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TEXT.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19 For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

PARAPHRASE.

a

ourselves also are found unjustified sinners (for such are all those who are under the law, which admits of no remission nor justification :) is Christ, therefore, the minister of sin? Is the dispensation by him, a dispensation of sin, and not of righteousness? Did he come into the world, that those who believe in him should still remain sinners, i. e. under the guilt of their sins, without the benefit of justification? By no means. 18 And yet certain it is, if I, bwho quitted the law, to put myself under the Gospel, put myself again under the law, I make myself a transgressor; I re-assume again the guilt of all my transgressions; which, by the terms of that covenant of works, 19 I cannot be justified from. For by the tenour of the law itself, I, by faith in Christ, am discharged from the law, that I might be appropriated to God, and live acceptably to him in his kingdom, which he has now set up under his Son.

NOTES.

17 a "Sinners." Those who are under the law, having once transgressed, remain always sinners, unalterably so, in the eye of the law, which excludes all from justification. The apostle, in this place, argues thus: "We Jews, who are by birth God's holy people, and not as the profligate Gentiles, abandoned to all manner of pollution and uncleanness, not being nevertheless able to attain righteousness by the deeds of the law, have believed in Christ, that we might be justified by faith in him. But if even we, who have betaken ourselves to Christ for justification, are ourselves found to be unjustified sinners, liable still to wrath, as also under the law, to which we subject ourselves; what deliverance have we from sin by Christ? None at all: we are as much concluded under sin and guilt, as if we did not believe in him. So that by joining him and the law together for justification, we shut ourselves out from justification, which cannot be bad under the law, and make Christ the minister of sin, and not of justification, which God forbid."

18 Whether this be a part of what St. Paul said to St. Peter, or whether it be addressed to the Galatians, St. Paul, by speaking in his own name, plainly declares, that if he sets up the law again, he must necessarily be an offender; whereby he strongly insinuates to the Galatians, that he was no promoter of circumcision, especially when what he says, chap. v. 2-4, is added to it. 19" By the tenour of the law itself." See Rom. iii. 21. Gal. iii. 24, 25, and iv. 21, &c.

d Being discharged from the law, St. Paul expresses by "dead to the law;" compare Rom. vi. 14, with vii. 4.

* "Live to God." What St. Paul says here, seems to imply, that living under the law, was to live not acceptably to God; a strange doctrine certainly to the Jews, and yet it was true now, under the Gospel; for God having put his kingdom in this world wholly under his Son, when he raised him from the dead, all who,

TEXT.

20 I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

PARAPHRASE.

20 I, a member of Christ's body, am crucified a with him; but though I am thereby dead to the law, I nevertheless live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, i. e. the life which I now live in the flesh, is upon no other principle, nor under any other law, but that of faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and 21 gave himself for me. And in so doing, I avoid frustrating the grace of God, I accept of the grace and forgiveness of God, as it is offered through faith in Christ, in the Gospel: but if I subject myself to the law as still in force under the Gospel, I do in effect frustrate grace. For if righteousness be to be had by the law, then Christ died to no purpose: there was no need of itd.

NOTES.

after that, would be his people in his kingdom, were to live by no other law, but the Gospel, which was now the law of his kingdom. And hence we see God cast off the Jews; because, sticking to their old constitution, they would not have this man reign over them so that what St. Paul says here, is in effect this: "By believing in Christ, I am discharged from the Mosaical law, that I may wholly conform myself to the rule of the Gospel, which is now the law, which must be owned and observed by all those, who, as God's people, will live acceptably to him." This, I think, is visibly his meaning, though the accustoming himself to antitheses, may possibly be the reason why, after having said, "I am dead to the law," he expresses his putting himself under the Gospel, by living to God.

20 "Crucified with Christ;" see this explained, Rom. vii. 4, and vi. 2—14.

b i. e. The whole management of myself is conformable to the doctrine of the Gospel, of justification in Christ alone, and not by the deeds of the law. This, and the former verse, seem to be spoken in opposition to St. Peter's owning a subjection to the law of Moses, by his walking, mentioned, ver. 14.

21 "Grace of God;" see chap. i. 6, 7, to which this seems here opposed. In vain ;" read this explained in St. Paul's own words, chap. v. 3-6.

SECTION III.

CHAPTER III. 1-5.

CONTENTS.

