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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 30

Verse 30. What shall we say then? What conclusion shall we draw from the previous train of remarks? To what results have we come by the passages adduced from the Old Testament? This question is asked prepatory to his summing up the argument; and he had so stated the argument that the conclusion which he was about to draw was inevitable.

The Gentiles. That many of the Gentiles; or that the way was open for them, and many of them had actually embraced the righteousness of faith. This epistle was written as late as the year 57, (see Introduction,) and at that time multitudes of heathens had embraced the Christian religion.

Which followed not after righteousness. The apostle does not mean that none of the pagans had any solicitude about right and wrong, or that there were no anxious inquiries among them; but he intends particularly to place them in contrast with the Jew. They had not made it their main object to justify themselves; they were not filled with prejudice and pride as the Jews were, who supposed that they had complied with the law, and who felt no need of any other justification; they were sinners, and they felt it, and had no such mighty obstacle in a system of self-righteousness to overcome as the Jew had. Still it was true that they were excessively wicked, and that the prevailing characteristic among them was that they did not follow after righteousness. See Ro 1:1 and following. The word "followed" here often denotes to pursue with intense energy, as a hunter pursues his game, or a man pursues a flying enemy. The Jews had sought righteousness in that way; the Gentiles had not. The word righteousness here means the same as justification. The Gentiles, which sought not justification, have obtained justification.

Have attained to righteousness, have become justified. This was a matter of fact; and this was what the prophet had predicted. The apostle does not say that the sins of the Gentiles, or their indifference to the subject, was any reason why God justified them, or that men would be as safe in sin as in attempting to seek for salvation. He establishes the doctrine, indeed, that God is a sovereign; but still it is implied that the gospel had not the peculiar obstacle to contend with among the Gentiles that it had among the Jews. There was less pride, obstinacy, self-confidence; and men were more easily brought to see that they were sinners, and to feel their need of a Saviour. Though God dispenses his favours as a sovereign, and though all are opposed by nature to the gospel, yet it is always true that the gospel finds more obstacles among some men than among others. This was a most cutting and humbling doctrine to the pride of a Jew; and it is no wonder, therefore, that the apostle guarded it as he did.

Which is of faith. Justification by faith in Christ. See Barnes "Ro 1:17,31".

 

{e} "the Gentiles" Ro 10:20 {f} "the righteousness which is of faith" Ro 1:17; Php 3:9

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