 1. He had received his commission directly from Jesus Christ and God the Father, Gal. i. 1. lie possessed the signs of an Apostle, 2 Cor. xii. 12. He had received the knowledge of the Gospel, not through any man, or by any external means, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ, Gal. i. 11, 12 ; and although he was as one born out of due time, yet, by the grace vouchsafed to him, he labored more abundantly than all the rest. When he here designates himself a called Apostle, he seems to refer to the insinuations of his enemies, who, from his not having been appointed during the ministry of our Lord, considered him as inferior to the other Apostles. The object of nearly the whole of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians is to establish his apostolic authority.

g. Dr. Daniel Hill, “The word CALLED can be used for an official or royal invitation and for the discharging of the duties of an office. Both aspects are in view here. Paul was called or invited by Christ to this office and as a servant he would then discharge the duties of this office. This word CALLED which is KLEITOS is an adjective which is descriptive of the one who is called. It is found 10 times in the T, three times in the salutation of this epistle. We are all as believers called by Jesus Christ (v 6) and we all are called to a position, that of Saints (v 7). This word CALLED and the corresponding verb has three directions: 1) Looks back to our calling at salvation 2) Looks ahead to our calling into eternity 3) Looks now at our calling to service: PRI CIPLE: Our calling or purpose in life is directed by God, we are in his hands. What he calls us to be and what he calls us to do is far more important than what man calls us to be and do or even what we call ourselves to be and to do.” h. Sadler, “"Called to be an apostle." St. Paul here asserts that "blas phemer and injurious " though he had once been, Christ had seen fit to call him to exercise that unique ministry to which He had designated the twelve. To him, as much as to them, belonged the words " As my Father sent me, so send I you ; " " He that heareth you heareth me ; " and to him there belonged more particularly and personally the commission, "Go ye and teach all nations;" " Go ye to all the world ; " for he was the Apostle of the Gen tiles, not of any particular tribe, or race, or nation, but " of the Gentiles." St. Paul was called at his conversion, for then the Lord said of him to Ananias, " Go thy way ; for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts ix. 15).

3. Set apart for the gospel of God.
a. To be set apart is to be made a specialist in this work for God. If one is set apart he cannot be involved in everything. Paul did spend time in making tents for his survival, and many pastors need second jobs to provide for their families. However, all such men of God called into ministry need to make the Gospel, and all that God has said to man through his word, the primary focus of their lives. Pastors who choose to get involved in many other activities tend to become superficial in their studies and do not feed their people. Some TV pastors and evangelist get so involved in selling and promoting other things that they have no depth in what they

communicate to the people. When God sets a man or woman apart for the gospel, he intends that that will be their main focus in life, as it was with Paul. b. . Spurgeon made a strong statement about this phrase. He wrote, "I do not think that we are called to have anything to do with party politics, or social problems, or any such questions; we are set apart for this purpose. "separated unto the gospel of God." There are plenty of people who can attend to those things better than we can. If we mind our own business, or rather, if we mind our Master's business, we who are ministers will have quite enough to do. "Separated unto the gospel of God." There are some brethren who in preaching are as timid as mice; but on a political platform they can roar like lions. Had not they better take to what they like best, and give up the work at which they are not at home? For my part, I believe that I am like Paul when he says that he was "separated unto the gospel of God." I am set apart unto the gospel, cut off from everything else that I may preach the glorious gospel of the blessed God to the perishing sons of men." c. Gospel comes from two words; gode, meaning good, and spell, meaning a story or tale. The Gospel then means a good story, or a good tale, or as we usually say, good news. The word was used on an inscription in reference to the birthday of Emperor Augustus, and it was often used in announcing a victory on the battlefield. Any good news could use this word, but the greatest news in all of history is the good news of what Jesus did for all humanity by making it possible to live forever in his kingdom as a child of God. ever has their been a better story told with a happy ending as magnificent as the Gospel. It is not just the good news, it is the better and the best news man is capable of telling and of hearing. o other story in human history has had the impact of this story of what Jesus achieved for our salvation. What a privilege it was for Paul to carry this good news to the Gentiles. The religions of the world are all about man's search for God, but the Gospel is all about God's finding man and offering him love, hope, joy, and all that goes with eternal life. Religion is man looking for God; the Gospel is God being found by man. An unknown poet put it like thisDo this and live, the law commands, But gives me neither feet nor hands. A better word the gospel brings. It bids me fly and gives me wings d. Gill, “The phrase used is either in allusion to the priests and Levites, who were separated from their brethren the children of Israel, to their sacred employments; or rather to the apostle's having been ‫" ,פרוש‬a Pharisee", which signifies "one separated", as he was now; only with this difference, before he was separated to the law, but now "to the Gospel", to preach and defend it, which he did with all faithfulness and integrity; the excellency of which Gospel is signified by its being called "the Gospel of God": he is the author of it; his grace is the subject of it; and he it is who commits it to men, qualifies them for the preaching of it, and succeeds them in it.”

e. Barnes, “The meaning here does not materially differ from the expression, “called to be an apostle,” except that perhaps this includes the notion of the purpose or designation of God to this work. Thus, Paul uses the same word respecting himself; Gal_1:15, “God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,” that is, God designated me; marked me out; or designed that I should be an apostle from my infancy. In the same way Jeremiah was designated to be a prophet; Jer_1:5.” f. E. Stanley Jones, “Religions are man’s search for God; the gospel is God’s search for man. There are many religions, but one gospel.” g. Bob Deffinbaugh, “While all of Paul’s epistles have introductions, this particular introduction is especially important. The church in Rome was not founded by Paul. The Roman saints had not been brought to faith through the preaching of Paul. He did not seem to be well-known in Rome. Paul had not yet been to Rome, and most of the saints there would not recognize him if they saw him. I believe Paul’s introductory words provide us with a “mentality of ministry,” which is a bench mark for every believer. Paul’s words describe, as the title of this message indicates, “Paul’s Motivation for Ministry.” Before we hear so much as one word of preaching from Paul, he lays out for us his “perspective.” Paul will tell his readers how much he cares for them, how often he has tried to come to visit them, and how long and diligently he has prayed for them. Paul will tell all of his readers “where he is coming from” and “where he is going” in the rest of his epistle. Have you ever seen one of those long limousines, the “stretch” kind that looks like the car has been cut in two with a third section sandwiched in between? They are unusual, and they catch our attention. Paul’s greeting, in verses 1-7, is what I call a “stretch version” of his usual greeting. It is the longest greeting of any of his epistles. h. John MacArthur, “God called a unique man, Paul, to be a major spokesman for the good news. God had committed to him mysteries concerning the church that had been hidden from past generations but were now to be revealed (cf. Eph. 3:3, Col. 1:26-27). Paul was God's keynote speaker for the heralding of the good news to the Gentiles. He had a remarkable Jewish heritage, Greek education, and Roman citizenship. He had incredible abilities as a leader, fighter, motivator, and articulator who was specially called and converted by God Himself. From Jerusalem to Macedonia, Paul had completed three missionary journeys proclaiming the good news. And even though Paul was mightily gifted by God and could perform miracles, he could not rid himself of his own thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-9). Paul could cause prisons to fall (Acts 16:26), yet became a permanent prisoner. All the preachers who have ever preached since Paul have depended on his sermons for their material. Paul left a great legacy of biblical teaching through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word for gospel in verse 1 is euangelion. It is used over 60 times by Paul in his epistles. Paul had lived all his life hearing only the bad news, but once he heard the good news he couldn't help but tell everyone in sight about it. Tyndale wrote that the word euangelion signifies good, merry, glad and joyful tidings that makes a man's heart rejoice and makes him sing and dance and leap for joy. The good news is the merry, glad, and joyful news that God will deliver us from our sin. The thrust of the Greek text of Romans 1:1 is that the good news is from God. It is important that Paul distinguished between ordinary good news and good news from God because euangelion was a common Greek word. In one of its more prominent occurrences, it was used to precede messages to the people from the emperor. In the Roman Empire, the people were required to worship the emperor as if he were a god. Whenever someone from the emperor's official party made an important announcement, it was called euangelion, or good news. The messenger would proclaim, "Good news, the emperor has given birth to an heir" or "Good news, a new emperor has acceded to the throne. " Paul contrasts his good news as if to say, from the emperor by saying, "I'm writing to you at Rome who are used to hearing the euangelion of the empire and I'm telling you I've got good news not from Caesar, but from God. " The really good news is from God, (most of the Caesars were bad news!). God brings good news to those who are undeserving.”

i. MacArthur goes on, “ ow there's a basic problem. And maybe I can define it for you in this way. Imagine a little box, a cube--if you will-- utterly closed in on all sides. That represents man's world. Inside the box man exists. He exists in a timespace capsule. Outside is the supernatural. Outside is eternity. Outside is God. Man bangs around inside his little cube, it has no windows. He speculates about what's on the outside. He plays games with his fantasy. He searches to know God. But it is impossible for him to escape for by very definition, the natural cannot enter into the supernatural. That which is confined to time and space cannot escape into eternity and infinity. And so man is confined in his little cubicle. But there's something in him that longs to comprehend what's outside. And so, he invents gods that he thinks exist and he dreams of worlds of fantasy. I believe that that is the reason we have not only a proliferation of religion in our world, but today we have a proliferation of interest in the fantasies of space travel, star wars, extraterrestrial beings. All of these are a part of man's fantasy as he wishes so desperately so get out of his box. But he can't. All of the religions of the world tell him he can. "You just be a good person and you'll burst out of your little box and discover God. Just sure that you fulfill these routines and these rituals and carry out these liturgies and you'll escape and you'll meet God." The pagans used to say if you just get yourself into "ecstasia" and "enthusiasmas", states of some kind of high, you'll perceive God. But it's all a lie because man is confined by his very nature. one of us can go into a

phone booth, take off our clothes and come out Superman. Go into a phone booth and take off your clothes and you'll come out into jail. obody has that capacity, as much as we would like to be able to do it. And that's where Christianity enters the scene. Christianity acknowledges that man can't get out of his box and Christianity says good news, God has invaded the box from the outside. God has entered in to tell us what's out there and to tell us how we, too, can dwell out there in His presence forever. That is good news, folks. Man is a prisoner. He is a captive. And the end of his captivity is devastation forever unless he escapes. And that's the good news of Christianity. Man couldn't get out, but God could get in. The natural cannot come into the supernatural, but the supernatural can condescend to the natural. And that is exactly what God did. And that is the good news of God that Paul mentions in verse 1.”

j. Gospel verses that explain what Paul was called to preach. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ot of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16). “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak;

not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:4). “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. ow then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:19-20). “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:19-20). “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is a fact; therefore tell it simply. The Gospel is a joyful fact; therefore tell it cheerfully. The Gospel is an entrusted fact; therefore tell it faithfully. The Gospel is a fact of infinite moment; therefore tell it earnestly. The Gospel is a fact of infinite love; therefore tell it feelingly. The Gospel is a fact about a Person; therefore preach CHRIST! –Archibald Brown k. Robert Haldane, “It is the Gospel of God, inasmuch as God is its author, its interpreter, its subject : its author, as He has purposed it in His eternal decrees ; its interpreter, as He Himself hath declared it to men ; its subject, because in the Gospel His sovereign perfections and purposes towards men are manifested. For the same reasons it is also called the Gospel of the grace of God, the Gospel of peace, the Gospel of the kingdom, the Gospel of salvation, the everlasting Gospel, the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. This Gospel is the glad tidings from God of the accomplishment of the promise of salvation that had been made to Adam. That promise had been typically represented by the institution of sacrifice, and transmitted by oral tradition. It had been solemnly proclaimed by Enoch and by oah before the flood ; it had been more particularly announced to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob ; by Moses, it was exhibited in those typical representations contained in the law, which had a shadow of good things to come. Its fulfillment was the spirit and object of the whole prophetic testimony, in the predictions concerning a new covenant, and in all that was foretold respecting the advent of the Messiah.

l. This first verse could be outlined: 1. His Master-Jesus 2. His Motivation-Called 3. His Mission-Preach the Gospel

2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
1. Paul is saying that the Gospel was long ago proclaimed by God through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. This means that all Jesus did for us to win our salvation was known to be coming in the future for those in the Old Testament. This means that the Bible scholars back then in Israel should have known it and welcomed Jesus when he came and fulfilled all of those prophecies so completely. What good is prophecy of the future if you do not decipher it and see it taking place in your lifetime? There was no excuse for the Jews not to know that Jesus was their Messiah, for they had in writing, and they still could not see the obvious. It was promised in the Old Testament, and delivered in the ew Testament. Those who were looking with the spirit and eyes that G. K. Chesterton wrote about received the delivered Gospel when they saw Jesus. He wrote, So with the wan, waste grasses on my spear, I ride forever seeking after God. My hair grows whiter than my thistle plume And all my limbs re loose; but in my eyes The star of an unconquerable praise; For in my soul one hope for ever sings, That at the next white corner of the road My eyes may look on Him. In Luke 2:25-32 we see a perfect example: “ ow there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 1B. Bob Deffinbaugh, “The Gospel which Paul preached was not one of his own making. It was the message which was in fulfillment of all that the Old Testament prophets had promised (v. 2). It was, then, consistent with all that true Judaism believed and anticipated. It was not a revelation of something entirely new and unexpected, but a realization of that which had been promised.” 1C. Given Blakely, “From the very beginning, the Gospel was identified with the message of the prophets. When Jesus first began to preach, announcing His mission, He said He was doing what Isaiah the Prophet had foretold (Luke 4:18-19). On the day of Pentecost, Peter distinguished both the happenings of the day and his unique message with the prophets (Acts 2:16,30). Throughout the book of Acts, the Gospel was consistently said to be according to the words of the holy Prophets. "All the Prophets . . . have likewise foretold of these days" (Acts 3:24). "To Him give all the Prophetswitness" (Acts 10:43). "And to this agree the words of the Prophets" (Acts 15:15). Paul confessed, "I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the Prophets and Moses did say should come" (Acts 26:22). From morning until evening he "expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the Prophets" (Acts 28:23). Peter affirmed the salvation declared in the Gospel had been announced beforehand by the Prophets (1 Pet 1:10). There is no question about this. As the "Author of eternal salvation" (Heb 5:9), the Lord Jesus Himself was the theme of the Prophets. His birth (Matt 2:6; Mic 5:2), life (Lk 2:40; Isa 53:2), ministry (Lk 4:18-19; Isa 62:1-3), death (1 Pet 2:24; Isa 53:4-6), resurrection (Acts 2:27; Psa 49;15), ascension (Eph 4:8; Psa 68:18), and high priestly ministry (Heb 5:6; Psa 110:4), were foretold by the Prophets. Thus the heart of the Gospel, the Son of God, was declared by the Prophets.”

2. In Gal. 3:8 Paul wrote, "the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you." He was quoting Gen. 12:3 where God made it clear to Abraham that through his blood line God would send someone who would do something so spectacular that the entire world of humanity would be benefited by it. Old Testament saints were saved by their faith in this promise of God, just as we are saved today by our faith in the fulfillment of that promise in Christ. Salvation has always been based on faith in the promise of God. 2B. Spurgeon, “ otice, brethren, how reverent the apostles were to Holy Scripture. They had no doubt about its inspiration. They quoted the old Testament, and

delighted to make it a kind of basis for the ew Testament: "which he had promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures." The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. 2C. Dr. Daniel Hill, “Paul uses three prepositions in this verse to make three points about the Gospel. He uses "through", "in", and "concerning" to tell us the how of the Gospel, the where of the Gospel, and the who of the Gospel. 1.How the Gospel came to us - God promised it previously in the Old Testament through His prophets. God predicted it and we now see a continuity and unity of the Old Testament and the New. Promises were made through men who also, as Paul, were called by God. The Gospel did not just suddenly burst upon the scene of history with the advent of Christ. It was the theme of words of the prophets and the works of Christ. 2. How was the Gospel given to man? In the holy Scriptures. The word SCRIPTURES is the word GRAFW, a word that was never used for oral communication, only that which was written down and could be read and studied. This statement prepares his readers for the extensive reference Paul will make to the OT in this epistle. We see a channel of inspiration: From the ultimate source of God, through His prophets, preserved for mankind in the holy Scriptures. This verse confronts any who would say that the Bible is inaccurate. It is accurate because God revealed the Gospel, His Good news, through the prophets who were under obligation to accurately record what God revealed. 3. The Who of the Gospel is mentioned in verse 3: "Concerning His Son..." The preposition is PERI, which means fully around, as in perimeter. Hence,

the Lord Jesus is not just a part of the Gospel, He is the Gospel. He fully engulfs the Good News of God. The Gospel in the Old Testament was promised, promises that were revealed in part. When the part that was revealed was believed by faith, man was saved. But now all these promises, found in direct statements regarding the Messiah, in the sacrificial system of the Law, in typology, in analogy, are fulfilled in a person...God's own Son, Jesus Christ.” 3. Gill, “The Gospel is here further commended from the antiquity it: it was no novel doctrine, an upstart notion, but what God had conceived in his own breast from eternity. This mystery was hid in him from the beginning of the world, and was ordained before the world was; in time God was pleased to make it known to the sons of men; he "promised" it, he spoke of it, and declared it by his prophets, Isaiah and others, "afore" the Apostle Paul was called forth to be a preacher of it; which promise, or promises of it, lie in the Holy Scriptures; the books of the Old Testament, so called from the author, matter, and usefulness of them. The apostle speaks in the language of his nation, for the Jews frequently call the Bible, writings, Holy Ones; "for", say they,"all the Scriptures are holy" (c), and style them, "Scriptures of holiness", or holy Scriptures.” 4. Clarke, “Which he had promised afore - Both in the law and in the prophets God showed his purpose to introduce into the world a more perfect and glorious state of things; which state was to take place by and under the influence of the Messiah, who should bring life and immortality to light by his Gospel. 5. Barnes, “Which he had promised afore - Which gospel, or which doctrines, he had before announced. By the prophets - The word “prophets” here is used to include those who wrote as well as those who spake. It included the teachers of the ancient Jews generally. In the holy scriptures - In the writings of the Old Testament. They were called holy because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and were regarded as separated from all other writings, and worthy of all reverence. The apostle here declares that he was not about to advance anything new. His doctrines were in accordance with the acknowledged oracles of God. Though they might appear to be new, yet he regarded the gospel as entirely consistent with all that had been declared in the Jewish dispensation; and not only consistent, but as actually promised there. He affirms, therefore: (1) That all this was promised, and no small part of the Epistle is employed to show this. (2) That it was confirmed by the authority of holy and inspired men. (3) That it depended on no vague and loose tradition, but was recorded, so that people might examine for themselves. The reason why the apostle was so anxious to show that his doctrine coincided with the Old Testament was because the church at Rome was made up in part of

Jews. He wished to show them, and the remainder of his countrymen, that the Christian religion was built on the foundation of their prophets, and their acknowledged writings. So doing, he would disarm their prejudice, and furnish a proof of the truth of religion. It was a constant position with the apostle that he advanced nothing but what was maintained by the best and holiest men of the nation. Act_26:22-23, “saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come,” etc. There was a further reason here for his appealing so much to the Old Testament. He had never been at Rome. He was therefore personally a stranger, and it was proper for him then especially to show his regard for the doctrines of the prophets. Hence, he appeals here so often to the Old Testament; and defends every point by the authority of the Bible. The particular passages of the Old Testament on which he relied will come before us in the course of the Epistle. See particularly Rom. 3;4; 9; 10; 11. We may see here, (1) The reverence which Paul showed for the Old Testament. He never undervalued it. He never regarded it as obsolete, or useless. He manifestly studied it; and never fell into the impious opinion that the Old Testament is of little value. (2) If these things were promised - predicted in the Old Testament, then Christianity is true. Every passage which he adduces is therefore proof that it is from God. 6. Look at Lk 24:27: "And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all of the Scriptures." He goes back into the Old Testament. The good news didn’t begin when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The good news was announced beforehand by God through His prophets. If we would look to see what they had to say, it all pointed to Jesus Christ, the good news of God.

Look in John 5:39, 40 Jesus is talking to some of the religious folks there in verses 39-40: "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life." He is saying, "I am the One who gives eternal life and the Scriptures bear witness of Me." Look down in Jn 5:46: "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he [Moses] wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" Jesus was saying, "I have already been announced. Why do you look at Me like I am some strange creature? The whole Old Testament pointed to My coming. I am the good news of God." 7. Bob Deffinbaugh, “Paul highlights several of the fundamental elements of his gospel: (1) Paul’s gospel was based upon the belief in a triune God. Paul was a trinitarian. In verses 2-4, Paul refers to all three members of the Godhead: the Father (verse 2), the Son, who was of David’s seed, and who is exalted in the heavens, ready to reign

over God’s kingdom (verses 3-4), and the Holy Spirit (verse 4). (2) Paul’s gospel was established by the resurrection of Christ from the dead (verse 4). (3) Paul’s gospel was not “new,” but was the fulfillment of that which God had promised His people through the Old Testament prophets (verse 2). (4) Paul’s gospel was God’s provision for the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles (verses 5-6). (5) Paul’s gospel was a sovereign calling, a calling to salvation, a calling to service, and a calling to a Christian lifestyle, a lifestyle of obedience (verses 5-7).

8. Robert Haldane, “By declaring that the Gospel had been before promised, Paul tacitly repels the accusation that it was a novel doctrine. At the same time, he states its Divine origin as a reason why nothing new is to be admitted in religion. He further shows in what respect the Old and ew Testaments differ not as containing two religions essentially dissimilar, but as exhibiting the same grand truth predicted, prefigured, and fulfilled. The Old Testament is the promise of the ew, and the ew the accomplishment of the Old. The Gospel had been promised by all the prophecies which foretold a new covenant, by those which predicted the coming of the Messiah, by all the observances, under the law, that contained in themselves the promise of the things they prefigured, by the whole of the legal economy, that preceded the Gospel, in which was displayed the strictness of Divine justice, which in itself would have been a ministration only of condemnation, had it not been accompanied by all the revelations of grace and mercy, which were in substance and embryo the Gospel itself, and consequently foretold and prepared the way for a more perfect development. By His Prophets. Paul here also repels another accusation of the Jews, namely, that the Apostles were opposed to Moses and the Prophets; and intimates their complete agreement. He thus endeavors to secure attention and submission to his doctrine, by removing the prejudices entertained against it, and by showing that none could reject it without rejecting the Prophets. In addition to this, he establishes the authority of the Prophets by intimating that it was God Himself who spoke by them, and consequently that their words must be received as a revelation from heaven.”

3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,

1. Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus back to king David, and that is why Jesus is called the son of David. He had a human ancestry because he was the product of human ancestry through Mary plus the Holy Spirit. He had a human nature and a spiritual nature. He was human, and so he died, but he was deity, and so he rose again. Here in verses 2 and 3 Paul establishes the dual nature of Christ. Only a man has a genealogy, for there is no such thing for angels and God. But only deity can escape death, for no mere man has such power. 2. Gill, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,.... These words are in connection with "the Gospel of God", Rom_1:1, and express the subject matter of it, the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord; for Christ, as the Son of God, the Savior of sinners, the only Mediator between God and men, who is Lord both of the dead and living, is the sum and substance of the Gospel: he is here described by his relation to God, his Son, of the same nature with him, equal to him, and distinct from him; by his usual names, "Jesus Christ", the one signifying a "Savior", the other "anointed", and both, that he was anointed of God to be the Savior of his people; and by his dominion over the saints our Lord, not merely by creation, but by redemption and grace, and happy is the person that can claim interest in him, as is here done; and by the distinction of natures in him: which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; this respects Christ in his human nature, who was made flesh, and of a woman; and shows his existence before his incarnation, and the immediate power and hand of God in it; and which was done, not by transmutation of him into flesh, but by an assumption of human nature into union with his divine person: he is said to be made "of the seed of David"; this points out the family from whence he sprung; designs the posterity of David, particularly Mary; has regard to the promise made to David, which God fulfilled; and shows the royal descent of Christ: it is added, "according to the flesh"; that is, according to his human nature; which phrase does not denote the corruption, but the truth of that nature; and supposes that he had another nature, otherwise there would have been no need of this limiting and restrictive clause.” 3. Clarke, “Concerning his Son - That is, the Gospel relates every thing concerning the conception, birth, preaching, miracles, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed-royal, being, as far as his humanity was considered, the son of David, and then the only rightful heir to the Israelitish throne. 4. Barnes, “Concerning his Son - This is connected with the first verse, with the word “gospel.” The gospel of God concerning his Son. The design of the gospel was to make a communication relative to his Son Jesus Christ. This is the whole of it. There is no “good news” to man respecting salvation except what comes by Jesus Christ. Which was made - The word translated “was made” means usually “to be,” or “to

become.” It is used, however, in the sense of being born. Thus, Gal_4:4, “God sent forth his Son made of a woman,” born of a woman. Joh_8:58, “before Abraham was (born), I am.” In this sense it seems to be used here, who was born, or descended from the seed of David. Of the seed of David - Of the posterity or lineage of David. He was a descendant of David. David was perhaps the most illustrious of the kings of Israel. The promise to him was that there should not fail a man to sit on this throne; 1Ki_2:4; 1Ki_8:25; 1Ki_9:5; 2Ch_6:16. This ancient promise was understood as referring to the Messiah, and hence, in the ew Testament he is called the descendant of David, and so much pains is taken to show that he was of his line; Luk_1:27; Mat_9:27; Mat_15:22; Mat_12:23; Mat_21:9, Mat_21:15; Mat_22:42, Mat_22:45; Joh_7:42; 2Ti_2:8. As the Jews universally believed that the Messiah would be descended from David Joh_7:42, it was of great importance for the sacred writers to make it out clearly that Jesus of azareth was of that line and family. Hence, it happened, that though our Saviour was humble, and poor, and obscure, yet he had that on which no small part of the world have been accustomed so much to pride themselves, an illustrious ancestry. To a Jew there could be scarcely any honor so high as to be descended from the best of their kings; and it shows how little the Lord Jesus esteemed the honors of this world, that he could always evince his deep humility in circumstances where people are usually proud; and that when he spoke of the honors of this world, and told how little they were worth, he was not denouncing what was not within his reach. According to the flesh - The word “flesh,” σάρξ sarx, is used in the Scriptures in a great variety of significations. (1) It denotes, as with us, the flesh literally of any living being; Luk_24:39, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones,” etc. (2) The animal system, the body, including flesh and bones, the visible part of man, in distinction from the invisible, or the soul; Act_2:31, “ either did his flesh (his body) “see corruption.” 1Co_5:5; 1Co_15:39. (3) The man, the whole animated system, body and soul; Rom_8:3, “In the likeness of sinful flesh. 1Co_15:50; Mat_16:17; Luk_3:6. (4) Human nature. As a man. Thus, Act_2:30, “God hath sworn with an oath that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, that is, in his human nature, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.” Rom_9:5, “whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” The same is its meaning here. He was a descendant of David in his human nature, or as a man. This implies, of course, that he had another nature besides his human, or that while he was a man he was also something else; that there was a nature in which he was not descended from David. That this is its meaning will still further appear by the following observations. (1) The apostle expressly makes a contrast between his condition according to the flesh, and that according to the spirit of holiness. (2) The expression “according to the flesh” is applied to no other one in the ew Testament but to Jesus Christ. Though the word “flesh” often occurs, and is often used to denote man, yet the special expression, “according to the flesh” occurs in no

other connection. In all the Scriptures it is never said of any prophet or apostle, any lawgiver or king, or any man in any capacity, that he came in the flesh, or that he was descended from certain ancestors according to the flesh. or is such an expression ever used any where else. If it were applied to a mere man, we should instantly ask in what other way could he come than in the flesh? Has he a higher nature? Is he an angel, or a seraph? The expression would be unmeaningful. And when, therefore, it is applied to Jesus Christ, it implies, if language has any meaning, that there was a sense in which Jesus was not descended from David. What that was, appears in the next verse. 5. Henry, “The subject-matter of it: it is concerning Christ, Rom_1:3, Rom_1:4. The prophets and apostles all bear witness to him; he is the true treasure hid in the field of the scriptures. Observe, When Paul mentions Christ, how he heaps up his names and titles, his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, as one that took a pleasure in speaking of him; and, having mentioned him, he cannot go on in his discourse without some expression of love and honour, as here, where in one person he shows us his two distinct natures. (1.) His human nature: Made of the seed of David (Rom_1:3), that is, born of the virgin Mary, who was of the house of David (Luk_1:27), as was Joseph his supposed father, Luk_2:4. David is here mentioned, because of the special promises made to him concerning the Messiah, especially his kingly office; 2Sa_7:12; Psa_132:11, compared with Luk_1:32, Luk_1:33. (2.) His divine nature: Declared to be the Son of God (Rom_1:4), the Son of God by eternal generation, or, as it is here explained, according to the Spirit of holiness. According to the flesh, that is, his human nature, he was of the seed of David; but, according to the Spirit of holiness, that is, the divine nature (as he is said to be quickened by the Spirit, 1Pe_3:18, compared with 2Co_13:4), he is the Son of God. The great proof or demonstration of this is his resurrection from the dead, which proved it effectually and undeniably. The sign of the prophet Jonas, Christ's resurrection, was intended for the last conviction, Mat_12:39, Mat_12:40. Those that would not be convinced by that would be convinced by nothing. So that we have here a summary of the gospel doctrine concerning Christ's two natures in one person. 6. Greg Herrick, “The reference to Jesus as a descendent of David according to the flesh functions on two levels. First, it makes plain that the eternal son of God took on full and complete humanity (John 1:1, 14; Phil 2:6-11) without which there can be no good news for the sons of Adam. Second, the explicit link with David is not just to suggest his humanity, but also to make clear his special relationship to the line of promise. Jesus met the qualifications of one to whom the promise of 2 Samuel 7:1216 could be made (cf. also Pss 72; 89). This theme of Jesus’ Davidic lineage will surface again in passages like 15:12. The promise in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 is extremely important in the ew Testament and the connection to it here is apparent (e.g., Matt 1:1; Acts 13:34; 2 Cor 6:18). athan tells David, among other things, that he will never lack a “son” to sit on his throne. Jesus, by virtue of his obedience and subsequent resurrection, has been appointed

(tou' oJrisqevnto", tou horisthentos; i.e., in keeping with the language of the appointment of Davidic kings) the “son-of-God-in-power” for eternity (that is, the new and final Davidic ruler). In short, the resurrected messiah (note the stress on Christ Jesus in 1:1) fulfills the promise that one of David’s descendants would sit on David’s throne eternally and rule over the nations. It is likely that OT passages such as Psalm 2:7 stand behind Romans 1:3-4.”

7. Dr. Daniel Hill, “This unique person, Jesus Christ, was a descendant of David as we see in Matthew, chapter 1. This looks at Jesus' royalty. He was a King, the King of kings. In Revelation 22:16 we see that the ew Testament closes with this same thought, "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star." So at the beginning of Matthew, the beginning of Romans, and at the end of Revelation, across the entire ew Testament, we are reminded that Jesus is the King. God would never have us forget that Jesus is the King of all kings. His royalty is from David and from His work on the Cross in addition to His divine royalty. Every servant needs a master and our Master is a King.” 8. S. Lewis Johnson, “ ow this text that follows, which expands, "Concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, made of the seed of David according to the flesh," and so on, is a very difficult Christological text. And I'm going to try to elucidate it as simply as I possibly can, but it is a very difficult text; a difficult passage. And, unfortunately, because of its difficulty, it has never been given the place in Pauline thinking that it should have been given. Luther said, "This text has never been adequately interpreted by anyone" and then he proceeded to give the adequate interpretation. Unfortunately, very few have followed him in his interpretation. So I'm not going to be so bold as to suggest that I'm giving you the adequate interpretation. I won't tell you want I think, but nevertheless, I'm not going to say it is the adequate interpretation. But, almost all of what I will say to you will be in harmony with the word of God. I hope all of it is.

ow notice what he says. First of all, he says that it concerns his Son who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. ow if you have a ew American Standard Bible, for example, you will find that the term "made" of the Authorized Version is rendered by "born of the seed of David according to the flesh." That's all right. That's probably a little more accurate than the expression of the Authorized Version. But, surely, anyone reading the Authorized Version and reading the words "Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh" understands that this is of our Lord's birth. So he came to be. That's the force of the Greek expression, "He came to be of the seed of David according to the flesh." In other words, Jesus Christ entered human existence, the human stage of existence by birth. In the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son who came to be of a woman, who came to be under law. Paul says in another place, that he might redeem those who were under the law that they might receive the adoption of sons. So he was made of the seed of

David according to the flesh. He entered the human stage of existence by birth and then he was appointed to a further status as the text will point out. ow this is the first of three obvious antitheses that are found in this expression of verses 3 and 4. The first, "made," "declared," or "appointed," verse 4. otice the way in which this statement is constructed. There are three of these antitheses, "He was 'made' of the seed of David according to the flesh, 'appointed' Son of God with power." Then, "Seed of David, Son of God, according to the flesh, according to the spirit of holiness." So here is a statement constructed by Paul with a great deal of care expressive of doctrinally important points. The first has to do with his human existence and his appointment to a higher status. ow that will be developed when we talk about Son of God and then according to the spirit of holiness. But let's look at the second of the antitheses. It's "seed of David" and "Son of God." He said, "He was born of the seed of David according to the flesh and appointed Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead." So, on the one hand, we have his Davidic Sonship. ow that's important. ow we have seen this recently because we've been expounding the Epistle to the Romans. And we remember that in the 49th chapter of the Book of Genesis, Jacob had said with reference to Judah that Judah would be the tribe from which the Messiah should come. He said that Judah, and he used the expression "Shiloh," remember? That Judah would stand at the top of the tribes so far as position is concerned. That the ruler would not, well, let's turn to it because I'm not starting it quite properly, Genesis chapter 49 and verse 10. And the point I want you to notice is simply the connection with the tribe of Judah. He says, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." Later on, this prophecy is further defined as a reference to the family of David; Jesse, and his son. And so, we have here beginning in the Book of Genesis, reference to the Davidic line of our Lord Jesus Christ, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, until the one whose name is Shiloh." And that name means "him to whom it all belongs." So he is seed of David. That is part of the apostle's preaching. He preached the Davidic Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Any preaching of the gospel to be fully Pauline must be a preaching of the gospel that recognizes the Davidic Sonship of the Lord Jesus because this is the thing that connects him with all of those promises of the Old Testament that God has given. But over against seed of David, he says, we have Son of God, "Appointed Son of God with power according to a spirit of holiness" so Davidic Sonship on one side, divine Sonship in power on the other side. ow when he says that he was appointed Son of God, we are not to think that Jesus Christ was not Son of God in the ultimate sense of his essential Sonship until he was

appointed by the Father. At some point in time, here, the resurrection from the dead. This is not a relationship to his essential Sonship. This is a relationship to his official work as the Son of God. It's a text that refers to his Lordship and it is by virtue of the resurrection that our Lord was appointed Son of God with power. That is the time at which having come forth from the grave, he was marked out as God's Messianic Son endued with specific power as the Son of God. So the reference here then is to his official Lordship not his essential Sonship. And this is, by the resurrection, he says. He was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. So then the reference is to him as the divine Son marked out as Lord of all by the resurrection. You remember that the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost after the resurrection proclaims him as Lord and calls upon men to believe in him as Lord in that great sermon. He concludes in the latter part of the 2nd chapter by saying, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." That's what Paul is talking about right here. He means that he has been appointed to this status by virtue of the resurrection from the dead. He is the official Lord of all. ow it is remarkable that the Bible does present these things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ because what we have is a unique person. He's more than a man. He is the seed of David, but he is also the Son of God and Lord of all. There are some who like to think of this text as teaching the human nature of our Lord and the divine nature of our Lord and, of course, that's true. But, that is not probably what the apostle is trying to say. He's trying to say just what I've set forth for you. But, it is true that he is a person who has a human nature and also a divine nature and yet he is one person.”

4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
1. When you can be crucified and buried, and then come back to life, you qualify to be declared the Son of God with power, and Jesus alone of all men in history achieved this qualification. There is no competition, for nobody else has been dead and buried and then come back to cook breakfast for his friends. Jesus is one of a kind, and that is why the Holy Spirit declares him to be the Son of God. Who else

could he be and have the power to conquer death? 1B. Alan Carr, A. He is Jesus - This is His human ame. The title of His humiliation. (It is interesting to note that demons always referred to Jesus Christ by this name alone.)

B. He is Christ - The words means "the Anointed". This name is His official title. It portrays Him as Prophet, Deut. 18:15-19; Priest, Psa. 110:4; and King, 2 Sam. 7:12-13. In Jesus Christ is found the One who had been promised before the foundation of the world. He is the Messiah and He is Savior of the world. C. He is Lord - The third title mentioned by Paul is that of Lord. This is the title of His exaltation. This word reminds us that He is the victor over death and the grave and that He is the resurrected and exalted One. He is to be honored, feared, obeyed and served. He is Lord, Acts 2:36. 1C. Alan Carr, A. His Human Credentials - Paul tells us that He came from the kingly line of David. As such, Jesus is qualified to sit upon the throne as the King of the Jews. When the Bible says that He was made, it literally means to "become." Jesus is God, yet He became a man so that He might live among us and die for us. He walked as we walk, He suffered as we suffer, He bled as we bleed. Therefore, since He is a man, and has lived as a man, He is more than qualified to aid us in our times of difficulty - Heb. 4:15.

B. His Heavenly Credentials - While Paul says that Jesus was the son of David, that is, a man, he also tells us that there is proof that Jesus is the Son of God. There are 2 proofs given in verse 4 that declare His Heavenly Credentials 1. His Righteousness - The very fact that Jesus was born without sin, that He lived without sin and that He died without sin proves that He was heavenly in His origin. (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Pet. 2:22.) (Ill. Jesus lived His life as a man by doing what we are expected to do: He yielded totally to the "Spirit" of holiness. Everything Jesus did, He did as a Spirit filled man. He lived a righteous life by the power of the Holy Ghost, and we can too, if we will yield to God. Will you ever be sinless in this flesh? Probably not! But, if you yield to the Spirit as you should, then you will certainly sin less, 1 Cor. 10:13.) 2. His Resurrection - Just as His righteous life proved His heavenly

origin, so too does His resurrection from the dead. You see, death could never hold Jesus! He was perfectly holy and only submitted to death for our sakes, John 10:18. All others who have ever lived and died are gone from this earth forever, but not Jesus! He died and conquered death so that those who follow Him might enjoy eternal life!” 2. It would not have been such a devastating problem for his disciples when Jesus was crucified had they listened to him. He told them that he had the power to lay down his life and then the power to take it again. He told them that they could destroy his body and he would raise it again in three days. He even said, "I am the resurrection and the life." With all of this information they were still in a state of unbelief when Jesus died. This became their greatest message after the resurrection, but they could not grasp it before the resurrection. 2B. Calvin, “Concerning his own Son, etc. -- This is a remarkable passage, by which we are taught that the whole gospel is included in Christ, so that if any removes one step from Christ, he withdraws himself from the gospel. For since he is the living and express image of the Father, it is no wonder, that he alone is set before us as one to whom our whole faith is to be directed and in whom it is to center. It is then a definition of the gospel, by which Paul expresses what is summarily comprehended in it. I have rendered the words which follow, Jesus Christ our Lord, in the same case; which seems to me to be most agreeable with the context. We hence learn, that he who has made a due proficiency in the knowledge of Christ, has acquired every thing which can be learned from the gospel; and, on the other hand, that they who seek to be wise without Christ, are not only foolish, but even completely insane.” 2C. Calvin goes on, “Declared [19] the Son of God, etc.: or, if you prefer, determined (definitus); as though he had said, that the power, by which he was raised from the dead, was something like a decree by which he was proclaimed the Son of God, according to what is said in Psalm 2:7, "I have this day begotten thee:" for this begetting refers to what was made known. Though some indeed find here three separate evidences of the divinity of Christ -- "power," understanding thereby miracles -then the testimony of the Spirit -- and, lastly, the resurrection from the dead -- I yet prefer to connect them together, and to reduce these three things to one, in this manner -- that Christ was declared the Son of God by openly exercising a real celestial power, that is, the power of the Spirit, when he rose from the dead; but that this power is comprehended, when a conviction of it is imprinted on our hearts by the same Spirit. The language of the Apostle well agrees with this view; for he says that he was declared by power, because power, peculiar to God, shone forth in him, and uncontestably proved him to be God; and this was indeed made evident by his resurrection. Paul says the same

thing in another place; having stated, that by death the weakness of the flesh appeared, he at the same time extols the power of the Spirit in his resurrection; (2 Corinthians 13:4) This glory, however, is not made known to us, until the same Spirit imprints a conviction of it on our hearts. And that Paul includes, together with the wonderful energy of the Spirit, which Christ manifested by rising from the dead, the testimony which all the faithful feel in their hearts, is even evident from this -- that he expressly calls it the Spirit of Holiness; as though he had said, that the Spirit, as far as it sanctifies, confirms and ratifies that evidence of its power which it once exhibited. For the Scripture is wont often to ascribe such titles to the Spirit, as tend to illustrate our present subject. Thus He is called by our Lord the Spirit of Truth, on account of the effect which he mentions; (John 14:17) Besides, a divine power is said to have shone forth in the resurrection of Christ for this reason -- because he rose by his own power, as he had often testified: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again," (John 2:19;) " o man taketh it from me," etc.; (John 10:18) For he gained victory over death, (to which he yielded with regard to the weakness of the flesh,) not by aid sought from another, but by the celestial operation of his own Spirit.” 3. The Holy Spirit played a major role in what is called the Christ event, meaning the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Peter said in I Pet. 3:18, "Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." The Spirit was the source of the power that brought Jesus back from the dead. Paul says in Romans 8:11, "If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Clearly it is the Holy Spirit who has resurrection power. He raised Jesus, and he will raise those who are the body and bride of Jesus. 4. Then we read in Heb. 9:14, "How much more then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death...." The Holy Spirit was the source of the power that motivated the human nature of Christ to go to the cross, and the power of his divine nature to take that body up again in the resurrection. We seldom think of it that way, but the Holy Spirit is the power behind the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. ow Paul says it was the Holy Spirit that declared Jesus to be the Son of God with power. He always was before his incarnation, but now he is the Son of God as the Son of man. Jesus is now a man at God's right hand. He is divine as

always, but now he has an added nature that he has incorporated into his deity so that manhood is now eternal, and if that is not power, what can possibly qualify? 5. We just read above that Jesus said he had the power to lay down his life and take it up again. Paul here says it was the Spirit that quickened him so he could rise. Then Paul in Gal 1:1 wrote, "Paul, an apostle--sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead--" It is clear that all three persons of the Godhead were partners in the greatest events of salvation history. It is never a contradiction when you read of one of the three doing something, and then discovering it is stated a different member of the Trinity did it. You cannot separate the persons of the Godhead, for what one does the others do as well, for they are one. 6. This is the only place in the ew Testament that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of holiness, and so it is a rare and unusual name. Some have suggested that he is called this because touching the dead contaminated a person so that they were not allowed to approach God in worship even until they were cleansed. But the Holy Spirit was able to enter the dead body of Jesus and raise him up, for he by his power of holiness kept the body of Jesus from decay. He is incapable of being contaminated even by death, and he alone could enter the body of Jesus and remain fully holy, and so in the context of raising Jesus's dead body from the grave he is called the Spirit of holiness. 7. Gill, “according to the Spirit of holiness; which may be understood of the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, who is holy in himself, and the author of holiness in the saints; and who is the declarer of Christ's sonship, partly by bearing a testimony to it in the word, and in the hearts of believers, and chiefly by being concerned in the resurrection of the body of Christ from the dead; or else by the Spirit of holiness may be meant the divine nature of Christ, which, as it is holy, so by it Christ offered himself to God, and by it was quickened, or made alive, when he had been put to death in the flesh; and which must be a clear and strong proof of his being truly the Son of God.” 8. Clarke, “And declared to be the Son of God - See the note on Act_13:33, where this subject is considered at large. The word ορισθεντος, which we render declared, comes from οριζω, to bound, define, determine, or limit, and hence our word horizon, the line that determines the farthest visible part of the earth, in reference to the heavens. In this place the word signifies such a manifest and complete exhibition of the subject as to render it indubitable. The resurrection of Christ from the dead was such a manifest proof of our Lord’s innocence, the truth of his doctrine, and the fulfillment of all that the prophets had spoken, as to leave no doubt on any considerate and candid mind. With power - εν δυναµει, With a miraculous display of Divine energy; for, how could his body be raised again, but by the miraculous energy of God? Some apply the word here to the proof of Christ’s sonship; as if it were said that he was most manifestly declared to be the Son of God, with such powerful evidence and

argument as to render the truth irresistible. According to the spirit of holiness - There are many differences of sentiment relative to the meaning of this phrase in this place; some supposing that the spirit of holiness implies the Divine nature of Jesus Christ; others, his immaculate sanctity, etc. To me it seems that the apostle simply means that the person called Jesus, lately crucified at Jerusalem, and in whose name salvation was preached to the world, was the Son of God, the very Messiah promised before in the holy Scriptures; and that he was this Messiah was amply demonstrated. 1st, By his resurrection from the dead, the irrefragable proof of his purity, innocence, and the Divine approbation; for, had he been a malefactor, as the Jews pretended, the miraculous power of God would not have been exerted in raising his body from the dead. 2nd, He was proved to be the Son of God, the promised Messiah, by the Holy Spirit, (called here the spirit of holiness), which he sent down upon his apostles, and not on them only, but on all that believed on his name; by whose influence multitudes were convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and multitudes sanctified unto God; and it was by the peculiar unction of this spirit of holiness, that the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Act_4:33. Thus, then, Christ was proved to be the true Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh, having the sole right to the throne of Israel; and God recognized this character, and this right, by his resurrection from the dead, and sending forth the various gifts and graces of the Spirit of holiness in his name.” 8B. Given Blakely, “To remove any question concerning the relevancy of the Person of the Gospel, the Spirit adds He is "OUR Lord."Right here, it is important to deal with a bit of theological haberdashery that has become fashionable. You have no doubt heard people say men should "make Jesus their Lord." Others have said, "You have made Him your Savior, now make Him your Lord." o such language or concept can be found in the Word of God. Let it be clear that it is not possible for Jesus to be Savior and not Lord-in A Y sense. You have no role whatsoever in making Jesus Lord. The Spirit has spoken expressly on this matter. "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Further, "He is Lord of all" (Acts 10:36), whether men choose to accept Him in that capacity or not. Secondly, everyplace the terms "Lord" and "Savior" are ascribed to Jesus, "Lord" is either used first, or clarifies Who the Savior is. Concerning the latter, when Jesus was born, the shepherds were told, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which IS Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:11). And again, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, THE Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil 3:20). And again, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope" (1 Tim 1:1). In all other instances, "Lord" is always before "Savior" (Tit 1:4; 2 Pet

1:11; 2:20; 3:2,18). The point is that Christ Jesus cannot be compartmentalized. He cannot be received partially, or only in one of His capacities. It is not possible to experience Him as Savior, but not as Lord. The very notion is an absurdity. Men must flee from such approaches to the Savior, for they dull the conscience and cause spiritual sleep to descend upon the soul.” 9. Alexander Maclaren, “IT is a great mistake to treat Paul’s writings, and especially this Epistle, as mere theology. They are the transcript of his life’s experience. As has been well said, the gospel of Paul is an interpretation of the significance of the life and work of Jesus based upon the revelation to him of Jesus as the risen Christ. He believed that he had seen Jesus on the road to Damascus, and it was that appearance which revolutionised his life, turned him from a persecutor into a disciple, and united him with the Apostles as ordained to be a witness with them of the Resurrection. To them all the Resurrection of Jesus was first of all a historical fact appreciated chiefly in its bearing on Him. By degrees they discerned that so transcendent a fact bore in itself a revelation of what would become the experience of all His followers beyond the grave, and a symbol of the present life possible for them. All three of these aspects are plainly declared in Paul’s writings. In our text it is chiefly the first which is made prominent. All that distinguishes Christianity, and makes it worth believing, or mighty, is inseparably connected with the Resurrection. Still further, the Resurrection is God’s solemn’ Amen’ to the tremendous claims which Christ had made. The fact of His Resurrection, indeed, would not declare His divinity; but the Resurrection of One who had spoken such words does. If the Cross and a nameless grave had been the end, what a reductio ad absurdum that would have been to the claims of Jesus to have ever been with the Father and to be doing always the things that pleased Him. The Resurrection is God’s last and loudest proclamation, ‘This is My beloved Son: hear ye Him.’ The Psalmist of old had learned to trust that his sonship and consecration to the Father made it impossible that that Father should leave his soul in Sheol, or suffer one who was knit to Him by such sacred bonds to see corruption; and the unique Sonship and perfect selfconsecration of Jesus went down into the grave in the assured confidence, as He Himself declared, that the third day He would rise again. The old alternative seems to retain all its sharp points: Either Christ rose again from the dead, or His claims are a series of blasphemous arrogances and His character irremediably stained.” 9B. ote that Paul say Jesus the risen one is our Lord. He is not just a lord, but our Lord. He belongs to us as believers. ewell wrote, “Ten times in Romans Paul uses this title, or, “Our Lord Jesus Christ,” that full name beloved by the apostles and all instructed saints from Pentecost onward: for “God hath made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2:36). Romans Verse-by-Verse. In a study on preceptaustin we read, “Lord (2962) (kurios from kúros = might, power in turn from kuróo = give authority, confirm) describes One who has absolute

ownership and uncontrolled power. signifies sovereign power and authority. In the T, Jesus is referred to some ten times as Savior and some 700 times as Lord. When the two titles are mentioned together, Lord always precedes Savior. Jesus is "kurios which describes Him as the supreme in authority, the Owner, the Sovereign Ruler and Master. Paul adds "our". Is He "your" Lord? Specifically, could someone tell that the Lord Jesus Christ "owns" you by watching the way you live? By observing... the choices you make? ...the language you use? ...the way you love your wife and children? ...the way you treat your employees or co-workers? ...the way you drive on the freeway? ...etc, etc?” 10. Barnes, “And declared - In the margin, “determined.” Τοῦ ὁρισθέντος Tou horisthentos. The ancient Syriac has, “And he was known to be the Son of God by might and by the Holy Spirit, who rose from the house of the dead.” The Latin Vulgate, “Who was “predestinated” the Son of God,” etc. The Arabic, “The Son of God destined by power special to the Holy Spirit,” etc. The word translated “declared to be” means properly “to bound, to fix limits to,” as to a field, to determine its proper limits or boundaries, to “define,” etc. Act_17:26, “and hath determined the bounds of their habitation.” Hence, it means to determine, constitute; ordain, decree; i, e. to fix or designate the proper boundaries of a truth, or a doctrine; to distinguish its lines and marks from error; or to show, or declare a thing to be so by any action. Luk_22:22, “the Son of man goeth as it was determined, as it was fixed; purposed, defined, in the purpose of God, and declared in the prophets. Act_2:23, “him being delivered by the determinate counsel, the definite. constituted will, or design, of God. Act_11:29; Heb_4:7, “he limiteth a certain day,” fixes it, defines it. In this sense it is clearly used in this place. The act of raising him from the dead designated him, or constituted him the Son of God. It was such an act as in the circumstances of the case showed that he was the Son of God in regard to a nature which was not “according to the flesh.” The ordinary resurrection of a man, like that of Lazarus, would not show that he was the Son of God; but in the circumstances of Jesus Christ it did; for he had claimed to be so; he had taught it; and God now attested the truth of his teaching by raising him from the dead. The Son of God - The word “son” is used in a great variety of senses, denoting literally a son, then a descendant, posterity near or remote, a disciple or ward, an adopted son, or one that imitates or resembles another; see the note at Mat_1:1. The expression “sons of God,” or “son of God,” is used in an almost equal latitude of signification. It is: (1) Applied to Adam, as being immediately created by God without an earthly father; Luk_3:38. (2) It is applied to saints or Christians, as being adopted into his family, and sustaining to him the relation of children; Joh_1:12-13; 1Jo_3:1-2, etc. This name is given to them because they resemble him in their moral character; Mat_5:45. (3) It is given to strong men as resembling God in strength; Gen_6:2, “The sons of God saw the daughters of men,” etc. Here these men of violence and strength are called sons of God, just as the high hills are called hills of God, the lofty trees of

Lebanon are called cedars of God, etc. (4) Kings are sometimes called his sons, as resembling him in dominion and power, Psa_82:6. (5) The name is given to angels because they resemble God; because he is their Creator and Father, etc., Job_1:6; Job_2:1; Dan_3:25. But the name the “Son of God” is in the ew Testament given by way of eminence to the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the common and favorite name by which the apostles designated him. The expression “Son of God” is applied to him no less than 27 times in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and 15 times in the Epistles and the Revelation The expression my Son, and his Son, thy Son, etc. is applied to him in his special relation to God, times almost without number. The other most common appellation which is given to him is “Son of man.” By this name he commonly designated himself. There can be no doubt that that was assumed to denote that he was a man, that he sustained a special relation to man, and that he chose to speak of himself as a man. The first, the most obvious, impression on the use of the name “Son of man” is that he was truly a man, and was used doubtless to guard against the impression that one who manifested so many other qualities, and did so many things like a celestial being, was not truly human being. The phrase “Son of God” stands in contrast with the title “Son of man,” and as the natural and obvious import of that is that he was a man, so the natural and obvious import of the title “Son of God” is that he was divine; or that he sustained relations to God designated by the name Son of God, corresponding to the relations which he sustained to man designated by the name Son of Man. The natural idea of the phrase, “Son of God,” therefore is, that he sustained a relation to God in his nature which implied more than was human or angelic; which implied equality with God. Accordingly, this idea was naturally suggested to the Jews by his calling God his Father; Joh_5:18, “But said also that God was his Father, “making himself equal with God.” This idea Jesus immediately proceeded to confirm; see the note at Joh_5:19-30. The same idea is also suggested in Joh_10:29-31, Joh_10:33, Joh_10:36, “Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest: “because I said I am the Son of God?” There is in these places the fullest proof that the title suggested naturally the idea of equality with God; or the idea of his sustaining a relation to God corresponding to the relation of equality to man suggested by the title Son of man. This view is still further sustained in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Rom_1:1-2, “God hath spoken unto us by His Son.” He is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, Rom_1:3. He is higher than the angels, and they are required to worship him, Rom_1:4-6. He is called “God,” and his throne is forever and ever, Rom_1:8. He is “the Creator of the heavens and the earth,” and is immutably the same, Rom_1:10-12. Thus, the rank or title of the “Son of God” suggests the ideas and attributes of the Divinity. This idea is sustained throughout the ew Testament. See Joh_14:9, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” Rom_1:23, “That all men shall honor the Son even as they honor the Father;” Col_1:19, “It hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;” Col_2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily:” Phi_2:2-11;

Rev_5:13-14; Rev_2:23. It is not affirmed that this title was given to the second person of the Trinity before he became incarnate; or to suggest the idea of any derivation or extraction before he was made flesh. There is no instance in which the appellation is not conferred to express his relation after he assumed human flesh. Of any derivation from God, or emanation from him in eternity, the Scriptures are silent. The title is conferred on him, it is supposed, with reference to his condition in this world, as the Messiah. And it is conferred, it is believed, for the following reasons, or to denote the following things, namely. (1) To designate his unique relation to God, as equal with him, Joh_1:14, Joh_1:18; Mat_11:27; Luk_10:22; Luk_3:22; 2Pe_1:17, or as sustaining a most intimate and close connection with him, such as neither man nor angels could do, an acquaintance with his nature Mat_11:27, plans, and counsels, such as no being but one who was equal with God could possess. In this sense, I regard it as conferred on him in the passage under consideration. (2) It designates him as the anointed king, or the Messiah. In this sense it accords with the use of the word in Psa_82:6. See Mat_16:16, “Thou art “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Mat_26:63, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether “thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” Mar_14:61; Luk_22:70; Joh_1:34; Act_9:20, “he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” (3) It was conferred on him to denote his miraculous conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Luk_1:35, “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, therefore διό dio also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the “Son of God.” (It is readily admitted, that on the subject of the “eternal Sonship” very much has been said of an unintelligible kind. Terms applicable only to the relation as it exists among people have been freely applied to this mystery. But whatever may be thought of such language as “the eternal generation,” “the eternal procession,” and “the subordination” of the Son; the doctrine itself, which this mode of speaking was invented to illustrate, and has perhaps served to obscure, is in no way affected. The question is not, Have the friends of the doctrine at all times employed judicious illustration? but, What is the “Scripture evidence” on the point? If the eternal Sonship is to be discarded on such grounds, we fear the doctrine of the Trinity must share a similar fate. Yet, those who maintain the divinity of Christ, and notwithstanding deny the eternal Sonship, seem generally to found their objections on these incomprehensible illustrations, and from thence leap to the conclusion that the doctrine itself is false. That the title Son of God, when applied to Jesus, denotes a natural and not merely an official Sonship, a real and not a figurative relation; in other words, that it takes origin from the divine nature, is the view which the Catholic Church has all along maintained on this subject: no explanation which falls short of divinity will exhaust the meaning of the title. Christ is indeed called the Son of God on account of his miraculous conception; “That holy thing,” said the angel to the Virgin, “which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of the Highest.” But the creation of Adam, by the immediate power of God, without father or mother, would constitute him the Son of God, in a sense equally or even more exalted than that in which the title is applied to Jesus, if the miraculous conception were allowed to exhaust its meaning.

or will an appeal to the resurrection of Christ serve the purpose of those who deny the divine origin of the title, since that is assigned as the evidence only, and not the ground of it. The Redeemer was not constituted, but declared or evidenced to be, “the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” In the search for a solution short of divine Sonship, recourse is next had to the office of Christ as Mediator. Yet though the appellation in question be frequently given in connection with the official character of Jesus, a careful examination of some of these passages will lead to the conclusion, that “though the Son of God hold the office, yet the office does not furnish the reason or ground of the title.” The name is given to distinguish Jesus from all others who have held office, and “in such a way as to convince us that the office is rendered “honorable” by the exalted personage discharging its duties, and not that the person merits the designation in virtue of the office.” “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,” etc. “God so loved the world that he gave his “only begotten Son,” etc. ow the glory of the mission in the first of these passages, and the greatness of the gift in the second, is founded on the original dignity of the person sent and given. But if the person derive his title from the office only, there would seem to be comparatively little grandeur in the mission, and small favor in the gift. The passages quoted would more readily prove that God had bestowed favor on Jesus, by giving him an office from which he derived so much “personal dignity!” The following are some of the passages in which the appellation “Son of God” is found connected with the office of Christ. “These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, (an official term signifying “anointed Saviour”), the Son of God;” “He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ (the official designation) is the Son of God;” “Whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” ow it is reasonable to suppose, that these declarations and confessions concerning the person of Christ, contain not only an acknowledgment of his official character, but also of his personal dignity. “Thou art Jesus the Christ,” is the acknowledgment of his office, and “thou art the Son of God,” is an acknowledgment of his natural dignity. The confession of the Ethiopian eunuch, and of Peter, would be incomplete on any other supposition. It should be borne in mind also, that the question of Christ to Peter was not, What office do ye suppose I hold? but, “Whom say ye that I am?” See Haldane on Rom_1:4. If, then, the miraculous conception, the resurrection, and the office of Christ, do not all of them together exhaust the meaning of the appellation, we must seek for its origin higher still - we must ascend to the divine nature. We may indeed take one step more upward before we reach the divine nature, and suppose, with Professor Stuart and others, that the name denotes “the complex person of the Saviour,” as God and man, or in one word, “Mediator.” Comment on Heb. Exe. 2. But this is just the old resolution of it into official character, and is therefore liable to all the objections stated above. For while it is admitted by those who hold this view, that Christ is divine, it is distinctly implied, that the title Son of God would not have been his but for his office. In the end therefore we must resolve the name into the divine nature. That it implies equality with God is clearly proved in this commentary. So the Jews

understood it, and the Saviour tacitly admitted that their construction was right. And as there is no equality with God without divinity, the title clearly points to such a distinction in the Godhead as is implied in the relative terms, Father and Son. Indeed it is not easy to understand how the doctrine of the Trinity can be maintained apart from that of the eternal Sonship. If there be in the Godhead a distinction of persons, does not that distinction belong to the nature of the Godhead, independent of any official relations. Or will it be maintained, that the distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, arises entirely from the scheme of redemption, and did not exist from eternity? We may find fault with Dr Owen, and others, who speak of a “hypostatical subordination of persons in the Godhead.” Prof. Stuart, Com. Heb. Exe. 1. Yet, the distinction itself, through we cannot explain it, “must” be allowed to exist. The remaining evidence of the eternal Sonship may be thus stated. 1. Christ is called God’s “own Son,” his “beloved,” and “well beloved,” and “only begotten Son.’ So strong and special adjuncts seem intended to prevent any such idea as that of figurative Sonship. If these do not express the natural relationship, it is beyond the power of language to do it. Moreover, correct criticism binds us to adopt the natural and ordinary signification of words, unless in such cases as plainly refuse it, 2. In a passage already quoted, God is said “to have sent forth His Son to redeem us,” etc. And there are many passages to the same effect, in which is revealed, not only the pre-existence of Christ, but the capacity in which he originally moved, and the rank which he held in heaven. “God sent forth his Son,” implies that he held that title prior to his mission. This at least is the most obvious sense of the passage, and the sense which an ordinary reader would doubtless affix to it. The following objection, however, has been supposed fatal to this argument: “The name Son of God is indeed used, when speaking of him previous to his having assumed human nature, but so are the names of Jesus and the Christ, which yet we know properly to belong to him, only as united to humanity.” It is readily allowed that the simple fact of the name being given prior to the incarnation proves nothing of itself. But the case is altered when this fact is viewed in connection with the difficulty or impossibility of resolving the Sonship into an official relation. o such difficulty exists in regard to the terms “Jesus” and “Christ,” for they are plainly official names, signifying “anointed Saviour.” 3. Rom_1:3-4. If in this passage we understand the apostle to declare, that Christ was of the seed of David, according to his human nature, the rule of antithesis demands, that we understand him next to assert what he was according to his divine nature, namely, the Son of God. The views given in this ote are those adopted by the most eminent orthodox divines. The language of the Westminster divines is well known; “The only Redeemer of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God, of one substance etc.” “Larger Catechism.” Mr. Scott “is decidedly of opinion, that Christ is called the only Son of God in respect of his divine nature.” Commentary, Heb_1:3-4.” The late Principal Hill, in his Theological System, having exposed what he deemed erroneous views on this subject, adds, “there is a more

ancient and a more exalted title to this name (Son of God), which is inseparable from the nature” of Christ. “3rd edition, vol. i., page 363.)” With power - ἐν δυνάµει en dunamei. By some this expression has been supposed to mean in power or authority, after his resurrection from the dead. It is said, that he was before a man of sorrows; now he was clothed with power and authority. But I have seen no instance in which the expression in power denotes office, or authority. It denotes physical energy and might, and this was bestowed on Jesus before his resurrection as well as after; Act_10:38, “God anointed Jesus of azareth with the Holy Spirit, and with power; Rom_15:19; 1Co_15:43. With such power Jesus will come to judgment: Mat_24:30. If there is any passage in which the word “power” means authority, office, etc., it is Mat_28:18, “All power in heaven and earth is given unto me.” But this is not a power which was given unto him after his resurrection, or which he did not possess before. The same authority to commission his disciples he had exercised before this on the same ground, Mat_10:7-8. I am inclined to believe, therefore, that the expression means “powerfully, efficiently;” he was with great power, or conclusiveness, shown to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. Thus, the phrase “in power” is used to qualify a verb in Col_1:29, “Which worketh in me mightily,” “Greek,” in power, that is, operating in me effectually, or powerfully. The ancient versions seem to have understood it in the same way. “Syriac,” “He was known to be the Son of God by power, and by the Holy Spirit.” “AEthiopic,” “Whom he declared to be the Son of God by his own power, and by his Holy Spirit,” etc. “Arabic,” “Designated the Son of God by power appropriate to the Holy Spirit.” According to the spirit of holiness - κατά πνεῦµα ἁγιωσύνης kata pneuma hagiōsunēs. This expression has been variously understood. We may arrive at its meaning by the following considerations. (1) It is not the third person in the Trinity that is referred to here. The designation of that person is always in a different form. It is “the Holy Spirit,” the Holy Ghost, πνεῦµα ἅγιον pneuma hagion, or τὸ πνεῦµα τὸ ἅγιον to pneuma to hagion; never “the spirit of holiness.” (2) It stands in contrast with the flesh; Rom_1:3, “According to the flesh, the seed of David: according to the spirit of holiness, the Son of God.” As the former refers doubtless to his human nature, so this must refer to the nature designated by the title Son of God, that is, to his superior or divine nature. (3) The expression is altogether unique to the Lord Jesus Christ. o where in the Scriptures, or in any other writings, is there an affirmation like this. What would be meant by it if affirmed of a mere man? (4) It cannot mean that the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, showed that Jesus was the Son of God by raising him from the dead because that act is no where attributed to him. It is uniformly ascribed either to God, as God Act_2:24, Act_2:32; Act_3:15, Act_3:26; Act_4:10; Act_5:30; Act_10:40; Act_13:30, Act_13:33-34; Act_17:31; Rom_10:9; Eph_1:20, or to the Father Rom_6:4, or to Jesus himself Joh_10:18. In no instance is this act ascribed to the Holy Spirit. (5) It indicates a state far more elevate than any human dignity, or honor In regard to his earthly descent, he was of a royal race; in regard to the Spirit of

holiness, much more than that, he was the Son of God. (6) The word “Spirit” is used often to designate God, the holy God, as distinguished from all the material forms of idol worship, Joh_4:24. (7) The word “Spirit” is applied to the Messiah, in his more elevated or divine nature. 1Co_15:45, “the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” 2Co_3:17, “now the Lord (Jesus) is that Spirit.” Heb_9:14, Christ is said to have offered himself through the eternal Spirit. 1Pe_3:18, he is said to have been “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” 1Ti_3:16, he is said to have been “justified in the Spirit.” In most of these passages there is the same contrast noticed between his flesh, his human nature, and his other state, which occurs in Rom_1:3-4. In all these instances, the design is, doubtless, to speak of him as a man, and as something more than a man: he was one thing as a man; he was another thing in his other nature. In the one, he was of David; was put to death, etc. In the other, he was of God, he was manifested to be such, he was restored to the elevation which he had sustained before his incarnation and death, Joh_17:1-5; Phi_2:2-11. The expression, “according to the Spirit of holiness,” does not indeed of itself imply divinity. It denotes that holy and more exalted nature which he possessed as distinguished from the human. What that is, is to be learned from other declarations. “This expression implies simply that it was such as to make proper the appellation, the Son of God.” Other places, as we have seen, show that that designation naturally implied divinity. And that this was the true idea couched under the expression, according to the Spirit of holiness, appears from those numerous texts of scripture which explicitly assert his divinity; see Joh_1:1, etc., and the note on that place. By the resurrection from the dead - This has been also variously understood. Some have maintained that the word “by,” ἐξ ex, denotes after. He was declared to be the Son of God in power after he rose from the dead; that is, he was solemnly invested with the dignity that became the Son of God after he had been so long in a state of voluntary humiliation. But to this view there are some insuperable objections. (1) It is not the natural and usual meaning of the word “by.” (2) It is not the object of the apostle to state the time when the thing was done, or the order, but evidently to declare the fact, and the evidence of the fact. If such had been his design, he would have said that previous to his death he was shown to be of the seed of David, but afterward that he was invested with power. (3) Though it must be admitted that the preposition “by, ἐξ ex,” sometimes means after (Mat_19:20; Luk_8:27; xxiii. 8, etc.), yet its proper and usual meaning is to denote the efficient cause, or the agent, or origin of a thing, Mat_1:3, Mat_1:18; Mat_21:25; Joh_3:5; Rom_5:16; Rom_11:36, “OF him are all things.” 1Co_8:6, “one God, the Father, of whom are all things,” etc. In this sense, I suppose it is used here; and that the apostle means to affirm that he was clearly or decisively shown to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. But here will it be asked, how did his resurrection show this? Was not Lazarus raised from the dead? And did not many saints rise also after Jesus? And were not the dead raised by the apostles; by Elijah, by the bones of Elisha, and by Christ himself? And did their being raised prove that they were the sons of God? I answer

that the mere fact of the resurrection of the body proves nothing in itself about the character and rank of the being that is raised. But in the circumstances in which Jesus was placed it might show it conclusively. When Lazarus was raised, it was not in attestation of anything which he had taught or done. It was a mere display of the power and benevolence of Christ. But in regard to the resurrection of Jesus, let the following circumstances be taken into the account. (1) He came as the Messiah. (2) He uniformly taught that he was the Son of God. (3) He maintained that God was his Father in such a sense as to imply equality with him, Joh_5:17-30; Joh_10:36. (4) He claimed authority to abolish the laws of the Jews, to change their customs, and to be himself absolved from the observance of those laws, even as his Father was, John 5:1-17; Mar_2:28. (5) When God raised him up therefore, it was not an ordinary event. It was “a public attestation, in the face of the universe, of the truth of his claims to be the Son of God.” God would not sanction the doings and doctrines of an impostor. And when, therefore he raised up Jesus, he, by this act, showed the truth of his claims, that he was the Son of God. Further, in the view of the apostles, the resurrection was intimately connected with the ascension and exaltation of Jesus. The one made the other certain. And it is not improbable that when they spoke of his resurrection, they meant to include, not merely that single act, but the entire series of doings of which that was the first, and which was the pledge of the elevation and majesty of the Son of God. Hence, when they had proved his resurrection, they assumed that all the others would follow. That involved and supposed all. And the series, of which that was the first, proved that he was the Son of God; see Act_17:31, “He will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all people, “in that he hath raised him from the dead.” The one involves the other; see Act_1:6. Thus, Peter Act_2:22-32 having proved that Jesus was raised up, adds, Act_2:33, “therefore, being by the right hand exalted, he hath shed forth this,” etc.; and Act_2:36, “therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” This verse is a remarkable instance of the “apostle” Paul’s manner of writing. Having mentioned a subject, his mind seems to catch fire; he presents it in new forms, and amplifies it, until he seems to forget for a time the subject on which he was writing. It is from this cause that his writings abound so with parentheses, and that there is so much difficulty in following and understanding him. 11. Jamison, “And declared — literally, “marked off,” “defined,” “determined,” that is, “shown,” or “proved.” to be the Son of God — Observe how studiously the language changes here. He “was MADE [says the apostle] of the seed of David, according to the flesh” (Rom_1:3); but He was not made, He was only “declared [or proved] to BE the Son of God.” So Joh_1:1, Joh_1:14, “In the beginning WAS the Word ... and the Word

was MADE flesh”; and Isa_9:6, “Unto us a Child is BOR , unto us a Son is GIVE .” Thus the Sonship of Christ is in no proper sense a born relationship to the Father, as some, otherwise sound divines, conceive of it. By His birth in the flesh, that Sonship, which was essential and uncreated, merely effloresced into palpable manifestation. (See on Luk_1:35; see Act_13:32, Act_13:33). with power — This may either be connected with “declared,” and then the meaning will be “powerfully declared” [Luther, Beza, Bengel, Fritzsche, Alford, etc.]; or (as in our version, and as we think rightly) with “the Son of God,” and then the sense is, “declared to be the Son of God” in possession of that “power” which belonged to Him as the only-begotten of the Father, no longer shrouded as in the days of His flesh, but “by His resurrection from the dead” gloriously displayed and henceforth to be for ever exerted in this nature of ours [Vulgate, Calvin, Hodge, Philippi, Mehring, etc.]. according to the spirit of holiness — If “according to the flesh” means here, “in His human nature,” this uncommon expression must mean “in His other nature,” which we have seen to be that “of the Son of God” - an eternal, uncreated nature. This is here styled the “spirit,” as an impalpable and immaterial nature (Joh_4:24), and “the spirit of holiness,” probably in absolute contrast with that “likeness, of sinful flesh” which He assumed. One is apt to wonder that if this be the meaning, it was not expressed more simply. But if the apostle had said “He was declared to be the Son of God according to the Holy Spirit,” the reader would have thought he meant “the Holy Ghost”; and it seems to have been just to avoid this misapprehension that he used the rare expression, “the spirit of holiness.” 12. Robert Haldane, “On whatever subject Paul treats, he constantly introduces the mystery of Christ. In writing to the Corinthians, he says, I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This is a declaration that the doctrine concerning Christ is the whole of religion, in which all besides is comprehended. In delivering his instructions to the saints at Corinth respecting the incestuous person, he points out to them Jesus Christ as the Lamb that was sacrificed. If his subject respects the promises he has made, or the engagements he has entered into, he draws our attention to the promises of God, which are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus. When he treats of the precepts to be obeyed, he regards them as connected with the knowledge of Christ. All duties are considered in relation to Him, as the only Savior from whom we can derive power to fulfill them, the only altar on which they can be accepted, that model according to which they are to be performed, and the motive by which those who perform them are to be actuated. He is the head that gives life to the members, the root which renders the branches fruitful. The Apostle John says, But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, by which he means to say who Christ is. Paul, after his conversion, * preached Christ m the synagogues. And what did he preach concerning Him ? That He was the Son of God. The great burden of Paul s doctrine was, to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. That term, then, must definitely import His Divine nature. It is not only used definitely, but as expressing the most

important article in the Christian faith ; it is used as an epitome of the whole creed. When the eunuch desired to be baptized, Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The belief, then, of the import of this term is the substance of Christianity. Faith in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, overcometh the world. < Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that JESUS is the Son of God ? In the confession of Peter, Matt. xvi. 16, this phrase is employed as an epitome of the Christian faith. To the question, Whom say ye that I am? Peter replies, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. We have here the very essence of Christianity. The epithets attached to this phrase, Son of God, show it to import proper sonship. Jesus is called God s own Son, the beloved the well-beloved Son, the begotten the only-begotten Son of God. This sonship, then, is a sonship not only in a more eminent degree, but in a sense in which it is not true of any other in the lowest degree. God has other sons, but He has no other son in the sense in which Jesus is His Son. He has no other son who enjoys the community of His nature. Therefore this Son is called His begotten, or His only-begotten Son. A begotten son is a son by nature; and Jesus must be designedly so designated, to distinguish His natural sonship from that which is figurative. The phrase is rendered still more definite by the addition of the word only. The power which was given to our Lord when He rose from the dead, was eminently displayed by His sending out the Holy Spirit, when He returned to the Father. Before His resurrection, if only the veil of infirmity with which, in His birth, he had been covered, was contemplated, He appeared merely as a man. But after His resurrection, if we turn our eyes to His sending forth the Holy Spirit, we behold Him as the Son of God invested with all power. For He who thus sends forth this glorious Spirit must be possessed of sovereign and infinite power, and consequently must be the Son of God. The Holy Spirit, too, whom Jesus Christ communicates, marks His divinity by other characters besides that of power, namely, by that of holiness, by that of majesty, by that of eternity, and that of infinity, proving that He only who bestows the Holy Spirit can be the eternal God, sovereignly holy, and sovereignly glorious. The Apostle has, however, chosen the characteristic of power for two reasons, the one is to oppose it to the flesh, denoting weakness ; and the other, because He has overcome the world, which is an act of ineffable power. To destroy the empire of Satan, to subdue the hearts of men, to change the face of the universe, displays a power which is truly Divine. According to the Spirit of Holiness. There are various interpretations of these terms, but the proper antithesis can only be preserved by referring them to Christ s Divine nature. If the words are capable of this application, we need not hesitate to adopt it in this place ; and though the phrase is unusual, there can be no doubt that it is capable of this meaning. It is equally unusual in whatever sense it may be applied. This circumstance, then, cannot prevent it from referring to the Deity of Jesus Christ, in direct contrast to His humanity. Spirit of Holiness may be used here rather than the phrase Poly Spirit, because the latter is usually assigned to the third

person of the Trinity. Though the exact expression does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures, other passages corroborate this meaning, as the Lord (that is, Christ) is that Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 17. He is called a quickening Spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45, which character belonged to Him in a particular manner after His resurrection, when He appeared as the spiritual Head of His Church, communicating spirit and life to all His members. The unusual expression, Spirit of Holiness, appears, then, here to denote His Deity, in contrast with His humanity, characterizing Him as God, who is a Spirit essentially holy. By the resurrection from the dead. His resurrection defined or determined Jesus Christ to be the person spoken of by the Prophets as the Son of God, and was the authentic and solemn judgment of God pronouncing Him to be His Son. As it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art My Son ; this day have I begotten Thee, Acts xiii. 33. In Scripture, things are often said to be done, when they are publicly declared and manifested. When the Son of God was raised from the dead, His eternal dignity, which was before concealed, was brought to light. His Divine power, being infinite and unchangeable, could receive no augmentation of dignity or majesty. But, having chosen to appear among men enveloped as in a cloud of sufferings and apparent weakness, His glorification consisted in His emerging from that cloud, leaving the veil of infirmities in the tomb, without any of them adhering to Him, when, as the sun breaks forth in his splendor, He was gloriously manifested as the Son of God. By His resurrection, God proclaimed to the universe that Christ was His onlybegotten Son. The Apostle having in the foregoing verse called Jesus Christ the Son of God, here adds that He was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. His resurrection, then, did not constitute Him the Son of God ; it only evinced that He was truly so. Jesus Christ had declared Himself to be the Son of God ; and on this account the Jews charged Him with blasphemy, and asserted that He was a deceiver. By His resurrection, the clear manifestation of the character He had assumed, gloriously and for ever terminated the controversy which had been maintained during the whole of His ministry on earth. In raising Him from the dead, God decided the contest. He declared Him to be His Son, and showed that He had accepted His death in satisfaction for the sins of His people, and consequently that He had suffered not for Himself, but for them, which none could have done but the Son of God. On this great fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul rests the truth of the Christian religion, without which the testimony of the Apostles would be false, and the faith of God s people vain.” 13. Sadler, “Theodoret s exposition seems to me admirable. "Before His Cross and Passion the Lord Christ, not only to the other Jews, but to the Apostles themselves, did not seem to be God. For they stumbled at His human weaknesses when they saw Him eating and drinking, and sleeping, and weary, and not even the very miracles led them on to the opinion that He was God. And so when they had seen the miracle wrought on the sea of Galilee they said, What manner of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him ? and so also the Lord said to them, I have many things

to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth shall come, he will guide you into all the truth. And again, * Abide here in this city until ye be endued with power from on high, when the Holy Ghost shall come upon you. Before His Passion, then, their opinions respecting Him were of such a sort as those. But after His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Spirit, and the miracles of every kind which they performed by the invocation of His Adorable ame, all they who believed acknowledged that He was God, and the only begotten Son of God. This, then, the Divine Apostle taught, that He Who was named the Son of David according to the flesh, was defined and demonstrated to be the Son of God, through the power which they exercised by the Holy Spirit after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead." 14. Given Blakely, “"Christ" means "anointed one"-in this case, THE anointed one. Others have been anointed: i.e. Aaron (Ex 29:7), Saul (1 Sam 9:16), David (1 Sam 16:12), and Solomon (1 Kgs 1:34)-but none of them were "THE Christ." That honor belongs to the Lord Jesus alone. While men anointed the ones mentioned before, God the Father anointed Jesus. As it is written, "God anointed Jesus of azareth with the Holy Spirit and with power" KJV(Acts 10:38). Again, it is said of Him, "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" (Heb 1:9). As "the Lord's Christ" (Lk 2:26), Jesus was appointed to by Himself resolve the dilemma of sin. Upon the basis of His vicarious, or substitutionary, death those who believe on Him would be released from both the guilt and power of sin. Thus, when Jesus began His ministry, He declared this word was fulfilled in Him: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Lk 4:18-19). The Gospel particularly opens up that marvelous announcement. It declares we are living in a time when God will accept men, absolving them of guilt, purifying their hearts, and making them "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4). All of this is upon the firm foundation of the work of "THE CHRIST, the Son of the living God" (Matt 16:1618). As "the Christ," Jesus is the only Man truly and fully recognized by God. Upon Him, and Him alone, hangs the destiny of all men. That is the precise teaching of Romans 5:15-21. Blakely goes on about Jesus as Lord. “To remove any question concerning the relevancy of the Person of the Gospel, the Spirit adds He is "OUR Lord."Right here, it is important to deal with a bit of theological haberdashery that has become fashionable. You have no doubt heard people say men should "make Jesus their Lord." Others have said, "You have made Him your Savior, now make Him your Lord." o such language or concept can be found in the Word of God. Let it be clear that it is not possible for Jesus to be Savior and not Lord-in A Y sense. You have no role whatsoever in making Jesus Lord. The Spirit has spoken expressly on this matter. "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord

and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Further, "He is Lord of all" (Acts 10:36), whether men choose to accept Him in that capacity or not. Secondly, everyplace the terms "Lord" and "Savior" are ascribed to Jesus, "Lord" is either used first, or clarifies Who the Savior is. Concerning the latter, when Jesus was born, the shepherds were told, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which IS Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:11). And again, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, THE Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil 3:20). And again, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope" (1 Tim 1:1). In all other instances, "Lord" is always before "Savior" (Tit 1:4; 2 Pet 1:11; 2:20; 3:2,18). The point is that Christ Jesus cannot be compartmentalized. He cannot be received partially, or only in one of His capacities. It is not possible to experience Him as Savior, but not as Lord. The very notion is an absurdity. Men must flee from such approaches to the Savior, for they dull the conscience and cause spiritual sleep to descend upon the soul. 15. I understand Blakely above, and it is true that we do not make Jesus Lord, for he is that already. But he is missing the point of those who stress Lordship salvation. They are saying he is Lord, but men do not treat him as such, and this becomes cheap salvation where you accept him as your Savior, and now that your sins are forgiven and you are on your way to heaven, you forget about obedience to his commands and just live a mediocre life with no witness at all to his grace. He is Lord, but nobody would know it by looking at your life. You have not allowed him to be Lord in your life style. I do not make any judgment about this man's salvation, but I know he is out of God's will, and he will suffer loss of reward if he does make it to heaven anyway by the skin of his teeth. Jesus saved him, but he was never submissive to the Lord Jesus. Why is their such debate on an issue that is clear to everyone. Some Christians live as if Jesus is Lord, and some do not, and those who do not need to be warned and challenged to live to please the one who saved them. Paul is doing this all the time with the Christians in his day.

