Page images
[ocr errors]

Of any derivation from God, or ema- | ment. Matt. xxiv, 30. If there is any nation from him in eternity, the Scrip- passage in which the word power tures are silent. The title is conferred means authority, office, &c. it is Matt. on him, it is supposed, with reference xxviii. 18. "All power in heaven and to his condition in this world, as the earth is given unto me." But this is Messiah. And it is conferred, it is be- not a power which was given unto lieved, for the following reasons, or to him after his resurrection, or which he denote the following things. viz: (1.) did not possess before. The same auTo designate his peculiar relation to thority to commission his disciples he God, as equal with him (John i. 14, had exercised before this on the same 18. Matt. xi. 27. Luke x. 22; iii. 22. ground. Matt. x. 7, 8. I am inclined 2 Pet. i. 17), or as sustaining a most to believe, therefore, that the expression intimate and close connexion with him, means powerfully, efficiently; he was such as neither man nor angels could with great power, or conclusiveness, do, an acquaintance with his nature shown to be the Son of God by his (Matt. xi. 27), plans, and counsels, such resurrection from the dead. Thus the as no being but one who was equal phrase in power is used to qualify a with God could possess. In this sense, verb in Col. i. 29, “Which worketh in I regard it as conferred on him in the in me mightily," Greek, in power. i. e. passage under consideration. (2.) It operating in me effectually, or powerdesignates him as the anointed king, or fully. The ancient versions seem to the Messiah. In this sense it accords have understood it in the same way. with the use of the word in Ps. lxxxii. | Syriac, "He was known to be the 6. See Matt. xvi. 16. "Thou art the Son of God by power, and by the Holy Christ, the Son of the living God." Ghost." Ethiopic, Whom he deMatt. xxvi. 63. "I adjure thee by the clared to be the Son of God by his own living God, that thou tell us whether power, and by his Holy Spirit," &c. thou be the Christ, the Son of God." | Arabic, "Designated the Son of God Mark xiv. 61. Luke xxii. 70. John i. by power appropriate to the Holy 34. Acts ix. 20. "He preached Christ Spirit." According to the spirit of in the synagogues, that he is the Son holiness. Kara zvεμa ágwons. This of God." (3.) It was conferred on expression has been variously underhim to denote his miraculous concep- stood. We may arrive at its meaning tion in the womb of the Virgin Mary. by the following considerations. (1.) Luke i. 35. "The Holy Ghost shall It is not the third person in the Trinity come upon thee, THEREFORE (d) also that is referred to here. The designathat holy thing which shall be born of tion of that person is always in difthee shall be called the Son of God." ferent form. It is the Holy Spirit, the * With power. ἐν δυνάμει. By some, Holy Ghost, πνεῦμα ἁγίον, οι τὸ πνεῦμα this expression has been supposed to r agov; never the spirit of holiness. mean in power or authority, after his (2.) It stands in contrast with the resurrection from the dead. It is said, flesh. ver. 3, According to the flesh, that he was before a man of sorrows; the seed of David: according to the now he was clothed with power and spirit of holiness, the Son of God.' authority. But I have seen no in- As the former refers doubtless to his stance in which the expression in power hunian nature, so this must refer to the denotes office, or authority It denotes nature designated by the title Son of physical energy and might, and this God, that is, to his superior or divine was bestowed on Jesus before his nature. (3.) The expression is altoresurrection as well as after. Acts x.gether peculiar to the Lord Jesus 38. "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth | Christ. Nowhere in the Scriptures, with the Holy Ghost, and with power." or in any other writings, is there an Rom. xv. 19. 1 Cor. xv. 43. With affirmation like this. What would be auch power Jesus will come to judg- meant by it if affirmed of a mere man?

[ocr errors]

(4.) It cannot mean that the Holy | man. What that is, is to be learned Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, howed that Jesus was the Son of God by raising him from the dead, because that act is nowhere attributed to him. It is uniformly ascribed either to God, as God (Acts ii. 24. 32; iii. 15. 26; iv. 10; v. 30; x. 40; xiii. 30. 33, 34; xvii. 31. Rom. x. 9. Eph. i. 20), or to the Father (Rom. vi. 4), or to Jesus himself (John x. 18). In no instance is this act ascribed to the Holy Ghost. (5.) It indicates a state far more elevated than any human dignity, or honour. 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. John iv. 24. (7.) The word Spirit is applied to the Messiah, in his more elevated or divine nature. 1 Cor. xv. 45,

"The last Adam was made a quickening Spirit." 2 Cor. iii. 17, "Now the Lord (Jesus) is that Spirit." Heb. ix. 14. Christ is said to have "offered himself through the eternal Spirit." 1 Peter iii. 18. He is said to have been "put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." 1 Tim. iii. 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. i. 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, &c. 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. John xvii. 1—5. Phil. ii. 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 pcssessed as distinguished from the hu

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 John i. 1, &c. 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,, 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 afterwards that he was invested with power. (3.) Though it must be ad mitted that the preposition by, i, sometimes means AFTER (Matt. xix. 20, Luke viii. 27; xxiii. 8, &c.), yet its proper and usual meaning is to denote the efficient cause, or the agent, or origin of a thing. Matt. i. 3. 18; xxi. 25. John iii. 5. Rom. v. 16. Rom. xi. 36, "OF him are all things." 1 Cor. viii. 6, "One God, the Father, of whom are all things," &c. 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

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

1 or, to the obedience of faith.

