Month: September 2011

Romans Chapter 6:1-16, 22-23 Antique Commentary Quotes

John Calvin
Romans 6:1
1.What then shall we say? Throughout this chapter the Apostle proves, that they who imagine that gratuitous righteousness is given us by him, apart from newness of life, shamefully rend Christ asunder: nay, he goes further, and refers to this objection, — that there seems in this case to be an opportunity for the display of grace, if men continued fixed in sin. We indeed know that nothing is more natural than that the flesh should indulge itself under any excuse, and also that Satan should invent all kinds of slander, in order to discredit the doctrine of grace; which to him is by no means difficult. For since everything that is announced concerning Christ seems very paradoxical to human judgment, it ought not to be deemed a new thing, that the flesh, hearing of justification by faith, should so often strike, as it were, against so many stumbling-stones. Let us, however, go on in our course; nor let Christ be suppressed, because he is to many a stone of offense, and a rock of stumbling; for as he is for ruin to the ungodly, so he is to the godly for a resurrection. We ought, at the same time, ever to obviate unreasonable questions, lest the Christian faith should appear to contain anything absurd.

The Apostle now takes notice of that most common objection against the preaching of divine grace, which is this, — “That if it be true, that the more bountifully and abundantly will the grace of God aid us, the more completely we are overwhelmed with the mass of sin; then nothing is better for us than to be sunk into the depth of sin, and often to provoke God’s wrath with new offenses; for then at length we shall find more abounding grace; than which nothing better can be desired.” The refutation of this we shall here after meet with.

Charles Hodge
Rom_6:1
What shall we say then? What inference is to be drawn from the doctrine of the gratuitous acceptance of sinners, or justification without works, by faith in the righteousness of Christ?

Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? i.e., be more conspicuously displayed. The form in which the objection to the apostle’s doctrine is here presented, is evidently borrowed from the close of the preceding chapter. Paul had there spoken of the grace of the gospel being the more conspicuous and abundant, in proportion to the evils which it removes. It is no fair inference from the fact that God has brought so much good out of the fall and sinfulness of men, that they may continue in sin. Neither can it be inferred from the fact that he accepts of sinners on the ground of the merit of Christ, instead of their own, (which is one way in which grace abounds,) that they may sin without restraint.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 6:1
What, etc. — The subject of this third division of our Epistle announces itself at once in the opening question, “Shall we (or, as the true reading is, “May we,” “Are we to”) continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Had the apostle’s doctrine been that salvation depends in any degree upon our good works, no such objection to it could have been made. Against the doctrine of a purely gratuitous justification, the objection is plausible; nor has there ever been an age in which it has not been urged. That it was brought against the apostles, we know from Rom_3:8; and we gather from Gal_5:13; 1Pe_2:16; Jud_1:4, that some did give occasion to the charge; but that it was a total perversion of the doctrine of Grace the apostle here proceeds to show.

A.T. Robertson
Romans 6:1
What shall we say then? (ti oun eroumeṅ). “A debater’s phrase” (Morison). Yes, and an echo of the rabbinical method of question and answer, but also an expression of exultant victory of grace versus sin. But Paul sees the possible perversion of this glorious grace.

Shall we continue in sin? (epimenōmen tēi hamartiāi̇). Present active deliberative subjunctive of epimenō, old verb to tarry as in Ephesus (1Co_16:8) with locative case. The practice of sin as a habit (present tense) is here raised.

That grace may abound (hina hē charis pteonasēi). Final clause with ingressive aorist subjunctive, to set free the superfluity of grace alluded to like putting money in circulation. Horrible thought (mē genoito) and yet Paul faced it. There are occasionally so-called pietists who actually think that God’s pardon gives them liberty to sin without penalty (cf. the sale of indulgences that stirred Martin Luther).

John Calvin
Romans 6:2
2.By no means. To some the Apostle seems to have only intended indignantly to reprove a madness so outrageous; but it appears from other places that he commonly used an answer of this kind, even while carrying on a long argument; as indeed he does here, for he proceeds carefully to disprove the propounded slander. He, however, first rejects it by an indignant negative, in order to impress it on the minds of his readers, that nothing can be more inconsistent than that the grace of Christ, the repairer of our righteousness, should nourish our vices.

Who have died to sin, etc. An argument derived from what is of an opposite character. “He who sins certainly lives to sin; we have died to sin through the grace of Christ; then it is false, that what abolishes sin gives vigor to it.” The state of the case is really this, — that the faithful are never reconciled to God without the gift of regeneration; nay, we are for this end justified, — that we may afterwards serve God in holiness of life. Christ indeed does not cleanse us by his blood, nor render God propitious to us by his expiation, in any other way than by making us partakers of his Spirit, who renews us to a holy life. It would then be a most strange inversion of the work of God were sin to gather strength on account of the grace which is offered to us in Christ; for medicine is not a feeder of the disease, which it destroys. We must further bear in mind, what I have already referred to — that Paul does not state here what God finds us to be, when he calls us to an union with his Son, but what it behoves us to be, after he has had mercy on us, and has freely adopted us; for by an adverb, denoting a future time, he shows what kind of change ought to follow righteousness.

Adamn Clarke
Romans 6:2
God forbid – Μη γενοιτο, Let it not be; by no means; far from it; let not such a thing be mentioned! – Any of these is the meaning of the Greek phrase, which is a strong expression of surprise and disapprobation: and is not properly rendered by our God forbid! for, though this may express the same thing, yet it is not proper to make the sacred Name So familiar on such occasions.

How shall we, that are dead to sin – The phraseology of this verse is common among Hebrews, Greeks, and Latins. To Die to a thing or person, is to have nothing to do with it or him; to be totally separated from them: and to live to a thing or person is to be wholly given up to them; to have the most intimate connection with them. So Plautus, Clitell. iii. 1, 16: Nihil mecum tibi, Mortuus Tibi Sum. I have nothing to do with thee; I am Dead to thee. Persa, i. 1, 20: Mihi quidem tu jam Mortuus Eras, quia te non visitavi. Thou wast Dead to me because I visited thee not. So Aelian, Var. Hist. iii. 13: Ὁτι φιλοινοτατον εθνος το των Ταπυρων, τοσουτον, ὡστε ζῃν αυτους εν οινῳ, και το πλειστον του βιου εν τῃ προς αυτον ὁμιλιᾳ καταναλισκειν· “The Tapyrians are such lovers of wine, that they Live in wine; and the principal part of their Life is Devoted to it.” They live to wine; they are insatiable drunkards. See more examples in Wetstein and Rosenmuller.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:2
God forbid, μὴ γένοιτο, let it not be. Paul’s usual mode of expressing denial and abhorrence. Such an inference is not to be thought of. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? The relative οἵτινες as usual causative, and it stands first, for the sake of emphasis; ἀπεθάνομεν does not mean are dead, nor have died, but died. It refers to a specific act in our past history: ‘Since we died to sin, how can we still live in it?’ The act which in its nature was a dying to sin, was our accepting of Christ as our Savior. That act involves in it not only a separation from sin, but a deadness to it. No man can apply to Christ to be delivered from sin, in order that he may live in it. Deliverance from sin, as offered by Christ, and as accepted by the believer, is not mere deliverance from its penalty, but from its power. We turn from sin to God when we receive Christ as a Savior. It is, therefore, as the apostle argues, a contradiction in terms, to say that gratuitous justification is a license to sin, as much as to say that death is life, or that dying to a thing is living in it. Instead of giving τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ the usual force of the dative, to, or as it respects, sin, Storr, Flatt, and many other commentators, say it should be understood as in Rom_5:15; Rom_11:20, on account of. ‘How shall we, who in Christ, died on account of sin, i.e., who suffered vicariously its penalty, inasmuch as we were crucified in him, live any longer therein?’
In favor of this interpretation, it is urged,

1. That this phrase must express the same idea with the subsequent clauses, buried with him, Rom_6:4; associated in his death, Rom_6:5; dead with Christ, Rom_6:8.

2. That it must have this meaning in Rom_6:10, where it is said of Christ, he died unto sin, i.e., on account of sin.

3. The other interpretation, ‘How shall we, who have renounced sin, live any longer therein?’ it is said, is not suited to the apostle’s object; because it does not give any adequate answer to the objection presented in Rom_6:1. In order to answer that objection, it was necessary to show not merely that the believer had renounced sin, but that the doctrine of gratuitous justification effectually secures this renunciation.

According to the second interpretation, this answer is plain and conclusive: ‘How shall we, who have died on account of sin, live any longer therein? If we are regarded and treated by God, in virtue of our union with Christ, and if we regard ourselves, as having suffered and died with him on account of sin, we cannot but look upon it as hateful, and deserving of punishment.’

The objections to this interpretation, however, are serious.

1. It is not consistent with the common and familiar import of the expression, to be dead to anything, which occurs frequently in the New Testament; as Gal_2:19, “dead to the law;” 1Pe_2:24, “dead to sins;” Rom_7:4; Col_2:20; Gal_6:14, etc. In all cases the meaning is, to be free from. Sin has lost its power over the believer, as sensible objects are not able to affect the dead.

2. The opposite phrase, to live therein, requires this interpretation.

3. The object of the apostle does not require that a formal, argumentative answer should be supposed to commence in this verse. He simply denies the justice of the inference from his doctrine, stated in Rom_6:1, and asks how it is possible it should be correct. How can a Christian, which is but another name for a holy man, live any longer in sin?

George Haydock
Romans 6:2 Dead to sin, &c. We are then dead to sin when we neither live in sin by serving it, nor sin lives in us by reigning; in this case, how can we still live in it by yielding to its desires? St. Augustine (chap. vi. de spiritu et litera) thus explains the passage: when grace has caused us to die to sin; if we live again in it, we must be exceedingly ungrateful to grace. (Estius)

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:2
God forbid – By no means. Greek, It may not be; Note, Rom_3:4. The expression is a strong denial of what is implied in the objection in Rom_6:1.

How shall we? … – This contains a reason of the implied statement of the apostle, that we should not continue in sin. The reason is drawn from the fact that we are dead in fact to sin. It is impossible for these who are dead to act as if they were alive. It is just as absurd to suppose that a Christian should desire to live in sin as that a dead man should put forth the actions of life.

That are dead to sin – That is, all Christians. To be dead to a thing is a strong expression denoting that it has no influence over us. A man that is dead is uninfluenced and unaffected by the affairs of this life. He is insensible to sounds, and tastes, and pleasures; to the hum of business, to the voice of friendship, and to all the scenes of commerce, gaiety, and ambition. When it is said, therefore, that a Christian is dead to sin, the sense is, that it has lost its influence ever him; he is not subject to it; he is in regard to that, as the man in the grave is to the busy scenes and cares of this life. The expression is not infrequent in the New Testament; Gal_2:19, “For I …am dead to the law;” Col_3:3, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God;” 1Pe_2:24, “Who …bare our sins …that we, being dead to sin,” etc. The apostle does not here attempt to prove that Christians are thus dead, nor to state in what way they become so. He assumes the fact without argument. All Christians are thus in fact dead to sin. They do not live to sin; nor has sin dominion over them. The expression used here by the apostle is common in all languages. We familiarly speak of a man’s being dead to sensual pleasures, to ambition, etc., to denote that they have lost their influence over him.

Live any longer therein – How shall we, who have become sensible of the evil of sin, and who have renounced it by solemn profession, continue to practice it? It is therefore abhorrent to the very nature of the Christian profession. It is remarkable that the apostle did not attempt to argue the question on metaphysical principles. He did not attempt to show by abstruse argument that this consequence did not follow; but he appeals at once to Christian feeling, and shows that the supposition is abhorrent to that. To convince the great mass of people, such an appeal is far better than labored metaphysical argumentation. All Christians can understand that; but few would comprehend an abstruse speculation. The best way to silence objections is, sometimes, to show that they violate the feelings of all Christians, and that therefore the objection must be wrong.

(Considerable difficulty exists in regard to the meaning of the expression “dead to sin? Certainly the most obvious interpretation is that given above in the Commentary, namely, that Christians are insensible to sin, as dead persons to the charms and pleasures of life. It has, however, been objected to this view, that it is inconsistent with fact, since Christians, so far from being insensible to sin, are represented in the next chapter as carrying on a perpetual struggle with it. The corrupt nature, though weakened, is not eradicated, and too frequently occasions such mournful falls, as leave little doubt concerning its existence and power. Mr. Scott seems to have felt this difficulty, for, having explained the phrase of “separation from iniquity, as a dead man ceases from the actions of life,” he immediately adds, “not only ought this to be the believer’s character, but in a measure it actually is so.” It is not probable. however, that the apostle meant by the strong expression under discussion, that believers were not altogether “dead to sin,” but only in a measure.

Perhaps we shall arrive at a more satisfactory meaning of the words by looking at the analogous expression in the context, used in reference to Christ himself. He also, in the 10th verse, is said to have “died unto sin,” and the believer, in virtue of union with Christ, is regarded as” dead with him,” Rom_6:8; and, in consequence of this death with Christ, is moreover freed, or rather justified, δεδίκαιωται dedikaiōtai from sin, Rom_6:7. Now it cannot be said of Christ that he died unto sin, in the sense of becoming dead to its charms. for it was never otherwise with him. The believer, therefore, cannot be dead with Christ in this way; nor on this ground, can he be justified from sin, since justification proceeds upon something very different from our insensibility to sinful pleasures. What then is the meaning of the language when applied to Christ? Sin is here supposed to be possessed of certain power. That power or strength the apostle tells us elsewhere is derived from the Law. “The strength of sin is the law,” which demands satisfaction to its injured honor, and insists on the infliction of its penalty. Though then Jesus had no sin of his own, yet when he voluntarily stood in the room of sinners, sin, or its strength, namely, the Law, had power over him, until he died, and thus paid the penalty. His death cancelled every obligation. Henceforth, sin had no more power to exact anything at his hands.

Now Christians are one with Christ. When he died unto sin, they are regarded as having died unto it also, and are therefore, equally with their covenant head, justified from it. Sin, or its strength, the Law, has from the moment of the saint’s union with Christ, no more power to condemn him, than human laws have to condemn one over again who had already died to answer the demands of justice. “The law has dominion over a man so long only as he liveth.” On the whole, then, the expression “dead to sin,” is to be regarded as entirely parallel with that other expression in the seventh chapter, “dead to the law,” that is, completely delivered from its authority as a covenant of works, and more especially from its power to condemn.

This view exercises a decided influence an the believer’s sanctification. “How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” The two things are incompatible. If in virtue of union with Christ, we are dead with him, and freed from the penalty of sin, shall not the same union secure our deliverance from its dominion? “If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.”
The whole argument, from the 1st to the 11th verse, proceeds upon the fact of the saint’s union with Christ.)

John Calvin
Romans 6:3
3.Know ye not, etc. What he intimated in the last verse — that Christ destroys sin in his people, he proves here by mentioning the effect of baptism, by which we are initiated into his faith; for it is beyond any question, that we put on Christ in baptism, and that we are baptized

for this end — that we may be one with him. But Paul takes up another principle — that we are then really united to the body of Christ, when his death brings forth in us its fruit; yea, he teaches us, that this fellowship as to death is what is to be mainly regarded in baptism; for not washing alone is set forth in it, but also the putting to death and the dying of the old man. It is hence evident, that when we become partakers of the grace of Christ, immediately the efficacy of his death appears. But the benefit of this fellowship as to the death of Christ is described in what follows.

Adam Clarke
Romans 6:3
Know ye not, etc. – Every man who believes the Christian religion, and receives baptism as the proof that he believes it, and has taken up the profession of it, is bound thereby to a life of righteousness. To be baptized into Christ, is to receive the doctrine of Christ crucified, and to receive baptism as a proof of the genuineness of that faith, and the obligation to live according to its precepts.

Baptized into his death? – That, as Jesus Christ in his crucifixion died completely, so that no spark of the natural or animal life remained in his body, so those who profess his religion should be so completely separated and saved from sin, that they have no more connection with it, nor any more influence from it, than a dead man has with or from his departed spirit.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:3
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? In this and the following verse, we have something more in the form of argument in answer to the objection in question. The apostle reminds his readers, that the very design of Christianity was to deliver men from sin; that every one who embraced it, embraced it for that object; and, therefore, it was a contradiction in terms to suppose that any should come to Christ to be delivered from sin, in order that they might live in it. And, besides this, it is clearly intimated that such is not only the design of the gospel, and the object for which it is embraced by all who cordially receive it, but also that the result or necessary effect of union with Christ is a participation in the benefits of his death.

Or know ye not, ἢ ἀγνοεῖτε, or are you ignorant? If any doubt what is said in Rom_6:2, he must be ignorant of the nature and design of baptism, and of the relation to Christ which it involves. Βαπτίζειν εἰς always means to baptize in reference to. When it is said that the Hebrews were baptized unto Moses, 1Co_10:2; or when the apostle asks the Corinthians, ‘Were ye baptized unto the name of Paul?’ 1Co_1:13; or when we are said to be baptized unto Christ, the meaning is, they were baptized in reference to Moses, Paul, or Christ; i.e., to be brought into union with them, as their disciples, or worshippers, as the case may be. In like manner, in the expression baptized into his death, the preposition expresses the design and the result. The meaning therefore is, ‘we were baptized in order that we should die with him,’ i.e., that we should be united to him in his death, and be partakers of its benefits. Thus, “baptism unto repentance,” Mat_3:11, is baptism in order to repentance; “baptism unto the remission of sins,” Mar_1:4, that remission of sins may be obtained; “baptized unto one body,” 1Co_12:13, i.e., that we might become one body, etc. Paul does not design to teach that the sacrament of baptism, from any inherent virtue in the rite, or from any supernatural power in him who administers it, or from any uniformly attending Divine influence, always secures the regeneration of the soul. This is contrary both to Scripture and experience. No fact is more obvious than that thousands of the baptized are unregenerate. It cannot be, therefore, that the apostle intends to say, that all who are baptized are thereby savingly united to Christ. It is not of the efficacy of baptism as an external rite, that he assumes his readers are well informed: it is of the import and design of that sacrament, and the nature of the union with Christ, of which baptism is the sign and the seal. It is the constant usage of Scripture to address professors as believers, to predicate of them as professors what is true of them only as believes. This is also the usage of common life. We address a company of professing Christians as true Christians; we call them brethren in Christ; we speak of them as beloved of the Lord, partakers of the heavenly calling, and heirs of eternal life. Baptism was the appointed mode of professing faith in Christ, of avowing allegiance to him as the Son of God, and acquiescence in his gospel. Those, therefore, who were baptized, are assumed to believe what they professed, and to be what they declared themselves to be. They are consequently addressed as believers, as having embraced the gospel, as having put on Christ, and as being, in virtue of their baptism as an act of faith, the children of God. When a man was baptized unto Christ, he was baptized unto his death; he professed to regard himself as being united to Christ, as dying when he died, as bearing in him the penalty of sin, in order that he might be reconciled to God, and live unto holiness. How could a man who was sincere in receiving baptism, such being its design and import, live in sin? The thing is impossible. The act of faith implied and expressed in baptism, is receiving Christ as our sanctification as well as our righteousness. “Extra controversiam est,” says Calvin, “induere nos Christum in baptismo; et hac lege nos baptizari, ut unum cum ipso simus.” Baptism, therefore, as an act of faith, as the formal reception of Christ as our Savior, brings us into intimate union with him: “For as many as have been baptized unto Christ, have put on Christ.” Gal_3:27. And this baptism has special reference to the death of Christ; we are baptized unto his death. That is, we are united to him in death. His death becomes ours; ours as an expiation for sin, as the means of reconciliation with God, and consequently as the means of our sanctification. Although justification is the primary object of the death of Christ, yet justification is in order to sanctification. He died that he might purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. If such is the intimate connection between justification and sanctification in the purpose of God in giving his Son to die for us, there must be a like intimate connection between them in the experience of the believer. The very act of faith by which we receive Christ as the propitiation for sin, is spiritually a death to sin. It is in its very nature a renunciation of every thing which it was the design of Christ’s death to destroy. Every believer, therefore, is a saint. He renounces sin in accepting Christ.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:3
Know ye not – This is a further appeal to the Christian profession, and the principles involved in it, in answer to the objection. The simple argument in this verse and the two following is, that by our very profession made in baptism, we have renounced sin, and have pledged ourselves to live to God.

So many of us … – All who were baptized; that is, all professed Christians. As this renunciation of sin had been thus made by all who professed religion, so the objection could not have reference to Christianity in any manner.

Were baptized – The act of baptism denotes dedication to the service of him in whose name we are baptized. One of its designs is to dedicate or consecrate us to the service of Christ: Thus 1Co_10:2, the Israelites are said to have been “baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” that is, they became consecrated, or dedicated, or bound to him as their leader and lawgiver. In the place before us, the argument of the apostle is evidently drawn from the supposition that we have been solemnly consecrated by baptism to the service of Christ; and that to sin is therefore a violation of the very nature of our Christian profession.

Into – εἰς eis. This is the word which is used in Mat_28:19, “Teach all nations, baptizing them into εἰς eis the name of the Father,” etc. It means, being baptized unto his service; receiving him as the Saviour and guide, devoting all unto him and his cause.

Were baptized unto his death – We were baptized with special reference to his death. Our baptism had a strong resemblance to his death. By that he became insensible to the things of the world; by baptism we in like manner become dead to sin. Further, we are baptized with particular reference to the design of his death, the great leading feature and purpose of his work. That was, to expiate sin; to free people from its power; to make them pure. We have professed our devotion to the same cause; and have solemnly consecrated ourselves to the same design – to put a period to the dominion of iniquity.

John Calvin
Romans 6:4
4.We have then been buried with him, etc. He now begins to indicate the object of our having been baptized into the death of Christ, though he does not yet completely unfold it; and the object is — that we, being dead to ourselves, may become new creatures. He rightly makes a transition from a fellowship in death to a fellowship in life; for these two things are connected together by an indissoluble knot — that the old man is destroyed by the death of Christ, and that his resurrection brings righteousness, and renders us new creatures. And surely, since Christ has been given to us for life, to what purpose is it that we die with him except that we may rise to a better life? And hence for no other reason does he slay what is mortal in us, but that he may give us life again.

Let us know, that the Apostle does not simply exhort us to imitate Christ, as though he had said that the death of Christ is a pattern which all Christians are to follow; for no doubt he ascends higher, as he announces a doctrine, with which he connects, as it is evident, an exhortation; and his doctrine is this — that the death of Christ is efficacious to destroy and demolish the depravity of our flesh, and his resurrection, to effect the renovation of a better nature, and that by baptism we are admitted into a participation of this grace. This foundation being laid, Christians may very suitably be exhorted to strive to respond to their calling. Farther, it is not to the point to say, that this power is not apparent in all the baptized; for Paul, according to his usual manner, where he speaks of the faithful, connects the reality and the effect with the outward sign; for we know that whatever the Lord offers by the visible symbol is confirmed and ratified by their faith. In short, he teaches what is the real character of baptism when rightly received. So he testifies to the Galatians, that all who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Gal_3:27.) Thus indeed must we speak, as long as the institution of the Lord and the faith of the godly unite together; for we never have naked and empty symbols, except when our ingratitude and wickedness hinder the working of divine beneficence.

By the glory of the Father, that is, by that illustrious power by which he exhibited himself as really glorious, and as it were manifested the greatness of his glory. Thus often is the power of God, which was exercised in the resurrection of Christ, set forth in Scripture in sublime terms, and not without reason; for it is of great importance, that by so explicit a record of the ineffable power of God, not only faith in the last resurrection, which far exceeds the perception of the flesh, but also as to other benefits which we receive from the resurrection of Christ, should be highly commended to us.

Adam Clarke
Romans 6:4
We are buried with him by baptism into death – It is probable that the apostle here alludes to the mode of administering baptism by immersion, the whole body being put under the water, which seemed to say, the man is drowned, is dead; and, when he came up out of the water, he seemed to have a resurrection to life; the man is risen again; he is alive! He was, therefore, supposed to throw off his old Gentile state as he threw off his clothes, and to assume a new character, as the baptized generally put on new or fresh garments. I say it is probable that the apostle alludes to this mode of immersion; but it is not absolutely certain that he does so, as some do imagine; for, in the next verse, our being incorporated into Christ by baptism is also denoted by our being planted, or rather, grafted together in the likeness of his death; and Noah’s ark floating upon the water, and sprinkled by the rain from heaven, is a figure corresponding to baptism, 1Pe_3:20, 1Pe_3:21; but neither of these gives us the same idea of the outward form as burying. We must be careful, therefore, not to lay too much stress on such circumstances. Drowning among the ancients was considered the most noble kind of death; some think that the apostle may allude to this. The grand point is, that this baptism represents our death to sin, and our obligation to walk in newness of life: without which, of what use can it or any other rite be?

Raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father – From this we learn, that as it required the glory of the Father, that is, his glorious energy, to raise up from the grave the dead body of Christ, so it requires the same glorious energy to quicken the dead soul of a sinner, and enable him to walk in newness of life.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:4
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death. This is an inference from Rom_6:3, to confirm the proposition in ver 2, viz. that those dead in sin cannot live therein. Therefore, says the apostle, such being the nature of our union with Christ, expressed in baptism, it follows, that those who are baptized are buried with Christ; they are as effectually shut out from the kingdom of Satan, as those who are in the grave are shut out from the world. The words διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσμαπος εἰς τὸν θάνατον go together; by baptism unto death, i.e. by a baptism which has reference to Christ’s death, and by which we are associated with him therein. We are buried with him, i.e. we are cut off from the world in and with him. If the words unto death are connected with we were buried, the sense would be, we were buried unto death, i.e. we were buried so as to come into the power of death. But this is an incongruous idea, and an unexampled form of expression.

As in Rom_6:3 the apostle had said εἰς τὸν θάνατον αὐτοῦ ἐβαπτισθημεν, there is no reason to doubt that he here designs to speak of baptism unto death. Compare Col_2:12, “buried with him in baptism.” The same idea is expressed in Rom_6:8, by saying, “we are dead with him,” and in Rom_6:5, “we are planted with him in the likeness of his death.” It is not necessary to assume that there is any reference here to the immersion of the body in baptism, as though it were a burial. No such allusion can be supposed in the next verse, where we are said to be planted with him. The reference is not to the mode of baptism, but to its effect. Our baptism unites us to Christ, so that we died with him, and rose with him. As he died to sin, so do we; as he rose to righteousness and glory, so do we. The same doctrine concerning baptism, and of the nature of union with Christ, therein expressed, is taught in Gal_3:27, and Col_2:12.

That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. We die with Christ, in order that we should live with him. We share in his death, that we may be partakers of his life. Justification is in order to sanctification. The two are inseparable. There can be no participation in Christ’s life without a participation in his death, and we cannot enjoy the benefits of his death unless we are partakers of the power of his life. We must be reconciled to God in order to be holy, and we cannot be reconciled without thereby becoming holy. Antinomianism, or the doctrine that the benefits of the atonement can be enjoyed without experiencing the renewing of the Holy Ghost, is therefore contrary to the very nature and design of redemption. As Christ died and rose again literally, so his people die and rise spiritually. As Christ’s resurrection was the certain consequence of his death, so is a holy life the certain consequence of our dying with Christ. There is not only an analogy between Christ’s literal death and resurrection, and the spiritual death and resurrection of the believer, but there is a causal relation between the two. The death and resurrection of Christ render certain the justification and sanctification of his people.

Paul says Christ rose, διὰ τῆς δὸξης τοῦ Πατρός, by the glory of the Father. Δόξα, glory, is the excellence of God, the sum of all his perfections, or any one perfection specially manifested. The exhibition, therefore, of God’s holiness, or of his mercy, or of his power, is equally an exhibition of his glory. Here the reference is to his omnipotence, which was gloriously displayed in the resurrection of Christ. In 1Co_6:14, and 2Co_13:4, it is said Christ was raised ἐκ δυνάμεως Θεου~, by the power of God. In Col_1:11, the apostle refers the sanctification of believers to the κράτος τῆς δόξης Θεου~, to the power of his glory. It is according to the analogy of Scripture, that the same event is attributed at one time to the efficiency of the Father, and at another to that of the Son. Christ rose from the dead by his own power. He had power to lay down his life, and he had power to take it again. This is perfectly consistent with the apostle’s declaration, that he was raised by the power of God. The three persons of the Trinity are one God. The efficiency of the Father is also the efficiency of the Son. What the Father does, the Son also does. That we should walk in newness of life, ἐν καινότητι ζωῆς. The idea of purity is associated with that of newness in the word of God — a new heart, a new creature, the new man. Newness of life is a life that is new, compared with what is natural and original; and it is a holy life, springing from a new source. It is not we that live, but Christ that liveth in us; and therefore our life is, in its manifestations, analogous to his. His people are like him.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:4
Therefore we are buried … – It is altogether probable that the apostle in this place had allusion to the custom of baptizing by immersion. This cannot, indeed, be proved, so as to be liable to no objection; but I presume that this is the idea which would strike the great mass of unprejudiced readers. But while this is admitted, it is also certain that his main scope and intention was not to describe the mode of baptism; nor to affirm that that mode was to be universal. The design was very different. It was to show that by the solemn profession made at our baptism, we had become dead to sin, as Christ was dead to the living world around him when he was buried; and that as he was raised up to life, so we should also rise to a new life. A similar expression occurs in Col_2:12, “Buried with him in baptism,” etc. See the Editors’ Notes at Mat_3:6, Mat_3:16.

Into death – εἰς eis. Unto death; that is, with a solemn purpose to be dead to sin and to the world. Grotius and Doddridge, however, understand this as referring to the death of Christ – in order to represent the death of Christ – or to bring us into a kind of fellowship with his death.

That like as – In a similar manner. Christ rose from death in the sepulchre; and so we are bound by our vows at baptism to rise to a holy life.

By the glory of the Father – Perhaps this means, amidst the glory, the majesty and wonders evinced by the Father when he raised him up; Mat_28:2-3. Or possibly the word “glory” is used here to denote simply his power, as the resurrection was a signal and glorious display of his omnipotence.

Even so – As he rose to new life, so should we. As he rose from death, so we, being made dead to sin and the world by that religion whose profession is expressed by baptism, should rise to a new life, a life of holiness.

Should walk – Should live, or conduct. The word “walk” is often used to express the course of a man’s life, or the tenor of his conduct; Rom_4:12; Rom_8:1 notes; 1Co_5:7; 1Co_10:3 notes; Eph_2:10; Eph_4:1 notes, etc.

In newness of life – This is a Hebraism to denote new life. We should rise with Christ to a new life; and having been made dead to sin, as he was dead in the grave, so should we rise to a holy life, as he rose from the grave. The argument in this verse is, therefore, drawn from the nature of the Christian profession. By our very baptism, by our very profession, we have become dead to sin, as Christ became dead; and being devoted to him by that baptism, we are bound to rise, as he did, to a new life.

While it is admitted that the allusion here was probably to the custom of immersion in baptism, yet the passage cannot be adduced as an argument that that is the only mode, or that it is binding on all Christians in all places and ages, for the following reasons:

(1) The scope or design of the apostle is not to discuss the mode of baptism, Or to state any doctrine on the subject. It is an incidental allusion in the course of an argument, without stating or implying that this was the universal mode even then, still less that it was the only possible mode. His main design was to state the obligation of Christians to be holy, from the nature of their profession at baptism – an obligation just as impressive, and as forcible, from the application of water in any other mode as by immersion. It arises from the fact of baptism, not from the mode. It is just as true that they who are baptized by affusion, or by sprinkling, are baptised into his death; become professedly dead to sin and the world, and under obligations to live to God, as those who are immersed. It results from the nature of the ordinance, not from the mode.

(2) if this was the mode commonly, it does not follow that it was the only mode, nor that it was to be universally observed; There is no command that this should be the only mode. And the simple fact that it was usually practiced in a warm climate, where ablutions were common, does not prove that it is to be observed amidst polar snows and ice, and in infancy, and age, and feebleness, and sickness; see the note at Act_8:38-39.

(3) if this is to be pressed literally as a matter of obligation, why should not also the following expression, “If we have been planted together,” etc., be pressed literally, and it be demanded that Christians should somehow be “planted” as well as “buried?” Such an interpretation only shows the absurdity of insisting on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures in cases of simple allusion, or where the main scope is illustration by figurative language.

John Calvin
Romans 6:5
5.For if we have been ingrafted, etc. He strengthens in plainer words the argument he has already stated; for the similitude which he mentions leaves now nothing doubtful, inasmuch as grafting designates not only a conformity of example, but a secret union, by which we are joined to him; so that he, reviving us by his Spirit, transfers his own virtue to us. Hence as the graft has the same life or death in common with the tree into which it is ingrafted, so it is reasonable that we should be partakers of the life no less than of the death of Christ; for if we are ingrafted according to the likeness of Christ’s death, which was not without a resurrection, then our death shall not be without a resurrection. But the words admit of a twofold explanation, — either that we are ingrafted in Christ into the likeness of his death, or, that we are simply ingrafted in its likeness. The first reading would require the Greek dative ὁμοιώματι, to be understood as pointing out the manner; nor do I deny but that it has a fuller meaning: but as the other harmonizes more with simplicity of expression, I have preferred it; though it signifies but little, as both come to the same meaning. [Chrysostom ] thought that Paul used the expression, “likeness of death,” for death, as he says in another place, “being made in the likeness of men.” But it seems to me that there is something more significant in the expression; for it not only serves to intimate a resurrection, but it seems also to indicate this — that we die not like Christ a natural death, but that there is a similarity between our and his death; for as he by death died in the flesh, which he had assumed from us, so we also die in ourselves, that we may live in him. It is not then the same, but a similar death; for we are to notice the connection between the death of our present life and spiritual renovation.

Ingrafted, etc. There is great force in this word, and it clearly shows, that the Apostle does not exhort, but rather teach us what benefit we derive from Christ; for he requires nothing from us, which is to be done by our attention and diligence, but speaks of the grafting made by the hand of God. But there is no reason why you should seek to apply the metaphor or comparison in every particular; for between the grafting of trees, and this which is spiritual, a disparity will soon meet us: in the former the graft draws its aliment from the root, but retains its own nature in the fruit; but in the latter not only we derive the vigor and nourishment of life from Christ, but we also pass from our own to his nature. The Apostle, however, meant to express nothing else but the efficacy of the death of Christ, which manifests itself in putting to death our flesh, and also the efficacy of his resurrection, in renewing within us a spiritual nature.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:5
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. This is a confirmation of what precedes. We shall walk in newness of life, if we are partakers of Christ’s death, for community of death involves community of life. The general meaning of the verse is plain, although there is doubt as to the force of some of the words, and as to the construction.

First, as to the words. Calvin and many others render σύμφυτος insitus, inserted, engrafted, as though it were derived from φυτεύω. It is, however, from φύω, which means both to bear and to grow. Hence σύμφυτος sometimes means born with, in the sense of innate; sometimes it expresses community of origin, or nature, in the sense of cognate, congenial; and sometimes it is used in reference to things born or produced at the same time. From the other meaning of the word φύω, come the senses growing with, overgrown with, etc. In all cases there is the idea of intimate union, and that is the idea which the word is here intended to express. As to the construction, so far as the first clause of the verse is concerned, we may connect σύμφυτοι with ὁμοιώματι, we have grown together in death, i.e. been united in a like death; or we may supply the words τῷ Χριστῷ, we have been united with Christ, as to, or by, similarity of death. The former as it requires nothing to be supplied, is to be preferred. In the second clause, the word ὁομιώτατι may be supplied, as in our version: we shall be (united) in the likeness of his resurrection. But as σύμφυτος; may be construed with the genitive as well as the dative, many commentators unite σύμφυτοι τῆς ἀναστάσεως ἐσὸμεθα, we shall partake of the resurrection. The sense is the same; if united in death, we shall be united in life; if we die with him, we shall live with him. The future ἐσόμεθα does not here express obligation, nor futurity. The reference is not to what is to happen hereafter, but to the certainty of sequence, or causal connection. If the one thing happens, the other shall certainly follow. The doctrine of this passage is not simple that the believer dies and rises, as Christ died and rose; that there is an analogy between his death and theirs; but, as before remarked, the main idea is, the necessary connection between the death and resurrection of Christ and the death and resurrection of his people. Such is the union between them and him, that his death and resurrection render theirs a matter of necessity. The life or death of a tree necessitates the life or death of the branches. Says Calvin, “Insitio, non tantum exempli conformitatem designat, sed arcanam conjunctionem per quam cum ipso coaluimus, ita ut nos Spiritu suo vegetans ejus virtutem in nos transfundat. Ergo ut surculus communem habet vitae et mortis conditionem cum arbore in quam insertus est; ita vitae Christi non minus quam et mortis participes nos esse consentaneum est.” That the resurrection here spoken of is a spiritual rising from the dead, seems plain, both from what precedes and from what follows. The whole discussion relates to sanctification, to the necessary connection between the death of Christ as an atonement for sin, and the holiness of his people. Those who are cleansed from the guilt of sin, are cleansed also from its pollution. Although this is obvious, yet all reference to the future resurrection of the body is not to be excluded. In Rom_8:11, the apostle represents the quickening of our mortal bodies as a necessary consequence of our union with Christ, and the indwelling of his Spirit. If, therefore, we are baptized unto the death of Christ, united and conformed to him in his death, the sure result will be, that we shall be conformed to him in a holy life here, and in a life of glorious immortality of the soul and body hereafter. All this is included in the life which flows to us from Christ.

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. So the Authorized Version. But the English word “planted” (though the idea expressed by it has the support of Origen, Chrysostom, and other ancient Fathers; also of the Vulgate, and, among moderns, Beza, Luther, and others; while some, including Erasmus, Calvin, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, understand “engrafted”) probably suggests what was not intended. Sumfutov is from sumfuw (not sumfuteuw), and need only express being made to grow together in close association. In classic authors it commonly means innate. It seems here used, not to introduce a new figure, whether of planting or grafting, but only to express the close union with Christ, already intimated, into which we entered in baptism. The Revised Version has “have become united with him,” which may perhaps sufficiently express what is meant, though hardly a satisfactory rendering of sumfutoi , Tyndale and Cranmer translate “graft in deeth lyke unto him;” and perhaps “graft into” may be as good a rendering as any other. Meyer, Tholuck, Alford, and others take the dative tw omoiwmati as governed by sumfutoi , equivalent to omoiwv apeyanomen wsper autov (Tholuck). But it may be better to understand Cristw : “Graft into Christ, in the likeness of his death,” tw omoiwmati being added because Christ”s death and ours, in the senses intended, are not the same kind of death literally, ours only corresponding to, and in a certain sense like his. The main purpose of this verse, as of ver. 4, is to press resurrection with Christ as following death with him. But why here the future esomeya ? Did we not rise with Christ to a new life when we emerged from our baptismal burial? Future verbs are used also with a similar reference in ver. 8 and ver. 14.

Now, there are three senses in which our resurrection with Christ may be understood.

(1) As above. (cf. Col_2:12, etc., where the expression is sunhgeryhte)

(2) Our realization of our position of power and obligation in subsequent life actually in practice “dying from sin and rising again unto righteousness” (cf. below, vers. 12-14).

(3) The resurrection of the dead hereafter. Some (including Tertullian, Chrysostom, (Ecumenins) have taken sense to be here intended; but, though the words themselves, esomeya and suzhsomen in ver. 8, suggest this sense, it can hardly be intended here, at any rate exclusively or prominently, since the drift of the whole passage is to insist on the necessity of an ethical resurrection now; and it is evident that the clause before us corresponds with outw kai hmeiv , etc., in the previous verse, and to ver. 11, et seq. The future esomeya is understood by some as only expressing consequence a necessary conclusion from a premiss, thus: If such a thing is the case, such other thing will follow.

If so, sense (1) might still be understood; so that the idea would be the same as in Col_2:12, etc., viz. that of our rising in baptism itself to a new life with Christ, in which sin need not, and ought not to, have dominion. But still the repeated use of the future tense (especially amartia umwn ou kurieusei in ver. 14), together with the whole drift of what follows, seems rather to imply sense (2); that is, our realization of our position in our actual lives subsequent to baptism. If it be objected that in this case we should expect “we ought to be” rather than “we shall be” it may be replied that it is what God will do for us, rather than what we shall do for ourselves, that the apostle has in view. If he has made us partakers in the atoning death of Christ, having forgiven us all trespasses, etc. , (Col_2:13, seq. ) he will also make us partakers, as our life goes on, in the power of his resurrection too, delivering us from sin”s dominion. Further, if this be so, the thought may also include sense (3) For elsewhere the future resurrection seems to be regarded as only the consummation of a spiritual resurrection which is begun in the present life, Christians being already partakers in the eternal life of God, of which the issue is immortality; of. Eph_1:5, 6 Col_3:3, 4 Gal_2:20; also our Lord”s own words, which are peculiarly significant in this regard, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live”. (Joh_5:24, Joh_5:25) Again, “I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. (Joh_11:25, Joh_11:26)

Marvin Vincent
Romans 6:5
We have been planted together (σύμφυτοι γεγόναμεν)
Rev. gives more accurately the meaning of both words. Σύμφυτοι is not planted, which would be formed from φυτεύω to plant, while this word is compounded with σύν together, and φύω to grow. Γεγόναμαν is have become, denoting process, instead of the simple εἶναι to be. Hence Rev., have become united, have grown together; an intimate and progressive union; coalescence. Note the mixture of metaphors, walking and growing.

We shall be also (ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐσόμεθα)
It is impossible to reproduce this graphic and condensed phrase accurately in English. It contains an adversative particle ἀλλά; but. Morison paraphrases: “If we were united with Him in the likeness of His death (that will not be the full extent of the union), but we shall be also united,” etc. For similar instances see 1Co_4:15; Col_2:5.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:5
For if we have been planted together – The word used here σύμφυτος sumphutos, does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It properly means sown or planted at the same time; what sprouts or springs up together; and is applied to plants and trees that are planted at the same time, and that sprout and grow together. Thus, the name would be given to a field of grain that was sown at the same time, and where the grain sprung up and grew simultaneously. Hence, it means intimately connected, or joined together. And here it denotes that Christians and the Saviour have been united intimately in regard to death; as he died and was laid in the grave, so have they by profession died to sin. And it is therefore natural to expect, that, like grain sown at the same time, they should grow up in a similar manner, and resemble each other.

We shall be also – We shall be also fellow-plants; that is, we shall resemble him in regard to the resurrection. As he rose from the grave, so shall we rise from sin. As he lived a new life, being raised up, so shall we live a new life. The propriety of this figure is drawn from the doctrine often referred to in the New Testament, of a union between Christ and his people. See this explained in the notes at Joh_15:1-10. The sentiment here inferred is but an illustration of what was said by the Saviour Joh_14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” There is perhaps not to be found a more beautiful illustration than that employed here by the apostle of seed sown together in the earth, sprouting together, growing together, and ripening together for the harvest. Thus, the Saviour and his people are united together in his death, start up to life together in his resurrection, and are preparing together for the same harvest of glory in the heavens.

In the likeness of his resurrection – This does not mean that we shall resemble him when we are raised up at the last day – which may be, however, true – but that our rising from sin will resemble his resurrection from the grave. As he rose from the tomb and lived, so shall we rise from sin and live a new life.

John Calvin
Romans 6:6
6.That our old man, etc. The old man, as the Old Testament is so called with reference to the New; for he begins to be old, when he is by degrees destroyed by a commencing regeneration. But what he means is the whole nature which we bring from the womb, and which is so incapable of the kingdom of God, that it must so far die as we are renewed to real life. This old man, he says, is fastened to the cross of Christ, for by its power he is slain: and he expressly referred to the cross, that he might more distinctly show, that we cannot be otherwise put to death than by partaking of his death. For I do not agree with those who think that he used the word crucified, rather than dead, because he still lives, and is in some respects vigorous. It is indeed a correct sentiment, but not suitable to this passage. The body of sin, which he afterwards mentions, does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass; for man, left to his own nature, is a mass made up of sin.

He points out the end for which this destruction is effected, when he says, so that we may no longer serve sin. It hence follows, that as long as we are children of Adam, and nothing more than men, we are in bondage to sin, that we can do nothing else but sin; but that being grafted in Christ, we are delivered from this miserable thraldom; not that we immediately cease entirely to sin, but that we become at last victorious in the contest.

Adam Clarke
Romans 6:6
Our old man is crucified with him – This seems to be a farther extension of the same metaphor. When a seed is planted in the earth, it appears as if the whole body of it perished. All seeds, as they are commonly termed, are composed of two parts; the germ, which contains the rudiments of the future plant; and the lobes, or body of the seed, which by their decomposition in the ground, become the first nourishment to the extremely fine and delicate roots of the embryo plant, and support it till it is capable of deriving grosser nourishment from the common soil. The body dies that the germ may live. Parables cannot go on all fours; and in metaphors or figures, there is always some one (or more) remarkable property by which the doctrine intended is illustrated. To apply this to the purpose in hand: how is the principle of life which Jesus Christ has implanted in us to be brought into full effect, vigor, and usefulness? By the destruction of the body of sin, our old man, our wicked, corrupt, and fleshly self, is to be crucified; to be as truly slain as Christ was crucified; that our souls may as truly be raised from a death of sin to a life of righteousness, as the body of Christ was raised from the grave, and afterwards ascended to the right hand of God.

But how does this part of the metaphor apply to Jesus Christ? Plainly and forcibly. Jesus Christ took on him a body; a body in the likeness of sinful flesh, Rom_8:3; and gave up that body to death; through which death alone an atonement was made for sin, and the way laid open for the vivifying Spirit, to have the fullest access to, and the most powerful operation in, the human heart. Here, the body of Christ dies that he may be a quickening Spirit to mankind. Our body of sin is destroyed by this quickening Spirit, that henceforth we should live unto Him who died and rose again. Thus the metaphor, in all its leading senses, is complete, and applies most forcibly to the subject in question. We find that παλαιος ανθρωπος, the old man, used here, and in Eph_4:22, and Col_3:9, is the same as the flesh with its affections and lusts, Gal_5:24; and the body of the sins of the flesh, Col_2:11; and the very same which the Jewish writers term אדם הקדמוני, Adam hakkadmoni, the old Adam; and which they interpret by יצר הרע yetsar hara, “evil concupiscence,” the same which we mean by indwelling sin, or the infection of our nature, in consequence of the fall. From all which we may learn that the design of God is to counterwork and destroy the very spirit and soul of sin, that we shall no longer serve it, δουλευειν, no longer be its slaves. Nor shall it any more be capable of performing its essential functions than a dead body can perform the functions of natural life.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:6
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, etc. What in the preceding verses is represented as the consequence of our union with Christ as a matter of doctrine, is here presented as a matter of experience. We are united to Christ as our head and representative, so as to be partakers of his death and resurrection, as a matter of law or of right. What is thus done, as it were, out of ourselves, is attended by an analogous spiritual experience. This knowing, i.e. experiencing this. Our inward experience agrees with this doctrinal statement. Our old man, that is, our corrupt nature as opposed to the new man, or holy nature, which is the product of regeneration, and the effect of our union with Christ. In Eph_4:22, Eph_4:24, we are exhorted to put off the old man, and to put on the new man. Col_3:8, Col_3:9. The Scriptures everywhere assert or assume the fall and native depravity of man. We are born the children of wrath. We are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, without God, and without hope. This is the inward state and outward condition in which every man comes into the world. Through the redemption that is in Christ, a radical change is effected; old things pass away, all things become new. The old man, the nature which is prior in the order of time, as well as corrupt, is crucified, and a nature new and holy is induced. The word man is used, because it is no one disposition, tendency, or faculty that is changed, but the man himself; the radical principle of his being, the self. Hence Paul uses the pronoun I — “I am sold under sin;” “I cannot do the things that I would.” It is plain from this whole representation, that regeneration is not merely a change of acts, or of the affections in distinction from the understanding, but a change of the whole man. Another thing is also plain, viz. that such a radical change of nature cannot fail to manifest itself in a holy walk and conversation. This is what Paul here insists upon. To the believer who knows that the old man is crucified with Christ, the objection that gratuitous justification leads to licentiousness, is contradictory and absurd. The old man is said to be crucified, not because the destruction of the principle of sin is a slow and painful process, but because Christ’s death was by crucifixion, in which death we were associated, and because it is from him, as crucified, the death of sin in us proceeds. “Hunc veterem hominem dicit esse affixum cruci Christi, quia ejus virtute conficitur. Ac nominatim allusit ad crucem, quo expressiùs indicaret non aliunde nos mortificari, quam ex ejus mortis participatione.”

That the body of sin might be destroyed. “The body of sin” is only another name for “the old man,” or rather for its concrete form. The design of our crucifixion with Christ is the destruction of the old man, or the body of sin; and the design of the destruction of the inward power or principle of evil, is our spiritual freedom. This latter idea the apostle expresses by saying, that henceforth we should not serve sin, i.e. be in bondage to it. The service of sin is a δουλεία, a slavery, a state from which we cannot free ourselves; a power which coerces obedience in despite of the resistance of reason, conscience, and as the apostle teaches, even of the will. It is a bondage from which we can be delivered in no other way than by the death of the inward principle of evil which possesses our nature, and lies back of the will, beyond the reach of our power, and which can be destroyed only by union with Christ in his death, who died for this very purpose, that he might deliver us from the bondage of corruption, and introduce us into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Compare Joh_8:34; Heb_2:14-16. Although the general sense of this verse is thus plain, there is great diversity of opinion as to the precise meaning of the words σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, body of sin.

1. Some say it means the sinful body, that is, the body which is the seat and source of sin. But it is not the doctrine of the Bible, that sin has its source in matter; it is spiritual in its nature and origin. The body is not its source, but its instrument and slave. Moreover, the design of Christ’s death is never said to be to destroy the body.

2. Others say that σῶμα means the physical body, not as the source, but as the appurtenance of sin, as belonging to it, and ruled by it. But this is subject in part to the same objection.

3. Others say that σῶμα means mass, “the mass of sin.” “Corpus peccati,” says Calvin, “non carnem et ossa, sed massam designat; homo enim naturae propriae relictus massa est ex peccato conflata.”

4. Others assume that σῶμα has the same sense as σάρξ, corrupt nature; so that “body of sin” means our “sinful, carnal nature.” This no doubt is the idea, but it is not expressed by the word σῶμα, which is not equivalent to σάρξ.

5. Others take sw~ma, in accordance with the Rabbinical use of the corresponding Hebrew word, to mean essence or substance, for which, however, there is no authority from the usus loquendi of the Scriptures.

6. Perhaps the most satisfactory view is that of those who understand the phrase as figurative. Sin is personified. It is something that has life, is obeyed; that can be put to death. It is represented as a body, or organism; as having its members. Compare Col_3:5. In Col_2:11, the apostle speaks of putting off “the body of the sins of the flesh,” by which he means the totality of our corrupt nature. So here, “the body of sin,” is sin considered as a body, as something which can be crucified.

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 6:6 Knowing this (cf. h agnoeite , ver. 3), that our old man was (not is, as in the Authorized Version) crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed (or abolished, or done away, katarghyh), that henceforth we should not serve (douleuein , expressing bondage, or slavery; and so throughout the chapter in the word douloi , translated “servants”) sin. For he that hath died is freed from sin. The word “crucified” has, of course, reference to the mode of Christ”s death into which we were baptized. It does not imply anything further (as some have supposed) as to the manner of our own spiritual dying, such as painfulness or lingering; it merely means that in his death our old man died Col_2:14, profhlwsav auto tw staurw). The term “old man” (palai) occurs also Eph_4:22Co Eph_3:9. It denotes man”s unregenerate self, when under sin and condemnation; the kainov or neov anyrwpov being his regenerate self. It is, of course, a different conception from that of o exw and o eswyen anywppov of 2Co_4:16. In Ephesians and Colossians the old man is said to be put away, or put off, and the new one put on, as though they were two clothings, or investments, of his personality, determining its character. Here, by a bolder figure, they are viewed as an old self that had died and a new one that had come to life in its place. (cf. 2Co_5:17, Ei tiv en Cristw kainh ktisiv ta arcaia parhlyen) The idea of a new man being born into a new life in baptism was already familiar to the Jews in their baptism of proselytes; (see Lightfoot, on Joh 3) and our Lord, discoursing to Nicodemus of the new birth, supposes him to understand the figure; but he teaches him that the change thus expressed should be no mere change of profession and habits of life, but a radical inward change, which could only be wrought by the regenerating Spirit. Such a change St. Paul teaches to be signified by Christian baptism; not only deliverance from condemnation through participation in the benefits of the death of Christ, but also the birth or creation of a new self corresponding to his risen body, which will not be, like the old self, under the thraldom of sin. “The body of sin” may be taken as meaning much the same as “our old man;” sin being conceived as embodied in our former selves, and so possessing them and keeping them in bondage. It certainly does not mean simply our bodies as distinct from our souls, so as to imply the idea that the former must be macerated that the latter may live. The asceticism inculcated elsewhere in the New Testament is in no contradiction to the ideal of mens sana in corpore sano. Our former sin-possessed and sin-dominated personality being now crucified with Christ, dead, and done away with, we are no longer, in our new personality, in slavery to sin, and are both bound and able to renounce it; “for he that hath died is freed dedikaiwtaia , literally, “is justified from sin.” In Scotland, one who is executed is said to be justified, the idea apparently being that he has satisfied the claims of law. So here dedikaiwtai . The word douleuein , be it observed, in ver. 6 introduces by the way the second figure under which, as above said, the apostle regards his subject, though it is not taken up till ver. 16.

Marvin Vincent
Romans 6:6
Old man (ὁ παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος)
Only in Paul, and only three times; here, Eph_4:22; Col_3:9. Compare Joh_3:3; Tit_3:5. The old, unrenewed self. Paul views the Christian before his union with Christ, as, figuratively, another person. Somewhat in the same way he regards himself in ch. 7.

The body of sin (τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας)
Σῶμα in earlier classical usage signifies a corpse. So always in Homer and often in later Greek. So in the New Testament, Mat_6:25; Mar_5:29; Mar_14:8; Mar_15:43. It is used of men as slaves, Rev_18:13. Also in classical Greek of the sum-total. So Plato: τὸ τοῦ κόσμου σῶμα the sum-total of the world (“Timaeus,” 31).

The meaning is tinged in some cases by the fact of the vital union of the body with the immaterial nature, as being animated by the ψυξή soul, the principle of individual life. Thus Mat_6:25, where the two are conceived as forming one organism, so that the material ministries which are predicated of the one are predicated of the other, and the meanings of the two merge into one another.

In Paul it can scarcely be said to be used of a dead body, except in a figurative sense, as Rom_8:10, or by inference, 2Co_5:8. Commonly of a living body. It occurs with ψυχή soul, only 1Th_5:23, and there its distinction from ψυχή rather than its union with it is implied. So in Mat_10:28, though even there the distinction includes the two as one personality. It is used by Paul:
1. Of the living human body, Rom_4:19; 1Co_6:13; 1Co_9:27; 1Co_12:12-26.

2. Of the Church as the body of Christ, Rom_12:5; 1Co_12:27; Eph_1:23; Col_1:18, etc. Σάρξ flesh, never in this sense.

3. Of plants and heavenly bodies, 1Co_15:37, 1Co_15:40.

4. Of the glorified body of Christ, Phi_3:21.

5. Of the spiritual body of risen believers, 1Co_15:44.

It is distinguished from σάρξ flesh, as not being limited to the organism of an earthly, living body, 1Co_15:37, 1Co_15:38. It is the material organism apart from any definite matter. It is however sometimes used as practically synonymous with σάρξ, 1Co_7:16, 1Co_7:17; Eph_5:28, Eph_5:31; 2Co_4:10, 2Co_4:11. Compare 1Co_5:3 with Col_2:5. An ethical conception attaches to it. It is alternated with μέλη members, and the two are associated with sin (Rom_1:24; Rom_6:6; Rom_7:5, Rom_7:24; Rom_8:13; Col_3:5), and with sanctification (Rom_12:1; 1Co_6:19 sq.; compare 1Th_4:4; 1Th_5:23). It is represented as mortal, Rom_8:11; 2Co_10:10; and as capable of life, 1Co_13:3; 2Co_4:10.

In common with μέλη members, it is the instrument of feeling and willing rather than σάρξ, because the object in such cases is to designate the body not definitely as earthly, but generally as organic, Rom_6:12, Rom_6:13, Rom_6:19; 2Co_5:10. Hence, wherever it is viewed with reference to sin or sanctification, it is the outward organ for the execution of the good or bad resolves of the will.

The phrase body of sin denotes the body belonging to, or ruled by, the power of sin, in which the members are instruments of unrighteousness (Rom_6:13). Not the body as containing the principle of evil in our humanity, since Paul does not regard sin as inherent in, and inseparable from, the body (see Rom_6:13; 2Co_4:10-12; 2Co_7:1. Compare Mat_15:19), nor as precisely identical with the old man, an organism or system of evil dispositions, which does not harmonize with Rom_6:12, Rom_6:13, where Paul uses body in the strict sense. “Sin is conceived as the master, to whom the body as slave belongs and is obedient to execute its will. As the slave must perform his definite functions, not because he in himself can perform no others, but because of His actually subsistent relationship of service he may perform no others, while of himself he might belong as well to another master and render other services; so the earthly σῶμα body belongs not of itself to the ἁμαρτία sin, but may just as well belong to the Lord (1Co_6:13), and doubtless it is de facto enslaved to sin, so long as a redemption from this state has not set in by virtue of the divine Spirit” (Rom_7:24 : Dickson).

Destroyed
See on Rom_3:3.

He that is dead (ὁ ἀποθανὼν)
Rev., literally, he that hath died. In a physical sense. Death and its consequences are used as the general illustration of the spiritual truth. It is a habit of Paul to throw in such general illustrations. See Rom_7:2.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:6
Knowing this – We all knowing this. All Christians are supposed to know this. This is a new illustration drawn from the fact that by his crucifixion our corrupt nature has been crucified also, or put to death; and that thus we should be free from the servitude of sin.
Our old man – This expression occurs also in Eph_4:22, “That ye put off …the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Col_3:9, “lie not to one another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” From these passages it is evident that Paul uses the expression to denote our sinful and corrupt nature; the passions and evil propensities that exist before the heart is renewed. It refers to the love of sin, the indulgence of sinful propensities, in opposition to the new disposition which exists after the soul is converted, and which is called “the new man.”

Is crucified – Is put to death, as if on a cross. In this expression there is a personification of the corrupt propensities of our nature represented as “our old man,” our native disposition, etc. The figure is here carried out, and this old man, this corrupt nature, is represented as having been put to death in an agonizing and torturing manner. The pains of crucifixion were perhaps the most torturing of any that the human frame could bear. Death in this manner was most lingering and distressing. And the apostle here by the expression “is crucified” doubtless refers to the painful and protracted struggle which everyone goes through when his evil propensities are subdued; when his corrupt nature is slain; and when, a converted sinner, he gives himself up to God. Sin dies within him, and he becomes dead to the world, and to sin; “for as by the cross death is most lingering and severe, so that corrupt nature is not subdued but by anguish.” (Grotius.) All who have been born again can enter into this description. They remember “the wormwood and the gall.” They remember the anguish of conviction; the struggle of corrupt passion for the ascendency; the dying convulsions of sin in the heart; the long and lingering conflict before it was subdued, and the soul became submissive to God. Nothing will better express this than the lingering agony of crucifixion: and the argument of the apostle is, that as sin has produced such an effect, and as the Christian is now free from its embrace and its power, he will live to God.

With him – The word “with” σύν sun here is joined to the verb “is crucified” and means “is crucified as he was.”

That the body of sin – This expression doubtless means the same as that which he had just used, “our old man,” But why the term “body” is used, has been a subject in which interpreters have not been agreed. Some say that it is a Hebraism, denoting mere intensity or emphasis. Some that it means the same as flesh, that is, denoting our sinful propensities and lusts. Grotius thinks that the term “body” is elegantly attributed to sin, because the body of man is made up of many members joined together compactly, and sin also consists of numerous vices and evil propensities joined compactly, as it were, in one body. But the expression is evidently merely another form of conveying the idea contained in the phrase “our old man” – a personification of sin as if it had a living form, and as if it had been put to death on a cross. It refers to the moral destruction of the power of sin in the heart by the gospel, and not to any physical change in the nature or faculties of the soul; compare Col_2:11.

Might be destroyed – Might be put to death; might become inoperative and powerless. Sin becomes enervated, weakened, and finally annihilated, by the work of the Cross.

We should not serve – Should not be the slave of sin δουλεύειν douleuein. That we should not be subject to its control. The sense is, that before this we were slaves of sin (compare Rom_6:17,) but that now we are made free from this bondage, because the moral death of sin has freed us from it.

Sin – Sin is here personified as a master that had dominion over us, but is now dead.

John Calvin
Romans 6:7
7.For he who has died, etc. This is an argument derived from what belongs to death or from its effect. For if death destroys all the actions of life, we who have died to sin ought to cease from those actions which it exercised during its life. Take justified for freed or reclaimed from bondage; for as he is freed from the bond of a charge, who is absolved by the sentence of a judge; so death, by freeing us from this life, sets us free from all its functions.

But though among men there is found no such example, there is yet no reason why you should think, that what is said here is a vain speculation, or despond in your minds, because you find not yourselves to be of the number of those who have wholly crucified the flesh; for this work of God is not completed in the day in which it is begun in us; but it gradually goes on, and by daily advances is brought by degrees to its end. So then take this as the sum of the whole, — “If thou art a Christian, there must appear in thee an evidence of a fellowship as to the death of Christ; the fruit of which is, that thy flesh is crucified together with all its lusts; but this fellowship is not to be considered as not existing, because thou findest that the relics of the flesh still live in thee; but its increase ought to be diligently labored for, until thou arrivest at the goal.” It is indeed well with us, if our flesh is continually mortified; nor is it a small attainment, when the reigning power, being taken away from it, is wielded by the Holy Spirit. There is another fellowship as to the death of Christ, of which the Apostle often speaks, as he does in 2Co_4:0, that is, the bearing of the cross, which is followed by a joint-participation also of eternal life.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:7
For he that is dead is free from sin. The Greek here is, ὁ γὰρ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαιωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας, for he who has died is justified from sin. The particle γάρ, for, shows that this verse is a confirmation of what precedes: ‘The believer (he who is by faith united to Christ in his death) cannot any longer serve sin, for he who has died is justified from sin.’ The word ἀποθανών may be taken in a physical, a moral, or a mystical sense. If in a physical sense, then the meaning is, that death frees from sin. This may be understood in two ways: first, on the theory that the body is the source of sin, death, or freedom from the body, involves freedom from sin; or, secondly, death considered as a penalty, is the expiation of sin; so that he who dies, is judicially free from sin. Some who adopt this interpretation, suppose that the apostle sanctions the unscriptural Jewish doctrine (see Eisenmenger’s Entdeckt. Judenthum, 2., p. 283), that death is the full penalty of sin, and therefore its expiation. Others say he is to be understood as speaking only of sin or guilt in relation to human law: ‘He who has died for his crime is free from guilt or further liability.’ In either way, the only relation which this verse, when understood of physical death, can have to the apostle’s argument, is that of an illustration: ‘As the man who has suffered for his crime is freed from it, so he who is crucified with Christ is free from sin. In either case the power of sin is destroyed.’ If the moral sense of the word be adopted, then the meaning is either, ‘he who is spiritually dead is free from sin,’ (which amounts to saying, ‘he that is holy is holy;’) or, ‘he who is spiritually dead is justified from sin.’ But this last sense is utterly unsuited to the context, and implies that spiritual death, or holiness, is the ground of justification; which is contrary to all Scripture, and especially to Paul’s doctrine. The mystical sense of the word is the only one consistent with the context. The apostle has not been speaking of natural death, but of death with Christ; of the believer being crucified with him. It is of that he is now speaking. He had just said that the believer cannot continue to serve sin. He here gives the reason: for he who has died (with Christ) is justified, and therefore free from sin, free from its dominion. This is the great evangelical truth which underlies the apostle’s whole doctrine of sanctification. The natural reason assumes that acceptance with a holy and just God must be founded on character, that men must be holy in order to be justified. The gospel reverses this, and teaches that God accepts the ungodly; that we must be justified in order to become holy. This is what Paul here assumes as known to his readers. As justification is the necessary means, and antecedent to holiness, he that is justified becomes holy; he cannot live in sin. And he who is dead, i.e. with Christ, (for it is only his death that secures justification,) is justified from sin. To be justified from sin means to be delivered from sin by justification. And that deliverance is twofold; judicial deliverance from its penalty, and subjective deliverance from its power. Both are secured by justification; the former directly, the other consequentially, as a necessary sequence. Compare Gal_2:19, Gal_2:20; Gal_6:14; Col_2:13; Col_3:3; 1Pe_4:1, and other passages in which the sanctification of believers is represented as secured by the death of Christ.

Henry Alford
Rom 6:7
7.] The difficulty of this verse arises from the Apostle having in a short and pregnant sentence expressed a whole similitude, joining, as he elsewhere does in such cases, the subject of the first limb of the comparison with the predicate of the second. Fully expressed, it would stand thus: ‘For, as a man that is dead is acquitted and released from guilt and bondage (among men: no reference to God’s judgment of him): so a man that has died to sin is acquitted from the guilt of sin and released from its bondage.’ I express δεδικ. by this periphrasis in both cases, because I believe that all this is implied in it: ‘is acquitted,’ ‘has his quittance,’ from sin, so that Sin (personified) has no more claims on him, either as a creditor or as a master: cannot detain him for debt, nor sue him for service. A larger reference is thus given to δεδικ. than the purposes of the present argument, which is treating of the power, not the guilt of sin, required: but that it is so, lies in the nature of ἁμαρτία, the service of which is guilt, and the deliverance from whose service necessarily brings with it acquittal.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:7
For he that is dead – This is evidently an expression having a proverbial aspect, designed to illustrate the sentiment just expressed. The Rabbis had an expression similar to this, “When one is dead he is free from commands.” (Grotius.) So says Paul, when a man dies he is exempt from the power and dominion of his master, of him who reigned over him. The Christian had been subject to sin before his conversion. But he has now become dead to it. And as when a servant dies, he ceases to be subject to the control of his master, so the Christian being now dead to sin, on the same principle, is released from the control of his former master, sin. The idea is connected with Rom_6:6, where it is said that we should not be the slaves of sin any more. The reason of this is assigned here, where it is said that we are freed from it as a slave is freed when he dies. Of course, the apostle here is saying nothing of the future world. His whole argument has respect to the state of the Christian here; to his being freed from the bondage of sin. It is evident that he who is not freed from this bondage here, will not be in the future world. But the argument of the apostle has no bearing on that point.

Is freed – Greek, Is justified. The word here is used clearly in the sense of setting at liberty, or destroying the power or dominion. The word is often used in this sense; compare Act_13:38-39; compare a similar expression in 1Pe_4:1, “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” The design of the apostle is not to say that the Christian is perfect, but that sin has ceased to have dominion over him, as a master ceases to have power over a slave when he is dead. That dominion may be broken, so that the Christian may not be a slave to sin, and yet he may be conscious of many failings and of much imperfection; see Rom. 7.

John Calvin
Romans 6:8
8.But if we have died, etc. He repeats this for no other end but that he might subjoin the explanation which follows, that Christ, having once risen, dies no more. And hereby he teaches us that newness of life is to be pursued by Christians as long as they live; for since they ought to represent in themselves an image of Christ, both by crucifying the flesh and by a spiritual life, it is necessary that the former should be done once for all, and that the latter should be carried on continually: not that the flesh, as we have already said, dies in us in a moment, but that we ought not to retrograde in the work of crucifying it. For if we roll again in our own filth, we deny Christ; of whom we cannot be the participators except through newness of life, inasmuch as he lives an incorruptible life.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:8
Now, if we be dead with Christ, etc. If the truth stated in the preceding verses be admitted, viz. that our union with Christ is such that his death secures our deliverance from the penalty and power of sin, we believe we shall also live with him. That is, we are sure that the consequences of his death are not merely negative, i.e., not simply deliverance from evil, moral and physical, but also a participation in his life. We believe, i.e., we have a confidence, founded on the promise and revealed purpose of God. It is not a conclusion of reason; it is not simply a hope, a peradventure; it is a faith, an assured conviction that God, after having justified us through the blood of Christ, will not leave us spiritually defiled. We shall live, συζήσομεν, the future, referring not to what is to happen hereafter, but to what is the certain consequence of our union with Christ. If we are united mystically with Christ in his death, we shall certainly live with him, i.e., we shall certainly partake of his life. As, however, this life is a permanent and eternal life, as it pertains to the body as well as to the soul, a participation of his life now involves a participation of it, with all its glorious consequences, for ever. To live with Christ, therefore, includes two ideas; association with him, and similarity to him. We partake of his life, and consequently our life is like his. In like manner, since we die with him, we die as he died. So, too, when we are said to reign with him, to be glorified together, both these ideas are included; see Rom_8:17, and many similar passages. The life here spoken of is that “eternal life” which believers are said to possess even in this world; see Joh_3:36, Joh_5:24; and which is manifested here by devotion to God, and hereafter in the purity and blessedness of heaven. It includes, therefore, all the consequences of redemption. We are not to consider the apostle as merely running a parallel between the natural death and resurrection of Christ, and the spiritual death and resurrection of his people, as has already been remarked, but as showing that, in consequence of union to him in his death, we must die as he died, and live as he lives. That is, that the effect of his death is to destroy the power of sin; and the result of his living is the communication and preservation of Divine life to all who are connected with him. This being the case, the objection stated in Rom_6:1 of this chapter, is seen to be entirely unfounded. This life of Christ, to which we are conformed, is described in the following verses, first as perpetual, and secondly, as devoted unto God.

Albert Barnes
Rom_6:8
Now if we be dead with Christ – If we be dead in a manner similar to what he was; if we are made dead to sin by his work, as he was dead in the grave; see the note at Rom_6:4.

We believe – All Christians. It is an article of our faith. This does not refer to the future world so much as to the present. It becomes an article of our belief that we are to live with Christ.

That we shall also live with him – This does not refer primarily to the resurrection, and to the future state, but to the present. “We hold it as an article of our faith, that we shall be alive with Christ.” As he was raised up from death, so we shall be raised from the death of sin. As he lives, so we shall live in holiness. We are in fact raised up here, and, as it were, made alive to him. This is not confined, however, to the present life, but as Christ lives forever, so the apostle goes on to show that we shall.

John Calvin
Romans 6:9
9.Death no more rules over him, etc. He seems to imply that death once ruled over Christ; and indeed when he gave himself up to death for us, he in a manner surrendered and subjected himself to its power; it was however in such a way that it was impossible that he should be kept bound by its pangs, so as to succumb to or to be swallowed up by them. He, therefore, by submitting to its dominion, as it were, for a moment, destroyed it for ever. Yet, to speak more simply, the dominion of death is to be referred to the state of death voluntarily undergone, which the resurrection terminated. The meaning is, that Christ, who now vivifies the faithful by his Spirit, or breathes his own life into them by his secret power from heaven, was freed from the dominion of death when he arose, that by virtue of the same dominion he might render free all his people.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:9
Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more. Knowing εἰδότες is either equal to καὶ οἴδαμεν, and we know, thus introducing a new idea, or it is causal, because we know. The latter is to be preferred. We are sure we shall be partakers of the life of Christ, because we know that he lives. Were he not a living Savior, if his life were not perpetual, he could not be the source of life to his people in all ages. The perpetuity of Christ’s life, therefore, is presented,

1. As the ground of assurance of the perpetuity of the life of believes. We shall partake of the life of Christ, i.e. of the spiritual and eternal blessings of redemption, because he ever lives to make intercession for us, and to grant us those supplies of grace which we need; see Rom_5:10; Joh_14:19; 1Co_15:22, etc. As death has no more dominion over him, there is no ground of apprehension that our supplies of life will be cut off. This verse, therefore, is introduced as the ground of the declaration, “we shall live with him,” at the close of Rom_6:8.

2. The perpetuity of the life of Christ is one of the points in which our life is to be conformed to his. Christ dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him. This repetition is for the sake of emphasis. Christ’s subjection to death was voluntary. It was not from a necessity of nature, nor from any obligation to justice. He laid down his life of himself. He voluntarily submitted to death for our sakes, and was the master of death even in dying; and therefore he is, so to speak, in no danger of ever being subject to its power. The object of his voluntary submission to death having been accomplished, he lives for evermore. This is more fully expressed in the following verse.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 6:9-11
Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him — Though Christ’s death was in the most absolute sense a voluntary act (Joh_10:17, Joh_10:18; Act_2:24), that voluntary surrender gave death such rightful “dominion over Him” as dissolved its dominion over us. But this once past, “death hath,” even in that sense, “dominion over Him no more.”

Henry Alford
9.] This and the following verse explain what sort of a life with Christ is meant, by what we know of the Resurrection-life of Christ himself. The only difficulty here is in οὐκ ἔτι κυριεύει, as implying that Death had dominion over Christ, which we know it had not: see Joh_10:17, Joh_10:18; Joh_2:19; Act_2:24. But this vanishes, when we remember that our Lord, by submitting to Death, virtually, and in the act of death, surrendered Himself into the power of Death. Death could not hold Him, and had no power over Him further than by his own sufferance: but power over Him it had, inasmuch as He died.

Albert Barnes
Rom_6:9
Knowing – As we all know. This is assumed as an undoubted article of belief.

Dieth no more – Will never die again. He will have occasion to make no other atonement for sin; for what he has made is sufficient for all. He is beyond the dominion of death, and will live forever, Rev_1:18, “I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore.” This is not only a consolation to the Christian, but it is an argument why he should be holy.

No more dominion – No rule; no lordship; no power. He is free from its influence; and the king of terrors cannot reach his throne; compare Heb_9:25-28; Heb_10:12.

John Calvin
Romans 6:10
10.He died once to sin, etc. What he had said — that we, according to the example of Christ, are for ever freed from the yoke of death, he now applies to his present purpose, and that is this — that we are no more subject to the tyranny of sin, and this he proves from the designed object of Christ’s death; for he died that he might destroy sin.

But we must observe what is suitable to Christ in this form of expression; for he is not said to die to sin, so as to cease from it, as the words must be taken when applied to us, but that he underwent death on account of sin, that having made himself ἀντίλυτρον, a ransom, he might annihilate the power and dominion of sin. And he says that he died once, not only because he has by having obtained eternal redemption by one offering, and by having made an expiation for sin by his blood, sanctified the faithful for ever; but also in order that a mutual likeness may exist between us. For though spiritual death makes continual advances in us, we are yet said properly to die only once, that is, when Christ, reconciling us by his blood to the Father, regenerates us at the same time by the power of his Spirit.

But that he lives, etc. Whether you addwith or in God, it comes to the same meaning; for he shows that Christ lives a life subject to no mortality in the immortal and incorruptible kingdom of God; a type of which ought to appear in the regeneration of the godly. We must here remember the particle of likeness, so; for he says not that we shall now live in heaven, as Christ lives there; but he makes the new life, which after regeneration we live on earth, similar to his celestial life. When he says that we ought to die to sin, according to his example, we are not to suppose it to be the same kind of death; for we die to sin, when sin dies in us, but it was otherwise with Christ; by dying it was that he conquered sin. But he had just said before, that we believe that we shall have life in common with him, he fully shows by the word believing that he speaks of the grace of Christ: for if he only reminded us of a duty, his mode of speaking would have been this, “Since we die with Christ, we ought also to live with him.” But the word believing denotes that he treats here of doctrine which is based on the promises; as though he had said, that the faithful ought to feel assured that they are through the kindness of Christ dead as to the flesh, and that the same Christ will preserve them in newness of life to the end. But the future time of the verb live, refers not to the last resurrection, but simply denotes the continued course of a new life, as long as we peregrinate on the earth.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:10
For in that he died, he died unto sin once, etc. He can never die again, for in dying he died once for all. By the one offering of himself, he has for ever perfected them that are sanctified. The apostle, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, while arguing to show the necessity of the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sin, argues also to show that such was the efficacy of that sacrifice, it need not, and cannot be repeated. Heb_7:27; Heb_9:12; Heb_10:10; 1Pe_3:18.

In that he died, ὁ ἀπέθανε; ὁ may be taken absolutely quod attinet ad id, quod, as to that he died, so far as concerns his dying; compare Gal_2:20; or the relative may be taken as the object, the death he died. See Winer, 3., §24. 4. 2. He died unto sin, τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν, so far as the words are concerned, admits of different interpretations. It may mean, he died for the destruction of sin; or, he died for its expiation, i.e., on account of sin; or, in accordance with the force of the same words in Rom_6:2, and the analogous expression, νεκροὺς τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, dead to sin, Rom_6:11, he died as to sin, was by death freed from sin. In this last sense, although the words are the same, the idea is very different in the two cases. The believer dies to sin in one sense, Christ in another. In both cases the idea of separation is expressed; but in the case of the believer, it is separation from personal, indwelling sin; in that of Christ, it is separation from the burden of his people’s sin, which he bore upon the cross. The context and the argument favor this last interpretation. Death has no more dominion over Christ, for he died to sin; by the one sacrifice of himself, he freed himself from the burden of sin which he had voluntarily assumed. The law is perfectly satisfied; it has no further penalty to inflict. Of course the same truth or doctrine is expressed, if the other expositions of the phrase be preferred. It is only a question as to the form in which the same general truth is presented. Christ’s death was for the destruction of sin, for its expiation; and it was a deliverance from it, i.e., from the burden of its imputed guilt. He came the first time with sin; he is to come the second time without sin (without that burden), unto salvation. In that he liveth, he liveth unto God. This is said in contrast to what precedes. He died unto sin, he lives unto God. So must the believer. Death must be followed by life; the one is in order to the other. It is of course not implied that our Lord’s life on earth was not a living unto God, i.e., a living having God for its end and object. The antithetical expression is used simply to indicate the analogy between Christ and his people. They must be freed from sin, and be devoted to God, because their Lord and Savior, in whose death and life they share, died unto sin, and lives unto God. Many of the Fathers, and some later interpreters, take τῷ Θεῷ as equivalent to τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ Θεοῦ, by the power of God. But this is unsuited to the connection. It is not the source of Christ’s life, but the nature of it, as perpetual and holy, that the apostle would bring into view. Olshausen says τῷ Θεῷ means for God, i.e., for righteousness, as opposed to sin, in the first clause: “He died for the destruction of sin, he lives for the promotion of righteousness.” But this is unnecessary, and inconsistent with the context.

William Sanday
Rom 6:10
τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν. In what sense did Christ die to sin? The phrase seems to point back to ver. 7 above: Sin ceased to have any claim upon Him. But how could Sin have a claim upon Him ‘who had no acquaintance with sin’ (2Co_5:21)? The same verse which tells us this supplies the answer: τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ‘the Sinless One for our sake was treated as if He were sinful.’ The sin which hung about Him and wreaked its effects upon Him was not His but ours (cp. 1Pe_2:22, 1Pe_2:24). It was in His Death that this pressure of human sin culminated; but it was also in His Death that it came to an end, decisively and for ever.

ἐφάπαξ. The decisiveness of the Death of Christ is specially insisted upon in Ep. to Hebrews. This is the great point of contrast with the Levitical sacrifices: they did and it did not need to be repeated (cf. Heb_7:27; Heb_9:12, Heb_9:26, Heb_9:28; Heb_10:10; also 1Pe_3:18).

ζῇ τῷ Θεῷ. Christ died for (in relation to) Sin, and lives hence-forth for God. The old chain which by binding Him to sin made Him also liable to death, is broken. No other power κυριεύει αὐτοῦ but God. This phrase ζῇ τῷ Θεῷ naturally suggests ‘the moral’ application to the believer.

Albert Barnes
Rom_6:10
For in that he died – For in respect to the design of his death.

He died unto sin – His death had respect to sin. The design of his death was to destroy sin; to make an atonement for it, and thus to put it away. As his death was designed to effect this, so it follows that Christians being baptized into his death, and having it as their object to destroy sin, should not indulge in it. The whole force of the motive; therefore, drawn from the death of Christ, is to induce Christians to forsake sin; compare 2Co_5:15, “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth, live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again.”

Once – ἐφάπαξ ephapax. Once only; once for all. This is an adverb denying a repetition (Schleusner), and implies that it will not be done again; compare Heb_7:27; Heb_9:12; Heb_10:10. The argument of the apostle rests much on this, that his death was once for all; that it would not be repeated.

In that he liveth – The object, the design of his living. He aims with his living power to promote the glory of God.

Unto God – He seeks to promote his glory. The argument of Paul is this: Christians by their profession are united to him. They are bound to imitate him. As he now lives only to advance the glory of God; as all his mighty power, now that he is raised from the dead, and elevated to his throne in heaven, is exerted to promote his glory; so should their powers, being raised from the death of sin, be exerted to promote the glory of God.

John Calvin
Romans 6:11
11.So count ye also yourselves, etc. Now is added a definition of that analogy to which I have referred. For having stated that Christ once died to sin and lives for ever to God, he now, applying both to us, reminds us how we now die while living, that is, when we renounce sin. But he omits not the other part, that is, how we are to live after having by faith received the grace of Christ: for though the mortifying of the flesh is only begun in us, yet the life of sin is destroyed, so that afterwards spiritual newness, which is divine, continues perpetually. For except Christ were to slay sin in us at once to the end, his grace would by no means be sure and durable.

The meaning, then, of the words may be thus expressed, “Take this view of your case, — that as Christ once died for the purpose of destroying sin, so you have once died, that in future you may cease from sin; yea, you must daily proceed with that work of mortifying, which is begun in you, till sin be wholly destroyed: as Christ is raised to an incorruptible life, so you are regenerated by the grace of God, that you may lead a life of holiness and righteousness, inasmuch as the power of the Holy Spirit, by which ye have been renewed, is eternal, and shall ever continue the same.” But I prefer to retain the words of Paul,in Christ Jesus, rather than to translate with [Erasmus ], through Christ Jesus; for thus the grafting, which makes us one with Christ, is better expressed.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:11
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, etc. What is true in itself, should be true in their convictions and consciousness. If in point of fact believers are partakers of the death and life of Christ; if they die with him, and live with him, then they should so regard themselves. They should receive this truth, with all its consoling and sanctifying power, into their hearts, and manifest it in their lives. So also ye, ou#tw καὶ ὑμεῖς, a point may be placed after ὑμεῖς; so that the sense is, so also are ye, as is done by Griesbach and others. The simpler and more common method is to read the words continuously: so also regard ye yourselves as dead to sin, νεξροὺς τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ; not reckon yourselves to be dead, as the word εἶναι, although found in the common text, is omitted by almost all the critical editors, on the authority of the oldest manuscripts, and the sense is complete without it; λογίζεσθαι τινά τι, means to regard one as something. Believers are to look upon themselves in their true light, viz., as dead to sin, freed from its penalty and dominion. This is a freedom which belongs to them as believers, and therefore the apostle adds, ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, not through, but in Christ Jesus, that is, in virtue of union with him. These words belong equally to both clauses of this verse. It is in Christ that the believer is dead to sin, and alive to God. The old man is crucified; the new man, the soul as renewed, is imbued with a new life, of which God is the object; which consists in fellowship with him, and which is manifested by devotion to his service, and by obedience to his will. The words our Lord, τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, are not found in the best manuscripts.

William Sanday
Rom 6:11
11. λογίζεσθε ἑαυτούς. The man and his ‘self’ are distinguished. The ‘self’ is not the ‘whole self,’ but only that part of the man which lay under the dominion of sin. [It will help us to bear this in mind in the interpretation of the next chapter.] This part of the man is dead, so that sin has lost its slave and is balked of its prey; but his true self is alive, and alive for God, through its union with the risen Christ, who also lives only for God.

λογίζεσθε: not indic. (as Beng. Lips.) but imper., preparing the way, after St. Paul’s manner, for the direct exhortation of the next paragraph.

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. This phrase is the summary expression of the doctrine which underlies the whole of this section and forms, as we have seen, one of the main pillars of St. Paul’s theology. The chief points seem to be these. (1) The relation is conceived as a local relation. The Christian has his being ‘in’ Christ, as living creatures ‘in’ the air, as fish ‘in’ the water, as plants ‘in’ the earth (Deissmann, p. 84; see below). (2) The order of the words is invariably ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, not ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ (Deissmann, p. 88; cp. also Haussleiter, as referred to on p. 86 sup.). We find however ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ in Eph_4:21, but not in the same strict application. (3) In agreement with the regular usage of the words in this order ἐν Χρ. Ἰ. always relates to the glorified Christ regarded as πνεῦμα, not to the historical Christ. (4) The corresponding expression Χριστὸς ἔν τινι is best explained by the same analogy of ‘the air.’ Man lives and breathes ‘in the air,’ and the air is also ‘in the man’ (Deissmann, p. 92).

John Calvin
Romans 6:12
12.Let not sin then, etc. He now begins with exhortation, which naturally arises from the doctrine which he had delivered respecting our fellowship with Christ. Though sin dwells in us, it is inconsistent that it should be so vigorous as to exercise its reigning power; for the power of sanctification ought to be superior to it, so that our life may testify that we are really the members of Christ. I have already reminded you that the word body is not to be taken for flesh, and skin, and bones, but, so to speak, for the whole of what man is. This may undoubtedly be inferred from the passage; for the other clause, which he immediately subjoins respecting the members of the body, includes the soul also: and thus in a disparaging manner does Paul designate earthly man, for owing to the corruption of our nature we aspire to nothing worthy of our original. So also does God say in Gen_6:3; where he complains that man was become flesh like the brute animals, and thus allows him nothing but what is earthly. To the same purpose is the declaration of Christ, “What is born of the flesh is flesh.” (Joh_3:6.) But if any makes this objection — that the case with the soul is different; to this the ready answer is — that in our present degenerate state our souls are fixed to the earth, and so enslaved to our bodies, that they have fallen from their own superiority. In a word, the nature of man is said to be corporeal, because he is destitute of celestial grace, and is only a sort of empty shadow or image. We may add, that the body, by way of contempt, is said by Paul to be mortal, and this to teach us, that the whole nature of man tends to death and ruin. Still further, he gives the name of sin to the original depravity which dwells in our hearts, and which leads us to sin, and from which indeed all evil deeds and abominations stream forth. In the middle, between sin and us, he places lusts, as the former has the office of a king, while lusts are its edicts and commands.

Charles Hodge
Rom_6:12
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, etc. This is a practical inference (ou]n) from what precedes. Since the believer is in fact united to Christ in his death and life, he should live accordingly. The exhortation contained in this and the following verse has a negative and positive form — yield not to sin, but give yourselves up to God — corresponding to the clauses, dead to sin, and alive unto God, in Rom_6:11. To reign signifies to exercise uncontrolled authority. Sin, although mortified in the believer, is not destroyed. Its power to injure remains after its dominion is overthrown. The exhortation is, that we should not yield to this dethroned adversary of Christ and the soul, but strenuously strive against its efforts to gain ascendancy over us, and to bring us again into bondage. Let not sin reign in your mortal body. This is a difficult clause.

1. Mortal body may be a periphrase for you: ‘Let not sin reign within you;’ as in the next verse, your members may stand for yourselves.

2. Others say that θνητός (mortal) is to be taken in the figurative sense in which νεκρός, dead, i.e., corrupt, is often used.

3. Others take σῶμα in the sense of σάρξ, corrupt nature, including everything in man as fallen, which is not due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

So also Philippi, among the modern commentators says that here, as in Rom_8:10, Rom_8:13, (where θανατοῦν τὰς πράχεις τοῦ σώματος is opposed to κατὰ σάρκα ζῆν), σῶμα is the antithesis of πνεῦμα, the latter being the soul as pervaded by the Spirit of God, and the former our nature considered as corrupt. This, however, is so contrary to the general usage of Scripture, that the ordinary sense of the words is to be preferred. Paul does not teach that the body is the source of sin, nor its exclusive or principal seat; but it is the organ of its manifestation. It is that through which the dominion of sin is outwardly revealed. The body is under the power of sin, and that power the apostle would have us resist; and on the other hand, the sensual appetites of the body tend to enslave the soul. Body and soul are so united in a common life, that to say, ‘Let not sin reign in your mortal body,’ and to say, ‘Let not sin reign in you,’ amount to the same thing. When we speak of sin as dwelling in the soul, we do not deny its relation to the body; so neither does the apostle, when he speaks of sin dwelling in the body, mean to deny its relation to the soul.

That ye should obey it (αὐτῇ, i.e., sin,) in the lusts thereof, (αὐτοῦ, viz., of the body.) We should not obey sin by yielding to carnal appetites. The common text has here, εἰς τὸ ὑπακούειν αὐτῇ ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτοῦ. Knapp, Lachmann, and other editors, adopt the simpler and better authenticated reading, εἰς τὸ ὑπακούειν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτοῦ, to obey its lusts, i.e., the lusts of the body. “A man,” says Olshausen, “must always serve. There is no middle ground between the service of sin and the service of God. We have justification completely, or we have it not at all. Sanctification, as springing from a living faith, and as the fruit of God’s love to us, admits of degrees, and may be more or less earnestly cultivated; but this determines, not our salvation, but only the measure of future blessedness. No wisdom or caution,” he adds, “can guard this doctrine from misunderstanding, whether such misunderstanding arise unintentionally from the understanding, or designedly from insincerity of heart. It nevertheless is the only way which leads to God, in which the sincere and humble cannot err.” “The key to the mystery,” he goes on to say, “that the doctrine of redemption, although not demanding good works, produces them, is to be found in the fact that love excites love and the desire for holiness. Hence obedience is no longer slavish. We strive to obey, not in order to be saved or to please God, but because God saves us without works or merit of our own, whom, because he is reconciled in the Beloved, we delight to serve.”

John Calvin
Romans 6:13
13.Nor present your members, etc. When once sin has obtained dominion in our soul, all our faculties are continually applied to its service. He therefore describes here the reign of sin by what follows it, that he might more clearly show what must be done by us, if we would shake off its yoke. But he borrows a similitude from the military office, when he calls our members weapons or arms (arma ); as though he said, “As the soldier has ever his arms ready, that he may use them whenever he is ordered by his general, and as he never uses them but at his command; so Christians ought to regard all their faculties to be the weapons of the spiritual warfare: if then they employ any of their members in the indulgence of depravity, they are in the service of sin. But they have made the oath of soldiers to God and to Christ, and by this they are held bound: it hence behoves them to be far away from any intercourse with the camps of sin.” — Those may also here see by what right they proudly lay claim to the Christian name, who have all their members, as though they were the prostitutes of Satan, prepared to commit every kind of abomination.

On the other hand, he now bids us to present ourselves wholly to God, so that restraining our minds and hearts from all wanderings into which the lusts of the flesh may draw us, we may regard the will of God alone, being ready to receive his commands, and prepared to execute his orders; and that our members also may be devoted and consecrated to his will, so that all the faculties both of our souls and of our bodies may aspire after nothing but his glory. The reason for this is also added — that the Lord, having destroyed our former life, has not in vain created us for another, which ought to be accompanied with suitable actions.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:13
Neither yield ye your members, etc. Do not permit sin to reign in you, nor yield your powers as its instruments. Neither yield, μηδὲ παριστάνετε. The word means to place by, to present (as an offering), Luk_2:22; Rom_12:1; to give up to the power or service of, Rom_6:16, Rom_6:19, etc. Your members, either literally, members of the body, the eye, ear, hand, etc., or figuratively, your powers, whether of mind or body. The choice between the literal and figurative interpretation depends on the view taken of the preceding verse. If there σῶμα (body) be understood literally, then your members can only mean the members of the body; but if mortal body is there a periphrase for you, then your members must mean your faculties. The μέλη (members) are the parts of which the σῶμα consists; and therefore if the σῶμα stands for the whole person, the members must include all our powers, mental as well as corporeal. In Rom_7:5, Paul says that sin “did work in our members;” and in Rom_6:23, he speaks of “a law in his members.” In neither of those cases is the reference exclusively to the body. As instruments of unrighteousness. That is, instruments which unrighteousness uses, or which are employed to effect unrighteousness. The word ὅπλα is generic; it is used in the general sense of instruments, for the tackle of a ship, the tools of an artisan, though most frequently for weapons.

On account of this general usage, and of Paul’s own use of the word in Rom_13:12, “armor of light,” (2Co_6:7, “armor of righteousness,” and 2Co_10:4, “the weapons of our warfare,”) many prefer the restricted sense in this place. Our members are regarded as weapons which sin uses to regain its dominion, or the predominance of unrighteousness. The context, however, does not favor the assumption of this allusion to a strife; and therefore the general sense of instruments, or implements, is more in keeping with the rest of the passage. But yield yourselves unto God; ἀλλὰ παραστήσατε, but on the contrary, present yourselves, i.e., give yourselves up to God, not only your several powers, but your very selves, a dedication which of necessity involves that of each separate faculty. In the first clause of the verse the present tense, παριστάνετε is used; here it is the first aorist, present yourselves once for all. As alive from the dead, i.e., as those who having been dead, are now alive. Having been quickened by the power of God, raised from the death of sin and all its dreadful consequences, they were bound to live unto God. Who, having been restored to life, would desire to return to the loathsomeness of the grave? And, i.e., and especially, your members (i.e., παριστάνετε, present your members) as instruments of righteousness to God. Present all your powers to God, to be employed by him as implements of righteousness; that is, instruments by which righteousness may be effected.

William Sanday
Rom 6:13
13. Observe the change of tense: παριστάνετε, ‘go on yielding,’ by the weakness which succumbs to temptation whenever it presses; παραστήσατε, ‘dedicate by one decisive act, one resolute effort.’

ὅπλα: ‘weapons’ (cf. esp. Rom_13:12; 2Co_6:7; 2Co_10:4). ἀδικίας and δικαιοσύνης are gen. qualitatis. For a like military metaphor more fully worked out comp. Eph_6:11-17.

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. By our members seem to be meant, not merely the several parts of our bodily frame eye. tongue, hand, foot, etc. but generally all the parts or constituents of our present human nature, which sin may use as its instruments, but which ought to be devoted to God. (cf. Col_3:5) Many commentators would translate opla “weapons” rather than “instruments,” on the ground that St. Paul usually uses the word in this sense; (Rom_13:12 2Co_6:7 2Co_10:4 Eph_6:11, Eph_6:13) and also that oqwnia in ver. 22, taken in the sense of the pay of a soldier, (as in Luk_3:14 1Co_9:7) is supposed to imply that the apostle has had all along the idea of warfare in view. The second of these reasons really proves nothing. Whatever the meaning of oqawnia in ver. 23, it is too far removed from the passage before us to be taken in any connection with it. Neither is the first reason at all cogent. Opla bears the sense of instruments as well as of weapons, and may more suitably bear it here. When St. Paul elsewhere speaks of armour, it is the armour of light, or of righteousness, which we are told to take up, and to put on, in order to fight against our spiritual enemies. Such a conception is inapplicable to our own members, which we have already, which we may use either for good or evil, and which require the protection of heavenly armour rather than being themselves armour; and we certainly could not be told to take them up or put them on. We may, in the next place, observe that the two clauses of this verse are differently expressed in two respects.

(1) It is our members only that we are forbidden to yield to sin; but ourselves, with our members, we are bidden to yield to God. For few of the persons addressed, if even any, could be supposed, deliberately and of choice, to offer their whole being to the service of sin as such; they were only liable to succumb to sin, in this or that way, through soliciting lusts. But the regenerate Christian offers and presents his whole serf to God, and desires to be his entirely.

(2) In the first clause we find the present imperative, paristanete ; but in the second the aorist imperative, parasthsate . The distinction between the two tenses in the imperative is thus expressed in Matthiae”s “Greek Grammar:” “that the aorist designates an action passing by, and considered abstractedly in its completion, but the present a continued and frequently repeated action.” Our giving ourselves to God is something done once for all; our yielding our members as instruments of sin is a succession of acts of yielding.

A.T. Robertson
Romans 6:13
Neither present (mēde paristanete). Present active imperative in prohibition of paristanō, late form of paristēmi, to place beside. Stop presenting your members or do not have the habit of doing so, “do not go on putting your members to sin as weapons of unrighteousness.”

Instruments (hopla). Old word for tools of any kind for shop or war (Joh_18:3; 2Co_6:7; 2Co_10:4; Rom_13:12). Possibly here figure of two armies arrayed against each other (Gal_5:16-24), and see hopla dikaiosunēs below. The two sets of hopla clash.

But present yourselves unto God (alla parastēsate heautous tōi theōi). First aorist active imperative of paristēmi, same verb, but different tense, do it now and completely. Our “members” (melē) should be at the call of God “as alive from the dead.”

Henry Alford
13.] Nor render (see reff.;—as a soldier renders his service to his sovereign, or a servant to his master) your members (more particular than ‘your bodies;’ the individual members being instruments of different lusts and sins) as instruments (or, ‘weapons,’ as Vulg., most of the Greek expositors, and Luth., Calv., Beza, Tholuck, which latter defends this rendering by Paul’s fondness for military similitudes, and by the occurrence of ὀψώνια below, ver. 23;—but as De W. observes, the comparison here is to servitude rather than soldiership) of unrighteousness to sin; but render (the present imperat. above denotes habit,—the exhortation guards against the recurrence of a devotion of the members to sin: this aorist imperat., on the other hand, as in ch. 12:1, denotes an act of self-devotion to God once for all, not a mere recurrence of the habit) yourselves (not merely your members, but your whole selves, body, soul, and spirit) to God, as alive from having been dead (as in vv. 4 ff. and Eph_2:1-5), and your members as instruments (see above) of righteousness to God (dat. ‘commodi,’ as indeed is τῇ ἁμαρτ. above, the dat. after παριστ. being there left to be supplied, because of τῆ̣ ἁμ. following).

Marvin Vincent
Romans 6:13
Yield (παριστάνετε)
Put at the service of; render. Rev., present. Compare Luk_2:22; Act_9:41; Rom_12:1. See on Act_1:3.

Members (μέλη)
Physical; though some include mental faculties. Compare Col_3:5, where members is expounded by fornication, uncleanness, etc., the physical being a symbol of the moral, of which it is the instrument.

Instruments (ὅπλα)
The word is used from the earliest times of tools or instruments generally. In Homer of a ship’s tackle, smith’s tools, implements of war, and in the last sense more especially in later Greek. In the New Testament distinctly of instruments of war (Joh_18:3; 2Co_6:7; 2Co_10:4). Here probably with the same meaning, the conception being that of sin and righteousness as respectively rulers of opposing sovereignties (compare reign, Rom_6:12, and have dominion, Rom_6:14), and enlisting men in their armies. Hence the exhortation is, do not offer your members as weapons with which the rule of unrighteousness may be maintained, but offer them to God in the service of righteousness.

Of unrighteousness (ἀδικίας)
See on 2Pe_2:13.

Yield (παραστήσατε)
Rev., present. The same word as before, but in a different tense. The present tense, be presenting, denotes the daily habit, the giving of the hand, the tongue, etc., to the service of sin as temptation appeals to each. Here the aorist, as in Rom_12:1, denotes an act of self-devotion once for all.

As those that are alive (ὡς ζῶντας)
The best texts read ὡσεί as if alive. This brings out more clearly the figurative character of the exhortation.

From the dead (ἐκ νεκρῶν)
Note the preposition out of. See on Luk_16:31.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:13
Neither yield ye your members – Do not give up, or devote, or employ your members, etc. The word “members” here refers to the members of the body – the hands, feet, tongue, etc. It is a specification of what in Rom_6:12 is included under the general term “body;” see Rom_7:5, Rom_7:23; 1Co_6:15; 1Co_12:12, 1Co_12:18, 1Co_12:20.

As instruments – This word ὁπλα hopla properly signifies “arms;” or implements of war; but it also denotes an instrument of any kind which we use for defense or aid. Here it means that we should not devote our members – our hands, tongue, etc., as if under the direction of sinful passions and corrupt desires, to accomplish purposes of iniquity. We should not make the members of our bodies the slaves of sin reigning within us.

Unto sin – In the service of sin; to work iniquity.

But yield yourselves … – Give or devote yourselves to God.

That are alive – Rom_6:11.

And your members … – Christians should devote every member of the body to God and to his service. Their tongue should be consecrated to his praise, and to the office of truth, and kindness, and benevolence; their hands should be employed in useful labor for him and his cause; their feet should be swift in his service, and should not go in the paths of iniquity; their eyes should contemplate his works to excite thanksgiving and praise; their ears should not be employed to listen to words of deceit, or songs of dangerous and licentious tendency, or to persuasion that would lead astray, but should be open to catch the voice of God as he utters his will in the Book of truth, or as he speaks in the gale, the zephyr, the rolling thunder, the ocean, or in the great events of his providence. He speaks to us every day, and we should hear him; he spreads his glories before us, and we should survey them to praise him; he commands, and our hands, and heart, and feet should obey.

John Calvin
Romans 6:14
14.For sin shall not rule over you, etc. It is not necessary to continue long in repeating and confuting expositions, which have little or no appearance of truth. There is one which has more probability in its favor than the rest, and it is this — that bylaw we are to understand the letter of the law, which cannot renovate the soul, and by grace, the grace of the Spirit, by which we are freed from depraved lusts. But this I do not wholly approve of; for if we take this meaning, what is the object of the question which immediately follows, “Shall we sin because we are not under the law?” Certainly the Apostle would never have put this question, had he not understood, that we are freed from the strictness of the law, so that God no more deals with us according to the high demands of justice. There is then no doubt but that he meant here to indicate some freedom from the very law of God. But laying aside controversy, I will briefly explain my view.