5 Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
1. Here we see that Paul was especially called to call Gentiles into the kingdom of God by faith in Christ. God selected him for this very special ministry to the Gentile nations. Others preached to them as well, but Paul specialized in this ministry. We

note that obedience comes from faith. People need to start with faith, and then go on to obey the revealed will of God. If people start with works and trying to please God on their own, they are missing the mark. It is good that they do good, but it is a works salvation without faith, and that does not work. Works only work when they are motivated by faith in the finished work of the Savior. Faith in his work makes our works of faith pleasing in the sight of God, and makes them worthy of final reward. Works without such faith is a self salvation project that just will not get the job done if the goal is eternal life with God. 1B. J. David Hoke, “The primary purpose for the Gospel is found in the first phrase in verse five. When Paul says that he received his mission as an apostle through Him and for His name's sake, he is revealing the central place that God holds in all of this. It all begins and ends with God. It is all by His grace and for His glory. You see, everything in the entire universe finds its meaning in God. He has created all things. He sustains all things. And one day all things will return to Him. This is what Paul means when he says, in Romans 11:36, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." God is the source of all things because He is the creator. He is the sustainer of all things because He supplies what is necessary for life to exist. Therefore all things will ultimately bring Him glory because this was what they were designed to do. The primary purpose of the Gospel is to bring glory to God - to exalt our Savior.” 2. Gill, “By whom we have received grace and apostleship,.... That is, either by the Holy Spirit, from whom all grace and gifts come, qualifying for the discharge of any office; or by the Lord Jesus Christ, who is full of grace and truth, has received gifts for, and gives them to men to fit them for whatsoever service he is pleased to call them to. By "grace and apostleship" may be meant, either one and the same thing, the favor and honor of being the apostles of Christ; or different things, and the one in order to the other. Grace may design special saving grace in calling, justification, pardon, and adoption, and sanctification, which was received in common with other saints, and is absolutely necessary to an apostle, and to any ordinary minister of the word; or the doctrine of grace, which they received from Christ, and dispensed to others; or rather the gifts of grace, and the various measures thereof, which they received from their ascended Lord and King, by which they were furnished for apostleship, that is, the work and office of apostles; to which they were called by Christ, and from whom they received a commission to execute it. The apostle takes in others sides himself, and says, "we have received"; partly for the sake of modesty, and partly to keep up his equal title with others to this office; and since this is had in a way of receiving, which supposes giving, and excludes boasting, it obliges to make use of all grace and gifts to the glory of Christ, by whom they are received. The end for which they received such an office, and grace to fit them for it, was, "for obedience to the faith"; that men might be brought by the ministry of the word to obey the faith, Christ the object of faith; to submit to his righteousness, and the way of salvation by him, and to be subject to his ordinances or to obey the doctrine of

faith, which is not barely to hear it, and notionally receive it, but to embrace it heartily by faith, and retain it, in opposition to a disbelief and contempt of it; and which is the end and design of the Gospel ministration to bring persons to, Moreover, by obedience to the faith, or "obedience of faith", as it may be rendered, may be meant the grace of faith, attended with evangelical obedience; for obedience, rightly performed, is only that which is by faith, and springs from it. ow grace and apostleship were received, in order to be exercised among all nations; not in Judea only, to which the first commission of apostleship was limited, but in all the nations of the world, as the commission renewed by Christ after his resurrection ordered; and that some among all nations of the earth might, by the power of divine grace accompanying the word, be brought to faith and obedience: and all this, the qualifications for the office, the due exercise of it in all the world, and the success that attended it, were for his name; for the honour and glory of Christ, in whose name they went, and which they bore and carried among the Gentiles, out of whom he was pleased "to take a people for his name", Act_15:14.” 2B. BROW, “Paul will claim that his function was to plant churches among other nations, and he had already succeeded in doing this "by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ" (Romans 15:19). That is a distance of 1500 miles (as crows are said to fly) through huge Gentile cities such as Syrian Antioch, Tarsus in Cilicia, Galatian Antioch, Asian Ephesus, the Roman colony in Philippi, and the famous Greek cities of Thessalonica, Athens, and Corinth. And this astonishing achievement was totally by the power of the Holy Spirit. "Our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit... For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place" (1 Thessalonians 1:5-8). 3. Clarke, “Grace and apostleship - The peculiar influence and the essential qualifications which such an office requires. Without the Grace, favor, and peculiar help of God, he could not have been an apostle: he had an extraordinary conversion, and an extraordinary call to preach the Gospel. Probably χαριν και αποστολην, grace and apostleship, mean the same as χαριν της αποστολης, the apostolical office; for so the word χαρις means in Rom_12:3; Rom_15:15; 1Co_3:10; Eph_3:8. See the various acceptations of the word grace, Rom_1:7. For obedience to the faith - That by this office, which I have received from God, and the power by which it is accompanied, I might proclaim the faith, the Gospel of Jesus; and show all nations the necessity of believing in it, in order to their salvation. Here is: 1. The Gospel of the Son of God. 2. An apostle divinely commissioned and empowered to preach it. 3. The necessity of faith in the name of Jesus, as the only Savior of the world.

4. Of obedience, as the necessary consequence of genuine faith. And, 5. This is to be proclaimed among all nations; that all might have the opportunity of believing and being saved. 3B. Given Blakely, “As Paul indicates in this passage, he was given grace to do something. Elsewhere he states the grace of God made him a skillful master-builder, who could lay a good foundation (1 Cor 3:10). Because of grace, he "labored more abundantly" than the other apostles (1 Cor 15:10). His impeccably holy life was also owing to the grace of God (2 Cor 1:12). Grace made the Apostle what he was, and he knew it. That is a blessing. In the final analysis, grace is a stewardship, given to men in order that they might work together with God. Everyone in the body of Christ receives grace-grace to do something. They are responsible for fulfilling their role to the glory of God. Peter states it this way. "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Pet 4:10). The stated objective of the Paul's "Apostleship" was "for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name." This is an intriguing phrase, and conducive to much meditation. Other versions read, "to bring about the obedience of faith" ( ASB). "To the obedience that comes from faith" ( IV). Both the etymological structure and the doctrine of this verse confirm it means "the obedience that springs from faith"Robertson. Faith is the living spring from which all valid response to God issues. It is the sanctifying factor in all Kingdom labor. "Without faith, it is impossible to please" God (Heb 11:6). That is a Scriptural axiom that must never be allowed to dim in our understanding. Later in this Epistle, the Spirit will refer to this same truth. He will state that God's eternal purpose "was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for THE OBEDIE CE OF FAITH" (Rom 16:26). In the Greek text, the wording is precisely the same, with not a single variation. The meaning here is that Paul's Apostleship was to this intent, or for this objective: that men might render obedience to God because they believed the Gospel. Someone has well said of faith, "Faith is a commanding principle exacting obedience to itself."J. Barmy 4. Barclay, “In this setting apart Paul was aware of having received two things. In Rom. 1:5 he tells us what these two things were. (a) He had received grace. Grace always describes some gift which is absolutely free and absolutely unearned. In his pre-Christian days Paul had sought to earn glory in the eyes of men and merit in the sight of God by meticulous observance of the works of the law, and he had found no peace that way. ow he knew that what mattered was not what he could do, but what God had done. It has been put this way, "The law lays down what a man must do; the gospel lays down what God has done." Paul now saw that salvation depended not on what man's effort could do, but on what

God's love had done. All was of grace, free and undeserved. (b) He had received a task. He was set apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul knew himself to be chosen not for special honour, but for special responsibility. He knew that God had set him apart, not for glory, but for toil. It may well be that there is a play on words here. Once Paul had been a Pharisee (Php.3:5). Pharisee may very well mean The Separated One. It may be that the Pharisees were so called because they had deliberately separated themselves from all ordinary people and would not even let the skirt of their robe brush against an ordinary man. They would have shuddered at the very thought of the offer of God being made to the Gentiles, who to them were "fuel for the fires of hell." Once Paul had been like that. He had felt himself separated in such a way as to have nothing but contempt for all ordinary men. ow he knew himself to be separated in such a way that he must spend all his life to bring the news of God's love to every man of every race. Christianity always separates us, but it separates us not for privilege and self-glory and pride, but for service and humility and love for all men. Besides giving his own credentials Paul, in this passage, sets out in its most essential outline the gospel which he preached. It was a gospel which centred in Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:3-4). In particular it was a gospel of two things. (a) It was a gospel of the Incarnation. He told of a Jesus who was really and truly a man. One of the great early thinkers of the Church summed it up when he said of Jesus, "He became what we are, to make us what he is." Paul preached of someone who was not a legendary figure in an imaginary story, not a demigod, half god and half man. He preached of one who was really and truly one with the men he came to save. (b) It was a gospel of the Resurrection. If Jesus had lived a lovely life and died an heroic death, and if that had been the end of him, he might have been numbered with the great and the heroic, but he would simply have been one among many. His uniqueness is guaranteed forever by the fact of the Resurrection. The others are dead and gone, and have left a memory. Jesus lives on and gives us a presence, still mighty with power. 5. John Piper, “Grace is a very precious reality. I hope I can show you from the book of Romans what it is and why it is so precious. The word is used 155 times in the ew Testament – over 100 of them in the writings of Paul, and almost a fourth of those in Romans (24 times). You cannot comprehend this book if you don’t comprehend grace. We will see it again and again. It is at the heart of the book and the heart of the gospel and the heart of God. He says in verse 5, "through whom we have received grace." In other words, God’s grace has come to Paul through the Lord Jesus Christ who was born as a son of David and was raised as Son of God in power. We may say from what Paul writes later that grace was obtained for us through the obedience and death of the

incarnate Messiah (Romans 3:24-25; 5:18-21); and grace is poured out through the risen and reigning Son of God in power. There is no grace toward sinners apart from the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Verse 5 says plainly that God gives grace "through him," referring to "Jesus Christ our Lord" at the end of verse 4. So grace is a reality that comes from God; and comes through Jesus and his work for us. It is not something we have a right to. Jesus obtained it for us. We get it freely because of the obedience and death of another. But what is it? Well, in this verse it is connected with Paul’s ministry, his apostleship. "Through [Christ] we have received grace and apostleship." I take this to mean that his calling as an apostle was a gift of grace and that he fulfils that ministry by the power of this grace. So that grace is not just God’s clemency toward Paul’s sin, but is also a power to enable Paul to do his calling as an apostle. I base this on what Paul says about the relation between grace and ministry in chapters 12 and 15. For example, in 12:6 Paul says, "We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us." And in 12:3 he says, "Through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you . . ." In other words, grace is God’s enabling for various ministries through gifts he gives, and Paul’s gift includes speaking as an apostle. Similarly in 15:15b-16 Paul says, "Grace was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles." So I conclude that when he says in 1:5, "Through whom we have received grace and apostleship," he means that God not only saved him from his sin, but he also gave him grace to be an authoritative spokesman for the risen Son of God in power. Grace has its own power. You don’t work it up. It is, in fact, part of the power referred to in verse 4, where Paul says that Jesus "was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead." Grace is not just forgiveness of our sin and mercy on our misery, it is also a divine power that comes to us through Jesus absolutely freely for the sake of ministry. Paul says in Romans 5:21, "As sin reigned in death, even so grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (my translation). Grace is the power of a king: it "reigns" and leads mightily to eternal life through Christ. God wants you to read verse 5 and in the end put your calling in the place of the word "apostleship." "Apostleship" is Paul’s – not mine and not yours. You might put, "Through Christ I have received grace and the teaching role." Or: grace and singing. Or: grace and studentship. Or: grace and singleness. Or: grace and widowhood. Or: grace and motherhood. And what you should mean is: God has freely given me forgiveness and the power to do a calling, and fulfill a role which I accept by faith. There is not a role in life that can be lived the way God wants it lived apart from enabling grace. Being a godly mother or being an apostle is impossible without the power of grace. So when Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, that all his apostolic labor is by grace, you insert your own calling: "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of

them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." The decisive, enabling power for all ministry and all service is God’s grace.” 6. Barnes, “By whom - The apostle here returns to the subject of the salutation of the Romans, and states to them his authority to address them. That authority he had derived from the Lord Jesus, and not from man. On this fact, that he had received his apostolic commission, not from man, but by the direct authority of Jesus Christ, Paul not infrequently insisted. Gal_1:12, “for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1Co_15:1-8; Eph_3:1-3. We - The plural here is probably put for the singular; see Col_4:3; compare Eph_6:19-20. It was usual for those who were clothed with authority to express themselves in this manner. Perhaps here, however, he refers to the general nature of the apostolic office, as being derived from Jesus Christ, and designs to assure the Romans that “he” had received the apostolic commission as the others had. ‘We,” the apostles, have received the appointment from Jesus Christ. ‘ Grace and apostleship - Many suppose that this is a figure of speech, “hendiadys,” by which one thing is expressed by two words, meaning the grace or favor of the apostolic office. Such a figure of speech is often used. But it may mean, as it does probably here, the two things, grace, or the favor of God to his own soul, as a personal matter; and the apostolic office as a distinct thing. He often, however, speaks of the office of the apostleship as a matter of special favor, Rom_15:15-16; Gal_2:9; Eph_3:7-9. For obedience to the faith - In order to produce, or promote obedience to the faith; that is, to induce them to render that obedience to God which faith produces. There are two things therefore implied. (1) That the design of the gospel and of the apostleship is to induce men to obey God. (2) That the tendency of faith is to produce obedience. There is no true faith which does not produce that. This is constantly affirmed in the ew Testament, Rom_15:18; Rom_16:19; 2Co_7:15; James 2. Among all nations - This was the original commission which Jesus gave to his apostles, Mar_16:15-16; Mat_28:18-19. This was the special commission which Paul received when he was converted, Act_9:15. It was important to show that the commission extended thus far, as he was now addressing a distant church which he had not seen. For his name - This means probably “on his account,” that is, on account of Christ, Joh_14:13-14; Joh_16:23-24. The design of the apostleship was to produce obedience to the gospel among all nations, that thus the name of Jesus might be honored. Their work was not one in which they were seeking to honor themselves, but it was solely for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. For him they toiled, they encountered perils, they laid down their lives, because by so doing they might bring people to obey the gospel, and thus Jesus Christ might wear a brighter crown and be attended by a longer and more splendid train of worshippers in the kingdom of his glory.

7. PIPER, “The ultimate goal of all God’s dealings is that his name (or the name of Christ, who is his image) would be known and admired and cherished and praised above all other realities. Romans 9:17 puts it like this: "For the scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.’" God’s aim in history and in all that happens is that his name be known and worshiped. 8. Henry, “The fruit of it (Rom_1:5); By whom, that is, by Christ manifested and made known in the gospel, we (Paul and the rest of the ministers) have received grace and apostleship, that is, the favour to be made apostles, Eph_3:8. The apostles were made a spectacle to the world, led a life of toil, and trouble, and hazard, were killed all the day long, and yet Paul reckons the apostleship a favour: we may justly reckon it a great favour to be employed in any work or service for God, whatever difficulties or dangers we may meet with in it. This apostleship was received for obedience to the faith, that is, to bring people to that obedience; as Christ, so his ministers, received that they might give. Paul's was for this obedience among all nations, for he was the apostle of the Gentiles, Rom_11:13. Observe the description here given of the Christian profession: it is obedience to the faith. It does not consist in a notional knowledge or a naked assent, much less does it consist in perverse disputings, but in obedience. This obedience to the faith answers the law of faith, mentioned Rom_3:27. The act of faith is the obedience of the understanding to God revealing, and the product of that is the obedience of the will to God commanding. To anticipate the ill use which might be made of the doctrine of justification by faith without the works of the law, which he was to explain in the following epistle, he here speaks of Christianity as an obedience. Christ has a yoke. “Among whom are you, Rom_1:6. You Romans in this stand upon the same level with other Gentile nations of less fame and wealth; you are all one in Christ.” The gospel salvation is a common salvation, Jud_1:3. o respect of persons with God. The called of Jesus Christ; all those, and those only, are brought to an obedience of the faith that are effectually called of Jesus Christ. 9. Brian Bell, “Listen carefully to this quote…you won’t believe who this is from! “Every Christian--as he explores the historical record of Scripture and tradition and comes to a deep, abiding faith--experiences that Christ is the risen one and that he is therefore the eternally living one. It is a deep, life-changing experience. o true Christian can keep it hidden as a personal matter. For such an encounter with the living God cries out to be shared--like the light that shines, like the yeast that leavens the whole mass of dough.”1 (Pope John Paul II) John Paul almost sounds like an Evangelical there?” 10. Greg Herrick, “Further, his call as an apostle was to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles on behalf of his name. The expression obedience of faith (uJpakohVn pivstew", hupakoen pisteos) has been variously interpreted. Some likely suggestions include: (1) “obedience which springs from faith”; (2) “obedience

in the faith where faith refers to the doctrinal commitments of Christianity (cf. Jude 3); (3) “obedience which is faith.” Since the epistle begins with “obedience of faith” (1:5) and ends with the same expression in 16:26, we may well conclude that what comes in between—in chapters 1:18-15:13—is directly related by way of elaboration and clarification. That is, the intervening chapters, chalked full as they are with ideas of sin, justification, and practical holiness “unpack” for us what the expression “obedience of faith” means. Therefore, we ought not to separate “obedience” too far from “faith,” (option #1) nor “personal faith” from “doctrinal commitments” (option #2). Undoubtedly, the vagueness of the expression is meant to capture the breadth of our Christian experience in terms of coming to faith in Christ initially, the nature of true faith as obedience, as well as doctrinal committments believed for those in the faith and living obedient lives. All this is covered in Romans 1:18-15:13 and alluded to in this “short-hand” expression. Paul makes it clear that the particular sphere of ministry assigned to him by the Lord was the Gentiles. His mission in life was to reach all the Gentiles with the gospel, a task he had been given for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, for Jesus’ glory and honor. His mission initiatives can be studied in Acts 1328. 11. John MacArthur, “Man Is Designed for Obedience to Christ (v. 5b) "Obedience to the faith. " Paul said the same thing in Romans 16:26: "According to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. " The result of faith is obedience. Show me someone who says he believes in Christ and lives a life of disobedience and I'll show you someone who is not redeemed. 1. Dead faith Faith, if it does not manifest itself in works of obedience, is dead. James said, "Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead" (James 2:20)? We are not saved by works, but we are saved unto good works. Christianity is a call for people to be obedient to the faith. When you put your faith in Christ, you affirm your obedience to Him. Paul used a definite article in describing this faith, similar to Jude: "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). It refers to the actual content of the gospel message--Jude, who spoke of the process of "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20). Sadly, that isn't the message many people are hearing today. We must call people to faith, but to a faith that obeys the Word of God. People who say they believe and then live a life of disobedience do not possess genuine saving faith. People who believe in Christ will obey Him. 2. Obedient faith

It is not that faith plus obedience equals salvation, but that obedient faith equals salvation. True faith is verified in one's obedience to God. Because Jesus is Lord, He demands obedience. There is no faith without obedience. Paul said to the Roman Christians, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (1:8). And why is it their faith was spoken of throughout the world? Romans 16:19 says, "Your obedience is come abroad unto all men. " In the beginning it is your faith that is spread abroad, but in the end it is your obedience. Why? Because one cannot exist without the other. I once was riding in an automobile with a man who was a professor at a theological seminary. We drove by a liquor store, and I happened to mention that it was a very unusual-looking place. The man I was riding with said, "Yes, there is a chain of those stores all over the city and they're all owned by one man. " He went on to say that the man came to his Sunday-school class. I said, "He does?" He said, "Yes, he's there every Sunday. " He went on to say he was in his discipleship group and that they meet every week. I said, "Does it bother him that he owns all those liquor stores?" The professor replied, "We've certainly talked a lot about it. He feels people are going to buy liquor anyway, so why not buy it from him. " I asked, "Is the rest of his life in order?" The professor responded, "He did leave his wife and is living with a young girl. " The professor then said, "You know, sometimes it is so hard for me to understand how a Christian can live like that. " I said, "You want to know something? Have you ever thought about the possibility that maybe he's not a Christian at all?" The Bible teaches that someone who lives a life of absolute disobedience cannot be a Christian because he does not recognize the lordship of Christ. Romans 10:9-10 says, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. " Faith without obedience won't save anyone. The delusion that it will cause many people to take the broad road that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:1314). That's like building a religious super-structure on sand (Matt. 7:21-29). Hebrews 12:14 speaks of "holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. " o holiness, no heaven! 11B. “You have to act on what you believe to get results. You can take the keys to your car, pull them out of your pocket walk out to the parking lot, climb up on the hood of your car raise both hands heavenward, keys in one hand and holler out at the top of your voice, “I believe that these are the keys to my car, and I believe that this is my car, and I believe that I can put these keys into the ignition of my car, and I believe that I can start my car, and I can drive home in my car.” All of that may be true, friend, but you will never get home until you get off that hood, into that car, and drive home. Yet everything you said is true. It is your car, those are your keys, you can get into your car, and you can drive home. But you won’t get home until you act on what you believe.” Brother Price. 12. Bob Wilkin, “Grace is not God’s response to our deserving or meriting. Grace is

God’s free gift before we do anything good, and his enabling of us to do anything good. For example, in Romans 4:4 Paul says, " ow to the one who works, his wage is not credited according to grace, but according to debt" (my translation). In other words, grace is not what you get when you work for somebody: that’s what he owes you. Grace is never owed. It is always a free bonus from the overflow of goodness. Therefore grace is always received through faith, not earned by works. You can only receive grace as a gift and acknowledge that it comes to you freely; you can’t work for it or earn it. Romans 11:6 states the principle: "If it [election] is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." Grace would not be grace if you earned it by your works. We receive it through faith. By simply welcoming it as a gift and relying on it. This is why Romans 4:16 says, "For this reason it [= being an heir of the promise] is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace." This is Paul’s way of saying that grace is absolutely free and cannot be deserved or merited. When grace comes to you it is through faith or not at all. So when Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, that all his apostolic labor is by grace, you insert your own calling: "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." The decisive, enabling power for all ministry and all service is God’s grace.” 13. WORTHE All men are commanded to obey God. God's call of obedience goes out to the world, "Repent of your sins and turn to My Son by faith for the forgiveness of your sins and life eternal." This was the call which Paul extended to the Gentiles. Men are to obey that call. But men choose to rebel, just like Adam and Eve. And so much of the world does not obey. But of those who obey the call to repent and believe by faith, obedience does not come to an end for us. Obedience is inferred from the fact that we have a new Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, who desires that we walk according to His will, not ours. And so for Paul, his obedience to Jesus Christ didn't end with him believing Christ; he continued his obedience by being the apostle Christ called him to be. But his obedience wasn't characterized by him kicking and screaming like a child who wants nothing to do with cooperating with his parents. Because he understood that Christ first loved him, his desire was to love Christ through obedience. Whatever the Lord wanted of Paul he gladly did what Christ wanted of him. But he did it in the grace and power of the Spirit by faith. Even Jesus says in Mat 7:21 " ot everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

What Jesus is saying, is that simply saying that you have believed is much different than actually believing in your Lord and Savior, which is characterized by a life of loving obedience to the Lord. A person whose actions are out of accord with what he says he has believed, must come to grips with the situation. If they are simply saying Lord, Lord and yet do not do the will the Father who is in heaven, they must seriously consider whether they are of the household of faith. Paul says in Phi 2:12 "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." What he's not saying there is that we can work out our salvation by our good works. What he is saying is, that in fear and trembling, which is reverence for God, we consider what a great gift we have in Christ; and to know that outside of Him we are eternally lost. Therefore, let us testify to the world that we do have the Spirit of God in us and walk in obedience to which our Lord has called us. And to the degree that we choose not to walk according to His will, let us fear and tremble that we are grieving the Holy Spirit. And if we have no desire to walk obediently after Christ then let us fear and tremble that we do not know Him who has called us to Himself, and fear that we may be lost, and tremble to the extent that we would repent and believe and obey our Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of our sins. Paul isn't saying that we, as believers, are to walk in fear and trembling of God, wondering if He's going to squash us like bugs if we mess up. We have not been given a spirit of fear or of timidity, but according to 2Ti 1:7 "a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." But if the power and love and self-discipline are non-existent, so that a person does not have a desire to walk obediently after Christ by faith, then that person must be fearful that they do not belong to God. That kind of fear is healthy. Because it's that fear which causes us to flee to the God who forgives us by His grace, and enables us to love Him and serve Him. But, I believe that Paul is also saying it is good to conduct a self check to see if we as believers are walking obediently after our Lord, and if not then we must repent and return to the grace which we have in Christ, keeping this in mind which we see in Rom.1:6 .......

14. Obedience of faith is where the battle for the godly life is fought. Someone wrote, “Pride makes you independent of God. Independence is the diametric opposite of worship. The two cosmic opposites are love and pride. John Milton described it in Paradise Lost. Satan decided: “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.” Authority-and-submission is pride’s battlefield. Satan refused to be under God: he wanted to lead himself. Can you imagine the headlines? “Revolution in the world of Spirit!” “Holy Hierarchy Assaulted!” “Declaration of War against God!” “Satan Attacks the Most High!” Either you understand this background or else mankind babbles you forever: Man is God’s creation made for love and friendship with himself, made in God’s image, Satan pushed his civil war from heaven to engulf the earth, as God had known he would. Satan’s strategy was to get into humanity the principle of independence, of revolt, of disobedience.” 15. Robert Haldane, “One of the first acts of the power of Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, was to bestow His Spirit and His grace on those who were chosen by Him, to qualify them to be His witnesses and the heralds of His Gospel. Paul was among that number, although appointed at a later period than the rest. We have received. He here speaks of himself in the plural number. He does not appear to use this style that he may include the other Apostles : what is true of him will, however, as to everything essential, apply to all the others. He distinguishes these two things, Grace and Apostleship. The first, which he had experienced in his conversion, and in every subsequent part of his course, he had received from Jesus Christ ; and by Him also he was appointed to the office of an Apostle, to the discharge of which that grace was indispensably necessary. To the obedience of faith. Paul, as an Apostle, was commissioned to preach the Gospel in order to the obedience of faith. Some understand this of the obedience which faith produces ; but the usual import of the expression, as well as the connection in this place, determines it to apply to the belief of the Gospel. Obedience is no doubt an effect produced by that belief ; but the office of an Apostle was, in the first place, to persuade men to believe the Gospel. This is the grand object, which includes the other. The Gospel reforms those who believe it ; but it would be pre senting an imperfect view of the subject to say that it was given to reform the world. It was given that men might believe and be saved. The obedience, then, here referred to, signifies submission to the doctrine of the Gospel. This is quite in accordance with those passages in which the expression is elsewhere found, as in Acts vi. 7; Rom. vi. 17, xvi. 26- Gal. iii. 1 ; 2 Thess. i. 8 ; 1 Pet. i. 22 ; and in Rom. x. 3 ; where the Israelites are charged with not submitting to the righteousness of God ; and especially in the 16th verse of that chapter it is said, But they have not all obeyed the Gospel ; for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report 1 This is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, 1 John iii. 23. The object, then, of faith, is not only a promise, but a promise accompanied with a command to accept it. For since it is God who promises, His majesty and authority

accompany His promise. In respect to the promise, that which on our part corresponds to it is called faith ; but in regard to the commandment which enjoins us to receive the promise, the act on our part is obedience. On this account, unbelief is rebellion against God. Faith, on the other hand, is an act of submission, or the surrender of ourselves to God, contrary to the natural opposition of our minds, in order that He may possess and conduct us, and make us what ever He pleases. When, therefore, that opposition is overcome by the weapons with which the Apostles were armed, namely, the word of truth, our submission is called the obedience of faith. This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent, The obedience of faith which His people render to Jesus Christ is an adoration which supposes His Deity ; for when reason entirely submits and is swallowed up in His authority, it is a real adoration. < Faith, says Calvin on this passage, is adorned with the title of obedience, because the Lord calls us by His Gospel, and by faith we answer when He calls us ; as, on the contrary, unbelief is the height of all rebellion against God. Among all nations. Paul here assigns the reason why he preaches to Gentiles, namely, that it is the destination of his office or apostleship, and not solely his own choice, Gal. ii. 7. In past ages, God had suffered all nations, with the exception of the Jews, to walk in their own ways, although He had not left Himself without witness in the works of creation and providence. Both in the universal deluge, and also upon other occasions, He had manifested His wrath on account of sin, and His determination to punish it. But after the establishment of the nation of Israel in Canaan, after the institution of His public worship among them, and after He had given to them His written revelation, He did not generally interpose His authority in a visible manner to turn the nations from the ways they had chosen. Although, therefore, the times of this ignorance God winked at, He now commanded all men to repent. For thus it is written, that when Christ suffered and rose from the dead, repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, Luke xxiv. 47. And accordingly Paul closes this Epistle by declaring that it was by the commandment of the everlasting God that the mystery, which had been kept secret from ages and generations, should be made known to all nations, in order to the obedience of faith. This was in conformity to the commission given by the Lord Himself to His eleven Apostles, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature ; and likewise to the particular command after wards received by Paul respecting the Gentiles, * To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. Thus the Gospel of the uncircumcision was in a special manner committed to Paul, to which in the verse before us he refers. For His name. The Gospel is preached among all nations for the obedience of faith, but paramount to this is the glory of the name of Jesus Christ. The name, the glory, and the authority of God have the same signification. The world was created for God s glory, and His glory is the chief end of the restoration of sinners. The acts of His goodness to His people are declared to be done for His own name s sake ; and for the same end His judgments also are executed on sinners, for His own name,

Rom. ix. 17. Men are very unwilling to admit that God should have any end with respect to them greater than their happiness. But His own glory is everywhere in the Scriptures represented as the chief end of man s existence, and of the existence of all things. It is in the name of Jesus that His people are taught to pray ; and we are baptized into the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as into one name. This affords unanswerable proof of the divinity of Christ. Paul was a chosen vessel to bear His name before the Gentiles, Acts ix. 15. This verse concludes the general introduction to the Epistle ; the easy transition to the particular address should not pass unnoticed.”

6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
1. It is wonderful to be called to belong to different groups, for this means you are wanted, and this gives us a sense of value because we are accepted and valued. If nobody wants you in their club or program you feel rejected and left out. How wonderful to be a part of that group of people, like these Romans, who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. The greatest invitation in life is to be called to belong to Jesus. If you have heard that call and not responded, you are rejecting the most important call of life. 1B. J. David Hoke, “Because we live in a society that has forfeited it's belief in a Creator, we find people looking desperately for a measure of significance for their lives. They seek significance through human relationships only to find that people let them down. They seek significance through their employment only to find that after years of loyal service they are summarily laid off by their company. And the quest goes on. But it is a futile quest without God. You see, it is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can find true significance. Our significance comes from knowing Him. It comes from understanding that He knows us. It is knowing that He knows all about us and yet loves us that gives us a sense of true worth - a sense of true significance. We are somebody because we know the ultimate Somebody and because He loves us. You see, it was God's will to choose us. He called us in order to adopt us as His sons and daughters. We are told that this is His will. In other words, God has given us what we do not deserve. He has freely bestowed on us His grace and made us part of His family. o wonder John could say, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

(1 John 3:1).” 2. Gill, “Among whom are ye also,.... The Romans, though they were the chief, were among the nations of the world to whom the apostles were sent; and since Paul was called to be an apostle, and had, as others, grace and apostleship, and particularly the apostleship of the uncircumcision, or was ordained a teacher of the Gentiles, more especially he was an apostle to them, and as such was to be regarded by them. This seems to point out what they were originally; they were among all nations which lay in darkness; and were without Christ and hope, and God in the world; but now, the called of Jesus Christ. The calling here spoken of is not to an office, or a mere external one by the ministry of the word, but an internal special call by the grace of God; and which is irresistible, efficacious, and unchangeable, and is an high, holy, and heavenly one; by it persons are called out of darkness into light, out of bondage into liberty, out of the world, from the company of the men of it, and the sinful pleasures thereof, to fellowship with Christ and his saints, and off a dependence on themselves, and their own righteousness, to the grace and righteousness of Christ, and to eternal glory. The persons so called are the elect of God, who are secured in Christ, and redeemed by him, and who has a concern with the Father and Spirit in the calling of them: hence they are styled, "the called of Jesus Christ"; they are called by him, and after his name; he has an interest in them; as they were before his chosen and redeemed ones, they are now his called ones; as Jacob and Israel of old were named of God, ‫" ,מקראי‬my called", Isa_48:12; so these were named Christ's called ones; and who by calling came to be partakers of him and of his grace.” 3. Barnes, “Among whom - That is, among the Gentiles who had become obedient to the Christian faith in accordance with the design of the gospel, Rom_1:8. This proves that the church at Rome was made up partly at least, if not mainly, of Gentiles or pagans. This is fully proved in the xvith. chapter by the names of the persons whom Paul salutes. The called of Jesus Christ - Those whom Jesus Christ has called to be his followers. The word “called” (see Rom_1:1) denotes not merely an external invitation to privilege, but it also denotes the “internal” or “effectual” call which secures conformity to the will of him who calls, and is thus synonymous with the name Christians, or believers. That true Christians are contemplated by this address, is clear from the whole scope of the Epistle; see particularly Rom. 8; compare Phi_3:14; Heb_3:1. 4. Jamison, “Among whom are ye also — that is, along with others; for the apostle ascribes nothing special to the Church of Rome (compare 1Co_14:36) [Bengel]. the called — (See on Rom_8:30). of Christ Jesus — that is, either called “by Him” (Joh_5:25), or the called “belonging to Him”; “Christ’s called ones.” Perhaps this latter sense is best supported, but one hardly knows which to prefer.

5. Rich Cathers, “I know what it’s like to not be chosen for the team. There were different times for me in elementary and Jr. High when I wasn’t the most coordinated guy around. I know what it’s like to stand on the line while everyone else is chosen for the team. I know what it’s like when the two team captains argue over who is going to be "blessed" with getting you on the team. But I also know what it’s like in some situations to have had the joy of being "picked". Wow, what a thrill! As a Christian, God has chosen you. He has called you to be on His team. And He doesn’t consider you the "last pick".

6. Bruce Goettsche, Paul tells the Romans that they have been chosen by the Father to be part of His royal family! Imagine getting a note in the mail that told you that you had been chosen to · Meet with the President of the United States · · · · · · Deliver a message to a joint session of Congress Be a guest on a Late ight talk show Throw out the first pitch at a Pro Ball game Ride several laps with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Play a round of golf with Phil Mickelson Sing a duet with Whitney Houston

How would you feel? On the one hand you would be overjoyed at the privilege you had been granted. On the other hand, you would be overwhelmed with the responsibility that came with the privilege. Every believer has been chosen to be a child of God!! God picked you! It is a greater privilege than we can fathom. We too should be filled with a sense of gratitude and joy while at the same time being aware that our new calling brings with it a new responsibility.” 7. WORTHE The word "called", which is used in verse one, is the exact same word he uses here in verse 6. Rom 1:1 "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, CALLED to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--..." Rom 1:6 "And you also are among those who are CALLED to belong to Jesus Christ."

We have a tendency to elevate someone like the apostle Paul to the point where we can't relate to his relationship with Christ. The fact of the matter is, that you and I have received the same calling from God as did Paul. We may not have the same gifts and responsibilities, but we have the same God who has given us the same commission and call, which is to be His witness wherever we are. We are "the called" of Jesus Christ, and we should never forget that. In fact, Paul prayed for the Ephesian church so that they would never forget the great salvation they had. He said in Eph 1:18 "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has CALLED you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe...." Paul speaks of this calling to Timothy in 2Ti 1:8 "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and CALLED us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." When God called us to Himself, He had great plans for us and still does. But He desires we obey Him, as to this calling, with loving hearts, not kicking and screaming like we sometimes do. 1Pe 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 8. Given Blakely, “ The importance of the concept of calling can be seen in the following affirmations of Scripture. * Called into the fellowship of God's dear Son (1 Cor 1:9). * Called to peace (1 Cor 7:15). * Called into the grace of Christ (Gal 1:6). * Called into liberty (Gal 5:13). * Called in one hope of our calling (Eph 4:4). *

Called to obtain glory (2 Thess 2:14). * Called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9). * Called to inherit a blessing (1 Pet 3:9). * Called to His eternal glory (1 Pet 5:10). Paul has already said he was "called to be an Apostle." ow he tells the Roman brethren they are also "the called of Jesus Christ." Other translations highlight the uniqueness of this expression: "among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ" ( IV, RSV, RSV), "and by His call you belong to Jesus Christ" ( JB), "marked out to be disciples of Christ" (BBE). Literally, the phrase may be translated "called to be Jesus Christ's"Robertson. The saints of God are exhorted to remember their calling-when it first registered upon their conscience that there was room for them at the Master's table. That call came by means of the Gospel, yet it was intensely personal. It was a call that transcended earthly distinctions. "Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth" (1 Cor 1:26). There was a single objective in the calling: "O E hope of your calling" (Eph 4:4). It was a "high calling," or an "upward call" (Phil 3:14). The calling was "holy," and not prompted by our works or accomplishments. It was wholly at the discretion of a wise and loving God. As it is written, "Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began" KJV (2 Tim 1:9). Because the call came from heaven, it is appropriately called a "heavenly calling," of which we are "partakers" (Heb 3:1).” 9. Robert Haldane, “Those to whom Paul wrote, were included among the nations to whom his commission extended. He mentions this, that it might not appear strange that he addresses them for the purpose of instructing them, but that, on the contrary, they should receive what he wrote with due confidence and respect. He was unknown to them by sight ; he was far distant from them. They might say, What interest had he in them ? He assures them that his apostleship regarded and comprehended them, and that he did nothing beyond his calling when he desired to increase their knowledge, and confirm their faith. They were the called of Jesus Christ. Thus he had a double right, and was laid under a double obligation to address them, both as belonging to the nations to whom his commission extended, and also as having already become obedient to the faith. The apostolic commission consisted of two parts : first, to make disciples, and then to teach them to observe all things that Jesus had commanded. Thus Paul had a measure that reached even to those to whom he now wrote, as he had to the Church at Corinth, 2 Cor. x. 13.

Of Jesus Christ. ot only called to Jesus, but called by Him; for He is not only that glorious person to whom we ought to go, but who Himself says, Come unto Me. The believers -at Rome were called both with an external calling by the Gospel, and also with an internal calling by the, Holy Spirit. Both these callings are ascribed to the Father, and also, as in this passage, to Jesus Christ, because the Son, as Mediator, is the minister of the Father, and executes all things for Him. As the High Priest of His people, He has done for them all that is required for establishing the ew Covenant ; but as the Prophet and King of His Church, He converts them and leads them to the Father. This expression, the called of Jesus Christ, imports that they belonged to Him, as in Isa. xlviii. 12, Israel, my called, that is, who are mine by the right of calling.”

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Is Paul implying there are some in Rome who are not loved by God and called to be saints. This is the view of some, but Scripture reveals that God is not willing that any perish, and so that implies that he loves all and calls all to come out of the darkness into the light of his salvation. However, this is written as a general statement to people that Paul has never met. He does not know that all are committed to Christ. Some in the church may be there for false reasons, and are not true believers. All may be called, but not all respond. It is superficial to think that everyone in this particular church was predestined to be saved, for that is rare in any church. 1B. Alan Carr, “ ote that Paul says they are "beloved of God." ow, it is a known fact that God loves all men, saint and sinner alike, John 3:16. What does the Apostle mean when he says that the redeemed are "beloved of God"? I think he means the same thing we mean when we talk of love. By the grace of God, it is possible to love all men, and as far as I know I truly do. However, there are 3 people who live in my house that are a whole lot closer to my heart than anyone else. I love all men, but those in my family are beloved to me. Do you see the difference? God loves all men, but the saints have a special place in the heart of God that no other people on the earth can share. These Roman Christians were also called to be "saints". That is, they were called to live lives that were separated and sold out for the Lord. They were to be different

from the pagans who lived all around them. They were to be light in a dark world, Matt. 5:16. God still holds the same expectation for you and me. His plan for our lives is that we become different than others who live around us. He does not want His children to live like the world, but He wants us to live like Him. That is why He tells us that we become new creatures when we come to Him, 2 Cor. 5:17, and that our walk should match His as we go through the world, 1 John 2:6. You see, the word "saint" means "holy, set apart, sanctified." It carries the idea of being totally set apart and dedicated to the Lord's service. That is what God expects from each of us. He did not save our souls for us to serve the devil, the world or the flesh. He saved us that we might be vessels of honor unto Him as we pass through this wicked, sin cursed world. Are we living like saints?” 1C. Bruce Goettsche, “The story is told of a very wealthy man who had many valuable art treasures. His collection was the envy of many. He had one son who was quite ordinary but was dearly loved. When the son died unexpectedly as a young man, the father was so deeply grieved that he died a few months later. The father’s will stipulated that, at his death, all his art works were to be publicly auctioned and that a painting of his son was to be auctioned first. On the day of the auction the specified painting was displayed and the bidding was opened. Because neither the boy nor the artist was well known, a long time passed without a bid being offered. Finally, a long-time servant of the father and friend of the boy timidly bid seventy-five cents, all the money he had. When there were no other bids, the painting was given to the servant. At that point the sale was stopped and an official read the remainder of the will, which specified that whoever cared enough for his son to buy the painting of him, would receive all the rest of the estate. In the same way, it is only those who love, trust, and follow God’s Son who are loved by God and receive the rich inheritance of the Father. Paul tells the Romans that they were “called to be saints”. It is God’s intention that they become saints. The Greek term means “holy one”. Every believer is called to be a holy one. In Romans 8:29 we are told “those he God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” In other words, God’s intention is for us to be like Jesus. This goal has not been fully realized yet, but it is our heritage as children of God.

If you lived in England and were born to the Royal family, you would grow up with a title. That title might be, Prince, Princess, or Duke or Duchess. You would get that title from the moment of your birth. The title points to your future role and destiny. When we are born again in Christ, we receive a new title. Instead of sinner we are called “saint”. At present I might not look much like a saint but a saint I will be.” 1D. Saints are to be like Jesus, but this does not mean that they cannot also be very different than Jesus was. One who is Christlike, but this does not mean doing only

what Jesus did. Abraham married, Jesus never did David danced before the Lord, Jesus never did. Paul spoke in tongues, Jesus never did. Peter wrote inspired Scripture, Jesus never did. The point is there is no end to the things that saints do that Jesus never did. The saint is not one who only does what Jesus did, but one who does all He does with the spirit of Christ. A saint is one separated onto God, and so all people are either saints or sinners. This does not mean saints don’t sin, or that sinners do not do many good and noble things. But the center of the two lives are different. The saint is God-centered, and the sinner is self-centered. As a saint we have an obligation to be different from the world so that all that we do is directed toward God-centered goals. 1E. Calvin, “ Grace to you and peace, etc. othing is more desirable than to have God propitious to us, and this is signified by grace; and then to have prosperity and success in all things flowing from him, and this is intimated by peace; for however things may seem to smile on us, if God be angry, even blessing itself is turned to a curse. The very foundation then of our felicity is the favor of God, by which we enjoy true and solid prosperity, and by which also our salvation is promoted even when we are in adversities. [25] And then as he prays to God for peace, we must understand, that whatever good comes to us, it is the fruit of divine benevolence. or must we omit to notice, that he prays at the same time to the Lord Jesus Christ for these blessings. Worthily indeed is this honor rendered to him, who is not only the administrator and dispenser of his Father's bounty to us, but also works all things in connection with him. It was, however, the special object of the Apostle to show, that through him all God's blessings come to us. There are those who prefer to regard the word peace as signifying quietness of conscience; and that this meaning belongs to it sometimes, I do not deny: but since it is certain that the Apostle wished to give us here a summary of God's blessings, the former meaning, which is adduced by Bucer, is much the most suitable. Anxiously wishing then to the godly what makes up real happiness, he betakes himself, as he did before, to the very fountain itself, even the favor of God, which not only alone brings to us eternal felicity but is also the source of all blessings in this life.” "The ancient Greeks and Romans," says Turrettin, "wished to those to whom they wrote, in the inscription of their epistles, health, joy, happiness; but Paul prays for far higher blessings even the favor of God, the fountain of all good things, and peace, in which the Hebrews included all blessings." -- Ed.

2. David Guzik, “To all who are in Rome: Paul had never been to Rome, and did not found the Roman church. This makes the Book of Romans different because most of Paul's letters were to churches he founded. It seems the church in Rome began somewhat spontaneously as Christians came to the great city of the Empire and settled there. There is no Biblical or historical evidence that the Apostle Peter founded the church in Rome. i. Acts 2:10 describes how there were people from Rome among the Jews present at the Day of Pentecostal, so when they returned home that was a start. Beyond that, the origins of the church in Rome are somewhat obscure, but Christians continually migrated to Rome from all parts of the empire. It shouldn't surprise us that a church started there spontaneously, without the direct planting by an apostle. ii. Even so, through mutual acquaintances or through his travels, Paul knew many of the Christians in Rome by name because he mentions them in Romans 16. Even if Paul only knew many of the Roman Christian by acquaintance, he knew two things about them and every true Christian. He knew they were beloved of God and that they were saints. Paul formally addresses his readers with his familiar greeting, combining the Greek greeting of grace with the Jewish greeting of peace. This grace and peace is not the kind wish of a man; they are gifts, coming from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

3. Michael Andrus, “How did this group of Christians develop in Rome? Paul had not been there, as we noted earlier, and it is virtually certain none of the other Apostles had been there. Where, then, did the church in Rome come from? Turn to Acts 2 for a moment. The time is just a few weeks after the death and resurrection of Christ and perhaps 25-30 years before Paul is writing the Book of Romans. The setting is Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples and they began to preach the Gospel in languages they had never learned. The purpose of this miraculous gift of tongues was so that thousands of foreign visitors to Jerusalem might hear the Gospel in their own language. And in verse 8 these visitors marvel, "How is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?" Then the next three verses mention about fifteen different countries from which these visitors originated, including "visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes." Later that day 3,000 souls were saved following Peter's great sermon (2:42), including, no doubt, some of the visitors from Rome. Probably these newly-converted Christians carried the gospel back to Rome and planted the church there, most likely in the Jewish community in Rome. How fast the faith grew we do not know, but we do know that the Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews from the capital some time in the 40's. Acts 18:2 mentions that Aquila and Priscilla, Jewish Christians, had come to Corinth because of this mass-expulsion

order by Claudius. However, the exile of Jews from Rome was short-lived, and by the time of Claudius' death in A.D. 54 the Jewish community in Rome was flourishing once again, as was the Christian community there. When Paul writes his epistle to the Romans three or four years later, Aquila and Priscilla are back in the capital and the church is meeting in their house. If you want to meet some of the members of the Roman church you can do so by turning to the last chapter of Romans, where Paul greets more than 25 of them by name and refers to a number of others as well. Apparently Paul had met these converts in other cities during his missionary journeys, but since "all roads lead to Rome," they are now back in the capital city. 4. Gill, “grace to you, and peace: by "grace" is not meant ministerial gifts, which are not common to all the saints; nor the Gospel, which was at Rome already; nor the love and favour of God, which these persons were sharers in, as appears from their above characters; nor the principle of grace, which was now formed there in their effectual calling; but an increase of grace, as to its degrees, acts, and exercise; every grace is imperfect in this respect, and those who have the most stand in need of more; there is such a thing as growing in grace, which is very desirable, and may be expected from God, who is able to make all grace to abound, and has promised to give more: by "peace" is meant, peace with God through Christ; peace in their own consciences, and with one another; all manner of prosperity inward and outward here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Observation: ote the duality in this whole introduction. It is Paul the servant and apostle; it is Jesus as human and divine; it is grace and peace; it is God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; it is loved by God and called to be saints. This runs all through the book with the focus on Jews and Gentiles, law and grace, first and second Adam, old man and new man, flesh and spirit, faith and works, strong and weak Christians, God and man. 5. Clarke, “Called to be saints - Invited to become holy persons, by believing the Gospel and receiving the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Or, here, the word may have the meaning of made or constituted, as above; κλητοις αγιοις, to all that be in Rome, Constituted saints, for they had already received the Gospel grace, and were formed into a Christian Church. Grace to you - χαρις υµιν; May you be partakers of the Divine favor, the source whence every blessing is derived. I think it necessary, once for all, to give the several acceptations of this word grace which occur in the sacred writings. 1. The word χαριν signifies in general favor or benevolence, but especially that favor which is powerful and active, and loads its objects with benefits. Luk_1:30 : Fear not, Mary, thou hast found Favor, χαριν, with God. Luk_2:40 : And the child grew - and the Grace of God, χαρις θεου, the favor of God was





upon him. Luk_1:52 : And Jesus increased in Favor, χαριτι Grace, with God and man. Act_2:47 : Having Favor, χαριν, Grace, with all the people. Act_4:33 : And great Grace, χαρις, Favor, was upon them all. The apostles were at that time in universal favor with the multitude. In this sense the word occurs in a great variety of places, both in the Old and ew Testaments. Hence it is often used for the blessing which it dispenses; for, if God be favourably disposed towards a person, his beneficent acts, in that person’s behalf, will be a necessary consequence of such favor. Joh_1:14 : Full of Grace and truth; accomplished in all spiritual blessings. Joh_1:16 : And Grace upon Grace: he who is full of the most excellent blessings, confers them liberally on all believers. Act_11:23 : When he had seen the Grace of God, i.e. had the fullest evidence that they were richly endowed with heavenly gifts. 1Co_1:4 : For the Grace of God which is given you - the Divine blessings conferred upon you. 2Co_9:8 : God is able to make all Grace abound toward you; i.e. to enrich you with every benediction. This is also a very common acceptation of the word; and in this sense the word grace or favor is now generally understood among religious people. The grace of God meaning with them some Divine or spiritual blessing communicated. It is sometimes taken for the whole of the Christian religion, as being the grandest possible display of God’s favor to a lost, ruined world: and in this sense it appears to be used, Joh_1:17 : For the Law was given by Moses; but Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ: where the term Grace is evidently opposed to Law; the latter meaning the Mosaic, the other the Christian, dispensation. Act_13:43 : Barnabas persuaded them to continue in the Grace of God; i.e. to hold fast their profession of the religion of Christ. Rom_6:14 : Ye are not under the Law, but under Grace - ye are no longer under obligation to fulfill the Mosaic precepts, but are under the Christian dispensation. See also Rom_6:15; and see 2Co_1:12; 2Co_6:1; Gal_1:6; Col_1:6; 2Ti_2:1, Tit_2:11 : The Grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared. The Jewish religion was restricted in its benefits to a few; but the Christian religion proposes the salvation of all men; and the author of it has become a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Heb_12:15 : Looking diligently lest any man fall from the Grace of God - lest any man apostatize from the Christian religion, and the blessings of pardon and holiness which he has received through it. 1Pe_5:12 : This is the true Grace of God wherein ye stand - the Christian religion which ye have received is the genuine religion of God. It signifies all the blessings and benefits which Christ has purchased, and which he gives to true believers, both in time and eternity. See Rom_5:15, Rom_5:17, where the grace of God is opposed to death; i.e. to all the wretchedness and misery brought into the world by Adam’s transgression. 1Co_16:23 : The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all - May every blessing purchased by Christ’s passion and death be the portion of you all. Gal_5:4 : Ye are fallen from Grace - ye have lost the blessings of the Gospel by submitting to circumcision. It signifies the apostolic and ministerial office, or the authority to propagate

the Christian religion, and the unction or influence by which that office is executed; so in the 5th verse of this chapter, (Rom_1:5) as has been already noted: By whom we have received Grace and apostleship, or, the apostolic office. Rom_13:3 : I say, through the Grace given unto me; i.e. I command you, by the authority of my apostolic office, etc. See also Rom_13:6. 6. It signifies a gift, salary, or money collected for the use of the poor. 1Co_16:3 : Whomsoever ye shall approve - them will I send to bring your Liberality, την χαριν υµων, your Grace; i.e. the collection made for the poor saints: see 1Co_16:1. 2Co_8:4 : Praying us - that we would receive the Gift, την χαριν, the Grace, the contribution made in the Churches of Macedonia, for the relief of the poor. In this sense it is used in Ecclus. 17:22: He will keep the Good Deeds of man, χαριν, the same as ελεηµοσυνη, alms, in the beginning of the verse; and it signifies a kind or friendly act, in the same author. Ecclus. 29:16: Forget not the Friendship, χαριτας, of thy surety. Graces or χαρις, was a deity among the ancients; and the three Graces, αι τρεις χαριτες, were called Pitho, Aglaia, and Euphrosyne; πειθω, mild persuasion; αγλαια, dignity; ευφροσυνη, liberality and joyfulness; and these were always painted naked, to show that all benefits should be gratuitous, this being essential to the nature of a gift. See Suidas, in χαριτας. 7. It sometimes signifies merely thanks or thanksgiving. See Luk_17:9 : Doth he thank, µη χαριν εχει, that servant? Rom_6:17 : But God be Thanked, χαρις οε τω θεω. 1Co_10:30 : For if I by Grace, χαριτι, Thanksgiving, as our margin has it, and properly. 8. It signifies remuneration, wages, or reward Luk_6:32-34 : If ye love them that love you - do good to them which do good to you - lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what Thank have ye? ποια υµιν χαρις εστι; what Reward have ye? This appears, from the parallel place, Mat_5:46, to be most evidently the meaning: τινα µισθον εχετε; what Reward have ye? The word is used in this sense by several Greek writers. 9. It signifies whatever is the means of procuring the favor or kindness of another. 1Pe_2:19, 1Pe_2:20 : For this is Thankworthy, τουτο γαρ χαρις παρα τῳ Θεῳ, this is the means of Procuring Favor from God. 10. It signifies joy, pleasure, and gratification, which is the, meaning of cara, and with which it is often confounded in the ew Testament. Phm_1:7 : For we have great Joy, χαριν γαρ εχοµεν πολλην. Tobit 7:18: The Lord give thee Joy, χαριν, for this thy sorrow. In this sense the word is used by the best Greek writers; and in this sense it appears to be used, 2Co_1:15. 11. It signifies the performance of an act which is pleasing or grateful to others. Act_24:27 : Felix, willing to show the Jews a Pleasure, χαριτας καταθεσθαι, to perform an act which he knew would be highly gratifying to them. 12. It signifies whatever has the power or influence to procure favor, etc. Suavity, kindness, benevolence, gentle demeanour. Luk_4:22 : All wondered at the Gracious Words, τοις λογοις της χαριτος, the benevolent, kind, and tender expressions; such as his text, Luk_4:18, would naturally lead him to speak. He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the

broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, etc. Eph_4:29; Col_4:6 : Let your speech be always with Grace; i.e. gracious, kind, benevolent, savouring of the doctrine of Christ: it is thus used by several Greek writers. See Schleusner. As the word χαρις Grace, most frequently signifies some blessing or benefit calculated to promote human happiness, it is generally derived from χαρω, I rejoice, because of the effect produced by the blessing. And peace - ειρηνη, the same as ‫ שלום‬shalom in Hebrew, generally signifying all kinds of blessing, but especially harmony and unity, and the bond of such unity. The most probable derivation of the word ειρηνη is from ειρω, I bind, and εν, one because peace unites and binds those who were, by discord, before disunited. In the ew Testament it signifies 1. Peace, public or private, in the general acceptation of the word, as implying reconciliation and friendship; and to the etymology of the word the apostle seems to allude in Eph_4:3 : Endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. Act_12:20 : They of Tyre and Sidon desired Peace - they sought reconciliation, with Herod, by means of Blastus, the king’s chamberlain. 2. It signifies regularity, good order. 1Co_14:33 : God is not the God of confusion, but of Peace. 3. It signifies the labor or study of preserving peace and concord; and this is supposed to be its meaning, Mat_10:34; Luk_12:51; and Act_7:26. Rom_14:17 : For the kingdom of God is righteousness and Peace - the Christian dispensation admits of no contention, but inculcates peace. 1Co_7:15 : God hath called us to Peace - to labor to preserve quietness and concord. Heb_12:14 : Follow Peace - labor to preserve it. 4. It signifies the author or procurer of peace and concord. Eph_2:14 : He is our Peace - the author of concord betwixt Jews and Gentiles. 5. It signifies the Gospel and its blessings. Eph_2:17 : And came and preached Peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 6. It signifies all kinds of mental and corporeal happiness, and especially the happiness of Christians. Luk_1:79 : To guide our feet into the way of Peace to show us the way to obtain true happiness. Luk_19:42 : The things which belong unto thy Peace - that by which thou mightest have been made truly happy. 1Th_5:23 : The very God of Peace - God, the only source of true felicity. Joh_16:33 : These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have Peace - that ye might have confidence and happiness in believing on me as your only Savior. 7. It signifies good wishes and affectionate prayers. Mat_10:13 : And if the house be worthy, let your Peace come upon it. Our Lord commands his disciples, Mat_10:12, to salute the house into which they entered; and this was done by saying, Peace be unto this house! that is, Let every blessing, spiritual and temporal, be the portion of this family! See Luk_10:6; Joh_14:27; Act_15:33 : They were let go in Peace - they had the most fervent and affectionate prayers

of the Church. 8. It signifies praise. Luk_19:38 : Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! - May all the heavenly host praise God, and give him the highest honor! 9. It signifies benignity, benevolence, favor. Rom_5:1 : Being justified by faith, we have Peace with God - In consequence of having our sins forgiven, we have a clear sense of the Divine favor. Phi_4:7 : The Peace of God which passeth all understanding - the inexpressible blessedness of a sense of the Divine favor. See Schleusner’s Lexicon. From God our Father - The apostle wishes them all the blessings which can flow from God, as the fountain of grace, producing in them all the happiness which a heart filled with the peace of God can possess; all of which are to be communicated to them through the Lord Jesus Christ. See the note on Act_28:31. 5B. Given Blakely, “"Grace" is Divine favor, wherein a preference for the individual is found with God. It is the cause of our salvation, and the means through which it is maintained (Eph 2:5-8). o man can enter into the Kingdom of God without grace, and no one can advance in Christ without it. There are no Divine requirements that can be fulfilled without it, and no ministries that can be accomplished apart from it. The grace of God pervades every aspect of the Kingdom of God. God's grace is the spiritual environment in which we "stand," or are stabilized. As it is written, "we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (Rom. 5:2) “This is a peace that "surpasses ALL understanding" (Phil 4:7a). It cannot be comprehended by the sociologist, nor explained by the psychiatrist. It is a gift from God, transcendent to anything of the natural order. As such, it is able to "guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" KJV (Phil 4:7b). Like a powerful and alert sentinel "peace"keeps our hearts from being distracted by temptation and moved away from the grace of God. In Christ, we have been called to possess this peace. What is more, this peace is dominating, or ruling, in nature. It is capable of controlling our hearts, ruling them with tenderness and eternal profit. Thus it is written, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace" IV (Col 3:15). The peace of God will enable the saints to spend the night with lions (Dan 6:22), and walk about in a furnace of fire (Dan 3:25). It will enable Peter to sleep in prison, expecting death in the morning (Acts 12:6), and Paul to shake off a venous snake that had fastened to his hand (Acts 28:3-5). The peace of God will enable you to walk confidently in the very midst of trouble. However, peace is more than quietness in the time of trouble. It is also confidence in the presence of the Lord, trouble or not. It empowers the believer to remain close to the Lord in feast or famine, flood or drought.” 6. Barnes, “To all that be in Rome - That is, to all who bear the Christian name. Perhaps he here included not only the church at Rome, but all who might have been

there from abroad. Rome was a place of vast concourse for foreigners; and Paul probably addressed all who happened to be there. Beloved of God - Whom God loves. This is the privilege of all Christians. And this proves that the persons whom Paul addressed were “not” those merely who had been invited to the external privileges of the gospel. The importance of this observation will appear in the progress of these notes. Called to be saints - So called, or influenced by God who had called them, as to become saints. The word “saints,” ἅγιοι hagioi, means those who are holy, or those who are devoted or consecrated to God. The radical idea of the word is what is separated from a common to a sacred use, and answers to the Hebrew word, ‫קדושׁ‬ qadowsh. It is applied to any thing that is set apart to the service of God, to the temple, to the sacrifices, to the utensils about the temple, to the garments, etc. of the priests, and to the priests themselves. It was applied to the Jews as a people separated from other nations, and devoted or consecrated to God, while other nations were devoted to the service of idols. It is also applied to Christians, as being a people devoted or set apart to the service of God. The radical idea then, as applied to Christians, is, that “they are separated from other men, and other objects and pursuits, and consecrated to the service of God.” This is the special characteristic of the saints. And this characteristic the Roman Christians had shown. For the use of the word, as stated above, see the following passages of scripture; Luk_2:23; Exo_13:2, Rom_11:16; Mat_7:6; 1Pe_1:16; Act_9:13; 1Pe_2:5; Act_3:21, Eph_3:5; 1Pe_2:9; Phi_2:15; 1Jo_3:1-2. Grace - This word properly means “favor.” It is very often used in the ew Testament, and is employed in the sense of benignity or benevolence; felicity, or a prosperous state of affairs; the Christian religion, as the highest expression of the benevolence or favor of God; the happiness which Christianity confers on its friends in this and the future life; the apostolic office; charity, or alms; thanksgiving; joy, or pleasure; and the benefits produced on the Christian’s heart and life by religion the grace of meekness, patience, charity, etc., “Schleusner.” In this place, and in similar places in the beginning of the apostolic epistles, it seems to be a word including all those blessings that are applicable to Christians in common; denoting an ardent wish that all the mercies and favors of God for time and eternity, blended under the general name grace, may be conferred on them. It is to be understood as connected with a word implying invocation. I pray, or I desire, that grace, etc. may be conferred on you. It is the customary form of salutation in nearly all the apostolic epistles; 1Co_1:3; 2Co_1:2; Gal_1:3; Eph_1:2; Phi_1:2; Col_1:2; 1Th_1:1; 2Th_1:2; Phm_1:3. And peace - Peace is the state of freedom from war. As war conveys the idea of discord and numberless calamities and dangers, so peace is the opposite, and conveys the idea of concord, safety, and prosperity. Thus, to wish one peace was the same as to wish him all safety and prosperity. This form of salutation was common among the Hebrews. Gen_43:23, “peace to you! fear not;” Jdg_6:23; Jdg_19:20; Luk_24:36. But the word “peace” is also used in contrast with that state of agitation and conflict which a sinner has with his conscience. and with God. The sinner is like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, Isa_57:20. The Christian is at peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom_5:1. By this word, denoting reconciliation with

God, the blessings of the Christian religion are often described in the scriptures, Rom_8:6; Rom_14:17; Rom_15:13; Gal_5:22; Phi_4:7. A prayer for peace, therefore, in the epistles, is not a mere formal salutation, but has a special reference to those “spiritual” blessings which result from reconciliation with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. From God our Father - The Father of all Christians. He is the Father of all his creatures, as they are his offspring, Act_17:28-29. He is especially the Father of all Christians, as they have been “begotten by him to a lively hope,” have been adopted into his family, and are like him; Mat_5:45; 1Pe_1:3; 1Jo_5:1; 1Jo_3:1-2. The expression here is equivalent to a prayer that God the Father would bestow grace and peace on the Romans. It implies that these blessings proceed from God, and are to be expected from him. And the Lord Jesus Christ - From him. The Lord Jesus Christ is especially regarded in the ew Testament as the Source of peace, and the Procurer of it; see Luk_2:14; Luk_19:38, Luk_19:42; Joh_14:27; Joh_16:33; Act_10:36; Rom_5:1; Eph_2:17. Each of these places will show with what propriety peace was invoked from the Lord Jesus. From thus connecting the Lord Jesus with the Father in this place, we may see, (1) That the apostle regarded him as the source of grace and peace as really as he did the Father. (2) He introduced them in the same connection, and with reference to the bestowment of the same blessings. (3) If the mention of the Father in this connection implies a prayer to him, or an act of worship, the mention of the Lord Jesus implies the same thing, and was an act of homage to him. (4) All this shows that his mind was familiarized to the idea that he was divine. o man would introduce his name in such connections if he did not believe that he was equal with God; compare Phi_2:2-11. It is from this incidental and unstudied manner of expression, that we have one of the most striking proofs of the manner in which the sacred writers regarded the Lord Jesus Christ. These seven verses are one sentence. They are a striking instance of the manner of Paul. The subject is simply a salutation to the Roman church. But at the mention of some single words, the mind of Paul seems to catch fire, and go burn and blaze with signal intensity. He leaves the immediate subject before him, and advances some vast thought that awes us, and fixes us in contemplation, and involves us in difficulty about his meaning, and then returns to his subject. This is the characteristic of his great mind; and it is this, among other things, that makes it so difficult to interpret his writings. 7. Jamison, “from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ — “ othing speaks more decisively for the divinity of Christ than these juxtapositions of Christ with the eternal God, which run through the whole language of Scripture, and the derivation of purely divine influences from Him also. The name of no man can be placed by the side of the Almighty. He only, in whom the Word of the Father who is Himself God

became flesh, may be named beside Him; for men are commanded to honor Him even as they honor the Father (Joh_5:23)” [Olshausen]. 8. Henry, “The persons to whom it is written (Rom_1:7): To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints; that is, to all the professing Christians that were in Rome, whether Jews or Gentiles originally, whether high or low, bond or free, learned or unlearned. Rich and poor meet together in Christ Jesus. Here is, 1. The privilege of Christians: They are beloved of God, they are members of that body which is beloved, which is God's Hephzibah, in which his delight is. We speak of God's love by his bounty and beneficence, and so he hath a common love to all mankind and a peculiar love for true believers; and between these there is a love he hath for all the body of visible Christians. 2. The duty of Christians; and that is to be holy, for hereunto are they called, called to be saints, called to salvation through sanctification. Saints, and only saints, are beloved of God with a special and peculiar love. Klētois hagiois - called saints, saints in profession; it were well if all that are called saints were saints indeed. Those that are called saints should labour to answer to the name; otherwise, though it is an honour and a privilege, yet it will be of little avail at the great day to have been called saints, if we be not really so. IV. The apostolical benediction (Rom_1:7): Grace to you and peace. This is one of the tokens in every epistle; and it hath not only the affection of a good wish, but the authority of a blessing. The priests under the law were to bless the people, and so are gospel ministers, in the name of the Lord. In this usual benediction observe, 1. The favours desired: Grace and peace. The Old Testament salutation was, Peace be to you; but now grace is prefixed - grace, that is, the favour of God towards us or the work of God in us; both are previously requisite to true peace. All gospel blessings are included in these two: grace and peace. Peace, that is all good; peace with God, peace in your own consciences, peace with all that are about you; all these founded in grace. 2. The fountain of those favours, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. All good comes, (1.) From God as a Father; he hath put himself into that relation to engage and encourage our desires and expectations; we are taught, when we come for grace and peace, to call him our Father. (2.) From the Lord Jesus Christ, as Mediator, and the great feoffee in trust for the conveying and securing of these benefits. We have them from his fulness, peace from the fulness of his merit, grace from the fulness of his Spirit. 9. John MacArthur, “"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God. " 1. Ephesians 2:4-5--"God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath made us alive together with Christ. " God loved us even when we were dead in sin. 2. 1 John 3:1--The apostle John said, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God. " The phrase translated "what manner" comes from the Greek word potap[ma]an, which means, "something foreign. " It has to do with something that is otherworldly. God's love for mankind is so different from any other kind of love, it as if it's from another planet!

3. Ephesians 1:6--We have been accepted in the Beloved One "to the praise of the glory of his grace. " God loves us in His Son. 4. Romans 5:5--"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. " 5. Romans 8:35--Paul asked rhetorically, "What shall separate us from the love of Christ?" The answer of course, is nothing. Those who act on the good news are beloved of God, which is to receive His infinite blessing. 10. MacArthur goes on, “"Called to be saints. " This is the effectual call to salvation. We are saved by the sovereign act of God. 1. The general call There are passages in the Bible that speak of a general call to be saved. a) Isaiah 45:22--The Lord said, "Be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. " b) Isaiah 55:6--Isaiah declared, "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. " c) Ezekiel 33:11--Ezekiel said, "Turn ye, turn from your evil ways. " d) Matthew 11:28--Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. " e) John 7:37--Jesus also said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. " f) Revelation 22:17--"The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. " g) Romans 10:17--Paul said, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. " 2. The specific call Paul is not simply giving a general call to receive the gospel in verse 7. He has in mind the effectual call to redemption that comes by the sovereign will of God. The word called is another word for the elect. Ephesians 1:4 says, "He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. " Scripture is filled with references to anyone who believes as one who has been sovereignly called and predestinated by God. From man's viewpoint, we come to Christ as an act of our will. But from God's perspective, He called us to Himself before the world began.

10. MacArthur is one of the best, and I quote him all the time, but his Calvinistic conclusion is assumed. The Arminian conclusion is equally valid, for the general call is to all, and so the free will of man does become a factor, and the elect are those predestined based on God's foreknowledge of who will freely choose to respond to the gospel. Either view can be supported by Scripture, and that is why there are millions of Christians who believe and preach both views. To pretend that one has the only valid way to believe and interpret the Bible is clearly a form of pride. It is a rejection of the right of fellow believers to come to other conclusions by assuming that your conclusion is the only valid one. Both views are held by wise and learned men, and so the best view is to combine the two and see the paradox of God's sovereignty and man's freedom as both valid. If you say all of the general calls, which are offered to all who hear, are not really valid, you are calling God a liar, for it would not be possible for everyone to come. It would be saying, “if any man thirst, but not you buddy, for you are not predestined. What I mean by “any man”, is just very specific men. Don't take everything I say literally.” I love and quote too many godly men on both sides of this controversy to conclude that either side has all the truth. The Bible is loaded with a great many paradoxes, and there is no reason to reject this one as a paradox and recognize God is the author of salvation, and he has given man the freedom to choose or not choose his gift. Some texts are strongly Calvinistic, but others are equally strong in declaring the freedom of man to choose. That is why there are large numbers of books defending both. The surest way to be wrong is to reject one side of a paradox. 11. Wuest, “Hagios is used throughout the ew Testament to speak of anyone or anything that represents God’s holiness: Christ as the Holy One of God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father, holy Scriptures, holy angels, holy brethren, and so on. The secular and pagan use pictured a person separated and dedicated to the idolatrous "gods" and carried no idea of moral or spiritual purity. The man made gods were as sinful and degraded as the men who made them and there simply was no need for a word that represented righteousness! The worshiper of the pagan god acquired the character of that pagan god and the religious ceremonies connected with its worship. The Greek temple at Corinth housed a large number of harlots who were connected with the "worship" of the Greek god. Thus, the set-apartness or holiness of the Greek worshipper was in character licentious, totally depraved, and sinful. The Bible writers could not coin new terms since they would not be understood, and were therefore forced to use those already in use. However, while the technical and root meanings of this pagan religious term was taken over by the writers, yet by the use in the T, the moral and spiritual character was changed and elevated by the gospel. "The believer in the Lord Jesus is set apart for God by the Holy Spirit, out of the First Adam with the latter’s sin and condemnation, into the Last Adam (Christ) with the latter’s righteousness and life. Thus, the worshiper of the God of the Bible partakes of the character of the God for Whom he is set apart. This is positional sanctification, an act of God performed at the moment a sinner puts his faith in the Lord Jesus (1Co1:2). The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin from

his life and producing His fruit, a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life, is called progressive sanctification (1Th5:23). When our Lord sanctifies Himself, He sets Himself apart for God as the Sacrifice for sin (Jn17:19 Heb10:7)." 12. Wuest goes on, “The idea inherent in hagios is the taking something filthy, washing it and setting it apart as something brand new, useful for a different purpose, which is a picture of salvation for we who were filthy with sin were washed in the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, and set apart to now be God's own possession. Saints have been set apart from the world ("delivered (rescued)...from the domain of darkness" Col 1:13) "by the sanctifying work of the Spirit" (1Pet1:2) and unto God ("transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" Col 1:13) The fundamental idea of a saint encompasses: One who is separated from sin (cf Ro6:11, 12,13); one who then has the responsibility to choose to consecrate themselves daily to God as "living sacrifices" (Ro12:1; one who is devoted to His service; one who is a partaker of the divine nature (2Pet1:4); one who continually chooses to abstain from the defilement of the world (1Th4:3 5:22, 2Ti2:19, 1Pe2:11). Although the saint lives in the world, he or she must always in one sense be different from the world and continually choose to separate himself or herself from the world. His standards are not the world's standards. (click here for Verse by Verse note on not being squeezed into world's mold Ro12:2) He is "in the world" but not "of the world". A saint is like a boat -- the boat's purpose is fulfilled when it is in the water, but it's function and usefulness deteriorates when water gets in the boat. So too for saints when too much of the world gets into them, for Paul writes that "if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." (2Ti2:21) Although you may have been taught that saints are a special, higher order of Christians who accomplished extraordinary good deeds and lived an exemplary life, the Bible teaches that sainthood is not an attainment but a state into which God by grace through faith calls men and women of all stations of life, whether under the Old or ew Covenant. So now next time you meet a believer, address then as "Saint so-and-so" and watch the reaction! It goes without saying however that we often do not think or act like saints, in the popular sense. But hagios speaks of our identity (or our position) in Christ. We are holy ones in our Lord, even when we are unfaithful and act unsaintly. Being a saint has nothing at all to do with one’s degree of spiritual maturity or rank. It refers to any person who is saved, who is set apart by God for Himself in His Son Jesus Christ. Because God sees us as He sees His Son, as "those who have been sanctified (consecrated, purified, made holy) in Christ Jesus, saints by calling." (1 Co 1:2) Like all other believers, the Christians at Corinth were not saints because of their spiritual maturity (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1–3), but because they were “saints by calling,” a reference to their call to salvation. 13. Spurgeon, “What were these people to whom Paul wrote? First, they were saints.

You notice that the words "to be" are put in by the translators; but though they are supplied, they are not really necessary to the sense. These believers in Rome were "called saints." They were not called because they were saints; but they became saints through that calling. ow, here is a name that belongs to all the people of God; they are saints. It is not merely "St. John", and "St. James", and so on, as some foolish people talk, who cannot call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, by their right names, but must always "Saint" them. I believe that there is a St. John; I dare say that there are twenty St. Johns in this Tabernacle to-night. I believe in St. Matthew; I expect that there are two or three St. Matthews here to-night. All the people of God, all who are really believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are saints. They are all of them called saints, and we may call them so. Is not that very wonderful, that these Romans should be called saints, for they were not saints once? The Romans were among the worst of mankind. This first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is one of the most awful that ever fell from a human pen; it so describes the infamous crimes of the Gentiles, that we might almost blush to read it in the presence of a congregation; and such were some of these people, but grace came and renewed them, and they were called saints, and really were saints, that is, dedicated persons. A saint is a person who is set apart unto God, consecrated to God, sanctified, separated, a man who is in the world, but not of it; he belongs to God, and he lives for God. ow, if God loves you in the sense in which we have been speaking, he has made a saint of you, a dedicated man. You remember that Jonah was asked, "What is thine occupation, and of what people art thou?" and he answered, "I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord." That was his occupation; he was a God-fearing man. It is not every man who could give such an answer as that. When we feel that our very occupation is to serve God, then are we rightly "called saints", sanctified, set apart ones. But the word "saints" really means also holy persons. If we are the beloved of the Lord, he will make us holy persons. There is a very wide difference between that and being merely moral. Here is a man who calls himself a saint, and he is not honest; do not call him a saint, he is not even a respectable sinner. Here is a man who says he is a child of God, and yet he is guilty of lewdness. Call him a saint, when even common morality is absent? Dear friends, all the charity we can possibly pump up will not allow us to call that man a holy man who is not even a moral man. What is holiness, then? It rises above morality as much as the heaven rises above the earth. Holiness is a more spiritual, a more intense, a more divine, a more heavenly thing than morality; but he who has not morality certainly falls very short of anything like holiness. We are called not merely to be moralists, but to be saints. If you go, to-morrow, into some place of amusement, where there is something not quite clean, something full of levity, I should like somebody to whisper in your ear, "Called to be saints;" or, if to-morrow, in business, you should lose your temper, and begin to speak rather strongly, I should like something, even if it were only a parrot, to say, "Called to be saints; "and if, when you go home, you begin to be very rough to the children, unkind to the wife, and not what you should be even to the servant, I should like you to hear a voice saying, "Called to be saints." It might make you blush, if you can,—there are some who cannot,—but every man, who

professes to be a child of God, should recollect that this is what his calling is, and he cannot prove that he is beloved of God unless he can prove his calling to saintship by being really a saint. Oh, that we had a church all made up of saints! Our churches, nowadays, are very respectable communities, I do not doubt, and there is a good deal of sainthood in them; but, oh, if they were all saints, then indeed we should tell upon the world, and tell upon the age, and the kingdom of our Lord would come! They were saints, then, to whom Paul wrote. 14. Spurgeon goes on, “We are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were "saints" in a more especial manner than the other children of God. All are "saints" whom God has called by His grace, and sanctified by His Spirit; but we are apt to look upon the apostles as extraordinary beings, scarcely subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as ourselves. Yet in so doing we are forgetful of this truth, that the nearer a man lives to God the more intensely has he to mourn over his own evil heart; and the more his Master honours him in His service, the more also doth the evil of the flesh vex and tease him day by day. The fact is, if we had seen the apostle Paul, we should have thought him remarkably like the rest of the chosen family: and if we had talked with him, we should have said, "We find that his experience and ours are much the same. He is more faithful, more holy, and more deeply taught than we are, but he has the selfsame trials to endure. ay, in some respects he is more sorely tried than ourselves." Do not, then, look upon the ancient saints as being exempt either from infirmities or sins; and do not regard them with that mystic reverence which will almost make us idolators. Their holiness is attainable even by us. We are "called to be saints" by that same voice which constrained them to their high vocation. It is a Christian's duty to force his way into the inner circle of saintship; and if these saints were superior to us in their attainments, as they certainly were, let us follow them; let us emulate their ardour and holiness. We have the same light that they had, the same grace is accessible to us, and why should we rest satisfied until we have equalled them in heavenly character? They lived with Jesus, they lived for Jesus, therefore they grew like Jesus. Let us live by the same Spirit as they did, "looking unto Jesus," and our saintship will soon be apparent. What contrasts we have in the seventh verse! "In Rome, beloved of God." "In Rome called to be saints." God has beloved ones in the darkest parts of the earth. There is all the more reason for them to be saints because they are surrounded by sinners. They must have had true faith, or they could not have confessed Christ between the jaws of a lion, for they lived in Rome, with ero hunting after Christians, as if they had been wild beasts, and yet they were not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. 15. Given Blakely, “To be "beloved of God" involves being special to Him. As it is written, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people" KJV (1 Pet 2:9). In another place it is stated that Jesus "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" KJV (Tit 2:14). We do well to OT be among those thinking these words to be strange.

This should not be a strange idea to us. God said this to Israel," ow therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Ex 19:5-6). When He delivered them from Egypt, it was "to be unto Him a people of inheritance" (Deut 4:20). Again, it is said of them, "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth" (Deut 7:6), and again, "Thou shalt be blessed above all people"(Deut 7:14). The concept of being special to God, therefore, is not an unusual one, but has been articulated many times. However, when it comes to those who are in Christ Jesus, this endearment is brought to a new level. The church is so special, it is the chosen "bride" of Christ (John 3:29; Rev 21:2,9,17). Think of the magnitude of this statement:"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (Rom 7:4). If Abraham was particular about obtaining a bride for Isaac (Gen 24:7-9), how much more is God discriminating concerning the bride of His Son? You may rest assured, no one will be married to Christ who is not precious and beloved of God! Conversely, no one who loved by Him will be excluded from the Bride. This specialness can be experienced at the personal level, as confirmed in the Apostle John- "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 19:26; 21:20). Only to the degree that we can see we are "beloved of God" will the accolades of this world come to mean nothing to us. One further word on this. The status of "beloved of God" is not one TO BE attained by the saints. It is a condition that is unquestionably enjoyed in Christ Jesus. Paul's salutation is simply a recognition of the status of those who have been "joined to the Lord" (1 Cor 6:17).” 16. Robert Haldane, “To all. The Apostle here addresses all the saints at Rome without distinction, whether they were Jews or Gentiles, rich or poor, learned or unlearned, bond or free. He does not distinguish the pastors from the people, but addresses himself to them all in common what he writes being equally intended for their common instruction and edification. He addresses them by three designations, Beloved of God, Called, Saints. They were saints because they were called, and they were called because they were beloved of God. Their character as saints, then, was not the cause, but the effect, of their being beloved of God. Beloved of God. In opposition to the rest of mankind, whom God hath left in unbelief and the corruption of the world. Here, then, is the electing love of God placed first in order. It is that love wherewith He loved them when they were dead in sins, Eph. ii. 5. It is the greatest love that God can show to man, being everlasting love, which originates with Himself. It is purely gratuitous, and does not spring from the foresight of anything worthy in those who are its objects ; but, on the

contrary, goes before all that is good in the creature, and brings with it infinite blessings. It has for its primary object Jesus Christ, the beloved of the Father ; and those whom lie beholds in Christ, although in them selves children of wrath, are beloved for His sake. This love is unvarying from eternity and through eternity, although God s dealings towards His people may vary, as it is declared in the 99th Psalm, Thou takest vengeance on their inventions. He may thus be displeased with them, as it is said, The thing that David did displeased the Lord, but His love to them remains the same, like the love of a father to a child, even when he chastens him for his disobedience. Called. The first outward effect of election, or of the love of God to His people, is His calling them, not merely by the word, which is common to many, but by the Holy Spirit, which is limited to few, Matt. xxii. 14. I have loved thee with an everlasting love ; therefore with loving- kindness have I drawn thee, Jer. xxxi. 3. The election, then, of believers is to be traced through their calling, 2 Pet. i. 10, and their calling to the everlasting love of God. Saints. The end of the Divine calling is to convert sinners into saints or holy persons. Their sanctification is not an external or figurative consecration, as that of Israel was, but a real consecration by which they are made to give themselves to God. It arises from union with Jesus Christ, which is the source of the sanctification of His people; and it consists in internal purity of heart, for God purifies the heart by faith. It supposes a real change of heart and disposition, a new creation, for if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. They were not then saints by natural birth, nor did they make themselves saints either in whole or in part; but they were made so altogether by sovereign grace resulting from sovereign love. All believers are saints, and in one sense all of them are equally sanctified. They are equally separated or consecrated to God, and equally justified, but they are not all equally holy. The work of sanctification in them is progressive. There are babes, and young men, and fathers in Christ. Some are weak in faith, and some are strong ; but none of them are yet perfect, neither have they attained to that measure of holiness at which it is their duty constantly to aim, Phil. iii. 12. They are therefore to forget those things which are behind, and to reach forth unto those things which are before, and are commanded to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. * Certainly, according to Paul, says Calvin on this place, * the praise of our salvation does not depend upon our own power, but is derived entirely from the fountain of God s love to us. What other cause but His own goodness can, more over, be assigned for His love ? On this also depends His calling, by which, in His own time, He seals the adoption in those who were first gratuitously chosen by Him. From these premises the conclusion follows, that none truly associate themselves with the faithful who do not place a certain degree of confidence in the Lord s kindness to them : although undeserving and wretched sinners, being called by His goodness, they aspire to

holiness. For He hath not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. Grace to you, and peace. In this way the Apostles usually commence their Epistles to the churches. In those addressed to individuals, mercy is generally added to grace and peace. Grace is uniformly placed first in order, because it is the source whence peace and all the blessings of salvation flow. Grace is the free unmerited favor of God to sinners in the plan of salvation. Grace and peace are joined together, because they are inseparable. God communicates all blessings to those to whom He gives grace, and to none besides ; for whatever does not proceed from grace is not a blessing. It is to the praise of His grace that God exercises mercy, and brings those who were His enemies into a state of peace with Him. Grace differs from mercy, as it regards the unworthiness, while mercy regards the sufferings, of its objects. Grace or favor is spoken of in Scripture in three points of view : either as the unmerited favor of God towards men, as existing in Himself; or as manifested in the Gospel, which is called the Gospel of the grace of God ; or in its operation in men. Every part of redemption proceeds on the footing of grace. It originates in the grace of God, and flows, in its first manifestations and in all its after acts, from the same unceasing fountain, in calling, adopting, regenerating, justifying, sanctifying, strengthening, confirming grace, in one word, it is all of grace. On this account Peter calls God the God of all grace, which teaches that God is in Himself towards His people grace grace in His very nature, that He knows what each of them needs, and lays it up for them, and communicates it to them. The whole of the salvation of man, from the counsels of God from eternity, is planned and executed to * the praise of the glory of His grace, Eph. i. 6 ; * who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2 Tim. i. 9. In the operation of grace in the soul, men are not simply passive, nor can it be said that God does a part and they do the rest ; but God produces all, and they act all. God is the sole author and source of their acts, but they themselves properly are the agents. In some respects they are wholly passive, and in others wholly active. In the Scriptures, the same things are spoken of as coming from God, and as coming from men. It is said that God purifies the hearts of believers, Acts xv. 9, and that they purify themselves, 1 John iii. 3. They are commanded to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God who worketh in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure, Phil. ii. 12. It is not the Holy Spirit, but themselves, by virtue of His power, who love God and their neighbor, who fear the Lord, who confide in Him, and trust in His promises. Paul designates as fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. The origin of them all is the Holy Spirit it is from Him they are derived ; but in their exercise or development they properly belong to believers. If any one falsely infers from the doctrine of grace that there remains nothing for man to do, because it is the grace of God that leads him to act, he understands neither what he says, nor whereof he affirms. He might with the same reason

conclude that, as God is the Author of our existence, of our souls, and of all our faculties, therefore we can neither think, nor reason, nor love. Grace is in our hearts a living principle, implanted by God, and at His sovereign disposal. To exercise this principle, is as much our duty as to preserve our life and health ; and as the care which these require demand attention and certain acts of the will, in the same manner the exercise of grace in the soul supposes cor responding dispositions and acts. But it is not thus with grace as manifested, which is an object of choice, received or rejected, according as grace has operated in us or not, In this manner, grace, as the principle of renovation, by the sole operation of the Holy Spirit, stands in opposition to every notion of independent power in man, by which it might be supposed he could regenerate himself; while, on the other hand, considered in its exercise, it supposes the efforts of man. Peace includes everything that belongs to the idea of tranquility in its largest extent. But the foundation of all must be peace with God. Without this, the Christian can have no peace, though he should be on good terms with all mankind ; but, possessing this, God will either give him peace with his enemies, or He will give him peace along with their enmity. The Christian may not only have peace, but joy, in the midst of persecution and external affliction. Peace with God is the substance of happiness, because without it there can be no happiness, and with it there is happiness, whatever else is wanting. This salutation, grace to you and peace, may be considered either as a prayer or a benediction. In the latter sense, it bears the character of apostolic authority. From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of all who are in Him. Paul here speaks of God as both his Father and the Father of all those whom he addressed, and so constituting one family, whether Jews or Gentiles. God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, are the source of all grace and peace, and can alone communicate these blessings, which are the gracious effects that flow from the covenant of love and favor of the Triune Jehovah. Here again we see an incontrovertible proof of the deity of Jesus Christ ; for, if He were not God, He could not without impiety be thus joined with, or invoked along with, the Father to impart blessings, of which God alone is the author.”

