on Romans 1 :4
And declared to be the Son of God - See the note on Acts 13:33, where this subject is considered at large. The word ορισθεντος, which we render declared, comes from οριζω, to bound, define, determine, or limit, and hence our word horizon, the line that determines the farthest visible part of the earth, in reference to the heavens. In this place the word signifies such a manifest and complete exhibition of the subject as to render it indubitable. The resurrection of Christ from the dead was such a manifest proof of our Lord's innocence, the truth of his doctrine, and the fulfillment of all that the prophets had spoken, as to leave no doubt on any considerate and candid mind.
With power - εν δυναμει, With a miraculous display of Divine energy; for, how could his body be raised again, but by the miraculous energy of God? Some apply the word here to the proof of Christ's sonship; as if it were said that he was most manifestly declared to be the Son of God, with such powerful evidence and argument as to render the truth irresistible.
According to the spirit of holiness - There are many differences of sentiment relative to the meaning of this phrase in this place; some supposing that the spirit of holiness implies the Divine nature of Jesus Christ; others, his immaculate sanctity, etc. To me it seems that the apostle simply means that the person called Jesus, lately crucified at Jerusalem, and in whose name salvation was preached to the world, was the Son of God, the very Messiah promised before in the holy Scriptures; and that he was this Messiah was amply demonstrated.
1st, By his resurrection from the dead, the irrefragable proof of his purity, innocence, and the Divine approbation; for, had he been a malefactor, as the Jews pretended, the miraculous power of God would not have been exerted in raising his body from the dead.
2nd, He was proved to be the Son of God, the promised Messiah, by the Holy Spirit, (called here the spirit of holiness), which he sent down upon his apostles, and not on them only, but on all that believed on his name; by whose influence multitudes were convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and multitudes sanctified unto God; and it was by the peculiar unction of this spirit of holiness, that the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Acts 4:33.
Thus, then, Christ was proved to be the true Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh, having the sole right to the throne of Israel; and God recognized this character, and this right, by his resurrection from the dead, and sending forth the various gifts and graces of the Spirit of holiness in his name.
on Romans 1 :4
And declared - In the margin, "determined." Τοῦ ὁρισθέντος Tou horisthentos. The ancient Syriac has, "And he was known to be the Son of God by might and by the Holy Spirit, who rose from the house of the dead." The Latin Vulgate, "Who was "predestinated" the Son of God," etc. The Arabic, "The Son of God destined by power special to the Holy Spirit," etc. The word translated "declared to be" means properly "to bound, to fix limits to," as to a field, to determine its proper limits or boundaries, to "define," etc. Acts 17:26, "and hath determined the bounds of their habitation." Hence, it means to determine, constitute; ordain, decree; i, e. to fix or designate the proper boundaries of a truth, or a doctrine; to distinguish its lines and marks from error; or to show, or declare a thing to be so by any action. Luke 22:22, "the Son of man goeth as it was determined, as it was fixed; purposed, defined, in the purpose of God, and declared in the prophets. Acts 2:23, "him being delivered by the determinate counsel, the definite. constituted will, or design, of God. Acts 11:29; Hebrews 4:7, "he limiteth a certain day," fixes it, defines it. In this sense it is clearly used in this place. The act of raising him from the dead designated him, or constituted him the Son of God. It was such an act as in the circumstances of the case showed that he was the Son of God in regard to a nature which was not "according to the flesh." The ordinary resurrection of a man, like that of Lazarus, would not show that he was the Son of God; but in the circumstances of Jesus Christ it did; for he had claimed to be so; he had taught it; and God now attested the truth of his teaching by raising him from the dead.
The Son of God - The word "son" is used in a great variety of senses, denoting literally a son, then a descendant, posterity near or remote, a disciple or ward, an adopted son, or one that imitates or resembles another; see the note at Matthew 1:1. The expression "sons of God," or "son of God," is used in an almost equal latitude of signification. It is:
(1) Applied to Adam, as being immediately created by God without an earthly father; Luke 3:38.
(2) it is applied to saints or Christians, as being adopted into his family, and sustaining to him the relation of children; John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1-2, etc. This name is given to them because they resemble him in their moral character; Matthew 5:45.
(3) it is given to strong men as resembling God in strength; Genesis 6:2, "The sons of God saw the daughters of men," etc. Here these men of violence and strength are called sons of God, just as the high hills are called hills of God, the lofty trees of Lebanon are called cedars of God, etc.
(4) kings are sometimes called his sons, as resembling him in dominion and power, Psalm 82:6.