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 Acts xvii. 31." He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assURANCE to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." The one involves the other. See Acts i. 6. Thus Peter (Acts ii. 22-32) having proved that Jesus was raised up, adds, ver. 33, "THEREFORE, being by the right hand exalted, he hath shed forth this," &c.; and ver. 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.

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 any thing 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. John v. 17-30; x. 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 v. 1-17. Mark ii. 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, 5. By whom. The apostle here reof the truth of his claims to be the turns to the subject of the salutation of Son of God. God would not sanction the Romans, and states to them his authe doings and doctrines of an impos- thority to address them. That autor. And when, therefore, he raised up thority he had derived from the Lord Jesus, he, by this act, showed the truth Jesus, and not from man. On this of his claims, that he was the Son of fact, that he had received his apostolic God. Further; in the view of the commission, not from man, but by the apostles, the resurrection was inti- direct authority of Jesus Christ, Paul mately connected with the ascension not unfrequently insisted. Gal. i. 12, and exaltation of Jesus. The one "For I neither received it of man, neimade the other certain. And it is not ther was I taught it, but by revelation improbable that when they spoke of of Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. xv. 1-8. his resurrection, they meant to include, Eph. iii. 1-3. ¶ We. The plural not merely that single act, but the entire here is probably put for the singular. series of doings of which that was the See Col. iv. 3. Comp. Eph. vi. 19, 20. first, and which was the pledge of the It was usual for those who were clothed elevation and majesty of the Son of with authority to express themselves in God. Hence, when they had proved this manner. Perhaps here, however his resurrection, they assumed that all he refers to the general nature of the

dience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

6 Among whom are ye also

a Ac.6.7. c.16.26.

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 favour 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 favour 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 favour. Rom. xv. 15, 16. Gal. ii. 9. Eph. iii. 7, 8, 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 New Testament. Rom. xv. 18; xvi. 19. 2 Cor. vii. 15. James ii. ¶ Among all nations. This was the original commission which Jesus gave to his apostles. Mark xvi. 15, 16. Matt. xxviii. 18, 19. This was the special commission which Paul received when he was converted. Acts ix. 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. John xiv. 13, 14; xvi. 23, 24. The lesign of the apostleship was to produce obedience to the gospel among all nations, that thus the name of Jesus

the called of Jesus Christ:

7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called 'to be saints:

b1 Cor.1.2. 1Th.4.7.

might be honoured. Their work was not one in which they were seeking to honour themselves, but it was solely for the honour and glory of Jesus Christ. For him they toiled, they encountered perils, they laid down their lives, because by so doing they might bring men 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.

6. Among whom. That is, among the Gentiles who had become obedient to the Christian faith in accordance with the design of the gospel, ver. 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 ver. 1) denotes not merely an external invitation to a 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 ch. viii. Comp. Phil. iii. 14. Heb. iii. 1.

7. 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 address. ed 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 import


appear | word including all those blessings that Call- are applicable to Christians in common; denoting an ardent wish that all the mercies and favours 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, &c. may be conferred on you. It is the customary form of salutation in nearly all the apostolic epistles. 1 Cor. i. 3. 2 Cor. i. 2. Gal. i. 3. Eph. i. 2. Phil. i. 2. Col. i. 2. 1 Thess. i. 1. 2 Thess. i. 2. Philem. 3. And peace. Peace is the state of freedom from 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. xliii. 23, "Peace to you! fear not." Judges vi. 23; xix. 20. Luke xxiv. 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. lvii. 20. Christian is at peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. v. 1. By this word, denoting reconciliation with God, the blessings of the Christian religion are often described in the Scriptures. Rom. viii. 6; xiv. 17; xv. 13. Gal. v. 22. Phil. iv. 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. Acts xvii. 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. Matt. v. 45. 1 Pet. i. 3. 1 John v. 1; iii. 1, 2, The expression here is equivalent to a

ance of this observation will
in the progress of these Notes.
ed to be saints. So called, or in-
fluenced by God who had called them,
as to become saints. The word saints,
a, means those who are holy, or
those who are devoted or consecrated
to God. The radical idea of the word
is that which is separated from a com-
mon to a sacred use, and answers to
the Hebrew word, kadosh. 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, &c. of
the priests, and to the priests them-
selves. 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 Chris-
tians, is, that they are separated from
other men, and other objects and pur-
suits, and consecrated to the service
of God. This is the peculiar charac-
teristic of the saints. And this cha-
racteristic the Roman Christians had
shown. For the use of the word as
stated above, see the following passages
of Scripture. Luke ii. 23. Ex. xiii. 2.
Rom. xi. 16. Matt. vii. 6. 1 Pet. i. 16.
Acts ix. 13. 1 Pet. ii. 5. Acts iii. 21.
Eph. iii. 5. 1 Pet. ii. 9. Phil. ii. 15. 1
John iii. 1, 2. Grace. This word
properly means favour. It is very
often used in the New Testament, and
is employed in the sense of benignity
or benevolence; felicity, or a prosper-
ous state of affairs; the Christian reli-
gion, as the highest expression of the
benevolence or favour 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 Chris-
tian's heart and life by religion-the
grace of meekness, patience, charity,
&c. Schleusner. In this place, and
in similar places in the beginning of
the apostolic epistles, it seems to be a


« PreviousContinue »