Romans 3:30
Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
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(30) Seeing it is . . .—With a slight change of reading, if at least; if, as we are sure is the case.

The argument is strictly logical. If there is to be any distinction between Jew and Gentile, this can only be upon the assumption either that there are more gods than one by whom they will be justified, or that they will be justified by some different law, in some different way. But neither of these is the case. Therefore it follows that there is no distinction.

Shall justify.—The future signifies, “throughout the Christian dispensation”—wherever the Christian system extends.

By faith.Through faith. In the one case faith is regarded as the instrument, in the other as the means; but the two expressions come to be almost convertible. In like manner there is no essential difference indicated by the fact that the first noun has not the article, while the second has it. The former is more abstract—the quality of faith in man; the latter more concrete—faith as embodied in the gospel. The two prepositions, “by” and “through,” are in English nearly convertible, or differ from each other no more than “instrument” and “means.”

3:27-31 God will have the great work of the justification and salvation of sinners carried on from first to last, so as to shut out boasting. Now, if we were saved by our own works, boasting would not be excluded. But the way of justification by faith for ever shuts out boasting. Yet believers are not left to be lawless; faith is a law, it is a working grace, wherever it is in truth. By faith, not in this matter an act of obedience, or a good work, but forming the relation between Christ and the sinner, which renders it proper that the believer should be pardoned and justified for the sake of the Saviour, and that the unbeliever who is not thus united or related to him, should remain under condemnation. The law is still of use to convince us of what is past, and to direct us for the future. Though we cannot be saved by it as a covenant, yet we own and submit to it, as a rule in the hand of the Mediator.Is he the God ... - The Jews supposed that he was the God of their nation only, that they only were to be admitted to his favor. In these verses Paul showed that as all had alike sinned, Jews and Gentiles; and as the plan of salvation by faith was adapted to sinners, without any special reference to Jews; so God could show favors to all, and all might be admitted on the same terms to the benefits of the plan of salvation.

It is one God - The same God, there is but one, and his plan is equally suited to Jews and Gentiles.

The circumcision - Those who are circumcised - the Jews.

The uncircumcision - Gentiles; all who were not Jews.

By faith ...through faith - There is no difference in the meaning of these expressions. Both denote that faith is the instrumental cause of justification, or acceptance with God.

30. it is one God who shall justify—"has unchangeably fixed that He shall justify."

the circumcision by—"of"

faith, and the uncircumcision through faith—probably this is but a varied statement of the same truth for greater emphasis (see Ro 3:22); though Bengel thinks that the justification of the Jews, as the born heirs of the promise, may be here purposely said to be "of faith," while that of the Gentiles, previously "strangers to the covenants of promise," may be said to be "through faith," as thus admitted into a new family.


That it may not be thought that God is variable in the action of justifying sinners, but that it might be known that he is one, i.e. unchangeable, he shows, that both the circumcised Jews and uncircumcised Gentiles are justified by the same God in Christ, and by the same way and manner, viz. by and through faith, with no more difference than there is betwixt these two phrases, (by faith and through faith), which cannot be distinguished the one from the other. Seeing it is one God,.... God is one in nature and essence, though there are three persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; whence it appears, that he that is the God of the Jews, is also the God of the Gentiles, or there would be more gods than one; and that these are justified in one and the same manner, or God must be divided; for God, as he is one in nature, so he is one in will, in his promises, and in the methods of his grace:

which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. The objects of justification are "the circumcision", the circumcised Jews, and "the uncircumcision", the uncircumcised Gentiles; the circumcision of the one does not forward, and the uncircumcision of the other does not hinder, nor neither of them effect the grace of justification: the justifier of them is one and the same, who is God; and the matter of their justification is the same, which is the righteousness of Christ; and the manner of it, or the means of their comfortable apprehension of it, is the same; for those phrases, "by faith", and "through faith", mean one and the same thing; see Philippians 3:9.

Seeing it is one God, which shall justify {g} the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

(g) The circumcised.

Romans 3:30 is to be divided from the previous one merely by a comma. Regarding ἐπείπερ, whereas (in the N. T. only here) introducing something undoubted, see Hermann, a[929] Viger. p. 786; Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 342 f.; Baeumlein, p. 204

The unity of God implies that He is God, not merely of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles; for otherwise another special Deity must rule over the Gentiles, which would do away with monotheism.

