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A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans online

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nothing. *' If you live as it would have you, you must inevitably
die. But if by the help of the Spirit you sternly put an end to
the licence of the flesh, then in the fullest sense you will live.

** Why so ? Why that necessary consequence ? The link is
here. All who follow the leading of God's Spirit are certainly by
that very fact special objects of His favour. They do indeed enjoy
the highest title and the highest privileges. They are His sons.

'" When you were first baptized, and the communication of the
Holy Spirit sealed your admission into the Christian fold, the
energies which He imparted were surely not those of a slave.
You had not once more to tremble under the lash of the Law.
No : He gave you rather the proud inspiring consciousness of
men admitted into His family, adopted as His sons. And the
consciousness of that relation unlocks our lips in tender filial
appeal to God as our Father. *® Two voices arc distinctly heard :



20a EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [VIII. 12-15.

one we know to be that of the Holy Spirit ; the other is the voice
of our own consciousness. And both bear witness to the same
fact that we are children of God. "But to be a child implies
something more. The child will one day inherit his father's
possessions. So the Christian will one day enter upon that
glorious inheritance which his Heavenly Father has in store for
him and on which Christ as his Elder Brother has already entered.
Only, be it remembered, that in order to share in the glory, it is
necessary first to share in the sufferings which lead to it.

12. Lipsius would unite vv. 12, 13 closely with the foregoing;
and no doubt it is true that these verses only contain the
conclusion of the previous paragraph thrown into a hortatory
form. Still it is usual to mark this transition to exhortation by
a new paragraph (as at vi. 12); and alihough a new idea (that
of heirship) is introduced at ver. 14, that idea is only subor-
dinate to the main argument, the assurance which the Spirit gives
of future life. See also the note on ovv in x. 14.

13. iri'eufAaTi. The antithesis to adp^ seems to show that this
is still, as in vv. 4, 5, 9, the human nveina, but it is the human
nvfv/xa in direct contact with the Divine.

Tcis Trpd^eis : of wicked doings, as in Luke xxiii. 51.

14. The phrases which occur in this section, UvfvfiaTi Beov

ayo'JTiu, TO nvevfia (rvfifiapTvpfl t(o irvevpan rjfxwv, are clear prOof that
the other group of phrases ev Trvfiifian elvcn, or t6 Uvfipa oiVel (eVotxel)

€v r]piv are not intended in any way to impair the essential distinct-
ness and independence of the human personality. There is no
such Divine ' immanence ' as would obliterate this. The analogy
to be kept in view is the personal influence of one human being
upon another. We know to what heights this may rise. The
Divine influence may be still more subtle and penetrative, but it is
not different in kind.

oiol 0eoo. The difference between vl6s and reKvov appears to be
that whereas reKvov denotes the natural relationship of child to
parent, vios implies, in addition to this, the recognized status and
legal privileges reserved for sons. Cf. Westcott on St. John i. 12
and the parallels there noted.

15. TTi-eu/ia SouXeias. This is another subde variation in the
use of nviinn. From meaning the human spirit under the in-
fluence of the Divine Spirit nviifia comes to mean a particular
state, habit, or temper of the human spirit, sometimes in itself

{nvfiifjia fT/Xwo-fcus Num. V. I4, 30; tvv. dKrjSlas Is. Ixi. 3 ,' ITV. nopffias

Hos. iv. 12), but more often as due to supernatural influence, good

or evil (ttv, a-ocpias K.T.X, Is. xi. 2; irv. nXavrjcraos Is. xix. I4 ; nv.

Kpi<T(us Is. xxviii. 6; nv. Karavv^tos Is. xxix. 10 (= Rom. xi. 8);



VIII. 15-17.] LIFE IN THE SPIRIT 203

nv. ;^aptTOf Koi oiKTipfiov Zech. xii. lO ; Trv.da0fvelasT.vke Xlii. I 1 ;

nv. SeiXias 2 Tim. i. 7 > ''^ ^"^ '''V^ ir\dvris I Jo. iv. 6). So here
nv. tovXflas = such a spirit as accompanies a state of slavery, sucyi
a servile habit as the human Tri/fO/ua assumes among slaves. This
was not the temper which you had imparted to you at your bap-
tism {(Kd^eTf). I'he slavery is that of the Law : of. Gal. iv. 6, 7,

