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bered, argues from contraries in the following manner: "While you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness; but now, on the other hand, it is your duty to be the servants of righteousness, because you are delivered from the yoke of sin." He calls those free from righteousness, who are under no restraint or check of obedience for the purpose of practising it, since the licentiousness of the flesh so emancipates us from obedience to God, that we become the slaves of the devil. Wretched, therefore, and cursed is that liberty which, with an unbridled, or rather furious violence, exults even to our ruin.
What fruit have you then-Paul could not express his meaning more forcibly than by appealing to their consciences, to make them confess the shame which they felt in their character when out of Christ. For when the pious begin to be illuminated by the Spirit of Christ and the preaching of the gospel, they condemn, of their own accord, the whole of their past life, which they had spent out of Christ; and so far are they from endeavouring to excuse their past conduct, that they are rather ashamed of themselves. Nay, they constantly recall to mind the recollection of their disgrace, that, being thus ashamed, they may be more sincerely, readily, and with heart and mind, humbled before the Lord. Nor does the apostle say, whereof you are now ashamed, without its use; for he intimates the blindness of our self-love, under which we suffered, when we were so completely involved in the darkness of our sins, as not to consider the extent of filth and uncleanness in which we were sunk. The light of the Lord alone can open our eyes to be able to behold the foulness concealed and lurking in our flesh. Whoever, therefore, has been taught to be dissatisfied with himself in real earnest, and to be confounded with shame and bashfulness
on account of his own wretchedness, has been then only imbued and furnished with the first elements of Christian philosophy. At last he judges also more evidently from the consequence, how much believers ought to be ashamed when they understand that they had been on the precipice of death, and the brink of ruin, nay, had now actually entered the gates of death, unless they had been drawn back by the mercy of God.
You have your fruit unto holiness-As Paul had before proved sin to terminate in two awful conclusions, so he now shows righteousness to be productive of two most blessed results. Sin in the present life produces the torments of an evil conscience, and afterwards eternal death. We gather from righteousness the present fruit of holiness, and we hope for eternal life in a future world. These considerations, if we are not altogether sunk in stupidity, ought to produce in our minds a hatred and horror of sin, and a love and earnest desire of righteousness. I do not think, with some, that the apostle meant tribute; for, although death is truly the tribute we pay to sin, yet it cannot be applied to the other member of the sentence, for life cannot be said to be the tribute of holiness.
For the wages of sin-Some consider that Paul wishes to heighten the unpleasant character of the wages given to sinners, by comparing death to the food allotted to soldiers, for the Greek word is occasionally taken in this sense. The apostle seems rather to make indirect allusion to the blind appetites of those, who are allured to their own destruction by baits of sin, as fishes by a hook. It is a more simple sense to understand it for wages; and death is certainly a reward merited by the reprobates. It forms the conclusion, and, as it were, epilogue of the last sentence; nor does he repeat the same idea
again in different words without a reason, for he was desirous to render sin more detestable by doubling the terror with which it is accompanied. But the gift of God-Some consider righteousness to be the subject, and the gift of God the predicate in this proposition, and translate it, eternal life is the gift of God; but this sense entirely destroys the antithesis. Sin, as the apostle shows, produces only death; the gift of God, by our justification and sanctification, he now adds, procures for us the happiness of eternal life. As sin is the cause of death, so righteousness, the gift of Christ, restores eternal life to believers; and it follows from this, as a most certain conclusion, that our salvation is wholly to be ascribed to the grace and mere kindness of God. Were this not true, he might have said the wages of righteousness is eternal life, making one member of the sentence to correspond with the other; but he was fully satisfied that we obtain eternal life as a gift of God, and not our own merit. Nor is this one simple gift; for, being clothed with the righteousness of the Son, we are reconciled to God, and regenerated to holiness by the power of the Spirit. He added, in Christ Jesus, for the purpose of removing from our minds and hearts every opinion of our own peculiar and proper dignity.
1 KNow ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be
dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Although he had given a sufficient but brief solution to the question concerning the abrogation of the law, yet, on account of its difficulty and many other questions which might arise from its discussion, he considers, more at length, in what way the law is abrogated with respect to us. He then shows the great good arising to believers from its abrogation; for, while we are held bound to the demands of the law out of Christ, it can only condemn us. He next considers and refutes the objections of the flesh, to prevent any one from bringing accusations against the law itself, where he treats, in a remarkable passage, with great elegance concerning the use of the law.
Know ye not, brethren-As a general proposition, it is laid down by Paul that the law is made with no other design, and for no other end, than to regulate our conduct during the present life; it has no place and authority among the dead; and to this position he afterwards subjoins the hypothesis, that we are dead to the law in the body of Christ. Others understand the power of the law for restraining us to remain, while its use is in force. But, since this view of the passage is not so plain nor so well adapted to
the hypothesis which immediately follows, I prefer the sentiments of those who confine the expressions to the life of man, and not to the continuance of the law. By proposing the question, he increases the energy with which he asserts the certainty of his statement; for he shows it to be neither new nor unknown, but acknowledged equally by all. For I speak to them that know the law-This parenthesis must be referred to the same subject with the proposition as if the apostle had said, "I know assuredly your acquaintance with the law to be such as leaves no doubt on your minds relative to the point under consideration." And though both the proposition and parenthesis might be applied generally to all laws at the same time, yet it is better to confine the subject, now discussed, to the law of God. It is childish to imagine, with some, that the knowledge of law is applied to the Romans, because a great part of the world was subject to their empire and laws; for Paul partly addresses the Jews, or other strangers, partly the common people, and men in obscure stations. He chiefly regards the Jews, in discussing the question, relative to the abrogation of the law. To prevent every appearance of his treating the subject in a captious manner, he shows that he assumes a vulgar and well-known principle, which must be certainly known to all those who had been educated from their childhood in the doctrine of the law.
For the woman is bound to her husband-He adduces this similitude for the purpose of proving us to be so freed from the law, that it retains, properly, and by its own right, no more power over us. And although he could have proved his proposition by other arguments, yet, as the example of marriage was well suited for the illustration of his subject, he introduced the comparison taken from matrimony, for