Romans 1:16
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.
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(16) The Apostle will not be ashamed of his mission, even in the metropolis of the world. He cannot be ashamed of a scheme so beneficent and so grand. The gospel that he preaches is that mighty agency which God Himself has set in motion, and the object of which is the salvation of all who put their faith in it, to whatever nation or race they may belong. He has, perhaps, in his mind the reception he had met with in other highly civilised cities. (Comp. Acts 17:32.) He had himself once found a “stumbling-block” in the humiliation of the Cross; now, so far from being ashamed of it, it is just that of which he is most proud. The preaching of the Cross is the cardinal point of the whole gospel.

Of Christ.—These words are wanting in the oldest MSS., and should be omitted.

Power of God.—A powerful agency put forth by God Himself—the lever, as it were, by which He would move the world.

Unto salvation.—The object of this gospel is salvation—to open the blessings of the Messianic kingdom to mankind.

To the Jew first.—Here again we have another exhaustive division of mankind. “Greek” is intended to cover all who are not “Jews.” Before the Apostle was making, what may be called, the secular classification of men, here he makes the religious classification. From his exceptional privileges the Jew was literally placed in a class alone.

It is not quite certain that the word “first” ought not to be omitted. In any case the sense is the same. St. Paul certainly assigns a prerogative position to the Jews. They have an “advantage” (Romans 3:1-2). To them belong the special privileges of the first dispensation (Romans 9:4-5). They are the original stock of the olive tree, in comparison with which the Gentiles are only as wild branches grafted in (Romans 11:17 et seq.). It was only right that the salvation promised to their forefathers should be offered first to them, as it is also said expressly in the Fourth Gospel, that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

First.—A difficult question of textual criticism is raised here. The word is not found in the Vatican MS. in a citation by Tertullian (circ. 200 A.D.), and in the Græco-Latin Codex Boernerianus at Dresden. In all other MSS. and versions it appears. The evidence for the omission is thus small in quantity, though good in quality; and though it shows, in any case, a considerable diffusion in Egypt and Africa as far back as the second century, internal considerations do not tell strongly either way, but it seems a degree more probable that the word was accidentally dropped in some early copy. Of recent editions, it is bracketed by Lachmann, and placed in the margin by Tregelles and Vaughan.



Romans 1:16

To preach the Gospel in Rome had long been the goal of Paul’s hopes. He wished to do in the centre of power what he had done in Athens, the home of wisdom; and with superb confidence, not in himself, but in his message, to try conclusions with the strongest thing in the world. He knew its power well, and was not appalled. The danger was an attraction to his chivalrous spirit. He believed in flying at the head when you are fighting with a serpent, and he knew that influence exerted in Rome would thrill through the Empire. If we would understand the magnificent audacity of these words of my text we must try to listen to them with the ears of a Roman. Here was a poor little insignificant Jew, like hundreds of his countrymen down in the Ghetto, one who had his head full of some fantastic nonsense about a young visionary whom the procurator of Syria had very wisely put an end to a while ago in order to quiet down the turbulent province; and he was going into Rome with the notion that his word would shake the throne of the Cæsars. What proud contempt would have curled their lips if they had been told that the travel-stained prisoner, trudging wearily up the Appian Way, had the mightiest thing in the world entrusted to his care! Romans did not believe much in ideas. Their notion of power was sharp swords and iron yokes on the necks of subject peoples. But the history of Christianity, whatever else it has been, has been the history of the supremacy and the revolutionary force of ideas. Thought is mightier than all visible forces. Thought dissolves and reconstructs. Empires and institutions melt before it like the carbon rods in an electric lamp; and the little hillock of Calvary is higher than the Palatine with its regal homes and the Capitoline with its temples: ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.’

Now, dear friends, I have ventured to take these great words for my text, though I know, better than any of you can tell me, how sure my treatment of them is to enfeeble rather than enforce them, because I, for my poor part, feel that there are few things which we, all of us, people and ministers, need more than to catch some of the infection of this courageous confidence, and to be fired with some spark of Paul’s enthusiasm for, and glorying in, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I ask you, then, to consider three things: {1} what Paul thought was the Gospel? {2} what Paul thought the Gospel was? and {3} what he felt about the Gospel?

I. What Paul thought was the Gospel?

He has given to us in his own rapid way a summary statement, abbreviated to the very bone, and reduced to the barest elements, of what he meant by the Gospel. What was the irreducible minimum? The facts of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as you will find written in the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. So, then, to begin with, the Gospel is not a statement of principles, but a record of facts, things that have happened in this world of ours. But the least part of a fact is the visible part of it, and it is of no significance unless it has explanation, and so Paul goes on to bind up with the facts an explanation of them. The mere fact that Jesus, a young Nazarene, was executed is no more a gospel than the other one, that two brigands were crucified beside Him. But the fact that could be seen, plus the explanation which underlies and interprets it, turns the chronicle into a gospel, and the explanation begins with the name of the Sufferer; for if you want to understand His death you must understand who it was that died. His death is a thought pathetic in all aspects, and very precious in many. But when we hear ‘Christ died according to the Scriptures,’ the whole symbolism of the ancient ritual and all the glowing anticipations of the prophets rise up before us, and that death assumes an altogether different aspect. If we stop with ‘Jesus died,’ then that death may be a beautiful example of heroism, a sweet, pathetic instance of innocent suffering, a conspicuous example of the world’s wages to the world’s teachers, but it is little more. If, however, we take Paul’s words upon our lips, ‘Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached . . . how that Christ died . . . according to the Scriptures,’ the fact flashes up into solid beauty, and becomes the Gospel of our salvation. And the explanation goes on, ‘How that Christ died for our sins.’ Now, I may be very blind, but I venture to say that I, for my part, cannot see in what intelligible sense the Death of Christ can be held to have been for, or on behalf of, our sins-that is, that they may be swept away and we delivered from them-unless you admit the atoning nature of His sacrifice for sins. I cannot stop to enlarge, but I venture to say that any narrower interpretation evacuates Paul’s words of their deepest significance. The explanation goes on, ‘And that He was buried.’ Why that trivial detail? Partly because it guarantees the fact of His Death, partly because of its bearing on the evidences of His Resurrection. ‘And that He rose from the dead according to the Scriptures.’ Great fact, without which Christ is a shattered prop, and ‘ye are yet in your sins.’

