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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 3

Verse 3. Concerning his Son. This is connected with the first verse, with the word gospel. The gospel of God concerning his Son. The design of the gospel was to make a communication relative to his Son Jesus Christ. This is the whole of it. There is no good news to man respecting salvation except that which comes by Jesus Christ.

Which was made. The word translated was made means, usually, to be, or to become. It is used, however, in the sense of being born. Thus, Ga 4:4, "God sent forth his Son made of a woman," born of a woman. Joh 8:58, "Before Abraham was [born,] I am." In this sense it seems to be used here—who was born, or descended from the seed of David.

Of the seed of David. Of the posterity or lineage of David. He was a descendant of David. David was perhaps the most illustrious of the kings of Israel. The promise to him was, that there should not fail a man to sit on his throne, 1 Ki 2:4; 8:25; 9:5; 2 Ch 6:16.

This ancient promise was understood as referring to the Messiah; and hence in the New Testament he is called the descendant of David, and so much pains is taken to show that he was of his line, Lu 1:27; Mt 9:27; 15:22; 12:23

Mt 21:9,15; 22:42,45; Joh 7:42; 2 Ti 2:8.

As the Jews universally believed that the Messiah would be descended from David, Joh 7:42, it was of great importance for the sacred writers to make it out clearly that Jesus of Nazareth was of that line and family. Hence it happened, that though our Saviour was humble, and poor, and obscure, yet he had that on which no small part of the world have been accustomed so much to pride themselves—an illustrious ancestry. To a Jew there could be scarcely any honour so high as to be descended from the best of their kings; and it shows how little the Lord Jesus esteemed the honours of this world, that he could always evince his deep humility in circumstances where men are usually proud; and that when he spoke of the honours of this world, and told how little they were worth, he was not denouncing that which was not within his reach.

According to the flesh. The word fleshsarx—is used in the Scriptures in a great variety of significations.

(1.) It denotes, as with us, the flesh literally of any living being. Lu 24:39, "A spirit hath not flesh and bones," etc.

(2.) The animal system, the body, including flesh and bones, the visible part of man, in distinction from the invisible, or the soul. Ac 2:31, "Neither did his flesh" (his body) "see corruption." 1 Co 5:5; 15:39.

(3.) The man, the whole animated system, body and soul. Ro 8:3, "In the likeness of sinful flesh." 1 Co 15:50; Mt 16:17; Lu 3:6.

 

(4.) Human nature. As a man. Thus, Ac 2:30, "God had sworn with an oath that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, [i.e., in his human nature,] he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne." Ro 9:5, "Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." The same is its meaning here. He was a descendant of David in his human nature, or as a man. This implies, of course, that he had another nature besides his human; or that, while he was a man, he was also something else; that there was a nature in which he was not descended from David. That this is its meaning will still further appear by the following observations.

(1.) The apostle expressly makes a contrast between his condition according to the flesh, and that according to the spirit of holiness.

(2.) The expression, "according to the flesh," is applied to no other one in the New Testament but to Jesus Christ. Though the word flesh often occurs, and is often used to denote man, yet the peculiar expression according to the flesh occurs in no other connexion. In all the Scriptures it is never said of any prophet or apostle, any lawgiver or king, or any man in any capacity, that he came in the flesh, or that he was descended from certain ancestors according to the flesh. Nor is such an expression ever used anywhere else. If it were applied to a mere man, we should instantly ask in what other way could he come than in the flesh? Has he a higher nature? Is he an angel, or a seraph? The expression would be unmeaning. And when, therefore, it is applied to Jesus Christ, it implies, if language has any meaning, that there was a sense in which Jesus was not descended from David. What that was appears in the next verse.

{d} "was made" Ps 89:36

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