on Romans 1 :7
Called to be saints - Invited to become holy persons, by believing the Gospel and receiving the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Or, here, the word may have the meaning of made or constituted, as above; κλητοις αγιοις, to all that be in Rome, Constituted saints, for they had already received the Gospel grace, and were formed into a Christian Church.
Grace to you - χαρις υμιν; May you be partakers of the Divine favor, the source whence every blessing is derived.
I think it necessary, once for all, to give the several acceptations of this word grace which occur in the sacred writings.
1. The word χαριν signifies in general favor or benevolence, but especially that favor which is powerful and active, and loads its objects with benefits. Luke 1:30 : Fear not, Mary, thou hast found Favor, χαριν, with God. Luke 2:40 : And the child grew - and the Grace of God, χαρις θεου, the favor of God was upon him. Luke 1:52 : And Jesus increased in Favor, χαριτι Grace, with God and man. Acts 2:47 : Having Favor, χαριν, Grace, with all the people. Acts 4:33 : And great Grace, χαρις, Favor, was upon them all. The apostles were at that time in universal favor with the multitude. In this sense the word occurs in a great variety of places, both in the Old and New Testaments.
2. Hence it is often used for the blessing which it dispenses; for, if God be favourably disposed towards a person, his beneficent acts, in that person's behalf, will be a necessary consequence of such favor. John 1:14 : Full of Grace and truth; accomplished in all spiritual blessings. John 1:16 : And Grace upon Grace: he who is full of the most excellent blessings, confers them liberally on all believers. Acts 11:23 : When he had seen the Grace of God, i.e. had the fullest evidence that they were richly endowed with heavenly gifts. 1 Corinthians 1:4 : For the Grace of God which is given you - the Divine blessings conferred upon you. 2 Corinthians 9:8 : God is able to make all Grace abound toward you; i.e. to enrich you with every benediction. This is also a very common acceptation of the word; and in this sense the word grace or favor is now generally understood among religious people. The grace of God meaning with them some Divine or spiritual blessing communicated.
3. It is sometimes taken for the whole of the Christian religion, as being the grandest possible display of God's favor to a lost, ruined world: and in this sense it appears to be used, John 1:17 : For the Law was given by Moses; but Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ: where the term Grace is evidently opposed to Law; the latter meaning the Mosaic, the other the Christian, dispensation. Acts 13:43 : Barnabas persuaded them to continue in the Grace of God; i.e. to hold fast their profession of the religion of Christ. Romans 6:14 : Ye are not under the Law, but under Grace - ye are no longer under obligation to fulfill the Mosaic precepts, but are under the Christian dispensation. See also Romans 6:15; and see 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 1:6; Colossians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:1, Titus 2:11 : The Grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared. The Jewish religion was restricted in its benefits to a few; but the Christian religion proposes the salvation of all men; and the author of it has become a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Hebrews 12:15 : Looking diligently lest any man fall from the Grace of God - lest any man apostatize from the Christian religion, and the blessings of pardon and holiness which he has received through it. 1 Peter 5:12 : This is the true Grace of God wherein ye stand - the Christian religion which ye have received is the genuine religion of God.
4. It signifies all the blessings and benefits which Christ has purchased, and which he gives to true believers, both in time and eternity. See Romans 5:15, Romans 5:17, where the grace of God is opposed to death; i.e. to all the wretchedness and misery brought into the world by Adam's transgression. 1 Corinthians 16:23 : The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all - May every blessing purchased by Christ's passion and death be the portion of you all. Galatians 5:4 : Ye are fallen from Grace - ye have lost the blessings of the Gospel by submitting to circumcision.
5. It signifies the apostolic and ministerial office, or the authority to propagate the Christian religion, and the unction or influence by which that office is executed; so in the 5th verse of this chapter, (Romans 1:5) as has been already noted: By whom we have received Grace and apostleship, or, the apostolic office. Romans 13:3 : I say, through the Grace given unto me; i.e. I command you, by the authority of my apostolic office, etc. See also Romans 13:6.