But, further, notice that my text is also Paul’s text for this Epistle, and that it differs from the condensed summary of which I have been speaking only as a bud with its petals closed differs from one with them expanded in their beauty. And now, if you will take the words of my text as being the keynote of this letter, and read over its first eight chapters, what is the Apostle talking about when he in them fulfils his purpose and preaches ‘the Gospel’ to them that are at Rome also? Here is, in the briefest possible words, his summary-the universality of sin, the awful burden of guilt, the tremendous outlook of penalty, the impossibility of man rescuing himself or living righteously, the Incarnation, and Life, and Death of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, the hand of faith grasping the offered blessing, the indwelling in believing souls of the Divine Spirit, and the consequent admission of man into a life of sonship, power, peace, victory, glory, the child’s place in the love of the Father from which nothing can separate. These are the teachings which make the staple of this Epistle. These are the explanations of the weighty phrases of my text. These are at least the essential elements of the Gospel according to Paul.

But he was not alone in this construction of his message. We hear a great deal to-day about Pauline Christianity, with the implication, and sometimes with the assertion, that he was the inventor of what, for the sake of using a brief and easily intelligible term, I may call Evangelical Christianity. Now, it is a very illuminating thought for the reading of the New Testament that there are the three sets of teaching, roughly, the Pauline, Petrine, and Johannine, and you cannot find the distinctions between these three in any difference as to the fundamental contents of the Gospel; for if Paul rings out, ‘God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us,’ Peter declares, ‘Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree,’ and John, from his island solitude, sends across the waters the hymn of praise, ‘Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.’ And so the proud declaration of the Apostle, which he dared not have ventured upon in the face of the acrid criticism he had to front unless he had known he was perfectly sure of his ground, is natural and warranted-’Therefore, whether it were I or they, so we preach.’

We are told that we must go back to the Christ of the Gospels, the historical Christ, and that He spoke nothing concerning all these important points that I have mentioned as being Paul’s conception of the Gospel. Back to the Christ of the Gospels by all means, if you will go to the Christ of all the Gospels and of the whole of each Gospel. And if you do, you will go back to the Christ who said, ‘The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.’ You will go back to the Christ who said, ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.’ You will go back to the Christ who said, ‘The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ You will go back to the Christ who bade His followers hold in everlasting memory, not the tranquil beauty of His life, not the persuasive sweetness of His gracious words, not the might of His miracles of blessing, but the mysterious agonies of His last hours, by which He would have us learn that there lie the secret of His power, the foundation of our hopes, the stimulus of our service.

Now, brethren, I have ventured to dwell so long upon this matter, because it is no use talking about the Gospel unless we understand what we mean by it, and I, for my part, venture to say that that is what Paul meant by it, and that is what I mean by it. I plead for no narrow interpretation of the phrases of my text. I would not that they should be used to check in the smallest degree the diversities of representation which, according to the differences of individual character, must ever prevail in the conceptions which we form and which we preach of this Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want no parrot-like repetition of a certain set of phrases embodied, however great may be their meanings, in every sermon. And I would that the people to whom those truths are true would make more allowance than they sometimes do for the differences to which I have referred, and would show a great deal more sympathy than they often do to those, especially those young men, who, with their faces toward Christ, have not yet grown to the full acceptance of all that is implied in those gracious words. There is room for a whole world of thought in the Gospel of Christ as Paul conceived it, with all the deep foundations of implication and presupposition on which it rests, and with all the, as yet, undiscovered range of conclusions to which it may lead. Remember that the Cross of Christ is the key to the universe, and sends its influence into every region of human thought.

II. What Paul thought the Gospel was.

‘The power of God unto salvation.’ There was in the background of the Apostle’s mind a kind of tacit reference to the antithetical power that he was going up to meet, the power of Rome, and we may trace that in the words of my text. Rome, as I have said, was the embodiment of physical force, with no great faith in ideas. And over against this carnal might Paul lifts the undissembled weakness of the Cross, and declares that it is stronger than man, ‘the power of God unto salvation.’ Rome is high in force; Athens is higher; the Cross is highest of all, and it comes shrouded in weakness having a poor Man hanging dying there. That is a strange embodiment of divine power. Yes, and because so strange, it is so touching, and so conquering. The power that is draped in weakness is power indeed. Though Rome’s power did make for righteousness sometimes, yet its stream of tendency was on the whole a power to destruction and grasped the nations of the earth as some rude hand might do rich clusters of grapes and squeeze them into a formless mass. The tramp of the legionary meant death, and it was true in many respects of them what was afterwards said of later invaders of Europe, that where their horses’ hoofs had once stamped no grass ever grew. Over against this terrific engine of destruction Paul lifts up the meek forces of love which have for their sole object the salvation of man.

Then we come to another of the keywords about which it is very needful that people should have deeper and wider notions than they often seem to cherish. What is salvation? Negatively, the removal and sweeping away of all evil, physical and moral, as the schools speak. Positively, the inclusion of all good for every part of the composite nature of a man which the man can receive and which God can bestow. And that is the task that the Gospel sets to itself. Now, I need not remind you how, for the execution of such a purpose, it is plain that something else than man’s power is absolutely essential. It is only God who can alter my relation to His government. It is only God who can trammel up the inward consequences of my sins and prevent them from scourging me. It is only God who can bestow upon my death a new life, which shall grow up into righteousness and beauty, caught of, and kindred to, His own. But if this be the aim of the Gospel, then its diagnosis of man’s sickness is a very much graver one than that which finds favour amongst so many of us now. Salvation is a bigger word than any of the little gospels that we hear clamouring round about us are able to utter. It means something a great deal more than either social or intellectual, or still more, material or political betterment of man’s condition. The disease lies so deep, and so great are the destruction and loss partly experienced, and still more awfully impending over every soul of us, that something else than tinkering at the outsides, or dealing, as self-culture does, with man’s understanding or, as social gospels do, with man’s economical and civic condition, should be brought to bear. Dear brethren, especially you Christian ministers, preach a social Christianity by all means, an applied Christianity, for there does lie in the Gospel of Jesus Christ a key to all the problems that afflict our social condition. But be sure first that there is a Christianity before you talk about applying it. And remember that the process of salvation begins in the deep heart of the individual and transforms him first and foremost. The power is ‘to every one that believeth.’ It is power in its most universal sweep. Rome’s Empire was wellnigh ubiquitous, but, blessed be God, the dove of Christ flies farther than the Roman eagle with beak and claw ready for rapine, and wherever there are men here is a Gospel for them. The limitation is no limitation of its universality. It is no limitation of the claim of a medicine to be a panacea that it will only do good to the man who swallows it. And that is the only limitation of which the Gospel is susceptible, for we have all the same deep needs, the same longings; we are fed by the same bread, we are nourished by the same draughts of water, we breathe the same air, we have the same sins, and, thanks be to God, we have the same Saviour. ‘The power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.’

