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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Romans 8:8-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 11, 2016

This post is excerpted from Homilies 13 and 14 on Romans.

Now this is again a much greater honor than the first. And this is why he does not say merely, As many as live4 by the Spirit of God, but, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God,” to show that he would have Him use such power over our life as a pilot doth over a ship, or a charioteer over a pair of horses. And it is not the body only, but the soul itself too, that he is for setting under reins of this sort. For he would not have even that independent, but place its authority5 also under the power of the Spirit. For lest through a confidence in the Gift of the Font they should turn negligent of their conversation after it, he would say, that even supposing you receive baptism, yet if you are not minded to be “led by the Spirit” afterwards, you lose the dignity bestowed upon you, and the pre-eminence of your adoption. This is why he does not say, As many as have received the Spirit, but, “as many as are led by the Spirit,” that is, as many as live up to this all their life long, “they are the sons of God.” Then since this dignity was given to the Jews also, for it says, “I said ye are Gods, and all of you children of the Most High” (Ps. 82:6); and again, “I have nourished and brought up children” (Is. 1:2); and so, “Israel is My first-born” (Ex. 4:22); and Paul too says, “Whose is the adoption” (Rom. 9:4)—he next asserts the great difference between the latter and the former honor. For though the names are the same, he means, still, the things are not the same. And of these points he gives a clear demonstration, by introducing a comparison drawn both from the persons so advanced (κατορθούντων) and from what was given them, and from what was to come. And first he shows what they of old had given them. What then was this? “A spirit of bondage:” and so he thus proceeds,

Ver. 15. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.”

Then not staying to mention that which stands in contradistinction to bondage, that is, the spirit of freedom, he has named what is far greater, that of adoption, through which he at the same time brings in the other, saying, “But ye have received the Spirit of adoption.”

But this is plain. But what the spirit of bondage may be, is not so plain, and there is need of making it clearer. Now what he says is so far from being clear, that it is in fact very perplexing. For the people of the Jews did not receive the Spirit. What then is his meaning here? It is the letter he giveth this name to, for spiritual it was, and so he called the Law spiritual also, and the water from the Rock, and the Manna. “For they did eat,” he says, “of the same spiritual meat, and all drank of the same spiritual drink.” (1 Cor. 10:3, 4.) And to the Rock he gives this name, when he says, “For they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them.” Now it is because all the rites then wrought were above nature that he calls them spiritual, and not because those who then partook of them received the Spirit. And in what sense were those letters; letters of bondage? Set before yourself the whole dispensation, and then you will have a clear view of this also. For recompenses were with them close at hand, and the reward followed forthwith, being at once proportionate, and like a kind of daily ration given to domestic servants, and terrors in abundance came to their height before their eyes, and their purifications concerned their bodies, and their continency extended but to their actions. But with us it is not so, since the imagination even and the conscience getteth purged out. For He does not say, “Thou shalt do no murder,” only, but even thou shalt not be angry: so too, it is not, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” but thou shalt not look unchastely. So that it is not to be from fear of present punishment, but out of desire towards Himself, that both our being habitually virtuous, and all our single good deeds are to come. Neither doth he promise a land flowing with milk and honey, but maketh us joint-heir with the Only-Begotten, so making us by every means stand aloof from things present, and promising to give such things especially as are worth the acceptance of men made sons of God, nothing, that is, of a sensible kind or corporeal, but spiritual all of them. And so they, even if they had the name of sons, were but as slaves; but we as having been made free, have received the adoption, and are waiting for Heaven. And with them He discoursed through the intervention of others, with us by Himself. And all that they did was through the impulse of fear, but the spiritual act through a coveting and a vehement desire. And this they show by the fact of their1 overstepping the commandments. They, as hirelings and obstinate persons, so never left murmuring: but these do all for the pleasing of the Father. So too they blasphemed when they had benefits done them: but we are thankful at being jeoparded. And if there be need of punishing both of us upon our sinning, even in this case the difference is great. For it is not on being stoned and branded and maimed by the priests, as they were, that we are brought round. But it is enough for us to be cast out from our Father’s table, and to be out of sight for certain days. And with the Jews the honor of adoption was one of name only, but here the reality followed also, the cleansing of Baptism, the giving of the Spirit, the furnishing of the other blessings. And there are several other points besides, which go to show our high birth and their low condition. After intimating all these then by speaking of the Spirit, and fear, and the adoption, he gives a fresh proof again of having the Spirit of adoption. Now what is this? That “we cry, Abba, Father.” And how great this is, the initiated know (St. Cyr. Jer. Cat. 23, § 11, p. 276, O. T.), being with good reason bidden to use this word first in the Prayer of the initiated. What then, it may be said, did not they also call God Father? Dost thou not hear Moses, when he says, “Thou desertedst the God that begot thee?” (Deut. 32:15. LXX.) Dost thou not hear Malachi reproaching them, and saying, that “one God formed you,” and there is “one Father of you all?” (Mal. 2:10. LXX.) Still, if these words and others besides are used, we do not find them anywhere calling God by the name, or praying in this language. But we all, priests and laymen, rulers and ruled, are ordered to pray herein. And this is the first language we give utterance to, after those marvellous throes, and that strange and unusual mode of labor. If in any other instances they so called Him, that was only of their own mind. But those in the state of grace do it through being moved by the in-working of the Spirit. For as there is a Spirit of Wisdom, after which they that were unwise became wise, and this discloses itself in their teaching: and a Spirit of Power there is, whereby the feeble raised up the dead, and drove out devils; a Spirit also of the gift of healing, and a Spirit of prophecy, and a Spirit of tongues, so also a Spirit of adoption. And as we know the Spirit of prophecy, in that he who hath it foretelleth things to come, not speaking of his own mind, but moved by the Grace; so too is the Spirit of adoption, whereby he that is gifted with it calleth God, Father, as moved by the Spirit. Wishing to express this as a most true descent, he used also the Hebrew1 tongue, for he does not say only, “Father,” but “Abba, Father,” which name is a special sign of true-born children to their fathers. After mentioning then the diversity resulting from their conversation, that resulting from the grace which had been given, and that from their freedom, he brings forward another demonstration of the superiority which goes with this adoption. Now of what kind is this?

Ver. 16. “The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

For it is not from the language merely, he says, that I make my assertion, but from the cause out of which the language has its birth; since it is from the Spirit suggesting it that we so speak. And this in another passage he has put into plainer words, thus: “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba Father.” (Gal. 4:6.) And what is that, “Spirit beareth witness with spirit?” The Comforter, he means, with that Gift, which is given unto us. For it is not of the Gift alone that it is the voice, but of the Comforter also who gave the Gift, He Himself having taught us through the Gift so to speak. But when the “Spirit beareth witness,” what farther place for doubtfulness? For if it were a man, or angel, or archangel, or any other such power that promised this, then there might be reason in some doubting. But when it is the Highest Essence that bestoweth this Gift, and “beareth witness” by the very words He bade us use in prayer, who would doubt any more of our dignity? For not even when the Emperor elects any one, and proclaims in all men’s hearing the honor done him, does anybody venture to gainsay.

Ver. 17. “And if children, then heirs.”

Observe how he enhances the Gift by little and little. For since it is a possible case to be children, and yet not become heirs (for it is not by any means all children that are heirs), he adds this besides—that we are heirs. But the Jews, besides their not having the same adoption as we, were also cast out from the inheritance. For “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out the vineyard to other husbandmen” (Matt. 21:41): and before this, He said that “many shall come from the East and from the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, but the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out.” (ib. 8:11, 12.) But even here he does not pause, but sets down something even greater than this. What may this be then? That we are heirs of God; and so he adds, “heirs of God.” And what is more still, that we are not simply heirs, but also “joints heirs with Christ.” Observe how ambitious he is of bringing us near to the Master. For since it is not all children that are heirs, he shows that we are both children and heirs; next, as it is not all heirs that are heirs to any great amount, he shows that we have this point with us too, as we are heirs of God. Again, since it were possible to be God’s heir, but in no sense “joint heir with” the Only-Begotten, he shows that we have this also. And consider his wisdom. For after throwing the distasteful part into a short compass, when he was saying what was to become of such as “live after the flesh,” for instance, that they “shall die,” when he comes to the more soothing part, he leadeth forth his discourse into a large room, and so expands it on the recompense of rewards, and in pointing out that the gifts too are manifold and great. For if even the being a child were a grace unspeakable, just think how great a thing it is to be heir! But if this be great, much more is it to be “joint heir.” Then to show that the Gift is not of grace only, and to give at the same time a credibility to what he says, he proceeds, “If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” If, he would say, we be sharers with Him in what is painful, much more shall it be so in what is good. For He who bestowed such blessings upon those who had wrought no good, how, when He seeth them laboring and suffering so much, shall he do else than give them greater requital? Having then shown that the thing was a matter of return, to make men give credit to what was said, and prevent any from doubting, he shows further that it has the virtue of a gift. The one he showed, that what was said might gain credit even with those that doubted, and that the receivers of it might not feel ashamed as being evermore receiving salvation for nought; and the other, that you might see that God outdoeth the toils by His recompenses. And the one he has shown in the words, “If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” But the other in proceeding to add;

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 10:9-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 17, 2015

To help provide context this post includes Fr. Callan’s brief summaries of Romans 10:5-13 and 10:14-21.

THE JUSTICE OF THE LAW AND THE JUSTICE OF FAITH

A Summary of Romans 10:5-13~The Apostle speaks in these verses, first of the justice of the Law, as contrasted with the justice of faith; he then shows that this latter is also necessary for the salvation of the Jews; there is no distinction, both Jew and Gentile must be saved by faith.

9. For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

The Apostle explains yet more clearly what is required in order to have part in the salvation of Christ. Not only is it necessary to believe, but thou must also confess with thy mouth, i.e., make public confession that Jesus is Lord (the literal order) of the universe, and therefore truly God. This means a public confession of Christ’s Divinity, such as was required before Baptism (Acts 8:37; Acts 16:31). Further, besides believing and confessing the Incarnation of the Son of God, it is necessary to believe in His Resurrection from the dead. Paul mentions these two mysteries because they are the principal ones of Christianity, those on which all others depend. If he speaks first of external, and then of internal faith, it is only because he is following the order of Moses’ words, which speak of the mouth first, and secondly of the heart.

10. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.

St. Paul here returns to the natural order and speaks first of internal belief, and then of external profession of faith.

With the heart, etc., i.e., the internal act of faith is the beginning and foundation of justification.

We believe. More literally, Faith is formed (πιστευεται), i.e., a state of faith is formed on our part, as the present tense indicates. The phrase  εις δικαιοσυνην, and not εις δικαιωσιν, shows that one attains real justice, and not a mere declaration of it, just as salvation will be really possessed (Lagrange).

Confession . . . unto salvation, i.e., salvation will follow upon our faith and justification, provided we persevere to the end of life in the justification we have received, and do not fail to make at times external profession of our faith. Again the present tense, ομολογειται, marks a state of justice, and not a mere act, on man’s part. Of course, justification, if ever lost through mortal sin, can always be regained by a proper use of the Sacrament of Penance.

11. For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in him, shall not be confounded.

The New Dispensation is one of faith which gives to all the same rights to salvation. This doctrine of faith, however, is not new, having been already announced by the scripture, i.e., by Isaiah 28:16. St. Paul had previously (Rom 9:33) quoted these same words of the Prophet; but here he adds the word πας, whosoever, to the text of Isaiah, in order to express more clearly the universality of salvation through faith.

In him, in the context of Isaias, refers to the “corner-stone,” which was a figure of Christ.

Shall not be confounded, because through faith in Christ we are reconciled with God and have a firm hope of attaining salvation.

12. For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord oyer all, rich unto all that call upon him.

There is no distinction, etc. The Apostle had used the same argument, only more openly, to prove the universality of salvation in Rom 3:29. There he said God was the God of the Gentiles as well as the Jews; here he insists that both have the same Saviour.

Lord means Jesus Christ (Cornely, Lagrange, etc.), and not God the Creator, as some of the older commentators thought, because there is question here of faith in Christ. Jesus is the κυριος παντων, Lord over all, as in Acts 10:36; Philip 2:11.

Rich unto all, because by His death Christ has provided an infinite treasury of merits (Eph 3:8) which He holds at the disposition of all, on condition that they call upon him, i.e., that they believe in Him with their hearts and confess Him with their mouth (verse 10).

13. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

St. Paul appeals to the Prophet Joel 2:32 (3:2 in NAB and other translations) to prove that whosoever will call upon the name of Jesus shall be saved. The same text from Joel was quoted by St. Peter in his sermon to the faithful on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:21). The Apostle applies to Christ what Joel had said of Yahweh, which is a clear proof of the Divinity of Jesus.

THE JEWS REFUSED TO BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL

A Summary of Romans 10:14-21~In these verses St. Paul shows all that God has done to lead the Jews to the faith. He has shown already (verse 3) that they misunderstood the justice of God, although it was easily within their reach to grasp and understand, if only they would have had faith (verses 6-13). Now he goes on to prove that they could have made this act of faith, and that if they have not done so, it is manifestly their own fault. Faith should be supported by authorized preaching, and such preaching faith has had, as Isaias proves. But all have not believed. Yet they have heard and understood, and it is their own fault if they have not believed. Cf. St. Chrys., Lagr., h. 1.

14. How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher?
15. And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things!

In the preceding verse it was said that invocation of the name of Christ was necessary for salvation. But to invoke a person, it is first necessary to believe in him; and to believe, one must first have learned. One learns through preaching, provided the preaching be duly authorized and reliable. These conditions being presupposed, there is no reason for not believing.

Preaching, therefore, is the ordinary means of learning the truths of faith; but it must be done by those who have the proper authority and the right to preach : there are many pseudo-apostles and pseudo-prophets (2 Cor. 11:13; Titus 1:11). God, of course, is free to make known the truths of salvation otherwise than through preaching, if He wishes, but that would be something out of His ordinary way of acting.

How shall they believe him, etc. The Vulgate querm non audierunt, corresponding to the Greek ου ουκ ηκουσαν (hou ouk ekousan = whom they have not heard), would seem to suggest that those who had not heard Christ could not believe in Him. But ηκουσαν (ekousan = heard) with the genitive sometimes means in classic Greek to hear of or about a person (Cornely). Our English translation, “of whom they have not heard,” is therefore correct, and the Vulgate should read, de quo non audierunt. At any rate, the fact that very few who were then living had seen Christ or heard Him was an argument for the necessity of duly authorized preachers, Apostles, envoys of Christ.

Unless they be sent, i.e., by God, either directly, as was St. Paul himself, or indirectly, through the authority constituted by God, as are all those who receive their commission from the Apostolic body and Church instituted and empowered by Christ. This Apostolate which, through its preaching, is to convert souls to Christ, had already been foretold by Isaias 52:7. The citation is more according to the Hebrew than the LXX. The Prophet’s words refer literally to the messengers who announced the fall of Babylon and the return of the Jews from captivity; but in their mystical sense, as here used by St. Paul, they have reference to the preachers of the Gospel.

Of them that preach the gospel of peace is an addition to Isaias which is not found in the best Greek MSS.

Glad tidings, etc., literally refers to the announcement made by the messengers of whom Isaias spoke, but figuratively, to the preachers of the Gospel of Christ.

16. But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report?

Although the Gospel was preached, St. Paul here affirms that generally, especially by the Jews, it was not obeyed. He says all do not, etc.; better, “all have not,” etc., simply to soften, as much as possible, the sad truth of Jewish indifference and obduracy. This deplorable fact of disobedience to the Gospel and to the preaching of the Apostles was foretold by Isaias 53:1, whom St. Paul cites almost literally according to the LXX. The word Lord is added to the citation. Isaias was about to describe the passion and humiliation of the future Messiah, and he cried out full of anguish and fear, who will believe what I am going to announce? How few they were who afterwards did believe in the Messiah we are told by St. John 12:
37, 38.

Our report literally means “our hearing,” i.e., our preaching, what they heard from us.

To conform to the Greek the obediunt of the Vulgate ought to be
obedierunt.

17. Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.

As said above (verse 14), faith cometh by hearing, i.e., by preaching, according to God’s ordinary Providence, and hearing,
i.e., preaching, comes by the word of Christ, i.e., by the commission and mandate of Christ given to the Apostles and their successors (Cornely), or by the word revealed through Christ (Lagr.).

18. But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.

St. Paul anticipates an objection or excuse on the part of the Jews. Will they, i.e., the Jews, say they have not heard the preaching of the Gospel? That they certainly have heard it, he proceeds to prove by a quotation from Psalm 19:4, cited according to the LXX. The Psalmist is speaking of the glory of God being declared by the heavens; and St. Paul, accommodating the text to his purpose (Cornely, Zahn, etc.), says that as the heavens declare everywhere the glory of the Creator, so has the preaching of the Gospel been heard everywhere in the world. Hence there is no excuse for the incredulity of the Jews.
All the earth and the ends of the whole world are obviously hyperboles, used to express a great truth. The Apostle merely wishes to say that the Gospel was then widely known in the Roman world, and so could not be unknown to the Jews (cf. Acts 1:8).

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 10:9-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 17, 2015

This post opens with a brief summary analysis of chapter 10, followed by Fr. MacEvilly’s notes on Verses 9-18. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF ROMANS CHAPTER 10

In this chapter, the Apostle continues the subject of the rejection of the Jews, and dilates on the cause of this rejection, as assigned, verse 30, of the preceding; but in order to remove the harshness involved in the announcement of the rejection of the Jews, he expresses his affectionate feelings towards them, and his anxious desire for their salvation (verse 1). He bears testimony to their zeal—a zeal, however, which missed its true object, Christ (1–4). Having referred (verse 3), to the system of justice at variance with the true justice of God, which the Jews vainly endeavoured to establish, he proves from Moses the superiority of the justice by faith (5–8), and he reduces the duties of a Christian life to two heads, faith in the heart and its external profession, both of which, of course, accompanied with the other conditions which faith prescribes, confer justice on all men, without distinction of Jew or Gentile (8–13).

He takes occasion to justify his mission of preaching among the Gentiles, since otherwise they would not become partakers of the blessings which God had designed for them as well as for the Jews (14–16). He shows, from Moses and Isaias, that God had determined to call the Gentiles, and to reject the Jews, on account of their obstinacy and resistance to his gracious calls and invitations (17–21).

Rom 10:9 For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ‎

If, then, you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, that Jesus Christ our Lord is Son of God, and became incarnate and suffered for us, and that God raised him from the dead, you shall obtain the salvation of true justice here, and of eternal glory hereafter.

All you require is, to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who descended from heaven, became man, and died for us, and believe in his resurrection, or “that God hath raised him,” &c., and profess the same externally, and you “shall be saved,” i.e., you shall obtain not temporal life—the reward of the law—but life eternal. The raising of Christ from the dead being an act of power, is, by appropriation, ascribed to God the Father. These are the leading articles of our faith. Of course, under them are included the other articles of faith necessary to be believed, together with faith, hope, charity, without which, man, although he have true faith, cannot be saved. The words, “thou shalt be saved,” like the attribute of every affirmative proposition, are understood restrictively. Instead, then, of going up to heaven to bring down Christ, or descending to the abyss, all you require is, to believe in your heart and profess with your mouth, that Christ did come, &c., and “you shall be saved,” the other conditions, the principal of which is the performance of good works, being observed.

Romans 10:10 For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. ‎

For, the interior assent and faith of the heart is required to obtain justice, but the external profession of the same faith is necessary to preserve this justice and obtain final salvation.

The external profession of our faith is, sometimes, an imperative duty, under pain of mortal sin, and, therefore, necessary to preserve justice and sanctifying grace.

Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded. ‎

This is clearly proved from Scripture (Isaias 38:16), Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded, or frustrated in his expectations.

He proves the truth of his assertion (verse 9), viz., that by believing in Christ, whosoever thou art, “thou shalt be saved.” This he shows from the prophet Isaias (28.) Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded, i.e., frustrated in his expectation. Hence, he is here treating of faith to which hope is annexed—(See 9:33). The prophecy of Isaias, just quoted, regards the Messiah, since by “him” is meant the Messiah.

Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him. ‎

By saying, “whosoever,” the Scripture removes all distinction, whether of Jew or Gentile, without exception; for God is equally the Supreme Lord of all, and the riches of his bounty are held out to all who sincerely invoke Jesus as the Messiah.

The Apostle assigns a reason, why no distinction should be made between Jew and Gentile; because God is equally the Supreme Lord of all, and “rich,” i.e., bountiful towards all who invoke him, and profess him to be the Son of God.

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ‎

We have in proof of this, the testimony of the prophet Joel (2:32), Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved.

He proves from the prophet (Joel 2) that God is bountiful to all, without exception, who call on his name, “Whosoever shall call,” etc. We have the authority of St. Peter (Acts, 2:17–37), that these words of Joel are to be referred to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? ‎

But since we must believe in God before invoking his name, how can men invoke God in whom they have not believed? or, how shall they be able to believe in him, unless they first hear of him? or, how shall they be able to hear of him, unless there be some person to make him known to them by preaching?

The Apostle takes occasion, from the general promises of God regarding Jew and Gentile alike, to justify his own mission and preaching among the Gentiles. He shows the necessity of preaching, in order that they might be partakers in the rich blessings which God has in store for them; he proceeds, step by step, from invocation to faith; from faith to hearing; from hearing to preaching; from preaching to mission; so that, in a certain sense, mission becomes, in this summary recapitulation, the basis of our salvation; since, without this mission on the part of God, imparted to his preachers, the people shall not have true faith, nor the true worship of God. From this the Apostle leaves it to be inferred, that, as God is rich in bounty towards the Gentiles, and since, for the communication of his blessings, preaching the gospel with a legitimate mission is necessary, he himself has preached to the Gentiles by the orders and commission of God himself.

There are many Divines who, from this passage, undertake to prove the necessity of having a doctrine propounded by the true Church, before it can become a point even of divine faith; in other words, they assert that the proposition of a doctrine by the true Church enters the formal object of faith. At all events, we can clearly infer from this passage, that the preaching through a legitimate ministry is the ordinary means of imparting the true faith, and that God will not permanently impart his sanction to a system of faith promulgated by an uncommissioned teacher. In fact, it is clearly inferable that in the ordinary Providence of God, a divine mission and appointment are necessary for the due effect of preaching the Gospel; for, it is on this supposition that the Apostle’s argument in favour of his own mission among the Gentiles is based. God might, undoubtedly, by interior inspirations, teach an infidel the necessary truths of faith. He might also, if he pleased, aid, by the interior enlightenment of grace, the preaching of an heretical minister propounding, in a particular instance, revealed truth, so as to beget faith in the hearers; but, this is not in accordance with his ordinary Providence; nor can we admit for an instant, that he would give permanent stability to any system of faith emanating from such a teacher.

Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things? ‎

But how shall heralds of salvation preach him with permanent success, unless they are his own appointed messengers receiving a commission from him? It is of those preachers only, sent by divine commission, that we are to understand the words of the prophet (Isaias, 52:7): How joyous the approach of those preachers of the gospel, who announce to us peace, reconciliation with God, and all good things conducive to salvation!

As it is written (Isaias 52:7), “How beautiful.” i.e., such a mission from God is necessary, in order that the teachers would be the true heralds of salvation, in whom shall be verified the words of the prophet, “How beautiful,” &c. These words, in their literal and primary signification, refer to the messengers who first brought the news of the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, and in their mystical signification, to the preachers of the Gospel. The Apostle here follows, with the omission of the unimportant words, (upon the mountains), the Hebrew version, which runs thus: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and that preacheth peace; of him that sheweth forth good,” &c. The quotation differs widely from the Septuagint, which most probably had been corrupted in this passage of Isaias.

Rom 10:16 But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report? ‎

But, although the advent of the heralds of salvation is thus pleasing; still, all men do not obey the gospel. This, however, is not to be wondered at; since, it was predicted by Isaias, who, in the person of the Apostle, says, “how few have believed and obeyed the words they heard from us.”

“Our report,” in Greek, τῇ ἀκουῇ ἡμῶν, our hearing, or the doctrine heard from our preaching. He answers the objection by showing that this obduracy was predicted by Isaias.

Rom 10:17 Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ. ‎

From the foregoing (14–19), I conclude that faith comes from hearing, and the hearing, from which faith springs, comes from preaching the word of God.

This is the point which he wished to establish (verse 14), “How shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? “And hearing by the word of Christ.” In the ordinary Greek, ῤήματος θεου, the word of God. The chief MSS. have, Χριστου, “of Christ.”

Rom 10:18 But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily: Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the whole world.