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.
1. The first thing Paul wants to do is give God thanks for these people. It was such a

precious blessing to Paul to see people open their hearts to the Gospel he preached and accept Jesus as their Savior. It is always the greatest pleasure of life for a preacher to see fruit for his labor, and Paul is overwhelmed with gratitude to God for the success of his ministry, and the ministry of others that brought the Gospel to these Romans. They lived in the greatest city of the world, and out from there the message spread to many other nations about their becoming Christians. This was a radical movement away from paganism, and it was news that spread like wild fire over the known world. People carried this news everywhere, and it became a powerful witness for Christ among other peoples. This made Paul so thankful, for it made the spread of the Gospel not dependent just on his own labors. He did not have to reach the world on his own, but many others were carrying the message into all the world. Paul, of course, is referring to the known world of his day, which was basically the Roman empire. He was not declaring that the new world was already discovered and that the Indians in this part of the world were being converted. 1B. Barclay points out that Paul begins with a compliment. The positive encouragement is the best way to deal with people if you want to have any influence in their lives. He wrote, “ o one can ever even begin to save men unless he first believes in them. A man is a hell-deserving sinner, but he has also a sleeping hero in his soul, and often a word of praise will awaken that sleeping heroism when criticism and condemnation will only produce resentment and despair. Aidan was the apostle to the Saxons. Away back in A.D. 630 the Saxon king had sent to Iona a request that a missionary should be sent to his kingdom to preach the gospel. The missionary came back talking of the "stubborn and barbarous disposition of the English." "The English have no manners," he said, "they behave like savages." He reported that the task was hopeless, and then Aidan spoke. "I think, brother," he said, "that you may have been too severe for such ignorant hearers, and that you should have led them on gently, giving them first the milk of religion before the meat." So Aidan was sent to orthumbria, and his gentleness won for Christ that very people whom the critical severity of his brother monk had repelled.” 1C. Michael Andrus, “This Roman church was famous for its faith. You know, I can't think of a single thing that would be a greater compliment to a church than to say it was famous worldwide for its faith. That's better than being famous for its growth, better than being famous for its beautiful architecture, better than being famous for its eloquent pastor, better than being famous for its history and tradition.” 1D. Connie Giordano, “In Romans 1:8, Paul commends the Roman church in this way - "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Right in the capital of the Roman Empire, in a city remarkable for its wickedness and influence which extended everywhere, there the Roman Church was situated. This church proved indeed to be a "city set on a hill." Throughout all the parts of the Roman dominion, their faith was spoken of or celebrated. This entailed their readiness to embrace the Gospel and their firmness in adhering to it. Their faith was eminent and observable in all their

circumstances. The "whole world" was a common term for everywhere. ews of these strong believers at Rome and their outspoken faith to the outside world spread throughout the land. Visitors from the various provinces made frequent visits to this capital city. Then and there they learned of this flourishing church and realized their great spiritual impact on the world.” 1E. It is of interest to read in chapter 16 verse 19 that everyone had also heard of their obedience and not just their faith. Here is an illustration of true faith in that they were not just believers, but were doers of the faith. Faith without works is dead, but with works it is alive and real, and these Romans had the real thing. C. S Lovett in his book on Romans has this interesting explanation of faith. It is more than believing and trusting even though they are a crucial part of it. You can give a meal to a man and tell him it is his to eat. He may believe that is true, and he may trust that it is good food and not poisoned, but he only exercises full and true faith when he takes the food, puts it in his mouth and eats it. Faith has parts, and belief and trust are two of them, but the whole thing is not complete until there is action based on belief and trust. The Roman believers had this kind of faith, for they lived in obedience to the revealed will of God. 2. Gill, “First, I thank my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all,.... After the inscription and salutation, follows a thanksgiving, which begins the epistle: it is usual with the apostle in all his epistles to make requests for the churches, with thanksgivings for mercies; his view in it was, to glorify God, to testify his affection to the saints, and to show that all they had must be referred to the grace of God. The object of thanksgiving is God not merely as a creator and preserver, but as a Father, the Father of Christ, and our Father in Christ; as the one God, and our God, Father, Son, and Spirit. The apostle styles him, my God; which distinguishes him from all others, points out his particular interest in him, expresses his knowledge of him and faith in him, and demonstrates that what he did now, he did in faith. The person through whom thanks are given is Jesus Christ. There is no coming to God but through Christ, nor is any sacrifice either of prayer or praise acceptable without him, and since all we have come through him, it is but reasonable that thanks for them should be returned by and through him; the persons for whom this thanksgiving is made were all the Romans, all the saints at Rome, the members of the church there, of whatsoever rank and degree, and in whatsoever, state and condition; the thing for which the apostle was thankful for particularly was, not that their city was mistress of the whole world, and their fame for power, wealth, and grandeur, was spread abroad far and near; but, says he, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world; which shows that faith is a grace of great account: God has put an honor upon it, by making it the receiver of all his gifts, and that gives glory to God, and without it nothing is acceptable to him; it answers many excellent uses and purposes in experience; it is that by which saints live upon Christ in this world, and look to the glories of another. This also shows that the saints at Rome did not hide their faith in their breasts, but declared it to others; a public profession both of the grace and doctrine of faith is to be made, and

constantly held; both are to be shown forth to others, by deeds as well as words; which greatly redounds to the honor of such churches, causes joy in other churches, and in all the ministers of the Gospel, and is the occasion of many thanksgivings to God.” 2B. Douglas John Hall, “FAITH AS TRUST: Like most of the primary concepts of biblical religion (love, hope, grace, compassion, forgiveness, wrath, repentance,) faith is a category of relationship. It presupposes relationship with God. God has become present to one in such a way that one `has faith in' God, i.e. one trusts God. In the act of trusting someone, you go beyond what you know of him or her. Trust involves decision and risk. And the decision is not just once and for all; it has to be renewed regularly, if it is to be authentic. Faith is response in relationship; it is an ongoing thing, a process. You can never say that you `have' it as if it were a possession! Christians sometimes affirm that faith is `a gift.' This is true if it means that the faith response is a consequence of God's grace. But the statement is misleading if it implies that the `gift' is something one is allowed to keep. One has to continue receiving it like the manna of the wilderness or the `daily bread' of Jesus' prayer. When the Protestant Reformers, following St. Paul (e.g. Rom. 4:16 f.),used the slogan, "justification by faith," they did not mean that we are considered righteous by God because we give assent to theological truths, or accept the teachings of the tradition on the church's authority, or cultivate a positive outlook; all such things the Reformers would have consigned to "works righteousness"! Rather, they meant that we are acceptable to God because we trust God. It is as simple and as profound as that. FAITH A D DOUBT. Whenever it is understood that faith is a trusting response towards God as God enters into a relationship with us, the whole matter of doubt is cast in a different light. Because faith has been identified with accepting as true an indefinite number of claims made by religious authorities, doubt has also been misconstrued to mean skepticism about all or some of these claims. Many people labor under the impression that real faith means assenting to all those `truths'--the Trinity, the incarnation, heaven and hell, the divinity of Jesus; and nearly everyone has intellectual difficulty with a good deal of that. But if faith is understood as a process of trust which develops in the context of an ongoing relationship with God, doubt makes a great deal of sense as an authentic aspect of the life of faith! Consider any deep relationship in which you find yourself--with your spouse, your lover, your close friends, your parents or your children. In such relationships there is mutuality. You trust and are trusted by the other. But this trust is continually put to the test. You can't be sure! That's very fortunate; people who are absolutely sure of their partners, relatives or friends become presumptuous. They take the

relationship for granted. But it is the element of risk that keeps the relationships alive. The decision to trust the other has to be made again and again--and for that reason the relationship does not grow cold. Doubt, as the constant reminder of the risk in faith, plays a vital role in the life of faith. The Bible is wonderfully honest about the doubting of the faithful. Sometimes people speak admiringly of the patience and faith of Job. But in fact most of the book of Job is about Job's struggle with God. He comes to doubt God radically. He feels he has been betrayed. So does Jesus--if we listen attentively to his `cry of dereliction' from the cross. Faith in God is not an easy thing. Who could take it seriously if it were? Giving voice to our struggle, our doubt, belongs ultimately to the life of faith. It is at the very core of the Psalms of Israel--the heart of Israel's worship. It is unfortunate that most Christian worship makes so little room for honest wrestling with God, for this only serves to shut real doubt out of the sanctuary and therefore to cheapen the meaning of faith. 3. Barnes, “First - In the first place, not in point of importance, but before speaking of other things, or before proceeding to the main design of the Epistle. I thank my God - The God, whom I worship and serve. The expression of thanks to God for his mercy to them was suited to conciliate their feelings, and to prepare them for the truths which he was about to communicate to them. It showed the deep interest which he had in their welfare; and the happiness it would give him to do them good. It is proper to give thanks to God for his mercies to others as well as to ourselves. We are members of one great family, and we should make it a subject of thanksgiving that he confers any blessings, and especially the blessing of salvation, on any mortals. Through Jesus Christ - The duty of presenting our thanks to God “through” Christ is often enjoined in the ew Testament, Eph_5:20; Heb_13:15; compare Joh_14:14. Christ is the mediator between God and human beings, or the medium by which we are to present our prayers and also our thanksgivings. We are not to approach God directly, but through a mediator at all times, depending on him to present our cause before the mercy-seat; to plead for us there; and to offer the desires of our souls to God. It is no less proper to present thanks in his name, or through him, than it is prayer. He has made the way to God accessible to us, whether it be by prayer or praise; and it is owing to “his” mercy and grace that “any” of our services are acceptable to God. For you all - On account of you all, that is, of the entire Roman church. This is one evidence that that church then was remarkably pure. How few churches have there been of whom a similar commendation could be expressed. That your faith - “Faith” is put here for the whole of religion, and means the same as your piety. Faith is one of the principal things of religion; one of its first requirements; and hence, it signifies religion itself. The readiness with which the Romans had embraced the gospel, the firmness with which they adhered to it, was so remarkable, that it was known and celebrated everywhere. The same thing is

affirmed of them in Rom_16:19, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.” Is spoken of - Is celebrated, or known. They were in the capital of the Roman Empire; in a city remarkable for its wickedness; and in a city whose influence extended everywhere. It was natural, therefore, that their remarkable conversion to God should be celebrated everywhere. The religious or irreligious influence of a great city will be felt far and wide, and this is one reason why the apostles preached the gospel so much in such places. Throughout the whole world - As we say, everywhere; or throughout the Roman Empire. The term “world” is often thus limited in the scriptures; and here it denotes those parts of the Roman Empire where the Christian church was established. All the churches would hear of the work of God in the capital, and would rejoice in it; compare Col_1:6, Col_1:23; Joh_12:19. It is not improper to commend Christians, and to remind them of their influence; and especially to call to their mind the great power which they may have on other churches and people. or is it improper that great displays of divine mercy should be celebrated everywhere, and excite in the churches praise to God. 4. Henry, “ His thanksgivings for them (Rom_1:8): First, I thank my God. It is good to begin every thing with blessing God, to make that the alpha and omega of every song, in every thing to give thanks. - My God. He speaks this with delight and triumph. In all our thanksgivings, it is good for us to eye God as our God; this makes every mercy sweet, when we can say of God, “He is mine in covenant.” Through Jesus Christ. All our duties and performances are pleasing to God only through Jesus Christ, praises as well as prayers. - For you all. We must express our love to our friends, not only by praying for them, but by praising God for them. God must have the glory of all the comfort we have in our friends; for every creature is that to us, and no more, which God makes it to be. Many of these Romans Paul had no personal acquaintance with, and yet he could heartily rejoice in their gifts and graces. When some of the Roman Christians met him (Act_28:15), he thanked God for them, and took courage; but here his true catholic love extends itself further, and he thanks God for them all; not only for those among them that were his helpers in Christ, and that bestowed much labour upon him (of whom he speaks Rom_16:3, Rom_16:6), but for them all. - That your faith is spoken of. Paul travelled up and down from place to place, and, wherever he came, he heard great commendations of the Christians at Rome, which he mentions, not to make them proud, but to quicken them to answer the general character people gave of them, and the general expectation people had from them. The greater reputation a man hath for religion, the more careful he should be to preserve it, because a little folly spoils him that is in reputation, Ecc_10:1. - Throughout the whole world, that is, the Roman empire, into which the Roman Christians, upon Claudius's edict to banish all the Jews from Rome, were scattered abroad, but had now returned, and, it seems, left a very good report behind them, wherever they had been, in all the churches. There was this good effect of their sufferings: if they had not been persecuted, they had not been famous. This was indeed a good name, a name for good things with God and good people. As the elders of old, so these Romans, obtained a good report through faith, Heb_11:2. It is a desirable thing to be famous for faith. The faith of the Roman

Christians came to be thus talked of, not only because it was excelling in itself, but because it was eminent and observable in its circumstances. Rome was a city upon a hill, every one took notice of what was done there. Thus those who have many eyes upon them have need to walk circumspectly, for what they do, good or bad, will be spoken of. The church of Rome was then a flourishing church; but since that time how is the gold become dim! How is the most fine gold changed! Rome is not what it was. She was then espoused a chaste virgin to Christ, and excelled in beauty; but she has since degenerated, dealt treacherously, and embraced the bosom of a stranger; so that (as that good old book, the Practice of Piety, makes appear in no less than twenty-six instances) even the epistle to the Romans is now an epistle against the Romans; little reason has she therefore to boast of her former credit. 5. Brian Bill, “ orma McCorvey, who is better known as the “Roe” of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion, has become a born again Christian and is now unashamedly pro life. Amazingly, she will be the keynote speaker at the Caring Pregnancy Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, April 6th right here in Pontiac! That’s right, three weeks from Thursday; she will be speaking in the PTHS auditorium as she shares how her faith is the most important part of her life. Her faith is being reported all over the world. 6. Bob Deffinbaugh, “This very positive statement from Paul must have been an encouragement to the Roman saints. It would have been an encouragement to hear that their faith was evident and was being shed abroad. It would also be an encouragement to hear from Paul that his letter (not to mention his appearance, in days to come) was not occasioned by problems in the church, but with a view to their progress. This letter to the Romans was not a “trouble shooter’s” attempt to fix a problem in the Roman church, but rather it was to encourage this church. When Paul was able to come to them, he expected also to be encouraged by their faith (1:12). 7. Worthen, “There at least eight things we learn about prayer from these verses: 1. Prayer Should Include Thanksgiving (Verse 8). Paul was thankful to God for the Christians who lived in Rome, and he was especially thankful for their FAITH. These people were FAMOUS FOR FAITH. Their faith had gained them a world-wide reputation (compare 1 Thess. 1:8 where we learn that the Thessalonian Christians were also famous for their faith). What is FAITH? There are two simple Bible definitions of faith found in Romans 4:21 and Acts 27:25. [Contrast the first century church of Rome, the one Paul wrote to, with the Church of Rome today. The Church of Rome today is also famous -- famous for its traditions, sacraments, ritual, papal leadership, etc. -- but not famous for faith in God and His Word]. Paul was thankful that in the capital of the pagan Roman empire there were those who worshipped and believed the true and living God.

2. Prayer Must Be "Through Jesus Christ" (Verse 8). We can come to God in no other way (John 14:6). He is our great MEDIATOR (1 Tim. 2:5) and apart from Him prayer would be impossible. This is why we pray "in Jesus’ ame." 3. Prayer Should Be Constant (Verse 9). Paul prayed for the Romans "without ceasing" (verse 9 and compare 1 Thess.5:17). This same Greek expression was used to describe a HACKI G COUGH (coughing without ceasing). Just as a hacking cough stays with a person throughout the day, so Paul’s prayerful concern for the Roman believers was something that was always with him. 4. Prayer Should Be Genuine (Verse 9). God was Paul’s witness. God knew what kind of prayer life Paul really had. Other people cannot witness your prayer life; only God can. Paul was not just pretending to be a man of prayer. Paul knew that his prayer life was genuine and he knew God knew. 5. Prayer Should Involve Intercession (Verse 9). Paul made personal mention of these Roman believers. Paul reached many souls with his preaching and be also reached many souls with his praying. Who did Paul mention in his prayers? In Romans chapter 16 we find 26 names given! (Did Paul use some kind of a prayer list?) For whom do you pray? Paul faithfully obeyed the command found in Philippians 6:18. 6. Prayer Should Be Specific (Verse 10). Paul made a specific prayer request. He prayed for a "prosperous journey." There is no detail in life that is so trivial that we cannot make it a matter of prayer. If God is concerned about feeding the sparrow and about clothing the lily, then He certainly was concerned about Paul’s trip to Rome. "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!" 7. Prayer Should Be Submissive (Verse 10). ote the key phrase: "by the will of God." Compare the prayer of Jesus in Luke 22:42. Paul did not demand of God or order God or dictate to God what he wanted. He simply made a request and wanted the request granted only if it was the will of God.

8. Prayer Should Be Rightly Motivated (Verses 11-12). Did Paul have good reasons for requesting a "prosperous journey" to Rome? Why did Paul want to go to Rome? 1) He wanted to do God’s will (verse 10); 2) He wanted to establish (strengthen, confirm) the Roman believers on the Rock, Christ. Jesus (verse 11); 3) He wanted to comfort and encourage these believers (as well as be comforted and encouraged by them) -- (verse 12). Paul’s reasons were good reasons. He was concerned for the glory of God and the good of others. HOW DID GOD A SWER PAUL’S PRAYER? Paul had a great desire to go to Rome (see verse 11 -- "for I long (earnestly desire) to see you" -- compare 1 Peter 2:2 where the same word is used of a new believer's longing for God's Word). See also Romans 15:23-24. Many times Rome was included on Paul’s travel itinerary, but again and again Paul was hindered from making this trip (Rom. 1:13 and Rom. 15:22). One reason Paul wanted to go to Rome is found in Romans 1:13. Another reason is suggested by Acts 9:15. Paul knew that God had given him a special ministry "to kings" and there was no better place to find a king than in Rome. THE KI G (Caesar! The Roman Emperor!) lived there! Did God answer Paul’s prayer? Did Paul eventually get to Rome? Yes he did, but he got there in a very unusual way. God does not always answer our prayers as we think He should. Paul’s prosperous journey (see Romans 1:10) turned out to be one of the moat treacherous and dangerous trips across the Mediterranean Sea you could ever imagine (described in detail for us in Acts chapter 27). Certainly the trip was not what Paul expected. Also Paul came to Rome under very unusual circumstances. HE WAS ESCORTED THERE AS A PRISO ER! Paul’s prayer was answered but in a very unusual way! As the hymnwriter has said: God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform, He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-fai1ing skill, He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will. 8. Robert Haldane, “First, I thank my God. This is a first in order, as if Paul had said, I commence my Epistle by giving thanks to God. It proceeds from that feeling of piety which ought to pervade all our actions ; at the same time he bestows on those whom he addresses the praise which they deserved. It is also a first in importance, as if he said, Above all, I render thanks to God for you. He shows that their state was a matter of great joy to him, arising both from his zeal for the glory of God, and from the interest he took in those whom he addressed.

My God. Paul calls God his God, indicating a lively and ardent feeling of love to Him, of confidence in Him, and of liberty of access, which includes a persuasion that his thanksgivings will be agreeable to God. It is also a confession of his duty, and of the obligations he is under to render thanks to God, because He is his God. It is, besides, an intimation of his own character, as walking in communion with God. This is an example of the working of the Spirit of adoption, and of a believer taking to himself, in particular, the blessing of having God for his God, and of being a partaker of all the blessings of the ew Covenant, flowing from that most gracious declaration, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Of such appropriation there are numerous instances recorded in the Book of Psalms. I will love Thee, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust ; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower, Ps. xviii. 1. Job says, I know that my Redeemer liveth. I live, says Paul, by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me? Such language it is the privilege of every believer to use, and he will do so in proportion as the love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto him. The Christian can thus address God as his own God, and often he should do so even in his public declarations. This displeases the world, because it condemns the world. They affect to consider it as presumption, but it is only a proper expression of our belief of God s testimony with regard to His Son. Studiously to avoid such expressions on proper occasions, is not to show humility, but to be ashamed of the truth. Paul thanked God, through Jesus Christ, who is our Great High Priest, and presents the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar before the throne. It is through Him alone that all our worship and all our works in the service of God are acceptable. Thus, not only must our petitions ascend to the Father through the Son, but our thanksgivings also, according to the precept, By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name, Heb. xiii. 15. We can have no intercourse with God, but through the one Mediator between God and man, John xiv. 6 ; and except through Him, we are not permitted even to return thanksgivings to God. Paul thanks God for all to whom he writes. He had addressed them all as saints, making no exception. It is to such exclusively that the apostolic Epistles are written, whether as churches or individuals, as being all united to Christ, children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, who should first suffer and afterward reign with Him. In the first churches, in which everything was regulated by the Apostles according to the will of God, there may have been hypocrites or selfdeceivers ; but as far as man could judge, they were all believers ; or if any among them appeared not to be such, the churches were told it was to their shame. If any were discovered who had crept in unawares, or were convicted of unbecoming conduct, or who had a form of godliness, but denied its power, from such they were commanded to turn away. They were not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers ; wherefore it is said, Come out from among them, and be ye separate. It was in the confidence that they obeyed such commands, that the Apostles addressed them all,

as in the passage before us, as the children of God. In the same manner, in writing to the church at Philippi, Paul, after thanking God for their fellowship in the Gospel, and declaring that he was confident that He who had begun a good work in them would perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ, adds, Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart ; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. This mode of address runs through the whole of the apostolic Epistles. The Apostles generally commence their Epistles with the most encouraging views of the present state and future prospects of those to whom they write, and on these considerations are founded the succeeding exhortations. They first remind those who are addressed of the rich grace of God towards them in Jesus Christ, and the spiritual blessings of which they are made partakers, for their strong consolation, and then they exhort them to a holy conversation becoming such privileges. Of this we have a striking example in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which, although Paul had so many faults to reprehend in them, he commences by declaring that they were sanctified in Christ Jesus that he thanked God always for the grace given unto them by Jesus Christ, who would also confirm them to the end, that they might be blameless in the day of His coming, reminding them that God was faithful, by whom they were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The number of times, no fewer than ten, in which, in the first ten verses of that Epistle, Paul introduces the name of Jesus Christ, should be remarked. In these Epistles we find no exhortations to unbelievers. This ought to be particularly observed, as being a key to them, without which they cannot be understood. This is no reason, however, for supposing that exhortations to believe the Gospel ought not to be addressed to those who are still in unbelief. The Gospel is to be preached to every creature, and all should be enjoined, first to believe it, and then to do all that God requires. In the Book of Acts, when the Apostles preached to the unconverted, their subject was repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. But in the Epistles, where they address believers, they also admonish and exhort them to the practice of every duty. There is no exhortation to the performance of any duty which does not imply that it is to be performed in faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Believers are taught to regulate all their conduct according to the great things which the Gospel reveals, which are freely given to them of God ; to be imitators of God, and to live not to themselves but to Him, as being not their own, but bought with a price, and therefore bound to glorify God in their bodies and in-their spirits, which are His. Their obedience, as described in the Scriptures, is as much distinguished by its motives and its foundation from the morality of the unbelieving world, as it is elevated above it in its nature and effects. It is in all respects a life of faith, subject to the authority of God, and is practiced under the influence and direction of motives inculcated in the Gospel, of which the light of nature gives no knowledge. Those who have not this faith regard it as a barren speculation ; but they who possess it know that it is the sole and powerful source of all their works that are acceptable to God, which are opposed to dead works, Heb. ix. 14 ; and that no works are really good,

however excellent they may appear, and however much esteemed among men, or useful in society, which do not proceed from faith. That your faith is spoken of. It is not the piety of the saints at Rome, but their faith, that is here noticed. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord ; but it is faith in Christ that is the distinguishing mark of the Christian. Paul thanks God that the faith of those to whom he writes was spoken of. He thus acknowledges God as the author of the Gospel, not only on account of His causing it to be preached to them, but because He had actually given them grace to believe; for if God is thanked for the distinguished faith of Christians, then not only their faith is His gift, but also its measure and advancement. That faith is the gift of God, is a truth frequently declared, as in Matt. xvi. 17; Luke xvii. 5 ; Acts xi. 21, xiii. 48, xvi. 14; Rom. xii. 3; Phil. i. 29. This is also acknowledged in all the thanksgivings of the Apostles for those to whom they write, and is according to the whole of the doctrine of the Scriptures. It is from God that every good and every perfect gift descendeth, and a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. For all things, therefore, we are commanded to give thanks. Paul thanks God for his own prayers, 2 Tim. i. 3. Here, as in other places, Paul commences with thanksgiving, thus reminding us that every blessing is from the kindness of God. If we should observe this in blessings of small importance, we ought to do it much more with respect to faith, which is neither an ordinary nor a common blessing of God. Throughout the whole world. That is to say, throughout the whole Roman empire, of which Rome being the capital, all that took place there was circulated throughout the whole civilized world. Their faith was proclaimed by the voice of all believers, who alone could form a proper opinion regarding it; for the reference is evidently to their approbation. Unbelievers, who hated both the people of God and their faith, could give no proper testimony concerning it. The commendation of the servants of God was all that the Apostle valued. Thus the faith of the believers whom God had assembled at Rome was held up as an example ; and the Apostle here declares, not only for their encouragement, but also to excite them more and more to the performance of their duty, that the eyes of all the servants of God throughout the world were upon them. He says, their faith was spoken of, not that he rests in this circumstance, or that he wishes them to rest in their reputation, as if he would flatter them. Reputation in itself is nothing. If it be unmerited, it only convinces the conscience of imposture ; and when it is real, it is not our chief joy. Paul regards it with reference to the believers at Rome, as a mark of the reality of their faith ; and it is on this reality that he grounds his thanksgiving. It was a reason for thanksgiving that they were thus letting their light shine before men, and so glorifying their Father in heaven. The glory of all that is good in His people belongs to God, and all comes through Jesus Christ.” 9. Arthur Pink, “There are five things here which claim our attention. First, the manner, or method, of Paul’s praying: the first note struck is one of praise. This is made very emphatic: "First, I thank my God" takes precedence over the "making request" of verse 10. Thus we see how blessedly the apostle practiced what he

preached: "In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Phil. 4:6). Thanksgiving ought to have a prominent place in our prayers: to say the least, it is due to God. As one of the Puritans expressed it, "It is rent due Him for the mercies received." Thanksgiving is an effective means of strengthening faith, for it puts the heart into a more suitable frame to petition Him for further favors. It is conducive to joy in the Christian life: "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy" (Phil. 1:3-4). othing is more calculated to dispel a spirit of gloom from the soul than the cultivation of gratitude and praise. The same will cheer and encourage our fellow Christians. Piety is not commended by sadness and sourness. Paul Blended Thanksgiving with Petitions The above example is so far from being exceptional that it rather indicates the usual custom of the apostle. It is blessed to observe how frequently Paul blended thanksgiving with petitions. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Philemon 4.) Remember that these examples have been recorded for our learning. Does not failure at this very point go far to explain why so many of our prayers remain unanswered? If we have not owned the goodness and grace of God for previous mercies, can we expect Him to continue bestowing them upon the ungrateful? Praise and petitions, thanksgiving and requests, should ever be conjoined (Col. 4:2). But we see here in the apostle much more than this— something nobler and more selfless. His heart was continually drawn out in gratitude to God for the wondrous things He had done for His people, and this emboldened him to seek further blessings for them. Second, note the One whom Paul invoked, termed here "my God." It is indeed blessed to observe how the apostle regarded the Deity: not as an absolutely, infinitely removed, unrelated One. There was no formality, no sense of remoteness, no uncertainty: instead, God was a living and personal reality to him: "my God." This was an avowal of covenant relationship. The grand covenant promise is "I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Heb. 8:10), which looks back to Jeremiah 24:7; 31:33; they in turn have their roots in Genesis 17:7 and Exodus 6:7. On that ground Moses and the children of Israel sang on the farther shores of the Red Sea, "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God" (Ex. 15:2). For that reason David exclaimed, "O God, thou art my God" (Ps. 63:1). In like manner we find that Caleb (Josh. 14:8), Ruth (Ruth 1:16), ehemiah ( ehemiah 6:14), Daniel (Dan. 9:4, 19) and Jonah (Jon. 2:6) owned Him as "my God" in avowal of the covenant relationship. "My God": expressive of a personal relationship. God was Paul’s God by eternal election, having loved him with an everlasting love. He was Paul’s God by redemption, having purchased him with precious blood. He was his God by regenerating power, having communicated spiritual life to him and having stamped the divine image upon his heart, making him manifestly His own dear child. He was Paul’s God by personal choice, for when God was revealed to Paul and in him, Paul

had surrendered to His claims, saying, "What wilt thou have me do?" God, by bestowing upon Paul His own nature after the apostle’s acceptance of His claims, had become Paul’s everlasting portion, his all-satisfying inheritance. "My God": the One who had shown such sovereign and signal mercy to Paul. Their relationship was also assured; there was no doubting, hesitation, or uncertainty. Paul could say with Job, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5). And theirs was a practical relationship: "whom I serve" (Rom. 1:9). ow put the two phrases together: "I thank... my God." What a fitting combination! Is not such a God worthy of infinite thanks? And if I know Him personally as my God, will not, must not, thanksgiving issue spontaneously from my heart and lips? The union of these phrases both opens the meaning of and gives due force to the opening word, "First, I thank my God"—not first in enumeration, but in emphasis, in spiritual order. If God Himself be mine, then everything that is pure, holy, lovely, satisfying, is mine. If that glorious fact, that infinitely grand truth, be the subject of constant meditation and adoration, then my heart will not be cold and dull, nor will my mouth be paralyzed when I draw near to the throne of grace. It is not an absolute and unrelated Deity whom I approach, but "my God." And that blessed and blissful relationship is to be duly acknowledged by the Christian when he bows the knee before Him. So far from being the language of presumption, it would be wicked presumption, insulting unbelief, to deny it. Paul’s Ground of Approach Third, note the ground of approach: "through Jesus Christ." How thankful is the writer (and the reader too, if regenerate) for this clause. Though God be "my God" yet He ever remains the ineffably Holy One. How can I, conscious of pollution and utter unworthiness, think of approaching infinite purity? Ah, here is the blessed answer, the all-sufficient provision to meet my need: I may obtain access to the thrice holy God "through Jesus Christ." But suppose my assurance be dampened and through sad failure in my walk I no longer enjoy the conscious relationship of His being "my God." How can I then give thanks to Him? Again, the answer is "through Jesus Christ." As it is written, "By him [Jesus Christ] therefore [because of the merit and efficacy of His sanctifying blood; see previous verse] let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name" (Heb. 13:15). Whatever my case may be, however burdened with a sense of guilt and defilement, that should not keep me away from the throne of grace, neither should it deter me from giving thanks for Jesus Christ and God’s provision of Him. Grammatically the "through Jesus Christ" is connected with the giving of thanks, but theologically or doctrinally there is a double thought. God is "my God" through Jesus Christ. As He declared to His beloved disciples, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17b)—"your" God because "my" God. And I give thanks unto my God "through Jesus Christ," for it is

both the duty and the privilege of the regenerate, who are members of the holy priesthood, "to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5b). There is no approach to God save "through Jesus Christ" the lone Mediator between God and men. Our worship is acceptable to God only through His merits (Col. 3:17). This fact must be the subject of the believer’s constant meditation and adoration, for only thus will the blessed assurance of "my God" be maintained in the heart. Jesus Christ changes not: His mediation changes not. However deeply despondent I may be by my sense of unworthiness as I approach the throne, let me turn to and believingly ponder the infinite worthiness of Jesus Christ. Then I shall "thank my God." "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ." Upon these words the late Handley Moule most beautifully said, "’My God’. . . it is the expression of an indescribable appropriation and reverent intimacy . . . it is the language of a personality wherein Christ has dethroned self in His own favor . . . And this holy intimacy, with its action in thanks and petition, is all the while ‘through Jesus Christ’ the Mediator. The man knows God as ‘my God’ and deals with Him as such, never out of that beloved Son who is equally one with the believer and with the Father, no alien medium, but the living point of unity." In proportion to the soul’s realization of this truth, in proportion to the faith mixed with the declarations of the Word thereon, there will be liberty and freedom, holy boldness, as we draw near the throne. Only thus will the Christian enjoy his birthright and live up to his blood-bought privilege; and only thus will God be honored by the praise and thanksgiving which must issue from such an individual. The Subjects of Paul’s Thanksgiving Fourth, consider the subjects of Paul’s thanksgiving: "for you all." This will appear strange to the natural man who is wrapped up so much in self. The carnal mind is quite incapable of appreciating the motives which activate and the principles which regulate those who are spiritual. Here was the apostle thanking God for those whom he had never met. They were not the fruits of his own labors, yet he rejoiced over them. How that condemns the narrow-minded bigotry and sectarian exclusiveness which have brought such a blight upon Christendom. Though these saints at Rome were not his own sons in the gospel, though he had never met them in the flesh, and as far as we know had not received any communication from them, yet he praised God for them. It was because of what He had wrought in them, because they were trees of His planting, the products of His husbandry (1 Cor. 3:9). This principle is for our instruction. Do not expect the assurance of "my God" unless you have a love for and unless you pray for "all saints" (Eph. 6:18). Fifth, observe the occasion of Paul’s thanksgiving: "that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." These good tidings were spread abroad by travelers from Rome, the capital, telling of the humble reliance of the saints there on the Lord Jesus and their loving allegiance to Him. Wherever the apostle went this blessed information was given him. ot only had these people believed the gospel, but their

faith was of such a character as to be everywhere spoken of, and Paul’s thanksgiving for them was the recognition and acknowledgment that God was the Giver of their faith. Paul’s notification of the same was not to induce complacency, but to quicken the saints in Rome to answer to the testimony borne to them and the expectations awakened thereby. Again we would remark, how blessed to behold the apostle praising God for what His grace had wrought in others. What an insight it gives us into his character. What a spirit of love for the brethren was here revealed. What gratitude and devotion for his Master. What an example for the servant of Christ today when tidings are received of the fruits of the Spirit in distant places.”

9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
1. Paul calls God to be his witness to how often he remembers them in his prayers. He is praying without ceasing for them, and he want them to know of his passion for them to be all that God wants them to be. He is declaring that he is totally committed to preaching the Gospel, and totally committed to lifting them up in prayer. Paul was motivated by a whole hearted love for God and could say amen to the poem of WesleyGive me the faith which can remove And sink the mountain to a plain. Give me the childlike , praying love Which longs to build thy house again. Thy love, let it my heart O'erpower Let it my ransomed soul devour. 1B. Constable, “Paul called God as his witness (v. 9) because what he was about to say might be difficult to believe. He claimed to pray for the Romans unceasingly, namely, frequently, but not without stopping. The Greek word translated "unceasingly" (adialeiptos, cf. 1 Thess. 5:17) denotes that not much time elapsed between his prayers for them. These saints were constantly in his thoughts and prayers. "In my spirit" ( ASB) means "with my whole heart" ( IV). 2. Gill, “For God is my witness, whom I serve,.... These words are an appeal to God, and carry in them the nature and form of an oath; the reason of the apostle's using it was, because he was personally unknown to the Romans, and they to him, and so

might doubt of his affectionate regard unto them; and therefore for the confirmation thereof he uses it: this was a case which was only known to God and himself, and hence he appeals to him for the truth of it. The object of his oath or appeal, or by which he speaks, is not himself, or anything that belonged to him, nor any creature in heaven or on earth, but God; who in a solemn oath is only to be appealed to and sworn by: he describes him as the God "whom he served", to distinguish him from all false gods, and to show that he that takes an oath, should be one that fears and serves the Lord; what he served him in was not the law, but the Gospel of his Son; Jesus Christ, who is the author, minister, and subject matter of it: he served him in it, by preaching, spreading, and defending it. This is a service, and a very laborious one, and makes for the honour and glory of God. The manner in which he served him was, as he says, with my Spirit; either with the Spirit of God, which was given to him; or in a spiritual manner, in opposition to the carnal worship of the Jews; internally, in opposition to bodily exercise only, and voluntarily, with his whole heart, soul, and spirit. The matter or substance of his appeal or oath was, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; whence may be observed, that prayer to God ought to be constant; and that we should be concerned for others as well as for ourselves; all the saints should share therein. 3. Clarke, “Whom I serve with my spirit - λατπευω Whom I worship with the profoundest religious reverence; for so the original certainly means: I not only employ all the powers of my body in this service, but all those of my soul; being thoroughly convinced of the absolute truth of the religion I preach. Probably St. Paul opposes, in this place, the spiritual worship of the Gospel to the external, or what some call the carnal, worship of the Jews. Mine is not a religion of ceremonies, but one in which the life and power of the eternal Spirit are acknowledged and experienced. 4. Barnes, “For God is my witness - The reason of this strong appeal to God is, to show to the Romans the deep interest which he felt in their welfare This interest was manifested in his prayers, and in his earnest desires to see them. A deep interest shown in this way was well suited to prepare them to receive what he had to say to them. Whom I serve - See Rom_1:1; compare Act_17:23. The expression denotes that he was devoted to God in this manner; that he obeyed him; and had given himself to do his will in making known his gospel. With my spirit - Greek, ἐν en, in my spirit, that is, with my “heart.” It is not an external service merely; it is internal, real, sincere. He was really and sincerely devoted to the service of God. In the gospel of his Son - In making known the gospel, or as a minister of the gospel. That without ceasing - ἀδιαλείπτως adialeiptōs. This word means constantly,

always, without intermission. It was not only once, but repeatedly. It had been the burden of his prayers. The same thing he also mentions in regard to other churches, 1Th_1:3; 1Th_2:13. I make mention - I call you to remembrance, and present your case before God. This evinced his remarkable interest in a church which he had never seen, and it shows that Paul was a man of prayer; praying not for his friends and kindred only, but for those whom he had never seen. If with the same intensity of prayer all Christians, and Christian ministers, would remember the churches, what a different aspect would the Christian church soon assume! Always - This word should be connected with the following verse, “Always making request,” etc. 5. Jamison, “I make mention of you always in my prayers — so for the Ephesians (Eph_1:15, Eph_1:16); so for the Philippians (Phi_1:3, Phi_1:4); so for the Colossians (Col_1:3, Col_1:4); so for the Thessalonians (1Th_1:2, 1Th_1:3). What catholic love, what all-absorbing spirituality, what impassioned devotion to the glory of Christ among men! 6. Henry, “His prayer for them, Rom_1:9. Though a famous flourishing church, yet they had need to be prayed for; they had not yet attained. Paul mentions this as an instance of his love to them. One of the greatest kindnesses we can do our friends, and sometimes the only kindness that is in the power of our hands, is, by prayer to recommend them to the loving-kindness of God. From Paul's example here we may learn, 1. Constancy in prayer: Always without ceasing. He did himself observe the same rules he gave to others, Eph_6:18; 1Th_5:17. ot that Paul did nothing else but pray, but he kept up stated times for the solemn performance of that duty, and those very frequent, and observed without fail. 2. Charity in prayer: I make mention of you. Though he had not particular acquaintance with them, nor interest in them, yet he prayed for them; not only for all saints in general, but he made express mention of them. It is not unfit sometimes to be express in our prayers for particular churches and places; not to inform God, but to affect ourselves. We are likely to have the most comfort in those friends that we pray most for. Concerning this he makes a solemn appeal to the searcher of hearts: For God is my witness. It was in a weighty matter, and in a thing known only to God and his own heart, that he used this asseveration. It is very comfortable to be able to call God to witness to our sincerity and constancy in the discharge of a duty. God is particularly a witness to our secret prayers, the matter of them, the manner of the performance; then our Father sees in secret, Mat_6:6. God, whom I serve with my spirit. Those that serve God with their spirits may, with a humble confidence, appeal to him; hypocrites who rest in bodily exercise cannot. His particular prayer, among many other petitions he put up for them, was that he might have an opportunity of paying them a visit (Rom_1:10): Making request, if by any means, etc. Whatever comfort we desire to find in any creature, we must have recourse to God for it by prayer; for our times are in his hand, and all our ways at his disposal. The expressions here used intimate that he was very desirous of such an opportunity: if by any means; that he

had long and often been disappointed: now at length; and yet that he submitted it to the divine Providence: a prosperous journey by the will of God. As in our purposes, so in our desires, we must still remember to insert this, if the Lord will, Jam_4:15. Our journeys are prosperous or otherwise according to the will of God, comfortable or not as he pleases. 7. Waggoner, “A Man of Prayer.-This is what Paul was. He made mention of the Romans in all his prayers. To the Corinthians he wrote, "I thank my God always on your behalf." 1 Cor. 1:4. To the Colossians, "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you." Col. 1:3. Still more emphatically he wrote to the Philippians, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy." Phil. 1:3, 4. Again to the Thessalonians, "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith," etc., 1 Thess. 1:2, 3. And further, " ight and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith." 1 Thess. 3:10. To his beloved son in the faith he wrote, "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day." 2 Tim. 1:3.” 8. Robert Haldane, “God is my witness. This is substantially an oath; and refutes the erroneous and mischievous notion of some who maintain, from a misapprehension of what is said by our Lord and the Apostle James, that all oaths are unlawful. Paul s affection for those to whom he wrote was such, that, in making his appeal to God, he desires to expose it to His judgment in respect to its truth and sincerity. Whom I serve with my spirit. All the service of God is of this kind ; but it is here expressed for the sake of energy, and to distinguish the true servants of God, who serve in the Gospel with their heart in the work, from hirelings, whose labors are formal and only external. It expresses the sincerity and ardor of the service that Paul rendered to God, as if he had said, with all his heart and all the faculties of his soul. It also imports the nature of the service in which he was employed namely, a spiritual service, in opposition to the service of the priests and Levites in the tabernacle, which was in a great measure a bodily service. On this account he adds, in the Gospel of His Son: that is to say, m the ministry of the Gospel in which he labored for the unfolding of the Divine mysteries to make them known. Thus Paul shows, from the character of his ministry, that his obedience was not in pretense only but in sincerity. Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers. borne place these last words, always in my prayers, in the beginning of next verse, as in the Vulgate and the French versions ; but the difference is not material. This is a striking proof of the frequency of Paul's prayers, in which he interceded for those whom he was addressing without ceasing always. In like manner, in writing to the Philippians, he

says, * Always, in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy. We thus learn the duty of Christians to pray for one another, and that those who believe the Gospel are as much bound to pray for its success, and the prosperity of the churches, as to labor in the work. Both prayer and labor ought to go together. To pray without laboring is to mock God : to labor without prayer is to rob God of His glory. Until these are conjoined, the Gospel will not be extensively successful. From many other parts of Paul s writings, we learn how assiduous he was in the duty of prayer, which he so earnestly inculcates on all believers. In everything giving thanks ; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you, 1 Thess. v. 18. Be careful for nothing ; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanks giving, let your requests be made known unto God, Phil. iv. 6. How precious is the promise connected with this admonition ! And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. But since all events are fixed, even from eternity, in the counsels and wisdom of God, of what avail, it may be said, are these prayers ? Can they change His eternal counsels, and the settled order of events ? Certainly not. But God commands us to pray, and even the prayers of His people are included in His decrees ; and what God has resolved to do, He often gives to their prayers. Instead, then, of being vain, they are among the means through which God executes His decrees. If, indeed, all things happened by a blind chance, or a fatal necessity, prayers in that case could be of no moral efficacy, and of no use ; but since they are regulated by the direction of Divine wisdom, prayers have a place in the order of events. After many gracious promises, it is added, Ezek. xxxvi. 37, Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them. In this verse Paul shows his zeal for God. and his love for believers, which ought never to be separated. We should love our brethren because we love God. These two things corresponded in Paul to the two favors he had received, which he marked in the 5th verse, namely, Grace and Apostleship. God, as if he said, has given me grace, and on my part I serve Him with my spirit ; He has given me Apostleship, and I have you continually in remembrance.”

10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
1. Paul had to be a patient man, for he longed to come to Rome and share with the believers in this capital city of the world, but he had a terrible time getting there.

Some like to suggest that if you are living in obedience to God's will the path will be easy, and the doors will open before you. ot so for Paul, for his path was steep and rugged, and the doors that opened for him were often jail doors. He has had to endure a great deal in his efforts to get to Rome, and finally when he did make it, it was as a prisoner. Living in obedience to God's will was never an easy path for Paul. otice that he says the way "may" be open for me to come to you. He was not going to count his chickens before they hatched. He knew that doors are often slammed shut that seem so promising. Acts 27 reveals that he had a terrible time getting there, and so God does not always make a journey easy. 2. Gill, “Making request, if by any means now at length,.... A principal thing, which be incessantly and importunately requested at the throne of grace, was, that he might have an opportunity of coming to them; that God in his providence would open a way for him; and that he might have a safe and comfortable journey in a very little time; all which he submits to the will of God, as a good man ought to do; and which he thus expresses, I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God, to come unto you; see Jam_4:13.” 3. Barnes, “Making request - It was his earnest desire to see them, and he presented the subject before God. If by any means - This shows the earnest desire which he had to see them, and implies that be had designed it, and had been hindered; see Rom_1:13. ow at length - He had purposed it a long time, but had been hindered. He doubtless cherished this purpose for years. The expressions in the Greek imply an earnest wish that this long-cherished purpose might be accomplished before long. A prosperous journey - A safe, pleasant journey. It is right to regard all success in traveling as depending on God, and to pray for success and safety from danger. Yet all such prayers are not answered according to the letter of the petition. The prayer of Paul that be might see the Romans was granted, but in a remarkable way. He was persecuted by the Jews, and arraigned before King Agrippa. He appealed to the Roman emperor, and was taken there in chains as a prisoner. Yet the journey might in this way have a more deep effect on the Romans, than if he had gone in any other way. In so mysterious a manner does God often hear the prayers of his people; and though their prayers are answered, yet it is in his own time and way; see the last chapters of the Acts . By the will of God - If God shall grant it; if God will by his mercy grant me the great favor of my coming to you. This is a proper model of a prayer; and is in accordance with the direction of the Bible; see Jam_4:14-15.

4. Jamison, “Making request, if by any means now at length I may have a prosperous journey by the will of God, to come to you — Though long anxious to visit the capital, he met with a number of providential hindrances (Rom_1:13; Rom_15:22; and see on Act_19:21; see on Act_23:11; see on Act_28:15); insomuch that nearly a quarter of a century elapsed, after his conversion, ere his desire was

accomplished, and that only as “a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Thus taught that his whole future was in the hands of God, he makes it his continual prayer that at length the obstacles to a happy and prosperous meeting might be removed. 5. Bob Deffinbaugh, “Three years before Paul arrived at Rome in person, he had taken up his pen to write those “beloved of God in Rome,” one of the most profound and powerful epistles ever written. And long before Paul took up the pen, he had been on his knees in prayer for them. One can hardly avoid concluding that the ideas which Paul put into words in this epistle were the product of his prayers and also the answer to them. How often we find that God uses us to have a part in the answer to our own prayers. 6. Robert Haldane, “Making request. Paul s affection for those to whom he wrote impelled him, not once or twice with a passing wish, but at all times, to desire to be present with them, notwithstanding the inconveniences of so long and perilous a journey. He asks of God that by some means now at length he might be permitted to visit them. Thus Christian love searches out new objects on which to exercise itself, and extends itself even to those who are personally unknown. 1 might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God. This teaches us that God, by His providence, regulates all that takes place. There is nothing with which Christians should be more habitually impressed, than that God is the disposer of all events. They should look to His will in the smallest concerns of life, as well as in affairs of the greatest moment. Even a prosperous journey is from the Lord. In this way they glorify God by acknowledging His providence in all things, and have the greatest confidence and happiness in walking before Him. Here we also learn that, while the will of God concerning any event is not ascertained, we have liberty to desire and pray for what we wish, provided our prayers and desires are conformed to His holiness. But will our prayers be agreeable to God if they be contrary to His decrees ? Yes, provided they be offered in submission to Him, and not opposed to any known command ; for it is the revealed, and not the secret will of God that must be the rule of our prayers. We also learn in this place, that since all events depend on the will of God, we ought to acquiesce in them, however contrary they may be to our wishes ; and likewise, that in those things in which the will of God is not apparent, we should always accompany our prayers and our desires with this condition, if it be pleasing to God, and be ready to renounce our desires as soon as they appear not to be conformed to His will. how sweet a thing, as one has well observed, were it for us to learn to make our burdens light, by framing our hearts to the burden, and making our Lord s will a law !”

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--

1. Gill, “For I long to see you,.... ot the city of Rome, which was one of Austin's three wishes to have seen in its glory; nor the emperor of it, nor the senate in it, nor its populous inhabitants, fine buildings, riches and grandeur; but the poor saints there, which were the excellent men of the earth, of the whole Roman empire, and in whom was his delight: his desire to see them was not to gratify his curiosity, nor to spend his time in idle chat with them, nor with a view to enrich himself by them; but, says he, that I may impart some spiritual gift: not any extraordinary gift of the Spirit; but spiritual light, knowledge, peace, and comfort, through the exercise of his ministerial gift: whence it may be observed, that that which qualities men for the preaching of the word to the profit of others, is a gift, a gift by grace; a spiritual one, which comes from the Spirit of God, and may be, and is to be imparted to others in the free use and exercise of it; and that, to the end that saints may be established; for such who are called by grace, need establishing. They are indeed in a safe state and condition; they are encircled in the arms of everlasting love, they are fixed in the hands of Christ, secured in an everlasting covenant, established on the rock of ages, and settled in a state from whence they can never fall: yet, notwithstanding this, they are sometimes very unstable in their hearts, in their frames, in the exercise of grace, and the discharge of duty, and in professing and adhering to the doctrines of the Gospel; wherefore they need establishing, as to a more firm persuasion of interest in the love of God, and in the covenant of grace, as to a more stable exercise of grace in Christ, and as to a more constant discharge of duty, and steady profession of adherence to the truths of the Gospel; to all which the ministration of the word has a tendency, with a divine blessing. 2. Stedman, “That is what makes a congregation strong, the exercise of spiritual gifts in its midst. When Paul says, "I want to impart to you some spiritual gift," he doesn't mean that he has all the gifts in a bag and he goes around like an ecclesiastical Santa Claus doling them out to people wherever he goes. He doesn't mean that. Impart really means "share with you." It isn't something Paul gives to them; only the Holy Spirit can give spiritual gifts. Paul wants to share with them the gifts God has given. He wants to minister to them, as they are expected to minister to him with the spiritual gifts that they have; thus they will be mutually strengthened by one another's faith. That is how God wants a church to function -the saints ministering to each other, building up one another by their faith and sharing and exercising the gifts God has given them The purpose of worship and fellowship is to give and receive spiritual gifts. We should come to church to give or receive something that will make us more like Jesus wants us to be. The goal is to make each other strong in faith. We can add to or subtract from the faith of others by giving or failing to give our gift. We

encourage or discourage by what we do with our spiritual gift. We all need to be encouraged and strengthened, for we are in warfare and we get battle weary and need support. 3. Clarke, “Some spiritual gift - This probably means some of the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, which, being given to them, might tend greatly to establish their faith in the Gospel of Christ; and it is very likely that such gifts were only conferred by means of apostles; and as the apostle had not yet been at Rome, consequently the Roman Christians had not yet received any of these miraculous gifts, and thus they differed widely from all the other Churches which had been raised by the apostle’s ministry. 4. Barnes, “For I long to see you - I earnestly desire to see you; compare Rom_15:23, Rom_15:32. That I may impart - That I may “give,” or communicate to you. Some spiritual gift - Some have understood this as referring to “miraculous gifts,” which it was supposed the apostles had the power of conferring on others. But this interpretation is forced and unnatural. There is no instance where this expression denotes the power of working miracles. Besides, the apostle in the next verse explains his meaning, “That I may be comforted together by the mutual faith,” etc. From this it appears that he desired to be among them to exercise the office of the ministry, to establish them in the gospel and to confirm their hopes. He expected that the preaching of the gospel would be the means of confirming them in the faith; and he desired to be the means of doing it. It was a wish of benevolence, and accords with what he says respecting his intended visit in Rom_15:29, “And I am sure that when I come, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” To make known to them more fully the blessings of the gospel, and thus to impart spiritual gifts, was the design he had in view. To the end ... - With the design, or purpose. Ye may be established - That is, that they might be “confirmed” in the truths of the gospel. This was one design of the ministry, that Christians may be established, or strengthened, Eph_4:13. It is not to have dominion ever their faith, but to be “helpers of their joy,” 2Co_1:24. Paul did not doubt that this part of his office might be fulfilled among the Romans, and he was desirous there also of making full proof of his ministry. His wish was to preach not simply where he must, but where he might. This is the nature of this work. 5. Henry, “ His great desire to see them, with the reasons of it, Rom_1:11-15. He had heard so much of them that he had a great desire to be better acquainted with them. Fruitful Christians are as much the joy as barren professors are the grief of faithful ministers. Accordingly, he often purposed to come, but was let hitherto (Rom_1:13), for man purposeth, but God disposeth. He was hindered by other business that took him off, by his care of other churches, whose affairs were pressing; and Paul was for doing that first, not which was most pleasant (then he would have gone to Rome), but which was most needful - a good example to ministers, who must not consult

their own inclinations so much as the necessity of their people's souls. Paul desired to visit these Romans, 1. That they might be edified (Rom_1:11): That I may impart unto you. He received, that he might communicate. ever were full breasts so desirous to be drawn out to the sucking infant as Paul's head and heart were to be imparting spiritual gifts, that is, preaching to them. A good sermon is a good gift, so much the better for being a spiritual gift. - To the end you may be established. Having commended their flourishing he here expresses his desire of their establishment, that as they grew upward in the branches they might grow downward in the root. The best saints, while they are in such a shaking world as this, have need to be more and more established; and spiritual gifts are of special use for our establishment. 6. Sadler, “The German commentators warn us that we are not to take " spiritual gift " in its natural acceptation of " miracu lous gift," which only Apostles could impart, but simply of the mutual comfort which any ordinary Christian could give to, and take from, those with whom he was holding converse. But why is this ? The Apostle would not come to them as an Apostle if he did not impart to them something special ; and he evidently in tended to come to them as an Apostle, and not as an ordinary minister. And surely the imparting to them some such spiritual gift as those which he imparted to other Churches would not hinder him from enjoying mutual comfort with them through their mutual faith. If he enabled some of them to prophesy, others to heal the sick, their faith in Him Who sent Him could not fail to be in creased, and his comfort in seeing that Christ acknowledged him as their Apostle would be increased also ; which comfort would be the fruit of the faith common to them and to himself, which faith* even in an Apostle, admitted of some increase. I do not think then the Apostle spoke words of mere Christian courtesy in remind ing them that the benefit would not be wholly on their side, but words of truth, if, as we must suppose, the grace of faith in all im perfect human beings is capable of increase.

12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
1. Paul always intended to be a giver wherever he want, but he intended to also be a receiver, for he knew that believers with far fewer gift than what he had can still be a delight, and they can give a great deal of encouragement. You don't have to be a scholar and great speaker to be an encourager, and the greatest scholars and speakers like Paul need encouragement just as everyone else. This blessing flows

both ways from the teacher to the student, and back again from the student to the teacher. Christianity is meant to be a mutual encouragement society, for people on all levels never get too much of it. 1B. Discouragement is a problem for many Christians. While they may not be distressed about health, family, or work, they're discouraged about their spiritual service. They compare themselves to others who are gifted with musical talents or the ability to teach the Bible. They see people who are able to give generously and pray with evident effectiveness, but they think they can't do these things. As a result, they feel they are useless to God. They need to realize, however, that every Christian is qualified to carry on at least one helpful ministry--the ministry of encouragement. Renowned preacher Robert Dale was walking one day in Birmingham, England, where he was pastoring the great Carr's Lane Church. He was under a dark cloud of gloom when a woman came up to him and exclaimed, "God bless you, Dr. Dale. If you could only know how you have made me feel hundreds of times!" Then off she hurried. Dale later testified, "The mist broke, the sunlight came, and I breathed the free air of the mountains of God." The apostle Paul knew how important it was not only to be encouraged by others (Phil. 2:19) but to be an encourager (Acts 20:2; 27:35-36). That's a ministry all of us can be involved in. --VCG It may seem insignificant To say a word or two, But when it is encouragement, What wonders it can do! --K. De Haan Even if you have nothing else to give, you can always give encouragement. Paul never worked alone, but had companions. It was not good for Adam to be alone and it is not good for anyone. We need each other to be strong. Jesus sent them out two by two, for he knew that his disciples would work better with a companion. We all need to be a part of a mutual benefit society. David need Jonathan, and Paul his Timothy, and all need such a friend and companion. See15:32 and I Thess 3:2-3 Jesus encouraged people by lifting their self-esteem and worth to God in Matt. 6:2534 and Luke 12:6-7. ote that Paul need it too, and so the minister needs to be ministered to as well. All need encouragement. The flow did not go from the top down only, but was a flow from side to side where the followers could also encourage the leader, just as the honking of the geese behind the leader is to encourage him to keep on even though he has the hardest part in the flight. Everyone has something to impart to others. Piet Hein, the Danish poet wrote,

I am a humble artist molding my earthly clod, adding my labor to nature's, simply assisting God. ot that my effort is needed;' yet somehow, I understand, my maker has willed it that I too should have unmolded clay in my hand. 1C. Worthen, “ ow keep in mind that Paul was an apostle, personally chosen by the Lord to be His witness to the world of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul was a man gifted many times over with probably all of the gifts of the spirit. And yet, Paul can say, 'that as strong as my faith may be for your encouragement, I need you and the strength of your faith for my encouragement.' Paul needed these Christians, in a sense, as much as they needed him. o man is an island, and I've learned that I need your encouragement which is derived from your faith as much as you need mine. This is why true Christian fellowship is vital. The kind of fellowship which exalts Christ and looks to Him for strength, which we in turn pass on to others. 1D. Dr. Daniel Hill, “The communicator, Paul, is encouraged when others become established. An interesting principle is involved here. Giving that which God has given to you does not impoverish you but enriches you. ormally when we give we think in terms of loss. But here Paul see that when he has the opportunity to teach positive believers he is blessed. This is emphasized by the word "encouraged". In the Greek, it is preceded by the prefix SUM which means that this will be a joint encouragement. This is the only use of this word in the Greek ew Testament. Zodhiates defines it as receiving (passive voice) solace, comfort, encouragement in the society of other believers. This kind of godly encouragement is something that can only be done in the community of the Local Church. The motivation for this joint encouragement is found each other's faith. Paul was impressed and encouraged when he saw others who lived by faith. one of us faces the same challenges and difficulties in life, but we do face similar situations. It is an encouragement to us when we come to see how others live by faith, firmly established in the Word, facing similar situations. In other words, our faith rubs off onto other believers.” 2. Chuck Smith in his booklet on Romans called "The Gospel according to Grace" says of this verse.... "Gathering together with God's people has a two-way effect. You cannot minister to others without being ministered to yourself. That's the beauty of sharing our spiritual gifts with one another. Jesus said, "Give and it shall be given unto you" (Luk.6:38a). Sowing the truth in love always reaps the same." You might say how can I minister to others when I'm not even sure what my spiritual gifts are or, my faith is so weak? That's the beauty of being a child of God.

Our faith and our other spiritual gifts are exercised every time we're willing to simply to reach out to others in love. In our weakness Christ makes us strong as we look to Him. Paul may have started out to just desire to minister to the Romans, but don't ever forget the reception he got when he finally arrived in Italy some three years after this letter. They came out to meet this weary traveler who was ship-wrecked and tired from so long a journey, and now being delivered as a prisoner in chains. Two groups of Christians came out and met him in different cities, 30 and 40 miles respectively, because in their eagerness to see the one who could encourage them, they instinctively ministered to him. God knows the need. We just need to be available to reach out in the kind of Christian fellowship, which puts Christ at the forefront as we love others in His love. o matter how weary we may be at times, God can still use you to minister to others, but just keep this in mind; God will end up ministering to you when you take the first step.” 3. Barclay, “Paul, in his humility, was always ready to receive as well as to give. He began by saying that he wished to come to Rome that he might impart to the Roman Church some gift which would confirm them in the faith. And then he changed it. He wished to come to Rome that he and the Roman Church might comfort and strengthen each other, and that each might find precious things in the faith of the other. There are two kinds of teachers. There are those whose attitude is that they are standing above their scholars and telling them what they should and must accept. And there are those who, in effect, say, "Come now, let's learn about this together." Paul was the greatest thinker the Early Church ever produced, and yet, when he thought of the people to whom he longed to preach, he thought of himself not only as giving to them but also as receiving from them. It takes humility to teach as it takes humility to learn.” 4. Gill, “That is, that I may be comforted together with you,.... This is a further explanation of his view, in being desirous of coming to them, and preaching: the Gospel among them; for what makes for establishment, makes for comfort; and what makes for comfort, makes for establishment; and when souls are established, ministers are comforted as well as they; and whilst ministers are imparting their spiritual gifts for the use of others, they themselves are sometimes comforted of God in their work, and particularly when they find there is an agreement between their doctrine, and the experience of the saints: by the mutual faith both of you and me. The grace of faith is the same in all the saints, and so is the doctrine of it, as dispensed by Christ's faithful ministers, and experimentally received and embraced by his people; the consideration of which has a very great influence on the comfort and establishment of each other; nor are any so perfect, but they may receive benefit from others, even though inferior to them.

5. Barnes, “That I may be comforted ... - It was not merely to confirm them that Paul wished to come. He sought the communion of saints; he expected to be himself edified and strengthened; and to be comforted by seeing their strength of faith, and their rapid growth in grace. We may remark here, (1) That one effect of religion is to produce the desire of the communion of saints. It is the nature of Christianity to seek the society of those who are the friends of Christ. (2) othing is better suited to produce growth in grace than such communion. Every Christian should have one or more Christian friends to whom he may unbosom himself. o small part of the difficulties which young Christians experience would vanish, if they should communicate their feelings and views to others. Feelings which they suppose no Christians ever had, which greatly distress them, they will find are common among those who are experienced in the Christian life. (3) There is nothing better suited to excite the feelings, and confirm the hopes of Christian ministers, than the firm faith of young converts, of those just commencing the Christian life, 3Jo_1:4. (4) The apostle did not disdain to be taught by the humblest Christians. He expected to be strengthened himself by the faith of those just beginning the Christian life. “There is none so poor in the church of Christ, that he cannot make some addition of importance to our stores,” Calvin. 6. Jamson, “That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me — ot wishing to “lord it over their faith,” but rather to be a “helper of their joy,” the apostle corrects his former expressions: my desire is to instruct you and do you good, that is, for us to instruct and do one another good: in giving I shall also receive” [Jowett]. “ or is he insincere in so speaking, for there is none so poor in the Church of Christ who may not impart to us something of value: it is only our malignity and pride that hinder us from gathering such fruit from every quarter” [Calvin]. How “widely different is the apostolic style from that of the court of Papal Rome!” [Bengel]. 7. Henry, “ That he might be comforted, Rom_1:12. What he heard of their flourishing in grace was so much a joy to him that it must needs be much more so to behold it. Paul could take comfort in the fruit of the labours of other ministers. - By the mutual faith both of you and me, that is, our mutual faithfulness and fidelity. It is very comfortable when there is a mutual confidence between minister and people, they confiding in him as a faithful minister, and he in them as a faithful people. Or, the mutual work of faith, which is love; they rejoiced in the expressions of one another's love, or communicating their faith one to another. It is very refreshing to Christians to compare notes about their spiritual concerns; thus are they sharpened, as iron sharpens iron. 8. Haldane, “This comfort or confirmation which he looked for, was not from a

spiritual gift to be bestowed by them, but would be the effect of their confirmation, by the gift they received through him. The gift, too, bestowed by him, would be a new proof of the power of God in him, and of His approbation in enabling him to exert such power. He would be comforted and strengthened in witnessing their faith in respect to his own labors in his ministry, by seeing the kingdom of God advancing more and more, and with respect to his numerous afflictions to which he was on all hands subjected, and also in contrasting the coldness and weakness of many of which he often complains, when he observed the increasing power of Divine grace in the saints at Rome. On the other hand, they would derive from Paul s presence the greatest consolation from his instructions in the mysteries of salvation, from his exhortations, which must contribute much to their edification, as well as from his example, his counsels, and his prayers. It is thus the duty of Christians to confirm each other in the faith ; and their mutual intercourse makes known the faith that each possesses. They see that their experience answers as face answers to face in a glass; and by beholding the strength of faith in their brethren, Christians are edified and confirmed.”

13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
1. The believers in Rome were disappointed that Paul did not show up, but Paul explains that plans do not always go as well as they work out in your head. He had his plans many times all made out in his head, and possibly even written down, but there are no end of ways that plans get prevented. Someone said, "If you want to make God laugh, just tell him of your plans." Paul could get a chuckle out of this, for he knew how often he had a plan, and it did not happen. It is true what they say, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." But this is also superficial, for you can plan plenty and still not see everything fall into place so the plan can be achieved. Paul never stopped planning, but he also knew he needed plan B, and C, and who knows how many other options. Plans are no guarantee, and so you need to be ready with backup. 1B. Spurgeon, “"I do not suppose that Paul guessed that he would be sent there at the government expense, but he was. The Roman Empire had to find a ship for him, and a fit escort for him, too; and he entered the city as an ambassador in bonds. When our hearts are set on a thing, and we pray for it, God may grant us the blessing; but, it may be, in a way that we never looked for. You shall go to Rome,

Paul; but you shall go in chains." 1C. Brow, “Paul was a brilliant man, but he did not know all of God's will and had to take it a step at a time. Things did not work out as he planned and so he had to be frustrated many times. Life will not always cooperate with our plans and we do not always know when doors will open. Being led of God does not mean we always know what it going to happen. See I Thess. 2:18 and Acts 16:6-8 2. Gill, “ ow I would not have you ignorant, brethren,.... The apostle calls them brethren, because many of them were Jews, his brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh, and all of them were his brethren in a spiritual relation; and this he does to express his affection to them, and engage their attention and credit to him, and particularly to this matter which he now acquaints them with, being unwilling they should be ignorant of it; that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you: it was not a sudden start of mind, or a desire that lately arose up in him, but a settled resolution and determination, and which he had often made: but was let hitherto; either by God, who had work for him to do in other places; or by Satan, who sometimes by divine permission has had such power and influence; see 1Th_2:18, or through the urgent necessities of other churches, which required his stay with them longer than he intended: his end in taking up at several times such a resolution of coming to them was, says he, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles: by fruit he means, not any reward of his labour, either temporal or eternal; but the conversion of sinners, the edification of saints, and the fruitfulness of believers in grace and works. The apostle seems to allude to the casting of seed into the earth: Christ's ministers' are husbandmen, who sow the seed of the word, which lies some time under the clods; wherefore patience is necessary to wait its springing up, first in the blade, and then in the ear, then in the full corn in the ear, when it brings forth fruit; all which depend on the blessing of God: and when he adds, "as among other Gentiles", his design is not so much to let them know that they were as other Gentiles, upon a level with them, had no pre-eminence as citizens of Rome, over other saints, being all one in Christ Jesus; as to observe to them his success in other places, where he had been preaching the Gospel of the grace of God. 3. Clarke, “But was let hitherto - The word let, from the Anglo-Saxon to hinder, signifies impediment or hinderance of any kind: but it is likely that the original word, εκωλυθην, I was forbidden, refers to a Divine prohibition: - he would have visited them long before, but God did not see right to permit him. 4. Barnes, “That oftentimes I purposed - See Rom_1:10. How often he had purposed this we have no means of ascertaining. The fact, however, that he had done it, showed his strong desire to see them, and to witness the displays of the grace of God

in the capital of the Roman world; compare Rom_15:23-24. One instance of his having purposed to go to Rome is recorded in Act_19:21, “After these things were ended (namely, at Ephesus), Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia to go to Jerusalem; saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” This purpose expressed in this manner in the Epistle, and the Acts of the Apostles, has been shown by Dr. Paley (Horae Paulinae on Rom_1:13) to be one of those undesigned coincidences which strongly show that both books are genuine; compare Rom_15:23-24, with Act_19:21. A forger of these books would not have thought of such a contrivance as to feign such a purpose to go to Rome at that time, and to have mentioned it in that manner. Such coincidences are among the best proofs that can be demanded, that the writers did not intend to impose on the world; see Paley. But was let hitherto - The word “let” means to “hinder,” or to “obstruct.” In what way this was done we do not know, but it is probable that he refers to the various openings for the preaching of the gospel where he had been, and to the obstructions of various kinds from the enemies of the gospel to the fulfillment of his purposes. That I might have some fruit among you - That I might be the means of the conversion of sinners and of the edification of the church in the capital of the Roman Empire. It was not curiosity to see the splendid capital of the world that prompted this desire; it was not the love of travel, and of roaming from clime to clime; it was the specific purpose of doing good to the souls of human beings. To “have fruit” means to obtain success in bringing men to the knowledge of Christ. Thus, the Saviour said Joh_15:16,” I have chosen you, and ordained you that you should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” 5. Haldane, “Paul s zeal and affection for those to whom he wrote, were not of recent origin ; they had long been cherished in his heart. Of this he did not wish them to be ignorant. It is of importance that believers should know the love entertained for them by the servants of God. It is a testimony of the love of God Himself. Paul wished to see some fruit of his ministry among them. This was his great desire everywhere in the service of Christ. * I have chosen you and ordained you, said Jesus to His Apostles, that ye should go and bring forth fruit ; and Paul ardently longed to see the fulfillment of this gracious promise among those to whom he wrote, for believers were his joy and crown. As among other Gentiles. The apostleship of Paul had not been unfruitful, ch. xv. 17. He had traveled through a great part of Syria, of Asia, and of Greece, and everywhere he had either been the means of converting sinners or edifying believers. This was a source of much joy to him ; but after so many labors, he did not wish for repose. He desired to go to Rome to obtain fruit there also. He had been let, or hindered, hitherto. Our desires are always pleasing to God when their object is to promote His glory ; but sometimes He does not see good to give them effect. It was good that it was in David s heart, although he was riot permitted, to build the house of God. The times and the ways of God s providence are often unknown to us, and therefore our desires and designs in His service ought always to be cherished in submission to His Divine wisdom. Paul had been hindered till now from going to

Rome. This may have happened in different ways, and through what are called second causes. It may have been occasioned by the services he found it indispensable to perform in other churches before leaving them ; or it may have arisen from the machinations of Satan, the god of this world, exciting disturbances and opposition in these churches, 1 Thess. ii. 18 ; or he may have been prevented by the Spirit of God, Acts xvi. 7. His being hindered, by whatever means, from going to Rome, when he intended it, shows that the Apostles were sometimes thwarted in their purposes, and were not always under the guidance of Divine inspiration in their plans. This, however, has nothing to do with the subject of their inspiration as it respects the Scriptures, or as it regards their doctrine. Those who raise any objection to the inspiration of the Scriptures, from the disappointments or misconduct of the Apostles, confound things that entirely and essentially differ.” 6. Dr. Daniel Hill, “Several things can prevent us from doing what we desire. 1.Satan can hinder our plans. I Thessalonians 2:18, For we wanted to come to you more than once - and yet Satan thwarted us. Satan can hinder us; yet even when that happens we know that God is greater and He is in control. When this occurs it is because God allows it. 2. God can hinder our plans. Acts 16:6-10, And as they passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and when they had come to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us. And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 3. Our present responsibilities can keep us from fulfilling our desires. Romans 15:20-22, And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation; but as it is written, They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand. For this reason I have often been hindered from coming to you. 4. But we can also see that accepting a responsibility that is not our own can also hinder us: Romans 15:24-26, Whenever I go to Spain - for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while - but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. So what stands between you and following God's plan for your life? You do, no one else, nothing else. God is in control except when we take control from Him.” 7. Paul had no end of problems in trying to get to Rome, but Paul never gave up. He pressed on in all his afflictions knowing that even his trials were making him a

better man. He could enjoy the unknown poet who wrote the followingFor every hill I’ve had to climb, For every stone that bruised my feet, For all the blood and sweat and grime, For blinding storms and burning heat, My heart sings but a grateful songThese were the things that made me strong! For all the heartaches and the tears, For all the anguish and the pain, For gloomy days and fruitless years, And for the hopes that lived in vain, I do give thanks for now I know These were the things that helped me grow! Tis not the softer things of life Which stimulate man’s will to strive; But bleak adversity and strife Do most to keep man’s will alive. O’er rose-strewn paths the weaklings creep, But brave hearts dare to climb the steep.

Author Unknown.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
1. Paul does not have a prejudiced bone in his body, for all people, of all races, and all levels of intelligence are people he will gladly minister to with the Gospel and with encouragement. It made little difference to Paul if a man was a cultured Greek or a crude and uneducated pagan. He was obligated to reach all men with the gospel. He was in debt to all and owed all the opportunity to become children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. He had studied the wise and quoted the wisdom of ancient poets, but he was not to bypass the ignorant and foolish. All had a claim on him, and on all who have the knowledge of the truth. The Gospel is a resource that does not diminish when it is given away and so we have an obligation to give it to everyone. We can give to all the best gift possible and it cost us nothing, for Jesus paid for it for all people. Since all are made capable of receiving this good news and being saved, we are under obligation to give it to all. obody is in any condition that makes them not capable of receiving the gift of life in Christ. He died for all and so all can have life in Him. We owe every person something and are in debt to all

people. Paul said own no man anything and yet says he owes all men something. We do not have to pay anything for the Gospel for it is all free, but we have a debt to pay for life once we receive this free gift, for we are obligated to share it with all who do not yet have it. It is our duty to share it. Paul was under obligation to his brothers the Jews but also to those outside the chosen people-the Gentile pagans. The unifying force that brings all people together as one is the Gospel. Staying out of debt has been one of the great principles of wisdom, but here we are taught that we are to be in debt to all. Every individual is of infinite worth. It was a costly price Americans paid to free the slaves, but it was an obligation, for they were persons made in the image of God and had the right to be so treated. Lincoln said to his cabinet, "I have made a vow, a covenant, that if God should give us victory in battle I would consider it an indication of Divine will, and that it wold be our duty to move forward with emancipation." He was ready to die for this cause of giving freedom to all people and he was warned he would be the target of assassins and he replied, "I see no other safeguard against these murderers than to be always ready to die." Paul was also ready to die to get the Gospel of freedom to all the world. Luther Burbank said, "Every weed is a potential flower." and God says, "Every sinner is a potential saint." We are in debt to Greece and Rome for many things that make life better, but all are in debt to the Gospel. 1B. Constable, “The terms "Greek" and "Barbarian" (v. 14) divide Gentiles by language and culture. In Paul's day this was a standard way of describing all races and classes within the Gentile world.31 The Greek people spoke of anyone who did not speak the Greek language as a barbarian. The Greek word barbaros is onomatopoetic and imitates any rough-sounding, unintelligible language.32 The "wise" and "foolish" distinction divides people intellectually (cf. 1 Cor. 1:19, 20, 26, 27). Paul was probably thinking primarily of non-Jews since he was the apostle to the Gentiles. 1C. Colenco, “Greeks and Barbarians. As the Jews divided the whole human race into two classes, Jews and Gentiles, which last word was equivalent to foreigners, men of the nations (Zulu, abaniu bezizice), so the Greeks summed up all mankind as either Greeks or Barbarians, including in the former their Roman masters in the time of the Apostle. Or, rather, the Romans now used these distinctions, it being their custom to send their sons to Athens to finish their education by learning Greek as an accomplishment, and studying the Greek philosophy. Hence the expression ' Greeks and Barbarians ' is nearly equivalent to ' learned and unlearned,' intellectual and unintellectual, or, as St. Paul says, ' wise and simple.'

1D. Calvin, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, etc. Those whom he means by the Greeks and the Barbarians, he afterwards explains by adding, both to the wise and to the foolish; which words Erasmus has not rendered amiss by "learned and unlearned," (eruditos et rudes,) but I prefer to retain the very words of Paul. He then takes an argument from his own office, and intimates that it ought not to be ascribed to his arrogance, that he thought himself in a manner capable of teaching the Romans, however much they excelled in learning and wisdom and in the knowledge of things, inasmuch as it had pleased the Lord to make him a debtor even to the wise. Two things are to be here considered -- that the gospel is by a heavenly mandate destined and offered to the wise, in order that the Lord may subject to himself all the wisdom of this world, and make all variety of talents, and every kind of science, and the loftiness of all arts, to give way to the simplicity of his doctrine; and what is more, they are to be reduced to the same rank with the unlearned, and to be made so meek, as to be able to bear those to be their fellow-disciples under their master, Christ, whom they would not have deigned before to take as their scholars; and then that the unlearned are by no means to be driven away from this school, nor are they to flee away from it through groundless fear; for if Paul was indebted to them, being a faithful debtor, he had doubtless discharged what he owed; and thus they will find here what they will be capable of enjoying. All teachers have also a rule here which they are to follow, and that is, modestly and kindly to accommodate themselves to the capacities of the ignorant and unlearned. Hence it will be, that they will be able, with more evenness of mind, to bear with many absurdities and almost innumerable things that may disgust them, by which they might otherwise be overcome. They are, however, to remember, that they are not so indebted to the foolish, as that they are to cherish their folly by immoderate indulgence.” 2. Gill, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians,.... The meaning is, that he was obliged by the call he had from God, the injunction that was laid upon him by him, and the gifts with which he was qualified, to preach the Gospel to all sorts of men; who are here distinguished into Greeks and Barbarians: sometimes by Greeks are meant the Gentiles in general, in opposition to the Jews; see Rom_1:16; but here they design only a part of the Gentiles, the inhabitants of Greece, in opposition to all the world besides; for the Greeks used to call all others that were not of themselves Barbarians (e): or else by Greeks are meant the more cultivated nations of the world, and by Barbarians the ruder and more uncivil parts of it; to which agrees the next division of mankind, both to the wise and to the unwise. The Gospel was to be preached "to the wise"; such who thought themselves to be so, and were so with respect to human wisdom

and knowledge; though it should be despised by them, as it was, and though few of them were called by it, some were, and still are, though not many; and such wisdom there is in the Gospel, as the wisest of men may learn by it, will be entertaining to them, is far beyond their contempt, and what will serve to exercise their talents and abilities, to search into the knowledge of, and rightly to understand; and it must be preached "to the unwise"; for such God has chosen to confound the wise; these he calls by his grace, and reveals his Gospel to, whilst he hides it from the wise and prudent; and there is that in the Gospel which is plain and easy to the weakest mind, enlightened by the Spirit of God. 3. Clarke, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians - It has been remarked before that all the nations of the earth, themselves excepted, were termed barbarians by the Greeks. See the origin of the word barbarous in the note on Act_28:2 (note). The apostle considers himself, by his apostolical office and call, under obligation to preach the Gospel to all people, as far as the providence of God might open his way; for this is implied in the Divine commission: - Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature - to the wise and the unwise; to the learned and cultivated as well as to the unlearned and uncultivated. This evidently appears to be the import of the terms. 4. Barnes, “I am debtor - This does not mean that they had conferred any favor on him, which bound him to make this return, but that he was under obligation to preach the gospel to all to whom it was possible. This obligation arose from the favor that God had shown him in appointing him to this work. He was specially chosen as a vessel to bear the gospel to the Gentiles Act_9:15; Rom_11:13, and he did not feel that he had discharged the obligation until he had made the gospel known as far as possible among all the nations of the earth. To the Greeks - This term properly denotes “those who dwelt in Greece.” But as the Greeks were the most polished people of antiquity, the term came to be synonymous with the polished, the refined, the wise, as opposed to barbarians. In this place it doubtless means the same as “the wise,” and includes the Romans also, as it cannot be supposed that Paul would designate the Romans as barbarians. Besides, the Romans claimed an origin from Greece, and Dionysius Halicarnassus (book i.) shows that the Italian and Roman people were of Greek descent. Barbarians - All who were not included under the general name of Greeks. Thus, Ammonius says that “all who were not Greeks were barbarians.” This term “barbarian,” Βάρβαρος Barbaros, properly denotes one who speaks a foreign language, a foreigner, and the Greeks applied it to all who did not use their tongue; compare 1Co_14:11, “I shall be unto him that speaketh, a barbarian, etc. that is, I shall speak a language which he cannot understand. The word did not, therefore, of necessity denote any rusticity of manners, or any lack of refinement. To the wise - To those who esteemed themselves to be wise, or who boasted of their wisdom. The term is synonymous with “the Greeks,” who prided themselves much in their wisdom. 1Co_1:22, “the Greeks seek after wisdom;” compare 1Co_1:19; 1Co_3:18-19; 1Co_4:10; 2Co_11:19. Unwise - Those who were regarded as the ignorant and unpolished part of

mankind. The expression is equivalent to ours, ‘to the learned and the unlearned.’ It was an evidence of the proper spirit to be willing to preach the gospel to either. The gospel claims to have power to instruct all mankind, and they who are called to preach it, should be able to instruct those who esteem themselves to be wise, and who are endowed with science, learning, and talent; and they should be willing to labor to enlighten the most obscure, ignorant, and degraded portions of the race. This is the true spirit of the Christian ministry. So, as much as in me is - As far as opportunity may be offered, and according to my ability. I am ready ... - I am prepared to preach among you, and to show the power of the gospel, even in the splendid metropolis of the world. He was not deterred by any fear; nor was he indifferent to their welfare; but he was under the direction of God. and as far as he gave him opportunity, he was ready to make known to them the gospel, as he had done at Antioch, Ephesus, Athens, and Corinth. This closes the introduction or preface to the Epistle. Having shown his deep interest in their welfare, he proceeds in the next verse to state to them the great doctrines of that gospel which he was desirous of proclaiming to them. 5. Henry, “That he might discharge his trust as the apostle of the Gentiles (Rom_1:14): I am a debtor. (1.) His receivings made him a debtor; for they were talents he was entrusted with to trade for his Master's honour. We should think of this when we covet great things, that all our receivings put us in debt; we are but stewards of our Lord's goods. (2.) His office made him a debtor. He was a debtor as he was an apostle; he was called and sent to work, and had engaged to mind it. Paul had improved his talent, and laboured in his work, and done as much good as ever any man did, and yet, in reflection upon it, he still writes himself debtor; for, when we have done all, we are but unprofitable servants. - Debtor to the Greeks, and to the barbarians, that is, as the following words explain it, to the wise and to the unwise. The Greeks fancied themselves to have the monopoly of wisdom, and looked upon all the rest of the world as barbarians, comparatively so; not cultivated with learning and arts as they were. ow Paul was a debtor to both, looked upon himself as obliged to do all the good he could both to the one and to the other. Accordingly, we find him paying his debt, both in his preaching and in his writing, doing good both to Greeks and barbarians, and suiting his discourse to the capacity of each. You may observe a difference between his sermon at Lystra among the plain Lycaonians (Act_14:15, etc.) and his sermon at Athens among the polite philosophers, Act_17:22, etc. He delivered both as debtor to each, giving to each their portion. Though a plain preacher, yet, as debtor to the wise, he speaks wisdom among those that are perfect, 1Co_2:6. For these reasons he was ready, if he had an opportunity, to preach the gospel at Rome, Rom_1:15. Though a public place, though a perilous place, where Christianity met with a great deal of opposition, yet Paul was ready to run the risk at Rome, if called to it: I am ready - prothumon. It denotes a great readiness of mind, and that he was very forward to it. What he did was not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. It is an excellent thing to be ready to meet every opportunity of doing or getting good.