(5) the name is given to angels because they resemble God; because he is their Creator and Father, etc., Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Daniel 3:25.
But the name the "Son of God" is in the New Testament given by way of eminence to the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the common and favorite name by which the apostles designated him. The expression "Son of God" is applied to him no less than 27 times in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and 15 times in the Epistles and the Revelation The expression my Son, and his Son, thy Son, etc. is applied to him in his special relation to God, times almost without number. The other most common appellation which is given to him is "Son of man." By this name he commonly designated himself. There can be no doubt that that was assumed to denote that he was a man, that he sustained a special relation to man, and that he chose to speak of himself as a man. The first, the most obvious, impression on the use of the name "Son of man" is that he was truly a man, and was used doubtless to guard against the impression that one who manifested so many other qualities, and did so many things like a celestial being, was not truly human being.
The phrase "Son of God" stands in contrast with the title "Son of man," and as the natural and obvious import of that is that he was a man, so the natural and obvious import of the title "Son of God" is that he was divine; or that he sustained relations to God designated by the name Son of God, corresponding to the relations which he sustained to man designated by the name Son of Man. The natural idea of the phrase, "Son of God," therefore is, that he sustained a relation to God in his nature which implied more than was human or angelic; which implied equality with God. Accordingly, this idea was naturally suggested to the Jews by his calling God his Father; John 5:18, "But said also that God was his Father, "making himself equal with God." This idea Jesus immediately proceeded to confirm; see the note at John 5:19-30. The same idea is also suggested in John 10:29-31, John 10:33, John 10:36, "Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest: "because I said I am the Son of God?" There is in these places the fullest proof that the title suggested naturally the idea of equality with God; or the idea of his sustaining a relation to God corresponding to the relation of equality to man suggested by the title Son of man.
This view is still further sustained in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Romans 1:1-2, "God hath spoken unto us by His Son." He is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, Romans 1:3. He is higher than the angels, and they are required to worship him, Romans 1:4-6. He is called "God," and his throne is forever and ever, Romans 1:8. He is "the Creator of the heavens and the earth," and is immutably the same, Romans 1:10-12. Thus, the rank or title of the "Son of God" suggests the ideas and attributes of the Divinity. This idea is sustained throughout the New Testament. See John 14:9, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" Romans 1:23, "That all men shall honor the Son even as they honor the Father;" Colossians 1:19, "It hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;" Colossians 2:9, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily:" Philippians 2:2-11; Revelation 5:13-14; Revelation 2:23. It is not affirmed that this title was given to the second person of the Trinity before he became incarnate; or to suggest the idea of any derivation or extraction before he was made flesh. There is no instance in which the appellation is not conferred to express his relation after he assumed human flesh. Of any derivation from God, or emanation from him in eternity, the Scriptures are silent. The title is conferred on him, it is supposed, with reference to his condition in this world, as the Messiah. And it is conferred, it is believed, for the following reasons, or to denote the following things, namely.
(1) to designate his unique relation to God, as equal with him, John 1:14, John 1:18; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; Luke 3:22; 2 Peter 1:17, or as sustaining a most intimate and close connection with him, such as neither man nor angels could do, an acquaintance with his nature Matthew 11:27, plans, and counsels, such as no being but one who was equal with God could possess. In this sense, I regard it as conferred on him in the passage under consideration.
(2) it designates him as the anointed king, or the Messiah. In this sense it accords with the use of the word in Psalm 82:6. See Matthew 16:16, "Thou art "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 26:63, "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether "thou be the Christ, the Son of God." Mark 14:61; Luke 22:70; John 1:34; Acts 9:20, "he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."
(3) it was conferred on him to denote his miraculous conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Luke 1:35, "the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, therefore διό dio also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the "Son of God."
(It is readily admitted, that on the subject of the "eternal Sonship" very much has been said of an unintelligible kind. Terms applicable only to the relation as it exists among people have been freely applied to this mystery. But whatever may be thought of such language as "the eternal generation," "the eternal procession," and "the subordination" of the Son; the doctrine itself, which this mode of speaking was invented to illustrate, and has perhaps served to obscure, is in no way affected. The question is not, Have the friends of the doctrine at all times employed judicious illustration? but, What is the "Scripture evidence" on the point? If the eternal Sonship is to be discarded on such grounds, we fear the doctrine of the Trinity must share a similar fate. Yet, those who maintain the divinity of Christ, and notwithstanding deny the eternal Sonship, seem generally to found their objections on these incomprehensible illustrations, and from thence leap to the conclusion that the doctrine itself is false.
on Romans 1 :4