It seems to me, that there is here especially a consolation offered, by which the faithful are to be strengthened, lest they should faint in their efforts after holiness, through a consciousness of their own weakness. He had exhorted them to devote all their faculties to the service of righteousness; but as they carry about them the relics of the flesh, they cannot do otherwise than walk somewhat lamely. Hence, lest being broken down by a consciousness of their infirmity they should despond, he seasonably comes to their aid, by interposing a consolation, derived from this circumstance — that their works are not now tested by the strict rule of the law, but that God, remitting their impurity, does kindly and mercifully accept them. The yoke of the law cannot do otherwise than tear and bruise those who carry it. It hence follows, that the faithful must flee to Christ, and implore him to be the defender of their freedom: and as such he exhibits himself; for he underwent the bondage of the law, to which he was himself no debtor, for this end — that he might, as the Apostle says, redeem those who were under the law.

Hence, not to be under the law means, not only that we are not under the letter which prescribes what involves us in guilt, as we are not able to perform it, but also that we are no longer subject to the law, as requiring perfect righteousness, and pronouncing death on all who deviate from it in any part. In like manner, by the word grace, we are to understand both parts of redemption — the remission of sins, by which God imputes righteousness to us, — and the sanctification of the Spirit, by whom he forms us anew unto good works. The adversative particle, [ἀλλὰ, but, ] I take in the sense of alleging a reason, which is not unfrequently the case; as though it was said — “We who are under grace, are not therefore under the law.”

The sense now is clear; for the Apostle intended to comfort us, lest we should be wearied in our minds, while striving to do what is right, because we still find in ourselves many imperfections. For how much soever we may be harassed by the stings of sin, it cannot yet overcome us, for we are enabled to conquer it by the Spirit of God; and then, being under grace, we are freed from the rigorous requirements of the law. We must further understand, that the Apostle assumes it as granted, that all who are without the grace of God, being bound under the yoke of the law, are under condemnation. And so we may on the other hand conclude, that as long as they are under the law, they are subject to the dominion of sin.

Jonathan Edwards
Romans 6:14 Rom. 6:14. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace.” The law, or covenant of works, is not a proper means to bring the fallen creature to the service of God. It was a very proper means to be used with men in a state of innocence, but it has no tendency to answer this end in our present weak and sinful state; on the contrary, to have been kept under the law would have had a tendency to hinder it, and would have been a bar in the way of it, and that upon two accounts.

1. It would have tended to discourage persons from any attempts to serve God, because under such a constitution it must necessarily have been looked upon as impossible to please him and serve him to his acceptance; and one in despair of this would have been in no capacity to yield a cheerful service to God, but would rather have been far from any manner of endeavors to serve him at all. But to have abandoned himself to wickedness by such a despair, the dominion of sin would have been dreadfully established, and all yielded up to it, as in the damned in hell.

2. God must necessarily have been looked on as an enemy; which would have tended to drive from him and stir up enmity against him. A fallen creature held under the covenant of works cannot look on God as a father and friend, but must necessarily look on him as an enemy; for the least failure of obedience by that constitution, whether past or future, renders him so. But this would greatly establish the dominion of sin or enmity against God in the heart, and indeed it is the law only that makes wicked men hate God. They hate him no otherwise than as they look upon him as acting, either as the giver or judge of the law, and so by the law opposing their sins, and the law tending to establish the hatred of God. Hence it is necessary to be brought from under the dominion of it, in order to a willing serving of God.

Corol. Hence men, when they are convinced of the law, under awakenings, and have God represented to them as a strict lawgiver and judge, before they are convinced of the gospel, have sometimes such sensible exercises of enmity of heart stirred up against God.

But those that are redeemed from the bondage of the law, they have,

1. Great encouragement to serve God, in that their poor and imperfect obedience may be accepted.

2. They have a great deal to incline them to an ingenuous obedience; for God now represents himself as a merciful God, a God ready to pardon past transgressions and future infirmities, and he promises that if we will yield ourselves willingly to serve him as we are able, he will be our friend, and will treat us as a merciful and gracious father.

If a man does perform an external service while under the bondage of the law, it is no real service, it is merely forced by threats and terrors, it is not performed freely and heartily, but is a dead, lifeless obedience. But a being delivered from the law and brought under grace, tends to win men to serve God from love, and with the whole heart; Rom_7:6. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:14
For sin shall not have dominion over you, etc. The future here is not to be understood as expressing either a command or an exhortation, not only because the third, and not the second person is used, but also because of the connection, as indicated by for. We should yield ourselves to God, for sin shall not have dominion, etc. It is not a hopeless struggle in which the believer is engaged, but one in which victory is certain. It is a joyful confidence which the apostle here expresses, that the power of sin has been effectually broken, and the triumph of holiness effectually secured by the work of Christ. The ground of the confidence that sin shall not have dominion, is to be found in the next clause: For ye are not under the law, but under grace. By law here, is not to be understood the Mosaic law. The sense is not, ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you, because the Mosaic law is abrogated.’ The word is to be taken in its widest sense. It is the rule of duty, that which binds the conscience as an expression of the will of God. This is plain:

1. From the use of the word through this epistle and other parts of the New Testament.

2. From the whole doctrine of redemption, which teaches that the law from which we are delivered by the death of Christ, is not simply the Mosaic law; we are not merely delivered from Judaism, but from the obligation of fulfilling the law of God as the condition of salvation.

3. Deliverance from the Mosaic law does not secure holiness. A man may cease to be a Jew, and yet not be a new creature in Christ Jesus.

4. The antithesis between law and grace shows that more than the law of Moses is here intended. If free from the Mosaic law, they may still be under some other law, and as little under grace as the Pharisees.

To be under the law is to be under the obligation to fulfill the law of God as a rule of duty, as the condition of salvation. Whosoever is under the law in this sense, is under the curse; for the law says, “Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” As no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God, every man who rests upon his personal conformity to the law, as the ground of his acceptance with God, must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, but under grace; that is, under a system of gratuitous justification. We are justified by grace, without works. We are not under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the law, and entire freedom from sin, past and present, as the condition of our acceptance; but we are under a gracious dispensation, according to which God dispenses pardon freely, and accepts the sinner as a sinner, for Christ’s sake, without works or merit of his own. Whoever is under the law in the sense just explained, is not only under condemnation, but he is of necessity under a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who is gratuitously accepted of God, and restored to his favor, is under a filial spirit. The principle of obedience in him is love, and not fear.

Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is assumed that the favor of God is our life. We must be reconciled to him before we can be holy; we must feel that he loves us before we can love him. Paul says it was the love of Christ to him, that constrained him to live for Him who thus loved him, and gave Himself for him. The only hope therefore of sinners, is in freedom from the law, freedom from its condemnation, freedom from the obligation to fulfill it as the condition of acceptance, and freedom from its spirit. Those who are thus free, who renounce all dependence on their own merit or strength, who accept the offer of justification as a free gift of God, and who are assured that God for Christ’s sake is reconciled to them, are so united to Christ that they partake of his life, and their holiness here and salvation hereafter are rendered perfectly certain.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:14
For sin … – The propensity or inclination to sin.

Shall not have dominion – Shall not reign, Rom_5:12; Rom_6:6. This implies that sin ought not to have this dominion; and it also expresses the conviction of the apostle that it would not have this rule over Christians.

For we are not under law – We who are Christians are not subject to that law where sin is excited, and where it rages unsubdued. But it may be asked here, What is meant by this declaration? Does it mean that Christians are absolved from all the obligations of the law? I answer,

(1) The apostle does not affirm that Christians are not bound to obey the moral law. The whole scope of his reasoning shows that he maintains that they are. The whole structure of Christianity supposes the same thing; compare Mat_5:17-19.

(2) the apostle means to say that Christians are not under the law as legalists, or as attempting to be justified by it. They seek a different plan of justification altogether: and they do not attempt to be justified by their own obedience. The Jews did; they do not.

(3) it is implied here that the effect of an attempt to be justified by the Law was not to subdue sins, but to excite them and to lead to indulgence in them.

Justification by works would destroy no sin, would check no evil propensity, but would leave a man to all the ravages and riotings of unsubdued passion. If, therefore, the apostle had maintained that people were justified by works, he could not have consistently exhorted them to abandon their sins. He would have had no powerful motives by which to urge it; for the scheme would not lead to it. But he here says that the Christian was seeking justification on a plan which contemplated and which accomplished the destruction of sin; and he therefore infers that sin should not have dominion over them.

But under grace – Under a scheme of mercy, the design and tendency of which is to subdue sin, and destroy it. In what way the system of grace removes and destroys sin, the apostle states in the following verses.

John Calvin
Romans 6:15
15.What then? As the wisdom of the flesh is ever clamorous against the mysteries of God, it was necessary for the Apostle to subjoin what might anticipate an objection: for since the law is the rule of life, and has been given to guide men, we think that when it is removed all discipline immediately falls to the ground, that restraints are taken away, in a word, that there remains no distinction or difference between good and evil. But we are much deceived if we think, that the righteousness which God approves of in his law is abolished, when the law is abrogated; for the abrogation is by no means to be applied to the precepts which teach the right way of living, as Christ confirms and sanctions these and does not abrogate them; but the right view is, that nothing is taken away but the curse, to which all men without grace are subject. But though Paul does not distinctly express this, yet he indirectly intimates it.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:15
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Because works are not the ground of our justification; because we are justified freely by his grace, are we at liberty to sin without fear and without restraint? Does the doctrine of gratuitous salvation give a license to the unrestrained indulgence of all evil? Such has been the objection to the doctrines of grace in all ages. And the fact that this objection was made to Paul’s teachings, proves that his doctrine is the same with that against which the same objection is still urged. As the further consideration of this difficulty is resumed in the following chapter, the apostle here contents himself with a simple negation, and a reference to the constraining influence under which the freely pardoned sinner is brought, which renders it as impossible for him to serve sin, as it is for the slave of one man to be obedient to another man. The slave must serve his own master.

John Calvin
Romans 6:16
16.By no means: know ye not? This is not a bare denial as some think, as though he preferred to express his abhorrence of such a question rather than to disprove it: for a confutation immediately follows, derived from a contrary supposition, and to this purpose, “Between the yoke of Christ and that of sin there is so much contrariety, that no one can bear them both; if we sin, we give ourselves up to the service of sin; but the faithful, on the contrary have been redeemed from the tyranny of sin, that they may serve Christ: it is therefore impossible for them to remain bound to sin.” But it will be better to examine more closely the course of reasoning, as pursued by Paul.

To whom we obey, etc. This relative may be taken in a causative sense, as it often is; as when one says, — there is no kind of crime which a parricide will not do, who has not hesitated to commit the greatest crime of all, and so barbarous as to be almost abhorred even by wild beasts. And Paul adduces his reason partly from the effects, and partly from the nature of correlatives. For first, if they obey, he concludes that they are servants, for obedience proves that he, who thus brings one into subjection to himself, has the power of commanding. This reason as to service is from the effect, and from this the other arises. “If you be servants, then of course sin has the dominion.”

Or of obedience, etc. The language is not strictly correct; for if he wished to have the clauses correspondent, he would have said, “or of righteousness unto life” But as the change in the words does not prevent the understanding of the subject, he preferred to express what righteousness is by the word obedience; in which however there is a metonymy, for it is to be taken for the very commandments of God; and by mentioning this without addition, he intimated that it is God alone, to whose authority consciences ought to be subject. Obedience then, though the name of God is suppressed, is yet to be referred to him, for it cannot be a divided obedience.

Adam Clarke
Romans 6:16
To whom ye yield yourselves – Can you suppose that you should continue to be the servants of Christ if ye give way to sin? Is he not the master who exacts the service, and to whom the service is performed? Sin is the service of Satan; righteousness the service of Christ. If ye sin ye are the servants of Satan, and not the servants of God.

The word δουλος, which we translate servant, properly signifies slave; and a slave among the Greeks and Romans was considered as his master’s property, and he might dispose of him as he pleased. Under a bad master, the lot of the slave was most oppressive and dreadful; his ease and comfort were never consulted; he was treated worse than a beast; and, in many cases, his life hung on the mere caprice of the master. This state is the state of every poor, miserable sinner; he is the slave of Satan, and his own evil lusts and appetites are his most cruel task-masters. The same word is applied to the servants of Christ, the more forcibly to show that they are their Master’s property; and that, as he is infinitely good and benevolent, therefore his service must be perfect freedom. Indeed, he exacts no obedience from them which he does not turn to their eternal advantage; for this master has no self-interest to secure. See on Rom_1:1 (note).

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:16
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, etc. ‘Know ye not that those who obey sin are its slaves; hurried on from one degrading service to another, until it works their ruin; but those who serve holiness are constrained, though sweetly, to constancy and fidelity, until the glorious consummation of their course?’ As a servant or slave is under an influence which secures the continuance of his obedience, and he who serves holiness is under an influence which effectually secures the constancy of his service. This being the case, it is not possible for the Christian or servant of holiness to be found engaged in the service of sin. The language and the construction are here nearly the same as in Rom_6:13. Here, as there, we have παριστάνετε in the sense of giving up to the power and disposal of. Paul says, that those who give themselves up to another as δούλους εἰς ὑπακοὴν, slaves to obedience, are the δοῦλοι of him whom they thus obey. It enters into the idea of slavery, that the subjection is absolute and continued. The slave does not obey his own will, but his masterí. He is subject not for a time, but for life. He is under an influence which secures obedience. This is as true in spiritual as in external relations. He who serves sin is the slave of sin. He is under its power. He cannot free himself from its dominion. He may hate his bondage; his reason and conscience may protest against it; his will may resist it; but he is still constrained to obedience. This is the doctrine of our Lord, as taught in Joh_8:34 : “He that committeth sin is the slave of sin.” This remains true, although this service is unto death: “The wages of sin is death.” The death intended is spiritual and eternal. It is the absolute loss of the life of the soul, which consists in the favor and fellowship of God, and conformity to his image. What is true of sin is true of holiness. He who by virtue of union with Christ is made obedient to God, becomes, as Paul says, a δοῦλος ὑπακοῆς, a slave of obedience. Obedience (personified) is the master to whom he is now subject. He is not only bound to obey, but he is made to obey in despite of the resistance of his still imperfectly sanctified nature. He cannot but obey. The point of analogy to which reference is here made, is the certainty of the effect, and the constraining influence by which that effect is secured. In the case both of sin and of holiness, obedience is certain; and it is rendered certain by a power superior to the will of man. The great difference is, that in the one case this subjection is abnormal and destructive, in the other it is normal and beneficent. A wise man is free in being subject to his reason. The more absolute and constant the authority of reason, the more exalted and free is the soul. In like manner, the more completely God reigns in us, the more completely we are subject to his will, so much the more are we free; that is, so much the more do we act in accordance with the laws of our nature and the end of our being. Servants of obedience unto righteousness; δικαιοσύνη must here be taken in its subjective sense. It is inward righteousness, or holiness. And in this sense it is eternal life, and therefore antithetical to θάνατος, which is spiritual and eternal death. The service of sin results in death, the service of God results in righteousness; that is, in our being right, completely conformed to the image of God, in which the life of the soul consists.

A.T. Robertson
Romans 6:16
His servants ye are whom ye obey (douloi este hōi hupakouete). Bondservants, slaves of the one whom ye obey, whatever one’s profession may be, traitors, spies sometimes they are called. As Paul used the figure to illustrate death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ and not in sin, so now he uses slavery against the idea of occasional lapses into sin. Loyalty to Christ will not permit occasional crossing over to the other side to Satan’s line.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:16
Know ye not … – The objection noticed in Rom_6:15, the apostle answers by a reference to the known laws of servitude or slavery, Rom_6:16-20, and by showing that Christians, who had been the slaves of sin, have now become the servants of righteousness, and were therefore bound by the proper laws of servitude to obey their new master: as if he had said, “I assume that you know: you are acquainted with the laws of servitude; you know what is required in such cases.” This would be known to all who had been either masters or slaves, or who had observed the usual laws and obligations of servitude.

To whom ye yield yourselves – To whom ye give up yourselves for servitude or obedience. The apostle here refers to voluntary servitude; but where this existed, the power of the master over the time and services of the servant was absolute. The argument of the apostle is, that Christians had become the voluntary servants of God, and were therefore bound to obey him entirely. Servitude among the ancients, whether voluntary or involuntary, was rigid, and gave the master an absolute right over his slave, Luk_17:9; Joh_8:34; Joh_15:15. To obey. To be obedient; or for the purpose of obeying his commands.

To whom ye obey – To whom ye come under subjection. That is, you are bound to obey his requirements.

Whether of sin – The general law of servitude the apostle now applies to the case before him. If people became the servants of sin, if they gave themselves to its indulgence, they would obey it, let the consequences be what they might. Even with death, and ruin, and condemnation before them; they would obey sin. They give indulgence to their evil passions and desires, and follow them as obedient servants even if they lead them down to hell. Whatever be the consequences of sin. yet he who yields to it must abide by them, even if it leads him down to death and eternal woe.

Or of obedience … – The same law exists in regard to holiness or obedience. The man who becomes the servant of holiness will feel himself bound by the law of servitude to obey, and to pursue it to its regular consequences.

Unto righteousness – Unto justification; that is, unto eternal life. The expression stands contrasted with “death,” and doubtless means that he who thus becomes the voluntary servant of holiness, will feel himself bound to obey it, unto complete and eternal justification and life; compare Rom_6:21-22. The argument is drawn from what the Christian would feel of the nature of obligation. He would obey him to Whom he had devoted himself.

(This would seem to imply that justification is the effect of obedience. Δικαιοσυνη Dikaiosunē, however, does not signify justification, but righteousness, that is, in this case, personal holiness. The sense is, that while the service of sin leads to death, that of obedience issues in holiness or righteousness. It is no objection to this view that it does not preserve the antithesis, since “justification” is not the opposite of “death,” any more than holiness. “There is no need,” says Mr. Haldane, “that there should be such an exact correspondence in the parts of the antithesis, as is supposed. And there is a most obvious reason why it could not be so. Death is the wages of sin, but life is not the wages of obedience.”)

John Calvin
Romans 6:22
22.Ye have your fruit unto holiness, etc. As he had before mentioned a twofold end of sin, so he does now as to righteousness. Sin in this life brings the torments of an accusing conscience, and in the next eternal death. We now gather the fruit of righteousness, even holiness; we hope in future to gain eternal life. These things, unless we are beyond measure stupid, ought to generate in our minds a hatred and horror of sin, and also a love and desire for righteousness. Some render τελος, “tribute” or reward, and not “end,” but not, as I think, according to the meaning of the Apostle; for though it is true that we bear the punishment of death on account of sin, yet this word is not suitable to the other clause, to which it is applied by Paul, inasmuch as life cannot be said to be the tribute or reward of righteousness.

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:22
But now – Under the Christian plan of justification.

Being made free from sin – Being delivered from its dominion, and from bondage; in the same manner as before conversion they were free from righteousness, Rom_6:20.

Ye have your fruit unto holiness – The fruit or result is holiness. This service produces holiness, as the other did sin. It is implied here, though not expressly affirmed, that in this service which leads to holiness, they received important benefits, as in the service of sin they had experienced many evils.

And the end – The final result – the ultimate consequence will be. At present this service produces holiness; hereafter it will terminate in everlasting life. By this consideration the apostle states the tendency of the plan of justification, and urges on them the duty of striving after holiness.

Everlasting life – Note, Joh_3:36. This stands in contrast with the word “death” in Rom_6:21, and shows its meaning. “One is just as long in duration as the other;” and if the one is limited, the other is. If those who obey shall be blessed with life forever, those who disobey will be cursed with death forever. Never was there an antithesis more manifest and more clear. And there could not be a stronger proof that the word “death” in Rom_6:21, refers not to temporal death, but to eternal punishment. For what force would there be in the argument on the supposition that temporal death only is meant? The argument would stand thus: “The end of those sins is to produce temporal death; the end of holiness is to produce eternal life!” Will not temporal death be inflicted, it would be immediately asked, at any rate? Are Christians exempt from it? And do not people suffer this, whether they become Christians or not? How then could this be an argument bearing on the tenor of the apostle’s reasoning? But admit the fair and obvious construction of the passage to be the true one, and it becomes plain. They were pursuing a course tending to everlasting ruin; they are now in a path that shall terminate in eternal life. By this weighty consideration, therefore, they are urged to be holy.

John Calvin
Romans 6:23
23.For the wages of sin, etc. There are those who think that, Paul, by comparing death to allowances of meat, (obsoniis ,) points out in a disparaging manner the kind of wretched reward that is allotted to sinners, as this word is taken by the Greeks sometimes for portions allowed to soldiers. But he seems rather indirectly to condemn the blind appetites of those who are ruinously allured by the enticements of sin, as the fish are by the hook. It will however be more simple to render the word “wages,” for surely death is a sufficiently ample reward to the wicked. This verse is a conclusion to the former, and as it were an epilogue to it. He does not, however, in vain repeat the same thing again; but by doubling the terror, he intended to render sin an object of still greater hatred.

But the gift of God. They are mistaken who thus render the sentence, “Eternal life is the gift of God,” as though eternal life were the subject, and the gift of God the predicate; for this does not preserve the contrast. But as he has already taught us, that sin produces nothing but death; so now he subjoins, that this gift of God, even our justification and sanctification, brings to us the happiness of eternal life. Or, if you prefer, it may be thus stated, — “As the cause of death is sin, so righteousness, which we obtain through Christ, restores to us eternal life.”

It may however be hence inferred with certainty, that our salvation is altogether through the grace and mere beneficence of God. He might indeed have used other words — that the wages of righteousness is eternal life; and then the two clauses would correspond: but he knew that it is through God’s gift we obtain it, and not through our own merits; and that it is not one or a single gift; for being clothed with the righteousness of the Son, we are reconciled to God, and we are by the power of the Spirit renewed unto holiness. And he adds, in Christ Jesus, and for this reason, that he might call us away from every conceit respecting our own worthiness.

Adam Clarke
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death – The second death, everlasting perdition. Every sinner earns this by long, sore, and painful service. O! what pains do men take to get to hell! Early and late they toil at sin; and would not Divine justice be in their debt, if it did not pay them their due wages?

But the gift of God is eternal life – A man may Merit hell, but he cannot Merit heaven. The apostle does not say that the wages of righteousness is eternal life: no, but that this eternal life, even to the righteous, is το χαρισμα του Θεου, The gracious Gift of God. And even this gracious gift comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. He alone has procured it; and it is given to all those who find redemption in his blood. A sinner goes to hell because he deserves it; a righteous man goes to heaven because Christ has died for him, and communicated that grace by which his sin is pardoned and his soul made holy. The word οψωνια, which we here render wages, signified the daily pay of a Roman soldier. So every sinner has a daily pay, and this pay is death; he has misery because he sins. Sin constitutes hell; the sinner has a hell in his own bosom; all is confusion and disorder where God does not reign: every indulgence of sinful passions increases the disorder, and consequently the misery of a sinner. If men were as much in earnest to get their souls saved as they are to prepare them for perdition, heaven would be highly peopled, and devils would be their own companions. And will not the living lay this to heart?

1. In the preceding chapter we see the connection that subsists between the doctrines of the Gospel and the practice of Christianity. A doctrine is a teaching, instruction, or information concerning some truth that is to be believed, as essential to our salvation. But all teaching that comes from God, necessarily leads to him. That Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification, is a glorious doctrine of the Gospel. But this is of no use to him who does not die to sin, rise in the likeness of his resurrection, and walk in newness of life: this is the use that should be made of the doctrine. Every doctrine has its use, and the use of it consists in the practice founded on it. We hear there is a free pardon – we go to God and receive it; we hear that we may be made holy – we apply for the sanctifying Spirit; we hear there is a heaven of glory, into which the righteous alone shall enter – we watch and pray, believe, love, and obey, in order that, when he doth appear, we may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless. Those are the doctrines; these are the uses or practice founded on those doctrines.

2. It is strange that there should be found a person believing the whole Gospel system, and yet living in sin! Salvation From Sin is the long-continued sound, as it is the spirit and design, of the Gospel. Our Christian name, our baptismal covenant, our profession of faith in Christ, and avowed belief in his word, all call us to this: can it be said that we have any louder calls than these? Our self-interest, as it respects the happiness of a godly life, and the glories of eternal blessedness; the pains and wretchedness of a life of sin, leading to the worm that never dies and the fire that is not quenched; second most powerfully the above calls. Reader, lay these things to heart, and: answer this question to God; How shall I escape, if I neglect so great salvation? And then, as thy conscience shall answer, let thy mind and thy hands begin to act.

Charles Hodge
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The reason why death is the result of sin is, that sin deserves death. Death is due to it in justice. There is the same obligation in justice, that sin should be followed by death, as that the laborer should receive his wages. As it would be unjust, and therefore wrong, to defraud the laborer of his stipulated reward, so it would be unjust to allow sin to go unpunished. Those, therefore, who hope for pardon without an atonement, hope that God will in the end prove unjust. The word ὀψώνια is, strictly, the rations of soldiers; in a wider sense, the same as ἀντιμισθία or μισθός, anything which is due as a matter of debt. But the gift of God, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, the free, unmerited gift of God, is eternal life. The connection between holiness and life is no less certain than that between sin and death, but on different grounds. Sin deserves death; holiness is itself the gift of God, and is freely crowned with eternal life. The idea of merit is everywhere and in every way excluded from the gospel method of salvation. It is a system of grace, from the beginning to the consummation. Through (rather in) Jesus Christ our Lord. It is in Christ, as united to him, that we are made partakers of eternal life. Jesus Christ and his gospel, then, instead of being the ministers of sin — as the Jews, and since them, the opponents of the doctrines of grace, confidently asserted — effectually secure what the law never could accomplish, an obedience resulting in holiness here, and in eternal life hereafter.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through — “in”

Jesus Christ our Lord — This concluding verse – as pointed as it is brief – contains the marrow, the most fine gold, of the Gospel. As the laborer is worthy of his hire, and feels it to be his due – his own of right – so is death the due of sin, the wages the sinner has well wrought for, his own. But “eternal life” is in no sense or degree the wages of our righteousness; we do nothing whatever to earn or become entitled to it, and never can: it is therefore, in the most absolute sense, “THE GIFT OF GOD.” Grace reigns in the bestowal of it in every case, and that “in Jesus Christ our Lord,” as the righteous Channel of it. In view of this, who that hath tasted that the Lord is gracious can refrain from saying, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!” (Rev_1:5, Rev_1:6).

Note,
(1) As the most effectual refutation of the oft-repeated calumny, that the doctrine of Salvation by grace encourages to continue in sin, is the holy life of those who profess it, let such ever feel that the highest service they can render to that Grace which is all their hope, is to “yield themselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and their members instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom_6:12, Rom_6:13). By so doing they will “put to silence the ignorance of foolish men,” secure their own peace, carry out the end of their calling, and give substantial glory to Him that loved them.

(2) The fundamental principle of Gospel obedience is as original as it is divinely rational; that “we are set free from the law in order to keep it, and are brought graciously under servitude to the law in order to be free” (Rom_6:14, Rom_6:15, Rom_6:18). So long as we know no principle of obedience but the terrors of the law, which condemns all the breakers of it, and knows nothing whatever of grace, either to pardon the guilty or to purify the stained, we are shut up under a moral impossibility of genuine and acceptable obedience: whereas when Grace lifts us out of this state, and through union to a righteous Surety, brings us into a state of conscious reconciliation, and loving surrender of heart to a God of salvation, we immediately feel the glorious liberty to be holy, and the assurance that “Sin shall not have dominion over us” is as sweet to our renewed tastes and aspirations as the ground of it is felt to be firm, “because we are not under the Law, but under Grace.”

(3) As this most momentous of all transitions in the history of a man is wholly of God’s free grace, the change should never be thought, spoken, or written of but with lively thanksgiving to Him who so loved us (Rom_6:17).

(4) Christians, in the service of God, should emulate their former selves in the zeal and steadiness with which they served sin, and the length to which they went in it (Rom_6:19).

(5) To stimulate this holy rivalry, let us often “look back to the rock whence we were hewn, the hole of the pit whence we were digged,” in search of the enduring advantages and permanent satisfactions which the service of Sin yielded; and when we find to our “shame” only gall and wormwood, let us follow a godless life to its proper “end,” until, finding ourselves in the territories of “death,” we are fain to hasten back to survey the service of Righteousness, that new Master of all believers, and find Him leading us sweetly into abiding “holiness,” and landing us at length in “everlasting life” (Rom_6:20-22).

(6) Death and life are before all men who hear the Gospel: the one, the natural issue and proper reward of sin; the other, the absolutely free “GIFT OF GOD” to sinners, “in Jesus Christ our Lord.” And as the one is the conscious sense of the hopeless loss of all blissful existence, so the other is the conscious possession and enjoyment of all that constitutes a rational creature’s highest “life” for evermore (Rom_6:23). Ye that read or hear these words, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live!” (Deu_30:19).

Albert Barnes
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin – The word translated here “wages” ὀψώνια opsōnia properly denotes what is purchased to be eaten with bread, as fish, flesh, vegetables, etc. (Schleusner); and thence, it means the pay of the Roman soldier, because formerly it was the custom to pay the soldier in these things. It means hence, what a man earns or deserves; what is his proper pay, or what he merits. As applied to sin, it means that death is what sin deserves; what will be its proper reward. Death is thus called the wages of sin, not because it is an arbitrary, undeserved appointment, but

(1) Because it is its proper desert. Not a pain will be inflicted on the sinner which he does not deserve. Not a sinner will die who ought not to die. Sinners even in hell will be treated just as they deserve to be treated; and there is not to man a more fearful and terrible consideration than this. No man can conceive a more dreadful doom than for himself to be treated forever just as he deserves to be. But,

(2) This is the wages of sin, because, like the pay of the soldier, it is just what was threatened, Eze_18:4, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” God will not inflict anything more than was threatened, and therefore it is just.

Is death – This stands opposed here to eternal life, and proves that one is just as enduring as the other.

But the gift of God – Not the wages of man; not what is due to him; but the mere gift and mercy of God. The apostle is careful to distinguish, and to specify thai this is not what man deserves, but what is gratuitously conferred on him; Note, Rom_6:15.

Eternal life – The same words which in Rom_6:22 are rendered “everlasting life.” The phrase is opposed to death; and proves incontestably that that means eternal death. We may remark, therefore,

(1) That the one will be as long as the other.

(2) as there is no doubt about the duration of life, so there can be none about the duration of death. The one will be rich, blessed, everlasting; the other sad, gloomy, lingering, awful, eternal.

(3) if the sinner is lost, he will deserve to die. He will have his reward. He will suffer only what shall be the just due of sin. He will not be a martyr in the cause of injured innocence. He will not have the compassion of the universe in his favor. He will have no one to take his part against God. He will suffer just as much, and just as long, as he ought to suffer. He will suffer as the culprit pines in the dungeon, or as the murderer dies on the gibbet, because this is the proper reward of sin.

(4) they who are saved will be raised to heaven, not because they merit it, but by the rich and sovereign grace of God. All their salvation will be ascribed to him; and they will celebrate his mercy and grace forever.

(5) it becomes us, therefore, to flee from the wrath to come. No man is so foolish and so wicked as he who is willing to reap the proper wages of sin. None so blessed as he who has part in the mercy of God, and who lays hold on eternal life.

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The More Things Change…

Lack of Steadfastness

Once this world was so steadfast and so stable

That a man’s word was his obligation,

And now it is so false and mutable,

That word and deed, in their conclusion,

Are unalike, for so turned upside down

Is all this world, by gain and selfishness,

That all is lost for lack of steadfastness.

What makes this world of ours so variable

But the pleasure folk take in dissension?

Amongst us now a man is thought unable,

Unless he can, by some vile collusion,

Wrong his neighbour, or wreak his oppression.

What causes this but such wilful baseness,

That all is lost for lack of steadfastness?

Truth is put down: reason is held a fable;

Virtue has now no domination,

Pity is exiled, no man is merciful.

Through greed men blind discretion;

The world has made such a permutation

Of right to wrong, truth to fickleness,

That all is lose for lack of steadfastness.

Envoy (to King Richard II)

O Prince, desire to be honourable,

Cherish your folk, and hate extortion!

Order that nothing which may prove shameful

To your office, be done in your kingdom.

Show openly your sword of castigation,

Dread God: seek law, love truth and worthiness,

And wed your folk again to steadfastness.

By Geoffrey Chaucer (d. 1400 AD)

Translated by A.S. Kline

Romans Chapter 5:1-11, 15, 20-21 Antique Commentary Quotes

John Calvin
Romans 5:1
1.Being then justified, etc. The Apostle begins to illustrate by the effects, what he has hitherto said of the righteousness of faith: and hence the whole of this chapter is taken up with amplifications, which are no less calculated to explain than to confirm. He had said before, that faith is abolished, if righteousness is sought by works; and in this case perpetual inquietude would disturb miserable souls, as they can find nothing substantial in themselves: but he teaches us now, that they are rendered quiet and tranquil, when we have obtained righteousness by faith, we have peace with God; and this is the peculiar fruit of the righteousness of faith. When any one strives to seek tranquillity of conscience by works, (which is the case with profane and ignorant men,) he labors for it in vain; for either his heart is asleep through his disregard or forgetfulness of God’s judgment, or else it is full of trembling and dread, until it reposes on Christ, who is alone our peace.

Then peace means tranquillity of conscience, which arises from this, — that it feels itself to be reconciled to God. This the Pharisee has not, who swells with false confidence in his own works; nor the stupid sinner, who is not disquieted, because he is inebriated with the sweetness of vices: for though neither of these seems to have a manifest disquietude, as he is who is smitten with a consciousness of sin; yet as they do not really approach the tribunal of God, they have no reconciliation with him; for insensibility of conscience is, as it were, a sort of retreating from God. Peace with God is opposed to the dead security of the flesh, and for this reason, — because the first thing is, that every one should become awakened as to the account he must render of his life; and no one can stand boldly before God, but he who relies on a gratuitous reconciliation; for as long as he is God, all must otherwise tremble and be confounded. And this is the strongest of proofs, that our opponents do nothing but prate to no purpose, when they ascribe righteousness to works; for this conclusion of Paul is derived from this fact, — that miserable souls always tremble, except they repose on the grace of Christ.

Matthew Henry
Romans 5:1
I. We have peace with God, Rom_5:1. It is sin that breeds the quarrel between us and God, creates not only a strangeness, but an enmity; the holy righteous God cannot in honour be at peace with a sinner while he continues under the guilt of sin. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. And such are the benignity and good-will of God to man that, immediately upon the removing of that obstacle, the peace is made. By faith we lay hold of God’s arm and of his strength, and so are at peace, Isa_27:4, Isa_27:5. There is more in this peace than barely a cessation of enmity, there is friendship and loving-kindness, for God is either the worst enemy or the best friend. Abraham, being justified by faith, was called the friend of God (Jam_2:23), which was his honour, but not his peculiar honour: Christ has called his disciples friends, Joh_15:13-15. And surely a man needs no more to make him happy than to have God his friend! But this is through our Lord Jesus Christ – through him as the great peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man, that blessed Day’s-man that has laid his hand upon us both. Adam, in innocency, had peace with God immediately; there needed no such mediator. But to guilty sinful man it is a very dreadful thing to think of God out of Christ; for he is our peace, Eph_2:14, not only the maker, but the matter and maintainer, of our peace, Col_1:20.

Charles Hodge
Rom_5:1
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God; that is, we are reconciled to God. We are no longer the objects of God’s displeasure, his favor having been propitiated by the death of his Son, Rom_5:10. As a consequence of this reconciliation, we have conscious peace with God, that is, we have neither any longer the present upbraidings of an unappeased conscience, nor the dread of divine vengeance. Both these ideas are included in the peace here spoken of. The latter, however, is altogether the more prominent.

The phrase εἰρήνην ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, we have peace in regard to God, properly means, God is at peace with us, his ὁργή (wrath) towards us is removed. It expresses, as Philippi says, “not a state of mind, but a relation to God.” It is that relation which arises from the expiation of sin, and consequently justification. We are no longer his enemies, in the objective sense of the term (see Rom_5:10), but are the objects of his favor. The whole context still treats of reconciliation and propitiation, of the removal of the wrath of God by the death of his Son, and not of inward sanctification. It is true that the immediate and certain effect of God’s reconciliation to us is our reconciliation to him. If he is at peace with us, we have inward peace. Conscience is only the reflection of his countenance, the echo, often feeble and indistinct, often terribly clear and unmistakable, of his judgment; and therefore subjective peace uniformly attends faith in the love of God, or assurance of our justification. Although, therefore, the primary idea of the apostle is, that God is at peace with us, it is nevertheless true that inward tranquility of mind is the fruit of justification by faith. It is peculiarly an evangelical doctrine, that pious affections are the fruit of this reconciliation to God, and not the cause of it. Paul says this peace is the result of justification by faith. He who relies on his works for justification, can have no peace. He can neither remove the displeasure of God, nor quiet the apprehension of punishment. Peace is not the result of mere gratuitous forgiveness, but of justification, of a reconciliation founded upon atonement. The enlightened conscience is never satisfied until it sees that God can be just in justifying the ungodly; that sin has been punished, the justice of God satisfied, his law honored and vindicated. It is when he thus sees justice and mercy embracing each other, that the believer has that peace which passes all understanding; that sweet quiet of the soul in which deep humility, in view of personal unworthiness, is mingled with the warmest gratitude to that Savior by whose blood God’s justice has been satisfied, and conscience appeased. Hence Paul says we have this peace through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not through ourselves in any way, neither by our own merit, nor our own efforts. It is all of grace. It is all through Jesus Christ. And this the justified soul is ever anxious to acknowledge.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 5:1
Rom_5:1-11. The blessed effects of justification by faith.
The proof of this doctrine being now concluded, the apostle comes here to treat of its fruits, reserving the full consideration of this topic to another stage of the argument (Rom_8:1-39).

Therefore being — “having been.”

justified by faith, we have peace with God, etc. — If we are to be guided by manuscript authority, the true reading here, beyond doubt, is, “Let us have peace”; a reading, however, which most reject, because they think it unnatural to exhort men to have what it belongs to God to give, because the apostle is not here giving exhortations, but stating matters of fact. But as it seems hazardous to set aside the decisive testimony of manuscripts, as to what the apostle did write, in favor of what we merely think he ought to have written, let us pause and ask – If it be the privilege of the justified to “have peace with God,” why might not the apostle begin his enumeration of the fruits of justification by calling on believers to “realize” this peace as belonged to them, or cherish the joyful consciousness of it as their own? And if this is what he has done, it would not be necessary to continue in the same style, and the other fruits of justification might be set down, simply as matters of fact. This “peace” is first a change in God’s relation to us; and next, as the consequence of this, a change on our part towards Him. God, on the one hand, has “reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ” (2Co_5:18); and we, on the other hand, setting our seal to this, “are reconciled to God” (2Co_5:20). The “propitiation” is the meeting-place; there the controversy on both sides terminates in an honorable and eternal “peace.”

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 5:1
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of the ecomen of the Textus Receptus, an overwhelming preponderance of authority, including uncials, versions, and Fathers, supports ecwmen (“let us have”). If this be the true reading, the expression must be intended as hortatory, meaning, apparently, “Let us appreciate and realize our peace with God which we have in being justified by faith.” But hortation here does not appear in keeping with what follows, in which the results of our being justified by faith are described in terms clearly, corresponding with the idea of our having peace with God. The passage as a whole is not hortatory, but descriptive, and “we have peace” comes in naturally as an initiatory statement of what is afterwards carried out. This being the case, it is a question whether an exception may not be allowed in this case to the usually sound rule of bowing to decided preponderance of authority with respect to readings. That ecwmen was an early and widely accepted reading there can be no doubt; but still it may not have been the original one, the other appearing more probable. Scrivener is of opinion that “the itacism of w for o , so familiar to all collators of Greek manuscripts, crept into some very early copy, from which it was propagated among our most venerable codices, even those from which the earliest versions were made.

Vers. 1, 2. Christian privilege.
There has been laid, in the preceding chapters, a firm foundation for the doctrines, promises, and precepts recorded here. The apostle has depicted human sin, misery, and helplessness; has shown how impossible it is that man should be justified by the works of the Law, and that his sole hope lies in the free mercy of God; and has set forth Christ Jesus crucified and raised as the ground upon which Divine favour is extended to the penitent and believing, justifying this method of procedure as in harmony with the universal administration of the Divine government. If we take, with the Revised Version, the verbs in these verses as in the imperative mood, they then contain a summons to all true Christians to appropriate the spiritual privileges secured to them by the Author of eternal salvation.

I We have here a STATEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN”S POSITION.

1. What is it? Justification; a state of acceptance with God, who, for Christ”s sake, regards and treats the believer in Jesus as righteous, and not as guilty. Until the conscience is assured of Divine favour and forgiveness there is no solid peace.

2. Who secures it? Jesus Christ. Although Paul has already shown this at length, he refers again in both these verses to the Redeemer, to whom we owe justification, and all the blessings which follow in its train. It is through him that we “have had our introduction into this grace.

3. How is it obtained? By faith. Christ has done all that is necessary, on his part, to secure our salvation. But there is needed something upon our part. We have to receive upon the Divine terms, as a free gift, the greatest of all blessings. It is a spiritual act and attitude and exercise, indispensable to the new life.

4. By what title is it held? By that of grace; it is gratuitous. This is for our advantage; for no question is raised as to our fitness. The only question is as to God”s faithfulness; and this is not only pledged, but absolutely sure.

II We have here a REPRESENTATION OF THE CHRISTIAN”S PRESENT PRIVILEGE, “We have,” says the apostle,” or rather, “let us have peace with God.

1. This is the peace of submission. The sinner is at enmity with God. In becoming a Christian, he lays down the weapons of rebellion, and ceases from his opposition to rightful authority It is a complete reversal of his former attitude.

2. This is also the peace of reconciliation. Concord is established. Divine rule is cordially accepted, Divine principles acknowledged, Divine precepts obeyed. The Christian takes God”s will for his will; and this is true peace.

3. It is, further, the peace of confidence. Nations are sometimes on the footing, with respect to one another, of an armed truce. Very different is the relation between the God of peace and his reconciled, obedient subjects; for they can rest in the assured enjoyment of his favour. Therefore theirs is a peace which passeth understanding, and a peace which is never to be violated.

A.T. Robertson
Romans 5:1
Being therefore justified by faith (dikaiōthentes oun ek pisteōs). First aorist passive participle of dikaioō, to set right and expressing antecedent action to the verb echōmen. The oun refers to the preceding conclusive argument (chapters 1 to 4) that this is done by faith.

Let us have peace with God (eirēnēn echōmen pros ton theon). This is the correct text beyond a doubt, the present active subjunctive, not echomen (present active indicative) of the Textus Receptus which even the American Standard Bible accepts. It is curious how perverse many real scholars have been on this word and phrase here. Godet, for instance. Vincent says that “it is difficult if not impossible to explain it.” One has only to observe the force of the tense to see Paul’s meaning clearly. The mode is the volitive subjunctive and the present tense expresses linear action and so does not mean “make peace” as the ingressive aorist subjunctive eirēnēn schōmen would mean. A good example of schōmen occurs in Mat_21:38 (schōmen tēn klēronomian autou) where it means: “Let us get hold of his inheritance.” Here eirēnēn echōmen can only mean: “Let us enjoy peace with God” or “Let us retain peace with God.” We have in Act_9:31 eichen eirēnēn (imperfect and so linear), the church “enjoyed peace,” not “made peace.” The preceding justification (dikaiōthentes) “made peace with God.” Observe pros (face to face) with ton theon and dia (intermediate agent) with tou kuriou.

R.B. Terry
Romans 5:1 :
TEXT: “since we are declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God”
EVIDENCE: Sa B3 G P Psi 0220vid 104 365 1241 1506 1739 1881 2464 2495 some Byz Lect two lat some vg syr(h) cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEBn TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: “since we are declared righteous by faith, let us have peace with God”
EVIDENCE: S* A B* C D K 33 81 630 1175 some Byz most lat most vg syr(p,pal) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NASVn NIVn NEB TEVn
COMMENTS: The difference between the two readings is that between a short “o” and a long “o.” The variation probably arose due to a mistake of the ear. The UBS Textual Committee judged that the statement “we have peace” is more appropriate here than the exhortation “let us have peace.”

Marvin Vincent
Romans 5:1
We have (ἔχομεν)
The true reading is ἔχωμεν let us have; but it is difficult if not impossible to explain it. Godet says: “No exegete has been able satisfactorily to account for this imperative suddenly occurring in the midst of a didactic development.” Some explain as a concessive subjunctive, we may have; but the use of this in independent sentences is doubtful. Others give the deliberative sense, shall we have; but this occurs only in doubtful questions, as Rom_6:1. A similar instance is found Heb_12:28. “Let us have grace,” where the indicative might naturally be expected. Compare also the disputed reading, let us bear, 1Co_15:49, and see note there.

Peace (εἰρήνην)
Not contentment, satisfaction, quiet, see Phi_4:7; but the state of reconciliation as opposed to enmity (Rom_5:10).

With God (πρός)
See on with God, Joh_1:1.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:1
Therefore – οὖν oun Since we are thus justified, or as a consequence of being justified, we have peace.

Being justified by faith – See the notes at Rom_1:17; Rom_3:24; Rom_4:5.

We – That is, all who are justified. The apostle is evidently speaking of true Christians.

Have peace with God – see the note at Joh_14:27. True religion is often represented as peace with God; see Act_10:36; Rom_8:6; Rom_10:15; Rom_14:17; Gal_5:22; see also Isa_32:17: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace, And the effect of righteousness. Quietness and assurance forever:”

This is called peace, because,

(1) The sinner is represented as the enemy of God, Rom_8:7; Eph_2:16; Jam_4:4; Joh_15:18, Joh_15:24; Joh_17:14; Rom_1:30.

(2) the state of a sinner’s mind is far from peace. He is often agitated, alarmed, trembling. He feels that he is alienated from God. For, “The wicked are like the troubled sea. For it never can be at rest;Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” Isa_57:20.

The sinner in this state regards God as his enemy. He trembles when he thinks of his Law; fears his judgments; is alarmed when he thinks of hell. His bosom is a stranger to peace. This has been felt in all lands, alike under the thunders of the Law of Sinai among the Jews; in the pagan world; and in lands where the gospel is preached. It is the effect of an alarmed and troubled conscience.

(3) the plan of salvation by Christ reveals God as willing to be reconciled. He is ready to pardon, and to be at peace. If the sinner repents and believes, God can now consistently forgive him, and admit him to favor. It is therefore a plan by which the mind of God and of the sinner can become reconciled, or united in feeling and in purpose. The obstacles on the part of God to reconciliation, arising from his justice and Law, have been removed, and he is now willing to be at peace. The obstacles on the part of man, arising from his sin, his rebellion, and his conscious guilt, may be taken away, and he can now regard God as his friend.

(4) the effect of this plan, when the sinner embraces it, is to produce peace in his own mind. He experiences peace; a peace which the world gives not, and which the world cannot take away, Phi_4:7; 1Pe_1:8; Joh_16:22. Usually in the work of conversion to God, this peace is the first evidence that is felt of the change of heart. Before, the sinner was agitated and troubled. But often suddenly, a peace and calmness is felt, which is before unknown. The alarm subsides; the heart is calm; the fears die away, like the waves of the ocean after a storm. A sweet tranquillity visits the heart – a pure shining light, like the sunbeams that break through the opening clouds after a tempest. The views, the feelings, the desires are changed; and the bosom that was just before filled with agitation and alarm, that regarded God as its enemy, is now at peace with him, and with all the world.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ – By means of the atonement of the Lord Jesus. It is his mediation that has procured it.

John Calvin
Romans 5:2
2.Through whom we have access, etc. Our reconciliation with God depends only on Christ; for he only is the beloved Son, and we are all by nature the children of wrath. But this favor is communicated to us by the gospel; for the gospel is the ministry of reconciliation, by the means of which we are in a manner brought into the kingdom of God. Rightly then does Paul set before our eyes in Christ a sure pledge of God’s favor, that he might more easily draw us away from every confidence in works. And as he teaches us by the wordaccess, that salvation begins with Christ, he excludes those preparations by which foolish men imagine that they can anticipate God’s mercy; as though he said, “Christ comes not to you, nor helps you, on account of your merits.” He afterwards immediately subjoins, that it is through the continuance of the same favor that our salvation becomes certain and sure; by which he intimates, that perseverance is not founded on our power and diligence, but on Christ; though at the same time by saying, that we stand, he indicates that the gospel ought to strike deep roots into the hearts of the godly, so that being strengthened by its truth, they may stand firm against all the devices of Satan and of the flesh. And by the word stand, he means, that faith is not a changeable persuasion, only for one day; but that it is immutable, and that it sinks deep into the heart, so that it endures through life. It is then not he, who by a sudden impulse is led to believe, that has faith, and is to be reckoned among the faithful; but he who constantly, and, so to speak, with a firm and fixed foot, abides in that station appointed to him by God, so as to cleave always to Christ.

And glory in the hope, etc. The reason that the hope of a future life exists and dares to exult, is this, — because we rest on God’s favor as on a sure foundation: for Paul’s meaning is, that though the faithful are now pilgrims on the earth, they yet by hope scale the heavens, so that they quietly enjoy in their own bosoms their future inheritance. And hereby are subverted two of the most pestilent dogmas of the sophists. What they do in the first place is, they bid Christians to be satisfied with moral conjecture as to the perception of God’s favor towards them; and secondly, they teach that all are uncertain as to their final perseverance; but except there be at present sure knowledge, and a firm and undoubting persuasion as to the future, who would dare to glory? The hope of the glory of God has shone upon us through the gospel, which testifies that we shall be participators of the Divine nature; for when we shall see God face to face, we shall be like him. (2Pe_1:4; 1Jo_3:2.)

Matthew Henry
Rom 5:2
II. We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, Rom_5:2. This is a further privilege, not only peace, but grace, that is, this favour. Observe,

1. The saints’ happy state. It is a state of grace, God’s loving-kindness to us and our conformity to God; he that hath God’s love and God’s likeness is in a state of grace. Now into this grace we have access prosagōgēn – an introduction, which implies that we were not born in this state; we are by nature children of wrath, and the carnal mind is enmity against God; but we are brought into it. We could not have got into it of ourselves, nor have conquered the difficulties in the way, but we have a manuduction, a leading by the hand, – are led into it as blind, or lame, or weak people are led, – are introduced as pardoned offenders, – are introduced by some favourite at court to kiss the king’s hand, as strangers, that are to have audience, are conducted. Prosagōgēn eschēkamen – We have had access. He speaks of those that have been already brought out of a state of nature into a state of grace. Paul, in his conversion, had this access; then he was made nigh. Barnabas introduced him to the apostles (Act_9:27), and there were others that led him by the hand to Damascus (Rom_5:8), but it was Christ that introduced and led him by the hand into this grace. By whom we have access by faith. By Christ as the author and principal agent, by faith as the means of this access. Not by Christ in consideration of any merit or desert of ours, but in consideration of our believing dependence upon him and resignation of ourselves to him.