6. It signifies a gift, salary, or money collected for the use of the poor. 1 Corinthians 16:3 : Whomsoever ye shall approve - them will I send to bring your Liberality, την χαριν υμων, your Grace; i.e. the collection made for the poor saints: see 1 Corinthians 16:1. 2 Corinthians 8:4 : Praying us - that we would receive the Gift, την χαριν, the Grace, the contribution made in the Churches of Macedonia, for the relief of the poor. In this sense it is used in Ecclus. 17:22: He will keep the Good Deeds of man, χαριν, the same as ελεημοσυνη, alms, in the beginning of the verse; and it signifies a kind or friendly act, in the same author. Ecclus. 29:16: Forget not the Friendship, χαριτας, of thy surety. Graces or χαρις, was a deity among the ancients; and the three Graces, αι τρεις χαριτες, were called Pitho, Aglaia, and Euphrosyne; πειθω, mild persuasion; αγλαια, dignity; ευφροσυνη, liberality and joyfulness; and these were always painted naked, to show that all benefits should be gratuitous, this being essential to the nature of a gift. See Suidas, in χαριτας.
7. It sometimes signifies merely thanks or thanksgiving. See Luke 17:9 : Doth he thank, μη χαριν εχει, that servant? Romans 6:17 : But God be Thanked, χαρις οε τω θεω. 1 Corinthians 10:30 : For if I by Grace, χαριτι, Thanksgiving, as our margin has it, and properly.
8. It signifies remuneration, wages, or reward Luke 6:32-34 : If ye love them that love you - do good to them which do good to you - lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what Thank have ye? ποια υμιν χαρις εστι; what Reward have ye? This appears, from the parallel place, Matthew 5:46, to be most evidently the meaning: τινα μισθον εχετε; what Reward have ye? The word is used in this sense by several Greek writers.
9. It signifies whatever is the means of procuring the favor or kindness of another. 1 Peter 2:19, 1 Peter 2:20 : For this is Thankworthy, τουτο γαρ χαρις παρα τῳ Θεῳ, this is the means of Procuring Favor from God.
10. It signifies joy, pleasure, and gratification, which is the, meaning of cara, and with which it is often confounded in the New Testament. Plm 1:7 : For we have great Joy, χαριν γαρ εχομεν πολλην. Tobit 7:18: The Lord give thee Joy, χαριν, for this thy sorrow. In this sense the word is used by the best Greek writers; and in this sense it appears to be used, 2 Corinthians 1:15.
11. It signifies the performance of an act which is pleasing or grateful to others. Acts 24:27 : Felix, willing to show the Jews a Pleasure, χαριτας καταθεσθαι, to perform an act which he knew would be highly gratifying to them.
on Romans 1 :7
To all that be in Rome - That is, to all who bear the Christian name. Perhaps he here included not only the church at Rome, but all who might have been there from abroad. Rome was a place of vast concourse for foreigners; and Paul probably addressed all who happened to be there.
Beloved of God - Whom God loves. This is the privilege of all Christians. And this proves that the persons whom Paul addressed were "not" those merely who had been invited to the external privileges of the gospel. The importance of this observation will appear in the progress of these notes.
Called to be saints - So called, or influenced by God who had called them, as to become saints. The word "saints," ἅγιοι hagioi, means those who are holy, or those who are devoted or consecrated to God. The radical idea of the word is what is separated from a common to a sacred use, and answers to the Hebrew word, קדושׁ qadowsh. It is applied to any thing that is set apart to the service of God, to the temple, to the sacrifices, to the utensils about the temple, to the garments, etc. of the priests, and to the priests themselves. It was applied to the Jews as a people separated from other nations, and devoted or consecrated to God, while other nations were devoted to the service of idols. It is also applied to Christians, as being a people devoted or set apart to the service of God. The radical idea then, as applied to Christians, is, that "they are separated from other men, and other objects and pursuits, and consecrated to the service of God." This is the special characteristic of the saints. And this characteristic the Roman Christians had shown. For the use of the word, as stated above, see the following passages of scripture; Luke 2:23; Exodus 13:2, Romans 11:16; Matthew 7:6; 1 Peter 1:16; Acts 9:13; 1 Peter 2:5; Acts 3:21, Ephesians 3:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2.
