New Testament book of Romans,
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness
of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God
is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they
knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible
man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own
hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature
more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown 1871
15. So, as much as in me is, I
am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also—He feels himself under an all-subduing obligation to carry
the gospel to all classes of mankind, as adapted to and ordained equally for all (1Co 9:16).
16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel—(The words, "of Christ," which follow here, are not found
in the oldest and best manuscripts). This language implies that it required some courage to bring to "the mistress of
the world" what "to the Jews was a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness" (1Co 1:23).
But its inherent glory, as God's life-giving message to a dying world, so filled his soul, that, like his blessed
Master, he "despised the shame."
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth—Here and in Ro 1:17 the apostle announces the great theme of his ensuing argument;
Salvation, the one overwhelming necessity of perishing men;
this revealed IN THE GOSPEL MESSAGE; and that message so owned and honored of God as to carry, in the proclamation of it,
God's own power to save every soul that embraces it, Greek and Barbarian, wise and unwise alike.
17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed—that
is (as the whole argument of the Epistle shows), God's justifying righteousness.
from faith to faith—a difficult clause. Most interpreters (judging from
the sense of such phrases elsewhere) take it to mean, "from one degree of faith to another." But this agrees ill
with the apostle's design, which has nothing to do with the progressive stages of faith, but solely with faith itself as the
appointed way of receiving God's "righteousness."
We prefer, therefore, to understand it thus: "The righteousness of God is in the gospel message,
revealed (to be) from (or 'by') faith to (or 'for') faith," that is, "in order to be by faith received." (So
substantially, Melville, Meyer, Stuart, Bloomfield, &c.).
as it is written—(Hab 2:4).
The just shall live by faith—This golden maxim of the Old Testament is thrice quoted in the New Testament—here;
Ga 3:11; Heb 10:38—showing that the gospel way of "LIFE BY FAITH," so far from disturbing,
only continued and developed the ancient method.
On the foregoing verses, Note (1) What manner of persons ought the ministers of Christ to be, according to the pattern
here set up: absolutely subject and officially dedicated to the Lord Jesus; separated unto the gospel of God, which contemplates
the subjugation of all nations to the faith of Christ: debtors to all classes, the refined and the rude, to bring the gospel
to them all alike, all shame in the presence of the one, as well as pride before the other, sinking before the glory which
they feel to be in their message; yearning over all faithful churches, not lording it over them, but rejoicing in their prosperity,
and finding refreshment and strength in their fellowship!
(2) The peculiar features of the gospel here brought prominently forward should be the devout study
of all who preach it, and guide the views and the taste of all who are privileged statedly to hear it: that it is "the
gospel of God," as a message from heaven, yet not absolutely new, but on the contrary, only the fulfilment of Old Testament
promise, that not only is Christ the great theme of it, but Christ in the very nature of God as His own Son, and in the nature
of men as partaker of their flesh—the Son of God now in resurrection—power and invested with authority to dispense
all grace to men, and all gifts for the establishment and edification of the Church, Christ the righteousness provided of
God for the justification of all that believe in His name; and that in this glorious Gospel, when preached as such, there
resides the very power of God to save Jew and Gentile alike who embrace it.
(3) While Christ is to be regarded as the ordained Channel of all grace from God to men (Ro 1:8), let none imagine that His proper divinity is in any respect compromised by this arrangement,
since He is here expressly associated with "God the Father," in prayer for "grace and peace" (including
all spiritual blessings) to rest upon this Church (Ro 1:7).
(4) While this Epistle teaches, in conformity with the teaching of our Lord Himself, that all salvation
is suspended upon faith, this is but half a truth, and will certainly minister to self-righteousness, if dissociated from
another feature of the same truth, here explicitly taught, that this faith in God's own gift—for which accordingly in
the case of the Roman believers, he "thanks his God through Jesus Christ" (Ro 1:8).
(5) Christian fellowship, as indeed all real fellowship, is a mutual benefit; and as it is not possible for the most
eminent saints and servants of Christ to impart any refreshment and profit to the meanest of their brethren without experiencing
a rich return into their bosoms, so just in proportion to their humility and love will they feel their need of it and rejoice
Ro 1:18. Why This Divinely Provided Righteousness Is Needed by All Men.
18. For the wrath of God—His holy displeasure and righteous
vengeance against sin.
from heaven—in the consciences of men, and attested by innumerable outward evidences of a moral government.
against all ungodliness—that is, their
whole irreligiousness, or their living without any conscious reference to God, and proper feelings towards Him.
and unrighteousness of men—that is, all
their deviations from moral rectitude in heart, speech, and behavior. (So these terms must be distinguished when used together,
though, when standing alone, either of them includes the other).
