Galatians 3
Pulpit Commentary
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Verse 1. - O foolish Galatians (ω΅ ἀνόητοι Γαλάται). In thus apostrophizing them, the apostle brands their present behaviour, not any lack of intelligence on their part in general (comp. Luke 24:25). "Foolish" - to allow yourselves to be thus robbed of your happiness. The transporting feeling of elevation and joy with which, in Galatians 2:19-21, the apostle describes himself as crucified with Christ to the Law, and as living in Christ and through Christ, makes him the more keenly sensible of the senseless folly shown by the Galatians in taking up the observance of the Law. Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truths? (τίς ὑμᾶς ἐβάσκανε; [Receptus adds, τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι]); who in his envy did bewitch you? With respect to the Greek text, there is now no doubt amongst editors that the words, τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι, "that ye should not obey the truth," are not genuine here, being in all probability foisted in from Galatians 5:7. We have, therefore, to omit them and to read ἐβάσκανεν as before οῖς. Ἐβάσκανεν is a remarkable word, and calls for comment. In common Greek, βασκαίνειν τινά, to treat one with malignant words, means either to slander, belie, blacken character, or to cast upon him primarily words conveying baleful spells, and then, in later usage very frequently, baleful spells of any kind, and more especially spells from the "evil eye" (Aristotle, Plutarch); in the language of old English superstition, "forelook" or "overlook." Indeed, so closely did this last notion cling to the verb, as to have suggested to Greek grammarians for its etymology, φάεσι καίνειν, "to kill with the eyes." The more scientific etymologists of recent days derive it from βάζω β´ασκω, speak; as if it were "to bespeak a man." The nouns βάσκσνος βασκανία, following the senses of the verb, express the ideas, either of envious detraction or of sorcery (see Schneider; Passow; Liddell and Scott). In the New Testament the word occurs only here. In the Septuagint we meet with it in Deuteronomy 28:54, where, for the words, "His eye shall be evil towards his brother," we have Βασκανεῖ τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, meaning apparently, "He shall grudge with his eye his brother;" and so again in ver. 56, the same phrase is used analogously of the tender woman, "She shall grudge with her eye her husband;" Ecclus. 14:6, "There is not a worse man (τοῦ βασκαίνοντος ἑαυτόν) than he that grudges his own self;" ibid. ver. 8, "Evil is (ὁ βασκαίνων ὀφαλμῷ) he that grudgeth with his eye. In Scripture, both in the Old Testament and the New, and in the Apocrypha, the phrases, "the eye being evil," "the evil eye," following the Hebrew, always denote envy, ill nature, niggardliness (Deuteronomy 15:9; Deuteronomy 28:54, 56; Proverbs 23:6 [comp. Proverbs 22:9, "a bountiful eye"]; Matthew 20:15; Mark 7:22). Nowhere either in the Scriptures or in the Apocrypha is there any reference to "forelooking," unless perchance the me'onen, Deuteronomy 20:10 (Authorized Version, "observer of times"), is etymologically connected with the Hebrew word for "eye," which, however, few critics suppose. Ignatius, 'Ad Romans', 3, has Οὐδέποτε ἐβασκάνατε οὐδένα ἄλλους ἐδιδάξατε, "never grudged any man." This Septuagintal use of the verb presents, as the reader will observe, a somewhat different shade of meaning to any of those cited above from the lexicons. Following, however, its guidance, we may understand the apostle as here asking, "Whoso ill-natured jealousy was it that did light upon you?" and as intending to convey these two ideas:

(1) the envy of their once happy state which actuated the agent referred to; and,

(2) by implication, the baleful effect wrought by the envier upon them. The aorist of the verb seems to point to a decisive result. He had, it is hinted, succeeded in his wish; he had robbed them of the blessedness which had excited his jealousy. In respect to the former idea, elsewhere (Galatians 4:17, "They would fain shut you out") the apostle ascribes the action of their misleaders to sinister designs against their well-being. It is, indeed, this thought that inspires the extreme severity of his language above in Galatians 2:4; the βάσκανος, of whom he here speaks, belonged to, or derived from, them. In short, the pathetic question here before us breathes the like indignation and vexation as that in Galatians 5:7, "Ye were running on well: who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" - the last words of which passage, though not admissible here in the text, would, however, if there, form a perfectly correct explanatory clause. The more distinctly to mark the effect actually produced by the envier, very many commentators have enwoven into their interpretation of ἐνάσκανεν, besides its Septuagiutal sense, its other sense of blasting with some kind of charm: "The malignity," Chrysostom writes, "of a demon whose spirit [or, 'breath'] had blasted their prosperous estate." Great use has been made, in particular, by many, as, e.g. Jerome and, according to Estius, by Thomas Aquinas, of the superstition of the "evil eye," which, in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, has in all ages been so rife. Bishop Lightfoot, in his interesting note on the passage, offers the following paraphrase: "Christ's death in vain? O ye senseless Gauls, what bewitchment is this? I placarded Christ crucified before your eyes. Ye suffered them to wander from this gracious proclamation of your King. They rested on the withering eye of the sorcerer. They yielded to the fascination and were riveted there. And the life of your souls has been drained out of you by that envious gaze." It may, however, be questioned whether the apostle would have recognized his own thought in this thorough-going application of the superstition of the "evil eye." It is doubtful whether he used the verb ἐβάσκανεν with reference to any species of sorcery at all; but if he did, he may have intended no more than this: "What envious ill-wisher has by some strange, inexplicable sorcery so wrought upon you? Or, how can I explain your behaviour, except that you have been acting under some binding spell? Surely such folly is well-nigh inconceivable with men in free possession of their own souls." But

(1) each of these two renderings of the passage is open to the objection that St. Paul, in writing ἐβάσκανεν, either might have intended to express by the word "envious grudging," according to its Sep-tuagintal use, or he might have meant some kind of sorcery according to a common acceptation of the term, but could hardly have meant to convey both senses together.