By the account St. Paul has given of himself, in the foregoing section, the Galatians being furnished with evidence, sufficient to clear him, in their minds, from the report of his preaching circumcision, he comes now, the way being thus opened, directly to oppose their being circumcised, and subjecting themselves to the law. The first argument he uses, is, that they received the Holy Ghost, and the gifts of miracles, by the Gospel, and not by the law.

TEXT.

that you,

you

1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

2 This only would I learn of you: Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3 Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

PARAPHRASE.

a

10 ye foolish Galatians, who hath cast a mist before your eyes, that you should not keep to the truth of the Gospel, you to whom the sufferings and death of Christ upon the cross hath been by me so lively represented, as if it had been actually 2 done in your sight? This is one thing I desire to know of you: Did you receive the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, by 3 the works of the law, or by the Gospel preached to you? Have

NOTES.

1 "Obey the truth," i. e. stand fast in the liberty of the Gospel; truth being used in this epistle, as we have already noted, chap. ii. 14, for the doctrine of being free from the law, which St. Paul had delivered to them. The reason whereof he gives, chap. v. 3—5.

St. Paul mentions nothing to them here but Christ crucified, as knowing that, when formerly he had preached Christ crucified to them, he had shown them, that, by Christ's death on the cross, believers were set free from the law, and the covenant of works was removed, to make way for that of grace. This we may find him inculcating to his other Gentile converts. See Eph. ii. 15, 16. Col. ii. 14, 20. And accordingly he tells the Galatians, chap. v. 2, 4, that if, by circumcision, they put themselves under the law, they were fallen from grace, and Christ should profit them nothing at all: things, which they are supposed to understand, at his writing to them.

TEXT.

4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He, therefore, that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

PARAPHRASE.

you so little understanding, that, having begun in the reception of the spiritual doctrine of the Gospel, you hope to be advanced to higher degrees of perfection, and to be completed by the 4 law? Have you suffered so many things in vain, if at least you will render it in vain, by falling off from the profession of the pure and uncorrupted doctrine of the Gospel, and aposta5 tizing to Judaism? The gifts of the Holy Ghost, that have been conferred upon you, have they not been conferred on you as Christians, professing faith in Jesus Christ, and not as observers of the law? And hath not hed, who hath conveyed these gifts to you, and done miracles amongst you, done it as a preacher and professor of the Gospel, the Jews, who stick in the law of Moses, being not able, by virtue of that, to do any such thing?

C

NOTES.

3 It is a way of writing very familiar to St. Paul, in opposing the law and the gospel, to call the law Flesh, and the Gospel Spirit. The reason whereof is very plain to any one conversant in his epistles.

5dHe." The person meant here by doрny”, “hé that ministereth," and chap. i. 6, by d xaλéσas, "he that called," is plainly St. Paul himself, though, out of modesty, he declines naming himself.

SECTION IV.

CHAPTER III. 6-17.

CONTENTS.

His next argument against circumcision, and subjection to the law, is, that the children of Abraham, entitled to the inheritance and blessing promised to Abraham and his seed, are so by faith, and not by being under the law, which brings a curse upon those who are under it.

TEXT.

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness:

7 Know ye, therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, "In thee shall all nations be blessed."

9 So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them." 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for the "just shall live by faith."

12 And the law is not of faith: but, "The man that doeth them, shall live in them."

PARAPHRASE.

6 But to proceed: As Abraham believed in God, and it was ac7 counted to him for righteousness; So know ye, that those who are of faith, i. e. who rely upon God, and his promises of grace, and not upon their own performances, they are the children of Abraham, who shall inherit; and this is plain in the 8 Scripture. For it being in the purpose of God, to justify the Gentiles by faith, he gave Abraham a fore-knowledge of the Gospel in these words: "a In thee all the nations of the earth 9 shall be blessed." So that they who are of b faith, are blessed 10 with Abraham, who believed. But as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, "Cursed is every one, who remaineth not in all things, which 11 are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no man is justified by the law, in the sight of God, is evident; 12" for the just shall live by faith e.” But the law says not so, the law gives not life to those who believe'; but the rule of the law is, "He that doth them, shall live in them '

с

NOTES.

8 a Gen. xiii. 3.

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9, 10 Of faith," and "of the works of the law;" spoken of two races of men, the one as the genuine posterity of Abraham, heirs of the promise, the other not. "Blessed," and "under the curse." Here again there is another division, viz. into the blessed, and those under the curse, whereby is meant such as are in a state of life, or acceptance with God; or such as are exposed to his wrath, and to death, see Deut. xxx. 19.

10

Written," Deut. xxvii. 26.

11 Hab. ii. 4.

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