Now before I pass from this part of my subject there is only one thing more that I want to say, and that is, that you cannot apply that glowing language about ‘the power of God unto salvation’ to anything but the Gospel that Paul preached. Forms of Christianity which have lost the significance of the Incarnation and Death of Jesus Christ, and which have struck out or obscured the central facts with which I have been dealing, are not, never were, and, I may presumptuously venture to say, never will be, forces of large account in this world. Here is a clock, beautiful, chased on the back, with a very artistic dial-plate, and works modelled according to the most approved fashion, but, somehow or other, the thing won’t go. Perhaps the mainspring is broken. And so it is only the Gospel, as Paul expounds it and expands it in this Epistle, that is ‘the power of God unto salvation.’ Dear brethren, in the course of a sermon like this, of course, one must lay himself open to the charge of dogmatising. That cannot be helped under the conditions of my space. But let me say as my own solemn conviction-I know that that is not worth much to you, but it is my justification for speaking in such a fashion-let me say as my solemn conviction that you may as well take the keystone out of an arch, with nothing to hold the other stones together or keep them from toppling in hideous ruin on your unfortunate head, as take the doctrine that Paul summed up in that one word out of your conception of Christianity and expect it to work. And be sure of this, that there is only one Name that lords it over the demons of afflicted humanity, and that if a man goes and tries to eject them with any less potent charm than Paul’s Gospel, they will turn upon him with ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?’

III. What Paul felt about this Gospel.

His restrained expression, ‘I am not ashamed,’ is the stronger for its very moderation. It witnesses to the fixed purpose of his heart and attitude of his mind, whilst it suggests that he was well aware of all the temptations in Rome to being ashamed of it there. Think of what was arrayed against him-venerable religion, systematised philosophies, bitter hatred and prejudice, material power and wealth. These were the brazen armour of Goliath, and this little David went cheerily down into the valley with five pebble stones in a leathern wallet, and was quite sure how it was going to end. And it ended as he expected. His Gospel shook the kingdom of the Roman, and cast it in another mould.

And there are temptations, plenty of them, for us, dear friends, to-day, to bate our confidence. The drift of what calls itself influential opinion is anti-supernatural, and we all are conscious of the presence of that element all round about us. It tells with special force upon our younger men, but it affects us all. In this day, when a large portion of the periodical press, which does the thinking for most of us, looks askance at these truths, and when, on the principle that in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is the king, popular novelists become our theological tutors, and when every new publishing season brings out a new conclusive destruction of Christianity, which supersedes last season’s equally complete destruction, it is hard for some of us to keep our flags flying. The ice round about us will either bring down the temperature, or, if it stimulates us to put more fuel on the fire, perhaps the fire may melt it. And so the more we feel ourselves encompassed by these temptations, the louder is the call to Christian men to cast themselves back on the central verities, and to draw at first hand from them the inspiration which shall be their safety. And how is that to be done? Well, there are many ways by which thoughtful, and cultivated, students may do it. But may I venture to deal here rather with ways which all Christian people have open before them? And I am bold to say that the way to be sure of ‘the power of God unto salvation’ is to submit ourselves continually to its cleansing and renewing influence. This certitude, brethren, may be contributed to by books of apologetics, and by other sources of investigation and study which I should be sorry indeed to be supposed in any degree to depreciate. But the true way to get it is, by deep communion with the living God, to realise the personality of Jesus Christ as present with us, our Friend, our Saviour, our Sanctifier by His Holy Spirit. Why, Paul’s Gospel was, I was going to say, altogether-that would be an exaggeration-but it was to a very large extent simply the generalisation of his own experience. That is what all of us will find to be the Gospel that we have to preach. ‘We speak that we do know and testify that we have seen.’ And it was because this man could say so assuredly-because the depths of his own conscience and the witness within him bore testimony to it-’He loved me and gave Himself for me,’ that he could also say, ‘The power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.’ Go down into the depths, brother and friend; cry to Him out of the depths. Then you will feel His strong, gentle grip lifting you to the heights, and that will give power that nothing else will, and you will be able to say, ‘I have heard Him myself, and I know that this is the Christ, the Saviour of the world.’

But there is yet another source of certitude open to us all, and that is the history of the centuries. Our modern sceptics, attacking the truth of Christianity mostly from the physical side, are strangely blind to the worth of history. It is a limitation of faculty that besets them in a good many directions, but it does not work anywhere more fatally than it does in their attitude towards the Gospel. After all, Jesus Christ spoke the ultimate word when He said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’ And it is so, because just as what is morally wrong cannot be politically right, so what is intellectually false cannot be morally good. Truth, goodness, beauty, they are but three names for various aspects of one thing, and if it be that the difference between B.C. and A.D. has come from a Gospel which is not the truth of God, then all I can say is, that the richest vintage that ever the world saw, and the noblest wine of which it ever drank, did grow upon a thorn. I know that the Christian Church has sinfully and tragically failed to present Christ adequately to the world. But for all that, ‘Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord’; and nobler manners and purer laws have come in the wake of this Gospel of Jesus Christ. And as I look round about upon what Christianity has done in the world, I venture to say, ‘Show us any system of religion or of no religion that has done that or anything the least like it, and then we will discuss with you the other evidences of the Gospel.’

In closing these words, may I venture relying on the melancholy privilege of seniority, to drop for a minute or two into a tone of advice? I would say, do not be frightened out of your confidence either by the premature paean of victory from the opposite camp, or by timid voices in our own ranks. And that you may not be so frightened, be sure to keep clear in your mind the distinction between the things that can be shaken and the kingdom that cannot be moved. It is bad strategy to defend an elongated line. It is cowardice to treat the capture of an outpost as involving the evacuation of the key of the position. It is a mistake, to which many good Christian people are sorely tempted in this day, to assert such a connection between the eternal Gospel and our deductions from the principles of that Gospel as that the refutation of the one must be the overthrow of the other. And if it turns out to be so in any case, a large part of the blame lies upon those good and mistaken people who insist that everything must be held or all must be abandoned. The burning questions of this day about the genuineness of the books of Scripture, inspiration, inerrancy, and the like, are not so associated with this word, ‘God so loved the world . . . that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,’ as that the discovery of errors in the Second Book of Chronicles shakes the foundations of the Christian certitude. In a day like this truth must change its vesture. Who believes that the Dissenting Churches of England are the highest, perfect embodiment of the Kingdom of God? And who believes that any creed of man’s making has in it all and has in it only the everlasting Gospel? So do not be frightened, and do not think that when the things that can be shaken are removed, the things that cannot be shaken are at all less likely to remain. Depend upon it, the Gospel, whose outline I have imperfectly tried to set before you now, will last as long as men on earth know they are sinners and need a Saviour. Did you ever see some mean buildings that have by degrees been gathered round the sides of some majestic cathedral, and do you suppose that the sweeping away of those shanties would touch the solemn majesty of the mediæval glories of the building that rises above them? Take them away if need be, and it, in its proportion, beauty, strength, and heavenward aspiration, will stand more glorious for the sweeping away. Preach positive truth. Do not preach doubts. You remember Mr. Kingsley’s book Yeast. Its title was its condemnation. Yeast is not meant to be drunk; it is meant to be kept in the dark till the process of fermentation goes on and it works itself clear, and then you may bring it out. Do not be always arguing with the enemy. It is a great deal better to preach the truth. Remember what Jesus said: ‘Let them alone, they are blind leaders of the blind, they will fall into the ditch.’ It is not given to every one of us to conduct controversial arguments in the pulpit. There are some much wiser and abler brethren amongst us than you or I who can do it. Let us be contented with, not the humbler but the more glorious, office of telling what we have known, leaving it, as it will do, to prove itself. You remember what the old woman, who had been favoured by her pastor with an elaborate sermon to demonstrate the existence of God, said when he had finished; ‘Well, I believe there is a God, for all the gentleman says.’

