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the people of God, more than the Gentiles under the Messias, and so they had no reason to judge or exclude the Gentiles, as they did; he comes here to prove that their lineal extraction from their father Abraham gave them no better a pretence of glorying, or of setting themselves upon that account above the Gentiles, now, in the time of the Gospel.
1. Because Abraham himself was justified by faith, and so had not whereof to glory; forasmuch as he that receiveth righteousness, as a boon, has no reason to glory, but he that attains it by works.
2. Because neither they, who had circumcision derived down to them, as the posterity of Abraham, nor they who had the law; but they only, who had faith, were the seed of Abraham, to whom the promise was made. And therefore the blessing of justification was intended for the Gentiles, and bestowed on them as well as on the Jews, and upon the same ground.
TEXT. 1 What shall we then say, that Abraham, our father as pertaining to
the flesh, hath found ? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory,
but not before God.
PARAPHRASE. 1 What then shall we say of Abraham, our father according
to the flesh”, what has he obtained ? has not he found matter 2 of glorying? Yes; if he were justified by works, he had
matter of glorying', he might then have gloried over the
NOTES. 1 . “Our father according to the flesh." St. Paul speaks here, as lineally
descended from Abraham, and joins himself therein, with the rest of his nation, of whom he calls Abraham the father, according to the flesh, to distinguish the Jews by birth, from those who were Abraham's seed according to the promise, viz. those, who were of the faith of Abraham, whether Jews or Gentiles, a
distinction which he insists on all through this chapter. 2 b Káuxmua, translated here, “ glorying," I take to signify the same with
xarxãoan, translated “boasting," chap. ii. 17, 23, in which places it is used to signify the Jews valuing themselves, upon some national privileges, above the rest of the world, as if they had thereby some peculiar right to the favour of God, above other inen. This the Jewish nation, thinking themselves alone to bare a title to be the people of God, expressed, in their judging the Gentiles, whom they despised, and looked on as unworthy and uncapable to be received into the kingdom of the Messias, and admitted into fellowship with their nation, under the Gospel. This conceit of theirs St. Paul opposes here, and makes it .his business to show the falsehood and groundlessness of it, all through the eleven first chapters of this epistle. I ask, whether it would not help the Englis reader the better to find and pursue the sense of St. Paul, if the Greek ter were every where rendered by the same English word? whether “boasting, or “glorying," I think of no great consequence, so one of them be kept to.
TEXT. 3 For what saith the Scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was
counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but
of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth
the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom
God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose
sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness, then, upon the circumcision only, or upon
the uncircumcision also ? for we say, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
PARAPHRASE. rest of the Gentile world, in having God for his God, and
he and his family being God's people; but he had no sub3 ject of glorying before God, As it is evident from sacred
Scripture, which telleth us, that Abraham believed God, and 4 it was counted to him for righteousness. Now there had been
no need of any such counting, any such allowance, if he had attained righteousness by works of obedience, exactly conformable and coming up to the rule of righteousness. For what reward a man has made himself a title to, by his perform
ances, that he receives as a debt that is due, and not as a gift 5 of favour. But to him, that by his works attains not righteous
ness, but only believeth on God, who justifieth him, being ungodly", to him justification is a favour of grace: because his
believing is accounted to him for righteousness, or perfect 6 obedience. Even as David speaks of the blessedness of the
man, to whom God reckoneth a righteousness without works, 7 Saying, “ Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and 8 whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the 9 Lord will not reckon sin.” Is this blessedness then upon TEXT. 10 How was it, then, reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in
NOTES. 5 Tor å os6n, “him being ungodly." By these words St. Paul plainly points
out Abraham, who was åreens, “ungodly," i. e. a Gentile, not a worshipper of
the true God, when God called him. Vid. note, ch. i. 18. 6 d Aoyloeta, « reckoneth.” What this imputing or reckoning of righteousness
is, may be seen in ver. 8, viz. the not reckoning of sin to any one, the not putting sin to his account. the apostle, in these two verses, using these two expressions as equivalent. From hence the expression of blotting out of iniquity, so frequently used in sacred Scripture, may be understood, i. e. striking it out of the account. Aoylosofos signifies to reckon, or account, and, with a dative case, to put to any one's account; and accordingly, ver. 3,4,5, it is translated counted, or reckoned ; which word, for the sake of English readers, I have kept to in this, and ver. 9, 10, and 11.
uncircumcision ? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received a sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness
of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised,
that righteousness might be imputed unto them also : 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circum
cision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father
Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to
PARAPHRASE. the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also ? for we
say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 When, therefore, was it reckoned to him ? when he was in
circumcision, or in uncircumcision ? not in circumcision, but 11 in uncircumcision. For he received the sign of circumcision,
a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had, being yet uncircumcised', that he might be the father of all those
who believe, being uncircumcised, that righteousness might be 12 reckoned to them also; And the father of the circumcised,
that righteousness might be reckoned, not to those who were barely of the circumcision, but to such of the circumcision as
did also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abra13 ham, which he had, being uncircumcised".