24, V. I.

irdiXii' els <f>oPoi' : ' SO as to relapse into a state of fear.' The
candidate for baptism did not emerge from the terrors of the
Law only to be thrown back into them again.

ui'oOeo-ias : a word coined, but rightly coined, from the classical
phrase vlos TiOfo-dm [Otrbi vlos). It seems however too mucli to
say with Gif. that the coinage was probably due to St. Paul him-
self. 'No word is more common in Greek inscriptions of the
Hellenistic time : the idea, like the word, is native Greek ' (E. L.
Hicks in Studia Biblka, iv. 8). This doubtless points to the
quarter from which St. Paul derived the word, as the Jews had
not the practice of adoption.

*APJ3a, 6 TraTi^p. The repetition of this word, first in Aramaic
and then in Greek, is remarkable and brings home to us the fact
that Christianity had its birth in a bilingual people. The same
repetition occurs in Mark xiv. 36 (' Abba, Father, all things are
possible to Thee ') and in Gal. iv. 6 : it gives a greater intensity of
expression, but would only be natural where the speaker was
using in both cases his familiar tongue. Lightfoot [Hor. Heb. on
Mark xiv. 36) thinks that in the Gospel the word ' k^^ia. only was
used by our Lord and 6 nari^p added as an interpretation by
St. Mark, and that in like manner St. Paul is interpreting for the
benefit of his readers. The three passages are however all too
emotional for this explanation : interpretation is out of place in
a prayer. It seems better to suppose that our Lord Himself,
using familiarly both languages, and concentrating into this word
of all words such a depth of meaning, found Himself impelled
spontaneously to repeat the word, and that some among His
disciples caught and transmitted the same habit. It is significant
however of the limited extent of strictly Jewish Christianity that
we find no other original examples of the use than these three.

16. auTo TO rik-eCfia : see on ver. 14 above.

(TufXfAapTuper : cf. ii. 15; ix. 2. There the 'joint-witness' was
the subjective testimony of conscience, confirming the objective
testimony of a man's works or actions ; here consciousness is
analyzed, and its data are referred partly to the man himself, partly
to the Spirit of God moving and prompting him.

17. KXripoi'ofioi. The idea of a KXr]povofj.ia is taken up and
developed in N. T. from O. T. and Apocr. (Ecclus, Fs. Sol.,
4 Ezr.). It is also prominent in Philo, who devotes a whole



204 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [VIII. 18, 19

treatise to the question Qut's reruvi dtvtnarum heres sii? (Mang. i.
473 ff.). Meaning originally (i) the simple possession of the Holy
Land, it came to mean (ii) its permanent and assured possession
(Ps. XXV [xxiv]. 13; xxxvi [xxxvii]. 9, 11 &c.) ; hence (iii)
specially the secure possession won by the Messiah (Is. Ix. 21 ;
Ixi. 7 ; and so it became (iv) a symbol of all Messianic blessings
(Matt. V. 5; xix. 29; XXV. 34, &c.). Philo, after his manner,
makes the word denote the bliss of the soul when freed from the
body.

It is an instance of the nnacconntable inequalities of nsa,q;e that whereas
tcXTipovo/jLcif, K\r]povo/j,ia occur almost innumerable times in LXX, kXtjpovohos
occurs only five times ^once in Symmachus) ; in N.T. there is much greater
equality (j(\ripovoyLeiv eighteen, KXripovon'ia fourteen, ic\7]poi'6fioT fifteen).

auyKXtipofojioi. Our Lord had described Himself as ' the Heir '
in the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (Matt. xxi. 38). This
would show that the idea of KkrjpovofjLia received its full Christian
adaptation directly from Him (cf. also Matt. xxv. 34).

eiTTcp orufxirdo-xofjiei'. St. Paul seems here to be reminding his
hearers of a current Christian saying : cf. 2 Tim. ii. 1 1 niaros 6

Xoyos, Et yap avvaTredduofifv koi crv(t](Tontv' vnopivofjLfv Koi (rvn^aat-

Xfva-nfxfu. This is another instance of the Biblical conception of
Christ as the Way (His Life not merely an example for ours, but
in its main lines presenting a fixed type or law to which the lives
of Christians must conform); cf. p. 196 above, and Dr. Hort's
T/ie Way, the Truth, and the Life there referred to. For «lWep see
on iii. 30.