As one who sees the lengthening shadows falling over the darkening field, may I say one word to my junior brethren, with all whose struggles and doubts and difficulties I, for one, do most tenderly sympathise? I beseech them-though, alas! the advice condemns the giver of it as he looks back over long years of his ministry-to be faithful to the Gospel how that ‘Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.’ Dear young friends, if you only go where Paul went, and catch the inspiration that he caught there, your path will be clear. It was in contact with Christ, whose passion for soul-winning brought Him from heaven, that Paul learned his passion for soul-winning. And if you and I are touched with the divine enthusiasm, and have that aim clear before us, we shall soon find out that there is only one power, one name given under heaven among men whereby we can accomplish what we desire-the name of ‘Jesus Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, and also maketh intercession for us.’ If our aim is clear before us it will prescribe our methods, and if the inspiration of our ministry is, ‘I determine not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified,’ then, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear, they shall know that there hath been a Prophet among them.

1  Preached before Baptist Union.

Romans 1:16. For — In whatever contempt that sacred dispensation, and they who publish it, may be held on account of the circumstances and death of its Author, the character of its ministers, and the nature and tendency of its doctrines; I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ — But rather glory in it. To the world, indeed, it appeared folly and weakness, 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:23. Therefore, in the judgment of the world, he ought to have been ashamed of it; especially at Rome, the head and theatre of the world. But Paul was not ashamed of it, knowing it to be the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth — The great and gloriously powerful means of saving all who accept salvation in God’s own way, namely, the way of faith in Jesus, as the Son of God and Saviour of the world, and in the declarations and promises of God made through him: faith preceded by repentance toward God, accompanied by love to God and all mankind, and productive of all inward and outward holiness. To the Jew first — Who is far from being above the need of it, and to whom, by the special command of the Lord, it is to be first proposed and preached, wherever its ambassadors come; yet it is not to be limited to the Jew, but proclaimed also to the Greek — And the Roman, and Gentiles of every nation under heaven, who are all, with equal freedom, invited to partake of its important benefits. There is a noble frankness, as well as a comprehensive sense, in these words of the apostle; by which, on the one hand, he shows the Jews their absolute need of the gospel, and, on the other, tells the politest and greatest nation of the world, both that their salvation depended on receiving it, and that the first offers of it were in every place to be made to the despised Jews. As the apostle comprises the sum of the gospel in this epistle; so he does the sum of the epistle in this and the following verses. With regard to the names, Jews and Greeks, it maybe proper to observe here, that “after Alexander’s generals had established their empire in Egypt and Asia, the inhabitants of these countries were considered as Greeks, because they generally spake the Greek language; and, as the Jews were little acquainted with the other idolatrous nations, they naturally called all the heathens Greeks. Hence in their language, Jews and Greeks comprehended all mankind.” — Macknight.

1:16,17 In these verses the apostle opens the design of the whole epistle, in which he brings forward a charge of sinfulness against all flesh; declares the only method of deliverance from condemnation, by faith in the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ; and then builds upon it purity of heart, grateful obedience, and earnest desires to improve in all those Christian graces and tempers, which nothing but a lively faith in Christ can bring forth. God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners. It is necessary that we have a righteousness to appear in before him: there is such a righteousness brought in by the Messiah, and made known in the gospel; a gracious method of acceptance, notwithstanding the guilt of our sins. It is the righteousness of Christ, who is God, coming from a satisfaction of infinite value. Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life. It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief.For I am not ashamed ... - The Jews had cast him off, and regarded him as an apostate; and by the wise among the Gentiles he had been persecuted, and despised, and driven from place to place, and regarded as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things 1 Corinthians 4:13, but still he was not ashamed of the gospel. He had so firm a conviction of its value and its truth; he had experienced so much of its consolations; and had seen so much of its efficacy; that he was so far from being ashamed of it that he gloried in it as the power of God unto salvation. People should be ashamed of crime and folly. They are ashamed of their own offences, and of the follies of their conduct, when they come to reflect on it. But they are not ashamed of what they feel to be right, and of what they know will contribute to their welfare, and to the benefit of their fellow-men. Such were the views of Paul about the gospel; and it is one of his favorite doctrines that they who believe on Christ shall not be ashamed, Romans 10:11; Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 7:14; 2 Timothy 1:12; Philippians 1:20; Romans 9:33; 2 Timothy 1:8; compare Mark 8:38; 1 Peter 4:16; 1 John 2:28.

Of the gospel - This word means the "good news," or the glad intelligence; see the note at Mark 1:1. It is so called because it contains the glad annunciation that sin may be pardoned, and the soul saved.

Of Christ - The good news respecting the Messiah; or which the Messiah has brought. The expression probably refers to the former, the good news which relates to the Messiah, to his character, advent, preaching, death, resurrection, and ascension. Though this was "to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness," yet he regarded it as the only hope of salvation, and was ready to preach it even in the rich and splendid capital of the world.

The power of God - This expression means that it is the way in which God exerts his power in the salvation of people. It is the efficacious or mighty plan, by which power goes forth to save, and by which all the obstacles of man's redemption are taken away. This expression implies,

(1) That it is God's plan, or his appointment. It is not the device of man.

(2) it is adapted to the end. It is suited to overcome the obstacles in the way. It is not merely the instrument by which God exerts his power, but it has an inherent adaptedness to the end, it is suited to accomplish salvation to man so that it may be denominated power.

(3) it is mighty, hence, it is called power, and the power of God. If is not a feeble and ineffectual instrumentality, but it is "mighty to the pulling down of strongholds," 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. It has shown its power as applicable to every degree of sin, to every combination of wickedness. It has gone against the sins of the world, and evinced its power to save sinners of all grades, and to overcome and subdue every mighty form of iniquity, compare Jeremiah 23:29, "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" 1 Corinthians 1:18, "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God."