But I ask, is it from want of hearing of the word of God that men have not embraced it? Certainly not. For, as the heavens, by their silent eloquence, proclaim the attributes and perfections of God throughout the entire extent of creation; so has the voice of the Apostles and of the heralds of divine truth been heard all over the globe.

Their sound hath gone forth,” &c. These words are quoted by the Apostle from Psalm 18:5, according to the Septuagint version of the Psalms. In their primary and literal signification, they refer to the heavenly bodies, and the order and harmony of the visible creation, which so eloquently proclaim the glory and attributes of God: but in their mystical signification, they refer to the preaching of the Apostles. In this sense they are to be regarded as a prophecy in the text of David, which prophecy, St. Paul announces, was about to be accomplished, and shall be gradually fulfilled before the end of the world; and hence, the Apostle, as well as the Psalmist, employs words of the past tense, “hath gone forth,” on account of the certainty of its accomplishment; or it might be said, that the prediction was really accomplished in the days of the Apostle; because the Apostles and the first heralds of salvation had announced the Gospel in the principal places of the world, from which the fame of their preaching had been heard throughout the rest of the globe. It is to be observed, that in this, and the following verse, 19, the Apostle meets a twofold objection, which the Jews might allege in excuse for their incredulity, viz., that they did not hear the Gospel, or were ignorant of its communication to the Gentiles, and so might be excused from embracing it. The first is answered in this verse., and the second, next verse, where Moses, their own favourite legislator, predicts the call of the Gentiles.—(Beelen).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 16:3-9, 16, 22-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 27, 2015

COMMENDATION OF PHOEBE, AND PARTICULAR GREETINGS TO MANY FRIENDS IN ROME
A Summary of Romans 16:1-16

That Phoebe, a deaconess of the community at Cenchrae, was the bearer of this letter to the Eternal City has been commonly believed by both ancient and modern interpreters, and is attested to by the subscriptions of many codices, Greek, Latin, Syriac and Coptic. Entrusting her with the care of this momentous Epistle, St. Paul considers Phoebe worthy of commendation to the Roman faithful for two reasons: first, because she is their, as well as his “sister,” that is, a Christian; and secondly, because of her kindly offices and helpfulness to many, including himself. After this follow special greetings to a number of converts and close friends of the Apostle.

Rom 16:3. Salute Prisca and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus,
Rom 16:4. (Who have for my life laid down their own necks: to whom not I
only give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles,)
Rom 16:5. And the church which is in their house. Salute Epenetus, my beloved:
who is the firstfruits of Asia in Christ.

Prisca and Aquila. Prisca, the wife of Aquila, was most likely of Jewish origin ; she is the same person as Priscilla of Acts 18:2, 18. Aquila was by birth a Jew of Pontus; his Latin cognomen probably came from his own, or his ancestors’ association with a Roman family. Both Aquila and Prisca were perhaps converted to the faith in Rome by St. Peter. St. Paul first met them in Corinth on his first visit there. They had lately come from Rome, having been driven from the Eternal City with other Jews and Christians by the edict of Claudius. Accompanying the Apostle to Ephesus they remained in that city and established a church in their house, while St. Paul went on his way to Jerusalem. They were there still, or again, when the first letter to the Corinthians was written (1 Cor. 16:19); later, when this present letter was written, as we see, they were in Rome; and some years later still they were again at Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:19).

The authenticity of this present passage has been questioned on account of the frequent change of abode on the part of Aquila and Prisca. But the following considerations will clear away the difficulty: (a) It was common among the Jews of this time often to change their home; (b) it is clear from this passage, from 1 Cor. 16:19, and from Acts 28:26, that Aquila and Prisca were engaged in propagating the Gospel; (c) it was only natural that they should wish to return to Rome to prepare for the Apostle’s advent there (Acts 19:21), and after his release from prison they would wish again to visit the faithful of Asia. They probably died at Ephesus some time after the writing of the Second Epistle to Timothy.

Since Aquila and Prisca, when at Ephesus the first time, knew of the Apostle’s intended Roman visit (Acts 19:21), and in all probability returned there to arrange for his coming, it is most reasonable to suppose that they communicated with him from Rome, giving him such information about friends and conditions there as would explain the list of salutations that follows here, and which also perhaps influenced in some measure the whole character of the present Epistle.

Who have for my life, etc., i.e., to save my life, etc. What were the sufferings here alluded to we do not know. That Aquila and Prisca, however, exposed their own lives to danger in order to save the Apostle is clear from this verse. The reference is doubtless to some such events as are spoken of in Acts 18:12 ff.; 19:23 ff.; 1 Cor. 15:23; 2 Cor. 11:26.

But also all the churches of the Gentiles, etc., whose members had been so much assisted by Aquila and Prisca at Corinth, at Ephesus, and at Rome.

The church which is in their house. The Apostle sends his salutations to those Christians who were accustomed to assemble in the house of Aquila and Prisca in Rome. This phrase seems to indicate that St. Paul had heard from Aquila and Prisca after their return to Rome. The faithful, in the early days of the Church, not having special buildings for the celebration of the divine mysteries, were accustomed to assemble in private houses, and there assist at the Holy Sacrifice, receive Holy Communion, listen to sermons and instructions, etc. (Acts 12:12; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philem. 2). Doubtless there were many such houses of worship in Rome and in other large cities.

There should be no parentheses enclosing verse 4.

Epenetus, who was a Gentile Christian, was probably converted at Ephesus by Aquila and Prisca and went with them to Rome.

The firstfruits of Asia, i.e., the first person, or among the first persons converted in the Roman Province of Asia, which had Ephesus for its capital, just as Stephanas, baptized by St. Paul himself, was among the firstfruits of Achaia (1 Cor. 16:15).

Rom 16:6. Salute Mary, who hath laboured much among you.

Mary was doubtless a Christian of Jewish origin, if the reading μαριαμ (Mariam = Miriam) is correct; but if we read with Soden μαριαν (Marian), the name may be either Jewish or Roman.

Among you. This phrase is read εις ημας εν υμας, and εις υμας in various MSS.; but the last reading, found in the best MSS.,
is to be preferred. What were the great services rendered to
the Church of Rome by this pious lady we do not know. Basically, εις ημας εν υμας would indicate that Mary has labored for the sake of St Paul and his missionaries; εις υμας indicates that she has labored for the sake of the the epistle’s recipients.

The in vobis of the Vulgate should be in vos.

Rom 16:7. Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and fellow prisoners: who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Andronicus, a Greek name often used by Jews.

Junias. The Greek ιουνιαν is probably the accusative of ιουνια, and thus, being feminine, would signify the wife or sister of Andronicus. It is also possible, however, that we have here an abbreviation of the masculine ιουνιανος, Junianus in Latin, which would mean a man.

My kinsmen, i.e., descendants from St. Paul’s own tribe of Benjamin. It is unlikely that “kinsmen” here means merely Jews, because this appellation is not applied to Aquila and Prisca, who were also Jews. We do not know when Andronicus and Junias were fellow prisoners with St. Paul.

Of note among the apostles, i.e., distinguished, esteemed among the Apostles, or by the Apostles (Cornely, Zahn), as having been converted to the faith before St. Paul, and consecrated to the work of the Apostles. They were not, however, Apostles in the strict sense of the term.

The Vulgate nobiles in apostolis=nobiles inter praedicatores, or
rather, apostolos (St. Thomas, Lagr.).

Rom 16:8. Salute Ampliatus, most beloved to me in the Lord.

Ampliatus is a Latin name found in inscriptions of the imperial household. In a chamber in the cemetery of Domitilla, one of the first of the Christian catacombs in Rome, there are two inscriptions, one of which contains in bold letters Ampliati, the other Aurel. Ampliatus; the first goes back to the end of the first or the beginning of the second century, and the other belongs to the end of the second century. It seems very probable that this is the Ampliatus of whom St. Paul here speaks. That he should have been buried in a richly painted tomb in Domitilla seems to show that he was very prominent among the early Roman Christians and dear to St. Paul by reason of his many virtues and great services.

The Vulgate dilectissimum should be dilectum. The word most before beloved in English should be omitted.

Rom 16:9. Salute Urbanus, our helper in Christ Jesus, and Stachys, my beloved.

Urbanus. A Roman name, common among slaves and frequently found in Latin inscriptions. St. Paul speaks of him as our helper, showing that he was a helper of the Roman Christians, rather than a personal friend of his own.

Stachys, a Greek name, but found in inscriptions of the imperial household. According to tradition St. Andrew made Stachys first Bishop of Byzantium.

Jesus (Vulg., Jesu) is not in the Greek.

Rom 16:16. Salute one another with an holy kiss. All the churches of Christ salute you.

Having enumerated the various persons to whom he wished his personal greetings to be conveyed, St. Paul bids all the Christians at Rome to salute one another in his name with a holy kiss. The Christians, after the manner of the Jews before them (Matt. 26:48; Luke v7:45; 22:48), were accustomed to greet one another with a kiss as a sign of charity; this custom became with the Christians a liturgical ceremony expressive of the unity and charity that prevailed among them, and was practiced especially at their religious reunions after the celebration of the divine mysteries (St. Justin, Apol. i. 65; Tertull., De Orat. 18; Const. Apost. ii. 57; etc.).

All the churches of Christ, etc. St. Paul is speaking in the name of all the Churches, perhaps because there were present with him as he wrote representatives of many, if not all, of the other Christian communities, and also because the Church of Rome was an object of special veneration to all the rest.

GREETINGS FROM ST. PAUL’S COMPANIONS
A Summary of Romans 16:21-24

This section is a postscript to the letter. Most probably St. Paul had intended to add the doxology immediately after his prayer for grace of verse 20, and thus terminate the Epistle. But remembering that he had not included the greetings of his companions, as was often his custom (1 Cor. 16:19 ff.; Philip, 4:21; Col. 4:10 ff.; 2 Tim. 4:21; Tit. 3:15; Philem. 23), he preferred to insert them between his prayer and the doxology rather than omit them altogether (Cornely). Perhaps this addition of greetings caused the Apostle to repeat in verse 24 the prayer of verse 20, as some critics hold, so that the doxology might immediately follow the prayer, as he had first intended.

Rom 16:22. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

I Tertius. St. Paul made use of a certain Tertius as secretary in writing the present Epistle. It was usual with the Apostle to dictate his letters (2 Thess. 3:17; Gal. 6:11; 1 Cor. 16:21; Col. 4:18; Philem. 19), but it was not customary for the secretary to include his personal greetings as here. Perhaps Tertius was known to the Romans, and so was told by St. Paul to add his own salutation.

Rom 16:23. Caius, my host, and the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, saluteth you, and Quartus, a brother.

Caius, also written Gains. This is very likely the person spoken of in 1 Cor. 1:14, a wealthy Corinthian, baptized by St. Paul during the latter’s first visit to Corinth. St. Paul doubtless enjoyed the hospitality of Caius throughout his stay at Corinth.

And the whole church. Better, “And the host of the whole church,” i.e., all the faithful of Corinth that were accustomed to assemble in the house of Caius for divine service (Origen, Lipsius, Julicher, etc.) ; or all the faithful that were freely permitted to come to Caius’ house while St. Paul was there (Kuhl); or all those Christians who were wont to seek the hospitality of Caius when passing through Corinth (St. Chrys., Cornely, Lagr., etc.).

Erastus does not seem to be the person by the same name of Acts 19:22, of whom St. Paul probably spoke in 2 Tim. 4:20.

The treasurer, i.e., the officer in charge of finances in the city of Corinth.

Quartus, as his name would indicate, was perhaps a Roman Christian, and therefore known to the Romans.

A brother, i.e., a Christian.

The Vulgate universa ecclesia ought to be in the genitive, universae
ecclesiae, as in the Greek.

Rom 16:24. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

This verse is usually regarded as a mere repetition, due to copyists, of verse 20b. It is wanting in the most ancient MSS. and in many versions.

THE FINAL DOXOLOGY
A Summary of Romans 16:25-27

From verse 22 we gather that the whole Epistle, up to the present section, was dictated by St. Paul to Tertius, his secretary. At this point the Apostle very probably took the pen in his own hand and wrote the doxology by way of solemn conclusion and signature.

The doxology sums up briefly, yet completely, the whole doctrine of the Epistle, reproducing its most significant language, and extolling the omnipotence of God which alone is able to confirm the neophytes in the faith they have received.

Rom 16:25. Now to him that is able to establish you, according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret from eternity,

To him that is able, etc., supposes, as its complement, “glory,” as in verse 27, ω η δοξα. A similar formula of praise the Apostle often made use of in other Epistles (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 3:21; Philip, 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 13:20).

