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COMMENTARIES OF DR MACKNIGHT, PROFESSOR
MOSES STUART, AND PROFESSOR THOLUCK.
BOOKSELLERS TO THE QUEEN DOWAGER.
AND HAMILTON, ADAMS, & Co.
In the preceding part of the Epistle the universal depravity and guilt of man, and the free salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, had been fully exhibited. Paul now proceeds to prove the intimate connexion between the justification of believers and their sanctification. He commences by stating an objection which has in all ages been advanced as an unanswerable argument against salvation by grace. He asks, what is the consequence of the doctrine he has been inculcating? If justification be bestowed through faith, without works, and if, where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded, may we not continue in sin that grace may abound ? No objection could be more plausible. It is such as will forcibly strike every natural man, and is as common now as it was in the days of the Apostle.
Paul repels this charge by declaring the union of believers with Jesus Christ, by whom, as is represented in baptism, his people are dead to sin, and risen with
him to walk in newness of life. Having established these important truths, he urges (ver. 11) on those whom he addresses the duty of being convinced that such is their actual state. In verses 12 and 13, he warns them not to abuse this conviction ; and for their encouragement in fighting the good fight of faith, to which they are called, assures them in the 14th verse that sin shall not have dominion over them, because they are not under the law but under grace. Thus, the Apostle proves, that, by the gracious provision of the covenant of God, ratified by the blood of him with whom they are inseparably united, they who are justified cannot continue to live in sin ; but though sin shall not have dominion over them, still, as their sanctification is not yet perfect, he goes on to address them as liable to temptation. What he had said, therefore, concerning their state as being in Christ, did not preclude the duty of watchfulness ; nor, since they had formerly been the servants of sin, of now proving that they were the servants of God, by walking in holiness of life. Paul concludes by an animated appeal to their own experience of the past, and to their prospects for the future. He asks, what fruit had they in their former ways, which could only conduct to shame and death ? On the other hand, he exhorts them to press onwards in the course of holiness, at the end of which they would receive the crown of everlasting life. But along with this assurance, he reminds them of the important truth, that while the just recompense of sin is death, eternal life is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
V. 1.- What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, thut grace may abound ?
What shall we say then ?- That is, what conclusion are we to draw from the doctrine previously taught ? The question is first asked generally. In the following words it is asked particularly,—Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Many expound this objection, as coming from a Jew, and imagine a sort of dialogue between him and the Apos
For this there is no ground. The supposition of a dialogue in different parts of this Epistle has been said to give life and interest to the argument; but instead of this, it is only cumbersome and entangling. There is no necessity for the introduction of an objector. It is quite sufficient for the writer to state the substance of the objection in his own words. It was essential for the Apostle to vindicate his doctrine, not only from such objections as he knew would be made by the enemies of the cross of Christ, to whom he has an eye throughout the whole of the Epistle, but also to Christians themselves, whom he was directly addressing. We see in his answer in the following verses, to the questions thus proposed, what an ample field it opened for demonstrating the beautiful harmony of the plan of salvation, and of proving how every part of it bears upon and supports the rest.
V. 2.—God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live uny longer therein?
Paul, in his usual manner, on similar occasions, strongly rejects such a consequence as the question in the first verse supposes, and asks another, which implies the absolute incongruity of the assumption that Christians will be emboldened to continue in sin, by