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TEXT. 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly ; and circumcision is that
of the heart, in the spirit, and not in tlie letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.
PARAPHRASE. he is not a Jew, who is one in outward appearance and con
formity 4, nor is that the circumcision which renders a man 29 acceptable to God, which is outwardly in the flesh: But he is
a Jew, and one of the people of God, who is one in an inward conformity to the law: and that is the circumcision which avails a man which is of the heart", according to the spiritual sense of the law, which is the purging our hearts from iniquity, by faith in Jesus Christ, and not in an external observance of the letter *, by which a man cannot attain life ; such true Israelites as these, though they are judged, condemned, and rejected by men of the Jewish nation, are nevertheless honoured and accepted by God.
NOTES. 28 « Vid. chap. ix. 6, 7. Gal. vi. 15, 16. 29 w St. Paul's exposition of this, see Phil. iii. 3. Col. ii. 11.
* “ Letter,' vid. ch. vii. 6. 2 Cor. iii. 6, 7, compared with 17.
CHAPTER III. 1-31.
In this third chapter, St. Paul goes on to show, that the national privileges the Jews had over the Gentiles, in being the people of God, gave them no peculiar right, or better title to the kingdom of the Messias, than what the Gentiles had. Because they, as well as the Gentiles, all sinned, and, not being able to attain righte ousness by the deeds of the law, more than the Gentiles, justification was to be had only by the free grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ; so that, upon their believing, God, who is the God not of the Jews alone, but also of the Gentiles, accepted the Gentiles, as well as the Jews; and now admits all, who profess faith in Jesus Christ, to be equally his people.
To clear his way to this, he begins with removing an objection of the Jews, ready to say: "if it be so, as you have told us in the foregoing section, that it is the circumcision of the heart alone that availeth, what advantage liave the Jews, who keep to the circumcision of the flesh, and the other observances of the law, by being the people of God?" To which he answers, that the Jews had many advantages above the Gentiles; but yet that, in respect of their acceptance with God under the Gospel, they had none at all. He declares that both Jews and Gentiles are sinners, both equally uncapable of being justified by their own performances : that God was equally the God both of Jews and Gentiles, and out of his free grace justified those, and only those, who believed, whether Jews or Gentiles.
TEXT. 1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of cir
cuincision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed
the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith
of God without effect?
PARAPHRASE. 1 If it be thus, that circumcision, by a failure of obedience to
the law, becomes uncircumcision; and that the Gentiles, who keep the righteousness, or moral part of the law, shall judge the Jews, that transgress the law, what advantage have
the Jews? or what profit is there of circumcision ? I answer, 2 Much every way a; chiefly, that God, particularly present
amongst them, revealed his mind and will, and engaged himself in promises to them, by Moses and other his prophets, which oracles they had, and kept amongst them, whilst the rest of mankind had no such communication with the Deity, had
no revelation of his purposes of mercy to mankind, but were, 3 as it were, without God in the world. For, though some of
the Jews, who had the promises of the Messias, did not believe in him, when he came, and so did not receive the righteousness, which is by faith in Jesus Christ; yet their unbelief cannot render the faithfulness and truth of God of no effect, who had promised to be a God to Abraham and his seed after
NOTE. 2 • A list of the advantages, the Jews had over the Gentiles, he gives, chap.
ix. 4, 5, but here mentions only one of them, that was the most proper to his present purpose.
TEXT. 4 God forbid ! yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is
written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest
overcome, when thou art judged. 5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what
shall we say? Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance ? (I speak
as a man) 6 God forbid ! for then how shall God judge the world ? 7 For, if the truth of God hath more abounded, through my lie, unto
his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
PARAPHRASE. 4 him, and bless them to all generations b. No, by no means.
God forbid, that any one should entertain such a thought! Yea, let God be acknowledged to be true, and every man a liar, as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy
sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 5 But you will say farther, if it be so, that our sinfulness commendeth the righteousness of God, shown in keeping his word
given to our forefathers, what shall I say, is it not injustice in God to punish us for it, and cast us off? (I must be under
stood to say this, in the person of a carnal man, pleading for 6 himself) God forbid ! For if God be unrighteous, how shall 7 he judge the world d ? For, if the truth and veracity of God
NOTES. 3. How this was made good, St. Paul explains more at large in the following
chapter, and chap. ix. 6—13. 5 That, by “the righteousness of God," St. Paul here intends God's faith
fulness, in keeping his promise of saving believers, Gentiles as well as Jews, by righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, is plain, ver. 4, 7, 26. St. Paul's great design here, and all through the eleven first chapters of this epistle, being to convince the Romans, that God purposed, and in the Old Testament declared, that he would receive and save the Gentiles, by faith in the Messias, which was the only way, whereby Jews or Gentiles (they being all sinners, and equally destitute of righteousness by works) were to be saved.