6. Deffinbaugh, “In verses 14 and 15 Paul explained his eagerness to reach Rome: The gospel made him a debtor, a debtor to the Gentiles through the grace of God. Works-righteousness always seeks to get ahead, to have a “positive balance” of righteousness on account with God. The righteousness of God, obtained by faith, places one in eternal debt. The righteousness which we receive by faith is that which we do not deserve. We are debtors to God for having received it. We are, and eternally will continue to be, debtors to God’s grace. This debt of grace was no duty, thrust upon Paul; it was a debt of love. If we are indebted to love others (Romans 13:8), we are first indebted to love God. Paul looked upon himself as a debtor, a debtor to God, and a debtor to all men. Paul especially saw himself as a debtor to all the Gentiles, among whom were some of the saints at Rome. His eagerness to minister to the Romans was the result of God’s grace, an overflow of the grace which had saved him. 7. Barclay, “It may seem strange that Paul speaks of Greeks when he is writing to Romans. At this time the word Greek had lost its racial sense altogether. It did not mean a native of the country of Greece. The conquests of Alexander the Great had taken the Greek language and Greek thought all over the world. And a Greek was no longer only one who was a Greek by race and birth; he was one who knew the culture and the mind of Greece. A barbarian is literally a man who says bar-bar, that is to say a man who speaks an ugly and an unharmonious tongue in contrast with the man who speaks the beautiful, flexible language of Greek. To be a Greek was to be a man of a certain mind and spirit and culture. One of the Greeks said of his own people, "The barbarians may stumble on the truth, but it takes a Greek to understand." What Paul meant was that his message, his friendship, his obligation was to wise and simple, cultured and uncultured, lettered and unlettered. He had a message for the world, and it was his ambition some day to deliver that message in Rome too. 8. Waggoner, “"I Am Debtor." That was the keynote of Paul's life, and it was the secret of his success. owadays we hear of men saying, "The world owes me a living." But Paul considered that he owed himself to the world. And yet he received nothing from the world but stripes and abuse. Even that which he had received before Christ found him was a total loss. But Christ had found him, and given himself to him, so that he could say, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Gal. 2:20. 9. Haldane, “Paul was their debtor, not by any right that either Greeks or Barbarians had acquired over him, but by the destination which God had given to his ministry towards them. He does not, however, hesitate to recognize the debt or obligation, because, when God called him to their service, he was in effect their servant, as he says in another place, Our selves your servants for Jesus sake. The foundation of this duty was not in those whom he desired to serve, but in God, and the force of this obligation was so much the stronger as it was Divine ; it was a law

imposed by sovereign authority, and consequently an inviolable law. With regard to Paul, it included, on the one hand, all the duties of the apostolic office, and, on the other, the dangers and persecutions to which that office exposed him, without even excepting martyrdom, when he should be called to that last trial. All this is similar to what every Christian owes in the service of God, as far as his abilities, of whatever kind they are, and his opportunities, extend. As the Greeks under which term all civilized nations were included were the source of the arts and sciences, of knowledge and civilization, it might be said that the Apostle should attach himself solely to them, and that he owed nothing to the Barbarians. On the contrary, it might be alleged that he was debtor only to the Barbarians, as the Greeks were already so enlightened. But in whatever way these distinctions were viewed, he declares that both the one and the other were equal to him : he was debtor to them all, to the Greeks, because their light was only the darkness of error or of idle speculation to the Barbarians, for he ought to have compassion on their ignorance. He was debtor to the wise, that is to say, the philosophers, as they were called among the Greeks ; and to the unwise, or those who made no profession of philosophy. He knew that both stood equally in need of the Gospel, and that for them all it was equally adapted. This is the case with the learned and the unlearned, who are both altogether ignorant of the way of salvation, till it be revealed to them by the Gospel, to which every thing, by the command of God, the wisdom as well as the folly of the world, in one word, all things besides, must yield subjection.”

15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
1. It is possible that some in Rome would take offense at this, for Paul says he is obligated to both wise and foolish, and that is why he wants to come to them in Rome. Could they be saying "he thinks some of us are foolish." We know it is true that there were some foolish there, for in his letter to the Philippians from his prison cell in Rome he wrote about the foolish preachers who had bad motives for preaching, and they tried to make his life more difficult. Paul is not implying here that some are foolish, but that he is commited to minister to both the wise and the foolish. 1B. Stedman, “If Paul is going to reach the nations, why does he preach the gospel to the Christians at Rome? It is by means of the Christians that the nations are to hear. It is the changes God works in the lives of his people that cause others to begin to take note. That is how evangelism occurs. Paul says, "that is why I want to preach the gospel to you at Rome." ow, by the gospel, Paul does not mean simply

explaining how to become a Christian. That is what we often think it means, but that isn't what Paul means here, because these Romans were already Christians. The gospel is all the great facts about humanity and about God that God wants to impart to us and that will enable us to be whole persons. 2. Gill, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready,.... This explains what he was a debtor to one and another for, namely, to preach the Gospel; expresses the readiness of his mind to that work, whatever difficulties lay in his way; and declares what a willing mind he had to preach it also to the Romans, as elsewhere: to you that are at Rome also; the metropolis of the Roman empire, a very public place, the seat of Satan, and where was the heat of persecution.

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
1.Of the gospel I am not ashamed, For it is the power of God. It comes as if with fire inflamed, Like a bolt striking a lightning rod. Amazing things it achieves, What wonders it will do, For it saves everyone who believes, Both the Gentile and the Jew. Glenn Pease 1B. Paul Rees, "The law had power to put the criminal away, behind bars; Christ has power to put his sin away, and make his a free man. " Electricity has power but it has to have a connection or it has no power, and so people need to get connected to Christ to have the flow of power to change their lives. Belief is the plug in that makes the connection. Paul was confident of the source of the Gospel, the substance of it, the scope of it and the success of it. Evil is powerful and so a great power is needed to overcome it. The military might

of Rome could do much to free people of fear by controlling the crime on the seas and the roads, but it could not free people from the sin that bound them from within. Salvation is not just being saved from hell, but being saved to live a life pleasing to God. It is the power to do what is right and just and to be loving to all people. Morgan says God has faith in man's capacity to respond to the Gospel by faith and become righteous. He writes, "The faith of God produces faith in man." Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50 years and Aristotle for 40 years, and so for a total of 130 years these three greatest of philosopher of ancient history taught. Jesus taught for only 3 years and the Gospel he taught and then bought by his blood has become a power to change lives far greater than them and all the teachers of history. The truth of the Gospel saves by itself for it stimulates faith, hope and love and it is like plugging in an appliance and there is power. The Gospel is to the new birth what sex is to the natural birth. Faith produced from the promise of God to forgive and make new the sinner. An ignoramus can plug in a lamp and receive light just as a genius can do, and so the power of the Gospel works in all lives who will plug into it. Warren Magnuson once preached on The Source of Power, The Force of Power, and the Course of Power. The Gospel is Supreme, Sufficient and Simple and will do what the logic of Greece, the law of Rome and the light of Judaism cannot match. 1C. BROW, “Paul is not ashamed of the good news of the power of God, which others might deride (as did the Athenians in Acts 17:18). In a previous letter Paul had explained that "My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power" (1 Cor 2:4). Rome was a great power that conquored the world, but it did not have the power to conquor sin, and only the Gospel has such power, and Paul was not ashamed to preach Christ who was crucified, for this dying in weakness was the source of the greatest power in history, far beyond any power of armies like that of Rome. 1D. It has the potential to save all people, but it saves in fact only those who believe it. Everyone has the chance to be saved, but only those will be actually saved who believe the gospel. It has the power to save everyone, but it is like the power in the plug on your wall. It is there and it will light up your life in dark room, but only those who plug into that power will experience the light. God has made the provision of power to save all Jews and all Gentiles, but many will never choose to believe, and they will be like those who sit in darkness because they never plug their lights into the socket. This verse makes it clear that man has a role to play in his salvation. God in his sovereignty has made salvation possible, but man has to act to make it actual in his life. Many like to think that God alone determines who is saved and who is not. This makes God responsible for people being lost, and it casts a

shadow over his being a God of love for all people. It is not very loving to let people go to hell by design. This verse makes it clear that people are responsible for their being lost and not God. They are free to believe and be saved, but they are also free to not believe and be lost. They are responsible for their being saved or lost by their choice to believe or not. The burden is on man and not God. He does not choose for anyone to be lost. He is not willing that anyone be lost, and so if they are, it is their responsibility and not his. Theologians often blacken the image of God by saying that he determines who is saved and who is lost. How can Scripture say he is not willing that any perish if he, in fact, is the one who determines that they perish? 1E. Herrick, "Believeth" -- The gospel must be believed (human responsibility). God does the saving but man must do the believing. Faith is the hand of the heart which reaches out and receives God's gift of salvation (Rom. 6:23). "To the Jew first" -- Here we have an amazing demonstration of God’s grace. The Jews were the very ones who rejected their Messiah (John 1:11) and crucified Him (John 19:14-16). Yet these same people were the first ones to hear God’s good news! The gospel went first to the Jews. Those who heard the gospel on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) were all Jews. The Gentiles did not hear the gospel until Acts chapter 10. Today the gospel is to go to all men without distinction (see Romans 10:12-13). The gospel had to go to the Jew first because Christ came into the world for the purpose of saving "His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). "His people" is a clear reference to the people of Israel (compare Matthew 2:6 and compare Acts 10:42 where "this people" is most probably a reference to the Jews). It was only fitting therefore that the message and blessings of salvation should go first to Israel (compare Acts 3:26). The gospel had to go to the Jew first because God wanted to show that He was a gracious God. Did the Jews deserve to hear the gospel FIRST? They were the ones who rejected and crucified their Messiah (see Matthew 27:22; Acts 2:23; 2:36; 3:1415; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:27-28; 1 Cor. 2:8; Zech. 12:10; 1 Thess. 2:14-16). They should have been the last to hear. In fact, they did not deserve to hear at all. They rejected their Savior but God did not reject them. How gracious God was to reach out first and foremost to the undeserving Jewish people. When Israel’s sin was greatest, God’s grace was greater (compare Rom. 5:20). 1F. C.H.Mackintosh beautifully explains God’s gracious dealing with the Jews: He tells them to "begin at Jerusalem." Yes, Jerusalem, where our Lord was crucified; where every indignity that human enmity could invent was heaped upon His divine Person; where a murderer and a robber was preferred to "God manifest in the flesh"; where human iniquity had reached its culminating point in nailing the Son of God to a malefactor’s cross—there the messengers were to begin their blessed work; that was to be the centre of the sphere of their gracious operations;

and from thence they were to travel to the utmost bounds of the habitable globe. They were to begin with "Jerusalem sinners"—with the very murderers of the Son of God, and then go forth to publish everywhere the glorious tidings, so that all might know that precious grace of God which was sufficient to meet the crimson guilt of Jerusalem itself. How glorious is all this! The guilty murderers of the Son of God were the very first to bear the sweet tale of pardoning love, so that all men might see in them a pattern of what the grace of God and the blood of Christ can do. Truly the grace that could pardon Jerusalem sinners can pardon any one; the blood that could cleanse the betrayers and murderers of the Christ of God can cleanse any sinner outside the precincts of hell. These heralds of salvation, as they made their way from nation to nation, could tell their hearers where they had come from; they could tell of that super abounding grace of God which had commenced its operations in the guiltiest spot on the face of the earth, and which was amply sufficient to meet the very vilest of the sons of Adam. (CHM, The MacKintosh Treasury, p. 779, in the article "The Great Commission). 1G. Colenco, “V. 16. the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. These words are the very key words of the whole Epistle. St. Paul is gradually, in the most wise and least offensive manner, bringing forward the three points, which he means to press hereafter with all his might, breaking utterly down thereby the three great Jewish prejudices. These points are as follows : (i) that salvation is wholly of God wrought by His Power, bestowed by His Love, of His own free grace in the Gospel, and therefore to be meekly and thankfully received as His gift, not arrogantly claimed as a matter of right ; (ii) that it is meant for Jew and Gentile alike, for all that believe, with- out any special favor or distinction ; (iii) that it is to be received by faith alone, by ' all that believe,'' by simply taking God at His word and trusting in His Love, not to be sought by a round of ceremonial observances, or acts of legal obedience. These three errors have been already touched upon. But, as it is important, in order to get a clear insight into the Apostle's argument, that they should be distinctly noted, it may be well to restate them, and the corrections which the Apostle applies to them. (i) The Jew said, ' I am a favored creature — a child of Abraham, and therefore a child of God, and an heir of His Kingdom, whatever my life may be. What have I to do with a message of salvation ? Perhaps, for the heathen it may be needed. But the Kingdom of God is mine, by virtue of the promise made to my great forefather. I have a right to enter it. I claim it as mine.'

This error St. Paul must correct by showing that he had no such right, that he, the Jew, needed the free gift oi Righteousness^ as well as all others of the human race — that he too was ' concluded under sin ' like others, and had no claim whatever, because of God's promises to Abraham, to enter the Kingdom as a matter of right. He had, in fact, wholly mistaken the nature of those promises. They were never meant to give such immunities and privileges to the mere natural descendants of Abraham. The Jew must be made to feel his need, as well as every other human being, of a Gospel, a glad life-giving message, which should be the ' Power of God unto Salvation ' to himself as well as to others. (ii) But the Jew might say, ' Suppose that I admit this, yet, at all events, the Messiah is to come specially for us. He is to be the carrying out and realization of those promises to our forefathers, which made us the favored people above others. You do not surely mean to say that we, Jews, the children of Abraham, the chosen family of God, are to be put on an equality with the common Gentile in this respect ? ' ' Yes ! ' St. Paul would say, ' you are to be put on a perfect equality with the meanest Gentile. You will stand no better than they in this respect — not a whit more safe from God's wrath — not a whit more sure of entering the Kingdom. o difference whatever will be made between Jew and Gentile, in the day when God shall judge the secret thoughts and doings of men. o special favor will be shewn to you as a Jew, to screen you from the just consequences of your doings. A righteous judgment will be dealt out to all — a judgment tempered with mercy — by Him, who knows the hearts and lives of all. Only from those who, like you, have received more than others, will the more be required. You must realize, in short, what is meant when it is said that the Gospel is the ' Power of God unto Salvation unto every one that believeth,' Jew and Gentile alike. (iii) Still, however, the Jew might persevere and say : ' But surely our Law is not to be done away with. At all events, the Gentiles, if they are to partake of the Gospel, and even to be admitted to share on equal terms with us, must conform to our religion, and practice those observances, which have come down to us through fifteen hundred years on the authority of Moses, with the Divine Seal upon them. They must submit to be circumcised, as we are ; they must recognize our Priesthood and Temple Worship, and practice our solemn rites and ceremonies.' ' o ! ' says the Apostle again, ' Faith, simple faith, a true, living, child- like faith and trust, that worketh by love, this is all that God seeks of all — no circumcision — no Jewish practices or peculiarities. The formal observances, enjoined in the Law of Moses, were intended for a season only, till He should come, to whom the Law v/as pointing all along. These are all now done away in Christ Jesus. ' The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. We shall have occasion to refer again to these three points. For the present, as has

been said, the Apostle does but just hint at them, and pass on, intending presently to return deliberately, and unfold the full meaning of his words. He wishes to break the matter deliberately, as it were, to his readers — not to alarm their prejudices, before he has got his hold fairly upon them, and fixed their attention upon the subject he has in hand. evertheless, in point of fact, his words in this single verse (v. 16) do contain a distinct contradiction to these three extravagant assumptions, on which the opposition of the Jewish mind to the Gospel was based. We may take, in short, this verse as the motto so to speak, to be set at the head of the Epistle, announcing the thesis which he intends to maintain in it ; though, as we shall presently see, he sums up the essence of the Gospel in a yet shorter formula, ' From faith to faith.' 1H. Dr. Daniel Hill, “Romans 1:16-17 indicate Paul's attitude regarding his mission, ministry, and the proclamation of the Gospel. You can see the progressive flow of these verses. Paul: I am eager to preach the gospel in Rome. Question: Paul, why are you so eager? Paul: Because I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Question: And why are you not ashamed of the Gospel? Paul: Because it is the power of God for salvation. Question: And why is it the power of God for salvation? Paul: Because it reveals the righteousness of God. This pattern is common to Paul. He loves to make a statement and then add to it logical support. The Greek language makes it very easy to do this.” 1I. Sadler, “We shall see if we remember what the Gospel was. It was the proclamation that a crucified Jew, one of a despised and hated race, had reconciled all men to God by His Death, and the proof of this reconciliation was His Resurrection. The unbelieving Jew re ceived this announcement with unbounded hatred and scorn, the Greek with all possible superciliousness and contempt. And so lone who did not fully believe the Gospel would be ashamed of pro claiming such a salvation. St. Paul believed that this seeming weakness this foolishness of the Gospel of a crucified and risen Jesus, was power, and not human power but the power of God the power of God to save the human race from all its evils, even from sin and death.” 1J. Calvin, “ I am not indeed ashamed, etc. This is an anticipation of an objection; for he declares beforehand, that he cared not for the taunts of the ungodly; and he thus provides a way for himself, by which he proceeds to pronounce an eulogy on the value of the gospel, that it might not appear contemptible to the Romans. He indeed intimates that it was contemptible in the eyes of the world; and he does this by saying, that he was not ashamed of it. And thus he prepares them for bearing the reproach of the cross of Christ, lest they should esteem

the gospel of less value by finding it exposed to the scoffs and reproaches of the ungodly; and, on the other hand, he shows how valuable it was to the faithful. If, in the first place, the power of God ought to be extolled by us, that power shines forth in the gospel; if, again, the goodness of God deserves to be sought and loved by us, the gospel is a display of his goodness. It ought then to be reverenced and honored, since veneration is due to God's power; and as it avails to our salvation, it ought to be loved by us. But observe how much Paul ascribes to the ministry of the word, when he testifies that God thereby puts forth his power to save; for he speaks not here of any secret revelation, but of vocal preaching. It hence follows, that those as it were willfully despise the power of God, and drive away from them his delivering hand, who withdraw themselves from the hearing of the word. At the same time, as he works not effectually in all, but only where the Spirit, the inward Teacher, illuminates the heart, he subjoins, To every one who believeth. The gospel is indeed offered to all for their salvation, but the power of it appears not everywhere: and that it is the savor of death to the ungodly, does not proceed from what it is, but from their own wickedness. By setting forth but one Salvation he cuts off every other trust. When men withdraw themselves from this one salvation, they find in the gospel a sure proof of their own ruin. Since then the gospel invites all to partake of salvation without any difference, it is rightly called the doctrine of salvation: for Christ is there offered, whose peculiar office is to save that which was lost; and those who refuse to be saved by him, shall find him a Judge. But everywhere in Scripture the word salvation is simply set in opposition to the word destruction: and hence we must observe, when it is mentioned, what the subject of the discourse is. Since then the gospel delivers from ruin and the curse of endless death, its salvation is eternal life.” 2. Constable, “The gospel does not announce that everyone is safe because of what Jesus Christ has done, which is universalism. The gospel is only effective in those who believe it.37 Believe what? Believe the good news. What is the good news? It is the news that Jesus is the Christ (i.e., the Messiah whom God promised to send) and that He has done everything necessary to save us (cf. 1 John 2:2; 5:1). ote that Paul mentioned no other condition besides believing the good news in this crucial verse (cf. 4:5). He said nothing about our having to do anything in addition, such as undergoing baptism, joining a church, pledging commitment, etc. The issue is believing good news and trusting Christ. Either a person does or does not do so. 2B. Constable, “The gospel has a special relevance to the Jew. We could translate "first" ( ASB, Gr. protos) as "preeminently" (cf. 2:9-10). This preeminence is due

to the fact that God chose the Jews to be the people through whom the gospel would reach the Gentiles (cf. Gen. 12:3). As a people, the Jews have a leading place in God's plans involving salvation for the rest of humanity (cf. chs. 9—11). Their priority is primarily elective rather than historical or methodological.40 Because God purposed to use Israel as His primary instrument in bringing blessing to the world (Exod. 19:5-6), He gave the Jews first opportunity to receive His Son. This was true during Jesus' earthly ministry (John 1:11) and following His ascension (Acts 1:8; 3:26). Paul also followed this pattern in his ministry (Acts 13:45-46; 28:25, 28). Furthermore, Israel must repent before the messianic kingdom will begin (Zech. 12:10).41 otwithstanding the Great Commission makes no distinction between Jews and Gentiles in the present age. Jesus Christ has charged Christians with taking the gospel to everyone (Matt. 28:19- 20). He has identified no group as that to which we must give priority in evangelism.” 3. Steve Zeisler, “The word gospel means not just good news, but a fabulous announcement. So it is startling that it should even occur to Paul to say that he is not ashamed of such glorious news. You might, of course, be ashamed of bad news; perhaps you would feel bad about it and be hesitant to share it. You might be ashamed of wickedness, failure, hypocrisy, and all kinds of bad things. But why would it ever even occur to you to announce your unashamedness about good news? The idea of shame here is that of an embarrassing association. It is most often associated with something that is embarrassing or unsavory. For example, Paul wrote to Timothy at one point, "Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner." If you say to someone, "My mentor in life, the one I've learned everything from and whom I'm patterning my life after, is in a Roman prison, you're sort of admitting that the person you're following in life hasn't made it. So there's an embarrassing association there. And Paul is saying here, "I don't view the gospel as an embarrassing association; my connection to it is not something that I'm hesitant about." The gospel starts by saying to people, "You need help. It doesn't matter who you are, you're not good enough." For that reason it will always be hard for us to begin the story of the love of God. It will never be a popular message. So we have to decide that we, like Paul, will not be ashamed of it, because there is no other place to go. We have to tell the story of human need, and we have to be about destroying denial as the first step in getting help for ourselves or anyone else. 4. Gill, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,.... The reason why he was so ready and willing to preach it, even where he ran the greatest risk of his character and life, was, because it was "the Gospel of Christ" he preached, and he was not ashamed of it. This supposes that some were, though the apostle was not, ashamed of the Gospel; as all such are who hide and conceal it, who have abilities to preach it, and do not: or who preach, but not the Gospel; or who preach the Gospel only in part, who own that in private, they will not preach in public, and use ambiguous words, of doubtful signification, to cover themselves; who blend the Gospel with

their own inventions, seek to please men, and live upon popular applause, regard their own interest, and not Christ's, and cannot bear the reproach of his Gospel. It expresses, that the apostle was not ashamed of it; that is, to preach it, which he did fully and faithfully, plainly and consistently, openly and publicly, and boldly, in the face of all opposition: and it designs more than is expressed, as that he had the utmost value for it, and esteemed it his highest honour that he was employed in preaching it: his reasons for this were, because it was "the Gospel of Christ"; which Christ himself preached, which he had learnt by revelation from him, and of which he was the sum and substance: and because it is the power of God; not essentially, but declaratively; as the power of God is seen in making men ministers of it, in the doctrines held forth in it, in the manner in which it was spread in the world, in the opposition it met with, in the continuance and increase of it notwithstanding the power and cunning of men, and in the shortness of time, in which so much good was done by it in the several parts of the world: it is the power of God organically or instrumentally; as it is a means made use of by God in quickening dead sinners, enlightening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, softening hard hearts, and making of enemies friends; to which add, the manner in which all this is done, suddenly, secretly, effectually, and by love, and not force: the extent of this power is, unto salvation; the Gospel is a declaration and revelation of salvation by Christ, and is a means of directing and encouraging souls to lay hold upon it. The persons to whom it is so, are in general, everyone that believeth: this does not suppose that faith gives the Gospel its virtue and efficacy; but is only descriptive of the persons to whom the Gospel, attended with the power and grace of God, is eventually efficacious: and particularly it was so, to the Jew first; who as they had formerly the advantage of the Gentiles, much every way, through the peculiar privileges which were conferred on them; so the Gospel was first preached to them by Christ and his disciples; and even when it was ordered to be carried into the Gentile world, it was to begin with them, and became effectual for the salvation of many of them: and also to the Greek; to the Gentile; for after the Jews had rejected it, as many being called by it as Jehovah thought fit, at that time, it was preached to the Gentiles with great success; which was the mystery hid from ages and generations past, but now made manifest. 5. Constable, “ ot only did he feel obligated (v. 14) and eager (v. 15) to proclaim it, but he also felt unashamed to do so. This is an example of the figure of speech called litotes in which one sets forth a positive idea ("I am proud of the gospel") by expressing its negative opposite ("I am not ashamed of the gospel") to stress the positive idea. The reason for Paul's proud confidence was that the gospel message

has tremendous power. The Greek word translated "power" is dunamis, from which the word "dynamite" comes. Consequently some interpreters have concluded that Paul was speaking of the explosive, radical way in which the gospel produces change in individual lives and even in history. However the context shows that the apostle was thinking of its intrinsic ability to effect change. "The late evangelist Dwight L. Moody commented that the gospel is like a lion. All the preacher has to do is to open the door of the cage and get out of the way!" God has the power to deliver physically (Exod. 14:13) and spiritually (Ps. 51:12, 14). The basic outcome of salvation is soundness or wholeness. Salvation restores people to what they cannot experience because of sin. Salvation is an umbrella term; it covers all aspects of deliverance. The terms justification, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification, and glorification describe different aspects of salvation. "'The inherent glory of the message of the gospel, as God's life-giving message to a dying world, so filled Paul's soul, that like his blessed Master, he "despised the shame."' So, pray God, may all of us!" 6.Constable goes on, “We are compelled to preach the gospel to men simply because it is the means by which men come to a knowledge of salvation. Later in this epistle, Paul wrote: “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard. And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). The only way men can come to salvation is by hearing the Gospel proclaimed. In addition, the Gospel itself is powerful to save. It is not our persuasiveness that saves men; it is the Gospel itself that is powerful. Proclaiming the Gospel is like letting a lion out of its cage. Once the lion is out, he needs no help from us. We as Christians are not called upon to defend the Gospel so much as we are to declare it. When it is turned loose, it will take care of itself.” 7. Clarke, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ - This text is best illustrated by Isa_28:16; Isa_49:23, quoted by the apostle, Rom_10:11 : For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed; i.e. they shall neither be confounded, nor disappointed of their hope. The Jews, by not believing on Jesus Christ, by not receiving him as the promised Messiah, but trusting in others, have been disappointed, ashamed, and confounded, from that time to the present day. Their expectation is cut off; and, while rejecting Christ, and expecting another Messiah, they have continued under the displeasure of God, and are ashamed of their confidence. On the other hand, those who have believed on Christ have, in and through him, all the blessings of which the prophets spoke; every promise of God being yea and amen through him. Paul, as a Jew, believed on Christ Jesus; and in

believing he had life through his name; through him he enjoyed an abundance of grace; so that, being filled with that happiness which an indwelling Christ produces, he could cheerfully say, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. And why? Because he felt it to be the power of God to the salvation of his believing soul. This appears to be the true sense of this passage, and this interpretation acquires additional strength from the consideration that St. Paul is here most evidently addressing himself to the Jews. It is the power of God unto salvation - δυναµις γαρ θεου εστιν· The almighty power of God accompanies this preaching to the souls of them that believe; and the consequence is, they are saved; and what but the power of God can save a fallen, sinful soul? To the Jew first - ot only the Jews have the first offer of this Gospel, but they have the greatest need of it; being so deeply fallen, and having sinned against such glorious privileges, they are much more culpable than the Gentiles, who never had the light of a Divine revelation. And also to the Greek - Though the salvation of God has hitherto been apparently confined to the Jewish people, yet it shall be so no longer, for the Gospel of Christ is sent to the Gentiles as well as the Jews; God having put no difference between them; and Jesus Christ having tasted death for Every man. 8. Barnes, “For I am not ashamed ... - The Jews had cast him off, and regarded him as an apostate; and by the wise among the Gentiles he had been persecuted, and despised, and driven from place to place, and regarded as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things 1Co_4:13, but still he was not ashamed of the gospel. He had so firm a conviction of its value and its truth; he had experienced so much of its consolations; and had seen so much of its efficacy; that he was so far from being ashamed of it that he gloried in it as the power of God unto salvation. People should be ashamed of crime and folly. They are ashamed of their own offences, and of the follies of their conduct, when they come to reflect on it. But they are not ashamed of what they feel to be right, and of what they know will contribute to their welfare, and to the benefit of their fellow-men. Such were the views of Paul about the gospel; and it is one of his favorite doctrines that they who believe on Christ shall not be ashamed, Rom_10:11; Rom_5:5; 2Co_7:14; 2Ti_1:12; Phi_1:20; Rom_9:33; 2Ti_1:8; compare Mar_8:38; 1Pe_4:16; 1Jo_2:28. Of the gospel - This word means the “good news,” or the glad intelligence; see the note at Mar_1:1. It is so called because it contains the glad annunciation that sin may be pardoned, and the soul saved. Of Christ - The good news respecting the Messiah; or which the Messiah has brought. The expression probably refers to the former, the good news which relates to the Messiah, to his character, advent, preaching, death, resurrection, and ascension. Though this was “to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness,” yet he regarded it as the only hope of salvation, and was ready to preach it even in the rich and splendid capital of the world. The power of God - This expression means that it is the way in which God exerts his power in the salvation of people. It is the efficacious or mighty plan, by which

power goes forth to save, and by which all the obstacles of man’s redemption are taken away. This expression implies, (1) That it is God’s plan, or his appointment. It is not the device of man. (2) It is adapted to the end. It is suited to overcome the obstacles in the way. It is not merely the instrument by which God exerts his power, but it has an inherent adaptedness to the end, it is suited to accomplish salvation to man so that it may be denominated power. (3) It is mighty, hence, it is called power, and the power of God. If is not a feeble and ineffectual instrumentality, but it is “mighty to the pulling down of strongholds,” 2Co_10:4-5. It has shown its power as applicable to every degree of sin, to every combination of wickedness. It has gone against the sins of the world, and evinced its power to save sinners of all grades, and to overcome and subdue every mighty form of iniquity, compare Jer_23:29, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” 1Co_1:18, “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” Unto salvation - This word means complete deliverance from sin and death, and all the foes and dangers that beset man. It cannot imply anything less than eternal life. If a man should believe and then fall away, he could in no correct sense be said to be saved. And hence, when the apostle declares that it is the power of God unto salvation “to everyone that believeth,” it implies that all who become believers “shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (see 1Pe_1:5), and that none shall ever fall away and be lost. The apostle thus commences his discussion with one of the important doctrines of the Christian religion, the final preservation of the saints. He is not defending the gospel for any temporary object, or with any temporary hope. He looks through the system, and sees in it a plan for the complete and eternal recovery of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When he says it is the power of God unto salvation, he means that it is the power of God for the attainment of salvation. This is the end, or the design of this exertion of power. To everyone that believeth - Compare Mar_16:16-17. This expresses the condition, or the terms, on which salvation is conferred through the gospel. It is not indiscriminately to all people, whatever may be their character. It is only to those who confide or trust in it; and it is conferred on all who receive it in this manner. If this qualification is possessed, it bestows its blessings freely and fully. All people know what “faith” is. It is exercised when we confide in a parent, a friend, a benefactor. It is such a reception of a promise, a truth, or a threatening, as to suffer it to make its appropriate impression on the mind, and such as to lead us to act under its influence, or to act as we should on the supposition that it is true. Thus, a sinner credits the threatenings of God, and fears. This is faith. He credits his promises, and hopes. This is faith. He feels that he is lost, and relies on Jesus Christ for mercy. This is faith. And, in general, faith is such an impression on the mind made by truth as to lead us to feel and act as if it were true; to have the appropriate feelings, and views, and conduct under the commands, and promises, and threatenings of God; see the note at Mar_16:16.

To the Jew first - First in order of time, ot that the gospel was any more adapted to Jews than to others; but to them had been committed the oracles of God; the Messiah had come through them; they had had the Law, the temple, and the service of God, and it was natural that the gospel should be proclaimed to them before it was to the Gentiles. This was the order in which the gospel was actually preached to the world, first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. Compare Acts 2 and Acts 10; Mat_10:6; Luk_24:49; Act_13:46, “It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Compare Mat_21:43. And also to the Greek - To all who were nor Jews, that is, to all the world. It was nor confined in its intention or efficacy to any class or nation of people. It was adapted to all, and was designed to be extended to all. 9. Jamison, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel — (The words, “of Christ,” which follow here, are not found in the oldest and best manuscripts). This language implies that it required some courage to bring to “the mistress of the world” what “to the Jews was a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness” (1Co_1:23). But its inherent glory, as God’s life-giving message to a dying world, so filled his soul, that, like his blessed Master, he “despised the shame.” for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth — Here and in Rom_1:17 the apostle announces the great theme of his ensuing argument; SALVATIO , the one overwhelming necessity of perishing men; this revealed I THE GOSPEL MESSAGE; and that message so owned and honored of God as to carry, in the proclamation of it, GOD’S OW POWER TO SAVE EVERY SOUL THAT EMBRACES IT, Greek and Barbarian, wise and unwise alike. 10. Henry, “Paul here enters upon a large discourse of justification, in the latter part of this chapter laying down his thesis, and, in order to the proof of it, describing the deplorable condition of the Gentile world. His transition is very handsome, and like an orator: he was ready to preach the gospel at Rome, though a place where the gospel was run down by those that called themselves the wits; for, saith he, I am not ashamed of it, Rom_1:16. There is a great deal in the gospel which such a man as Paul might be tempted to be ashamed of, especially that he whose gospel it is was a man hanged upon a tree, that the doctrine of it was plain, had little in it to set it off among scholars, the professors of it were mean and despised, and every where spoken against; yet Paul was not ashamed to own it. I reckon him a Christian indeed that is neither ashamed of the gospel nor a shame to it. The reason of this bold profession, taken from the nature and excellency of the gospel, introduces his dissertation. I. The proposition, Rom_1:16, Rom_1:17. The excellency of the gospel lies in this, that it reveals to us, 1. The salvation of believers as the end: It is the power of God unto salvation. Paul is not ashamed of the gospel, how mean and contemptible soever it may appear to a carnal eye; for the power of God works by it the salvation of all that believe; it shows us the way of salvation (Act_16:17), and is the great charter by which salvation is

conveyed and made over to us. But, (1.) It is through the power of God; without that power the gospel is but a dead letter; the revelation of the gospel is the revelation of the arm of the Lord (Isa_53:1), as power went along with the word of Christ to heal diseases. (2.) It is to those, and those only, that believe. Believing interests us in the gospel salvation; to others it is hidden. The medicine prepared will not cure the patient if it be not taken. - To the Jew first. The lost sheep of the house of Israel had the first offer made them, both by Christ and his apostles. You first (Act_3:26), but upon their refusal the apostles turned to the Gentiles, Act_13:46. Jews and Gentiles now stand upon the same level, both equally miserable without a Saviour, and both equally welcome to the Saviour, Col_3:11. Such doctrine as this was surprising to the Jews, who had hitherto been the peculiar people, and had looked with scorn upon the Gentile world; but the long-expected Messiah proves a light to enlighten the Gentiles, as well as the glory of his people Israel. 11. David Guzik, “i. The gospel is certainly news, but it is more than information; it has an inherent power. "The gospel is not advice to people, suggesting that they lift themselves. It is power. It lifts them up. Paul does not say that the gospel brings power, but that it is power, and God's power at that." (Morris) ii. In particular, Rome thought it knew all about power: "Power is the one thing that Rome boasted of the most. Greece might have its philosophy, but Rome had its power." (Wiersbe). Despite all their power, the Romans - like all men - were powerless to make themselves righteous before God. The ancient philosopher Seneca called Rome "a cesspool of iniquity" and the ancient writer Juvenal called it a "filthy sewer into which the dregs of the empire flood."

12. Barclay, “When we come to these two verses, the preliminaries are over and the trumpet call of Paul's gospel sounds out. Many of the great piano concertos begin with a crashing chord and then state the theme which they are going to develop. The reason is that they were often first performed at private gatherings in great houses. When the pianist first seated himself at the piano, there was still a buzz of conversation. He played the crashing chord to attract the attention of the company, and then, when attention was obtained, the theme was stated. Up to these two verses, Paul has been making contact with the people to whom he was writing; he has been attracting their attention. ow the introduction is over, and the theme is stated. There are only two verses here, but they contain so much of the quintessence of Paul's gospel that we must spend some considerable time on them.

Paul began by saying that he was proud of the gospel which it was his privilege to preach. It is amazing to think of the background of that statement. Paul had been imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Beroea, laughed at in Athens and in Corinth his message was foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling-block to the Jews. Out of that background he declared that he was proud of the gospel. There was something in the gospel which made Paul triumphantly victorious over all that men could do to him.

In this passage we meet three great Pauline watchwords, the three foundation pillars of his thought and belief. (i) There is the conception of salvation (soteria). At this time in history salvation was the one thing for which men were searching. There had been a time when Greek philosophy was speculative. Four and five hundred years before this men had spent their time discussing the problem--what is the one basic element of which the world is composed? Philosophy had been speculative philosophy and it had been natural philosophy. But, bit by bit, as the centuries passed, life fell in. The old landmarks were destroyed. Tyrants and conquerors and perils surrounded men; degeneracy and weakness haunted them; and philosophy changed its emphasis. It became, not speculative, but practical. It ceased to be natural philosophy, and became moral philosophy. Its one aim was to build "a ring-wall of defence against the advancing chaos of the world." Epictetus called his lecture room the hospital for the sick soul."Epicurus called his teaching the medicine of salvation." Seneca, who was contemporary with Paul, said that all men were looking, ad salutem, towards salvation. What we needed, he said, was "a hand let down to lift us up." Men, he said, were overwhelmingly conscious of "their weakness and their inefficiency in necessary things." He himself, he said, was homo non tolerabilis, a man not to be tolerated. Men loved their vices, he said with a sort of despair, and hated them at the same time. In that desperate world, Epictetus said, men were seeking a peace "not of Caesar's proclamation, but of God's." There can seldom have been a time in history when men were more universally seeking for salvation. It was precisely that salvation, that power, that escape, that Christianity came to offer men. Let us see just what this Christian soteria, this Christian salvation was. (a) It was salvation from physical illness. (Matt. 9:21; Lk. 8:36.) It was not a completely other--worldly thing. It aimed at rescuing a man in body and in soul. (b) It was salvation from danger. (Matt. 8:25; Matt. 14:30.) It was not that it gave a man a life free from perils and dangers, but it gave him a security of soul no matter what was happening. As Rupert Brooke wrote in the days of the First World War in his poem Safety: "Safe shall be my going, Secretly armed against all death's endeavour; Safe though all safety's lost; safe where men fall; And if these poor limbs die, safest of all." And as Browning had it in Paracelsus: "If I stoop, Into a dark tremendous sea of cloud, It is but for a time; I press God's lamp Close to my breast; its splendour, soon or late, Will pierce the gloom: I shall emerge one day."

The Christian salvation makes a man safe in a way that is independent of any outward circumstance. (c) It was salvation from life's infection. It is from a crooked and perverse generation that a man is saved (Acts 2:40). The man who has this Christian salvation has a kind of divine antiseptic which keeps him from infection by the evil of the world. (d) It was salvation from lostness (Matt. 18:11; Lk. 19:10). It was to seek and to save the lost that Jesus came. The unsaved man is the man who is on the wrong road, a road that leads to death. The saved man is the man who has been put on the right way. (e) It was salvation from sin (Matt. 1:21). Men are like slaves in bondage to a master from whom they cannot escape. The Christian salvation liberates them from the tyranny of sin. (f) It was salvation from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9). We shall have occasion in the next passage to discuss the meaning of this phrase. It is sufficient to note at the moment that there is in this world an inexorable moral law and in the Christian faith an inevitable element of judgment. Without the salvation which Jesus Christ brings a man could only stand condemned. (g) It was a salvation which is eschatological. That is to say it is a salvation which find its full meaning and blessedness in the final triumph of Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:11; 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Tim. 4:18; 1 Pet. 1:5). The Christian faith came to a desperate world offering a salvation which would keep a man safe in time and in eternity. (ii) There is the conception of faith. In the thought of Paul this is a rich word. (a) At its simplest it means loyalty. When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he wished to know about their faith. That is, he wished to know how their loyalty was standing the test. In 2Th.1:4 faith and steadfastness are combined. Faith is the enduring fidelity which marks the real soldier of Jesus Christ. (b) Faith means belief. It means the conviction that something is true. In 1 Cor. 15:17 Paul tells the Corinthians that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then their faith is vain, all that they have believed is wrecked. Faith is the assent that the Christian message is true. (c) Faith sometimes means the Christian Religion (The Faith). In 2 Cor. 13:5 Paul tells his opponents to examine themselves to see if they are holding to their faith, that is, to see if they are still within the Christian Religion. (d) Faith is sometimes practically equivalent to indestructible hope. "We walk,"

writes Paul, "by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). (e) But, in its most characteristic Pauline use, faith means total acceptance and absolute trust. It means "betting your life that there is a God." It means being utterly sure that what Jesus said is true, and staking all time and eternity on that assurance. "I believe in God," said Stevenson, "and if I woke up in hell I would still believe in him." Faith begins with receptivity. It begins when a man is at least willing to listen to the message of the truth. It goes on to mental assent. A man first hears and then agrees that this is true. But mental assent need not issue in action. Many a man knows very well that something is true, but does not change his actions to meet that knowledge. The final stage is when this mental assent becomes total surrender. In full-fledged faith, a man hears the Christian message, agrees that it is true, and then casts himself upon it in a life of total yieldedness. (iii) There is the conception of justification. ow there are no more difficult words to understand than justification, justify, justice and just, in all the ew Testament. We shall have much occasion in this letter to meet them. At this point we can only lay down the broad lines on which all Paul's thought proceeds. The Greek verb that Paul uses for "to justify" is dikaioun, of which the first person singular of the present indicative--I justify--is dikaioo. We must be quite clear that the word justify, used in this sense, has a different meaning from its ordinary English meaning. If we justify ourselves, we produce reasons to prove that we were right; if someone justifies us, he produces reasons to prove that we acted in the right way. But all verbs in Greek which end in "oo" do not mean to prove or to make a person or thing to be something; they always mean to treat, or account or reckon a person as something. If God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that he finds reasons to prove that he was right--far from it. It does not even mean, at this point, that he makes the sinner a good man. It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all. Instead of treating him as a criminal to be obliterated, God treats him as a child to be loved. That is what justification means. It means that God reckons us not as his enemies but as his friends, not as bad men deserve, but as good men deserve, not as law-breakers to be punished, but as men and women to be loved. That is the very essence of the gospel. That means that to be justified is to enter into a new relationship with God, a relationship of love and confidence and friendship, instead of one of distance and enmity and fear. We no longer go to a God radiating just but terrible punishment. We go to a God radiating forgiving and redeeming love. Justification (dikaiosune) is the right relationship between God and man. The man who is just (dikaios) is the man who is in this right relationship, and--here is the supreme point--he is in it not because of anything that he has done, but because of what God has done. He is in this right relationship not because he has meticulously performed the works of the

law, but because in utter faith he has cast himself on the amazing mercy and love of God. In the King James Version we have the famous and highly compressed phrase, The just shall live by faith. ow we can see that in Paul's mind this phrase meant--It is the man who is in a right relationship with God, not because of the works of his hands, but because of his utter faith in what the love of God has done, who really knows what life is like in time and in eternity. And to Paul the whole work of Jesus was that he had enabled men to enter into this new and precious relationship with God. Fear was gone and love had come. The God whom men had thought an enemy had become a friend.” 13. Waggoner, “Gospel Liberty. Gospel liberty is the liberty that God gives men through the gospel. It expresses His idea of freedom. It is the freedom seen in nature and in all the works of His hands. It is the freedom of the winds, blowing where they list; it is the freedom of the flowers, scattered everywhere through wood and meadow; it is the freedom of the birds, soaring unrestrained through the heavens; the freedom of the sunbeam, shooting from its parent orb and playing on cloud and mountain top; the freedom of the celestial orbs, sweeping ceaselessly on through infinite space. This is the freedom which flows out from the great Creator through all his works. Tasting Freedom ow. It is sin that has produced what is narrow and contracted and circumscribed, that has erected boundary lines, and made men stingy and niggardly. But sin is to be removed, and then perfect liberty will be realized once more in every part of creation. Even now this freedom may be tasted, by having sin removed from the heart. To enjoy this freedom through eternity is the glorious privilege now offered in the gospel to all men. Who that claims to love liberty can let this opportunity pass unimproved? Ashamed of the gospel of Christ! Could there possibly be a worse case of the exaltation of self above God? For to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God, is an evidence that the man who feels thus ashamed really thinks himself superior to God, and that it is a lowering of his dignity to be associated with the Lord. "Ashamed of Jesus! sooner far Let evening blush to own a star; He sheds the beams of light divine O'er this benighted soul of mine. "Ashamed of Jesus! just as soon Let midnight be ashamed of noon; 'Twas midnight with my soul till he, Bright Morning Star, bade darkness flee." 14. A young African pastor wrote of his faith: I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down,

back away or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till he stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me -- my banner will be clear! (Illustration origin unknown) 15. The power of the gospel is seen in changed lives. Tolstoi at the age of 50 experienced the power of the Gospel. He later wrote, “Five years ago faith came to me. I believed the doctrine of Jesus and my whole life underwent a sudden transformation.” The last 20 years of his life he was probably the most venerated person in the world. This power is available to all who will say yes to Jesus. The mistakes of my life have been many, The sins of my heart have been more, And I scarce can see for weeping; But I’ll knock at the open door. I am lowest of those that seek Him, I am weakest of those who pray; But I come as the Savior bids me, And he will not say me nay. U. L. Bailey 16. Haldane, “I am not ashamed. Paul here follows up what he had just said of his readiness to preach the Gospel at Rome, by declaring that he was not ashamed of it. This would also convey a caution to those whom he addressed against giving way to a strong temptation to which they were exposed, and which was no doubt a means of deterring many from em bracing the Gospel, to whom it was preached. He knew from personal experience the opposition which the Gospel everywhere encountered. By the Pagans it was branded as Atheism ; and by the Jews it was abhorred as subverting the law and tending to licentiousness ; while both Jews and Gentiles united in denouncing the Christians as disturbers of the public peace, who, in their

pride and presumption, separated themselves from the rest of mankind. Besides, a crucified Savior was to the one a stumbling-block, and to the other foolishness. This doctrine was every where spoken against ; and the Christian fortitude of the Apostle, in acting on the avowal he here makes, was as truly manifested in the calmness with which he viewed the disdain of the philosophers, the contempt of the proud, and the ridicule of the multitude, as in the steadfast resolution with which, for the name of the Lord Jesus, he confronted personal danger, and even death itself. His courage was not more conspicuous when he was ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, than when he was enabled to enter Athens or Rome without being moved by the prospect of all that scorn and derision which in these great cities awaited him. But the grand reason which induced the Apostle to declare at the out set of this Epistle that he was not ashamed of the Gospel, is a reason which applies to every age as well as to that in which Christ was first preached. His declaration implies that, while in reality there is no just cause to be ashamed of the Gospel, there is in it something which is not acceptable, and that it is generally hated and despised among men. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness unto him. They run counter to his most fondly-cherished notions of independence ; they abase in the dust all the pride of his self-reliance, and, stripping him of every ground of boasting, and demanding implicit submission, they awaken all the enmity of the carnal mind. Even they who have tasted of the grace of God, are liable to experience, and often to yield to, the deeply-rooted and sinful feeling of being ashamed of the things of God. So prevalent is this even among Christians the most advanced, that Paul deemed it necessary to warn Timothy respecting it, whose faithfulness he so highly celebrates. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. In connection with this, he makes the same avowal for himself as in the passage before us, declaring at the same time the strong ground on which he rested, and was enabled to resist this temptation. Whereunto, he says, *I am appointed a preacher, and an Apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For which cause I also suffer these things : nevertheless I am not ashamed ; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. At the same time he commends Onesiphorus for not being ashamed of his chain, 2 Tim. i. 8, 12, 16. And He who knew what is in man, solemnly and repeatedly guarded His disciples against this criminal shame, enforcing His admonitions by the most awful sanction. l For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father s, and of His holy angels. That system, in which there is nothing of foolishness in the eyes of this world s wisdom, cannot be the Gospel of which Paul deemed it necessary to affirm that he was not ashamed. o other religion is so offensive to the pride of man ; no other system awakens shame in the breasts of its votaries ; and yet every false doctrine has in it more or less of what is positively absurd, irrational, and disgraceful. It is also observable that the more the Gospel is corrupted, and the more its peculiar features are obscured by error, the less do we observe of the shame it is calculated to

produce. It is, in fact, the fear of opposition and contempt that often leads to the corruption of the Gospel. But this peculiarity affords a strong proof of the truth of the Apostle s doctrine. Had he not been convinced of its truth, would it not have been madness to invent a forgery in a form which excites the natural prejudices of man kind ! Why should he forge a doctrine which he was aware would be hateful to the world? In this declaration Paul may also have had reference to the false mysteries of the Pagans, which they carefully concealed, because they contained many things that were infamous, and of which they were justly ashamed. When the Apostle says he is not ashamed of the Gospel, it further implies that he gloried in it, as he says, Gal. vi. 14, God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and thus he endeavors to enhance, in the eyes of those to whom he wrote, the value and excellence of the Gospel, in order more fully to arrest their attention before he entered on his subject. The Gospel of Christ. A little before he had called it the Gospel of God ; he now designates it the Gospel of Christ, who is not only its author, but also its essential subject. The Gospel is therefore called the preaching of Jesus Christ, and of the unsearchable riches of Christ. This Gospel, then, which Paul was ready to preach, and of which he was not ashamed, was the Gospel of God concerning His Son. The term Gospel, which signifies glad tidings, is taken from Isa. Hi. 7, and Ixi. 1, where the Messiah is introduced as saying, The Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings. For it is the power of God unto salvation. Here the Apostle gives the reason why he is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is the great and admirable mystery, which from the beginning of the world had been hid in God, into which the angels desire to look, whereby His manifold wisdom is made known unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places. It is the efficacious means by which God saves men from sin and misery, and bestows on them eternal life, the instrument by which He triumphs in their hearts, and destroys in them the dominion of Satan. The Gospel, which is the word of God, is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. By it, as the word of truth men are begotten by the will of God, Jas. i. 18; 1 Pet. i. 23; and through the faith of the Gospel they are kept by His power unto salvation, 1 Pet. i. 5. The exceeding greatness of the power of God exerted in the Gospel toward those who believe, is compared to His mighty power which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand, Eph. i. 19. Thus, while the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, to those who are saved it is the power of God. The Gospel is power in the hand of God, as opposed to our natural impotence and utter inability to obtain salvation by anything we can do, Rom. v. 6 ; and also in opposition to the law, which cannot save, being weak through the flesh, Rom. viii. 3. It has been observed that the article the, before power, is not in the original. The article, however, is not necessary. The Apostle does not mean power as an attribute, for the Gospel is no attribute of God. It is power, as it is the means which God employs to accomplish a certain end. When it is said, the Gospel is God s power unto salvation, all other means of salvation are excluded.

To every one that believeth. This power of God unto salvation is applied through faith, without which God will neither justify nor save any man, because it is the appointed means of His people s union with Jesus Christ. Faith accepts the promise of God. Faith embraces the satisfaction and merit of Jesus Christ, which are the foundation of salvation; and neither that satisfaction nor that merit would be imputed, were it not rendered ours by faith. Finally, by faith we give ourselves to Jesus Christ, in order that He may possess and conduct us for ever. When God justifies, He gives grace ; but it is always in maintaining the rights of His majesty, in making us submit to His law and to the direction of His holiness, that Jesus Christ may reign in our hearts. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one, without any distinction of age, sex, or condition of birth or of country, without excepting any one, provided he be a believer in Christ. The expression, every one, respects the extent of the call of the Gospel, in opposition to that of the law, which \vas addressed to the single family of Abraham. To the Jew first, and also to the Greek. This distinction includes all nations ; for the Jews were accustomed to comprehend under the name of Greek all the rest of the world, as opposed to their own nation. The Greeks, from the establishment of the Macedonian empire, were better known to the Jews than any other people, not only on account of their power, but likewise of their knowledge and civilization. Paul frequently avails himself of this distinction. To tje Jew first. From the days of Abraham, their great progenitor, the Jews had been highly distinguished from all the rest of the world by their many and great privileges. It was their high distinction that of them Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. They were thus, as His kinsmen, the royal family of the human race, in this respect higher than all others, and they inherited Emmanuel s land. While, therefore, the evangelical covenant, and consequently justification and salvation, equally regarded all believers, the Jews held the first rank, as the ancient people of God, while the other nations were strangers from the covenants of promise. The preaching of the Gospel was to be addressed to them first, and, at the beginning, to them alone, Matt. x. 6 ; for, during the abode of Jesus Christ upon earth, He was the minister only of the circumcision, Rom. xv. 8. I am not sent, He says, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel ; and He commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, Acts iii. 26, xiv. 26. Thus, while Jews arid Gentiles were united in the participation of the Gospel, the Jews were not deprived of their rank, since they were the first called. The preaching of the Gospel to the Jews first, served various important ends. It fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, as Isa. ii. 3. It manifested the compassion of the Lord Jesus for those who shed His blood, to whom, after His resurrection, He commanded His Gospel to be first proclaimed. It showed that it was to be preached to the chief of sinners, and proved the sovereign efficacy of His atonement in expatiating the guilt even of His murderers. It was fit, too, that the Gospel should be

begun to be preached where the great transactions took place on which it was founded and established ; and this furnished an example of the way in which it is the will of the Lord that His Gospel should be propagated by His disciples, beginning in their own houses and their own country.” 17. Great Texts by Hastings, “ WHY SHOULD HE BE ASHAMED OF IT? 1. It was so insignificant. He had just written down the word Kome in his letter. ow that which impressed every subject of the Empire when his thoughts turned towards Rome, was its unrivalled grandeur. The very name of Eome was the symbol of magnificence and power. For Rome was the seat of empire; the city which had conquered and which ruled the world. Rome was the centre of society; she welcomed to her receptions all that was noble and wealthy and distinguished; all the year round her palaces were thronged by dependent kings and princes. Rome was the nurse and patroness of such learning and thought as was tolerated by the political jealousiee of the Imperial age; the great days of Athens were already of the past; literature was too much of a courtier to take up ifoabode contentedly in a conquered province. ay, Rome was, in a sense, a great religious centre too, or at least a great centre of the current religions. At that date, all that was spiritual, an well as all that was debased and superstitious and grotesque, found a place and a haunt in Kome; with magnificent im partiality, she smiled a welcome to all the truths and all the falsehoods that presented themselves at her gates. And the Gospel how did it look when placed in juxtaposition with the greatness of Kome ? Was it not, relatively to everything in the great capital, as far as the natural sense and judgment of man could pierce, poor and insignificant? The best informed, who deigned now and then to bestow a thought upon the morbid fancies of the Eastern world, could have distinguished in it only a rebellious offshoot from the most anti-social and detested religion in the Empire; it was itself an "exitiabilis superstitio " ; and it had about it a touch of inconsequence and absurdity from which Judaism was free. The estimate which an average French Academician might be supposed to form of Quakerism is probably not unlike the estimate which approved itself to the most cultivated minds in Kome as due to the religion of St. Paul and St. John. ^[ Paul s word is alive to-day. Where is the word of ero ? Paul s Gospel is as much as ever the power of God. The Kome

of ero we dig for to-day beneath its burial mounds. On the ruins of old Konie, the message which Paul preached has built a spiritual empire many times wider than the empire of the Caesars. The obscure missionary who was led on foot through the Appian Gate among the throng of passengers, bound to a soldier of ero s army, has proved the mightier of the two ; and who shall say to-day at Kome that Paul had any cause to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ ? 1 2. It was so unpopular. St. Paul was well aware that there were features of the Christian Creed, and those not outlying or accidental, but of its very core and essence, which were in the highest degree unwelcome to the non-Christian world. Less than this he cannot mean by such an expression as " the offence of the Cross " ; or when he speaks of " Christ crucified " as being " foolishness " to the Greeks. How was this Gospel then to make its way to the hearts and convictions of men ? How was this mysterious teaching familiar enough to a generation which has learned from infancy to repeat the Creed of Christendom, but strange beyond all measure to the men who heard it from its first preachers in the towns and villages of heathendom how was it to compass acceptance and victory? Between the means employed and the contemplated result there must be some kind of correspondence and proportion : what was the weapon by which the Gospel hoped to win the obedience of the world ? Why are people sometimes unwilling to own that which in their best moments they are convinced of ? They know it is the truth, but shrink from saying so ; they believe it is right, but they do not appear as its champions. Why ? Well, perhaps it is an unpopular truth, perhaps there is a considerable body of social tradition against it ; it would be very awkward to own it ; it might bring them into collision with friends, possibly with relatives ; there might be very unhappy divisions, social ostracism, and even keen and acute suffering. Or, what is worse to bear, there might be a widespread cynical smile on the face of society ; to the general average they might appear almost as simpletons, or half-mad. It is certainly not the most agreeable thing to have people suspicious of your sanity, and suggesting that you must be the victim of some strange delusion. It must be admitted that there are many temptations to leave an unpopular truth unchampioned and even unowned, that is, to be ashamed of it. Such temptations as I have mentioned did, as a matter of fact, assail Paul. To become a Christian apostle meant national ostracism and family disruption. His own people looked upon him as an apostate from the faith of his fathers. We know how

this brought upon him abuse and persecution. Willingness to own the new faith in the face of this meant courage of no mean order. "Thine own people are against thee," it would be said. Still, he was not ashamed ! l H If the cause of truth is to be carried to victory, it will be by men who will not be ashamed of it, whatever difficulty, or suffering, or disgrace it may bring. Keformers, at least, are not made of men who shrink from owning truth at a crisis. Any weakling can come along with the stream. Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust, Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and tis prosperous to be just; Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward standc aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified, And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied. Count me o er earth s chosen heroes > they were souls that stood alone, While the men they agonised for hurled the contumelious stone, Stood serene, and down the future saw the golden beam incline To the side of perfect justice, mastered by their faith divine, By one man s plain truth to manhood and to God s supreme design. Lowell had such men as Paul in his mind when he sang those lines. And he tells their secret in the words, " Mastered by their faith divine." If we want to know how men come to such heroism, we must remember that it is no question of their holding such and such a faith, but of their faith possessing and holding them. 1

^ Lord elson refused to put on a cloak to cover up the stars on his uniform, though they made him a mark for the French sharpshooters. So let us refuse to hide our loyalty to Christ by the cloak of silence, even when by speaking we may become a mark for ridicule. 3. But there is also the natural reluctance to speak of one s most intimate concerns. Those to whom the saving power of Christ s Cross is most intimately certain, as being to them a matter of personal experience, cannot at once, and without difficulty, bring themselves to say much about it. We do not, any of us, readily talk about that which most nearly touches us. Men have no objection to talk politics in public, even when they feel strongly on political questions ; and the reason is, because politics address themselves not to that which is exclusively personal, but only to those common sympathies and judgments which we share with some section of our countrymen. But no man will consent, if he can help it, to discuss his near relatives, or a family interest, in public. This is not because the details of private life do not interest other people ; every one must know how very far this is from being true. It is because the feelings which they arouse in those concerned are too tender to bear exposure. And this motive operates not infrequently in the case of religion. Keligion, even in its lower and more imperfect forms, twines itself round the heart like a family affection ; it is throned in an inner sanctuary of the soul, the door of which is closed to all except a very few, if not indeed to everybody. Eeligion has its outward and visible side ; its public acts of homage ; its recognized obliga tions. But its real strength and empire is within; it is in regions where spiritual activity neither meets the eye nor commits itself to language. All to whom our Saviour is a real Being know that their souls have had, and have, relations with Him which belong to the most sacred moments of life. If we may employ a metaphor which Holy Scripture suggests, they hesitate to discuss these relations almost as naturally as a bride would shrink from taking the world into her confidence. Tf Often in exact proportion to the reality of a religious experience may be the difficulty of making it public property; and one of the most trying features in a man s work may consist in his having to make a perfectly sincere proclamation of that which he knows to be true, after actual contact with it in the chambers of his own soul. Doubtless a nature so human and sympathetic as St. Paul s would have felt this difficulty in its full force ; yet we know how completely, how generously, he overcame it. In his large, self-forgetting charity, he has made his inmost

life its darkest as well as its brightest passages the common heritage of the world. If he did not yield to the instinct which would have sealed his lips, this was because he knew that the Gospel of his Lord and Master was not really, like some family secret, a private matter. The Friend of his soul, Who knew its wants and weaknesses, Who had healed its diseases, Who was privy to its inmost confidence, was surely the true and muchneeded Friend of every human being; and therefore no false reserve could persuade St. Paul to treat the Gospel as if it concerned himself alone, or to shrink from saying with the Psalmist, " Come near, and hearken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul." x J In St. Paul the personal has become the universal, and it has become somehow the universal pleading with each. If he speaks of himself, it is not that you may take note of him personally ; it is that you may see in him what you can be and have and know; it is that you may feel through him who has known it something that is the common need and hope of humanity. The secret of St. Paul is that when he speaks of himself most directly, when he places himself in the very centre of the picture, he has entirely forgotten himself, he hardly known that he exists or counts. " ot I, but Christ that dwelleth ID me," WHY is HE OT ASHAMED OF IT? 1. Because, with all its seeming weakness, the Gospel is Power The Apostle s word is used to indicate inherent power in active operation. In the Gospel there is a certain force which is brought into exercise every time it is received a force so great, so mani fest in its effects, that it may be placed alongside those great natural forces in the world which modern science has made so vivid and real to our minds. We shall not err if we think of it as a force in the same sense as that in which science has revealed to us the great forces of nature. It is a principle operating in the world of human nature on a vast and continually enlarging scale, and taking effect in a countless number of individuals to their moral and spiritual betterment. In its own particular sphere of operation, it may be thought of in the same way as we think of a force like heat, or electricity, or gravitation, in its sphere. These are different and familiar forces, each with its own distinctive powers, capable of producing certain well-known effects. They are real forces with which we have to reckon, and which we can neither make nor unmake, mend nor mar. We

may not understand everything about them ; we may not be able to explain their origin, as we certainly are unable to produce them. They are there, and their powers are forces which we neglect at our peril. They testify to their existence, and to what they can do, by their effects. They are silent in their working, and, but for the effects produced, we could have no proof of their existence. A volcanic upheaval, an earthquake that changes the configuration of the countryside, a hurricane that flattens a forest all work unseen, all are the outcome of hidden force, and are only made manifest in their effects. Such a force or power is the Gospel in a higher sphere. It is a force whose reality is demon strated, not by the arguments of the theologian, but by what it does. Its proof is dynamical, not logical. It has proved itself in human experience as a power to arouse the conscience to bring it into activity and give it direction, to inspire devotion and reverence, and to kindle affection for what is pure and good, holy, and godlike. We often observe, and are always impressed by, the various forms of power in nature, and in matter, in mind and in man. We see one of its forms in the gentle breeze and in the desolating cyclone. We see another in the noiseless current of the stream and the fury of the mountain torrent. We see yet another in the brightness of the lightning spark and the crashing of the thunder bolt. Physical science, moreover, has brought to our knowledge other great powers of nature. She has demonstrated the universal prevalence of gravitation in the material world. She has taught us the practical application of steam to the utilities of life to travel, commerce, manufactures. Still more recently in the subtle forces of magnetism and electricity an agent has been found, capable of a wonderfully impulsive and beneficial influence upon the age. It not only wafts our messages across a continent or an ocean, in a moment, but yields us light so brilliant and powerful that night cannot abide in its presence. While for certain human maladies it proves itself a most effectual antidote. 1 Christianity is the religion of power. The Gospel is not primarily a system for the intellect, though it certainly does present a reasoned system for the intellect ; it is not primarily an appeal to the emotions, though it certainly does appeal very touchingly to the emotions ; it is first and foremost, as the Apostle said, " the power of God unto salvation." The message it brings is a message of power, the gift it offers is a gift of power, the men it produces are men of power. And the Gospel of Jesus is the Gospel for this century just because to persons oppressed by the strain of rapidly changing conditions, harassed by forces which

they cannot escape, and by passions which they cannot subdue, and by mysteries which they cannot resolve, it opens out an inexhaustible supply of life, of strength, of energy, of confidence, and of power. 2 ^[ At a preaching-place in Japan not long ago, a young student who had formerly been an opponent of Christianity boldly stood forth and gave his testimony before the astonished crowd. He asked them how it was that such a change could have come over him as to make him a follower of Christ ? And this was his own answer : " It is because the religion of Jesus is a religion of power. I studied earnestly the doctrines of Buddha and Confucius, but the more I studied the less peace I had. I had no power to carry out the teaching. In Christ we find truly the power to save men from sin." 1 ^ Ask the doctor what is his best help, who is his best nurse, what is his most certain medicine, and he will say, " ature." My dear doctor, spell it in one syllable. Say not nature, but God ! For what is the difference between nature and God ? The great fundamental truth is that we are environed by powers that are not our own. And I will not go to an orthodox authority, but I will ask Herbert Spencer to tell us what this power is in that famous definition of his : " Amid the mysteries which become the more mysterious the more they are thought about, there will remain the absolute certainty that we are ever in the presence of an Infinite and Eternal Energy from whom ail things proceed." What is this but the statement, in the language of modern philosophy, of the old Hebrew Psalmist s declaration, Power belongeth unto God. And what is the result of all modern science but this : a skill to lay hold on this Power that is not our own, and to make it our own by obedience to its laws ? * Who that one moment has the least descried him, Dimly and faintly, hidden and afar, Doth not despise all excellence beside him, Pleasures and powers that are not and that are, Ay amid all men bear himself thereafter Smit with a solemn and a sweet surprise, Dumb to their scorn and turning to their laughter Only the dominance of earnest eyes ? 8

2. Because it is the Power of God. The Gospel is a Divine power, the power " of God," personally exerted, having its origin in God Himself, and with all His omnipotence behind it. It is not a mere vague impersonal force abstracted from its origin, a force which God has set agoing in the world and left to work itself out in accordance with its appointed mode of action. St. Paul conceives this power as essentially a mode of personal activity. In it is exerted the personal power of God ; it is His own direct method of dealing with men, of conveying to them the knowledge of His truth and His love. Behind its proclamation is God s own personal energy, working in it and permeating it through and through to make it effective for His purposes. 1 O.M.S. Annual Keport, 1899, p. 382. Lynian Abbott. if. W. H. Myrs, St. Paul, ^J The Roman legions marching like a vital machine, resistless invincible; driving their roads as arrows across the plains and over the mountains, neither marsh, nor river, nor forest diverting them from their track; bringing the whole known world into subjection to their single, central city they represent power. In this proud city the spoils of the world were gathered. In its senate the destinies of nations were determined. Opulent, arrogant, exclusive, Rome was the proudest and most powerful centre of government the world has ever seen. Caesar was the deified representative of imperial majesty and might. o one knew this better than Paul. In every region, in every city he visited, he saw and felt the might of Rome. He knew that when he went to the Mother City he would be in the very presence of the supreme expression of secular power. Yet, though he wa& poor, of weak bodily presence, though his doctrine was that of the Cross, he was nothing daunted. The reason was that the Gospel he preached was also a power. A power greater than Rome. It was the power of God. 1 ^f In the physical domain itself, what is man s power compared with the awful exhibitions of the power of God, the power that lies behind the hurricane, that rocks the mountains in the earth quake, that strikes with the lightning and speaks in the roar of the thunder ? apoleon, the last of the aspirants to universal empire built on physical force, when he marched his great army against Moscow, was not defeated by the Russians. The Muscovites burnt their city and withdrew. Then there appeared a different foe. General Winter came into the field and marshalled his forces, hail and snow, and the north wind. The French sentries

in the morning were found standing white and frozen at their posts like Lot s wife warning the Corsican to flee before the vengeance of the forces of nature. And all along the line of his retreat the elements carried on a guerilla warfare. From Moscow to the Baltic the track of the discomfited army was marked by the dead. What does the Gospel possess that makes it a demonstration of the power of God ? Two things especially, (1) The first element of the dynamic content of the Gospel is the lorn of God. In this, salvation had its originating motive and cause. In this is the spring and source of the Gospel s power on the human heart. The very conception of salvation originated in God s love. 1 W. Pieroe. TI A missionary from India once told this story to a meeting at which I was present. She said, " I went with another missionary out into one of the Hindu villages to preach. It was a low-caste village, and the low-caste women were sitting on the ground. My sister began her sermon, and she said to them, " God is love, and God loves you." One of the women asked, " What is love ? " Just think of that, a woman asking what is love ! The poor missionary turned to her friend and said, " What can I do when a woman does not know what love is ? " And she replied, " Ask these mothers how they feel towards their children." The preacher turned to one poor woman sitting there half-naked, rocking her half -naked baby in her arms, and said, " How do you fee] towards your babies?" And the woman said, "I am a poor, low-caste woman, how can I tell how I feel towards my baby?" The missionary answered, " Oh yes, you can ; you do know " ; and the mother replied, " I do not know ; I feel a kind of going out of my heart towards my baby." " Yes," said the missionary, " that is it, and God feels a kind of going out of His heart to you." Is not that " good news ? " You have come in here, out of sorrow, out of sin, out of a wrestling and tugging with life is not this " good news " you can really take to your heart, that the Eternal and the Infinite has a kind of going out of His heart to you ? 1 (2) The second element of the dynamic content of the Gospel is the righteousness of God which it reveals. Whenever men awaken to a consciousness of guilt, they wish to work out a righteousness of their own ; they think they can accomplish it by keeping the law. We are taught in this Epistle and elsewhere that we cannot

achieve this, but that another righteousness is needed and is provided. In the verse following the text, we are instructed that in the Gospel, " The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." The righteousness of God does not here mean the moral rectitude which inheres in His nature as one of its attributes ; it means the justifying righteousness which He bestows on every one who believes on His Son. ^[ Kuskin says that the root of almost every heresy from which the Church of Rome has ever suffered has been the effort of man to earn, rather than to receive, his salvation. It is very humbling to have to owe everything to the mercy of God ; we would fain have something of our own, to commend us to ourselves, if not to Him. othing can meet this need or melt our pride, save the persuasion that sinners though we are, God 1 Lyman Abbott. loves us ; for at the hand of love we can accept what we have not earned. And this persuasion the Gospel works in the heart of those who with meekness receive it. When we yield ourselves to the influence of Jesus, and let the message He brings of the love of God be illumined for us by the life He lived, and the death He died, faith is born. The love of God is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit. 1 TI A quaint Scotch preacher said that the needle of the law opens the way for and carries the thread of the Gospel. I once quoted this saying in a tent-meeting and a hearer remarked to me afterwards : " Yes, you re right ; but the needle should be pulled out and not left behind." * 3. The third reason why the Apostle is not ashamed of the Gospel is because it is the power of God unto Salvation. This power of God is a power to work men s deliverance, and that in the deepest sense. Roman emperors shortly after Paul s time are commemorated in public inscriptions as " saviours of the world," in the sense of maintaining peace and order. But the Gospel salvation is of a deeper sort. It is salvation from the bondage of sin, a salvation which enables men to be truly and eternally free, a salvation which implies, on the one hand, deliverance from sin and its consequences, and on the other, the communication of eternal life. The Gospel, that is to say, is not only a power, not only God s power, but God s power exerted to save men. Its mission in the world is unto salvation.

^| What is salvation ? egatively, the removal and sweeping away of all evil, physical and moral, as the Schools speak. Positively, the inclusion of all good for every part of the com posite nature of a man which the man can receive and which God can bestow. And that is the task which the Gospel sets to itself. 3 ^[ Our common phrase, " safe and sound," is the best transla tion of the term salvation as the Apostle used it. *([ When we pass from the Psalms to the Epistles we are conscious of a change, We live in a larger world and come into contact with new ideas. What is the secret of the change ? What is the master-thought of the Epistles ? What is their characteristic, dominant, invariable note ? Without going into any elaborate proof let us say that it is the experience of Christ in the sovereignty of His grace, the experience of His kingly 1 &. A. Leiidruw. H. G. Guiunesa. A. Maclaren. illimitable power to save the soul, to save it to the uttermost, fco expel all its usurpers root and branch, to break it down to penitence and surrender, and through conquering it to ennoble it for Himself for ever and to crown it with a perfect salvation, It stands out in the great typical words grace, holiness, power, joy, victory. The presence of Christ in the soul as its victorious Redeemer and its adorable King is the master-thought of the Epistles. 1 4. It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. This Gospel, which is God s power unto salvation, St. Paul felt he could carry without discredit to Rome, because it requires only one condition, and that the simplest, for the exertion of its power. It saves " every one that believeth." It is God s power to save, on the simplest condition, all men, Jew or Greek, to save man as man without any social or national distinctions. " God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." There is one way of setting in motion the power that is unto salvation, and that is by believing the Gospel and its message. If The power which resides in a word, or which operates through a word, requires one (ajid no more than one) condition for its operation it must be believed. Old Eli, bowed with the weight of years, sat in the city gate of Shiloh, when a message came to him which had in it a power of death. But if Eli had

not believed the fatal tidings of that Benjamite who professed to report the disastrous issue of the day s engagement, he would not have fallen dead in a fit by the side of the gate. The message which another Benjamite spoke at midnight to the Roman jailor had in it, on the contrary, a power of spiritual life. But if that jailor had not received Paul s record of God concerning His Son, no life could have visited his rude, dark, heathen soul. 2 TJ The power of God in His Gospel operates in a way different from His power in nature or on matter. The grace which provides and offers salvation to the fallen family of man, is not a physical but a moral power. God does not compel any one to accept His offer; to do so would destroy moral freedom. But physical forces always act necessarily and uniformly. There is no voluntariness in their operations. When, therefore, the power of the Gospel is brought to bear on the heart, we act freely, whether we accept or reject it. If the heart is receptive the Spirit of God accompanying the word produces faith and newness 1 W. Bedfern. J, 0, of life. If, on the other hand, the heart is cold and repellent, the same word produces unbelief and hardness of heart. Hence the same Gospel message is to one that hears it, " the savour of life unto life," and to another, " the savour of death unto death." T[ Matthew Arnold, in his once famous book on " Literature and Dogma," describes the work of Jesus, in bringing in a new righteousness, as consisting especially in two things, which he calls the method and the secret of Jesus, But the method of Jesus he strangely misapprehends ; for he gives no place to faith, but makes it consist altogether in repentance, in attention to conduct, in the keeping of the commandments. o doubt it is true that these things belong to our Lord s method ; but these are not the things which He puts first, and makes most prominent. Surely an unbiassed study of His words reveals to us that His essential method, the method of salvation which He constantly employs, is a living and personal faith in Himself. This, at all events, was the conviction of Paul; and it was this that helped to make him glory in the Gospel its method was so gracious. 1 TJ Often in our own time the Gospel has proved its undiminished power to save. It arrested the gentle and erudite Thomas Bilney of Cambridge when in 1517 he read the Greek Testament of Erasmus. So truly did it win the young scholar for Christ that he became one of the most zealous reformers of England, and one of the first martyrs of the sixteenth century. It was the sublime

words of the Gospel truth, " ow unto the King eternal, immortal and invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever," entering the stately mind of young Jonathan Edwards, that turned him from darkness to light, and from sin to the service of God. It was the same power of God, which through the faithful labours of Dr. Moffat in South Africa, civilized and saved the savage outlaw African, changing the daring ruffian into a gentle and child-like follower of Christ, even to the close of his life. 2 5. And it is the power of God to every one that believeth. It is at once a very broad and a very narrow Gospel. It knows no natural or social distinction between man and man. It declares that "there is no distinction." What we regard as differences between one man and another are mere surface differences. Morally, all belong to the same category, " all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." This Gospel is broad, like the heart of God. " To every one that believeth." But it is narrow also. It is to those that believe, to those alone. We must attend 1 J. 0. Lambert. * J. Little. to its word. We must feel the need of its healing. We must yearn for its touch. Knowing it is of God, wo must trust in its mercy. That is the narrowness of the Gospel. It is the power of God, but it cannot save us apart from our moral consciousness; our repentance, our desire, our consent. Our heart must respond to the tender breathing love of God. "J That Paul knew well what work this Gospel had to do in the world is evident from this chapter a chapter that can not be read in public. The appalling meaning of sin both for the body and for the mind is expressed in three phrases : " God gave them up unto uncleanness " ; " God gave them up unto vile affections " ; " God gave them up to a reprobate mind." Whatever you may think or say about Paul s theology, profound thinker as he was, his knowledge of human life was not academic. He held by a theory of sin which, as Mr. Gilbert Chesterton says, " accounts for Whitechapel," and accounted for an ancient Koine that was far worse than any modern London. He toned nothing down. He faced the grim facts of life like a wise and skilful surgeon who must track a loathsome disease down to its malignant roots. Paul speaks here of men " who refused to have God in their knowledge," whose lives were note the awful phrase" hateful to God." 1 U " I am not ashamed of the gospel " that is easily said by a man who has received it as a decent tradition, and has never

tried to do anything with it; but when people are in earnest about their faith and their duty they are much more likely to confess that sometimes they have been ashamed. It is easy to say, " Of course, Christ can save any man " ; but when you have realized the desperate conditions of a single family or a single individual, and go to better these conditions by some Christian influence, you may well have visitings of doubt: I wonder if many of us, with a real will to help, could walk along the Cowgate on a Saturday night, and watch the people without some inward disquiet : women whose features have been marred by the blows of husband and lover, and marred more sadly by a life of riot and idleness ; men who have grown grey without the discipline of settled labour, and without the ministry of purifying thought, the bondsmen of our society for whom the pleasures and the interests and the teachings which are most to us have no existence; lads clustering idly at the corners, with bad secrets passing round, waiting for the vice or the crime which will catch them down to a lower depth. You believe that Christ can save all ; but if you were asked to speak of Christ to these, the 1 0, 8. Horn*, difficulties in them and in yourself would gather up before you, and if you began it would be with a burdened feeling that nothing great would conie of it. Habit and circumstance are strong, and the wood, it seems, is too rotten to hold the nail. That is the test which searches men, and it was in presence of this test that Paul said, I am not ashamed. Knowing all the disadvantage and the unlikelihood, he believed that Jesus Christ could make the balance even. 1 Can peach renew lost bloom, Or violet lost perfume, Or sullied snow turn white as overnight? Man cannot compass it, yet never fear: The leper aarnan Shows what God will and can. God who worked there is working here;

Wherefore let shame, not gloom, betinge thy brow. God who worked then is working now.

17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
1. William Barclay, “When Paul uses the word "righteousness," he means a right relationship with God The man who is righteous is the man who is in a right relationship with God, and whose life shows it. Paul begins with a survey of the Gentile world. We have only to look at its decadence and corruption to know that it had not solved the problem of righteousness. He looks at the Jewish world. The Jews had sought to solve the problem of righteousness by meticulous obedience to the law. Paul had tried that way himself, and it had issued in frustration and defeat, because no man on earth can ever fully obey the law, and, therefore, every man must have the continual consciousness of being in debt to God and under his condemnation. So Paul finds the way to righteousness in the way of utter trust and utter yieldedness. The only way to a right relationship with God is to take him at his word, and to cast oneself, just as one is, on his mercy and love. It is the way of faith. It is to know that the important thing is, not what we can do for God, but what he has done for us. For Paul the centre of the Christian faith was that we can never earn or deserve the favour of God, nor do we need to. The whole matter is one of grace, and all that we can do is to accept in wondering love and gratitude and trust what God has done for us.” 1B. Brow, "Through faith for faith" ("from faith to faith") has many possible interpretations. Paul seems to be quoting from the text "Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith" (Habbakuk 2:4). Using our model we might want to paraphrase "The proud and self-sufficient trust in their own power, but God's righteousness is revealed when the righteous live by faith in the Son of God and the empowering of the Spirit." As the epistle proceeds it seems that the word salvation does not just refer to forgiveness and the assurance of eternal life but God's saving in all the circumstances of our life, and through death and resurrection. If by intelligence then it is unfair to the those who do not have it. If to the rich then

the poor do not have it. If to the short then the tall do not have it, etc. All can have righteousness for it is based on faith which all can have to an equal degree whatever other differences they have.” 1C. Brisco, "having been made right by faith they might live rightly by faith." 2. Gill, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed,.... By "the righteousness of God", is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of his nature, his righteousness in fulfilling his promises, and his punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but that righteousness which he wrought out by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of his people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called "the righteousness of God", in opposition to the righteousness of men: and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it. Jehovah the Father sent his Son to work it out, and being wrought out, he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his elect: Jehovah the Son is the author of it by his obedience and death; and Jehovah the Spirit discovers it to sinners, works faith in them to lay hold upon it, and pronounces the sentence of justification by it in their consciences. ow this is said to be "revealed" in the Gospel, that is, it is taught in the Gospel; that is the word of righteousness, the ministration of it; it is manifested in and by the Gospel. This righteousness is not known by the light of nature, nor by the law of Moses; it was hid under the shadows of the ceremonial law, and is brought to light only by the Gospel; it is hid from every natural man, even from the most wise and prudent, and from God's elect themselves before conversion, and is only made known to believers, to whom it is revealed: from faith to faith; that is, as say some, from the faith of God to the faith of men; from the faith of preachers to the faith of hearers; from the faith of the Old to the faith of the ew Testament saints; or rather from one degree of faith to another; for faith, as it grows and increases, has clearer sights of this righteousness, as held forth in the Gospel. For the proof of this, a passage of Scripture is cited, as it is written, Hab_2:4; the just shall live by faith: "a just", or righteous man is, not everyone who thinks himself, or is thought by others to be so; nor are any so by their obedience to the law of works; but he is one that is made righteous by the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, which is before said to be revealed in the Gospel. The life which this man lives, and "shall live", does not design a natural or corporeal life, and a continuance of that, for such die a natural death, as other men; nor an eternal life, for though they shall so live, yet not by faith; but a spiritual life, a life of justification on Christ, of holiness from him, of communion with him, and of peace and joy; which spiritual life shall be continued, and never be lost. The manner in which the

just lives, is "by faith". In the prophet Habakkuk, the words are, "the just shall live" ‫" ,באמונתו‬by his faith" Hab_2:4); which the Septuagint render, "by my faith": and the apostle only reads, "by faith", omitting the affix, as well known, and easy to be supplied: for faith, when given by God, and exercised by the believer, is his own, and by it he lives; not upon it, but by it upon Christ the object of it; from whom, in a way of believing, he derives his spiritual life, and all the comforts of it. 3. Constable, “What did Paul mean by "the righteousness of God?"With the exception of 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul used this phrase only in Romans, where it appears eight times (1:17; 3:5, 21, 22, 25, 26; 10:3 [twice]). It could be an attribute of God, either His rectitude or His faithfulness. It could be a status that God gives to people. Or it could be an activity of God, specifically, His saving action. "For Paul, as in the OT, 'righteousness of God' is a relational concept. Bringing together the aspects of activity and status, we can define it as the act by which God brings people into right relationship with himself."44 The gospel makes the righteousness of God manifest. What does "from faith to faith" ( ASB) mean? Was Paul describing the way God has revealed His righteousness or how people should receive it? The position of this phrase in the sentence favors the first option. The idea might be that God's righteousness comes from one person who exercises faith to another person who exercises faith. Still, if that is what Paul intended, he should have used the Greek preposition apo that views "from" as a point of departure. Instead he used ek that indicates the basis of something (cf. 3:16; 5:1; Gal. 2:16). Probably the phrase refers to how people receive God's righteousness. The idea seems to be that faith is the method whereby we receive salvation whatever aspect of salvation may be in view and whomever we may be. The IV interpretation is probably correct: "by faith from first to last." We might say that every aspect of God's salvation comes to us only by faith. That is true whether we are speaking of justification (past salvation from the penalty of sin), practical sanctification (present salvation from the power of sin), or glorification (future salvation from the presence of sin). Trusting God results in full salvation. The words of Habakkuk 2:4 support Paul's statement. Faith is the vehicle that brings the righteousness of God to people. The person who believes the good news that the righteous God has proclaimed becomes righteous himself or herself. The Pharisees, one of which Paul had been, taught that righteousness came through keeping the Mosaic Law scrupulously (cf. Matt. 5:20). The gospel Paul proclaimed, on the other hand, was in harmony with what Habakkuk had revealed (cf. v. 2). Many students of Romans believe that Habakkuk 2:4 is the "text' of Romans, and what follows is exposition of that Scripture text. Thomas suggested the following outline: 1:1—3:20: the righteous; 3:21—4:25: by faith; and 5:1—16:26: shall live.45 Verses 16-17 are the key verses in Romans because they state the theme of the revelation that follows. Paul's message was the gospel. He felt no shame declaring it but was eager to proclaim it because it was a message that can deliver everyone who

believes it. It is a message of how a righteous God makes people righteous righteously. The theme of the gospel is the righteousness of God, and the theme of Romans is the gospel. "Here we have the text of the whole Epistle of Romans: First, the words 'the gospel'—so dear to Paul, as will appear. ext, the universal saving power of this gospel is asserted. Then, the secret of the gospel's power— the revelation of God's righteousness on the principle of faith. Finally, the accord of all this with the Old Testament Scriptures: 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" 4. Clarke, “For therein - In the Gospel of Christ. Is the righteousness of God - God’s method of saving sinners. Revealed from faith to faith - Shown to be by faith, and not by the works of any law; for Abraham, the father and founder of the Jewish people, was justified by faith, before even the law was given; and by believing, in reference to the spiritual object held forth in the various ordinances of the law, and now revealed under the Gospel, he and all his believing descendants have been justified. And thus the faith of the old covenant led on to the faith of the new covenant, which shows that salvation has been by faith from the call of Abraham to the present time. And, from the beginning, all that were just or righteous in the earth became such by faith, and by this principle alone they were enabled to persevere; as it is written, The just shall live by faith. That δικαιοσυνη, which we translate righteousness in this verse, signifies God’s method of saving mankind by faith in Christ, is fully evident from the use of the term in Rom_9:30 : The Gentiles which followed not after Righteousness - who had no knowledge by revelation, of God’s method of justifying and saving sinners, have attained to Righteousness - have had imparted to them God’s method of salvation by faith in Christ. Rom_9:31 : But Israel, the Jews, which followed after the law of righteousness - that law, the end or object of which is Christ, and through him justification to all that believe (Rom_10:4), have not attained to the law of righteousness - have not found out the genuine plan of salvation, even in that law which so strongly and generally proclaims justification by faith. And why have they not found it? Rom_9:32 : Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law - they did not discern that even its works or prescribed religious observances were intended to lead to faith in that glorious Mediator of whom they were the types and representatives; but the Jews trusted in the observances themselves, hoping to acquire justification and final salvation by that means. For they stumbled at the stumbling-stone - at the doctrine of Christ crucified as the only sure ground on which the expectation of future salvation can be founded. Therefore, being ignorant of God’s righteousness - God’s method of saving sinners, and going about to establish their own righteousness their own method of salvation, by the observance of those rites and ceremonies which should have led them by faith to Christ, they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God - they would not submit to be saved in God’s way, and therefore rejected, persecuted, and crucified the Lord Jesus; see Rom_10:3. This collation of passages most evidently shows that the word righteousness here means simply God’s method of saving sinners, or God’s way of salvation, in opposition to the ways and means invented by the fancies or prejudices of men.

