Romans 3:29
Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,
Sermons
Justification Through Faith in ChristR.M. Edgar Romans 3:21-31
Boastfulness -- Jewish and ChristianJ. Oswald Dykes, D. D.Romans 3:27-30
Boasting ExcludedT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 3:27-30
Boasting Excluded by the Law of FaithJ. Robinson, D. D.Romans 3:27-30
Grace Exalted -- Boasting ExcludedC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 3:27-30
Where is the Glorying?T.F. Lockyer Romans 3:27-30
Faith and WorksC.H. Irwin Romans 3:27-31
God's Favours not to be Limited to a Single PeopleCanon Liddon.Romans 3:29-31
How the Law May be Made Void or Established Through FaithJ. Wesley, M. A.Romans 3:29-31
Law and Faith, the Two Great Moral Forces in Human HistoryD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
Religion and MoralityPrincipal Caird.Romans 3:29-31
The Divine UnitiesJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Only Vindicated from the Charge of Encouraging LicentiousnessE. Cooper.Romans 3:29-31
The Gospel for All MankindDr. Moffat.Romans 3:29-31
The Gospel Salvation Confirms ObedienceS. H. Tyng, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
The Law Established by FaithT. G. Horton.Romans 3:29-31
The Law Established by FaithD. Black.Romans 3:29-31
The Law Established Through FaithJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
The Law Established Through FaithT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
The Law Established Through FaithR. Vaughan, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
The Law Established Through FaithJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
The Law Made Void and EstablishedJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 3:29-31
The Moral Law Established by Faith in ChristW. Barns.Romans 3:29-31
The Universal FatherW. E. Channing, D. D.Romans 3:29-31


The Jews were a glorying people; they gloried in God (see Romans 2:17), and they gloried in the Law (Romans 2:23). But now? All glorying was shut out.

I. THE FALSE GLORYING. Man's almost universal perversion of religion. Religion should humble him, but he makes it the occasion of boasting. So eminently with the Jews.

1. In the Law. The Law was designed to teach sin, and quicken their longings for holiness. It had become an apparatus of self-righteousness.

2. In God. God made himself known to them, that through them he might be made known to others. And God was one. They, however, rested in him as theirs alone; and the very doctrine of the oneness of God was made the badge of separateness, and an instrument of bigotry.

II. GLORYING EXCLUDED. God will teach man humility; as towards himself, as towards man's fellow-men. And the gospel is a potent instrumentality to this end. So, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

1. The law of faith: to which "the Law" must logically lead. We receive, as suppliants, on bended knee. "Not of works, lest any man should beast" (Ephesians 2:9).

2. The God of all. The very truth they held belied their pretensions; the God of all must be a God to all. So, then, the gospel was God's gift of grace to men, to be accepted by man's faith. None could do more; none might do less. Our Christian knowledge and belief, our name of Christ, an occasion of glorying? Yes, in a true sense (Galatians 6:14), but not boastfully. For the one should teach us a deep humility, with faith; the other a large, unfailing charity. "He is Lord of all." - T.F.L.









Is He the God of the Jews only?
I.One GOD.

II.One LAW.

III.One FAITH.

IV.One ULTIMATE PURPOSE.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Is He not also of the Gentiles?
The writings of Paul have met with a singular fate. They were intended to reveal the Father's universal and impartial love; they have been used to represent Him as an exclusive and arbitrary Sovereign. They were designed to open the kingdom of God to all men; and they have been so distorted as to shut it on the many and confine it to the few. The great design of Paul was to vindicate the spiritual right of the race against the exclusive bigotry of the Jews; to manifest God as the Father of all men, and Christ as the Saviour, not of one narrow nation, but the whole world. Note, then, from the text —

I. THE DOCTRINE THAT GOD IS "THE GOD OF THE GENTILES." To understand the fall import of this, we must consider that to the Jew the Gentiles were odious. He thought it pollution to eat with them. He called them dogs. He claimed God as exclusively his God. Could we fully comprehend this, we should be filled with admiration for the moral grandeur manifested in the text. Paul, in writing them, not only offered violence to all his earliest and deepest impressions, but put his life in peril.

1. God is "the God of the Gentiles," and do we not respond to this truth? The heathen had indeed wandered far from God; and to the Jews He seemed to have forsaken them utterly. But how could the universal Father forsake the millions of His creatures? Judaea was but a speck on the globe. Was the Infinite One to be confined to this? Could His love be stinted to the few to whom He had specially revealed His will? In the very darkest ages God was "the God of the Gentiles." They had their revelation. Light from heaven descended into their souls. They had the Divine law "written in their hearts." God keep us from the horrible thought that the myriads who are buried in heathen darkness are outcasts from His level Their spiritual wants should indeed move our compassion; and the higher light is given us that we may send it to these brethren.

2. That God is "the God of the Gentiles," we learn from the wonderful progress which human nature made in heathen ages. Remember Greece. God's gift of genius — one form of inspiration — was showered down on that small territory as on no other region under heaven. To Greece was given the revelation of beauty, which has made her literature and art, next to the Holy Scriptures, the most precious legacy of past ages. In that wonderful country amidst degrading vices were manifested sublimest virtues. Undoubtedly Grecian philosophy was an imperfect intellectual guide, and impotent as a moral teacher. But was not God the God of the Gentiles when He awakened in the Greeks such noble faculties of reason, and by their patriotic heroism carried so far forward the education of the human race?

3. God is "the God of the Gentiles"; and He was so just when He separated from them His chosen people. For why was the Jew set apart? That "all families of the earth might be blessed." Judaism was a normal school to train up teachers for the whole world. The Hebrew prophet was inspired to announce an age when the knowledge of God was to cover the earth as waters cover the sea. Nothing in the history of the Jews shows them to us as God's personal favourites, for their history is a record of Divine rebukes, threatenings, and punishments. Their very privileges brought upon them peculiar woes. In ages of universal idolatry they were called to hold forth the light of pure Theism. They betrayed their trust, and when the time came for the "partition wall" to be prostrated, and for the Jews to receive the Gentile world into brotherhood, they shrank from their glorious task; and rejecting mankind, they became themselves the rejected of God. Meanwhile, faith in the one true God has been spread throughout the Gentile world. Thus we see that, in the very act of selecting the Jew, the universal Father was proving Himself to be the God of the heathen, even when He seemed to reject them.

4. This doctrine is one which we Christians still need to learn. For we are too apt, like the Jew, to exalt ourselves above our less favoured brethren. It is the doctrine of the mass of Christians even now that the heathen are the objects of God's wrath. But how can a sane man credit for an instant that the vastly greater portion of the human race is abandoned by God? But Christianity nowhere teaches this horrible faith. And, still more, no man in his heart does or can believe such an appalling doctrine.

II. THE UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE CONTAINED IN THIS DOCTRINE. The language of the text contains an immutable truth for all ages, viz., that God loves equally all human beings; that the Father has no favourites; that in His very being He is impartial and universal Love.

1. This grand truth is taught in nature. God's works are of the same authority with His Word. The universe teaches that God is the God of all, and not of the few. God governs by general laws, which bear alike on all beings, and are plainly instituted for the good of all. We are placed under one equitable system, which is administered with inflexible impartiality. This sun, does he not send as glad a ray into the hovel as into the palace? Does the rain fall upon a few favoured fields? or does the sap refuse to circulate except through the flowers and trees of a certain tribe? Nature is impartial in her smiles. She is impartial also in her frowns. Who can escape her tempests, earthquakes, raging waves? Young and old, the good and evil, are wrapped in the same destroying flame, or plunged in the same overwhelming sea. Providence has no favourites. Pain, disease, and death break through the barriers of the strong and rich, as well as of the humble and the poor.

2. In religion the universal Father is revealed as working in the human soul, and as imparting to man His own Spirit. God's Spirit knows no bounds. There is no soul to which He does not speak, no human abode into which He does not enter with His best gifts. From the huts of the poor, from the very haunts of vice, from the stir of very active business, as well as from the stillness of retired life, have come forth the men who, replenished with spiritual gifts, have been the guides, comforters, lights, regenerators of the world.

III. THIS PRINCIPLE AS APPLIED TO OURSELVES.

1. Is God the Father of the rich only? Is He not also the Father of the poor? The prosperous are prone to feel as if they are a different race from the destitute. But to the Possessor of heaven and earth, how petty must be the highest magnificence and affluence! Does the Infinite Spirit select as His special abode the palace and fly from the hut? On the contrary, if God has a chosen spot on earth, is it not the humble dwelling of patient, unrepining, trustful, virtuous poverty? From the dwellings of the downcast, from the stern discipline of narrow circumstances, how many of earth's noblest spirits have grown up! May we not still learn a lesson of Divine wisdom from the manger at Bethlehem?

2. Is God the God of the good only, or, is He not also the God of the wicked? God indeed looks, we may believe, with peculiar approval on the good. But He does not desire spiritual perfection and eternal happiness for them more than He does for the most depraved. The Scriptures even seem to represent God as peculiarly interested in the evil. "There is joy in heaven over," etc. The good do not and ought not to absorb God's love. We in our conceited purity may withdraw from them, may think it pollution to touch them, may say, "Stand off." But God says to His outcast child, "Come near." Do I speak to those who have escaped gross vice? Bless God for your happiness, but set up no insuperable barrier between yourself and the fallen. In conclusion, let us ask ourselves, What was the guilt of the Jews against which the apostle protested? What was it that scattered their nation like chaff throughout the earth? Their proud separation of themselves from their race. And will not the same spirit bring the same ruin upon us? Separation of ourselves from our race is spiritual death. It is like cutting off a member from the body; the severed limb must perish. This spirit of universal humanity is the very soul of our religion. As yet its heavenly power is scarcely felt. Therefore it is that so few of the blessings of Christianity appear in Christendom. We hold this truth in words. Who feels its vitalising power? When brought home as a reality in social life it will transform the world. All other reforms of society are superficial. But a better day is coming. Cannot we become the heralds of this better day? Let our hearts bid it welcome! Let our lives reveal its beauty and its power!

(W. E. Channing, D. D.)

It happened one evening, soon after I began my journey up the country, that I found my way to the homestead of a Dutch Boer, of whom I begged a night's lodging. It was nightfall and the family must soon go to rest. But first, would the stranger address some words of Christian counsel to them? Gladly I assented and the big barn was resorted to. Looking round on my congregation, I saw my host and hostess with their family. There were crowds of black forms hovering near at hand, but never a one was there in the barn. I waited, hoping they might be coming. But no; no one came. Still I waited as expecting something. "What ails you?" said the farmer. "Why don't you begin?" "May not your servants come too?" I replied. "Servants!" shouted the master; "do you mean the Hottentots, man? Are you mad to think of preaching to Hottentots? Go to the mountains and preach to the baboons; or, if you like, I'll fetch my dogs, and you may preach to them!" This was too much for my feelings, and tears began to trickle down my cheeks. I opened my New Testament, and read out for my text the words, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their master's table." A second time the words were read, and then my host, vanquished by the arrow from God's own quiver, cried out, "Stop! you must have your own way. I'll get you all the Hottentots, and they shall hear you." The barn soon filled with rows of dark forms, whose eager looks gazed at the stranger. I then preached my first sermon to the heathen. I shall never forget that night.

(Dr. Moffat.)

But, clearly, such a gospel as this was not meant for one or two men, or for a company of men, or for a favourite nation, or for a race. "Is He the God of the Jews only?" was St. Paul's indignant question, addressed to those who would have limited His favours down to a single people. Like the natural sun in the heavens, the Incarnate Son of Righteousness is the property — we may dare to use the word — He is the property of all the members of the human family. All have a right to the light and to the warmth which radiate from His sacred person and from His redeeming Cross; and this explains St. Paul's sense of the justice of proclaiming the good news of the reconciliation of earth and heaven by faith in Christ to all members of the human family. Every man, as such, has a right to his share in the gospel, just as every man has a right to air, and to water, and to freedom, and at least to sufficient food to preserve bodily life; and not to preach the gospel, and treat it as if it were the luxury of a small clique like any one of the old philosophies, like a rare book in a library, like a family portrait, was to offend against the sense of natural justice.

(Canon Liddon.)

Do we then make void the law through faith?
"The law" means that which is written in every man's soul, and republished on Sinai. "Faith" means the gospel, "the glad tidings" of sovereign love to a ruined world. These two great moral forces of the world may be looked upon in three aspects.

I. AS AGREEING IN SOME RESPECTS.

1. In authorship. Both are Divine.

2. In spirit. Love is the moral essence, the inspiration of both.

3. In purpose. The well-being of humanity is the grand aim of both.

II. AS DIFFERING IN SOME FEATURES.

1. One is older in human history than the other. The law is as old as the human soul. The gospel began with man after the Fall (Genesis 3:15).

2. One addresses man as a creature, the other as a sinner. Law comes to man as a rational and responsible existent, and demands his homage; the gospel comes to him as a ruined sinner, and offers him assistance and restoration.

3. The one speaks imperatively, the other with compassion. "Thou shalt," "Thou shalt not," is the voice of law. The gospel invites, "Let the wicked forsake his way"; "Come unto Me"; "Ho, everyone that thirsteth."

4. The "law" demands, the "gospel" delivers. The law says, Do this and that, or Desist from this or that, and will hear no excuse. The gospel comes and offers deliverance from the morally feeble and condemned state into which man has fallen.

III. AS COOPERATING TO ONE RESULT. The law prepares for the gospel by carrying the conviction of sin and ruin. The gospel exalts and enthrones the law. This is the point of the text, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid." How does the gospel establish the law?

1. It presents it to man in the most commanding aspects.

2. It enthrones it in the soul.

3. It glorifies it in the life.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. HOW IT MAY BE MADE VOID.

1. By not preaching it at all.

2. By teaching that faith supersedes the necessity of holiness.

3. By continuing in sin.

II. HOW IT MAY BE ESTABLISHED.

1. By insisting on the whole doctrine of godliness.

2. By urging faith in Christ as a means to holiness.

3. By establishing it in our hearts and lives.

(J. Wesley, M. A.)

I. THE LAW IS MADE VOID —

1. By imagining that the covenant in Christ is unconditional.

2. That justification is eternal.

3. Consequently that a BELIEVER IS NOT UNDER THE LAW AT ALL.

II. THE LAW IS ESTABLISHED —

1. In the heart.

2. As a part of the covenant.

3. By the obedience of faith.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

God cannot deny or contradict Himself. He cannot recall His own words or disannul His own law (Malachi 3:6). Yet it might seem, at first sight, as if grace were opposed to law, so that whichever be established, the other must fall. St. Paul anticipates and meets this difficulty. Consider —

I. THE GROUND OR OBJECT OF FAITH.

1. In the preceding verses we find two important points.(1) We "are justified freely by His grace" (ver. 24). God forgives us our sins in a most frank and absolute manner, without regard to any good works on our part, in the way of compensation. But(2) He does this" through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Here we see the qualifying condition of the Divine clemency. He upholds His law. If He forgives us our sins, it is because He has first redeemed us by the sacrifice of His Son. God has made Him our substitute, and treated Him as we deserve to be treated.

2. Here two questions occur.(1) Is such a propitiation allowable in justice? We answer that it would be unjust for God to compel a third party to suffer for sinners; but when One comes forward willingly, it is no outrage to our sense of righteousness for His offer to be accepted. But still it might seem unjust for an innocent substitute to suffer the penalty forever. We instinctively feel that the penalty must be temporary. But, further, if any sense of wrong should still linger it would surely be removed if we could see the substitute compensated for his self-sacrifice. Behold how these things all meet in Christ. As to voluntariness (see John 10:17, 18). As to the duration of Christ's sufferings, we know that, though terrible and severe, they were of short continuance. And then look at his ensuing reward. If there were "the sufferings of Christ," there was also the "glory that should follow."(2) Is this particular propitiation adequate to the occasion? If all that Christ suffered had been endured by a mere man, or even an angel, we should not feel convinced of its efficacy. But Christ is an incarnation of Deity. The immortal Creator cannot Himself die; but He can ally Himself to a human nature which may suffer and die, and in His suffering and death Jehovah Himself may be so implicated as to justify the expression that "God hath purchased the Church with His own blood," and that the Jews "crucified the Lord of glory." Here it is that we see the ground of the infinite meritoriousness and expiating efficacy of the death of Christ. Rather than the law should be broken, or that sin should go unpunished, God gives up His own Son. What than this can more effectually persuade us that the "wages of sin" is death? What than this can more vividly inspire us with hatred of sin, or more powerfully deter the tempted from rebellion, arrest the criminal, or incite the obedient to watchful diligence and reverential fear?

3. Thus are the high ends of justice secured by the death of Christ: and thus is the law established in its broadest moral commands, and satisfied in its deepest moral requirements. From this it will be easy to see how also in a lower sense the law is established by faith.(1) Do you speak of the ceremonial law? It was the shadow of good things to come: its substance is Christ, and now He has come it has passed away, so far as its form is concerned; but it still lives in its substance and antitype, by whom it has been ratified.(2) Similarly with the prophetic Scriptures. The prophets all testified of Christ, and in Him their word is at once accomplished and confirmed. And thus, in every sense, we may boldly say with Paul, "We establish the law."

II. THE CONDITIONS AND OPERATIONS OF FAITH. Here the same principle holds good.

1. In the act of faith the penitent trusts in the atoning death of Jesus Christ as the ground of his acceptance. Now this act of faith —(1) Is in accordance with God's command (John 6:29). Thus is faith essentially obedience to God's law, and by it the authority of God in His law is acknowledged and established.(2) It acquiesces in Christ's atoning work: as an arrangement which vindicates the Divine righteousness. It thus acknowledges the validity of God's law, and the need of sustaining its authority.

2. The preliminary condition of faith is repentance. It is not the hardened unhumbled sinner who is told to believe in Christ, but those who acknowledge that the law is holy, and tremble and weep to think how they have broken it.

3. So with the fruit of faith. When we are forgiven it is that we may serve sin no more (Titus 2:11-15).Conclusion:

1. The greatest sinner may be forgiven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

2. The least sinner must be saved by grace through faith.

3. See the guilt of refusing to be justified by faith.

4. The duty of the forgiven man to run in the way of God's commandments (1 Peter 1:13-16).

(T. G. Horton.)

I. THE OBJECTION STATED. Faith supersedes —

1. The authority of the law by releasing the sinner from its curse.

2. The righteousness of the law as a basis of justification.

II. THE OBJECTION OBVIATED. Faith establishes the law by restoring —

1. Its power of command.

2. Its power of condemnation.

III. THE OBJECTION RETORTED. The objector who blends faith and works undermines.

1. Its power of condemnation.

2. Its power of command.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. FAITH ESTABLISHES THE LAW.

1. In its character as holy.

2. In its claims as just.

3. In its threatenings as sure.

II. OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW IS PROMOTED BY THE GOSPEL.

1. In the motives it supplies.

2. In the strength it supplies.

(T. Robinson, D. D.)

1. The apostle here means that the Divine law must be regarded by us as immutable, and that any interpretation of the gospel at variance with that fact must be a false interpretation. The distinctions between right and wrong are everlasting, and that law of which the apostle speaks helps us to make the distinction.

2. You stand related to —(1) A holy Being. Then you ought to reverence that Being because of His rectitude and truthfulness.(2) A good Being: well, you ought to love that goodness. Conceive of a holy and good Being to have put forth these properties to shield you from evil, and of conferring upon you much good — why, then, ought you not to feel grateful toward that Being? One thing more. Suppose that Being to be infinitely good and holy, and suppose Him to have put forth those perfections to secure for you, either in fact or purpose, infinite blessings, then ought you not to reverence and love Him with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength?

3. I need not remind you that such is the character of God, and that such are the relations in which we stand to Him.(1) And while these last, so long must that law be binding upon us which requires our utmost consecration to Him simply as an act of right, giving to God the things that are God's. God's rectitude, therefore, binds Him to vindicate His law and punish wrong.(2) His benevolence must bind Him to this. For sin is not simply the putting of so much wrong in the place of so much right; it is the putting of what defiles God's work in the place of what gives to it beauty; of deformity and misery in the place of that which would give nobleness and blessedness to His creatures, and the threadwork of retribution that is wrought in with the forms of sin in this world are such as clearly to mark how He abhors this evil. See how drunkenness and licentiousness make the very flesh of men to cry out against the wrongs that are done to it; and how those evil passions of the soul, such as pride, anger, malice, and the like, are made to be as very scorpions to the nature in which you find them. Yes, God has constituted the nature of the human spirit thus, that it shall find happiness only where He finds happiness; that it shall know how to do homage to right, and to love the good. In other words, this law of God is what it is because God is what He is. It comes from His own nature, and it is designed to uphold the God-like.

4. Now there are those who look on the gospel as at variance with the law. This cannot be.(1) Faith is the gift of God; and if the law comes from His nature, and this faith also comes from His nature, He cannot be a fountain sending forth sweet waters and bitter.(2) Faith is obedience to the Divine command; and if the mandate is that we are to believe on His Son Jesus Christ, there can be nothing inconsistent between the conformity to a law that comes from Him, and obedience to this particular mandate that comes from Him.(3) The things that are created from the very act of believing ensure that this shall not be so. For to believe in Christ is to believe in His teaching, e.g., the doctrine of ruin by sin. Well, sin is transgression of the law. Belief in Christ is belief in redemption from sin, from the condemnation that sin has brought upon us. If the condemnation that has come upon me from sin be not just, then the redemption that is said to have been brought to me by Christ must be superfluous; so that faith in Christ comes necessarily of belief in law. You cannot receive the gospel without receiving the law; you cannot understand the one without apprehending the other.(4) Then the very truths that are apprehended have in them a natural fitness so to change the spirit of man that he who is at enmity with law is brought back to loyalty. The purpose of these things is to make the disobedient obedient.(5) Added to this we are assured that any obedience possible to us in any form, whether in a converted or unconverted state, is never to be allowed to come into the place — imperfect as it must necessarily be — of that perfect righteousness which the law demands. And you cannot make void the law more than by attempting to put your own real or supposed obedience in the place of that perfect obedience which the law requires.

5. Now, I do not mean to say that there is not a right state and tendency of mind in the experience of the man who believes in Christ: it must be a state of mind right in itself — right from God's command, right from the nature of the thing; then like will produce like. But though there is a rightness — or righteousness — in faith and flowing from faith which are good as far as they go, what man wants to meet the claims of the Divine law is not a rightness good as far as it goes, but a rightness good altogether. The law is made void, put aside, comes to nothing, when you get rid of the necessity of the perfect obedience which it demands. Any attempt to build upon your own personal sanctity as a ground of acceptance with God must be a mistake. If we trust in the righteousness of Christ at all we cannot presume to think that it needs to be eked out and to be made perfect by ours.

(R. Vaughan, D. D.)

I. THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH is the doctrine of salvation through the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. No good disposition or qualification whatever, nothing, in short, that distinguishes one man from another, can be joined with the righteousness of Christ as the ground of our confidence towards God. Here there is no room for boasting. We must be saved either completely by grace, or completely by our own works.

II. TWO WAYS IN WHICH THE LAW MAY BE SAID TO BE DESTROYED, OR MADE VOID.

1. In principle; when any doctrine is taught which, in its just consequences, has a tendency to relax our obligations to obey the law of God.

2. In practice; when persons take encouragement from mistaken views of gospel truths to continue in sin, or to be less punctual in discharging the duties which they owe to God or their fellow creatures.

III. THE LAW OF GOD IS NOT MADE VOID, BUT ESTABLISHED THROUGH FAITH.

1. The sacred authority and perpetual obligation of the law of God are vindicated in the strongest manner by the doctrine of faith.

2. There are new obligations superadded by the gospel to enforce obedience.(1) A conviction of its infinite evil must surely be allowed to be a powerful motive to depart from sin. But by what means can this conviction be produced to such a degree as by a firm belief of the doctrine of faith relating to the sufferings and death of Christ.(2) Just apprehensions of the holiness of God have always been found to produce correspondent effects on the characters of the persons who entertain them. Now, the doctrine of faith gives us the highest display of this glorious attribute of the Divine nature.(3) The motives which are chiefly insisted upon in the New Testament, and which the gospel in a peculiar manner inspires, are love and gratitude. Now, where can we find such objects to awaken our love and gratitude as in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

3. The law is established through faith, because obedience is one of the principal ends for which we are called to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. The law is established through faith, because the doctrine of faith furnishes the believer with the most powerful encouragements, in his endeavours to attain holiness.(1) From what has been said, you may judge whether you are possessed of true faith in the gospel. Has it come to you, not in word only, but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost?(2) From this subject let me exhort true believers to justify the sincerity of their profession by the holiness of their lives.

(D. Black.)

Faith —

1. Better explains it.

2. Better enforces it.

3. Better secures the ends it proposes.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

The ceremonial law was a mere law of expediency, and served to answer the Divine purposes in the times of Jewish ignorance, until the bringing in of a better covenant to which the types pointed; and when they were swept aside as a handwriting of ordinances, there was no infringement made on the moral law, which, as an unchangeable code of moral requirements, was to stand in full force to the end of time.

I. THIS MORAL LAW IS —

1. Transcendently exalted in its source. It is a transcript of the Divine nature. And as, from His infinite perfections, God can only will what is right, so all created intelligences are bound to obey His commandments.

2. Reasonable in its requirements. All laws ought to be for the welfare of the subjects, and the dignity of the throne, so that self-interest might prompt to obedience, and a love to the monarch lead to all due respect for the administration. Jehovah's laws will be found admirably adapted to accomplish these ends, for they only enjoin what contributes to our happiness, and prohibit what would tend to our misery. "Blessed are they that keep His commandments."

3. Universal in its application. It requires no more than man should perform; viz., to love the Lord his God, etc.

4. Unchangeable in its nature. For being holy, just, and good, Jehovah could as soon change the perfections of His nature as to change the purity of the moral law, or to substitute an opposite one in its stead.

5. Indispensable in its demands. It must be obeyed; its violation must be pardoned, or its penalty must be endured.

II. FAITH ESTABLISHES THE LAW.

1. As a rule of moral action throughout our whole probation.(1) Christ could be the author of no system of salvation that would supersede it. For otherwise His mission would be a curse instead of a blessing, by favouring wickedness in abolishing that standard of righteousness that would deter from sin.(2) And if we deny that we are bound to fulfil that law, then we have no infallible standard by which to measure moral actions. For conscience, except it be regulated by the law of morality, is no sure guide. This is fully established by experience; for when the revealed rule is set aside, men, with the approbation of their own consciences, often run to the most disgraceful extremes.

2. As a medium of happiness (Psalm 1:1-3). In every circumstance of life the law of God will beam a light on our path that cannot be dimmed by the trials and sorrows through which we may pass. And while we are walking according to this rule, "all things will work together for good to them that love God." Obedience brings an evidence of God's love, a peace of conscience, a joy in the Holy Ghost, and a clear prospect of heaven.

3. As an infallible standard in the day of judgment, by which we shall be tried, approved, or condemned. This strict procedure of that day calls for a proper standard by which good and evil shall be discriminated and judged.

4. As a correct and eternal standard of the proper amount of rewards and punishments.

(W. Barns.)

I. THE OBJECTION, THAT FAITH MAKES VOID THE LAW.

1. The moral law is that rule to which from our relation to God we are obliged to conform. This obligation is founded on the nature of things, which nothing ever can dissolve. Should a doctrine, then, tend to warrant the inference that it might be relaxed, this would constitute sufficient ground for rejecting it. But such is not the tendency of our doctrine. On the contrary, it presupposes this obligation. There would have been no occasion for such a method of deliverance from the penal effects of offences committed against the law, but on the supposition of the antecedent obligation to obey the law. And is the sinner less bound to render obedience when he is pardoned, than when he was in a state of guilt?

2. In respect to the measure of the required obedience the objection falls to the ground. This law requires universal, unsinning obedience, and accounts every deviation to be sin. Should any interpretation, then, of Scripture be advanced, which shall reduce this measure of obedience, it would be justly rejected, as being dishonourable to God, contradictory to the Scriptures, and to the interests of morality. But the tendency of our doctrine is the exact opposite. It teaches us that we must be justified by faith, because the unsinning obedience required by the law renders it impossible that we can ever be justified by works. Were the law less holy, less rigorous in its demands, there would then be no necessity for this method of justification. But since righteousness cannot be attained by the law, the righteousness of faith is manifested in the gospel. Does faith, then, make void the law? No. It implies in the strongest manner the extensive nature of that obedience which the law requires.

3. But may not the doctrine supersede the necessity of any obedience at all? No; for —(1) Mark the grounds on which the necessity of obedience to the moral law is founded. Because without it man would be unfit to enter into the presence of God, and unable to participate in the holy felicity of heaven (Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:8).(2) Advert next to the particular nature of justification. It is simply one part of salvation — that part by which the guilt of sin is removed, and the sinner is reconciled to God. While it declares that no holiness has any share in atoning for sin, or in reconciling us to God, it does not therefore intimate that no holiness is requisite to qualify us for the enjoyment of our purchased inheritance. An invalid criminal receives a pardon. If we should assert that the state of his health had no connection with the mercy received, such an assertion could never be construed to imply that his recovery from sickness was unconnected with his future happiness. Because his obligation to punishment has been remitted by an act of grace, it cannot therefore be inferred that health is unnecessary to his enjoyment of the royal bounty. Nay, we should rather say that his deliverance from the sentence rendered the removal of his disorder a blessing more than ever desirable. So justification provides a remedy for the penal consequences which past disobedience has incurred; but it leaves the necessity of personal holiness to rest on the same foundation on which it always had rested, on the impossibility of holding communion with God, and of partaking in His felicity, without possessing corresponding dispositions, and being made partakers of His holiness. If, then, the method of justifying the sinner by faith only tends neither to weaken the obligation to obey the moral law, nor to reduce the measure of the required obedience, nor to supersede the necessity of obedience, in what sense does it make void the law? In no sense whatever.

II. THE ASSERTION THAT FAITH ESTABLISHES THE LAW. Far from producing effects unfavourable to the cause of morality, it tends to strengthen and promote it by motives of the most exalted nature, and of the most constraining obligation.

1. What is the state of the justified sinner? Under a conviction of the danger and misery of sin, looking unto Jesus, he has found peace and joy in believing. The ground of all his present peace and future prospects is a comfortable hope of his acceptance in the beloved. Let this hope be once destroyed, his peace is broken, his prospects are clouded. Still he is under condemnation. To keep alive, then, this hope is one leading object which the justified sinner has constantly in view. But how is the object to be accomplished? Doubtless the Holy Ghost is the author of this blessed experience, "who beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God." But He usually evidences to us our adoption by reflecting light on His own work of grace in the heart, and thus by enabling us to trace out the existence of the cause by the effects evidently produced. Sanctification, as it is the earnest of future glory, so it is an evidence, because a consequence, of our present reconciliation with God. Deliverance from the power of sin is a blessing annexed by promise to a state of justification (chap. Romans 6:14). Observe what a con. straining motive is thus provided to the attainment of universal holiness. The peace, the hope, the joy of a sinner are inseparably connected with the evidence of his interest in Christ.

2. But the faith which leads a sinner to Christ for justification includes a conviction, not only of the danger, but also of the demerit of sin. In what light does he view himself? As a brand plucked out of the fire; as a pardoned criminal, as a rebel graciously invested with all the privileges of a loyal subject. What sentiments of love, gratitude, obedience, does this view inspire!

3. These sentiments are still greatly augmented by a consideration of the means which have been employed in this work of mercy (Galatians 3:13). Redeemed with such a ransom, shall sinners refuse to give their lives to Christ? (1 Corinthians 6:20; Titus 2:14).

(E. Cooper.)

by furnishing —

I. NEW VIEWS OF TRUTH. The believer receives new views of —

1. The perfection of the law in itself. His natural heart rebelled against it, and longed for some standard which should grant indulgence to his sinful infirmities. Even the letter of the law was too strict, and from the breadth of its spiritual application he recoiled. He hated the commandments for their purity. In a renewed heart this spirit is entirely subdued, and that the law is holy and just and good is thankfully acknowledged. There are, therefore, now new and strong inducements to follow after the holiness which it exhibits, and thus the gospel has not destroyed but confirmed the law.

2. His own character and life. His proud and self-confident spirit is broken down under the consciousness of guilt, which quickens the desire for holiness, and increases the abhorrence of transgression. Hence to lower the standard of obedience would bring no gratification. He longs to do the perfect will of God, and is contented only as he can put off the old man and put on the new, which is renewed in holiness.

3. Christ and His Cross. In this there is no countenance given to sin.(1) It is the most solemn manifestation of God's justice in dealing with sin. Beholding the justice and severity of God thus displayed the justified sinner feels the abhorrence of sin more deeply impressed; and as he looks upon his crucified Lord put to death by sin and for sin the law gains a new power over him.(2) It is the most amazing manifestation of the love of God for guilty man. The believer, therefore, rejoicing in the confidence that His blood was shed for him that he might not come into condemnation — how shall he by continuing in sin crucify the Son of God afresh?

II. NEW MOTIVES OF CONDUCT.

1. Sincere gratitude and love to Christ who has redeemed him from the bondage of the law. He looks upon himself as a captive, bought with a price, and love for his Redeemer constrains him to serve and please Him. By this he is led to "perfect holiness in the fear of God."

2. Consciousness of exalted privilege, he is a pardoned man, and all his fear of the consequences of his past guilt are replaced by the hope of heaven. He is adopted into God's family, and therefore has all the rights attaching to Divine Sonship, etc. What an assemblage of motives to holiness! How can a man make void the law who has such privileges?

3. The perfect purity of heaven. The justified man looks forward to this as the perfection of character, and consequently longs for the personal purity which alone can meeten him for it. How, then, can faith make void the law when obedience to it is the only preparation for the inheritance which faith expects?

III. NEW MEANS OF ATTAINING THIS OBEDIENCE. The work of the Holy Spirit is peculiar to the gospel, and whatever holiness any man attains is given by Him. In his own nature man has no strength to obey the law; but the whole influence of the heavenly Agent is directed to the ultimate point of man's entire obedience to God. To attain this He maintains an unceasing warfare within the renewed soul, and having brought him to the glorious privilege of being a child of God, He enables him to walk worthy of his high vocation.

(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

1. There are many who cannot see the difference between criticising a weak argument and attacking the thing it purposes to prove. St. Paul had here been saying severe things of that spurious morality which consists simply of obedience to outward rules; and there were foolish auditors who concluded that he was assailing the moral law, the thing expressed in these rules. His answer is, that he was attacking not law, but legalism. St. Paul maintains that, by trying to substitute the principle of faith for that of blind obedience to an external rule, so far from making void the law he was really establishing the law.

2. The question here discussed, from a modern point of view, is one as to the relation between religion and morality. Can a man be virtuous who is not pious, or, if he can, does his virtue lack a quality which only piety can infuse into him? There are few who would maintain that the Christian religion has had a bad influence on virtue; they only contend that virtue is independent of religion. And I think there are many plausible considerations which lend, at least, a colourable pretext to this contention.(1) No one, e.g., will question that there are not a few of blameless lives who entertain grave doubts as to the Christian faith. Are we to deny the reality of these men's virtue; or, if not, are we to conclude that it makes no difference whether a man is a religious man or no? Again, it has been often urged, that whilst conduct is a test, religious character and belief is not. Sometimes religious belief is a mere accident. Bow many of those who conform to the faith and worship of our country would have given an equally firm adherence to the faith and worship of another country?(2) On the other hand, do we never find that religion may exist without morality? Is there not some ground for the assertion that it is in the religious and not in the secular world that intolerance, uncharitableness, and the like often attain their rankest growth?

3. Are we Christians, then, driven to the admission that there is no connection between our Christian faith and our goodness of life? Or, at least, are we driven to the confession that morality gains nothing from religion? No. All the apparent incongruities notwithstanding, I maintain that religion and morality are inseparably united; that that morality is at the best a poor, shallow thing which is not fed from the fount of a genuine Christian faith. Whenever, in its power and reality, the faith of Christ takes possession of a soul, we find that it transfigures into new beauty and nobleness all the higher elements of our nature, expanding the horizon of intelligence, kindling the spiritual imagination by a vision of a fairer than earthly beauty, infusing a new and keener sensitiveness into the conscience, a new tenderness into the affections, arming the will with a new commanding power over the passions, breathing, amidst all our struggles and efforts in this passing life, a sweeter, serener peace into the heart, and shedding over all the dim, dark future the light of a diviner, heavenlier hope.