SUFFERITTG THE PATH TO GLORY.

VIII. 18-25. What though the path to that glory lies
through suffering ? The siffering and the glory alike are
parts of a great cosmical movement, in which the irrational
creation joins with man. As it shared the results of his
fall, so also will it share in his redemption. Its pangs are
pangs of a new birth (vv. 18-22).

Like the mute creation, we Christians too wait painfully
for our deliverance. Our attitude is one of hope and not of
possession (vv. 23-25).

" What of that ? For the sufferings which we have to undergo
in this phase of our career I count not worth a thought in view
of that dazzling splendour which will one day break through
the clouds and dawn upon us. '^ For the sons of God will stand
forth revealed in the glories of their bright inheritance. And for



VIII. 18.] LIFE IN THE SPIRIT ao^f,

that consummation not they alone but the whole irrational creation
both animate and inanimate, waits with eager longing; like
spectators straining forward over the ropes to catch the first
glimpse of some triumphal pageant.

"The future and not the present must satisfy its aspirations.
For ages ago Creation was condemned to have its energies marred
and frustrated. And that by no act of its own : it was God who
fixed this doom upon it, but with the hope " that as it had been
enthralled to death and decay by the Fall of Man so too the
Creation shall share in the free and glorious existence of God's
emancipated children. ''^ It is like the pangs of a woman in child-
birth. This universal frame feels up to this moment the throes of
travail — feels them in every part and cries out in its pain. But
where there is travail, there must needs also be a birth.

*'Our own experience points to the same conclusion. True
that in those workings of the Spirit, the charismata with which we
are endowed, we Christians already possess a foretaste of good
things to come. But that very foretaste makes us long — anxiously
and painfully long — for the final recognition of our Sonship. We
desire to see these bodies of ours delivered from the evils that
beset them and transfigured into glory.

•* Hope is the Christian's proper attitude. We were saved
indeed, the groundwork of our salvation was laid, when we became
Christians. But was that salvation in possession or in prospect ?
Certainly in prospect. Otherwise there would be no room for
hope. For what a man sees already in his hand he does not hope
for as if it were future. "But in our case we do not see, and we
do hope; therefore we also wait for our object with steadfast
fortitude.

18. Xoyt'toiJiai yap^ At the end of the last paragraph St. Paul
has been led to speak of the exalted privileges of Christians in-
volved in the fact that they are sons of God. The thought of these
privileges suddenly recalls to him the contrast of the suff'erings
through which they are passmg. And after his manner he does
not let go this idea of ' suffering ' but works it into his main
argument. He first dismisses the thought that the present suffer-
ing can be any real counter-weight to the future glory ; and then
he shows that not only is it not this, but that on the contrary it
actually points forward to that glory. It does this on the grandest



2o6 KPTSTLE TO THK ROMANS [VIII. 18, 19.

scale. In fact it is nothing short of an universal law that suffering
marks the road to glory. All the sufferinfj, all the imperfeclion,
all the unsatisfied aspiraiion and longing of which the traces are so
abundant in external nature as well as in man, do but point forward
to a time when the sufferin;^ shall cease, the imperfection be re-
moved and the frustrated aspirations at last crowned and satisfied;
and this time coincides with the glorious consummation which
awaits the Christian.

True it is that there goes up as it were an universal groan, frcx
creation, from ourselves, from the Holy Spirit who sympathizes
with us; but this groaning is but the travail-pangs of the new
binh, the entrance upon their glorified condition of the risen sons
of God.

