on Romans 4 :9
Cometh this blessedness - upon the circumcision only - The word μονον, only, is very properly supplied by our translators, and indeed is found in some excellent MSS., and is here quite necessary to complete the sense. The apostle's question is very nervous. If this pardon, granted in this way, be essential to happiness - and David says it is so - then is it the privilege of the Jews exclusively? This cannot be; for, as it is by the mere mercy of God, through faith, the circumcision cannot even claim it. But if God offer it to the circumcision, not because they have been obedient, for they also have sinned, but because of his mere mercy, then of course the same blessedness may be offered to the Gentiles who believe in the Lord Jesus. And this is evident; for we say, following our own Scriptures, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness; he had no merit, he was an idolater; but he believed in God, and his faith was reckoned to him εις δικαιοσυνην, in reference to his justification; he brought faith when he could not bring works; and God accepted his faith in the place of obedience; and this became the instrumental cause of his justification.
on Romans 4 :9
Cometh ... - The apostle has now prepared the way for an examination of the inquiry whether this came in consequence of obedience to the Law? or whether it was without obedience to the Law? Having shown that Abraham was justified by faith in accordance with the doctrine which he was defending, the only remaining inquiry was whether it was after he was circumcised or before; whether in consequence of his circumcision or not. If it was after his circumcision. the Jew might still maintain that it was by complying with the works of the Law; but if it was before, the point of the apostle would be established, that it was without the works of the Law. Still further, if he was justified by faith before he was circumcised. then here was an instance of justification and acceptance without conformity to the Jewish Law; and if the father of the Jewish nation was so justified, and reckoned as a friend of God, without being circumcised, that is, in the condition in which the pagan world then was, then it would follow that the Gentiles might be justified in a similar way now. It would not be departing, therefore, from the spirit of the Old Testament itself, to maintain, as the apostle had done Romans 3, that the Gentiles who had not been circumcised might obtain the favor of God as well as the Jew; that is, that it was independent of circumcision, and might be extended to all.
This blessedness - This happy state or condition. This state of being justified by God, and of being regarded as his friends. This is the sum of all blessedness; the only state that can be truly pronounced happy.
Upon the circumcision only - The "Jews" alone, as "they" pretended.
Or upon the uncircumcision also - The "Gentiles" who believed, as the "apostle" maintained.
For we say - We all admit. It is a conceded point. It was the doctrine of the apostle, as well as of the Jews; and as much theirs as his. With this, then, as a conceded point, what is the fair inference to be drawn from it?
on Romans 4 :9
4:9 This happiness - Mentioned by Abraham and David. On the circumcision - Those that are circumcised only. Faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness - This is fully consistent with our being justified, that is, pardoned and accepted by God upon our believing, for the sake of what Christ hath done and suffered. For though this, and this alone, be the meritorious cause of our acceptance with God, yet faith may be said to be imputed to us for righteousness, as it is the sole condition of our acceptance. We may observe here, forgiveness, not imputing sin, and imputing righteousness, are all one.