2. Their happy standing in this state: wherein we stand. Not only wherein we are, but wherein we stand, a posture that denotes our discharge from guilt; we stand in the judgment (Psa_1:5), not cast, as convicted criminals, but our dignity and honour secured, not thrown to the ground, as abjects. The phrase denotes also our progress; while we stand, we are going. We must not lie down, as if we had already attained, but stand as those that are pressing forward, stand as servants attending on Christ our master. The phrase denotes, further, our perseverance: we stand firmly and safely, upheld by the power of God; stand as soldiers stand, that keep their ground, not borne down by the power of the enemy. It denotes not only our admission to, but our confirmation in, the favour of God. It is not in the court of heaven as in earthly courts, where high places are slippery places: but we stand in a humble confidence of this very thing that he who has begun the good work will perform it, Phi_1:6.

III. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Besides the happiness in hand, there is a happiness in hope, the glory of God, the glory which God will put upon the saints in heaven, glory which will consist in the vision and fruition of God. 1. Those, and those only, that have access by faith into the grace of God now may hope for the glory of God hereafter. There is no good hope of glory but what is founded in grace; grace is glory begun, the earnest and assurance of glory. He will give grace and glory, Psa_84:11. 2. Those who hope for the glory of God hereafter have enough to rejoice in now. It is the duty of those that hope for heaven to rejoice in that hope.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:2
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace, etc. This verse admits of different interpretations. According to one view, it introduces a new and higher benefit than peace with God, as the consequence of our justification: ‘We have not only peace, but access (to God), and joyful confidence of salvation.’ Besides other objections to this interpretation, it overlooks the difference between ἔχομεν and ἐσχήκαμεν, rendering both, we have: ‘We have peace, and we have access;’ whereas ἐσχήκαμεν is properly, we have had. This clause, therefore, instead of indicating an additional and higher blessing than the peace spoken of in Rom_5:1, expresses the ground of that peace: ‘We have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom also we have had access into this grace.’ So Meyer, Philippi, etc. ‘We are indebted to Christ not only for peace, but also for access to this grace, (this state of justification,) which is the ground of our peace.’ The word προσαγωγή means either introduction or access. In Eph_2:18; and Eph_3:12, it has the latter meaning, which may be retained here. In both the other places in which it occurs, it is used of access to God. Many commentators so understand it in this place, and therefore put a comma after ἐσχήκαμεν, and connect πίστει with εἰς τὴν χάριν ταύτην. The sense would then be, ‘Through whom also we have had access to God, by faith on this grace.’ The objections to this explanation are, that it supposes an omission in the text, and that the expression “faith on the grace,” has no scriptural analogy. The obviously natural construction is to connect προσαγωγήν with εἰς τὴν χάριν ταύτην, as is done in our version, and by the great majority of commentators, and to take τῇ πίστει instrumentally, by faith. The grace to which we have access, or into which we have been introduced, is the state of justification. The fact, therefore, that we are justified, we, rather than others, is not due to anything in us. We did not open the way, or introduce ourselves into this state. We were brought into it by Christ. “Accessûs quidem nomine initium salutis a Christo esse docens, preparationes excludit, quibus stulti homines Dei misericordiam se antevertere putant; acsi diceret, Christum nihil promeritis obviam venire manumque porrigere.” Calvin.

In which we stand. The antecedent of the relative (ᾗ) is not πίστει, but χάριν; in which grace we stand; that is, we are firm; and immovably established. So in Joh_8:44, it is said of Satan, that he stood not (οὐχ ἓστηκεν) in the truth, did not remain steadfast therein. 1Co_15:1, “Wherein ye stand,” 2Co_1:24. The state, therefore, into which the believer is introduced by Christ, is not a precarious one. He has not only firm ground on which to stand, but he has strength divinely imparted to enable him to keep his foothold.

And rejoice in hope of the glory of God. The word καυχάομαι is one of Paul’s favorite terms. It properly means to talk of one’s self, to praise one’s self, to boast; then to congratulate one’s self, to speak of ourselves as glorious or blessed; and then to felicitate ourselves in anything as a ground of confidence and source of honor and blessedness. Men are commanded not to glory (καυχᾶσθαι) in themselves, or in men, or in the flesh, but in God alone. In this passage the word may be rendered, to rejoice, ‘we rejoice in hope.’ Still something more than mere joy is intended. It is a glorying, a self-felicitation and exultation, in view of the exaltation and blessedness which Christ has secured for us.

In hope of the glory of God. The object or ground of the rejoicing or boasting expressed by this verb is indicated here by ἐπί; commonly, in the New Testament, the matter of the boasting is indicated by ἐν, sometimes by ὑπέρ and περί. The glory of God may mean that glory which God gives, or that glory which he possesses. In either case, it refers to the exaltation and blessedness secured to the believer, who is to share in the glory of his divine Redeemer. “The glory which thou gavest me,” said our Lord, “I have given them,” Joh_7:22. There is a joyful confidence expressed in these words, an assurance of ultimate salvation, which is the appropriate effect of justification. We are authorized and bound to feel sure that, having through Jesus Christ been reconciled to God, we shall certainly be saved. This is only a becoming confidence in the merit of his sacrifice, and in the sincerity of God’s love. This confidence is not founded on ourselves, neither on the preposterous idea that we deserve the favor of God, nor the equally preposterous idea that we have in ourselves strength to persevere in faith or obedience. Our confidence is solely on the merit of Christ, and the gratuitous and infinite love of God. Although this assurance is the legitimate effect of reconciliation, and the want of it is evidence of weakness, still in this, as in other respects, the actual state of the believer generally falls far short of the ideal. He ever lives below his privileges, and goes limping and halting, when he should mount up as with the wings of the eagle. Still it is important for him to know that assurance is not an unseemly presumption, but a privilege and duty.

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 5:2 Through whom also we have (rather, have had edchkamenreferring to the past time of conversion and baptism, but with the idea of continuance expressed by the perfect) the (or, our) access by faith (the words, “by faith,” which are not required, are absent from many manuscripts) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice (properly, glory, kaucwmeya , the same word as in the following verse, and most usually so rendered elsewhere, though sometimes by “boast.” Our translators seem in this verse to have departed from their usual rendering because of the substantive “glory,” in a different sense, which follows) in hope of the glory of God. Prosagwgh (translated “access”) occurs in the same sense in Eph_2:18 and Eph_3:12; in both cases, as here, with the article, so as to denote some well-known access or approach. It means the access to the holy God, which had been barred by sin, but which has been opened to us through Christ. (cf. Heb_10:19) It is a question whether eiv thrin is properly taken (as in the Authorized Version) in immediate connection with prosagwghn , as denoting that into which we have our access. In Eph_2:18 the word is followed by the more suitable preposition prov , the phrase being, “access to the Father;” and this may be understood here, the sense being, “We have through Christ our access (to the Father) unto (i.e. so as to result in) the state of grace and acceptance in which we now stand.” As to “the glory of God,” see above Rom_3:23. Here our hoped-for future participation in the Divine glory is more distinctly intimated by the words, ep elpidi . This last phrase bears the same sense as in 1Co_9:10, and probably in Rom_4:18 above. It does not mean that hope is that wherein we glory, but that, being in a state of hope, we glory.

R.B. Terry
Romans 5:2 :
TEXT: “we also have obtained access by faith to this grace”
EVIDENCE: S*,c {Sa A (“in faith”)} C K P Psi 33 81 104 630 1241 1739 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat vg syr cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSVn NASV NIV TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: “we also have obtained access to this grace”
EVIDENCE: B D G 0220 four lat cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NEB
COMMENTS: The words “by faith” are enclosed in brackets in the UBS text. Although it is possible that they were added by copyists, it is also possible that they were omitted by copyists as redundant following verse 1. The reading “in faith” seems to be due to a mistake of the eye. The Greek word for “we have obtained” which is found right before “faith” ends in the same two letters that spell the Greek word for “in.” Apparently copyists saw these letters twice, once as the end of the word and once as the word “in.”

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:2
We have access – See the note at Joh_14:6, “I am the way,” etc. Doddridge renders it, “by whom we have been introduced,” etc. It means, “by whom we have the privilege of obtaining the favor of God which we enjoy when we are justified.” The word rendered “access” occurs but in two other places in the New Testament, Eph_2:18; Eph_3:12. By Jesus Christ the way is opened for us to obtain the favor of God.

By faith – By means of faith, Rom_1:17.

Into this grace – Into this favor of reconciliation with God.

Wherein we stand – In which we now are in consequence of being justified.

And rejoice – Religion is often represented as producing joy, Isa_12:3; Isa_35:10; Isa_52:9; Isa_61:3, Isa_61:7; Isa_65:14, Isa_65:18; Joh_16:22, Joh_16:24; Act_13:52; Rom_14:17; Gal_5:22; 1Pe_1:8. The sources or steps of this joy are these:

(1) We are justified, or regarded by God as righteous.

(2) we are admitted into his favor, and abide there.

(3) we have the prospect of still higher and richer blessings in the fulness of his glory when we are admitted to heaven.

In hope – In the earnest desire and expectation of obtaining that glory. Hope is a complex emotion made up of a desire for an object; and an expectation of obtaining it. Where either of these is lacking, there is not hope. Where they are mingled in improper proportions, there is not peace. But where the desire of obtaining an object is attended with an expectation of obtaining it, in proportion to that desire, there exists that peaceful, happy state of mind which we denominate hope And the apostle here implies that the Christian has an earnest desire for that glory; and that he has a confident expectation of obtaining it. The result of that he immediately states to be, that we are by it sustained in our afflictions.

The glory of God – The glory that God will bestow on us. The word “glory” usually means splendor, magnificence, honor; and the apostle here refers to that honor and dignity which will be conferred on the redeemed when they are raised up to the full honors of redemption; when they shall triumph in the completion of the work: and be freed from sin, and pain, and tears, and permitted to participate in the full splendors that shall encompass the throne of God in the heavens; see the note at Luk_2:9; compare Rev_21:22-24; Rev_22:5; Isa_60:19-20.

John Calvin
Romans 5:3
3.Not only so, etc. That no one might scoffingly object and say, that Christians, with all their glorying, are yet strangely harassed and distressed in this life, which condition is far from being a happy one, — he meets this objection, and declares, not only that the godly are prevented by these calamities from being blessed, but also that their glorying is thereby promoted. To prove this he takes his argument from the effects, and adopts a remarkable gradation, and at last concludes, that all the sorrows we endure contribute to our salvation and final good.

By saying that the saints glory in tribulations, he is not to be understood, as though they dreaded not, nor avoided adversities, or were not distressed with their bitterness when they happened, (for there is no patience when there is no feeling of bitterness;) but as in their grief and sorrow they are not without great consolation, because they regard that whatever they bear is dispensed to them for good by the hand of a most indulgent Father, they are justly said to glory: for whenever salvation is promoted, there is not wanting a reason for glorying.
We are then taught here what is the design of our tribulations, if indeed we would prove ourselves to be the children of God. They ought to habituate us to patience; and if they do not answer this end, the work of the Lord is rendered void and of none effect through our corruption: for how does he prove that adversities do not hinder the glorying of the faithful, except that by their patience in enduring them, they feel the help of God, which nourishes and confirms their hope? They then who do not learn patience, do not, it is certain, make good progress. Nor is it any objection, that there are recorded in Scripture some complaints full of despondency, which the saints had made: for the Lord sometimes so depresses and straitens for a time his people, that they can hardly breathe, and can hardly remember any source of consolation; but in a moment he brings to life those whom he had nearly sunk in the darkness of death. So that what Paul says is always accomplished in them — “We are in every way oppressed, but not made anxious; we are in danger, but we are not in despair; we suffer persecution, but we are not forsaken; we are cast down but we are not destroyed.”(2Co_4:8.)

Tribulation produces (efficiat) patience, etc. This is not the natural effect of tribulation; for we see that a great portion of mankind are thereby instigated to murmur against God, and even to curse his name. But when that inward meekness, which is infused by the Spirit of God, and the consolation, which is conveyed by the same Spirit, succeed in the place of our stubbornness, then tribulations become the means of generating patience; yea, those tribulations, which in the obstinate can produce nothing but indignation and clamorous discontent.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:3 -4
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also. Not only do we rejoice in this hope of future glory, but we glory in tribulations also. Since our relation to God is changed, the relation of all things to us is changed. Afflictions, which before were the expressions of God’s displeasure, are now the benevolent and beneficent manifestations of his love. And instead of being inconsistent with our filial relation to him, they serve to prove that he regards and loves us as his children; Rom_8:18; Heb_12:6. Tribulations, therefore, although for the present not joyous, but grievous, become to the believer matter of joy and thankfulness. The words καυχώμεθα ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν do not mean that we glory in the midst of afflictions, but on account of them. They are themselves the matter or ground of the glorying. So the Jews are said to glory (ἐν) in the law, others glory in men, the believer glories in the Lord; so constantly. Afflictions themselves are to the Christian a ground of glorying; he feels them to be an honor and a blessing. This is a sentiment often expressed in the word of God. Our Lord says, “Blessed are they who mourn;” “Blessed are the persecuted;” “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you.” He calls on his suffering disciples to rejoice and be exceeding glad when they are afflicted. Mat_5:4, Mat_5:10-12. The apostles departed from the Jewish council, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ’s name.” Act_5:41. Peter calls upon Christians to rejoice when they are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, and pronounces them happy when they are reproached for his sake. 1Pe_4:13, 1Pe_4:14. And Paul says, “Most gladly therefore will I glory in (on account of) my infirmities,” (i.e. my sufferings.) “I take pleasure,” he says, “in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake.” 2Co_12:9, 2Co_12:10. This is not irrational or fanatical.

Christians do not glory in suffering, as such, or for its own sake, but as the Bible teaches,

1. Because they consider it an honor to suffer for Christ.

2. Because they rejoice in being the occasion of manifesting his power in their support and deliverance; and,

3. Because suffering is made the means of their own sanctification and preparation for usefulness here, and for heaven hereafter.

The last of these reasons is that to which the apostle refers in the context. We glory in afflictions, he says, because affliction worketh patience, ὑπομονή, constancy. It calls into exercise that strength and firmness evinced in patient endurance of suffering, and in perseverance in fidelity to truth and duty, under the severest trials. And this constancy worketh experience, δοκιμή. This word means,

1. Trial, as in 2Co_8:2, “In a great trial of affliction,” i.e. in affliction which is a trial, that which puts men to the test.

2. Evidence or proof, as in 2Co_13:3, “Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me.” Compare 2Co_2:9; Phi_2:22. This would give a good sense here: ‘Constancy produces evidence’ of the fidelity of God, or of our fidelity.

3. The word is used metonymically for the result of trial, i.e. approbation, or that which is proved worthy of approbation: ‘δοκιμή est qualitas ejus, qui est δόκιμος.’ Bengel. It is tried integrity, a state of mind which has stood the test. Compare Jam_1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, (ὃς ὑπομένει πειρασμόν;) for when he is tried (ὃτι δόκιμος γενόμενος) he shall receive the crown of life.” Ὑπομονή, the endurance of trial, therefore, makes a man δόκιμος; in other words, it worketh δοκιμή. It produces a strong, tested faith. Hence the parallel expression, τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως, the trying of your faith. 1Pe_1:7. And this δοκιμή, well tested faith, or this endurance of trial produces hope; tends to confirm and strengthen the hope of the glory of God, which we owe to our justification through Jesus Christ.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 5:3-4
we glory in tribulation also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience — Patience is the quiet endurance of what we cannot but wish removed, whether it be the withholding of promised good (Rom_8:25), or the continued experience of positive ill (as here). There is indeed a patience of unrenewed nature, which has something noble in it, though in many cases the offspring of pride, if not of something lower. Men have been known to endure every form of privation, torture, and death, without a murmur and without even visible emotion, merely because they deemed it unworthy of them to sink under unavoidable ill. But this proud, stoical hardihood has nothing in common with the grace of patience – which is either the meek endurance of ill because it is of God (Job_1:21, Job_1:22; Job_2:10), or the calm waiting for promised good till His time to dispense it come (Heb_10:36); in the full persuasion that such trials are divinely appointed, are the needed discipline of God’s children, are but for a definite period, and are not sent without abundant promises of “songs in the night.” If such be the “patience” which “tribulation worketh,” no wonder that

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:3
And not only so – We not only rejoice in times of prosperity, and of health. Paul proceeds to show that this plan is not less adapted to produce support in trials.

But we glory – The word used here is the same that is in Rom_5:2, translated, “we rejoice” καυχώμεθα kauchōmetha. It should have been so rendered here. The meaning is, that we rejoice not only in hope; not only in the direct results of justification, in the immediate effect which religion itself produces; but we carry our joy and triumph even into the midst of trials. In accordance with this, our Saviour directed his followers to rejoice in persecutions, Mat_5:11-12. Compare Jam_1:2, Jam_1:12.

In tribulations – In afflictions. The word used here refers to all kinds of trials which people are called to endure; though it is possible that Paul referred particularly to the various persecutions and trials which they were called to endure as Christians.

Knowing – Being assured of this. Paul’s assurance might have arisen from reasoning on the nature of religion, and its tendency to produce comfort; or it is more probable that he was speaking here the language of his own experience. He had found it to be so. This was written near the close of his life, and it states the personal experience of a man who endured, perhaps, as much as anyone ever did, in attempting to spread the gospel; and far more than commonly falls to the lot of mankind. Yet he, like all other Christians, could leave his deliberate testimony to the fact that Christianity was sufficient to sustain the soul in its severest trials; see 2Co_1:3-6; 2Co_11:24-29; 2Co_12:9-10.

Worketh – Produces; the effect of afflictions on the minds of Christians is to make them patient. Sinners are irritated and troubled by them; they complain, and become more and more obstinate and rebellious. They have no sources of consolation; they deem God a hard master; and they become fretful and rebellions just in proportion to the depth and continuance of their trials. But in the mind of a Christian, who regards his Father’s hand in it; who sees that he deserves no mercy; who has confidence in the wisdom and goodness of God; who feels that it is necessary for his own good to be afflicted; and who experiences its happy, subduing, and mild effect in restraining his sinful passions, and in weaning him from the world the effect is to produce patience. Accordingly, it will usually be found that those Christians who are longest and most severely afflicted are the most patient. Year after year of suffering produces increased peace and calmness of soul; and at the end of his course the Christian is more willing to be afflicted, and bears his afflictions more calmly, than at the beginning. He who on earth was most afflicted was the most patient of all sufferers; and not less patient when he was “led as a lamb to the slaughter,” than when he experienced the first trial in his great work.

Patience – “A calm temper, which suffers evils without murmuring or discontent” (Webster).

John Calvin
Romans 5:4
4.Patience, probation, etc. James, adopting a similar gradation, seems to follow a different order; for he says, that patience proceeds from probation: but the different meaning of the word is what will reconcile both. Paul takes probation for the experience which the faithful have of the sure protection of God, when by relying on his aid they overcome all difficulties, even when they experience, whilst in patiently enduring they stand firm, how much avails the power of the Lord, which he has promised to be always present with his people. James takes the same word for tribulation itself, according to the common usage of Scripture; for by these God proves and tries his servants: and they are often called trials.

According then to the present passage, we then only make advances in patience as we ought, when we regard it as having been continued to us by God’s power, and thus entertain hope as to the future, that God’s favor, which has ever succored us in our necessities, will never be wanting to us. Hence he subjoins, that from probation arises hope; for ungrateful we should be for benefits received, except the recollection of them confirms our hope as to what is to come.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:4
And patience, experience – Δὀκιμεν, Full proof, by trial, of the truth of our religion, the solidity of our Christian state, and the faithfulness of our God. In such cases we have the opportunity of putting our religion to the test; and, by every such test, it receives the deeper sterling stamp. The apostle uses here also a metaphor taken from the purifying, refining, and testing of silver and gold.

Experience, hope – For we thus calculate, that he who has supported us in the past will support us in those which may yet come; and as we have received so much spiritual profiting by means of the sufferings through which we have already passed, we may profit equally by those which are yet to come: and this hope prevents us from dreading coming trials; we receive them as means of grace, and find that all things work together for good to them that love God.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:4
And patience, experience – Patient endurance of trial produces experience. The word rendered “experience” (δοκιμήν dokimēn) means trial, testing, or that thorough examination by which we ascertain the quality or nature of a thing, as when we test a metal by fire, or in any other way, to ascertain that it is genuine. It also means approbations, or the result of such a trial; the being approved, and accepted as the effect of a trying process. The meaning is, that long afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he is; they test his religion, and prove that it is genuine. Afflictions are often sent for this purpose, and patience in the midst of them shows that the religion which can sustain them is from God.

And experience, hope – The result of such long trial is to produce hope. They show that religion is genuine; that it is from God; and not only so, but they direct the mind onward to another world; and sustain the soul by the prospect of a glorious immortality there. The various steps and stages of the benefits of afflictions are thus beautifully delineated by the apostle in a manner which accords with the experience of all the children of God.

John Calvin
Romans 5:5
5.Hope maketh not ashamed, etc.; that is, it regards salvation as most certain. It hence appears, that the Lord tries us by adversities for this end, — that our salvation may thereby be gradually advanced. Those evils then cannot render us miserable, which do in a manner promote our happiness. And thus is proved what he had said, that the godly have reasons for glorying in the midst of their afflictions.
For the love of God, etc. I do not refer this only to the last sentence, but to the whole of the preceding passage. I therefore would say, — that by tribulations we are stimulated to patience, and that patience finds an experiment of divine help, by which we are more encouraged to entertain hope; for however we may be pressed and seem to be nearly consumed, we do not yet cease to feel God’s favor towards us, which affords the richest consolation, and much more abundant than when all things happen prosperously. For as that happiness, which is so in appearance, is misery itself, when God is adverse to and displeased with us; so when he is propitious, even calamities themselves will surely be turned to a prosperous and a joyful issue. Seeing all things must serve the will of the Creator, who, according to his paternal favor towards us, (as Paul declares in the eighth chapter,) overrules all the trials of the cross for our salvation, this knowledge of divine love towards us is instilled into our hearts to the Spirit of God; for the good things which God has prepared for his servants are hid from the ears and the eyes and the minds of men, and the Spirit alone is he who can reveal them. And the worddiffused, is very emphatical; for it means that the revelation of divine love towards us is so abounding that it fills our hearts; and being thus spread through every part of them, it not only mitigates sorrow in adversities, but also, like a sweet seasoning, it renders tribulations to be loved by us.

He says further, that the Spirit is given, that is, bestowed through the gratuitous goodness of God, and not conferred for our merits; according to what [Augustine ] has well observed, who, though he is mistaken in his view of the love of God, gives this explanation, — that we courageously bear adversities, and are thus confirmed in our hope, because we, having been regenerated by the Spirit, do love God. It is indeed a pious sentiment, but not what Paul means: for love is not to be taken here in an active but a passive sense. And certain it is, that no other thing is taught by Paul than that the true fountain of all love is, when the faithful are convinced that they are loved by God, and that they are not slightly touched with this conviction, but have their souls thoroughly imbued with it.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed – A hope that is not rationally founded will have its expectation cut off; and then shame and confusion will be the portion of its possessor. But our hope is of a different kind; it is founded on the goodness and truth of God; and our religious experience shows us that we have not misapplied it; nor exercised it on wrong or improper objects.

Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts – We have the most solid and convincing testimony of God’s love to us, by that measure of it which he has communicated to our hearts. There, εκκεχυται, it is poured out, and diffused abroad; filling, quickening, and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself. And we know that this is the love of God; it differs widely from all that is earthly and sensual. The Holy Ghost comes with it; by his energy it is diffused and pervades every part; and by his light we discover what it is, and know the state of grace in which we stand. Thus we are furnished to every good word and work; have produced in us the mind that was in Christ; are enabled to obey the pure law of our God in its spiritual sense, by loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our neighbor, any and every soul of man, as ourselves. This is, or ought to be, the common experience of every genuine believer; but, in addition to this, the primitive Christians had, sometimes, the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. These were then needful; and were they needful now, they would be again communicated.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed, (καταισχύνει.) Not to make ashamed, is not to put us to the shame of disappointment. The hope of the believer, says Calvin, “habet certissimum salutis exitum.” It certainly eventuates in salvation. See Rom_9:33. The hope which true believers entertain, founded on the very nature of pious exercises, shall never disappoint them, Psa_22:5. The ground of this assurance, however, is not the strength of our purpose, or confidence in our own goodness, but the love of God. The latter clause of the verse assigns the reason why the Christian’s hope shall not be found delusive; it is because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto us. ‘The love of God’ is his love to us, and not ours to him, as appears from the following verses, in which the apostle illustrates the greatness and freeness of this love, by a reference to the unworthiness of its objects. To shed abroad, (ἐκκέχυται, it has been, and continues to be shed abroad,) is to communicate abundantly, and hence to evince clearly, Act_2:17, Act_10:45; Tit_3:6. This manifestation of divine love is not any external revelation of it in the works of Providence, or even in redemption, but it is in our hearts, ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν, diffused abroad within our hearts, where ἐν in, is not used for εἰς, into. “The love of God,” says Philippi, “does not descend upon us as dew in drops, but as a stream which spreads itself abroad through the whole soul, filling it with the consciousness of his presence and favor. And this inward persuasion that we are the objects of the love of God, is not the mere result of the examination of evidence, nor is it a vain delusion, but it is produced by the Holy Ghost:” The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God,” Rom_8:16; 2Co_1:21, 2Co_1:22; Eph_1:14. As, however, the Spirit never contradicts himself, he never bears witness that “the children of the devil” are the children of God; that is, that the unholy, the disobedient, the proud or malicious, are the objects of the divine favor. Any reference, therefore, by the immoral, to the witness of the Spirit in their favor, must be vain and delusive.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed — putteth not to shame, as empty hopes do.

because the love of God — that is, not “our love to God,” as the Romish and some Protestant expositors (following some of the Fathers) represent it; but clearly “God’s love to us” – as most expositors agree.

is shed abroad — literally, “poured forth,” that is, copiously diffused (compare Joh_7:38; Tit_3:6).

by the Holy Ghost which is — rather, “was.”

given unto us — that is, at the great Pentecostal effusion, which is viewed as the formal donation of the Spirit to the Church of God, for all time and for each believer. (The Holy Ghost is here first introduced in this Epistle.) It is as if the apostle had said, “And how can this hope of glory, which as believers we cherish, put us to shame, when we feel God Himself, by His Spirit given to us, drenching our hearts in sweet, all-subduing sensations of His wondrous love to us in Christ Jesus?” This leads the apostle to expatiate on the amazing character of that love.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed – That is, this hope will not disappoint, or deceive. When we hope for an object which we do not obtain, we are conscious of disappointment; perhaps sometimes of a feeling of shame. But the apostle says that the Christian hope is such that it will be fulfilled; it will not disappoint; what we hope for we shall certainly obtain; see Phi_1:20. The expression used here is probably taken from Psa_22:4-5; Our fathers trusted in thee; They trusted; and thou didst deliver them.They cried unto thee, And were delivered; They trusted in thee, And were not confounded (ashamed).

Because the love of God – Love toward God. There is produced an abundant, an overflowing love to God.

Is shed abroad – Is diffused; is poured out; is abundantly produced ἐκκέχυται ekkechutai. This word is properly applied to water, or to any other liquid that is poured out, or diffused. It is used also to denote imparting, or communicating freely or abundantly, and is thus expressive of the influence of the Holy Spirit poured down, or abundantly imparted to people; Act_10:45. Here it means that love toward God is copiously or abundantly given to a Christian; his heart is conscious of high and abundant love to God, and by this he is sustained in his afflictions.

By the Holy Ghost – It is produced by the influence of the Holy Spirit. All Christian graces are traced to his influence; Gal_5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,” etc.

Which is given unto us – Which Spirit is given or imparted to us. The Holy Spirit is thus represented as dwelling in the hearts of believers; 1Co_6:19; 1Co_3:16; 2Co_6:16. In all these places it is meant that Christians are under his sanctifying influence; that he produces in their hearts the Christian graces; and fills their minds with peace, and love, and joy.

William Sanday
Rom 5:5
5. οὐ καταισχύνει: ‘does not disappoint,’ ‘does not prove illusory.’ The text Isa_28:16 (LXX) caught the attention of the early Christians from the Messianic reference contained in it (‘Behold, I lay in Zion,’ &c.), and the assurance by which this was followed (‘he that believeth shall not be put to shame’) was confirmed to them by their own experience: the verse is directly quoted Rom_9:33 q. v.; 1Pe_2:6.

ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ: certainly ‘the love of God for us,’ not ‘our love for God’ (Theodrt. Aug. and some moderns): ἀγάπη thus comes to mean, ‘our sense of God’s love,’ just as εἰρήνη = ‘our sense of peace with God.’
ἐκκέχυται. The idea of spiritual refreshment and encouragement is usually conveyed in the East through the metaphor of watering. St. Paul seems to have had in his mind Isa_44:3 ‘I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed,’ &c.

διὰ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου: without the art., for the Spirit as imparted, St. Paul refers all his conscious experience of the privileges of Christianity to the operation of the Holy Spirit, dating from the time when he definitively enrolled himself as a Christian, i.e. from his baptism.

John Calvin
Romans 5:6
6.For Christ, etc. I ventured not in my version to allow myself so much liberty as to give this rendering, “In the time in which we were weak;” and yet I prefer this sense. An argument begins here, which is from the greater to the less, and which he afterwards pursues more at large: and though he has not woven the thread of his discourse so very distinctly, yet its irregular structure does not disturb the meaning. “If Christ,” he says, “had mercy on the ungodly, if he reconciled enemies to his Father, if he has done this by the virtue of his death, much more easily will he save them when justified, and keep those restored to favor in the possession of it, especially when the influence of his life is added to the virtue of his death.” The time of weakness some consider to be that, when Christ first began to be manifested to the world, and they think that those are called weak, who were like children under the tuition of the law. I apply the expression to every one of us, and I regard that time to be meant, which precedes the reconciliation of each one with God. For as we are all born the children of wrath, so we are kept under that curse until we become partakers of Christ. And he calls those weak, who have nothing in themselves but what is sinful; for he calls the same immediately afterwards ungodly. And it is nothing new, that weakness should be taken in this sense. He calls, in 1Co_12:22, the covered parts of the body weak; and, in 2Co_10:10, he designates his own bodily presence weak, because it had no dignity. And this meaning will soon again occur. When, therefore, we were weak, that is, when we were in no way worthy or fit that God should look on us, at this very time Christ died for the ungodly: for the beginning of religion is faith, from which they were all alienated, for whom Christ died. And this also is true as to the ancient fathers, who obtained righteousness before he died; for they derived this benefit from his future death.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:6
For when we were yet without strength – The apostle, having pointed out the glorious state of the believing Gentiles, takes occasion to contrast this with their former state; and the means by which they were redeemed from it. Their former state he points out in four particulars; which may be applied to men in general.

I. They were ασθενεις, without strength; in a weak, dying state: neither able to resist sin, nor do any good: utterly devoid of power to extricate themselves from the misery of their situation.

II. They were ασεβεις, ungodly; without either the worship or knowledge of the true God; they had not God in them; and, consequently, were not partakers of the Divine nature: Satan lived in, ruled, and enslaved their hearts.

III. They were ἁμαρτωλοι, sinners, Rom_5:8, aiming at happiness, but constantly missing the mark, which is the ideal meaning of the Hebrew חטא chata, and the Greek ἁμαρτανω. See this explained, Gen_13:13. And in missing the mark, they deviated from the right way; walked in the wrong way; trespassed in thus deviating; and, by breaking the commandments of God, not only missed the mark of felicity, but exposed themselves to everlasting misery.

IV. They were εχθροι enemies, Rom_5:10, from εχθος, hatred, enmity, persons who hated God and holiness; and acted in continual hostility to both. What a gradation is here!

1. In our fall from God, our first apparent state is, that we are without strength; have lost our principle of spiritual power, by having lost the image of God, righteousness and true holiness, in which we were created.

2. We are ungodly, having lost our strength to do good; we have also lost all power to worship God aright. The mind which was made for God is no longer his residence.

3. We are sinners; feeling we have lost our centre of rest, and our happiness, we go about seeking rest, but find none: what we have lost in losing God, we seek in earthly things; and thus are continually missing the mark, and multiplying transgressions against our Maker.

4. We are enemies; sin, indulged, increases in strength; evil acts engender fixed and rooted habits; the mind, every where poisoned with sin, increases in averseness from good; and mere aversion produces enmity; and enmity, acts of hostility, fell cruelty, etc.: so that the enemy of God hates his Maker and his service; is cruel to his fellow creatures; “a foe to God, was ne’er true friend to man;” and even torments his own soul! Though every man brings into the world the seeds of all these evils, yet it is only by growing up in him that they acquire their perfection – nemo repente fuit turpissimus – no man becomes a profligate at once; he arrives at it by slow degrees; and the speed he makes is proportioned to his circumstances, means of gratifying sinful passions, evil education, bad company, etc., etc. These make a great diversity in the moral states of men: all have the same seeds of evil – nemo sine vitiis nascitur – all come defiled into the world; but all have not the same opportunities of cultivating these seeds. Besides, as God’s Spirit is continually convincing the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and the ministers of God are seconding its influence with their pious exhortations, as the Bible is in almost every house, and is less or more heard or read by almost every person, these evil seeds are receiving continual blasts and checks, so that, in many cases, they have not a vigorous growth. These causes make the principal moral differences that we find among men; though in evil propensities they are all radically the same.

That all the preceding characters are applied by some learned men to the Gentiles, exclusively as such, I am well aware; and that they may be all applied to them in a national point of view, there can be little doubt. But there are too many correspondences between the state of the modern Gentiles and that of the ancient Gentiles, to justify the propriety of applying the whole as fully to the former as to the latter. Indeed, the four particulars already explained point out the natural and practical state of every human being, previously to his regeneration by the grace and Spirit of God.

In due time Christ died for the ungodly – This due or proper time will appear in the following particulars: –

1. Christ was manifested in the flesh when the world needed him most.

2. When the powers of the human mind had been cultivated to the utmost both in Greece and Rome, and had made every possible effort, but all in vain, to find out some efficient scheme of happiness.

3. When the Jews were in the lowest state of corruption, and had the greatest need of the promised deliverer.

4. When the fullness of the time came, foretold by the prophets.

5. When both Jews and Gentiles, the one from their jealousy, the other from their learning, were best qualified to detect imposture and to ascertain fact.

6. In a word, Christ came when his advent was most likely to promote its great object – glory to God in the highest, and peace and good will among men. And the success that attended the preaching of Christ and his apostles, together with the wide and rapid spread of the Gospel, all prove that it was the due time, κατα καιρον, the proper season; and that Divine wisdom was justified in fixing upon that time in preference to all others.

Died for the ungodly – Ὑπερ ασεβων απεθανε, He died Instead of the ungodly, see also Rom_5:8; so Luk_22:19. The body of Christ, το ὑπερ ὑμων διδομενον, which is given For you; i.e. the life that is laid down in your Stead. In this way the preposition ὑπερ, is used by the best Greek writers.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:6
For when we were yet without strength. The connection of this verse, as indicated by γάρ, is with Rom_5:5. We are the object of God’s love, for Christ died for us. The gift of Christ to die on our behalf, is everywhere in Scripture represented as the highest possible or conceivable proof of the love of God to sinners. Joh_3:16; 1Jo_3:16; 1Jo_4:9, 1Jo_4:10. The objection that the Church doctrine represents the death of Christ as exciting or procuring the love of an unloving God, is without the shadow of foundation. The scriptures represent the love of God to sinners as independent of the work of Christ, and anterior to it. He so loved us as to give his only begotten Son to reconcile our salvation with his justice.

In the Greek of this passage, ἔτι γὰρ Χριστὸς ὄντων ἡμῶν ἀσθενῶν, the ἔτι, yet, is out of its natural place; it belongs to ὄντων ἀσθενῶν (as in Rom_5:8, ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν,) and not to Χριστός. Such trajections of the particles are not unusual even in classical Greek. See Winer, §61, 4:

‘Christ died for us, when we were yet weak.’ This slight irregularity has given rise to considerable diversity of readings even in the older manuscripts. Some, instead of ἔτι at the beginning of the verse, have εἴγε or εἰς τί, and place ἔτι, after ἄσθενῶν; others have ἔτι both at the beginning and at the end of the clause. The great majority of editors and commentators retain the common reading, and refer the ἔτι to ὄντων, etc., as is done in our version.

We being yet weak. The weakness here intended is spiritual weakness, destitution of strength for what is spiritually good, a weakness arising from, and consisting in sinfulness. The same idea, therefore, is expressed in Rom_5:8, by the words, ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν, when we were yet sinners. What, in Isa_53:4, is expressed by the lxx in the words τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν φέρει, he bears our sins, is, in Mat_8:17 expressed by saying, τὰς ἀσθενείας ἡμῶν ἔλαβε, he took our weaknesses.

In due time, κατὰ καιρόν, are not to be connected with the preceding participial, ‘we being weak according to (or considering) the time,’ secundum rationem temporis, as Calvin and Luther, after Chrysostom and Theodoret, render it, but with the following verb, ἀπέθανε, he died κατὰ καιρόν. This may mean, at the appointed, or at the appropriate time. The former is more in accordance with the analogy of Scripture. Christ came at the time appointed by the Father. The same idea is expressed in Gal_4:4, by “the fullness of time;” compare Eph_1:10; 1Ti_2:6; Tit_1:3; Joh_5:4. Of course the appointed was also the appropriate time. The question only concerns the form in which the idea is expressed. He died ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν, for the ungodly. As the apostle had said, ‘when we were weak,’ it would have been natural for him to say, ‘Christ died for us,’ rather than that he died for the ungodly, had it not been his design to exalt the gratuitous nature of God’s love. Christ died for us the ungodly; and therein, as the apostle goes on to show, is the mysteriousness of the divine love revealed. That God should love the good, the righteous, the pure, the godly, is what we can understand; but that the infinitely Holy should love the unholy. and give his Son for their redemption, is the wonder of all wonders. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.” 1Jo_4:10. As the love of a mother for her child, with which God condescends to compare his love towards us, is not founded on the attractive qualities of that child, but is often strongest when its object is the least worthy, so God loves us when sinners.

The whole confidence of the apostle in the continuance of this love (and therefore in the final perseverance of the saints) is founded on its being thus gratuitous. If he loved us because we loved him, he would love us only so long as we love him, and on that condition; and then our salvation would depend on the constancy of our treacherous hearts. But as God loved us as sinners, as Christ died for us as ungodly, our salvation depends, as the apostle argues, not on our loveliness, but on the constancy of the love of God. This idea pervades this whole paragraph, and is brought more distinctly into view in the following verses. Christ died for the ungodly; that is, in their place, and for their salvation. The idea of substitution is not indeed necessarily involved in the force of the preposition ὑπέρ, which means for, in behalf of, while ἀντί means in the place of. None the less certainly, however, is the doctrine here taught. To die for a man, means to die for his benefit. And therefore, if this were all that the Scriptures taught concerning the relation between Christ’s death and our salvation, it would remain undecided, whether he died for us as an example, as a martyr, or as a substitute. But when it is said that he died as a sacrifice, that he gave his life as a ransom, that he was a propitiation, then the specific method in which Christ’s death benefits us is determined. It is therefore with ὑπέρ, as with our preposition for; whether or not it expresses the idea of substitution depends on the context, and the nature of the subject. In such passages as this, and 2Co_5:15, 2Co_5:20, 2Co_5:21; Gal_3:13; Phm_1:13, ὑπέρ involves in it the meaning of ἀντί.

Marvin Vincent
Romans 5:6
For the ungodly (ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν)
It is much disputed whether ὑπέρ on behalf of, is ever equivalent to ἀντί instead of. The classical writers furnish instances where the meanings seem to be interchanged. Thus Xenophon: “Seuthes asked, Wouldst thou, Episthenes, die for this one (ὑπὲρ τούτου)?” Seuthes asked the boy if he should smite him (Episthenes) instead of him (ἀντ’ ἐκείνου) So Irenaeus: “Christ gave His life for (ὑπέρ) our lives, and His flesh for (ἀντί) our flesh.” Plato, “Gorgias,” 515, “If you will not answer for yourself, I must answer for you (ὐπὲρ σοῦ).” In the New Testament Phm_1:13 is cited; ὑπὲρ σου, A.V., in thy stead; Rev., in thy behalf. So 1Co_15:29, “baptized for the dead (ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν).”

The meaning of this passage, however, is so uncertain that it cannot fairly be cited in evidence. The preposition may have a local meaning, over the dead. None of these passages can be regarded as decisive. The most that can be said is that ὑπέρ borders on the meaning of ἀντί. Instead of is urged largely on dogmatic grounds. In the great majority of passages the sense is clearly for the sake of, on behalf of. The true explanation seems to be that, in the passages principally in question, those, namely, relating to Christ’s death, as here, Gal_3:13; Rom_14:15; 1Pe_3:18, ὑπέρ characterizes the more indefinite and general proposition – Christ died on behalf of – leaving the peculiar sense of in behalf of undetermined, and to be settled by other passages. The meaning instead of may be included in it, but only inferentially. Godet says: “The preposition can signify only in behalf of. It refers to the end, not at all to the mode of the work of redemption.”

Ungodly
The radical idea of the word is, want of reverence or of piety.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:6
For when … – This opens a new view of the subject, or it is a new argument to show that our hope will not make ashamed, or will not disappoint us. The first argument he had stated in the previous verse, that the Holy Spirit was given to us. The next, which he now states, is, that God had given the most ample proof that he would save us by giving his Son when we were sinners; and that he who had done so much for us when we were enemies, would not now fail us when we are his friends; Rom_5:6-10. He has performed the more difficult part of the work by reconciling us when we were enemies; and he will not now forsake us, but will carry forward and complete what he has begun.

We were yet without strength – The word used here ἀσθενῶν asthenōn is usually applied to those who are sick and feeble, deprived of strength by disease; Mat_25:38; Luk_10:9; Act_4:9; Act_5:15. But it is also used in a moral sense, to denote inability or feebleness with regard to any undertaking or duty. Here it means that we were without strength “in regard to the case which the apostle was considering;” that is, we had no power to devise a scheme of justification, to make an atonement, or to put away the wrath of God, etc. While all hope of man’s being saved by any plan of his own was thus taken away; while he was thus lying exposed to divine justice, and dependent on the mere mercy of God; God provided a plan which met the case, and secured his salvation. The remark of the apostle here has reference only to the condition of the race before an atonement is made. It does not pertain to the question whether man has strength to repent and to believe after an atonement is made, which is a very different inquiry.

In due time – Margin “According to the time” κατὰ καιρὸν kata kairon. In a timely manner; at the proper time; Gal_4:4, “But when the fulness of time was come,” etc. This may mean,

(1) That it was a fit or proper time. All experiments had failed to save people. For four thousand years the trial had been made under the Law among the Jews: and by the aid of the most enlightened reason in Greece and Rome; and still it was in vain. No scheme had been devised to meet the maladies of the world, and to save people from death. It was then time that a better plan should be presented to people.

(2) it was the time fixed and appointed by God for the Messiah to come; the time which had been designated by the prophets; Gen_49:10; Dan_9:24-27; see Joh_13:1; Joh_17:1.

(3) it was a most favorable time for the spread of the gospel. The world was expecting such an event; was at peace; and was subjected mainly to the Roman power; and furnished facilities never before experienced for introducing the gospel rapidly into every land; see the notes at Mat_2:1-2.

For the ungodly – Those who do not worship God. It here means sinners in general, and does not differ materially from what is meant by the word translated “without strength;” see the note at Rom_4:5.

John Calvin
Romans 5:7
7.For a just man, etc. The meaning of the passage has constrained me to render the particle γὰρ as an affirmative or declarative rather than as a causative. The import of the sentence is this, “Most rare, indeed, is such an example to be found among men, that one dies for a just man, though this may sometimes happen: but let this be granted, yet for an ungodly man none will be found willing to die: this is what Christ has done.” Thus it is an illustration, derived from a comparison; for such an example of kindness, as Christ has exhibited towards us, does not exist among men.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:7
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die – The Jews divide men, as to their moral character, into four classes:

First class, Those who say, “what is mine, is my own; and what is thine, is thy own.” These may be considered the just, who render to every man his due; or rather, they who neither give nor take.

The second class is made up of those who say, “what is mine, is thine; and what is thine, is mine.” These are they who accommodate each other, who borrow and lend.

The third class is composed of those who say, “What is mine, is thine; and what is thine, let it be thine.” These are the pious, or good, who give up all for the benefit of their neighbor.

The fourth class are those who say, “What is mine, is mine; and what is thine, shall be mine.” These are the impious, who take all, and give nothing. Now, for one of the first class, who would die? There is nothing amiable in his life or conduct that would so endear him to any man, as to induce him to risk his life to save such a person.

Peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die – This is for one of the third class, who gives all he has for the good of others. This is the truly benevolent man, whose life is devoted to the public good: for such a person, peradventure, some who have had their lives perhaps preserved by his bounty, would even dare to die: but such cases may be considered merely as possible: they exist, it is true, in romance; and we find a few rare instances of friends exposing themselves to death for their friends. See the case of Jonathan and David; Damon and Pythias, Val. Max. lib. iv. c, 7; Nisus and Euryalus, Virgil. And our Lord says, Joh_15:13 : Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. This is the utmost we can expect among men.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:7
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. The greatness and freeness of the love of God is illustrated in this and the following verse, by making still more prominent the unworthiness of its objects: ‘It is hardly to be expected that any one would die, in the place of a merely righteous man, though for the good man, this self-denial might possibly be exercised. But we, so far from being good, were not even righteous; we were sinners, ungodly, and enemies.’ The difference between the words righteous and good, as here used, is that which, in common usage, is made between just and kind. The former is applied to a man who does all that the law or justice can demand of him, the latter to him who is governed by love. The just man commands respect; the good man calls forth affection. Respect being a cold and feeble principle, compared to love, the sacrifices to which it leads are comparatively slight. This distinction between δίκαιος and ἀγαθός is illustrated by that which Cicero, De Officiis, Lib. 3:15, makes between justus and bonus: “Si vir bonus is est qui prodest quibus potest, nocet nemini, recte justum virum, bonum non facile reperiemus.”

The interpretation given above is the one generally adopted; it suits the contest, the signification of the words, and the structure of the passage. The design of the apostle is to represent the death of Christ as an unexampled manifestation of love. Among men, it was never heard of that one died for a man simply just; the most that human nature could be expected to accomplish is, that one should die for his benefactor, or for the good man — one so good as to be characterized and known as the good. There is evidently a climax in the passage, as indicated by the opposition between (μόλις and τάχα) scarcely and possibly. The passage, however, has been differently interpreted. Luther takes both δικαίου and τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ as neuters: “Scarcely for the right will any one die, possibly for something good some one might dare to die.” Calvin makes no distinction between the words: “Rarissimum sane inter homines exemplum exstat, ut pro justo quis mori sustineat quanquam illud nonnunquam accidere possit.” Meyer takes δικαίου as it is without the article, as masculine, but τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ as neuter, and renders the latter clause of the verse interrogatively: “Hardly for a righteous man will one die, for who can easily bring himself to die for what is good (τὸ ἀγαθόν, the good)?” The common interpretation is perfectly satisfactory, and to these, other objections more or less decisive may be adduced. Instead of dikai&ou, the Syriac reads ἀδίκου, ‘Scarcely for an unrighteous man will one die.’ But this is not only unauthorized, but the sense is not so appropriate.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 5:7
For scarcely for a righteous man — a man of simply unexceptionable character.

will one — “any one”

die: yet peradventure for a good man — a man who, besides being unexceptionable, is distinguished for goodness, a benefactor to society.

some — “some one.”

would — rather, “doth.”

even dare to die — “Scarce an instance occurs of self-sacrifice for one merely upright; though for one who makes himself a blessing to society there may be found an example of such noble surrender of life” (So Bengel, Olshausen, Tholuck, Alford, Philippi). (To make the “righteous” and the “good” man here to mean the same person, and the whole sense to be that “though rare, the case may occur, of one making a sacrifice of life for a worthy character” [as Calvin, Beza, Fritzsche, Jowett], is extremely flat.)

A.T. Robertson
Romans 5:7
Scarcely (molis). Common adverb from molos, toil. See note on Act_14:18. As between dikaios, righteous, and agathos, good, Lightfoot notes “all the difference in the world” which he shows by quotations from Plato and Christian writers, a difference of sympathy mainly, the dikaios man being “absolutely without sympathy” while the agathos man “is beneficent and kind.”

Would even dare (kai tolmāi). Present active indicative of tolmaō, to have courage. “Even dares to.” Even so in the case of the kindly sympathetic man courage is called for to make the supreme sacrifice.

Perhaps (tacha). Common adverb (perhaps instrumental case) from tachus (swift). Only here in N.T.

Marvin Vincent
Romans 5:7
Righteous – good (δικαίου – ἀγαθοῦ)
The distinction is: δίκαιος is simply right or just; doing all that law or justice requires; ἀγαθός is benevolent, kind, generous. The righteous man does what he ought, and gives to every one his due. The good man “does as much as ever he can, and proves his moral quality by promoting the wellbeing of him with whom he has to do.” Ἀγαθός always includes a corresponding beneficent relation of the subject of it to another subject; an establishment of a communion and exchange of life; while δίκαιος only expresses a relation to the purely objective δίκη right. Bengel says: “δίκαιος, indefinitely, implies an innocent man; ὁ ἀγαθός one perfect in all that piety demands; excellent, honorable, princely, blessed; for example, the father of his country.”

Therefore, according to Paul, though one would hardly die for the merely upright or strictly just man who commands respect, he might possibly die for the noble, beneficent man, who calls out affection. The article is omitted with righteous, and supplied with good – the good man, pointing to such a case as a rare and special exception.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:7
For scarcely … – The design of this verse and the following is, to illustrate the great love of God by comparing it with what man was willing to do. “It is an unusual occurrence, an event which is all that we can hope for from the highest human benevolence and the purest friendship, that one would be willing to die for a good man. There are none who would be willing to die for a man who was seeking to do us injury, to calumniate our character, to destroy our happiness or our property. But Christ was willing to die for bitter foes.”

Scarcely – With difficulty. It is an event which cannot be expected to occur often. There would scarcely be found an instance in which it would happen.

A righteous man – A just man; a man distinguished simply for integrity of conduct; one who has no remarkable claims for amiableness of character, for benevolence, or for personal friendship. Much as we may admire such a man, and applaud him, yet he has not the characteristics which would appeal to our hearts to induce us to lay down our lives for him. Accordingly, it is not known that any instance has occurred where for such a man one would be willing to die.

For a righteous man – That is, in his place, or in his stead. A man would scarcely lay down his own life to save that of a righteous man.

Will one die – Would one be will. ing to die.

Yet peradventure – Perhaps; implying that this was an event which might be expected to occur.

For a good man – That is, not merely a man who is coldly just; but a man whose characteristic is that of kindness, amiableness, tenderness. It is evident that the case of such a man would be much more likely to appeal to our feelings, than that of one who is merely a man of integrity. Such a man is susceptible of tender friendship; and probably the apostle intended to refer to such a case – a case where we would be willing to expose life for a kind, tender, faithful friend.