There are few words in the sacred writings which are taken in a greater variety of acceptations than the word ‫ צדקה‬tsedakah in Hebrew, and δικαιοσυνη in Greek, both of which we generally translate righteousness. Our English word was originally rightwiseness, from the Anglo-Saxon justice, right, and to know; and thus the righteous man was a person who was allowed to understand the claims of justice and right, and who, knowing them, acted according to their dictates. Such a man is thoroughly wise; he aims at the attainment of the best end by the use of the best means. This is a true definition of wisdom, and the righteous man is he that knows most and acts best. The Hebrew ‫ צדק‬tsadak, in its ideal meaning, contains the notion of a beam or scales in equipoise, what we call even balance; and it is well known that in all the personifications of Justice, both ancient and modern, she is represented as a beautiful female with a bandage on her eyes, and a beam and scales in her hand, so perfectly poised that neither end preponderates. The Greek word δικαιοσυνη has been derived from διχαζω, to divide; and hence δικη, justice, because it is the property of this virtue to divide to each his due. With other etymologies it is useless to trouble the reader. Both the noun δικαιοσυνη and the verb δικαιοω have a great variety of meaning in the ew Testament; but they are all reducible to this original idea, acting according to the requisitions of justice or right. It may not be improper to notice some of the chief of these acceptations in this place. 1. The act of distributing to each man his due is the sense of the word, Act_17:31 : He will judge the world in Righteousness, i.e. according to the principles of eternal justice and rectitude. See also Rev_19:2 : In Righteousness doth he judge and make war. 2. It signifies a holy life, as proceeding from piety towards God. Luk_1:75 : Might serve him in holiness and Righteousness all the days of our life. 3. It signifies benignity, liberality, and particularly almsgiving, as justice and righteousness require us, being only stewards of God’s bounty, to share it with the necessitous. Mat_6:1 : Take heed that ye do not your Alms, δικαιοσυνην, your Righteousness, before men. Rom_3:5 : But if our unrighteousness commend the Righteousness, the benignity of God. 2Co_9:10 : Increase the fruits of your Righteousness, i.e. of your liberality. 4. It signifies God’s method of saving sinners; the way which is agreeable to his righteousness and liberality. See the former part of this note, and the scriptures there referred to. 5. It signifies the reward or issue of liberality. 2Co_9:9 : He hath scattered abroad; he hath given to the poor; his Righteousness - the reward of his bounty, remaineth for ever. See Psa_112:9. 6. It signifies the whole collection of graces, which constitute the complete Christian character. Mat_5:6 : Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after Righteousness - they who ardently long for the full salvation of God. Mat_5:10, Mat_5:20 : If your Righteousness exceed not the righteousness, etc. Mat_6:33 : Seek the kingdom of God and his Righteousness. 7. It signifies the result of faith in God and submission to his will, exemplified in

a holy and useful life. Heb_11:7 : By faith oah prepared an ark, and became heir of the Righteousness which is by faith - he escaped the deluge and became the instrument of repeopling the world. 8. It signifies an exact observance of religious ordinances and precepts. Phi_3:6 : Touching the Righteousness which is of the law, blameless - having lived in an exact conformity to all the Mosaic precepts. In this sense it is to be understood, Mat_3:15 : Thus it becomes us to fulfill all Righteousness - to observe every precept of the law. 9. It signifies the favor or pardoning mercy of God. Rom_4:6 : The blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth Righteousness - without works - the man is happy to whom God has granted the remission of sins, without respect to his observance of the law of Moses. 10. In 2Co_5:21, δικαιοσυνη, righteousness, is put for δικαιος, righteous: That we might become the righteousness of God - that we might receive such a righteousness or holiness, such a salvation, as is worthy of God’s grace to impart, and such as the necessities of mankind require. A few of the leading acceptations of the verb δικαιοω, which we translate to justify, may be here properly subjoined, as this verb is so repeatedly used in this epistle. 1. It signifies so declare or pronounce one just or righteous; or, in other words, to declare him to be what he really is. 1Ti_3:16 : He was Justified in the Spirit. By the almighty power of the Spirit he was proved to be the True Messiah. 2. To esteem a thing properly. Mat_11:19 : Wisdom is Justified of her children. Wisdom, propriety of conduct, is properly estimated by wise men. 3. It signifies to approve, praise, and commend. The publicans Justified God, Luk_7:29; praised him for calling them to such a state of salvation. Luk_16:15 : Ye are they which Justify yourselves before men - Ye are self-commended, self-applauded, and self-praised. In this sense it is often used in the Greek apocryphal books. Ecclus. 7:5: Justify not thyself before the Lord - Do not applaud thyself in the presence of thy - Maker. Ecclus.10:29: Who will Justify (praise or applaud) him that sinneth against his own soul. Ecclus 18:2: The Lord only is righteous, δικαιωθησεται, shall be Justified, i.e. praised, because there is none other but he. 4. The verb δικαιοοµαι is used to clear from all sin. 1Co_4:4 : For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby Justified - A man’s own consciousness of integrity is not a proof that he is clear from all sin in the sight of God. 5. A judge is said to justify not only when he condemns and punishes, but also when he defends the cause of the innocent. See Eurip. Heraclid. ver. 190. Thucyd. iii. p. 200. Polyb. iii. 31, and Schleusner on δικαιοω. Hence δικαιουσθαι is taken in a forensic sense, and signifies to be found or declared righteous, innocent, etc. Mat_12:37 : By thy words shalt thou be Justified thou shalt be declared to be righteous. Rom_3:4 : That thou mightest be Justified in thy saying - that thou mightest be proved to be true in what thou

hast said. 6. It signifies to set free, to escape from. Act_13:39 : And by him all that believe are Justified from all things, from which ye could not be Justified by the law by faith in Christ a man escapes those evils which, otherwise, the law of Moses would inflict upon him. Rom_6:7 : For he that is dead, δεδικαιωται, is Justified, properly rendered by our translators, is Freed from sin. 7. It signifies also to receive one into favor, to pardon sin. Rom_8:30 : Whom he called, them he also Justified - he received them into favor and pardoned their sins. Luk_18:14 : This man went down to his house Justified - he humbled himself, repented of his iniquity, and God forgave his sin. Rom_3:20 : By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be Justified - no soul can have his sins forgiven through the observance of the Mosaic law. Rom_4:2 : If Abraham were Justified (had his sin pardoned) by works. 1Co_6:11 : Such were some of you, but ye are Justified - ye are received into the Divine favor, and have your sins forgiven. See Jam_2:21-25; Rom_3:24, Rom_3:28; Rom_5:1, Rom_5:9; Gal_2:16, Gal_2:17; Gal_3:11, Gal_3:24; Gal_5:4; Tit_3:7. In all these texts the word justify is taken in the sense of remission of sins through faith in Christ Jesus; and does not mean making the person just or righteous, but treating him as if he were so, having already forgiven him his sins. The just shall live by faith - This has been understood two ways: 1. That the just or righteous man cannot live a holy and useful life without exercising continual faith in our Lord Jesus: which is strictly true; for He only who has brought him into that state of salvation can preserve him in it; and he stands by faith. 2. It is contended by some able critics that the words of the original text should be pointed thus: ‘ο δε δικαιος εκ πιστεως, ζησεται. The just by faith, shall live; that is, he alone that is justified by faith shall be saved: which is also true; as it is impossible to get salvation in any other way. This last meaning is probably the true one, as the original text in Hab_2:4, speaks of those who believed the declarations of God when the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem, and, having acted conformably to them, escaped with their lives.

5. Barnes, “For - This word implies that he is now about to give a “reason” for what he had just said, a reason why he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. That reason is stated in this verse. It embodies the substance of all that is contained in the Epistle. It is the doctrine which he seeks to establish; and there is not perhaps a more important passage in the Bible than this verse; or one more difficult to be understood. Therein - In it, ἐν οὕτῳ en houtō, that is, in the gospel. Is the righteousness of God - δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ dikaiosunē Theou. There is not a more important expression to be found in the Epistle than this. It is capable of only the following interpretations.

(1) Some have said that it means that the attribute of God which is denominated righteousness or justice, is here displayed. It has been supposed that this was the design of the gospel to make this known; or to evince his justice in his way of saving people. There is an important sense in which this is true Rom_3:26. But this does not seem to be the meaning in the passage before us. For, (a) The leading design of the gospel is not to evince the justice of God, or the attribute of justice, but the love of God; see Joh_3:16; Eph_2:4; 2Th_2:16; 1Jo_4:8. (b) The attribute of justice is not what is principally evinced in the gospel. It is rather mercy, “or mercy in a manner consistent with justice,” or that does not interfere with justice. (c) The passage, therefore, is not designed to teach simply that the righteousness of God, as an attribute, is brought forth in the gospel, or that the main idea is to reveal his justice. (2) A second interpretation which has been affixed to it is, to make it the same as goodness, the benevolence of God is revealed, etc. But to this there are still stronger objections. For. (a) It does not comport with the design of the apostle’s argument. (b) It is a departure from the established meaning of the word “justice,” and the phrase “the righteousness of God.” (c) If this had been the design, it is remarkable that the usual words expressive of goodness or mercy had not been used. Another meaning, therefore, is to be sought as expressing the sense of the phrase. (3) The phrase “righteousness of God” is equivalent to God’s “plan of justifying people; his scheme of declaring them just in the sight of the Law; or of acquitting them from punishment, and admitting them to favor.” In this sense it stands opposed to man’s plan of justification, that is, by his own works: God’s plan is by faith. The way in which that is done is revealed in the gospel. The object contemplated to be done is to treat people as if they were righteous. Man attempted to accomplish this by obedience to the Law. The plan of God was to arrive at it by faith. Here the two schemes differ; and the great design of this Epistle is to show that man cannot be justified on his own plan, to wit, by works; and that the plan of God is the only way, and a wise and glorious way of making man just in the eye of the Law. o small part of the perplexity usually attending this subject will be avoided if it is remembered that the discussion in this Epistle pertains to the question, “how can mortal man be just with God?” The apostle shows that it cannot be by works; and that it “can be” by faith. This latter is what he calls the “righteousness of God” which is revealed in the gospel. To see that this is the meaning, it is needful only to look at the connection; and at the usual meaning of the words. The word to “justify,” δικαιόω dikaioō, means properly “to be just, to be innocent, to be righteous.” It then means to “declare,” or treat as righteous; as when a man is charged with an offence. and is acquitted. If the crime alleged is not proved against him, he is declared by the Law to be innocent. It then means to “treat as if innocent, to regard as innocent;” that is, to pardon, to

forgive, and consequently to treat as if the offence had not occurred. It does not mean that the man did not commit the offence; or that the Law might not have held him answerable for it; but that the offence is forgiven; and it is consistent to receive the offender into favor, and treat him as if he had not committed it. In what way this may be done rests with him who has the pardoning power. And in regard to the salvation of man, it rests solely with God. and must be done in that way only which he appoints and approves. The design of Paul in this Epistle is to show how this is done, or to show that it is done by faith. It may be remarked here that the expression before us does not imply any particular manner in which it is done; it does not touch the question whether it is by imputed righteousness or not; it does not say that it is on legal principles; it simply affirms “that the gospel contains God’s plan of justifying people by faith.” The primary meaning of the word is, therefore, “to be innocent, pure, etc.” and hence, the name means “righteousness” in general. For this use of the word, see Mat_3:15; Mat_5:6, Mat_5:10, Mat_5:20; Mat_21:32; Luk_1:75; Act_10:35; Act_13:10; Rom_2:26; Rom_8:4, etc. In the sense of pardoning sin, or of treating people as if they were innocent, on the condition of faith, it is used often, and especially in this Epistle; see Rom_3:24, Rom_3:26, Rom_3:28, Rom_3:30; Rom_4:5; Rom_5:1; Rom_8:30; Gal_2:16; Gal_3:8, Gal_3:24; Rom_3:21-22, Rom_3:25; Rom_4:3, Rom_4:6,Rom_4:13; Rom_9:30, etc. It is called “God’s” righteousness, because it is God’s plan, in distinction from all the plans set up by people. It was originated by him; it differs from all others; and it claims him as its author, and tends to his glory. It is called his righteousness, as it is the way by which he receives and treats people as righteous. The same plan was foretold in various places where the word “righteousness” is nearly synonymous with “salvation;” Isa_56:5 “My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth;” Isa_56:6, “My salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished;” Isa_56:1, “My salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed;” Dan_9:24, “To make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.” (There is yet another sense lying on the very surface of the passage, and adopted by nearly all the evangelical expositors, according to which “the righteousness of God” is that righteousness, which Christ worked out in his active and passive obedience. This is a righteousness which God hath devised, procured, and accepted. It is therefore eminently His. It is imputed to believers, and on account of it they are held righteous in the sight of God. It is of the highest importance that the true meaning of this leading expression be preserved; for if it be explained away, the doctrine of imputed righteousness is materially affected, as will appear in a subsequent note. That the phrase is to be understood of the righteousness which Christ has procured by his obedience and death, appears from the general sense of the original term δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē. Mr. Haldane in a long and elaborate comment on Rom_3:21, has satisfactorily shown that it signifies “righteousness in the abstract, and also conformity to law,” and that “Wherever it refers to the subject of man’s

salvation, and is not merely a personal attribute of Deity, it signifies that righteousness which, in conformity with his justice, God has appointed and provided.” Besides, if the expression be understood of “God’s plan of justifying men,” we shall have great difficulty in explaining the parallel passages. They will not bend to any such principle of interpretation, In Rom_5:17, this righteousness is spoken of as a “gift” which we “receive,” and in the Rom_5:18 and Rom_5:19 verses, the “righteousness of one” and “the obedience of one,” are used as convertible terms. ow it is easy to understand how the righteousness which Christ has procured by his obedience, becomes “a gift,” but “a plan of justification” is appropriately said to be declared, or promulgated. It cannot be spoken of in the light of a gift received. The same observation applies with still greater force to the passage in 2Co_5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” How would this passage appear, if “plan of justification” were substituted for righteousness of God? In Phi_3:9, Paul desires to be found in Christ, “not having his own righteousness, which is of the land, but what is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Is not his own righteousness what he could attain to by his works or obedience, and is not the righteousness of Christ what Jesus had procured by his obedience? Lastly, in Rom_10:3, the righteousness of God is thus opposed to the righteousness of man, “they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” ow what is that righteousness which natural people seek to establish, and which is especially called “their own?” Doubtless it is a righteousness founded on their own works, and therefore what is here properly opposed to it is a righteousness founded on the “work of God. See Haldane, Hodge, Scott, Guyse, etc.” This meaning of the term furnishes a key to unlock “all” the passages in which it is used in connection with the sinner’s justification, whereas any other sense, however it may suit a few places, will be found generally inapplicable.) In regard to this plan it may be observed; (1) That it is not to declare that people are innocent and pure. That would not be true. The truth is just the reverse; and God does not esteem men to be different from what they are. (2) It is not to take part with the sinner, and to mitigate his offences. It admits them to their full extent; and makes him feel them also. (3) It is not that we become partakers of the essential righteousness of God. That is impossible. (4) It is not that his righteousness becomes ours. This is not true; and there is no intelligible sense in which that can be understood. (It is true indeed that the righteousness of Christ cannot be called ours in the sense of our having actually accomplished it in our own persons. This is a view of imputation easily held up to ridicule, yet there is a sense in which the righteousness of Christ may be ours. Though we have not achieved it, yet it may be so placed to our account that we shall be held righteous, and treated as such. I have said, first,

we shall be held righteous, and then treated as such; for God treats none as righteous who in some sense or other are not really so. See the note at Rom_4:3.) But it is God’s plan for pardoning sin, and for treating us as if we had not committed it; that is, adopting us as his children, and admitting us to heaven on the ground of what the Lord Jesus has done in our stead. This is God’s plan. People seek to save themselves by their own works. God’s plan is to save them by the merits of Jesus Christ. Revealed - Made known, and communicated. The gospel states the fact that God has such a plan of justification; and shows the way or manner in which it might be done. The fact seems to have been understood by Abraham, and the patriarchs Heb. 11, but the full mode or manner in which it was to be accomplished, was not revealed until it was done in the gospel of Christ. And because this great and glorious truth was thus made known, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. or should we be. From faith - ἐκ πίστεως ek pisteōs. This phrase I take to be connected with the expression, “the righteousness of God.” Thus, the righteousness of God, or God’s plan of justifying people by faith, is revealed in the gospel. Here the great truth of the gospel is brought out, that people are justified by faith, and not by the deeds of the Law. The common interpretation of the passage has been, that the righteousness of God in this is revealed from one degree of faith to another. But to this interpretation there are many objections. (1) It is not true. The gospel was not designed for this. It did not “suppose” that people had a certain degree of faith by nature which needed only to be strengthened in order that they might be saved. (2) It does not make good sense. To say that the righteousness of God, meaning, as is commonly understood, his essential justice, is revealed from one degree of faith to another, is to use words without any meaning. (3) The connection of the passage does not admit of this interpretation. The design of the passage is evidently to set forth the doctrine of justification as the grand theme of remark, and it does not comport with that design to introduce here the advance from one degree of faith to another, as the main topic. (4) The Epistle is intended clearly to establish the fact that people are justified by faith. This is the grand idea which is kept up; and to show how this may be done is the main purpose before the apostle; see Rom_3:22, Rom_3:30; Rom_9:30; Rom_9:32; Rom_10:6, etc. (5) The passage which he immediately quotes shows that he did not speak of different degrees of faith, but of the doctrine that people are to be justified by faith. To faith - Unto those who believe (compare Rom_3:22); or to everyone that believeth, Rom_1:16. The abstract is here put for the concrete. It is designed to express the idea, “that God’s plan of justifying people is revealed in the gospel, which plan is by faith, and the benefits of which plan shall be extended to all that have faith, or that believe.” As it is written - See Hab_2:4.

The just shall live by faith - The Septuagint translate the passage in Habakkuk, ‘If any man shall draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him, but the just by my faith,” or by faith in me, “shall live.” The very words are used by them which are employed by the apostle, except they add the word “my,” µοῦ mou, my faith. The Syriac renders it in a similar manner, “The just by faith shall live.” The meaning of the Hebrew in Habakkuk is the same. It does not refer originally to the doctrine of justification by faith; but its meaning is this, “The just man, or the righteous man, shall live by his confidence in God.” The prophet is speaking of the woes attending the Babylonish captivity. The Chaldeans were to come upon the land and destroy it, and remove the nation, Rom_1:6-10. But this was not to be perpetual. It should have an end Rom_2:3, and they who had confidence in God should live Rom_1:4; that is, should be restored to their country, should be blessed and made happy. Their confidence in God should sustain them, and preserve them. This did not refer primarily to the doctrine of justification by faith, nor did the apostle so quote it, but it expressed a general principle that those who had confidence in God should be happy, and be preserved and blessed. This would express the doctrine which Paul was defending. It was not by relying on his own merit that the Israelite would be delivered, but it was by confidence in God, by his strength and mercy. On the same principle would men be saved under the gospel. It was not by reliance on their own works or merit; it was by confidence in God, by faith, that they were to live. Shall live - In Habakkuk this means to be made happy, or blessed; shall find comfort, and support, and deliverance. So in the gospel the blessings of salvation are represented as life, eternal life. Sin is represented as death, and man by nature is represented as dead in trespasses and sins, Eph_2:1. The gospel restores to life and salvation, Joh_3:36; Joh_5:29, Joh_5:40; Joh_6:33, Joh_6:51, Joh_6:53; Joh_20:31; Act_2:28; Rom_5:18; Rom_8:6. This expression, therefore, does not mean, as it is sometimes supposed, the “justified by faith” shall live; but it is expressive of a general principle in relation to people, that they shall be defended, preserved, made happy, not by their own merits, or strength, but by confidence in God. This principle is exactly applicable to the gospel plan of salvation. Those who rely on God the Saviour shall be justified, and saved. 6. Jamison, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed — that is (as the whole argument of the Epistle shows), GOD’S JUSTIFYI G RIGHTEOUS ESS. from faith to faith — a difficult clause. Most interpreters (judging from the sense of such phrases elsewhere) take it to mean, “from one degree of faith to another.” But this agrees ill with the apostle’s design, which has nothing to do with the progressive stages of faith, but solely with faith itself as the appointed way of receiving God’s “righteousness.” We prefer, therefore, to understand it thus: “The righteousness of God is in the gospel message, revealed (to be) from (or ‘by’) faith to (or ‘for’) faith,” that is, “in order to be by faith received.” (So substantially, Melville, Meyer, Stuart, Bloomfield, etc.). as it is written — (Hab_2:4). The just shall live by faith — This golden maxim of the Old Testament is thrice quoted in the ew Testament - here; Gal_3:11; Heb_10:38 - showing that the gospel

way of “LIFE BY FAITH,” so far from disturbing, only continued and developed the ancient method. On the foregoing verses, ote (1). What manner of persons ought the ministers of Christ to be, according to the pattern here set up: absolutely subject and officially dedicated to the Lord Jesus; separated unto the gospel of God, which contemplates the subjugation of all nations to the faith of Christ: debtors to all classes, the refined and the rude, to bring the gospel to them all alike, all shame in the presence of the one, as well as pride before the other, sinking before the glory which they feel to be in their message; yearning over all faithful churches, not lording it over them, but rejoicing in their prosperity, and finding refreshment and strength in their fellowship! (2). The peculiar features of the gospel here brought prominently forward should be the devout study of all who preach it, and guide the views and the taste of all who are privileged statedly to hear it: that it is “the gospel of God,” as a message from heaven, yet not absolutely new, but on the contrary, only the fulfillment of Old Testament promise, that not only is Christ the great theme of it, but Christ in the very nature of God as His own Son, and in the nature of men as partaker of their flesh - the Son of God now in resurrection - power and invested with authority to dispense all grace to men, and all gifts for the establishment and edification of the Church, Christ the righteousness provided of God for the justification of all that believe in His name; and that in this glorious Gospel, when preached as such, there resides the very power of God to save Jew and Gentile alike who embrace it. (3). While Christ is to be regarded as the ordained Channel of all grace from God to men (Rom_1:8), let none imagine that His proper divinity is in any respect compromised by this arrangement, since He is here expressly associated with “God the Father,” in prayer for “grace and peace” (including all spiritual blessings) to rest upon this Church (Rom_1:7). (4). While this Epistle teaches, in conformity with the teaching of our Lord Himself, that all salvation is suspended upon faith, this is but half a truth, and will certainly minister to self-righteousness, if dissociated from another feature of the same truth, here explicitly taught, that this faith in God’s own gift - for which accordingly in the case of the Roman believers, he “thanks his God through Jesus Christ” (Rom_1:8). (5). Christian fellowship, as indeed all real fellowship, is a mutual benefit; and as it is not possible for the most eminent saints and servants of Christ to impart any refreshment and profit to the meanest of their brethren without experiencing a rich return into their bosoms, so just in proportion to their humility and love will they feel their need of it and rejoice in it. 7. Brisco, “Having been made right by faith, they might live rightly by faith.” 7B. Calvin, “For the righteousness of God, etc. This is an explanation and a confirmation of the preceding clause -- that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. For if we seek salvation, that is, life with God, righteousness must be first sought, by which being reconciled to

him, we may, through him being propitious to us, obtain that life which consists only in his favor; for, in order to be loved by God, we must first become righteous, since he regards unrighteousness with hatred. He therefore intimates, that we cannot obtain salvation otherwise than from the gospel, since nowhere else does God reveal to us his righteousness, which alone delivers us from perdition. ow this righteousness, which is the groundwork of our salvation, is revealed in the gospel: hence the gospel is said to be the power of God unto salvation. Thus he reasons from the cause to the effect. otice further, how extraordinary and valuable a treasure does God bestow on us through the gospel, even the communication of his own righteousness. I take the righteousness of God to mean, that which is approved before his tribunal; [40] as that, on the contrary, is usually called the righteousness of men, which is by men counted and supposed to be righteousness, though it be only vapor. Paul, however, I doubt not, alludes to the many prophecies in which the Spirit makes known everywhere the righteousness of God in the future kingdom of Christ. Some explain it as the righteousness which is freely given us by God: and I indeed confess that the words will bear this sense; for God justifies us by the gospel, and thus saves us: yet the former view seems to me more suitable, though it is not what I make much of. Of greater moment is what some think, that this righteousness does not only consist in the free remission of sins, but also, in part, includes the grace of regeneration. But I consider, that we are restored to life because God freely reconciles us to himself, as we shall hereafter show in its proper place. But instead of the expression he used before, "to every one who believeth," he says now, from faith; for righteousness is offered by the gospel, and is received by faith. And he adds, to faith: for as our faith makes progress, and as it advances in knowledge, so the righteousness of God increases in us at the same time, and the possession of it is in a manner confirmed. When at first we taste the gospel, we indeed see God's smiling countenance turned towards us, but at a distance: the more the knowledge of true religion grows in us, by coming as it were nearer, we behold God's favor more clearly and more familiarly. What some think, that there is here an implied comparison between the Old and ew Testament, is more refined than well-founded; for Paul does not here compare the Fathers who lived under the law with us, but points out the daily progress that is made by every one of the faithful. As it is written, etc. By the authority of the Prophet Habakkuk he proves the righteousness of faith; for he, predicting the overthrow of

the proud, adds this -- that the life of the righteous consists in faith. ow we live not before God, except through righteousness: it then follows, that our righteousness is obtained by faith; and the verb being future, designates the real perpetuity of that life of which he speaks; as though he had said, -- that it would not be momentary, but continue forever. For even the ungodly swell with the false notion of having life; but when they say, "Peace and safety," a sudden destruction comes upon them, (1 Thessalonians 5:3.) It is therefore a shadow, which endures only for a moment. Faith alone is that which secures the perpetuity of life; and whence is this, except that it leads us to God, and makes our life to depend on him? For Paul would not have aptly quoted this testimony had not the meaning of the Prophet been, that we then only stand, when by faith we recumb on God: and he has not certainly ascribed life to the faith of the godly, but in as far as they, having renounced the arrogance of the world, resign themselves to the protection of God alone. [41] He does not indeed professedly handle this subject; and hence he makes no mention of gratuitous justification: but it is sufficiently evident from the nature of faith, that this testimony is rightly applied to the present subject. Besides, we necessarily gather from his reasoning, that there is a mutual connection between faith and the gospel: for as the just is said to live by faith, he concludes that this life is received by the gospel. We have now the principal point or the main hinge of the first part of this Epistle, -- that we are justified by faith through the mercy of God alone. We have not this, indeed as yet distinctly expressed by Paul; but from his own words it will hereafter be made very clear -that the righteousness, which is grounded on faith, depends entirely on the mercy of God.” 8. Henry, “The justification of believers as the way (Rom_1:17): For therein, that is, in this gospel, which Paul so much triumphs in, is the righteousness of God revealed. Our misery and ruin being the product and consequent of our iniquity, that which will show us the way of salvation must needs show us the way of justification, and this the gospel does. The gospel makes known a righteousness. While God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners, it is necessary we should have a righteousness wherein to appear before him; and, blessed be God, there is such a righteousness brought in by Messiah the prince (Dan_9:24) and revealed in the gospel; a righteousness, that is, a gracious method of reconciliation and acceptance, notwithstanding the guilt of our sins. This evangelical righteousness, (1.) Is called the righteousness of God; it is of God's appointing, of God's approving and accepting. It is so called to cut off all pretensions to a righteousness resulting from the merit of our own works. It is the righteousness of Christ, who is God, resulting from a satisfaction of infinite value. (2.) It is said to be from faith to faith, from the

faithfulness of God revealing to the faith of man receiving (so some); from the faith of dependence upon God, and dealing with him immediately, as Adam before the fall, to the faith of dependence upon a Mediator, and so dealing with God (so others); from the first faith, by which we are put into a justified state, to after faith, by which we live, and are continued in that state: and the faith that justifies us is no less than our taking Christ for our Saviour, and becoming true Christians, according to the tenour of the baptismal covenant; from faith engrafting us into Christ, to faith deriving virtue from him as our root: both implied in the next words, The just shall live by faith. Just by faith, there is faith justifying us; live by faith, there is faith maintaining us; and so there is a righteousness from faith to faith. Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of a Christian life. It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works preserved and maintained us in it, but it is all along from faith to faith, as 2Co_3:18, from glory to glory; it is increasing, continuing, persevering faith, faith pressing forward, and getting ground of unbelief. To show that this is no novel upstart doctrine, he quotes for it that famous scripture in the Old Testament, so often mentioned in the ew (Hab_2:4): The just shall live by faith. Being justified by faith he shall live by it both the life of grace and of glory. The prophet there had placed himself upon the watchtower, expecting some extraordinary discoveries (Rom_1:1), and the discovery was of the certainty of the appearance of the promised Messiah in the fulness of time, not withstanding seeming delays. This is there called the vision, by way of eminence, as elsewhere the promise; and while that time is coming, as well as when it has come, the just shall live by faith. Thus is the evangelical righteousness from faith to faith from Old Testament faith in a Christ to come to ew Testament faith in a Christ already come. II. The proof of this proposition, that both Jews and Gentiles stand in need of a righteousness wherein to appear before God, and that neither the one nor the other have nay of their own to plead. Justification must be either by faith or works. It cannot be by works, which he proves at large by describing the works both of Jews and Gentiles; and therefore he concludes it must be by faith, Rom_3:20, Rom_3:28. The apostle, like a skilful surgeon, before he applies the plaster, searches the wound - endeavours first to convince of guilt and wrath, and then to show the way of salvation. This makes the gospel the more welcome. We must first see the righteousness of God condemning, and then the righteousness of God justifying will appear worthy of all acceptation. In general (Rom_1:18), the wrath of God is revealed. The light of nature and the light of the law reveal the wrath of God from sin to sin. It is well for us that the gospel reveals the justifying righteousness of God from faith to faith. The antithesis is observable. Here is, 1. The sinfulness of man described; he reduceth it to two heads, ungodliness and unrighteousness; ungodliness against the laws of the first table, unrighteousness against those of the second. 2. The cause of that sinfulness, and that is, holding the truth in unrighteousness. Some communes notitae, some ideas they had of the being of God, and of the difference of good and evil; but they held them in unrighteousness, that is, they knew and professed them in a consistency with their wicked courses. They held the truth as a captive or prisoner, that it should not influence them, as otherwise it

would. An unrighteous wicked heart is the dungeon in which many a good truth is detained and buried. Holding fast the form of sound words in faith and love is the root of all religion (2Ti_1:13), but holding it fast in unrighteousness is the root of all sin. 3. The displeasure of God against it: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven; not only in the written word, which is given by inspiration of God (the Gentiles had not that), but in the providences of God, his judgments executed upon sinners, which do not spring out of the dust, or fall out by chance, nor are they to be ascribed to second causes, but they are a revelation from heaven. Or wrath from heaven is revealed; it is not the wrath of a man like ourselves, but wrath from heaven, therefore the more terrible and the more unavoidable. 9. Bob Deffinbaugh, “There are two very significant applications to what Paul has written in verses 16 and 17. The first is that whenever we distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ we also diminish the righteousness of God as revealed in the Gospel. The tone of the Gospel today is nothing like what is revealed in Scripture. The modern ‘gospel’ portrays God as being more lonely and in need of our companionship than righteously angered by our sin. Man is not represented as a rebel under the wrath of God and destined for eternal torment, but rather as one who could use a little assistance in making his life more fulfilling and satisfying. In this kind of gospel, we defame the righteousness of God, rather than declare it. The second implication I would draw from what Paul has said is that failing to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with men not only withholds from them the only way of salvation, it also withholds from God the glory due to His name through the proclamation of His Gospel. When we keep silent with the Gospel we are robbing men of the opportunity to hear God’s provision of salvation, and we are robbing God of the glory due to His name through the preaching of the Gospel.

10. Deffinbaugh goes on, “The gospel, Paul says, reveals “the righteousness of God.” The gospel displays God’s righteousness. It reveals God’s righteousness in His standards of holiness, as revealed by the Law. It reveals God’s righteousness by declaring God’s condemnation of sin. It reveals God’s righteousness by the way in which He saves men, by faith, and by pouring out His wrath on the Lord Jesus, so that sin’s penalty is paid. The righteousness of God is revealed in other ways than by saving sinners. The righteousness of God, Paul says, is revealed “from faith to faith” (verse 17). The righteousness of God is revealed when men come to faith, but it is also revealed as men live by faith. The righteousness of God is revealed through men, as they live out the gospel. The expression “from faith to faith” is interesting and important. Faith has its origin, but it also has its outworkings. The Christian life begins with saving faith, and it initiates a life which is characterized by an ever-growing faith. Faith is the means by which men are saved, it is also the means by which saved men live, and it is the outworking of men’s faith. Let me attempt to illustrate this with another concept—love. Love is the basis for

marriage. Love leads to marriage. Marriage then becomes the context in which a man’s love for his wife (and her love for him) grows. Marriage begins with love and continues to grow and express itself in love. Married life is “from love to love,” just as the Christian life is “from faith to faith.” This is the point of the passage Paul cites from Habakkuk 2:4: “But the righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4). Habakkuk had protested to God that Judah was corrupt, that God’s Law was ignored, and that justice was swallowed up by violence and wickedness (Habakkuk 1:1-4). He asked God why He had not come to save His people (1:2). God responded, in a way that Habakkuk never imagined (1:5-11). God was going to chasten His people with a strong and cruel people—the Chaldeans. They would sweep down on Judah and take these rebellious people into captivity. The cruelty and sin of the Chaldeans would not be excused or overlooked, however, for God would punish this people for their pride and arrogance (1:11). Habakkuk was horrified. He could not understand how God could use wicked men to achieve His purposes. The Chaldeans, in his mind, were even more wicked than the people of Judah (1:12-17). He determined to “file a protest with God.” He knew he would be rebuked, but he planned to challenge God’s rebuke as well (2:1). In Habakkuk’s mind, God had a lot of explaining to do. God’s answer was extensive. We shall only refer to a portion of His response. He assured Habakkuk that God’s plan was fixed, certain, and coming without delay (in spite of his protest—see 2:2-3). The proud soul, God said, is “not right” (2:4a). This might have included Habakkuk, as well as the Chaldeans. But the righteous man, God said, must live by his faith (2:4b). As I understand these words, God was telling Habakkuk that he would have to live his life, day by day, by faith. He might not see the day of Israel’s restoration and blessing, but by faith he must believe God’s promises would be fulfilled. His days might be lived out beholding the victory of the Chaldeans and the defeat of his people, but this too must be handled by faith. He must, by faith, understand that Judah’s defeat by the Chaldeans was the chastening by God and was the outworking of God’s good plan and purposes for His people. Faith was, for Habakkuk, and for every other Old Testament believer, the rule of the day, the rule for life. So it is for the ew Testament saint as well. All who are justified by faith must continue to live by faith.” 11. David Guzik, “i. It is essential to understand exactly what the righteousness of God revealed by the gospel is. It is not speaking of the holy righteousness of God that condemns the guilty sinner, but of the God-kind of righteousness that is given to the sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ. ii. Righteousness: William Barclay explains the meaning of this ancient Greek word dikaioo, which means I justify, and is the root of dikaioun (righteousness): "All verbs

in Greek which end in oo . . . always mean to treat, or account or reckon a person as something. If God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that he finds reasons to prove that he was right - far from it. It does not even mean, at this point, that he makes the sinner a good man. It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all." iii. "It was the happiest day in Luther's life when he discovered that 'God's Righteousness' as used in Romans means God's verdict of righteousness upon the believer." (Lenski) iv. This declaration is even greater when we understand that this is the righteousness of God given to the believer. It is not the righteousness of even them most holy mere man, nor is it the righteousness of innocent Adam in Eden. It is God's righteousness. "The righteousness which is unto justification is one characterized by the perfection belonging to all that God is and does. It is a 'Godrighteousness'." (Murray) iv. This faith (trust) in Jesus Christ becomes the basis of life for those who are justified (declared righteous); truly, the just shall live by faith. They are not only saved by faith, but they live by faith.

12. Waggoner, “The Righteousness of God. The Lord says: "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law." Isa. 51:6, 7. "My tongue shall speak of thy work; for all thy commandments are righteousness." Ps. 119:172. The righteousness of God, therefore, is his law. Let this not be forgotten. The term "the righteousness of God" occurs frequently in the book of Romans, and much confusion has resulted from giving it arbitrary and varying definitions. If we accept the definition given in the Bible, and do not abandon it in any instance, it will simplify matters very much. The righteousness of God is his perfect law. Righteousness and Life. But the ten commandments, whether engraved on tables of stone or written in a book, are only the statement of the righteousness of God. Righteousness means right doing. It is active. The righteousness of God is God's right doing, his way. And since all his ways are right, it follows that the righteousness of God is nothing less than the life of God. The written law is not action, but is only a description of the action, but is only a description of the action. It is a picture of the character of God. The very life and character of God are seen in Jesus Christ, in whose heart was the law of God. There can be no righteousness without action. And as

there is none good but God, it follows that there is no righteousness except in the life of God. Righteousness and the life of God are one and the same thing. Righteousness in the Gospel. "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed." Wherein? In the gospel. Bear in mind that the righteousness of God is his perfect law, a statement of which is found in the Ten Commandments. There is no such thing as a conflict between the law and the gospel. Indeed, there are not in reality two such things as the law and the gospel. The true law of God is the gospel; for the law is the life of God, and we are "saved by his life." The gospel reveals the righteous law of God, because the gospel has the law in itself. There can be no gospel without law. Whoever ignores or rejects the law of God, has no knowledge whatever of the gospel. The First View. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit should convince the world of sin and of righteousness. John 16:8. This is the revelation of the righteousness of God in the gospel. "Where no law is, there is no transgression." Rom. 4:15. Sin can not be known except by the law. Rom. 7:7. Therefore it follows that the Spirit convicts of sin by making known the law of God. The first view of the righteousness of God has the effect of making a man feel his sinfulness, just as we feel our littleness when gazing upon a lofty mountain. And as the grandeur of the great mountains grows upon us, so God's righteousness which is "like the great mountains" (Ps. 36:6) appears greater the more we look at it. Therefore he who looks continually at the righteousness of God, must continually acknowledge his own sinfulness. The Second, Deeper View. Jesus Christ is the righteousness of God. And "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17. God does not reveal his righteousness in the gospel in order to cause us to cower before him because of our unrighteousness, but that we may take it and live by it. We are unrighteous, and God wishes us to realize it, in order that we may be willing to receive his perfect righteousness. It is a revelation of love; for his righteousness is his law, and his law is love. 1 John 5:3. So "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. If when the preaching of the gospel reveals to us the law of God, we reject it and find fault with it because it condemns our course, we are simply saying that we do not desire that God should put his own righteousness upon us. 12. Waggoner goes on about faith, “Living by Faith. "As it is written, The just shall live by faith." Christ is "our life." Col. 3:4. We are "saved by his life." Rom. 5:10. It is by faith that we receive Christ Jesus, for he dwells in our hearts by faith. Eph. 3:17. Dwelling in our hearts, he is life, for out of the heart are the issues of life.

Prov. 4:23. ow the word comes, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith." Col. 2:6,7. As we receive him by faith, and we walk in him as we have received him, we shall "walk by faith, and not by sight." "From Faith to Faith." This seemingly difficult expression, which has been the subject of so much controversy, is very simple when we allow the Scripture to explain itself. In the gospel "the righteousness of God" is "revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith." ote that "from faith to faith" is said to be parallel with "the just shall live by faith." Just means righteous. The reader has noticed that some versions have "righteous" in 1 John 1:9 where the KJV has "just." Both are the same. God's life is righteousness; he desires that our lives shall be righteousness also, and therefore he offers to us his own life. This life becomes ours by faith. That is, just as we live naturally by breathing, so we are to live spiritually by faith, and our whole life is to be spiritual. Faith is the breath of life to the Christian. So just as we naturally live from breath to breath, we are to live spiritually from faith to faith. We can live but one breath at a time; so we can not live spiritually except by present faith. If we live a life of conscious dependence upon God, his righteousness will be ours, for we shall breathe it in continually. Faith gives us strength, for those who have exercised it "out of weakness were made strong." Heb. 11:34. So of those who accept the revelation of God's righteousness "from faith to faith," it is said, "They go from strength to strength; every one of them in Zion appeareth before God." Ps. 84:7. 13. HERRICK The word for takes us back to the preceding idea in v. 16 about the gospel being the power of God for salvation. How is that so? Paul knows that the gospel saves because it reveals the righteousness of God. We may understand the expression righteousness of God in a broad sense referring both to God’s saving activity and the resultant status of those who have been saved; they are now in a right relationship with him. It is not simply a reference to his character, though all that he does in saving men and women flows from his righteous character. The reference to from faith to faith has been variously interpreted throughout the history of the church: 1) it refers to the faith of the OT saints to the faith of T saints; 2) from an immature faith to a more mature one; 3) from a Law-oriented faith to a gospeloriented faith; 4) from the faith of the preacher to the faith of the hearers; 5) from present faith to a future faith; 6) from God’s faithfulness to man’s faith, etc. All these have some truth in them, but fail to deal adequately with the connection of this statement with the following quotation from Habakkuk. The point of Habakkuk’s comment in the OT is that it is only by sheer faith that one can ever comprehend the seemingly difficult things God does and this is probably the sense here in Romans 1:17. There is a parallel in 2 Cor 2:16. There Paul refers to “from death to death”

which is intended to be rhetorical and refer to death, period. Thus we may say that, by the phrase from faith to faith, Paul is simply arguing that it is by faith and faith alone that one receives this righteous status and understands God’s work of saving sinners. This doctrine, Paul says, is anticipated in the Old Testament as (kaqwV") the quotation from Habbakuk 2:4 argues. There are several complexities involved in understanding the precise meaning of Paul’s citation of Hab 2:4 (and we cannot go into them here), but its function is to substantiate the claim that the gospel is appropriated only by faith. It is enough to say that by faith is probably to be taken with the righteous rather than will live as we have translated it. (But cf. the Greek OT and the Hebrew text which take by faith with will live). Thus the point Paul is making is that the person who is righteous by faith, will live. Paul uses this text in a way somewhat different than it is understood in the OT. The reader is urged to compare the two.” 14. The just do not live by experience, for it can be the worst teacher. God said to Adam and Eve do not learn about evil by experience. Obey me and do not do evil, and the goal was to learn evil as God knows it, not by experience but by wisdom and knowledge. You do not have to learn by experience. I know that falling off a cliff can hurt and kill without ever doing it. I know all kinds of things I have never experienced and I am better off for that. And so I go not knowing I would not if I might, I’d rather walk in the dark with God Then walk alone in the light. I’d rather walk by faith in Him, Then walk alone by sight. 15. Haldane, “The righteousness of God. This phrase may, according to circumstances, mean either the personal attribute of God, or, as in this place, the righteousness which God has provided, which He has effected, and which He imputes for justification to all His elect. It is through this righteousness, revealed in the Gospel, that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Paul reverts to its manifestation, ch. iii. 21, where the signification of this most important expression will be fully considered. At present it is sufficient to remark that the grand object of the Apostle is to show that man, having lost his own righteousness, and thereby fallen under condemnation, God has provided for him a righteousness the complete fulfillment of the law in all its threatenings and all its precepts by which, being placed to his account through faith, he is acquitted from guilt, freed from condemnation, and entitled to the reward of eternal life. Is revealed. This expression regards the assertion in the second verse of this chapter, that the Gospel had formerly been promised by the Prophets. The righteousness of God must be contemplated at three periods: first, at the period when God purposed it; second, at the period when He promised it ; and third, at the period when He revealed it, He purposed it in His eternal decrees, He promised it after the fall, and now it is actually revealed in the Gospel. Paul does not say that it began only under

the Gospel to display its efficacy, or that it was not known under the Mosaic dispensation ; on the contrary, he was about to show that the Prophet Habakkuk had referred to it, and in the fourth chapter he proves that Abraham was justified by the imputation of this same righteousness ; but he here declares that its full and perfect revelation was made by the Gospel, in which it is testified that at length it has been * brought in, as had been promised, Dan. ix. 24. Looking forward to the revelation of this righteousness, the Prophet Isaiah, Ivi. 1, writes, Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice; for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. The Prophet thus announced in his time that it was near to be revealed, and the Apostle affirms that it is now revealed. From faith to faith. Various interpretations have been given of this phrase, although there appears to be little difficulty in ascertaining its meaning. Some explain it as signifying from the faith of the Old Testament to the faith of the ew ; some, from one degree of faith to another ; some, from the faith of the Jew to the faith of the Gentile ; and others, altogether of faith. The expression is evidently elliptical ; and in order to understand it, it is necessary to observe that the literal rendering is not -from faith to faith, but by faith to faith. The same words in the original are thus translated in the same verse : The just shall live by faith. The meaning, then, is, the righteousness which is by faith, namely, which is received by faith, is revealed to faith, or in order to be believed. This is entirely consistent with what the Apostle says in ch. iii. 22, where he reverts to the subject, and announces that the righteousness of God, which is by, or through, faith of Jesus Christ, is unto all and upon all them that believe. There is then no difficulty in this expression, especially since the meaning is placed beyond dispute in this passage, where the same truth is fully expressed. As it is written. Here is a reference to the Old Testament Scriptures, as attesting what had just been affirmed, thus proving the correspondence between the Old Testament and the ew, as was also shown in the second verse of this chapter, and teaching us to rest our faith on the testimony of the Scriptures, in whatever part of them it is found. The just shall live ly faith, or rather, following the order of the words in the original, the just, or the righteous, by faith shall live. The doctrine, however, is substantially the same in whichsoever of these ways the phrase is rendered, and the meaning is, they who are righteous by faith, that is, by having the righteousness of God which is received by faith imputed to them, shall live. Paul repeats the same declaration in two other places, namely, in Gal. iii. 11, where he proves that men cannot be justified by the law, and also in Heb. x. 38, where he is ex horting those to whom he writes to continue firm in the faith ; and immediately afterward, explaining the meaning of that expression, he shows at large, in the following chapter, that men were saved by faith before, as well as after, the coming of the Messiah. In both cases the eye of faith was steadfastly fixed on the same glorious object. Before His advent, faith rested on that event, considered in the promise. After the coming of the Messiah, faith rejoices in the accomplishment of the promise.

Thus it is only by faith in the testimony of God, as receiving His righteousness wrought by the Messiah, that man can be just or righteous in His sight. The passage itself is quoted from the prophecies of Habakkuk, and is generally supposed to relate, in its primary sense, to the deliverance from the Babylonish captivity, which was a type of the deliverance obtained by the Gospel. Through faith in the Divine promises the first was obtained, and the second in like manner is obtained through faith. But in whatever sense the Prophet used these words, the Apostle, speaking by the same Spirit, assigns to them their just and legitimate extension. They are true in respect to an earthly and temporal deliverance, and are equally true in respect to a spiritual deliverance. Many, however, understand such quotations, where the Apostle says it is written, as mere accommodation, not implying prediction of the thing to which they are applied. This is a most unwarrantable and baneful method of handling the word of God. It is in this light that Professors Tholuck and Stuart, in their Commentaries on this Epistle, often view this form of expression. But, on the contrary, it is always used as introducing what is represented as a fulfillment of prediction, or an interpretation of its meaning. If eologians are to be held guilty for explaining the miracles of Christ on natural principles, are they less criminal who explain, as mere accommodation of Scripture language, what is quoted by an Apostle as a fulfillment of prophecy ? Several quotations from the Old Testament in this Epistle are explained by both these authors onthe above eological principle. Professor Stuart, on this passage, says, * It is not necessary to suppose, in all cases of this nature, that the writer who makes such an appeal regards the passage which he quotes as prediction. Plainly this is not always the case with the writers of the ew Testament, as nearly all commentators now concede. Professor Tholuck remarks that the pious Jew loved to use Bible phrases in speaking of the things of common life, as this seemed to connect, in a manner, his personal observations and the events of his own history with those of holy writ. He adds, that the Talmud contains numerous quotations introduced by such forms, without, he continues, there being understood any real fulfillment of the text in the fact which is spoken of. This practice was also followed by the Apostles. othing can be more dishonorable to the character of Divine revelation, and injurious to the edification of believers, than this method of explaining the quotations in the ew Testament from the Old, not as predictions or interpretations, but as mere illustrations by way of accommodation. In this way many of the prophecies referred to in the Epistles are thrust aside from their proper application, and Christians are taught that they do not prove the very things the Apostles adduced them to establish. The great temptation to this manner of understanding them, is the fact that such prophecies generally, as they lie in the Old Testament, are obviously applied to temporal events, whereas, in the ew, they are applied to the affairs of Christ and His kingdom. But this is a difficulty to none who understand the nature of the Old

Testament dispensation, while the supposition that it is a difficulty, argues an astonishing want of attention to both covenants. ot only the ceremonies, but the person ages, facts, and whole history of the Jewish people, have a letter and a spirit, without the knowledge of which they cannot be understood either in their true sense, or in a sense at all worthy of God. That the Old Testament predictions, then, should primarily refer to temporal events in the Jewish history, and in a secondary but more important view, to the Messiah and the Gospel, is quite in accordance with what is taught us every where by the ew Testament. Instead of creating a difficulty, this peculiarity is entirely consistent with the prominent features of Christianity, and calls for fresh admiration of the Divine wisdom. It is one of those characteristics which prove the Bible to be God s own book ; and, as usual, men s attempts to mend it only serve to mar its beauty and obscure its evidence. In Gal. iii. 10, it is asserted that as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. Why are they affirmed to be under the curse ? Because it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. The phrase it is written is used here. to connect an inference or conclusion with the premises on which it is founded. The assertion, that all who are of the works of the law are under the curse, is founded on reviewer adds, Professor Tholuck s authority, indeed, in any matter in which the honor of inspiration is involved, is not very high ; so at least we think all who have escaped the chilling influence of Socinianisrn must acknowledge respecting any writer, who in one place tells us that "Paul probably used certain words, without attaching to them any definite idea" (p. 156); in another, suggests the supposition that the Apostle " had forgotten what ought to have followed " (p. 157) ; and, in the present verse, informs us that, with the view of better adapting the declaration of the Prophet to his subject, he gave a "violent construction to the^ translation of the Septuagint ; " and whatever Tholuck s authority may be, Stuart s is no greater ; for water cannot rise higher than its source ; and on this subject of accommodation, with the exception of the very obnoxious sentiment which we have just cited, the American critic is no more than the copyist of the German." 16. Anders ygren, “In the synagogue the declaration that “the righteous shall live by faith” came to play a very significant role. It was interpreted as the summary and highest expression of the righteousness of the law. This is illustrated very well in the following Talmudic tradition: on Sinai Moses received 613 commandments. King David came and summed them up in 11 (Psa. 15). Then came Isaiah and summed them up in 6 (Isa. 33:15f). Micah came and summed them up in 3, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic. 6:8). Again Isaiah and summed them up in 2, “Keep ye judgment and do justice.” (Isa. 56:1). Finally came Habakkuk and summed them up in 1, the just shall live by his faith.” “The Gospel and faith belong together inseparately. Therefore we may not speak of faith as something that could exist apart from the Gospel. Faith is not a state of the

soul which man must have, that by its aid he may receive the Gospel. It is the Gospel which is primary, which creates faith and awakens it in us. When one hears the Gospel and is conquered by it, that is faith. Faith is not prior to the Gospel and is independent of it. It arises only through one’s meeting with the Gospel.”

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
1.God is righteous and this means that he always does what is right. It is right for him to be wrathful. It would be wrong not to be angry at those who defy what is good and seek to do what is evil. One does not love good who does not hate evil. It is evil to never be angry at evil. These people suppress the truth and cover it up because it does not fit with what they want to do in life. It is deliberate rejection of the light so they can live in darkness, and God has to be intolerant of this. It is almost humorous how the old theologians did not like to admit that God had emotions. They found ways to deny the facts right in front of their eyes. God has wrath and that means he has strong feelings. But God was supposed to be above feeling and so we read Calvin writing that this just appears to be God having a wrathful feeling. He says, “It imparts, therefore, no such emotion in God, but only has a reference to the perception and feeling of the sinner who is punished.” So it feels like wrath to man, but it is not wrath felt by God. This folly was strongly defended by many great theologians in contrast to the clear revelation of God’s Word. It should be a clear warning that we are to listen to the Word and not men who are influenced by a particular philosophy. Paul is saying that the wrath of God is not a one time event at the end of history, but that it goes on all through history toward those who reject the clear revelation he has given, and instead worship idols of their own making. Paul never used the word hell, for he saw judgment going on all the time and not just as the final end of the wicked. Paul is a hell on earth kind of preacher who says payday comes long before the end of time, but is going on all through time. Evil people experience hell in degree in the wrath of God, and good people experience heaven in degree in the grace of God. 2. Unknown author, “ ote: It is important to note carefully how Paul presents the

gospel. He begins with God’ s wrath from heaven coming against the unrighteous and the ungodly! Before presenting the good news he presents the bad news so that we will understand how desperately we need God’s gospel. There are basically two ways to present the gospel: 1) O THE BASIS OF PERSO AL BE EFIT (How can the gospel benefit me? What are the benefits and advantages of being a Christian? Will the gospel make me happy? successful? satisfied? etc.); 2) O THE BASIS OF PERSO AL EED (Man is a helpless and hopeless sinner under the wrath and condemnation of a holy God, and therefore he needs to be saved or else he is eternally doomed). Very often today the gospel is presented on the basis of personal benefit. Here is an example of such a presentation taken from a gospel tract: You want fun, freedom, and life, don’t you? Good! You’re just the person I want to talk with. I feel just as you do. You ask, "How can you feel like me? I thought you were a Christian." I am. But still I have basic human desires, such as satisfaction, happiness, freedom, and a score more. And I find all these fulfilled in my best friend, Jesus Christ. From experience, I know it pays to be a Christian right here and now. Even if there were no heaven or hell (which there is), I would still be a Christian today. Why? Because I know that the Christian life is the best. It’s the only life worth living. ow we must admit that these things are true. Satisfaction, happiness, freedom and many other benefits are all found in Christ Jesus and the Christian life is certainly the only life worth living. But should we present the gospel on this basis? Was this Paul’s approach? There are many, many unsaved people who think that they are very happy. They are relatively satisfied with life, things are going well for them and they enjoy what they are doing. They are satisfied with their lifestyle and they do not see any compelling reason why they should become a Christian. "Christianity is fine for you if it makes you happy," they say, "but I’m comfortable and quite happy with the way I am now living." They do not see their EED for Christ. Illustration: Suppose the hospital contacts you and says, "Why don’t you come in tomorrow and have an operation? We are not very busy these days and we want to keep our staff busy. We will put you under the knife and cut you up and check you out and sew you back together again. It will do wonders for you. After a few days you’ll feel great! You’ll enjoy wonderful health! You’ll get more out of life! All these benefits will be yours if you let us operate on you." Would you volunteer? Why not? On the other hand, suppose some medical experts told you that you had a deadly, spreading cancer in your body that would soon kill you unless it was removed. Would you submit yourself to the operating table then? Why? People must see how EEDY they are. People must see how much they need the salvation which is offered in Christ. After reading the first three chapters of Romans you will realize that you have a deadly cancer in your soul (sin) and that there is nothing you can do to heal yourself. The only cure is found in Christ ("Life

is short, death is sure, sin the cause, Christ the cure!"). One other thought: If people come to Christ on the basis of personal benefits, they may be coming for the wrong reason. Jesus came to save us from our _______ (Matt. 1:21), not from our unhappiness or our loneliness or our unsuccessful way of living. These other things are but surface symptoms of a much deeper end more fundamental problem: man is not in a right relationship with his Creator because of SI . When this fundamental problem is solved then the minor surface problems will be corrected as well. Sadly most people are ignorant of what the big problem really is. The thing that they are concerned about the least is the thing which they should be concerned about the most: THE SI PROBLEM! 3. Barclay, “This is difficult and must give us seriously to think, for here we meet the conception of the wrath of God, an alarming and a terrifying phrase. What is its meaning? What was in Paul's mind when he used it? In the early parts of the Old Testament the wrath of God is specially connected with the idea of the covenant people. The people of Israel were in a special relationship with God. He had chosen them and offered them this special relationship, which would obtain so long as they kept his law (Exo. 24:3-8). That meant two things.

(a) It meant that within the nation any breach of the law provoked the wrath of God for it broke the relationship. um. 16 tells of the rebelliousness of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and at the end of it Moses bade Aaron make special atonement for the sin of the people "for wrath has gone forth from the Lord" ( um. 16:46). When the Israelites were led away into Baal worship, "The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel" ( um. 25:3). (b) Further, because Israel stood in a unique relationship to God, any other nation which treated her with cruelty and injustice incurred the wrath of God. The Babylonians had ill-treated Israel, and because of the wrath of the Lord she shall not be inhabited (Jer. 50:13). In the prophets, the idea of the wrath of God occurs, but the emphasis has changed. Jewish religious thought from the prophets onwards was dominated by the idea of the two ages. There was this age which was altogether bad, and there was the golden age which was altogether good, the present age and the age to come. These two ages were separated by the Day of the Lord. That was to be a day of terrible retribution and judgment, when the world would be shattered, the sinner destroyed and the universe remade before God's Kingdom came. It was then that the wrath of the Lord would go into terrible action. "Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the earth a desolation" (Isa. 13:9). "Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts" (Isa. 9:19). Eze. 7:19 speaks of "the day of the wrath of the Lord." God will pour out upon the nations "his indignation and all the heat of his anger" (Zeph. 3:8).

But the prophets did not regard the wrath of God as being postponed until that terrible day of judgment. They saw it continuously in action. When Israel strayed away from God, when she was rebellious and unfaithful, then the wrath of God operated against her and involved her in ruin, disaster, captivity and defeat. To the prophets the wrath of God was continually operating, and would reach its peak of terror and destruction on the coming Day of the Lord. A modern scholar has put it this way. Because he is God, because he is characteristically holy, God cannot tolerate sin, and the wrath of God is his "annihilating reaction" against sin. That is hard for us to grasp and to accept. It is in fact the kind of religion that we associate with the Old Testament rather than with the ew. Even Luther found it hard. He spoke of God's love as Gods own work, and he spoke of his wrath as Gods strange work. It is for the Christian mind a baffling thing. Let us try to see how Paul understood this conception. Dr C. H. Dodd writes very wisely and profoundly on this matter. Paul speaks frequently of this idea of wrath. But the strange thing is that although he speaks of the wrath of God, he never speaks of God being angry. He speaks of God's love, and he speaks of God loving. He speaks of God's grace, and of God graciously giving. He speaks of God's fidelity, and of God being faithful to his people. But, very strangely, although he speaks of the wrath of God, he never speaks about God being angry. So then there is some difference in the connection with God of love and wrath. Further, Paul speaks of the wrath of God only three times. He does so here, and in Eph. 5:6 and Col. 3:6 where, in both passages, he speaks of the wrath of God coming upon the children of disobedience. But quite frequently Paul speaks about the wrath, without saying it is the wrath of God, as if it ought to be spelled with capital letters--The Wrath--and was a kind of impersonal force at work in the world. In Rom. 3:5 the literal translation is, "God who brings on men The Wrath." In Rom. 5:9 he speaks about being saved from the wrath. In Rom. 12:19 he advises men not to take vengeance but to leave evil-doers to the wrath. In Rom. 13:5 he speaks about the wrath as being a powerful motive to keep men obedient. In Rom. 4:15 he says that the law produces wrath. And in 1Th. 1:10 he says that Jesus delivered us from The Wrath to come. ow there is something very strange here. Paul speaks about the wrath, and yet from that very wrath Jesus saves men. Let us go back to the prophets. Very often their message amounted to this, "If you are not obedient to God, the wrath of God will involve you in ruin and disaster." Ezekiel put this in another vivid way--"The soul that sins shall die" (Eze. 18:4). If we were to put this into modern language we would say, "There is a moral order in this world, and the man who transgresses it soon or late is bound to suffer." That is exactly what J. A. Froude the great historian said: "One lesson, and one lesson only, history may be said to repeat with distinctness, that the world is butt somehow on

moral foundations, that, in the long run, it is well with the good, and, in the long run, it will be ill with the wicked." The whole message of the Hebrew prophets was that there is a moral order in this world. The conclusion is clear--that moral order is the wrath of God at work. God made this world in such a way that we break his laws at our peril. ow if we were left solely at the mercy of that inexorable moral order, there could be nothing for us but death and destruction. The world is made in such a way that the soul that sins must die--if the moral order is to act alone. But into this dilemma of man there comes the love of God, and that love of God, by an act of unbelievable free grace, lifts man out of the consequences of sin and saves him from the wrath he should have incurred. Paul goes on to insist that men cannot plead ignorance of God. They could have seen what he is like from his world. It is always possible to tell something of a man from his handiwork; and it is possible to tell something about God from the world he made. The Old Testament writers knew that. Jb. 38-41, is based on that very idea. Paul knew it. It is from the world that he starts when he is speaking to the pagans at Lystra (Acts 14:17). Tertullian, the great early Christian Father, has much about this conviction that God can be seen in his world. "It was not the pen of Moses that initiated the knowledge of the Creator. The vast majority of mankind, though they had never heard the name of Moses--to say nothing of his book--know the God of Moses none the less." " ature," he said, "is the teacher; the soul is the pupil." "One flower of the hedgerow by itself, I think--I do not say a flower of the meadows; one shell of any sea you like--I do not say a pearl from the Red Sea; one feather of a moor fowl--to say nothing of a peacock--will they speak to you of a mean Creator?" "If I offer you a rose, you will not scorn its Creator." In the world we can see God. It is Paul's argument--and it is completely valid--that if we look at the world we see that suffering follows sin. Break the laws of agriculture--your harvest fails. Break the laws of architecture--your building collapses. Break the laws of health--your body suffers. Paul was saying "Look at the world! See how it is constructed! From a world like that you know what God is like." The sinner is left without excuse. Paul goes on another step. What did the sinner do? Instead of looking out to God, he looked into himself. He involved himself in vain speculations and thought he was wise, while all the time he was a fool. Why? He was a fool because he made his ideas, his opinions, his speculations the standard and the law of life, instead of the will of God. The sinner's folly consisted in making "man the master of things." He found his standards in his own opinions and not in the laws of God. He lived in a selfcentred instead of a God-centred universe. Instead of walking looking out to God he walked looking into himself, and, like any man who does not look where he is going, he fell. The result of this was idolatry. The glory of God was exchanged for images of

human and animal forms. The root sin of idolatry is that it is selfish. A man makes an idol. He brings it offerings and addresses prayers to it. Why? So that his own schemes and dreams may be furthered. His worship is for his own sake and not for God's. In this passage we are face to face with the fact that the essence of sin is to put self in the place of God. 4. Stedman, “This is the first negative note that has been sounded in this letter, yet it is a very necessary note because it introduces this passage that tells us why we need the gospel of God. We need it because men everywhere are suffering from the wrath of God. What do you think of when you hear that phrase, "the wrath of God"? Most people think of the wrath of God as something that is yet to come, something that follows death -- the judgment of God. It is true that hell and all that may follow are an expression of the wrath of God. But that is not what it means at this point. Most people think of the wrath of God as thunder and lightning and judgment, fire and brimstone and the sudden destruction and catastrophes that come upon obviously guilty sinners. And these are all manifestations of the wrath of God. But actually, the wrath of God is not something to come, it is present now. As the text says, it is "being revealed from heaven" -- that is, it is going on right now. When something is revealed from heaven, it doesn't pour down from the skies upon us. o, it is everywhere present because it is coming from invisible forces at work in our lives. Therefore, it is absolutely inescapable; everyone is confronted with, and suffers from, the wrath of God -- without exception. His wrath is everywhere present, it is being manifested by the invisible resistance of God to the evil of men. And that is what is meant here by "the wrath of God." I think Moses, in the 90th Psalm, expresses this perfectly. He says: For all our days pass away under thy wrath, our years come to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength four-score; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. {Psa 90:9-11 RSV} The shortness of life, the brevity of it, the sorrow of it, the tragedy of it -- this is all part of what Paul captures here under this phrase "the wrath of God ... being revealed from heaven." o one escapes God's wrath; it is revealed, and we have to face it. Here we see proof that God does not always get his own way. Men can and do defy him and he has to judge them even though he would prefer to receive them into his kingdom by faith in his son. He does not will their disbelief, for it would be

meaningless for him to be angry about what he ordained himself to be. He is angry for they have made their choice in spite of his revelation to give them enough light to escape their darkness. o man ever endures wrath but by his own choice and not ever by the will of God. They deserve wrath for they have refused love. Some unknown poet wrote, Life blew trumpets of colour, Her green sang in my brainI heard a blind man groping “Tap-tap” with his cane. I pitied him in his blindness, But can I say “I see?” Perhaps there walks a spirit Close by, who pities me, A spirit, who hears me tapping The five-sensed cane of mind Amid such unguessed glories That I am more than blind.

5. Spurgeon, 18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Those last words may be read, "Who hold down the truth in unrighteousness." They will not let the truth work upon their hearts; they will not allow it to operate in their minds; but they try to make it an excuse for their sin. Is there anybody here who is holding down the truth to prevent its entering his heart? I fear that there are some such persons, who have come here for years, and the truth has pricked them, troubled them, made them lie awake at night; but they are holding it down, like one who grasps a wild animal by the ears, and holds it down for fear it should bite him. Oh, sirs, when you are afraid of the truth, you may well be afraid of hell! When you and the truth quarrel, you had better end your fighting soon, for you will have the worst of it if you do not yield: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness." 6. Murray, "It is unnecessary, and it weakens the biblical concept of the wrath of God, to deprive it of its emotional and affective character . . . to construe God's wrath as simply in his purpose to punish sin or to secure the connection between sin and misery is to equate wrath with its effects and virtually eliminate wrath as a movement within the mind of God. Wrath is the holy revulsion of God's being against that which is the contradiction of his holiness." 7. Gill, “ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven,.... The apostle having hinted at the doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ; and which he

designed more largely to insist upon in this epistle, and to prove that there can be no justification of a sinner in the sight of God by the deeds of the law, in order to set this matter in a clear light, from hence, to the end of the chapter, and in the following ones, represents the sad estate and condition of the Gentiles with the law of nature, and of the Jews with the law of Moses; by which it most clearly appears, that neither of them could be justified by their obedience to the respective laws under which they were, but that they both stood in need of the righteousness of God. By "the wrath of God" is meant the displicency and indignation of God at sin and sinners; his punitive justice, and awful vengeance; the judgments which he executes in this world; and that everlasting displeasure of his, and wrath to come in another world, which all through sin are deserving of, some are appointed to, God's elect are delivered from, through Christ's sustaining it, in their room and stead, and which comes and abides on all impenitent and unbelieving persons. This is said to be "revealed", where? not in the Gospel, in which the righteousness of God is revealed; unless the Gospel be taken for the books of the four Evangelists, or for the Gospel dispensation, or for that part of the ministry of a Gospel preacher, which represents the wrath of God as the desert of sin, the dreadfulness of it, and the way to escape it; for the Gospel, strictly taken, is grace, good news, glad tidings, and not wrath and damnation; though indeed in Christ's sufferings for the sins of his people, which the Gospel gives us an account of, there is a great display of the wrath of God, and of his indignation against sin: but this wrath of God is revealed in the law, it is known by the light of nature, and to be perceived in the law of Moses, and may be observed in the Scriptures, where are many instances and examples of divine wrath and displeasure; as in the total destruction of the old world by a world wide flood, the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, turning Lot's wife into a pillar of salt, the plagues of Egypt, and the several instances mentioned in this chapter. This wrath is said to be God's wrath "from heaven", by the awful blackness which covers the heavens, the storms and tempests raised in them, and by pouring down water or fire in a surprising manner, on the inhabitants of the world; or "from heaven", that is, openly, manifestly, in the sight of all; or from God who is in heaven, and not from second causes; and more especially it will be revealed from heaven, when Christ shall descend from thence at the day of judgment: the subject matter or object of it, against, or "upon" which it is revealed, are, all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men; that is, all ungodly and unrighteous men; or all men who are guilty of ungodliness, the breach of the first table of the law, which respects the worship of God, and of unrighteousness, the breach of the second table of the law, which regards our neighbours' good: and these persons are further described as such, who hold the truth in unrighteousness: meaning either such who know the Gospel, which is "the truth", and do not profess it openly, but hold and imprison it in their minds, which is a great piece of unrighteousness; or if they do profess it, do not live up to it in their lives: or rather the Gentile philosophers are designed, who are spoken of in the following verse; See Gill on Rom_1:22; who had some knowledge of

the truth of the divine Being, and his perfections, and of the difference between moral good and evil; but did not like to retain it themselves, nor communicate all they knew to others, nor did they live according to that knowledge which they had. 8. Clarke, “For the wrath of God is revealed - The apostle has now finished his preface, and comes to the grand subject of the epistle; namely, to show the absolute need of the Gospel of Christ, because of the universal corruption of mankind; which was so great as to incense the justice of God, and call aloud for the punishment of the world 1. He shows that all the heathen nations were utterly corrupt, and deserved this threatened punishment. And this is the subject of the first chapter, from Rom_1:18 to the end (Rom_1:18-32). 2. He shows that the Jews, notwithstanding the greatness of their privileges, were no better than the Gentiles; and therefore the wrath of God was revealed against them also. This subject he treats in Romans 2:1-29 and Romans 3:1-19. 3. He returns, as it were, on both, Rom_3:20-31, and proves that, as the Jews and Gentiles were equally corrupt, they could not be saved by the deeds of any law; that they stood equally in need of that salvation which God had provided; that both were equally entitled to that salvation, for God was the God of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. By οργη θεου, the wrath of God, we are not to understand any uneasy passion in the Divine Being; but the displeasure of his righteousness, which is expressed by the punishments inflicted on the ungodly, those who retain not God in their knowledge; and the unrighteous, those whose lives are profligate. As, in the Gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed for the salvation of the ungodly, so is the wrath of God revealed against the workers of iniquity. Those who refuse to be saved in the way revealed by his mercy must be consumed in the way revealed by his justice. Ungodliness - ασεβειαν, from α , negative, and σεβω or σεβοµαι, I worship, probably intended here to express atheism, polytheism, and idolatry of every kind. Unrighteousness - αδικιαν from α, negative, and δικη, justice; every thing contrary to strict morality; all viciousness and profligacy of conduct. Who hold the truth in unrighteousness - In what sense could it be said that the heathen held the truth in unrighteousness, when they really had not that truth? Some think this refers to the conduct of their best philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, Seneca, etc., who knew much more of the Divine nature than they thought safe or prudent to discover; and who acted in many things contrary to the light which they enjoyed. Others think this to be spoken of the Gentiles in general, who either did know, or might have known, much of God from the works of creation, as the apostle intimates in the following verses. But Rosenmuller and some others contend that the word κατεχειν here does not signify to hold, but to hinder; and that the place should be translated, who through maliciousness hinder the truth; i.e. prevent it from taking hold of their hearts, and from governing their conduct. This is certainly a very usual acceptation of the verb κατεχειν, which Hesychius

interprets κρατειν, κωλυειν, συνεχειν, to retain, hinder, etc.; these men hindering, by their vicious conduct, the truth of God from being propagated in the earth. 9. Barnes, “For - This word denotes that the apostle is about to give a reason for what he had just said. This verse commences the argument of the Epistle. an argument designed to establish the proposition advanced in Rom_1:17. The proposition is, that God’s plan of justification is revealed in the gospel. To show this, it was necessary to show that all other plans had failed; and that there was need of some new plan or scheme to save people. To this he devotes this and the two following chapters. The design of this argument is, to show that people were sinners. And in order to make this out, it was necessary to show that they were under law. This was clear in regard to the Jews. They had the Scriptures; and the apostle in this chapter shows that it was equally clear in regard to the Gentiles, and then proceeds to show that both had failed of obeying the Law. To see this clearly it is necessary to add only, that there can be but two ways of justification conceived of; one by obedience to law, and the other by grace. The former was the one by which Jews and Gentiles had sought to be justified; and if it could be shown that in this they had failed, the way was clear to show that there was need of some other plan. The wrath of God - ὀργὴ Θεοῦ orgē Theou. The word rendered “wrath” properly denotes that earnest appetite or desire by which we seek anything, or an intense effort to obtain it. And it is particularly applied to the desire which a man has to take vengeance who is injured, and who is enraged. It is thus synonymous with revenge. Eph_4:31, “let all bitterness, and wrath, etc.; Col_3:8, “anger, wrath, malice,” etc.; 1Ti_2:8; Jam_1:19. But it is also often applied to God; and it is clear that when we think of the word as applicable to him, it must be divested of everything like human passion, and especially of the passion of revenge. As he cannot be injured by the sins of people Job_25:6, he has no motive for vengeance properly so called, and it is one of the most obvious rules of interpretation that we are not to apply to God passions and feelings which, among us, have their origin in evil. In making a revelation, it was indispensable to use words which people used; but it does not follow that when applied to God they mean precisely what they do when applied to man. When the Saviour is said Mar_3:5 to have looked on his disciples with anger (Greek, “wrath,” the same word is here), it is not to be supposed that he had the feelings of an implacable man seeking vengeance. The nature of the feeling is to be judged of by the character of the person. So, in this place, the word denotes the “divine displeasure” or “indignation” against sin; the divine purpose to “inflict punishment. It is the opposition of the divine character against sin;” and the determination of the divine mind to express that opposition in a proper way, by excluding the offender from the favors which he bestows on the righteous. It is not an unamiable, or arbitrary principle of conduct. We all admire the character of a father who is opposed to disorder, and vice, and disobedience in his family, and who expresses his opposition in a proper way. We admire the character of a ruler who is opposed to all crime in the community, and who expresses those feelings in the laws. And the more he is opposed to vice and

crime, the more we admire his character and his laws; and why shall we be not equally pleased with God, who is opposed to all crime in all parts of the universe, and who determines to express it in the proper way for the sake of preserving order and promoting peace? The phrase “divine displeasure” or “indignation,” therefore, expresses the meaning of this phrase; see Mat_3:7; Luk_3:7; Luk_21:23; Joh_3:36; Rom_2:5, Rom_2:8; Rom_3:5; Rom_4:15; Rom_5:9; Rom_9:22; Rom_12:19; Rom_13:4-5; Eph_2:3; Eph_5:6; 1Th_1:10; 1Th_2:16, etc. The word occurs 35 times in the ew Testament. Is revealed - That is, revealed to the Jews by their Law; and to the Gentiles in their reason, and conscience, as the apostle proceeds to show. From heaven - This expression I take to mean simply that the divine displeasure against sin is made known by a divine appointment; by an arrangement of events, communications, and arguments, which evince that they have had their origin in heaven; or are divine. How this is, Paul proceeds to state, in the works of creation, and in the Law which the Hebrews had. A variety of meanings have been given to this expression, but this seems the most satisfactory. It does not mean that the wrath will be sent from heaven; or that the heavens declare his wrath; or that the heavenly bodies are proofs of his wrath against sin; or that Christ, the executioner of wrath, will be manifest from heaven (Origen, Cyril, Beza, etc.); or that it is from God who is in heaven; but that it is by an arrangement which shows that it had its origin in heaven. or has proofs that it is divine. Against all ungodliness - This word properly means “impiety” toward God, or neglect of the worship and honor due to him. ἀσέβειαν asebeian. It refers to the fact that people had failed to honor the true God, and had paid to idols the homage which was due to him. Multitudes also in every age refuse to honor him, and neglect his worship, though they are not idolaters. Many people suppose that if they do not neglect their duty to their fellow-men, if they are honest and upright in their dealings, they are not guilty, even though they are not righteous, or do not do their duty to God; as though it were a less crime to dishonor God than man; and as though it were innocence to neglect and disobey our Maker and Redeemer. The apostle here shows that the wrath of God is as really revealed against the neglect of God as it is against positive iniquity; and that this is an offence of so much consequence as to be placed “first,” and as deserving the divine indignation more than the neglect of our duties toward people; compare Rom_11:26; 2Ti_2:16; Tit_2:12; Jud_1:15, Jud_1:18. The word does not occur elsewhere in the ew Testament. Unrighteousness of men - Unrighteousness, or iniquity toward people. All offences against our neighbor, our parents. our country, etc. The word “ungodliness” includes all crimes against God; this, all crimes against our fellow-men. The two words express what comprehends the violation of all the commands of God; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, etc. and thy neighbor as thyself,” Mat_22:37-40. The wrath of God is thus revealed against all human wickedness. Who hold the truth - Who “keep back,” or “restrain” the truth. The word translated “hold” here, sometimes means to “maintain,” to “keep,” to “observe” 1Co_7:30; 2Co_6:12; but it also means to “hold back, to detain, to hinder.”

Luk_4:42, “the people sought him (Jesus), and came to him, and stayed him.” (Greek, the same as here.) Phm_1:13, “whom I would have “retained” with me,” etc.; 2Th_2:6, “and now ye know what “withholdeth,” etc. In this place it means also that they held back, or restrained the truth, by their wickedness. The truth - The truth of God, in whatever way made known, and particularly, as the apostle goes on to say, what is made known by the light of nature. The truth pertaining to his perfections, his Law, etc. They hold it back. or restrain its influence. In unrighteousness - Or rather, by their iniquity. Their wickedness is the cause why the truth had had so little progress among them, and had exerted so little influence. This was done by their yielding to corrupt passions and propensities, and by their being therefore unwilling to retain the knowledge of a pure and holy God, who is opposed to such deeds, and who will punish them. As they were determined to practice iniquity, they chose to exclude the knowledge of a pure God, and to worship impure idols, by which they might give a sanction to their lusts. Their vice and tendency to iniquity was, therefore, the reason why they had so little knowledge of a holy God; and by the love of this, they held back the truth from making progress, and becoming diffused among them. The same thing is substantially true now. People hold back or resist the truth of the gospel by their sins in the following ways. (1) People of influence and wealth employ both, in directly opposing the gospel. (2) People directly resist the doctrines of religion. since they know they could not hold to those doctrines without abandoning their sins. (3) People who resolve to live in sin, of course, resist the gospel, and endeavor to prevent its influence. (4) Pride, and vanity, and the love of the world also resist the gospel, and oppose its advances. (5) Unlawful business - business that begins in evil, and progresses, and ends in evil - has this tendency to hold back the gospel. Such is the effect of the traffic in ardent spirits, in the slave-trade, etc. They begin in the love of money, the root of all evil 1Ti_6:10; they progress in the tears and sorrows of the widow, the orphan, the wife, the sister, or the child; and they end in the deep damnation of multitudes in the world to come. Perhaps there has been nothing that has so much held back the influence of truth, and of the gospel, as indulgence in the vice of intemperance, and traffic in liquid fire. (6) Indulgence in vice, or wickedness of any kind, holds back the truth of God. People who are resolved to indulge their passions will not yield themselves to this truth. And hence, all the wicked, the proud, and vain, and worldly are responsible, not only for their own sins directly, but for hindering, by their example and their crimes, the effect of religion on others. They are answerable for standing in the way of God and his truth; and for opposing him in the benevolent design of doing good to all people. There is nothing that prevents the universal spread and influence of truth but sin. And people of wickedness are answerable for all the ignorance and wo which are spread over the community, and which have extended themselves over the world.

10. Jamison, “who hold — rather, “hold down,” “hinder,” or “keep back.” the truth in unrighteousness — The apostle, though he began this verse with a comprehensive proposition regarding men in general, takes up in the end of it only one of the two great divisions of mankind, to whom he meant to apply it; thus gently sliding into his argument. But before enumerating their actual iniquities, he goes back to the origin of them all, their stifling the light which still remained to them. As darkness overspreads the mind, so impotence takes possession of the heart, when the “still small voice” of conscience is first disregarded, next thwarted, and then systematically deadened. Thus “the truth” which God left with and in men, instead of having free scope and developing itself, as it otherwise would, was obstructed (compare Mat_6:22, Mat_6:23; Eph_4:17, Eph_4:18).

