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a Bible passage
29. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. He has mentioned gifts and calling; which are to be understood, according to a figure in grammar,
Hypallage — transposition, a change in the arrangement of a sentence.
as meaning the gift of calling: and this is not to be taken for any sort of calling but of that, by which God had adopted the posterity of Abraham into covenant; since this is especially the subject here, as he has previously, by the word, election, designated the secret purpose of God, by which he had formerly made a distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles.
It is not desirable to amalgamate words in this manner; nor is it necessary. The Apostle ascends; he mentions first the “gifts,” the free promises which God made to the Jews; and then he refers to the origin of them, the calling or the election of God, and says that both are irreversible, or, as Castellio well explains the word ἀμεταμέλητα, irrevocable. See a similar instance in Romans 13:13
Calvin seems to regard “the gifts and calling” as having reference to the adoption of the Jewish nation, and their adoption to certain privileges included in the Abrahamic covenant, probably those mentioned in Romans 9:4. But Pareus, Mede, and others, extend the meaning farther, and consider “the gifts” as including those of “faith, remission of sins, sanctification, perseverance and salvation;” and they understand by “calling,” not the external, which often fails, but the internal, made by the Spirit, and every efficacious, of which the Apostle had spoken, when he said, “Those whom he has predestinated, he has called, justified, and glorified.” According to this view the Apostle must be considered to mean, that according to what is said in Romans 11:5, the gifts and callings of God shall be effectual towards some of the Jews throughout all ages, and towards the whole nation, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall come in; or, that though they may be suspended, they shall yet be made evident at the appointed time; so that what secures and renders certain the restoration of the Jews is the covenant of free grace which God made with their fathers.
Some, as Pareus informs us, have concluded from what is here said, that no Gentile nation, once favored with “the gifts and calling of God,” shall be wholly forsaken; and that though religion may for a long season be in a degenerated state, God will yet, in his own appointed time, renew his gifts and his calling, and restore true religion. The ground of hope is the irrevocability of his gifts and calling. — Ed. For we must bear this in mind, — that he speaks not now of the election of individuals, but of the common adoption of the whole nation, which might seem for a time, according to the outward appearance, to have failed, but had not been cut up by the roots. As the Jews had fallen from their privilege and the salvation promised them, that some hope might remain to the remnant, Paul maintains that the purpose of God stands firm and immovable, by which he had once deigned to choose them for himself as a peculiar nation. Since then it cannot possibly be, that the Lord will depart from that covenant which he made with Abraham,
“I will be the God of thy seed,” (Genesis 17:7,)
it is evident that he has not wholly turned away his kindness from the Jewish nation.
He does not oppose the gospel to election, as though they were contrary the one to the other, for whom God has chosen he calls; but inasmuch as the gospel had been proclaimed to the Gentiles beyond the expectation of the world, he justly compares this favor with the ancient election of the Jews, which had been manifested so many ages before: and so election derives its name from antiquity; for God had in past ages of the world chosen one people for himself.
On account of the Fathers, he says not, because they gave any cause for love, but because God’s favor had descended from them to their posterity, according to the tenor of the covenant, “Thy God and the God of thy seed.” How the Gentiles had obtained mercy through the unbelief of the Jews, has been before stated, namely, that God, being angry with the Jews for their unbelief, turned his kindness to them. What immediately follows, that they became unbelievers through the mercy manifested to the Gentiles, seems rather strange; and yet there is in it nothing unreasonable; for Paul assigns not the cause of blindness, but only declares, that what God transferred to the Gentiles had been taken away from the Jews. But lest what they had lost through unbelief, should be thought by the Gentiles to have been gained by them through the merit of faith, mention is made only of mercy. What is substantially said then is, — that as God purposed to show mercy to the Gentiles, the Jews were on this account deprived of the light of faith.