Grace - This word properly means "favor." It is very often used in the New Testament, and is employed in the sense of benignity or benevolence; felicity, or a prosperous state of affairs; the Christian religion, as the highest expression of the benevolence or favor of God; the happiness which Christianity confers on its friends in this and the future life; the apostolic office; charity, or alms; thanksgiving; joy, or pleasure; and the benefits produced on the Christian's heart and life by religion - the grace of meekness, patience, charity, etc., "Schleusner." In this place, and in similar places in the beginning of the apostolic epistles, it seems to be a word including all those blessings that are applicable to Christians in common; denoting an ardent wish that all the mercies and favors of God for time and eternity, blended under the general name grace, may be conferred on them. It is to be understood as connected with a word implying invocation. I pray, or I desire, that grace, etc. may be conferred on you. It is the customary form of salutation in nearly all the apostolic epistles; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Plm 1:3.
And peace - Peace is the state of freedom from war. As war conveys the idea of discord and numberless calamities and dangers, so peace is the opposite, and conveys the idea of concord, safety, and prosperity. Thus, to wish one peace was the same as to wish him all safety and prosperity. This form of salutation was common among the Hebrews. Gen 43:23, "peace to you! fear not;" Judges 6:23; Judges 19:20; Luke 24:36. But the word "peace" is also used in contrast with that state of agitation and conflict which a sinner has with his conscience. and with God. The sinner is like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, Isaiah 57:20. The Christian is at peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1. By this word, denoting reconciliation with God, the blessings of the Christian religion are often described in the scriptures, Romans 8:6; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22; Philippians 4:7. A prayer for peace, therefore, in the epistles, is not a mere formal salutation, but has a special reference to those "spiritual" blessings which result from reconciliation with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
From God our Father - The Father of all Christians. He is the Father of all his creatures, as they are his offspring, Acts 17:28-29. He is especially the Father of all Christians, as they have been "begotten by him to a lively hope," have been adopted into his family, and are like him; Matthew 5:45; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 3:1-2. The expression here is equivalent to a prayer that God the Father would bestow grace and peace on the Romans. It implies that these blessings proceed from God, and are to be expected from him.
And the Lord Jesus Christ - From him. The Lord Jesus Christ is especially regarded in the New Testament as the Source of peace, and the Procurer of it; see Luke 2:14; Luke 19:38, Luke 19:42; John 14:27; John 16:33; Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:17. Each of these places will show with what propriety peace was invoked from the Lord Jesus. From thus connecting the Lord Jesus with the Father in this place, we may see,
(1) That the apostle regarded him as the source of grace and peace as really as he did the Father.
(2) he introduced them in the same connection, and with reference to the bestowment of the same blessings.
(3) if the mention of the Father in this connection implies a prayer to him, or an act of worship, the mention of the Lord Jesus implies the same thing, and was an act of homage to him.
(4) all this shows that his mind was familiarized to the idea that he was divine.
No man would introduce his name in such connections if he did not believe that he was equal with God; compare Philippians 2:2-11. It is from this incidental and unstudied manner of expression, that we have one of the most striking proofs of the manner in which the sacred writers regarded the Lord Jesus Christ.
These seven verses are one sentence. They are a striking instance of the manner of Paul. The subject is simply a salutation to the Roman church. But at the mention of some single words, the mind of Paul seems to catch fire, and go burn and blaze with signal intensity. He leaves the immediate subject before him, and advances some vast thought that awes us, and fixes us in contemplation, and involves us in difficulty about his meaning, and then returns to his subject. This is the characteristic of his great mind; and it is this, among other things, that makes it so difficult to interpret his writings.
on Romans 1 :7
1:7 To all that are in Rome - Most of these were heathens by birth, Ro 1:13, though with Jews mixed among them. They were scattered up and down in that large city, and not yet reduced into the form of a church. Only some had begun to meet in the house of Aquila and Priscilla. Beloved of God - And from his free love, not from any merit of yours, called by his word and his Spirit to believe in him, and now through faith holy as he is holy. Grace - The peculiar favour of God. And peace - All manner of blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. This is both a Christian salutation and an apostolic benediction. From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ - This is the usual way wherein the apostles speak, God the Father, God our Father. Nor do they often, in speaking of him, use the word Lord, as it implies the proper name of God, Jehovah. In the Old Testament, indeed, the holy men generally said, The Lord our God; for they were then, as it were, servants; whereas now they are sons: and sons so well know their father, that they need not frequently mention his proper name. It is one and the same peace, and one and the same grace, which is from God and from Jesus Christ. Our trust and prayer fix on God, as he is the Father of Christ; and on Christ, as he presents us to the Father.