ὃς δικαιώσει] who shall (therefore) justify. This exposition contains that which necessarily follows from the unity of God, in so far as it conditions for both parties one mode of justification (which however must be χωρὶς ἔργων, Romans 3:28). For Jews as well as for Gentiles He must have destined the way of righteousness by faith as the way of salvation. The future is neither put for δικαιοῖ (Grotius, and many others), nor to be referred with Beza and Fritzsche to the time of the final judgment, nor to be taken as the future of inference (Rückert, Mehring, Hofmann), but is to be understood as in Romans 3:20 of every case of justification to be accomplished. Erasmus rightly says, “Respexit enim ad eos, qui adhuc essent in Judaismo seu paganismo.”

The exchange of ἐκ and διὰ is to be viewed as accidental, without real difference, but also without the purpose of avoiding misconception (Mehring). Comp Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:8; Ephesians 2:8. Unsuitable, especially for the important closing thought, is the view of Calvin, followed by Jatho, that there is an irony in the difference: “Si quis vult habere differentiam gentilis a Judaeo, hanc habeat, quod ille per fidem, hic vero ex fide justitiam consequitur.” Theodore of Mopsuestia, Wetstein, Bengel, Hofmann, and others explain it by various other gratuitous suggestions;[931] van Hengel is doubtful.

The interchange of πίστεως and Τῆς ΠΊΣΤ. (from faith—through the faith), in which the qualitative expression advances to the concrete with the article, is also without special design, as similar accidental interchanges often occur in parallel clauses (Winer, p. 110 [E. T. 149]).

[929] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[931] Bengel: “Judaei pridem in fide fuerant; gentiles fidem ab illis recens nacti erant.” Comp. Origen. Similarly Matthias: in the case of the circumcised faith appears as the ground, in that of the uncircumcised as the means of justification; ἐκ πίστ. signifies: because they believe, διά τ. πίστ.: if they believe. In the case of the circumcised faith is presupposed as covenant-faithfulness. Comp. also Bisping. According to Hofmann, Paul is supposed to have said in the case of the circumcised in consequence of faith, because these wish to become righteous in consequence of legal works; but in the case of the uncircumcised by means of faith, because with the latter no other possible way of becoming righteous was conceivable. In the former instance faith is the preceding condition; in the latter the faith existing for the purpose of justification (therefore accompanied by the article) is the means, by which God, who works it, helps to righteousness. This amounts to a subjective invention of subtleties which are equally incapable of proof as of refutation, but which are all the more groundless, seeing that Paul is fond of such interchanges of prepositions in setting forth the same relation (comp. ver. 25 f., and on 2 Corinthians 3:11, and Ephesians 1:7). How frequent are similar interchanges also in classic authors! Moreover, in our passage the stress is by no means on the prepositions (Hofmann), but on περιτομήν and ἀκροβυστίαν. And as to the variation of the prepositions, Augustine has properly observed (de Spir. et lit. 29) that this interchange serves non ad aliquam differentiam, but ad varietatem locutionis. Comp. on ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῦν (here said of Jews) also of Gentiles, Galatians 3:8; Romans 9:30, and generally Romans 1:17.30. seeing it is one God] This ver. may be lit. rendered thus: If indeed God is one, who will (= and He will) justify the circumcision in consequence of faith, and the uncircumcision by means of its faith. “If indeed” is an argumentative formula, assuming its hypothesis to be true. Q. d., “God is one; hence it is but likely that His action on this great principle will be one also.”—“Will justify:” this future, like many others in this argument, refers to what is and will be the Divine method through the Gospel age.—“The circumcision in consequence of faith, and the uncircumcision by means of, &c.” It is hardly possible that a distinction is to be insisted on here, as the point of the passage is similarity, equality, oneness, in regard of justification. The fulness of thought and language delights, as it were, to dwell on justifying faith in one case as God’s reason why pardon is applied to the believer, in the other as the believer’s way of accepting the pardon. The whole passage proves that Jewish and Gentile faith is one and the same in kind and effect.Romans 3:30. Επεἱπὲρ,[41] seeing that indeed) The inference is: if justification be by the law, then the Gentiles, who are without the law, cannot be justified; and yet they also rejoice in God, as a justifier, ch. Romans 4:16.—εἷς) ΕἿς, Ὁ ΘΕῸς, one, namely God; the relative who depends on one, as its antecedent.—δικαιώσει, shall justify) The future, as we find it in many other passages, ch. Romans 1:17, Romans 3:20, v. 19, 27; 2 Corinthians 3:8, therefore, we have in express terms, μέλλοντος, that was to come, ch. Romans 5:14; μέλλει, will be, ch. Romans 4:24. Paul speaks as if he were looking forward out of the Old Testament [from the Old Testament stand-point] into the New. It is to this that those expressions refer, ex. gr., foreseeing, Galatians 3:8; the promise, ib. 14; the hope, ib. Romans 5:5. So John is said to be about to come, Matthew 11:14; Matthew 17:11; the wrath to come, Matthew 3:7, where we have the discourse of the forerunner, which presupposes the threatenings.[42]—ἘΚ ΔΙᾺ, of or out of [by, Engl. Vers.]—through) The Jews had been long ago in the faith; the Gentiles had lately obtained faith from them. So through is used, Romans 3:22; Ephesians 2:8; of or out of [by, ἐκ] in a number of passages. It is well [right] by all means to compare the same difference in the particles in ch. Romans 2:27; and difference in the thing signified [i.e., the different footing of the Jew and Gentile] ch. Romans 11:17, etc.—διὰ τῆς) He does not say, ΔΙᾺ ΤῊΝ ΠΊΣΤΙΝ, on account of faith, but through faith.

