Romans 1:7
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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(7) In Rome.—It is to be observed that one MS. of some importance, the Codex Boernerianus, omits these words. The same MS., with some others, alters the next phrase, “beloved of God” to “in the love of God,” thus substituting for the special address to the Romans a general address to all “who are in the love of God.” Traces of a similar reading appear to be found in the two earliest commentators on the Epistle, Origen (ob. A.D. 253) and the Ambrosian Hilary (A.D. 366-384). The Codex Boernerianus also omits the words “at Rome” in Romans 1:15, while at the end of the Epistle it interposes a blank space between Romans 14, 15. These peculiarities give some support to the theory that the Epistle to the Romans was circulated, most probably with the sanction of the Apostle himself, in the form of a general treatise, with the personal matter eliminated. This theory will be found more fully discussed in the Notes on the last two chapters.

Beloved of God.—Reconciled to God through the death of His Son, and therefore with the barrier that separated you from His love removed.

Called to be saints.—Consecrated or set apart by His own special summons, brought within the sphere and range of the holy life.

These epithets, high-sounding as they are, if applied by a modern writer to a modern church would seem to be indiscriminating or conventional, but as coming from St. Paul they have not yet lost their freshness and reality. They correspond to no actual condition of things, but to that ideal condition in which all Christians, by the mere fact of their being Christians, are supposed to be. They are members of the new Messianic kingdom, and share in all its privileges. The Apostle will not let them forget this, but holds it up before them as a mirror to convict them if they are unfaithful.

Grace . . . and peace.—May God and Christ look favourably upon you, and may you enjoy, as the result of that favour, the peace and composure of mind which is the proper attribute of the Christian.

The terms “grace” and “peace” nearly correspond to two ordinary forms of Jewish salutation, the first of which has also something of a counterpart among the Greeks and Romans. But here, as elsewhere, the Apostle has given to them a heightened and deepened Christian signification. Grace is the peculiar state of favour with God and Christ, into which the sincere Christian is admitted. Peace is the state of mind resulting from the sense of that favour.

“The joy Thy favour gives,

Let me again obtain.”



Romans 1:7

This is the address of the Epistle. The first thing to be noticed about it, by way of introduction, is the universality of this designation of Christians. Paul had never been in Rome, and knew very little about the religious stature of the converts there. But he has no hesitation in declaring that they are all ‘beloved of God’ and ‘saints.’ There were plenty of imperfect Christians amongst them; many things to rebuke; much deadness, coldness, inconsistency, and yet none of these in the slightest degree interfered with the application of these great designations to them. So, then, ‘beloved of God’ and ‘saints’ are not distinctions of classes within the pale of Christianity, but belong to the whole community, and to each member of the body.

The next thing to note, I think, is how these two great terms, ‘beloved of God’ and ‘saints,’ cover almost the whole ground of the Christian life. They are connected with each other very closely, as I shall have occasion to show presently, but in the meantime it may be sufficient to mark how the one carries us deep into the heart of God and the other extends over the whole ground of our relation to Him. The one is a statement of a universal prerogative, the other an enforcement of a universal obligation. Let us look, then, at these two points, the universal privilege and the universal obligation of the Christian life.

I. The universal privilege of the Christian life.

‘Beloved of God.’ Now we are so familiar with the juxtaposition of the two ideas, ‘love’ and ‘God,’ that we cease to feel the wonderfulness of their union. But until Jesus Christ had done His work no man believed that the two thoughts could be brought together.

Does God love any one? We think the question too plain to need to be put, and the answer instinctive. But it is not by any means instinctive, and the fact is that until Christ answered it for us, the world stood dumb before the question that its own heart raised, and when tortured spirits asked, ‘Is there care in heaven, and is there love?’ there was ‘no voice, nor answer, nor any that regarded.’ Think of the facts of life; think of the facts of nature. Think of sorrows and miseries and pains, and sins, and wasted lives and storms, and tempests, and diseases, and convulsions; and let us feel how true the grim saying is, that

‘Nature, red in tooth and claw,

With rapine, shrieks against the creed’

that God is love.

And think of what the world has worshipped, and of all the varieties of monstrosity, not the less monstrous because sometimes beautiful, before which men have bowed. Cruel, lustful, rapacious, capricious, selfish, indifferent deities they have adored. And then, ‘God hath established,’ proved, demonstrated ‘His love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.’