(2) The introduction of the supposition is inconvenient, not only because there could not have really been any such ingredient in the actual circumstances of the present case, but also because its mention would serve to excuse the folly of the Galatians, as indeed Chrysostom observes that it does, rather than to enhance its censure, which latter would have been more to the apostle's purpose.

(3) It seems especially improbable that the apostle was thinking of the "evil eye" when we consider the entire absence of its mention in the sacred writings. Before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? (οῖς κατ ὀφθαλμοὺς Ἰησοῦς Ξριστὸς προεγράφη ἐν ὑμῖν ἐσταυρωμένος;); to whom, before your very eyes, Jesus Christ had been (literally, was) aforetime (or, openly) set forth crucified (among you)? The genuineness of the words, ἐν ὑμῖν, "among you," is very doubtful. The Revised Greek text omits them. The words, κατ ὀφθαλμούς, "before your very eyes," are very pointed; for the Greek expression, comp. κατὰ πρόσωπον (Galatians 2:11), and Aristoph., 'Ran.,' 625, ἵνα σοι κατ ὀφθαλμοὺς λέγῃ, "that he may say it to your very face." The sense of προεγράφη is much disputed. It is not clear whether the πρὸ is the "before" of time or of place. Of the other passages in the New Testament in which this compound verb occurs, in Romans 15:4 twice, and Ephesians 3:3, πρὸ is certainly, and in Jude 1:4 probably, not so certainly (comp. 1 Macc. 10:36, "enrolled"), "before" of time. In the present passage a reference to the prophecies of the Old Testament seems out of place. It is far more suitable to the connection to suppose that the apostle is referring to his own preaching. Some commentators, retaining the words, ἐν ὑμῖν, connect them with προεγράφη in the sense of "in you," comparing "Christ in you" (Colossians 1:27), and "written in your hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:2); and so render the words thus: "written of, or described, before in you." But such an expression, sufficiently awkward in itself, would further be very unsuitably introduced after the words, "before your very eyes." Supposing we take the πρὸ as of time, there is no satisfactory explanation of the ἐγρὰφη, if understood in the sense of writing, there being no tablet (so to speak) suggested on which the writing could be conceived of as done. Γράφω, it is true, means "describe" in John 1:45 and Romans 10:5; but it is still a description in writing. We are, therefore, driven to assign to the verb the notion of portraying as in a painting, a sense which in Common Greek it certainly does sometimes bear, and which attaches to it in the διαγράφω of Ezekiel 4:1; Ezekiel 8:10 (Septuagint). We thus gain the sense, "had before been set forth or por trayed;" before (that is) the envier assailed you. This same sense, of portraying rather than of writing, would be also the best to give to the verb, supposing the πρὸ to be understood as the "before" of place; which conception of the preposition Bishop Lightfoot contends for, urging the use of the verb προγράφειν, and the nouns πρόγραμμα and προγραφή, with reference to the placards on which public notices were given of political or other matters of business. When, how ever, we consider how partial the apostle is to verbs compounded with πρὸ of time, as is seen in his use of προαιτιάομαι προακούω, προαμαρτάνω προελπίζω προενάρχομαι προεπαγγέλλομαι προτετοιμάζω προευαγγελίζομαι προκαταγγέλλω προκαταρτίζω προκυρόομαι, προπάσχω, not a few of which were probably compounded by himself as he wanted them, it appears highly probable that, to serve the present occasion, he here forms the compound προγράφω in the sense of "portraying before," the compound not existing elsewhere in the same sense. He compares, then, the idea of Christ crucified, presented to his hearers in his preaching, to a portraiture, in which the Redeemer had been so vividly and with such striking effect exhibited to his converts, that it ought in all reason have for ever safeguarded their souls against all danger from teaching of an alien character. If the phrase, ἐν ὑμῖν, be retained, it appears best, with Chrysostom and many others, to understand it as meaning, that St. Paul had presented Christ crucified in such lively colours to their view, that they had, as it were, seen him hanging on the cross in their very midst. The position of ἐσταυρωμένος, disconnected from Ἰησοῦς Ξριστὸς and at the end of the sen tence, gives it intense significance. What the idea of Christ crucified was to his own self, the apostle had just before declared; for him it at once had destroyed all spiritual connection with the ceremonial Law, the Law which bade the crucified One away from itself as accursed, and also by the infinite love to himself which he beheld manifested in Christ crucified for him, had bound him to him by spiritual ties both all-constrain ing and iudissoluble. And such (he means) should have been the effect produced by that idea upon their souls. What envier of their happiness in him could, then, possibly have torn them from him? This same portraiture of "Christ crucified" which he reminds the Galatians he had in those days presented to them, he also, as he tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:20, 21), had been intent on holding up before the Greeks of Achaia; while, further, he intimates to the Romans, in his Epistle to them, how eager he was to come and at Rome also hold up Christ as him whom God had set forth to be a Propitiation, through faith, by his blood (Romans 1:15, 16; Romans 3:25). Both to the Jew and to the Gentile, both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise, this, emphatically this, was the alone and the sovereign salvation. This picturing forth of the crucified One, however, would hardly from Paul's lips concern itself much with the outward particulars of the passion; it might have been this, in a far greater degree, in St. Peter's presentment of it, who had been himself witness of those sufferings; but Paul, with his habits of thought, as we know them from his writings, who knew Christ as in the spirit rather than as in the flesh, would occupy himself more with the spiritual idea of the cross - its embodiment of perfect meekness and gentleness and self-sacrifice, of humility. of obedience to the Father's will, of love to all mankind, of especial care for his own, and its antagonism to the spirit of Levitical ceremonialism. "Such presentment," remarks Calvin, "as if in a picture, nay, as if actually crucified in the very midst of the hearers themselves, no eloquence, no artifice of rhetoric, can produce, unless that mighty working of the Spirit be assistant of which the apostle speaks in his two Epistles to the Corinthians (e.g. 1 Corinthians 2:4, 5, 13, 14; 2 Corinthians 3:3, 6). If any, therefore, would fain duly discharge the ministry of the gospel, let them learn not so much to apply eloquence and declamation, as to likewise so pierce into men's consciences that these may truly feet Christ crucified and the dropping upon them of his blood. Where the Church hath painters such as these, she very little needeth any more representations in wood and stone, that is, dead images, very little any paintings; and certainly among Christians the doors of the temples were not open for the reception of images and paintings until the shepherds either had grown dumb and become mere dolls, or else did say in the pulpit no more than just a few words, and these in so cold and perfunctory a manner that the power and efficacy of the gospel ministry was utterly extinct."