[41] So ΛG; “quoniam quidem unus,” fg Vulg. Iren. 186, 259. But ABC Orig. 4,228a, read ἐιπερ εἷς; “si quidem unus,” in g.—ED.

[42] i.e., the wrath to come is taken for granted from the Old Testament; John’s part is to warn them to flee from it.—ED.Verse 30. - If indeed (εἴπερ rather than ἐπείπερ, as in the Textus Receptus) God is one, who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Here the unity of God is given as the reason of his being the God of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. So also, 1 Timothy 2:5, εῖς γὰρ Θεὸς is the reason why he wills all men to be saved. It is of importance to grasp St. Paul's idea in his assertions of the unity of God. It is not that of numerical unity, but what may be called the unity of quality; i.e. not a mere assertion of monotheism as against polytheism, but that the one God is one and the same to all, comprehending all in the embrace of his own essential unity. God's unity involved in St. Paul's mind the idea of "One God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him" (1 Corinthians 8:6); "who made of one blood every nation of men" (Acts 17:26); in whom we (all of us) "live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Thus exclusion of the Gentiles from the paternal embrace of the one God is incompatible with the very idea, so conceived, of his unity. In the latter part of this verse it is said that God will justify the circumcision ἐκ πίστεως, and the uncircumcision διὰ τῆς πίστεως, the preposition being changed, and the second πίστεως being preceded by the article. The difference is not of essential importance, "faith" being the emphatic word. But it is not unmeaning. Ἐκ expresses the principle of justification; διὰ, the medium through which it may be had. The Jew was already in a position for justification through the Law leading up to Christ. He had only to accept it as of faith, and not of works of law (ver. 20). The Gentile must attain to it through faith; i.e. his faith in the gospel now revealed to him. Ἐπὶ τῶν Ἰουδαίων τὸ ἀκ πίστεως τέθεικεν ὡς α}ν ἐγόντων μὲν καὶ ἑτέρας ἀφορμὰς πρὸς δικαίωσιν, πίστεως (Theodorus). By faith - through faith (ἐκ - διά)

Some make the two prepositions equivalent. The difference may be explained from the fact that the real Jew has already a germinating faith from the completion of which justification arises as fruit from a tree. So Wordsworth: "The Jews are justified out of (ἐκ) the faith which their father Abraham had, and which they are supposed to have in him The Gentiles must enter that door and pass through it in order to be justified." Compare Ephesians 2:17.

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