To establish, etc. When he would be in Rome the Apostle hoped to confirm the Romans in the faith they had received (Rom 1:11), and meanwhile he prays that the grace of God, without which nothing can be accomplished, will stabilize and hold them fast in their faith.

According to my gospel, i.e., according to the Gospel which St. Paul preached everywhere (cf. Rom 2:16; 11:28; 2 Tim. 2:8), and which was the doctrine of Jesus Christ as also preached by the other Apostles. Although St. Paul in his preaching laid stress on the universality of salvation for all, Jews and Gentiles, and the gratuitousness of this salvation through faith alone, independently of antecedent personal merits or the works of the Law; and while the scope of his Gospel thus differed naturally to some extent from that of the other Apostles, since he was in particular the Apostle of the Gentiles, he was, nevertheless, like the others, always teaching the one Gospel of Christ, else how could he ask God to confirm the Romans, to whom he had never preached, in his Gospel, if it were something distinct from and contrary to the teaching of those others?

The preaching of Jesus Christ, i.e., the doctrine which Christ
had announced to the world and had commanded the Apostle to
preach; or, according to others, the doctrine which has for its
object Jesus Christ, dead and raised again to life (Comely, Kuhl,
etc.).

According to the revelation. This phrase is to be coordinated
with the previous one, “according to my gospel,” etc. ; and the
meaning is that this Gospel, this preaching, is the revelation of
a mystery, namely, the universality of salvation for all men, Jews
and Gentiles, through faith in Jesus Christ. This great mystery
God had decreed from all eternity, but had kept secret, until it was
made manifest in the appearance of Christ, in His life and
Resurrection and the preaching of the Apostles (Lagr.).

Rom 16:26. (Which now is made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the precept of the eternal God. for the obedience of faith), known among all nations;

Which now, i.e., by the corporal presence of Christ in this world, is made manifest, better, “hath been made manifest,” God’s eternal secret in the Person and life of Christ, His Only-begotten Son.

By the scriptures, etc., i.e., by the ancient prophetic writings, through which Christ and the Gospel were foreshadowed and announced, and of which the Apostles made use in their preaching and writing in confirmation of their teaching (Rom 1:2 3:21;
9:25, 26; 10:13, 15, 18, 20; 15:9-12; Eph. 3:21; Acts 2:17-21,
25-28; 13:47; 15:16, etc.).

For the obedience, etc., i.e., that the Gospel might be accepted, that men might believe in Jesus Christ—this was the aim and object of the revelation of the great mystery spoken of in the preceding verse, which was for all nations, Gentiles as well as Jews.

Rom 16:27. To God the only wise, through Jesus Christ, to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

By a prayer of praise to the wisdom of God the Apostle terminates his sublime Epistle to the Romans.

The only wise, i.e., whose infinite wisdom alone was able to guard His eternal secret and prepare His revelation for the redemption of man through Jesus Christ, His Only-begotten Son.

Honour (Vulg., honor) is not represented in the Greek. The
construction of the verse is made irregular by the relative ω (ho = “to whom”) which, however, seems to be undoubtedly authentic, as being found in the best MSS., and, which, by referring back to God rather than to Jesus Christ, serves somewhat to complete the sentence begun in verse 25.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 16:3-9, 16, 22-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 27, 2015

SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF ROMANS 16

In this chapter, the Apostle commends to the Romans, Phœbe, the Deaconess of the Church of Cenchreæ, the bearer of this Epistle, and a benefactress to himself and several others (verses 1, 2).

He salutes many of the saints of Rome, and mentions their names with much praise. He exhorts them to note the authors of scandal and dissension, and to shun them; for, such persons are solely actuated by motives of selfishness, only serving themselves and not Jesus Christ. By shunning these, they will preserve their faith without any admixture of error. He prays for them and promises them the divine assistance against such impostors (verse 20). He mentions the names of those who send their salutations to the Romans (21, 22, 23), and finally, after blessing them, he closes the Epistle with a doxology, in which he extols the attributes of God.

Romans 16:3 Salute Prisca and Aquila, my helpers, in Christ Jesus

Salute Prisca, and her husband Aquila, my coadjutors in promulgating the gospel of Christ.

These were of Jewish extraction, well instructed in the faith, and tent makers by trade. They had returned to Rome after the death of the Emperor Claudius, by whose edict all Jews were banished from Rome. “My helpers,” &c. They assisted and co-operated with the Apostle in the work of the gospel.

Romans 16:4 (Who have for my life laid down their own necks: to whom not I only give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles),  

They also were sharers in my dangers; for, they exposed and perilled their lives in defence of mine; to them, therefore, not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles, whose Apostle they have saved, and in whose conversion they have co-operated, return thanks.

“Who had exposed their necks for my life.” This must have happened either in the tumult raised at Corinth (Acts, 18:12), or in the one at Ephesus (Acts, 19:24).

Romans 16:5 And the church which is in their house. Salute Epenetus, my beloved: who is the firstfruits of Asia in Christ.

Salute also their entire Christian family. Salute also Epenetus, who was the first to embrace the faith when I preached in Asia, and is, therefore, my firstborn in Christ from that country. 

“The church which is in their house,” i.e., their entire Christian family, which was as orderly and as well regulated as a church; it was also distinguished for piety. It may be that the word “church,” applied to their house, has reference to the constant celebration of the praises of God and divine offices there, before the faithful could have obtained public places of worship.—(See Philemon, verse 3; Col. chapter 4.; 1 Cor. chapter 16.) “The first-fruits of Asia.” Some versions have, “the first-fruits of Achaia,” but erroneously, since Stephanas was the first-fruits of Achaia (1 Cor. 16:15). The most learned among critics prefer the reading in our Vulgate, “Asia,” to the one in which Achaia is found: της Ασιας is the reading of the chief MSS.

Romans 16:6 Salute Mary, who hath laboured much among you.

Salute Mary who has laboured much for you.

“Among you,” in the common Greek, εἰς ἡμᾶς, unto us, or for us. The Codex Vaticanus εἰς ὑμᾶς, onto you. Who she was, cannot be determined with certainty.

Romans 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and fellow prisoners: who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, sharers in my sufferings and incarceration for Christ, who are distinguished among the preachers of the gospel, and have this advantage over me, that they believed in Christ before I received that grace.

“My kinsmen,” probably of the same tribe of Benjamin; for there were a great many at Rome of Jewish extraction, who would be equally his kinsmen, if the words merely regarded their being of Jewish origin. “Junias,” is more probably supposed, from the following words, “of note among the Apostles,” i.e., preachers of the gospel, to have been a man, and not the wife of Andronicus, as some imagine. “Fellow-prisoners.” It is not well determined when or where they were in prison with him. They were called to the faith before the Apostle.

Romans 16:8 Salute Ampliatus, most beloved to me in the Lord.

Salute Ampliatus, most dear to me for his piety.

“Most beloved in the Lord,” expressed his Christian affection for him.

Romans 16:9 Salute Urbanus, our helper in Christ Jesus and Stachys, my beloved.  

Salute Urbanus, our co-operator in the work of the gospel, and Stachys, very much beloved by me.

Fr. MacEvilly Offers no comment on this verse.

Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. All the churches of Christ salute you. 

Salute one another with a holy kiss, which is the sign of mutual and holy Christian love. I am so well assured of the charitable feelings of all Christian Churches towards you, that I send you their salutations. 

“With a holy kiss,” the symbol of charity and concord. It was customary with the Christians to salute one another with the words, pax tecum, after the taking of the Holy Eucharist. The men saluted men only; and females those of their own sex, on these occasions. This usage has been long since discontinued in the Church; a vestige of it, however, remains in the kiss of peace given at solemn mass. “All the Churches of Christ salute you.” (“All” is not in the Greek, which simply is, αι εκκλησίαι, the Churches). He knows the charitable feelings of all Churches towards them, and therefore sends their salutation.

From the omission on the part of St. Paul to send his salutations to St. Peter, Protestestants attempt to derive an argument in proof of their unfounded assertion—viz., that St. Peter never was at Rome. But the fact of his having been at Rome, and his having been put to death with St. Paul, under Nero, is so well attested by undoubted historical evidence, that it is needless to dwell on the subject. Why, then, did not St. Paul salute him? Simply because St. Paul knew that he was not at Rome at the time. He was engaged in preaching the gospel in Britain or Spain, or Africa, as we are assured by Innocent, &c., quoted by Baronius and Bellarmine; for he had not returned thither since the time of his expulsion, together with the other Jews, by the edict of Claudius. And if St. Peter were at Rome at this time, would he not have settled the disputes which elicited this Epistle from St. Paul?

Romans 16:22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

I, Tertius, who, at the dictation of Paul, have penned this Epistle, salute you in the Lord.

“Tertius” was the amanuensis whom Saint Paul employed in writing this Epistle: and, hence, while writing, he speaks of himself in the first person: “I, Tertius, salute,” &c.

Romans 16:23 Caius, my host, and the whole church saluteth you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, saluteth you: and Quartus, a brother.

Caius, my host, and the host of all Christians, from what quarter soever they come, salutes you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city of Corinth, salutes you; and so does Quartus, a brother.

“Caius, my host, and the whole Church, saluteth you.” According to the Greek, it is “Caius, my host, και ὅλης τῆς ἐκκλησίας, and (the host) of the entire Church.” i.e., of all Christians from whatever quarter they come, which is a great commendation of his hospitality. “Erastus, the treasurer of the city.” (The Greek for “Treasurer” is οικονομος,). He had charge of the public treasury of Corinth, where this Epistle is generally supposed to have been written.

Romans 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is able to establish you, according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret from eternity;

Eternal glory be given to Almighty God, who is able to strengthen you and confirm you in the doctrine of the gospel, which I, everywhere preach; and which Jesus Christ himself also preached; so as to reveal that great mystery (of the Incarnation and Redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ) which was hidden from the world during all past ages.

This and the two following verses are, in some Greek copies, read at the close of chapter 14, and they are explained in the same place by St. Chrysostom and others. However, the most ancient of manuscripts (the Alexandrian and Vatican), and all Latin interpreters, place them as they are here, and make them the final conclusion of the Epistle; and this arrangement is clearly preferable, since as chap 15 is a continuation of the matter treated of in chap. 14, it is not likely that the Apostle would interrupt, and break the connexion of his subject by the intermediate insertion of these verses in that place. In these words, then, the Apostle bursts forth into the praises of God, for the great benefit of man’s salvation and justification, the nature and mysterious economy of which he had been explaining throughout the entire Epistle, which is thus brought to a suitable close.

“Now to him that is able to establish you,” i.e., to God, “be honour and glory,” (verse 27); for, the sense of the entire passage is suspended until we come to verse 27. “According to my gospel” which I everywhere preach. “And the preaching of Jesus Christ.” Some interpret these words as a mere explanation of the preceding, thus: “according to my gospel and the preaching concerning Jesus Christ.” The interpretation of Piconio has been adopted in the Paraphrase. “According to the revelation of the mystery,” i.e., by the preaching of which gospel is brought about the revelation of the great mystery or secret truth. He refers to the redemption of man through Christ, and the adorable system of supernatural Providence, the great foundation of which was Christ’s incarnation. “Kept secret from eternity.” The Greek words for “eternity” are, χρονοις αιωνιοις, “during the worldly times,” or all preceding ages. The words are used to express eternity.

Romans 16:26 (Which now is made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the precept of the eternal God, for the obedience of faith) known among all nations:

But which mystery now, under the law of grace, has been manifested by the Scriptures of the Prophets, who wrote beforehand concerning Christ and his gospel, and has been made known among all the nations, by the express command of God, commissioning and delegating his Apostles to preach to them, so as to bring all unto the obedience of faith.

“Which,” i.e., mystery (as appears from the Greek, φανερωθεντος, “manifested,” referring to μυστηριου, which preceded, with which also “kept secret,” σεσιγημενου, verse 25, and “known,” γνωρισθεντος, verse 26, agree), “has been made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets,” who wrote and predicted concerning the mysteries of our Saviour’s life and gospel: “According to the command of the eternal God.” These words are to be connected with the last words of the verse, “known among all nations.” This mystery, and all the gospel economy founded on it, were by God’s command proclaimed by the Apostles, and made known among all the nations of the earth, “for the obedience of the faith,” so as to induce them to embrace the faith.

Romans 16:27 To God, the only wise, through Jesus Christ, to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.  

