Romans 15:28
When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.
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(28) Sealed to them this fruit.—Placed in their hands the sum raised by the collection. This will appear at first sight a somewhat stilted expression, but it takes a certain solemnity from the fact that St. Paul seems to regard this journey to Jerusalem as the close of his own apostolic labours in those parts, the dropping of the curtain, as it were, before a new act in his career.

Will come by you.—Will pass through your city on my way to Spain.

Romans 15:28-29. When, therefore, I have performed this journey and service, and have sealed to them — Safely delivered to them, without diminution, as a treasure under a seal; this fruit — This contribution, which is a fruit of their brethren’s faith and love; I will come by you into Spain — Such was his design, though it seems it was never accomplished. There are often holy purposes in the minds of good men, which are overruled by the providence of God, so as never to take effect; and yet they are precious in the sight of God. And I am sure — Οιδα, I know; that when I come to you, I shall come to you in the fulness, &c. — I shall be a means of communicating to you abundance of gospel blessings. It is evident from this, and from the 28th verse, as well as from Romans 1:10-11, that Paul wrote this epistle while he was at liberty, and before Christ had told him, as is mentioned Acts 23:11, that he must testify of him at Rome; and before he was constrained to appeal to Cesar, as is related Acts 25:11; for in this epistle he speaks still of his journey to Rome as of a voluntary undertaking, not supposing that he should be sent thither as a prisoner.

15:22-29 The apostle sought the things of Christ more than his own will, and would not leave his work of planting churches to go to Rome. It concerns all to do that first which is most needful. We must not take it ill if our friends prefer work which is pleasing to God, before visits and compliments, which may please us. It is justly expected from all Christians, that they should promote every good work, especially that blessed work, the conversion of souls. Christian society is a heaven upon earth, an earnest of our gathering together unto Christ at the great day. Yet it is but partial, compared with our communion with Christ; for that only will satisfy the soul. The apostle was going to Jerusalem, as the messenger of charity. God loves a cheerful giver. Every thing that passes between Christians should be a proof and instance of the union they have in Jesus Christ. The Gentiles received the gospel of salvation from the Jews; therefore were bound to minister to them in what was needed for the body. Concerning what he expected from them he speaks doubtfully; but concerning what he expected from God he speaks confidently. We cannot expect too little from man, nor too much from God. And how delightful and advantageous it is to have the gospel with the fulness of its blessings! What wonderful and happy effects does it produce, when attended with the power of the Spirit!Have sealed to them - That is, have "secured it" to them. To seal an instrument of writing, a contract, deed, etc. is to "authenticate it," to make it "sure." In this sense it is used here. Paul was going himself to see that it was placed "securely" in their hands.

This fruit - This result of the liberality of the Gentile churches - the fruit which their benevolence had produced.

I will come ... - This was Paul's full purpose; but it is not clear that he ever accomplished it; Note, Romans 15:24.

By you - Taking Rome in my way.

28, 29. When therefore I have … sealed—that is, delivered over safely

to them this fruit—of the faith and love of the Gentile converts

I will come—"come back," or "return"

by you into Spain—(See on [2272]Ro 15:24).

When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit; i.e. After that I have despatched this business, and safely delivered the alms of the Greek churches to the Jews, wherewith I am intrusted; it is put into my hands as a treasure sealed in a bag or chest, that it may not be diminished or embezzled: he calls it fruit, because it proceeded from their faith and love, and because it would abound to their account, Philippians 4:17; it would benefit them that received it, but much more them that gave it.

I will come by you into Spain; i.e. I will take you, or your city, in my way thither. He told them as much before, Romans 15:24. This he really intended, but it is generally concluded that he was prevented, that he never went this journey into Spain. The purposes of men are ruled and overruled by the providence of God, Proverbs 16:9.

When therefore I have performed this,.... Meaning when he had dispatched that business, and finished that affair which the Macedonian and Achaian churches had entreated him to engage in, and which he had undertook; namely, to take their collection, and carry it to Jerusalem, and distribute it among the poor saints there; and which he expresses by another phrase,