This was a doctrine, which the Jews could not bear, and therefore the apostle here, in the person of a Jew, urges, and, in his own person, answers their objections against it, confirming to the Romans the veracity and faithfulness of God, on whom they might, with all assurance, depend, for the performance of
whatever he said. 6 a This, which is an argument in the mouth of Abraham, Gen. xviii. 25, St. Paul
very appositely makes use of, to stop the mouths of the blasphemous Jews. 7° “For.” This particle plainly joins what follows, in this and the next
verse, to “ vengeance" in the 5th verse, and shows it to be, as it is, a continuation of the objection begun in that verse; why St. Paul broke it into pieces, by intruding the 6th verse into the middle of it, there is a very plain reason. In the objection there were two things to be corrected; first, the charging God with ovrighteonsness, which as soon as mentioned, it was a becoming interruption of St. Paul, to qnash immediately, and to stop the Jews' mouths, with the
TEXT. 8 And not rather (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm
that we say), “Let us do evil, that good may come?” whose damna
tion is just. 9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise : for we have
before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin :
hath the more appeared to his glory, by reason of my lie', i.e.
my sin, why yet am I condemned for a sinner, and punished 8 for it? Why rather should not this be thought a right con
sequence, and a just excuse ? Let us do evil, that good may come of it, that glory may come to God by it. This & some maliciously and slanderously report us Christians to say, for which they deserve, and will from God receive punishment, as
they deserve. 9 Are we Jews, then, in any whit a better condition than the
Gentiles h? Not at all. For I have already i brought a charge of guilt and sin, both against Jews and Gentiles, and urged that there is not one of them clear, which I shall prove
words of Abraham. 2dly, The other thing, in the objection, was a false calumny upon the Christians, as if they, preaching justification by free grace, said, “ Let us do evil, that good may come of it.” To which the apostle's answer was the more distinct, being subjoined to that branch, separated from the other. f“ Lie.” The sense of the place makes it plain, that St. Paul, by lie, here means sin in general, but seems to have used the word lie, as having a more forcible and graceful antithesis to the truth of God, which the objection pretends
to be thereby illustrated. 88“ Some.” It is past doubt that these were the Jews. But St. Paul, always
tender towards his own nation, forbears to name them, when he pronounces this sentence, that their casting off and destruction now at hand, for this scandal and
Other opposition to the Christian religion, was just. 9 b Having, in the six foregoing verses, justified the truth of God, notwithstanding
his casting off the Jews, and vindicated the doctrine of grace, against the cavils of the Jews, which two objections of theirs came naturally in his way, the apostle takes up, here again, the Jews' question proposed ver. 1, and argues it home to the case in hand. Ti otv a poexómeda ; being but the same with Tí cv TÒ περισσόν του Ιουδαίου; ver. 1. “ Have Jews then any preference in the kingdom of the Messias ?" To which he answers, “No, not at all.” That this is the meaning, is visible from the whole chapter, where he lays bo:h Jews and Gentiles in an equal state, in reference to justification. i“ Already," viz. chap. ii. 3, where St. Paul, nuder the gentler compellation of, “O man,” charges the Jews to be simers, as well as the Gentiles : and ver. 17-24, shows that by having the law, they were no more kept from beiug sinners, than the Gentiles were without the law. And this charge VOL. VIII.
TEXT. 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after
God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unpro
fitable ; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they leave
used deceit ; the poison of asps is under their lips : 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood. 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way
peace have they not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law ; that every
be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in
his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
PARAPHRASE. 10 now against you Jews; For it is written, There is none right11 eous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is 12 none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that 13 doth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps 14 is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitter
Their feet are swift to shed blood : Destruction and 17 misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they 18 not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 This is all said in the sacred book of our lawk; and what is
said there, we know is said to the Jews who are under the law, that the mouth of every Jew, that would justify himself, might be stopped, and all the world, Jews as well as Gentiles,
may be forced to acknowledge themselves guilty before God. 20 From whence it is evident, that by his own performances, in
NOTES. against them, that they were sinners, he here proves against them, from the
testimony of their own sacred books contained in the Old Testament. 19 k The law here signifies the whole Old Testament, which containing revelations
from God, in the time of the law, and being, to those under the law, of divine authority, and a rule, as well as the law itself, it is sometimes in the New Testament called the law; and so our Saviour himself uses the term law, John x. 34. The meaning of St. Paul here is, that the declarations of God, which he had cited out of the Old Testament, were spokey of the Jews, who were under the dispensation of the Old Testament, and were, by the word of God to them, all of them pronounced sinners.