To the Omnipotent and only Wise God, (I say), be rendered honour and glory, through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.

“To God the only Wise,” i.e., alone Wise by his nature and essence. Here the sentence, commenced at verse 25, is completed. The words “to whom” are redundant; they are used by the Apostle, according to a Hebrew idiom. In these last verses, the Apostle closes the Epistle as he had begun it, by asserting that the gospel which he preached contained nothing false or novel; that it was perfectly in accordance with the oracles and predictions of the ancient prophets. The words “made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets,” verse 26; and “which he hath promised by his prophets in the holy scriptures,” (chapter 1, verse 2), are almost identical.

I cannot forbear quoting the beautiful paraphrase of these three verses, as given by A’Lapide: “O King of ages! O Revealer of the mystery concealed during the ages of eternity! O eternal God, immortal and invisible! O thou, who dwellest in the lofty mountains of eternity; who, from thy elevated eminence, dost behold the narrow span of our life, and of all times, gliding beneath thee; to thee be honour, to thee be glory, for ever and ever! Thou, by thy triumph over death, hast thrown open to us the portals of a happy eternity. Grant us to live always mindful of it—justly, soberly, and piously—so as to be one day partakers of it. Grant us to pass this fleeting moment of life in such a way, by the exercise of heroism and sanctity, as to merit admission to thy enjoyment for ever; to praise thee, to celebrate thee, in the company of all thy angels and saints. O true charity! O beloved eternity! My God and my all.” Amen.

O sweet and amiable Mary, Mother of Jesus, powerful Virgin! pray for us.

The ordinary Greek copies have the following subscription:—“Written to the Romans from Corinth by Phœbe, Deaconess of the Church at Cenchreæ.” This, although correct, is not to be regarded as belonging to the Sacred Text. It was most likely, added by some Greek author to point out the bearer of the Epistle, and the place where it was written. It was wanting, either altogether, or in part, in the ancient MSS. In the Codex Vaticanus we simply have: “Written to the Romans from Corinth.”

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 11:1-36

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 20, 2015

1. I SAY then: Has God rejected his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2. God has not rejected his people, whom he foreknew. Know you not in Elias what the Scripture says: how he questions God against Israel:
3. Lord, they have slain thy prophets, dug down thine altars: and I alone am left, and they seek my life.
4. But what says the divine answer to him? there are left to me seven thousand men, who have not bent knees before Baal.
5. So therefore in this time also remnants have been saved according to the election of grace.
6. But if of grace, now not of works: otherwise grace is not grace
.

Chapter 11. In this chapter the Apostle points out that the rejection of the Jews is only temporary, and their conversion deferred to a later time.

1. I am also am an Israelite. I am a living proof that God has not rejected his people. I am an Israelite by descent, a child of Abraham, and of the tribe of Benjamin, and yet I am a Christian and an apostle of Christ. It is very probable that he was a descendant of his illustrious namesake, king Saul. On the failure of the expectation of the Jews that Christ, as head of the house of David, would make them independent of the Roman power, which disappointment caused his death, they turned to Saul, whose energy and ambition, and the purity of his patriotism, gave them great hopes. If this was the case, his conversion must have been a severe blow to the turbulent government of the Jews.

2. God has not rejected his people, those at any rate of them who he foreknew would believe in Christ. Or, the people whose future greatness he predicted while they were yet only a single household, in the days of Abraham. Nor am I the only believer in Christ. In Elias, in the person of Elias; or by a Hebrew idiom, about Elias. Verses 3 and 4 of the text quote the words of 2 Kings 19:14, 18. The altars of God were overthrown by Achab and Jezabel out of hatred for the worship of God. Their original construction was, however, a violation of God’s command in Deut 16:2, and they were finally destroyed from motives of piety by the kings of Juda, Ezechias and Josias. Elias was informed that he was not, as he suppored, the only worshipper of the true God left, for there were yet seven thousand men, heads of families, who had not knelt before Baal. The Greek has τῷ Βααλ, to the statue of Baal, who was a masculine divinity, the word meaning Lord, Cornelius a Lapide is of opinion that the number seven thousand is put for a large and indefinite number, seven being often used in this sense in the Hebrew writings, and of this he gives several instances.

The true servants of God are sometimes lost in the multitude of the ungodly, especially in times of corruption and infidelity. We scarcely know of their existence, and cannot estimate their number. But God knows his own. Preserve me, Lord, for the holy has disappeared. Hide me under the shadow of thy wings. Keep me as the pupil of the eye, since I have hoped in thee and in thy grace.

Thus at this time, the Apostle proceeds, there is a number, to me unknown, possibly few and a mere handful or remnant, but some certainly, of the Hebrew nation, who have been saved, that is justified by faith, according to the election of grace, God’s gratuitous election, calling those who are willing to obey the call, to faith in Jesus Christ. And if this is so, their justification is not to be ascribed to their obedience to the law, by which no one could ever be saved, but is of grace, that is, of God’s free mercy. It is the very nature of the grace of justification, at least in the first and original bestowal of it, that it is not, and it cannot antecedently, be merited, but is God’s gift. Or else it would not be grace, which means this and nothing else, but a reward.

Saint Paul introduces this sentence in this place out of humility, and with reference to himself, claiming no merit for his own conversion. It is an effective argument in favour of the position which this Epistle is intended to establish.

Two answers may be given to the question, why the faithful penitent is justified by God. i. Because he has disposed himself by grace. 2. Because such is the free will of God. These are perfectly reconcilable. And in this way Cornelius a Lapide and Tyrinus consider that the variously-expressed opinions of different Fathers may be reconciled: as when Saint Chrysostom says that a man is elected to justice, because he consented to grace and believed; and Saint Augustine, because God has gratuitously chosen him to justice.

The Greek text adds at the end of verse 6 the following words: But if of works, now not of grace, otherwise work is no more work. The Syriac and Arabic versions have the same. Erasmus thinks the addition superfluous, and not Saint Paul’s, nor in accordance with his meaning. It is not found in the Vulgate.

7. What then? That which Israel sought, he has not attained: but the election has obtained it: and the rest have been blinded.
8. As it is written: God gave them a spirit of compunction: eyes that should not see, and ears that should not hear, even to this day.
9. And David says: Let their table be for a snare, and for capture, and for scandal, and for retribution to them.
10. Let their eyes be darkened that they see not: and do thou always bend down their back
.

7. What then? What is it I am maintaining? that the greater part of the people of Israel, seeking justification by the works of the law, have not attained to it, for want of faith in Christ; but the minority, who have embraced the Christian faith, have obtained justification; the rest were blinded and hardened by their own unbelief. The Greek text has were hardened, or grew hard. The Syriac: were blinded in heart. Directly and properly by their own malice, indirectly hy God’s abandoning them, as explained in ch 9:18, 21, 22.

8. As it is writtcn. Is 29:10. The Apostle does not quote the passage verbatim, but gives approximately the sense of it. A spirit of compunction means here a spirit of blindness, as if the eyes were pricked with the point of a needle, to make them blind. The original has a spirit of sleep. They had eyes to see the miracles of Christ, but saw them not, ears that heard his words, and heard them not. The reference here is to Is 6:10.

9. Their table, the Holy Scriptures, spread before them, for their spiritual nourishment and delight, becomes a snare to take them, a stumbling-stone over which they fall, a retribution bringing God’s anger against them, because they would not in the Scriptures recognise Christ.

10. The eyes of their mind are darkened, and their will bowed down to earthly things, for which alone they care. Ps 68:23, 24. The above is the figurative sense in which the Apostle apphes the language of the Psalm, of which the literal meaning is different. Compare Job 21:14. Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways; and 12:25. God suffers them to grope as in darkness, and wander like the drunk.

11. I say then: have they stumbled to their fall? God forbid. But, by their fault, there is salvation to the Gentiles, to urge them to emulation.
12. But if their fault is the riches of the world, and their diminution the riches of the nations: how much more their fulness!
13. For I speak to you Gentiles: as long as I am the Apostle of the nations, I will do honour to my ministry.
14. If by any means I may provoke my flesh to emulation, and save some of them.
15. For if the loss of them is the reconciliation of the world: what their assumption but life from the dead?

I say then: is their fall irremediable? God forbid. They will rise again. Meanwhile God is making use of it for the salvation of the Gentiles, and the conversion of the Gentiles will in turn move the Jews to emulation, for their conversion. If the fall of the Jews enriches the world, by the spread of the faith among all nations, and the rejection of the Jews who will not believe, their diminution, occasions the sanctification of innumerable multitudes of people of other nations; how much more will the complete conversion of the Jewish people enrich the nations of the earth! I am not afraid to speak openly to you, the Gentiles; for as the Apostle of the Gentiles, I will value and hold in honour my Apostolic ministry. There is nothing I am not ready to do for you; but I am eager also to provoke my own countrymen to emulation by your example, and call at least some of them to faith in Christ, and to salvation. If their rejection has reconciled the world to God, what will their general conversion be, but like a resurrection from the dead, for which therefore you ought with me to hope and pray.

The unbelief of the Jews w’as not in accordance with the will of God; but God’s wisdom made use of it to further the conversion of the rest of the world. It set the Apostolic teachers free to turn to the Gentiles. And the destruction of Jerusalem obtained for the Christian Church the favour and protection of the civil power, who now distinguished between the two, and had the Christians
on their side in the Jewish war. There was no renewal of persecution from the accession of Vespasian in 69 to the reign of Domitian, in 95, and during this period of tranquility the Christian Church increased from a rivulet to a mighty stream. St. John the Evangelist was the only member of the Apostolic College who lived through this period, the others having all suffered in the persecution under Nero. In vs. 12, the Greek text has their fall, or
ruin.

16. But if  the portion is holy, so is the mass; and if the root is holy, the branches also are holy.
17. But if some of the branches were broken, and thou, being a wild olive, hast been grafted among them, and art become a partner in the root and in the richness of the olive.
18. Do not boast against the branches. But if thou boast: thou dost not bear the root, but the root thee
.

6. If the portion is holy, the first fruits, or portion of the corn presented as an oblation, the offering of which was held to consecrate the rest. Or possibly, if the quantity offered was too great to place on the altar, a portion only was used, and was considered to consecrate the whole. The Patriarchs and Prophets of the Hebrew nation were certainly holy, and from them the whole race drew sanctity in a certain degree. The conversion of the whole race is therefore to be hoped and prayed for. The Patriarchs were the first fruits, or delibation, of the Jewish race, and the root of the tree, the branches of which derive sanctity from the root.

17. Some of these branches were broken off, by the rejection and unbelief of the Jews; and thou, the oleaster, the Gentile, grafted in their place, as if by accident. In this situation thou partakest the privileges of the true people of God, the faith and grace of the older Saints, the richness of the olive. Boast not against the rejected branches. And remember that their root now bears thee, thine own was fruitless and sterile.

Calvin argues from vs. 16 that the children of Christian parents do not need baptism, being already holy. This would be true, if all that baptism confers is an exterior and adventitious sanctity, such as can be inherited from Patriarchs and holy men. But it would be equally true of adults, both Jew and Christian.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, were all Jews or Hebrews. These are the root of the olive. We are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Eph 2:20. Christ said: Salvation is of the Jews, John 4:22. The Patriarchs owe nothing to us, but we owe much to them.

19. Thou wilt say then: the branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.
20. Fairly said: they were broken off for unbelief. But thou standest by faith: think not loftily, but fear.
21, For if God spared not the natural branches, lest perhaps he spare not thee.
22. See, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: to those, indeed, who fell, severity; but the goodness of God to thee, if thou remain in his goodness, otherwise thou too shalt be cut off
.

20. Fairly said. The same causes led to the excision of the old branches and the insertion of the new. The humility of Christ offended the Jews and attracted the Gentiles. They were broken off for incredulity: thou standest by faith. Be not, therefore (in the Greek) lifted up in mind. The Syriac has: let not thy mind be lifted up. For faith may be lost. This passage refutes Calvin’s
assertion that this is impossible.

We adhere to Christ by faith and grace: but humility and fear are the guardians of faith and grace.

21. Lest perhaps he spare not thee. Faith may be lost by apostasy. This was the case with the celebrated Christian apologist Tertullian, who joined the Montanist heresy, and died out of the communion of the Catholic Church, early in the third century, and multitudes of others who are now less known.