Xoyii^ofiot : here in its strict sense, 'I calculate,' 'weigh mentally,'
' count up on the one side and on the other.'

a|ia .. .TTpos. In Plato, Gorg. p. 471 E, we have ovhtvos, S^ios ((tti

irpos TTjv dXTjOeiau : SO that with a slight ellipse oiV a^ia . . . npos Tr]u

So^af will = ' not worth (considei ing) in comparison with the glory.'
Or we may regard this as a mixture of two consiruciions, (i) ovk
o^in rqs 8o|'/f, i. e. ' not an equivalent for the glory ' ; com p. Prov.

vi 1, II trap 8e Ttfiiou OVK u^iov (ivTrjs (sc. T^y (ro(ptas\ eariv, and (2)
ov^fvoi Xoyov a^ia npos rfjv do^aV. COmp. Jer. Xxiii. 28 W to a^vpou
npos tov a'lTov ;

The thought has a near parallel in 4 Ezra vii. 3 ff. Compare (e.f. ) the
following (vv. 12-17): Et facti sunt introitus huius saeculi angitsti et
dolentes et laboriosi, pauci autem et malt et periculorum pleni et labore
magna opere fulti ; nam viaioris saeculi introitus spatiosi et securi et
facientes immortalitatis fructum. Si ergo non ingredientes ingressi fuerint-
que vivunt angusta et vana haec, non poteruni recipere quae sunt reposita . . .
iusli autem ferent angusta sperantes spatiosa. Compare also the quotations
from the Talmud in Delitzsch ad loc. The question is asked. What is the
way to the world to come ? And the answer is. Through suffering.

fieXXouorai' : emphatic, 'is destined to,' 'is certain to.' The
position of the word is the same as in Gal. iii. 23, and serves to
point the contrast to rov vvv Kaipov.

hoiav : the heavenly brightness of Christ's appearing : see on
iii. 23.

CIS r\i>.as : to reach and include us in its radiance.

19. dTTOKapaSoKia : cf. Phil. i. 20 Kara Tr)v anoKapaboKiav Kn\ fKirOia

n'w : the verb (in(>Kapa(^oK(iv occurs in Aquila's version of Ps. xxxvii
[xxxvij. 7, and the subst. frequently in Polyb. and Plutarch (see
Grm.-Thay. s. v., and Ell. Lft. on Phil. i. 20). A highly expressive
word ' to strain forward,' lit. ' await with outstretched head.' This
sense is still further strengthened by the compound, dnn- denoting
diversion from other things and concentration on a single object.

This passage (especially vv. 17, 22) played a considerable part in the
•ystem of liasilides, as described in Hippol. A'e/. Omn. Haer. vii. 25-27.



VIII. 10.] LIFE IN THE SPIRIT ao;

Ttjs KTto-ews: see on i. 20. Here the sense is given by ihe
coniext ; 17 kt.o-i? is set in contrast with the ' sons of God,' and
from the allusion to the Fall which follows evidently refers to Gen.
iii. 17, 18 'Cursed is the ground for thy sake . . . thorns also and
thistles shall it bring forth to thee.' The commentators however
are not wrong in making the word include here the whole irrational
creation. The poetic and penetrating imagination of St. Paul
sees in the marks of imperfection on the face of nature, in the
signs at once of high capacities and poor achievement, the visible
lind audible expression of a sense of something wanting which will
one day be supplied.

Oltr. and some others argue strenuously, but in vain, for giving
to KTicTis, throughout the whole of this passage, the sense not of the
world of nature, but of the world of man (similarly Orig.). He
tries to get rid of the poetic personification of nature and to
dissociate St. Paul from Jewish doctrine as to the origin of death
and decay in nature, and as to its removal at the coming of the
Messiah. But (i) there is no sufficient warrant for limiting Kr/o-iy
to humanity; (ii) it is necessary to deny the sufficiently obvious
reference to Gen. iii. 17-19 (where, though the * ground' or ' soil '
only is mentioned, it is the earth's surface as the seed-plot of life) ;
(iii) the Apostle is rather taken out of the mental surroundings
in which he moved than placed in them: see below on 'I'lie
Renovation of Nature.'

The ancients generally take the passage as above (fj Kriais r) 11X070$
expressly Euthym.-Zig ). Orig.-lat., as expressly, has creaturani titpote
rationabilem ; but he is quite at fault, making t^ yLa-raionyn = ' the body.'
Chrys. and Euthym.-Zig. call attention to the personification of Nature,
which they compare to that in the Psalms and Prophets, while Diodorus of
Tarsus refers the expressions implying life rather to the Powers i^maixui)
which preside over inanimate nature and from which it takes its forms The
sense commonly given to ^arawTi/Ti is -= (pOopd,

r^v diTOKd\u(j»ii' riav vlQ>v tou Geou. The same word (moKa\v\f/is is
applied to the Second Coming of the Messiah (which is also an
(Tn(f)avela 2 Thess. ii. 8) and to that of the redeemed who accompany
Him: their new existence will not be like the present, but will be
in 'glory' (So^a) both reflected and imparted. This revealing of
the sons of God will be the signal for the great transformation.