and have sealed to them this fruit. The liberality of the Gentile churches is called fruit, as it may be on many accounts; as with respect to the apostle, it was the fruit of his ministry and laborious preaching of the Gospel among them; he had been sowing the seed of the word, and planting churches in these parts; and among other fruits brought forth hereby, as the conversion of sinners, and edification of saints, the exercise of grace, and performance of good works, this of liberality to the poor saints was one: with respect to the persons, the objects of this bounty, it was the fruit of their spiritual things, which the Gentiles, by their means, had been partakers of; and would be as fruit, useful and profitable to them, to relieve their wants, supply them with necessaries, and make their lives more comfortable: and also with respect to the contributors, it was the fruit of the Spirit of God, and his grace in them; it was the fruit of faith, which works by love; and it was the fruit of their love to Christ, and to his saints; and was profitable to them in things temporal, spiritual, and eternal; promises of each being made and performed to such that sow liberally and bountifully. Now the ministration of this to the poor saints at Jerusalem, and on the behalf of the Grecian churches, the apostle calls a "sealing" it to them; and it is thought to be an allusion to the delivery of money sealed up, that it may not be lost, nor made use of for any other purpose than that for which it was designed: whether the apostle carried this collection sealed or not, it matters not; his sense is, that he should deliver it whole and safe unto them, and in such manner as to leave no suspicion that he had converted any part of it to his own use; though the word here used seems to answer to the Hebrew which, with the Jews, frequently signifies to conclude, "finish", and make an end of anything, as well as to "seal"; the sealing up of letters being the last and finishing part of them. Innumerable instances might be given; take the following one as a proof (d):

"we find in the former prophets, , "that they sealed", or ended their words with words of praise, or with words of consolation Says R. Eliezer, except Jeremiah, "who sealed", or finished with words of reproof.''

So the word is used in Daniel 9:24, and then the apostle's plain meaning is, when I have made an end of this affair, have finished this business of ministering and distributing to the poor saints at Jerusalem,

I will come by you into Spain. The Ethiopic version reads it, "Lasitania", designing, no doubt, Lusitania, which was formerly a part of Spain, now called Portugal. Whether the apostle ever was there is not certain nor very probable, since when he came to Jerusalem he was apprehended, and after sometime sent a prisoner to Rome, where he suffered; however, it was his intention to go to Spain, and to take Rome in his way thither.

(d) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 8. 4.

When therefore I have performed this, and have {r} sealed to them this {s} fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

(r) Performed it faithfully, and sealed it as it were with my ring.

(s) This money which was gathered for the use of the poor: and these alms are very fitly called fruit.

Romans 15:28. Τοῦτο] This work of service for Jerusalem.

κ. σφραγις. κ.τ.λ.] and when I shall have sealed to them this fruit, i.e. shall have confirmed the produce of the κοινωνία, Romans 15:26, to them, secured it as their property. σφραγίζ. in the figurative sense: to confirm, to ratify (see on John 3:33); for by delivery of the moneys they were, on the part of the apostle, confirmed to the recipients as the fruit collected for them, after the manner of the law of possession, as with seal impressed.[31] The expression chosen has a certain solemnity; the apostle is moved by the thought that with the close of the work of love to which he refers he was to finish his long and great labours in the East, and was to take in hand a new field in the far West. In these circumstances, an unusual thoughtful expression for the concluding act offers itself naturally. But that which Fritzsche finds in it (rendering of an account and other formalities) neither lies in the simple figurative word, nor was it doubtless intended by Paul, considering his apostolical dignity. Others take σφραγις. in the proper sense, either thus: “when I have brought over the money to them, sealed” (Erasmus, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius), which, however, the words do not express at all, and how paltrily unapostolic the thought would be! or, referring αὐτοῖς to the Greek Christians (so already Theodoret): “when I have made them secure with letter and seal respecting the right delivery of their collection” (Glöckler, and so already Michaelis), against which, apart from the unsuitableness of the sense, it is decisive that αὐτοῖς brooks no other reference than ΑὐΤῶΝ and ΑὐΤΟῖς, Romans 15:27 (comp. ΤΟῖς ἉΓΊΟΙς, Romans 15:25). This also against Reithmayr, who brings out even a depositing for the almsgivers in God’s treasury!

The act of handing over itself, namely, was the σφραγίς of the collection for the recipients. Before the delivery the moneys were indeed destined for them, but not yet de facto assured to them as property on the part of the apostle, the bearer. Theodore of Mopsuestia well explains the σφραγισάμ. by ἀποκομίσας καὶ δεδωκώς, and adds, by way of assigning the reason: εἰ γὰρ καὶ τῇ γνώμῃ τῶν δεδωκότων τέλειος ἦν ὁ καρπός, ἀλλὰ τῇ χρεἰᾳ ἀτελὴς, οὔπω δεξαμένων ὧνπερ οὖν ἕνεκεν ἐδόθη. Without any ground in the text, Hofmann introduces bearers appointed on the part of the church, whom the apostle himself conducts to Jerusalem, thereby designating the gift to the recipients as one destined for them with his knowledge and will. Hofmann’s objection, that the interpretation given above rather suggests that it should be termed an unsealing than a sealing, is a cavil running counter to the figurative usage elsewhere of σφραγίζειν and σφραγίς, and which might just as aptly be applied to Hofmann’s own explanation.