4. There are many ways in which the influence of Christian faith on the moral life may be shown, as, e.g., by pointing out the influence of the sense of God's redeeming love in Christ Jesus, and of the hope of immortality on the moral life; but passing by these I fix attention on the fact that —

I. THE FAITH OF CHRIST REVEALS TO US A NEW AND INFINITE IDEAL OR STANDARD OF GOODNESS.

1. Eighteen hundred years ago there broke upon the world a vision of human perfection, a revelation of the hidden possibilities of our nature, transcending far all that the race had ever witnessed or conceived; and if we ask today what is the secret of the wondrous power over the hearts and lives of men the Christ-life has had, shall we answer that Christ set us simply a perfect example of human virtue? Had it been nothing more, I believe that there are dim aspirations in these breasts of ours which had never started into life; that there are secret anticipations of an immortal destiny which would never have awakened within us. But I believe that the secret of the transforming power of the life of the Son of God lies simply in this, that it calls us to be sons of God.

2. I can well conceive that to many this conception of the religious life may have an air of extravagance. When one thinks of the multitudes who are sunk in ignorance and vice, and of the dull routine of commonplace respectability, which is the best that most of us can boast of, it may seem the excess of fanaticism to talk of such a nature that its proper destiny is nothing less than sharing in God's life. And yet think for a moment. Outside of the sphere of religion there are in souls indications of infinitude — a sense of a nature that is one with God.(1) When, e.g., the book of nature becomes intelligible, when beneath seemingly orderless confusion, or contingency and accident in the phenomena and facts of the world, the man of science begins to comprehend the presence of unseen but eternal laws shedding the light of design, of order, of reason over the visible world, what is the meaning of all this? What but this: that in the study of nature I am simply thinking God's thoughts after Him; I am simply proving that the mind within me responds to the mind that is impressed on all things without me.(2) What, again, is the meaning of that even deeper sympathy with nature which finds expression in what we call the sense of the beautiful, the feeling of sensitive persons, with a kind of ecstasy when they look upon the grander scenes of this glorious world? What but this, that man cannot merely observe the glory and beauty of nature but, as face answers to face in a glass, the soul of man is strung in sympathy with the very mind that made it.(3) So in the sphere of a higher and diviner art, in the life of endeavour after goodness. How shall we explain this, that the better a man is the less content is he with himself? Why is it that in the moral life our aspirations become more elevated, and ever as we ascend we see the moral life unsealed rising before us? Why, but for this reason, that the soul of man was made for God, that with nothing less than a Divine perfection can it ever be satisfied?

II. The religion of Christ not only reveals to us an infinite ideal of goodness, but it ASSURES US OF THE POWER TO REALISE IT. It says to you not merely, "This is what you ought to be," but, "This is what you may and can be." Apart from this, the gospel would be no good news. As you know that the first ray of light your eye catches, gilding the eastern horizon in the morning, is to you the sure pledge and prophecy of the coming perfect day; or, as you know, that the future plant is potentially contained in the little seed or germ, so the first movement in a human breast of true spiritual life, the first throb of genuine self-devotion to Christ is fraught with the newborn perfection and beauty of the life that is hid with Christ in God. The religious life indeed, like other life, is progressive, and here, as elsewhere, effort, struggle, conflict are the inevitable conditions of progress. Here lies the power over evil, the conquering impulse of the Christian life, that if only we be true to God and ourselves the final victory is sure. The sun and rain and dew, all the genial influences of nature, will not make a stone grow, but the tiniest germ, the fragile plant, just peeping above the soil, has in it a secret principle which can transmute air, earth, sunlight, moisture into means of its development, and so the heaven born life has in it the vitalising, the assimilating forces that will make "all things" in this our earthly existence, "all things" in the moral atmosphere, "work together for its good," and bear it onward to perfection. If the Spirit of Christ dwell in your heart today and mould your life, nothing in heaven or earth or hell can ever, ever baulk you of your Christian hope.

(Principal Caird.).

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
I. HOWEVER MUCH THE MOST PERFECT OF THE SPECIES MAY HAVE TO GLORY OF IN THE EYE OF HIS FELLOWS, HE HAS NOTHING TO GLORY OF BEFORE GOD. The apostle affirms this of Abraham, whose virtues had canonised him in the hearts of all his descendants, and who still stands forth as the embodiment of all the virtues of the older dispensation. But of his piety we have no account, till after that point which Paul assigns as the period of his justification. And whatever he had antecedently of the virtues that are useful to and call forth the praise of man, certain it is, that with every human being, prior to that great transition in his history, God is not the Being whose authority is recognised in any of these virtues, and he has nothing to glory of before God. Here we are surrounded with beings, all of whom are satisfied if they see in us their own likeness; and, should we attain the average character of society, its voice will suffer us to pass. But not till the revelation of God's likeness is made to us do we see our deficiency from that image of unspotted holiness — to be restored to which is the great purpose of our dispensation. Job protested innocence and kindness and dignity before his friends, but when God, whom he had only before heard of by the hearing of the ear now appeared before his awakened eye, he abhorred himself and repented in dust and in ashes. This is the sore evil under which humanity labours. The magnitude of the guilt is unfelt; and therefore does man persist in a most treacherous complacency. The magnitude of the danger is unseen; and therefore does man persist in a security most ruinous.

II. THIS DISEASE OF NATURE, deadly and virulent as it is, and that beyond the suspicion of those who are touched by it, IS NOT BEYOND THE REMEDY PROVIDED IN THE GOSPEL. Ungodliness is this disease; and it is here said that God justifies the ungodly. The discharge is as ample as the debt; and the grant of pardon in every way as broad and as long as is the guilt which requires it. The deed of amnesty is equivalent to the offence; and, foul as the transgression is, there is a commensurate righteousness which covers the whole deformity, and translates him whom it had made utterly loathsome in the sight of God, into a condition of full favour and acceptance before Him. Had justification been merely brought into contact with some social iniquity, this were not enough to relieve the conscience of him who feels in himself the workings of a direct and spiritual iniquity against God. It is a sense of this which festers in the stricken heart of a sinner, and often keeps by him and agonises him for many a day, like an arrow sticking fast. And there are many who keep at a distance from the overtures of mercy, till they think they have felt enough and mourned enough over their need of them. But we ought not thus to wait the progress of our emotions, while God is standing before us with a deed of justification, held out to the ungodliest of us all. To give us an interest in the saying, that God justifieth the ungodly, it is enough that we count it a faithful saying, and that we count it worthy of all acceptation.

III. WHILE THE OFFER OF A RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE GOD IS THUS BROUGHT DOWN TO THE LOWEST DEPTH OF HUMAN WICKEDNESS, AND IT IS AN OFFER BY THE ACCEPTANCE OF WHICH ALL THE PAST IS FORGIVEN — IT IS ALSO AN OFFER BY THE ACCEPTANCE OF WHICH ALL THE FUTURE IS REFORMED. When Christ confers sight upon a blind man, he ceases to be in darkness; and when a rich individual confers wealth upon a poor, he ceases to be in poverty — and so, as surely, when justification is conferred upon the ungodly, his ungodliness is done away. His godliness is not the ground upon which the gift was awarded, any more than the sight of him who was blind is the ground upon which it was communicated, or than the wealth of him who was poor is the ground upon which it was bestowed. But just as sight and riches come out of the latter gifts, so godliness comes out of the gift of justification; and while works form in no way the consideration upon Which the righteousness that availeth is conferred upon a sinner, yet no sooner is this righteousness granted than it will set him a-working.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

1. St. Paul has lust shown how the gospel method of justification shuts out the usual Hebrew boast in the Mosaic law as a pathway to eternal life. But some might ask, Did it not set it aside altogether?

2. To this there were two answers possible.(1) The most obvious would be this: The law had other ends to serve (Galatians 3:19, 23, 24; Romans 3:19).(2) Here, however, Paul answers by alleging the ease of Abraham. The force of the argument may be somewhat like this: The reward which the Jew hoped to secure for himself through his circumcision and his observance of the Mosaic law was the national blessing which God had originally conferred by covenant upon the ancestor and representative of his race. It was in his character as a descendant of Abraham that each Jew received in his flesh the seal of the national covenant, or had a right to aspire after the national hope. Nothing higher, therefore, could be looked for by any Israelite than to attain to the blessedness of his forefather Abraham (Luke 16:22). Yet this favour had been promised to and received by him, not in consequence of his observance of the Mosaic law, which was not given for a great while after, not even in consideration of his being circumcised, but solely because he was a believer. Instead of God's covenant with Israel resting on the law, the law on the contrary rested on the covenant. That covenant was, to begin with, one of grace, not of works. So far, therefore, from Paul's doctrine of justification upsetting the Mosaic law, it was just the old teaching of the very earliest "Book of the Law." "Do we, then, make the law of Moses void? God forbid. On the contrary, we establish that law; since we find for it its ancient basis on which alone it can serve those helpful uses for which it was given."