For the pro
NOTES. 11 e See Gen, xvii. 11. 11, 12 'What righteousness reckoned to any one, or as it is usually called, imputed
righteousness, is, St. Paul explains, ver. 6–8. Whom this blessing belongs to, he inquires, ver. 9, and here, ver. 11 and 12, he declares who are the children of Abraham, that from him inherit this blessing; ver. 11, he speaks of the Gentiles, and there shows that Abraham, who was justified by faith, before he was circumcised, (the want whereof the Jews looked on as a distinguishing mark of a Gentile) was the father of all those, among the Gentiles, who should believe without being circumcised. And here, ver. 12, he speaks of the Jews, and says that Abraham was their father ; but not that all should be justified, who were only circumcised : but those, who, to their circumcision, added the faith of Abra. ham, which he had before he was circumcised. That which misled those, who mistook the sense of St. Panl here, seems to be their not observing that rois oux éx περιτομής is referred to, and governed by εις το λογισθήναι, which must be supposed repeated here after warépa wspotopeñs. Or else the apostle's sense and argument will not stand in its full force, but the antithesis will be lost, by preserving of which the sense runs thus : and the father of the circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to those who, &c. Another thing, very apt to mislead them, was the joining of póvov, only, to oun, not, as if it were ou uitvov toīs, not only those who are of the circumcision; whereas it should be understood as it stands joined to wipotopeñs, and so nepotopiñs póvov are best translated barely circumcision, and the apostle's sense runs thus : “that he might be the father of the Gentiles
TEXT. Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteous
ness of faith. 14 For if they, which are of the law, be heirs, faith is made void, and
the promise made of none effect. 15 Because the law worketh wrath : for where no law is, there is no
mises, that he should be possessor of the world, was not that Abraham, and those of his seed who were under the law, should, by virtue of their having and owning the law, be possessed of it'; but by the righteousness of faith, whereby those who were, without the law, scattered all over the world, beyond the borders of Canaan, became his posterity, and had him for their
father, and inherited the blessing of justification by faith. 14 For, if they only who had the law of Moses given them were
heirs of Abraham, faith is made void and useless', it receiving no benefit of the promise, which was made to the heirs of
Abraham's faith, and so the promise becomes of no effect. 15 Because the law procures them not justification”, but renders
them liable to the wrath and punishment of God', who, by the law, has made known to them what is sin, and what punish
NOTES. that believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also : and the father of the Jews, that righteousness might be imputed, not to them who have circumcision only, but to them who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had being uncircumcised.” In which way of understanding this passage, not only the apostle's meaning is very plain, easy, and coherent; but the construction of the Greek exactly corresponds to that of ver. 11, and is genuine, easy, and natural, which
any other way will be very perplexed. 13 8 The promise here meant is that which he speaks of ver. 11, whereby Abraham
was made the father of all that should believe, all the world over; and, for that reason, he is called xampóropos xbomou,“ heir, or lord of the world." For the believers, of all nations of the world, being given to him for a posterity, he becomes, thereby, lord and possessor (for so heir amongst the Hebrews signified) of the world. For it is plain, the apostle, in this verse, pursues the argument he was upon in the two former. And it is also plain, that St. Paul makes circumcision to be the seal of the promise made to Abraham, Gen. xii. as well as of that made to him, Gen. xvii. and so both these to be but one covenant, and that of chap. xvii. to be but a repetition and farther explication of the former, as is evident from this chapter, compared with Gal. iii. In both which the apostle argues, that the Gentiles were intended to be justified, as well as the Jews ; and that both Jews and Gentiles, who are justified, are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law.
Gal, jii. 7. 14 i See Gal. iii. 18. 15 k Ch. viii. 3. Gal. iii. 21.
See ch. iii. 19, 20, and v. 10, 13, 20, aud vii. 7, 8, 10. I Cor. xv. 56. Gal. iii. 19. John ix. 41, and xv. 22.
TEXT. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the
promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is
the father of us all. 17 (As it is written, “ I have made thee a father of many nations")
before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead,
and calleth those things which be not as though they were: 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father
of many nations, according to that which was spoken, “ So shall thy
seed be.” 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now
PARAPHRASE. ment he has annexed to it. For there is no incurring wrath
or punishment, where there is no law that says any thing 16 of it”: Therefore the inheritance" is of faith, that it might be : merely of favour, to the end that the promise might be sure
to all the seed of Abraham; not to that part of it only which has faith, being under the law; but to that part also, who, without the law, inherit the faith of Abraham, who is the
father of us all who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, 17 (As it is written, “I have made thee a father of many
nations.") I say the father of us all (in the account of God, whom he believed, and who accordingly quickened the dead,
į. e. Abraham and Sarah, whose bodies were dead; and calleth 18 things that are not, as if they were P:) Who without any hope,
which the natural course of things could afford, did in hope believe, that he should become the father of many nations, ac
cording to what God had spoken, by God's showing him the 19 stars of heaven, saying, So shall thy seed be. And being firm
NOTES. m Oů oủx ösvý vóuos, oùdè topábacis, of that, concerning which there is no law, with the sanction of a punishment annexed, there can be no transgression, incurring wrath or punishment. Thus it may be rendered, if we read ot with an aspiration as some do. But whether it be taken to signify where, or whereof, the sense will be the same. Napáfaois here, to make St. Paul's argument of force, must signify such a transgression as draws on the transgressor wrath and punishment, by the force and sanction of a law. And so the apostle's proposition is made good, that it is the law alone that exposes us to wrath, and that
is all the law can do, for it gives us no power to perform. 16 - The grammatical construction does not seem much to favour “ inheritance,"
as the word to be supplied here, because it does not occur in the preceding verses. But he, that observes St. Paul's way of writing, who more regards things than forms of speaking, will be satisfied, that it is enough that he mentioned “ heirs,” ver. 13 and 14; and that he does mean inheritance here, Gal.
jii. 18, puts it past doubt. 17 . See Gen. xvii, 16.
P Gen. xvi. 5.