Unto salvation - This word means complete deliverance from sin and death, and all the foes and dangers that beset man. It cannot imply anything less than eternal life. If a man should believe and then fall away, he could in no correct sense be said to be saved. And hence, when the apostle declares that it is the power of God unto salvation "to everyone that believeth," it implies that all who become believers "shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (see 1 Peter 1:5), and that none shall ever fall away and be lost. The apostle thus commences his discussion with one of the important doctrines of the Christian religion, the final preservation of the saints. He is not defending the gospel for any temporary object, or with any temporary hope. He looks through the system, and sees in it a plan for the complete and eternal recovery of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When he says it is the power of God unto salvation, he means that it is the power of God for the attainment of salvation. This is the end, or the design of this exertion of power.

To everyone that believeth - Compare Mark 16:16-17. This expresses the condition, or the terms, on which salvation is conferred through the gospel. It is not indiscriminately to all people, whatever may be their character. It is only to those who confide or trust in it; and it is conferred on all who receive it in this manner. If this qualification is possessed, it bestows its blessings freely and fully. All people know what "faith" is. It is exercised when we confide in a parent, a friend, a benefactor. It is such a reception of a promise, a truth, or a threatening, as to suffer it to make its appropriate impression on the mind, and such as to lead us to act under its influence, or to act as we should on the supposition that it is true. Thus, a sinner credits the threatenings of God, and fears. This is faith. He credits his promises, and hopes. This is faith. He feels that he is lost, and relies on Jesus Christ for mercy. This is faith. And, in general, faith is such an impression on the mind made by truth as to lead us to feel and act as if it were true; to have the appropriate feelings, and views, and conduct under the commands, and promises, and threatenings of God; see the note at Mark 16:16.

To the Jew first - First in order of time, Not that the gospel was any more adapted to Jews than to others; but to them had been committed the oracles of God; the Messiah had come through them; they had had the Law, the temple, and the service of God, and it was natural that the gospel should be proclaimed to them before it was to the Gentiles. This was the order in which the gospel was actually preached to the world, first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. Compare Acts 2 and Acts 10; Matthew 10:6; Luke 24:49; Acts 13:46, "It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." Compare Matthew 21:43.

And also to the Greek - To all who were nor Jews, that is, to all the world. It was nor confined in its intention or efficacy to any class or nation of people. It was adapted to all, and was designed to be extended to all.

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.

Though Rome be the head of the empire, and the Romans bear the name of wise and learned persons; and though the gospel hath the show of simplicity, and is foolishness to the wise men of this world; yet

I am not ashamed to own and publish this gospel of Christ. I do not shrink back, and withdraw myself, as men do from these things whereof they are ashamed. Neither indeed need I, because, how mean soever it seems to be to carnal eyes, yet

it is the power of God unto salvation, & c.; not the essential power of God, but the organical power. See the like, 1 Corinthians 1:18. The meaning is, it is a powerful means ordained of God for this purpose. Touching the efficacy and excellent power of the gospel for the conversion and salvation of the souls of men, see Isaiah 53:1 1 Corinthians 4:15 2 Corinthians 4:7 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 Heb 4:12 Jam 1:21.

To every one that believed; the gospel is offered unto all, but it profiteth unto salvation only those that believe; as a medicine is only effectual to those who receive or apply it.

To the Jew first, and also to the Greek; the gospel was first to be published to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles, whom he here calls Greeks: see Luke 24:47 Acts 1:8. This order the apostles accordingly kept and observed, Acts 13:46.

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,.... The reason why he was so ready and willing to preach it, even where he ran the greatest risk of his character and life, was, because it was "the Gospel of Christ" he preached, and he was not ashamed of it. This supposes that some were, though the apostle was not, ashamed of the Gospel; as all such are who hide and conceal it, who have abilities to preach it, and do not: or who preach, but not the Gospel; or who preach the Gospel only in part, who own that in private, they will not preach in public, and use ambiguous words, of doubtful signification, to cover themselves; who blend the Gospel with their own inventions, seek to please men, and live upon popular applause, regard their own interest, and not Christ's, and cannot bear the reproach of his Gospel. It expresses, that the apostle was not ashamed of it; that is, to preach it, which he did fully and faithfully, plainly and consistently, openly and publicly, and boldly, in the face of all opposition: and it designs more than is expressed, as that he had the utmost value for it, and esteemed it his highest honour that he was employed in preaching it: his reasons for this were, because it was "the Gospel of Christ"; which Christ himself preached, which he had learnt by revelation from him, and of which he was the sum and substance: and because

it is the power of God; not essentially, but declaratively; as the power of God is seen in making men ministers of it, in the doctrines held forth in it, in the manner in which it was spread in the world, in the opposition it met with, in the continuance and increase of it notwithstanding the power and cunning of men, and in the shortness of time, in which so much good was done by it in the several parts of the world: it is the power of God organically or instrumentally; as it is a means made use of by God in quickening dead sinners, enlightening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, softening hard hearts, and making of enemies friends; to which add, the manner in which all this is done, suddenly, secretly, effectually, and by love, and not force: the extent of this power is,

unto salvation; the Gospel is a declaration and revelation of salvation by Christ, and is a means of directing and encouraging souls to lay hold upon it. The persons to whom it is so, are in general,

everyone that believeth: this does not suppose that faith gives the Gospel its virtue and efficacy; but is only descriptive of the persons to whom the Gospel, attended with the power and grace of God, is eventually efficacious: and particularly it was so,

to the Jew first; who as they had formerly the advantage of the Gentiles, much every way, through the peculiar privileges which were conferred on them; so the Gospel was first preached to them by Christ and his disciples; and even when it was ordered to be carried into the Gentile world, it was to begin with them, and became effectual for the salvation of many of them:

and also to the Greek; to the Gentile; for after the Jews had rejected it, as many being called by it as Jehovah thought fit, at that time, it was preached to the Gentiles with great success; which was the mystery hid from ages and generations past, but now made manifest.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: {5} for it is the {x} power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the {y} Greek.

(5) This is the second part of the epistle, until the beginning of chapter nine. Now the whole end and purpose of the discussion is this: that is to say, to show that there is but one way to attain unto salvation (which is displayed to us by God in the gospel, and that equally to every nation), and this way is Jesus Christ apprehended by faith.

(x) God's mighty and effectual instrument to save men by.

(y) When this word Greek is contrasted with the word Jew, then it signifies a Gentile.

Romans 1:16. Γὰρ] Paul confirms negatively his προθυμία.… εὐαγγελίσασθαι, for which he had previously assigned a positive motive.

οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχ. τ. εὐαγγ.] Written, no doubt, with a recollection of what he had experienced in other highly civilized cities (Athens, Corinth, Ephesus), as well as, generally, in reference to the contents of the Gospel as a preaching of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18).[390] Hence the negative form of the expression, as in contrast with the feeling of shame which that experience might have produced in him, as if the Gospel were something worthless, through which one could gain no honour and could only draw on himself contempt, mockery, etc. Comp 2 Timothy 1:12.