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Verse 2. - This only would I learn of you (τοῦτο μόνον θέλω μαθεῖν ἀφ ὑμῶν); this only would I learn from you. I need ask for nothing more to show that the Law is nothing to you, than that you should tell me this. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law? (ἐξ ἔργων νόμου τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐλάβετε;); was it in consequence of works of the Law that ye received the Spirit? I came amongst you as an apostle, preaching the gospel, and upon your baptism laying my hands upon you; and the Holy Spirit came down upon you, proving the reality of his presence both by signs and miracles and powers, and also by the love, joy, and peace with which your hearts were filled; sealing at once the truth of my doctrine and your own position individually as recognized heirs of the kingdom of God. You remember that time. Well, how was it then? Had there a word been then spoken touching meats or drinks, or washings of purification (besides your baptism into Christ), or circumcision, or care of ceremonial cleanness? Had you attended to any one point whatever of Levitical ordinance? Had either you or I cast one thought in that direction? The "works of the Law" here referred to must still be works of ceremonial performance, not those of moral obedience; for repentance, the practical breaking off from sin, the surrender of the soul to God and to Christ in faith and loyal obedience, the outward assuming of the character of God's servants, the purpose and inchoate performance of works meet for repentance, - these dotings of compliance with the moral Law were there. The gift of the Spirit was evidenced by charisms plainly supernatural; but it comprised more than the bestowment of these. Or by the hearing of faith? (ἤ ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως;); or was it in consequence of the hearing of faith? The noun ἀκοὴ denotes sometimes (what is heard) "report," "rumour," as Matthew 4:24; Matthew 24:6; Romans 10:16, 17; sometimes, especially in the plural, the organs or sense of hearing, as Mark 7:35; Luke 7:1; Acts 17:20; Hebrews 5:11; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4; sometimes the act of hearing, as Matthew 13:14; 1 Samuel 15:22 (Septuagint). The last appears more suitable here than the first taken (as some take it) as describing the doctrine or message which they heard respecting faith; standing as ἀκοὴ does in contrast to "works" which would have been an acting of theirs, this likewise was most probably meant by the apostle subjectively of something appearing on their own part. "Were you not at once received into the kingdom of God and filled with joy in the Holy Spirit, immediately upon your believing acceptance of the gospel message?" With exquisite propriety, as Bengel observes, is hereby marked the nature of faith, not working, but receiving. This agrees also best with the illustration which in ver. 6 the apostle gives of the phrase as introduced by him again in ver. 5.
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Verse 3. - Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (οὕτως ἀνόητοί ἐστε ἐναρξάμενοι, πνεύματι νῦν σαρκὶ ἐπιτελεῖσθε); are ye so foolish? having begun with the Spirit, are ye now finishing with the flesh? Πνεύματι, as contrasted with σαρκί, means the element of spiritual existence (comp. the use of πνεῦμα in Romans 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18) into which they had been brought at their conversion by the Holy Spirit's influence; including the spiritual sensibility and spiritual activity which had at first marked their Christian life, as e.g. joy in God in the sense of pardon, adoption (Galatians 4:6), love to God, affectionate attachment to their spiritual teacher (Galatians 4:14, 15), brotherly love among themselves: at that hour all their soul was praise, joy, love. Σαρκὶ denotes a lower, merely sensuous kind of religiousness, one busying itself with ceremonial performances, observance of days and festivals (Galatians 4:10), distinctions of meats, and other matters of ceremonial prescription; with petty strivings and disputings, of course, about such points, as if they really mattered at all; in which kind of religiousness the former tone of love, joy, sense of adoption, praise, had evaporated, leaving their souls dry, earthly (comp. "weak and beggarly rudiments," Galatians 4:9; and for the use of σάρξ, Hebrews 9:10). Perhaps the apostle includes also in his use of the term the loss of spiritual victory over sin. if in place of surrendering themselves to the leading of the Spirit (comp. Galatians 5:18) they put themselves under the Law, then they fell back again under the power of the "flesh," which the Law could only command them to control, but could of itself give them no power to control (Romans 8:3). The Authorized Version, "begun in," is doubtless faulty, in taking πνεύματι as governed by the ἐν of the compound verb. The two verbs ἐνάρχομαι and ἐπιτελεῖν are balanced against each other in 2 Corinthians 8:6; Philippians 1:6. Ἐπιτελεῖσθε may be either a passive, as it is rendered in the Authorized Version, "Are ye made perfect," i.e. "Are ye seeking to be made perfect;" so the Revised Version, "Are ye now perfected;" or a middle verb, as ἐπιτελοῦμαι is often used in other writers, though nowhere in the New Testament or Septuagint. The latter seems the more suitable, with the understood suppletion of "your course" or "your estate," as in our English word "finishing." The apostle is partial to the deponent form of verbs.
Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
Verse 4. - Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain (τοσαῦτα ἐπάθετε εἰκῆ εἴγε καὶ εἰκῆ); did ye suffer all those troubles for nought? if indeed really for nought. The ambiguity of τοσαῦτα, which means either "so many" or "so great," is preserved by the rendering all those. The Revisers put so many in the text, and "or so great" in the margin. In respect to ἐπάθετε, the leading of the context in which the verse is embedded might incline us to take the verb in the sense in which it frequently occurs in Greek writers, that of being subjects of such and such treatment, good as well as bad; as, for example, in Josephus, 'Ant.,' 3:15, 1, Ὅσα παθόντες ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ πηλικῶν εὐεργσιῶν μεταλαβόντες, "What treatment having received from him [sc. God], and what huge benefits having partaken of" - the character of the treatment being sufficiently indicated by the context as being that of kindness. But it is a fatal objection to this view of the passage that, in the forty passages or more in which the verb πάσχω is used in the New Testament, it never is used of good treatment, but always of bad; and so also always in the Septuagint. We are, therefore, shut up to the sense of "suffering ills," and must endeavour to find, if we can, some circumstances marking the troubles referred to which might serve to explain the seemingly abrupt mention of them here. And the probable explanation is this: those sufferings were brought upon the Galatian converts, not only through the influence of Jews, but also in consequence of the bitter enmity with which the Jews regarded St. Paul, as bringing converts over from among the Gentiles to the service of the one true God apart from any regard to the ceremonial Law of Moses. That Jews in general did thus regard St. Paul is shown by the suspicion which even Christian Jews felt towards him (Acts 21:21). For this no doubt, it was that the Jews in Asia Minor persecuted him from city to city as they did, their animosity against him extending itself also to these who had attached themselves to him as his disciples. That it did extend itself to his disciples as such appears, as from the nature of the case, so also from Acts 14:22, "That through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God;" as also it is evinced by the strongly indignant tone in which he speaks of the persecuting Jews in his two Epistles to the Thessalonians, written near the very time to which he here alludes (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9) - this indignation being best accounted for by the supposition that it was roused by his sympathy with the similarly originated sufferings of the Macedonian brethren to whom he was writing. That the troubles here referred to emanated from the hostility of Jewish legalists may be further gathered from Galatians 5:11; Galatians 6:12 (on which see Exposition). Those Jewish legalists hated both St. Paul and his converts, because they alike walked in "the Spirit," that is, in the element of Christian spirituality emancipated from the bondage of the Law, and not in "the flesh" of Mosaic ceremonialism. Hence it is that the mention in ver. 3 of the Galatian brethren having "begun with the Spirit," leads him on to the thought of the sufferings which just on that very account had been brought upon them. "For nought." This adverb εἰκῆ sometimes means, prospectively, "to no good," as in Galatians 4:11, "bestowed labour upon you in vain," and probably in 1 Corinthians 15:2; sometimes, retrospectively, "for no just cause," as in Colossians 2:18, "vainly puffed up." The English phrase, "for nought," has just a similar ambiguity. The apostle may, therefore, mean either this - Did ye suffer all these troubles to reap after all no benefit from your suffering them, forfeiting as you do (Galatians 5:4) the reward which you might else have expected from the great Retributor (2 Thessalonians 1:6, 7) through your forsaking that ground of faith on which ye then stood, if indeed ye have forsaken it? or this - Did ye provoke all that persecution without just cause? - if, indeed, there was no just cause as ye seem now to think. According to the former view, the Galatians were now nullifying the benefit which might have accrued to them from their former endurance of persecution; according to the latter, they were now stultifying their former conduct in provoking these persecutions. The first seems somewhat the easiest. Αἴ γε, as in Colossians 1:23. The concluding clause has been here regarded as a reaching forth of the apostle's soul towards the hope that better thoughts might yet prevail with the Galatian waverers, so that they would not lose the reward of having suffered for Christ - a hope which he thus glances at, if so be he might thus lure them to its realization. But another view of the words has commended itself to not a few eminent critics, namely, that the apostle glances at the darker prospect; as if he had said, "If it be, indeed, merely for nought, and not for far worse than that! By falling away from the gospel, ye not only lose the crown of confessorship: ye forfeit also your hope of your heavenly inheritance" (cf. Galatians 5:4). The conjunction καὶ is, confessedly, sometimes almost equivalent to "merely," "only," as e.g. in Homer, 'Odyssey,' 1:58, Ἱέμενος καὶ καπνὸν ἀποθρώσκοντα νοῆσαι ῆς γαίης, "Longing if only but to see the smoke leaping upward from his native land." But in the present case εἴ γε does not so readily suggest the last proposed suppletion of thought as it does the other.