3. The case of Abraham was thus, as St. Paul clearly saw, a crucial instance in which to test his doctrine of justification by faith. Abraham was not merely the first of Israelites or the greatest of them; he was all Israel in his single person. It would never do for a Jew to pretend that a principle which ruled the relations of Abraham to Jehovah could by any possibility make void the law of Moses.

4. But the example of Abraham proves fruitful for Paul's purpose in more ways than one.

I. HIS CONTROVERSY UP TO THIS POINT HAS INVOLVED TWO MAIN POSITIONS. The first is Romans 3:28. The second, Romans 3:30. Both positions he now proceeds to illustrate and confirm by the case of Abraham.

1. It was by his faith Abraham was justified, not by his works of obedience (vers. 1-8). Paul finds a remarkable proof-text in Genesis 15:16.(1) The religious life of Abraham gathers round three leading moments. The first, when God bade him emigrate to Canaan (Genesis 12:1-5); the second, at Mamre, when God first made with the childless and aged man a covenant that he should have a son, etc. (Genesis 15); the third, when, after the first portion of this promise had been fulfilled, as well as the whole of it sealed by circumcision, Jehovah commanded the child of promise to be sacrificed (Genesis 22). At all these three turning times in Abraham's history his confidence in God appeared as the most eminent feature of his character. But plainly, the first of these was preliminary to the second, which conveyed to him the promises of God; and the third was a consequent of the second. The central point, therefore, in the patriarch's history is to be sought in the second, to which St. Paul here refers. On God's side there was simply a word of promise; on the man's side, simply a devout and childlike reliance upon that word. God asked no more; and the man had no more to give. His mere trust in the Promiser was held to be adequate as a ground for that sinful man's acceptance into friendship and league with the eternal Jehovah.(2) The apostle's argument is a very obvious one. There are only two ways of obtaining Divine approval. Either you deserve it, having earned it; then it is a pure debt, and you have something to boast in. Or else you have not earned the Divine approval, but the wages of sin, which is death; only you trust in the promised grace of One who justifies the ungodly; then it may be said that this trust of yours is reckoned as equivalent to righteousness. Now, Abraham's acceptance was plainly of this latter sort. He therefore, at least, had no ground for boasting. His, rather, was such blessedness as his great descendant David sang of so long after (Psalm 32:1, 2).

2. Abraham was justified by his faith, not as a circumcised man, but as an uncircumcised (vers. 9-16). It lies in the very idea of acceptance through faith, that God will accept the believer apart from nationality, an external rite, or church privilege, or the like. This inference Paul has been pressing on his Jewish readers, and here is a curious confirmation of it. Abraham, through whom came circumcision, etc., was taken into Divine favour previous to his circumcision. Circumcision came in simply to seal, not to constitute, his justification. And the design of such an arrangement was to make him the type and progenitor of all believers — of such believers first, as are never circumcised at all, since for thirteen years or more he was himself an uncircumcised believer; then of such also as are circumcised, indeed, yet believers. He is "the father of us all." The only people whom his experience fails to embrace, whose "father" he really is not, are those Jews who trust in their lineage and their covenant badge, and expect to be saved for their meritorious observance of prescribed rules, but who in the free and gracious promises of Abraham's God put no trust at all.(1) Having got thus far, St. Paul has reached this notable conclusion: that so far from his doctrine making the law of Moses void, it is the Jewish figment of justification by the law which makes void God's promise, and Abraham's faith, and the whole basis of grace on which the privileges of the Hebrew people ultimately reposed. Here, therefore, he fairly turns the tables upon his objectors (ver. 14).(2) Nay, more, another conclusion emerges. It turns out now that instead of St. Paul being a disloyal Jew for admitting believing Gentiles to an equal place in the favour of Israel's God, it is his self-righteous countryman, who monopolises Divine grace, that is really false to the original idea of the Abrahamic covenant. All who have faith, whatever their race, are "blessed with faithful Abraham," and he, says Paul, writing to a Gentile Church, "is the father of us all." The apostle has now completed his polemic against Jewish objectors. Before, however, he is done with the case of Abraham, there is a further use to be made of his bright exemplar.

II. THE FATHER OF BELIEVERS STANDS OUT AS NOT SIMPLY A SPECIMEN OF THE FAITH THAT JUSTIFIES, BUT AS THE HIGHEST PATTERN AND LESSON IN THIS GRACE TO ALL HIS SPIRITUAL PROGENY (vers. 17-25).

1. I spoke of three leading moments in the spiritual life of the great patriarch. In the roll of heroes in faith given in Hebrews 11, stress is laid upon the first and upon the last. Here, it is the second; and it is this proof of faith, therefore, which Paul now proceeds to examine. The particular promise was that when he was ninety-nine, and his wife ninety, a son should be born to them. On this child of promise were made to depend all the other promises — numerous descendants — the land of inheritance — a perpetual covenant — seed, in whom all earth's families should be blessed. To believe in this explicit word was to believe substantially in the whole of God's grace to men as far as it was then revealed. It was gospel faith so far as there was yet any gospel on earth to put faith in. Dimly and far off Abraham saw the day of Christ, and at God's bare word he risked his spiritual life upon that hope. This was his faith.

2. Now note its characteristics. On the one side lay the improbabilities of an unheard of miracle, to be believed in before it happened; a needless miracle, too, so far as man's reason could discern; for was not Ishmael already there? On the other side, what was there? Nothing but a word of God. Between these two conflicting grounds of expectation a weaker faith than his might have wavered. But Abraham was not weak in faith. Therefore he did not shrink from considering the physical obstacles to the birth of a son. On the contrary, he could afford to fasten his regard on these, without his confidence, in the promise suffering any diminution; since he kept as clearly in view the character of the Almighty Promiser. God is the Quickener of the dead. He can give a name and virtual existence to the yet unbegotten child. Isaac lives in God's counsel and purpose before he has actual being. So Abraham dared to trust in the hope of paternity given him of God, and gave God glory, by honouring the truthfulness of His word and the power of His grace. Such is faith; so it always works. Without calling its eyes off from the objections and difficulties which are present to sense, it fastens itself, nevertheless, on the veracity of Him who speaks words of grace to men.

3. These things were not written for Abraham's sake alone, but for ours. Abraham trusted in God to quicken his unborn son — by and by to raise him (if need were) from the dead. We trust Him who did raise from the dead His own Son Jesus. The gospel facts, the promises, and blessings of the new covenant in Christ are to us what the birth of Isaac was to Abraham: things all of them beyond the reach of experience or against it; resting for their evidence solely on the word of the living God. Such a faith in God is reckoned for righteousness to every man who has it, as it was to Abraham, the father of all believers.

(J. Oswald Dykes, D. D.)

That workman should do ill who, having built a house with another man's purse, should go about to set up his own name upon the front thereof; and in 's law it was decreed that no workman should set up his name within the body of that building which he made out of another's cost. Thus Christ sets us all at work; it is He that bids us to fast, and pray, and hear, and give alms, etc.; but who is at the cost of all this? whose are all these good works? Surely God's. Man's poverty is so great, that he cannot reach a good thought, much less a good deed; all the materials are from God, the building is His; it is He that paid for it. Give but, therefore, the glory and the honour thereof unto God, and take all the profit to thyself.

(J. Spencer.)

What saith the Scripture?
? —

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE SCRIPTURE? Paul referred simply to the Old Testament. But we are not to suppose that the Old and New Testaments are different Scriptures. The only difference is that in the New we have a clearer explanation of that which may be found in the Old.

II. WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURE? The difference between this and the best of other books is that it was written, not by man, but by God; though holy men of old wrote the Book, they wrote it as they were moved by God the Holy Ghost. This Divine authority is supported by ample evidence.

1. Historical.

2. Experimental.

III. WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURE?

1. For the head. It unfolds —

(1)The doctrine of the Trinity.

(2)The plan of salvation.

(3)The judgment to come.

(4)The eternity of future rewards and punishments.

2. For the heart.(1) It proclaims every kind of encouragement to turn from the error of our ways. It assures us of —

(a)The love of God to each soul.

(b)His forbearance with sinners.

(c)His desire to make men happy.(2) It secures for those who have turned —

(a)The sympathy of Jesus.

(b)The comfort of the Holy Ghost.

3. For our life — our way of living. It testifies —

(1)To the impossibility of a double service. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

(2)To the necessity of holiness. Without it "no man shall see the Lord."

(3)To the vanity of this world compared with the next. "What shall it profit a man?" etc.

IV. HOW ARE WE TO KNOW THESE SCRIPTURES? By searching them —

1. Prayerfully.

2. Daily. Conclusion: What an awful responsibility rests upon every man who does not consider what the Scripture saith! It is just as if you were walking in a dark place, not knowing your road, and someone were to offer you a light, and you were to refuse to take it. Not long ago I happened to be visiting in a great castle, situate on the top of a hill, near which there was a very steep cliff, and a rapid river running at the bottom. A person, anxious to get home from that castle late one night in the midst of a violent thunderstorm when the night was blackness itself, was asked to stop till the storm was over. She declined. She was begged to take a lantern, that she might be kept in the road, but she said she could do very well without it. She left, and, perhaps frightened by the storm, she wandered from the road and got upon the top of the cliff; she tumbled over, and the next day the lifeless body of that foolish woman was found washed ashore from the swollen river. Ah! but how many such foolish ones are there who, when the light is offered, and they have only to ask, "What saith the Scripture?" are prepared to say, "I have no need of that Book; I know right from wrong; I am not afraid; I fear not the end."