ἘΠΑΙΣΧΎΝΟΜΑΙ (Plat. Soph. p. 247, D; 2 Timothy 1:8), and αἰσχύνομαι, with accusative of the object; see Kühner, II. i. p. 255 f.; Bernhardy, p. 113.

ΔΎΝΑΜΙς ΓᾺΡ ΘΕΟῦ ἘΣΤΙΝ] Ground of the ΟὐΚ ἘΠΑΙΣΧ. Τ. ΕὐΑΓΓ. Power of God (genitive of the subject) is the Gospel, in so far as God works by means of the message of salvation. By awaking repentance, faith, comfort, love, peace, joy, courage in life and death, hope, etc., the Gospel manifests itself as power, as a mighty potency, and that of God, whose revelation and work the Gospel is (hence τὸ εὐαγγ. τοῦ Θεοῦ, Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2). Comp 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:24. The expression asserts more than that the Gospel is “a powerful means in the hand of God” (Rückert), and is based on the fact that it is the living self-manifestation and effluence of God, as ῬῆΜΑ ΘΕΟῦ (Ephesians 6:17). Paul knew how to honour highly the message of salvation which it was his office to convey, and he was not ashamed of it. Here also, as in Romans 1:1; Romans 1:9, ΤῸ ΕὐΑΓΓ. is not the work or business of conveying the message (Th. Schott), but the message itself.

εἰς σωτηρίαν] Working of this power of God: unto salvation, consequently with saving power. And what salvation is here meant, was understood by the reader; for σωτηρία and ΣΏΖΕΣΘΑΙ are the standing expressions for the eternal salvation in the Messianic kingdom (comp ΖΉΣΕΤΑΙ, Romans 1:17), the opposite of ἈΠΏΛΕΙΑ (Php 1:28; comp ΘΆΝΑΤΟς, 2 Corinthians 2:16). Comp generally, Jam 1:21, ΤῸΝ ΛΌΓΟΝ ΤῸΝ ΔΥΝΆΜΕΝΟΝ ΣῶΣΑΙ ΤᾺς ΨΥΧᾺς ὙΜῶΝ. As to how the Gospel works salvation, see Romans 1:17.

παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι] shows to whom the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Faith is the condition on the part of man, without which the Gospel cannot be to him effectually that power; for in the unbeliever the causa apprehendens of its efficacy is wanting. Comp Romans 1:17. Melancthon aptly says: “Non enim ita intelligatur haec efficacia, ut si de calefactione loqueremur: ignis est efficax in stramine, etiamsi stramen nihil agit.”

ΠΑΝΤΊ gives emphatic prominence to the universality, which is subsequently indicated in detail. Comp Romans 3:22.

ἸΟΥΔΑΊῼ ΤΕ ΠΡῶΤΟΝ Κ. ἝΛΛΗΝΙ] ΤΕ.… ΚΑῚ denotes the equality of what is added. See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 99; Baeumlein, Part. p. 225. πρῶτον expresses the priority; but not merely in regard to the divinely appointed order of succession, in accordance with which the preaching of the Messiah was to begin with the Jews and thence extend to the Gentiles, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Grotius, and many others, including Olshausen, van Hengel and Th. Schott, have understood it; but in reference to the first claim on the Messianic salvation in accordance with the promise, which was in fact the ground of that external order of succession in the communication of the Gospel. So Erasmus, Calovius, and others, including Reiche, Tholuck, Rückert, Fritzsche, de Wette, Philippi, Ewald, Hofmann. That this is the Pauline view of the relation is plain from Romans 3:1 f.; Romans 9:1 ff.; Romans 11:16 ff.; Romans 15:9; comp John 4:22; Matthew 15:24; Acts 13:46. The Jews are the ΥἹΟῚ Τῆς ΒΑΣΙΛ., Matthew 8:12.

ἝΛΛΗΝΙ] denotes, in contrast to ἸΟΥΔΑΊῼ, all Non-Jews. Acts 14:1; 1 Corinthians 10:32 al[399]

[390] From his own point of view, viz. that the church in Rome was Jewish-Christian, Mangold, p. 98 f., suggests theocratic scruples on the part of the readers regarding the Apostle’s universalism. An idea inconsistent with the notion conveyed by ἐπαισχ., and lacking any other indication whatever in the text; for the subsequent Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον κ.τ.λ. cannot have been designed cautiously to meet such doubts (see, on the other hand, Romans 2:9); but only to serve as expression of the objective state of the case as regards the historical order of salvation, in accordance with the doctrinal development of principles which Paul has in view.

[399] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

Romans 1:16-17. Transition to the theme (οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχ. τ. εὐαγγ.), and the theme itself (δύναμις.… ζήσεται).

