1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. 1
1. Nulla igitur condemnatio est iis qui sunt in Christo Iesu, qui non secumdum carnem ambulant, sed secundum Spiritum.
2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
2. Lex enim Spiritus vitæ in Christo Iesu, liberum me reddidit a lege peccati et mortis.
3. For what the law could not do,in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh;
3. Quod enim impossibile erat Legi,eo quod infirmabatur per carnem,misso Deus Filio suo in similitudine carnis peccati, etiam de peccato damnavit peccatum in carne;
4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
4. Ut justificatio Legis impleretur in nobis qui non secumdum carnem ambulamus, sed secundum Spiritum.
The meaning then is, -- that the law of God condemns men, and that this happens, because as long as they remain under the bond of the law, they are oppressed with the bondage of sin, and are thus exposed to death; but that the Spirit of Christ, while it abolishes the law of sin in us by destroying the prevailing desires of the flesh, does at the same time deliver us from the peril of death. If any one objects and says, that then pardon, by which our transgressions are buried, depends on regeneration; to this it may be easily answered, that the reason is not here assigned by Paul, but that the manner only is specified, in which we are delivered from guilt; and Paul denies that we obtain deliverance by the external teaching of the law, but intimates that when we are renewed by the Spirit of God, we are at the same time justified by a gratuitous pardon, that the curse of sin may no longer abide on us. The sentence then has the same meaning, as though Paul had said, that the grace of regeneration is never disjoined from the imputation of righteousness.
That he treats here of free justification or of the pardon by which God reconciles us to himself, we may infer from the last clause, when he adds,
Now as to the expression,
Paul clearly declares that our sins were expiated by the death of Christ, because it was impossible for the law to confer righteousness upon us. It hence follows, that more is required by the law than what we can perform; for if we were capable of fulfilling the law there would have been no need to seek a remedy elsewhere. It is therefore absurd to measure human strength by the precepts of the law; as though God in requiring what is justly due, had regarded what and how much we are able to do.
But further, understand the weakness of the law according to the sense in which the Apostle usually takes the word
"Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him."
But the preposition
Paul adds here,
1 This clause, "who walk not," etc., is regarded as spurious by Griesbach: a vast preponderance of authority as to MSS. is against it; and its proper place seems to be at the end of the fourth verse. It being placed here does not, however, interfere with the meaning. -- Ed.
2 Ca1vin has, in his exposition of this verse, followed Chrysostom, and the same view has been taken by Beza, Grotius, Vitringa, Doddridge, Scott, and Chalmers. But Pareus, following Ambrose, has taken another view, which Haldane has strongly advocated, and with considerable power of reasoning, though, as some may perhaps think, unsuccessfully. The exposition is this, -- "The law of the spirit of life" is the law of faith, or the gospel, which is the ministration of the Spirit; and "the spirit of life" means either the life-giving spirit, or the spirit which conveys the life which is in Christ Jesus. Then "the law of sin and death" is the moral law, so called because it discloses sin and denounces death. It is said that this view Corresponds with the "no condemnation" in the first verse, and with the word "law" in the verse which follows, which is no doubt the moral law, and with the truth which the verse exhibits. It is also added that freedom or deliverance from the law of sin, viewed as the power of sin, is inconsistent with the latter part of the former chapter; and that the law of faith, which through the Spirit conveys life, makes us free from the moral law as the condition of life, is the uniform teaching of Paul. "This freedom," says Pareus, "is ascribed to God, to Christ, and to the Gospel, -- to God as the author, Romans 7:25, -- to Christ as the mediator, -- and to the Gospel as the instrument: and the manner of this deliverance is more clearly explained in the verse which follows."
3 Calvin is not singular in this rendering. Pareus and Grotius give "quia vel quandoquidem -- because or since;" and the latter says, that
4 The beginning of this verse, though the general import of it is evident, does yet present some difficulties as to its construction. The clause, as given by Calvin, is, "Quod enim impossibile erat legi," --
3. For this being impossible for the law, because it was weak through the flesh, God having sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful a flesh and on account of sin, has condemned sin in the flesh.
God sent his Son in that flesh which was polluted by sin, though his Son's flesh, i.e. human nature, was sinless; and he sent him on account of that sin which reigned in human nature or flesh; and for this end -- to condemn, i.e., to doom to ruin, to adjudge to destruction, the sin which ruled in the flesh, i.e. in human nature as fallen and Corrupted. This seems to e meaning. Then in the following verse the design of this condemnation of sin is stated -- that the righteousness of the law, or what the law requires, might be done by us. Without freedom from the power of sin, no service can be done to God. It is the destruction of the power of sin, and not the removal of guilt, that is contemplated here throughout; the text of the whole passage is walking after the flesh and walking after the Spirit. -- Ed.
6 The reference had better been made to
Fully admitting all this, I still think that "sin" here is to be taken in its common meaning, only personified. Beza connects
The sense of taking away strength, or depriving of power or authority, or of destroying, or of abolishing, does not belong, says Schleusner, to the verb
By taking a view of the whole passage, from Romans 7:24 to Romans 8:5, for the whole of this is connected, and by noticing the phraseology, we shall probably conclude that the power of sin and not its guilt is the subject treated of. "Law" here is used for a ruling power, for that which exercises authority and ensures obedience. "The law of sin," is the ruling power of sin; "the law of the spirit of life," is the power of the Spirit the author of life; "the law of death" is the power which death exercises. Then "walking after the flesh" is to live in subjection to the flesh; as "walking after the Spirit" is to live in subjection to him. All these things have a reference to the power and not to the guilt of sin. The same subject is continued from Romans 8:5 to Romans 8:15. -- Ed.
7 Commentators are divided as to the meaning of this verse. This and the second verse seem to bear a relation in sense to one another; so that if the second verse refers to justification, this also refers to it; but if freedom from the power of sin and death be what is taught in the former verse, the actual or personal fulfillment of the law must be what is intended here. Some, such as Pareus and Venema, consider justification to be the subject of both verses; and others, such as Scott and Doddridge, consider it to be sanctification. But Beza, Chalmers, as well as Calvin, somewhat inconsistently, regard the second verse as speaking of freedom from the power or dominion of sin, and not from its guilt or condemnation, and this verse as speaking of the imputed righteousness of Christ, and not of that righteousness which believers are enabled to perform by the Spirit's aid and influence. The verses seem so connected in the argument, that one of these two ideas must be held throughout.
There is nothing decisive in the wording of this verse, though the cast of the expressions seem more favorable to the idea entertained by Doddridge and Scott, and especially what follows in the context, where the work of the Spirit is exclusively spoken of. The word dikaiwma, is better rendered "righteousness" than "justification;" for "the righteousness to the law" means the righteousness which the law requires; and the words "might be fulfilled in us," may, with equal propriety as to the uses loquendi, be rendered, might be performed by us." The verb
Viewed in this light the verse contains the same truth with what is expressed by "serving the law of God," in Romans 7:25, and the same with yielding our members as "instruments of righteousness unto God," in Romans 6:13. That this is to establish a justification by the law, is obviated by the consideration, that this righteousness is performed through the efficacy of Christ's death, and through the reviving power of the Spirit, and not through the law, and that it is not a justifying righteousness before God, for it is imperfect, and the law can acknowledge nothing as righteousness but what is perfect. The sanctification now begun will be finally completed; but it is all through grace: and the completion of this work wil1 be a complete conformity with the immutable law of God. -- Ed.