Oh, brethren, do not let us kick down the ladder by which we have climbed; or, in the name of a loving God, put away the Christian teaching which has begotten the conception in humanity of a God that loves. There are men to-day who would never have come within sight of that sunlight truth, even as a glimmering star, away down upon the horizon, if it had not been for the Gospel; and who now turn round upon that very Gospel which has given them the conception, and accuse it of narrow and hard thoughts of the love of God.

One of the Scripture truths against which the assailant often turns his sharpest weapons is that which is involved in my text, the Scripture answer to the other question, ‘Does not God love all?’ Yes! yes! a thousand times, yes! But there is another question, Does the love of God, to all, make His special designation of Christian men as His beloved the least unlikely? Surely there is no kind of contradiction between the broadest proclamation of the universality of the love of God and Paul’s decisive declaration that, in a very deep and real manner, they who are in Christ are the beloved of God. Surely special affection is not in its nature, inconsistent with universal beneficence and benevolence. Surely it is no exaltation, but rather a degradation of the conception of the divine love, if we proclaim its utter indifference to men’s characters. Surely you are not honouring God when you say, ‘It is all the same to Him whether a man loves Him and serves Him, or lifts himself up in rebellion against Him, and makes himself his own centre, and earth his aim and his all.’ Surely to imagine a God who not only makes His sun to shine and His rains and dews to fall on the unthankful and the evil, that He may draw them to love Him, but who also is conceived as taking the sinful creature who yet cleaves to his sins to His heart, as He does the penitent soul that longs for His image to be produced in it, is to blaspheme, and not to honour the love, the universal love of God.

God forbid that any words that ever drop from my lips should seem to cast the smallest shadow of doubt on that great truth, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His Son!’ But God forbid, equally, that any words of mine should seem to favour the, to me, repellent idea that the infinite love of God disregards the character of the man on whom it falls. There are manifestations of that loving heart which any man can receive; and each man gets as much of the love of God as it is possible to pour upon him. But granite rock does not drink in the dew as a flower does; and the nature of the man on whom God’s love falls determines how much, and what manner of its manifestations shall pass into his true possession, and what shall remain without.

So, on the whole, we have to answer the questions, ‘Does God love any? Does not God love all? Does God specially love some?’ with the one monosyllable, ‘Yes.’

And so, dear brethren, let us learn the path by which we can pass into that blessed community of those on whom the fullness and sweetness and tenderest tenderness of the Father’s heart will fall. ‘If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him.’ Myths tell us that the light which, at the beginning, had been diffused through a nebulous mass, was next gathered into a sun. So the universal love of God is concentrated in Jesus Christ; and if we have Him we have it; and if we have faith we have Him, and can say, ‘Neither life, nor death, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

II. Then, secondly, mark the universal obligation of the Christian life.

‘Called to be saints,’ says my text. Now you will observe that the two little words ‘to be’ are inserted here as a supplement. They may be correct enough, but they are open to the possibility of misunderstanding, as if the saintship, to which all Christian people are ‘called’ was something future, and not realised at the moment. Now, in the context, the Apostle employs the same form of expression with regard to himself in a clause which illuminates the meaning of my text. ‘Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ’ says he, in the first verse, ‘called to be an Apostle’ or, more correctly, ‘a called Apostle.’ The apostleship coincided in time with the call, was contemporaneous with that which was its cause. And if Paul was an Apostle since he was called, saints are saints since they are called. ‘The beloved of God’ are ‘the called saints.’

I need only observe, further, that the word ‘called’ here does not mean ‘named’ or ‘designated’ but ‘summoned.’ It describes not the name by which Christian men are known, but the thing which they are invited, summoned, ‘called’ by God to be. It is their vocation, not their designation. Now, then, I need not, I suppose, remind you that ‘saint’ and ‘holy’ convey precisely the same idea: the one expressing it in a word of Teutonic, and the other in one of classic derivation.

We notice that the true idea of this universal holiness which, ipso facto, belongs to all Christian people, is consecration to God. In the old days temple, altars, sacrifices, sacrificial vessels, persons such as priests, periods like Sabbaths and feasts, were called ‘holy.’ The common idea running through all these uses of the word is belonging to God, and that is the root notion of the New Testament ‘saint’ a man who is God’s. God has claimed us for Himself when He gave us Jesus Christ. We respond to the claim when we accept Christ. Henceforth we are not our own, but ‘consecrated’-that is, ‘saints.’