(Bp. Williers.)

? —

I. AS A REVELATION. On some subjects it is the sole authority. Without it man has no light whatever, or only the dimmest light, on the nature of God, His relations to man, the method of reconciliation, immortality. On these subjects its testimony is full, clear, authoritative. How important, then, that man, a spiritual being, with an immortal destiny, should ask, "What saith the Scriptures?"

II. As A COUNSELLOR. Man is a traveller in an unknown way, and needs a guide, or the chances are he will go astray. There are many candidates for the office — many sincere, and desirous only to secure his good; many insincere, seeking their own advantage: all fallible, and liable to give the wrong advice. The Scripture alone is infallible; it displays every step of the way, so that a wayfaring man, if he accepts its guidance, though a fool, will not err. How important, then, that as regards the path of duty and the way to heaven, young and old should ask, "What saith the Scriptures?"

III. As A STANDARD. Weights and measures in ordinary use may be right or may be wrong. Some are wrong, being too heavy or too light, too long or too short, too large or too small. So it is necessary again and again to apply the "standard" test of weight, measurement, etc. So the Churches, theological schools, etc., may be right or may be wrong in their enunciation of doctrine, and moralists in their statement of ethics. But the Scripture is the authoritative standard of faith and practice, and to it all teaching is to be referred. The Thessalonians received or rejected Paul's doctrine without referring to the standard; the Bereans were "more noble," in that they "searched the Scriptures whether these things were so."

IV. As A JUDGE. The Scripture will judge those to whom it has been given at the last day. The Books will be opened, and this amongst them. It will be in vain then for man to plead that he has consulted the Church, human opinion, etc. What will Scripture say then? "Come, ye blessed," or, "Depart, ye cursed."

(J. W. Burn.)

1. "Scripture." means writing. Generally, when the Bible, as a volume, is spoken of, the expression "the Scriptures" is used, because it is made up of many writings. When some particular part is alluded to, then it is said "the Scripture." For instance (John 5:39), Christ said, "Search the Scriptures," because the whole Bible, from first to last, more or less testified to Him. But when He selects any particular part, then He says, "that Scripture" (Matthew 12:10). Now in the text Paul does not Say, "What saith the Scriptures?" speaking of the whole Bible, but "What says this particular part of Scripture which I am now quoting?"

2. From this we gather that the Bible is infallible. When Jesus quotes it, it is with a view to settle all dispute; or when Paul has proved what he has to say by the Bible, he has decided the matter which is in controversy. "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to that Word it is because they have no light in them." Note —

I. WHAT THE TEXT DOES NOT SAY. It does not say —

1. "What says reason?" Many a man says that. Appeal to their reason and they are satisfied. But what is reason? That which is reason to one man is not reason to another. Must I listen to any infidel who chooses to put the Bible aside and say, "Listen to me, I am reason"? It is true that one man has more mental faculty than another. But when we come to weigh mind against mind, who have displayed greater powers of mind than those who have believed the Bible? And am I to set aside the reason of these men, and take up the reason of other men who are immeasurably their inferiors, and be told that the Bible is not a book to be believed because it is contrary to reason? To me it is the most reasonable thing to believe in the Bible.

2. "What saith science?" Some men say they can disprove the Bible by scientific discoveries. One geologist will tell you that the Bible has false statements with regard to the antiquity of the world; but another says that science and the Book of God are in perfect harmony. Well, then, which am I to believe? Science is always changing. Until Galileo made his discovery that the earth moved round the sun, science declared that the earth stood still and the sun moved round it.

3. "What saith the Church?" "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture do we understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church." Good; that is the doctrine of all the Churches that hold the "truth as it is in Jesus." And right that they should do so. They do not bring a man's interpretation, creeds, decrees, and councils, and say, "Take this to be your faith." But they all say, "What saith the Scripture?"

II. WHAT THE TEXT DOES SAY.

1. As to doctrine, Abraham believed God, and it was "counted to him for righteousness." There is the doctrine, then; it is salvation "by faith" alone, "without the deeds of the law." Now many object to this, and say, "That is unreasonable; God will expect me to do something." "No," the Scripture saith, and with reason. If you look to the law, you must do all the works of the law, or none — "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things in the law." As one leak will sink a ship, so one sin will damn a soul. But is not this a dangerous doctrine? Does it not make a man neglect good works? I cannot help that. Men may abuse the doctrine, as they do other good things, but that is no valid objection against the doctrine itself.

2. As to duty. Having taught that doctrine, we proceed to say that faith will never be without works. As there will always be light and heat in the rays of the sun, so there will always be works following and accompanying faith. "Faith worketh by love." "Love is the fulfilling of the law." What saith the Scripture? "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour." But there are those who speak of faith but show no works. Now, that is not the faith of God's elect. You will find it described in James 2:20-23. This bears upon the subject. The Holy Ghost says that although Abraham was accounted righteous in the sight of God by faith, he justified his character in the sight of men by works. What, then, saith the Scripture to that man who lives as most men live; to that man who is neglectful of secret prayer, who is living in sin, serving divers lusts and pleasures, setting his affection on things below? Why, they condemn him from first to last. "He that believeth not is condemned already." He is not a believer; his life proves it. According to the Word of God, where there is faith there will be works.

(R. W. Dibdin, M. A.)

1. This question is highly characteristic of St. Paul. If a Grecian statesman like Solon had been in a difficulty, his question would have been, "What saith the oracle?" If a Roman general like Caesar, his would have been, "What say the victims?" But the Christian apostle's is, "What saith the Scripture?"

2. Universal has been the confession of human ignorance, especially regarding the future. The numerous oracles of antiquity, of which there were twenty-two sacred to Apollo alone, are manifest acknowledgments of this. But those oracles did not arise merely out of a consciousness of human ignorance; they had their origin likewise in a reverence for the gods and a respect for their religion, such as it was.

3. This being the case, let us contrast the oracles of the heathen with the oracles of God. At Delphi was the most famous oracle. In the innermost sanctuary there was the golden statue of Apollo, and before it there burnt upon an altar an eternal fire. In the centre of this temple there was a small opening in the ground, from which an intoxicating smoke arose. Over this chasm there stood a high tripod, on which the Pythia took her seat whenever the oracle was to be consulted. The smoke rising under the tripod affected her brain in such a manner that she fell into a state of delirious intoxication, and the sounds which she uttered in this state were believed to contain the revelations of Apollo. In the long experiment of heathenism it may be truly said that men groped after God, "if haply they might find Him." Think of them solemnly examining the entrails of a beast, or studying the intersections of a cobweb; think of them trying to discover the mind of God from dreams or the sounds of the wind among the rustling leaves; and then reflect on our greater light and privileges, for we have the oracles which holy men wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost. As we have a nobler oracle, let us consult it with a nobler curiosity and on nobler subjects than the Gentiles did. It is the boast of some natural theologians that they could do without the Bible. But in the full light of nature men acted as we have observed, and therefore something more luminous and powerful was necessary to the renovation of humanity. That one thing needful was a revelation — and that we have got; for "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God." "What saith the Scripture" on —

I. THE ORIGINAL AND PRESENT STATE OF MAN? It tells us we were created upright, that man is fallen and degenerate, and that we are now in a state of sin and death.

II. THIS PRESENT WORLD. How are we to interpret it? Now, just as there is an intended distance for judging of a picture, so there is a right position and attitude for judging this world. A man comes close up to a masterpiece of Rubens, and pronounces it a daub. Let him stand back, and the picture will come out even to his unskilful eye. Just so with the world. You cannot judge it rightly while you are near it, amidst its fascinations. You must retire and prayerfully consult the Word of God. That is the right position and attitude for judging of the world. Many a thoughtful man asks himself, "Why has God set me down here in the world? What does He want me to do?" If he went to the Bible he would get these questions satisfactorily answered; but perhaps he comes to the easy conclusion that he ought to enjoy himself, and straightway plunges into the stream of pleasure, and basks for a little in her fitful sunshine. He is destined to experience what a million experiences fail to prove to the imprudent, that the pleasures of the world turn to acids. "What saith the Scripture?" It tells us that man is here on probation, that this is a life of discipline preparatory to another stage of existence, that this life is not our home, but that our home is in heaven.

III. THE SUBJECT OF HAPPINESS. It is not to be found in the world. Knowledge will not give happiness; for "he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." Wealth will not give happiness. A rich man, when he was dying, cried out for his gold. It was brought to him, and he put it to his breast. "Take it away! take it away!" he shrieked; "that won't do!" Greatness cannot give happiness. Once a friend called to salute a prime minister, and wished him a happy new year. "God grant that it may be!" said the poor great man; "for during the last year I have not known a happy day." A real Christian is the happiest style of man. Thus saith the Scripture, "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but in Me ye shall have peace."

IV. OF THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL. How unsatisfactory is mere reason here! But Christ has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Conclusion:

1. We should receive the responses of God's oracle with meekness.

2. Consider your responsibility. Shall not the heathen rise up in the judgment and condemn us? For they listened for the voice of Deity among the rustling leaves or the cooing of the doves, but many of us despise the voice that speaketh from heaven.

