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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 10 - Verse 5

Verse 5. For Moses describeth, etc. This is found in Le 18:5, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, which if a man do he shall live in them." This appeal is made to Moses, both in regard to the righteousness of the law and that of faith, in accordance with the usual manner of Paul to sustain all his positions by the Old Testament, and to show that he was introducing no new doctrine. He was only affirming that which had been long before taught in the writings of the Jews themselves. The word describeth is, literally, writes, (grafei) a word often used in this sense.

The righteousness, etc. The righteousness which a perfect obedience to the law of God would produce. That consisted in perfectly doing all that the law required.

The man which doeth these things. The man who shall perform or obey what was declared in the previous statutes. Moses here had reference to all the commandments which God had given, moral and ceremonial. And the doctrine of Moses is that which pertains to all laws, that he who shall render perfect and continued compliance with all the statutes made known, shall receive the reward which the law promises. This is a first principle of all law; for all law holds a man to be innocent, and, of course, entitled to whatever immunities and rewards it has to confer, until he is proved to be guilty. In this case, however, Moses did not affirm that in fact any one either had yielded or would yield perfect obedience to the law of God. The Scriptures elsewhere abundantly teach that it never has been done.

Doeth. Obeys, or yields obedience. So also Mt 5:19, "Shall do and teach them;" Mt 7:24,26. "Whosoever heareth these sayings—and doeth them;" Mt 23:3; Mr 3:35; 6:20; Lu 6:46,47,49.

 

Shall live. Shall obtain felicity. Obedience shall render him happy, and entitled to the rewards of the obedient. Moses doubtless referred here to all the results which would follow obedience. The effect would be to produce happiness in this life and in the life to come. The principle on which happiness would be conferred, would be the same whether in this world or the next. The tendency and result of obedience would be to promote order, health, purity, benevolence; to advance the welfare of man, and the honour of God, and thus must confer happiness. The idea of happiness is often in the Scriptures represented by the word life. See Barnes "Joh 5:24".

It is evident, moreover, that the Jews understood Moses here as referring to more than temporal blessings. The ancient Targum of Onkelos renders the passage in Leviticus thus —"The man who does these things shall live in them to eternal life." So the Arabic version is, "The retribution of him who works these things is that he shall live an eternal life."

By them. (en autoiv). In them. In their observance he shall find happiness. Not simply as a result, or reward, but the very act of obeying shall carry its own reward. This is the case with all true religion. This declaration of Moses is still true. If perfect obedience were rendered, it would, from the nature of the case, confer happiness and life as long as the obedience was rendered. God would not punish the innocent. But in this world it never has been rendered, except in the case of the Lord Jesus; and the consequence is, that the course of man has been attended with pain, sorrow, and death.

{m} "righteousness" Le 18:5

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