Romans 15:28. τοῦτο οὖν ἐπιτελέσας: having brought this business to a close. It is a mistake to find in Paul’s use of ἐπιτελεῖν any reference to the performance of a religious rite: see 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:2, Galatians 3:3, Php 1:6. σφραγισάμενος αὐτοῖς τὸν καρπὸν τοῦτον. “This fruit” is, of course, the collection; it is one of the gracious results of the reception of the Gospel by the Gentiles, and Paul loves to conceive and to speak of it spiritually rather than materially. Thus in 2 Corinthians 8, 9 he calls it a χάρις, a διακονία, a κοινωνία, a ἁδρότης, a εὐλογία: never money. The point of the figure in σφραγισάμενος cannot be said to be clear. It may possibly suggest that Paul, in handing over the money to the saints, authenticates it to them as the fruit of their πνευματικά, which have been sown among the Gentiles (so . and H.); or it may only mean “when I have secured this fruit to them as their property” (so Meyer). The ideas of “property,” “security,” “formality,” “solemnity,” “finality,” are all associated with σφραγίς and σφραγίζω in different passages of the N.T., and it is impossible to say which preponderated in Paul’s mind as he wrote these words. Cf. John 3:33; John 6:27. ἀπελεύσομαι is simply abibo: the idea of departing from Jerusalem is included in it, which is not brought out in the R.V., “I will go on”. διʼ ὑμῶν: cf. 2 Corinthians 1:16. εἰς Σπανίαν: there is no evidence that this intention was ever carried out except the well-known passage in Clem. Romans 1:5 which speaks of Paul as having come ἐπὶ τὸ τέρμα τῆς δύσεως: an expression which, especially if the writer was a Jew, may as well mean Rome as Spain. But all the more if it was not carried out is this passage in Romans assuredly genuine; a second-century writer would not gratuitously ascribe to an apostle intentions which he must have known were never accomplished.

28. sealed] The metaphor is from a solemn ratification. St Paul, handing over to the Church at Jerusalem the “fruit,” or proceeds, of the Macedonian and Achaian collections, would thereby finally attest it to be now the full property of the receivers: he would put the seal of their ownership upon it.—Meyer suggests that the word indicates also the solemn close of his apostolic work in the East. It is not clear, however, that he would view the transition from the E. to the W. of the Adriatic as a wholly peculiar crisis.

Romans 15:28. Ἐπιτελέσας καὶ σφραγισάμενος) Words nearly related to each other, 2 Kings 22:4, וְיַתֵּס אֶת־הַכֶּסֶף, LXX., καὶ σφράγισον τὸ ἀργύριον, and seal the silver. Paul finished this first; nothing interrupted him, how eager soever he might be as to other objects, Acts 19:21. σφραγισάμενος, as soon as I shall have sealed, not only that they might perceive the good faith of him, who delivered it, but that they might also be confirmed in spiritual communion. ἀπελεύσομαι, I will go away) even though I may never be about to return from Spain. This is the force of the compound verb.—Σπανίαν, Spain) Paul does not seem to have reached Spain. A holy purpose often exists in the minds of godly men, which, although it is not fulfilled, is nevertheless precious [in God’s eyes], 2 Samuel 7:2; 2 Samuel 7:4.

Verses 28, 29. - When therefore I have accomplished this, and sealed to them (i.e. ratified and assured to them) this fruit, I will come away by you into Spain. And I know that when I come to you (ὑμᾶς here is intended emphatically) I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of Christ. How different from his anticipations were the circumstances of his first visit to Rome we know from the Acts. So man proposes, but God disposes, and all for final good (cf. Philippians 1:12, seq.). That he afterwards carried out his intention of visiting Spain cannot be alleged with certainty, though there is distinct evidence of an early tradition that he did so (Canon Muratori, Eusebius, Jerome, Theodoret. Cf. Clem. Romans, Ep. 1, who speaks of St. Paul having gone to "the boundaries of the West"). Certainly before the end of his detention at Rome he had given up any idea he might have had of going thence at once to Spain; for cf. Philippians 2:19; Philemon 1:22; which Epistles are believed, on good grounds, to have been written during that detention. Still, he may have gone during the interval between his release and his final captivity at Rome, during which the pastoral Epistles were probably written. In what follows (vers. 30-32) some apprehension of dangers attending his visit to Jerusalem, which might possibly thwart his intentions, already appears; sounding like an undertone allaying the confidence of the hope previously expressed. In the course of his progress to Jerusalem this apprehension appears to have grown upon him; for see Acts 20:22, 23, 28; Acts 21:4, 11-14). It may be here observed that such signs, evidently unintentional, of conflicting feelings in the letter, and such consistency between the letter and the narrative, are strong confirmations of the genuineness of both. Romans 15:28Sealed - this fruit

Secured to them the product of the contribution. See on John 3:33; see on Revelation 22:10.

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