Some would even dare to die – Some would have courage to give his life. Instances of this kind, though not many, have occurred. The affecting case of Damon and Pythias is one. Damon had been condemned to death by the tyrant Dionysius of Sicily, and obtained leave to go and settle his domestic affairs on promise of returning at a stated hour to the place of execution. Pythias pledged himself to undergo the punishment if Damon should not return in time, and deliver himself into the hands of the tyrant. Damon returned at the appointed moment, just as the sentence was about to be executed on Pythias; and Dionysius was so struck with the fidelity of the two friends, that he remitted their punishment, and entreated them to permit him to share their friendship; (Val. Max. 4. 7.) This case stands almost alone. Our Saviour says that it is the highest expression of love among people. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;” Joh_15:13. The friendship of David and Jonathan seems also to have been of this character, that one would have been willing to lay down his life for the other.

John Calvin
Romans 5:8
8.But God confirms, etc. The verb, συνίστησι, has various meanings; that which is most suitable to this place is that of confirming; for it was not the Apostle’s object to excite our gratitude, but to strengthen the trust and confidence of our souls. He then confirms, that is, exhibits his love to us as most certain and complete, inasmuch as for the sake of the ungodly he spared not Christ his own Son. In this, indeed, his love appears, that being not moved by love on our part, he of his own good will first loved us, as John tells us. (1Jo_3:16.) —

Those are here called sinners, (as in many other places,) who are wholly vicious and given up to sin, according to what is said in Joh_9:31, “God hears not sinners,” that is, men abandoned and altogether wicked. The woman called “a sinner,” was one of a shameful character. (Luk_7:37.) And this meaning appears more evident from the contrast which immediately follows, — for being now justified through his blood: for since he sets the two in opposition, the one to the other, and calls those justified who are delivered from the guilt of sin, it necessarily follows that those are sinners who, for their evil deeds, are condemned. The import of the whole is, — since Christ has attained righteousness for sinner by his death, much more shall he protect them, being now justified, from destruction. And in the last clause he applies to his own doctrine the comparison between the less and the greater: for it would not have been enough for salvation to have been once procured for us, were not Christ to render it safe and secure to the end. And this is what the Apostle now maintains; so that we ought not to fear, that Christ will cut off the current of his favor while we are in the middle of our course: for inasmuch as he has reconciled us to the Father, our condition is such, that he purposes more efficaciously to put forth and daily to increase his favor towards us.

Matthew Poole
Romans 5:8
God commendeth his love toward us; i.e. he declareth or confirmeth it by this, as a most certain sign, he makes it most conspicuous or illustrious: see Joh_3:16 1Jo_4:9,10.

In that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; i.e. in a state of sin, and under the guilt and power of sin. Believers in some sense are still sinners, 1Jo_1:8, but their sins being pardoned and subdued, they go no longer under that denomination. Sinners in Scripture are said to be those in whom sin dwells and reigns; see Joh_9:31. Such we were by nature. Yea, we were not only sinners, but enemies to God, which further commendeth the love of Christ in dying for us: there is no greater love amongst men, than when one layeth down his life for his friends; but herein Christ’s love excelled, that he gave his life for his enemies.

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his own love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The emphatic “his own” is lost sight of in the Authorized Version. It is not in contrast to our love to God, but expressive of the thought that the love of God himself towards men was displayed in the death of Christ. This is important for our true conception of the light in which the mysterious doctrine of the atonement is regarded in Holy Scripture. It is not (as represented by some schools of theologians) that the Son, considered apart from the Father, offered himself to appease his wrath as seems to be expressed in the lines, “Actus in crucem factus es Irato Deo victima but rather that the Divine love itself purposed from eternity and provided the atonement, all the Persons of the holy and undivided Trinity concurring to effect it. (cf. Rom_3:24 Eph_2:4 2Th_2:16 Joh_3:16 1Jn_4:10, et al.) If it be asked how this Divine love, displayed in the atonement, and therefore previous to it, is consistent with what is elsewhere so continually said of the Divine wrath, we answer that the ideas are not irreconcilable. The wrath expresses God”s necessary antagonism to sin, and the retribution due to it, inseparable from a true conception of the Divine righteousness; and as long as men arc under the dominion of sin they are of necessity involved in it: But this is not inconsistent with ever-abiding Divine love towards the persons of sinners, or with an eternal purpose to redeem them. It may be added here that the passage Before us intimates our Lord”s essential Deity; for his sacrifice of himself is spoken of as the display of God”s own love.

Marvin Vincent
Romans 5:8

Commendeth
See on Rom_3:5. Note the present tense. God continuously establishes His love in that the death of Christ remains as its most striking manifestation.

His love (ἑαυτοῦ)
Rev., more literally, His own. Not in contrast with human love, but as demonstrated by Christ’s act of love.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:9
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. This and the following verse draw the obvious inference, from the freeness and greatness of the love of God, as just exhibited, that believers shall be ultimately saved. It is an argument a fortiori. If the greater benefit has been bestowed, the less will not be withheld. If Christ has died for his enemies, he will surely save his friends. Being justified. To be justified is more than to be pardoned; it includes the idea of reconciliation or restoration to the favor of God, on the ground of a satisfaction to justice, and the participation of the consequent blessings. This idea is prominently presented in the following verse.

‘We are justified by his blood.’ This expression, as remarked above (Rom_4:3), exhibits the true ground of our acceptance with God. It is not our works, nor our faith, nor our new obedience, nor the work of Christ in us, but what he has done for us; Rom_3:25; Eph_2:13; Heb_9:12. Having by the death of Christ been brought into the relation of peace with God, being now regarded for his sake as righteous, we shall be saved from wrath through him. He will not leave his work unfinished; whom he justifies, them he also glorifies. The word wrath, of course, means the effects of wrath or punishment, those sufferings with which the divine displeasure visits sin; Mat_3:7; 1Th_1:10; Rom_1:18. Not only is our justification to be ascribed to Christ, but our salvation is through him. Salvation, in a general sense, includes justification; but when distinguished from it, as in this case, it means the consummation of that work of which justification is the commencement. It is a preservation from all the causes of destruction; a deliverance from the evils which surround us here, or threaten us hereafter; and an introduction into the blessedness of heaven. Christ thus saves us by his providence and Spirit, and by his constant intercession; Rom_8:34; Heb_4:14, Heb_4:15; Heb_7:25; Jud_1:24; 1Jo_2:1. Olshausen here also introduces his idea of subjective justification, and says that the meaning of this passage is, “If God regenerates a man, we may hope that he will uphold and perfect him, and reduce his liability to apostasy to a minimum.” According to this, to justify is to regenerate, and to save from wrath is to reduce our liability to apostasy to a minimum.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:9
Much more, then – It is much more reasonable to expect it. There are fewer obstacles in the way. If, when we were enemies, he overcame all that was in the way of our salvation; much more have we reason to expect that he will afford us protection now that we are his friends. This is one ground of the hope expressed in Rom_5:5.

Being now justified – Pardoned; accepted as his friends.

By his blood – By his death; Note, Rom_3:25. The fact that we are purchased by his blood, and sanctified by it, renders us sacred in the eye of God; bestows a value on us proportionate to the worth of the price of our redemption; and is a pledge that he will keep what has been so dearly bought.

Saved from wrath – From hell; from the punishment due to sin; Note, Rom_2:8.

John Calvin
Romans 5:10
10.This is an explanation of the former verse, amplified by introducing a comparison between life and death. We were enemies, he says, when Christ interposed for the purpose of propitiating the Father: through this reconciliation we are now friends; since this was effected by his death; much more influential and efficacious will be his life. We hence have ample proofs to strengthen our hearts with confidence respecting our salvation. By saying that we were reconciled to God by the death of Christ, he means, that it was the sacrifice of expiation, by which God was pacified towards the world, as I have showed in the fourth chapter.

But the Apostle seems here to be inconsistent with himself; for if the death of Christ was a pledge of the divine love towards us, it follows that we were already acceptable to him; but he says now, that we were enemies. To this answer, that as God hates sin, we are also hated by him his far as we are sinners; but as in his secret counsel he chooses us into the body of Christ, he ceases to hate us: but restoration to favor is unknown to us, until we attain it by faith. Hence with regard to us, we are always enemies, until the death of Christ interposes in order to propitiate God. And this twofold aspect of things ought to be noticed; for we do not know the gratuitous mercy of God otherwise than as it appears from this — that he spared not his only-begotten Son; for he loved us at a time when there was discord between him and us: nor can we sufficiently understand the benefit brought to us by the death of Christ, except this be the beginning of our reconciliation with God, that we are persuaded that it is by the expiation that has been made, that he, who was before justly angry with us, is now propitious to us. Since then our reception into favor is ascribed to the death of Christ, the meaning is, that guilt is thereby taken away, to which we should be otherwise exposed.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:10
For if, when we were enemies – See under Rom_5:6 (note).

We were reconciled – The enmity existing before rendered the reconciliation necessary. In every human heart there is a measure of enmity to holiness, and, consequently to the author of it. Men seldom suspect this; for one property of sin is to blind the understanding, so that men do not know their own state.

We shall be saved by his life –

1. For, as he died for our sins, so he rose again for our justification; and his resurrection to life, is the grand proof that he has accomplished whatever he had purposed in reference to the salvation of man.

2. This may be also understood of his life of intercession: for it is written. He ever Liveth to make Intercession for us, Heb_7:25. Through this life of intercession at the right hand of God we are spared and blessed.

3. And it will not be amiss to consider that, as our salvation implies the renovation of our nature, and our being restored to the image of God, so, σωθησομεθα εν τη ζωνυτου, may be rendered: we shall be saved In his life; for, I suppose, it is pretty generally agreed, that the life of God in the soul of man is essential to its salvation.

4. The example also of the life of Christ is a means of salvation. He hath left us an example that we should follow his steps: and he that followeth him, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life, Joh_8:12.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:10
For if, when we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, etc. This verse contains nearly the same idea as Rom_5:9, presented in a different form. The word enemies is applied to men not only as descriptive of their moral character, but also of the relation in which they stand to God as the objects of his displeasure. There is not only a wicked opposition of the sinner to God, but a holy opposition of God to the sinner. The preceding verse presents the former of these ideas, and this verse the latter most prominently. There it is said, ‘though sinners, we are justified;’ and here, ‘though enemies, we are reconciled’. The word ἐχθροί has the same passive sense in Rom_11:28. And this is the principal difference between the two verses. To be reconciled to God, in such connections, does not mean to have our enmity to God removed, but his enmity to us taken out of the way, to have him rendered propitious, or his righteous justice satisfied. This is evident,

1. Because the reconciliation is ascribed to the death of Christ, or his blood, Rom_5:9. But, according to the constant representations of Scripture, the death of Christ is a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, or to propitiate the favor of God, and not immediately a means of sanctification. The former is its direct object, the latter an incidental result. This is the very idea of a sacrifice. The most liberal commentators, that is, those least bound by any theological system, admit this to be the doctrine of Scripture, and of this particular passage. Thus Meyer: “Christi Tod tilgte nicht die Feindschaft der Menschen gegen Gott;” that is, “The death of Christ does not remove the enmity of men towards God, but as that which secures the favor of God, it removes his enmity towards men, whence the removal of our enmity towards him follows as a consequence.” So also Rückert: “The reconciled here can only be God, whose wrath towards sinners is appeased by the death of his Son. On man’s part nothing has happened; no internal change, no step towards God; all this follows as the consequence of the reconciliation here spoken of.” De Wette also says, that “καταλλαγή must mean the removal of the wrath of God, and consequently the reconciliation is of God to man, which not only here, but in Rom_3:25; 2Co_5:18, 2Co_5:19; Col_1:21; Eph_2:16, is referred to the atoning death of Christ.”

2. The object of the verse is to present us as enemies, or the objects of God’s displeasure. ‘If while we were the objects of the divine displeasure,’ says the apostle, ‘that displeasure has been removed, or God propitiated by the death of his Son, how much more shall we be saved,’ etc. That is, if God has been reconciled to us, he will save us.

3. This is the proper meaning of the word, 2Co_5:18, 2Co_5:19. See also Mat_5:24, “First be reconciled to thy brother,” i.e. go and appease his anger, or remove the ground of his displeasure; compare Heb_2:17, “He is a priest to make reconciliation (εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκεσθαι) for the sins of the people.” It is the appropriate business of a priest to propitiate God, and not to reform men. See also 1Sa_29:4 : “Wherewith should he reconcile himself (διαλλαγήσεται) to his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?” Eph_2:16, “That he might reconcile (ἀποκαταλλάξῃ) both unto God by the cross,” not remove their enmity to God, but secure for them his favor and access to the Father, Eph_2:18. The verbs καταλλάσσω, διαλλάσσω, and ἀποκαταλλάσσω, are used interchangeably. The main idea, of course, as expressed by ἀλλάσσω, to change, is slightly modified by the force of the several prepositions with which it is combined — to change κατά in relation to, διά between, ἀπό from. The three verbs, however, are all used to the idea of reconciliation, i.e. changing the relation of parties at enmity, so that they are at peace. Whether this reconciliation is effected by the propitiation of the justly offended party, or by a change of feeling in the offender, or both, depends on the connection.

4. The context obviously requires this sense here. “Being reconciled by the death of his Son,” evidently corresponds to the phrase, “Being justified by his blood.” The latter cannot mean that our feelings towards God are changed, but is admitted to express the idea that we are forgiven and restored to the divine favor. Such therefore must be the meaning of the former. Besides, it is the object of the apostle to illustrate the greatness and freeness of the love of God, from the unworthiness of its objects. While sinners, we are justified; while enemies, we are reconciled. To make the passage mean, that when enemies we laid aside our enmity, and became the friends of God, would be to make it contradict the very assertion and design of the apostle.

We shall be saved by his life. This rather unusual mode of expression was doubtless adopted for the sake of its correspondence to the words, by his death, in the preceding clause, and is a striking example of Paul’s fondness for such antithetical constructions; see Rom_4:25; Gal_3:3; 2Co_3:6. The meaning is obvious: ‘If while we were enemies, we were restored to the favor of God by the death of his Son, the fact that he lives will certainly secure our final salvation.’

1. His life is a pledge and security for the life of all his people; see Joh_14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also;” Rom_8:11; 1Co_15:23.

2. He is able to save to the uttermost, “because he ever lives to make intercession or us,” Heb_7:25 etc.

3. At his resurrection, all power in heaven and earth was committed to his hands, Mat_28:18; and this power he exercises for the salvation of his people; Eph_1:22, ‘He is head over all things, for the benefit of his Church;’ Rev_1:18; Heb_2:10; 1Co_15:25, etc.; see also the passages cited on the last clause of Rom_5:9.

There is, therefore, most abundant ground for confidence for the final blessedness of believers, not only in the amazing love of God, by which, though sinners and enemies, they have been justified and reconciled by the death of his Son, but also in the consideration that this same Savior that died for them still lives, and ever lives to sanctify, protect, and save them.

Marvin Vincent
Romans 5:10
Enemies (ἐχθροὶ)
The word may be used either in an active sense, hating God, or passively, hated of God. The context favors the latter sense; not, however, with the conventional meaning of hated, denoting the revengeful, passionate feeling of human enmity, but simply the essential antagonism of the divine nature to sin. Neither the active nor the passive meaning needs to be pressed. The term represents the mutual estrangement and opposition which must accompany sin on man’s part, and which requires reconciliation.

We were reconciled to God (καταλλάγημεν τῷ Θεῷ)
The verb means primarily to exchange; and hence to change the relation of hostile parties into a relation of peace; to reconcile. It is used of both mutual and one-sided enmity. In the former case, the context must show on which side is the active enmity.

In the Christian sense, the change in the relation of God and man effected through Christ. This involves,

1. A movement of God toward man with a view to break down man’s hostility, to commend God’s love and holiness to him, and to convince him of the enormity and the consequence of sin. It is God who initiates this movement in the person and work of Jesus Christ. See Rom_5:6, Rom_5:8; 2Co_5:18, 2Co_5:19; Eph_1:6; 1Jo_4:19. Hence the passive form of the verb here: we were made subjects of God’s reconciling act.

2. A corresponding movement on man’s part toward God; yielding to the appeal of Christ’s self-sacrificing love, laying aside his enmity, renouncing his sin, and turning to God in faith and obedience.

3. A consequent change of character in man; the covering, forgiving, cleansing of his sin; a thorough revolution in all his dispositions and principles.

4. A corresponding change of relation on God’s part, that being removed which alone rendered Him hostile to man, so that God can now receive Him into fellowship and let loose upon him all His fatherly love and grace, 1Jo_1:3, 1Jo_1:7. Thus there is complete reconciliation. See, further, on Rom_3:25, Rom_3:26.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:10
For if – The idea in this verse is simply a repetition and enlargement of that in Rom_5:9. The apostle dwells on the thought, and places it in a new light, furnishing thus a strong confirmation of his position.

When we were enemies – The work was undertaken while we were enemies. From being enemies we were changed to friends by that work. Thus, it was commenced by God; its foundation was laid while we were still hostile to it; it evinced, therefore, a determined purpose on the part of God to perform it; and he has thus given a pledge that it shall be perfected.

We were reconciled – Note, Mat_5:24. We are brought to an agreement; to a state of friendship and union. We became his friends, laid aside our opposition, and embraced him as our friend and portion. To effect this is the great design of the plan of salvation; 2Co. 5:1-20; Col_1:21; Eph_2:16. It means that there were obstacles existing on both sides to a reconciliation; and that these have been removed by the death of Christ; and that a union has thus been effected. This has been done in removing the obstacles on the part of God – by maintaining the honor of his Law; showing his hatred of sin; upholding his justice, and maintaining his truth, at the same time that he pardons; Note, Rom_3:26. And on the part of man, by removing his unwillingness to be reconciled; by subduing, changing, and sanctifying his heart; by overcoming his hatred of God, and of his Law; and bringing him into submission to the government of God. So that the Christian is in fact reconciled to God; he is his friend; he is pleased with his Law, his character, and his plan of salvation. And all this has been accomplished by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as an offering in our place.

Much more – It is much more to be expected; there are still stronger and more striking considerations to show it.

By his life – We were reconciled by his death. Death may include possibly his low, humble, and suffering condition. Death has the appearance of great feebleness; the death of Christ had the appearance of the defeat of his plans. His enemies triumphed and rejoiced over him on the cross, and in the tomb. Yet the effect of this feeble, low, and humiliating state was to reconcile us to God. If in this state, when humble, despised, dying, dead, he had power to accomplish so great a work as to reconcile us to God, how much more may we expect that he will be able to keep us now that he is a living, exalted, and triumphant Redeemer. If his fainting powers in dying were such as to reconcile us, how much more shall his full, vigorous powers as an exalted Redeemer, be sufficient to keep and save us. This argument is but an expansion of what the Saviour himself said; Joh_14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”

John Calvin
Romans 5:11
11.And not this only, etc. He now ascends into the highest strain of glorying; for when we glory that God is ours, whatever blessings can be imagined or wished, ensue and flow from this fountain; for God is not only the chief of all good things, but also possesses in himself the sum and substance of all blessings; and he becomes ours through Christ. We then attain this by faith, — that nothing is wanting to us as to happiness. Nor is it in vain that he so often mentions reconciliation: it is, first, that we may be taught to fix our eyes on the death of Christ, whenever we speak of our salvation; and, secondly, that we may know that our trust must be fixed on nothing else, but on the expiation made for our sins.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:11
We also joy (καυχωμενοι, we exult, or glory) in God, etc. – We now feel that God is reconciled to us, and we are reconciled to him: the enmity is removed from our souls; and He, for Christ’s sake, through whom we have received the atonement, καταλλαγην, the reconciliation, has remitted the wrath, the punishment which we deserved: and now, through this reconciliation, we expect an eternal glory.

It was certainly improper to translate καταλλαγη here by atonement, instead of reconciliation; as καταλλασσω signifies to reconcile, and is so rendered by our translators in all the places where it occurs. It does not mean the atonement here, as we generally understand that word, viz. the sacrificial death of Christ; but rather the effect of that atonement, the removal of the enmity, and by this, the change of our condition and state; from κατα, intensive, and αλλασσω to change; the thorough change of our state from enmity to friendship. God is reconciled to us, and we are reconciled to him by the death of his Son; and thus there is a glorious change from enmity to friendship; and we can exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received this reconciliation. Though boasting is forbidden to a Jew, because his is a false confidence, yet boasting is enjoined to a Christian, to one reconciled to God; for, his boasting is only in that reconciliation, and the endless mercy by which it is procured. So he that glorieth (boasteth) must glory in the Lord.

Matthew Henry
Rom 5:11
3. All this produces, as a further privilege, our joy in God, Rom_5:11. God is now so far from being a terror to us that he is our joy, and our hope in the day of evil, Jer_17:17. We are reconciled and saved from wrath. Iniquity, blessed be God, shall not be our ruin. And not only so, there is more in it yet, a constant stream of favours; we not only go to heaven, but go to heaven triumphantly; not only get into the harbour, but come in with full sail: We joy in God, not only saved from his wrath, but solacing ourselves in his love, and this through Jesus Christ, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the foundation-stone and the top-stone of all our comforts and hopes – not only our salvation, but our strength and our song; and all this (which he repeats as a string he loved to be harping upon) by virtue of the atonement, for by him we Christians, we believers, have now, now in gospel times, or now in this life, received the atonement, which was typified by the sacrifices under thee law, and is an earnest of our happiness in heaven. True believers do by Jesus Christ receive the atonement. Receiving the atonement is our actual reconciliation to God in justification, grounded upon Christ’s satisfaction. To receive the atonement is,

(1.) To give our consent to the atonement, approving of, and agreeing to, those methods which Infinite Wisdom has taken of saving a guilty world by the blood of a crucified Jesus, being willing and glad to be saved in a gospel way and upon gospel terms.

(2.) To take the comfort of the atonement, which is the fountain and the foundation of our joy in God. Now we joy in God, now we do indeed receive the atonement, Kauchōmenoi – glorying in it. God hath received the atonement (Mat_3:17; Mat_17:5; Mat_28:2): if we but receive it, the work is done.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:11
Not only so, but we rejoice in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ καυχώμενοι ἐν τῷ Θεῷ. There are three ways of explaining the participle καυχώμενοι; the one is to make it antithetical to καταλλαγέντες, ‘not only reconciled, but exulting in God, shall we be saved.’ But this is not only an unnatural form of expression, but in Rom_5:9, καταλλαγέντες is not a qualification of σωθησόμεθα. The meaning is not, ‘We shall be saved reconciled,’ but, ‘Since we are reconciled we shall be saved.’ Another interpretation supplies the verb from the preceding clause, ‘Not only shall we be saved, but saved rejoicing in God.’ The best sense is obtained by supplying ἐσμέν after the participle, as is assumed in the English version, and advocated by the majority of commentators: ‘We shall not only be ultimately saved, but we now glory the God.’

The benefits of redemption are not all future. It is not only deliverance from future wrath, but the joy and glory of the present favor and love of God, that we owe to Jesus Christ. Thus the Vulgate, which renders καυχώμενοι as a verb, (sed et gloriamur,) as does Luther, “wir rühmen uns auch Gottes.” We glory in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. That is, it is to him that we are indebted for this joy in God as our God and portion. Through whom we have now received atonement. This is the reason why we owe our present glorying in God to Christ; it is because he has secured our reconciliation.

The word rendered by our translators, atonement, is καταλλαγή, the derivative of καταλλάσσω, properly rendered in the context, as elsewhere, to reconcile. The proper rendering, therefore, of the noun would be reconciliation: ‘Through whom we have received reconciliation, that is, have been reconciled.’ This verse therefore brings us back to Rom_5:2. There it is said, ‘Having peace with God, we rejoice in hope of his glory;’ and here, ‘Being reconciled, we glory or rejoice in God.’ Salvation is begun on earth.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 5:11
And not only so, but we also joy — rather, “glory.”

in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by — “through”

whom we have now received the atonement — rather, “the reconciliation” (Margin), as the same word is rendered in Rom_5:10 and in 2Co_5:18, 2Co_5:19. (In fact, the earlier meaning of the English word “atonement” was “the reconciliation of two estranged parties”) [Trench]. The foregoing effects of justification were all benefits to ourselves, calling for gratitude; this last may be termed a purely disinterested one. Our first feeling towards God, after we have found peace with Him, is that of clinging gratitude for so costly a salvation; but no sooner have we learned to cry, Abba, Father, under the sweet sense of reconciliation, than “gloriation” in Him takes the place of dread of Him, and now He appears to us “altogether lovely!”

On this section, Note,

(1) How gloriously does the Gospel evince its divine origin by basing all acceptable obedience on “peace with God,” laying the foundations of this peace in a righteous “justification” of the sinner “through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and making this the entrance to a permanent standing in the divine favor, and a triumphant expectation of future glory! (Rom_5:1, Rom_5:2). Other peace, worthy of the name, there is none; and as those who are strangers to it rise not to the enjoyment of such high fellowship with God, so they have neither any taste for it nor desire after it.

(2) As only believers possess the true secret of patience under trials, so, although “not joyous but grievous” in themselves (Heb_12:17), when trials divinely sent afford them the opportunity of evidencing their faith by the grace of patience under them, they should “count it all joy” (Rom_5:3, Rom_5:4; and see Jam_1:2, Jam_1:3).

(3) “Hope,” in the New Testament sense of the term, is not a lower degree of faith or assurance (as many now say, I hope for heaven, but am not sure of it); but invariably means “the confident expectation of future good.” It presupposes faith; and what faith assures us will be ours, hope accordingly expects. In the nourishment of this hope, the soul’s look outward to Christ for the ground of it, and inward upon ourselves for evidence of its reality, must act and react upon each other (Rom_5:2 and Rom_5:4 compared).

(4) It is the proper office of the Holy Ghost to beget in the soul the full conviction and joyful consciousness of the love of God in Christ Jesus to sinners of mankind, and to ourselves in particular; and where this exists, it carries with it such an assurance of final salvation as cannot deceive (Rom_5:5).

(5) The justification of sinful men is not in virtue of their amendment, but of “the blood of God’s Son”; and while this is expressly affirmed in Rom_5:9, our reconciliation to God by the “death of His Son,” affirmed in Rom_5:10, is but a variety of the same statement. In both, the blessing meant is the restoration of the sinner to a righteous standing in the sight of God; and in both, the meritorious ground of this, which is intended to be conveyed, is the expiatory sacrifice of God’s Son.

(6) Gratitude to God for redeeming love, if it could exist without delight in God Himself, would be a selfish and worthless feeling; but when the one rises into the other – the transporting sense of eternal “reconciliation” passing into “gloriation in God” Himself – then the lower is sanctified and sustained by the higher, and each feeling is perfective of the other (Rom_5:11).

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:11
And not only so – The apostle states another effect of justification.

We also joy in God – In Rom_5:2, he had said that we rejoice in tribulations, and in hope of the glory of God. But he here adds that we rejoice in God himself; in his existence; his attributes; his justice, holiness, mercy, truth, love. The Christian rejoices that God is such a being as he is; and glories that the universe is under his administration. The sinner is opposed to him; he finds no pleasure in him; he fears or hates him; and deems him unqualified for universal empire. But it is one characteristic of true piety, one evidence that we are truly reconciled to God, that we rejoice in him as he is; and find pleasure in the contemplation of his perfections as they are revealed in the Scriptures.

Through our Lord … – By the mediation of our Lord Jesus, who has revealed the true character of God, and by whom we have been reconciled to him.

The atonement – Margin, or reconciliation. This is the only instance in which our translators have used the word “atonement” in the New Testament. The word frequently occurs in the Old, Exo_29:33, Exo_29:36-37; Exo_30:10, Exo_30:15-16, etc. As it is now used by us, it commonly means the ransom, or the sacrifice by means of which reconciliation is effected between God and man. But in this place it has a different sense. It means the reconciliation itself between God and man; not the means by which reconciliation is effected. It denotes not that. we have received a ransom, or an offering by which reconciliation might be effected; but that in fact we have become reconciled through him. This was the ancient meaning of the English word atonement – at one ment – being at one, or reconciled.

– He seeks to make atonement.
Between the duke of Glo’ster and your brothers.
– Shakespeare.

The Greek word which denotes the expiatory offering by which a reconciliation is effected, is different from the one here; see the note at Rom_3:25. The word used here καταλλαγὴ katallagē is never used to denote such an offering, but denotes the reconciliation itself.

John Calvin
Romans 5:15
15.But not as the offense, etc. Now follows the rectifying or the completion of the comparison already introduced. The Apostle does not, however, very minutely state the points of difference between Christ and Adam, but he obviates errors into which we might otherwise easily fall, and what is needful for an explanation we shall add. Though he mentions oftentimes a difference, yet there are none of these repetitions in which there is not a want of a corresponding clause, or in which there is not at least an ellipsis. Such instances are indeed defects in a discourse; but they are not prejudicial to the majesty of that celestial wisdom which is taught us by the Apostle; it has, on the contrary, so happened through the providence of God, that the highest mysteries have been delivered to us in the garb of an humble style, in order that our faith may not depend on the potency of human eloquence, but on the efficacious working of the Spirit alone.

He does not indeed even now expressly supply the deficiency of the former sentence, but simply teaches us, that there is a greater measure of grace procured by Christ, than of condemnation introduced by the first man. What some think, that the Apostle carries on here a chain of reasoning, I know not whether it will be deemed by all sufficiently evident. It may indeed be justly inferred, that since the fall of Adam had such an effect as to produce the ruin of many, much more efficacious is the grace of God to the benefit of many; inasmuch as it is admitted, that Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy. But as they cannot be disproved, who wish to take the passage without this inference, I am willing that they should choose either of these views; though what next follows cannot be deemed an inference, yet it is of the same meaning. It is hence probable, that Paul rectifies, or by way of exception modifies, what he had said of the likeness between Christ and Adam.

But observe, that a larger number (plures ) are not here contrasted with many (multis ,) for he speaks not of the number of men: but as the sin of Adam has destroyed many, he draws this conclusion, — that the righteousness of Christ will be no less efficacious to save many.
When he says, by the offense of one, etc., understand him as meaning this, — that corruption has from him descended to us: for we perish not through his fault, as though we were blameless; but as his sin is the cause of our sin, Paul ascribes to him our ruin: our sin I call that which is implanted in us, and with which we are born.

The grace of God and the gift of God through grace, etc. Grace is properly set in opposition to offense; the gift which proceeds from grace, to death. Hence grace means the free goodness of God or gratuitous love, of which he has given us a proof in Christ, that he might relieve our misery: and gift is the fruit of this mercy, and hath come to us, even the reconciliation by which we have obtained life and salvation, righteousness, newness of life, and every other blessing. We hence see how absurdly the schoolmen have defined grace, who have taught that it is nothing else but a quality infused into the hearts of men: for grace, properly speaking, is in God; and what is in us is the effect of grace. And he says, that it is by one man; for the Father has made him the fountain out of whose fullness all must draw. And thus he teaches us, that not even the least drop of life can be found out of Christ, — that there is no other remedy for our poverty and want, than what he conveys to us from his own abundance.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:15
But not as the offense, so also is the free gift – The same learned writer, quoted above, continues to observe: –

“It is evident that the apostle, in this and the two following verses, is running a parallel, or making a comparison between the offense of Adam and its consequence; and the opposite gift of God and its consequences. And, in these three verses, he shows that the comparison will not hold good in all respects, because the free gift, χαρισμα, bestows blessings far beyond the consequences of the offense, and which, therefore, have no relation to it. And this was necessary, not only to prevent mistakes concerning the consequence of Adam’s offense, and the extent of Gospel grace; but it was also necessary to the apostle’s main design, which was not only to prove that the grace of the Gospel extends to all men, so far as it takes off the consequence of Adam’s offense, (i.e. death, without the promise or probability of a resurrection), but that it likewise extends to all men, with respect to the surplusage of blessings, in which it stretches far beyond the consequence of Adam’s offense. For, the grace that takes off the consequence of Adam’s offense, and the grace which abounds beyond it, are both included in the same χαρισμα, or free gift, which should be well observed; for in this, I conceive, lie the connection and sinews of the argument: the free gift, which stands opposed to Adam’s offense, and which, I think, was bestowed immediately after the offense; Gen_3:15 : The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head. This gift, I say, includes both the grace which exactly answers to the offense, and is that part of the grace which stretches far beyond it. And, if the one part of the gift be freely bestowed on all mankind, as the Jews allow, why not the other? especially, considering that the whole gift stands upon a reason and foundation in excellence and worth, vastly surpassing the malignity and demerit of the offense; and, consequently, capable of producing benefits vastly beyond the sufferings occasioned by the offense. This is the force of the apostle’s argument; and therefore, supposing that in the 18th and l9th verses, literally understood, he compares the consequence of Adam’s offense and Christ’s obedience, only so far as the one is commensurate to the other, yet his reasoning, Rom_5:15-17, plainly shows that it is his meaning and intention that we should take into his conclusion the whole of the gift, so far as it can reach, to all mankind.”

For if, through the offense of one, many be dead – That the οἱ πολλοι, the many of the apostle here means all mankind needs no proof to any but that person who finds himself qualified to deny that all men are mortal. And if the many, that is, all mankind, have died through the offense of one; certainly, the gift by grace, which abounds unto τους πολλους, the many, by Christ Jesus, must have reference to every human being. If the consequences of Christ’s incarnation and death extend only to a few, or a select number of mankind – which, though they may be considered many in themselves, are few in comparison of the whole human race – then the consequences of Adam’s sin have extended only to a few, or to the same select number: and if only many, and not all have fallen, only that many had need of a Redeemer. For it is most evident that the same persons are referred to in both clauses of the verse. If the apostle had believed that the benefits of the death of Christ had extended only to a select number of mankind, he never could have used the language he has done here: though, in the first clause, he might have said, without any qualification of the term, Through the offense of one, Many are dead; in the 2nd clause, to be consistent with the doctrine of particular redemption, he must have said, The grace of God, and the gift by grace, hath abounded unto Some. As by the offense of one judgment came upon All men to condemnation; so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon Some to justification, Rom_5:18. As, by one man’s disobedience, Many were made sinners; so, by the obedience of one, shall Some be made righteous, Rom_5:19. As in Adam All die; so, in Christ, shall Some be made alive, 1Co_15:22. But neither the doctrine nor the thing ever entered the soul of this divinely inspired man.

Hath abounded unto many – That is, Christ Jesus died for every man; salvation is free for all; saving grace is tendered to every soul; and a measure of the Divine light is actually communicated to every heart, Joh_1:9. And, as the grace is offered, so it may be received; and hence the apostle says, Rom_5:17 : They which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by Christ Jesus: and by receiving is undoubtedly meant not only the act of receiving, but retaining and improving the grace which they receive; and, as all may receive, so All may improve and retain the grace they do receive; and, consequently, All may be eternally saved. But of multitudes Christ still may say, They Will not come unto me, that they might have life.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:15
But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. The cases, although parallel, are not precisely alike. In the first place, it is far more consistent with our views of the character of God, that many should be benefited by the merit of one man, than that they should suffer for the sin of one. If the latter has happened, much more may we expect the former to occur. The attentive reader of this passage will perceive constantly increasing evidence that the design of the apostle is not to show that the blessings procured by Christ are greater than the evils caused by Adam; but to illustrate and confirm the prominent doctrine of the epistle, that we are justified on the ground of the righteousness of Christ. This is obvious from the sentiment of this verse, ‘If we die for the sin of Adam, much more may we live through the righteousness of Christ.’ But not as the offense, etc. Ἀλλ ̓ οὐχ ὡς τὸ παράπτωμα, οὕτω κὰι τὸ χάρισμα, a singularly concise expression, which however the context renders sufficiently plain. Παράπτωμα from παραπίπτω (to fall,) means fall, and χάρισμα, an act of grace or gracious gift, which is explained by ἡ δωρεά in this verse, τὸ δώρημα in Rom_5:16, and ἡ δωρεὰ τῆς δικαιοσύνη) (the gift of righteousness,) in Rom_5:17. The meaning therefore is, that the ‘fall is not like the gracious restoration.’ The reason why the one is not like the other, is stated in what follows, so that γάρ has its appropriate force: ‘They are not alike, for if by the offense of one many be dead.’ The dative παραπτώματι expresses the ground or reason. The offense of one was the ground or reason of the many dying; and as death is a penalty, it must be the judicial ground of their death, which is the very thing asserted in Rom_5:12, and proved in Rom_5:13, Rom_5:14. Many be dead; the words are οἱ πολλοὶ ἀπέθανον, the many died, the aorist ἀπέθανον cannot mean be dead. By the many are intended all mankind, οἱ πολλοὶ and πάντες being interchanged throughout the context. They are called the many because they are many, and for the sake of the antithesis to the one. The many died for the offense of one; the sentence of death passed on all for his offense. The same idea is presented in 1Co_15:22.

It is here, therefore, expressly asserted that the sin of Adam was the cause of all his posterity being subjected to death, that is, to penal evil. But it may still be asked whether it was the occasional or the immediate cause. That is, whether the apostle means to say that the sin of Adam was the occasion of all men being placed in such circumstances that they all sin, and thus incur death; or that by being the cause of the corruption of their nature, it is thus indirectly the cause of their condemnation; or whether he is to be understood as saying that his sin is the direct judicial ground or reason for the infliction of penal evil. It has been frequently said that this is all theory, philosophy, system. etc. But any one may see that it is a mere exegetical question — what is the meaning of a given phrase? Does the dative here express the occasional cause, or the ground or reason of the result attributed to the offense of one man? It is a mere question of fact; the fact is all, and there is neither theory nor philosophy involved in the matter. If Paul says that the offense of one is the ground and reason of the many being subject to death, he says all that the advocates of the doctrine of imputation say. That this is the strict exegetical meaning of the passage appears from the following reasons:

1. That such may be the force and meaning of the words as they here stand, no one can pretend to doubt. That is, no one can deny that the dative case can express the ground or reason as well as the occasion of a thing.

2. This interpretation is not only possible, and in strict accordance with the meaning of the words, but it is demanded, in this connection, by the plainest rules of exposition; because the sentiment expressed by these words is confessedly the same as that taught in those which follow; and they, as will appear in the sequel, will not bear the opposite interpretation.

3. It is demanded by the whole design and drift of the passage. The very point of the comparison is, that as the righteousness of Christ, and not our own works, is the ground of our justification, so the sin of Adam, antecedently to any sins of our own, is the ground of the infliction of certain penal evils. If the latter be denied, the very point of the analogy between Christ and Adam is destroyed.

4. This interpretation is so plainly the correct and natural one, that it is, as shown above, freely admitted by the most strenuous opponents of the doctrine which it teaches.

Much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, faith abounded unto many. Had Paul been studious of uniformity in the structure of his sentences, this clause would have been differently worded: ‘If by the offense of one many die, much more by the free gift of one shall many live.’ The meaning is the same. The force of the passage lies in the words much more. The idea is not that the grace is more abundant and efficacious than the offense and its consequences: this idea is expressed in Rom_5:20; but, ‘if the one dispensation has occurred, much more may the other; if we die for one, much more may we live by another.’ The πολλῷ μᾶλλον does not express a higher degree of efficacy, but of evidence or certainty: ‘If the one thing has happened, much more certainly may the other be relied upon.’ The first clause of the verse may be thus interpreted, ‘the grace of God, even the gift by grace;’ so that the latter phrase is explanatory of the former. If they are to be distinguished, the first refers to the cause, viz. the grace of God; and the second to the result, viz. the gift by grace, i.e. the gracious or free gift, viz. the gift of righteousness, as explained in Rom_5:17. Which is by one man, Jesus Christ; that is, which comes to us through Christ. This free gift is of course the opposite of what comes upon us for the sake of Adam. Guilt and condemnation come from him; righteousness and consequent acceptance from Jesus Christ. What is here called the free gift is, in Rom_5:17, called the gift of righteousness. Hath abounded unto many, εἰς τοὺς πολλούς, unto the many; that is, has been freely and abundantly bestowed on the many. Whether the many, in this clause, is coextensive numerically with the many in the other, will be considered under Rom_5:18.

Jamieson, Fauset, and Brown
Romans 5:15
But — “Yet,” “Howbeit.”

not as the offence — “trespass.”

so also is the free gift — or “the gracious gift,” “the gift of grace.” The two cases present points of contrast as well as resemblance.

For if, etc. — rather, “For if through the offense of the one the many died (that is, in that one man’s first sin), much more did the grace of God, and the free gift by grace, even that of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many.” By “the many” is meant the mass of mankind represented respectively by Adam and Christ, as opposed, not to few, but to “the one” who represented them. By “the free gift” is meant (as in Rom_5:17) the glorious gift of justifying righteousness; this is expressly distinguished from “the grace of God,” as the effect from the cause; and both are said to “abound” towards us in Christ – in what sense will appear in Rom_5:16, Rom_5:17. And the “much more,” of the one case than the other, does not mean that we get much more of good by Christ than of evil by Adam (for it is not a case of quantity at all); but that we have much more reason to expect, or it is much more agreeable to our ideas of God, that the many should be benefited by the merit of one, than that they should suffer for the sin of one; and if the latter has happened, much more may we assure ourselves of the former [Philippi, Hodge].

Marvin Vincent
Romans 5:15
Of one (τοῦ ἑνὸς)
Rev., correctly, the one – Adam. So the many.

Much more
Some explain of the quality of the cause and effect: that as the fall of Adam caused vast evil, the work of the far greater Christ shall much more cause great results of good. This is true; but the argument seems to turn rather on the question of certainty. “The character of God is such, from a christian point of view, that the comparison gives a much more certain basis for belief, in what is gained through the second Adam, than in the certainties of sin and death through the first Adam” (Schaff and Riddle).

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:15
But not as the offence – This is the first point of contrast between the effect of the sin of Adam and of the work of Christ. The word “offence” means properly a fall, where we stumble over anything lying in our way It then means sin in general, or crime Mat_6:14-15; Mat_18:35. Here it means the fall, or first sin of Adam. We use the word “fall” as applied to Adam, to denote his first offence, as being that act by which he fell from an elevated state of obedience and happiness into one of sin and condemnation.

So also – The gift is not in its nature and effects like the offence.

The free gift – The favor, benefit, or good bestowed gratuitously on us. It refers to the favors bestowed in the gospel by Christ. These are free, that is, without merit on our part, and bestowed on the undeserving.

For if … – The apostle does not labor to prove that this is so. This is not the point of his argument, He assumes that as what was seen and known everywhere. His main point is to show that greater benefits have resulted from the work of the Messiah than evils from the fall of Adam.

Through the offence of one – By the fall of one. This simply concedes the fact that it is so. The apostle does not attempt an explanation of the mode or manner in which it happened. He neither says that it is by imputation, nor by inherent depravity, nor by imitation.

Whichever of these modes may be the proper one of accounting for the fact, it is certain that the apostle states neither. His object was, not to explain the manner in which it was done, but to argue from the acknowledged existence of the fact. All that is certainly established from this passage is, that as a certain fact resulting from the transgression of Adam, “many” were “dead.” This simple fact is all that can be proved from this passage. Whether it is to be explained by the doctrine of imputation, is to be a subject of inquiry independent of this passage. Nor have we a right to assume that this teaches the doctrine of the imputation of the sin of Adam to his posterity. For,

(1) The apostle says nothing of it.

(2) that doctrine is nothing but an effort to explain the manner of an event which the apostle Paul did not think it proper to attempt to explain.

(3) that doctrine is in fact no explanation.

It is introducing all additional difficulty. For to say that I am blameworthy, or ill-deserving for a sin in which I had no agency, is no explanation, but is involving me in an additional difficulty still more perplexing, to ascertain how such a doctrine can possibly be just. The way of wisdom would be, doubtless, to rest satisfied with the simple statement of a fact which the apostle has assumed, without attempting to explain it by a philosophical theory. Calvin accords with the above interpretation. “For we do not so perish by his (Adam’s) crime, as if we were ourselves innocent; but Paul ascribes our ruin to him because his sin is the cause of our sin.”

(This is not a fair quotation from Calvin. It leaves us to infer, that the Reformer affirmed, that Adam’s sin is the cause of actual sin in us, on account of which last only we are condemned. Now under the twelfth verse Calvin says, “The inference is plain, that the apostle does not treat of actual sin, for if every person was the cause of his own guilt, why should Paul compare Adam with Christ?” If our author had not stopt short in his quotation, he would have found immediately subjoined, as an explanation: “I call that our sin, which is inbred, and with which we are born.” Our being born with this sin is a proof of our guilt in Adam. But whatever opinion may he formed of Calvin’s general views on this subject, nothing is more certain, than that he did not suppose the apostle treated of actual sin in these passages.
Notwithstanding of the efforts that are made to exclude the doctrine of imputation from this chapter, the full and varied manner in which the apostle expresses it, cannot be evaded. “Through the offence of one many be dead” – “the judgment was by one to condemnation” – “By one man’s offence death reigned by one” – “By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation” – “By one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners,” etc.

It is vain to tell us, as our author does” under each of these clauses respectively, that the apostle simply states the fact, that the sin of Adam has involved the race in condemnation, without adverting to the manner; for Paul does more than state the fact. He intimates that we are involved in condemnation in a way that bears a certain analogy to the manner in which we become righteous. And on this last, he is, without doubt, sufficiently explicited See a former supplementary note.

In Rom_5:18-19 the apostle seems plainly to affirm the manner of the fact “as by the offence of one,” etc., “Even so,” etc. “As by one man’s disobedience,” etc., “so,” etc. There is a resemblance in the manner of the two things compared. It we wish to know how guilt and condemnation come by Adam, we have only to inquire, how righteousness and justification come by Christ. “So,” that is, in this way, not in like manner. It is not in a manner that has merely some likeness, but it is in the very same manner, for although there is a contrast in the things, the one being disobedience and the other obedience, yet there is a perfect identity in the manner. – Haldane.
It is somewhat remarkable, that while our author so frequently affirms, that the apostle states the fact only, he himself should throughout assume the manner. He will not allow the apostle to explain the manner, nor any one who has a different view of it from himself. Yet he tells us, it is not by imputation that we become involved in Adam’s guilt; that people “sin in their own persons, and that therefore they die.” This he affirms to be the apostle’s meaning. And is this not an explanation of the manner. Are we not left to conclude, that from Adam we simply derive a corrupt nature, in consequence of which we sin personally, and therefore die?)

Many – Greek, “The many.” Evidently meaning all; the whole race; Jews and Gentiles. That it means all here is proved in Rom_5:18. If the inquiry be, why the apostle used the word “many” rather than all, we may reply, that the design was to express an antithesis, or contrast to the cause – one offence. One stands opposed to many, rather than to all.

Be dead – See the note on the word “death,” Rom_5:12. The race is under the dark and gloomy reign of death. This is a simple fact which the apostle assumes, and which no man can deny.

Much more – The reason of this “much more” is to be found in the abounding mercy and goodness of God. If a wise, merciful, and good Being has suffered such a train of woes to be introduced by the offence of one, have we not much more reason to expect that his grace will superabound?

The grace of God – The favor or kindness of God We have reason to expect under the administration of God more extensive benefits, than we have ills, flowing from a constitution of things which is the result of his appointment.

And the gift by grace – The gracious gift; the benefits flowing from that grace. This refers to the blessings of salvation.

Which is by one man – Standing in contrast with Adam. His appointment was the result of grace; and as he was constituted to bestow favors, we have reason to expect that they will superabound.

Hath abounded – Has been abundant, or ample; will be more than a counterbalance for the ills which have been introduced by the sin of Adam.

Unto many – Greek, Unto the many. The obvious interpretation of this is, that it is as unlimited as “the many” who are dead. Some have supposed that Adam represented the whole of the human race, and Christ a part, and that “the many” in the two members of the verse refer to the whole of those who were thus represented. But this is to do violence to the passage; and to introduce a theological doctrine to meet a supposed difficulty in the text. The obvious meaning is – one from which we cannot depart without doing violence to the proper laws of interpretation – that “the many” in the two cases are co-extensive; and that as the sin of Adam has involved the race – the many – in death; so the grace of Christ has abounded in reference to the many, to the race. If asked how this can be possible, since all have not been, and will not be savingly benefitted by the work of Christ, we may reply,

(1) That it cannot mean That the benefits of the work of Christ should be literally co-extensive with the results of Adam’s sin, since it is a fact that people have suffered, and do suffer, from the effects of that fall. In order that the Universalist may draw an argument from this, he must show that it was the design of Christ to destroy all the effects of the sin of Adam. But this has not been in fact. Though the favors of that work have abounded, yet people have suffered and died. And though it may still abound to the many, yet some may suffer here, and suffer on the same principle forever.

(2) though people are indubitably affected by the sin of Adam, as e. g., by being born with a corrupt disposition; with loss of righteousness, with subjection to pain and woe; and with exposure to eternal death; yet there is reason to believe that all those who die in infancy are, through the merits of the Lord Jesus, and by an influence which we cannot explain, changed and prepared for heaven. As nearly half the race die in infancy, therefore there is reason to think that, in regard to this large portion of the human family, the work of Christ has more than repaired the evils of the fall, and introduced them into heaven, and that his grace has thus abounded unto many. In regard to those who live to the period of moral agency, a scheme has been introduced by which the offers of salvation may be made to them, and by which they may be renewed, and pardoned, and saved. The work of Christ, therefore, may have introduced advantages adapted to meet the evils of the fall as man comes into the world; and the original applicability of the one be as extensive as the other. In this way the work of Christ was in its nature suited to abound unto the many.

(3) the intervention of the plan of atonement by the Messiah, prevented the immediate execution of the penalty of the Law, and produced all the benefits to all the race, resulting from the sparing mercy of God. In this respect it was co-extensive with the fall.

(4) he died for all the race, Heb_2:9; 2Co_5:14-15; 1Jo_2:2. Thus, his death, in its adaptation to a great and glorious result, was as extensive as the ruins of the fall.

(5) the offer of salvation is made to all, Rev_22:17; Joh_7:37; Mat_11:28-29; Mar_16:15. Thus, his grace has extended unto the many – to all the race. Provision has been made to meet the evils of the fall; a provision as extensive in its applicability as was the ruin.

(6) more will probably be actually saved by the work of Christ, than will be finally ruined by the fall of Adam. The number of those who shall be saved from all the human race, it is to be believed, will yet be many more than those who shall be lost. The gospel is to spread throughout the world. It is to be evangelized. The millennial glory is to rise upon the earth; and the Saviour is to reign with undivided empire. Taking the race as a whole, there is no reason to think that the number of those who shall be lost, compared with the immense multitudes that shall be saved by the work of Christ, will be more than are the prisoners in a community now, compared with the number of peaceful and virtuous citizens. A medicine may be discovered that shall be said to triumph over disease, though it may have been the fact that thousands have died since its discovery, and thousands yet will not avail themselves of it; yet the medicine shall have the properties of universal triumph; it is adapted to the many; it might be applied by the many; where it is applied, it completely answers the end. Vaccination is adapted to meet the evils of the small-pox everywhere; and when applied, saves people from the ravages of this terrible disease, though thousands may die to whom it is not applied. It is a triumphant remedy. So of the plan of salvation. Thus, though all shall not be saved, yet the sin of Adam shall be counteracted; and grace abounds unto the many. All this fulness of grace the apostle says we have reason to expect from the abounding mercy of God.

(The “many” in the latter clause of this verse, cannot be regarded as co-extensive with the “many” that are said to be dead through the offence of Adam. Very much is affirmed of the “many to whom grace abounds,” that cannot, “without doing violence to the whole passage,” be applied to all mankind. They are said to “receive the gift of righteousness,” and to “reign in life.” They are actually “constituted righteous,” Rom_5:19 and these things cannot be said of all people in any sense whatever. The only way of explaining the passage, therefore, is to adopt that view which our author has introduced only to condemn, namely, “that Adam represented the whole of the human race, and Christ a part, and that ‘the many in the two members of the verse, refers to the whole of those who were thus represented.”

The same principle of interpretation must be adopted in the parallel passage, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” It would be preposterous to affirm, that “the all” in the latter clause is co-extensive with “the all” in the former. The sense plainly is, that all whom Christ represented should be made alive in him. even as all mankind, or all represented by Adam, had died in him.

It is true indeed that all mankind are in some sense benefitted on account of the atonement of Christ: and our author has enlarged on several things of this nature, which yet fall short of “saving benefit.” But will it be maintained, that the apostle in reality affirms no more than that the many to, whom grace abounds, participate in certain benefits, short of salvation? If so, what becomes of the comparison between Adam and Christ? If “the many” in the one branch of the comparison are only benefitted by Christ in a way that falls short of saving benefit, then “the many” in the other branch must be affected by the fall of Adam only in the same limited way, whereas the apostle affirms that in consequence of it they are really “dead.”

“The principal thing,” says Mr. Scott, “which renders the expositions generally given of these verses perplexed and unsatisfactory, arises from an evident misconception of the apostle’s reasoning, in supposing that Adam and Christ represented exactly the same company; whereas Adam was the surety of the whole human species, as his posterity; Christ, only of that chosen remnant, which has been, or shall be one with him by faith, who alone ‘are counted to him for a generation.’ If we exclusively consider the benefits which believers derive from Christ as compared with the loss sustained in Adam by the human race, we shall then see the passage open most perspicuously and gloriously to our view.” – Commentary, Rom_5:15, Rom_5:19.

But our author does not interpret this passage upon any consistent principle. For “the many” in Rom_5:15, to whom “grace abounded” are obviously the same with those in Rom_5:17, who are said to receive abundance of grace, etc., and yet he interprets the one of all mankind, and the other of believers only. What is asserted in Rom_5:17, he says, “is particularly true of the redeemed, of whom the apostle in this verse is speaking.”)

John Calvin
Romans 5:20
20.But the law intervened, etc. This subject depends on what he had said before — that there was sin before the law was published. This being the case, then follows immediately this question — For what purpose was the law given? It was therefore necessary to solve this difficulty; but as a longer digression was not suitable, he deferred the subject and handled it in another place: and now by the way he only says, that the law entered, that sin might abound; for he describes not here the whole office and use of the law, but only touches on one part, which served his present purpose. He indeed teaches us, that it was needful that men’s ruin should be more fully discovered to them, in order that a passage might be opened for the favor of God. They were indeed shipwrecked before the law was given; as however they seemed to themselves to swim, while in their destruction, they were thrust down into the deep, that their deliverance might appear more evident, when they thence emerge beyond all human expectation. Nor was it unreasonable, that the law should be partly introduced for this end — that it might again condemn men already condemned; for nothing is more reasonable than that men should, through all means be brought, nay, forced, by being proved guilty, to know their own evils.

That offense might abound, etc. It is well known how some, following [Augustine ], usually explain this passage, — that lust is irritated the more, while it is checked by the restraints of the law; for it is man’s nature to strive for what is forbidden. But I understand no other increase to be intended here than that of knowledge and of obstinacy; for sin is set by the law before the eyes of man, that he may be continually forced to see that condemnation is prepared for him. Thus sin disturbs the conscience, which, when cast behind them, men forget. And farther, he who before only passed over the bounds of justice, becomes now, when the law is introduced, a despiser of God’s authority, since the will of God is made known to him, which he now wantonly tramples under feet. It hence follows, that sin is increased by the law, since now the authority of the lawgiver is despised and his majesty degraded.

Grace has superabounded. After sin has held men sunk in ruin, grace then comes to their help: for he teaches us, that the abundance of grace becomes for this reason more illustrious. — that while sin is overflowing, it pours itself forth so exuberantly, that it not only overcomes the flood of sin, but wholly absorbs it. And we may hence learn, that our condemnation is not set before us in the law, that we may abide in it; but that having fully known our misery, we may be led to Christ, who is sent to be a physician to the sick, a deliverer to the captives, a comforter to the afflicted, a defender to the oppressed. (Isa_61:1.)

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:20
The law entered that (ἱνα) the offense might abound – After considering various opinions concerning the true meaning of this verse, (see under Rom_5:12 (note)), I am induced to prefer my own, as being the most simple. By law I understand the Mosaic law. By entering in, παρεισηλθεν, or, rather, coming in privily, see Gal_2:4, (the only place where it occurs besides), I understand the temporary or limited use of that law, which was, as far as its rites and ceremonies are considered, confined to the Jewish people, and to them only till the Messiah should come; but considered as the moral law, or rule of conscience and life, it has in its spirit and power been slipped in – introduced into every conscience, that sin might abound – that the true nature, deformity, and extent of sin might appear; for by the law is the knowledge of sin: for how can the finer deviations from a straight line be ascertained, without the application of a known straight edge? Without this rule of right, sin can only be known in a sort of general way; the innumerable deviations from positive rectitude can only be known by the application of the righteous statutes of which the law is composed. And it was necessary that this law should be given, that the true nature of sin might be seen, and that men might be the better prepared to receive the Gospel; finding that this law worketh only wrath, i.e. denounces punishment, forasmuch as all have sinned. Now, it is wisely ordered of God, that wherever the Gospel goes there the law goes also; entering every where, that sin may be seen to abound, and that men may be led to despair of salvation in any other way or on any terms but those proposed in the Gospel of Christ. Thus the sinner becomes a true penitent, and is glad, seeing the curse of the law hanging over his soul, to flee for refuge to the hope set before him in the Gospel. On the meaning of ἱνα, in various places, see Chrysost. vol. iii. p. 241. See also Hammond on the word in his notes on the New Testament.

But where sin abounded – Whether in the world, or in the heart of the individual, being discovered by this most pure and righteous law, grace did much more abound: not only pardon for all that is past is offered by the Gospel, so that all the transgressions for which the soul is condemned to death by the law, are freely and fully forgiven; but also the Holy Spirit, in the abundance of his gifts and graces, is communicated, so as to prepare the receiver for an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Thus the grace of the Gospel not only redeems from death, and restores to life, but brings the soul into such a relationship with God, and into such a participation of eternal glory, as we have no authority to believe ever would have been the portion even of Adam himself, had he even eternally retained his innocence. Thus, where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:20
Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound, etc. Paul having shown that our justification was effected without the intervention of either the moral or Mosaic law, was naturally led to state the design and effect of the renewed revelation of the one, and the super induction of the other. The law stands here for the whole of the Old Testament economy, including the clear revelation of the moral law, and all the institutions connected with the former dispensation. The main design and result of this dispensation, considered as law, that is, apart from the evangelical import of many of its parts, was ἵνα τὸ παράπτωμα πλεονάσῄ, that the offense might abound. The offense το παράπτωμὰ is in the context used of the specific offense of Adam. But it is hard to see how the entrance of the law made the offense of Adam to abound, unless the idea is, that its dire effects were rendered more abundant. It is more probable that the apostle uses the word in a collective sense; compare Gal_3:19. Agreeably to this view, the meaning of the clause is, that the great design of the law (in reference to justification) is to produce the knowledge and conviction of sin. Taking the word in its usual sense, the meaning is, that the result of the introduction of the law was the increase of sin. This result is to be attributed partly to the fact, that by enlarging the knowledge of the rule of duty, responsibility was proportionably increased, according to Rom_4:15, and partly to the consideration that the enmity of the heart is awakened by its operation, and transgressions actually multiplied, agreeably to Rom_7:8.

Both views of the passage express an important truth, as the conviction of sin and its incidental increase are alike the result of the operation of the law. It seems, however, more in accordance with the apostle’s object, and with the general, although not uniform force of the particle (ἵνα) rendered that, to consider the clause as expressing the design, rather than the result simply of the giving of the law. The word παρεισῆλθεν does not mean simply entered, nor entered between, that is, came between Adam and Christ. This is indeed historically true, but it is not the meaning of the word, and therefore not the idea which the apostle intended to express. Nor does the word mean here, as in Gal_2:4, entered surreptitiously, “crept in unawares,” for this is not true. It rather means entered thereto, i.e., as the same idea is expressed in Gal_3:19, “it was added.” It was superinduced on a plan already laid, and for a subordinate, although necessary purpose. It was not intended to give life, but to prepare men to receive Christ as the only source of righteousness and salvation.
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. That is, great as is the prevalence of sin, as seen and felt in the light of God’s holy law, yet over all this evil the grace of the gospel has abounded. The gospel or the grace of God has proved itself much more efficacious in the production of good, than sin in the production of evil. This idea is illustrated in the following verse.

The words ou[ and e)kei~ have a local force. Where, i.e., in the sphere in which sin abounded, there, in the same sphere, grace superabounded; ὑπερεπερισσεύειν is superlative, and not comparative, and περισσεύειν is stronger than πλεονάζειν, as περισσόν is more than πλέον. The fact, therefore, of the triumph of grace over sin, is expressed in the clearest manner.

Marvin Vincent
Romans 5:20
The law entered (παρεισῆλθεν)
Rev., literally, came in beside, giving the force of παρά beside. Very significant. Now that the parallel between Adam and Christ is closed, the question arises as to the position and office of the law. How did it stand related to Adam and Christ? Paul replies that it came in alongside of the sin. “It was taken up into the divine plan or arrangement, and made an occasion for the abounding of grace in the opening of the new way to justification and life” (Dwight).

Might abound (πλεονάσῃ)
Not primarily of the greater consciousness and acknowledgment of sin, but of the increase of actual transgression. The other thought, however, may be included. See Rom_7:7, Rom_7:8, Rom_7:9, Rom_7:11.

Did much more abound (ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν)
Lit., abounded over and above. Only here and 2Co_7:4. Compare ὑπερεπλεόνασε abounded exceedingly, 1Ti_1:14; ὑπερπερισσῶς beyond measure, Mar_7:37; ὑπεραυξάνει; groweth exceedingly, 2Th_1:3.

Albert Barnes
Romans 5:20
Moreover – But. What is said in this verse and the following, seems designed to meet the Jew, who might pretend that the Law of Moses was intended to meet the evils of sin introduced by Adam, and therefore that the scheme defended by the apostle was unnecessary. He therefore shows them that the effect of the Law of Moses was to increase rather than to diminish the sins which had been introduced into the world. And if such was the fact, it could not be pled that it was adapted to overcome the acknowledged evils of the apostasy.

The law – The Mosaic laws and institutions. The word seems to be used here to denote all the laws which were given in the Old Testament.

Entered – This word usually means to enter secretly or surreptitiously. But it appears to be used here simply in the sense that the Law came in, or was given. It came in addition to, or it supervened the state before Moses, when people were living without a revelation.

That sin … – The word “that” ἵνα hina in this place does not mean that it was the design of giving the Law that sin might abound or be increased, but that such was in fact the effect. It had this tendency, not to restrain or subdue sin, but to excite and increase it. That the word has this sense may be seen in the lexicons. The way in which the Law produces this effect is stated more fully by the apostle in Rom_7:7-11. The Law expresses the duty of man; it is spiritual and holy; it is opposed to the guilty passions and pleasures of the world; and it thus excites opposition, provokes to anger, and is the occasion by which sin is called into exercise, and shows itself in the heart. All law, where there is a disposition to do wrong, has this tendency. A command given to a child that is disposed to indulge his passions, only tends to excite anger and opposition. If the heart was holy, and there was a disposition to do right, law would have no such tendency. See this subject further illustrated in the notes at Rom_7:7-11.

The offence – The offence which had been introduced by Adam, that is, sin. Compare Rom_5:15.

Might abound – Might increase; that is, would be more apparent, more violent, more extensive. The introduction of the Mosaic Law, instead of diminishing the sins of people, only increases them.

But where sin abounded – Alike in all dispensations – before the Law, and under the Law. In all conditions of the human family before the gospel, it was the characteristic that sin was prevalent.

Grace – Favor; mercy.

Did much more abound – Superabounded. The word is used no where else in the New Testament, except in 2Co_7:4. It means that the pardoning mercy of the gospel greatly triumphed over sin, even over the sins of the Jews, though those sins were greatly aggravated by the light which they enjoyed under the advantages of divine revelation.

John Calvin
Romans 5:21
21.That as sin has reigned, etc. As sin is said to be the sting of death, and as death has no power over men, except on account of sin; so sin executes its power by death: it is hence said to exercise thereby its dominion. In the last clause the order of the words is deranged, but yet not without reason. The simple contrast might have been thus formed, — “That righteousness may reign through Christ.” But Paul was not content to oppose what is contrary to what is contrary, but adds the word grace, that he might more deeply print this truth on the memory — that the whole is to be ascribed, not to our merit, but to the kindness of God. He had previously said, that death reigned; he now ascribes reigning to sin; but its end or, effect is death. And he says, that it has reigned, in the past tense; not that it has ceased to reign in those who are born only of flesh, and he thus distinguishes between Adam and Christ, and assigns to each his own time. Hence as soon as the grace of Christ begins to prevail in any one, the reign of sin and death ceases.

Adam Clarke
Romans 5:21
That as sin hath reigned unto death – As extensively, as deeply, as universally, as sin, whether implying the act of transgression or the impure principle from which the act proceeds, or both. Hath reigned, subjected the whole earth and all its inhabitants; the whole soul, and all its powers and faculties, unto death, temporal of the body, spiritual of the soul, and eternal of both; even so, as extensively, deeply, and universally might grace reign – filling the whole earth, and pervading, purifying, and refining the whole soul: through righteousness – through this doctrine of free salvation by the blood of the Lamb, and by the principle of holiness transfused through the soul by the Holy Ghost: unto eternal life – the proper object of an immortal spirit’s hope, the only sphere where the human intellect can rest, and be happy in the place and state where God is; where he is seen As He Is; and where he can be enjoyed with out interruption in an eternal progression of knowledge and beatitude: by Jesus Christ our Lord – as the cause of our salvation, the means by which it is communicated, and the source whence it springs. Thus we find, that the salvation from sin here is as extensive and complete as the guilt and contamination of sin; death is conquered, hell disappointed, the devil confounded, and sin totally destroyed. Here is glorying: To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father, be glory and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen. Hallelujah! The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth! Amen and Amen.

What highly interesting and momentous truths does the preceding chapter bring to our view! No less than the doctrine of the fall of man from original righteousness; and the redemption of the world by the incarnation and death of Christ. On the subject of the Fall, though I have spoken much in the notes on Genesis, chap. 3, yet it may be necessary to make a few farther observations: –

1. That all mankind have fallen under the empire of death, through this original transgression, the apostle most positively asserts; and few men who profess to believe the Bible, pretend to dispute. This point is indeed ably stated, argued, and proved by Dr. Taylor, from whose observations the preceding notes are considerably enriched. But there is one point which I think not less evident, which he has not only not included in his argument, but, as far as it came in his way, has argued against it, viz. the degeneracy and moral corruption of the human soul. As no man can account for the death brought into the world but on the ground of this primitive transgression, so none can account for the moral evil that is in the world on any other ground. It is a fact, that every human being brings into the world with him the seeds of dissolution and mortality. Into this state we are fallen, according to Divine revelation, through the one offense of Adam. This fact is proved by the mortality of all men. It is not less a fact, that every man that is born into the world brings with him the seeds of moral evil; these he could not have derived from his Maker; for the most pure and holy God can make nothing impure, imperfect, or unholy. Into this state we are reduced, according to the Scripture, by the transgression of Adam; for by this one man sin entered into the world, as well as death.

2. The fact that all come into the world with sinful propensities is proved by another fact, that every man sins; that sin is his first work, and that no exception to this has ever been noticed, except in the human nature of Jesus Christ; and that exempt case is sufficiently accounted for from this circumstance, that it did not come in the common way of natural generation.

3. As like produces its like, if Adam became mortal and sinful, he could not communicate properties which he did not possess; and he must transmit those which constituted his natural and moral likeness: therefore all his posterity must resemble himself. Nothing less than a constant miraculous energy, presiding over the formation and development of every human body and soul, could prevent the seeds of natural and moral evil from being propagated. That these seeds are not produced in men by their own personal transgressions, is most positively asserted by the apostle in the preceding chapter; and that they exist before the human being is capable of actual transgression, or of the exercise of will and judgment, so as to prefer and determine, is evident to the most superficial observer:
1st, from the most marked evil propensities of children, long before reason can have any influence or control over passion; and,
2ndly, it is demonstrated by the death of millions in a state of infancy. It could not, therefore, be personal transgression that produced the evil propensities in the one case, nor death in the other.

4. While misery, death, and sin are in the world, we shall have incontrovertible proofs of the fall of man. Men may dispute against the doctrine of original sin; but such facts as the above will be a standing irrefragable argument against every thing that can be advanced against the doctrine itself.

5. The justice of permitting this general infection to become diffused has been strongly oppugned. “Why should the innocent suffer for the guilty?” As God made man to propagate his like on the earth, his transmitting the same kind of nature with which he was formed must be a necessary consequence of that propagation. He might, it is true, have cut off for ever the offending pair; but this, most evidently, did not comport with his creative designs. “But he might have rendered Adam incapable of sin.” This does not appear. If he had been incapable of sinning, he would have been incapable of holiness; that is, he could not have been a free agent; or in other words he could not have been an intelligent or intellectual being; he must have been a mass of inert and unconscious matter. “But God might have cut them off and created a new race.” He certainly might; and what would have been gained by this? Why, just nothing. The second creation, if of intelligent beings at all, must have been precisely similar to the first; and the circumstances in which these last were to be placed, must be exactly such as infinite wisdom saw to be the most proper for their predecessors, and consequently, the most proper for them. They also must have been in a state of probation; they also must have been placed under a law; this law must be guarded by penal sanctions; the possibility of transgression must be the same in the second case as in the first; and the lapse as probable, because as possible to this second race of human beings as it was to their predecessors. It was better, therefore, to let the same pair continue to fulfill the great end of their creation, by propagating their like upon the earth; and to introduce an antidote to the poison, and by a dispensation as strongly expressive of wisdom as of goodness, to make the ills of life, which were the consequences of their transgression, the means of correcting the evil, and through the wondrous economy of grace, sanctifying even these to the eternal good of the soul.

6. Had not God provided a Redeemer, he, no doubt, would have terminated the whole mortal story, by cutting off the original transgressors; for it would have been unjust to permit them to propagate their like in such circumstances, that their offspring must be unavoidably and eternally wretched.

God has therefore provided such a Savior, the merit of whose passion and death should apply to every human being, and should infinitely transcend the demerit of the original transgression, and put every soul that received that grace (and All may) into a state of greater excellence and glory than that was, or could have been, from which Adam, by transgressing, fell.

7. The state of infants dying before they are capable of hearing the Gospel, and the state of heathens who have no opportunity of knowing how to escape from their corruption and misery, have been urged as cases of peculiar hardship. But, first, there is no evidence in the whole book of God that any child dies eternally for Adam’s sin. Nothing of this kind is intimated in the Bible; and, as Jesus took upon him human nature, and condescended to be born of a woman in a state of perfect helpless infancy, he has, consequently, sanctified this state, and has said, without limitation or exception, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. We may justly infer, and all the justice as well as the mercy of the Godhead supports the inference, that all human beings, dying in an infant state, are regenerated by that grace of God which bringeth salvation to all men, Tit_2:11, and go infallibly to the kingdom of heaven. As to the Gentiles, their case is exceedingly clear. The apostle has determined this; see Rom_2:14, Rom_2:15, and the notes there. He who, in the course of his providence, has withheld from them the letter of his word, has not denied them the light and influence of his Spirit; and will judge them in the great day only according to the grace and means of moral improvement with which they have been favored. No man will be finally damned because he was a Gentile, but because he has not made a proper use of the grace and advantages which God had given him. Thus we see that the Judge of all the earth has done right; and we may rest assured that he will eternally act in the same way.

8. The term Fall we use metaphorically, to signify degradation: literally, it signifies stumbling, so as to lose the centre of gravity, or the proper poise of our bodies, in consequence of which we are precipitated on the ground. The term seems to have been borrowed from the παραπτωμα of the apostle, Rom_5:15-18, which we translate offense, and which is more literally Fall, from παρα, intensive, and πιπτω, I fall; a grievous, dangerous, and ruinous fall, and is property applied to transgression and sin in general; as every act is a degradation of the soul, accompanied with hurt, and tending to destruction. The term, in this sense, is still in common use; the degradation of a man in power we term his fall; the impoverishment of a rich man we express in the same way; and when a man of piety and probity is overcome by any act of sin, we say he is fallen; he has descended from his spiritual eminence, is degraded from his spiritual excellence, is impure in his soul, and becomes again exposed to the displeasure of his God.

Charles Hodge
Romans 5:21
That as sin hath reigned unto death, etc. That, ἵνα, in order that, as expressing the divine purpose. The design of God in permitting sin, and in allowing it to abound, was to bring good out of evil; to make it the occasion of the most wonderful display of his glory and grace, so that the benefits of redemption should infinitely transcend the evils of the apostasy. Sin reigned, ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ, not unto, but in death, or through death. Death spiritual as well as temporal — evil in its widest sense, as the judicial consequence of sin, was the sphere in which the power or triumph of sin was manifested. Even so might grace reign, (ὥσπερ — οὕτω και&), as the one has happened, so also the other. The one is in order to the other. Grace is the unmerited love of God and its consequences. It reigns, i.e., it is abundantly and effectively displayed, unto eternal life, (εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον,) in securing as the result of its exercise, eternal life. This is done (διὰ δικαιοσύνης) by means of righteousness, and that righteousness is through Jesus Christ our Lord. As the triumph of sin over our race was through the offense of Adam, so the triumph of grace is through the righteousness of Christ. The construction of this passage, assumed in the above interpretation, is to be preferred to that which connects δικαιοσύνης εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, ‘righteousness which is unto eternal life,’ because the antithesis is not between death and righteousness, but between death and life: ‘Sin reigns in death, grace reigns unto life.’

That the benefits of redemption shall far outweigh the evils of the fall, is here clearly asserted. This we can in a measure comprehend, because,

1. The number of the saved shall doubtless greatly exceed the number of the lost. Since the half of mankind die in infancy, and, according to the Protestant doctrine, are heirs of salvation; and since in the future state of the Church the knowledge of the Lord is to cover the earth, we have reason to believe that the lost shall bear to the saved no greater proportion than the inmates of a prison do to the mass of the community.

2. Because the eternal Son of God, by his incarnation and mediation, exalts his people to a far higher state of being than our race, if unfallen, could ever have attained.

3. Because the benefits of redemption are not to be confined to the human race. Christ is to be admired in his saints. It is through the Church that the manifold wisdom of God is to be revealed, throughout all ages, to principalities and powers. The redemption of man is to be the great source of knowledge and blessedness to the intelligent universe.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Romans 5:21
That as sin — Observe, the word “offense” is no more used, as that had been sufficiently illustrated; but – what better befitted this comprehensive summation of the whole matter – the great general term sin.

hath reigned unto death — rather, “in death,” triumphing and (as it were) reveling in that complete destruction of its victims.

even so might grace reign — In Rom_5:14, Rom_5:17 we had the reign of death over the guilty and condemned in Adam; here it is the reign of the mighty causes of these – of SIN which clothes Death a Sovereign with venomous power (1Co_15:56) and with awful authority (Rom_6:23), and of GRACE, the grace which originated the scheme of salvation, the grace which “sent the Son to be the Savior of the world,” the grace which “made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin,” the grace which “makes us to be the righteousness of God in Him,” so that “we who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness do reign in life by One, Jesus Christ!”

through righteousness — not ours certainly (“the obedience of Christians,” to use the wretched language of Grotius) nor yet exactly “justification” [Stuart, Hodge]; but rather, “the (justifying) righteousness of Christ” [Beza, Alford, and in substance, Olshausen, Meyer]; the same which in Rom_5:19 is called His “obedience,” meaning His whole mediatorial work in the flesh. This is here represented as the righteous medium through which grace reaches its objects and attains all its ends, the stable throne from which Grace as a Sovereign dispenses its saving benefits to as many as are brought under its benign sway.

unto eternal life — which is salvation in its highest form and fullest development for ever.

by Jesus Christ our Lord — Thus, on that “Name which is above every name,” the echoes of this hymn to the glory of “Grace” die away, and “Jesus is left alone.”

On reviewing this golden section of our Epistle, the following additional remarks occur:

(1) If this section does not teach that the whole race of Adam, standing in him as their federal head, “sinned in him and fell with him in his first transgression,” we may despair of any intelligible exposition of it. The apostle, after saying that Adam’s sin introduced death into the world, does not say “and so death passed upon all men for that Adam “sinned,” but “for that all sinned.” Thus, according to the teaching of the apostle, “the death of all is for the sin of all”; and as this cannot mean the personal sins of each individual, but some sin of which unconscious infants are guilty equally with adults, it can mean nothing but the one “first transgression” of their common head, regarded as the sin of each of his race, and punished, as such, with death. It is vain to start back from this imputation to all of the guilt of Adam’s first sin, as wearing the appearance of injustice. For not only are all other theories liable to the same objection, in some other form – besides being inconsistent with the text – but the actual facts of human nature, which none dispute, and which cannot be explained away, involve essentially the same difficulties as the great principle on which the apostle here explains them. If we admit this principle, on the authority of our apostle, a flood of light is at once thrown upon certain features of the divine procedure, and certain portions of the divine oracles, which otherwise are involved in much darkness; and if the principle itself seem hard to digest, it is not harder than the existence of evil, which, as a fact, admits of no dispute, but, as a feature in the divine administration, admits of no explanation in the present state.

(2) What is called original sin – or that depraved tendency to evil with which every child of Adam comes into the world – is not formally treated of in this section (and even in the seventh chapter, it is rather its nature and operation than its connection with the first sin which is handled). But indirectly, this section bears testimony to it; representing the one original offense, unlike every other, as having an enduring vitality in the bosom of every child of Adam, as a principle of disobedience, whose virulence has gotten it the familiar name of “original sin.”

(3) In what sense is the word “death” used throughout this section? Not certainly as mere temporal death, as Arminian commentators affirm. For as Christ came to undo what Adam did, which is all comprehended in the word “death,” it would hence follow that Christ has merely dissolved the sentence by which soul and body are parted in death; in other words, merely procured the resurrection of the body. But the New Testament throughout teaches that the salvation of Christ is from a vastly more comprehensive “death” than that. But neither is death here used merely in the sense of penal evil, that is, “any evil inflicted in punishment of sin and for the support of law” [Hodge]. This is too indefinite, making death a mere figure of speech to denote “penal evil” in general – an idea foreign to the simplicity of Scripture – or at least making death, strictly so called, only one part of the thing meant by it, which ought not to be resorted to if a more simple and natural explanation can be found. By “death” then, in this section, we understand the sinner’s destruction, in the only sense in which he is capable of it. Even temporal death is called “destruction” (Deu_7:23; 1Sa_5:11, etc.), as extinguishing all that men regard as life. But a destruction extending to the soul as well as the body, and into the future world, is clearly expressed in Mat_7:13; 2Th_1:9; 2Pe_3:16, etc. This is the penal “death” of our section, and in this view of it we retain its proper sense. Life – as a state of enjoyment of the favor of God, of pure fellowship with Him, and voluntary subjection to Him – is a blighted thing from the moment that sin is found in the creature’s skirts; in that sense, the threatening, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” was carried into immediate effect in the case of Adam when he fell; who was thenceforward “dead while he lived.” Such are all his posterity from their birth. The separation of soul and body in temporal death carries the sinner’s destruction” a stage farther; dissolving his connection with that world out of which he extracted a pleasurable, though unblest, existence, and ushering him into the presence of his Judge – first as a disembodied spirit, but ultimately in the body too, in an enduring condition – “to be punished (and this is the final state) with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” This final extinction in soul and body of all that constitutes life, but yet eternal consciousness of a blighted existence – this, in its amplest and most awful sense, is “DEATH”! Not that Adam understood all that. It is enough that he understood “the day” of his disobedience to be the terminating period of his blissful “life.” In that simple idea was wrapt up all the rest. But that he should comprehend its details was not necessary. Nor is it necessary to suppose all that to be intended in every passage of Scripture where the word occurs. Enough that all we have described is in the bosom of the thing, and will be realized in as many as are not the happy subjects of the Reign of Grace. Beyond doubt, the whole of this is intended in such sublime and comprehensive passages as this: “God … gave His … Son that whosoever believeth in Him might not PERISH, but have everlasting LIFE” (Joh_3:16). And should not the untold horrors of that “DEATH” – already “reigning over” all that are not in Christ, and hastening to its consummation – quicken our flight into “the second Adam,” that having “received the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, we may reign in LIFE by the One, Jesus Christ?”

Another Bullet to the Head of the Zombie Lead Codices

I’m behind the news, but Tom Verenna has fired not one, not two but three bullets to the brain of those pesky Jordanian Lead Codices that are apparently dead but just keep shambling on.

First he has a YouTube video just shy of ten minutes here.

Then he has a nine page update on the problems associated with the codices here.

Finally he has a brief note of another repeated stamp in the codices at his blog here.

Who says zombies don’t exist outside of Hollywood?

Romans Chapter 3:28-31, 4:1-5, 16-25 Antique Commentary Quotes

John Calvin
Romans 3:28
28.We then conclude, etc. He now draws the main proposition, as one that is incontrovertible, and adds an explanation. Justification by faith is indeed made very clear, while works are expressly excluded. Hence, in nothing do our adversaries labor more in the present day than in attempts to blend faith with the merits of works. They indeed allow that man is justified by faith; but not by faith alone; yea, they place the efficacy of justification in love, though in words they ascribe it to faith. But Paul affirms in this passage that justification is so gratuitous, that he makes it quite evident, that it can by no means be associated with the merit of works. Why he names the works of the law, I have already explained; and I have also proved that it is quite absurd to confine them to ceremonies. Frigid also is the gloss, that works are to be taken for those which are outward, and done without the Spirit of Christ. On the contrary, the word law that is added, means the same as though he called them meritorious; for what is referred to is the reward promised in the law.

What, James says, that man is not justified by faith alone, but also by works, does not at all militate against the preceding view. The reconciling of the two views depends chiefly on the drift of the argument pursued by James. For the question with him is not, how men attain righteousness before God, but how they prove to others that they are justified, for his object was to confute hypocrites, who vainly boasted that they had faith. Gross then is the sophistry, not to admit that the word, to justify, is taken in a different sense by James, from that in which it is used by Paul; for they handle different subjects. The word, faith, is also no doubt capable of various meanings. These two things must be taken to the account, before a correct judgment can be formed on the point. We may learn from the context, that James meant no more than that man is not made or proved to be just by a feigned or dead faith, and that he must prove his righteousness by his works. See on this subject my Institutes.

Charles Hodge
Romans 3:28
Therefore we conclude, etc. The common text has οὖν, therefore, giving this verse the character of a conclusion from the preceding argument. The great majority, however, of the best manuscripts, the Vulgate and Coptic versions, and many of the Fathers, have γάρ, which almost all the modern editors adopt. This verse, then, is a confirmation of what is said before: “Boasting is excluded, λογιζόμθα γάρ, for we think, i.e., are sure,” etc. See Rom_2:3; Rom_8:18; 2Co_11:5, for a similar use of the word λογίζομαι. That a man is justified by faith. If by faith, it is not of works; and if not of works, there can be no room for boasting, for boasting is the assertion of personal merit. From the nature of the case, if justification is by faith, it must be by faith alone. Luther’s version, therefore, allein durch den glauben, is fully justified by the context. The Romanists, indeed, made a great outcry against that version as a gross perversion of Scripture, although Catholic translators before the time of Luther had given the same translation. So in the Nuremberg Bible, 1483, “Nur durch den glauben.” And the Italian Bibles of Geneva, 1476, and of Venice, 1538, per sola fede. The Fathers also often use the expression, “man is justified by faith alone;” so that Erasmus, De Ratione Concionandi, Lib. 3., says, “Vox sola, tot clamoribus lapidata hoc saeculo in Luthero, reverenter in Patribus auditur.” See Koppe and Tholuck on this verse.

Without works of the law. To be justified without works, is to be justified without anything in ourselves to merit justification. The works of the law must be the works of the moral law, because the proposition is general, embracing Gentiles as well as Jews. And as our Savior teaches that the sum of the moral law is that we should love God with all the heart, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, and as no higher form of excellence than supreme love to God is possible or conceivable, in excluding works of the law, the apostle excludes everything subjective. He places the ground of justification out of ourselves. Olshausen, on this verse, reverts to his Romish idea of subjective justification, and explains works of the law to mean works produced by the moral law, which he says spring only from ourselves, and are perishable, whereas “the works of faith are imperishable as the principle whence they spring.” That is, we are not justified by works performed from a principle of natural conscience, but by those which are the fruits of a renewed nature. How utterly subversive this is of the gospel, has already been remarked. The works of the law are not works which the law produces, but works which the law demands, and the law demands all that the Spirit of God effects, even in the just made perfect. And therefore spiritual as well as legal works are excluded. The contrast is not between works produced by the law and works produced by faith, but between works and faith, between what is done by us (whether in a state of nature or a state of grace) and what Christ has done for us.

Expositor’s Greek NT
Ver. 28. λογιζόμεθα γάρ: see critical note. In λογιζόμεθα there is no idea of an uncertain conclusion: it rather suggests the confident self-consciousness of the reasoner. ἄνθρωπον is not “any human being,” as if beings of another sort could be justified otherwise: it is like the German “man” or “one”. Cf. 1Co_4:1, 1Co_7:1, 1Co_11:28, Gal_2:16. The sharp distinction drawn between faith and works of law, as characterising two different religious systems, shows that faith must not itself be interpreted as a work of law. In principle it is a renunciation of all such confidence as legal obedience inspires.

Henry Alford
28.] λογιζόμεθα, not ‘we conclude,’ but we hold, we reckon, see reff.: the former is against N. T. usage; and has probably caused the change of γάρ into οὖν, by some who imagined that this verse was a conclusion from the preceding argument. For we hold (as explanatory of the verse preceding,—on the other supposition the two verses are disjointed, and the conclusion comes in most strangely), that a man is justified by faith [apart from] (without [but more than without—so distinctly without as to be utterly and entirely separate from and independent of]) the works of the law (not works of law); and therefore boasting is excluded.

Albert Barnes
Romans 3:28
Therefore – As the result of the previous train of argument.

That a man – That all who are justified; that is, that there is no other way.

Is justified by faith – Is regarded and treated as righteous, by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Without the deeds of the law – Without works as a meritorious ground of justification. The apostle, of course, does not mean that Christianity does not produce good works, or that they who are justified will not obey the Law, and be holy; but that no righteousness of their own will be the ground of their justification. They are sinners; and as such can have no claim to he treated as righteous. God has devised a plan by which, they may be pardoned and saved; and that is by faith alone. This is the grand uniqueness of the Christian religion. This was the special point in the reformation from popery. Luther often called this doctrine of justification by faith the article upon which the church stood or fell – articulus stantis, vel cadentis ecclesiae – and it is so. If this doctrine is held entire, all others will be held with it. If this is abandoned, all others will fall also. It may be remarked here, however, that this doctrine by no means interferes with the doctrine that good works are to be performed by Christians. Paul urges this as much as any other writer in the New Testament. His doctrine is, that they are not to be relied on as a ground of justification; but that he did not mean to teach that they are not to be performed by Christians is apparent from the connection, and from the following places in his epistles: Rom_2:7; 2Co_9:8; Eph_2:10; 1Ti_2:10; 1Ti_5:10, 1Ti_5:25; 1Ti_6:18; 2Ti_3:17; Tit_2:7, Tit_2:14; Tit_3:8; Heb_10:24. That we are not justified by our works is a doctrine which he has urged and repeated with great power and frequency. See Rom_4:2, Rom_4:6; Rom_9:11, Rom_9:32; Rom_11:6; Gal_2:16; Gal_3:2, Gal_3:5,Gal_3:10; Eph_2:9; 2Ti_1:9.

Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture
28. ‘Justified by faith without works of a law’: Christian justification is obtained by faith; no one can earn it by works according to this or that system of law, whatever the name or character of that law may be: be it the law of Israel, or the law of the Gentiles; be it natural, moral or ceremonial law; cf. 3:20-22; Dz 801, 1793; Prat I 180 f.

Already Origen uttered a warning against the false conclusion that according to this verse works after justification are of no account. To draw such a conclusion would be to overlook two important points:

(1) Paul is here concerned not with the Christian life after justification, but with the way of obtaining justification. ‘Initial justification’ = the beginning of justification, is his point.

(2) When Paul does speak of the life after justification has been obtained he leaves no doubt that works are necessary to retain the justification obtained by faith. The evidence is to be found in his many exhortations, e.g.Rom 12-14. Among the more popular references to the same effect are Mat_25:34 ff.; 1Co_3:8; 2Co_11:15; Gal_5:6; Jam_2:14, Jam_2:17, Jam_2:24-26. But St Paul would call these works ‘works of faith’ and not ‘works of law’. Thus there is no contradiction. Faith leads to virtue, but virtue need not lead to faith (St Gregory the Great, Hom. 19 in Ez, cf. Estius). The necessity and meritorious character of good works after justification had to be defended by the Council of Trent, sess VI cap 7, 10; Dz 800, 803, 834, 842.

Another conclusion from 28 that had to be rejected by the Council of Trent is, that before justification only faith is necessary as a preparation and no other works. To prove such a conclusion it would be necessary to show that Paul considered here not only the immediate preparation for justification which is admittedly faith, but also the possibilities of a more remote preparation and deliberately excluded any such steps before the decisive act of faith. Such a proof is impossible and other texts show that we must leave room for such a more remote preparation. The Council of Trent, sess VI cap 6 (Dz 798, 819), mentions: fear of God’s punishment of sin, Ecclus 1:28; Heb_11:6; hope of is forgiveness for Christ’s sake, Mat_9:2; Mar_2:5; love of God = hatred of sin, 1Jo_3:14; repentance, Luk_13:3; Act_3:19; the resolution to receive the Sacrament of baptism and to keep the commandments, Mat_28:19; Act_2:38; cf. Tanquerey III 54-8, esp. nr 54.

Verse 28 has also become famous through Luther’s translation ‘by faith alone’ = sola fide. The adjective ‘alone’ was not in the text from which Luther translated, since no MS or edition has it. He may have added it for the purpose of bringing out the sense of the passage more clearly. In fact, however, the addition has led to the false conclusion that—faith excepted—all other works both before and after justification are of no account according to St Paul’s doctrine of salvation. This so-called sola-fides doctrine was rejected by the Council of Trent, Dz 819, 798, 803 f. 30. ‘by faith . . . through faith’: stylistic variation seems to be the most natural explanation of the difference in the preposition; so Boylan, differently SH.

John Calvin
Romans 3:29
29.Is he the God of the Jews only? The second proposition is, that this righteousness belongs no more to the Jews than to the Gentiles: and it was a great matter that this point should be urged, in order that a free passage might be made for the kingdom of Christ through the whole world. He does not then ask simply or expressly, whether God was the Creator of the Gentiles, which was admitted without any dispute; but whether he designed to manifest himself as a Savior also to them. As he had put all mankind on a level, and brought them to the same condition, if there be any difference between them, it is from God, not from themselves, who have all things alike: but if it be true that God designs to make all the nations of the earth partakers of his mercy, then salvation, and righteousness, which is necessary for salvation, must be extended to all. Hence under the name, God, is conveyed an intimation of a mutual relationship, which is often mentioned in Scripture, — “I shall be to you a God, and you shall be to me a people.” (Jer_30:22.)

For the circumstance, that God, for a time, chose for himself a peculiar people, did not make void the origin of mankind, who were all formed after the image of God, and were to be brought up in the world in the hope of a blessed eternity.

Charles Hodge
Romans 3:29, 30
Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also; seeing it is one God who shall justify, etc. We have here the second result of the gospel method of justification; it presents God as equally the God of the Gentiles and of the Jews. He is such, because ‘it is one God who justifies the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.’ He deals with both classes on precisely the same principles; he pursues, with regard to both, the same plan, and offers salvation to both on exactly the same terms. There is, therefore, in this doctrine, the foundation laid for a universal religion, which may be preached to every creature under heaven; which need not, as was the case with the Jewish system, be confined to any one sect or nation. This is the only doctrine which suits the character of God, and his relation to all his intelligent creatures upon earth God is a universal, and not a national God; and this is a method of salvation universally applicable. These sublime truths are so familiar to our minds that they have, in a measure, lost their power; but as to the Jew, enthralled all his life in his narrow national and religious prejudices, they must have expanded his whole soul with unwonted emotions of wonder, gratitude, and joy. We Gentiles may now look up to heaven, and confidently say, “Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and though Israel acknowledge us not.”

Paul here, as in Rom_3:20, uses the future δικαιώσει, will justify, not for the present, nor in reference to the final judgment, but as expressing a permanent purpose. There is no distinction as to the meaning to be sought between ἐκ πίστεως (by faith) and διὰ πίστεως (through faith,) as Paul uses both forms indiscriminately; ἐκ, for example, in Rom_1:17; Rom_3:20; Rom_4:16, etc., and διὰ in Rom_3:22, Rom_3:25; Gal_2:16; and sometimes first the one, and then the other, in the same connection. There is no greater difference between the Greek prepositions, as here used, than between the English by and through.

William Sanday
29. ἤ presents, but only to dismiss, an alternative hypothesis on the assumption of which the Jew might still have had something to boast of. In rejecting this, St. Paul once more emphatically asserts his main position. There is but one law (Faith), and there is but one Judge to administer it. Though faith is spoken of in this abstract way it is of course Christian faith, faith in Christ.

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 3:29 Is God the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. This verse is in support of the doctrine, already asserted, and pervading the Epistle, of justification through Christ being for all mankind alike without distinction or partiality; and it comes in here in pursuance of the thought of the preceding verse. In it justification was said to be by faith, and apart from works of law, and therefore in itself available for the Gentiles, who had no revealed law, as well as for the Jews, who had. And why should it not be so? Is not the God of the Jews their God too? Yes.

John Calvin
Romans 3:30
30.Who shall justify, etc. In saying that some are justified by faith, and some through faith, he seems to have indulged himself in varying his language, while he expresses the same thing, and for this end, — that he might, by the way, touch on the folly of the Jews, who imagined a difference between themselves and the Gentiles, though on the subject of justification there was no difference whatever; for since men became partakers of this grace by faith only, and since faith in all is the same, it is absurd to make a distinction in what is so much alike. I am hence led to think that there is something ironical in the words, as though be said, — “If any wishes to have a difference made between the Gentile and the Jew, let him take this, — that the one obtains righteousness by faith, and the other through faith.”

George Haydock
Romans 3:30 God who justifieth circumcision, and also the uncircumcised by faith; that is, by the faith and religion of the new law, or by a faith working by charity, and joined with good words proceeding from faith. See the Council of Trent, Session 6. cap. viii. “When the apostle says, that a man is justified by faith, and gratis, according to the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church, we are said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning and foundation of man’s salvation, and the root of his justification, without which we cannot please God, nor be made his sons; and we are said to be justified gratis, because nothing of those things which go before justification, whether faith or works, are meritorious of the grace of justification.” (Witham)

Adam Clarke

Romans 3:30
Seeing it is one God – επιπερ εις ο θεος. This has been rendered, Seeing God is one. It however makes little difference in the sense: the apostle’s meaning most evidently is, it is one and the same God who made both Jews and Gentiles, who shall justify – pardon, the circumcision – the believing Jews, by faith; and the uncircumcision – the believing Gentiles, by the same faith; as there is but one Savior and one atonement provided for the whole.

It is fanciful to suppose that the apostle has one meaning when he says, εκ πιστεως, By faith, and a different meaning when he says, δια της πιστεως, Through faith. Both the prepositions are to be understood in precisely the same sense; only the addition of the article της, in the last case, extends and more pointedly ascertains the meaning. It is one and the same God who shall justify the believing Jews by faith; and the believing Gentiles δια της πιστεως, by That Same faith.

John Calvin
Romans 3:31
31.Do we then make, etc. When the law is opposed to faith, the flesh immediately suspects that there is some contrariety, as though the one were adverse to the other: and this false notion prevails, especially among those who are imbued with wrong ideas as to the law, and leaving the promises, seek nothing else through it but the righteousness of works. And on this account, not only Paul, but our Lord himself, was evil spoken of by the Jews, as though in all his preaching he aimed at the abrogation of the law. Hence it was that he made this protest, —“I came not to undo, but to fulfill the law.” (Mat_5:17.)

And this suspicion regards the moral as well as the ceremonial law; for as the gospel has put an end to the Mosaic ceremonies, it is supposed to have a tendency to destroy the whole dispensation of Moses. And further, as it sweeps away all the righteousness of works, it is believed to be opposed to all those testimonies of the law, by which the Lord has declared, that he has thereby prescribed the way of righteousness and salvation. I therefore take this defense of Paul, not only as to ceremonies, nor as to the commandments which are called moral, but with regard to the whole law universally.

For the moral law is in reality confirmed and established through faith in Christ, inasmuch as it was given for this end — to lead man to Christ by showing him his iniquity; and without this it cannot be fulfilled, and in vain will it require what ought to be done; nor can it do anything but irritate lust more and more, and thus finally increase man’s condemnation; but where there is a coming to Christ, there is first found in him the perfect righteousness of the law, which becomes ours by imputation, and then there is sanctification, by which our hearts are prepared to keep the law; it is indeed imperfectly done, but there is an aiming at the work. Similar is the case withceremonies, which indeed cease and vanish away when Christ comes, but they are in reality confirmed by him; for when they are viewed in themselves they are vain and shadowy images, and then only do they attain anything real and solid, when their end is regarded. In this then consists their chief confirmation, when they have obtained their accomplishment in Christ. Let us then also bear in mind, so to dispense the gospel that by our mode of teaching the law may be confirmed; but let it be sustained by no other strength than that of faith in Christ.

Charles Hodge
Romans 3:31
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. This verse states the third result of this method of salvation; instead of invalidating, it establishes the law. As Paul uses the word law in so many senses, it is doubtful which one of them is here principally intended. In every sense, however, the declaration is true. If the law means the Old Testament generally, then it is true; for the gospel method of justification contradicts no one of its statements, is inconsistent with no one of its doctrines, and invalidates no one of its promises, but is harmonious with all, and confirmatory of the whole. If it means the Mosaic institutions specially, these were shadows of which Christ is the substance. That law is abolished, not by being pronounced spurious or invalid, but by having met its accomplishment, and answered its design in the gospel. What it taught and promised, the gospel also teaches and promises, only in clearer and fuller measure. If it means the moral law, which no doubt was prominently intended, still it is not invalidated, but established. No moral obligation is weakened, no penal sanction disregarded. The precepts are enforced by new and stronger motives, and the penalty is answered in Him who bore our sins in his own body on the tree. “Ubi vero ad Christum ventum est,” says Calvin, “primum in eo invenitur exacta Legis justitia, quae per imputationem etiam nostra fit. Deinde sanctificatio, qua formantur corda nostra ad Legis observationem, imperfectam quidem illam, sed ad scopum collimat.” Instead of making Rom_3:31 the close of the third chapter, many commentators regard it as more properly the beginning of the fourth. The proposition that the gospel, instead of invalidating, establishes the law, they say is too important to be dismissed with a mere categorical assertion. This, however, is Paul’s method. After showing that the law cannot save, that both justification and sanctification are by the gospel, he is wont to state in a sentence what is the true end of the law, or that the law and the gospel being both from God, but designed for different ends, are not in conflict. See above, Rom_3:20; Gal_3:19, Gal_3:20. If this verse, however, be made the beginning of the exhibition contained in the following chapter, then by law must be understood the Old Testament, and the confirmation of the law by the gospel consists in the fact that the latter teaches the same doctrine as the former. ‘Do we make void the law by teaching that justification is by faith? By no means: we establish the law; for the Old Testament itself teaches that Abraham and David were justified gratuitously by faith, and without works.’ Although the sense is thus good, there does not appear to be any sufficient reason for departing from the common division of the chapters. The next chapter is not connected with this verse by γάρ, which the sense would demand if the connection was what Meyer, De Wette, and others would make it: ‘We establish the law when we teach faith, for Abraham was justified by faith.’ The connecting particle is simply οὖν, then, and gives a very different sense. Besides it is a very subordinate object with the apostle to prove that the law and the gospel agree. His design is to teach the true method of justification. The cases of Abraham and David are referred to, to prove his doctrine on that point, and not merely the agreement between the old dispensation and the new.

Expositors Greek NT
Ver. 31. νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως; Do we then annul “law” through the faith we have been discussing? Perhaps if Law were written with a capital letter, it would suggest the true meaning. The Apostle speaks as from the consciousness of a Jewish objector: is all that we have ever called Law—the whole Jewish religion—that divinely established order, and everything of the same nature—made void by faith? God forbid, he answers: on the contrary, Law is set upon a secure footing; for the first time it gets its rights. To prove this was one of the main tasks lying upon the Apostle of the New Covenant. One species of proof is given in chap 4, p 615 where he shows that representative saints under the Old Dispensation, like Abraham, were justified by faith. That is the Divine order still, and it is securer than ever under the Gospel. Another kind of proof is given in chaps. 6-8, where the new life of the Christian is unfolded, and we are shown that “the just demands of the law” are fulfilled in believers, and in believers only. The claim which the Apostle makes here, and establishes in these two passages, is the same as that in our Lord’s words: I came not to destroy (the law or the prophets), but to fulfil.

Albert Barnes
Romans 3:31
Do we then make void the law – Do we render it vain and useless; do we destroy its moral obligation; and do we prevent obedience to it, by the doctrine of justification by faith? This was an objection which would naturally be made; and which has thousands of times been since made, that the doctrine of justification by faith tends to licentiousness. The word “law” here, I understand as referring to the moral law, and not merely to the Old Testament. This is evident from Rom_3:20-21, where the apostle shows that no man could be justified by deeds of law, by conformity with the moral law. See the note.

God forbid – By no means. Note, Rom_3:4. This is an explicit denial of any such tendency.