3. Consider the perpetuity of the Word, and tremble. Its reviler has long been in his grave; but the Word of God liveth and abideth forever.

(F. Perry, M. A.)

Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
1. A simple childlike dependence on the naked Word of God.

2. An acceptance of, and trust in, God's promised Saviour.

3. A renouncing of his own works as meritorious.

4. A faith that wrought by love, making him the friend of God.

5. One that overcame the world, leading him to seek a better country.

6. One that evidenced its reality by a self-denying obedience.

(T. Robinson, of Cambridge.)

though not the same with a faith in Christ, was analogous to it —

1. As it was a faith in unseen things (Hebrews 11:17-19).

2. As it was prior to and independent of the law (Galatians 3:17-19).

3. As it related to the promised seed in whom Christ was dimly seen.

(Prof. Jowett.)

I. WHOM did he believe? God, as infinitely powerful — who could quicken the dead, and who had merely to will that beings and events should be, and they immediately came into existence (ver. 17).

II. WHAT did he believe? What God was pleased to reveal. What is mentioned here is that he should become the father of many nations; but that was only a small part of what was revealed and what he believed. He believed in effect — for this was the sum of what God revealed to him — that one of his descendants was to be the promised Saviour of men; and that both he and his spiritual seed were to be saved by faith in Him. The revelation was comparatively indistinct, but this was its purport.

III. WHY did he believe this? Just because God had said it. He had no other ground for it. Everything else would have led him to doubt or disbelieve it.

IV. What were the CHARACTERISTICS of this faith? It was —

1. Firm faith (ver. 21).

2. Hopeful faith (ver. 18).

3. A faith that no seeming impossibilities could shake (ver. 20).

(J. Browne, D. D.)

I. ABRAHAM WAS A MAN OF FAITH.

1. His faith was not —(1) Assent to a creed;(2) Nor an intelligent conviction of any plan of salvation to be accomplished centuries later in the sacrifice of Christ.

2. It was a grand, simple trust in God. It was shown in —(1) His forsaking the idols of his forefathers and worshipping the one spiritual God.(2) In his leaving home and going he knew not whither in obedience to a Divine voice.(3) In his willingness to sacrifice his son.(4) In his hope of a future inheritance.

3. Such a faith is personal reliance, leading to obedience and encouraged by hopeful anticipation.

4. This faith is a model faith for us. For faith is to rely upon Christ, to be loyal to Christ, to hope in Christ, and to accept the fuller revelations of truth which Christ opens up to us as Abraham accepted the Divine voices vouchsafed to him. The contents of faith wilt vary according to our light; but the spirit of it must be always the same.

II. HIS FAITH WAS RECKONED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. The special point in Abraham's character was not his holiness, but his faith. God's favour flowed to him through this channel. It was the way through which he, imperfect and sinful as are all the sons of Adam, was called to the privileged place of a righteous man. This is recorded of him in the sacred history (Genesis 15:6), and therefore should be admitted by all Jews. The reasons for our relying on faith are —

1. Historical. Faith justified Abraham, therefore it will justify us.

2. Theological. Faith brings us into living fellowship with God, and so opens our hearts to receive the forgiveness that puts us in the position of righteous men.

3. Moral. Faith is the security for the future growth of righteousness; with the first effort of faith the first seed grace of righteousness is sown.

III. PARTICIPATION IN ABRAHAM'S FAITH IS THE CONDITION OF PARTICIPATION IN ABRAHAM'S BLESSING. The Jews claimed this by birthright, but Abraham had it by faith. Only men of faith could have it. Therefore Jews who lost faith lost the blessing. But all men of faith are spiritual sons of Abraham (ver. 12). The finest legacy left by the patriarch was his faith.

(H. F. Adeney, M. A.)

I. FAITH The Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English words hover between two meanings —

1. Trustfulness, the frame of mind which relies on another.

2. Trustworthiness, the frame of mind which can be relied upon. Not only are the two connected together grammatically, as active and passive senses of the same word, or logically, as subject and object of the same act; but there is a close moral affinity between them. Fidelity, constancy, firmness, confidence, reliance, trust, belief — these are the links which connect the two extremes, the passive with the active meaning of "faith." Owing to these combined causes, the two senses will at times be so blended together that they can only be separated by some arbitrary distinction. When the members of the Christian brotherhood, e.g., are called "the faithful," what is meant by this? Does it imply their constancy, their trust. worthiness, or their faith, their belief? In all such cases it is better to accept the latitude, and oven the vagueness, of a word or phrase, than to attempt a rigid definition which after all can only be artificial. And indeed the loss in grammatical precision is often more than compensated by the gain in theological depth. In the case of "the faithful," e.g., does not the one quality of heart carry the other with it, so that they who are trustful are trusty also; they who have faith in God are steadfast and immovable in the path of duty?

II. IN ABRAHAM THIS ATTITUDE OF TRUSTFULNESS WAS MOST MARKED. By faith he left home and kindred, and settled in a strange land; by faith he acted upon God's promise of a race and an inheritance, though it seemed at variance with all human experience; by faith he offered up his only son, in whom alone that promise could be fulfilled. This one word "faith" sums up the lesson of his whole life. As early as the First Book of Maccabees attention is directed to this lesson (chap. 2:52), and at the time of the Christian era the passage in Genesis relating to it had become a standard text in the Jewish schools for discussion and comment, and the interest thus concentrated on it prepared the way for the fuller and more spiritual teaching of the apostles. Hence we find it quoted by both Paul and James. While the deductions drawn from it by them are at first sight diametrically opposed in terms, and as long as our range of view is confined to the apostolic writings, it seems scarcely possible to avoid the conclusion that James is attacking the teaching of Paul. But when we realise the fact that the passage in Genesis was a common thesis in the schools, that the meaning of faith was variously explained, and diverse lessons drawn from it — then the case is altered. The Gentile apostle and the Pharisaic rabbi might both maintain the supremacy of faith as the means of salvation; but faith with Paul was a very different thing from faith with Maimonides. With the one its prominent idea is a spiritual life, with the other an orthodox creed; with the one the guiding principle is the individual conscience, with the other an external rule of ordinances; with the one faith is allied to liberty, with the other to bondage. Thus, and since the circles of labour of the two apostles were not likely to intersect, St. James's protest against reliance on faith alone is more likely to have been levelled against the Pharisaic spirit which rested satisfied with a barren orthodoxy than against the teaching of Paul.

(Bp. Lightfoot.)

I. THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM WAS A SIMPLE FAITH — a faith which asked for nothing but the word of God to rest upon.

II. IT WAS AN OBEDIENT FAITH. It led him to do whatever God told him to do. And our faith is good for nothing unless it leads us to be like Abraham in this respect.

III. IT WAS A CONQUERING FAITH — a faith which helped him to overcome the greatest difficulties.

IV. ABRAHAM'S FAITH WAS A COMFORTING FAITH.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

Bishop Hall has only overstated a fundamental fact when he says, "There is no faith where there is either means or hope:" Means and hopes may be "mixed with faith," but undoubtedly the mightiest deliverances ever wrought have been by faith alone. Difficulties and apparent impossibilities are the food on which faith feeds.

Christian World Pulpit.
Abraham was the head of a wandering tribe, with probably only such small ambitions as were common to his station; a man of purer life, of higher purposes, perhaps, than his neighbour chiefs, and yet with nothing very marked to distinguish him from them. God calls this man, instructs him, leads him, and as he hears, believes, obeys, he becomes quite another man. In this is the whole source of Abraham's greatness. It was not in his natural gifts that he was distinguished above all other men of his day; ethers may have been as intelligent and as forceful as he. Nor was it in his great opportunities that he excelled. There is nothing very wonderful in his history, if you take away from it his faith and its influence on his life. He wandered farther than many of the men of his day; but they were all wanderers. He fought his petty battles; so did they. But the one thing which raised him above them all, the thing which makes us know that there was such a man at all, is only this, that he believed God. There is nothing small in such a life, for its whole business is to follow God's call. The same transformation is wrought today over the man who, like Abraham, believes God. It does not come from believing that God is, or believing in God, or on God, but by simply, lovingly, believing God; believing what He says, and all He says, and because He says it. It makes a man a saint if you look at him from the side of personal purity of character and life. It puts him under the holiest influence which can move a mortal man. God has said, "Without holiness no man can see the Lord," and he believes God; and having "this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as He is pure." It makes a man a hero, if you look at him from the side of his daring or endurance. He believes God. It makes no difference to him what any man, what all men say. What are men's words against the Word of God?

(Christian World Pulpit.)

"By the works of the law there shall no flesh living be justified"; and in the teeth of that millions of men say, "We will be justified by the works of the law"; so, coming to God with the pretence of worshipping Him, they offer Him that which He abhors, and give the lie to Him in all His solemn declarations. If God says that by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified, and man declares, "But I will be so justified," he maketh God a liar; whether he knoweth it or not, his sin hath that within it. Man is much like a silkworm, he is a spinner and weaver by nature. A robe of righteousness is wrought out for him, but he will not have it; he will spin for himself, and like the silkworm, he spins and spins, and he only spins himself a shroud. All the righteousness that a sinner can make will only be a shroud in which to wrap up his soul, his destroyed soul, for God will cast him away who relies upon the works of the law.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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