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Verse 5. - He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you (ὁ οϋν ἐπιχορηγῶν ὑμῖν τὸ Πνεῦμα καὶ ἐνεργῶν δυνάμεις ἐν ὑμῖν); he then that sup-plieth to you the Spirit and worketh powers in you, or, miracles among you. The "then" marks the taking up afresh of the topic brought forward in ver. 2, with especial prominence given here to the miraculous manifestations of the Spirit's presence. The argumentative treatment of this topic of the gift of the Spirit was interrupted in vers. 3 and 4 by curt, strongly emotional interrogatories, darted forth upon the apostle's recollecting the animated spirituality which marked those early days of their discipleship. The impassioned desultoriness of his language here, together with its abrupt, niggardly wording, is paralleled by Galatians 4:10-20. Perhaps these features in the form of the composition were in part occasioned by the circumstance that he was writing this Epistle with his own hand and not through an amanuensis; such manual exertion being, it should seem, unusual with him, and from some cause even laborious and painful: and so from time to time he appears, as it were, laying down the pen, to rest, to quell emotion, to reflect. The compound verb ἐπιχορηγεῖν, supply, differs probably from the simple form χορηγεῖν only by indicating profusion in the supply; but this qualification of its meaning is too slight to be representable in translation. Besides 2 Peter 1:5, 11, we find it in 2 Corinthians 9:10, "He that supplieth (ὁ ἐπιχορηγῶν) seed... shall supply (χορηγήσει) and multiply your seed for sowing;" Colossians 2:19, "From whom all the body... being supplied;" 1 Peter 4:11, "As of the strength which God sup-plieth." And with similar application the substantive "supply" (ἐπιχορηγία) in Philippians 1:19, "Supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ;" Ephesians 4:16, "Through every joint of the supply." These passages make it clear that "he that supplieth" is no other than God. And this conclusion is borne out by the comparing of the other clause, "worketh powers in you," with 1 Corinthians 12:6, "It is the same God ( ἐνεργῶν who worketh all in all" (referring to the charismata) - which passage shows that "powers' (δυνάμεις) are not "miracles" themselves as in Matthew 7:22 and Matthew 11:20, and often, but power to work miracles, the plural number pointing to the various forms of its manifestation, as in 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 29. The apostle uses the present participles ἐπιχορηγῶν and ἐνεργῶν as describing an agency which the Almighty was continually putting forth among believers in general, including the Galatian Churches themselves. Doeth he it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? (ἐξ ἔργων νόμου η} ἐξ ἀκοης πίστεως;) in consequence of works of the Law or of the hearing of faith? With the sparingness of words above noted, the apostle barely jots down, so to speak, the substance of the interrogative dilemma, without filling in the form of the question. The suppletion would naturally be that of our version, "doeth he it." The substance of the argument apparently required no more than, as before, the question - Was it in consequence of works of the Law or of the hearing of faith that the Spirit and his wonder-working powers were received? But instead of putting it so, St. Paul interposes the personality of the great God himself as imparting these great gifts, making his sentence thereby the more stately and impressive: it is with God in the might of his working that these corrupters of the gospel have to reckon. The impartation of the Spirit and the charisms evidenced God's complacency in the recipients. On what was that complacency founded? on their earning it by ceremonial performances, or on their simply opening their hearts to receive his love? It was a question which the Galatian Churchmen might, if they would, see the answer to in experiences of their own. Among themselves these powers had appeared, and no doubt were still operative. "Well, then," says the apostle, "look and see: are they not operative in those only of you who had received them upon the mere acceptance of righteousness offered them through faith in Christ simply, without having given any heed to Mosaic ceremonialism? Have any of you received them after taking up with such ceremonialism?" The apostle, it will be observed - and the remark is one of no small importance - makes an appeal to simple matters of fact, founded upon his and their own familiar acquaintance with the facts, and defying contradiction. We may be sure, therefore, that the facts were as he indicates, however small the extent may be to which we, with our imperfect knowledge of the circumstances, are ourselves able to verify his statement. In some degree, however, we can. Besides the striking illustration afforded by what occurred in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:44), we see that such charismata were bestowed, and in some instances, as, e.g. at Corinth, in exceeding great profusion, in the train of St. Paul's evangelizing ministrations; and how remote those ministrations were from the inculcation, or even the admission, among Gentile converts of Mosaic ceremonialism we know perfectly.
