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in itself holy, and just, and good. As such it is employed by the Spirit of God to convince his people of sin, to teach them the value of the remedy provided for sin in the Gospel, and to lead them to cleave unto the Lord from a sense of the remaining corruption of their hearts. This corruption the Apostle, by giving a striking description of his own experience, shows, will continue to exert its power in believers as long as they are in the body.
As a general conclusion from all that had gone before, the believer's entire freedom from condemnation, through union with his glorious Head, and his consequent sanctification, are both asserted in the eighth chapter,-effects which could neither of them have been accomplished by the law. The opposite results of death to the carnal mind, which actuated man in his natural state, and of life to the spiritual mind, which he receives in his renovation, are clearly pointed out; and as the love of God had been shown in the fifth chapter to be so peculiarly transcendant, from the consideration that Christ died for men, not as friends and worthy objects, but as without strength, ungodly, sinners, enemies, so here the natural state of those on whom such unspeakable blessings are bestowed, is de
scribed as “ enmity against God.” The effects of the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit on them who are regenerated are next declared, together with the glorious privileges connected with it. Amidst present sufferings, the highest consolations are presented to the children of God, and their original source and final issue are pointed out.
The contemplation of such ineffable blessings reminds the Apostle of the mournful state of the generality of his own countrymen, who, though distinguished in the highest degree by their external privileges, still, as he himself had once done, rejected the Messiah. Nothing in all this, however, had happened contrary to the purpose of God; his word had taken effect as far as he had appointed. The doctrine of God's sovereignty is fully treated of in the ninth chapter, and that very objection to it which is daily made, “ Why doth he yet find fault?” is stated and silenced. Instead of national election, the great subject is national rejection; and the personal election of a small remnant, without which the whole nation would have been destroyed. So devoid of reason is the objection usually made to the doctrine of election, of its being a cruel doctrine.
The Apostle is thus led to the consideration of the fatal error of the great body of the Jews who sought justification by works, and not by faith. Mistaking the intent and the end of their law, they stumbled at this doctrine, which is the common stumbling-stone to unregenerate
In the end of this chapter, and also in the tenth, it is shown how the Jews thus excluded themselves from salvation, not discerning the true character of the Messiah of Israel as the fulfiller of the law, and the author of righteousness to every one that believeth in him. And yet when they reflected on the declaration of Moses, that to obtain life by the law, the perfect obedience which it demands must in every case be yielded, they might have been convinced that on this ground they could not be justified; on the contrary, by the law they were universally condemned. The Apostle next exhibits the freeness of salvation through the Redeemer, and the certainty that all who accept it shall be saved. And since faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, the necessity of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles is inferred and asserted. The result corresponded with what had been predicted. The righteousness which is by faith was received by
the Gentiles, although they had not been enquiring for it; while the Jews, who sought after righteousness, which they were earnestly invited to accept, nevertheless rejected it.
In the eleventh chapter, the doctrine of the personal, eternal election of the remnant of Israel is resumed and affirmed, in the most express terms, to be wholly of grace, consequently it excludes every idea of work or merit on the part of man. A most consolatory view is then given of the present tendency and final issue of the dispensations of God, in the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles, and the general salvation of Israel. And thus, also, by the annunciation of the reception which the Gospel should meet with from the Jews, first in rejecting it for a long period, and afterwards in embracing it, the doctrine of the sovereignty of Him who has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and hardeneth whom he will, is further displayed and established. The Apostle concludes by declaring, that God is the Creator of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega of all things, and by ascribing the glory which is due to him, in the manifestation of which he will cause all things to issue in the final accomplishment of those great designs which he hath purposed from the beginning.
Having in the preceding part of the Epistle fully exhibited the universal depravity and guilt of man, and the free salvation through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle now proceeds to show how his doctrine of the justification of believers bears upon, and connects with their sanctification.
He commences by stating an objection which has in all ages been advanced as an unanswerable argument against salvation by grace. He asks what is the consequence of the doctrine he has been inculcating ? If justification be bestowed through faith without works, and if, where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded, may we not then continue in sin that grace may still more abound, and be still more illustriously displayed ? No objection could be