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CHAPTER I. 16.-II. 29.
CONTENTS. St. Paul, in this section, shows, that the Jews exclude themselves from being the people of God, under the Gospel, by the same reason that they would have the Gentiles excluded.
It cannot be sufficiently admired how skilfully, to avoid offending those of his own nation, St. Paul here enters into an argument, so unpleasing to the Jews, as this of persuading them that the Gentiles had as good a title to be taken in to be the people of God, under the Messias, as they themselves, which is the main design of this epistle.
In this latter part of the first chapter he gives a description of the Gentile world, in very black colours, but very adroitly interweaves such an apology for them, in respect of the Jews, as was sufficient to beat that assuming nation out of all their pretences to a right to continue to be alone the people of God, with an exclusion of the Gentiles. This may be seen, if one carefully attends to the particulars that he mentions relating to the Jews and Gentiles; and observes how, what he says of the Jews, in the second chapter, answers to what he had charged on the Gentiles, in the first. For there is a secret comparison of them, one with another, runs through these two chapters, which, as soon as it comes to be minded, gives such a light and lustre to St. Paul's discourse, that one cannot but admire the skilful turn of it, and look on it as the most soft, the most beautiful, and most pressing argumentation that one shall any where meet with altogether; since it leaves the Jews nothing to say for themselves, why they should have the privilege continued to them, under the Gospel, of being alone the people of God. All the things they stood upon, and boasted in, giving them no preference, in this respect, to the Gentiles, nor any ground to judge them to be incapable or unworthy to be their fellow-subjects, in the kingdom of the Messias. This is what he says, speaking of them nationally. But as to every one's personal concerns in a future state, he assures them, both Jews and Gentiles, that the unrighteous of both nations, whether admitted or not into the visible communion of the people of God, are liable to condemnation. Those who have sinned without law, shall perish without law; and those who have sinned in the law, shall be judged, i. e. condemned by the Perhaps some readers will not think it superfluous, if I give a short draught of St. Paul's management of himself here, for allaying the sourness of the Jews against-the Gentiles, and their offence at the Gospel, for allowing any of them place among the people of God, under the Messias.
After he had declared that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to those who believe, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile, and that the way of this salvation is revealed to be by the righteousness of God, which is by faith; he tells them, that the wrath of God is also now revealed against all atheism, polytheism, idolatry, and vice whatsoever, of men holding the truth in una righteousness, because they might come to the knowledge of the true God, by the visible works of the creation ; so that the Gentiles were without excuse, for turning from the true God to idolatry, and the worship of false gods, whereby their hearts were darkened, so that they were without God in the world. Wherefore, God gave them up to vile affections, and all manner of vices, in which state, though, by the light of nature, they know what was right, yet understanding not that such things were worthy of death, they not only do them themselves, but, abstaining from censure, live fairly and in fellowship with those that do them. Whereupon he tells the Jews that they are more inexcusable than the heathen, in that they judge, abhor, and have in aversion the Gentiles, for what they themselves do with greater provocation. Their censure and judgment in the case is unjust and wrong; but the judgment of God is always right and just, which will certainly overtake those who judge others for the same things they do themselves, and do not consider that God's forbearance to them ought to bring them to repentance. For God will render to every one according to his deeds: to those that in meekness and patience continue in well-doing, everlasting life; but to those who are censorious, proud, and contentious, and will not obey the Gospel, condemnation and wrath at the day of judgment, whether they be Jews or Gentiles; for God puts no difference between them. Thou, that art a Jew, boastest that God is thy God; that he has enlightened thee by the law that he himself gave thee from heaven, and hath, by that immediate revelation, taught thee what things are excellent, and tend to life, and what are evil, and have death annexed to them. If, therefore, thou transgressest, dost not thou more dishonour God and provoke him, than a poor heathen, that knows not God, nor that the things he doth deserve death, which is their reward? Shall not he, if, by the light of nature, he do what is conformable to the revealed law of God, judge thee, who hast received that law from God by revelation, and breakest it? Shall not this, rather than circumcision, make him an Israelite? For he is not a Jew, i. e, one of God's people, who is one outwardly, by circumcision of the flesh ; but he that is one inwardly, by the circumcision of the heart.
TEXT. 16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power
of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth ; to the Jew first,
and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith :
as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
PARAPHRASE. 16 For I am not ashamed to preach the Gospel of Christ, even
at Rome itself, thạt mistress of the world : for, whatever it may be thought of there a, by that vain and haughty people, it is that wherein God exerts himself, and shows his power b,
for the salvation of those who believe, of the Jews in the 17 first place, and also of the Gentiles. For therein is the
righteousness", which is of the free grace of God, through
Jesus Christ, revealed to be wholly by faith, as it is written, 18 The just shall live by faith. And it is no more than need, that
the Gospel, wherein the righteousness of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, is revealed, should be preached to you Gentiles, since the wrath of God is now revealed from heaven, by
NOTES. 16 a Vid, ver. 22, and i Cor. i. 21.
6 Vid. Eph. i. 19.
and xv. 24. Acts xiii. 46, and xvii. 2. 17 d ArxonovÚvn soll, “the righteousness of God," called so, because it is a righteous
ness of his contrivance, and his bestowing. It is God that justifieth, chap. iii.
“From glory to glory," i. e. wholly glorious. 18 « Now revealed.” Vid. Acts xvii. 30, 31, “God now commandeth all men, every where, to repent, because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for
God hath showed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his
eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse :. 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,
Jesus Christ, against all ungodliness 8 and unrighteousness
of men", who live not up to the light that God has given 19 themi Because God, in a clear manifestation of himself
amongst them, has laid before them, ever since the creation of the world, his divine nature and eternal power; So that what is to be known, of his invisible being, might be clearly discovered and understood from the visible beauty, order, and operations, observable in the constitution and parts of the universe, by all those that would cast their regards, and apply their
mindsk that way; insomuch that they are utterly without ex21 cuse: For that, when the Deity was so plainly discovered to
them, yet they glorified him not, as was suitable to the excel. lency of his divine nature : nor did they, with due thankful.
NOTES. the world in righteousness, by the man whom he hath ordained." These words of St. Paul to the Athenians, give light to these here to the Romans. A life again after death, and a day of judgment, wherein men should be all brought to receive sentence, according to what they had done, and be punished for their misdeeds, was what was before unknown, and was bronght to light by the revelation of the Gospel from heaven, 2 Tim. i. 10. Matth. xiii. 40, &c. Luke xiii. 27, and Rom. ii. 5, he calls the day of judgment the day of wrath, consonant to his saying here, the wrath of God is revealed. 8 Adiberdv, “ ungodliness," seems to comprehend the atheism, polytheism, and idolatry of the heathen world, as ádrxlav, “unrighteousness," their other mis. carriages and vicious lives, according to which they are distinctly threatened by St. Paul, in the following verses. The same appropriation of these words, I think, may be observed in other parts of this epistle. h“Of men," i. e. of all men, or as in the xviith of Acts, before cited, “ all men, every where," i. e. all men of all pations : before it was only to the children of Israel, that obedience and transgression were declared and proposed, as terms of life and death. i“ Who hold the truth in unrighteousness," i. e. who are not wholly without the truth, but yet do not follow what they have of it, but live contrary to that truth they do know, or neglect to know what they might. This is evident from the next words, and for the same reason of God's wrath, given, chap. ii. 8, in
these words, “ who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness." 20 * St. Paul says, voolu sva xalopātai, if they are minded, they are seen : the invisible
things of God lie within the reach and discovery of men's reason and understand. ings, but yet they must exercise their faculties and employ their minds about them.
neither were thankful ; but became vain in their imaginations, and
their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image,
made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, i and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts
of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves; 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served
the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their
women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
PARAPHRASE. ness, acknowledge him as the author of their being, and the giver of all the good they enjoyed: but, following the vain fancies of their own vain minds, set up to themselves fictitious
no-gods, and their foolish understandings were darkened: 22 Assuming to themselves the opinion and name in of being wise, 23 they became fools ; And, quitting the incomprehensible
majesty and glory of the eternal, incorruptible Deity, set up to
themselves the images of corruptible men, birds, beasts, and 24 insects, as fit objects of their adoration and worship. Where
fore, they having forsaken God, he also left them to the lusts of their own hearts, and that uncleanness their darkened hearts
led them into, to dishonour their bodies among themselves : 25 Who so much debased themselves, as to change the true God,
who made them, for a lie ” of their own making, worshipping and serving the creature, and things even of a lower rank
than themselves, more than the Creator, who is God over all, 26 blessed for evermore. Amen. (For this cause God gave
them up to shameful and infamous lusts and passions : for even
NOTES. 21 ''Euglauconcav sv tos drancylonoīs autov, “became vain in their imaginations,"
or reasonings. What it is to become vain, in the Scripture-language, one may see in these words, “and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen, and made to themselves molten images, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal," 2 Kings xvii. 15, 16. And accordingly the forsaking of idolatry, and the worship of false gods, is called by St. Paul
« turping froin vanity to the living God," Acts xiv. 15. 22 m páo xortes elvan copol, “ professing themselves to be wise;" though the nations
of the heathen generally thought themselves wise, in the religion they em. braced; yet the apostle here, having all along in this and the following chapter used Grecks for Gentiles, he may be thought to have an eye to the Greeks, among whom the men of study and inquiry had assumed to themselves the name of copol,
wise. 25 * The false and fictitious gods of the heathen are very fitly called, in the Scripture, “lies," Amos ii. 4. Jer. xvi. 19, 20,