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Verse 6. - Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (καθὼς Ἀβραὰμ ἐπίστευσε τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην); was reckoned unto him for righteousness. The answer to the question in the foregoing verse is so obvious that the apostle goes on as if that answer had been given, namely, that it was simply in consequence of the hearing of faith that God conferred on any the Holy Spirit and his powers. This, he now adds, was in exact conformity with what was recorded of Abraham; as soon as Abraham heard the promise made to him, "So shall thy seed be," he believed it, and by the hearing of faith was justified. The mutual correspondence of the two cases lay in this, that in imparting to those believers the Holy Spirit, God showed that they were in his favour, were justified people, simply because of their faith; even as Abraham was shown to be in his favour, having likewise by faith been justified. The apostle weaves into his sentence the very words of Genesis 15:6, as they appear in the Septuagint, with scarcely any modification; the Septuagint reading thus: Καὶ ἐπίστευσεν Αβραμ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην. But in doing so he both himself feels, and will have his readers feel, that they are words of Scripture from which, as such, reliable conclusions might be drawn, as is shown by the next verse. In the Hebrew, however, the passage runs as in our Authorized Version, "He believed in the Lord, and he accounted it to him for righteousness." The words are quoted with substantially the like agreement with the Septuagint and divergence from the Hebrew also in Romans 4:3, and by St. James in his Epistle (James 2:23) (ἐπίστευσε δὲ Ἀβραὰμ, etc.). "It was reckoned;" in the Hebrew, "he reckoned it;" "it," that is, his believing: God regarded it as imparting to him perfect acceptableness, his sins no longer disqualifying him for being an object of the Divine favour. It is of the greatest importance to take note what the kind of faith was which God reckoned to him for righteousness. It was not simply a persuasion that what God says must be true. As Calvin remarks, Cain might have a hundred times exercised faith in what God had said to him, without thereby receiving righteousness from God. The reason why Abraham was justified by believing was this: a promise had been given him by God of his fatherly goodness towards him; and this word of God's he embraced as certainty. The faith, therefore, which the apostle is thinking of is the faith which has respect to some word of God which is of such a sort that reliance upon it will enable a man to repose in God's love to him for time and for eternity. The reference to Abraham's case which St. Paul makes in such very brief terms he expands in the fourth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans to a considerable length, ending with these words: "Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was reckoned to him [for righteousness]; but for our sake also, unto whom it shall be reckoned, who believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up for our offences, and was raised for our justification." Christ's death and resurrection are God's word and guarantee to the whole human race, assuring us of his forgiveness and of his offer to us of eternal life. If we hear this word with faith, committing ourselves to his love, God on that ground at once justifies also us. It is evident that, in the apostle's view, the word "righteousness," as used in the recited passage of Genesis, does not mean "a righteous act," - that is, that Abraham's believing God's promise was viewed by Heaven with approval; but complete acceptableness investing Abraham himself. In consideration of that exercise of faith God accounted him a righteous man. The Greek phrase, ἐλογίσθη εἰς δικαιοσύνην, "was reckoned for righteousness," i.e. reckoned as being righteousness, is similar to λογισθῆναι εἰς οὐδέν, "reckoned as nought" (Acts 19:27); εἰς περιτομὴν λογισθήσεται, "reckoned for circumcision" (Romans 2:26); λογίζεται εἰς σπέρμα, "reckoned for a seed" (Romans 9:8). Are we to lifter from these two verses, 5 and 6, that in the apostle's view all who received spiritual gifts were thereby proved to be, or to have been, justified persons and in enjoyment of the Divine favour? We can hardly think this. The phenomena disclosed to us in the two Epistles addressed to the Corinthians. as to the moral and spiritual behaviour of some at least of their body, tend to show that individuals possessed of charisms were found in some instances to make a very vainglorious use of them, and needed to be reminded that the thaumaturgic gifts were of a fleeting character and of incomparably less value than qualities of moral goodness. Certainly Christ himself has told us that "many" will at the last be found to have been possessed of such miraculous gifts, whom nevertheless he "never knew." One of the very apostles was a Judas. Perhaps the solution is this: companies of men were dealt with in the diffusion of these gifts according as they were characterized, viewed each as a whole, though there might be individuals in each company imperfectly, very superficially, some perhaps not at all, animated by the sentiment generally prevailing in the body. If a community as a whole was pervaded extensively by a spirit of frank acceptance of the gospel doctrine and of pious devotion, its members brought by baptism into the "body which is Christ," the Holy Spirit made such a community his habitation (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16), and diffused his gifts among its members diversely and to all appearance Indiscriminately (1 Corinthians 12:13); at all events not in such wise discriminately as that degrees of personal holiness and acceptableness before God could at all be estimated as standing in proportion to the outward brilliancy of thaumaturgie gifts severally possessed.
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Verse 7. - Know ye therefore (γινώσκετε ἄρα); or, ye perceive then. Critics are divided between the two renderings, the imperative and the indicative, both here and Matthew 24:43; 1 John 2:29. In Luke 10:11 and Hebrews 13:23 γινώσκετε is certainly imperative. The categorical imperative seems of the two the more suited to the apostle's impetuous temperament. The verb γινώσκω, like the Latin nosco, properly denotes "to come to know," "learn," "perceive," "get apprised;" ἔγνωκα or ἔγνων, like now, having more properly the sense of "knowing." But this distinction does not always hold, as e.g. Romans 7:1. That they which are of faith (ὅτι οἱ ἐκ πίστεως); that the men of faith; that is, who derive their position from faith, belong to faith, are above all things characterized by faith. Compare the expressions, τοῖς ἐξ ἐριθείας, "the men of factiousness, i.e. "factions men" (Romans 2:8); τὸ ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ, "the man of faith in Jesus," taking his stand thereupon (Romans 3:26). Closely affine to this usage of the preposition, if not quite the same, is, ὁ ω}ν ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας, "that is of the truth" (John 18:37); οἱ ἐκ νόμου, "they which are of the Law" (Romans 4:14); ὅσοι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσίν, (ver. 10 of this chapter). The same are the children of Abraham (οῦτοί εἰσιν υἱοὶ Ἀβραάμ); these are sons of Abraham. The form of expression is precisely the same as in Romans 8:14, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God (οῦτοί εἰσιν υἱοὶ Θεού) these are sons of God." In both cases the absence of the article before viol suggests the feeling that the apostle is simply stating a predicate of the class before defined, but not now affirming that this predicate is confined to that class, although, again in each case, he knew that it was so confined. Just here, what he is concerned to affirm is that the possession of faith is a complete and sufficient qualification for sonship to Abraham. There is, perhaps, a polemical reference to the teaching of certain in Galatia, that, to be sons of Abraham or interested in God's covenant with his people, it behoved men to be circumcised and to observe the ceremonial Law. This error would be satisfactorily met by the affirmation of the present verse, that the being believers, simply this, constitutes men sons of Abraham. In the tenth verse the apostle goes further, aggressively denying to those who "were of the works of the Law" the possession at all of Abrahamic privilege. The class, "men of faith," did in fact include Jewish believers as well as Gentile; but just hero, as seems probable from what is said in the next verse, the apostle has in view Gentile believers only. The writer's thoughts are hovering round that promise of God ("So shall thy seed be") which had been on that particular occasion the object of Abraham's faith. That this was the case we may infer from his citation of the words in Romans 4:18, the explanation of which had been prepared for by him in what he has said before in ver. 16, "To the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed: not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all." It was this that led him to speak of being sons of Abraham. This train of thought is pursued further in the next two verses.