Now the next step is purity, which is the ordinary idea of sanctity. Purity will follow consecration, and would not be worth much without it, even if it was possible to be attained. Now, look what a far deeper and nobler idea of the service and conditions of moral goodness this derivation of it from surrender to God gives, than does a God-ignoring morality which talks and talks about acts and dispositions, and never goes down to the root of the whole matter; and how much nobler it is than a shallow religion which in like manner is ever straining after acts of righteousness, and forgets that in order to be right there must be prior surrender to God. Get a man to yield himself up to God and no fear about the righteousness. Virtue, goodness, purity, righteousness, all these synonyms express very noble things; but deep down below them all lies the New Testament idea of holiness, consecration of myself to God, which is the parent of them all.

And then the next thing to remind you of is that this consecration is to be applied all through a man’s nature. Yielding yourselves to God is the talismanic secret of all righteousness, as I have said; and every part of our complex, manifold being is capable of such consecration. I hallow my heart if its love twines round His heart. I hallow my thoughts if I take His truth for my guide, and ever seek to be led thereby in practice and in belief. I hallow my will when it bows and says, ‘Speak, Lord! Thy servant heareth!’ I hallow my senses when I use them as from Him, with recognition of Him and for Him. In fact, there are two ways of living in the world; and, narrow as it sounds, I venture to say there are only two. Either God is my centre, and that is holiness; or self is my centre, in more or less subtle forms, and that is sin.

Then the next step is that this consecration, which will issue in all purity, and will cover the whole ground of a human life, is only possible when we have drunk in the blessed thought ‘beloved of God.’ My yielding of myself to Him can only be the echo of His giving of Himself to me. He must be the first to love. You cannot argue a man into loving God, any more than you can hammer a rosebud open. If you do you spoil its petals. But He can love us into loving Him, and the sunshine, falling on the closed flower, will expand it, and it will grow by its reception of the light, and grow sunlike in its measure and according to its nature. So a God who has only claims upon us will never be a God to whom we yield ourselves. A God who has love for us will be a God to whom it is blessed that we should be consecrated, and so saints.

Then, still further, this consecration, thus built upon the reception of the divine love, and influencing our whole nature, and leading to all purity, is a universal characteristic of Christians. There is no faith which does not lead to surrender. There is no aristocracy in the Christian Church which deserves to have the family name given especially to it. ‘Saint’ this, and ‘Saint’ that, and ‘Saint’ the other-these titles cannot be used without darkening the truth that this honour and obligation of being saints belong equally to all that love Jesus Christ. All the men whom thus God has drawn to Himself, by His love in His Son, they are all, if I may so say, objectively holy; they belong to God. But consecration may be cultivated, and must be cultivated and increased. There is a solemn obligation laid upon every one of us who call ourselves Christians, to be saints, in the sense that we have consciously yielded up our whole lives to Him; and are trying, body, soul, and spirit, ‘to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord.’

Paul’s letter, addressed to the ‘beloved in God,’ the ‘called saints’ that are in Rome, found its way to the people for whom it was meant. If a letter so addressed were dropped in our streets, do you think anybody would bring it to you, or to any Christian society as a whole, recognising that we were the people for whom it was meant? The world has taunted us often enough with the name of saints; and laughed at the profession which they thought was included in the word. Would that their taunts had been undeserved, and that it were not true that ‘saints’ in the Church sometimes means less than ‘good men’ out of the Church! ‘Seeing that we have these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit; perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.’