The Jewish writings nse similar language. To them also the appearing of
the Messiah is an drroKa\vipLS : 4 Ezra xiii. 32 ei erit cumjient haec, et con-
tingent sigfia quae atite ostendi tibi et tunc revelahitur Jilius mens qiiem
vidisti ut viiuni ascendentem ; A foe. Bar. xxxix. 7 et erit, cum appropinqua-
verit tempus fi>iis eius ut cadat, tunc revelahitur principatus li/e.isiae inei qui
similis est fonli el viti, et oum revelalus fuerit eradicabit multiiudinein con-
gregatioiiis eius ^the Latin of this book, it will be remembered, i^ Ceiiani's
veision from the Syriac, and not ancient like that of 4 Ezra). The object of
the Mtssinh's ai-)pearing is the same as with St. Paul, to deliver creation
from its ills : 4 Ezra xiii. 26, 29 ipse est quern comervat Aliissimus muitis



2o8 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [VIII. 10-22

titiiporihus qui per semetipsum liberahit creaturam suam et ipse disfonet
qui derelicti sunt . . . ecce dies veniimt, quanJo incipiet Altissimus liherari
eos qui super terram stmt : Apoc. Bar. xxxii. 6 quando futuruin est ut lortis
iiinovet creaturam suam (=4 lizra vii. 75 [Bensly] danec veniant tempora
ilia, in quibtis incipies creaturam renovare). The Mcssinh does not come
alone : 4 Ezra xiii. .^i non poterit quisque super terram videre filium meiim
vel eos qui cum eo sunt nisi in tempore diei. He collects round Him
a double multitude, consisting partly ol the ten tribes who had been carried
away into captivity, and partly of those who were left in the Holy Land
{ibid. w. 12, 39 ff., 48 L).

dTrcKSexerai : another strong compound, where ano- contains the
same idea of ' concentrated waiting ' as in dnoKapaSoKia above.

20. T^ . . . iiaTaioTTjTi : /xaratoTT/j (laTainTriTwv is the refrain of the
Book of Ecclesiastes (Eccl. i. 2, &c. ; of. Ps. xxxix. 5,11 [xxxviii. 6,
12] cxliv [cxliii]. 4) : that is //dratoi/ which is ' without result ' {fidrrjv),
' ineffective,' ' which does not reach its end ' — the opposite of
Tf'Xfios : the word is therefore appropriately used of the disappointing
character of present existence, which nowhere reaches the perfection
of which it is capable.

uTreTayT) : by the Divine sentence which followed the Fall (Gen.
iii. 17-19)-

oux €Kou(Ta : not through its own fault, but through the fault of
man, i. e. the Fall.

8td Toc uiTOTd|ai'Ta : *by reason of Him who subjected it,' i.e. not
man in general (Lips.) ; nor Adam (Chrys. a/.) ; nor the Devil
(Go.), but (with most commentators, ancient as well as modern)
God, by the sentence pronounced after the Fall. It is no argument
against this reference that the use of Std with ace. in such a con-
nexion is rather unusual (so Lips.).

eir* cXttiSi qualifies imfTdyrj. Creation was made subject to
vanity — not simply and absolutely and there an end, but 'in hope
that,' &c. Whatever the defects and degradation of nature, it was
at least left with the hope of rising to the ideal intended for it.

21. oTi. The majority of recent commentators make Jn (= 'that')
define the substance of the hope just mentioned, and not (= ' be-
cause ') give a reason for it. The meaning in any case is much
the same, but this is the simpler way to arrive at it.

Ktti auTT) r\ KTi'ais : not only Christians but even the mute creation
with them.

dTTO TTJs SouXcias Tr\s <}>0opas. dov\ftai corresponds to VTifTayr), the
stale of subjection or thraldom to dissolution and decay. The
opposite to this is the full and free development of all the powers
which attends the stale of fio^a. 'Glorious liberty' is a poor
translalion and does not express the idea : So^n, ' the glorified state,'
is the leading fact, not a subordinate fact, and eX(vdepia is its
char;icieris;ic, ' the liberty of the gloiy of the children of God.'