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.
Verse 8. - The substance of this verse, taken in conjunction with the next, is this: The announcement which the Scripture records as made to Abraham, that "in him all the nations should be blessed," that is, that by being like him in faith all nations should be blessed like him, did thus early preach to Abraham that which is the great cardinal truth of the gospel preached now: it proceeded upon a foresight of the fact now coming to pass, that by faith simply God would justify the Gentiles. As well as the Scripture quoted before from Genesis 15, so this announcement also ascertains to us the position that they that are of faith, and they alone, are blessed with the believing patriarch. Such appears to be the general scope of the passage; but the verbal details are not free from difficulty. And the Scripture, foreseeing (προι'δοῦσα δὲ ἡ γραφή); and, again, the Scripture, foreseeing. The conjunction δὲ indicates transition to another item of proof, as, e.g. in Romans 9:27, Ἡσαίας δέ. The word "Scripture" in 2 Peter 1:20, "no prophecy of Scripture," certainly denotes the sacred writings as taken collectively, that is, what is frequently recited by the plural, αἱ γραφαί, "the Scriptures." So probably in Acts 8:22, "the passage of Scripture." We are, therefore, war, anted in supposing it possible, and being possible it is here also probable, that this is the sense in which the apostle now uses the term as well as in ver. 22, rather than as denoting, either the one particular passage cited or the particular book out of which it is taken. This view better suits the personification under which the Old Testament is here presented. This personification groups with that in Romans 9:17, "The Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up." In both cases the "Scripture" is put in place of the announcement which Scripture records as having been made, the Scripture itself being written after the time of both Abraham and Pharaoh, and not addressed to them. But here there is the additional feature, of foresight being attributed to Scripture - a foresight, net exactly of the Holy Spirit inspiring the Scripture, but of the Divine Being who, on the occasion referred to, was holding communication with Abraham; although, yet again, "the Scripture" seems in the words, "foreseeing that God would justify," etc., distinguished from "God." The sense, however, is clear; Scripture shows that, as early as the time of Abraham, a Divine intimation was given that God would, on the ground of faith simply, justify any human being throughout the world that should believe in him as Abraham did. Rabbinical scholars tell us that in those writings a citation from Scripture is frequently introduced with the words, "What sees the Scripture?" or, "What sees he [or, 'it']?" That God would justify the heathen through faith (ὅτι ἐκ πίστεως διακαιοῖ τὰ ἔθνη ὁ Θεός); that by (Greek, out of) faith would God justify the nations. The position of ἐκ πίστεως betokens that the apostle's point here is, not that God would justify the Gentiles, but that it was by faith that he would do so irrespectively of any fulfilment on their part of ceremonial observances. The tense of the present indicative δικαιοῖ is hardly to be explained thus: would justify as we now see he is doing. The usual effect of the oratio obliqua transfers the standpoint of time in δικαιοῖ to the time of the foresight, the present tense being put instead of the future (δικαιώσει), as intimating that God was, so to speak, even now preparing thus to justify, or, in the Divine estimate of spaces of time, was on the eve of thus justifying; analogously with the force of the present tense in the participles "given" and "poured out" (διδόμεν ἐκχυνόμενον) in Luke 22:19, 20. The condition of mankind in the meanwhile is described in vers. 22, 23 - shut up unto the faith that was to be revealed. A question arises as to the exact interpretation of the word ἔθνη as twice occurring in this verse. Does the apostle use it as the correlative to Jews, "Gentiles;" or without any such sense of contradistinction, "nations" including both Jews and Gentiles? In answer, we observe:

(1) The great point in these verses (6-9) is, not the call of the Gentiles, but the efficacy of faith without Levitical ceremonialism, as summed up in the words of ver. 9.

