World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.


Select a resource above

8 Having put on the breastplate. He adds this, that he may the more effectually shake us out of our stupidity, for he calls us as it were to arms, that he may shew that it is not a time to sleep. It is true that he does not make use of the term war; but when he arms us with a breastplate and a helmet, he admonishes us that we must maintain a warfare. Whoever, therefore, is afraid of being surprised by the enemy, must keep awake, that he may be constantly on watch. As, therefore, he has exhorted to vigilance, on the ground that the doctrine of the gospel is like the light of day, so he now stirs us up by another argument — that we must wage war with our enemy. From this it follows, that idleness is too hazardous a thing. For we see that soldiers, though in other situations they may be intemperate, do nevertheless, when the enemy is near, from fear of destruction, refrain from gluttony 596596     “Et yurognerie;” — “And drunkenness.” and all bodily delights, and are diligently on watch so as to be upon their guard. As, therefore, Satan is on the alert against us, and tries a thousand schemes, we ought at least to be not less diligent and watchful. 597597     “Pour le moins ne deuons—nous pas estre aussi vigilans que les gendarmes?” — “Should we not at least be as vigilant as soldiers are?”

It is, however, in vain, that some seek a more refined exposition of the names of the kinds of armor, for Paul speaks here in a different way from what he does in Ephesians 6:14 for there he makes righteousness the breastplate. This, therefore, will suffice for understanding his meaning, that he designs to teach, that the life of Christians is like a perpetual warfare, inasmuch as Satan does not cease to trouble and molest them. He would have us, therefore, be diligently prepared and on the alert for resistance: farther, he admonishes us that we have need of arms, because unless we be well armed we cannot withstand so powerful 598598     “Si puissant et si fort;” — “So powerful and so strong.” an enemy. He does not, however, enumerate all the parts of armor, (πανοπλίαν,) but simply makes mention of two, the breastplate and the helmet. In the mean time, he omits nothing of what belongs to spiritual armor, for the man that is provided with faith, love, and hope, will be found in no department unarmed.

9 For God hath not appointed us. As he has spoken of the hope of salvation, he follows out that department, and says that God has appointed us to this — that we may obtain salvation through Christ. The passage, however, might be explained in a simple way in this manner — that we must put on the helmet of salvation, because God wills not that we should perish, but rather that we should be saved. And this, indeed, Paul means, but, in my opinion, he has in view something farther. For as the day of Christ is for the most part regarded with alarm, 599599     “D’autant que volontiers nous auons en horreur et craignons le iour du Seigneur;” — “Inasmuch as we naturally regard with horror, and view with dread the day of the Lord.” having it in view to close with the mention of it, he says that we are appointed to salvation

The Greek term περιποίησις means enjoyment, (as they speak,) as well as acquisition. Paul, undoubtedly, does not mean that God has called us, that we may procure salvation for ourselves, but that we may obtain it, as it has been acquired for us by Christ. Paul, however, encourages believers to fight strenuously, setting before them the certainty of victory; for the man who fights timidly and hesitatingly is half-conquered. In these words, therefore, he had it in view to take away the dread which arises from distrust. There cannot, however, be a better assurance of salvation gathered, than from the decree 600600     “Du decret et ordonnance de Dieu;” — “From the decree and appointment of God.” of God. The term wrath, in this passage, as in other instances, is taken to mean the judgment or vengeance of God against the reprobate.

10 Who died. From the design of Christ’s death he confirms what he has said, for if he died with this view — that he might make us partakers of his life, there is no reason why we should be in doubt as to our salvation. It is doubtful, however, what he means now by sleeping and waking, for it might seem as if he meant life and death, and this meaning would be more complete. At the same time, we might not unsuitably interpret it as meaning ordinary sleep. The sum is this — that Christ died with this view, that he might bestow upon us his life, which is perpetual and has no end. It is not to be wondered, however, that he affirms that we now live with Christ, inasmuch as we have, by entering through faith into the kingdom of Christ, passed from death into life. (John 5:24) Christ himself, into whose body we are ingrafted, quickens us by his power, and the Spirit that dwelleth in us is life, because of justification 601601     “Comme il est dit en l’Epistre aux Romans 8. b. 10;” — “As is stated in the Epistle to the Romans Romans 8:10.”

11 Exhort. It is the same word that we had in the close of the preceding chapter, and which we rendered comfort, because the context required it, and the same would not suit ill with this passage also. For what he has treated of previously furnishes matter of both — of consolation as well as of exhortation. He bids them, therefore, communicate to one another what has been given them by the Lord. He adds, that they may edify one another — that is, may confirm each other in that doctrine. Lest, however, it might seem as if he reproved them for carelessness, he says at the same time that they of their own accord did what he enjoins. But, as we are slow to what is good, those that are the most favourably inclined of all, have always, nevertheless, need to be stimulated.