Romans 1:16 f. δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν: for it is a power of God. It does no injustice to render “a Divine power”. The conception of the Gospel as a force pervades the epistles to the Corinthians; its proof, so to speak, is dynamical, not logical. It is demonstrated, not by argument, but by what it does; and, looking to what it can do, Paul is proud to preach it anywhere. εἰς σωτηρίαν: σωτηρία is one of a class of words (to which ζωὴ, δόξα, κληρονομία belong) used by Paul to denote the last result of the acceptance of the Gospel. It is the most negative of them all, and conceives of the Gospel as a means for rescuing men from the ἀπώλεια which awaits sinners at the last judgment. In παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι another of the main interests of the writer in this epistle is brought forward; the Gospel is for all, the same Gospel and on the same terms, but without prejudice to the historical prerogative of the Jew. Romans 1:17 shows how the Gospel is a Divine saving power. It is such because there is revealed in it δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ. Plainly, δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ is something without which a sinful man cannot be saved; but what is it? The expression itself is of the utmost generality, and the various definite meanings which have been assigned to it attempt to justify themselves as relevant, or inevitable, by connecting themselves with the context as a whole. There can be no doubt that the fundamental religious problem for the Apostle—that which made a Gospel necessary, that the solution of which could alone be Gospel—was, How shall a sinful man be righteous before God? To Luther, who had instinctive experimental sympathy with the Pauline standpoint, this suggested that δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ meant a righteousness valid before God, of which a man can become possessed through faith; for such a righteousness (as the condition of salvation) is the first and last need of the sinful soul. In support of this view reference has been made to Romans 1:18, where ἀσέβεια and ἀδικία ἀνθρώπων are represented as the actual existing conditions which the δικ. θεοῦ has to replace. No one can deny that a righteousness valid before God is essential to salvation, or that such a righteousness is revealed in the Gospel; but it is another question whether δικ. θεοῦ is a natural expression for it. The general sense of scholars seems to have decided against it; but it seems quite credible to me that Paul used δικ. θεοῦ broadly to mean “a Divine righteousness,” and that the particular shade of meaning which Luther made prominent can be legitimately associated even with these words. Until lately, scholars of the most opposite schools had agreed in finding the key to the expression δικ. θεοῦ in two other Pauline passages, where it is contrasted with something else. Thus in chap. Romans 10:3 δικ. θεοῦ is opposed to man’s ἰδία δικαιοσύνη; and in Php 3:9 the opposition is more precisely defined: μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου, ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ, τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει. If this contrast were allowed to tell here, the righteousness of which Paul speaks would be one of which God is the source or author; we do not bring it to Him, He reveals it for our acceptance. And this also, of course, answers to the facts: Gospel righteousness is a gift, not an achievement. But then, it is said, there is nothing in the passage to suggest such a contrast; there is not any emphasis whatever on θεοῦ to bring before the mind the idea of a righteousness not due to God, but a work of man’s own. To this it may fairly be answered that the contrast did not need to be specially suggested; if it had not presented itself instinctively to those to whom Paul wrote, they would not only have missed the point of this expression, they would not have understood three lines anywhere. We must assume, upon the whole, in the recipients of Paul’s epistles, a way of conceiving the Gospel answering broadly to his own; the invisible context, which we have to reproduce as best we can, may be more important sometimes than what we have in black and white. The broad sense of “a Divine righteousness” covers this second, which may be called the historical Protestant interpretation, as well as Luther’s; and the fact seems to me an argument for that broader rendering. In view, however, of the undoubted difficulty of the phrase, new light would be welcome, and this has been sought in the O.T. use of δικαιοσύνη (צְדָקָה), especially in the Psalms and in Isaiah 40-66. See, e.g., Psalm 35:24; Psalm 35:28; Psalm 51:14; Isaiah 56:1; Isaiah 62:1; Psalm 98:2. In the last of these passages we have a striking analogy to the one before us: ἐγνώρισε κύριος τὸ σωτήριον αὐτοῦ, ἐναντίον τῶν ἐθνῶν ἀπεκάλυψε τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ; and in others we cannot but be struck with the parallelism of “righteousness” and “salvation,” sometimes as things which belong to God (Psalm 98:2), sometimes as things which belong to His people. On the strength of facts like these, Theod. Häring, in a stupendous programme entitled Δικ. θεοῦ bei Paulus (Tübingen, 1896), argues that δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ means the judicial action of God in which He justifies His people and accomplishes their salvation. This fits into the context well enough. Put as Paul puts it—how shall man be just with God?—the religious problem is a judicial one, and its solution must be judicial. If the Gospel shows how God justifies (for of course it must be God, the only Judge of all, who does it), it shows everything: salvation is included in God’s sentence of justification. Häring himself admits that this interpretation is rather of philological than of religious import; this “rechtfertigendes Walten Gottes” cannot but have as its consequence “the justification of man, a righteousness which proceeds from God and is valid before God” (Δικ. θεοῦ bei Paulus, . 68); that is, this meaning leads by immediate inference to the other two. But it can by no means be carried through (any more than either of the other two) in all places where the phrase occurs; in Romans 3:5, e.g., Häring himself admits this; in Romans 3:25-26, where he insists on the same sense as in Romans 1:17, he does not so much as refer to the clause διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ αὐτοῦ, which, it is not too much to say, necessitates a different shade of meaning for δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ there: see note. The advantage of his rendering is not so much that it simplifies the grammar, as that it revives the sense of a connection (which existed for the Apostle) between the Gospel he preached, and even the language he preached it in, and the anticipations of that Gospel in the O.T., and that it gives prominence to the saving character of God’s justifying action. In substance all these three views are Biblical, Pauline and true to experience, whichever is to be vindicated on philological grounds. But the same cannot be said of another, according to which righteousness is here an attribute, or even the character, of God. That the Gospel is the supreme revelation of the character of God, and that the character of God is the source of the Gospel, no one can question. Certainly Paul would not have questioned it. But whether Paul conceived the righteousness which is an eternal attribute of God (cf. Romans 3:5) as essentially self-communicative—whether he would have said that God justifies (δικαιοῖ) the ungodly because he is himself δίκαιος—is another matter. The righteousness of God, conceived as a Divine attribute, may have appeared to Paul the great difficulty in the way of the justification of sinful man. God’s righteousness in this sense is the sinner’s condemnation, and no one will succeed in making him find in it the ground of his hope. What is wanted (always in consistency with God’s righteousness as one of His inviolable attributes—the great point elaborated in chap. Romans 3:24-26) is a righteousness which, as man cannot produce it must be from God, and which, once received, shall be valid before God; and this is what the Apostle (on the ground of Christ’s death for sin) announces. But it introduces confusion to identify with this the conception of an eternal and necessarily self-imparting righteousness of God. The Apostle, in chap. 3 and chap. 5, takes our minds along another route. See Barmby in Expositor for August, 1896, and S. and H. ad loc ἀποκαλύπτεται intimates in a new way that the Divine righteousness spoken of is from God: man would never have known or conceived it but for the act of God in revealing it. Till this ἀποκαλύπτειν it was a μυστήριον: cf. Romans 16:25 f. ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν. Precise definitions of this (e.g., Weiss’s: the revelation of the δικ. θεοῦ presupposes faith in the sense of believing acceptance of the Gospel, i.e., it is ἐκ πίστεως: and it leads to faith in the sense of saving reliance on Christ, i.e., it is εἰς πίστιν) strike one as arbitrary. The broad sense seems to be that in the revelation of God’s righteousness for man’s salvation everything is of faith from first to last. Cf. 2 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18. This N.T. doctrine the Apostle finds announced before in Habakkuk 2:14. ἐκ πίστεως in the quotation is probably to be construed with ζήσεται. To take it with δίκαιος (he who is righteous by faith) would imply a contrast to another mode of being righteous (viz., by works) which there is nothing in the text to suggest. The righteous who trusted in Jehovah were brought by that trust safe through the impending judgment in Habakkuk’s time; and as the subjective side of religion, the attitude of the soul to God, never varies, it is the same trust which is the condition of salvation still.

The Gospel of God’s righteousness is necessary, because the human race has no righteousness of its own. This is proved of the whole race (Romans 1:18 to Romans 3:20), but in these verses (Romans 1:18-32) first of the heathen. The emphasis lies throughout on the fact that they have sinned against light.