Romans 1:7. To all that be in Rome — To all the Christians residing at Rome. Most of these were heathen by birth, Romans 1:13, though the Jews mixed among them. They were scattered up and down in that large city, and not yet reduced into the form of a church. Beloved of God — And from his free love, not from any merit of yours; called to be saints — Or saints called, as κγητοις ανιοις may be rendered; that is, called by his word and Spirit to believe in him, and now, through faith, made saints, or holy persons. By this honourable appellation the Christians are distinguished from the idolatrous inhabitants of the city, and from the unbelieving Jews. Grace be to you — The peculiar favour of God, and the influences and fruits of his Spirit; and peace — Namely, with him, in your own consciences, and tranquillity of mind, arising from the regulation of your affections, from trusting in him, and casting your care upon him; from resignation to his will, and possessing your souls in patience under all the trials and troubles which you may be called to pass through. See Romans 5:1; Isaiah 26:3; Php 4:6. In this sense, it seems, the word peace is used in the apostolic benedictions. It may, however, also include all manner of blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. From God our Father — The original source of all our blessings, who is now become our reconciled Father, having adopted us into his family, and regenerated us by his grace; and the Lord Jesus Christ — The one Mediator between God and man, through whose sacrifice and intercession we receive all the blessings of providence and grace. It is one and the same peace, and one and the same grace, which we receive from the Father and from the Son: and our trust must be placed, for grace and peace, on God, as he is the Father of Christ; and on Christ, as he reconciles us and presents us to the Father. “Because most of the Roman brethren were unacquainted with Paul, he judged it necessary, in the inscription of his letter, to assure them that he was an apostle, called by Jesus Christ himself, and that he was separated to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, in fulfilment of the promises which God had made by the prophets in the Scriptures, that the gospel should be preached to them. These circumstances he mentions, to remove the prejudices of the believing as well as of the unbelieving Jews, who, he knew, were displeased with him for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Withal, because the church of Rome had not been planted by any apostle, he instructed them in some particulars concerning the nature and character of Christ, which it was of great importance for them to know.” — Macknight.

1:1-7 The doctrine of which the apostle Paul wrote, set forth the fulfilment of the promises by the prophets. It spoke of the Son of God, even Jesus the Saviour, the promised Messiah, who came from David as to his human nature, but was also declared to be the Son of God, by the Divine power which raised him from the dead. The Christian profession does not consist in a notional knowledge or a bare assent, much less in perverse disputings, but in obedience. And all those, and those only, are brought to obedience of the faith, who are effectually called of Jesus Christ. Here is, 1. The privilege of Christians; they are beloved of God, and are members of that body which is beloved. 2. The duty of Christians; to be holy, hereunto are they called, called to be saints. These the apostle saluted, by wishing them grace to sanctify their souls, and peace to comfort their hearts, as springing from the free mercy of God, the reconciled Father of all believers, and coming to them through the Lord Jesus Christ.To all that be in Rome - That is, to all who bear the Christian name. Perhaps he here included not only the church at Rome, but all who might have been there from abroad. Rome was a place of vast concourse for foreigners; and Paul probably addressed all who happened to be there.

Beloved of God - Whom God loves. This is the privilege of all Christians. And this proves that the persons whom Paul addressed were "not" those merely who had been invited to the external privileges of the gospel. The importance of this observation will appear in the progress of these notes.

Called to be saints - So called, or influenced by God who had called them, as to become saints. The word "saints," ἅγιοι hagioi, means those who are holy, or those who are devoted or consecrated to God. The radical idea of the word is what is separated from a common to a sacred use, and answers to the Hebrew word, קדושׁ qadowsh. It is applied to any thing that is set apart to the service of God, to the temple, to the sacrifices, to the utensils about the temple, to the garments, etc. of the priests, and to the priests themselves. It was applied to the Jews as a people separated from other nations, and devoted or consecrated to God, while other nations were devoted to the service of idols. It is also applied to Christians, as being a people devoted or set apart to the service of God. The radical idea then, as applied to Christians, is, that "they are separated from other men, and other objects and pursuits, and consecrated to the service of God." This is the special characteristic of the saints. And this characteristic the Roman Christians had shown. For the use of the word, as stated above, see the following passages of scripture; Luke 2:23; Exodus 13:2, Romans 11:16; Matthew 7:6; 1 Peter 1:16; Acts 9:13; 1 Peter 2:5; Acts 3:21, Ephesians 3:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2.

Grace - This word properly means "favor." It is very often used in the New Testament, and is employed in the sense of benignity or benevolence; felicity, or a prosperous state of affairs; the Christian religion, as the highest expression of the benevolence or favor of God; the happiness which Christianity confers on its friends in this and the future life; the apostolic office; charity, or alms; thanksgiving; joy, or pleasure; and the benefits produced on the Christian's heart and life by religion - the grace of meekness, patience, charity, etc., "Schleusner." In this place, and in similar places in the beginning of the apostolic epistles, it seems to be a word including all those blessings that are applicable to Christians in common; denoting an ardent wish that all the mercies and favors of God for time and eternity, blended under the general name grace, may be conferred on them. It is to be understood as connected with a word implying invocation. I pray, or I desire, that grace, etc. may be conferred on you. It is the customary form of salutation in nearly all the apostolic epistles; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Plm 1:3.