11. Is it worse to teach error or to suppress the truth? One may teach error in ignorance, but to suppress what you know to be true is to deliberately deprive others of a known value, and this is more wicked in principle. The whole context here implies that homosexuality is a consequence of suppressing the truth about God and His nature. If men knew God rightly they would have proper ideas about man and his function. Sex and salvation go hand in hand. If a man knows God and acknowledges Him as He is revealed in nature, he will be one who lives in harmony with nature and thus be sexually normal and natural. If he denies God and substitutes some aspect of nature for God, then he will tend also to substitute abnormal and unnatural sex for natural sex. This does not mean that all unbelievers have unnatural sex drives, nor that all believers have normal ones, but as a whole this is the pattern. Truth about God leads to normal sex, and suppression of the truth leads to abnormal sex. The saved person is more likely to be sexually normal. Those with the problem of homosexually can be saved and delivered. Salvation changes ones sex knowledge and practice as seen in I Cor. 6:9-11. Even after they are delivered from abnormal sex, however, the Christian still has his problems with the normal sex drive. atural sex can still be immoral as seen in I Cor. 6:12-20. Ignorance is the primary cause of the sex problems of the world. Sex education must be combined with Christian education or it will not help solve the problem. 12. Unknown author, “Unknown author, “The primary topic of our passage is the wrath of God, God’s righteous indignation occasioned by sin and expressed in divine judgment. God’s righteousness (one of His attributes) requires His judgment upon sin. God is holy, and in His holiness and justice, He must deal with sin accordingly. If I understand our text correctly, not only does God’s wrath respond to man’s sin, but it corresponds to his sin. There is a kind of poetic justice or irony to God’s judgment. When men pervert God’s revelation, God turns them over to various perversions. When men reject the revelation of God in nature, He turns

them over to that which is not natural. When men do not honor God, He turns them over to sin which dishonors them. God’s wrath, according to Paul’s teaching, is both present (1:18-32) and future (2:1ff.). In addition to the factor of God’s timing in judgment, there are several other clear distinctions between God’s present wrath and His coming wrath: (1) While God’s present wrath is largely passive, His future wrath is active. (2) God’s present wrath allows sin to increase; God’s future wrath will put an end to sin, causing it to cease. (3) God’s present wrath is often not recognized as such, and Christians must believe it by faith; His future wrath cannot be missed. (4) God’s present wrath is reversible; His future wrath is not. Strange as it may seem, God’s present wrath punishes men by giving them what they want. God’s present wrath gives men more rope, so to speak, allowing them to plunge more deeply into sin.67 This may seem to be wrong, but a little thought will explain why God deals with sin this way. I am reminded of the parable of “the wheat and the tares” in Matthew 13. The evil one comes, sowing tares among the wheat which has already been sown. The workers notify their master, who tells them to let both grow up together, and when they have matured, both the wheat and the tares will be evident, so that the tares may be pulled up and burned. So too with sin. God allows sin to increase, to the point where it becomes more visible. When sin is seen for what it is, men may, in the providence and grace of God, desire to be delivered from it. It is those who have drunk most deeply from the cup of sin who may be ready to give it up, who are sickened by it and who want to be forgiven and delivered. The prodigal son was allowed by his father to plunge deeply into sin, and it was in the pig pen that this son “came to himself,” repented, and returned to his father. God’s present wrath is really a gracious gesture on God’s part. It is not permanent, and it is not irreversible. When God gives men over to sin, He is not giving up on men. Giving men over to sin is God’s way of encouraging men to forsake their sin and to be saved. While God’s future wrath, once in force, cannot be reversed or escaped, God’s present wrath can be reversed, and men can escape. The reason for this is that God has already poured out His “future wrath” on Jesus Christ. This is the good news of the gospel. God’s anger toward sin has been satisfied in Christ because His wrath was poured out on Him, at Calvary. Have you accepted God’s forgiveness in Christ? Those who have trusted in Christ have already been punished, in Him. o man needs to suffer God’s eternal wrath, for Christ has suffered it for us. But only those who trust in Him may share in God’s salvation through Him. God’s future wrath falls only on those who reject the suffering of

Jesus Christ, bearing God’s wrath, in their place. How tragic! Men have chosen to reject God, they refuse to acknowledge Him, and they desire to live their lives without Him. In the Great Tribulation, God will give men their desire in even greater measure (see 2 Thessalonians 2). The God who “holds all things together” (Colossians 1:17) will remove His hand, and all of the universe will become chaotic. Men will not know if the sun will rise or if the planets will collide (see Matthew 24:29). It will be a frightening day when God gives men what they want. But this time of tribulation will be God’s instrument of turning men and women to Himself in faith and in repentance. Those who do not see sin as a judgment will have difficulty understanding how God can allow men to fall more deeply into sin. But sin is a judgment. Sin is not a reward, but a curse. And thus to allow men to drink more deeply from the cup of sin is a judgment. Christians need to get their thinking straight here. Sin is not a blessing, but a curse. We dare not envy the sinner, as though they are enjoying that which is good. We dare not think of God as holding back something good from us by prohibiting sin. This is like Adam and Eve thinking that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was really “good,” when it was something to be avoided. Hell is that place where God will give men an eternity to wallow in the sins which they desired, as though they were a delight. Heaven is the place where saints will eternally practice that which is good and perfect and a delight to the righteous. In heaven we will be occupied with the eternal joy of worshipping and praising God and serving Him (just as men should be doing now, but which sinners refuse to do). We can experience some of heaven now by occupying ourselves with these very things, even as God’s Word challenges and instructs us (see Romans 1:21). God not only reveals His wrath by giving the unbelieving men what they want; He sometimes chastens Christians by giving them what they want, out of their lusts and sinful desires. Paul does not tell us that God only reveals His wrath presently on the unbelieving, but rather that He is presently revealing His wrath toward “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (1:18). I believe Paul includes the sins of all men, both saved and unsaved, in this statement. A God who is righteous takes all sin seriously, including the sins of His people: They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. So He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul (Psalm 106:13-15, following the marginal reading of the ASB at verse 15). There are times when our desires are not godly desires, but simply fleshly lusts. We may deceive ourselves about these, thinking that they are from God. We may persist in praying that God give them to us. And He might just do just that. But it is sometimes the discipline of God and not a blessing. It may be that God is allowing us

to have our fill of some desire, only to see how empty it really was. God may give us what we desire, in order to change our desires. Finally, the wrath of God should be a motivating truth. It should be a fearful reality, a deterrent to sin. It should be, for the unsaved, a motivation to turn in faith to God for salvation. It should also be, for the Christian, a great source of encouragement and hope. We who pray for the coming of His kingdom, so that God’s will might be done on earth, as it is in heaven, should find comfort and joy in the wrath of God, which will not only punish sin, but which will remove sin, once and for all, from the earth. What a day that will be! A Word to Parents About the Wrath of God I believe that Paul’s teaching on the present wrath of God has several implications for parents. Letting men have their way is giving men over to their sin and is a divine judgment. Those who are given over to sin are those who know the truth, but reject it. I believe that there are times when the parents of older children must give them over to sin, much like the father of the prodigal son did (see Luke 15). I do not think that we should remove restraint from young children. How often I see parents letting their children have their way, deceiving themselves that this is an expression of love. We must, as parents, reflect the righteousness of God. We must hate sin and must punish the sinner. Letting our children have their own way is a clear disobedience to God’s Word.” 13. Colenco, “Then, having thus made a general statement, which really involves the Jew as well as the Gentile, St. Paul does not apply it immediately to the former; but he takes his Jewish reader by guile, turns off his attention, as it were, for a while from what he is doing, and adroitly first carries him away with him to condemn the heathen sinning against light, which the Jew will very readily join him in doing. The Apostle's words glow, his heart swells, as he goes on. It seems as if he could not find language distinct and strong enough to bring the heathen under condemnation as sinners. Yet still it will be seen that he keeps the same point steadily before him throughout, before his own eyes and those of his readers, this, namely, that God's wrath is being revealed upon those who know what is right, yet, against their better light and knowledge, willingly and wilfully do what is wrong. Thus he speaks of those who 'keep back the truth through iniquity,' — who ' knowing God,' in some measure, yet ' do not glorify Him as God, nor are thankful,' — who deliberately ' change the truth of God,' of which their consciences tell them more or less clearly, ' into falsehood,' — who ' do not distinguish to retain God in knowledge,' — who, in short, 'know the righteous judgment of God, that those, who do such things, are worthy of death, yet both do them themselves, and encourage others to do them.' All these expressions are manifestly intended to include Jews as well as Gentiles, and, indeed, are framed with express reference to the former, though the Apostle does not yet unmask, as it were, his design, and

his words seem to be bearing only upon the heathen world. Thus far, doubtless, while condemning such sinners against their better light and knowledge among the heathen, he will have carried his Jewish reader along with him, borne away, as it were, unresisting, by the power of the truth, in the strong current of his vehement words. Then suddenly, with admirable abruptness, he stops short, brings up the Jew in a moment, turns round upon him, and asks, ' Well ! and you, who are able to join so readily in passing judgment upon these, you, who know that such acts in a heathen are wrong, — I ask you, are they not wrong in a Jew also ? Is it conceivable that God's wrath is being revealed for them only, and not much more for Jews, who, having more light than others, yet sin as they do ? Can you imagine that there is any thing merely in a man's being a Jew, circumcised, a child of Abraham, that will screen him from the righteous judgment of God, if he does such things? ' Of course, if he can bring them to see and admit that in any one single case, even of a wicked and profligate Jew, his supposed immunity from God's wrath cannot possibly be maintained, he will have introduced, as it were, the thin end of the wedge, and presently may push on his advantage to overthrow the whole structure of Judaism. 14. Haldane, “It is connected by the particle for with the preceding verse, and constitutes an argument in favour of the statement, that nowhere, except in the Gospel, is the righteousness of God revealed for the justification of sinners, and marks the necessity, for this purpose, of that revelation. This argument is evolved at great length, and the exposition of it does not terminate till the 20th verse of the third chapter. In this long section of the Epistle, a foundation is laid for the doctrine of grace in the announcement of the doctrine of wrath : all men are concluded under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe that it might be shown, beyond question, that if men are to be justified, it cannot be by a righteousness of their own, but by the righteousness provided by God, and revealed in the Gospel. The Apostle begins here by proving that the Gentiles were all guilty, and all subjected to the just judgment of God. The wrath of God is revealed. The declaration of the wrath of God is a fit preparation for the announcement of grace, not only because wrath necessarily precedes grace in the order of nature, but because, to dispose men to resort to grace, they must be affected with the dread of wrath and a sense of their danger. The wrath of God denotes His vengeance, by ascribing, as is usual in Scripture, the passions of men to God. It implies no emotion in God, but has reference to the judgment and feeling of the sinner who is punished. It is the universal voice of nature, and is als revealed in the consciences of men. It was revealed when the sentence

of death was first pronounced, the earth cursed, and man driven out of tl earthly paradise, and afterwards by such examples of punishment as thos< of the deluge, and the destruction of the Cities of the Flam by fire from heaven, but especially by the reign of death throughout the world, was proclaimed in the curse of the law on every transgression, and was intimated in the institution of sacrifice, and in all the services of Mosaic dispensation. In the eighth chapter of this Epistle, the Apostle calls the attention of believers to the fact that the whole creation has become subject to vanity, and groaneth and travaileth together in pain The same creation which declares that there is a God, and publishes His glory, also proves that He is the enemy of sin and the avenger of the crimes of men. So that this revelation of wrath is universal throughout the world, and none can plead ignorance of it. But, above all, the wrath of God was revealed from heaven when the Son of God came down to manifest the Divine character, and when that wrath was displayed in His sufferings and death, in a manner more awful than by all the tokens God had before given of His displeasure against sin. Besides this, the future and eternal punishment of the wicked is now declared in terms more solemn and explicit than formerly. Under the new dispensation, there are two revelations given from heaven, one of wrath, the other of grace. Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Here the Apostle proceeds to describe the awful state of the Gentiles, living under the revelation of nature, but destitute of the knowledge of the grace of God revealed in the Gospel. He begins with accusing the whole heathen world, first of ungodliness, and next of unrighteousness. He proves that, so far from rendering to their Creator the love and obedience of a grate ful heart, they trampled on His authority, and strove to rob Him of His glory. Failing, then, in their duty towards God, and having plunged into the depths of all ungodliness, it was no wonder that their dealings with their fellowmen were characterized by all unrighteousness. The word all denotes two things : the one is, that the wrath of God extends to the entire mass of ungodliness and unrighteousness, which reigns among men, without excepting the least part ; the other is, that ungodli ness and unrighteousness had arrived at their height, and reigned among the Gentiles with such undisturbed supremacy, that there remained no soundness among them. The first charge brought under the head of ungodliness, is that of holding the truth in unrighteousness. The expression, the truth, when it stands unconnected in the ew Testament, generally denotes the Gospel. Here, however, it is evidently limited to the truth concerning God, which, by the works of creation, and the remains of the law of con science, and partly from tradition, was notified to the heathens. The

word l hold, in the original, signifies to hold fast a thing supposed to be valuable, as well as to withhold, as it is rendered 2 Thess. ii. 6, and to restrain or suppress. The latter is the meaning here. The heathens did not hold fast the truth, but they suppressed or restrained what they knew about God. The expression signifies they retained it as in a prison, under the weight and oppression of their iniquities. But besides this general accusation, the Apostle appears particularly to have had reference to the chief men among the Pagans, whom they called philosophers, and who professed themselves wise. The declaration that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, ittacked directly the principle which they universally held to be true, namely, that God could not be angry with any man. "Almost all of them believed the truth of the Divine unity, which they communicated to ose who were initiated into their mysteries. But all of them at the same time, held it as a maxim, and enjoined it as a precept on their disciples, that nothing should be changed in the popular worship of their country, to which, without a single exception, they conformed, although it consisted of the most absurd and wicked idolatrous rites, in honour of a multitude of gods of the most odious and abominable character. Thus they not only resisted and constantly acted in opposition to the force of the truth in their own minds, but also suppressed what they knew of it, and prevented it from being told to the people.

19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
1. Calvin, “By saying God has made it manifest, he means, that man was created to be a spectator of this formed world, and that eyes were given him, that he might, by looking on so beautiful a picture, be led to the author himself.” 2. Gill, “ Because that which may be known of God,.... There are some things which could not be known of God by the light of nature; as a trinity of persons in the Godhead; the knowledge of God in Christ as Mediator; the God-man and Mediator Jesus Christ; his incarnation, sufferings, death, and resurrection; the will of God to save sinners by a crucified Jesus; the several peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, particularly the resurrection of the dead, and the manner of worshipping of God with acceptance: but then there are some things which may be known of God, without a revelation. Adam had a perfect knowledge of him; and his sons, though

fallen, even the very Heathens have some notion of him, as that there is a God; and by the light of nature it might be known that there is but one God, who is glorious, full of majesty, and possessed of all perfections, as that he is all powerful, wise, good and righteous: and this is manifest in them, or "to them"; by the light that is given them: it is light by which that which may be known of God is manifest; and this is the light of nature, which every man has that comes into the world; and this is internal, it is in him, in his mind and conscience, and is communicated to him by God, and that by infusion or inspiration; see Job_32:8; for God hath showed it unto them; what may be known of him by that light; and which is assisted and may be improved by a consideration of the works of creation and Providence. 3. Clarke, “That which may be known of God - Dr. Taylor paraphrases this and the following verse thus: “Although the Gentiles had no written revelation, yet what may be known of God is every where manifest among them, God having made a clear discovery of himself to them. For his being and perfections, invisible to our bodily eyes, have been, ever since the creation of the world, evidently to be seen, if attentively considered, in the visible beauty, order, and operations observable in the constitution and parts of the universe; especially his eternal power and universal dominion and providence: so that they cannot plead ignorance in excuse of their idolatry and wickedness.” 4. Constable, “These verses begin a discussion of "natural revelation." Verse 19 states the fact of natural revelation, and verse 20 explains the process.54 atural revelation describes what everyone knows about God because of what God has revealed concerning Himself in nature.55 What He has revealed about Himself in Scripture is "special revelation." The creation bears testimony to its Maker, and every human being "hears" this witness (cf. Ps. 19).56 " apoleon, on a warship in the Mediterranean on a star-lit night, passed a group of his officers who were mocking at the idea of a God. He stopped, and sweeping his hand toward the stars, said, 'Gentlemen, you must get rid of those first!'"57 Four things characterize this revelation. First, it is a clear testimony; everyone is aware of it ("it is evident [plain]"). Second, everyone can understand it. We can draw conclusions about the Creator from His creation. "His invisible attributes . . . have been clearly seen" is an oxymoron. Third, this revelation has gone out since the creation of the world in every generation. Fourth, it is a limited revelation in that it does not reveal everything about God (e.g., His love and grace) but only some things (i.e., His power and divine nature).

atural revelation makes man responsible to respond to his Creator in worship and submission.59 However it does not give sufficient information for him to experience salvation. That is why everyone needs to hear the gospel. Paul did not explain exactly how God reveals Himself in nature, and there have been three popular explanations. One is that He left behind clues or "tracks" in creation from which everyone can reason that there is a Creator. Another explanation is that God personally reveals His presence to everyone through the medium of creation. Still another view is that everyone has a vague awareness of God because we recognize that we are finite creatures living in a contingent world. one of these views is demonstrably certain, and all of them have problems. More than one may be true. 5. Unknown author, “CREATIO MAKES K OW THE CREATOR. The visible things that are made point to the invisible Creator! Design in nature points to a great Designer! The "things that are made" point to the divine MAKER. ote the two things that we can learn about God from Creation: 1) His eternal POWER; 2) His GODHEAD (deity). Illustration: Consider Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, where there is a huge sculpture of the heads of four Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt). Each head is 60 feet high! About 3 million people visit this interesting national memorial each year. Suppose Mr. Sam Smith visited this mountain for the very first time and no one told him anything about how the heads were formed. What would Sam think? a. He would think that the heads were formed by CHA CE. The sculpture somehow just happened. b. He would think that all the forces of nature (winds, rains, snow, storms, etc.) had their effect upon this mountain for thousands and thousands of years until finally the rocks were accidentally shaped in just the right way. c. He would realize that intelligent men must have formed and carved out such a massive sculpture. By simply looking at Mt. Rushmore, Mr. smith could learn certain things about the men who formed and carved it (even though he had never seen or met these men): 1) These men must have had I TELLIGE CE to be able to plan and design such a monument. 2) These men must have had WISDOM to be able to carry out such a great project. Indeed it took more than six years to complete; 3) These men must have had POWER to be able to carve into hard granite (using

dynamite, etc.). 4) These men must have had SKILL to be able to transform a rugged cliff into an artistic masterpiece. In the same way, by simply looking at Creation, we can learn many things about the Creator. Here are some of the things we can learn about God: 1) GOD’S ORDERLI ESS (He is a God of law and order) -- the law of gravity and all the other unchangeable laws of nature; 2) GOD’S ARTISTRY – colorful sunsets, peacock feathers, colors on tropical fish; 3) GOD’S POWER -- thunderstorms, tornados, tidal waves; 4) GOD’S GOOD ESS -- rain from heaven, fruitful seasons, sunshine enjoyed by all (Acts 14:17; Matthew 5:44-45); 5) GOD’S GREAT ESS (BIG ESS) -- the vast dimensions of our universe. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains 300,000,000 suns. We can’t even count all the galaxies, much less all the stars (Psalm 8:3-4; Genesis 15:5; Jer. 31:37; 33:22; Psalm 147:4); 6) GOD’S I TELLIGE CE -- the human brain is far more complex and far more complicated than any computer that man has ever made, and computers are made by intelligent men (see Psalm 139:14); 7) GOD’S CREATIVITY (His unlimited ability to create and design with amazing variety and originality) -- every snowflake is a six-sided crystal and yet no two are alike; no two people are alike and there are differences even among identical twins; 8) GOD’S WISDOM (the All-Wise God created the world in the very best way) -the sun is not too far from the earth and not too close to the earth, planet earth has just the right amount of water, oxygen, etc. 9) GOD’ S CARE (see Matthew 6:26-30; 23:37) -- birds feeding, the lily clothed; the chick protected and nestled by the hen; 10) GOD’ S FAITHFUL ESS -- the day-night cycle; the seasonal cycle (see Genesis 8:22; Jer. 31:35-36; 33:20).” 6. Barnes, “Because - The apostle proceeds to show how it was that the pagan hindered the truth by their iniquity. This he does by showing that the truth might be known by the works of creation; and that nothing but their iniquity prevented it. That which may be known of God - That which is “knowable” concerning God. The expression implies that there may be many things concerning God which cannot be known. But there are also many things which may be ascertained. Such

are his existence, and many of his attributes, his power, and wisdom, and justice, etc. The object of the apostle was not to say that every thing pertaining to God could be known by them, or that they could have as clear a view of him as if they had possessed a revelation. We must interpret the expression according to the object which he had in view. That was to show that so much might be known of God as to prove that they had no excuse for their crimes; or that God would be just in punishing them for their deeds. For this, it was needful only that his existence and his justice, or his determination to punish sin, should be known; and this, the apostle affirms, was known among them, and had been from the creation of the world. This expression. therefore, is not to be pressed as implying that they knew all that could be known about God, or that they knew as much as they who had a revelation; but that they knew enough to prove that they had no excuse for their sins. Is manifest - Is known; is understood. In them - “Among” them. So the preposition “in” is often used. It means that they had this knowledge; or it had been communicated to them. The great mass of the pagan world was indeed ignorant of the true God; but their leaders, or their philosophers, had this knowledge; see the note at Rom_1:21. But this was not true of the mass, or body of the people. Still it was true that this knowledge was in the possession of man, or was “among” the pagan world. and would have spread, had it not been for the love of sin. God hath showed it to them - Compare Joh_1:9. He had endowed them with reason and conscience Rom_2:14-15; he had made them capable of seeing and investigating his works; he had spread before them the proofs of his wisdom, and goodness, and power, and had thus given them the means of learning his perfections and will. 7. Henry, “What discoveries they had: That which may be known of God is manifest, en autois - among them; that is, there were some even among them that had the knowledge of God, were convinced of the existence of one supreme umen. The philosophy of Pythagoras, Plato, and the Stoics, discovered a great deal of the knowledge of God, as appears by abundance of testimonies. That which may be known, which implies that there is a great deal which may not be known. The being of God may be apprehended, but cannot be comprehended. We cannot by searching find him out, Job_11:7-9. Finite understandings cannot perfectly know an infinite being; but, blessed be God, there is that which may be known, enough to lead us to our chief end, the glorifying and enjoying of him; and these things revealed belong to us and to our children, while secret things are not to be pried into, Deu_29:29. 2. Whence they had these discoveries: God hath shown it to them. Those common natural notions which they had of God were imprinted upon their hearts by the God of nature himself, who is the Father of lights. This sense of a Deity, and a regard to that Deity, are so connate with the human nature that some think we are to distinguish men from brutes by these rather than by reason. 3. By what way and means these discoveries and notices which they had were confirmed and improved, namely, by the work of creation (Rom_1:20); For the invisible things of God, etc.

(1.) Observe what they knew: The invisible things of him, even his eternal power and Godhead. Though God be not the object of sense, yet he hath discovered and made known himself by those things that are sensible. The power and Godhead of God are invisible things, and yet are clearly seen in their products. He works in secret (Job_23:8, Job_23:9; Psa_139:15; Ecc_11:5), but manifests what he has wrought, and therein makes known his power and Godhead, and others of his attributes which natural light apprehends in the idea of a God. They could not come by natural light to the knowledge of the three persons in the Godhead (though some fancy they have found footsteps of this in Plato's writings), but they did come to the knowledge of the Godhead, at least so much knowledge as was sufficient to have kept them from idolatry. This was that truth which they held in unrighteousness. (2.) How they knew it: By the things that are made, which could not make themselves, nor fall into such an exact order and harmony by any casual hits; and therefore must have been produced by some first cause or intelligent agent, which first cause could be no other than an eternal powerful God. See Psa_19:1; Isa_40:26; Act_17:24. The workman is known by his work. The variety, multitude, order, beauty, harmony, different nature, and excellent contrivance, of the things that are made, the direction of them to certain ends, and the concurrence of all the parts to the good and beauty of the whole, do abundantly prove a Creator and his eternal power and Godhead. Thus did the light shine in the darkness. And this from the creation of the world. Understand it either, [1.] As the topic from which the knowledge of them is drawn. To evince this truth, we have recourse to the great work of creation. And some think this ktisis kosmou, this creature of the world (as it may be read), is to be understood of man, the ktisis kat' exochēn - the most remarkable creature of the lower world, called ktisis, Mar_16:15. The frame and structure of human bodies, and especially the most excellent powers, faculties, and capacities of human souls, do abundantly prove that there is a Creator, and that he is God. Or, [2.] As the date of the discovery. It as old as the creation of the world. In this sense apo ktiseōs is most frequently used in scripture. These notices concerning God are not any modern discoveries, hit upon of late, but ancient truths, which were from the beginning. The way of the acknowledgment of God is a good old way; it was from the beginning. Truth got the start of error. 8. Haldane, “The Apostle here assigns the reason of what he had just affirmed respecting the Gentiles as suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, namely, that which may be known of God, God hath manifested to them. They might have said, they did not suppress the truth in unrighteous ness, for God had not declared it to them as He had done to the Jews. He had, however, sufficiently displayed, in the works of creation, His almighty power, wisdom, and goodness, and other of His Divine attri butes, so as to render them without excuse in their ungodliness and unrighteousness. That which may be known of God, that is to say, not absolutely, for that surpasses the capacity of the creature. God is incomprehensible even by angels, and it is by Himself alone that He can be fully and

perfectly comprehended ; the finite never can comprehend the infinite, Job xi. 7. or do the words before us mean all that can be known of Him by a supernatural revelation, as the mystery of redemption, that of the Trinity, and various other doctrines ; for it is only the Spirit of God who has manifested these things by His word. It is on this account that David says, He showeth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation ; and as for His judgments, they have not known them, Ps. cxlvii. 19. But what may be known of God by the works of creation, He has not con cealed from men. Is manifest in them, or rather, to them. This respects the clearness of the evidence of the object in itself, for it is not an obscure or ambiguous revelation ; it is a manifestation which renders the thing certain. It is made to them ; for the Apostle is referring here only to the external object, as appears by the following verse, and not to the actual know ledge which men had of it, of which he does not speak till the 21st verse. For God hath showed it unto them. He has presented it before their eyes. They all see it, though they do not draw the proper conclusion from it. In like manner He has shown Himself to the world in His Son Jesus Christ. He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. Yet many saw Him who did not recognise the Father in Him. These words, hath showed it unto them, teach us that in the works of creation God has manifested Himself to men to be glorified by them ; and that, in preserv ing the world after sin had entered, He has set before their eyes those great and wonderful works in which He is represented ; and they further show that there is no one who can manifest God to man except Himself, and consequently that all we know of Him must be founded on His own revelation, and not on the authority of any creature.

20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

1. Paul is saying that there is enough evidence in creation to convince anyone who really cares to think about it, that there is a God behind it all. An intelligent mind is necessary to explain all the wonders of the universe, and all those wonders we see right here on earth. Who can be so blind that they do not see wisdom in what God has made? All of the unbelievable things that happen in nature provoke the mind to praise the maker of them. The order and harmony of the laws that govern reality as we see it are awesome, and we are compelled to give thanks for how they bless our lives. We cannot see God, but we can see what he had made, and that is so clearly the product of an all wise mind that we have no excuse for saying it is all a matter of chance. Spurgeon put it this way, "Men who never heard the gospel can see God in his works if they open their eyes. There is written upon the face of nature enough to condemn men if they do not turn to God. There is a gospel of the sea, and of the heavens, of the stars, and of the sun; and if men will not read it, they are guilty, for they are wilfully ignorant of what they might know, and ought to know." 1B. The stars clearly reveal the glory of God. Astrology does influence our lives for it we look up and our hearts are filled with awe we may feel as the psalmist did when he declared, “The heaven declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork.” If we look up and feel small and yet feel awe at the power of God it can be a positive thing in our lives. Scientists have learned that the universe is like a vast machine and they knew that there had to be another star nearby influencing the star Sirius. A powerful telescope eventually found it. The same with the planet Uranus for it moved in such a way that it had to be influenced by another body, and they searched until they discovered the planet eptune. Man sees influence and effect and knows there has to be something causing it even though it is unseen. Science believes in the unseen. Paul says men are held responsible for believing in the reality of the invisible because of the things that are seen. The presence of the marvels of what is seen calls for a rational explanation. If they conclude that there is no cause for these wonders they are fools subject to judgment. They have no excuse for coming to foolish conclusion about what God has done. The evidence is overwhelming and it is only chosen unbelief that denies the evidence for the creator. Sir Isaac ewton one of the greatest scientific minds said near the end of his life, “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” 2. We know what Paul wrote here is true, for we have the testimony of pagan writers who knew there had to be a God who made all that they saw with their eyes. Chrysippus 'If there is anything in nature which the human mind, which human intelligence,

energy and power could not create, then the creator of such things must be a being superior to man. But the heavenly bodies in their eternal orbits could not be created by man. They must therefore be created by a being greater than man ...Only an arrogant fool would imagine that there was nothing in the whole world greater than himself. Therefore there must be something greater than man. And that something must be God.' Chrysippus of Soli (c.280–c.207 BC) (Χρύσιππος ὁ Σολεύς) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was a pupil of Cleanthes, and his successor, in 232 BC, as third head of the Stoa[1] (see: Stoic philosophy). A prolific writer, Chrysippus expanded the fundamental doctrines of Zeno of Citium (first of the Stoics), which earned him the title of Second Founder of Stoicism.[1] He initiated the success of Stoicism as one of the most influential philosophical movements for centuries in the Greek and Roman world.[1] 2B. What we see tells us something about what we cannot see. The invisible is revealed by the visible. The swaying trees and the sounds in the forest of trees tells us about the invisible wind. The tender touch and kiss tells us of the invisible love a couple has for each other. Order reveals mind, and the tear reveals emotion. Ancient testimony backs up Paul. The following study is by an unknown author. For example, it is from the writings of the Taoist Lao-tzu, who flourished in the China of the 6th century BC, that the following profound statement concerning the existence and some of the attributes of God is taken: 'Before time, and throughout time, there has been a self-existing being, eternal, infinite, complete, omnipresent Outside this being, before the beginning, there was nothing.' The following ancient text from Heliopolis in Egypt testifies: 'I am the creator of all things that exist...that came forth from my mouth. Heaven and earth did not exist, nor had been created the herbs of the ground nor the creeping things. I raised them out of the primeval abyss from a state of non-being...' For example, amongst the early Greeks we have in the Theogony of Hesiod (8th century BC) an account of the creation of the world that bears unmistakable and remarkably close similarities with the Genesis account: 'First of all the Void came into being Earth ...Out of the Void came darkness ...and out of the ight came Light and Day...' (7) And yet it is immediately obvious upon reading the whole of the Theogony that Hesiod did not get his information from the book of Genesis. This is evident from his debased view of the Creator alone. But even though Hesiod's debased view may have been typical, and indeed understandable, for one who lived in a thoroughly pagan society, it was by no means a view that was shared by all his fellow pagans. Xenophanes, for example, who lived some two centuries after Hesiod, held an

altogether loftier view of the Creator and in a most inspiring passage sought to redress the theological balance: 'Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods all the things which among men are shameful and blameworthy--theft and adultery and mutual deception... [But] there is one God, greatest among gods and men, similar to mortals neither in shape nor in thought ...he sees as a whole, he thinks as a whole, he hears as a whole ...Always he remains in the same state, changing not at all ...But far from toil he governs everything with his mind.' (8) Xenophanes, typically, would have known the names of all the Greek gods as well as the multitude of functions that they were thought to serve. Yet, significantly, and it is a most significant point, he did not attempt to name or identify the God of whom he now spoke and whom he clearly admired. This God was not a Zeus or a Hermes. This God was ineffable, and His ineffability was a concept that was to persist in Greek thought for as long as Greek philosophy itself was to persist. The concept of this ineffable Creator God permeated the thought of Plato, for example, who sought to replace Hesiod's perverse concepts of the Creation with a more reasonable one, based no doubt upon philosophical concepts far more ancient than Hesiod's and certainly far more profound: 'Let us therefore state the reason why the framer of this universe of change framed it at all. He was good, and what is good has no particle of envy in it; being therefore without envy, he wished all things to be as like himself as possible. This is as valid a principle for the origin of the world of change as we shall discover from the wisdom of men...' (9) ote the echo from Genesis: 'And God saw that it was good.' We may also note here that Plato had discovered this concept from the wisdom of philosophers who had gone before him, and that it was therefore not something that originated in Plato's thought alone. We can say though that, with the advent of Plato's refined and carefully reasoned model of the Creation together with his (and Xenophanes') higher concept of the Creator, it would seem that the classical Greek model of origins was changed for all time. ever again was it to revert to the divine capriciousness of the many Hesiodic gods for an explanation of the universe. The creationist concept of the ancient world was rather to become, under Plato's inspiration and that of his pupils, more 'scientifically' and logically based, with its firm belief in a single and almighty Creator. However, in its wake, something far more serious than the earlier Hesiodic misconception was to occur. It is with some irony that whilst the philosophically nurtured concept of the Creator was undergoing in ancient Greece such a profound shift towards a greater appreciation of His nature and attributes, there was taking place at the same time and in the same land the birth of another and hitherto unheard of concept amongst the Greeks, atheism. We simply do not know how atheism came to be born in ancient Greece, for, as we have seen, it was virtually an unheard of concept even in the most pagan cultures of the ancient world. But given the timing of its advent along with that of a higher concept of the Creator, which is of an equally mysterious source historically speaking, it would seem that the atheism of ancient Greece was

conceived to directly oppose the burgeoning concept amongst the philosophers of a single supreme and omnipotent Deity. It is significant, no doubt, that no such concept as atheism arose earlier to deny the lesser pagan gods of Hesiod's philosophy. But with its advent we see the first beginnings of the great controversy that was to rage for centuries between those who held to the now reasonably argued belief in a Creator, and those who utterly denied it. A later Stoic, the Roman Cicero, was to give the concept perhaps its highest expression in pre-Christian times, and his words are worth quoting at a little length: 'When you see a sundial or a water-clock, you see that it tells the time by design and not by chance. How then can you imagine that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence when it embraces everything, including these artifacts themselves and their artificers? Our friend Posidonius as you know has recently made a globe which in its revolution shows the movements of the sun and stars and planets, by day and night, just as they appear in the sky. ow if someone were to take this globe and show it to the people of Britain or Scythia would a single one of those barbarians fail to see that it was the product of a conscious intelligence?' (21) With these beautifully simple words, Cicero gives voice to an idea which even today is the most difficult for the materialist to refute, for it is nigh impossible to explain away convincingly, say, the indescribable complexity of living organisms, or even merely parts thereof, as the product of blind chance or accident. But Cicero was not just giving voice to one of creationism's most forceful ideas for its own sake. He was doing so by way of refuting the Epicurean notions of Lucretius, the Roman materialist poet and a contemporary of his, whose book (22) Cicero mentions in a letter to his brother Quintus in February 54 BC, and which he says was written 'with many highlights of genius, but with much art'. (23) Cicero's own dialogue, On the ature of the Gods, was written some ten years later in ca 44 BC specifically as a rebuttal of Lucretius, and it is between Cicero and Lucretius that the controversy rages, with both sides using arguments which are still very familiar to us today. As a creationist, the Stoic Cicero simply could not appreciate the Epicurean viewpoint of Lucretius: 'In the heavens there is nothing accidental, nothing arbitrary, nothing out of order, nothing erratic. Everywhere is order, truth, reason, constancy ...I cannot understand this regularity in the stars, this harmony of time and motion in their various orbits through all eternity, except as the expression of reason, mind and purpose ...Their constant and eternal motion, wonderful and mysterious in its regularity, declares the indwelling power of a divine intelligence. If any man cannot feel the power of God when he looks upon the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of any feeling Again, we turn to Cicero for a judgment on the scene: 'Is it not a wonder that anyone can bring himself to believe that a number of solid and separate particles by their chance collisions and moved only by the force of their own weight could bring into being so marvelous and beautiful a

world? If anybody thinks that this is possible, I do not see why he should not think that if an infinite number of examples of the twenty-one letters of the alphabet, made of gold or what you will, were shaken together and poured out on the ground it would be possible for them to fall so as to spell out, say, the whole text of the Annals of Ennius. In fact I doubt whether chance would permit them to spell out a single verse!'

2C. Today man is even less without excuse because of our greater knowledge of his creation. Herbert Friedman in his The Astronomer’s Universe writes, “Man’s love of the stars goes back to the beginning of recorded history, but for almost all of that time, it was only an adolescent romance. The universe we perceive in the 20th century is incomparably greater in its design and infinitely more mysterious in its ways than anyone could have predicted I earlier generations.” Longfellow in “God’s Oldest Testament,” writes, And ature, the old nurse, took The child upon her knee, Saying: “Here is a story book Thy Father has written for thee!” “Come, wander with me,” she said, “Into regions yet untrod; And read what is still unread In the manuscripts of God!” And he wandered away and away With ature, the dear old nurse, Who sang to him night and day The rhymes of the universe.

John Dryden, This is a piece too fair To be the child of chance, and not of care. o atoms casually together hurl’d Could e’er produce so beautiful a world. 3. Gill, “For the invisible things of him,.... ot the angels, the invisible inhabitants of heaven: nor the unseen glories of another world; nor the decrees of God; nor the persons in the Godhead; but the perfections of God, or his "properties", as the Arabic version reads it; and which are explained by "his eternal power and Godhead": these,

from the creation of the world are clearly seen; this is no new discovery, but what men have had, and might, by the light of nature, have enjoyed ever since the world was created; these being understood, in an intellectual way, by the discursive faculty of the understanding, by the things that are made; the various works of creation; all which proclaim the being, unity, and perfections of God their Creator, so that they are without excuse; the very Heathens, who have only the light of nature, and are destitute of a revelation, have no colour or pretext for their idolatrous practices, and vicious lives; nor have they, nor will they have anything to object to God's righteous judgment against them, or why they should not be condemned. 3B. Calvin, “God is in himself invisible; but as his majesty shines forth in his works and in his creatures everywhere, men ought in these to acknowledge him, for they clearly set forth their Maker: and for this reason the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews says, that this world is a mirror, or the representation of invisible things. He does not mention all the particulars which may be thought to belong to God; but he states, that we can arrive at the knowledge of his eternal power and divinity; [47] for he who is the framer of all things, must necessarily be without beginning and from himself. When we arrive at this point, the divinity becomes known to us, which cannot exist except accompanied with all the attributes of a God, since they are all included under that idea. So that they are inexcusable. It hence clearly appears what the consequence is of having this evidence -- that men cannot allege any thing before God's tribunal for the purpose of showing that they are not justly condemned. Yet let this difference be remembered, that the manifestation of God, by which he makes his glory known in his creation, is, with regard to the light itself, sufficiently clear; but that on account of our blindness, it is not found to be sufficient. We are not however so blind, that we can plead our ignorance as an excuse for our perverseness. We conceive that there is a Deity; and then we conclude, that whoever he may be, he ought to be worshipped: but our reason here fails, because it cannot ascertain who or what sort of being God is. Hence the Apostle in Hebrews 11:3, ascribes to faith the light by which man can gain real knowledge from the work of creation, and not without reason; for we are prevented by our blindness, so that we reach not to the end in view; we yet see so far, that we cannot pretend any excuse. Both these things are strikingly set forth by Paul in Acts 14:16-17, when he says, that the Lord in past times left the

nations in their ignorance, and yet that he left them not without witness (amarturon,) since he gave them rain and fertility from heaven. But this knowledge of God, which avails only to take away excuse, differs greatly from that which brings salvation, which Christ mentions in John 17:3, and in which we are to glory, as Jeremiah teaches us, Jeremiah 9:24 4. Clarke, “The invisible things of him - His invisible perfections are manifested by his visible works, and may be apprehended by what he has made; their immensity showing his omnipotence, their vast variety and contrivance, his omniscience; and their adaptation to the most beneficent purposes, his infinite goodness and philanthropy. His eternal power - αιδιος αυτου δυναµις, That all-powerful energy that ever was, and ever will exist; so that, ever since there was a creation to be surveyed, there have been intelligent beings to make that survey. And Godhead - θειοτης, His acting as God in the government and support of the universe. His works prove his being; the government and support of these works prove it equally. Creation and providence form a twofold demonstration of God, 1st. in the perfections of his nature; and, 2ndly. in the exercise of those perfections. 5. Barnes, “For the invisible things of him - The expression “his invisible things” refers to those things which cannot be perceived by the senses. It does not imply that there are any things pertaining to the divine character which may be seen by the eye; but that there are things which may be known of him, though not discoverable by the eye. We judge of the objects around us by the senses, the sight, the touch, the ear, etc. Paul affirms, that though we cannot judge thus of God, yet there is a way by which we may come to the knowledge of him. What he means by the invisible things of God he specifies at the close of the verse, “his eternal power and Godhead.” The affirmation extends only to that; and the argument implies that that was enough to leave them without any excuse for their sins. From the creation of the world - The word “creation” may either mean the “act” of creating, or more commonly it means “the thing created,” the world, the universe. In this sense it is commonly used in the ew Testament; compare Mar_10:6; Mar_13:19; Mar_16:5; Rom_1:25; 2Co_5:17; Gal_6:15; Col_1:15, Col_1:23; Heb_4:13; Heb_9:11; 1Pe_2:13; 2Pe_3:4; Rev_3:14. The word “from” may mean “since,” or it may denote “by means of.” And the expression here may denote that, as an historical fact, God “has been” “known” since the act of creation; or it may denote that he is known “by means of” the material universe which he has formed. The latter is doubtless the true meaning. For, (1) This is the common meaning of the word “creation;” and, (2) This accords with the design of the argument. It is not to state an historical fact, but to show that they had the means of knowing their duty within their reach, and were without excuse. Those means were in the wisdom, power, and glory of the universe, by which they were surrounded.

Are clearly seen - Are made manifest; or may be perceived. The word used here does not occur elsewhere in the ew Testament. Being understood - His perfections may be investigated, and comprehended by means of his works. They are the evidences submitted to our intellects, by which we may arrive at the true knowledge of God. Things that are made - By his works; compare Heb_11:3. This means, not by the original “act” of creation, but by the continual operations of God in his Providence, by his doings, ποιήµασιν poiēmasin, by what he is continually producing and accomplishing in the displays of his power and goodness in the heavens and the earth. What they were capable of understanding, he immediately adds, and shows that he did not intend to affirm that everything could be known of God by his works; but so much as to free them from excuse for their sins. His eternal power - Here are two things implied. (1) That the universe contains an exhibition of his power, or a display of that attribute which we call “omnipotence;” and, (2) That this power has existed from eternity, and of course implies an eternal existence in God. It does not mean that this power has been exerted or put forth from eternity, for the very idea of creation supposes that it had not, but that there is proof, in the works of creation, of power which must have existed from eternity, or have belonged to an eternal being. The proof of this was clear, even to the pagan, with their imperfect views of creation and of astronomy; compare Psa_19:1-14. The majesty and grandeur of the heavens would strike their eye, and be full demonstration that they were the work of an infinitely great and glorious God. But to us, under the full blaze of modern science, with our knowledge of the magnitude, and distances, and revolutions of the heavenly bodies, the proof of this power is much more grand and impressive. We may apply the remark of the apostle to the present state of the science, and his language will cover all the ground, and the proof to human view is continually rising of the amazing power of God, by every new discovery in science, and especially in astronomy. Those who wish to see this object presented in a most impressive view, may find it done in Chalmer’s Astronomical Discourses, and in Dick’s Christian Philosopher. Equally clear is the proof that this power must have been eternal. If it had not always existed, it could in no way have been produced. But it is not to be supposed that it was always exerted, any more than it is that God now puts forth all the power that he can, or than that we constantly put forth all the power which we possess. God’s power was called forth at the creation. He showed his omnipotence; and gave, by that one great act, eternal demonstration that he was almighty; and we may survey the proof of that, as clearly as if we had seen the operation of his hand there. The proof is not weakened because we do not see the process of creation constantly going on. It is rather augmented by the fact that he sustains all things, and controls continually the vast masses of matter in the material worlds. Godhead - His deity; divinity; divine nature, or essence. The word is not used elsewhere in the ew Testament. Its meaning cannot therefore be fixed by any parallel passages. It proves the truth that the supremacy, or supreme divinity of

God, was exhibited in the works of creation, or that he was exalted above all creatures and things. It would not be proper, however, to press this word as implying that all that we know of God by revelation was known to the pagan; but that so much was known as to show his supremacy; his right to their homage; and of course the folly and wickedness of idolatry. This is all that the argument of the apostle demands, and, of course, on this principle the expression is to be interpreted. So that they are without excuse - God has given them so clear evidence of his existence and claims, that they have no excuse for their idolatry, and for hindering the truth by their iniquity. It is implied here that in order that people should be responsible, they should have the means of knowledge; and that he does not judge them when their ignorance is involuntary, and the means of knowing the truth have not been communicated. But where people have these means within their reach, and will not avail themselves of them, all excuse is taken away. This was the case with the Gentile world. They had the means of knowing so much of God, as to show the folly of worshipping dumb idols; compare Isa_44:8-10. They had also traditions respecting his perfections; and they could not plead for their crimes and folly that they had no means of knowing him. If this was true of the pagan world then, how much more is it true of the world now? And especially how true and fearful is this, respecting that great multitude in Christian lands who have the Bible, and who never read it; who are within the reach of the sanctuary, and never enter it; who are admonished by friends, and by the providences of God, and who regard it not; and who look upon the heavens, and even yet see no proof of the eternal power and Godhead of him who made them all! ay, there are those who are apprized of the discoveries of modern astronomy, and who yet do not seem to reflect that all these glories are proof of the existence of an eternal God; and who live in ignorance of religion as really as the pagan, and in crimes as decided and malignant as disgraced the darkest ages of the world. For such there is no excuse, or shadow of excuse, to be offered in the day of doom. And there is no fact more melancholy in our history, and no one thing that more proves the stupidity of people, than this sad forgetfulness of Him that made the heavens, even amid all the wonders and glories that have come fresh from the hand of God, and that everywhere speak his praise. 6. Jamison, “For the invisible things of him from — or “since” the creation of the world are clearly seen — the mind brightly beholding what the eye cannot discern. being understood by the things that are made — Thus, the outward creation is not the parent but the interpreter of our faith in God. That faith has its primary sources within our own breast (Rom_1:19); but it becomes an intelligible and articulate conviction only through what we observe around us (“by the things which are made,” Rom_1:20). And thus are the inner and the outer revelation of God the complement of each other, making up between them one universal and immovable conviction that God is. (With this striking apostolic statement agree the latest conclusions of the most profound speculative students of Theism). even his eternal power and Godhead — both that there is an Eternal Power, and

that this is not a mere blind force, or pantheistic “spirit of nature,” but the power of a living Godhead. so that they are without excuse — all their degeneracy being a voluntary departure from truth thus brightly revealed to the unsophisticated spirit. 7. Waggoner, “Seeing the Invisible. It is said of Moses that "he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Heb. 11:27. This was not a privilege peculiar to Moses. Every other man may do the same thing. How? Because the "invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made." There has not been a time since the world was created when all men did not have the knowledge of God within their grasp. "Lord, how thy wonders are displayed Where'er I turn my eye! If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the sky. "There's not a plant or flower below But makes thy glories known." 8. Stedman, “How has God made truth plain? The Scripture says that God has revealed himself to man. Truth is not a vague, invisible, difficult thing to comprehend; it is clearly seen. God himself has insured that. How? The Scriptures say, "It is seen in that which is made," i.e., creation. From the creation of the world it is visible; i.e., it has been always and everywhere present. There is no one who is left out -- all can read this revelation of God if they want to do so. One night my daughter, Laurie, and I were walking at Forest Home in the mountains of Southern California. It was one of those beautiful nights when the stars were out in all their glory -- we were above the smog -- and we walked through the darkness and looked up into the skies and saw the stars and felt the sense of awe that comes upon the human spirit on occasions like that. I began to point out the Milky Way and explain to her that it was part of the galaxy that we belong to. I told her there were millions of galaxies like that whirling on in their determined courses in their appointed ways, never late, always on time, strange and almost unexplorable by man. I pointed out the Big Dipper, the orth Star, Pleiades -- and we talked about the universe. And then, in a joking way, I said to her, "But remember, dear, all this happened just by chance; all these things came together by chance." And she began to laugh! How ridiculous that in all this vast, impressive, imposing display of beauty and light and order anybody should ever say it all happened by chance! She sensed the nonsense of that claim. How can we say that only by intelligence and wisdom and skill can a watch be built, but hearts beat and babies grow and roses smell simply by chance. Isn't that ridiculous? You only have to put it that way to see how foolish, how absurd, a statement like that can be. This argument from design and order has never been answered. Those who disregard God cannot explain it because truth about God is breaking out everywhere around us. Elizabeth Barret Browning wrote,

Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush aflame with God. But only those who see take off their shoes; the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. 9. Unknown author, “The locus classicus that justifies a Christian’s study of natural theology is Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” As a proof text that natural theology exists, the text is decisive. One can come to know truths about God by considering creation. As soon as we widen our consideration of the text, however, we see that Paul gives a crucial caveat about natural theology. ote first that Paul explicitly says that the natural theologians he is speaking about were ungrateful, vain, hypocritical, foolish and idolatrous. It goes without saying that Paul would condemn any natural theology which must end up like that. It is, nevertheless, a real danger in natural theology. How so? In the very next verse, Paul gives a crucial condemnation of the natural theologians he was speaking of: “when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks.” This is the hinge between Romans 1:20, which allows for natural theology, and the subsequent condemnation of the theologians themselves. Paul gets it exactly right: one of the most frustrating things for someone who loves natural theology is that it never seems to cross anyone’s mind that one must worship, glorify, or give thanks to the God they prove. This manifests itself in many ways in both those who practice natural theology and those who critique it. It’s as if everyone relates to the God of natural theology as nothing more than a being to be proved- he is a sort of sentence that follows from other sentences that must be inspected for validity and soundness. The Christian critics of natural theology assume the same sort of thing: so what if we proved God? Isn’t this just “the God of the philosophers”? It is a testimony to the darkness and vanity of the human intellect, and the selfabsorption of our will, that we can come to be convinced that there is a first cause of all things, who created all being, and yet not immediately think of our need to acknowledge his glory and give him thanks. And yet this is the situation that a natural theologian frequently finds himself in. We are like airplane mechanics who see exactly what must be fixed in order to keep the plane from crashing, but who then consider this in a wholly academic way, never giving a thought to fixing the problem. “Gosh, given that those bolts are missing, the engine will fall off! How fascinating! I should incorporate this into my treatise against those who deny the existence of planes.” There are certain kinds of knowledge that require man to do something when he knows them: cf. watching a man die on the side of the road. Action is a crucial difference between a wise man and a hypocrite: and the critics of natural theology can pick up on this. They have a very easy time the absurdity of a God that one proves but then fails to adore and worship.

So Paul does more in Romans than show that natural theology is possible, he also shows us the way which it frequently goes wrong. The prime mover, it turns out, deals quite severely with those who prove he exists and yet treat him as nothing more than some thing that is proven.” 10. Haldane, “Invisible things of Him. God is invisible in Himself, for He is a Spirit, elevated beyond the reach of all our senses. Being a Spirit, He is exempted from all composition of parts, so that when the Apostle here ascribes to Him invisible things in the plural, it must not be imagined that there is not in God a perfect unity. It is only intended to mark the different attributes of Deity, which, although one in principle, are yet distinguished in their objects, so that we conceive of them as if they were many. from the creation of the world are clearly seen. By the works of creation, and from those of a general providence, God can be fully recognised as the Creator of heaven and earth, and thence His natural attributes may be inferred. For that which is invisible in itself has, as it were, taken a form or body to render itself visible, and visible in a manner so clear that it is easy to discover it. This visibility of the invisible perfec tions of God, which began at the creation, has continued ever since, and proves that the Apostle here includes with the works of creation those of providence, in the government of the universe. Both in the one and the other, the Divine perfections very admirably appear. Being understood by the things that are made. The works of creation and providence are so many signs or marks, which elevate us to the contemplation of the perfections of Him who made them, and that so directly, that in a manner these works, and these perfections of their Author, are as only one and the same thing. Here the Apostle tacitly refutes the opinion of some of the philosophers respecting the eternity of the world ; he establishes the fact of its creation, and at the same time teaches, contrary to the Atheists, that, from the sole contemplation of the world, there are sufficient proofs of the existence of God. Finally, by referring to the works of creation, he indicates the idea that ought to be formed of God, contrary to the false and chimerical notions of the wisest heathens respecting Him. Even His eternal power and Godhead. The Apostle here only specifies God s eternal power and Godhead, marking His eternal power as the first object which discovers itself in the works of creation, and in the govern ment of the world ; and afterwards denoting, by His Godhead, the other attributes essential to Him as Creator. His power is seen to be eternal, because it is such as could neither begin to exist, nor to be communi

cated. Its present exertion proves its eternal existence. Such power, it is evident, could have neither a beginning nor an end. In the con templation of the heavens and the earth, every one must be convinced that the power which called them into existence is eternal. Godhead. This does not refer to all the Divine attributes, for they are not all manifested in the works of creation. It refers to those which manifest God s deity. The heavens and the earth prove the deity of their Author. In the revelation of the word, the grand truth is the deity of Christ ; in the light of nature, the grand truth is the deity of the Creator. By His power may be understood all the attributes called relative, such as those of Creator, Preserver, Judge, Lawgiver, and others that relate to creatures ; and by His Godhead, those that are absolute, such as His majesty, His infinity, His immortality. So that they are without excuse. The words in the original may either refer to the end intended, or to the actual result either to those circum stances being designed to leave men without excuse, or to the fact that they are without excuse. The latter is the interpretation adopted by our translators, and appears to be the true meaning. It cannot be said that God manifested Himself in His works, in order to leave men without excuse. This was the result, not the grand end. The revelation of God by the light of nature the heathens neglected or misunderstood, and therefore are justly liable to condemnation. Will not then the world, now under the light of the supernatural revelation of grace, be much more inexcusable? If the perverters of the doctrine taught by the works of creation were without excuse, will God sustain the excuses now made for the corrupters of the doctrine of the Bible ? When the heathens had nothing else than the manifestation of the Divine perfections in the works of creation and providence, there was enough to render them inexcusable, since it was their duty to make a good use of them, and the only cause of their not doing so was their perversity. From this, however, it must not be inferred, that since the entrance of sin, the subsistence of the world, and the providence which governs it, sufficiently furnish man, who is a sinner, with the knowledge of God, and the means of glorifying Him in order to salvation. The Apostle here speaks only of the revelation of the natural attributes of God, which make Him indeed the sovereign good to man in innocence, but the sovereign evil to man when guilty. The purpose of God to show mercy is not revealed but by the Spirit of God, who alone searcheth the deep things of God, 1 Cor. ii. 10. In order to this revelation, it was necessary that the Holy Spirit should have animated the Prophets and Apostles. It is therefore to be particularly observed that, while, in the next chapter, where the Apostle proceeds to prove that the Jews are also without excuse, he urges that the forbearance, and long-suffering, and goodness of God, in the revelation of grace, led them to repentence, he

says nothing similar respecting the heathens. He does not assert that God, in His revelation to them, called them to repentance, or that He held out to them the hope of salvation, but affirms that that revelation renders them inexcusable. This clearly shows that in the whole of the dispensation to the heathen, there was no revelation of mercy, and no accompanying Spirit of grace, as there had been to the Jews. The manifestations made by God of Himself in the works of creation, together with what is declared concerning the conduct of His providence, Acts xiv. 17; and what is again said in ch. ii. of this Epistle, ver. 14, 15, respecting the law written in the heart, comprise the whole of the revela tion made to the heathen, after they had lost sight of the original promise to Adam of a deliverer, and the preaching of the righteousness of God by oah ; but in these ways God had never left Himself without a witness. The works of creation and providence spoke to them from without, and the law written in their heart from within. In conjunction, they declared the being and sovereign authority of God, and man s accountableness to his Creator. This placed all men under a positive obligation of obedience to God. But His law, thus made known, admits not of forgiveness when transgressed, and could not be the cause of justi fication, but of condemnation. The whole, therefore, of that revelation of God s power and Godhead, of which the Apostle speaks in this dis course, he regards as the foundation of the just condemnation of men, in order afterwards to infer from it the necessity of the revelation of grace. It must not be supposed, then, that he regards it as containing in itself a revelation of grace in any manner whatever, for this is an idea opposed to the whole train of his reflections. But how, then, it may be said, are men rendered inexcusable ? They are inexcusable, because their natural corruption is thus discovered ; for they are convicted of being sinners, and consequently alienated from communion with God, and subjected to condemnation, which is thus shown to be just.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
1. An ungrateful spirit is the begining of atheism, for when a man has no gratitude for all that life brings to him, he is basically a pessimist, and the next step is to disbelieve in meaning and purpose to life, and this leads to atheism. Their foolish attitude starts them on a road away from the light into the darkness of despair.

They had the opportunity to make a better choice, and take a more favorable road, for they knew God, but they were devoid of thanksgiving, and this made them swerve off the path of glorifying God, and onto the path of futility. They were on the right road for while, but they made a wrong turn, and they missed the light that would have brought blessing. They ended up the ditch of darkness due to their thankless hearts. A thankless person is a curse to themselves, for such a heart is blind to the light God gives to guide us to meaningful living. Show me a person with a thankless spirit, and I will show you a person going the wrong way. Repentance is when one is going the wrong way and turns around and goes the right way, which is back to God. These people were doing just the opposite, for they were going the right way and they turned around to go the wrong way away from God. The opposite of repentance is folly, for it is a deliberate choice to go the wrong way. 1B. Sadler, “The heathen to whom St. Paul alludes had not this unspeakable advantage, and so they did what was in accordance with corrupt and fallen human nature. This place clearly shows us that poly theism and idolatry were not the original form of the religious worship of the Gentiles, but a corruption. They must have had to some extent an idea of the glory of the incorruptible God before they could change it. Godet well remarks : " Futility of thought tiad reached the height of folly. What, in fact, is polytheism except a sort of permanent hallucination, a collective delirium, or, as is so well said by M. icolas, a possession on a great scale ? and this mental disorder rose to a kind of perfection among the very peoples who, more than others, laid claim to the glory of wisdom. When he says, professing to be wise, Paul does not mean to stigmatize ancient philosophy absolutely ; he only means that all that labour of the sages did not prevent the most civilized nations, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, from being at the same time the most idolatrous f antiquity. The popular imagination, agreeably served by priests and poets, did not allow the efforts of the wise to dissipate this delirium." 2. Spurgeon tells of a man who said to him, "I do not care much whether there is a God or not; I am an agnostic. "Oh!" I said, "that is a Greek word, is it not? And the equivalent Latin word is 'Ignoramus'." Somehow, he did not like the Latin nearly as much as the Greek." This man chose not to care about God, and the end result was he became a foolish ignoramus. Spurgeon also said, "I cannot say anything much worse of a man than that he is not thankful to those who have been his benefactors; and when you say that he is not thankful to God, you have said about the worst thing you can say of him." "Will you kindly notice, that, according to my text, knowledge is of no use if it does not lead to holy practice? "They knew God." It was no good to them to know God, for "they glorified him not as God." So my theological friend over there, who knows so much that he can split hairs over doctrines, it does not matter what you think, or what you know, unless it leads you to glorify God, and to be thankful."

3. God does have a greater mercy for those who sin in ignorance, but these people Paul writes about were not ignorant at all. They knew God, and they believed that he was real, and yet they would not acknowledge his reality by glorifying him in worship. Spurgeon wrote, "Will you kindly notice, that, according to my text, knowledge is of no use if it does not lead to holy practice? "They knew God." It was no good to them to know God, for "they glorified him not as God." So my theological friend over there, who knows so much that he can split hairs over doctrines, it does not matter what you think, or what you know, unless it leads you to glorify God, and to be thankful. ay, your knowledge may be a millstone about your neck to sink you down in woe eternal, unless your knowledge is turned to holy practice." 4. God holds those who know him to a higher standard of conduct than those who never knew him. Jesus rebuked the people of his day who saw his miracles, and heard him expound the word of God. He said, "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the might works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." In other words some of the most wicked people in all of history will be dealt with in greater mercy than God's own people who had knowledge, and yet did nothing with it but reject it. It is a fearful thing to know, and then not do what that knowing demands. To know God and then ignore him is to choose his wrath rather than his love. 5. Gill, “Because that when they knew God,.... Though they had such a knowledge of the being and perfections of God, yet they glorified him not as God. They neither thought nor spoke honourably of him; nor did they ascribe those perfections to him, which belonged to him; they did not adhere to him as the one and only God, nor honour him as the Creator of all things out of nothing, and as the sole Governor of the universe; they did not glorify him by the internal exercise of fear of him, love to him, or trust in him, nor by any external worship suitable to his nature, and their own notions of him, Seneca is an instance of this, of whom Austin (f) says, "that he worshipped what he found fault with, did what he reproved, and adored that which he blamed.'' either were thankful; neither for the knowledge of things they had, which they ascribed to themselves; nor for their mercies, which they imputed to second causes: but became vain in their imaginations; the vanity or their minds was the spring and source of their evil conduct; which may design the wickedness of their hearts, and the imaginations thereof, which were evil, and that continually; the pride of their natures the carnality and weakness of their reasonings, and the whole system of their vain philosophy; and hence they ran into polytheism, or the worshipping of

many gods: and their foolish heart was darkened; where they thought their great wisdom lay: darkness is natural to the hearts and understandings of all men, which is increased by personal iniquity; Satan is concerned in improving it, and God sometimes gives up the hearts of persons to judicial blindness, which was the case of these men. 6. Clarke, “Because that when they knew God - When they thus acquired a general knowledge of the unity and perfections of the Divine nature, they glorified him not as God - they did not proclaim him to the people, but shut up his glory (as Bishop Warburton expresses it) in their mysteries, and gave the people, in exchange for an incorruptible God, an image made like to corruptible man. Wherefore God, in punishment for their sins, thus turning his truth into a lie, suffered even their mysteries, which they had erected for a school of virtue, to degenerate into an odious sink of vice and immorality; giving them up unto all uncleanness and vile affections. They glorified him not - They did not give him that worship which his perfections required. either were thankful - They manifested no gratitude for the blessings they received from his providence, but became vain in their imaginations, διαλογισµοις, in their reasonings. This certainly refers to the foolish manner in which even the wisest of their philosophers discoursed about the Divine nature, not excepting Socrates, Plato, or Seneca. Who can read their works without being struck with the vanity of their reasonings, as well as with the stupidity of their nonsense, when speaking about God? I might crowd my page with proofs of this; but it is not necessary to those who are acquainted with their writings, and to others it would not be useful. In short, their foolish, darkened minds sought God no where but in the place in which he is never to be found; viz. the vile, corrupted, and corrupting passions of their own hearts. As they did not discover him there, they scarcely sought him any where else. 7. Barnes, “Because that - The apostle here is showing that it was right to condemn people for their sins. To do this it was needful to show them that they had the knowledge of God, and the means of knowing what was right; and that the true source of their sins and idolatries was a corrupt and evil heart. When they knew God - Greek, “knowing God.” That is, they had an acquaintance with the existence and many of the perfections of one God. That many of the philosophers of Greece and Rome had a knowledge of one God, there can be no doubt. This was undoubtedly the case with Pythagoras, who had traveled extensively in Egypt, and even in Palestine; and also with Plato and his disciples. This point is clearly shown by Cudworth in his Intellectual System, and by Dr. Warburton in the Divine Legation of Moses. Yet the knowledge of this great truth was not communicated to the people. It was confined to the philosophers; and not improbably one design of the mysteries celebrated throughout Greece was to keep up the knowledge of the one true God. Gibbon has remarked that “the philosophers regarded all the popular superstitions as equally false: the common people as equally true; and the politicians as equally useful.” This was probably a correct

account of the prevalent feelings among the ancients. A single extract from “Cicero” (de atura Deorum, lib. ii. c. 6) will show that they had the knowledge of one God. “There is something in the nature of things, which the mind of man, which reason, which human power cannot effect; and certainly what produces this must be better than man. What can this be called but “God?” Again (c. 2), “What can be so plain and manifest, when we look at heaven, and contemplate heavenly things, as that there is some divinity of most excellent mind, by which these things are governed?” They glorified him not as God - They did not “honor” him as God. This was the true source of their abominations. To glorify him “as God” is to regard with proper reverence all his perfections and laws; to venerate his name, his power, his holiness, and presence, etc. As they were not inclined to do this, so they were given over to their own vain and wicked desires. Sinners are not willing to give honor to God, as God. They are not pleased with his perfections; and therefore the mind becomes fixed on other objects, and the heart gives free indulgence to its own sinful desires. A willingness to honor God as God - to reverence, love, and obey him, would effectually restrain people from sin. either were thankful - The obligation to be “thankful” to God for his mercies, for the goodness which we experience, is plain and obvious. Thus, we judge of favors received of our fellow-men. the apostle here clearly regards this unwillingness to render gratitude to God for his mercies as one of the causes of their subsequent corruption and idolatry. The reasons of this are the following. (1) The effect of ingratitude is to render the heart hard and insensible. (2) People seek to forget the Being to whom they are unwilling to exercise gratitude. (3) To do this, they fix their affections on other things; and hence, the pagan expressed their gratitude not to God, but to the sun, and moon, and stars, etc., the mediums by which God bestows his favors upon people. And we may here learn that an unwillingness to thank God for his mercies is one of the most certain causes of alienation and hardness of heart. But became vain - To “become vain,” with us, means to be elated, or to be selfconceited, or to seek praise from others. The meaning here seems to be, they became foolish, frivolous in their thoughts and reasonings. They acted foolishly; they employed themselves in useless and frivolous questions, the effect of which was to lead the mind further and further from the truth respecting God. Imaginations - This word means properly “thoughts,” then “reasonings,” and also “disputations.” Perhaps our word, “speculations,” would convey its meaning here. It implies that they were unwilling to honor God, and being unwilling to honor him, they commenced those speculations which resulted in all their vain and foolish opinions about idols, and the various rites of idolatrous worship. Many of the speculations and inquiries of the ancients were among the most vain and senseless which the mind can conceive. And their foolish heart - The word “heart” is not infrequently used to denote the mind, or the understanding. We apply it to denote the affections. But such was not its common use, among the Hebrews. We speak of the head when we refer to the understanding, but this was not the case with the Hebrews. They spoke of the heart

in this manner, and in this sense it is clearly used in this place; see Eph_1:18; Rom_2:15; 2Co_4:6; 2Pe_1:19. The word “foolish” means literally what is without “understanding;” Mat_15:16. Was darkened - Was rendered obscure, so that they did not perceive and comprehend the truth. The process which is stated in this verse is, (1) That people had the knowledge of God. (2) That they refused to honor him when they knew him, and were opposed to his character and government. (3) That they were ungrateful. (4) That they then began to doubt, to reason, to speculate, and wandered far into darkness. This is substantially the process by which people wander away from God now. They have the knowledge of God, but they do not love him; and being dissatisfied with his character and government, they begin to speculate, fall into error, and then “find no end in wandering mazes lost,” and sink into the depths of heresy and of sin. 8. Henry, “Their gross idolatry, notwithstanding these discoveries that God made to them of himself; described here, Rom_1:21-23, Rom_1:25. We shall the less wonder at the inefficacy of these natural discoveries to prevent the idolatry of the Gentiles if we remember how prone even the Jews, who had scripture light to guide them, were to idolatry; so miserably are the degenerate sons of men plunged in the mire of sense. Observe, 1. The inward cause of their idolatry, Rom_1:21, Rom_1:22. They are therefore without excuse, in that they did know God, and from what they knew might easily infer that it was their duty to worship him, and him only. Though some have greater light and means of knowledge than others, yet all have enough to leave them inexcusable. But the mischief of it was that, (1.) They glorified him not as God. Their affections towards him, and their awe and adoration of him, did not keep pace with their knowledge. To glorify him as God is to glorify him only; for there can be but one infinite: but they did not so glorify him, for they set up a multitude of other deities. To glorify him as God is to worship him with spiritual worship; but they made images of him. ot to glorify God as God is in effect not to glorify him at all; to respect him as a creature is not to glorify him, but to dishonour him. (2.) either were they thankful; not thankful for the favours in general they received from God (insensibleness of God's mercies is at the bottom of our sinful departures from him); not thankful in particular for the discoveries God was pleased to make of himself to them. Those that do not improve the means of knowledge and grace are justly reckoned unthankful for them. (3.) But they became vain in their imaginations, en tois dialogismois - in their reasonings, in their practical inferences. They had a great deal of knowledge of general truths (Rom_1:19), but no prudence to apply them to particular cases. Or, in their notions of God, and the creation of the world, and the origination of mankind, and the chief good; in these things, when they quitted the plain truth, they soon disputed themselves into a thousand vain and foolish fancies. The several opinions and hypotheses of the various sects of philosophers concerning these things were so many vain imaginations. When truth is forsaken, errors

multiply in infinitum - infinitely. (4.) And their foolish heart was darkened. The foolishness and practical wickedness of the heart cloud and darken the intellectual powers and faculties. othing tends more to the blinding and perverting of the understanding than the corruption and depravedness of the will and affections. (5.) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Rom_1:22. This looks black upon the philosophers, the pretenders to wisdom and professors of it. Those that had the most luxuriant fancy, in framing to themselves the idea of a God, fell into the most gross and absurd conceits: and it was the just punishment of their pride and selfconceitedness. It has been observed that the most refined nations, that made the greatest show of wisdom, were the arrantest fools in religion. The barbarians adored the sun and moon, which of all others was the most specious idolatry; while the learned Egyptians worshipped an ox and an onion. The Grecians, who excelled them in wisdom, adored diseases and human passions. The Romans, the wisest of all, worshipped the furies. And at this day the poor Americans worship the thunder; while the ingenious Chinese adore the devil. Thus the world by wisdom knew not God, 1Co_1:21. As a profession of wisdom is an aggravation of folly, so a proud conceit of wisdom is the cause of a great deal of folly. Hence we read of few philosophers who were converted to Christianity; and Paul's preaching was no where so laughed at and ridiculed as among the learned Athenians, Act_17:18-32. Phaskontes einai - conceiting themselves to be wise. The plain truth of the being of God would not content them; they thought themselves above that, and so fell into the greatest errors. 9. Robert Brow, “As I thought about a model to make sense of Paul's three steps down in the decline of Greek civilization, I decided to try out the idea of dishonoring. Paul uses it in relationship with God -ouch os theon edoxasan- they did not honor God as God (1:21). He then uses it twice in sexual relationships: -tou atimezesthai ta somata auton- to dishonor their bodies, and -eis pathy atimias- into various kinds of passion to dishonor the person (1:26, as an alternative to the RSV "dishonorable passions").

In what sense did Greek men and women develop a passion for dishonoring their own body and the body of others? I wondered whether Paul was thinking of the seven kinds of sexual behavior for which Jewish judges were to assign the death penalty: adultery with a neighbor's wife, incest with a father's wife, daughter in law, or mother in law, sodomizing (slaves, enemies, strangers, young men), and male and female intercourse with animals (Leviticus 20:10-16). What horrified Paul was that these seven kinds of sexual activity, which used to deserve the death penalty, were now relished and approved in the Greek world. Apart from adultery and incest, it was common for women to be mounted by animals (1:26), and men thought it was acceptable to humiliate slaves, young men, and pupils by sodomizing them (1:27).” 9. Stedman, “Do you think people don't worship images and bow down before idols now? What are movie stars and football heroes? They are dying men and women who are idolized and worshiped in our day. And I, personally, don't believe that it is

any accident that we tend to name our cars after animals. We once named them after men: Lincoln, Ford, Chrysler and Dodge. But now we are naming them after animals: Impala, Cougar, Mustang, Pinto, Jaguar, Rabbit, Panther, and there's even a Greyhound bus! It is God's ironic way of forcing men to name what is going on inside. We already have a car called the Cobra. And perhaps we will soon be naming our cars for the python, vipers, and maybe, for the slower models, the crocodile. These are our gods, aren't they? We worship rockets, planes, guns, bombs, tanks. We worship power, military power, or forces like sex, and money, ambition, and greed; or concepts like comfort, beauty, youth, adventure, life. We've exchanged the glory of the undying God in all his majesty and greatness for images. What are movies but images? What is television -- images of mortal men, birds, animals, and reptiles.” 10. God wants to be thanked for His love, grace, creation and goodness. He is not a mere force, but a person, and He loves to be appreciated as do all persons. Shakespeare said, "I hate ingratitude more in man than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness, or any taint advice." Luther said this is the first step to perdition-in gratitude to God. Satan was ungrateful to God and fell. This leads to vanity, blindness and idolatry. When man is not thankful for what is natural and good, he will pervert it and device all sorts of abnormal substitutes. Thankfulness is the key to appreciation of life as God meant it to be. Being unthankful leads to all perversions. 11. Haldane, “Knew God. Besides the manifestation of God in the works of creation, the heathens had still some internal lights, some principles and natural notions, which are spoken of, ch. ii. 12, 15, from which they had, in a measure, the knowledge of the existence and authority of God. There may be here, besides, a reference to the knowledge of God which He communicated in the first promise after the fall, and again after the flood, but which, not liking to retain God in their knowledge, and being haters of God, mankind had lost. Elsewhere, Paul says that the Gentiles were without God in the world, Eph. ii. 12; yet here he says they knew God. On this it may be observed, that they had very con fused ideas of the Godhead, but that they further corrupted them by an almost infinite number of errors. Respecting their general notions of deity, these represented the true God ; but respecting their erroneous notions, these only represented the phantoms of their imagination. In this way they knew God, yet nevertheless they were without God. They knew his existence and some of His perfections ; but they had so entirely bewildered their minds, and added so many errors to the truth, that they were in reality living without God. They might be said to know God when they confessed Him as the Creator of the world, and had some conception of His unity, wisdom, and power. The Apostle may particu

larly refer to the wise men among the heathens, but the same truth applies to all. They all knew more than they practised, and the most ignorant might have discovered God in His works, had not enmity against Him reigned in their hearts. But when Paul says, Eph. ii. 12, that they were without God, he has respect to their worship and their practice. For all their superstitions were exclusively those of impiety, which could only serve to alienate them from the love and the communion of the true God. They were therefore, in reality, without God in the world, inasmuch as they set up devils, whom, under the name of gods, they served with the most abominable rites. They glorified Him not as God. Paul here marks what ought to be the true and just knowledge of God, namely, that knowledge which leads men to serve and worship Him in a manner agreeable to His sovereign will, and worthy of His holy character. To glorify God signifies to acknowledge and worship Him with ascriptions of praise, because of His glorious attributes. ow the heathens, though in their speculations they might speak of God in a certain way consistent with some of His attri butes, as His unity, spirituality, power, wisdom, and goodness, yet never reduced this to practice. The objects of their professed worship were either the works of God, or idols. To these they gave the glory that belonged to God ; to these they felt and expressed gratitude for the blessings which God bestowed on them. God left them not without a witness of His existence and goodness, in that He gave them rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons; but the glory for these things, and for all other blessings, they rendered to the objects of their false worship. It appears also that the Apostle had in view the fact, that the philosophers in their schools entertained some proper ideas of God, but in their worship con formed to the popular errors. Men often justify their neglect of God by alleging that He has no need of their service, and that it cannot be pro fitable to Him ; but we here see that He is to be glorified for His perfections, and thanked for His blessings. either were thankful. We should constantly remember that God is the source of all that we are, and of all that we possess. In Him we live, and move, and have our being. From this it follows that He ought to be our last end. Consequently, one of the principal parts of our worship is to acknowledge our dependence, and to magnify Him in all things by consecrating ourselves to His service. The opposite of this is what is meant by the expression, neither were thankful ; and this is what the heathens were not, for they ascribed one part of what they pos sessed to the stars, another part to fortune, and another to their own wisdom. But became vain in their imaginations, or rather in their reasonings, that is, speculations. Paul calls all their philosophy reasonings, because they related to words and notions, divested of use or efficacy. Some

apply this expression, became vain in their reasonings, to the attempts of the heathen philosophers to explore, in a physical sense, the things which the poets ascribed to the gods. Dr. Macknight supposes that the object of the wise men was to show that the religion of the vulgar, though untrue, was the fittest for them. Many explanations, equally fanciful, have been given of these words. The language itself, in con nection with the writings of the wise men to whom the Apostle refers, leaves no good reason to doubt that he speaks of those speculations of the Grecian philosophers in which they have manifested the most pro found subtilty and the most extravagant folly. Their reasonings diverged very far from that truth which they might have discovered by the con templation of the works of creation ; and, besides, produced nothing for the glory of God, in which they ought to have issued. In fact, all their reasonings were to no purpose, so far as regarded their sanctification, or the peace of their conscience. The whole of what the Apostle here says aptly describes, and will equally apply to, vain speculations of modern times. It suits not only modern schools of philosophy, but also some of theology ; not only the vain interpretations of eologians, but of all who explain away the distinguishing doctrines of revelation. Without being carried away with the learning and research of such persons, every one who loves the Scriptures and the souls of men, should lift up his voice against such degradations of the oracles of God. Their foolish heart was darkened. Imprudent heart, as Dr. Macknight translates this, comes not up to the amount of the phrase. It designates the heart, or understanding, as void of spiritual discernment and wisdom unintelligent in Divine things, though subtle and perspicacious as to the things of the world. Their speculations, instead of leading them to the truth, or nearer to God, were the means of darkening their minds, and blinding them still more than they were naturally. The Apostle here marks two evils : the one, that they were destitute of the knowledge of the truth ; and the other, that they were filled with error, for here their darkness does not simply signify ignorance, but a knowledge false and depraved. These two things are joined together. 12. Calvin, “For when they knew God, etc. He plainly testifies here, that God has presented to the minds of all the means of knowing him, having so manifested himself by his works, that they must necessarily see what of themselves they seek not to know -- that there is some God; for the world does not by chance exist, nor could it have proceeded from itself. But we must ever bear in mind the degree of knowledge in which they continued; and this appears from what follows. They glorified him not as God. o idea can be formed of God without including his eternity, power, wisdom, goodness, truth, righteousness,

and mercy. His eternity appears evident, because he is the maker of all things -- his power, because he holds all things in his hand and continues their existence -- his wisdom, because he has arranged things in such an exquisite order -- his goodness, for there is no other cause than himself, why he created all things, and no other reason, why he should be induced to preserve them -- his justice, because in his government he punishes the guilty and defends the innocent -- his mercy, because he bears with so much forbearance the perversity of men -- and his truth, because he is unchangeable. He then who has a right notion of God ought to give him the praise due to his eternity, wisdom, goodness, and justice. Since men have not recognized these attributes in God, but have dreamt of him as though he were an empty phantom, they are justly said to have impiously robbed him of his own glory. or is it without reason that he adds, that they were not thankful, [48] for there is no one who is not indebted to him for numberless benefits: yea, even on this account alone, because he has been pleased to reveal himself to us, he has abundantly made us indebted to him. But they became vain, [49] etc.; that is, having forsaken the truth of God, they turned to the vanity of their own reason, all the acuteness of which is fading and passes away like vapor. And thus their foolish mind, being involved in darkness, could understand nothing aright but was carried away headlong, in various ways, into errors and delusions. Their unrighteousness was this -- they quickly choked by their own depravity the seed of right knowledge, before it grew up to ripeness.”

22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
1. Gill, “Professing themselves to be wise,.... The learned men among the Gentiles first called themselves σοφοι, "Sophi", wise men: and afterwards, to cover their wretched pride and vanity, φιλοσοφοι, "Philosophers", lovers of wisdom; but notwithstanding all their arrogance, their large pretensions to wisdom, and boast of it they became fools; they appeared to be so; they showed themselves to be such in those very things they prided themselves with the knowledge of: as, for instance, Socrates, after he had asserted the unity of God, and is said to die a martyr for the truth; yet one of the last actions of his life was sacrificing a cock to Aesculapius, at least he desired his friend Crito to do it.

1B. Dr. Daniel Hill, “PROFESSI G means to assert, and it is active voice. They are not deemed wise by others; no, they will tell you how wise they are. Wisdom is SOPHOS, but really they are FOOLS which is MORAI O, morons. And that is grammatically set as a verb because God wanted us to be able to see that this is passive voice and therefore, His estimation of what they assert themselves to be.” 1C. Calvin, “It is commonly inferred from this passage, that Paul alludes here to those philosophers, who assumed to themselves in a peculiar manner the reputation of wisdom; and it is thought that the design of his discourse is to show, that when the superiority of the great is brought down to nothing, the common people would have no reason to suppose that they had any thing worthy of being commended: but they seem to me to have been guided by too slender a reason; for it was not peculiar to the philosophers to suppose themselves wise in the knowledge of God, but it was equally common to all nations, and to all ranks of men. There were indeed none who sought not to form some ideas of the majesty of God, and to make him such a God as they could conceive him to be according to their own reason. This presumption I hold is not learned in the schools, but is innate, and comes with us, so to speak, from the womb. It is indeed evident, that it is an evil which has prevailed in all ages -- that men have allowed themselves every liberty in coining superstitions. The arrogance then which is condemned here is this -- that men sought to be of themselves wise, and to draw God down to a level with their own low condition, when they ought humbly to have given him his own glory. For Paul holds this principle, that none, except through their own fault, are unacquainted with the worship due to God; as though he said, "As they have proudly exalted themselves, they have become infatuated through the righteous judgment of God." There is an obvious reason, which contravenes the interpretation which I reject; for the error of forming an image of God did not originate with the philosophers; but they, by their consent, approved of it as received from others. 2. Clarke, “Professing themselves to be wise - This is most strikingly true of all the ancient philosophers, whether Greeks or Romans, as their works, which remain, sufficiently testify. The word φασκοντες signifies not merely the professing but the assumption of the philosophic character. In this sense the word φασκειν is used by the best Greek writers. See Kypke. A dispassionate examination of the doctrine and lives of the most famed philosophers of antiquity, of every nation, will show that they were darkened in their mind and irregular in their conduct. It was from the Christian religion alone that true philosophy and genuine philosophers sprang. 3. Barnes, “Professing themselves to be wise - This was the common boast of the philosophers of antiquity. The very word by which they chose to be called, “philosophers,” means literally “lovers of wisdom.” That it was their boast that they were wise, is well known; compare Rom_1:14; 1Co_1:19, 1Co_1:20, 1Co_1:22;

1Co_3:19; 2Co_11:19. They became fools - Compare Jer_8:8-9. They became really foolish in their opinions and conduct. There is something particularly pungent and cutting in this remark, and as true as it is pungent. In what way they evinced their folly, Paul proceeds immediately to state. Sinners of all kinds are frequently spoken of as fools in the Scriptures. In the sense in which it is thus used, the word is applied to them as void of understanding or moral sense; as idolaters, and as wicked; Psa_14:1; Pro_26:4; Pro_1:17, Pro_1:22; Pro_14:8-9. The senses in which this word here is applied to the pagan are, (1) That their speculations and doctrines were senseless; and, (2) That their conduct was corrupt.

4. Unknown author, "Fools" = morons, very stupid persons. Compare Psalm 14:1--"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Creation reveals the fact that there is a God; whereas the fool says in his heart, "There is no God." It's a denial in spite of overwhelming evidence. This would be like a man who is given a tour of the world's greatest computer and then says, " o one made this computer. It just happened to pop into existence!" What a fool! Illustration: The jungle native is wise enough to know that the one who makes something is greater than the thing made. What does he do? He cuts down a tree and with half of the trunk makes a canoe. He knows that as the maker of the canoe he is greater than the canoe. He then uses the same tree to make an idol and he worships it! Instead he should have cried out from his heart, "I want to come to know the One who made this tree and this world!" Does God honor the seeking heart (Jer. 29:13; Heb. 11:6)? For a modern example of men professing to be wise but really being fools, see the September 1976 ational Geographic article entitled "The Awesome Worlds Within a Cell" . On page 358 the authors describe the utter complexity of the cell. There is no such thing as a "simple one-celled organism"! Even the simplest cell has turned out to be "a micro-universe" (p.358). Then on p.388 we read, "...this really is the major problem of biology. How did this complexity arise?...biologists still confront the deep, basic mystery of science: How did it all begin?" Then on page 390 the "experts" answer this by crediting it all to CHA CE and saying that given enough time even the IMPOSSIBLE can happen! With time, chance and evolution all things are possible !!! "They have become fools" 5. Haldane, “It appears that, by the term wise, the Apostle intended to point out the philosophers, that is to say, in general, those who were most esteemed for their knowledge, like those among the Greeks who were celebrated by the titles either of men wise or philosophers. To the two evils remarked in the foregoing verse, of their foolishness and their darkness, Paul here adds a third that with all this they believed them selves to be wise. This is the greatest unhappiness of man, not only not to feel his malady, but to extract matter of pride from what ought to be his shame. What they esteemed their wisdom was truly their

folly. All their knowledge, for which they valued themselves, was of no avail in promoting virtue or happiness. Their superstitions were in themselves absurd; and instead of worshipping God, they actually insulted Him in their professed religious observances. How wonderfully was all this exhibited in the sages of Greece and Rome, who rushed headlong into the boundless extravagances of scepticism, doubting or denying what was evident to common sense ! How strikingly is this also verified in many modern philosophers ! So far were the heathen philosophers from wisdom, that they made no approach towards the discovery of the true character either of the justice or mercy of God; while with respect to the harmony of these attributes, in relation to man, they had not the remotest conception. The idea of a plan to save sinners, which, instead of violating the law of God, and lowering His character as the moral governor of the world, magnifies the law and makes it honourable, giving full satisfaction to His justice, and, commensurate with His holiness, is as far beyond the conception of man, as to create the world was beyond his power. It is an idea that could not have suggested itself to any finite intellect. Want of knowledge of the justice of God gave occasion to the mani festation of human ignorance. All the ancient philosophers considered that consummate virtue and happiness were attainable by man s own efforts ; and some of them carried this to such an extravagant pitch, that they taught that the wise man s virtue and happiness were inde pendent of God. Such was the insanity of their wisdom, that they boasted that their wise man had in some respects the advantage of Jupiter himself, because his virtue was not only independent, or his own property, but was voluntary, whereas that of the divinity was necessary. Their wise man could maintain his happiness, not only independent of man and in the midst of external evils, but also in defiance of God Himself. o power, either human or divine, could deprive the sage of his virtue or happiness. How well does all this prove and illustrate the declaration of the Apostle, that professing themselves to be wise, they became fools !