22. See the goodness of God in freely offering remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and life eternal, to all mankind, on the condition of faith in Christ: and the severity with which he insists upon this condition, without which salvation is impossible. It was this which occasioned the fall of the unbelieving Jews, those who fell, though they were God’s chosen people. His goodness is assured to thee, if thou remain in it, persevering in faith, and in compliance with the laws of God and the Church, failing which, faith may not improbably be lost.

23, But they also, if they remain not in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again,
24. For if thou hast been cut off from the wild olive whence is thy nature, and against nature grafted in the good olive; how much more they, who are by nature, shall be grafted in their own olive?

23. The Jews, if they abandon their incredulity, may be once more grafted into the unity of the Catholic Church. Not only is this possible to God, but it is obviously easy. If thou, the Gentile, hast been removed from the wild olive of thy birth, and grafted in the fruitbearing olive tree of God, with still greater ease can the Jews, sprung originally from the stock of God’s olive, be restored to it again. God is mighty, and nothing but unbelief hinders their restoration.

The grafting a wild shoot on a fruit bearing stock, is a proceeding unknown to the art of cultivation. That the wild shoot so grafted should bear the fruit of the cultivated tree, would be against nature, and a sort of miracle. If it bore any fruit at all it would be the wild fruit of its own original nature. Yet the Gentiles, grafted into God’s olive by Baptism, bear good fruit to God. Much more the descendants of God’s ancient people, and of Patriarchs and Prophets, restored to the original stock whence they were cut off, will bear good fruit.

We ought not to despair of the salvation of any human being, because God is able even of the stones to raise up children to Abraham. Still less should we despair of the salvation of anyone who has received Christian Baptism, in which he was grafted into Christ. If God is able to save Turks and infidels, more easily can he save the Christian, though a sinner.

25. For I would not you should be ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (lest you be wise to yourselves) that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fulness of the nations enters.
26. And thus all Israel shall be saved, as it is written: There shall come from Sion who will deliver, and turn away impiety from Jacob.
27. And this covenant to them from me: when I shail have taken away their sins.
28. According to the Gospel indeed they are enemies on your account; but according  to the election they are most beloved on account of the fathers.
29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30. For as you also once believed not God, but have now obtained mercy on account of their unbelief:
31. So they also have not now believed for your mercy, that thev also may obtain mercy.
32. For God has concluded all things in unbelief, that on all he may have mercy
.

25. I wish to reveal to you a secret which possibly I should have suppressed, were it not that the knowledge of it is necessary for you, to repress the pride and exultation you are disposed to indulge in on the score of your faith, as knowing more than other men know. (In the Greek, that you may not be arrogant to yourselves.) Blindness of heart has fallen upon a great part of the Jewish nation. (This is the phrase used in the Syriac: the Greek has hardness or obduracy) until the number of the Gentiles who shall believe in Christ have entered the fold of the Church. Then, the number of the Gentile converts being complete, the whole Jewish nation will be converted to God, as predicted in Is 59:20, and 27:9. Their rejection of the Gospel of Christ has, indeed, made them the objects of God’s displeasure, and has at the same time facilitated and expedited your conversion. For God’s original design was the acceptance of Christ by the Jewish people in the first instance. This was defeated by their unbelief, and the message of salvation then offered to you. But they are still beloved on account of God’s choice of their nation in ancient times, and for the fathers’ sake. God’s gifts and promises, once given, are never recalled. You yourselves once believed not in God, but through the incredulity of the Jews you have now received his mercy. So in turn they also are now unbelieving for the very reason that you have obtained mercy; (the Greek, they disbelieve in your mercy, that God can really have extended his mercy to the Gentiles) and God will turn even this ultimately to their salvation, for they will one day believe in Christ for this very reason. For God, in his wonderful providence has permitted all nations successively (the Vulgate has all things, the Greek and the Syriac all men) to fall into unbelief, in the Syriac into disobedience. First the Gentiles, and now the Jews, that each may learn that it is to his gratuitous kindness and mercy alone that they are indebted for their salvation. He has permitted all men, Saint Thomas says, to be bound by the chain of error in some form or other, and from it there is no escape but by the grace of Christ, that God may have mercy upon all, and display this mercy to the whole world without exception.

From the statement of the Apostle in verse 27, and the words of the Prophet Malachi, 4:5, 6, Behold, I will send you Elias the prophet, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will convert the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers; lest by chance I come and strike the earth with anathema—there has arisen a tradition that the Jewish
nation will be converted to Christ before the end of the  world, and that the Church will be complete in unity and perfection in the union of Jews and Gentiles.

(Some modern writers consider that the prediction, All Israel shall be saved, was fulfilled after the destruction of Jerusalem, and that the great bulk of the Jewish nation was converted to Christ, and absorbed in the Catholic Church, during the interval which elapsed after that event and before the outbreak of the persecution under Domitian. See Hammond, Commentary on the N.T. in loc. In this case the modern Jews are the descendants of those who still remained in unbelief. This is not inconsistent with the view taken above of the prophecy of Malachi.) Note: “Some modern writers” &c.  Piconio was writing in the late 17th century. The opinion of these writers is unknown to me, and I do not recall ever seeing such an interpretation mentioned in historical reviews of the interpretation of Romans 11.

33. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgements and untraceable his ways!
34. For who hath known the sense of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?
35. Or who first gave to him, and it shall be repaid him?
36. For of him, and through him, and in him are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen
.

What the Apostle has said, is that in the early years of the world the nations fell into idolatry; then by the covenant with Abraham God secured the Hebrew race as his true worshipers; when the Gentiles believed in Christ the Jews fell, from that very circumstance, into unbelief, and finally, when the faith of the Gentiles shall be growing cold, the Jews will at length believe, and the Church be strengthened by the union of Jews and Gentiles. Thus in the midst of the maze of human error God is controlling error itself, and guiding all nations ultimately to the acceptance of his truth and their salvation. The contemplation of this leads him to the exclamation in the text.

33. The riches of the wisdom. The Greek and the Syriac have the depths of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God. The riches of God is his mercy to all mankind, to the Gentiles first, then patiently bearing the infidelity of the Jews. His wisdom, in turning the infidelity of the Jews to the salvation of the Gentiles, and the conversion of the Gentiles, by emulation, to the salvation of the Jews. His knowledge of the whole history of mankind, past and future. His decrees are unsearchable by finite understanding, and we cannot trace the mode in which they are carried out.

34. Who has known the mind of the Lord? God is a King who entrusts his mind, or intention, to no created counsellor. And his riches are his own, and none has lent to him.

36. Cornelius a Lapide thinks that this passage, or at least the general custom of the Apostles, suggested the formula always used in the Church, Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. The other verse of the doxology. As it was in the beginning, &c., was added by the Council of Nice. See the words of Saint Basil, cited by Baronius, t. III, anno 325.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 5:12-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 13, 2015

This post opens with Fr. Mac’s brief analysis of Romans 5, followed by his commentary on verses 12-21. Text in purple indicates the bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF ROMANS CHAPTER 5

The Apostle, having proved in the preceding chapters, that our justification comes from faith and not from the works performed by the sole aid of cither the natural law or the law of Moses, now points out the excellence if this justification from its effects and the fruits which it produces. The first effect is, peace and tranquillity of conscience (verse 1). The second is the adoption of us, as sons of God (2). The third is joy in our afflictions, which subserve as means to bring us to the enjoyment of our eternal inheritance (3, 4, 5). We have two most consoling and certain grounds for this hope, viz., the diffusion of the Holy Ghost in our hearts, and the death if Christ, than which God could not furnish a greater proof of his boundless love (6–10). The fourth effect of our justification is our glorying in God, as our Father, and in Jesus Christ, as our Mediator (11). In order to show the absolute necessity of this reconciliation on the part of Christ, the Apostle traces matters to the very root of all evil, viz., original sin, of which subject he treats in the remainder of the chapter.

12 Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death: and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.

(Through Christ alone have we been reconciled to God, and we needed him to reconcile us). For, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into this world, and by sin death, thus death has passed into all men, since all sinned in Adam, as the principal and head of the human race. (So also through one man Christ—the principal and head of all who are spiritually regenerated—has justice entered into the world, and through justice, eternal life).

The Apostle, in order to show the necessity of reconciliation through Christ, traces matters back to the root of all evil, and propounds the mysterious doctrine of original sin. What it is that constitutes this sin, and what the particular mode is of contracting it, which we have inherited from Adam, and which has been transmitted to all who have been, by the natural course of generation, descended from him (the glorious Mother of God, alone, excepted, who, according to the doctrine of faith, “by a singular privilege and grace of Almighty God, has been preserved free from all stain of original sin in the first instant of Her conception, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus, the Saviour of the human race”), no way concerns us to inquire. This much we know and believe as an article of Catholic faith, that this sin has been transmitted to all men, not by imitation, but by carnal generation. “Hoc Adæ peccatum … propagatione non imitatione transfusum omnibus, inest unicuique proprium.”—(Concil. Trid. SS. 5. de Peccato Orig.) And this doctrine has been proved from this passage by several Councils against the Pelagians.

“Wherefore,” δια τουτο, may mean, for, with the connexion in Paraphrase, or it may be thus connected: “Since, then, Christ is the meritorious cause of our salvation, it is meet that we should, therefore, institute the following comparison. “As by one man,” i.e., Adam, who was by God constituted the head and representative of the whole mass of mankind, “sin entered into this world,” i.e., infected the whole human race, which thereby contracted the necessity of dying. By “sin,” is meant the guilt of original sin, and not its effects, death and bodily suffering, as defined by the Council of Trent—(SS. 5, Can. 2). It is opposed to justification, and moreover, if it referred to the effects of sin, it would be identified with “death.” “And so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.” “In whom,” regards the “one man,” δἰ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου, or Adam, as is clear from the Greek, ἐφʼ ᾧ. This is the interpretation of St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom. In this construction, the words intervening between “one man,” and “in whom.” are included in a parenthesis, “wherefore, as by one man (…) in whom all have sinned.” Others understand the words, ἐφʼ ῳ, causatively to mean inasmuch as, or because, and this is preferred by many (see Beelen). Some Commentators say the sense is suspended as far as verse 18—“therefore as by the offence,” &c.—others finish the sense as in Paraphrase. And this is the more probable; for in verse 18, it is a conclusion that is expressed, “therefore,” &c. Others, with Beelen, say the second member of the comparison which should correspond with the words, “as by one man,” &c., and should complete the sentence, is expressed, if not in words, at least in reality, wherein is conveyed the contrast between the first and second Adam, in verse 14, “who is a figure,” &c.

13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin was not imputed, when the law was not.
14 But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned, after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come.

And that this sin existed in the world at all times, even before the written law was given to Moses, although before the law, it was not so much attended to by mankind, following the bent of their corrupt passions, and having no positive law to point out the enormity and fix the special punishment of their crimes, is evident from the fact, that death, its consequence, reigned from Adam to Moses even over those (v.g., infants and mentally/intellectually impaired) who were incapable, by actual transgression, of sinning after the manner of Adam, who, as the head of a sinful race, was, by contraries, a type of the second Adam, Christ, through whom, as the head of a ransomed race, justice and life were to be introduced into this world.

In this verse (13), the Apostle anticipates and solves an objection which might be made against the universality of the preceding doctrine, namely, as sin is the violation of some law, how could there be any violation of a law before it was given? The Apostle says, that even before the law was given to Moses, this sin of Adam, as well in itself as in its effects, viz., actual sins, existed in this world; but these sins were not “imputed,” or attended to by mankind following their corrupt passions; because there was no particular positive enactment clearly to point out their enormity—so that “sin” in this verse embraces not only original but actual sins, of which the corruption we have inherited from Adam is the source and principle. “But sin,” under which are included original sin, and the actual sins flowing from it, superadded by our own wills—“was not imputed.” Some say was not imputed unto punishment, or as a transgression. The interpretation adopted in the Paraphrase is preferable; for, it is very hard to reconcile the other interpretation with the heavy chastisements always visited upon sin, even before the time of Moses; for, even then, death reigned as well as afterwards.

But as a proof that this sin existed, even during the interval that elapsed between Adam and Moses, the Apostle adduces the fact that death (verse 14), the consequence and punishment of sin, reigned over those who could not deserve any such punishment by actual positive guilt of their own. Such, for instance, were infants and idiots, who, unlike Adam, were incapable of actual sin.

“Who is a figure of him who was to come.” Adam was, by contraries, a type of the future or second Adam, Christ, who is the principle of spiritual life, as the first Adam was the principle of spiritual death. Some Commentators, and among them Beelen, are of opinion that the second member of the antithesis between Adam and Christ is insinuated here, although not clearly expressed, as has been done in Paraphrase of verse 12.