And peace - Peace is the state of freedom from war. As war conveys the idea of discord and numberless calamities and dangers, so peace is the opposite, and conveys the idea of concord, safety, and prosperity. Thus, to wish one peace was the same as to wish him all safety and prosperity. This form of salutation was common among the Hebrews. Gen 43:23, "peace to you! fear not;" Judges 6:23; Judges 19:20; Luke 24:36. But the word "peace" is also used in contrast with that state of agitation and conflict which a sinner has with his conscience. and with God. The sinner is like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, Isaiah 57:20. The Christian is at peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1. By this word, denoting reconciliation with God, the blessings of the Christian religion are often described in the scriptures, Romans 8:6; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22; Philippians 4:7. A prayer for peace, therefore, in the epistles, is not a mere formal salutation, but has a special reference to those "spiritual" blessings which result from reconciliation with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

From God our Father - The Father of all Christians. He is the Father of all his creatures, as they are his offspring, Acts 17:28-29. He is especially the Father of all Christians, as they have been "begotten by him to a lively hope," have been adopted into his family, and are like him; Matthew 5:45; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 3:1-2. The expression here is equivalent to a prayer that God the Father would bestow grace and peace on the Romans. It implies that these blessings proceed from God, and are to be expected from him.

And the Lord Jesus Christ - From him. The Lord Jesus Christ is especially regarded in the New Testament as the Source of peace, and the Procurer of it; see Luke 2:14; Luke 19:38, Luke 19:42; John 14:27; John 16:33; Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:17. Each of these places will show with what propriety peace was invoked from the Lord Jesus. From thus connecting the Lord Jesus with the Father in this place, we may see,

(1) That the apostle regarded him as the source of grace and peace as really as he did the Father.

(2) he introduced them in the same connection, and with reference to the bestowment of the same blessings.

(3) if the mention of the Father in this connection implies a prayer to him, or an act of worship, the mention of the Lord Jesus implies the same thing, and was an act of homage to him.

(4) all this shows that his mind was familiarized to the idea that he was divine.

No man would introduce his name in such connections if he did not believe that he was equal with God; compare Philippians 2:2-11. It is from this incidental and unstudied manner of expression, that we have one of the most striking proofs of the manner in which the sacred writers regarded the Lord Jesus Christ.

These seven verses are one sentence. They are a striking instance of the manner of Paul. The subject is simply a salutation to the Roman church. But at the mention of some single words, the mind of Paul seems to catch fire, and go burn and blaze with signal intensity. He leaves the immediate subject before him, and advances some vast thought that awes us, and fixes us in contemplation, and involves us in difficulty about his meaning, and then returns to his subject. This is the characteristic of his great mind; and it is this, among other things, that makes it so difficult to interpret his writings.

7. beloved of God—(Compare De 33:12; Col 3:12).

Grace, &c.—(See on [2175]Joh 1:14).

and peace—the peace which Christ made through the blood of His cross (Col 1:20), and which reflects into the believing bosom "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" (Php 4:7).

from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ—"Nothing speaks more decisively for the divinity of Christ than these juxtapositions of Christ with the eternal God, which run through the whole language of Scripture, and the derivation of purely divine influences from Him also. The name of no man can be placed by the side of the Almighty. He only, in whom the Word of the Father who is Himself God became flesh, may be named beside Him; for men are commanded to honor Him even as they honor the Father (Joh 5:23)" [Olshausen].

To all that be in Rome; he doth not direct this Epistle to all that there inhabited, as to the emperor and senate, &c.; but to the church, and all the Christians there, as appears by the two following phrases. He wrote not to those only which were Romans by nation, but to all the faithful, whether Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, for they were all one and alike in Christ. They are deceived that think this Epistle, because directed to the Romans, was written in Latin. The Greek tongue was well understood in that city. Juvenal calls Rome a Greek city, because the inhabitants, as well natives as strangers, did some of them use, and most of them understand, that language.