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

1. It is quite clear that Paul is telling us that man has a free will, and that he makes pathetic use of it, for he chooses to place God on the bottom of the pile as to priorities in his life. He choose instead to worship men, birds, animals, and even reptiles. Instead of using their free will to worship the Creator, they choose to worship creatures that he has created. Those who teach that everything that is comes from the sovereign choice of God, are not reading their Bible, for it is so obvious that God does not choose to have men worshipping these creatures. It is their choice, and what God does is let them suffer the consequences of their folly in making such stupid choices. I like the way Ray Stedman said it, "God forces us to harvest the crop we insist on sowing." 2. An unknown author wrote, "Deny your maker and you degrade yourself. Idolatry is self-religion. You push God out of life so you can have your own gods who will help you get your will done. Man becomes the first substitute for God, and then on down to the reptiles. When your god goes no higher than man he will eventually be as low as the snake." 3. otice that they made an exchange, for they went from the glory of the immortal God to the mediocrity of mortal man and other creatures. They had the best, and they traded it in for what was far less. This is the foolishness of man in its greatest depth. It takes a deeply depraved mind to make this kind of decision, and it is so stupid that it makes God very angry, for it is a clear slap in his face to have men forsake him for other beings that have no capacity to meet their needs for salvation and meaningful living. Scripture makes it clear that man did not work his way up from a weak religion to a strong belief in one God. It was the other way around. Man started with the highest religion of faith in the one true God, and then declined deeper and deeper into the folly of idolatry. 4. Look at how this folly of idolatry is described in the Wisdom of Solomon. "An experienced woodcutter will cut down a tree that is easy to handle. Skillfully he strips off all its bark. And then, with pleasing workmanship, he makes a useful article that serves life’s needs . . . But he takes a castoff piece, one that is good for nothing, a stick crooked and full of knots. He carves it with care...and causes it to resemble a man. Or he makes it to look like some worthless animal, giving it a coat of red paint, and with paint covering every blemish . . .Then he makes for it a suitable niche, sets it in the wall, and fastens it with iron. He takes care that it does not fall, because he knows that it cannot help itself, for it is only an image and in need of help. Then he prays (to it) about possessions and his marriage and children. . . For health he appeals to a thing that is weak. For life he prays to a thing that is dead. For aid he entreats an object that is thoroughly inexperienced . . .He asks strength of a thing whose hands have no strength (Wisdom of So1omon 13:1119). 5. Gill, “ And changed the glory of the incorruptible God,.... God is incorruptible and immortal in his nature, and so is opposed to all corruptible creatures and

things: he has a glory which is essential to him, and a manifestative one in the creatures, and which is relative, and of right belongs to him: his absolute essential glory cannot be changed, cannot be taken away from him, nor given to another; but his relative glory may be said to be changed, when another is worshipped in his stead, and called by his name. So Philo the Jew (g) speaks of "some, who, leaving the true God, make to themselves false ones, and impose the name of the eternal and incorruptible upon created and corruptible beings.'' Into an image made like to corruptible man; which was worshipped in different forms by the several nations of the world: and to birds; as the dove by the Samaritans, the hawk, the ibis, and others by the Egyptians: and fourfooted beasts; as the ox, and other creatures: and creeping things; such as beetles, serpents, and others, by the same. 6. Clarke, “They changed the glory, etc. - The finest representation of their deities was in the human figure; and on such representative figures the sculptors spent all their skill; hence the Hercules of Farnese, the Venus of Medicis, and the Apollo of Belvidere. And when they had formed their gods according to the human shape, they endowed them with human passions; and as they clothed them with attributes of extraordinary strength, beauty, wisdom, etc., not having the true principles of morality, they represented them as slaves to the most disorderly and disgraceful passions; excelling in irregularities the most profligate of men, as possessing unlimited powers of sensual gratification. And to birds - As the eagle of Jupiter among the Romans, and the ibis and hawk among the Egyptians; which were all sacred animals. Four-footed beasts - As the apis or white ox among the Egyptians; from which the idolatrous Israelites took their golden calf. The goat, the monkey, and the dog, were also sacred animals among the same people. Creeping things - Such as the crocodile and scarabeus, or beetle, among the Egyptians. 7. Barnes, “And changed - This does not mean that they literally “transmuted” God himself; but that in their views they exchanged him; or they changed him “as an object of worship” for idols. They produced, of course, no real change in the glory of the infinite God, but the change was in themselves. They forsook him of whom they had knowledge Rom_1:21, and offered the homage which was due to him, to idols. The glory - The majesty, the honor, etc. This word stands opposed here to the “degrading” nature of their worship. Instead of adoring a Being clothed with majesty and honor, they bowed down to reptiles, etc. They exchanged a glorious object of worship for what was degrading and humiliating. The glory of God, in

such places as this, means his essential honor, his majesty, the concentration and expression of his perfections, as the glory of the sun, 1Co_15:41 means his shining, or his splendor; compare Jer_2:11; Psa_106:20. The uncorruptible God - The word “uncorruptible” is here applied to God in opposition to “man.” God is unchanging, indestructible, immortal. The word conveys also the idea that God is eternal. As he is incorruptible, he is the proper object of worship. In all the changes of life, man may come to him, assured that he is the same. When man decays by age or infirmities, he may come to God, assured that he undergoes no such change, but is the same yesterday, today, and forever; compare 1Ti_1:17. Into an image - An image is a representation or likeness of anything, whether made by painting, or from wood, stone, etc. Thus, the word is applied to “idols,” as being “images” or “representations” of heavenly objects; 2Ch_33:7; Dan_3:1; Rev_11:4, etc. See instances of this among the Jews described in Isa_40:18-26, and Eze_8:10. To corruptible man - This stands opposed to the “incorruptible” God. Many of the images or idols of the ancients were in the forms of men and women. Many of their gods were heroes and benefactors, who were deified, and to whom temples, altars, and statues were erected. Such were Jupiter, and Hercules, and Romulus, etc. The worship of these heroes thus constituted no small part of their idolatry, and their images would be of course representations of them in human form. It was proof of great degradation, that they thus adored human beings with like passions as themselves; and attempted to displace the true God from the throne, and to substitute in his place an idol in the likeness of men. And to birds - The “ibis” was adored with special reverence among the Egyptians, on account of the great benefits resulting from its destroying the serpents which, but for this, would have overrun the country. The hawk was also adored in Egypt, and the eagle at Rome. As one great principle of pagan idolatry was to adore all objects from which important benefits were derived, it is probable that all birds would come in for a share of pagan worship, that rendered service in the destruction of noxious animals. And fourfooted beasts - Thus, the ox, under the name “apis,” was adored in Egypt; and even the dog and the monkey. In imitation of the Egyptian ox, the children of Israel made their golden calf, Exo_22:4. At this day, two of the most sacred objects of worship in Hindostan are the cow and the “monkey.” And creeping things - Reptiles. “Animals that have no feet, or such short ones that they seem to creep or crawl on the ground.” “(Calmet.)” Lizards, serpents, etc. come under this description. The “crocodile” in Egypt was an object of adoration, and even the serpent so late as the second century of the Christian era, there was a sect in Egypt, called “Ophites” from their worshipping a serpent, and who ever claimed to be Christians, (Murdock’s Mosheim, vol. i. p. 180, 181). There was scarcely an object, animal or vegetable, which the Egyptians did not adore. Thus, the leek, the onion, etc. were objects of worship, and people bowed down and paid adoration to the sun and moon, to animals, to vegetables, and to reptiles. Egypt was the source of the views of religion that pervaded other nations, and hence, their worship partook

of the same wretched and degrading character. (See “Leland’s” “Advantage and ecessity of Revelation.”) 8. Jamison, “And changed — or “exchanged.” the glory of the uncorruptible God into — or “for” an image ... like to corruptible man — The allusion here is doubtless to the Greek worship, and the apostle may have had in his mind those exquisite chiseling of the human form which lay so profusely beneath and around him as he stood on Mars’ Hill; and “beheld their devotions.” (See on Act_17:29). But as if that had not been a deep enough degradation of the living God, there was found “a lower deep” still. and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and to creeping things — referring now to the Egyptian and Oriental worship. In the face of these plain declarations of the descent of man’s religious belief from loftier to ever lower and more debasing conceptions of the Supreme Being, there are expositors of this very Epistle (as Reiche and Jowett), who, believing neither in any fall from primeval innocence, nor in the noble traces of that innocence which lingered even after the fall and were only by degrees obliterated by willful violence to the dictates of conscience, maintain that man’s religious history has been all along a struggle to rise, from the lowest forms of nature worship, suited to the childhood of our race, into that which is more rational and spiritual. 9. Henry, “ The outward acts of their idolatry, Rom_1:23-25. (1.) Making images of God (Rom_1:23), by which, as much as in them lay, they changed the glory of the incorruptible God. Compare Psa_106:20; Jer_2:11. They ascribed a deity to the most contemptible creatures, and by them represented God. It was the greatest honour God did to man that he made man in the image of God; but it is the greatest dishonour man has done to God that he has made God in the image of man. This was what God so strictly warned the Jews against, Deu_4:15, etc. This the apostle shows the folly of in his sermon at Athens, Act_17:29. See Isa_40:18, etc.; Isa_44:10, etc. This is called (Rom_1:25) changing the truth of God into a lie. As it did dishonour his glory, so it did misrepresent his being. Idols are called lies, for they belie God, as if he had a body, whereas he is a Spirit, Jer_23:14; Hos_7:1. Teachers of lies, Hab_2:18. (2.) Giving divine honour to the creature: Worshipped and served the creature, para ton ktisanta - besides the Creator. They did own a supreme umen in their profession, but they did in effect disown him by the worship they paid to the creature; for God will be all or none. Or, above the Creator, paying more devout respect to their inferior deities, stars, heroes, demons, thinking the supreme God inaccessible, or above their worship. The sin itself was their worshipping the creature at all; but this is mentioned as an aggravation of the sin, that they worshipped the creature more than the Creator. This was the general wickedness of the Gentile world, and became twisted in with their laws and government; in compliance with which even the wise men among them, who knew and owned a supreme God and were convinced of the nonsense and absurdity of their polytheism and idolatry, yet did as the rest of their neighbours did. Seneca, in his book De Superstitione, as it is quoted by Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. 6, cap. 10 (for the book itself is

lost), after he had largely shown the great folly and impiety of the vulgar religion, in divers instances of it, yet concludes, Quae omnia sapiens servabit tanquam legibus jussa, non tanquam diis grata - All which a wise man will observe as established by law, not imagining them grateful to the gods. And afterwards, Omnem istam ignobilem deorum turbam, quam longo aevo longa superstitio congessit, sic adorabimus, ut meminerimus cultum ejus magis ad morem quam ad rem pertinere All this ignoble rout of gods, which ancient superstition has amassed together by long prescription, we will so adore as to remember that the worship of them is rather a compliance with custom than material in itself. Upon which Augustine observes, Colebat quod reprehendebat, agebat quod arguebat, quod culpabat adorabat - He worshipped that which he censured, he did that which he had proved wrong, and he adored what he found fault with. I mention this thus largely because methinks it doth fully explain that of the apostle here (Rom_1:18): Who hold the truth in unrighteousness. It is observable that upon the mention of the dishonor done to God by the idolatry of the Gentiles the apostle, in the midst of his discourse, expresses himself in an awful adoration of God: Who is blessed for ever. Amen. When we see or hear of any contempt cast upon God or his name, we should thence take occasion to think and speak highly and honorably of him. In this, as in other things, the worse others are, the better we should be. Blessed for ever, notwithstanding these dishonors done to his name: though there are those that do not glorify him, yet he is glorified, and will be glorified to eternity.

10. Haldane, “Here Paul produces a proof of the excess of the folly of those who professed themselves to be wise. Their ideas of God were embodied in images of men, and even of birds and beasts, and the meanest reptiles. Chcwged the glory of the incorruptible God, that is, the ideas of His spirituality, His immateriality, His infinity, His eternity, and His majesty, which are His glory, and distinguish Him from all creatures. All these are included in the term incorruptible; and as the Apostle supposes them to be needful to the right conception of God, he teaches that these are all debased and destroyed in the mind of man when the Creator is represented under human or other bodily resemblances ; for these lead to conceptions of God as material, circumscribed, and cor ruptible, and cause men to attribute to Him the meanness of the creature, thus eclipsing His glory, and changing it into ignominy. The glory of God, then, refers to His attributes, which distinguish Him from the idols which the heathens worshipped. In verse 25 it is called the truth of God, because it essentially belongs to the Divine character. Both expressions embrace the same attributes, but under different aspects. In the one expression, these attributes are considered as constituting the Divine glory ; in the other, as essential to His being, and distinguishing Him from the false gods of the heathen. It is impossible to conceive of anything more deplorably absurd, further removed from every semblance of wisdom, or more degrading

in itself and dishonouring to God, than the idolatrous worship of the heathens ; yet among them it was universal. The debasing images to which the Apostle here refers, were worshipped and feared by the whole body of the people, and not even one among all their philosophers, orators, magistrates, sages, statesmen, or poets, had discernment sufficient to detect the enormity of this wickedness, or honesty enough to reclaim against it. On the contrary, every one of them conformed to what the Apostle Peter calls abominable idolatries. It is to no purpose to say that the heathens did not believe that their images which they set up, were gods, but only resemblances ; for the Apostle condemns them under the character of resemblances or likenesses. or is it to any purpose to affirm that those resemblances were only aids to assist the weakness of the human mind ; for he also shows that those pretended aids were hurtful and not beneficial, because they cor rupted the holy and reverential notions we ought to entertain of the Deity. either does it avail to say that they did not serve their images as God, but that the adoration they rendered was to God, since the medium itself derogates from His glory. or will it do to profess that by those images they did not intend to express the essence, but only the perfections or attributes of God, and that they were rather emblems than images. The heathens said all this, and the Roman Catholics now say the same ; but they are not on this account the less condemned by the Apostle. 11. Calvin, “Having feigned such a God as they could comprehend according to their carnal reason, they were very far from acknowledging the true God: but devised a fictitious and a new god, or rather a phantom. And what he says is, that they changed the glory of God; for as though one substituted a strange child, so they departed from the true God. or are they to be excused for this pretense, that they believe that God dwells in heaven, and that they count not the wood to be God, but his image; for it is a high indignity to God, to form so gross an idea of his majesty as to dare to make an image of him. But from the wickedness of such a presumption none were exempt, neither priests, nor statesmen, nor philosophers, of whom the most sound-minded, even Plato himself, sought to find out some likeness of God. The madness then here noticed, is, that all attempted to make for themselves an image of God; which was a certain proof that their notions of God were gross and absurd. And, first, they befouled the majesty of God by forming him in the likeness of a corruptible man: for I prefer this rendering to that of mortal man, which is adopted by Erasmus; for Paul sets not the immortality of God in opposition to the mortality of man, but that glory, which is subject to no defects, to

the most wretched condition of man. And then, being not satisfied with so great a crime, they descended even to beasts and to those of the most filthy kind; by which their stupidity appeared still more evident. You may see an account of these abominations in Lactantius, in Eusebius, and in Augustine in his book on the city of God. 12. Unknown author, “Man conceives the idol, and then the idol deceives the man. Psa. 106:35-8, Lev. 17:7, I Cor. 10:19-21. Idolatry leads to polytheism. Then men reap what they sow by corrupting all that is good and precious. When God is God sex is good but when man is god sex is evil. Deny your maker and you degrade yourself. Idolatry is self-religion. You push God out of life so you can have your own gods who will help you get your will done. Man becomes the first substitute for God, and then on down to the reptiles. When your god goes no higher than man he will eventually be as low as the snake. Even in the apocrypha such sin and folly was held up to scathing ridicule: An experienced woodcutter will cut down a tree that is easy to handle. Skillfully he strips off all its bark. And then, with pleasing workmanship, he makes a useful article that serves life’s needs . . . But he takes a castoff piece, one that is good for nothing, a stick crooked and full of knots. He carves it with care...and causes it to resemble a man. Or he makes it to look like some worthless animal, giving it a coat of red paint, and with paint covering every blemish . . .Then he makes for it a suitable niche, sets it in the wall, and fastens it with iron. He takes care that it does not fall, because he knows that it cannot help itself, for it is only an image and in need of help. Then he prays (to it) about possessions and his marriage and children. . . For health he appeals to a thing that is weak. For life he prays to a thing that is dead. For aid he entreats an object that is thoroughly inexperienced . . .He asks strength of a thing whose hands have no strength (Wisdom of So1omon 13:1119, abbreviated). Man did not do very well in this "exchange." Man gave up the glory of the incorruptible God and he ended up with something quite worthless (a helpless and hopeless idol). otice that this is not evolution, it is DEVOLUTIO (retrograde evolution, degeneration). Man is not progressing, he is regressing. Man is going backwards, not forwards. This is not man going up, up up, but it is man going down, down, down. It is not man getting better and better but man getting worse and worse. It is not man reaching the heights, it is man plummeting to the depths. Romans chapter 1 is totally contrary to "the evolution of religion" as commonly taught. Man did not gradually reach the heights of monotheism. Man began there and fell from there.”

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
1. When men choose idols over God, they will go on to choose other things that are also opposed to God's ways. Sex is one of God's greatest gifts to man to enhance his love life, and bind together man and wife. But when man begins to worship the animal kingdom he becomes like an animal instead of a creature made in the image of God. Sex then becomes just a matter of pleasure and so morality is seen as a thing of hindrance to that pleasure. Man says that pleasure is the goal of life, and so if we can have more pleasure by forsaking the ways of God, let us to so, and have any kind of sex we desire. If it feels good, do it, becomes the philosophy of life. So men went on to have sex with each other, and women with each other, and both men and women with animals. All of this was sinfulness that God said was worthy of death in Israel. The laws of Israel cannot be imposed on Gentile cultures, however, and so this kind of sinfulness became rampant and widespread so that the Gentile culture became sexually perverse. This is the very reason God forbid such behavior among his people. Unfortunately, the Jews often were influenced by the Gentiles around them, and ended up in the same degrading mess, which God punished severely. Because of his law, however, there was always a remnant that remained faithful to his laws and live a righteous life. 1B. Dr. Daniel Hill, “Man chooses to abandon God, God then chooses to abandon them. Seven Downward Steps of Reversionism (Backsliding) 1. Playing around with sin: Romans 13:13, Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 2. Yielding to sin and its power: Romans 6:13 Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 3. Habitually serving sin: II Peter 2:14 They are ones having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children. 4. Abandoning self to sinEphesians 4:19 And they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 5. Being abandoned by God to sin:

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. Romans 1:26-27 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 6. Encouraging others to sin: Romans 1:32 And, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. 7 Experiencing Hell on earth: James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. I Timothy 5:6 But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. AGAI , GOD TUR S THEM OVER only after they have abandoned Him. Lust of the heart vs. Lust of the flesh: The lust of the flesh may cease with age but the lust of the heart continues long after physical ability ceases.” 2. In the Old Testament before the flood God became so fed up with the sinfulness of mankind that he decided to scrap the whole thing and start over, and so he sent the flood to wipe out the human race. It was not long before the new beginning was also going downhill into sinful behavior. This time, however, God decided to wait it out and let man get as wicked as possible in perverting everything that he made natural and beneficial. We now live in a world where man is permitted to be as morally vile as it is possible for man to be. We ought not to be surprised about immoral sexual behavior, for it is the expected behavior of those who have no place for God in their lives. Spurgeon said, "It is very easy to make a beast of yourself when you have made a beast to be your god, as the Egyptians did, when they worshiped the god that they had made in the form of an ox, or a crocodile, or a cat." Men abandoned God, and God returned the favor and abandoned them to their own depraved desires, and the result is the world we live in with all of its sexual perversions and corruptions. 3. The worst thing that can happen to any man or woman is to have total freedom to live as they please. They will always choose to be fools with this kind of freedom. It is a curse to be this free. In fact is is the worst kind of slavery to be this free, for it will lead you into the bondage of folly. Just let your kids have total freedom to do as they please and see what a horrible creature you will produce. The worst judgment God could impose on man is not the flood and destruction, but total freedom to follow their own corrupted mind and desires. Judgment is not just at the end of history, but it is a part of history. When men are abandoned by God to be free to do as they please they make their own lives a living hell. They will pervert all that is

natural and normal, and they will worship just about anything but God. The end result is a world of godless depravity where unhappiness reigns as king because everything is twisted out of shape as God intended it to be for man's happiness. Sex may still feel good, but it does not achieve the oneness of male and female as God intended. It becomes an idol that men worship, but, like all other idols, it cannot save and give ultimate meaning to life. Only the true God can do that, but when you reject his help, he gives you enough rope to hang yourself. 3B. Mounce, “"God's wrath mentioned in Romans 1 is not an active outpouring of divine displeasure but the removal of restraint that allows sinners to reap the just fruits of their rebellion." 3C. Constable, “The third characteristic of man in rebellion against God that Paul identified after ignorance (v. 21) and idolatry (v. 23) is impurity (v. 24). Here Paul evidently had natural forms of moral uncleanness in view, such as adultery and harlotry. He went on in verses 26-27 to describe even worse immorality, namely, unnatural acts such as homosexuality. atural here means in keeping with how God has designed people, and unnatural refers to behavior that is contrary to how God has made us.” 3D. David Guzik, “Therefore God also gave them up: In His righteous wrath and judgment, God gives man up to the sin our evil hearts desire, allowing us to experience the self-destructive result of sin. This phrase is so important Paul repeats it three times in this passage. i. Hosea 4:17 expresses the judgmental aspects of God "giving us up," leaving us to our own sin: Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. ii. We err when we think that it is God's mercy or kindness that allows man to continue in sin. It is actually His wrath that allows us to go on destroying ourselves with sin.

4. Be grateful for the discipline of God, for he is a caring father who loves his children, and he will discipline them for their own good. When he abandons a person to total freedom it is the worst curse he can impose on them, for without his discipline they will become their own worst enemy. Some people just ruin their lives by foolish behavior, and this is because they have nobody who will love them enough to discipline them. They want to be free of all restraint; even the restraint of the laws of God such as the ten commandments. Men soon learn that a successful rebellion against God is life's greatest failure. God's judgment on rebellion is not to restrict people, but to give them complete freedom to do as they please, and this is the greatest curse that he can inflict on them, for this will make them their own worst enemy. 5. When divine restraint is removed man goes sexually wild. It is his strongest drive and the one easiest to loose control of. Just let any group of people be told that

anything goes and they will become immoral. Sex needs to be controlled or it becomes a stampede of emotions. If a culture goes to pot it is because God let go and lets it do as it pleases. Where anything goes, all will soon be gone. Chuck Swindoll said, "As a pastor since the early 1960's I have observed a tragic decline, a lowering of the standard of moral excellence-even within Christian circles." Holiness scares us because we foolishly think that it means that we cannot enjoy and delight in physical pleasure, and so we shy away from it to keep our erotic level higher, and this is folly. Holiness and good sex are not incompatible, but rather, they are partners. Lust has to be expressed, and it will either be done in ways out of God's will or in His will. Holiness keeps sex in bounds where it is better and blesses rather than hurts. 6. This verse makes it clear that God is not the author of the sinfulness of man. They are free and they use their freedom to do evil. I hear it said so often that God is in control as if this means that all that happens is God's will. This is pure nonsense, for God is not in control of sinful man. He is free to be stupid and blind, and do all kinds of foolish and wicked things. He can get drunk and drive and kill innocent people, and this is not God's will at all. Man is doing evil horrible things all the time, and none of it is what God wills. Maybe some get comfort in thinking all bad things are part of God's discipline for our learning and good, but it is not supported by the Scriptures. Most bad and evil things that happen are the result of man's abuse of his freedom. It is God's will that they be free, but what they choose to do with that freedom is not his will, unless they choose to do what is right, good and just. The daily news is filled with the follies of human choices, and it it mostly bad news because it is not the will of God. God is only in control in the sense that he can bring judgment on those who do what he hates. It hurts him, however, that they can go so far into evil behavior. Gen. 6:6 makes this clear. “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart.” Does that sound like he wanted and willed what they were doing? God was not willing what made him so sad to see. Do not say God is in control when men do evil, for it is a lie. It hurts God when men do evil, and he is not doing this to himself. He allows men to do stupid and evil things, but he hates it and judges it. When a sovereign God can be made to grieve by man's behavior, it is folly to say he is in control. He is just like any father with children who are in rebellion. He can threaten and then punish them if they persist to ignore his warnings, but he is not the author of their rebellious behavior. He is in control only in the sense that he is more powerful than the rebels and he can mete out judgment, and so it is with God. A poet wrote, For He that worketh high and wise, or pauses in his plan, Will take the sun out of the skies Ere freedom out of man. 7. Gill, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness,.... ot by putting any into them, but by leaving them to the pollution of their nature; by withdrawing his

providential restraints from them, and by giving them up to judicial hardness: through the lusts of their own hearts. The heart of man is the source of all wickedness; the lusts that dwell there are many, and these tend to uncleanness of one sort or another: by it here is meant particularly bodily uncleanness, since it is said they were given up to dishonor their own bodies between themselves; either alone, or with others; so that as they changed the glory of God, and dishonored him, he left them to dishonor themselves by doing these things which were reproachful and scandalous to human nature. 8. Barnes, “Wherefore - That is, because they were unwilling to retain him in their knowledge, and chose to worship idols. Here is traced the practical tendency of paganism; not as an innocent and harmless system, but as resulting in the most gross and shameless acts of depravity. God gave them up - He abandoned them, or he ceased to restrain them, and suffered them to act out their sentiments, and to manifest them in their life. This does not imply, that he exerted any positive influence in inducing them to sin, any more than it would if we should seek, by argument and entreaty, to restrain a headstrong youth, and when neither would prevail, should leave him to act out his propensities. and to go as he chose to ruin. It is implied in this, (1) That the tendency of man was to these sins; (2) That the tendency of idolatry was to promote them; and, (3) That all that was needful, in order that people should commit them, was for God to leave him to follow the devices and desires of his own heart; compare Psa_81:12; 2Th_2:10, 2Th_2:12. To uncleanness - To impurity, or moral defilement; particularly to those impurities which he proceeds to specify, Rom_1:26, etc. Through the lusts of their own hearts - Or, in consequence of their own evil and depraved passions and desires. He left them to act out, or manifest, their depraved affections and inclinations. To dishonor - To disgrace; Rom_1:26-27. Between themselves - Among themselves; or mutually. They did it by unlawful and impure connections with one another. 9. Jamison, “Wherefore God also — in righteous retribution. gave them up — This divine abandonment of men is here strikingly traced in three successive stages, at each of which the same word is used (Rom_1:24, Rom_1:26; and Rom_1:28, where the word is rendered “gave over”). “As they deserted God, God in turn deserted them; not giving them divine (that is, supernatural) laws, and suffering them to corrupt those which were human; not sending them prophets, and allowing the philosophers to run into absurdities. He let them do what they pleased, even what was in the last degree vile, that those who had not honored God, might dishonor themselves” [Grotius].

10. Henry, “The judgments of God upon them for this idolatry; not many temporal judgments (the idolatrous nations were the conquering ruling nations of the world), but spiritual judgments, giving them up to the most brutish and unnatural lusts. Paredōken autous - He gave them up; it is thrice repeated here, Rom_1:24, Rom_1:26, Rom_1:28. Spiritual judgments are of all judgments the sorest, and to be most dreaded. Observe, 1. By whom they were given up. God gave them up, in a way of righteous judgment, as the just punishment of their idolatry - taking off the bridle of restraining grace - leaving them to themselves - letting them alone; for his grace is his own, he is debtor to no man, he may give or withhold his grace at pleasure. Whether this giving up be a positive act of God or only privative we leave to the schools to dispute: but this we are sure of that it is no new thing for God to give men up to their own hearts' lusts, to send them strong delusions, to let Satan loose upon them, nay, to lay stumbling-blocks before them. And yet God is not the author of sin, but herein infinitely just and holy; for, though the greatest wickedness follow upon this giving up, the fault of that is to be laid upon the sinner's wicked heart. If the patient be obstinate, and will not submit to the methods prescribed, but wilfully takes and does that which is prejudicial to him, the physician is not to be blamed if he give him up as in a desperate condition; and all the fatal symptoms that follow are not to be imputed to the physician, but to the disease itself and to the folly and wilfulness of the patient. 2. To what they were given up. (1.) To uncleanness and vile affections, Rom_1:24, Rom_1:26, Rom_1:27. Those that would not entertain the more pure and refined notices of natural light, which tend to preserve the honor of God, justly forfeited those more gross and palpable sentiments which preserve the honour of human nature. Man being in honour, and refusing to understand the God that made him, thus becomes worse than the beasts that perish, Psa_49:20. Thus one, by the divine permission, becomes the punishment of another; but it is (as it said here) through the lusts of their own hearts - there all the fault is to be laid. Those who dishonored God were given up to dishonor themselves. A man cannot be delivered up to a greater slavery than to be given up to his own lusts. Such are given over, like the Egyptians (Isa_19:4), into the hand of a cruel lord. The particular instances of their uncleanness and vile affections are their unnatural lusts, for which many of the heathen, even of those among them who passed for wise men, as Solon and Zeno, were infamous, against the plainest and most obvious dictates of natural light. The crying iniquity of Sodom and Gomorrah, for which God rained hell from heaven upon them, became not only commonly practiced, but avowed, in the pagan nations. Perhaps the apostle especially refers to the abominations that were committed in the worship of their idol-gods, in which the worst of uncleannesses were prescribed for the honor of their gods; dunghill service for dunghill gods: the unclean spirits delight in such ministrations. In the church of Rome, where the pagan idolatries are revived, images worshiped, and saints only substituted in the room of demons, we hear of these same abominations going barefaced, licensed by the pope (Fox's Acts and Monuments, vol. 1, p. 808), and not only commonly perpetrated, but justified and pleaded for by some of their

cardinals: the same spiritual plagues for the same spiritual wickednesses. See what wickedness there is in the nature of man. How abominable and filthy is man! Lord, what is man? says David; what a vile creature is he when left to himself! How much are we beholden to the restraining grace of God for the preserving any thing of the honour and decency of the human nature! For, were it not for this, man, who was made but little lower than the angels, would make himself a great deal lower than the devils. This is said to be that recompence of their error which was meet. The Judge of all the earth does right, and observes a meetness between the sin and the punishment of it. 11. Bruce Goettsche, “First, notice that God reveals His wrath at this point by “giving the people over”.  He gave them over to sinful desires (v. 24)  He gave them over to shameful lusts (v. 26)  He gave them over to a depraved mind (v. 28) Do you remember the story of the Prodigal Son? A father provided his youngest son with everything he needed. The boy wanted more. He didn’t want to wait until his father died to receive his inheritance. He wanted it now! The Father did not have to give the son anything. In fact, he could have written him out of the will entirely. That’s not what he did. He gave him the inheritance even though we knew he would squander it. The son left town to “live his life”. He spent the money and ended up living with the pigs. Finally, after much misery, he came home and was welcomed joyfully by his father. Like the Father in the story, God gives us the freedom that we crave to “do our own thing” even though He knows it will land us in the pigpen. Our punishment, in other words, is to get what we want. Second, notice that the list seems to be sequential. In other words, He gives them over to sinful desires and then “because of this” He gave them over to shameful lusts and then to the depraved mind. This is a progressive list of decay. Third, we must remember God is being purposeful. His goal is the same as the Father of the Prodigal. He is hoping that we will see the dangerous consequences of our sin and return to the Lord. 12. Stedman, “The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality -- the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. ote that the sentence begins with the word therefore. This immorality is a result of the idolatry into which men fall. Idolatry is common in our day. We do not worship idols and images so much anymore, but concepts and ideas are idolized and deified as much as any of the idols of the ancient world. The result of idolatry is widespread sexual immorality. Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do and then says that God, in effect, gives up on the people who do them. They think God washes his hands of them because they are so filthy and dirty. That certainly is not what this account says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the

testimony of their own hearts and the world of nature around them, because they run after other gods and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work. The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality, which is always present in human life, becomes widely accepted. God allows us to experience the full effects of our attempts to satisfy our hungers and our cravings and our desires without him. He allows us to discover that we don't have the answer. God removes the societal restraints to let these things come to the surface. By that means, he forces us to experience the full effect of what we do. God forces us to harvest the crop we insist on sowing. We like to sow our wild oats, but, when they begin to sprout and the results begin to appear, we want to abandon the field and run to another one, and just keep sowing our wild oats. But God says you cannot do that. You are going to have to live with the results. This is what Paul, earlier in the passage, calls "the wrath of God" at work among us. You may ask, "Why is it that sex always seems to be singled out as the sign of God's judgment? Why is sexual immorality the first sign of a disintegrating civilization?" There is a good reason. Many Christians have wrongly concluded that sexual sins are the worst kinds of sin. But that is not true. Sexual sins are not the worst kind of sins. C. S. Lewis has caught this fact very accurately. In a paragraph from his book, Mere Christianity, he says, If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual. The pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and backbiting; the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me competing with the human self which I must try to become: they are the animal self, and the diabolical self; and the diabolical self is the worst of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig, who goes regularly to church, may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But of course, it's better to be neither. Those words are true, and this passage in Romans bears it out. It begins with sexual impurity and proceeds to sexual perversity. But the final result, the ultimate climax of the chapter, is not sexual sins, it is the sins of the spirit. Widespread animosity, hatred of the heart -- these are the worst sins.” 13. Barclay 24-5, “The word translated desires (epithumia) is the key to this passage. Aristotle defined epithumia as a reaching out after pleasure. The Stoics defined it as a reaching after pleasure which defies all reason. Clement of Alexandria called it an unreasonable reaching for that which will gratify itself. Epithumia is the passionate desire for forbidden pleasure. It is the desire which makes men do nameless and shameless things. It is the way of life of a man who has

become so completely immersed in the world that he has ceased to be aware of God at all. It is a terrible thing to talk of God abandoning anyone. And yet there are two reasons for that. (i) God gave man free-will, and he respects that free-will. In the last analysis not even he can interfere with it. In Eph.4:19 Paul speaks of men who have abandoned themselves to lasciviousness; they have surrendered their whole will to it. Hosea (Hos.4:17) has the terrible sentence: "Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone." Before man there stands an open choice; and it has to be so. Without choice there can be no goodness and without choice there can be no love. A coerced goodness is not real goodness; and a coerced love is not love at all. If men deliberately choose to turn their backs on God after he has sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world, not even he can do anything about it. When Paul speaks of God abandoning men to uncleanness, the word abandon has no angry irritation in it. Indeed, its main note is not even condemnation and judgment, but wistful, sorrowful regret, as of a lover who has done all that he can and can do no more. It describes exactly the feeling of the father when he saw his son turn his back on his home and go out to the far country. (ii) And yet in this word abandon there is more than that--there is judgment. It is one of the grim facts of life that the more a man sins the easier it is to sin. He may begin with a kind of shuddering awareness of what he is doing, and end by sinning without a second thought. It is not that God is punishing him; he is bringing punishment upon himself and steadily making himself the slave of sin.The Jews knew this, and they had certain great sayings upon this idea. "Every fulfilment of duty is rewarded by another; and every transgression is punished by another." "Whosoever strives to keep himself pure receives the power to do so; and whosoever is impure, to him is the door of vice thrown open." "He who erects a fence around himself is fenced, and he who gives himself over is given over." The most terrible thing about sin is just this power to beget sin. It is the awful responsibility of free-will that it can be used in such a way that in the end it is obliterated and a man becomes the slave of sin, self-abandoned to the wrong way. And sin is always a lie, because the sinner thinks that it will make him happy, whereas in the end it ruins life, both for himself and for others, in this world and in the world to come.” 14. Calvin, “ God therefore gave them up, etc. As impiety is a hidden evil, lest they should still find an evasion, he shows, by a more palpable demonstration, that, they cannot escape, but must be held fast by a just condemnation, since such fruits have followed this impiety as cannot be viewed otherwise than manifest evidences of the Lord's wrath. As the Lord's wrath is always just, it follows, that what has exposed them to condemnation, must have preceded it. By these evidences then he now proves the apostasy and defection of men: for the Lord indeed does so punish those, who alienate themselves from his goodness, that he

casts them headlong into various courses which lead to perdition and ruin. And by comparing the vices, of which they were guilty, with the impiety, of which he had before accused them, he shows that they suffered punishment through the just judgment of God: for since nothing is dearer to us than our own honor, it is extreme blindness, when we fear not to bring disgrace on ourselves; and it is the most suitable punishment for a reproach done to the Divine Majesty. This is the very thing which he treats of to the end of the chapter; but he handles it in various ways, for the subject required ample illustration. What then, in short, he proves to us is this, -- that the ingratitude of men to God is incapable of being excused; for it is manifest, by unequivocal evidences, that the wrath of God rages against them: they would have never rolled themselves in lusts so filthy, after the manner of beasts, had not the majesty of God been provoked and incensed against them. Since, then, the worst abominations abounded everywhere, he concludes that there existed among them evidences of divine vengeance. ow, as this never rages without reason, or unjustly, but ever keeps within the limits of what is right, he intimates that it hence appears that perdition, not less certain than just, impended over all. As to the manner in which God gives up or delivers men to wickedness, it is by no means necessary in this place to discuss a question so intricate, (longam -- tedious.) It is indeed certain, that he not only permits men to fall into sin, by allowing them to do so, and by conniving at them; but that he also, by his equitable judgment, so arranges things, that they are led and carried into such madness by their own lusts, as well as by the devil. He therefore adopts the word, give up, according to the constant usage of Scripture; which word they forcibly wrest, who think that we are led into sin only by the permission of God: for as Satan is the minister of God's wrath, and as it were the executioner, so he is armed against us, not through the connivance, but by the command of his judge. God, however, is not on this account cruel, nor are we innocent, inasmuch as Paul plainly shows, that we are not delivered up into his power, except when we deserve such a punishment. Only we must make this exception, that the cause of sin is not from God, the roots of which ever abide in the sinner himself; for this must be true, "Thine is perdition, O Israel; in me only is thy help." (Hosea 13:9) [51] By connecting the desires or lusts of man's heart with uncleanness, he indirectly intimates what sort of progeny our heart generates, when left to itself. The expression, among themselves, is not without its

force; for it significantly expresses how deep and indelible are the marks of infamy imprinted on our bodies.” 15. Haldane, “Wherefore God also gave them up. The impurities into which the Gentiles were plunged, sprung from their own corrupt hearts. We must therefore distinguish between their abandonment by God, and the awful effects of that abandonment. The abandonment proceeded from Divine justice, but the effect from the corruption of man, in which God had no part. The abandonment is a negative act of God, or rather a negation of acting, of which God is absolutely master, since, being under no obligation to confer grace on any man, He is free to withhold it as He sees good ; so that in this withholding there is no injustice. But besides this, it is a negation of acting which men have deserved by their previous sins, and consequently it proceeds from His justice, and is in this view to be considered as a punishment. Sin is indeed the conse quence of this abandonment, but the only cause of it is human perversity. God s giving them up, then, does not signify any positive act, but tfenotes His not holding them in check by those restraints by means of which He usually maintains a certain degree of order and appearance of moral rectitude among sinners. God did not, however, totally withdraw those restraints, by which His providence rules the world in the midst of its corruption ; for if He had done so, it would have been impossible that society could have subsisted, or the succession of generations con tinued. God, for these ends, still preserved among them some common rectitude, and certain bonds of humanity. But in other respects, so far as concerned the impurities to which the Apostle here refers, He relaxed His restraints on the fury of their passions, as a corresponding punish ment for their idolatries. Thus was His justice manifested in giving up those who had dishonoured Him to dishonour themselves, in a manner the most degrading and revolting.

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
1. What a poor system of values man can develop. They can think it a good deal to exchange truth for a lie, or turn from the worship of the Creator to the worship of things he has created. This is like trading in your Lexus for a Yugo, which reveals

just how stupid humans can be. They can be like blind little children who will always choose the shiny penny rather than the dull dime because they have no sense of the value of their choice. The gospel is the good news that foolish and blind men can still come back to the Creator and be restored to fellowship with Him. Longfellow said it in poetryThat in even savage bosoms, There are longings, yearnings, strivings, For the good they comprehend not, That the feeble hands and helpless, Groping blindly in the darknest, Touch God's right hand in the darkness, And are lifted up and strengthened. 2. Gill, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie,.... ot the truth of the Gospel, which they were unacquainted with; but that which might be known of God as true, and was known of them by the light of nature; or the true God himself, whom they "changed into a lie"; by ascribing to false deities, which were lying vanities, those things which were known of God; and by worshipping them instead of him: for they worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator; or "above him" or "against him", in opposition to him, or "besides him", others along with him; or neglecting him, and not worshiping him at all; which is aggravated in that what they worshiped was a creature, either of their own, or of God's making, and whom they neglected was the Creator of them: who is blessed for ever, Amen; is blessed in himself, and the fountain of all blessedness to his creatures; which is so glaring a truth, that everyone ought to say and set his "Amen" to it. 3. Clarke, “Changed the truth of God into a lie - In the place of the true worship of God, they established idolatry. In various places of Scripture idols are termed lies. Isa_44:20; Jer_10:14; Jer_13:25. The true God was known among the primitive inhabitants of the earth, those who first became idolaters literally changed the truth of God into a lie: they did know the true God, but they put idols in his place. 4. Barnes, “Who changed the truth of God - This is a repetition of the declaration in Rom_1:23, in another form. The phrase, “the truth of God” is a Hebrew phrase, meaning “the true God.” In such a case, where two nouns come together, one is employed as an adjective to qualify the other. Most commonly the latter of two nouns is used as the adjective, but sometimes it is the former, as in this case. God is called “the true God” in opposition to idols, which are called false gods. There is but one real or true God, and all others are false. Into a lie - Into idols, or false gods. Idols are not infrequently called falsehood and lies, because they are not true representations of God; Jer_13:25; Isa_28:15; Jer_10:14; Psa_40:4.

The creature - Created things, as the sun, moon, animals, etc. Who is blessed forever - It was not uncommon to add a doxology, or ascription of praise to God, when his name was mentioned; see Rom_9:5; 2Co_11:31; Gal_1:5. The Jews also usually did it. In this way they preserved veneration for the name of God, and accustomed themselves to speak of him with reverence. “The Muslims also borrowed this custom from the Jews, and practice it to a great extent. Tholuck mentions an Arabic manuscript in the library at Berlin which contains an account of heresies in respect to Islamism, and as often as the writer has occasion to mention the name of a new heretical sect, he adds, ‘God be exalted above all which they say’” (Stuart). Amen - This is a Hebrew word denoting strong affirmation. So let it be. It implies here the solemn assent of the writer to what was just said; or his strong wish that what he had said might be - that the name of God might be esteemed and be blessed forever. The mention of the degrading idolatry of the pagans was strongly calculated to impress on his mind the superior excellency and glory of the one living God. It is mentioned respecting the honorable Robert Boyle, that he never mentioned the name of God without a solemn pause, denoting his profound reverence. Such a practice would tend eminently to prevent an unholy familiarity and irreverence in regard to the sacred name of the Most High; compare Exo_20:7. 5. Jamison, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie — that is, the truth concerning God into idol falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator — Professing merely to worship the Creator by means of the creature, they soon came to lose sight of the Creator in the creature. How aggravated is the guilt of the Church of Rome, which, under the same flimsy pretext, does shamelessly what the heathen are here condemned for doing, and with light which the heathen never had! who is blessed for ever! Amen — By this doxology the apostle instinctively relieves the horror which the penning of such things excited within his breast; an example to such as are called to expose like dishonor done to the blessed God.

Unknown author, “God is just in condemning the heathen. Paul has proven that God is righteous and just in condemning the heathen, for they have rejected God’s revelation in creation. The revelation which the heathen rejected was not sufficient for salvation, but it was adequate for condemnation. If I were to ask you for a nickel and you refused, what good would it be to ask for a quarter, a dollar, or $1,000? Our response to God’s revelation in nature is evidence of our response to any amount of revelation. Our Lord said to the rich man in Sheol, concerning his lost relatives, “… If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Our response to divine revelation reveals the condition of our hearts toward God, and the condition of our hearts determines our response to any revelation we receive. The scribes and Pharisees refused to believe the claims of our Lord in spite of insurmountable evidence.

But what of someone who does respond positively to the revelation of God in nature? We would be correct to assume that those whose hearts God opens will be given the necessary revelation of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Such was the case with a man like Cornelius. He was told by an angel, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4b). Because he responded to the revelation of God that was available, God gave full revelation which led to the salvation of Cornelius and his household. 6. Haldane, “By changing the truth of God, referring to the attributes essential to His being, is here meant the changing of the just and legitimate notions which ought to be formed of Him, not only in contemplation, but chiefly in practice. The lie in the same way principally refers to practice, not consisting only in speculative errors, but in perversity of action in superstitions and idolatries. The heathens changed the truth of God, that is, the true idea of God exhibited in the works of creation, into the false representations made of Him in their superstitious idolatries. Thus departing from the true God, and receiving false gods in His stead, they worshipped the creature more, or rather, than the Creator. They pretended, indeed, that they did not forsake the Creator, while they served numerous divinities. They acknowledged that these were inferior to the sovereign God, whom they called the Father of gods and men. But whenever religious worship is offered to the creature in any manner whatever, it is forsaking God, whose will it is, not only that His creatures should serve Him, but that they should serve Him alone, on which account He calls Himself a jealous God. The idolatry of the Pagans was in reality, according to the view here given by the Apostle, a total abandonment of the worship of God. Who is blessed for ever. Amen. This expression is here used by the Apostle for the purpose of inflicting a greater stigma on idolatry, denot ing that we ought to honour and adore God alone, and are not permitted to take away from Him even the smallest ray of His glory. It is an expression that was almost in perpetual use among the Jews, and is still frequently found in their writings when they speak of God. It denotes that we should never speak of God but with profound respect, and that this respect ought to be accompanied with praise and thanksgiving. In particular, it condemns idolatry, and signifies that God alone is worthy to be eternally served and adored. The word Amen is here not only an affirmation, or an approval ; it is also an aspiration of pious feeling, and a token of regard for the honour of God. 7. Calvin, “He repeats what he had said before, though in different words, in order to fix it deeper in our minds. When the truth

of God is turned to a lie, his glory is obliterated. It is then but just, that they should be besprinkled with every kind of infamy, who strive to take away from God his honor, and also to reproach his name. -And worshipped, etc. That I might include two words in one, I have given this rendering. He points out especially the sin of idolatry; for religious honor cannot be given to a creature, without taking it away, in a disgraceful and sacrilegious manner, from God: and vain is the excuse that images are worshipped on God's account, since God acknowledges no such worship, nor regards it as acceptable; and the true God is not then worshipped at all, but a fictitious God, whom the flesh has devised for itself. [52] What is added, Who is blessed for ever, I explain as having been said for the purpose of exposing idolaters to greater reproach, and in this way, "He is one whom they ought alone to have honored and worshipped, and from whom it was not right to take away any thing, no, not even the least."

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
1. Shameful lusts are lusts that pervert the natural lusts of men for women, and vice versa. It is unnatural for women to want sex with other women. Homosexuality of both men and women was a part of the culture of Paul's day, and we do not have to watch a great deal of television to realize that it is also a common part of our culture as well. There is no escaping the reality that American culture is reverting back to the ways of the Roman empire of Paul's day, for sexual perversions are accepted as a way of life for so many that the laws are changing to validate this life style. However, even if Romans 1:26 were to be interpreted (contrary to the church fathers in the first four centuries and the most informed modern scholarship) as referring to female homoeroticism, it generally acknowledged to be the only text in the entire Bible that might possibly be cited against lesbians. 1B. Constable, “Because mankind "exchanged" the truth for the lie God allowed him to degrade himself through his passions. The result was that he "exchanged" natural human functions for what is unnatural. In the Greek text the words translated "women" (thelus; v. 26) and "men" (arsen, v. 27) mean "females" and "males." Ironically the homosexuality described in these verses does not

characterize females and males of other animal species, only human beings. Homosexuality is a perversion because it uses sex for a purpose contrary to those for which God created and intended it (Gen. 1:28; 2:24). "Contemporary homosexuals insist that these verses mean that it is perverse for a heterosexual male or female to engage in homosexual relations but it is not perverse for a homosexual male or female to do so since homosexuality is such a person's natural preference. This is strained exegesis unsupported by the Bible. The only natural sexual relationship the Bible recognizes is a heterosexual one (Gen. 2:21-24; Matt. 19:4-6) within marriage."67 "A contextual and exegetical examination of Romans 1:26- 27 reveals that attempts by some contemporary writers to do away with Paul's prohibitions against present-day same sex relations are false Paul did not impose Jewish customs and rules on his readers; instead he addressed same-sex relations from the trans-cultural perspective of God's created order. God's punishment for sin is rooted in a sinful reversal of the created order. or was homosexuality simply a sin practiced by idolaters in Paul's day; it was a distorting consequence of the fall of the human race in the Garden of Eden. either did Paul describe homosexual acts by heterosexuals. Instead he wrote that homosexual activity was an exchange of the created order (heterosexuality) for a talionic perversion (homosexuality), which is never presented in Scripture as an acceptable norm for sexuality. Also Hellenistic pederasty does not fully account for the terms and logic of Romans 1:26-27 which refers to adult adult mutuality. Therefore it is clear that in Romans 1:26- 27 Paul condemned homosexuality as a perversion of God's design for human sexual relations." 1C. Dr. Daniel Hill, “There is a word here that is not translated. It is the word EVE , "For even their women..." The last ones in a society to usually be effected by decaying morality are women. By using this illustration Paul is saying all virtue is gone. The "natural" use is the relationship of man and woman. The use that is "against nature" is lesbianism. This is the female expression of degrading passions. In these two verse Paul uses ARSJ for men and QALUS for women. These are not nouns, they are descriptive adjectives which describe not the gender but the drive of a person. The same sexual drive that is described in animals by these two terms.” 2. Gill, “ For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections,.... Because of their idolatrous practices, God left them to very dishonourable actions, sodomitical ones, both among the men and women: for even the women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; either by prostituting themselves to, and complying with the "sodomitical" embraces of men, in a way that is against nature (h); or by making use of such ways and methods with themselves, or other women, to gratify their lusts, which were never designed by nature for such an use: of these vicious women, and their practices, Seneca (i) speaks, when he says,

"libidine veto nec maribus quidem cedunt, pati natae; Dii illas Deoeque, male perdant; adeo perversum commentae, genus impudicitiae, viros ineunt:'' also Clemens Alexandrinus (k) has respect to such, saying, "gunaikev andrizontai para fusin, gamou men ai te kai γαµουσαι γυναικες.' and such there were among the Jews, whom they call ‫( חמסוללות זו בזו נשים‬l), and whom the priests were forbidden to marry. 3. Clarke, “For this cause God gave them up, etc. - Their system of idolatry necessarily produced all kinds of impurity. How could it be otherwise, when the highest objects of their worship were adulterers, fornicators, and prostitutes of the most infamous kind, such as Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Venus, etc.? Of the abominable evils with which the apostle charges the Gentiles in this and the following verse I could produce a multitude of proofs from their own writings; but it is needless to make the subject plainer than the apostle has left it. 4. Barnes, “For this cause - On account of what had just been specified; to wit, that they did not glorify him as God, that they were unthankful, that they became polytheists and idolaters. In the previous verses he had stated their speculative belief. He now proceeds to show its practical influences on their conduct. Vile affections - Disgraceful passions or desires. That is, to those which are immediately specified. The great object of the apostle here, it will be remembered, is to shew the state of the pagan world, and to prove that they had need of some other way of justification than the law of nature. For this purpose, it was necessary for him to enter into a detail of their sins. The sins which he proceeds to specify are the most indelicate, vile, and degrading which can be charged on man. But this is not the fault of the apostle. If they existed, it was necessary for him to charge them on the pagan world. His argument would not be complete without it. The shame is not in specifying them, but in their existence; not in the apostle, but in those who practiced them, and imposed on him the necessity of accusing them of these enormous offences. It may be further remarked, that the mere fact of his charging them with these sins is strong presumptive proof of their being practiced. If they did not exist, it would be easy for them to deny it, and put him to the proof of it. o man would venture charges like these without evidence; and the presumption is, that these things were known and practiced without shame. But this is not all. There is still abundant proof on record in the writings of the pagan themselves, that these crimes were known and extensively practiced. For even their women ... - Evidence of the shameful and disgraceful fact here charged on the women is abundant in the Greek and Roman writers. Proof may be seen, which it would not be proper to specify, in the lexicons, under the words τριζὰς ὄλισβον trizas olisbon, and ἑταιρίστης hetairistēs. See also Seneca, epis. 95; Martial, epis. i. 90. Tholuck on the State of the pagan World, in the Biblical Repository, vol. ii.; Lucian, Dial. Meretric. v.; and Tertullian de Pallio.

5. Jamison, “For this cause God gave them up — (See on Rom_1:24). for even their women — that sex whose priceless jewel and fairest ornament is modesty, and which, when that is once lost, not only becomes more shameless than the other sex, but lives henceforth only to drag the other sex down to its level. did change, etc. — The practices here referred to, though too abundantly attested by classic authors, cannot be further illustrated, without trenching on things which “ought not to be named among us as become the saints.” But observe how vice is here seen consuming and exhausting itself. When the passions, scourged by violent and continued indulgence in natural vices, became impotent to yield the craved enjoyment, resort was had to artificial stimulants by the practice of unnatural and monstrous vices. How early these were in full career, in the history of the world, the case of Sodom affectingly shows; and because of such abominations, centuries after that, the land of Canaan “spued out” its old inhabitants. Long before this chapter was penned, the Lesbians and others throughout refined Greece had been luxuriating in such debasements; and as for the Romans, Tacitus, speaking of the emperor Tiberius, tells us that new words had then to be coined to express the newly invented stimulants to jaded passion. o wonder that, thus sick and dying as was this poor humanity of ours under the highest earthly culture, its many-voiced cry for the balm in Gilead, and the Physician there, “Come over and help us,” pierced the hearts of the missionaries of the Cross, and made them “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!” 6. Barclay, “Rom. 1:26-32 might seem the work of some almost hysterical moralist who was exaggerating the contemporary situation and painting it in colours of rhetorical hyperbole. It describes a situation of degeneracy of morals almost without parallel in human history. But Paul said nothing that the Greek and Roman writers of the age did not themselves say. (i) It was an age when things seemed, as it were, out of control. Virgil wrote: "Right and wrong are confounded; so many wars the world over, so many forms of wrong; no worthy honour is left to the plough; the husbandmen are marched away and the fields grow dirty; the hook has its curve straightened into the sword-blade. In the East, Euphrates is stirring up the war, in the West, Germany; nay, closeneighbouring cities break their mutual league and draw the sword, and the war god's unnatural fury rages over the whole world; even as when in the circus the chariots burst from their floodgates, they dash into the course, and, pulling desperately at the reins, the driver lets the horses drive him, and the car is deaf to the curb." It was a world where violence had run amok. When Tacitus came to write the history of this period, he wrote: "I am entering upon the history of a period, rich in disasters, gloomy with wars, rent with seditions, savage in its very hours of peace. All was one delirium of hate and terror; slaves were bribed to betray their masters, freedmen their patrons. He who had no foe was destroyed by his friend." Suetonius, writing of the reign of Tiberius, said: " o day passed but someone was executed." It

was an age of sheer, utter terror. "Rome," said Livy, the historian, "could neither bear its ills nor the remedies that might have cured them." Propertius, the poet, wrote: "I see Rome, proud Rome, perishing, the victim of her own prosperity." It was an age of moral suicide. Juvenal, the satirist, wrote: "The earth no longer brings forth any but bad men and cowards. Hence God, whoever he is, looks down, laughs at them and hates them." To the thinking man it was an age when things seemed out of control, and when, in the background, a man could hear the mocking laughter of the gods. As Seneca said, it was an age "stricken with the agitation of a soul no longer master of itself." (ii) It was an age of unparalleled luxury. In the public baths of Rome the hot and cold water ran from silver taps. Caligula had even sprinkled the floor of the circus arena with gold dust instead of sawdust. Juvenal said bitterly: "A luxury more ruthless than war broods over Rome. o guilt or deed of lust is wanting since Roman poverty disappeared." "Money, the nurse of debauchery and enervating riches sapped the sinews of the age with foul luxury." Seneca spoke of "money, the ruin of the true honour of things," and said, "we ask not what a thing truly is but what it costs." It was an age so weary of ordinary things that it was avid for new sensations. Lucretius speaks of "that bitterness which flows from the very fountain of pleasure." Crime became the only antidote to boredom, until, as Tacitus said, "the greater the infamy, the wilder the delight." (iii) It was an age of unparalleled immorality. There had not been one single case of divorce in the first 520 years of the history of the Roman republic. The first Roman recorded as having divorced his wife was Spurius Carvilius Ruga in 234 B.C. But now, as Seneca said, "women were married to be divorced and divorced to be married." Roman high-born matrons dated the years by the names of their husbands, and not by the names of the consuls. Juvenal could not believe that it was possible to have the rare good fortune to find a matron with unsullied chastity. Clement of Alexandria speaks of the typical Roman society lady as "girt like Venus with a golden girdle of vice." Juvenal writes: "Is one husband enough for lberina? Sooner will you prevail upon her to be content with one eye." He cites the case of a woman who had eight husbands in five years. He cites the incredible case of Agrippina, the empress herself, the wife of Claudius, who at night used to leave the royal palace and go down to serve in a brothel for the sake of sheer lust. "They show a dauntless spirit in those things they basely dare." There is nothing that Paul said about the heathen world that the heathen moralists had not themselves already said. And vice did not stop with the crude and natural vices. Society from top to bottom was riddled with unnatural vice. Fourteen out of the first fifteen Roman Emperors were homosexuals. So far from exaggerating the picture Paul drew it with restraint--and it was there that he was eager to preach the gospel, and it was there that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. The world needed the power that would work salvation, and Paul knew that nowhere else than in Christ did that power exist.”

7. Unknown author, “Only since John Chrysostom (344-408 A.D.) has Romans 1:26 been interpreted as viewing negatively ("against nature") same gender sexual acts between women. However, scholars now point out that the text probably does not refer to female homoeroticism at all, but to common heterosexual acts that Paul and his contemporaries would have interpreted as "against nature," especially anal intercourse, but perhaps also other acts avoiding procreation: oral sex, mutual masturbation, and sexual relations during menstruation (Lev 28:19; 20:18; mixing semen and blood). The text might even refer to women having sex with animals (prohibited in Lev 18:23; 20:15-16). James E. Miller (1995; 1997ab) argues that the "likewise" joining Romans 1:26 and 27 refers to the same kind of act (probably anal sex, misplacing semen, avoiding procreation), and that we err in imposing on the text our modern concept of "homosexuality" to link the two verses (cf. Brooten 1996:248-250, note 99). However, even if Romans 1:26 were to be interpreted (contrary to the church fathers in the first four centuries and the most informed modern scholarship) as referring to female homoeroticism, it generally acknowledged to be the only text in the entire Bible that might possibly be cited against lesbians.” 8. Robert Brow, “1:26-27 This passage seems to be based on Leviticus 20:10-16 where seven kinds of sexual abomination deserved the death penalty. In addition to four specific kinds of adultery (one is referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:1), three other sexual practices were forbidden. First there was buggery, or the anal penetration of another male (20:13). Secondly bestiality, or the penetration of an animal by a male (20:15). And thirdly a woman allowing herself to be mounted by an animal (20:16). What horrified Paul was that these practices that had required the death penalty were now common pastimes in the Greek world. One hates to discuss such crudities, but it seems that God's word in Leviticus and Romans is not embarrassed to call a spade a spade.” 9. Calvin, “God therefore gave them up, etc. After having introduced as it were an intervening clause, he returns to what he had before stated respecting the judgment of God: and he brings, as the first example, the dreadful crime of unnatural lust; and it hence appears that they not only abandoned themselves to beastly lusts, but became degraded beyond the beasts, since they reversed the whole order of nature. He then enumerates a long catalogue of vices which had existed in all ages, and then prevailed everywhere without any restraint. It is not to the purpose to say, that every one was not laden with so great a mass of vices; for in arraigning the common baseness of men, it is proof enough if all to a man are constrained to acknowledge some faults. So then we must consider, that Paul here records those abominations which had been common in all ages, and were at that time

especially prevalent everywhere; for it is marvelous how common then was that filthiness which even brute beasts abhor; and some of these vices were even popular. And he recites a catalogue of vices, in some of which the whole race of man were involved; for though all were not murderers, or thieves, or adulterers, yet there were none who were not found polluted by some vice or another. He calls those disgraceful passions, which are shameful even in the estimation of men, and redound to the dishonoring of God.

27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
1. It would appear from these words of Paul that homosexuality was a common problem in his day, and that in some way it was bringing about a penalty for those engaged in this kind of sexual activity. Today we are well aware of AIDS, but what was the penalty in that day? I am not sure, but the obvious penalty is the loss of natural love because of unnatural lust. Men and women lost the love of each other because of the pleasure they found in their perversion. My understanding is, that of the first 15 Emperors of the Roman empire, 14 were homosexuals, and only one was given to normal sexual behavior. It was common for the philosophers of that day to be homosexual, and so from the top down this became the norm. It was one of the many sins that Paul had to condemn. Paul did not hate these people for their sinfulness, for they were victims of their culture. He sought to win them to Christ and change their behavior by becoming a part of a society called the church where people were trained to think and act different from their culture. 1B. An unknown author wrote, "There were plenty of negative repercussions for health with regard to sodomy before AIDS came around. AIDS is just one more confirmation that unnatural sex is physically dangerous (we know, e.g., that AIDS spread rapidly in Africa even among heterosexuals. Why? Because heterosexual anal sex is prevalent among many Africans - hence the spread of the disease). Sin is always dangerous. God tries to spare us of its consequences, but we are too dense and rebellious to accept Him at His word, and we insist on playing with fire, defying even nature itself, if need be. Romans 1:18-32 is an argument from nature, a sort of primitive teleological argument (or, argument from design). He implies sins against nature in 1:24: ". . . the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves" (RSV). Idolatry is condemned in 1:25: ". . . they . . . worshiped and served the creature

rather than the Creator . . ." In my opinion, immoral sex amounts to a worship of the physical body as an object apart from the whole person who possesses it, and in defiance of the lifelong commitment within which moral sex is protected and placed in the proper context of whole love relationships with whole people (not just genitals), for a whole lifetime." 1C. Spurgeon was bothered by this last part of the chapter, and he preferred to not read it in public. He wrote, “"This first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a dreadful portion of the Word of God. I should hardly like to read it all through aloud; it is not intended to be so used. Read it at home, and be startled at the awful vices of the Gentile world." 1D. David Guzik, “Paul categorizes the whole section under the idea of vile passions - unhealthy,
unholy. Nevertheless, Paul lived in a culture that openly approved of homosexuality. Paul didn't write this to a culture that agreed with him. Paul wrote to a culture where homosexuality was accepted as a part of life for both men and women. For some 200 years, men who openly practiced homosexuality, often with young boys, ruled the Roman Empire. At times, the Roman Empire specifically taxed approved homosexual prostitution and gave boy prostitutes a legal holiday. Legal marriage between same gender couples was recognized, and even some of the emperors married other men. At the very time Paul was writing, ero was emperor. He took a boy named Sporus and had him castrated, then married him (with a full ceremony), brought him to the palace with a great procession, and made the boy his "wife." Later, ero lived with another man, and ero was the "wife."

2. Homosexuality is just one of the many sins and corruptions of the people of Paul's day, and none of them disqualified people from coming to Christ and being forgiven. All of the sins Paul goes on to list are perversions of the human ideal as God intended man to be, and the only hope of being rescued from these perversions is a new nature that can be experienced by the new birth that comes with receiving Jesus Christ as one's Savior. The result of this is, one becomes a child of God with a whole new motivation to live in a way that pleases one's heavenly Father. Sometimes all of these sinful ways are abandoned instantly, but for others it is a long struggle to throw off the powerful impact of their culture. 3. It is natural and normal for the sexes to be attracted to the opposite sex. God designed man in this way, and so when men go against God's design and abandon what is natural, they are going against the grain of God's creation. It is just another form of rebellion against God. It was Adam and Eve, and not Adam and Steve, as one writer put it describing the original plan of God. When we choose to revise God's plan for sexual behavior, we are in a state of rebellion. Paul is saying that homosexuality is a matter of choice. Men abandoned what was natural, and what God intended to be valid sexual behavior. It was not what God wanted, but when men chose. It was free will in action, and not because of some law compelling them to go this wrong direction. Men chose to defy God's plan and go their own way, and Paul says they receive in themselves the penalty for this perversion. The penalty may very well be the changes in their nature that are passed on so that they become what they chose. Men become homosexul in their nature, and are actually born as homosexual people. It is no longer just a choice, but a natural condition of their being. Their worst judgment is to become what they chose in rebellion against God's

way, and so in the end they cannot enjoy sex with the opposite sex, and live as normal humans were created to live. Their judgment is to be abnormal. 4. The Bible reveals that men can get so addicted to homosexual activity that they lose the normal desire to lust after the female body. In a study of Genesis 18:20; 19:4-9, George Zeller concludes, "Several observations need to be made: (1) God's evaluation of the enormity and weightiness of the sin of Sodom: "And the LORD said...their sin is very grievous [heavy]" (Genesis 18:20). (2) The Sodomites, thinking the two angels were men, lusted after them: "bring them out unto us, that we may know them [carnally]" (Genesis 19:5). (3) Even Lot's offer of his own daughters could not satisfy their unnatural desires (Genesis 19:8-9). (4) This terrible and dreadful sin was repeated in the land of Israel during the period of the judges (Judges 19:22-30). (5) The SERIOUS ESS of the sin is seen by the SEVERITY of the judgment. The Sodomite men were struck with blindness (Genesis 19:11) and their city was destroyed by fire (Genesis 19:28-29). (6) Their sin was forever memorialized by the terms "Sodomite" and "Sodomy." (7) The sin of the Sodomites also involved pride, prosperity and abundance of idleness (Ezekiel 16:49) and such things most often lead to moral looseness and lewd immorality. (8) The sin of the Sodomites is mentioned twice in the ew Testament as warning to those who should live ungodly today (2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 7)." For his extended study of homosexuality in the Bible look him up on the internet. He covers the subject as completely as anyone. He goes into depth on all the controversial issues surrounding homosexuality. Go to 4B. I just want to share one testimony from Zellers many words on the possibility of homosexuals becoming heterosexuals. He wrote, "A friend of mine is a national spokesman for those struggling with homosexuality. He has also been active in exposing the radical and militant gay agenda, and their attack on the traditional family. My friend himself was gay and he was convinced that he was born that way and could not change. For over a decade he indulged in the gay lifestyle and had over 100 same sex partners. Then one day a friend shared with him the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today he is happily married to a beautiful Christian woman and is the proud father of two wonderful children. He is a living example that a homosexual can change and can live a satisfying life by being the man, husband and father that God would have him to be." 5. This being the case, how are we to think about the homosexual? They are sinners just like everyone else, but their sin, in many cases, is deep seated in their very genes. Sexual immorality of the heterosexual is just as wicked, and often just as ingrained in their nature. All sexual behavior that violates God's revealed will is evil and considered a sin. So all people are in the same category when it comes to sinful sexual behavior. All need the grace of God to overcome this wicked and damaging behavior. Many homosexuals become people who live without engaging in their perversion, and many heterosexuals become people who cease to commit adultery and having sex with women other than their mate. By the grace of God, and by faith

in Christ people can overcome any addiction that is contrary to God's will. This is the message believers carry to the world, and so we are to look on all sinners as potential saints who can live without behavior that is displeasing to God. 6. We are to love the homosexual and the heterosexual who are not in God's will, because Christ died for their sins, and desires to liberate them from those sins. Paul wrote in I Cor. 6:9-11, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 or thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." The homosexuals of Paul's day were in the same category with all of the other sinners with heterosexual natures, and they were saved, washed and sanctified right along with all the others. Many early Christians were homosexuals before they came to Christ. Paul condemns their behavior, but he loves them and seeks to win them to Christ just as all other sinners. Because of the power of faith in Christ they became ex-homosexuals, and ex-adulterers, and ex-drunkards, etc. obody has to stay in a state of rebellion against God's will. All can be redeemed and be restored to living a life that is consistent with what pleases God. 7. Gill, “And likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the women,.... The very sin of "sodomy" is here designed, so called from Sodom, the place where we first hear of it, Gen_19:5, the men of which place, because they burned in their lust one towards another, as these Gentiles are said to do, God rained upon them fire and brimstone from heaven: an exceeding great sin this is, contrary to nature, dishonourable to human nature, and scandalous to a people and nation among whom it prevails, as it did very much in the Gentile world, and among their greatest philosophers; even those that were most noted for moral virtue are charged with it, as Socrates, Plato, Zeno, and others (m): it is a sin which generally prevails where idolatry and infidelity do, as among the Pagans of old, and among the Papists and Mahometans now; and never was it so rife in this nation as since the schemes of deism and infidelity have found such a reception among us. Thus God, because men dishonour him with their evil principles and practices, leaves them to reproach their own nature, and dishonour their own bodies: men with men working that which is unseemly; and of which nothing like it is to be observed in the brutal world: receiving in themselves the recompence of their error, which was meet: God punishes sin with sin; for as the Jews say (n), as "one commandment draws on another, so one transgression draws on another; for the reward of the commandment is the commandment, ‫ ושכר עבירה עבירה‬and the reward of transgression is transgression.''

8. Barnes, “And likewise the men ... - The sin which is here specified is what was the shameful sin of Sodom, and which from that has been called sodomy. It would scarcely be credible that man had been guilty of a crime so base and so degrading, unless there was ample and full testimony to it. Perhaps there is no sin which so deeply shows the depravity of man as this; none which would so much induce one “to hang his head, and blush to think himself a man.” And yet the evidence that the apostle did not bring a railing accusation against the pagan world; that he did not advance a charge which was unfounded, is too painfully clear. It has been indeed a matter of controversy whether paederastry, or the love of boys, among the ancients was not a pure and harmless love, but the evidence is against it. (See this discussed in Dr. Leland’s Advantage and ecessity of Revelation, vol. i. 49-56.) The crime with which the apostle charges the Gentiles here was by no means confined to the lower classes of the people. It doubtless pervaded all classes, and we have distinct specifications of its existence in a great number of cases. Even Virgil speaks of the attachment of Corydon to Alexis, without seeming to feel the necessity of a blush for it. Maximus Tyrius (Diss. 10) says that in the time of Socrates, this vice was common among the Greeks; and is at pains to vindicate Socrates from it as almost a solitary exception. Cicero (Tuscul. Ques. iv. 34) says, that “Dicearchus had accused Plato of it, and probably not unjustly.” He also says (Tuscul. Q. iv. 33), that the practice was common among the Greeks, and that their poets and great men, and even their learned men and philosophers, not only practiced, but gloried in it. And he adds, that it was the custom, not of particular cities only, but of Greece in general. (Tuscul. Ques. v. 20.) Xenophon says, that “the unnatural love of boys is so common, that in many places it is established by the public laws.” He particularly alludes to Sparta. (See Leland’s Advantage, etc. i. 56.) Plato says that the Cretans practiced this crime, and justified themselves by the example of Jupiter and Ganymede. (Book of Laws, i.) And Aristotle says, that among the Cretans there was a law encouraging that sort of unnatural love. (Aristotle, Politic. b. ii. chapter 10.) Plutarch says, that this was practiced at Thebes, and at Elis. He further says, that Solon, the great lawgiver of Athens, “was not proof against beautiful boys, and had not courage to resist the force of love.” (Life of Solon.) Diogenes Laertius says that this vice was practiced by the Stoic Zeno. Among the Romans, to whom Paul was writing, this vice was no less common. Cicero introduces, without any mark of disapprobation, Cotta, a man of the first rank and genius, freely and familiarly owning to other Romans of the same quality, that this worse than beastly vice was practiced by himself, and quoting the authority of ancient philosophers in vindication of it. (De atura Deorum, b. i. chapter 28.) It appears from what Seneca says (epis. 95) that in his time it was practiced openly at Rome, and without shame. He speaks of flocks and troops of boys, distinguished by their colors and nations; and says that great care was taken to train them up for this detestable employment. Those who may wish to see a further account of the morality in the pagan world may find it detailed in Tholuck’s “ ature and moral Influence of Heathenism,” in the Biblical Repository, vol. ii., and in Leland’s Advantage and ecessity of the

Christian Revelation. There is not the least evidence that this abominable vice was confined to Greece and Rome. If so common there, if it had the sanction even of their philosophers, it may be presumed that it was practiced elsewhere, and that the sin against nature was a common crime throughout the pagan world. avaratte, in his account of the empire of China (book ii. chapter 6), says that it is extremely common among the Chinese. And there is every reason to believe, that both in the old world and the new, this abominable crime is still practiced. If such was the state of the pagan world, then surely the argument of the apostle is well sustained, that there was need of some other plan of salvation than was taught by the light of nature. That which is unseemly - That which is shameful, or disgraceful. And receiving in themselves ... - The meaning of this doubtless is, that the effect of such base and unnatural passions was, to enfeeble the body, to produce premature old age, disease, decay, and an early death. That this is the effect of the indulgence of licentious passions, is amply proved by the history of man. The despots who practice polygamy, and keep harems in the East, are commonly superannuated at forty years of age; and it is well known, even in Christian countries, that the effect of licentious indulgence is to break down and destroy the constitution. How much more might this be expected to follow the practice of the vice specified in the verse under examination! God has marked the indulgence of licentious passions with his frown. Since the time of the Romans and the Greeks, as if there had not been sufficient restraints before, he has originated a new disease, which is one of the most loathsome and distressing which has ever afflicted man, and which has swept off millions of victims. But the effect on the body was not all. It tended to debase the mind; to sink man below the level of the brute; to destroy the sensibility; and to “sear the conscience as with a hot iron.” The last remnant of reason and conscience, it would seem, must be extinguished it those who would indulge in this unnatural and degrading vice. See Suetonius’ Life of ere, 28. 9. Bruce Goettsche, “This prohibition is mentioned in both the Old Testament and the ew Testament, which means that it is a principle that is a timeless principle rather than a social concession. Because this is a main text prohibiting homosexuality, those who seek to show the Bible does not condemn this behavior have to address this text. They approach it from three different angles. First, they argue that this passage is not trying to teach us about sexual ethics, it is teaching us about God’s wrath. That is a true statement, but the fact that this kind of behavior is seen as an expression of God’s wrath clearly shows that God finds the behavior to be sinful. Second, it is argued that the words “inflamed with lust” indicate that God is condemning the promiscuous homosexual or abusive homosexual, not all homosexuality. They argue that God approves of monogamous and committed homosexuals. The clear teaching of the text is that same sex relationships are against God’s design. They are unnatural.

That term “unnatural” becomes the focus of the third explanation. It is argued that a true homosexual is not doing anything “unnatural” when they get involved in same sex relationships. They conclude Paul must be condemning those who are really heterosexual but engage in homosexual activity. It is suggested that the term unnatural be defined by what feels natural to us. Man does not get to define what is natural any more than he gets to define what is right. God defines what is natural and unnatural. The Bible clearly says that the natural design for a family is for a man to “leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. Paul says, “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion”. This is a difficult verse. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what this means. It may refer to the increased risk of sexually transmitted disease, the emptiness that results from abandoning God, or something entirely different. I don’t know and I couldn’t find anyone who did know.

We should point out that this prohibition against homosexuality should also be applied to incest, bestiality, and rape. All of these things are unnatural perversions of God’s design and a sign of God’s rebellion. They all move us closer to life in the pigpen. In all of this discussion please understand that we are not trying to condemn. We are trying to be faithful. Our stand against homosexuality is not based on any hatred of the homosexual, it is based on the belief that God’s Word is true and can alone lead us to the life God desires for us. As Christians we are not to be hatemongers. o matter how militant the Homosexual community is toward Bible believing Christians, it is still our duty to show love and extend the message of grace. Homosexuality is a sin that has severe social ramifications, but it is not the unforgivable sin. Homosexuals can be made new in Christ. Jesus died for those caught in the grip of homosexuality just like those caught in the grip of other sin. We must show the love of Christ in all circumstances.” 10. Dr. Daniel Hill, “ OW WITH THESE TWO SI S I want us to be careful: The old saying hate the sin and not the sinner must be applied. We as Christian people must not become homophobic, we must not hate the homosexual, just stand against what they do. The only hope for the homosexual is the same hope for the adulterer, the thief, the slanderer. Jesus Christ provides salvation and the Spiritual life for the ones who are saved. Christians are very good at becoming hate mongers, and we must not allow that to happen. There are many homosexual men and lesbian women who are very aware of their lack of fulfillment and are receptive to the truth of God if it is expressed with the love of Christ.We will see in verses 28-32 that the expressions of abandoning God and His truth are not always cultic depravity and sexual immorality. This rejection can also find its expression in sins.”

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
1. They had the knowledge of God, but they did not think it was that important, and so they let it fade away. They did not pass it on to their children, and so each generation became more and more godless. They abandoned God as irrelevant to their lives, and God let them have the freedom to live with a mind deprived of his reality and with his laws totally ignored. This is the worst judgment God could have inflicted them with, for such a depraved mind is the road to hell on earth. When men abandon God, he abandons them to their own choice. He lets them be free to follow their own depraved mind, and this will lead them to endless folly. 2. I like the way Wuest described the process. "The human race put God to the test for the purpose of approving Him should He meet the specifications which it laid down for a God who would be to its liking, and finding that He did not meet those specifications, it refused to approve Him as the God to be worshipped, or have Him in its knowledge." God failed man's test, and so they cut him off from their value system by becoming practical atheists. 3. The depraved mind is the mind that produces the worst kinds of senseless evil and violence in the world. It is willing to kill and destroy with no other motive than to be evil and destructive. It is the mind of the tyrants of history who murder masses of people for their own pleasure, and to promote their own agenda. They have no respect for life, for they do not recognize it as a gift of God. They do not acknowledge that man is made in the image of God, and, therefore, of infinite worth. Without God in their minds, they feel free to treat humans on the same level as they do fleas and flys, and so they kill them without mercy. Those with less power murder and abuse individual children, and just become cruel toward all life. A depraved mind is a mind without God, and a godless mind is capable of any evil. 4. Gill, “And even as they did not like,.... This accounts for the justness of the divine procedure in leaving them to commit such scandalous iniquities; that since they had some knowledge of God by the light of nature, and yet did not care to retain God in their knowledge; or to own and acknowledge him as God, to worship and glorify him as such; but took every method to erase this knowledge out

of their minds, and keep it from others: God gave them over to a reprobate mind; a vain empty mind, worthless, good for nothing devoid of all true knowledge and judgment; incapable of approving what is truly good, or of disapproving that which is evil; a mind that has lost all conscience of things, and is disapproved of by God, and all good men: to do those things which are not convenient; which are neither agreeably to the light of nature, nor convenient to, or becoming the honour of human nature; things which the brutes themselves, who are destitute of reason, do not do. 5. Clarke, “They did not like to retain God - It would, perhaps, be more literal to translate ουκ εδοκιµασαν, They Did ot Search to retain God in their knowledge. They did not examine the evidences before them (Rom_1:19, Rom_1:20) of his being and attributes; therefore God gave them over to a Reprobate mind, εις αδοκιµον νουν, to an Unsearching or undiscerning mind; for it is the same word in both places. They did not reflect on the proofs they had of the Divine nature, and God abandoned them to the operations of a mind incapable of reflection. How men of such powers and learning, as many of the Greek and Roman philosophers and poets really were, could reason so inconsecutively concerning things moral and Divine is truly astonishing. But here we see the hand of a just and avenging God; they abused their powers, and God deprived them of the right use of these powers. 6. Barnes, “And even as they did not like ... - This was the true source of their crimes. They did not choose to acknowledge God. It was not because they could not, but because they were displeased with God, and chose to forsake him, and follow their own passions and lusts. To retain God ... - To think of him, or to serve and adore him. This was the first step in their sin. It was not that God compelled them; or that he did not give them knowledge; nor even is it said that he arbitrarily abandoned them as the first step; but they forsook him, and as a consequence he gave them up to a reprobate mind. To a reprobate mind - A mind destitute of judgment. In the Greek the same word is used here, which, in another form, occurs in the previous part of the verse, and which is translated “like.” The apostle meant doubtless to retain a reference to that in this place. “As they did not approve, ἐδοκιµασαν edokimasan, or choose to retain God, etc. he gave them up to a mind disapproved, rejected, reprobate,” ἀδοκιµον adokimon, and he means that the state of their minds was such that God could not approve it. It does not mean that they were reprobate by any arbitrary decree; but that as a consequence of their headstrong passions, their determination to forget him, he left them to a state of mind which was evil, and which he could not approve. Which are not convenient - Which are not fit or proper; which are disgraceful and shameful; to wit, those things which he proceeds to state in the remainder of the chapter. 7. Henry, “To a reprobate mind in these abominations, Rom_1:28.

[1.] They did not like to retain God in their knowledge. The blindness of their understandings was caused by the wilful aversion of their wills and affections. They did not retain God in their knowledge, because they did not like it. They would neither know nor do any thing but just what pleased themselves. It is just the temper of carnal hearts; the pleasing of themselves is their highest end. There are many that have God in their knowledge, they cannot help it, the light shines so fully in their faces; but they do not retain him there. They say to the Almighty, Depart (Job_21:14), and they therefore do not retain God in their knowledge because it thwarts and contradicts their lusts; they do not like it. In their knowledge - en epignōsei. There is a difference between gnōsis and epignōsis, the knowledge and the acknowledgement of God; the pagans knew God, but did not, would not, acknowledge him. [2.] Answerable to this wilfulness of theirs, in gainsaying the truth, God gave them over to a wilfulness in the grossest sins, here called a reprobate mind - eis adokimon noun, a mind void of all sense and judgment to discern things that differ, so that they could not distinguish their right hand from their left in spiritual things. See whither a course of sin leads, and into what a gulf it plunges the sinner at last; hither fleshly lusts have a direct tendency. Eyes full of adultery cannot cease from sin, 2Pe_2:14. This reprobate mind was a blind scared conscience, past feeling, Eph_4:19. When the judgment is once reconciled to sin, the man is in the suburbs of hell. At first Pharaoh hardened his heart, but afterwards God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Thus wilful hardness is justly punished with judicial hardness. - To do those things which are not convenient. This phrase may seem to bespeak a diminutive evil, but here it is expressive of the grossest enormities; things that are not agreeable to men, but contradict the very light and law of nature. And here he subjoins a black list of those unbecoming things which the Gentiles were guilty of, being delivered up to a reprobate mind. o wickedness so heinous, so contrary to the light of nature, to the law of nations, and to all the interests of mankind, but a reprobate mind will comply with it. By the histories of those times, especially the accounts we have of the then prevailing dispositions and practices of the Romans when the ancient virtue of that commonwealth was so degenerated, it appears that these sins here mentioned were then and there reigning national sins. o fewer than twenty-three several sorts of sins and sinners are here specified, Rom_1:29-31. Here the devil's seat is; his name is legion, for they are many. It was time to have the gospel preached among them, for the world had need of reformation.” 8. Bruce Goettsche, “The depraved mind no longer submits to God’s standards. Right and wrong are now determined by convenience and preference rather than by the sure marker of God’s Word. When this happens certain behaviors are sure to follow. Paul lists over 20 different behaviors (depending on the version you are reading). Rather than attempt to spend time on each one, notice that they seem to fall into some general categories: 1. How we view God (God-haters, faithless). This society will honor God with their lips but their hearts will be far from Him. God will be systematically removed from the public arena.