This passage had been adduced by St. Augustine and the early Fathers, to establish against the Pelagians the doctrine of original sin. The Apostle says, “all have sinned,” verse 12, and that this is not to be understood of actual sin, he shows in verse 14, since death, the consequence and punishment of sin, had been inflicted upon all, not even excepting those who were incapable of committing actual sin, viz., infants and idiots. Hence, it must be inflicted as a punishment of that sin, which by generation was transmitted to them from Adam, whom, in his infinite wisdom, God had constituted the head of all his descendants; so that his sin would be imputable to them, as would his fidelity have been accounted in their favour, had he persevered in justice.

15 But not as the offence, so also the gift. For if by the offence of one, many died: much more the grace of God and the gift, by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

We are not, however, to imagine, that the sin of the first Adam has been so detrimental in its effects, as the gift of the second Adam, by which these effects were removed, has been useful. For, if by the sin of the first Adam his many descendants were deprived of spiritual life and rendered subject to eternal death, far more numerous and precious were the gratuitous gifts of God, through the grace of one man Jesus Christ, conferred on the many (for, besides restoring spiritual life, he has bestowed many gifts of the Holy Ghost and immortality itself).

In the preceding verse, the Apostle had asserted, that Adam was a type or figure of him, “who is to come,” i.e., of Christ, who is often in SS. Scripture styled, the last Adam.—(1 Cor. 15:45). He was a figure by contraries, because, as the first Adam was the principle of death and sin, so the last was the principle of justice and of life, in all who were to be spiritually regenerated and born of him. This resemblance was not, in every respect, perfect. “Many died,” in Greek, οἱ πολλοὶ, “the many.” The first point of dissimilitude, even on contrary sides, was that the guilt of the one had only inflicted temporal and eternal death; whereas, “the grace of God and the gift,” i.e., the gratuitous gift of God furnished by the grace and merits of the man-God, Jesus Christ, “hath much more abounded,” not in point of extensive application, but in the comprehensive excellence and abundance of the benefits which it conferred; since it was not merely confined to the removal of the evil effects of the sin of Adam, but it also bestowed the gifts of the Holy Ghost and perseverance in grace, of which the sin of Adam did not deprive us; for, Adam had not these gifts in Paradise.

“Unto many,” or, as in the Greek, εἰς τους πολλους, “unto the many.” Of course, “the many” in this latter member of the sentence is not as extensive as in the former member, “by the offence of one many died;” for, the many in the former are called “all men,” verse 12; while in this latter part, there is question only of the many who are spiritually born or begotten of Christ, in the same way as treating of the descendants of Adam there is question of those carnally descended from him. It is not in the extent of their actual application that the Apostle compares “the gift” and “the sin,” but in their comprehensive or intrinsic effects where they are applied.

16 And not as it was by one sin, so also is the gift. For judgment indeed was by one unto condemnation: but grace is of many offences unto justification.

There is another point of difference besides; for, it was only for the one sin of Adam, that all have been subject to the sentence of condemnation; whereas, the gratuitous gift effected the justification of all, not only from that sin, but from all others, and so it rescued us from more evils than the sin of Adam had introduced.

There is another point of dissimilitude. For, the gift of the last Adam did more than remove the evil effects of which the transgression of the first was productive. For, by the transgression of Adam, all had been subject to the sentence of condemnation for only one sin; whereas, the gratuitous gift of Christ not only justified us from that one general sin, but from all our own actual sins, superadded by depraved and corrupt nature. “And not as it was by one sin,” the Greek is, καὶ ουχ ὡς δἰ ἑνος ἁμαρτησαντος, “and not as by one who sinned.” The Vulgate reading is, however, found in some of the principal Greek manuscripts, and in the Arabic version.

17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned through one; much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift and of justice shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ.

For, if through the sin of one man (Adam), and as the consequence of his sin, death reigned over the entire human race; with far greater reason should we believe, that those who receive the abundance of divine grace, of justice, and of all supernatural favours, shall reign for endless ages, through the merits of the one man, Jesus Christ, which are boundless and infinite.

The Apostle repeats, with greater emphasis in this verse, the points of similitude and dissimilitude between Christ and Adam, as opposite principles of life and death. He represents life and death introduced by both, as reigning over the human race. Adam introduced the reign of death and sin; Christ, the reign of justice and life. He does not say, as In the preceding member, that “life shall reign,” but “they shall reign in life,” to point out the dignity of the sons of God, to whom the form, “they shall reign in life,” is more honourable than “life shall reign over them,” as is said of death in the preceding; “much more”—i.e., it is much more natural, considering the infinite power and boundless merits of the one man, Jesus Christ, the principle of spiritual and eternal life, to expect that his children shall reign for ever; the word “reign” expresses the height of happiness, together with the exalted honour they shall enjoy. “Abundance of grace” may mean the abundant, transcendant grace; “and of the gift, and of justice,” (in the common Greek, καὶ της δωρεας της δικαιοσυνης, “and of the gift of justice.”). In the Vatican MS. the word “gift” is wanting.

18 Therefore, as by the offence of one, unto all men to condemnation: so also by the justice of one, unto all men to justification of life.

Therefore, as by the sin of one man, Adam, the entire mass of mankind incurred the guilt through which they were subject to condemnation; so also, by the justice of one man, Christ, have all men born of him, obtained that justice which makes them sharers of eternal life.

In this verse, according to the interpretation adopted by many, the Apostle reverts to the preceding, for the purpose of completing the sense, and of filling up the comparison left incomplete at verse 12. The intervening verses are, according to this connexion, to be read as within a parenthesis, in which the sacred writer is hurried off from the main subject to note some points of similitude or dissimilitude that occurred to him in reference to the subject in question—a thing not at all unusual in the style of the Apostle. Against this connexion, however, it may be fairly objected, that in this verse the Apostle only draws a conclusion from the foregoing, in which the comparison is supposed to have been already instituted, and indeed, according to many (vide Beelen), the points of comparison are carried out in the words of verse 14, “who is a figure of him who was to come;” “Therefore,” i.e., so then, “as by the offence of one unto all men to condemnation,” the word judgment is understood (judgment passed), “unto all men to condemnation,” as in verse 16; “so also by the justice of one,” (grace or justice passed) “unto all men to justification of life;” “all men,” in this latter clause, regarding justification, are to be understood of all spiritually born of Christ, as in the preceding, reference is made to all carnally descended from the principle of death and condemnation—viz., Adam.

19 For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners: so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just.

For, as by the disobedience of one man, Adam, the many descended from him are made sinners; so also, by the obedience of Christ, shall the many, spiritually born of him, be constituted just.

On account of the great importance of the doctrine, the Apostle repeats in this verse the same thing conveyed in the preceding, “as by the disobedience of the one”—viz., Adam eating the forbidden fruit, “the many,” i.e., all his descendants, who are many (he calls them “all men,” verse 18), “are made sinners;” “so also by the obedience of the one, the many (descended of him) shall be,” &c.; “the many,” in this latter member is not co-extensive with “the many” in the preceding, according to the interpretation now given; or, if we take “the many” who shall be “made just,” to refer to the entire human race, then the words “made just” will not imply that they are actually justified, but only that the grace of justification is intended for all, and it is their own fault if they fail to obtain it; and that all who are rendered just, are made so by the grace of Christ. From this and the preceding verse is derived a convincing argument of the Catholic doctrine of inherent justice, as Beelen well observes. For, according to the teaching of the Apostle, we are constituted just, and even obtain the gift of justice, through the obedience of Christ, as we are constituted sinners through the disobedience of Adam. Now, in the latter case, we were really sinners, “by nature, children of wrath,” (Eph. 2:3) by the guilt of sin inherent in each of us, transmitted by carnal generation from him. Therefore, by the obedience of Christ, all who are spiritually born of him are constituted really just by justice really inherent in them, and not by the imputation of the justice of Christ, as it was not by the imputation of the sin of Adam that all are sinners. For, the spiritual regeneration in Christ corresponds with the carnal descent from Adam, in which guilt is not imputed but really contracted.

20. Now the law entered in that sin might abound. And where sin abounded, grace did more abound.

In the interval that elapsed between the transgression of the first Adam, and the obedience of the second, the law was introduced; but, so far was it from remedying the evil, that, on account of human depravity, it became the occasion of greater sin. This increase in sin was, however, only the occasion of manifesting the superabundance of God’s grace.

Lest it might be imagined from what he said (verse 13), that the law could have the effect of abolishing this sin, the Apostle says, that although the law was introduced in the same space of time that intervened between the sin of the first Adam, and the furnishing of a remedy by the second; still, so far was it from remedying the evil, that it was the occasion of its increase, owing to the depravity of man’s nature. In this interpretation the word “that” means the consequence of what happened—a signification in which it is often employed. Some interpret it as expressing the final cause or end of the law. “The law entered in, in order that sin might abound,” and that thus, from a consciousness of their spiritual miseries and disorders, men might look forward with greater ardour to the coming of the remedy, which alone could remove them. If we take “that” to signify the final cause or end of giving the law, then the words are not to be understood as conveying that the immediate and direct end God had in view was the “abounding of sin;” but, the humiliation of man resulting from the increase of sin by occasion of the law. From which it would follow that, conscious of his weakness and sinfulness, he would implore the aid of a deliverer. “Entered in,” παρεισηλθεν, as if by stealth, and only for a time, until the plenitude of grace would be conferred by the Gospel. “And where sin abounded,” &c., not that this happened in every instance—but only where God thought fit to apply it. Some Commentators give “where” the meaning of “when sin abounded,” owing to the introduction of the law, then the superabundant grace of Christ was given to the world. The Greek particle, οὗ, will mean either where or when. The signification of when in this passage is preferable, because the Apostle is treating of different periods of time, and the different degrees of grace and sinfulness during these times.

21 That as sin hath reigned to death: so also grace might reign by justice unto life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So that, as until the time of the dispensation of this superabundant grace, sin reigned over all mankind, bringing death upon all; so, grace also would reign, bestowing upon all, that justice which leads to eternal life, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.

So that as sin extended its dominion far and wide, bringing death upon all men, the reign of divine mercy and grace would also be extended, bestowing life-giving justice on all who are to be saved, through the infinite merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:14-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

This post contains the Bishop’s analysis of Romans 8 followed by his commentary on the reading (Rom 8:14-23). I’ve also included the Bishop’s paraphrase of the verses in purple text.

SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF ROMANS 8

In this chapter, after inferring from the foregoing that the baptized have nothing deserving of damnation, except so far as they consent to the motions of concupiscence (verse 1), the Apostle tells us that we are rescued from the dominion of concupiscence by the grace of the Gospel (2, 3, 4.) He shows the different motions and effects of the flesh and of the spirit (4–9). He exhorts us to live according to the spirit, and points out the spiritual and eternal life of both soul and body, resulting from such a course (9–11). He next exhorts us to follow the dictates of the spirit, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh, in order to escape death and obtain life (12, 13)—to act up to our calling as sons of God, and to conform to the spirit of charity and love, which we received, unlike to that of the Jews of old, and by thus acting as sons of God, to secure the Heavenly inheritance, which we shall certainly obtain, on condition, however, of suffering (13–17). Lest this condition should dishearten them, he points out the greatness of God’s inheritance,—so great indeed is it, that he personifies inanimate creatures, and represents them as groaning for this glorious consummation. The very Christians themselves, although in the infancy of the Church, they received the sweet pledge of future glory in the choice gifts of the Holy Ghost, were sighing for it (17–24). The Holy Ghost, besides the assurance he gave them of being sons of God, was also relieving their necessities and prompting them to pray with ineffable ardour of spirit (26, 27). The Apostle encourages them to patient suffering by pointing out to them that they were predestined for these sufferings as the means of their sanctification and future glorification (28–30), and, finally, he excites them to confidence in God (31–38).

Rom 8:14  For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

For, whosoever are efficaciously moved by the Holy Ghost, and under his influence mortify the flesh and live a spiritual life, they are truly sons of God, and will, therefore, enjoy the inheritance of life eternal.

This is a proof of the foregoing, viz., that by mortifying the deeds of the flesh “they shall live;” because, by acting up to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, they become “sons of God,” and as “sons of God,” they are his “heirs” (verse 17), i.e., they shall enjoy the never-ending inheritance of eternal life. Therefore, “they shall live” (verse 13). The Apostle supposes them to be baptized, as a condition of this divine filiation. The word “led,” implies only moral impulse, which by our own free will we might resist; it involves no loss of human liberty; for, in the preceding the Apostle supposes human liberty, when he speaks of “mortifying the deeds of the flesh,” &c. The same is observable, Phil. 11, 12, 13, where, after speaking of the operation of God, he tells them to “work out their salvation,” &c.