16. For I am not ashamed] The “for” links this verse to the last thought. At Rome, if anywhere, he might be “ashamed” (Mark 8:38) of the message of a crucified Saviour; a message, too, which pronounced “the whole world guilty before God.” But he was not ashamed of his message, and so was ready to “see Rome.”

the gospel of Christ] Omit the words “of Christ,” on evidence of MSS., &c.

the power of God] So 1 Corinthians 1:18, where “the message of the cross” is spoken of. See too ibid. 23, 24: “we preach Christ crucified … Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Cp. 1 Corinthians 2:5. The doctrine of the true Messiah brought to bear God’s energy, to the result of “salvation.”

salvation] This word is here probably used in its largest meaning, including the whole process of mercy from the time of belief onwards; deliverance from doom, sin, and death. Its very frequent reference in N. T. is to the resurrection-glory (see Romans 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:10; Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:5), but it is also used of the present results of grace (2 Corinthians 6:2) as (much more often) its cognate verb, to save. See Matthew 1:21; Romans 8:24; Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5. The Greek verb and noun include the ideas of rescue from peril, and (more rarely) healing, according to their connexion. But their prevailing reference (in religion) is to rescue rather than to amelioration.

to every one that believeth] Here is given out the “theme” of the Epistle, or more properly of the first chapters; viz., Faith, a trustful acceptance of the Divine Saviour; Faith as the only way of rescue for the human soul from doom and sin; absolute and alone, because of the supreme and absolute glory of the Person, and so of the Work, accepted by “the believer.”—See Appendix C.

to the Jew first] More strictly, both Jew, first, and Greek. So it was historically. But the reference is also to the special relationship of the Jew to the Messianic hope. The Deliverer was of the seed not of Adam only but of David; and the Deliverance therefore had a peculiar and endearing claim on the acceptance of the Jew. The reasoning of the Epistle quite excludes the thought that a Gentile, once believing, was in the least less welcome or less secure than a believing Jew; but this fact leaves room for such a “priority” as that indicated.

Romans 1:16. Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι, for I am not ashamed) He speaks somewhat less forcibly, as in the introduction; afterwards he says, I have whereof I may glory (ch. Romans 15:17). To the world, the Gospel is folly and weakness (1 Corinthians 1:18); wherefore, in the opinion of the world, a man should be ashamed of it, especially at Rome; but Paul is not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Corinthians 4:2). τοῦ χριστο͂υ, of Christ) Baumgarten gives good reasons, why Paul did not call it in this passage the Gospel of GOD, or of the SON OF GOD; but the reasons, which he alleges, are as strong for reading the words τοῦ Χριστο͂υ, as for omitting them. Arguments are easily found out for both sides; but testimony ought to have the chief weight; and in reference to this passage, the testimony for the omission is sufficient.—(See Appendix. Crit., edit. ii., on this verse.[8])—δύναμις Θεοῦ, the power of God), great and glorious (2 Corinthians 10:4.)—εἰς σωτηρίαν, unto salvation) As Paul sums up the Gospel in this epistle, so he sums up the epistle in this and the following verse. This then is the proper place for presenting a connected view of the epistles. We have in it—

[8] ABCD* omit the words; also, ΛG, fg., Vulg. Orig. and Hilary. But Rec. Text has them.—ED.

I. The Introduction, Romans 1:1-15.

II. The Subject stated [Propositio], with a Summary of its Proof.

1.  Concerning Faith and Righteousness.

2.  Concerning Salvation, or, in other words, Life.

3.  Concerning “Every one that believeth,” Jew and Greek, Romans 1:16-17.

To these three divisions, of which the first is discussed from Romans 1:18 to Romans 4:1, the second from 5 to 8 the third from 9 to 11, not only this Discussion itself, but also the Exhortation derived from it, correspond respectively and in the same order.

III. The Discussion.

1.  On Justification, which results,

i.  Not through works: for alike under sin are

The Gentiles, Romans 1:18.

The Jews, Romans 2:1.

Both together, Romans 2:11; Romans 2:14; Romans 2:17; Romans 3:1; Romans 3:9.

ii.  But through faith, Romans 2:21; Romans 2:27; Romans 2:29.

iii.  As is evident from the instance of Abraham, and the testimony of David, Romans 4:1; Romans 4:6; Romans 4:9; Romans 4:13; Romans 4:18; Romans 4:22.

2.  On Salvation, Romans 5:1; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:1; Romans 7:1; Romans 7:7; Romans 7:14; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:24; Romans 8:31.

3.  On “Every one that believeth,” Romans 9:1; Romans 9:6; Romans 9:14; Romans 9:24; Romans 9:30; Romans 10:1; Romans 10:11; Romans 11:1; Romans 11:7; Romans 11:11; Romans 11:25Verse 16. - For I am not ashamed of the gospel (of Christ, in the Authorized Version, is very weakly supported by manuscripts; neither is it required), for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and to the Greek. In saying he was "not ashamed," St. Paul may have had in his mind our Lord's own words (Mark 8:38 and Luke 9:26.) We are reminded in this verse of the passage, 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, where the idea here shortly intimated is enlarged on. He was fully aware that the pride of Greek philosophy would be likely to despise the message of the cross as "foolishness." It would be strange to them at first, and out of accord with their intellectual speculations. But he was convinced too that in it was contained the one view of things to meet human needs, and such as to commend itself in the end to thinkers, if their consciences could be roused. In preaching to the Corinthians he had indeed purposely refrained from presenting the gospel to them in "words of man's wisdom," lest the simple message, addressed alike to all, should lose any of its essential power, or be confounded with the human philosophies of the day. But to them also, in his First Epistle, he declares that this was not because it was not "wisdom," as well as "power," to such as could so receive it. Among the more advanced, and therefore more receptive (ἐν τοῖς τελείοις), he does, he says, "speak wisdom" (1 Corinthians 2:6), Christianity having, in fact, its own philosophy, appreciable by them. As is well said in the Exposition of 1 Corinthians in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' "No contrast is here at all between reason and revelation, as some think, but strictly between two philosophies - the philosophy of God and the philosophy of the world." Therefore to the Greek, as well as to the Jew, he is not ashamed to preach the cross; and in this Epistle, suitably to its purpose - more, it may be supposed, than his ordinary preaching - he does set forth the Divine philosophy of the gospel. But the message, he adds, is "to the Jew first," because it was to the people of the covenant (cf. ch. 9:4, etc.) that the salvation in Christ was in the first place to be offered. Hence also, in all his missionary work, he first addressed himself to the synagogue, and only when he was rejected there, turned exclusively to the Gentiles. So at Rome too, when he afterwards went there (Acts 28:17-29). Romans 1:16For (γὰρ)

Marking the transition from the introduction to the treatise. "I am ready to preach at Rome, for, though I might seem to be deterred by the contempt in which the Gospel is held, and by the prospect of my own humiliation as its preacher, I am not ashamed of it." The transition occupies Romans 1:16, Romans 1:17.

The Gospel

Omit of Christ.

Power (δύναμις)

Not merely a powerful means in God's hands, but in itself a divine energy.


Not principally, nor in preference to the Greek; but first in point of time. Compare John 4:22; Romans 3:1; Romans 9:1; Matthew 15:24.

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