22. oiSatict' Y<ip introduces a fact of common knowledge (though



Vlll, 22-24.] LIFE IN THE SPIRIT 20g

the apprehension of it may not have been so common as he
assumes) to which the Apostle appeals.

o-ucTxei'dJei Kal aucuSicei. It seems on the whole best to take the
(Tvv- in both instances as = 'together,' i.e. in all the parts of which
creation is made up (so. Theod.-Mops. expressly : ^ovXerai 8(

tiTTfii' on avjxcfiMvoos (TriSfiKwrai tovto naaa t) KTicrts' iva to irapa :tacrr]s
TO avT6 ytvecrdai oixoiats, waidtvcrrj tovtovs ttjv irpos anavTas Koivuivlav

9lpu(T0at Trj tS)v \vn-qpu>v Kaprtpla). Oltr. gets out of it the scnse of
'inwardly' (= eV favTols), which it will not bear: Fri. Lips, and
oilier^j, after Euthym.-Zig. make it = ' wi'/A men ' or ' with the
children of God ' ; but if these had been pointed to, there would
not be so clear an opposition as there is at the beginning of the
next verse (ov p6vov de, dXXa koI airot). The two verses must be
kept apart.

23. ou fioi'oi' 8^. Not only does nature groan, but we Christians
also groan : our very privileges make us long for something more.

TTji' dTrapxTji' Tou nt-eufiaTos : 'the first-fruits, or first instalment
of the gift of the Spirit.' St, Paul evidently means all the
phenomena of that great outpouring which was specially charac-
teristic of the Apostolic Age from the Day of Pentecost onwards,
the varied charismata bestowed upon the first Christians (i Cor.
xii. &c.), but including also the moral and spiritual gifts which were
more permanent (Gal. v. 22 f). The possession of these gifts
served to quicken the sense of the yet greater gifts that were to
come. Foremost among them was to be the transforming of the
earthly or ' psychical ' body into a spiritual body (i Cor. xv. 44 if.).
St. Paul calls this a 'deliverance/ i.e. a deliverance from the 'ills
that flesh is heir to ' : for dnoXvTpaan see on iii. 24.

fxovres Ti|ji€is : ■^pus is placed here by N A C 5. 47. 80, also by Tisch.
RV. and (in brackets) by VVH.

uioQcfriav: see on ver. 15 above. Here v'od. = the manifested,
realized, act of adoption — its public promulgation.

24. Tj) ydp eXtriSi €o-w0T]fA6»', The older commentators for the
most part (not however Luther Beng. Fri.) took the dat. here as
dative of the instrument, ' by hope were we saved.' Most moderns
(including Gif Go. Oltr. Mou. Lid.) take it as dai. modiy ' in hope
were we saved;' the main ground being that it is more in accord-
ance with the teaching of St. Paul to say that we were saved />y
faith, or from another point of view — looking at salvation from the
side of God — by grace (both terms are found in Eph. ii. 8) than by
hope. This seems preferable. Some have held that Hope is here
only an aspect of Faith : and it is quite true that the definition of

Faith in Heb. xi. I (fcm fie Tr/ortf iKuLl^opivuiV vnoaTaais, npaypdruiv

tXeyxos ov ^XeTTopivcov), makes it practically equivalent to Hope. But
that is just one of the points of distinction between Ep. to Heb.

J?



210 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [VIII. 24, 25.

and St. Paul. In Heb. Faith is used somewhat vag;uely of belief
in God and in the fulfilment of His promises. In St. Paul it is far
more often Faith in Christ, the first act of accepting Christianity
(see p. 33 above). This belongs essentially to the past, and to the
present as growing directly out of the past ; but when St. Paul
comes to speak of the future he uses another term, iKnU. No
doubt when we come to trace this to its origin it has its root in the
strong conviction of the Messiahship of Jesus and its consequences ;
but the two terms are not therefore identical, and it is best to
keep them distinct.



Online LibraryW. (William) SandayA critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans → online text (page 39 of 71)