Called to be saints, or, called saints; though there might be hypocrites amongst them, yet they were denominated from the better part. The Jews of old were only accounted a holy nation or people; and the Gentiles, common or unclean; but now that difference is taken away, faith in Jesus Christ, and effectual calling, makes the Gentiles holy as well as the Jews. The name saint doth not denote a perfection in holiness, but one that is devoted and consecrated to God, who is holy in heart and life, though he hath many imperfections.

Grace to you, and peace: under these two words, grace and peace, are comprehended all spiritual and temporal blessings. It is a usual salutation or benediction in the Epistles of this apostle: see 1 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:2 Galatians 1:3 Ephesians 1:2 Philippians 1:2 Colossians 1:2 2 Thessalonians 1:2 1 Timothy 1:2 Titus 1:4 Philemon 1:3. See the like in the Epistles of Peter, 1 Peter 1:2 2 Peter 1:2. See also 2Jo 1:3 Revelation 1:4.

From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: why is there no mention made here of the Holy Ghost?

Answer. Because he is implied in his gifts: grace and peace are the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit. In other salutations the Holy Ghost is expressed; see 2 Corinthians 13:14; and here, when the Father and Son are named, he is plainly implied.

To all that be in Rome,.... These words contain both the inscription of the epistle, and the apostle's usual salutation, as in all his epistles, The inscription of it is not to the Roman emperor; nor to the Roman senate, nor to all the inhabitants in Rome; but to all the saints there, whether rich or poor, bond or free, male or female, Jew or Gentile, without any distinction, being all one in Christ Jesus: and these are described as

beloved of God; not for any loveliness there was in them, nor because of any love in them to God, nor on account of their obedience and righteousness; but through the free favour and sovereign will and pleasure of God, who loved them before he called them, even from eternity, and will love them to eternity; which love of his is the source and spring of all the blessings of grace, and, among the rest, of the effectual calling: hence this character is set before the following one,

called to be saints; not born so, nor become so through their own power, but were so by calling grace, as a fruit of everlasting love; men are first beloved of the Lord, and then called to be his saints. The salutation follows; the things wished for in it are,

grace to you, and peace: by "grace" is not meant ministerial gifts, which are not common to all the saints; nor the Gospel, which was at Rome already; nor the love and favour of God, which these persons were sharers in, as appears from their above characters; nor the principle of grace, which was now formed there in their effectual calling; but an increase of grace, as to its degrees, acts, and exercise; every grace is imperfect in this respect, and those who have the most stand in need of more; there is such a thing as growing in grace, which is very desirable, and may be expected from God, who is able to make all grace to abound, and has promised to give more: by "peace" is meant, peace with God through Christ; peace in their own consciences, and with one another; all manner of prosperity inward and outward here, and eternal happiness hereafter. The persons from whom these are desired are,

God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; God the Father of Christ is spoken of as our Father, which is by adoption; partly to engage fear and reverence of him at his throne; and partly to encourage freedom and boldness there, and an expectation of receiving every blessing of grace from him: "the Lord Jesus Christ" is mentioned, as being the person through whom, and for whose sake, all the blessings of grace and peace are communicated to us; and being put upon a level with the Father in these petitions, shows him to be equal with him, and so truly and properly God. "Grace" may be thought to be particularly wished for from the Father, though not exclusive of Christ, since he is the God of all grace, who has treasured up a fulness of it in his Son. And "peace" may be considered as desired to be had from Christ, though not exclusive of the Father; since the covenant of peace was made with him, the chastisement of peace was laid on him, and he has made peace by the blood of his cross, and is the giver of it to his people.

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: {o} Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(o) God's free good will: by peace the Hebrews mean a prosperous success in all things.

Romans 1:7. Now for the first time, brought by Romans 1:6 nearer to his readers, Paul passes from the throng of the great intervening thoughts, Romans 1:2 ff., in which he has given full and conscious expression to the nature and the dignity of his calling, to the formal address and to the apostolic salutation.

πᾶσι κ.τ.λ[332]] directs the letter to all beloved of God who are in Rome, etc., and therefore to the collective Roman Christian church, Php 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1),[333] but not, as Tholuck thinks (comp Turretin, Wolf, and Böhme), at the same time also to those foreign Christians who were accidentally staying in Rome, for against this view Romans 1:8, in which ὙΠῈΡ ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ὙΜῶΝ can only refer to the Romans, is decisive. The ΠᾶΣΙ would be self-obvious and might have been dispensed with, but in this Epistle, just because it is so detailed and is addressed to a great church still far away from the Apostle, ΠᾶΣΙ carries with it a certain diplomatic character. Similarly, though from other grounds, Php 1:1.