Ro 1:18-32. This Wrath of God, Revealed against All Iniquity, Overhangs the Whole Heathen
18. who hold—rather,
"hold down," "hinder," or "keep back."
the truth in unrighteousness—The apostle, though he began this verse with a comprehensive proposition
regarding men in general, takes up in the end of it only one of the two great divisions of mankind, to whom he meant to apply
it; thus gently sliding into his argument. But before enumerating their actual iniquities, he goes back to the origin of them
all, their stifling the light which still remained to them.
As darkness overspreads the mind, so impotence takes possession of the heart, when the "still
small voice" of conscience is first disregarded, next thwarted, and then systematically deadened. Thus "the truth"
which God left with and in men, instead of having free scope and developing itself, as it otherwise would, was obstructed
(compare Mt 6:22, 23; Eph 4:17, 18).
19. Because that which may be—rather, "which is."
known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them—The sense of this pregnant
statement the apostle proceeds to unfold in Ro 1:20.
20. For the invisible things of him from—or "since"
the creation of the world are clearly seen—the mind brightly beholding
what the eye cannot discern.
being understood by the things that are made—Thus, the outward creation is not the parent but the interpreter
of our faith in God. That faith has its primary sources within our own breast (Ro 1:19); but it becomes an intelligible and articulate conviction only through
what we observe around us ("by the things which are made," Ro 1:20).
And thus are the inner and the outer revelation of God the complement of each other, making up between them one universal
and immovable conviction that God is.
his eternal power and Godhead—both that there is an Eternal Power, and that this is not a mere blind force, or pantheistic
"spirit of nature," but the power of a living Godhead.
so that they are without excuse—all their degeneracy being a voluntary departure from truth
thus brightly revealed to the unsophisticated spirit.
21. Because that, when they knew God—that is, while still retaining some real knowledge of Him, and ere they
sank down into the state next to be described.
they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful—neither yielded the adoration due to Himself, nor rendered
the gratitude which His beneficence demanded.
but became vain—(compare Jer 2:5).
in their imaginations—thoughts, notions, speculations, regarding God; compare Mt 15:19; Lu 2:35; 1Co 3:20, Greek.
and their foolish—"senseless," "stupid."
heart—that is, their whole inner man.
was darkened—How instructively is the downward progress of the human soul here traced!
22, 23. Professing themselves—"boasting,"
or "pretending to be"
they became fools—"It is the invariable property of error in morals and religion, that men take credit to themselves
for it and extol it as wisdom. So the heathen" (1Co 1:21) [Tholuck].
23. And changed—or "exchanged."
the glory of the uncorruptible God into—or "for"
an image … like to corruptible man—The allusion here is
doubtless to the Greek worship, and the apostle may have had in his mind those exquisite chisellings of the human form which
lay so profusely beneath and around him as he stood on Mars' Hill; and "beheld their devotions." (See on Ac 17:29).
But as if that had not been a deep enough degradation of the living God, there was found "a lower deep"
and to birds, and four-footed
beasts, and to creeping things—referring now to the Egyptian and Oriental worship. In the face of these plain declarations
of the descent of man's religious belief from loftier to ever lower and more debasing conceptions of the Supreme Being, there
are expositors of this very Epistle (as Reiche and Jowett), who, believing neither in any fall from primeval innocence, nor
in the noble traces of that innocence which lingered even after the fall and were only by degrees obliterated by wilful violence
to the dictates of conscience, maintain that man's religious history has been all along a struggle to rise, from the lowest
forms of nature worship, suited to the childhood of our race, into that which is more rational and spiritual.
24. Wherefore God also—in righteous retribution.
gave them up—This divine abandonment of
men is here strikingly traced in three successive stages, at each of which the same word is used (Ro 1:24, 26; and Ro 1:28, where the word is rendered "gave over"). "As they deserted God,
God in turn deserted them; not
giving them divine (that is, supernatural) laws, and suffering them to corrupt those which were human; not sending them prophets,
and allowing the philosophers to run into absurdities. He let them do what they pleased, even what was in the last degree
vile, that those who had not honored God, might dishonor themselves" [Grotius].
25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie—that is, the truth concerning
God into idol falsehood.
and served the creature more than the Creator—Professing merely to worship the Creator by means of the creature, they
soon came to lose sight of the Creator in the creature.
How aggravated is the guilt of the Church of Rome, which, under the same flimsy pretext, does shamelessly
what the heathen are here condemned for doing, and with light which the heathen never had!
who is blessed for ever! Amen—By this doxology the apostle
instinctively relieves the horror which the penning of such things excited within his breast; an example to such as are called
to expose like dishonor done to the blessed God.
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