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A servant of Jesus Christ , called to be an apostle ; he first places himself with the whole body of believers as "a servant of Jesus Christ," and then, in accordance with his usual custom, asserts his apostolic calling; for when he writes to a church he wishes to do so with the authority of an apostle-one specially chosen and sent out by Christ himself, to preach his gospel, work miracles, gather churches, and extend his kingdom among men.
Separated ; set apart by God for this work. Galatians 1:15 .
Which he had promised afore ; he is careful to show at the outset that the gospel is no new religion, but the fulfilment of the promises made in the Old Testament to the fathers.
The seed of David ; a descendant of David.
According to the flesh ; as to his human nature.
Declared-with power ; powerfully, conclusively manifested to be The Son of God-according to the Spirit of holiness ; as to his divine nature. The words, "according to the Spirit of holiness," stand in contrast with the words, "according to the flesh," and seem to denote the divine Spirit of Christ, which was from eternity, and became mysteriously united with "the man Christ Jesus." To this divine nature holiness is ascribed as an essential attribute of deity.
By the resurrection from the dead ; the resurrection of Christ was the crowning seal which God set to the claim of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Son of God in the high and incommunicable sense of having equality with God. Christ has a twofold nature, human and divine. He is both God and man. Of this, God has given abundant and conclusive evidence, which no man can reject without great guilt.
By whom ; Jesus Christ.
Grace and apostleship ; the office of apostle, with that special grace which qualifies us to discharge its duties aright. Ephesians 3:8 . In using the word "we," he joins himself with the other apostles.
For obedience ; that men of all nations might be led to obey Christ.
Grace-peace ; in this apostolic prayer Jesus Christ is joined with the Father as the source from which grace and peace flow; which could not be, were he not equal with the Father in power and glory. Grace is the favor of God bestowed on men through Jesus Christ, and peace is its effect. Grace and peace, with all their blessings for this life and the future, come from the Father and the Son. For them men are indebted to both the Father and the Son; and to both should give all honor and glory. Revelation 5:13 .
To come unto you ; for the apostle had not yet been in Rome.
Spiritual gift ; in the widest sense, including all that spiritual edification that comes from the Holy Spirit through the communication of the truth.
Established ; in the faith and practice of the gospel.
That I may be comforted together with you ; lest he should seem arrogant in making himself a mere giver of spiritual good, he explains that he means the mutual edification of himself and the Roman Christians by their mutual intercourse. Christian intercourse is earnestly desired by Christian hearts, and is to those who are favored with it, a means of increasing excellence, usefulness, and enjoyment.
Let ; hindered.
Some fruit ; be the means of good in Rome, as he had been in other places.
I am debtor ; he was under obligation in consequence of what Christ had done for him.
Greeks and Barbarians-wise and unwise ; polished and rude, learned and ignorant. When Christ imparts to any one the blessings of his grace, it lays him under peculiar obligations to do good as he has opportunity; especially to promote the spiritual good of all his fellow-men.
It is the power of God ; that through which he exerts his saving power on all who believe and obey it.
Jew first ; the gospel was first preached to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. As the gospel is the means by which God exerts on men his saving power, it should be preached to all people; and as neither the power, the love, nor the grace of God will ever save any who reject it, all who hear should without delay believe, that it may be the power of God to their salvation.
Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith ; in the original the words "from faith" are the same that are often elsewhere rendered "of faith," chap Romans 4:16 ; Romans 10:6 ; Galatians 3:7 ; Galatians 3:9 ; Galatians 3:12 ; and they may be so rendered here. This will give the following meaning: In it is revealed the righteousness of God; a righteousness which is of faith, and which is given to faith. The righteousness of God is here, as often elsewhere in Paul’s writings, not God’s personal righteousness, but the righteousness which he gives to sinners through their faith in Christ; in other words, it is his justifying grace, by which he freely pardons their sins, and accepts and treats them as righteous for Christ’s sake. This righteousness is said to be "of faith," in contrast with that which is "of the law," chap Romans 10:5 , such as the holy angels have, and such as the Jews vainly sought to obtain by observing the precepts of the Mosaic law. Chap Romans 10:3 ; Philippians 3:9 . The apostle adds that this ighteousness which is "of faith" is also "to faith," since it must be received and appropriated by each one’s personal faith.
Shall live by faith ; Habakkuk 2:4 . What the prophet says of faith, in the general sense of confidence in God and his word, the apostle rightly applies to faith in Christ; since all true faith is, in its essence, the same.
For the wrath of God is revealed ; the word "for" connects this verse immediately with the preceding, as much as to say, There is need of such a righteousness as the gospel reveals, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, etc. He then proceeds to show, in the remainder of the chapter, how the Gentiles lie under this wrath; and in the following, how it rests on the Jews also; so that all men need to receive from God a righteousness which is not of law, but of faith.
Ungodliness and unrighteousness ; sins against God and men.
Hold the truth in unrighteousness ; prevent, by their wickedness, its proper effect.
That which may be known ; the character of God as manifested in his works.
God hath showed it ; in creation and providence.
From the creation ; ever since the creation.
His eternal power and Godhead ; his divinity, and worthiness of being loved, adored, and obeyed.
Without excuse ; having no reason for disobeying him. All to whom God has manifested himself in creation and providence, who do not worship him and are not thankful for the blessings which they receive, are without excuse, and have just reason to fear his awful displeasure.
Knew God ; knew so much of him as to know that they ought to worship and serve him.
Glorified him not ; did not honor and obey him as God.
Vain in their imaginations ; senseless and wicked in their thoughts and reasonings about the proper object of worship.
Foolish heart ; their perverse, wicked mind.
Was darkened ; blinded as to the spiritual nature and perfections of God.
Professing themselves to be wise ; pretending to great wisdom.
Became fools ; exhibited the greatest folly.
Changed ; exchanged the one only living and true God for images of birds, beasts, and reptiles. The doing of what persons know to be wrong blinds their minds, hardens their hearts, and makes them more wicked than they were before. As a punishment for their sins, God often suffers them to commit other sins, and still others, until they bring upon themselves aggravated destruction.
God also ; as a punishment for their sins in thus dishonoring him, abandoned them to the dominion of corrupt desires, appetites, and passions; and suffered them to commit the vilest abominations to their ruin.
Changed the truth of God into a lie ; the true God for an idol, or false god.
More than ; instead of.
Blessed for ever ; worthy of eternal love and praise.
This cause ; because of their wickedness in not worshipping him and in worshipping idols.
Reprobate mind ; a mind abhorred of God, and upon which his curse rests.
Not convenient ; not fit or proper, a disgrace to human nature.
Knowing the judgment of God ; their desert of his wrath.
Worthy of death ; justly exposed to it.
Do the same ; commit the crimes mentioned.
Have pleasure ; are pleased with others who commit them and encourage them in their crimes. The history of the world in all ages shows, that all means to overcome human depravity without the gospel of Christ, or to remove its evils without faith in him, will be unavailing. Philanthropists, therefore, and friends of external morality as well as of internal godliness should unite in making known Jesus Christ as soon as possible to every human being.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 1". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany