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8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

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8. But God confirms, etc. The verb, συνίστησι, has various meanings; that which is most suitable to this place is that of confirming; for it was not the Apostle’s object to excite our gratitude, but to strengthen the trust and confidence of our souls. He then confirms, that is, exhibits his love to us as most certain and complete, inasmuch as for the sake of the ungodly he spared not Christ his own Son. In this, indeed, his love appears, that being not moved by love on our part, he of his own good will first loved us, as John tells us. (1 John 3:16.) — Those are here called sinners, (as in many other places,) who are wholly vicious and given up to sin, according to what is said in John 9:31, “God hears not sinners,” that is, men abandoned and altogether wicked. The woman called “a sinner,” was one of a shameful character. (Luke 7:37.) And this meaning appears more evident from the contrast which immediately follows, — for being now justified through his blood: for since he sets the two in opposition, the one to the other, and calls those justified who are delivered from the guilt of sin, it necessarily follows that those are sinners who, for their evil deeds, are condemned. 161161     The meaning given to συνίστησι is not peculiar. It is used with an accusative in two senses, — to recommend, to commend, to praise, as in Romans 16:1; 2 Corinthians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 10:12, 18; and also, to prove, to demonstrate, to shew, to render manifest or certain, and thus to confirm, as in Romans 3:5; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 7:11; Galatians 2:18; Schleusner refers to this passage as an instance of the latter meaning. That God proved, or rendered manifest, or conspicuously shewed, his love, seems to be the most suitable idea, as the proof or the evidence is stated in the words which follow. The Syriac version gives the sense of shewing or proving. Vatablus has “proves” or verifies; Grotius, “renders conspicuous,” Beza, “commends,” as our version and Macknight; Doddridge, “recommends;” Hodge, “renders conspicuous.” — Ed. The import of the whole is, — since Christ has attained righteousness for sinner by his death, much more shall he protect them, being now justified, from destruction. And in the last clause he applies to his own doctrine the comparison between the less and the greater: for it would not have been enough for salvation to have been once procured for us, were not Christ to render it safe and secure to the end. And this is what the Apostle now maintains; so that we ought not to fear, that Christ will cut off the current of his favor while we are in the middle of our course: for inasmuch as he has reconciled us to the Father, our condition is such, that he purposes more efficaciously to put forth and daily to increase his favor towards us.




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