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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 29

Verse 29. For the gifts. The favours or benefits which God bestows on men. The word (carisma) properly denotes any benefit which is conferred on another as a mere matter of favour, and not of reward. See Ro 5:15,10; 6:23.

Such are all the favours which God bestows on sinners, including pardon, peace, joy, sanctification, and eternal life.

And calling of God. The word calling (klhsiv) here denotes that act of God by which he extends an invitation to men to come and partake of his favours, whether it be by a personal revelation as to the patriarchs, Or by the promises of the gospel, or by the influences of his Spirit. All such invitations or callings imply a pledge that he will bestow the favour, and will not repent, or turn from it. God never draws or invites sinners to himself without being willing to bestow pardon and eternal life. The word calling here, therefore, has not respect to external privileges, but to that choosing of a sinner, and influencing him to come to God, which is connected with eternal life.

Without repentance. This does not refer to man, but to God. It does not mean that God confers his favours on man without his exercising repentance, but that God does not repent, or change, in his purposes of bestowing his gifts on man. What he promises he will fulfil; what he purposes to do, he will not change from or repent of. As he made promises to the fathers, he will not repent of them, and will not depart from them; they shall all be fulfilled; and thus it was certain that the ancient people of God, though many of them had become rebellious, and had been cast off, should not be forgotten and abandoned. This is a general proposition respecting God, and one repeatedly made of him in the Scriptures. See Nu 23:19, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he not said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Eze 24:14; 1 Sa 15:29; Ps 89:35,36; Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18; Jas 1:17.

It follows from this,

(1.) that all the promises made to the people of God shall be fulfilled.

(2.) That his people need not be discouraged or desponding in times of persecution and trial.

(3.) That none who become his true friends will be forsaken, or cast off. God does not bestow the gift of repentance and faith, of pardon and peace, on men, for a temporary purpose; nor does he capriciously withdraw them, and leave the soul to ruin. When he renews a soul, it is with reference to his own glory; and to withdraw those favours, and leave such a soul once renewed to go down to hell, would be as much a violation of all the principles of his nature as it would be to all the promises of the Scripture.

(4.) For God to forsake such a soul, and leave it to ruin, would imply that he did repent. It would suppose a change of purpose and of feeling. It would be the character of a capricious being, with no settled plan or principles of action; no confidence could be reposed in him, and his government would be unworthy the affections and trust of his intelligent creation.

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