ἀγαπητ. Θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις] Characteristic special analysis of the idea “Christians” in accordance with the high privileges of their Christian condition. For, as reconciled with God through Christ, they are beloved of God (Romans 5:5 ff., Romans 8:39; Colossians 3:12); and, as those who through the divine calling to the Messianic salvation have become separated from the κόσμος and consecrated to God, because members of the new covenant of grace, they are called saints; comp 1 Corinthians 1:2. This saintship is produced through the justification of the called (Romans 8:30), and their accompanying subjection to the influence of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:30). De Wette erroneously interprets: “those who are called to be saints.” So also Baumgarten-Crusius. The calling always refers to the salvation of the Messiah’s kingdom. But that the ἁγιότης is to be understood in that Christian theocratic sense after the analogy of the Old Testament קדושׁ, and not of individual moral holiness (Pareus, Toletus, Estius, Grotius, Flatt, Glöckler, de Wette, and others), is plain from the very fact, that all Christians as Christians are ἅγιοι.

χάρις.… εἰρήνη] See Otto, in the Jahrb. f. d. Theol. 1867, p. 678 ff. Χάρις is the disposition, the subjective feeling in God and Christ, which the Apostle wishes to be entertained towards and shown to his readers; εἰρήνη is the actual result, which is produced through the manifestation of the χάρις: grace and salvation (שָׁלוֹס), the latter in every aspect in which it presents itself as the Christian issue of the χάρις. Comp Melancthon. The specifically Christian element in this salutation[337] lies in ἀπὸ Θεοῦ πατρὸς.… Χριστοῦ. Comp 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:2; Php 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1 f.; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3. The special rendering of εἰρήνη, peace, which, following Chrysostom and Jerome, the majority, including Reiche, Olshausen, Tholuck, Philippi, Umbreit and others retain (the higher peace which is given, not by the world, but by the consciousness of divine grace and love, see especially Umbreit, p. 190 ff.), must be abandoned, because χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη represent the general epistolary χαίρειν (Acts 15:23; Jam 1:1), and thus the generality of the salutation is expressed in a way characteristically Christian.

πατήρ ἡμῶν means God, in so far as we, as Christians, are His children through the υἱοθεσία (see on Galatians 4:5; Romans 8:15).

καὶ κυρίου] i.e. καὶ ἀπὸ κυρίου, not, as Glöckler, following Erasmus, takes it, “and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” for against this view stands the decisive fact that God is never called our and Christ’s Father; see also Titus 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:2. The formal equalisation of God and Christ cannot be certainly used as a proof (as Philippi and Mehring contend) of the divine nature of Christ—which, however, is otherwise firmly enough maintained by Paul—since the different predicates πατρός and κυρίου imply the different conceptions of the causa principalis and medians. For this purpose different prepositions were not required; comp on Galatians 1:1.

[332] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[333] With these parallels before us, it is unreasonable to ask why Paul does not designate the readers as a church. Bengel and van Hengel are of opinion that no regular congregational bond was as yet in existence. Th. Schott thinks that Paul as yet stood in no relation whatever to the church. The ὄντες ἐν ʼΡώμῃ κ.τ.λ. are the church, and it is to the churches that he has written where he does not write to specified persons.

[337] Regarding Otto’s attempted derivation of it from the Aaronic benediction, see on 1 Corinthians 1:3.

Romans 1:7. The salutation proper. It is addressed to all who are in Rome, etc., to include Christians of Jewish as well as Gentile origin. They are ἀγαπητοὶ θεοῦ, God’s beloved, because they have had experience of His redeeming love in Jesus Christ; and they are κλητοὶ ἅγιοι, saints, in virtue of His calling. See on κλητὸς ἀπόστολος above. The word ἅγιος did not originally describe character, but only a certain relation to God; the ἅγιοι are God’s people. What this means depends of course on what God is; it is assumed in scripture that the character of God’s people will answer to their relation to Him. It is worth mentioning that, as a synonym for Christian, it is never applied in the N.T. to an individual: no person is called ἅγιος. Php 4:21 (ἀσπάσασθε πάντα ἅγιον ἐν Χ. .) is not an exception. The ideal of God’s people cannot be adequately realised in, and ought not to be presumptuously claimed by, any single person. (Hort’s Christian Ecclesia, 56.) Paul wishes the Romans grace and peace (the source and the sum of all Christian blessings) from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. The greeting is followed by a thanksgiving, which passes over insensibly into an introduction of a more personal character, in which Paul explains his desire to visit the Romans and to work among them (Romans 1:8-15).