2. How we view others (greed, envy, malice, slander, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness). The depraved society views others not as brothers, but as competitors. They view each other as a “means to an end” rather than as people who possess inherent worth and dignity. The value of life is diminished. 3. How we treat each other (murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, disobeying parents). Love, respect and honor are replaced by superficial civility. 4. Issues of Character (depraved, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless). The corruption runs to the very heart and soul of a person. When a society turns from God, it begins to disintegrate. The code of the pigpen is the rule: all that matters is getting what I want. 9. Unknown author, “Irrational fears, or phobias, torment many people. They may be afraid of crowds or open spaces or heights. There's even a fear called theophobia, which is either a dread that God exists or a strong denial of His existence. But surely theophobia is rare, isn't it? Maybe not. We read in Romans that enemies of God do all they can to expel any awareness of Him from their minds (1:28). They become "futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts [are] darkened" (v.21). We shouldn't be surprised, therefore, when Thomas agel, a professor of philosophy and law at ew York University, uses logic to explain away "the fear of religion." In his book The Last Word, he candidly admits that he is "strongly subject to this fear," and says, "I hope there is no God!" 10. Deffinbaugh, “Sin involves both a man’s morals and his mind. What a man thinks and how he lives are very much interrelated. Rejecting the truth about God (mental) led to moral depravity. Immoral conduct also affects the mind—man’s ability to think straight. And so the rejection of God’s revelation has led, Paul writes, to “futile speculations” and a heart that is “darkened” (verse 21). When men reach the point that they refuse “to acknowledge God any longer,” they are given over “to a depraved mind” (verse 28), leading to the practice of those things which are improper. If men will not act properly toward God, based upon His selfrevelation, then God will give men over so that they fail to act properly toward one another. Men now, by their conduct, not only defile and dishonor themselves, they are a plague to society. The outcome is a long list of sinful attitudes, dispositions, and practices, all of which are destructive. The sins range from those which we do not take too seriously (gossip, for example—see verse 30), to those which we consider abominable (murder, for instance—see verse 29).” 11. Barclay Rom. 1:28-32k, “There is hardly any passage which so clearly shows what happens to a man when he leaves God out of the reckoning. It is not so much that God sends a judgment on a man, as that a man brings a judgment on himself

when he gives no place to God in his scheme of things. When a man banishes God from his life he becomes a certain kind of man, and in this passage is one of the most terrible descriptions in literature of the kind of man he becomes. Let us took at the catalogue of dreadful things which enter into the godless life. Such men do things which are not fitting for any man to do. The Stoics had a phrase. They talked of ta kathekonta, by which they meant the things it befits a man to do. Certain things are essentially and inherently part of manhood, and certain things are not. As Shakespeare has it in Macbeth: "I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none." The man who banishes God not only loses godliness; he loses manhood too. Then comes the long list of terrible things. Let us take them one by one. Evil (adikia). Adikia is the precise opposite of diaiosune, which means justice; and the Greeks defined justice as giving to God and to men their due. The evil man is the man who robs both man and God of their rights. He has so erected an altar to himself in the centre of things that he worships himself to the exclusion of God and man. Villainy (poneria). In Greek this word means more than badness. There is a kind of badness which, in the main, hurts only the person concerned. It is not essentially an outgoing badness. When it hurts others, as all badness must, the hurt is not deliberate. It may be thoughtlessly cruel, but it is not callously cruel. But the Greeks defined poneria as the desire of doing harm. It is the active, deliberate will to corrupt and to inflict injury. When the Greeks described a woman as poneria they meant that she deliberately seduced the innocent from their innocence. In Greek one of the commonest titles of Satan is ho poneros, the evil one, the one who deliberately attacks and aims to destroy the goodness of men. Poneros describes the man who is not only bad but wants to make everyone as bad as himself. Poneria is destructive badness. The lust to get (pleonexia). The Greek word is built up of two words which mean to have more. The Greeks themselves defined pleonexia as the accursed love of having. It is an aggressive vice. It has been described as the spirit which will pursue its own interests with complete disregard for the rights of others, and even for the considerations of common humanity. Its keynote is rapacity. Theodoret, the Christian writer, describes it as the spirit that aims at more, the spirit which grasps at things which it has no right to take. It may operate in every sphere of life. If it operates in the material sphere, it means grasping at money and goods, regardless of honour and honesty. If it operates in the ethical sphere, it means the ambition which tramples on others to gain something which is not properly meant for it. If it operates in the moral sphere, it means the unbridled lust which takes its pleasure where it has no right to take. Pleonexia is the desire which knows no law.

Viciousness (kakia. Kakia is the most general Greek word for badness. It describes the case of a man who is destitute of every quality which would make him good. For instance, a kakos krites is a judge destitute of the legal knowledge and the moral sense and uprightness of character which are necessary to make a good judge. It is described by Theodoret as "the turn of the soul to the worse." The word he uses for turn is "rope" which means the turn of the balance. A man who is kakos is a man the swing of whose life is towards the worse. Kakia has been described as the essential viciousness which includes all vice and as the forerunner of all other sins. It is the degeneracy out of which all sins grow and in which all sins flourish. Envy (phthonos). There is a good and a bad envy. There is the envy which reveals to a man his own weakness and inadequacy, and which makes him eager to copy some great example. And there is the envy which is essentially a grudging thing. It looks at a fine person, and is not so much moved to aspire to that fineness, as to resent it. It is the most warped and twisted of human emotions. Murder (phonos). It has always to be remembered that Jesus immeasurably widened the scope of this word. He insisted that not only the deed of violence but the spirit of anger and hatred must be eliminated. He insisted that it is not enough only to keep from angry and savage action. It is enough only when even the desire and the anger are banished from the heart. We may never have struck a man in our lives, but who can say he never wanted to strike anyone? As Aquinas said long ago, "Man regardeth the deed, but God seeth the intention." Strife (eris). Its meaning is the contention which is born of envy, ambition, the desire for prestige, and place and prominence. It comes from the heart in which there is jealousy. If a man is cleansed of jealousy, he has gone far to being cleansed of all that arouses contention and strife. It is a God-given gift to be able to take as much pleasure in the successes of others as in one's own. Deceit (dolos). We best get the meaning of this from the corresponding verb (doloun). Doloun has two characteristic usages. It is used of debasing precious metals and of adulterating wines. Dolos is deceit; it describes the quality of the man who has a tortuous and a twisted mind, who cannot act in a straightforward way, who stoops to devious and underhand methods to get his own way, who never does anything except with some kind of ulterior motive. It describes the crafty cunning of the plotting intriguer who is found in every community and every society. The spirit which puts the worst construction on everything (kakoetheia). Kakoetheia means literally evil-naturedness. At its widest it means malignity. Aristotle defined it in a narrower sense which it has always retained. He said it was "the spirit which always supposes the worst about other people." Pliny called it "malignity of interpretation." Jeremy Taylor said that it is "a baseness of nature by which we take things by the wrong handle, and expound things always in the worst sense." It may well be that this is the commonest of all sins. If there are two possible constructions to be put upon the action of any man, human nature will choose the

worse. It is terrifying to think how many reputations have been murdered in gossip over the teacups, with people maliciously putting a wrong interpretation upon a completely innocent action. When we are tempted so to do, we ought to remember that God hears and remembers every word we speak. Whisperers and slanderers (Psithuristes, and katalalos). These two words describe people with slanderous tongues; but there is a difference between them. Katalalos, slanderer, describes the man who trumpets his slanders abroad; he quite openly makes his accusations and tells his tales--Psithuristes describes the man who whispers his malicious stories in the listener's ear, who takes a man apart into a corner and whispers a character-destroying story. Both are bad, but the whisperer is the worse. A man can at least defend himself against an open slander, but he is helpless against the secret whisperer who delights in destroying reputations. Haters of God (theostugeis). This describes the man who hates God because he knows that he is defying him. God is the barrier between him and his pleasures; he is the chain which keeps him from doing exactly as he likes.,He would gladly eliminate God if he could, for to him a godless world would be one where he would have, not liberty, but licence. Insolent men (hubristes). Hubris was to the Greek the vice which supremely courted destruction at the hand of the gods. It has two main lines of thought in it. (i) It describes the spirit of the man who is so proud that he defies God. It is the insolent pride that goes before a fall. It is the forgetting that man is a creature. It is the spirit of the man who is so confident in his wealth, his power and his strength that he thinks that he can live life alone. (ii) It describes the man who is wantonly and sadistically cruel and insulting. Aristotle describes it as the spirit which harms and grieves someone else, not for the sake of revenge and not for any advantage that may be gained from it, but simply for the sheer pleasure of hurting. There are people who get pleasure from seeing someone wince at a cruel saying. There are people who take a devilish delight in inflicting mental and physical pain on others. That is hubris; it is the sadism which finds delight in hurting others simply for the sake of hurting them. Arrogant men (huperephanos). This is the word which is three times used in scripture when it is said that God resists the proud. (Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5; Prov. 3:34.) Theophylact called it "the summit of all sins." Theophrastus was a Greek writer who wrote a series of famous character sketches, and he defined huperephania as "a certain contempt for everyone except oneself." He picks out the things in everyday life which are signs of this arrogance. The arrogant man, when he is asked to accept some office, refuses on the ground that he has not time to spare from his own business; he never looks at people on the street unless it pleases him to do so; he invites a man to a meal and then does not appear himself, but sends his servant to attend to his guest. His whole life is surrounded with an atmosphere of contempt and he delights to make others feet small. Braggarts (alazon). Alazon is a word with an interesting history. It literally means

one who wanders about. It then became the stock word for wandering quacks who boast of cures that they have worked, and for cheapjacks who boast that their wares have an excellence which they are far from possessing. The Greeks defined alazoneia as the spirit which pretends to have what it has not. Xenophon said that the name belongs to those who pretend to be richer and braver than they are, and who promise to do what they are really unable to do in order to make some profit or gain. Again Theophrastus has a character study of such a man--the pretentious man, the snob. He is the kind of man who boasts of trade deals which exist only in his imagination, of connections with influential people which do not exist at all, of gifts to charities and public services which he never gave or rendered. He says about the house he lives in that it is really too small for him, and that he must buy a bigger one. The braggart is out to impress others--and the world is still full of his like. Inventors of evil (epheuretes kakon). The phrase describes the man who, so to speak, is not content with the usual, ordinary ways of sinning, but who seeks out new and recondite vices because he has grown blase and seeks a new thrill in some new sin. Disobedient to their parents (goneusin apeitheis). Both Jews and Romans set obedience to parents very high in the scale of virtues. It was one of the Ten Commandments that parents should be honoured. In the early days of the Roman Republic, the patria potestas, the father's power, was so absolute that he had the power of life and death over his family. The reason for including this sin here is that, once the bonds of the family are loosened, wholesale degeneracy must necessarily follow. Senseless (asunetos). This word describes the man who is a fool, who cannot learn the lesson of experience, who will not use the mind and brain that God has given to him. Breakers of agreements (asunthetos). This word would come with particular force to a Roman audience. In the great days of Rome, Roman honesty was a wonderful thing. A man's word was as good as his bond. That was in fact one of the great differences between the Roman and the Greek. The Greek was a born pilferer. The Greeks used to say that if a governor or official was entrusted with one talent--240 British pounds--even if there were ten clerks and accountants to check up on him, he was certain to succeed in embezzling some of it; while the Roman, whether as a magistrate in office or a general on a campaign, could deal with thousands of talents on his bare word alone, and never a penny went astray. By using this word, Paul was recalling the Romans not only to the Christian ethic, but to their own standards of honour in their greatest days. Without natural affections (astorgos). Storge was the special Greek word for family love. It was quite true that this was an age in which family love was dying. ever was the life of the child so precarious as at this time. Children were considered a misfortune. When a child was born, it was taken and laid at the father's feet. If the father lifted it up that meant that he acknowledged it. If he turned away and left it, the child was literally thrown out. There was never a night when there were not

thirty or forty abandoned children left in the Roman forum. Even Seneca, great soul as he was, could write: "We kill a mad dog; we slaughter a fierce ox; we plunge the knife into sickly cattle lest they taint the herd; children who are born weakly and deformed we drown." The natural bonds of human affection had been destroyed. Pitiless (aneleemon). There never was a time when human life was so cheap. A slave could be killed or tortured by his master, for he was only a thing and the law gave his master unlimited power over him. In a wealthy household a slave was bringing in a tray of crystal glasses. He stumbled and a glass fell and broke. There and then his master had him flung into the fish pond in the middle of the courtyard where the savage lampreys devoured his living flesh. It was an age pitiless in its very pleasures, for it was the great age of the gladiatorial games where people found their delight in seeing men kill each other. It was an age when the quality of mercy was gone. Paul says one last thing about these people who have banished God from life. It usually happens that, even if a man is a sinner, he knows it, and, even if he allows something in himself, he knows that it is to be condemned in others. But in those days men had reached such a level that they sinned themselves and encouraged others to do so. George Bernard Shaw once said, " o nation has ever survived the loss of its gods." Here Paul has given us a terrible picture of what happens when men deliberately banish God from the reckoning, and, in due time, Rome perished. Disaster and degeneracy went hand in hand. 12. Stedman, “This is a terrible list of sins, but it is the mark of a civilization that is nearing collapse -- this growing spirit of contemptuous and arrogant disregard for other human beings. In one word, this describes a desire to exploit other people. Godlessness eventually brings us to the place where we will see these things in society. "Depraved mind," used here, literally means "an unacceptable mind," a mind that cannot be lived with, that simply will not fit into any kind of civilization or culture or society. A depraved mind destroys, rends, and fragments everything it touches. It is an unacceptable mind, and its public hostility is marked by increasing cruelty and violence. I think the most vivid demonstration and documentation of this in our day is probably given in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book, The Gulag Archipelago, where you find an entire culture characterized by this terrible, senseless cruelty. But we in the Western world are not escaping either. Every day our newspapers report the skyrocketing rise in senseless vandalism and vicious and unprovoked attack upon innocent and often helpless people. The rise in child abuse is a symptom of this in our society. Here we have the third divine "delivery" -- "God gave them over" or "God gave them up". In the Greek there is actually a word play (pun) which in English might be brought out as follows: "They reprobated the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a reprobate mind" or "They cast out the knowledge of God, so God gave them up to a cast-out mind!" They abandoned the knowledge of God and so

God abandoned them. This is a terrible judgment: to give men up so that they follow the impulses of their own corrupt minds, and so that they follow the desires of their own depraved hearts! "So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels" (Psalm 81:12). 13. Calvin, “And as they chose not, etc. There is an evident comparison to be observed in these words, by which is strikingly set forth the just relation between sin and punishment. As they chose not to continue in the knowledge of God, which alone guides our minds to true wisdom, the Lord gave them a perverted mind, which can choose nothing that is right. [53] And by saying, that they chose not, (non probasse approved not,) it is the same as though he had said, that they pursued not after the knowledge of God with the attention they ought to have done, but, on the contrary, turned away their thoughts resignedly from God. He then intimates, that they, making a depraved choice, preferred their own vanities to the true God; and thus the error, by which they were deceived, was voluntary. To do those things which were not meet As he had hitherto referred only to one instance of abomination, which prevailed indeed among many, but was not common to all, he begins here to enumerate vices from which none could be found free: for though every vice, as it has been said, did not appear in each individual, yet all were guilty of some vices, so that every one might separately be accused of manifest depravity. As he calls them in the first instance not meet, understand him as saying, that they were inconsistent with every decision of reason, and alien to the duties of men: for he mentions it as an evidence of a perverted mind, that men addicted themselves, without any reflection, to those vices, which common sense ought to have led them to renounce. 14. Haldane, “The Apostle shows here how justly the Pagan idolaters were abandoned since they had so far departed from the right knowledge of God. In the 18th verse, he had declared that the wrath of God was revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. He had now conclusively established the first charge of ungodliness against the Gentiles, adding to it their consequent abandonment to the vilest affections ; he next pro ceeds to demonstrate their unrighteousness. And as they did not like. This is not quite literal, yet it seems the best phrase that can be used to convey the spirit of the original. The word in the Greek signifies to prove or approve. They did not approve of retaining God in their knowledge. But this cannot mean that their approbation respected their conscience, dark as it was. They did not approve, because, as the common translation well expresses it, they did not like. 1 There is no just ground to conclude, with Dr. Macknight, that

there is here a reference to the magistrates and lawgivers, who did not approve of giving the knowledge of God to the people. It applies to them all ; neither the lawgivers, nor the people, liked to hold in remem brance a God of holiness and justice. To retain God in their knowledge. The common translation has here substantially given the spirit of the original, and is better than holding God with acknowledgment, as rendered by Dr. Macknight. The heathens are thus said to have known God, but, knowing Him, they did not wish to retain that knowledge. This is a crime in the sight of God which subjects men to the most awful judgments of His justice ; for it is on this account that the Apostle adds, that God also gave them up to a reprobate mind. This pointedly refers to the word applied to them, as not approving the retaining of the knowledge of God. It denotes a mind judicially blinded, so as not to discern the difference between things distinguished even by the light of nature. Thus the dark eclipse of their understanding concerning Divine things, which . they had despised and rejected, had been followed by another general eclipse respecting things human, to which they had applied themselves, and in this consisted the proportion which God observed in their punishment. They did not act according to right reason and judgment towards God, this is their crime ; they did not act according to it among themselves in society, this was the effect of the abandonment of God, and became their punish ment. This passage clearly shows that all that remains of moral up rightness among men is from God, who restrains and sets bounds to the force of their perversity. ot convenient. This is a very just and literal translation, according to the meaning of the word convenient in an early stage of the history of The words, not to approve, are frequently used in the sense of not liking. It is often said that a person does not approve of, i. e. does not like, a person. our language; but it does not, at present, give the exact idea. The original word signifies what is suitable to the nature of man as a rational and moral being. To do things not convenient, is a figurative expression denoting the doing of things directly contrary and opposite, namely, to the light of reason, the reflections of prudence, and the dictates of conscience.

29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.

They are gossips,
1. In verses 29 to 31 we have a list of just how evil fallen man can be. It is scary that all of this abominable behavior can be found in any group of humans, but Paul says that they were characteristics of the people of his day, and all we have to do is read the daily paper and know that they are also characteristics of our day. Life is scary because of human depravity, for all godly values and virtues are threatened by this human capacity for doing evil. We are often amazed that people can be so evil, but it should not surprize us, for it is just the natural result of rejecting God and his laws. 1B. Al Maxey has done the best job of studying the list of sins Paul gives us, and he makes them clearly understood. He has done an amazing and exhaustive work of it. It is too much to copy here, and so look him up. I will just give his introduction and then a brief description of each. “In vs. 29-31 Paul lists 21 sins which are characteristic of those who have rejected the influence of God in their lives. ( OTE: In some MSS -- manuscripts -- two additional sins are given. The KJV, following those MSS, has incorporated those additional sins into its text, thus making its list total 23. In this word study we will notice all 23 sins, even though there is little textual evidence for two of them.)

"The sins now to be specified are intellectual and not sensual. Their seat is in the mind, and not in the body" (Shedd, p. 30). "It is instructive to note that almost every term springs from a selfish life which exploits others for personal advantage. These are sins which make community impossible, and drive men to isolated existence apart from genuine love and fellowship" (R.A. Batey, The Living Word Commentary: The Letter of Paul to the Romans, p. 31). "It is a haphazard catalogue of sins of personality, and sins of personal relationships" (The ew Layman's Bible Commentary, p. 1391). "Here God's anger works out in personal relationships that have gone all wrong" (Ernest Best, The Cambridge Bible Commentary: The Letter of Paul to the Romans, p. 22). " o heart can be at the same time the abode of these crimes and of the Truth" (Moses E. Lard, Commentary on Romans, p. 63). This list of sins is somewhat similar to the list found in II Timothy 3:2-4. "Such behavior is abhorrent to every dictate of sound reason and is inconsistent with all human duties" (David Lipscomb, A Commentary on the ew Testament Epistles, Vol. 1: Romans, p. 42). otice carefully the following list of sins against God, others, and self. Our relationship with God and one another, indeed our very salvation, depends on their avoidance!

2. This verse contains the longest list of wicked behavior that Paul ever wrote. This is the result of godlessness. When you push God out of your life, this kind of evil invades that empty space in your heart and mind. God loves people, and when you have the mind of Christ, you too will love people and strive to be a person who benefits others. But when you forget God, and ignore him and his love, you lose concern for others and their welfare. You become self-centered, and you will do anything that advances your life regardless of how it hurts others. You can even get to the point where it feels good to hurt others. This is the downward spiral that happens to people who push all thought of God out of their minds. a. Evil b. Greed c. Depravity d. Envy e. Murder f. Strife g. Deceit h. Malice i. Gossips Whisperers are gossipers who secretly spread rumors, and backbiters are those who talk spitefully about a person. Tragically, some Christians are guilty of these sins. They wouldn't run people down with their cars, but they willingly "run them down" with their words, belittling what they do or say. People who engage in these destructive acts don't see the inconsistency of their behavior and haven't taken to heart the words of the apostle Paul: "Let love be without hypocrisy" (Romans 12:9). Or, as one translator has paraphrased it, "Don't fake love." We need to repent of our gossip and replace it with what John Stott calls "holy gossip." That is, we need to talk enthusiastically about the transforming work that Christ is doing in people's lives. For example, "Have you noticed that Joe is a completely changed person since he gave his life to Christ?" Or, "I certainly see the Lord at work in Susan!"

Button up your lip securely 'Gainst the words that bring a tear, But be swift with words of comfort, Words of praise and words of cheer. —Loucks 3. Gill, “ Being filled with all unrighteousness,.... From hence, to the end of the chapter, follows a large and black list and catalogue of the sad characters of the Gentiles, and of the best men they had among them; for the apostle is all along speaking, not of the common people, but of their wise professors, and moral instructors; than which there never was a more wicked set of men that ever lived upon the face of the earth; who under the guise of morality were guilty of the greatest pride and covetousness, and of the most filthy debaucheries imaginable: they were "filled with all unrighteousness". This word includes in it all manner of sin and wickedness in general; fitly expresses the condition of fallen men, destitute of a righteousness; designs every violation of the law respecting our neighbour; and is opposed to that vain conceit of righteousness which these men had: particular branches of it follow; as, fornication; which sometimes includes adultery and an unchastity; simple fornication was not reckoned a sin among the Gentiles: wickedness; or mischief, which intends not so much the internal wickedness of the heart, as that particular vice, by which a man is inclined and studies to do hurt, to others, as Satan does: covetousness; this may intend every insatiable lust, and particularly the sin which goes by this name, and is the root of all evil, and was a reigning sin among the Gentiles. Seneca, the famous moralist, was notoriously guilty of this vice, being one of the greatest usurers that ever lived: maliciousness; the word denotes either the iniquity of nature in which men are conceived and born; or that desire of revenge in men, for which some are very notorious: envy; at the superior knowledge and learning, wealth and riches, happiness, and outward prosperity of others: murder: which sometimes arose from envy, wherefore they are put together. There is an elegant "paranomasia" in the Greek text: debate; strife about words more than things, and more for vain glory, and a desire of victory, than for truth: deceit; through their empty notions of philosophy; hence "philosophy and vain deceit" go together, Col_2:8; making large pretences to morality, when they were

the vilest of creatures: malignity; moroseness; having no courteousness nor affability in them, guilty of very ill manners; as particularly they were who were of the sect of the Cynics. ow they are said to be "filled with", and "full of", these things; not filled by God, but by Satan and themselves; and it denotes the aboundings of wickedness in them, and which was insatiable. The apostle goes on to describe them, as whisperers; who made mischief among friends, by privately suggesting, and secretly insinuating things into the mind of one to the prejudice of another. 4. Clarke, “Being filled with all unrighteousness - αδικια, every vice contrary to justice and righteousness. Fornication - Πορνειᾳ, all commerce between the sexes out of the bounds of lawful marriage. Some of the best MSS. omit this reading; and others have ακαθαρσιᾳ, uncleanness. Wickedness - Πονηριᾳ, malignity, that which is oppressive to its possessor and to its object; from πονος, labor, toil, etc. Covetousness - Πλεονεξιᾳ, from πλειον, more, and ἑξω, I will have; the intense love or lust of gain; the determination to be rich; the principle of a dissatisfied and discontented soul. Maliciousness - Κακιᾳ, malice, ill-will; what is radically and essentially vicious. Full of envy - Φθονου, from φθινω, to wither, decay, consume, pine away, etc.; “pain felt and malignity conceived at the sight of excellence or happiness in another.” A fine personification of this vice is found in Ovid Metam. lib. ii. ver. 768781, which I shall here insert, with Mr. Addison’s elegant and nervous translation. - Videt intus edentem Vipereas carnes, vitiorum alimenta suorum Invidiam: visaque oculos avertit. At illa Surgit humo pigra: semesarumque relinquit Corpora serpentum, passuque incedit inerti. Utgue deam vidit formaque armisque decoram, Ingemuit: vultumque ima ad suspiria duxit. Pallor in Ore sedet: macies in Corpore toto: usquam recta acies: livent rubigine dentes: Pectora felle virent: lingua est suffusa veneno. Risus abest, nisi quem visi movere dolores: ec fruitur somno, vigilacibus excita curis: Sed videt ingratos, intabescitque videndo Successus hominum; carpitgue et carpitur una; Suppliciumque suum est. - A poisonous morsel in her teeth she chewed, And gorged the flesh of vipers for her food. Minerva loathing, turned away her eye.

The hideous monster, rising heavily, Came stalking forward with a sullen pace, And left her mangled offals on the place. Soon as she saw the goddess gay and bright, She fetched a groan at such a cheerful sight. Livid and meagre were her looks, her eye In foul distorted glances turned awry; A hoard of gall her inward parts possessed, And spread a greenness o’er her canker’d breast; Her teeth were brown with rust, and from her tongue In dangling drops the stringy poison hung. She never smiles but when the wretched weep; or lulls her malice with a moment’s sleep: Restless in spite while watchful to destroy, She pines and sickens at another’s joy; Foe to herself, distressing and distressed, She bears her own tormentor in her breast. Murder - Φονου, taking away the life of another by any means; mortal hatred; for he that hates his brother in his heart is a murderer. Debate - Εριδος, contention, discord, etc. Of this vile passion the Greeks made a goddess. Deceit - ∆ολου, lying, falsity, prevarication, imposition, etc.; from δελω, to take with a bait. Malignity - Κακοηθειας, from κακος, evil, and ηθος, a custom; bad customs, founded in corrupt sentiment, producing evil habits, supported by general usage. It is generally interpreted, a malignity of mind, which leads its possessor to put the worst construction on every action; ascribing to the best deeds the worst motives. Whisperers - ψιθυριστος, secret detractors; those who, under pretended secrecy, carry about accusations against their neighbors, whether true or false; blasting their reputation by clandestine tittle-tattle. This word should be joined to the succeeding verse. The whispering is well expressed by the Greek word Ψιθυριστας, psithuristas.

5. Barnes, “Being filled - That is, the things which he specifies were common or abounded among them. This is a strong phrase, denoting that these things were so often practiced as that it might be said they were full of them. We have a phrase like this still, when we say of one that he is full of mischief, etc. Unrighteousness - ἀδικία adikia. This is a word denoting injustice, or iniquity in general. The particular specifications of the iniquity follow. Fornication - This was a common and almost universal sin among the ancients, as it is among the moderns. The word denotes all illicit sexual intercourse. That this was a common crime among the ancient pagan, it would be easy to show, were it proper, even in relation to their wisest and most learned men. They who wish to see

ample evidence of this charge may find it in Tholuck’s “ ature and Moral Influence of Heathenism,” in the Biblical Repository, vol. ii. p. 441-464. Wickedness - The word used here denotes a desire of injuring others; or, as we should express it, malice. It is that depravity and obliquity of mind which strives to produce injury on others. (Calvin.) Covetousness - Avarice, or the desire of obtaining what belongs to others. This vice is common in the world; but it would be particularly so where the other vices enumerated here abounded, and people were desirous of luxury, and the gratification of their senses. Rome was particularly desirous of the wealth of other nations, and hence, its extended wars, and the various evils of rapine and conquest. Licentiousness - κακία kakia. This word denotes evil in general; rather the act of doing wrong than the desire which was expressed before by the word “wickedness.” Full of envy - “Pain, uneasiness, mortification, or discontent, excited by another’s prosperity, accompanied with some degree of hatred or malignity, and often with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed” (Webster). This passion is so common still, that it is not necessary to attempt to prove that it was common among the ancients. It seems to be natural to the human heart. It is one of the most common manifestations of wickedness, and shows clearly the deep depravity of man. Benevolence rejoices at the happiness of others, and seeks to promote it. But envy exists almost everywhere, and in almost every human bosom: “All human virtue, to its latest breath, Finds envy never conquered but by death.” Pope. Murder - “The taking of human life with premeditated malice by a person of a sane mind.” This is necessary to constitute murder now, but the word used here denotes all manslaughter, or taking human life, except what occurs as the punishment of crime. It is scarcely necessary to show that this was common among the Gentiles. It has prevailed in all communities, but it was particularly prevalent in Rome. It is necessary only to refer the reader to the common events in the Roman history of assassinations, deaths by poison, and the destruction of slaves. But in a special manner the charge was properly alleged against them, on account of the inhuman contests of the gladiators in the amphitheaters. These were common at Rome, and constituted a favorite amusement with the people. Originally captives, slaves, and criminals were trained up for combat; but it afterward became common for even Roman citizens to engage in these bloody combats, and ero at one show exhibited no less than four hundred senators and six hundred knights as gladiators. The fondness for this bloody spectacle continued until the reign of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, by whom they were abolished about six hundred years after the original institution. “Several hundred, perhaps several thousand, victims were annually slaughtered in the great cities of the empire.” Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, chapter xxx. 404 a.d. As an instance of what might occur in this inhuman spectacle, we may refer to what took place on such an occasion in the reign of Probus (281 a.d.). During his triumph, near 700 gladiators were reserved to shed

each other’s blood for the amusement of the Roman people. But “disdaining to shed their blood for the amusement of the populace, they killed their keepers, broke from their place of confinement, and filled the streets of Rome with blood and confusion.” Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, chapter 12. With such views and with such spectacles before them, it is not wonderful that murder was regarded as a matter of little consequence, and hence, this crime prevailed throughout the world. Debate - Our word debate does not commonly imply evil. It denotes commonly discussion for elucidating truth; or for maintaining a proposition, as the debates in Parliament, etc. But the word in the original meant also contention, strife, altercation, connected with anger and heated zeal; Rom_13:13; 1Co_1:11; 1Co_3:3; 2Co_12:20; Gal_5:20; Phi_1:15; 1Ti_6:4; Tit_3:9. This contention and strife would, of course, follow from malice and covetousness, etc. Deceit - This denotes fraud, falsehood, etc. That this was common is also plain. The Cretans are testified by one of the Greek poets to have been always liars. Tit_1:12. Juvenal charges the same thing on the Romans. (Sat. iii. 41.) “What,” says he, “should I do at Rome? I cannot lie.” Intimating that if he were there, it would follow, of course, that he would be expected to be false. The same thing is still true. Writers on India tell us that the word of a Hindu even under oath is not to be regarded; and the same thing occurs in most pagan countries. Malignity - This word signifies here, not malignity in general, but that particular species of it which consists in misinterpreting the words or actions of others, or putting the worst construction on their conduct. Whisperers - Those who secretly, and in a sly manner, by hints and inuendoes, detract from others, or excite suspicion of them. It does not mean those who openly calumniate, but that more dangerous class who give hints of evil in others, who affect great knowledge, and communicate the evil report under an injunction of secrecy, knowing that it will be divulged. This class of people abounds everywhere, and there is scarcely any one more dangerous to the peace or happiness of society. 6. Haldane, “Being filled. This signifies that the vices here exposed were not tempered with virtues, but were alone and uncontrolled, occupying the mind and heart even to overflowing. Unrighteousness. When this word in the original is taken in a limited sense, it signifies injustice. It is often used for iniquity in general, as in the 18th verse. Some under stand it here in the latter sense, as a general word which includes all the different particulars that follow. There is no reason, however, why we should not understand it as one species of the evils which are here enumerated, and confine it to its specific meaning, viz. injustice. This was the public crime of the Romans, who built their empire on usurpa tion and rapine. Fornication. Cicero speaks of fornication as unblameable, as a thing universally allowed and practised, which he had never heard was condemned, either in ancient or modern times. Here it includes all the violations of the seventh commandment, and is not to be confined to the distinctive idea which the term bears in our language. Wickedness. This refers to the general inclination to evil that reigned

among the heathens, and made them practise and take pleasure in vicious and unprofitable actions. Covetoumess. The original word strictly signifies taking the advantage, overreaching in a bargain, having more than what is just in any transaction with our neighbour. Of this, covetousness is the motive. This was universal among rich and poor, and was the spring of all their actions. Maliciousness denotes a disposi tion to injury and revenge. Full of envy. Tacitus remarks that this was the usual vice of the villages, towns, and cities. Murder was familiar to them, especially with respect to their slaves, whom they caused to be put to death for the slightest offences. Debate, strife about words for vainglory, and not truth. Deceit was common to them all, and ex emplified in their conduct and conversation, as is said, ch. iii. 13. Malignity. Though the word in the original, when resolved into its component parts, literally signifies bad custom or disposition, yet it generally signifies something more specific, and is with sufficient pro priety rendered malignity, which is a desire to hurt others without any other reason than that of doing evil to them, and finding pleasure in their sufferings. The definition of the term, as quoted from Aristotle by Dr. Macknight, seems true rather as a specification than as a definition. a disposition, he says, to take everything in the worst sense. o doubt malevolence is inclined to this, but this is only one mode of discovering itself. Whisperers. Dr. Macknight errs in saying that the original word signifies those who secretly speak evil of persons when they are present. The word does not import that the speaker whispers lest the person against whom he speaks, being present, should hear. The person spoken against may as well be absent. It refers to that sort of evilspeaking which is communicated in secret, and not spoken in society. It is called whispering, not from the tone of the voice, but from the secrecy. It is common to speak of a thing being whispered, not from being com municated in a low voice, but from being privately spoken to individuals. It refers to sowing divisions. It is one of the most frequent and injurious methods of calumny, because, on the one hand, the whisperer escapes con viction of falsehood, and, on the other, the accused has no means of repelling the secret calumny. 7. Calvin, “Understand by unrighteousness, the violation of justice among men, by not rendering to each his due. I have rendered ponerian, according to the opinion of Ammonium, wickedness; for he teaches us that poneron, the wicked, is drastikon kakou, the doer of evil. The word (nequitia) then means practiced wickedness, or licentiousness in doing mischief: but maliciousness (malitia) is that depravity and obliquity of mind which leads us to do harm to our neighbour. [54] For the word porneian, which Paul uses, I have put lust, (libidinem.) I do not, however, object, if one prefers to render it fornication; but he means the inward passion as well as the outward act. [55] The words avarice, envy, and murder, have nothing doubtful in their meaning. Under the

word strife, (contentione,) [56] he includes quarrels, fightings, and seditions. We have rendered kakoetheian, perversity, (perversitatem;) [57] which is a notorious and uncommon wickedness; that is, when a man, covered over, as it were, with hardness, has become hardened in a corrupt course of life by custom and evil habit. 8. An Unknown author gives us the list with an easier format to read. “Paul now gives us (in verses 29-31) one of the most terrible and sobering lists of vices found anywhere in the Bible. He gives us an appalling catalogue of the crimes of these people. What we actually have here is "GOD'S X-RAY of the human heart" (compare Jeremiah 17:9 and the words of Jesus in Mark 7:21-23). As we examine this list, search your own heart. After reading each description ask yourself, "Lord, is it I? Have I been guilty of this? Is this a description of me?" FILLED WITH ALL U RIGHTEOUS ESS -- a general word (see verse 18) which involves any kind of wrong thinking, speaking, acting or living. FILLED WITH ALL FOR ICATIO -- This word is missing from some of the Greek manuscripts, and this is why it is not found in some translations. We get our word "pornography" from this Greek word. It is a general word for any kind of illicit sex (anything contrary to what God established in Genesis 2). FILLED WITH ALL WICKED ESS -- wickedness, evil, those who delight in doing what is wrong FILLED WITH ALL COVETOUS ESS -- literally, "to have more", the craving to have more and more and more. The opposite of covetousness is contentment and satisfaction. Thus it refers to people who are not satisfied with what they have (greedy people). FILLED WITH ALL MALICIOUS ESS -- wickedness, depravity, badness in general FULL OF E VY -- jealousy (over what someone else has) FULL OF MURDER -- remember, Jesus said that we can also be guilty of "mental murder" which involves hatred and anger (Matthew 5:21-22). FULL OF DEBATE -- strife, arguments, fightings, a quarrelsome disposition FULL OF DECEIT -- a person who tricks and deceives and uses cunning FULL OF MALIG ITY -- evil disposition, bad manner or character, someone who makes the worst out of the best WHISPERERS -- secretly whispering about others (the Greek word is psithuristes

which when pronounced almost sounds like whispering), slandering others, spreading gossip, rumors, etc. BACKBITERS -- the Greek word literally means "to speak against", to say mean or evil things about someone who is not there (if he were there you would never say it), open slander, false charges, false accusations. HATERS OF GOD -- God-haters, as evidenced even by the way they use God’s ame. DESPITEFUL -- violent, one who brings harm or injury to someone (1 Tim. 1:13). PROUD -- arrogant, literally "to appear above others, showing oneself above others" BOASTERS -- those who brag I VE TORS OF EVIL THI GS -- they devise and contrive and plan what evil thing they can do next. DISOBEDIE T TO PARE TS -- this may seem out of place in such a list, yet it shows us how serious a thing this is to God. Who among us could say that he has never been guilty of this? WITHOUT U DERSTA DI G -- Void of understanding (stupid because they are unwilling to listen to God), foolish, spiritually blind COVE A T BREAKERS -- faithless, they don’t keep their word. WITHOUT ATURAL AFFECTIO -- unloving, heartless, lacking that natural love which parents should have for children, brothers for sisters, etc. IMPLACABLE -- unforgiving (this word is missing from some Greek manuscripts, which explains why it is not found in some translations.) U MERCIFUL -- showing no mercy, ruthless, cruel

30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;

1. Gill, “Backbiters,.... Who more publicly defamed the characters of their neighbours, and hurt their good name, credit and reputation, though behind their backs: haters of God; some read it, "hated of God"; as all workers of iniquity are; but rather this expresses their sin, that they were deniers of the being and providence of God, and showed themselves to be enemies to him by their evil works: despiteful; both by opprobrious words, and injurious actions: proud; of their natural knowledge, learning, eloquence and vain philosophy: boasters: of their parts, abilities, wisdom and works; all which they attributed to themselves, and to the sharpness of their wit, their sagacity and industry: inventors of evil things; of evil schemes of morality and philosophy, and of evil practices, as well as principles: disobedient to parents; which was acting contrary to the light of nature. 1B. Dr. Daniel Hill, “So we have seventeen (17) sins listed: These are applied to the unbeliever, but we have similar lists applied to the believer: I Corinthians 6:9-10, Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 ow the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. I want you to notice that is every list of sins we have some things that are extreme and yet also some things that some people might think are rather minor. Romans 1: Boastful, disobedient children, unloving I Corinthians 6: Covetousness, getting drunk Galatians 5: Jealousy, envy, disputes, carousing I do not think that any of us can read these lists and exclude ourselves. To a perfectly righteous God, any sin is abhorrent. 2. Clarke, “Backbiters - Καταλαλους, from κατα, against, and λαλεω, I speak; those who speak against others; false accusers, slanderers.

Haters of God - Θεοστυγεις, atheists, contemners of sacred things, maligners of providence, scorners, etc. All profligate deists are of this class; and it seems to be the finishing part of a diabolic character. Despiteful - Ὑβριστας, from ὑβριζω, to treat with injurious insolence; stormy, boisterous; abusing both the characters and persons of those over whom they can have any power. Proud - Ὑπερηφανους, from ὑπερ, above or over, and φαινω, I show or shine. They who are continually exalting themselves and depressing others; magnifying themselves at the expense of their neighbors; and wishing all men to receive their sayings as oracles. Boasters - Αλαζονας, from λαζοµαι, to assume; self-assuming, vain-glorious, and arrogant men. Inventors of evil things - Εφευρετας κακων. Those who have invented destructive customs, rites, fashions, etc.; such as the different religious ceremonies among the Greeks and Romans - the orgies of Bacchus, the mysteries of Ceres, the lupercalia, feasts of the Bona Dea, etc., etc. Multitudes of which evil things, destructive and abominable ceremonies, are to be found in every part of the heathen worship. Disobedient to parents - Though filial affection was certainly more recommended and cultivated than many other virtues, yet there are many instances on record of the grossest violation of this great branch of the law of nature. 3. Disobedient to parents illustration. A little boy was put in the closet because of his bad behavior and after he quit crying his mother tiptoed to the door and opened it to listen. It was quiet, and so she whispered, “What are you doing?” Finally Johnny spoke up-With tearful eyes and red face, he blurted out; “I spit on your coat, I spit on your dresses, I spit on your hat, I spit on your shoes, and I'm jes' sittin; here waitin' for more spit.” That is what God haters are doing all the time. They are waiting for more energy to defy the will of God and add to the misery of the world. 4. Barnes, “Backbiters - Those Who calumniate, slander, or speak ill of those who are absent. Whisperers declare secretly, and with great reserve, the supposed faults of others. Backbiters proclaim them publicly and avowedly. Haters of God - There is no charge which can be brought against people more severe than this. It is the highest possible crime; yet it is a charge which the conduct of people will abundantly justify, and the truth of which all those experience who are brought to see their true character. To an awakened sinner there is often nothing more plain and painful than that he is a hater of God. His heart rises up against Him, and his Law, and his plan of saving people; and he deeply feels that nothing can subdue this but the mighty power of the Holy One. This is a charge which is not unfrequently brought against people in the Bible; see Joh_7:7; Joh_15:18, Joh_15:24-25; Joh_3:19-20. Surely, if this be the native character of man, then it is “far gone from original righteousness.” o more striking proof of depravity could be given; and in no creed or confession of faith is there a more painful and humiliating representation given of human wickedness, than in this declaration of an inspired apostle, that people are by nature haters of God.

Despiteful - This word denotes those who abuse, or treat with unkindness or disdain, those who are present. Whisperers and backbiters are those who calumniate those who are absent. Proud - Pride is well understood. It is an inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, etc. (Webster). Of the existence of this everywhere, there is abundant proof. And it was particularly striking among the ancients. The sect of the Stoics was distinguished for it, and this was the general character of their philosophers. People will be proud where they suppose none are superior; and it is only the religion that reveals a great and infinite God, and that teaches that all blessings are his gift, and that he has given us the station which we occupy, that will produce true humility. We may add, that the system of paganism did not disclose the wickedness of the heart, and that rids was a main reason why they were elevated in self-esteem. Boasters - Those who arrogate to themselves what they do not possess, and glory on it. This is closely connected with pride. A man who has an inordinate self-conceit, will not be slow to proclaim his own merits to those around him. Inventors of evil things - This doubtless refers to their seeking to find out new arts or plans to practice evil; new devices to gratify their lusts and passions; new forms of luxury, and vice, etc. So intent were they on practicing evil, so resolved to gratify their passions, that the mind was excited to discover new modes of gratification. In cities of luxury and vice, this has always been done. Vices change their form, people become satiated, and they are obliged to resort to some new form. The passions cease to be gratified with old forms of indulgence, and consequently people are obliged to resort to new devices to pamper their appetites, and to rekindle their dying passions to a flame. This was eminently true of ancient Rome; a place where all the arts of luxury, all the devices of passion, all the designs of splendid gratification, were called forth to excite and pamper the evil passions of people. Their splendid entertainments, their games, their theaters, their sports - cruel and bloody - were little else than new and ever-varying inventions of evil things to gratify the desires of lust and of pride. Disobedient to parents - This expresses the idea that they did not show to parents that honor, respect, and attention which was due. This has been a crime of paganism in every age; and though among the Romans the duty of honoring parents was enjoined by the laws, yet it is not improbable that the duty was often violated, and that parents were treated with great neglect and even contempt. “Disobedience to parents was punished by the Jewish Law with death, and with the Hindus it is attended with the loss of the child’s inheritance. The ancient Greeks considered the neglect of it to be extremely impious, and attended with the most certain effects of divine vengeance. Solon ordered all persons who refused to make due provision for their parents to be punished with infamy, and the same penalty was incurred for personal violence toward them.” Kent’s Commentaries on American Law, vol. ii. p. 207; compare Virg. AEniad, ix. 283. The feelings of pride and haughtiness would lead to disregard of parents. It might also be felt that to provide for them when aged and infirm was a burden; and hence, there would arise disregard for their wants, and probably open opposition to their wishes, as being the demands of petulance and age. It has been one characteristic of paganism every where, that it leaves

children to treat their parents with neglect. Among the Sandwich islanders it was customary, when a parent was old, infirm, and sick beyond the hope of recovery, for his own children to bury him alive; and it has been the common custom in India for children to leave their aged parents to perish on the banks of the Ganges. 5. Henry, “First, Sins against the first table: Haters of God. Here is the devil in his own colours, sin appearing sin. Could it be imagined that rational creatures should hate the chief good, and depending creatures abhor the fountain of their being? And yet so it is. Every sin has in it a hatred of God; but some sinners are more open and avowed enemies to him than others, Zec_11:8. Proud men and boasters cope with God himself, and put those crowns upon their own heads which must be cast before his throne. Secondly, Sins against the second table. These are especially mentioned, because in these things they had a clearer light. In general here is a charge of unrighteousness. This is put first, for every sin is unrighteousness; it is withholding that which is due, perverting that which is right; it is especially put for second-table sins, doing as we would not be done by. Against the fifth commandment: Disobedient to parents, and without natural affection - astorgous, that is parents unkind and cruel to their children. Thus, when duty fails on one side, it commonly fails on the other. Disobedient children are justly punished with unnatural parents; and, on the contrary, unnatural parents with disobedient children. Against the sixth commandment: Wickedness (doing mischief for mischief's sake), maliciousness, envy, murder, debate (eridos - contention), malignity, despiteful, implacable, unmerciful; all expressions of that hatred of our brother which is heart-murder. Against the seventh commandment: Fornication; he mentions no more, having spoken before of other uncleannesses. Against the eighth commandment: Unrighteousness, covetousness. Against the ninth commandment: Deceit, whisperers, back-biters, covenant-breakers, lying and slandering. Here are two generals not before mentioned - inventors of evil things, and without understanding; wise to do evil, and yet having no knowledge to do good. The more deliberate and politic sinners are in inventing evil things, the greater is their sin: so quick of invention in sin, and yet without understanding (stark fools) in the thoughts of God. Here is enough to humble us all, in the sense of our original corruption; for every heart by nature has in it the seed and spawn of all these sins. In the close he mentions the aggravations of the sins, Rom_1:32. 1. They knew the judgment of God; that is, (1.) They knew the law. The judgment of God is that which his justice requires, which, because he is just, he judgeth meet to be done. (2.) They knew the penalty; so it is explained here: They knew that those who commit such things were worthy of death, eternal death; their own consciences could not but suggest this to them, and yet they ventured upon it. It is a great aggravation of sin when it is committed against knowledge (Jam_4:17), especially against the knowledge of the judgment of God. It is daring presumption to run upon the sword's point. It argues the heart much hardened, and very resolutely set upon sin. 2. They not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that do them. The violence of some present temptation may hurry a man into the commission of such sins himself in which the vitiated appetite may take a pleasure; but to be pleased with other people's sins is to love sin for sin's sake: it is

joining in a confederacy for the devil's kingdom and interest. Suneudokousi: they do not only commit sin, but they defend and justify it, and encourage others to do the like. Our own sins are much aggravated by our concurrence with, and complacency in, the sins of others. ow lay all this together, and then say whether the Gentile world, lying under so much guilt and corruption, could be justified before God by any works of their own. 6. Calvin, “The word theostugeis, means, no doubt, haters of God; for there is no reason to take it in a passive sense, (hated of God,) since Paul here proves men to be guilty by manifest vices. Those, then, are designated, who hate God, whose justice they seem to resist by doing wrong. Whisperers (susurrones) and slanderers (obtrectatores) [58] are to be thus distinguished; the former, by secret accusations, break off the friendships of good men, inflame their minds with anger, defame the innocent, and sow discords; and the latter through an innate malignity, spare the reputation of no one, and, as though they were instigated by the fury of evilspeaking, they revile the deserving as well as the undeserving We have translated hubristas, villanous, (maleficos;) for the Latin authors are wont to call notable injuries villanies, such as plunders, thefts, burnings, and sorceries; and these where the vices which Paul meant to point out here. [59] I have rendered the word huperephanous, used by Paul, insolent, (contumeliosos;) for this is the meaning of the Greek word: and the reason for the word is this, -because such being raised, as it were, on high, look down on those who are, as it were, below them with contempt, and they cannot bear to look on their equals. Haughty are they who swell with the empty wind of overweeningness. Unsociable [60] are those who, by their iniquities, unloose the bands of society, or those in whom there is no sincerity or constancy of faith, who may be called truce-breakers. 7. Haldane, “Backbiters. The original word is here improperly translated backbiters. Dr. Macknight equally misses the meaning of this term, which he trans lates revilers, distinguishing it from whisperers, or persons who speak evil of others to their face, giving them opprobrious language and bad names. The word indeed includes such persons ; but it applies to evilspeaking in general, to those, in short, who take a pleasure in scandaliz ing their neighbours, without any reference to the presence or absence of those who are spoken against ; and it by no means designates, as he says, the giving of opprobrious language and bad names. Such persons are included in it, but not designated by it. Whisperers or tattlers are evil-speakers, without any peculiar distinction. Our translators have erred in rendering it backbiters. As Dr. Macknight has no authority to limit the word to what is spoken face to face, it is equally unwarrantable to confine it to what is spoken in the absence of those who are spoken against. The word translated whisperers refers, according to Mr.

Tholuck, to a secret, and the word translated backbiters, to an open slander. Secrecy is undoubtedly the characteristic of the first word, but the last is not distinguished from it by contrast, as implying publicity ; on the contrary, the former class is included in the latter, though here specifically marked. Besides, though the communication of both the classes referred to may usually be slander, yet it appears that the significa tion is more extensive. Whisperers, as speakers of evil, may be guilty when they speak nothing but truth. Mr. Stuart has here followed Mr. Tholuck. The former he makes a slander in secret, the latter a slander in public. It is not necessary that all such persons should be slanderers, and the evil-speaking of the latter may be in private as well as in public. Haters of God. There is no occasion, with Mr. Tholuck, to seek a reference here to those heathens mentioned by Cyprian, who, whenever a calamity befell them, used to cast the blame of it upon God, and denied a providence. or is it necessary to suppose, with him, that the propriety of the charge is to be found in the fact that superstition begets a hatred of the gods. The charge is applicable to the whole heathen world, who hated God, and therefore did not like to keep Him in remem brance. This was manifest throughout the world in the early introduc tion of Polytheism and idolatry. o other cause can be assigned for the nations losing the knowledge of the true God. They did not like to retain Him in their knowledge. Had men loved God, He would have been known to them in all ages and all countries. Did not mankind receive a sufficient lesson from the flood ? Yet such was their natural enmity to God, that they were not restrained even by that awful mani festation of Divine displeasure at forgetfulness of the Almighty. Although no one will acknowledge this charge to be applicable to himself, yet it is one which the Spirit of God, looking deeply into human nature, and penetrating the various disguises it assumes, brings home to all men in their natural state. The carnal mind is enmity against God. They hate His holiness, His justice, His sovereignty, and even His mercy in the way in which it is vouchsafed. The charge here advanced by the Apostle against the heathens was remarkably verified, when Christianity, on its first appearance among them, was so violently opposed by the philosophers and the whole body of the people, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. This melancholy fact is written in the history of the persecutions of the early Christians in characters of blood. 1 Despiteful. This term does not express the meaning of the original. Archbishop ewcome translates it injurious ; but though this is one of the ideas contained in the word, it is essentially deficient. It signifies injury accompanied with contumely ; insolence, implying insult. It always implies contempt, and usually reproach. Often, treatment violent and insulting. Mr. Stuart translates it reproachful? i.e., he says, lacerating others by slanderous, abusive, passionate declarations. But this does not come up to the meaning of the original. All this might be done without

affecting to despise its object, or in any point of view to assume superi ority over him, an idea always implied in the original word. Besides, the reproachful words may not be slanderous. Mr. Tholuck makes it pride towards a fellow-creature ; but this designation is not sufficiently peculiar. A proud man may not insult others. This vice aims at attaching disgrace to its object ; even in the injuries it commits on the body, it designs chiefly to wound the mind. It well applies to hootings, hissings, and peltings of a mob, in which, even when the most dignified persons are the objects of attack, there is some mixture" of contempt. Proud. This word translates the original correctly, as it refers to the feeling generally, and not to any particular mode of it, which is implied in arrogance, insolence, haughtiness, to persons puffed up with a high opinion of themselves, and regarding others with contempt, as if they were unworthy of any intercourse with them. Boasters. The term in the original designates ostentatious persons in general; but as these usually affect more than belongs to them, it generally applies to persons who extend their pretensions to consideration beyond their just claims. Inventors of evil things. Dr. Macknight translates this inventors of unlawful pleasures, and no doubt such inventions are referred to, but there is no reason to restrict it to the invention of pleasures when there are many other evil inventions. In such a case it is proper to give the expression the utmost latitude it will admit, as including all evils. Disobedience to parents is here considered as a duty taught by the light of nature, the breach of which condemns the heathens, who had not the fifth commandment written in words. It is a part of the law originally inscribed on the heart, the traces of which are still to be found in the natural love of children to their parents. When the heathens, then, disregarded this duty, they departed from the original constitution of their nature, and disregarded the voice of God in their hearts.

31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
1. We observe in this long list of sins, evil and folly, that Paul begins with the sexual sins, and this leads people to often conclude that the worst sins are those connected with sexual immorality. But Paul ends with a long list of sins of the spirit rather than sins of the flesh, and so the question is, which list represents the worst of the sins of godless people? C. S. Lewis has given us his perspective in a paragraph from his book, Mere Christianity where he wrote, "If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual. The pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and backbiting; the pleasures of power, of hatred.

For there are two things inside me competing with the human self which I must try to become: they are the animal self, and the diabolical self; and the diabolical self is the worst of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig, who goes regularly to church, may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But of course, it's better to be neither." 2. Gill, “Without understanding,.... Of God, of his nature and worship, of things divine and even moral, being given up to a reprobate mind: covenant breakers; had no regard to private or public contracts: without natural affection; to their parents, children, relations and friends: implacable; when once offended there was no reconciling of them: unmerciful; had no pity and compassion to persons in distress. 3. Clarke, “Without understanding - Ασυνετους, from α, negative, and συνετος, knowing; persons incapable of comprehending what was spoken; destitute of capacity for spiritual things. Covenant-breakers - Ασυνθετους, from α, negative, and συντιθηµυι, to make an agreement; persons who could be bound by no oath, because, properly speaking, they had no God to witness or avenge their misconduct. As every covenant, or agreement, is made as in the presence of God, so he that opposes the being and doctrine of God is incapable of being bound by any covenant; he can give no pledge for his conduct. Without natural affection - Αστοργους; without that attachment which nature teaches the young of all animals to have to their mothers, and the mothers to have for their young. The heathens, in general, have made no scruple to expose the children they did not think proper to bring up, and to despatch their parents when they were grown old or past labor. Implacable - Ασπονδους, from α, negative; and σπονδη, A Libation. It was customary among all nations to pour out wine as a libation to their gods, when making a treaty. This was done to appease the angry gods, and reconcile them to the contracting parties. The word here shows a deadly enmity; the highest pitch of an unforgiving spirit; in a word, persons who would not make reconciliation either to God or man. Unmerciful - Ανελεηµονας; those who were incapable, through the deep-rooted wickedness of their own nature, of showing mercy to an enemy when brought under their power, or doing any thing for the necessitous, from the principle of benevolence or commiseration. 4. Haldane, “Without understanding. This well expresses the original; for although the persons so described were not destitute of understanding as to the things of this world, but as to these might be the most intelligent and

enlightened, yet, in a moral sense, or as respects the things of God, they were unintelligent and stupid. This agrees with the usual signification of the word, and it perfectly coincides with universal experience. All men are by nature undiscerning as to the things of God, arid to this there never was an exception. Dr. Macknight entirely misses the meaning, when he explains it as signifying persons who are imprudent in the management of affairs. The translation of Mr. Stuart, inconsiderate, is equally erroneous. Covenant-breakers. This is a correct translation, if covenant is understood to apply to every agreement or bargain refer ring to the common business of life, as well as solemn and important contracts between nations and individuals. Without natural affection. There is no occasion to seek for some particular reference in this, which has evidently its verification in many different things. Dr. Macknight supposes that the Apostle has the Stoics in his eye. Beza, and after him Mr. Stuart, supposes that it refers to the exposure of children. Mr. Tholuck, with more propriety, extends the term to filial and parental love. But still the reference is broader ; still there are more varieties comprehended in the term. Why limit to one thing what applies to many ? Even though one class should be peculiarly prominent in the reference, to confine it to this robs it of its force. Implacable. The word in the original signifies as well persons who will not enter into league, as persons who, having entered into league, perfidiously break it. In the former sense it signifies implacable, and designates those who are peculiarly savage. In the latter sense it refers to those who violate the most sacred engagements, entered into with all the solemnities of oaths and religious rites. Our translation affixes to it the first sense. But in this sense it applies to none but the rudest and most uncivilized nations, and was not generally exemplified in the Roman empire. It appears that it should rather be understood in the latter sense, as designating the common practice of nations in every age, who, without hesitation, violate treaties and break oaths sanctioned by every solemn obligation. The word above rendered covenant-breakers, designates the violators of any engagement. The word employed here signifies the breaker of solemn engagements, ratified with all the solem nities of oaths and religious ceremonies. Unmerciful. There is no reason, like Dr. Macknight, to confine this to those who are unmerciful to the poor. Such, no doubt, are included ; but it extends to all who are without compassion. Persons need our compassion who are not in want ; they may be suffering in many ways. It applies to those who do not feel for the distresses of others, whatever may be the cause of their distresses ; and to those who inflict these dis tresses it peculiarly applies. 5. Barnes, “Without understanding - Inconsiderate, or foolish; see Rom_1:21-22.

Covenant breakers - Perfidious; false to their contracts. Without natural affections - This expression denotes the lack of affectionate regard toward their children. The attachment of parents to children is one of the strongest in nature, and nothing can overcome it but the most confirmed and established wickedness. And yet the apostle charges on the pagan generally the lack of this affection. He doubtless refers here to the practice so common among pagans of exposing their children, or putting them to death. This crime, so abhorrent to all the feelings of humanity, was common among the pagan, and is still. The Canaanites, we are told Psa_106:37-38, “sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan.” Manasseh among the Jews imitated their example, and introduced the horrid custom of sacrificing children to Moloch, and set the example by offering his own; 2Ch_33:6. Among the ancient Persians it was a common custom to bury children alive. In most of the Grecian states, infanticide was not merely permitted, but actually enforced by law. The Spartan lawgiver expressly ordained that every child that was born should be examined by the ancient men of the tribe, and that if found weak or deformed, should be thrown into a deep cavern at the foot of Mount Taygetus. Aristotle, in his work on government, enjoins the exposure of children that are naturally feeble and deformed, in order to prevent an excess of population. But among all the nations of antiquity, the Romans were the most unrelenting in their treatment of infants. Romulus obliged the citizens to bring up all their male children, and the oldest of the females, proof that the others were to be destroyed. The Roman father had an absolute right over the life of his child, and we have abundant proof that that right was often exercised. Romulus expressly authorized the destruction of all children that were deformed, only requiring the parents to exhibit them to their five nearest neighbors, and to obtain their consent to their death. The law of the Twelve Tables enacted in the 301st year of Rome, sanctioned the same barbarous practice. Minucius Felix thus describes the barbarity of the Romans in this respect: “I see you exposing your infants to wild beasts and birds, or strangling them after the most miserable manner.” (chapter xxx.) Pliny the older defends the right of parents to destroy their children, upon the ground of its being necessary in order to preserve the population within proper bounds. Tertullian, in his apology, expresses himself boldly on this subject. “How many of you (addressing himself to the Roman people, and to the governors of cities and provinces) might I deservedly charge with infant murder; and not only so, but among the different kinds of death, for choosing some of the cruelest for their own children, such as drowning, or starving with cold or hunger, or exposing to the mercy of dogs; dying by the sword being too sweet a death for children.” or was this practice arrested in the Roman government until the time of Constantine, the first Christian prince. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians were in the habit of sacrificing infants to the gods. It may be added that the crime is no less common among modern pagan nations. o less than 9000 children are exposed in Pekin in China annually. Persons are employed by the police to go through the city with carts every morning to pick up all the children that may have been thrown out

during the night. The bodies are carried to a common pit without the walls of the city, into which all, whether dead or living, are promiscuously thrown. (Barrow’s Travels in China, p. 113, Amos ed.) Among the Hindus the practice is perhaps still more common. In the provinces of Cutch and Guzerat alone the number of infantile murders amounted, according to the lowest calculation in 1807, to 3,000 annually; according to another calculation, to 30,000. Females are almost the only victims. (Buchanan’s Researches in Asia, Eng. ed. p. 49. Ward’s View of the Hindus.) In Otaheite, previously to the conversion of the people to Christianity. it was estimated that at least two-thirds of the children were destroyed. (Turnbull’s Voyage round the World in 1800, 2, 3, and 4.) The natives of ew South Wales were in the habit of burying the child with its mother, if she should happen to die. (Collins’ Account of the Colony of ew South Wales, p. 124, 125.) Among the Hottentots, infanticide is a common crime. “The altars of the Mexicans were continually drenched in the blood of infants.” In Peru, no less than two hundred infants were sacrificed on occasion of the coronation of the Inca. The authority for these melancholy statements may be seen in Beck’s Medical Jurisprudence, vol. i. 18-197, ed. 1823; see also Robertson’s History of America, p. 221, ed. 1821. This is a specimen of the views and feelings of the pagan world; and the painful narrative might be continued to almost any length. After this statement, it cannot surely be deemed a groundless charge when the apostle accused them of being destitute of natural affection. Implacable - This word properly denotes those who will not be reconciled where there is a quarrel; or who pursue the offender with unyielding revenge. It denotes an unforgiving temper; and was doubtless common among the ancients, as it is among all pagan people. The aborigines of America have given the most striking manifestation of this that the world has known. It is well known that among them, neither time nor distance will obliterate the memory of an offence; and that the avenger will pursue the offender over hills and streams, and through heat or snow, happy if he may at last, though at the expiration of years, bury the tomahawk in the head of his victim, though it may be at the expense of his own life. See Robertson’s America, book iv. Section lxxiii. - lxxxi. Unmerciful - Destitute of compassion. As a proof of this, we may remark that no provisions for the poor or the infirm were made among the pagan. The sick and the infirm were cast out, and doomed to depend on the stinted charity of individuals. Pure religion, only, opens the heart to the appeals of want; and nothing but Christianity has yet expanded the hearts of people to make public provisions for the poor, the ignorant, and the afflicted.

32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not

only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
1. This is the ultimate rebellion to know how severely such things are against God's will, and yet persist, not only in doing them, but in promoting them by their approval of them in others. Even a God of awesome patience cannot tolerate such offensive behavior. Here is a picture of human depravity at its worst. Fortunately, not all humans descended to this depth of depravity, but this is the downward tendency of all nations and people who refuse to acknowledge God in their lives. They know better, but they choose to defy the known will of God. They delight that others join them in this rebellion, for evil is their good, and they have a zeal for it. They applaud others who take the road to hell. 2. The fact that God permits men to fall this low supports the concept that I have heard about alcoholics that says that they must reach the bottom before they will seek help. Until then they rationalize their problem, and convince themselves that they are not slaves of their habit. So it is only when people become so evil and God forsaken that they destroy all the values of a society for human happiness that they will sense the despair necessary to bring them to repentance. It has to get so dark before they see their desperate need for light. That is why God allows people to be so free to go with the flow of their depravity, for they become their own judge, jury and executioner. They make their lives so miserable in their freedom to do evil that they long for a way out of the folly of their ways. If they do not do so, they end up under the wrath of God, but if they see the folly of their ways, they repent and turn back to God and his ways. In the ew Testament it means that they experience the new life that can be theirs in Christ. 3. Gill, “Who knowing the judgment of God,.... Either of the law of God, the law and light of nature, by which they might in some measure know the difference between good and evil, and what was right and wrong; or the judiciary sentence of God against sin: that they which commit such things are worthy of death; at least of corporeal death: not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that do them; all which greatly aggravated their wickedness, since they sinned against light and knowledge, with approbation and good liking of their own sins, and took pleasure in the sins of others. The Jews have a saying (p), "that no man is suspected of a thing but he has done it; and if he has not done the whole of it, he has done part of it, and if he has not done part of it, he has thought in his heart to do it, and if he has not thought in his heart to do it, ‫ראה אחרים שעשו‬ ‫" ,ושמח‬he has seen others do it, and has rejoiced".''

And if such a man is a wicked man, how much more wicked are such who commit sin themselves, and delight in the sins of others? now from this whole account we see the insufficiency of the light of nature to guide persons in the way of salvation; what need there was of a divine revelation; and how impossible it is that such men should ever be justified before God, by any works of seeming righteousness done by them; which the apostle had in view, in giving this account of the depraved nature and conduct of the Gentiles, and of those among them who professed to be, and were the wisest and most knowing of them. 4. Clarke, “Who, knowing the judgment of God - ∆ικαιωµα, the grand rule of right which God has revealed to every man, the knowledge of which he has, less or more, given to every nation of the world, relative to honouring parents, taking care of their own offspring, keeping their engagements, etc., etc. In the worst states of heathenism this great principle has been acknowledged; but, through the prevalence of corruption in the heart, this law, though acknowledged, was not obeyed; and the corruption increased so that those were highest in repute who had cast off all restraints of this kind; so that they even delighted in them; συνευδοκουσι, highly applauded, and gladly associated with those transgressors: which argues the very highest pitch of moral depravity. 1. The preceding chapter gives us one of the finest views of the Gospel of Christ, to be met with any where. It is God’s method of saving a lost world, in a way which that world could never have imagined: there is nothing human in it; it is all truly and gloriously Divine; essentially necessary to the salvation of man, and fully adequate to the purposes of its institution. Though it is an extension of the old covenant, yet it is almost wholly dissimilar; being as different from that as the person is from the picture which represents it, and as the substance is from the shadow projected by it. It is a scheme as worthy of God as it is necessary for man; hence there are no excluding clauses in it - it is for the Jew and for the Greek; for the wise and for the unwise; for all the nations of the universe, and for all the individuals of those nations. He blasphemes God who holds the contrary. 2. As God never does any thing that is not fitting, suitable, and necessary to be done, he has not made an unnecessary display of his mercy and goodness in the incarnation and death of his Son - all this was necessary, else it had not been done. But how does the necessity appear? In the deep-rooted and widely extended corruption and profligacy of the nations of the earth. Of these the apostle gives a most affecting and distressing picture. 1. Almost every trace of original righteousness had been obliterated. 2. The proofs of God’s eternal power and providence, so manifest in the creation and preservation of the universe, were wholly disregarded. 3. A vain philosophy, without right, principle, or end, was substituted for those Divine truths which had been discovered originally to man. 4. Their hearts were contaminated with every vice which could blind the understanding, pervert the judgment, corrupt the will, and debase the

affections and passions. 5. This was proved in the most unequivocal manner, by a profligacy of conduct which had debased them far, far below the beasts that perish; and the apostle here gives a list of their crimes, every article of which can be incontrovertibly proved from their own history and their own writers: crimes which, even bad as the world is now, would shock common decency to describe. See the whole of the second, third, sixth, and ninth Satires of Juvenal. 3. So completely lost were the heathens to a knowledge of the influence of God on the souls and the necessity of that influence, that they asserted, in the most positive manner, that man was the author of his own virtue and wisdom. Cicero, at. Deor., lib. iii. c. 36, declares it a general opinion that, although mankind received from the gods the outward conveniencies of life - virtutem autem nemo unquam acceptam Deo retulit - “virtue none ever thought they received from the Deity.” And again: - “This is the persuasion of all, that fortune is to be had from the gods; wisdom from ourselves.” And again: “Whoever thanked the gods for his being a good man? Men pray to Jupiter, not that he would make them just, temperate, and wise; but rich and prosperous.” Juvenal, on this point, speaks thus: Monstro, quod ipse tibi possis dare: Semita certe Tranquillae per virtutem patet unica vitae. Sat. x. v. 363. The path to peace is virtue; which, I show, Thyself may fully on thyself bestow. In the same stain, Horace, Epist. lib. i. E. xviii. v. penult. Haec satis est orare Jovem, qui donat et aufert: Det vitam det opes: aequum mi animum ipse parabo. To Jove for life and wealth I pray, These Jove may give or take away; But, for a firm and tranquil mind, That blessing for myself I find. Thus, they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. See Madan’s Juvenal, vol. ii. p. 53. 4. By all this we see what the world was, and what it would have continued to be had not God sent a Divine revelation of his will, and established a public ministry to proclaim and enforce it. Were man left to the power and influence of his fallen nature he would be, in all places of his dispersion on the earth, what the apostle describes in the 29th, 30th, and 31st verses of this chapter.

(Rom_1:29-31) Reader, magnify God, who has called thee from such deep darkness, to the marvellous light of the glorious Gospel of his Son; and walk as a child of the light and of the day, in whom there shall be no cause of stumbling. 5. Haldane, “Knowing the judgment of God. Sentence or ordinance of God. This the heathens knew, from the work of the law written in their hearts. Although they had almost entirely stifled in themselves the dictates of conscience, it did not cease, in some measure, to remonstrate against the unworthiness of their conduct, and to threaten the wrath of God, which their sins deserved. They recognised it by some remains they had of right notions of the Godhead, and by which they still understood that God was judge of the world; and this was confirmed to them by examples of Divine vengeance which sometimes passed before their eyes. They knew it even by the false ideas of the superstition in which they Avere plunged, which required them to seek for expiations. That they knew it in a measure is evident by their laws, which awarded punishments to some of those vices of which they were guilty. Worthy of death. It is difficult to determine with certainty whether death is here to be understood literally or figuratively. Mr. Stuart con siders it as decided that it cannot mean literal death, because it cannot be supposed that the heathens judged everything condemned by the Apostle to deserve capital punishment. He understands it in its figurative sense, as referring to future punishment. But an equal difficulty meets him here. Did the heathens know that God had determined to punish the things thus specified with death, according to its figurative import ever lasting punishment? He does not take the word, then, in this sense to its full amount, but as meaning punishment, misery, suffering. But tins is a sense which the word never bears. If it refer to future punishment, it must apply to that punishment in its full sense. That the heathens judged many of the sins here enumerated worthy of death, is clear from their ordaining death as their punishment. And the Apostle does not assert that they judged them all worthy of death, but that they judged the doers of such things worthy of death. It seems quite enough, then, that those things, for the commission of which they ordained death, were such as he mentions. In this sense Archbishop ewcome under stands the word, For they themselves, he says, punished some of their vices with death. ot only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. This is added to mark the depth of their corruption. For when men are not entirely abandoned to sin, although they allow of it in their own circum stances and practice, yet they condemn it in their general notions, and m the practice of others, because then it is not connected with their own interest and self-love. But when human corruption has arrived at its

height, men not only commit sins, but approve of them in those who commit them. While this was strictly applicable to the whole body of the people, it was chargeable in the highest degree on the leaders and philoso phers, who, having more light than the others, treated in their schools some of those things as crimes of which they were not only guilty them selves, but the commission of which they encouraged by their connivance, especially in the abominable rites practiced in the worship of their gods. By these conclusive proofs Paul substantiates his charge, in verse 18, against the whole Gentile world, first of ungodliness, and then of unright eousness as its consequence, against which the wrath of God is revealed. It should also be observed that as, in another place, Tit. ii. 12, he divides Christian holiness into three parts, namely, sobriety, righteousness, and godliness, in the same way, in this chapter, he classes Pagan depravity under three heads. The first is their ungodliness, namely, that they have not glorified God that they have changed His glory into images made like to corruptible creatures that they have changed His truth into a lie, which is opposed to godliness. The second is intemperance. God had delivered them up to uncleanness and vile affections, which are op posed to sobriety. The third is unrighteousness, and all the other vices noted in the last verses, which are opposed to righteousness. It is impossible to add anything to the view here given of the reign of corruption among the heathens, even the most celebrated and civilized, which is fully attested by their own historians. othing can be more horrible than this representation of their state; and as the picture is drawn, by the Spirit of God, who is acquainted not only with the outward actions, but with the secret motives of men, no Christian can suppose that it is exaggerated. The Apostle, then, had good reason to conclude in the sequel, that justification by works is impossible, and that in no other way can it be obtained but by grace. From the whole, we see how terrible to his posterity have been the consequences of the sin of the first man ; and, on the other hand, how glorious in the plan of redemp tion is the grace of God by His Son. 6. Barnes, “Who knowing - That the Gentiles had a moral sense, or were capable of knowing the will of God in this case, is clear from Rom_2:14-15. The means which they had of arriving at the knowledge of God were, their own reason, their conscience, and an observation of the effects of depravity. The judgment of God - The word “judgment” here denotes the declared sentiment of God that such things deserved death. It does not mean his inflictions, or his statutes or precepts; but it means that God thought or judged that they which did such things ought to die. As they were aware of this, it showed their guilt in still persevering in the face of his judgments, and his solemn purpose to inflict punishment.

Were worthy of death - The word “death” in the Scriptures is often used to denote punishment. But it does not mean here that these deserved capital punishment from the civil magistrate, but that they knew they were evil, and offensive to God, and deserving of punishment from his hand; see Joh_8:51; Rom_5:12-19. Have pleasure ... - They delight in those who commit sin; and hence, encourage them in it, and excite them to it. This was a grievous aggravation of the offence. It greatly heightens guilt when we excite others to do it, and seduce them from the ways of innocence. That this was the case with the pagan there can be no doubt. People do not commit sin often alone. They need the countenance of others. They “join hand in hand,” and become confederate in iniquity. All social sins are of this class; and most of those which the apostle mentioned were sins of this character. If this revolting and melancholy picture of the pagan world was a true representation, then it was clear that there was need of some other plan of religion. And that it was true has already in part been seen. In the conclusion of this chapter we may make a few additional observations. 1. The charges which the apostle makes here were evidently those which were well known. He does not even appeal to their writings, as he does on some other occasions, for proof; compare Tit_1:12. So well known were they, that there was no need of proof. A writer would not advance charges in this manner unless he was confident that they were well-founded, and could not be denied. 2. They are abundantly sustained by the pagan writers themselves. This we have in part seen In addition we may adduce the testimony of two Roman writers respecting the state of things at Rome in the time of the apostle. Livy says of the age of Augustus, in some respects the brightest period of the Roman history, “Rome has increased by her virtues until now, when we can neither bear our vices nor their remedy.” Preface to his History. Seneca, one of the purest moralists of Rome, who died in 65 a.d., says of his own time, “All is full of criminality and vice; indeed much more of these is committed than can be remedied by force. A monstrous contest of abandoned wickedness is carried on. The lust of sin increases daily; and shame is daily more and more extinguished. Discarding respect for all that is good and sacred, lust rushes on wherever it will. Vice no longer hides itself. It stalks forth before all eyes. So public has abandoned wickedness become, and so openly does it flame up in the minds of all, that innocence is no longer seldom, but has wholly ceased to exist.” Seneca de Ira, ii. 8. Further authorities of this kind could be easily given, but these will show that the apostle Paul did not speak at random when he charged them with these enormous crimes. 3. If this was the state of things, then it was clear that there was need of another plan of saving people. It will be remembered that, in these charges, the apostle speaks of the most enlightened and refined nations of antiquity; and especially that he speaks of the Romans at the very height of their power, intelligence, and splendor. The experiment whether man could save himself by his own works, had been fairly made. After all that their greatest philosophers could do, this was the result, and it is clear that there was need of some better plan than this. More profound and laborious philosophers than had arisen, the pagan world could not hope to see; more refinement and civilization than then existed, the world could not

expect to behold under paganism. At this time, when the experiment had been made for four thousand years, and when the inefficacy of all human means, even under the most favorable circumstances, to reform mankind, had been tried, the gospel was preached to people. It disclosed another plan; and its effects were seen at once throughout the most abandoned states and cities of the ancient world. 4. If this was the state of things in the ancient pagan world, the same may be expected to be the state of paganism still. And it is so. The account given here of ancient pagans would apply substantially still to the pagan world. The same things have been again and again witnessed in China, and Hindostan, and Africa, the Sandwich islands, and in aboriginal America. It would be easy to multiply proofs almost without end of this: and to this day the pagan world is exhibiting substantially the same characteristics that it was in the time of Paul. 5. There was need of some better religion than the pagan. After all that infidels and deists have said of the sufficiency of natural religion, yet here is the sad result. This shows what man can do, and these facts will demonstrate forever that there was need of some other religion than that furnished by the light of nature. 6. The account in this chapter shows the propriety of missionary exertions. So Paul judged; and so we should judge still. If this be the state of the world, and if Christianity, as all Christians believe, contains the remedy for all these evils, then it is wisdom and benevolence to send it to them. And it is not wisdom or benevolence to withhold it from them. Believing as they do, Christians are bound to send the gospel to the pagan world. It is on this principle that modern missions to the pagan are established; and if the toils of the apostles were demanded to spread the gospel, then are the labors of Christians now. If it was right, and wise, and proper for them to go to other lands to proclaim “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” then it is equally proper and wise to do it now. If there was danger that the pagan world then would perish without the gospel, there is equal danger that the pagan world will perish now. 7. If it should be said that many of these things are practiced now in nations which are called Christian, and that, therefore, the charge of the apostle that this was the effect of paganism could not be well-founded, we may reply, (1) That this is true, too true. But this very fact shows the deep and dreadful depravity of human nature. If such things exist in lands that have a revelation, what mush have been the state of those countries that had none of its restraints and influences? But, (2) These things do not exist where religion exerts its influence. They are not in the bosom of the Christian church. They are not practiced by Christians. And the effect of the Christian religion, so far as it has influence, is to call off people from such vices, and to make them holy and pure in their life. Let religion exert its full influence on any nominally Christian nation, and these things would cease. Let it send its influence into other lands, and the world, the now polluted world, would become pure before God. 7. Calvin, “Who, knowing the judgement [61] of God, etc. Though this passage is variously explained, yet the following appears to me the correctest

interpretation, -- that men left nothing undone for the purpose of giving unbridled liberty to their sinful propensities; for having taken away all distinction between good and evil, they approved in themselves and in others those things which they knew displeased God, and would be condemned by his righteous judgment. For it is the summit of all evils, when the sinner is so void of shame, that he is pleased with his own vices, and will not bear them to be reproved, and also cherishes them in others by his consent and approbation. This desperate wickedness is thus described in Scripture: "They boast when they do evil," (Proverbs 2:14.) "She has spread out her feet, and gloried in her wickedness," (Ezekiel 16:25.) For he who is ashamed is as yet healable; but when such an impudence is contracted through a sinful habit, that vices, and not virtues, please us, and are approved, there is no more any hope of reformation. Such, then, is the interpretation I give; for I see that the Apostle meant here to condemn something more grievous and more wicked than the very doing of vices: what that is I know not, except we refer to that which is the summit of all wickedness, -- that is, when wretched men, having cast away all shame, undertake the patronage of vices in opposition to the righteousness of God.” 8. Jamison, “Who knowing — from the voice of conscience, Rom_2:14, Rom_2:15 the judgment of God — the stern law of divine procedure. that they which commit such things are worthy of death — here used in its widest known sense, as the uttermost of divine vengeance against sin: see Act_28:4. not only do the same — which they might do under the pressure of temptation and in the heat of passion. but have pleasure in them that do them — deliberately set their seal to such actions by encouraging and applauding the doing of them in others. This is the climax of our apostle’s charges against the heathen; and certainly, if the things are in themselves as black as possible, this settled and unblushing satisfaction at the practice of them, apart from all the blinding effects of present passion, must be regarded as the darkest feature of human depravity. On this section, ote (1). “The wrath of God” against sin has all the dread reality of a “revelation from heaven” sounding in the consciences of men, in the self-inflicted miseries of the wicked, and in the vengeance which God’s moral government, sooner or later, takes upon all who outrage it; so this “wrath of God” is not confined to high-handed crimes, or the grosser manifestations of human depravity, but is “revealed” against all violations of divine law of whatever nature - “against all ungodliness” as well as

“unrighteousness of men,” against all disregard of God in the conduct of life as well as against all deviations from moral rectitude; and therefore, since no child of Adam can plead guiltless either of “ungodliness” or of “unrighteousness,” to a greater or less extent, it follows that every human being is involved in the awful sweep of “the wrath of God” (Rom_1:18). The apostle places this terrible truth in the forefront of his argument on justification by faith, that upon the basis of universal condemnation he might rear the edifice of a free, world-wide salvation; nor can the Gospel be scripturally preached or embraced, save as the good news of salvation to those that are all equally “lost.” (2). We must not magnify the supernatural revelation which God has been pleased to make of Himself, through Abraham’s family to the human race, at the expense of that older, and, in itself, lustrous revelation which He has made to the whole family of man through the medium of their own nature and the creation around them. Without the latter, the former would have been impossible, and those who have not been favored with the former will be without excuse, if they are deaf to the voice and blind to the glory of the latter (Rom_1:19, Rom_1:20). (3). Willful resistance of light has a retributive tendency to blunt the moral perceptions and weaken the capacity to apprehend and approve of truth and goodness; and thus is the soul prepared to surrender itself, to an indefinite extent, to error and sin (Rom_1:21, etc.). (4). Pride of wisdom, as it is a convincing evidence of the want of it, so it makes the attainment of it impossible (Rom_1:22; and compare Mat_11:25; 1Co_3:18-20). (5). As idolatry, even in its most plausible forms, is the fruit of unworthy views of the Godhead, so its natural effect is to vitiate and debase still further the religious conceptions; nor is there any depth of degradation too low and too revolting for men’s ideas of the Godhead to sink to, if only their natural temperament and the circumstances they are placed in be favorable to their unrestrained development (Rom_1:23, Rom_1:25). The apostle had Greece and Egypt in his eye when he penned this description. But all the paganisms of the East at this day attest its accuracy, from the more elaborate idolatry of India and the simpler and more stupid idolatry of China down to the childish rudiments of nature worship prevalent among the savage tribes. Alas! Christendom itself furnishes a melancholy illustration of this truth; the constant use of material images in the Church of Rome and the materialistic and sensuous character of its entire service (to say nothing of the less offensive but more stupid service of the Greek Church,) debasing the religious ideas of millions of nominal Christians, and lowering the whole character and tone of Christianity as represented within their immense pale. (6). Moral corruption invariably follows religious debasement. The grossness of pagan idolatry is only equaled by the revolting character and frightful extent of the immoralities which it fostered and consecrated (Rom_1:24, Rom_1:26, Rom_1:27). And so strikingly is this to be seen in all its essential features in the East at this day, that (as Hodge says) the missionaries have frequently been accused by the natives of having forged the whole of the latter part of this chapter, as they could not believe that so accurate a description of themselves could have been written eighteen centuries ago. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah furnish a striking illustration of

the inseparable connection between religion and morals. Israel corrupted and debased the worship of Jehovah, and the sins with which they were charged were mostly of the grosser kind - intemperance and sensuality: the people of Judah, remaining faithful to the pure worship, were for a long time charged mostly with formality and hypocrisy; and only as they fell into the idolatries of the heathen around them, did they sink into their vices. And may not a like distinction be observed between the two great divisions of Christendom, the Popish and the Protestant? To test this, we must not look to Popery, surrounded with, and more or less influenced by, the presence and power of Protestantism; nor to Protestantism under every sort of disadvantage, internal and external. But look at Romanism where it has unrestrained liberty to develop its true character, and see whether impurity does not there taint society to its core, pervading alike the highest and the lowest classes; and then look at Protestantism where it enjoys the same advantages, and see whether it be not marked by a comparatively high standard of social virtue. (7). To take pleasure in what is sinful and vicious for its own sake, and knowing it to be such, is the last and lowest stage of human recklessness (Rom_1:32). But (8). this knowledge can never be wholly extinguished in the breast of men. So long as reason remains to them, there is still a small voice in the worst of men, protesting, in the name of the Power that implanted it, “that they which do such things are worthy of death” (Rom_1:32).”