Rom 8:15  For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear: but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).

That you are the sons of God is clear from the spirit you received in baptism, for you have not received under the new dispensation, as the Jews did in the promulgation of the old on Sinai, the spirit of servitude, to inspire you with fear, but you have received the spirit of charity and loveadopting you as sons, under the influence of which, you freely and confidently call on God, or the entire Blessed Trinity, as the common Father of all the faithful, both Jews and Gentiles.

In this verse, he shows from the spirit they received that they are sons of God; or, perhaps, in it is conveyed an additional motive for them to walk according to the spirit, viz., in order to correspond with the spirit they received. “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear” (in Greek, εἴς φόβον, unto fear). He evidently refers to the spirit of fear which the Jews received on Sinai, and which was given them as a gift of the Holy Ghost, in order to deter them from violating God’s commandments. Ut probaret vos, venit Deus, et ut terror illius esset in vobis.—Exodus, 20. Although the fear proceeded from the Holy Ghost, the servility of the fear came from themselves. The graces whereby the Jews of old were justified, belonged not to the Old Law as such, but to the New Covenant. “But you have received the spirit of the adoption of sons.” He contrasts this latter gift of the Holy Ghost with the former gift, which it far excelled. “The spirit of adoption of sons,” the spirit of love, the sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost, by which we are become the adopted sons of God, and under the influence of which we confidently and freely call God Father. “Whereby we cry Abba (Father).” The more probable reason why the Apostle repeats the word “Father,” in Hebrew, “Abba,” and in Greek πατηρ, is to show that God is the common Father of all the believers, whether Jews, in whose language “Abba” means “Father;” or Gentiles, who call him πατηρ.

Rom 8:16  For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God.

And this same spirit of God, whom we have received, bears testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.

This same spirit, by whose influence “we cry out Abba, &c.,” by this filial affection whereby he inspires us to utter such a cry, “testifies together with our spirit,” (this is the meaning of the Greek word συμμαρτυρει), in other words, confirms the testimony of our spirit, “that we are sons of God.” The compound verb in the Greek may simply mean, to testify, as in Paraphrase. Verses 15, 16 are to be read within a parenthesis, and verse 17 immediately connected with verse 14. For in verse 15 there is given, incidentally, one proof of verse 14, viz., calling God Father; and in verse 16 another, viz., the testimony of the Holy Ghost.

OBJECTION.—Does it not follow, then, that each man is absolutely certain of his salvation?

RESP.—By no means. If we give the words, “giveth testimony,” the full meaning of the compound Greek word, συμμαρτυρει; in Latin, contestatur, all that would follow is, that the Holy Ghost confirms our own testimony, that we are the sons of God, by inspiring us to repeat the prayer in which we address God as our Father. This would certainly convey no absolute certainly of faith on the subject; or, as the Council of Trent describes, “certitudo fidei, cui non potest subesse falsum.”—(SS. vi., ch. ix.) If the words be understood in a simple form, all that would follow is, that we arrive at a moral, or rather conjectural certainty from the signs which come from the Holy Ghost—viz., horror of sin, love of virtue, peace and tranquillity of conscience, &c. Besides, the Apostle does not say that the Holy Ghost tells every individual by a revelation, that he is the son of God. This would be opposed to the clear order of his Providence, in which “no one knows whether he be worthy of love or hatred,” and to the command, “to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.”

Rom 8:17  And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

But, if we are the sons of God, we are therefore, his heirs, that is to say, we are heirs of God, as his sons, and co-heirs of Christ, as his brethren. It is on condition, however, that we suffer with him, and in the same spirit with him, that we shall be partners in his glory.

God has wished that his children should have, besides the title of inheritance, the title of merit also, to eternal life. “Yet so, if we suffer with him,” the very adoption on which the title of inheritance is founded, is the reward of merit. While infants can only have the title of inheritance, adults must have the twofold title of inheritance and merit.

Rom 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.

(Nor should the annexed condition of suffering dishearten or discourage us. The difficulty vanishes when we consider the magnitude of the reward and inheritance), for I am firmly persuaded, that the sufferings of the present time, viewed in themselves, bear no proportion whatever to the future glory and happiness which shall be revealed in us.

He stimulates them to submit to the painful condition of suffering, without which no one will enter the kingdom of God, by pointing out the immensity of the reward. If you regard the substance of the works and sufferings of this life, they bear no proportion whatever to the future glory which is to be their reward. But, if they be regarded as emanating from God’s grace, and if we take into consideration God’s liberal promise, attaching eternal life to them, there is some proportion; but which, still, is neither exact nor adequate; the one being temporal, the other, eternal. It is the substance of the sufferings and their duration, that the Apostle here compares with the future glory, as in 2 Cor 4. “For, that which is at present momentary and light—worketh for us an eternal weight of glory.”

Rom 8:19  For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God.

So great is this future glory of the sons of God, that inanimate creatures themselves are anxiously yearning and earnestly looking forward to its manifestation, as they are to be sharers in it, in a certain way.

The Apostle employs a bold figure of speech, prosopopœia, to convey to us an idea of the magnitude of the bliss in store for the sons of God. He represents inanimate creatures themselves anxiously looking out for the manifestation of the glory of the sons of God. The Greek word for “creation,” κτισις (ktiseos), is taken in Scripture to denote inanimate nature (Rom. 1:25), and it is here distinguished from rational beings, verse 23.

Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanity: not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope.

For, inanimate nature is rendered subject to corruption and decay, notwithstanding the natural tendency of everything to attain its full perfection, in obedience to the will of him, who, in punishment of original sin, subjected it to corruption, but only for a time, with a hope, however, to which it anxiously looks,

For, inanimate creation was rendered subject to corruption and mutability, in punishment of the sin of man, for whose service it was destined; “not willingly,” i.e., notwithstanding the tendency of everything to attain its natural perfection, or, from no inherent defect of its own. “But by reason of him that made it subject,” i.e., by the ordination of God, who subjected it to vanity, i.e., to corruption and change, in punishment of the sin of man, at whose fall everything destined for his use became deteriorated. “In hope,” the object of the hope is expressed next verse.

Rom 8:21  Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

Of being emancipated from the slavery of corruption, and of being asserted into the glorious liberty suited to the glorified state of the sons of God, to whose service it will administer.

This is the object of the hope—viz., that it shall be rescued from the corruption in which it now is, serving sinful and mortal man, and be transferred to a state of incorruption suited to the glorious liberty of the sons of God, for whose service the “new heavens and the new earth in which justice dwells,” (2 Peter, 3:13), are destined.

Rom 8:22  For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.

When it shall be freed from these pangs and painful throes, which we know it has been suffering from creation to the present moment, in the hope of this happy and blessed deliverance.

He expresses, in the strongest form, the desire of inanimate nature to be rescued from corruption, by comparing it with the anxious desire, for a happy delivery, of a woman enduring the painful throes of childbirth.

Rom 8:23  And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit: even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.

And not only do inanimate creatures thus groan, but even we Christians, who have received the first fruits of the Holy Ghost, which are a sure earnest of our being on a future day glorified, groan within ourselves, anxiously expecting the consummation of our adoption as sons of God, when this body of sin and death shall be endowed with glorious immortality.

“But ourselves also,” is referred by some to the Apostle. It more probably, however, has reference to all Christians in the days of the Apostle. “Who have the first fruits of the spirit,” i.e., who have received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, sanctifying grace, faith, hope, &c., and the other gifts which were abundantly conferred in the primitive Church, and which were so many pledges of future glory. “Waiting for the adoption of the sons of God,” i.e., their perfect, consummate adoption, by receiving the glorious inheritance. We have already received the imperfect, incomplete adoption by grace. “The redemption of our body.” This is the perfect state of our adoption in our resurrection and glorification. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”—(Rom 7:24).

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 14:7-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 7, 2014

7. For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself.
8. For if we live, we live to the Lord: and if we die, we die to the Lord. Whether we live, therefore, or die, we belong to the Lord.
9. For in this Christ died and rose again, that he may be Lord of dead and living.
10. And thou, why judgest thou thy brother? or thou, why despisest thy brother? For we shall all stand before the tribunal of Christ.
11. For it is written: I live, saith the Lord, because to me every knee shall bow: and every tongue confess to God.
12. Therefore every one of us will give account of himself to God
.

7-9. Christ died and rose again. The Greek text and the Syriac add: and lived again. Christ was Lord of all from the first moment of his conception, but he entered upon the exercise of this dominion and authority by his death and resurrection (See Rom 1:4). One recalls Matt 28:18~”All power is given to me.” He died and rose, to be Lord of all men, dead and living. Servants do not belong to themselves but to their Lord, and our life and death are not our own but his.

10. Why judgest thou thy brother? Why do you, the Jew, condemn the Gentile for his liberty? Why do uou, the Gentile, despise the Jew who eats not, from scruple of conscience, and, because he does not, as yet, fully understand the freedom which Christ has given to you both? You are anticipating the sentence of the Judge before whom we must all one day stand.

11-12. As it is written: Is 45:23, 24. I have sworn by myself. The word of justice shall go forth from my mouth, and shall not return. Because to me every knee shall bend, and every tongue shall swear. Every man shall give account to God for himself : but not for another. Whether he has rendered what he has received, and glorified God in proportion to the degree of knowledge permitted him.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 11:33-36

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 16, 2014

A HYMN OF PRAISE TO THE INFINITE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

A Summary of Romans 11:33-36~These verses conclude the Dogmatic Part of the Epistle, but they are suited in a special manner to terminate chapters 9-11. In these chapters something has been said of the purposes and ways of God in dealing with humanity. Enough has been shown to confirm our faith and hope in God, the veil has been drawn aside sufficiently to give us dim glimpses of the great realities that lie behind; but with and around it all, as the Apostle now says, deep clouds of mystery hang: the infinite knowledge and wisdom of God, His inscrutable judgments and far-off deep counsels are not only but faintly reached, but are of their very nature so far beyond our utmost human capacities of comprehension that we can only bow our heads in faith and humble obedience, ever trusting, in the dire problems and experiences of life, to God’s infinite goodness, wisdom and mercy for the solution of all our difficulties.

33. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How  incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways

O the depth. All the Greek MSS. and the Fathers read: “O depth of riches and of wisdom and of knowledge of God.” “Depth” may signify height, as well as profundity; here it means the immensity of God’s riches, wisdom, etc.

Riches represents the treasures of God’s goodness and mercy (Rom 10:12; Eph 3:8, etc.).

Wisdom indicates the divine prudence with which God governs all creatures and leads them to their ends which have been ordained from all eternity.

Knowledge means the science with which God penetrates all things, knowing and choosing the means most fitted to their ends. The end here in question is the salvation of souls, to which God has ordered faith in Christ as a means.

How incomprehensible, etc. The reasons which underlie God’s judgments in showing mercy to some rather than to others are altogether inscrutable to the mind of man.

How unsearchable, etc. The ways which God takes and the means He employs in executing the decrees of His infinite knowledge are beyond the power of any creature to trace.

In the Vulgate et should precede sapientiae.

34. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?
35. Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him?

St. Paul confirms the profundity of God’s divine attributes by three citations from the Old Testament, the first two of which are almost literally from the LXX of Isaiah 40:13, 14, and the third from the Hebrew text of Job 41:3. God reveals to some extent, but His mind is open to no one, because none can penetrate the divine thoughts; He draws His counsels from no one, for He has no need of counselors; to none is He indebted, since He is the source and ruler and end of all.

36. For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things : to him be glory for ever. Amen.

We can neither penetrate the knowledge of God, nor aid Him with our counsels, nor help Him with our resources, because all things are of him, i.e., they depend upon Him as upon their cause and creator; all things are by him, i.e., they are sustained by Him; all things are in him, or unto him (εις αυτον), i.e., they tend to Him as to their last end (Comely, Lagr., Zahn). Origen, St. Aug. and others have seen an allusion to the Trinity in the three expressions of him, by him, and in him; but there is no good reason for this opinion (Cornely, Lagr.).

To him be glory, etc. Thus, by calling on all creatures to give glory to God, does the Apostle terminate the Dogmatic Portion of this great Epistle.

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