Yea, we establish the law – That is, by the doctrine of justification by faith; by this scheme of treating people as righteous, the moral law is confirmed, its obligation is enforced, obedience to it is secured. This is done in the following manner:

(1) God showed respect to it, in being unwilling to pardon sinners without an atonement. He showed that it could not be violated with impunity; that he was resolved to fulfil its threatenings.

(2) Jesus Christ came to magnify it, and to make it honorable. He showed respect to it in his life; and he died to show that God was determined to inflict its penalty.

(3) the plan of justification by faith leads to an observance of the Law. The sinner sees the evil of transgression. He sees the respect which God has shown to the Law. He gives his heart to God, and yields himself to obey his Law. All the sentiments that arise from the conviction of sin; that flow from gratitude for mercies; that spring from love to God; all his views of the sacredness of the Law, prompt him to yield obedience to it. The fact that Christ endured such sufferings to show the evil of violating the Law, is one of the strongest motives prompting to obedience. We do not easily and readily repeat what overwhelms our best friends in calamity; and we are brought to hate what inflicted such woes on the Saviour’s soul.

This is an advantage in moral influence which no cold, abstract law always has over the human mind. And one of the chief glories of the plan of salvation is, that while it justifies the sinner, it brings a new set of influences from heaven, more tender and mighty than can be drawn from any other source, to produce obedience to the Law of God.

(This is indeed a beautiful and just view of the moral influence of the gospel, and especially of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. It may be questioned, however, whether the apostle in this place refers chiefly, or even at all, to the sanctifying tendency of his doctrine. This he does very fully in the 6th Rom.; and therefore, if another and consistent sense can be found, we need not resort to the supposition that he now anticipates what he intended, in a subsequent part of his epistle, more fully to discuss. In what other way, then, does the apostle’s doctrine establish the Law? How does he vindicate himself from the charge of making it void? In the preceding chapter he had pointed out the true ground of pardon in the “righteousness of God.” He had explained that none could be justified but they who had by faith received it. “Do we then,” he asks in conclusion,” make void the Law by maintaining thus, that no sinner can be accepted who does not receive a righteousness commensurate with all its demands?.” “Yea, we establish the law,” is the obvious answer. Jesus has died to satisfy its claims, and lives to honor its precepts. Thus, he hath brought in “righteousness,” which, being imputed to them that believe, forms such a ground of pardon and acceptance, as the Law cannot challenge.

Calvin, in his commentary on the passage, though he does not exclude the idea of sanctification, yet gives prominence to the view now stated. “When,” says he, “we come to Christ, the exact righteousness of the Law is first found in him, which also becomes ours by imputation; in the next place sanctification is acquired,” etc.)

R.B. Terry
Romans 4:1 :
TEXT: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?”
EVIDENCE: S*,c {Sa} A C* {C3 D G Psi} 81 {lat vg} syr(pal) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV NASV NIV {TEV}
RANK: B

NOTES: “What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?”
EVIDENCE: B 1739 (“father”)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NEB

NOTES: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our father, has found according to the flesh?”
EVIDENCE: K P 33 104 614 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect syr(p,h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV
COMMENTS: The evidence for the text that is in braces reads “father” instead of “forefather.” The word for “has found” was perhaps accidently omitted because the word before it begins with the same letter. Although it is possible that its omission from two manuscripts and that fact that it is found in two different places in the others means that it was not original, it is not the sort of word that a copyist was likely to add. The rare word “forefather” (found only here in the New Testament) was changed to the much more common word “father” (used of Abraham in Luk_16:24; Luk_16:30; Joh_8:53; Act_7:2; and Rom_4:12). The second reading in the notes can be translated like the text reading.

John Calvin
Romans 4:1
1.What then, etc. This is a confirmation by example; and it is a very strong one, since all things are alike with regard to the subject and the person; for he was the father of the faithful, to whom we ought all to be conformed; and there is also but one way and not many ways by which righteousness may be obtained by all. In many other things one example would not be sufficient to make a common rule; but as in the person of Abraham there was exhibited a mirror and pattern of righteousness, which belongs in common to the whole Church, rightly does Paul apply what has been written of him alone to the whole body of the Church, and at the same time he gives a check to the Jews, who had nothing more plausible to glory in than that they were the children of Abraham; and they could not have dared to claim to themselves more holiness than what they ascribed to the holy patriarch. Since it is then evident that he was justified freely, his posterity, who claimed a righteousness of their own by the law, ought to have been made silent even through shame.

According to the flesh, etc. Between this clause and the word father there is put in Paul’s text the verb ἑυρηκέναι, in this order — “What shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?” On this account, some interpreters think that the question is — “What has Abraham obtained according to the flesh?” If this exposition be approved, the words according to the flesh mean naturally or from himself. It is, however, probable that they are to be connected with the word father. Besides, as we are wont to be more touched by domestic examples, the dignity of their race, in which the Jews took too much pride, is here again expressly mentioned. But some regard this as spoken in contempt, as they are elsewhere called the carnal children of Abraham, being not so spiritually or in a legitimate sense. But I think that it was expressed as a thing peculiar to the Jews; for it was a greater honor to be the children of Abraham by nature and descent, than by mere adoption, provided there was also faith. He then concedes to the Jews a closer bond of union, but only for this end — that he might more deeply impress them that they ought not to depart from the example of their father.

Charles Hodge
Rom_4:1
What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? The connection of this verse with the preceding train of reasoning is obvious. Paul had taught that we are justified by faith; as well in confirmation of this doctrine, as to anticipate an objection from the Jew, he refers to the case of Abraham: ‘How was it then with Abraham? How did he obtain justification?’ The point in dispute was, how justification is to be attained. Paul proposes to decide the question by reference to a case about which no one could doubt. All admitted that Abraham was justified. The only question was, How? The particle οὖν, therefore, is not inferential, but simply indicates transition. What then shall we say about Abraham? In the question, however, τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν, κ. τ. λ. the τί belongs to εὑρηκέναι: ‘What shall we say that Abraham hath found?’ i.e. attained. The words κατὰ σάρκα do not belong to πατέρα, ‘our father according to the flesh,’ but to the preceding infinitive, εὐρηκέναι ‘what hath he attained through the flesh?’ Although the question is indefinite, the connection shows that Paul meant to ask whether Abraham secured justification before God, κατὰ σάρκα through the flesh. The word flesh admits in this connection of different explanations. Calvin says it is equivalent to naturaliter, ex seipso, and Grotius much to the same effect, propriis viribus, ‘through his own resources.’ Not much different from this is the explanation of Meyer, Tholuck, and De Wette — nach sein menschlicher Weise — that is, after a purely human way; so that σάρξ stands opposed to the divine Πνεῦμα, (Holy Spirit). If this implies that Abraham was not justified by natural, but was justified by spiritual works, (works done after regeneration,) it contradicts the whole teaching of the apostle. This, however, though naturally suggested as the meaning of the passage as thus explained, is not the doctrine of either of the commentators just named. Paul gives his own interpretation of κατὰ σάρκα in the following verse: ‘Did Abraham,’ he asks, ‘attain justification according to the flesh? No, for if he was justified by works, he hath whereof to boast.’ It is plain that he uses the two expressions, according to the flesh and by works, as equivalent. This meaning of σάρξ is easily explained. Paul uses the word for what is external, as opposed to what is internal and spiritual, and thus for all external rites and ceremonial works, and then for works without limitation. See Gal_3:3; Gal_6:12; Phi_3:3, Phi_3:4. In this last passage Paul includes, under the flesh, not only his Hebrew descent, his circumcision, his being a Pharisee, his blameless adherence to the Jewish law, but everything comprehended under his “own righteousness,” as distinguished from “the righteousness which is of God (ἐπὶ πίστει) on the condition of faith.” This is clearly its sense here. It includes everything meant by “works” and “works” includes all forms of personal righteousness. This same result is reached in another way. Κατὰ σάρκα may mean, as Meyer and others say, after a human method, i.e. after the manner of men; and this may be understood to mean after the manner common among men, i.e. through works, or personal merit, which is the way that men adopt to secure favor with others. This is the explanation given by Köllner.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:1
What shall we say then? – See Rom_3:1. This is rather the objection of a Jew. “How does your doctrine of justification by faith agree with what the Scriptures say of Abraham? Was the Law set aside in his case? Did he derive no advantage in justification from the rite of circumcision, and from the covenant which God made with him?” The object of the apostle now is to answer this inquiry.

That Abraham our father – Our ancestor; the father and founder of the nation; see the note at Mat_3:9 The Jews valued themselves much on the fact that he was their father; and an argument, drawn from his example or conduct, therefore, would be especially forcible.

As pertaining to the flesh – This expression is one that has been much controverted. In the original, it may refer either to Abraham as their father “according to the flesh,” that is, their natural father, or from whom they were descended; or it may be connected with “hath found.” “What shall we say that Abraham our father hath found in respect to the flesh?” κατὰ σάρκα kata sarka. The latter is doubtless the proper connection. Some refer the word “flesh” to external privileges and advantages; others to his own strength or power (Calvin and Grotius); and others make it refer to circumcision. This latter I take to be the correct interpretation. It agrees best with the connection, and equally well with the usual meaning of the word. The idea is, “If people are justified by faith; if works are to have no place; if, therefore, all rites and ceremonies, all legal observances, are useless in justification; what is the advantage of circumcision? What benefit did Abraham derive from it? Why was it appointed? And why is such an importance attached to it in the history of his life.” A similar question was asked in Rom_3:1.

Hath found – Hath obtained. What advantage has he derived from it?

John Calvin
Romans 4:2
2.For if Abraham, etc. This is an incomplete argument, which may be made in this form — “If Abraham was justified by works, he might justly glory: but he had nothing for which he could glory before God; then he was not justified by works.” Thus the clause but not before God, is the minor proposition; and to this must be added the conclusion which I have stated, though it is not expressed by Paul. He calls that glorying when we pretend to have anything of our own to which a reward is supposed to be due at God’s tribunal. Since he takes this away from Abraham, who of us can claim for himself the least particle of merit?

Charles Hodge
Romans 4:2
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. The apostle’s mode of reasoning is so concise as often to leave some of the steps of his argument to be supplied, which, however, are almost always sufficiently obvious from the context. As just remarked, a negative answer is to be supposed to the question in the first verse. Abraham did not attain the favor of God through the flesh. The force of for at the beginning of this verse, is then obvious, as introducing the reason for this answer. The passage itself is very concise, and the latter clause admits of different interpretations. ‘If Abraham was justified by works, he might indeed assert his claim to the confidence and favor of his fellowmen, but he could not have any ground of boasting before God.’ This view, however, introduces an idea entirely foreign from the passage, and makes the conclusion the very opposite of that to which the premises would lead. For if justified by works, he would have ground of boasting before God. The interpretation given by Calvin is altogether the most satisfactory and simple: “Epichirema est, id est imperfecta ratiocinatio, quae in hanc fornam colligi debet. Si Abraham operibus justificatus est, potest suo merito gloriari; sed non habet unde glorietur apud Deum; ergo non ex operibus justificatus est.” ‘If Abraham was justified by works he hath whereof to glory; but he hath not whereof to glory before God, and therefore he was not justified by works;’ the very conclusion which Paul intended to establish, and which he immediately confirms by the testimony of the Scriptures. The argument thus far is founded on the assumption that no man can appear thus confidently before God, and boast of having done all that was required of him. If the doctrine of justification by works involves, as Paul shows it does, this claim to perfect obedience, it must be false. And that Abraham was not thus justified, he proves from the sacred record.

Pulpit Commentary
Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, be hath whereof to glory; but not before God. Many commentators take this verse to imply that, even if he was justified by works, he still had no ground of glorying before God, though he might have before men. But the drift of the whole argument being to show that he was not justified by works at all, this interpretation can hardly stand. “Not before God” must therefore have reference to the whole of the preceding sentence, in the sense, “It was not so in the sight of God.” Before God (as appears from the text to be quoted) he had not whereof to glory on the ground of being justified by works, and therefore it follows that it was not by works that he was justified.

A.T. Robertson
Romans 4:2
The Scripture (hē graphē). Gen_15:6.

Was justified by works (ex ergōn edikaiōthē). Condition of first class, assumed as true for the sake of argument, though untrue in fact. The rabbis had a doctrine of the merits of Abraham who had a superfluity of credits to pass on to the Jews (Luk_3:8).

But not towards God (all’ ou pros theon). Abraham deserved all the respect from men that came to him, but his relation to God was a different matter. He had there no ground of boasting at all.

John Calvin
Romans 4:3
3.For what saith the Scripture? This is a proof of the minor proposition, or of what he assumed, when he denied that Abraham had any ground for glorying: for if Abraham was justified, because he embraced, by faith, the bountiful mercy of God, it follows, that he had nothing to glory in; for he brought nothing of his own, except a confession of his misery, which is a solicitation for mercy. He, indeed, takes it as granted, that the righteousness of faith is the refuge, and, as it were, the asylum of the sinner, who is destitute of works. For if there be any righteousness by the law or by works, it must be in men themselves; but by faith they derive from another what is wanting in themselves; and hence the righteousness of faith is rightly called imputative.

The passage, which is quoted, is taken from Gen_15:6; in which the word believe is not to be confined to any particular expression, but it refers to the whole covenant of salvation, and the grace of adoption, which Abraham apprehended by faith. There is, indeed, mentioned there the promise of a future seed; but it was grounded on gratuitous adoption: and it ought to be observed, that salvation without the grace of God is not promised, nor God’s grace without salvation; and again, that we are not called to the grace of God nor to the hope of salvation, without having righteousness offered to us.

Taking this view, we cannot but see that those understand not the principles of theology, who think that this testimony recorded by Moses, is drawn aside from its obvious meaning by Paul: for as there is a particular promise there stated, they understand that he acted rightly and faithfully in believing it, and was so far approved by God. But they are in this mistaken; first, because they have not considered that believing extends to the whole context, and ought not to be confined to one clause. But the principal mistake is, that they begin not with the testimony of God’s favor. But God gave this, to make Abraham more assured of his adoption and paternal favor; and included in this was eternal salvation by Christ. Hence Abraham, by believing, embraced nothing but the favor offered to him, being persuaded that it would not be void. Since this was imputed to him for righteousness, it follows, that he was not otherwise just, than as one trusting in God’s goodness, and venturing to hope for all things from him. Moses does not, indeed, tell us what men thought of him, but how he was accounted before the tribunal of God. Abraham then laid hold on the benignity of God offered to him in the promise, through which he understood that righteousness was communicated to him. It is necessary, in order to form an opinion of righteousness, to understand this relation between the promise and faith; for there is in this respect the same connection between God and us, as there is, according to the lawyers, between the giver and the person to whom any thing is given, (datorem et donatarium — the donor and the donee:) for we can no otherwise attain righteousness, than as it is brought to us, as it were, by the promise of the gospel; and we realize its possession by faith.

How to reconcile what James says, which seems somewhat contrary to this view I have already explained, and intend to explain more fully, when I come, if the Lord will permit, to expound that Epistle.

Only let us remember this, — that those to whom righteousness is imputed, are justified; since these two things are mentioned by Paul as being the same. We hence conclude that the question is not, what men are in themselves, but how God regards them; not that purity of conscience and integrity of life are to be separated from the gratuitous favor of God; but that when the reason is asked, why God loves us and owns us as just, it is necessary that Christ should come forth as one who clothes us with his own righteousness.

Charles Hodge

Romans 4:3
For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. The connection of this verse with the preceding is this: Paul had just said that Abraham had no ground of boasting with God; for, what saith the scripture? Does it refer the ground of Abraham’s justification to his works? By no means. It declares he was justified by faith; which Paul immediately shows is equivalent to saying that he was justified gratuitously. The passage quoted by the apostle is Gen_15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him (i.e., imputed to him) for righteousness.” This is an important passage, as the phrase “to impute faith for righteousness,” occurs repeatedly in Paul’s writings.

1. The primary meaning of the word λογίζομαι, here rendered to count to, or impute, is to reason, then to reckon, or number. 2Ch_5:6, “Which could not be numbered for multitude;” Mar_15:28, “He was numbered with the transgressors;” see Isa_53:12 etc.
2. It means to esteem, or regard as something, that is, to number as belonging to a certain class of things; Gen_31:15, “Are we not counted of him strangers?” Isa_40:17 etc.; compare Job_19:11, Job_33:10, in the Hebrew.

3. It is used in the more general sense of purposing, devising, considering, thinking, etc.
4.In strict connection with its primary meaning, it signifies to impute, to set to one’s account; that is, to number among the things belonging to a man, or chargeable upon him.

It generally implies the accessory idea of ‘treating one according to the nature of the thing imputed.’ Thus, in the frequent phrase, to impute sin, as 2Sa_19:19, “Let not my Lord impute iniquity unto me,” i.e., ‘Let him not lay it to my charge, and treat me accordingly;’ compare 1Sa_22:15, in the Hebrew and Septuagint; Psa_32:2 (Septuagint, 31.) “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,” etc. And in the New Testament, 2Co_5:19, “Not imputing unto men their trespasses;” 2Ti_4:16, “I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge,” etc. These and numerous similar passages render the Scriptural idea of imputation perfectly clear. It is laying anything to one’s charge, and treating him accordingly. It produces no change in the individual to whom the imputation is made; it simply alters his relation to the law. All those objections, therefore, to the doctrine expressed by this term, which are founded on the assumption that imputation alters the moral character of men; that it implies an infusion of either sin or holiness, rest on a misconception of its nature. It is, so far as the mere force of the term is concerned, a matter of perfect indifference whether the thing imputed belonged antecedently to the person to whom the imputation is made or not. It is just as common and correct to speak of laying to a man’s charge what does not belong to him, as what does. That a thing can seldom be justly imputed to a person to whom it does not personally belong, is a matter of course. But that the word itself implies that the thing imputed must belong to the person concerned, is a singular misconception. These remarks have, of course, reference only to the meaning of the word. Whether the Bible actually teaches that there is an imputation of either sin or righteousness, to any to whom it does not personally belong, is another question. That the Bible does speak both of imputing to a man what does not actually belong to him, and of not imputing what does, is evident from the following, among other passages, Lev_17:3, Lev_17:4 : “What man soever killeth than ox, and bringeth it not to the door of the tabernacle,” etc., “blood shall be imputed to that man;” that is, blood-guiltiness or murder, a crime of which he was not actually guilty, should be laid to his charge, and he should be put to death. “Sanguils hic est caedes,” says Rosenmüller; “perinde Deo displicebit, ac si ille hominem occidisset, et mortis reus judicabitur.” “Als Blutschuld soll es angerechnet werden diesem Manne.” Gesenius. On the other hand, Lev_7:18, if any part of a sacrifice is eaten on the third day, the offering “shall not be imputed to him that made it.” Paul, speaking to Philemon of the debt of Onesimus, says, “put that on my account,” i.e., impute it to me. The word used in this case is the same as that which occurs in Rom_5:13, “Sin is not imputed where there is no law;” and is in its root and usage precisely synonymous with the word employed in the passage before us, when the latter is used in reference to imputation. No less than twice also, in this very chapter, Rom_4:6 and Rom_4:11, Paul speaks of ‘imputing righteousness,’ not to those to whom it personally belongs, certainly, but to the ungodly, Rom_4:5; to those who have no works, Rom_4:6.

Professor Storr, of Tübingen, De vario sensu vocis δίκαιος, etc., in Nov. Test., in his Opuscula, Vol. 1., p. 224, says, “Since innocence or probity (expressed by the word righteousness) does not belong to man himself, it must be ascribed or imputed to him. In this way the formula, ‘righteousness which is of God,’ Phi_3:9, and especially the plainer expressions, ‘to impute faith for righteousness,’ Rom_4:5, and ‘to impute righteousness,’ are to be understood.” We readily admit, he says, that things which actually belong to a man may also be said to be imputed to him, as was the case with Phineas, etc., and then adds, “Nevertheless, as he is said not to impute an action really performed, Leviticus 7; 2 Samuel 19, etc., who does not so regard it as to decree the fruit and punishment of it; so, on the other hand, those things can be imputed, Lev_17:4, which are not, in fact, found in the man, but which are so far attributed to him, that he may be hence treated as though he had performed them. Thus righteousness may be said to be imputed, Rom_4:6, Rom_4:11, when not his own innocence and probity, which God determines to reward, is ascribed to the believer, but when God so ascribes and imputes righteousness, of which we are destitute, that we are treated as innocent and just.” On page 233, he says, “Verbum λογίζεσθαι monstrat gratiam, Rom_4:4, nam δικαιοσύνηn nostram negat.”

This idea of imputation is one of the most familiar in all the Bible, and is expressed in a multitude of cases where the term is not used. When Stephen prayed, Act_7:60, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge,” he expressed exactly the same idea that Paul did, when he said, 2Ti_4:16, “I pray God it may not be laid to their charge,” although the latter uses the word impute (λογισθείη,) and the former does not. So the expressions, “his sin shall be upon him,” “he shall bear his iniquity,” which occur so often, are perfectly synonymous with the formula, “his sin shall be imputed to him;” and, of course, “to bear the sins of another,” is equivalent to saying, “those sins are imputed.” The objection, therefore, that the word impute does not occur in reference to the imputation of the sin or righteousness of one man to another, even if well founded, which is not the tact, is of no more force than the objections against the doctrines of the Trinity, vicarious atonement, perseverance of the saints, etc., founded on the fact that these words do not occur in the Bible. The material point surely is, Do the ideas occur? The doctrine of the “imputation of righteousness” is not the doctrine of this or that school in theology. It is the possession of the Church. It was specially the glory and power of the Reformation. Those who differed most elsewhere, were perfectly agreed here. Lutherans and Reformed, alienated from each other by the sacramentarian controversy, were of one mind on this great doctrine. The testimony of the learned Rationalist, Bretschneider, if any testimony on so notorious a fact is necessary, may be here cited. Speaking with special reference to the Lutheran Church, he says, “The symbolical books, in the first place, contradict the scholastic representation of justification, followed by the Romish Church, that is, that it is an act of God, by which he communicates to men an inherent righteousness (justitia habitualis, infusa), i.e. renders them virtuous. They described it as a forensic or judicial act of God, that is, an act by which merely the moral relation of the man to God, not the man himself (at least not immediately,) is changed.” “Hence, justification consists of three parts:

1. The imputation of the merit of Christ.

2. The remission of punishment.

3. The restoration of the favor and the blessedness forfeited by sin.”

“By the imputatio justitiae (or meriti) Christi, the symbolical books understand that judgment of God, according to which he treats us as though we had not sinned, but had fulfilled the law, or as though the merit of Christ was ours; see Apol., Art. 9, p. 226, Merita propitiatoris — aliis donantur imputatione divina, ut per ea, tanquam propriis meritis justi reputemur, ut si quis amicus pro amico solvit aes alienum, debitor alieno merito tanquam proprio liberatur” — Bretschneider’s Entwickelung aller in der Dog. vorkommenden Begriffe, pp. 631, 632, etc.

But to return to the phrase, ‘Faith is imputed for righteousness.’ It is very common to understand faith here, to include its object, i.e., the righteousness of Christ; so that it is not faith considered as an act, which is imputed, but faith considered as including the merit which it apprehends and appropriates. Thus hope is often used for the thing hoped for, as Rom_8:24, “Hope that is seen is not hope,” etc.; and faith for the things believed, Gal_1:23, “He preacheth the faith,” etc. In illustration of this idea, Gerhard, the leading authority in the Lutheran Church, during the seventeenth century, says, “Quemadmodum annulus, cui inclusa est gemma, dicitur valere aliquot coronatis, pretiosissima ita fides, quae apprehendit Christi justitiam, dicitur nohis imputari ad justitiam, quippe cujus est organum apprehendens,” Loci Tom. 7. 238. Although there are difficulties attending this interpretation, it cannot, with any consistency, be exclaimed against by those who make faith to include the whole work of the Spirit on the heart, and its fruits in the life; as is done by the majority of those who reject this view of the passage. Besides this interpretation, there are three other explanations which deserve consideration. The first is that adopted by the Remonstrants, or Arminians. According to their view, δικαιοσύνη is to be taken in its ordinary sense of righteousness, that which constitutes a man righteous in the eye of the law. They understand the apostle, when he says, “Faith was imputed for righteousness,” as teaching that faith was regarded or counted as complete obedience to the law. As men are unable to render that perfect obedience which the law given to Adam required, God, under the gospel, according to this view, is pleased to accept of faith (a fides obsequiosa, as it is called, i.e., faith including evangelical obedience), instead of the righteousness which the law demands. Faith is thus made, not the instrument, but the ground of justification. It is imputed for righteousness in the sense of being regarded and treated as though it were complete obedience to the law. It must be admitted, that so far as this single form of statement is concerned, this interpretation is natural, and consistent with usage. Thus uncircumcision is said to be imputed for circumcision, that is, the former is regarded as though it were the latter. This, however, is not the only sense the words will naturally bear, and it is utterly inconsistent with what the Scriptures elsewhere teach.

1. It contradicts all those passages in which Paul and the other sacred writers deny that the ground of justification is anything in us, or done by us. These passages are too numerous to be cited; see Rom_3:20, where it is shown that the works which are excluded from the ground of justification are not ceremonial works merely, nor works performed with a legal spirit, but all works, without exception; works of righteousness, Tit_3:5, i.e., all right or good works. But faith considered as an act, is as much a work as prayer, repentance, almsgiving, or anything of the kind. And it is as much an act of obedience to the law, as the performance of any other duty; for the law requires us to do whatever is in itself right.

2. It contradicts all those passages in which the merit of Christ, in any form, is declared to be the ground of our acceptance. Thus in Rom_3:25, it is Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice; Rom_5:18, Rom_5:19, it is his obedience or righteousness; in many other places it is said to be his death, his cross, his blood. Faith must either be the ground of our acceptance, or the means or instrument of our becoming interested in the true meritorious ground, viz., the righteousness of Christ. It cannot stand in both relations to our justification.

3. It is inconsistent with the of office ascribed to faith. We are said to be saved by, or through faith, but never on account of our faith, or on the ground of it. (It is always διὰ πίστεως, or ἐκ πίστεως, but never διὰ πίστιν.) The expressions, “through faith in his blood,” Rom_3:25, “by faith in Jesus Christ,” etc., admit of no other interpretation than ‘by means of faith in the blood of Christ, or in Christ himself, as the ground of confidence.’ The interpretation, therefore, under consideration is at variance with the very nature of faith, which necessarily includes the receiving and resting on Christ as the ground of acceptance with God; and, of course, implies that faith itself is not that ground.

4. We accordingly never find Paul, nor any other of the sacred writers, referring his readers to their faith, or anything in themselves, as the ground of their confidence. Even in reference to those most advanced in holiness, he directs them to what Christ has done for them, not to anything wrought in them, as the ground of their acceptance. See a beautiful passage to this effect in Neander’s Gelegenheitschriften, p. 23. After stating that the believer can never rest his justification on his own spiritual life, or works, he adds, “It would, indeed, fare badly with the Christian, if on such weak ground as this he had to build his justification, if he did not know that ‘if he confesses his sins, and walks in the light, as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses from all sin.’ Paul, therefore, refers even the redeemed, disturbed by the reproaches of conscience, amidst the conflicts and trials of life, not to the work of Christ in themselves, but to what the love of God in Christ has done for them, and which, even notwithstanding their own continued sinfulness, remains ever sure.”

5. Paul, by interchanging the ambiguous phrase, ‘faith is imputed for righteousness,’ with the more definite expressions, ‘justified through or by means of faith,’ ‘justified through faith in his blood,’ fixes the sense in which the clause in question is to be understood. It must express the idea, that it was by means of faith that Abraham came to be treated as righteous, and not that faith was taken in lieu of perfect obedience. See this subject more fully discussed in Owen on Justification, chap. 18.

According to the second view, the word righteousness is taken in a much more limited sense, and the phrase ‘to impute faith for righteousness,’ is understood to mean ‘faith was regarded as right, it was approved.’ This interpretation also is perfectly consistent with usage. Thus, Psa_106:31, it is said of the zeal of Phineas, “It was counted unto him for righteousness.” This of course does not mean that it was regarded as complete obedience to the law, and taken in its stead as the ground of justification. It means simply that his zeal was approved of. It was regarded, says Dr. Owen, “as a just and rewardable action.” “Divinitus approbatum erat,” says Tuckney, Praelectiones, p. 212, “tanquam juste factum.” In like manner, Deu_24:13, it is said of returning a pledge, “It shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God.” Agreeably to the analogy of these passages, the meaning of this clause may be, ‘his faith was regarded as right;’ ‘it secured the approbation of God.’ How it did this, must be learned from other passages. The third interpretation agrees with the first, in taking δικαιοσύνη in its proper sense (righteousness), but gives a different force to the preposition εἰς: ‘Faith was imputed to him unto righteousness,’ that is, in order to his being regarded and treated as righteous. In support of this view, reference is made to such frequently recurring expressions as εἰς σωτηρίαν (unto salvation), ‘that they might be saved,’ Deu_10:1; εἰς μετάνοιαν (unto repentance), ‘that they might repent,’ Mat_3:11. In Mat_10:10, of this epistle, the apostle says, ‘With the heart man believeth unto righteousness’ (εἰς δικαιοσύνηn), i.e., in order to becoming righteous, or so as to become righteous. Faith secures their being righteous. According to this view of the passage, all it teaches is, that faith and not works secured Abraham’s justification before God. And this is the object which the apostle has in view. The precise relation in which faith stands to justification, whether it is the instrument or the ground, however clearly taught elsewhere, this particular expression leaves undetermined. It simply asserts that Abraham was justified as a believer, and not as a worker (ἐργαζόμενος), as Paul expresses it in the next verse.

The Rationalistic theologians of modern times agree with the Sicilians in teaching that justification by faith, as distinguished from justification by works, is nothing more than the doctrine that moral character is determined more by the inward principle than by the outward act. By faith, in the case of Abraham, they understand confidence in God; a pious frame of mind, which is influenced by considerations drawn from ‘the unseen and spiritual world, the region of truth and eternal principles, rather than by either mercenary feelings or outward objects. When, therefore, the Scriptures say, ‘God imputed Abraham’s faith for righteousness’ the meaning is, God accepted him for his inward piety, for the elevated principle by which his whole life was governed. If this is what Paul means, when he speaks of Abraham being justified by faith, it is what he means when he teaches that men are now justified by faith. Then the whole gospel sinks to the level of natural religion, and Christ is in no other sense a Savior, than as by his doctrines and example he leads men to cultivate piety. It is perfectly obvious that Paul means to teach that sinners are, now justified in the same way that Abraham was. He proves that we are justified by faith, because Abraham was justified by faith. If faith means inward piety in the one case, it must have the same meaning in the other. But as it is expressly said, over and over, in so many words, that men are now justified by faith in Christ, it follows of necessity that faith in Christ was the faith by which Abraham was justified. He believed the promise of redemption, which is the promise that we embrace when we receive and rest on Christ for salvation. Hence it is one principal object of the apostle’s argument in the latter part of this chapter, and in the third chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians, to show that we are heirs of the promise made to Abraham, because we have the same faith that he had; the same, that is, both in its nature and object.

It is further to be remarked, that λογίζεσθαι εἰς δικαιοσύνηn (to impute for righteousness), and dikaiou~sqai (to be justified), mean the same thing. Thus Calvin says, “Tantum notemus, eos quibus justitia imputatur, justificari; quando haec duo a Paulo tanquam synonyma ponuntur.” Yet, strange to say, Olshausen asserts that they are very different. To be justified (dikaiou~sqai) and to have righteousness imputed, he says, differ as the Romish and the Protestant doctrines of justification differ. The former means to be made subjectively righteous, the latter simply to be regarded as righteous. “Was Jemandem angerechnet wird, das hat er nicht, er wird aber angesehen und behandelt, als hätte er es.” What is imputed to a man, that he is not, but he is regarded and treated as though he had it. Abraham therefore was not justified, because before the coming of Christ, any true righteousness (δικαιοσύνη Qeou~, as Olshausen says), was impossible; he was only regarded as righteous.‹11› But as what is said of Abraham is said also of believers under the gospel, since to them as well as to him righteousness is said to be imputed, it follows that believers are not really justified in this life. This is the conclusion to which he is led by two principles. The first is, that the word δικαιόω means to make righteous inwardly (es bedeutet die göttliche Thätigkeit des Hervorrufens der δικαιοσύνη), and no man is perfectly holy in this life; the second is, that God cannot regard any one as being what he is not, and therefore he cannot regard the unrighteous as righteous. The former of these assumptions is utterly unfounded, as δικαιόω always means to declare just, and never to make just. The second principle, Olshausen, in his comment on this verse, modifies so far as to say that God can only regard as just those whom he purposes to render just; and as with God there are no distinctions of time, he regards as already possessed of righteousness those whom he has purposed to render so. (This would seem to imply external justification, or at least an imputation of righteousness from eternity to all whom God has purposed to save.) Without this modification, he says, the objection of Romanists to the Protestant doctrine would be unanswerable. There is a sense, however, in which the principle in question is perfectly sound. God must see things as they are, and pronounce them to be what they are. The Protestant doctrine does not suppose that God regards any person or thing as being other than he or it really is. When he pronounces the unjust to be just, the word is taken in different senses. He does not pronounce the unholy to be holy; he simply declares that the demands of justice have been satisfied in behalf of those who have no righteousness of their own. In sin there are the two elements of guilt and pollution — the one expressing its relation to the justice, the other its relation to the holiness of God; or, what amounts to the same thing, the one expressing its relation to the penalty, and the other its relation to the precept of the law. These two elements are separable. The moral character or inward state of a man who has suffered the penalty of a crime, and thus expiated his offense, may remain unchanged. His guilt, in the eye of human law, is removed, but his pollution remains. It would be unjust to inflict any further punishment to him for that offense. Justice is satisfied, but the man is unchanged. There may therefore be guilt where there is no moral pollution, as in the case of our blessed Lord, who bore our sins; and there may be freedom from guilt, where moral pollution remains, as in the case of every justified similar. When, therefore, God justifies the ungodly, he does not regard him as being other than he really is. He only declares that justice is satisfied, and in that sense the man is just; he has a δικαιοσύνη which satisfies the demands of the law. His moral character is not the ground of that declaration, and is not affected by it. As to the distinction made by Olshausen between imputing righteousness and justifying, there is not the slightest ground for it. He himself makes them synonymous (p. 157). The two forms of expression are used synonymously in this very context. In Rom_4:3, it is said, ‘faith is imputed for righteousness;’ in Rom_4:5, ‘God justifies the ungodly;’ and in Rom_4:6, ‘he imputes righteousness’ — all in the same sense. Olshausen, although a representative man, exhibits his theology, in his commentary, in a very unsettled state. He not only retracts at times, in one volume, what he had said in another, but he modifies his doctrine from page to page. In his remarks on Rom_3:21, he himself asserts the principle (as quoted above), that “by God nothing can ever be regarded or declared righteous, which is not righteous” (p. 145); but in his comment on this verse, he pronounces the principle, “das Gott nach seiner Wahrhaftigkeit nicht Jemanden für etwas ansehen kann, was er nicht ist — falsch und über den Heilsweg durchaus irreleitend” (p. 174). That is, he says that the principle “that God, in virtue of his veracity, cannot regard one as being what he is not — is false, and perverts the whole plan of salvation.” On page 157 he says, “The passing over of the nature (Wesen) of Christ upon the sinner, is expressed by saying righteousness is imputed to him;” whereas, on pages 173-5, he labors to show that imputing righteousness is something very different from imparting righteousness. He prevailingly teaches the doctrine of subjective justification, to which his definition and system inevitably lead; but under the stress of some direct assertion of the apostle to the contrary, he for the time brings out the opposite doctrine. He exhibits similar fluctuations on many other points.

Henry Alford
Rom 2-3.] For if Abraham was [not ‘were’ as E. V.] justified (assuming, as a fact known to all, that he was justified by some means) by works, he hath matter of boasting (not expressed here whether in the sight of men, or of God, but taken generally: the proposition being assumed, ‘He that has earned justification by works, has whereof to boast’). Then, in disproof of this,—that Abraham has matter of boasting,—whatever men might think of him, or attribute to him (e.g. the perfect keeping of the law, as the Jews did), one thing at least is clear, that he has none before God. (πρός, probably as in the second ref., with, in the sense of chez: apud Deum.) This we can prove, (ver. 3) for what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God (God’s promise) and it (τὸ πιστεῦσαι) was reckoned (so LXX. Heb., ‘He reckoned it’) to him as (ch. 2:26) righteousness.

The whole question so much mooted between Protestants on the one hand, and Romanists, Arminians, and Socinians on the other, as to whether this righteousness was reckoned (1) ‘per fidem,’ being God’s righteousness imputed to the sinner; or (2) ‘propter fidem,’ so that God made Abraham righteous on account of the merit of his faith, lies in fact in a small compass, if what has gone before be properly taken into account. The Apostle has proved Jews and Gentiles to be all under sin: utterly unable by works of their own to attain to righteousness. Now faith, in the second sense mentioned above, is strictly and entirely a work, and as such would be the efficient cause of man’s justification,—which, by what has preceded, it cannot be. It will therefore follow, that it was not the act of believing which was reckoned to him as a righteous act, or on account of which perfect righteousness was laid to his charge, but that the fact of his trusting God to perform His promise introduced him into the blessing promised. God declared his purpose (Gen_12:3) of blessing all the families of the earth in Abraham, and again (Gen_15:5) that his seed should be as the stars of heaven, when as yet he had no son. Abraham believed this promise, and became partaker of this blessing. But this blessing was, justification by faith in Christ. Now Abraham could not, in the strict sense of the words, be justified by faith in Christ,—nor is it necessary to suppose that he directed his faith forward to the promised Redeemer in Person; but in so far as God’s gracious purpose was revealed to him, he grasped it by faith, and that righteousness which was implied, so far, in it, was imputed to him. Some have said (Tholuck, e.g.) that the parallel is incomplete—Abraham’s faith having been reckoned to him for righteousness, whereas, in our case, the righteousness of Christ is reckoned to us as our righteousness, by faith. But the incompleteness lies in the nature of the respective cases. In his case, the righteousness itself was not yet manifested. He believed implicitly, taking the promise, with all it involved and implied, as true. This then was his way of entering into the promise, and by means of his faith was bestowed upon him that full justification which that faith never apprehended. Thus his faith itself, the mere fact of implicit trust in God, was counted to him for righteousness. But though the same righteousness is imputed to us who believe, and by means of faith also, it is no longer the mere fact of believing implicitly in God’s truth, but the reception of Christ Jesus the Lord by faith, which justifies us (see vv. 23-25 and note). As it was then the realization of God’s words by faith, so now: but we have the Person of the Lord Jesus for the object of faith, explicitly revealed: he had not. In both cases justification is gratuitous, and is by faith; and so far, which is as far as the argument here requires, the parallel is strict and complete.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:3
For what saith the Scripture? – The inspired account of Abraham’s justification. This account was final, and was to settle the question. This account is found in Gen_15:6.

Abraham believed God – In the Hebrew, “Abraham believed Yahweh.” The sense is substantially the same, as the argument turns on the act of believing. The faith which Abraham exercised was, that his posterity should be like the stars of heaven in number. This promise was made to him when he had no child, and of course when he had no prospect of such a posterity. See the strength and nature of this faith further illustrated in Rom_4:16-21. The reason why it was counted to him for righteousness was, that it was such a strong, direct, and unwavering act of confidence in the promise of God.

And it – The word “it” here evidently refers to the act of believing It does not refer to the righteousness of another – of God, or of the Messiah; but the discussion is solely of the strong act of Abraham’s faith. which in some sense was counted to him for righteousness. In what sense this was, is explained directly after. All that is material to remark here is, that the act of Abraham, the strong confidence of his mind in the promises of God, his unwavering assurance that what God had promised he would perform, was reckoned for righteousness. The same thing is more fully expressed in Rom_4:18-22. When therefore it is said that the righteousness of Christ is accounted or imputed to us; when it is said that his merits are transferred and reckoned as ours; whatever may be the truth of the doctrine, it cannot be defended by “this” passage of Scripture.

Faith is uniformly an act of the mind. It is not a created essence which is placed within the mind. It is not a substance created independently of the soul, and placed within it by almighty power. It is not a principle, for the expression a principle of faith, is as unmeaningful as a principle of joy, or a principle of sorrow, or a principle of remorse. God promises; the man believes; and this is the whole of it.

(A principle is the “element or original cause,” out of which certain consequences arise, and to which they may be traced. And if faith be the root of all acceptable obedience, then certainly, in this sense, it is a principle. But whatever faith be, it is not here asserted that it is imputed for, or instead of, righteousness. See the note above.)

While the word “faith” is sometimes used to denote religious doctrine, or the system that is to be believed (Act_6:7; Act_15:9; Rom_1:5; Rom_10:8; Rom_16:26; Eph_3:17; Eph_4:5; 1Ti_2:7, etc.); yet, when it is used to denote that which is required of people, it always denotes an acting of the mind exercised in relation to some object, or some promise, or threatening, or declaration of some other being; see the note at Mar_16:16.

Was counted – ἐλογίσθη elogigisthē. The same word in Rom_4:22, is is rendered “it was imputed.” The word occurs frequently in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, the verb חשׁב chaashab, which which is translated by the word λογίζομαι logizomai, means literally, “to think, to intend,” or “purpose; to imagine, invent,” or “devise; to reckon,” or “account; to esteem; to impute,” that is, to impute to a man what belongs to himself, or what “ought” to be imputed to him. It occurs only in the following places: Psa_32:2; Psa_35:4; Isa_10:7; Job_19:11; Job_33:10; Gen_16:6; Gen_38:15; 1Sa_1:13; Psa_52:4; Jer_18:18; Zec_7:10; Job_6:26; Job_19:16; Isa_13:17; 1Ki_10:21; Num_18:27, Num_18:30; Psa_88:4; Isa_40:17; Lam_4:2; Isa_40:15; Gen_31:16. I have examined all the passages, and as the result of my examination have come to the conclusion, that there is not one in which the word is used in the sense of reckoning or imputing to a man what does not strictly belong to him; or of charging on him what ought not to be charged on him as a matter of personal right. The word is never used to denote imputing in the sense of transferring, or of charging that on one which does not properly belong to him. The same is the case in the New Testament. The word occurs about forty times (see “Schmidius’ Concord),” and, in a similar signification. No doctrine of transferring, or of setting over to a man what does not properly belong to him, be it sin or holiness, can be derived, therefore, from this word. Whatever is meant by it here, it evidently is declared that the act of believing is what is intended, both by Moses and by Paul.

For righteousness – In order to justification; or to regard and treat him in connection with this as a righteous man; as one who was admitted to the favor and friendship of God. In reference to this we may remark,

(1) That it is evidently not intended that the act of believing, on the part of Abraham, was the meritorious ground of acceptance; for then it would have been a work. Faith was as much his own act, as any act of obedience to the Law.

(2) the design of the apostle was to show that by the Law, or by works, man could not be justified; Rom_3:28; Rom_4:2.

(3) faith was not what the Law required. It demanded complete and perfect obedience; and if a man was justified by faith, it was in some other way than by the Law.

(4) as the Law did not demand this; and as faith was something different from the demand of the Law; so if a man were justified by that, it was on a principle altogether different from justification by works. It was not by personal merit. It was not by complying with the Law. It was in a mode entirely different.

(5) in being justified by faith, it is meant, therefore, that we are treated as righteous; that we are forgiven; that we are admitted to the favor of God, and treated as his friends.

(6) in this act, faith, is a mere instrument, an antecedent, a “sine qua non,” what God has been pleased to appoint as a condition on which men may be treated as righteous. It expresses a state of mind which is demonstrative of love to God; of affection for his cause and character; of reconciliation and friendship; and is therefore that state to which he has been graciously pleased to promise pardon and acceptance.

(7) since this is not a matter of law; since the Law could not be said to demand it; as it is on a different principle; and as the acceptance of faith, or of a believer, cannot be a matter of merit or claim, so justification is of grace, or mere favor. It is in no sense a matter of merit on our part, and thus stands distinguished entirely from justification by works, or by conformity to the Law. From beginning to end, it is, so far as we are concerned, a matter of grace. The merit by which all this is obtained, is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom this plan is proposed, and by whose atonement alone God can consistently pardon and treat as righteous those who are in themselves ungodly; see Rom_4:5. In this place we have also evidence that faith is always substantially of the same character. In the case of Abraham it was confidence in God and his promises. All faith has the same nature, whether it be confidence in the Messiah, or in any of the divine promises or truths. As this confidence evinces the same state of mind, so it was as consistent to justify Abraham by it, as it is to justify him who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ under the gospel; see Heb. 11.

John Calvin
Romans 4:4
4.To him indeed who works, etc. It is not he, whom he calls a worker, who is given to good works, to which all the children of God ought to attend, but the person who seeks to merit something by his works: and in a similar way he calls him no worker who depends not on the merit of what he does. He would not, indeed, have the faithful to be idle; but he only forbids them to be mercenaries, so as to demand any thing from God, as though it were justly their due.

We have before reminded you, that the question is not here how we are to regulate our life, but how we are to be saved: and he argues from what is contrary, — that God confers not righteousness on us because it is due, but bestows it as a gift. And indeed I agree with Bucer, who proves that the argument is not made to depend on one expression, but on the whole passage, and formed in this manner, “If one merits any thing by his work, what is merited is not freely imputed to him, but rendered to him as his due. Faith is counted for righteousness, not that it procures any merit for us, but because it lays hold on the goodness of God: hence righteousness is not due to us, but freely bestowed.” For as Christ of his own good-will justifies us through faith, Paul always regards this as an evidence of our emptiness; for what do we believe, except that Christ is an expiation to reconcile us to God? The same truth is found in other words in Gal_3:11, where it is said, “That no man is justified by the law, it is evident, for the just shall by faith live: but the law is not by faith; but he who doeth these things shall live in them.” Inasmuch, then, as the law promises reward to works, he hence concludes, that the righteousness of faith, which is free, accords not with that which is operative: this could not be were faith to justify by means of works. — We ought carefully to observe these comparisons, by which every merit is entirely done away.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:4
Now to him that worketh … – This passage is not to be understood as affirming that any actually have worked out their salvation by conformity to the Law so as to be saved by their own merits; but it expresses a general truth in regard to works. On that plan, if a man were justified by his works, it would be a matter due to him. It is a general principle in regard to contracts and obligations, that where a man fulfils them he is entitled to the reward as what is due to him, and which he can claim. This is well understood in all the transactions among people. Where a man has fulfilled the terms of a contract, to pay him is not a matter of favor; he has earned it; and we are bound to pay him. So says the apostle, it would be, if a man were justified by his works. He would have a claim on God. It would be wrong not to justify him. And this is an additional reason why the doctrine cannot be true; compare Rom_11:6.

The reward – The pay, or wages. The word is commonly applied to the pay of soldiers, day-laborers, etc.; Mat_20:8; Luk_10:7; 1Ti_5:18; Jam_5:4. It has a similar meaning here.

Reckoned – Greek, Imputed. The same word which, in Rom_4:3, is rendered “counted,” and in Rom_4:22, imputed. It is used here in its strict and proper sense, to reckon that as belonging to a man which is his own, or which is due to him; see the note at Rom_4:3.

Of grace – Of favor; as a gift.

Of debt – As due; as a claim; as a fair compensation according to the contract.

John Calvin
Romans 4:5
5. But believes on him, etc. This is a very important sentence, in which he expresses the substance and nature both of faith and of righteousness. He indeed clearly shews that faith brings us righteousness, not because it is a meritorious act, but because it obtains for us the favor of God. Nor does he declare only that God is the giver of righteousness, but he also arraigns us of unrighteousness, in order that the bounty of God may come to aid our necessity: in short, no one will seek the righteousness of faith except he who feels that he is ungodly; for this sentence is to be applied to what is said in this passage, — that faith adorns us with the righteousness of another, which it seeks as a gift from God. And here again, God is said to justify us when he freely forgives sinners, and favors those, with whom he might justly be angry, with his love, that is, when his mercy obliterates our unrighteousness.

Charles Hodge
Rom_4:4, Rom_4:5
Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt; but to him that worketh not, etc. These verses are designed, in the first place, to vindicate the pertinency of the quotation from Scripture, made in Rom_4:3, by showing that the declaration ‘faith was imputed for righteousness,’ is a denial that works were the ground of Abraham’s acceptance; and, secondly, that to justify by faith, is to justify gratuitously, and therefore all passages which speak of gratuitous acceptance are in favor of the doctrine of justification by faith.

Now to him that worketh, that is, either emphatically ‘to him who does all that is required of him;’ or ‘to him who seeks to be accepted on account of his works.’ The former explanation is the better. The words then state a general proposition, ‘To him that is obedient, or who performs a stipulated work, the recompense is not regarded as a gratuity, but as a debt.’ The reward, ὁ μισθός the appropriate and merited compensation. Is not imputed, κατὰ χάριν, ἀλλὰ ὁφείλημα, not grace, but debt, which implies that a claim founded in justice is the ground and measure of remuneration. Paul’s argument is founded on the principle, which is so often denied, as by Olshausen, (p. 172,) that man may have merit before God; or that God may stand in the relation of debtor to man. The apostle says expressly, that τῷ ἐργαζομένῳ, to him that works, the reward is a matter of debt. If Adam had remained faithful and rendered perfect obedience, the promised reward would have been due to him as a matter of justice; the withholding it would have been an act of injustice. When, therefore, the apostle speaks of Abraham as having a ground of boasting, if his works made him righteous, it is not to be understood simply of boasting before men. He would have had a ground of boasting in that case before God. The reward would have been to him a matter of debt.

But to him that worketh not, τῷ δὲ μὴ ἐργαζομένῳ. That is, to him who has no works to plead as the ground of reward; πιστεύοντι δὲ ἐπὶ κ. τ. λ., but believeth upon, i.e. putting his trust upon. The faith which justifies is not mere assent, it is an act of trust. The believer confides upon God for justification. He believes that God will justify him, although ungodly; for the object of the faith or confidence here expressed is ὁ δικαιῶν τὸν ἀσεβῆ, he who justifies the ungodly. Faith therefore is appropriating; it is an act of confidence in reference to our own acceptance with God. To him who thus believes, faith is counted for righteousness, i.e. it is imputed in order to his becoming righteous. It lies in the nature of the faith of which Paul speaks, that he who exercises it should feel and acknowledge that he is ungodly, and consequently undeserving of the favor of God. He, of course, in relying on the mercy of God, must acknowledge that his acceptance is a matter of grace, and not of debt. The meaning of the apostle is plainly this: ‘To him that worketh, the reward is a matter of debt, but to him who worketh not, but believeth simply, the reward is a matter of grace.’ Instead, however, of saying ‘it is a matter of grace,’ he uses, as an equivalent expression, “to him faith is counted for righteousness.” That is, he is justified by faith. To be justified by faith, therefore, is to be justified gratuitously, and not by works. It is thus he proves that the passage cited in Rom_4:3, respecting Abraham, is pertinent to his purpose as an argument against justification by works. It at the same time shows that all passages which speak of gratuitous acceptance, may be cited in proof of his doctrine of justification by faith. The way is thus opened for his second argument, which is derived from the testimony of David.