7. to all that be in Rome, beloved of God] Better perhaps without comma: to all God’s beloved ones who are in Rome. The Gr. admits either construction.

called to be saints] Lit. called saints; i.e., practically, “converted, so as to be saints.” The idea is not of a “call” which may or may not result in sanctification. They were “saints” as being “called.” The same phrase occurs 1 Corinthians 1:2. See on Romans 1:6 above.

grace to you and peace] So in the first words of 1 Cor., 2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Col., 1 Thess., 2 Thess., Philem. In the Pastoral Epp. the remarkable addition “mercy” appears. In these salutations, “Grace” is all the free and loving favour of God in its efficacy on the saints; “Peace” is specially, perhaps, the complacency of reconciliation with which He regards them, but so as to imply also the results of this—their repose in His favour, and consequent serenity of heart, life, and intercourse. See for various illustrations of the word, Romans 2:10, Romans 5:1; Php 4:7; Colossians 3:15.

from God our Father, and, &c.] To St Paul the Father and the Saviour are equally the Givers of eternal blessing, as they are equally the Possessors of the soul. See on Romans 1:1.

Verse 7. - To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints (cf. κλητὸς ἀπόστολον, in ver. 1). Bengel's view, that by ἀγαπητοῖς Θεοῦ are specially meant the Jewish Christians, as being "beloved for the fathers' sakes" (Romans 11:28), and by κλητοῖς ἁγίοις the Gentile converts, is untenable. Both phrases are applicable to all. The word ἁγίοι, be it observed, is elsewhere used to denote all Christians, without implying eminence in personal holiness (cf. 1 Peter 2:9, ὑμεῖς δὲ... ἕθνος ἄγιον). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The union, here and elsewhere, of Jesus Christ with the Father as imparting heavenly blessing, implies his Deity no less than any dogmatic statement could do; for it is surely impossible to conceive the apostle thus associating with the Godhead one whom he regarded as a mere human being. The same form of benediction is found at the beginning of all St. Paul's Epistles, and there can be no doubt that its meaning is as given above. For, though here, in 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon, this collocation of words might allow the rendering, "Grace... from God, the Father of us and of the Lord Jesus Christ," yet in Galatians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus, it is obviously inadmissible. And even without these instances the true meaning would have been probable from ἡμῶν coming before Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ. If the apostle had intended to express a common Fatherhood of God, he would surely not have written, "Our Father and Christ's," but rather, "Christ's and ours" (cf. John 20:17). Romans 1:7In Rome (ἐν Ῥώμῃ)

The words are omitted in a MS. Of the tenth or eleventh century, and in a cursive of the eleventh or twelfth. The words ἐν Ἑφέσῳ in Ephesus, are also omitted from Ephesians 1:1, by two of the oldest MSS. On which fact has arisen the theory that the Ephesian Epistle was encyclical, or addressed to a circle of churches, and not merely to the church at Ephesus. This theory has been very widely received. With this has been combined the omission of in Rome from the Roman Epistle, and the attempt has been made to show that the Roman Epistle was likewise encyclical, and was sent to Ephesus, Thessalonica, and possibly to some other churches. Archdeacon Farrar advocates this view in "The Expositon," first ser., 9, 211; and also in his "Life and Work of Paul," ii., 170. This theory is used to defend the view which places the doxology of Romans 16:25-27 at the end of ch. 14. See note there.

Called to be saints (κλητοῖς ἁγίοις)

Or, saints by way of call. See on called to be an apostle, Romans 1:1. It is asserted that they are what they are called. The term ἅγιοι saints is applied to Christians in three senses in theNew Testament. 1, As members of a visible and local community (Acts 9:32, Acts 9:41; Acts 26:10); 2, as members of a spiritual community (1 Corinthians 1:2; Colossians 3:12); 3, as individually holy (Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:12; Revelation 13:10).

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