It is to be remarked, that Paul speaks of God as justifying the ungodly. The word is in the singular, τὸν ἀσεβῆ, the ungodly man, not with any special reference to Abraham, as though he was the ungodly person whom God justified, but because the singular, ἐργαζομένῳ, (to him that worketh,) pisteu&onti, (to him that believeth,) is used in the context, and because every man must believe for himself. God does not justify communities. If every man and all men are ungodly, it follows that they are regarded and treated as righteous, not on the ground of their personal character; and it is further apparent that justification does not consist in making one inherently just or holy; for it is as ungodly that those who believe are freely justified for Christ’s sake. It never was, as shown above, the doctrine of the Reformation, or of the Lutheran and Reformed divines, that the imputation of righteousness affects the moral character of those concerned. It is true, whom God justifies he also sanctifies; but justification is not sanctification, and the imputation of righteousness is not the infusion of righteousness. These are the first principles of the doctrine of the Reformers. “The fourth grand error of the Papists in the article of justification,” says an old divine, “is concerning that which we call the form thereof. For they, denying and deriding the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, (without which, notwithstanding, no man can be saved,) do hold that men are justified by infusion, and not by imputation of righteousness; we, on the contrary, do hold, according to the Scriptures, that we are justified before God, only by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, and not by infusion. And our meaning, when we say that God imputeth Christ’s righteousness unto us, is nothing else but this: that he graciously accepteth for us, and in our behalf, the righteousness of Christ, that is, both as to his obedience, which, in the days of his flesh, he performed for us; and passive, that is, his sufferings, which he sustained for us, as if we had in our own persons both performed and suffered the same ourselves. Howbeit, we confess that the Lord doth infuse righteousness into the faithful; yet not as he justifieth, but as he sanctifieth them,” etc. Bishop Downame on Justification, p. 261. Tuckney, one of the leading members of the Westminster Assembly, and principal author of the Shorter Catechism, in his Praelectiones, p. 213, says, “Although God justifies the ungodly, Rom_4:5, i.e., him who was antecedently ungodly, and who in a measure remains, as to his inherent character, unjust after justification, yet it has its proper ground in the satisfaction of Christ,” etc. On page 220, he says, “The Papists understand by justification, the infusion of inherent righteousness, and thus confound justification with sanctification; which, if it was the true nature and definition of justification, they might well deny that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is the cause or formal reason of this justification, i.e., of sanctification. For we are not so foolish or blasphemous as to say, or even think, that the righteousness of Christ imputed to us renders us formally or inherently righteous, so that we should be formally or inherently righteous with the righteousness of Christ. Since the righteousness of Christ is proper to himself, and is as inseparable from him, and as incommunicable to others, as any other attribute of a thing, or its essence itself.”

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:5
But to him that worketh not – Who does not rely on his conformity to the Law for his justification; who does not depend on his works; who seeks to be justified in some other way. The reference here is to the Christian plan of justification.

But believeth – Note, Rom_3:26.

On him – On God. Thus, the connection requires; for the discussion has immediate reference to Abraham, whose faith was in the promise of God.

That justifieth the ungodly – This is a very important expression. It implies,

(1) That people are sinners, or are ungodly.

(2) that God regards them as such when they are justified. He does not justify them because he sees them to be, or regards them to be righteous; but knowing that they are in fact polluted. He does not first esteem them, contrary to fact, to be pure; but knowing that they are polluted, and that they deserve no favor, he resolves to forgive them, and to treat them as his friends.

(3) in themselves they are equally undeserving, whether they are justified or not. Their souls have been defiled by sin; and that is known when they are pardoned. God judges things as they are; and sinners who are justified, he judges not as if they were pure, or as if they had a claim; but he regards them as united by faith to the Lord Jesus; and in this relation he judges that they should be treated as his friends, though they have been, are, and always will be, personally undeserving. It is not meant that the righteousness of Christ is transferred to them, so as to become personally theirs – for moral character cannot be transferred; nor that it is infused into them, making them personally meritorious – for then they could not be spoken of as ungodly; but that Christ died in their stead, to atone for their sins, and is regarded and esteemed by God to have died; and that the results or benefits of his death are so reckoned or imputed to believers as to make it proper for God to regard and treat them as if they had themselves obeyed the Law; that is, as righteous in his sight; see the note at Rom_4:3.

John Calvin
Romans 4:16
16.It is therefore of faith, etc. This is the winding up of the argument; and you may summarily include the whole of it in this statement, — “If the heirship of salvation comes to us by works, then faith in it vanishes, the promise of it is abolished; but it is necessary that both these should be sure and certain; hence it comes to us by faith, so that its stability being based on the goodness of God alone, may be secured.” See how the Apostle, regarding faith as a thing firm and certain, considers hesitancy and doubt as unbelief, by which faith is abolished, and the promise abrogated. And yet this doubting is what the schoolmen call a moral conjecture, and which, alas! they substitute for faith.

That it might be by grace, etc. Here, in the first place, the Apostle shows, that nothing is set before faith but mere grace; and this, as they commonly say, is its object: for were it to look on merits, absurdly would Paul infer, that whatever it obtains for us is gratuitous. I will repeat this again in other words, — “If grace be everything that we obtain by faith, then every regard for works is laid in the dust.” But what next follows more fully removes all ambiguity, — that the promise then only stands firm, when it recumbs on grace: for by this expression Paul confirms this truth, that as long as men depend on works, they are harassed with doubts; for they deprive themselves of what the promises contain. Hence, also, we may easily learn, that grace is not to be taken, as some imagine, for the gift of regeneration, but for a gratuitous favor: for as regeneration is never perfect, it can never suffice to pacify souls, nor of itself can it make the promise certain.

Not to that only which is of the law, etc. Though these words mean in another place those who, being absurd zealots of the law, bind themselves to its yoke, and boast of their confidence in it, yet here they mean simply the Jewish nation, to whom the law of the Lord had been delivered. For Paul teaches us in another passage, that all who remain bound to the dominion of the law, are subject to a curse; it is then certain that they are excluded from the participation of grace. He does not then call them the servants of the law, who, adhering to the righteousness of works, renounce Christ; but they were those Jews who had been brought up in the law, and yet professed the name of Christ. But that the sentence may be made clearer, let it be worded thus, — “Not to those only who are of the law, but to all who imitate the faith of Abraham, though they had not the law before.”

Who is the father of us all, etc. The relative has the meaning of a causative particle; for he meant to prove, that the Gentiles were become partakers of this grace, inasmuch as by the same oracle, by which the heirship was conferred on Abraham and his seed, were the Gentiles also constituted his seed: for he is said to have been made the father, not of one nation, but of many nations; by which was presignified the future extension of grace, then confined to Israel alone. For except the promised blessing had been extended to them, they could not have been counted as the offspring of Abraham. The past tense of the verb, according to the common usage of Scripture, denotes the certainty of the Divine counsel; for though nothing then was less apparent, yet as God had thus decreed, he is rightly said to have been made the father of many nations. Let the testimony of Moses be included in a parenthesis, that this clause, “Who is the father of us all,” may be connected with the other, “before God,” etc.: for it was necessary to explain also what that relationship was, that the Jews might not glory too much in their carnal descent. Hence he says, “He is our father before God; ” which means the same as though he had said, “He is our spiritual father;” for he had this privilege, not from his own flesh, but from the promise of God

Charles Hodge
Romans 4:16
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed, etc. This and the following verse contain the conclusion from the previous reasoning, and especially from the two preceding arguments: ‘The inheritance promised to Abraham and his seed must be either of the law, or of faith. It cannot be of the law, for the law works wrath, therefore it is of faith.’ The expression in the original is simply διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ πίστεως, therefore of faith. It matters little, so far as the sense is concerned, whether we supply the words οἱ κληρονόμοι εἰσί (therefore the heirs are of faith,) from Rom_4:13, or the word ἐπαγγελία (the promise,) from Rom_4:13, or with Luther, δικαιοσύνη, out of the general context — darum muss die Gerechtigkeit aus dem Glauben kommen. These are only different ways of saying the same thing. The connection, as stated above, is in favor of the first explanation. The inheritance is of faith, (ἵνα κατὰ χάριν,) in order that it might be a matter of grace. And it is of grace, (εἰς τὸ εἶναι βεβαίαν τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν,) in order that the promise might be sure. If salvation be in any form or to any degree dependent on the merit, the goodness, or the stability of man, it never can be sure, nay, it must be utterly unattainable. Unless we are saved by grace, we cannot be saved at all. To reject, therefore, a gratuitous salvation, is to reject the only method of salvation available for sinners. Salvation being of grace, suspended on the simple condition of faith, without regard to parentage, to national or ecclesiastical connection, it is available for all classes of men. And therefore the apostle says, ‘The promise is sure (παντὶ τῷ σπέρματι) to all the seed; i.e. to all the spiritual children of Abraham. He had already shown in Rom_4:11, Rom_4:12, that Abraham was the father of believing Gentiles as well as of believing Jews. The word σπέρμα (seed) must therefore, in this connection, be understood of believers who, in a higher sense than mere natural descendants, are the children of Abraham. Both classes of his seed are included in the promise which is sure, (οὐ τῷ ἐκ τοῦ νόμου μόνον,) not to that of the law only, i.e. not only to that portion of the seed who are of the law, that is, believing Jews, but also (τῷ ἐκ πίστεως Ἀβραάμ) to that which is of the faith of Abraham. These formulas are indefinite, and susceptible, taken by themselves, of different interpretations; but the context renders all plain. Paul is speaking of the spiritual children of Abraham; of those who are heirs of the inheritance promised to them. Of these there are two classes; believing Jews and believing Gentiles. The former are distinguished as (ἐκ νόμου) of the law, the latter as of the faith of Abraham, because their connection with him is purely spiritual, whereas the Jewish believers were connected with him by a twofold tie — the one natural, the other spiritual. Who is the father of us all, i.e. of all believes. The highest privilege of New Testament saints is to be partakers of the inheritance promised to Abraham. They are not exalted above him, but united with him in the blessings which flow from union with Christ.

John Calvin
Romans 4:17
17.Whom he believed, who quickens the dead, etc. In this circuitous form is expressed the very substance of Abraham’s faith, that by his example an opening might be made for the Gentiles. He had indeed to attain, in a wonderful way, the promise which he had heard from the Lord’s mouth, since there was then no token of it. A seed was promised to him as though he was in vigor and strength; but he was as it were dead. It was hence necessary for him to raise up his thoughts to the power of God, by which the dead are quickened. It was therefore not strange that the Gentiles, who were barren and dead, should be introduced into the same society. He then who denies them to be capable of grace, does wrong to Abraham, whose faith was sustained by this thought, — that it matters not whether he was dead or not who is called by the Lord; to whom it is an easy thing, even by a word, to raise the dead through his own power.

We have here also a type and a pattern of the call of us all, by which our beginning is set before our eyes, not as to our first birth, but as to the hope of future life, — that when we are called by the Lord we emerge from nothing; for whatever we may seem to be we have not, no, not a spark of anything good, which can render us fit for the kingdom of God. That we may indeed on the other hand be in a suitable state to hear the call of God, we must be altogether dead in ourselves. The character of the divine calling is, that they who are dead are raised by the Lord, that they who are nothing begin to be something through his power. The wordcall ought not to be confined to preaching, but it is to be taken, according to the usage of Scripture, for raising up; and it is intended to set forth more fully the power of God, who raises up, as it were by a nod only, whom he wills.

Charles Hodge
Romans 4:17
As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, Gen_17:5. This declaration, the apostle informs us, contains a great deal more than the assurance that the natural descendants of Abraham should be very numerous. Taken in connection with the promise, that “in him all the nations of the earth should be blessed,” it refers to his spiritual as well as his natural seed, and finds its full accomplishment in the extension of the blessing promised to him, to those of all nations who are his children by faith. This clause is very properly marked as a parenthesis, as the preceding one, “who is the father of us all,” must be connected immediately with the following words, before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, etc. The words κατέναντι ου ἐπίστευσεν Θεου~, admit of different explanations. They are commonly regarded as an example of the substantive being attracted to the case of the relative, instead of the relative to that of the substantive, Qeou~ being in the genitive, because οὗ is. The clause may therefore be resolved thus: κατέναντι Θεοῦ ᾧ ἐπίστευσεν, before God whom he believed. To this, however, it is objected, that this form of attraction with the dative is very unusual, and therefore Winer, §24, 2, b, and others, adopt the simple explanation κατέναντι Θεοῦ κατέναντι οὗ ἐπίστευσε, (before God, before whom he believed). The sense in either case is the same. Abraham is the father of us all, (κατέναντι), before, in the sight of that God in whom he believed. God looked upon him as such. He stood before his omniscient eye, surrounded by many nations of children.

It is not unusual for the apostle to attach to the name of God a descriptive periphrases, bringing into view some divine attribute or characteristic suited to the subject in hand. So here, when speaking of God’s promising to Abraham, a childless old man, a posterity as numerous as the stars of heaven, it was most appropriate to refer to the omnipotence of God, to whom nothing is impossible. Abraham believed, what to all human appearance never could happen, because God, who made the, promise, is he who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not, as though they were. To originate life is the prerogative of God. It requires almighty power, and is therefore in Scripture specified as one of God’s peculiar works; see Deu_32:39; 1Sa_2:6; 2Ki_5:7; Psa_68:20. The being who can call the dead to life, must be able to fulfill to one, although as good as dead, the promise of a numerous posterity. The other clause in this passage, (καὶ καλοῦντος τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα) and calling things that be not, as being, is more doubtful. There are three interpretations of these words, founded on three different senses of the word (καλεῖν) to call.

1. To call, means to command, to control, to muster or dispose of. Thus the psalmist says, “The mighty God, even the Lord hath spoken, and called the earth, from the rising of the sun unto the going down there of” Psa_50:1. Isaiah, speaking of the stars, says, “Who … bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by name, by the greatness of his might,” Isa_40:26; also Psa_147:4; Isa_45:3; Isa_48:13. This gives a sense perfectly suited to the context. God is described as controlling with equal ease things which are not, and those which are. The actual and the possible are equally subject to his command. All things are present to his view, and all are under his control. This interpretation also is suited to the peculiar form of expression, who calls (τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ὄντα,) things not being, as being. It gives ὡς its appropriate force.

2. To call, however, is often used to express the creating energy of God. See Isa_41:4; Isa_48:13. Compare Psa_29:3-9. Philo de Creat., τὰ μὴ ὄντα ἐκάλεσεν εἰς τὸ εἶναι. This also gives a good sense, as the omnipotence of God cannot be more forcibly expressed than by saying, ‘He calls things not existing into existence.’ But the difficulty is, that ὡς ὄντα is not equivalent with εἰς τὸ εἶναι, nor with ἐσόμενα, nor with εἰς τὸ εἶναι ὡς ὄντα, as Köllner and De Wette explain it. This indeed is not an impossible meaning, inasmuch as ὄντα, as Fritzsche says, may be the accusative of the effect, as in Phi_3:21, “He shall change our vile body (σύμμορφον) like unto his glorious body,” i.e., so as to be like; see also 1Th_3:13. As, however, the former interpretation gives so good a sense, there is no need of resorting to these constrained explanations.

3. To call, is often used to express the effectual calling of men by the Holy Spirit. Hence some understand the apostle as here saying, ‘God calls to be his children those who were not children.’

But this is entirely foreign to the context. Paul is presenting the ground of Abraham’s faith in God. He believed, because God was able to accomplish all things. Everything is obedient to his voice.

John Calvin
Romans 4:18
18.Who against hope, etc. If we thus read, the sense is, that when there was no probable reason, yea, when all things were against him, he yet continued to believe. And, doubtless, there is nothing more injurious to faith than to fasten our minds to our eyes, that we may from what we see, seek a reason for our hope. We may also read, “above hope,” and perhaps more suitably; as though he had said that by his faith he far surpassed all that he could conceive; for except faith flies upward on celestial wings so as to look down on all the perceptions of the flesh as on things far below, it will stick fast in the mud of the world. But Paul uses the word hope twice in this verse: in the first instance, he means a probable evidence for hoping, such as can be derived from nature and carnal reason; in the second he refers to faith given by God; for when he had no ground for hoping he yet in hope relied on the promise of God; and he thought it a sufficient reason for hoping, that the Lord had promised, however incredible the thing was in itself.

According to what had been said, etc. So have I preferred to render it, that it may be applied to the time of Abraham; for Paul meant to say, that Abraham, when many temptations were drawing him to despair, that he might not fail, turned his thoughts to what had been promised to him, “Thy seed shall equal the stars of heaven and the sands of the sea;” but he resignedly adduced this quotation incomplete, in order to stimulate us to read the Scriptures. The Apostles, indeed, at all times, in quoting the Scriptures, took a scrupulous care to rouse us to a more diligent reading of them.

Charles Hodge
Rom_4:18
Who against hope believed in hope. Here ἐπ ̓ ἐλπίδι may be taken adverbially, confidently: ‘Against all human hope or reasonable expectation, he confidently believed.’ Or it may indicate the subjective ground of his faith: he believed, because he had a hope founded on the promise of God. He believed, that he might become the father of many nations. The Greek is, εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτὸν πατέρα, κ. τ. λ., that is, according to one explanation, the object of his faith was, that he should be the father of many nations. The idea thus expressed is correct. Abraham did believe that God would make him the father of many nations. But to this it is objected that πιστεύειν εἰς, with an infinitive used as a substantive, although grammatically correct, is a construction which never occurs. Had the apostle, therefore, intended to express the object of Abraham’s faith, he would probably have used ὃτι, he believed that he should be, etc. Others make εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι express the result of his faith: ‘He believed … and hence he became,’ etc. The consequence of his faith was, that the promise was fulfilled. Most recent commentators assume that εἰς with the infinitive here, as it commonly does, expresses design, or intention; not however the design of Abraham, but of God: ‘He believed in order that, agreeably to the purpose of God, he might become the father of many nations.’ This best agrees with what is said in Rom_4:11, and with the context. According to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. This is a reference to the promise which was the object of Abraham’s faith. It is a quotation from Gen_15:5. The word so refers to the stars of heaven, mentioned in the passage as it stands in the Old Testament. The promise, therefore, particularly intended by the apostle is, that Abraham should be the father of many nations, or that his seed should be as numerous as the stars. It has already been seen, however, that the apostle understood this promise as including far more than that the natural descendants of Abraham should be very numerous; see Rom_4:13, Rom_4:17. The expression in the test is a concise allusion to the various promises made to the ancient patriarch, which had reference to all nations being blessed through him. The promise of a numerous posterity, therefore, included the promise of Christ and his redemption. This is evident,

1. Because Paul had been speaking of a promise (Rom_4:16), in which believing Jews and Gentiles were alike interested; see Gal_3:14.

2. Because Paul asserts and argues that the seed promised to Abraham, and to which the promise related, was Jesus Christ, Gal_3:16.

3. So Abraham himself understood it, according to the declaration of our Savior; Joh_8:56, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.”

He looked forward under the greatest discouragements to the Redeemer as yet to come. We have the easier task to look back to the same Deliverer, who has died for our sins, and risen again for our justification, Rom_4:25.

R.B.Terry
Romans 4:19 :
TEXT: “And although he did not weaken in faith, he considered his [own] body”
EVIDENCE: S A B C 81 1739 one lat earlier vg syr(p) syr(pal) (“And he . . . but he”) cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: “And since he did not weaken in faith, he did not consider his [own] body”
EVIDENCE: D G K P Psi 33 104 630 1241 1881 2495 Byz Lect most lat later vg syr(h)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV

COMMENTS: The difference in the readings are the omission and the inclusion of the word “not.” Both readings make good sense. The text reading means that he was so strong in his faith that he could think about his bodily weaknesses and the reading in the notes means that he was so strong in his faith that he didn’t have to think about his bodily weaknesses. The reading in the notes seems to be of later Western origins.

R.B. Terry
Romans 4:19 :
TEXT: “his [own] body, which was already as good as dead”
EVIDENCE: S A C D K P Psi 33 81 104 1241 2495 Byz Lect one lat syr(h+) cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV NASV TEV
RANK: C

NOTES: “his [own] body, which was as good as dead”
EVIDENCE: B G 630 1739 1881 most lat vg most syr cop(south)
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSV NIV NEB
COMMENTS: The Greek word for “already” is in brackets in the UBS text. Although it is possible that it might have been added by copyists to heighten the account, the manuscript evidence would seem to indicate that it was original.

John Calvin
Romans 4:19
19.In faith, etc. If you prefer to omit one of the negatives you may render it thus, “Being weak in faith, he considered not his own body,” etc.; but this makes no sense. He indeed shows now more fully what might have hindered, yea, and wholly turned Abraham aside from receiving the promise. A seed from Sarah was promised to him at a time when he was not by nature fit for generating, nor Sarah for conceiving. Whatever he could see as to himself was opposed to the accomplishment of the promise. Hence, that he might yield to the truth of God, he withdrew his mind from those things which presented themselves to his own view, and as it were forgot himself.

You are not however to think, that he had no regard whatever to his own body, now dead, since Scripture testifies to the contrary; for he reasoned thus with himself, “Shall a child be born to a man an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, who is ninety, bear a son?” But as he laid aside the consideration of all this, and resigned his own judgment to the Lord, the Apostle says, that he considered not, etc.; and truly it was a greater effort to withdraw his thoughts from what of itself met his eyes, than if such a thing came into his mind.

And that the body of Abraham was become through age incapable of generating, at the time he received the Lord’s blessing, is quite evident from this passage, and also from Gen_17:17, so that the opinion of [Augustine ] is by no means to be admitted, who says somewhere, that the impediment was in Sarah alone. Nor ought the absurdity of the objection to influence us, by which he was induced to have recourse to this solution; for he thought it inconsistent to suppose that Abraham in his hundredth year was incapable of generating, as he had afterwards many children. But by this very thing God rendered his power more visible, inasmuch as he, who was before like a dry and barren tree, was so invigorated by the celestial blessing, that he not only begot Isaac, but, as though he was restored to the vigor of age, he had afterwards strength to beget others. But some one may object and say, that it is not beyond the course of nature that a man should beget children at that age. Though I allow that such a thing is not a prodigy, it is yet very little short of a miracle. And then, think with how many toils, sorrows, wanderings, distresses, had that holy man been exercised all his life; and it must be confessed, that he was no more debilitated by age, than worn out and exhausted by toils. And lastly, his body is not called barren simply but comparatively; for it was not probable that he, who was unfit for begetting in the flower and vigor of age, should begin only now when nature had decayed.

The expression, being not weak in faith, take in this sense — that he vacillated not, nor fluctuated, as we usually do under difficult circumstances. There is indeed a twofold weakness of faith — one is that which, by succumbing to trying adversities, occasions a falling away from the supporting power of God — the other arises from imperfection, but does not extinguish faith itself: for the mind is never so illuminated, but that many relics of ignorance remain; the heart is never so strengthened, but that much doubting cleaves to it. Hence with these vices of the flesh, ignorance and doubt, the faithful have a continual conflict, and in this conflict their faith is often dreadfully shaken and distressed, but at length it comes forth victorious; so that they may be said to be strong even in weakness.

Charles Hodge
Romans 4:19
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body, now dead, etc. The 18th verse had stated it was contrary to all appearances that Abraham believed; this verse states the circumstances which rendered the accomplishment of the promise an apparent impossibility, viz. his own advanced age, and the age and barrenness of his wife. These circumstances he did not consider, that is, he did not allow them to have weight, he did not fix his mind on the difficulties of the case. Had he been weak in faith, and allowed himself to dwell on the obstacles to the fulfillment of the divine promise, he would have staggered. This does not imply that there was no inward conflict with doubt in Abraham’s mind. It only says, that his faith triumphed over all difficulties. “The mind,” says Calvin, “is never so enlightened that there are no remains of ignorance, nor the heart so established that there are no misgivings. With these evils of our nature,” he adds, “faith maintains a perpetual conflict, in which conflict it is often sorely shaken and put to great stress; but still it conquers, so that believers may be said to be in ipsa infirmitate firmissimi.” Paul says Abraham was not weak, τῇ πίστει, as to faith.

John Calvin
Romans 4:20
20.Nor did he through unbelief make an inquiry, etc. Though I do not follow the old version, nor [Erasmus ], yet my rendering is not given without reason. The Apostle seems to have had this in view, — That Abraham did not try to find out, by weighing the matter in the balance of unbelief, whether the Lord was able to perform what he had promised. What is properly to inquire or to search into anything, is to examine it through diffidence or mistrust, and to be unwilling to admit what appears not credible, without thoroughly sifting it. He indeed asked, how it could come to pass, but that was the asking of one astonished; as the case was with the virgin Mary, when she inquired of the angel how could that be which he had announced; and there are other similar instances. The saints then, when a message is brought them respecting the works of God, the greatness of which exceeds their comprehension, do indeed burst forth into expressions of wonder; but from this wonder they soon pass on to lay hold on the power of God: on the contrary, the wicked, when they examine a message, scoff at and reject it as a fable. Such, as you will find, was the case with the Jews, when they asked Christ how he could give his flesh to be eaten. For this reason it was, that Abraham was not reproved when he laughed and asked, how could a child be born to a man an hundred years old, and to a woman of ninety; for in his astonishment he fully admitted the power of God’s word. On the other hand, a similar laughter and inquiry on the part of Sarah were not without reproof, because she regarded not the promise as valid.

If these things be applied to our present subject, it will be evident, that the justification of Abraham had no other beginning than that of the Gentiles. Hence the Jews reproach their own father, if they exclaim against the call of the Gentiles as a thing unreasonable. Let us also remember, that the condition of us all is the same with that of Abraham. All things around us are in opposition to the promises of God: He promises immortality; we are surrounded with mortality and corruption: He declares that he counts us just; we are covered with sins: He testifies that he is propitious and kind to us; outward judgments threaten his wrath. What then is to be done? We must with closed eyes pass by ourselves and all things connected with us, that nothing may hinder or prevent us from believing that God is true.

But he was strengthened, etc. This is of the same import with a former clause, when it is said, that he was not weak in faith. It is the same as though he had said, that he overcame unbelief by the constancy and firmness of faith. No one indeed comes forth a conqueror from this contest, but he who borrows weapons and strength from the word of God. From what he adds, giving glory to God, it must be observed, that no greater honor can be given to God, than by faith to seal his truth; as, on the other hand, no greater dishonor can be done to him, than to refuse his offered favor, or to discredit his word. It is hence the chief thing in honoring God, obediently to embrace his promises: and true religion begins with faith.

Charles Hodge
Romans 4:20, 21
He staggered not at the promise of God; οὐ διεκρίθη. The aorist passive is here used in a middle sense, he was not in strife with himself, i.e. he did not doubt; εἰς τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν in reference to the promise of God; τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ, the dative has a causal force, through unbelief. Want of faith in God did not cause him to doubt the divine promise, ἀλλὰ, but, i.e. on the contrary; ἐνεδυναμώθη, not middle, made himself strong, but passive, he was made strong; τῇ πίστει, either by, or as to faith. Giving glory to God; that is, the strength was manifested in his giving glory to God. To give glory to God, is to take him to be what he really is, almighty and faithful. It is to show by our conduct that we give him credit, (so to speak,) that he will and can do what he says. Therefore the apostle adds, καὶ πληροφορηθείς, and being fully persuaded; that is, he gave glory to God by being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform. “Quod addit,” says Calvin, “dedisse gloriam Deo, in eo notandum est, non posse Deo plus honoris deferri quam dum fide obsignamus ejus veritatem; sicuti rursus nulla ei gravior contumelia inuri potest quam dum respuitur oblata ab ipso gratia, vel ejus verbo derogatur auctoritas. Quare hoc in ejus cultu praecipuum est caput, promissiones ejus obedienter amplecti: vera religio a fide ineipit.” It is therefore a very great error for men to suppose that to doubt is an evidence of humility. On the contrary, to doubt God’s promise, or his love, is to dishonor him, because it is to question his word. Multitudes refuse to accept his grace, because they do not regard themselves as worthy, as though their worthiness were the ground on which that grace is offered. The thing to be believed is, that God accepts the unworthy; that for Christ’s sake, he justifies the unjust. Many find it far harder to believe that God can love them, notwithstanding their sinfulness, than the hundred-years-old patriarch did to believe that he should be the father of many nations. Confidence in God’s word, a full persuasion that he can do what seems to us impossible, is as necessary in the one case as in the other. The sinner honors God, in trusting his grace as much as Abraham did in trusting his power.

John Calvin
Romans 4:21
21.That what he had promised, etc. As all men acknowledge God’s power, Paul seems to say nothing very extraordinary of the faith of Abraham; but experience proves, that nothing is more uncommon, or more difficult, than to ascribe to God’s power the honor which it deserves. There is in deed no obstacle, however small and insignificant, by which the flesh imagines the hand of God is restrained from working. Hence it is, that in the slightest trials, the promises of God slide away from us. When there is no contest, it is true, no one, as I have said, denies that God can do all things; but as soon as anything comes in the way to impede the course of God’s promise, we cast down God’s power from its eminence. Hence, that it may obtain from us its right and its honor, when a contest comes, we ought to determine thus, — That it is no less sufficient to overcome the obstacles of the world, than the strong rays of the sun are to dissipate the mists. We are indeed wont ever to excuse ourselves, that we derogate nothing from God’s power, whenever we hesitate respecting his promises, and we commonly say, “The thought, that God promises more in his word than he can perform, (which would be a falsehood and blasphemy against him,) is by no means the cause of our hesitation; but that it is the defect which we feel in ourselves.” But we do not sufficiently exalt the power of God, unless we think it to be greater than our weakness. Faith then ought not to regard our weakness, misery, and defects, but to fix wholly its attention on the power of God alone; for if it depends on our righteousness or worthiness, it can never ascend to the consideration of God’s power. And it is a proof of the unbelief, of which he had before spoken, when we mete the Lord’s power with our own measure. For faith does not think that God can do all things, while it leaves him sitting still, but when, on the contrary, it regards his power in continual exercise, and applies it, especially, to the accomplishment of his word: for the hand of God is ever ready to execute whatever he has declared by his mouth.

It seems strange to me, that [Erasmus ] approved of the relative in the masculine gender; for though the sense is not changed, we may yet come nearer to the Greek words of Paul. The verb, I know, is passive; but the abruptness may be lessened by a little change.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:21
And being fully persuaded – Thoroughly or entirely convinced; Luk_1:1; Rom_14:5; 2Ti_4:5, 2Ti_4:17.

He was able – Compare Gen_18:14. This was not the only time in which Abraham evinced this confidence. His faith was equally implicit and strong when he was commanded to sacrifice his promised son; Heb_11:19.

John Calvin
Romans 4:22
22.And it was therefore imputed, etc. It becomes now more clear, how and in what manner faith brought righteousness to Abraham; and that was, because he, leaning on God’s word, rejected not the promised favor. And this connection of faith with the word ought to be well understood and carefully remembered; for faith can bring us nothing more than what it receives from the word. Hence he does not become immediately just, who is imbued only with a general and confused idea that God is true, except he reposes on the promise of his favor.

Expositors Greek NT
Rom 4:22
Ver. 22. διὸ: because of this signal faith, evinced so triumphantly in spite of all there was to quell it. ἐλογίσθη: i.e., his faith was reckoned to him as p 621 righteousness. That which needs to be reckoned as righteousness is not in itself righteousness—on this the Apostle’s argument rests in vers. 1-8; yet it is not arbitrarily that faith is so reckoned. The spiritual attitude of a man, who is conscious that in himself he has no strength, and no hope of a future, and who nevertheless casts himself, upon, and lives by, the word of God which assures him of a future, is the necessarily and eternally right attitude of all souls to God. He whose attitude it is, is at bottom right with God. Now this was the attitude of Abraham to God, and it is the attitude of all sinners who believe in God through Christ; and to him and them alike it is reckoned by God for righteousness. The Gospel does not subvert the religious order under which Abraham lived; it illustrates, extends, and confirms it.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:22
And therefore – His faith was so implicit, and so unwavering, that it was a demonstration that he was the firm friend of God. He was tried, and he had such confidence in God that he showed that he was supremely attached to him, and would obey and serve him. This was reckoned as a full proof of friendship; and he was recognised and treated as righteous; that is, as the friend of God. (The true sense of faith being imputed for righteousness is given in a note at the beginning of the chapter.) See the note at Rom_4:3, 5.

John Calvin
Romans 4:23
23.Now it was not written, etc. A proof from example is not always valid, of which I have before reminded you; lest this should be questioned, Paul expressly affirms, that in the person of Abraham was exhibited an example of a common righteousness, which belongs equally to all.

We are, by this passage, reminded of the duty of seeking profit from the examples recorded in Scripture. That history is the teacher of what life ought to be, is what heathens have with truth said; but as it is handed down by them, no one can derive from it sound instruction. Scripture alone justly claims to itself an office of this kind. For in the first place it prescribes general rules, by which we may test every other history, so as to render it serviceable to us: and in the second place, it clearly points out what things are to be followed, and what things are to be avoided. But as to doctrine, which it especially teaches, it possesses this peculiarity, — that it clearly reveals the providence of God, his justice and goodness towards his own people, and his judgments on the wicked.

What then is recorded of Abraham is by Paul denied to have been written only for his sake; for the subject is not what belongs to the special call of one or of any particular person; but that way of obtaining righteousness is described, which is ever the same with regard to all; and it is what belonged to the common father of the faithful, on whom the eyes of all ought to be fixed.

If then we would make a right and proper use of sacred histories, we must remember so to use them as to draw from them sound doctrine. They instruct us, in some parts, how to frame our life; in others, how to strengthen faith; and then, how we are to be stirred up to serve the Lord. In forming our life, the example of the saints may be useful; and we may learn from them sobriety, chastity, love, patience, moderation, contempt of the world, and other virtues. What will serve to confirm faith is the help which God ever gave them, the protection which brought comfort in adversities, and the paternal care which he ever exercised over them. The judgments of God, and the punishments inflicted on the wicked, will also aid us, provided they fill us with that fear which imbues the heart with reverence and devotion.

But by saying, not on his account only, he seems to intimate, that it was written partly for his sake. Hence some think, that what Abraham obtained by faith was commemorated to his praise, because the Lord will have his servants to be forever remembered, according to what Solomon says, that their name will be blessed. (Pro_10:7.) But what if you take the words, not on his account only, in a simpler form, as though it were some singular privilege, not fit to be made an example of, but yet suitable to teach us, who must be justified in the same manner? This certainly would be a more appropriate sense.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:23
Now it was not written – The record of this extraordinary faith was not made on his account only; but it was made to show the way in which men may be regarded and treated as righteous by God. If Abraham was so regarded and treated, then, on the same principle, all others may be. God has but one mode of justifying people.

Imputed – Reckoned; accounted. He was regarded and treated as the friend of God.

Charles Hodge
Romans 4:23- 24
Now, it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him. The record concerning the faith and consequent justification of Abraham, was not made with the simple intention of giving a correct history of that patriarch. It had a much higher purpose. Abraham was a representative person. What was true of him, was true of all others who stood in the same relation to God. The method in which he was justified, is the method in which other sinners must be justified. That he was justified by faith, is recorded in the Scriptures to be a perpetual testimony as to the true method of justification before God. The apostle therefore adds, that it was δι ̓ ἡμᾶς, on our account. That is, on account of those to whom it shall be imputed; οἷς μέλλει λογίζεσθαι to whom it is appointed to be imputed; in case they should believe. As all men are sinners, the method in which one was certainly justified is the method by which others may secure the same blessing. If Abraham was justified by faith, we may be justified by faith. If the object of Abraham’s faith was the promise of redemption, the same must be the object of our faith. He believed in God as quickening the dead, that is, as able to raise up from one as good as dead, the promised Redeemer. Therefore those to whom faith shall now be imputed for righteousness are described as those who believe that God hath raised up Jesus from the dead. By thus raising him from the dead, he declared him to be his Son, and the seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed. The object of the Christian’s faith, therefore, is the same as the object of the faith of Abraham. Both believe the promise of redemption through the promised seed, which is Christ. When we are said to believe in God, who raised up Christ, it of course implies that we believe that Christ was thus raised up. As the resurrection of Christ was the great decisive evidence of the divinity of his mission, and the validity of all his claims, to believe that he rose from the dead, is to believe he was the Son of God, the propitiation for our sins, the Redeemer and the Lord of men; that he was all he claimed to be, and had accomplished all he purposed to effect. Compare Rom_10:9; Act_1:22; Act_4:33; 1 Corinthians 15, and other passages, in which the resurrection of Christ is spoken of as the corner-stone of the gospel, as the great fact to be proved, and which, being proved, involves all the rest.

Adam Clarke
Romans 4:24
But for us also – The mention of this circumstance has a much more extensive design than merely to honor Abraham. It is recorded as the model, according to which God will save both Jews and Gentiles: indeed there can be no other way of salvation; as all have sinned, all must either be saved by faith through Christ Jesus, or finally perish. If God, therefore, will our salvation, it must be by faith; and faith contemplates his promise, and his promise comprehends the Son of his love.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:24
But for us also – For our use; (compare Rom_15:4; 1Co_10:11), that we might have an example of the way in which people may be accepted of God. It is recorded for our encouragement and imitation, to show that we may in a similar manner be accepted and saved.

If we believe on him … – Abraham showed his faith in God by believing just what God revealed to him. This was his faith, and it might be as strong and implicit as could be exercised under the fullest revelation. Faith, now, is belief in God just so far as he has revealed his will to us. It is therefore the same in principle, though it may have reference to different objects. It is confidence in the same God, according to what we know of his will. Abraham showed his faith mainly in confiding in the promises of God respecting a numerous posterity. This was the leading truth made known to him, and this he believed.

(The promise made to Abraham was, “in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed,” on which we have the following inspired commentary: “And the scriptures foreseeing that God would justify the pagan through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed,” Gal_3:8. It would seem, then, that this promise, like that made immediately after the fall, contained the very germ and principles of the gospel. So that after all there is not so great difference between the object of Abraham’s faith, and that of ours. Indeed the object in both cases is manifestly the same.)

The main or leading truths that God has made known to us are, that he has given his Son to die; that he has raised him up; and that through him he is ready to pardon. To put confidence in these truths is to believe now. Doing this, we believe in the same God that Abraham did; we evince the same spirit; and thus show that we are the friends of the same God, and may be treated in the same manner. This is faith under the gospel (compare the notes at Mar_16:16), and shows that the faith of Abraham and of all true believers is substantially the same, and is varied only by the difference of the truths made known.

John Calvin
Romans 4:25
25.Who was delivered for our offences, etc. He expands and illustrates more at large the doctrine to which I have just referred. It indeed greatly concerns us, not only to have our minds directed to Christ, but also to have it distinctly made known how he attained salvation for us. And though Scripture, when it treats of our salvation, dwells especially on the death of Christ, yet the Apostle now proceeds farther: for as his purpose was more explicitly to set forth the cause of our salvation, he mentions its two parts; and says, first, that our sins were expiated by the death of Christ, — and secondly, that by his resurrection was obtained our righteousness. But the meaning is, that when we possess the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection, there is nothing wanting to the completion of perfect righteousness. By separating his death from his resurrection, he no doubt accommodates what he says to our ignorance; for it is also true that righteousness has been obtained for us by that obedience of Christ, which he exhibited in his death, as the Apostle himself teaches us in the following chapter. But as Christ, by rising from the dead, made known how much he had effected by his death, this distinction is calculated to teach us that our salvation was begun by the sacrifice, by which our sins were expiated, and was at length completed by his resurrection: for the beginning of righteousness is to be reconciled to God, and its completion is to attain life by having death abolished. Paul then means, that satisfaction for our sins was given on the cross: for it was necessary, in order that Christ might restore us to the Father’s favor, that our sins should be abolished by him; which could not have been done had he not on their account suffered the punishment, which we were not equal to endure. Hence Isaiah says, that the chastisement of our peace was upon him. (Isa_53:5.) But he says that he was delivered, and not, that he died; for expiation depended on the eternal goodwill of God, who purposed to be in this way pacified.

And was raised again for our justification. As it would not have been enough for Christ to undergo the wrath and judgment of God, and to endure the curse due to our sins, without his coming forth a conqueror, and without being received into celestial glory, that by his intercession he might reconcile God to us, the efficacy of justification is ascribed to his resurrection, by which death was overcome; not that the sacrifice of the cross, by which we are reconciled to God, contributes nothing towards our justification, but that the completeness of his favor appears more clear by his coming to life again.

But I cannot assent to those who refer this second clause to newness of life; for of that the Apostle has not begun to speak; and further, it is certain that both clauses refer to the same thing. For if justification means renovation, then that he died for our sins must be taken in the same sense, as signifying that he acquired for us grace to mortify the flesh; which no one admits. Then, as he is said to have died for our sins, because he delivered us from the evil of death by suffering death as a punishment for our sins; so he is now said to have been raised for our justification, because he fully restored life to us by his resurrection: for he was first smitten by the hand of God, that in the person of the sinner he might sustain the misery of sin; and then he was raised to life, that he might freely grant to his people righteousness and life. He therefore still speaks of imputative justification; and this will be confirmed by what immediately follows in the next chapter.

Adam Clarke
Romans 4:25
Who was delivered for our offenses – Who was delivered up to death as a sacrifice for our sins; for in what other way, or for what other purpose could He, who is innocence itself, be delivered for our offenses?
And was raised again for our justification – He was raised that we might have the fullest assurance that the death of Christ had accomplished the end for which it took place; viz. our reconciliation to God, and giving us a title to that eternal life, into which he has entered, and taken with him our human nature, as the first-fruits of the resurrection of mankind.

1. From a careful examination of the Divine oracles it appears that the death of Christ was an atonement or expiation for the sin of the world: For him hath God set forth to be a Propitiation through Faith in His Blood, Rom_3:25. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ Died For the Ungodly, Rom_5:6. And when we were Enemies, we were Reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, Rom_5:10. In whom we have Redemption Through His Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins, Eph_1:7. Christ hath loved us, and Given Himself for Us, an Offering and a Sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour, Eph_5:2. In whom we have Redemption Through His Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins, Col_1:14. And having made Peace Through the Blood of his Cross, in the Body of His Flesh, through Death, Col_1:20, Col_1:22. Who Gave Himself a Ransom for all, 1Ti_2:6. Who Gave Himself for Us, that he might Redeem us from all iniquity, Tit_2:14. By which will we are sanctified, through the Offering of the Body of Jesus Christ, Heb_10:10. So Christ was once Offered to Bear the Sins of many, Heb_9:28. See also Eph_2:13, Eph_2:16; 1Pe_1:18, 1Pe_1:19; Rev_5:9. But it would be transcribing a very considerable part of the New Testament to set down all the texts that refer to this most important and glorious truth.

2. And as his death was an atonement for our sins, so his resurrection was the proof and pledge of our eternal life. See 1Co_15:17; 1Pe_1:3; Eph_1:13, Eph_1:14, etc.,etc.

3. The doctrine of justification by faith, which is so nobly proved in the preceding chapter, is one of the grandest displays of the mercy of God to mankind. It is so very plain that all may comprehend it; and so free that all may attain it. What more simple than this? Thou art a sinner, in consequence condemned to perdition, and utterly unable to save thy own soul. All are in the same state with thyself, and no man can give a ransom for the soul of his neighbor. God, in his mercy, has provided a Savior for thee. As thy life was forfeited to death because of thy transgressions, Jesus Christ has redeemed thy life by giving up his own; he died in thy stead, and has made an atonement to God for thy transgressions; and offers thee the pardon he has thus purchased, on the simple condition, that thou believe that his death is a sufficient sacrifice, ransom, and oblation for thy sin; and that thou bring it as such, by confident faith, to the throne of God, and plead it in thy own behalf there. When thou dost so, thy faith in that sacrifice shall be imputed to thee for righteousness; i.e. it shall be the means of receiving that salvation which Christ has bought by his blood.

4. The doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ, as held by many, will not be readily found in this chapter, where it has been supposed to exist in all its proofs. It is repeatedly said that Faith is imputed for righteousness; but in no place here, that Christ’s obedience to the moral law is imputed to any man. The truth is, the moral law was broken, and did not now require obedience; it required this before it was broken; but, after it was broken, it required death.

Either the sinner must die, or some one in his stead: but there was none whose death could have been an equivalent for the transgressions of the world but Jesus Christ. Jesus therefore died for man; and it is through his blood, the merit of his passion and death, that we have redemption; and not by his obedience to the moral law in our stead. Our salvation was obtained at a much higher price. Jesus could not but be righteous and obedient; this is consequent on the immaculate purity of his nature: but his death was not a necessary consequent. As the law of God can claim only the death of a transgressor – for such only forfeit their right to life – it is the greatest miracle of all that Christ could die, whose life was never forfeited. Here we see the indescribable demerit of sin, that it required such a death; and here we see the stupendous mercy of God, in providing the sacrifice required. It is therefore by Jesus Christ’s death, or obedience unto death, that we are saved, and not by his fulfilling any moral law. That he fulfilled the moral law we know; without which he could not have been qualified to be our mediator; but we must take heed lest we attribute that to obedience (which was the necessary consequence of his immaculate nature) which belongs to his passion and death. These were free-will offerings of eternal goodness, and not even a necessary consequence of his incarnation.

5. This doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ is capable of great abuse. To say that Christ’s personal righteousness is imputed to every true believer, is not Scriptural: to say that he has fulfilled all righteousness for us, or in our stead, if by this is meant his fulfillment of all moral duties, is neither Scriptural nor true: that he has died in our stead, is a great, glorious, and Scriptural truth: that there is no redemption but through his blood is asserted beyond all contradiction; in the oracles of God. But there are a multitude of duties which the moral law requires which Christ never fulfilled in our stead, and never could. We have various duties of a domestic kind which belong solely to ourselves, in the relation of parents, husbands, wives, servants, etc., in which relations Christ never stood. He has fulfilled none of these duties for us, but he furnishes grace to every true believer to fulfill them to God’s glory, the edification of his neighbor, and his own eternal profit. The salvation which we receive from God’s free mercy, through Christ, binds us to live in a strict conformity to the moral law; that law which prescribes our manners, and the spirit by which they should be regulated, and in which they should be performed. He who lives not in the due performance of every Christian duty, whatever faith he may profess, is either a vile hypocrite, or a scandalous Antinomian.

Charles Hodge
Romans 4:25
Who was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification. This verse is a comprehensive statement of the gospel. Christ was delivered unto death for our offenses, i.e., on account of them, and for their expiation; see Isa_53:5, Isa_53:6; Heb_9:28; 1Pe_2:21. This delivering of Christ is ascribed to God, Rom_8:32; Gal_1:4 and elsewhere; and to himself, Tit_2:14; Gal_2:20. It was by the divine purpose and counsel he suffered for the expiation of sin; and he gave himself willingly to death. “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” Christ is said to have been delivered unto death, διὰ τὰ παραπτώματα ἡμῶν, and to have been raised, διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν; that is, he was delivered in order that our sins might be expiated, and he was raised in order that we might be justified. His death and his resurrection were alike necessary; his death, as a satisfaction to divine justice. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree. That is, he bore the punishment of our sins. “Significant ergo Paulus,” says Calvin, “satisfactionem pro peccatis nostris in cruce fuisse peractam. Nam ut Christus nos in gratiam Patris restitueret reatum nostrum ab ipso aboleri oportuit; quod fieri non poterat, nisi poenam, cui solvendae pares non eramus, nostro nomine lueret.” His resurrection was no less necessary, first, as a proof that his death had been accepted as an expiation for our sins. Had he not risen, it would have been evident that he was not what he claimed to be. We should be yet in our sins, 1Co_15:17, and therefore still under condemnation. Our ransom, in that case, instead of being publicly accepted, had been rejected. And secondly, in order to secure the continued application of the merits of his sacrifice, he rose from the dead, and ascended on high, there to appear before God for us. He stands at the right hand of God, ever to make intercession for his people, thereby securing for them the benefits of his redemption. With a dead Savior, a Savior over whom death had triumphed and held captive, our justification had been for ever impossible. As it was necessary that the high priest, under the old economy, should not only slay the victim at the altar, but carry the blood into the most holy place, and sprinkle it upon the mercy-seat; so it was necessary not only that our great High Priest should suffer in the outer court, but that he should pass into heaven, to present his righteousness before God for our justification. Both, therefore, as the evidence of the acceptance of his satisfaction on our behalf, and as a necessary step to secure the application of the merits of his sacrifice, the resurrection of Christ was absolutely essential, even for our justification. Its relation to inward spiritual life and eternal blessedness is not here brought into view; for Paul is not here speaking of our sanctification. That δικαίωσις means justification, and not the act of makind holy, need hardly be remarked. That follows of necessity, not only from the signification of the word, but from the whole scope of this part of the epistle. It is only by those who make justification identical with regeneration, that this is called into question.

Albert Barnes
Romans 4:25
Who was delivered – To death; compare the notes at Act_2:23.

For our offences – On account of our crimes. He was delivered up to death in order to make expiation for our sins.

And was raised again – From the dead.

For our justification – On account of our justification. In order that we may be justified. The word “justification” here seems to be used in a large sense, to denote acceptance with God; including not merely the formal act by which God pardons sins, and by which we become reconciled to him, but also the completion of the work – the treatment of us as righteous, and raising us up to a state of glory. By the death of Christ an atonement is made for sin. If it be asked how his resurrection contributes to our acceptance with God, we may answer,

(1) It rendered his work complete. His death would have been unavailing, his work would have been imperfect, if he had not been raised up from the dead. He submitted to death as a sacrifice, and it was needful that he should rise, and thus conquer death and subdue our enemies, that the work which he had undertaken might be complete.

(2) his resurrection was a proof that his work was accepted by the Father. What he had done, in order that sinners might be saved, was approved. Our justification, therefore, became sure, as it was for this that he had given himself up to death.

(3) his resurrection is the main-spring of all our hopes, and of all our efforts to be saved. Life and immortality are thus brought to light, 2Ti_1:10. God “hath begotten us again to a lively hope (a living, active, real hope), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1Pe_1:3. Thus, the fact that he was raised becomes the ground of hope that we shall be raised and accepted of God. The fact that he was raised, and that all who love him shall be raised also, becomes one of the most efficient motives to us to seek to be justified and saved.

There is no higher motive that can be presented to induce man to seek salvation than the fact that he maybe raised up from death and the grave, and made immortal. There is no satisfactory proof that man can be thus raised up, but the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In that resurrection we have a pledge that all his people will rise. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him,” 1Th_4:14. “Because I live,” said the Redeemer, “ye shall live also,” Joh_14:19; compare 1Pe_1:21.

Ethics…

…what I have and what those I disagree with obviously don’t have.

Ambrose Bierce probably said it first, and better.

Hat tip  to Joel Watts, the other last son of Krypton.

The Fact that No One Understands You…

… really means you’re a teenager suffering typical teen delusions.

Hat tip to Rick Warren’s twitterfeed by way of Dr. Jay Cook