(2) The original passage which the apostle is now referring to is that in Genesis 12:3, where the Septuagint, conformably with the Hebrew, has Καὶ ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν σοὶ πᾶσαι αἱ φυλὰι τῆς γῆς: in our Authorized Version," And in thee shall all families [Hebrew, mishpechoth] of the earth be blessed:" only, through some cause or other, instead of "all families," he writes the words, "all nations" (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη), which we find in what was said by the Lord to the two angels (Genesis 18:18), Καὶ ἐνευλογηθήσονται ἐν αὐτῷ [that is, Abraham] πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τῆς γῆς: Authorized Version, "all the nations of the earth" (Genesis 22:18, and the promise to Isaac, Genesis 26:4, are irrelevant to the point now under consideration). We, therefore, are warranted in assuming that, as ἔθνη might be used as coextensive with φυλαί ("families"), it really is here employed by the apostle with the same extension of application. We may add that, most certainly, the apostle utterly repudiated the notion that God justifies Gentiles on a different footing from that on which he justifies Jews: whether Jews or Gentiles, they only who are of faith are blessed with Abraham; and, whether Jews or Gentiles all who are of faith are blessed with him. Preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying (προευηγγελίσατο τῷ Ἀβραάμ ὅτι); preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying. Very striking and animated is the apostle's use of this word προευηγγελίσατο, a compound verb, minted no doubt for the occasion out of his own ardent thought, though it is found also in his senior contemporary, Philo. It is plainly an allusion to the "gospel" now openly proclaimed to the world as having been "by anticipation" already then announced to Abraham, the Most High himself the herald; signifying also the joy which it brought to the patriarch, and (Chrysostom adds) his great desire for its accomplishment. Tim blessed and glorious gospel of the grace of God has been the thought of God in all ages. May we connect with this the mysterious passage in John 8:567 In point of construction, the verb εὐαγγελίζομαι is nowhere else followed by ὅτι: but as it is sometimes found governing an accusative of the matter preached (Luke 1:19; Luke 2:10; Acts 5:42; Acts 8:12; Ephesians 2:17), there is no harshness in its construction with ὅτι, which we may here represent in English by "saying." In thee shall all nations be blessed (ἐνευλογηθήσονται [Receptus, εὐλογηθήσονται] ἐν σοὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη). "In thee" as their type and pattern, in respect both to the "blessing" bestowed upon him and to the faith out of which his blessing sprang. The "blessing" consists of God's love and all the well-being which can flow from God's love; the form of well-being varying according to the believer's circumstances, whether in this life or in the life to come; it receives its consummation with the final utterance, "Come, ye blessed (εὐλογημένοι) of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Into this condition of blessedness the sinful and guilty can only be brought through justification; but justification through Christ does of necessary consequence bring us into it. The compound form of the verb, ἐνευλογηθή, added to ἐν σοὶ, forcibly indicates that moral inherency in Abraham, through our being in faith and obedience his spiritual offspring, whereby alone the blessing is attained and possessed. Chrysostom remarks, "If, then, those were Abraham's sons, not who were related to him by blood, but who follow his faith, for this is the meaning of the words, 'In thee all nations,' it is plain that the Gentiles are brought into kindred with him." Augustine explains "in thee," similarly: "To wit, by imitation of his faith by which he was justified even before the sacrament of circumcision." Luther writes "In Abraham are we blessed, but in what Abraham? The believing Abraham, to wit; because if we are not in Abraham, we are under a curse rather, even if we were in Abraham according to the flesh." Calvin likewise: "These words beyond all doubt mean that all must become objects of blessing after Abraham's fashion; for he is the common pattern, nay rather, rule. But he by faith obtained blessing; therefore faith is for all the means."
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Verse 9. - So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham (ὥστε οἱ ἐκ πίστεως εὐλογοῦνται σὺν τῷ πιστῷ Ἀβραάμ) "Are blessed;" are objects of benediction. The apostle gathers from the words cited in ver. 8 the two particulars, that there are who get to be blessed like Abraham and with him, and that it is by faith like Abraham's, without works of the Law, that they do so. He seems to have an eye to the sense of Divine benediction which the Galatians had themselves experienced, when upon their simply believing in Christ the Spirit's gifts had been poured forth upon them. The word "faithful" (πιστῷ) is inserted, ex abundanti almost, to mark the more explicitly and emphatically, the condition on which both Abraham and therefore others in him gain the blessing. This being "in Abraham," which is here predicated of all who gain justification and God's benediction, is analogous to the image of Gentiles, being by faith "grafted," and by faith abiding, in the "olive tree," which we have in Romans 11:17, 20. The verbal πιστὸς is generally passive, "one to be believed or trusted in," and so a man "of fidelity;" but it is also at times active, in the sense of "one who believes," as John 20:27; Acts 10:45; 2 Corinthians 6:15; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 5:16; 1 Timothy 6:2 (so in ἄπιστος, John 20:27; ὀλιγόπιστος, Matthew 6:30). In consequence of this use of the term in Scripture, both fidelis in ecclesiastical Latin and "faithful" in English have often this signification.
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.
Verse 10. - For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse (ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσίν ὐπὸ κατάραν εἰσίν); under a curse, or, under cursing. "For." The apostle is now making the clause in the preceding verse, "they who are of faith," the limiting description of those who "are blessed with faithful Abraham;" - I say, they who are of faith; for they who are of the works of the Law are in a very different case. In the phrase, "are of the works of the Law," the preposition "of" (ἐκ) has the same force as has been already noted in the phrase (ver. 9), "they who are of faith;" it signifies dependence upon, belonging to, taking position from; and it marks a moral posture of mind voluntarily assumed. The apostle in laying down the aphorism of the present passage has doubtless an eye to those of the Galatians who were moving for the adoption of circumcision and the ceremonies of the Levitical Law. Withdrawing from the category of those who were of faith, they were preparing to join those who were of the works of the Law. If their taking up with circumcision, and with these or those of the Levitical ordinances, was not mere childish trifling; if in serious and solemn earnest it meant anything, it meant this - that they looked to gain from these observances acceptableness before God, as performing works commanded by his Law given through Moses; but in that view they were bound to take the Law in its entirety, and do every work which it prescribed, ceremonial and moral alike; for all of it came invested with the like authority and as a part of that institution was alike binding (see Galatians 5:3). Let them now consider well how in such circumstances their case would stand. That the "works of the Law" which stand foremost before the apostle's view in the present discussion are those of a ceremonial character is apparent from the tenor both of vers. 12-19 of the preceding chapter and of vers. 1-10 of the next. There is, indeed, generally tiffs difference observable between the phase of the Law regarded in this Epistle, as compared with that which engages the apostle's thoughts when writing to the Romans: in the Romans the prominent notion of the spiritual condition of those under the Law is that they are in a state of guiltiness, condemnation, spiritual inability, unconquered sin; while in the Galatians the prominent notion of their condition is that they are in a state of slavery, that the dispensation they are under is spiritually an enslaving one, a yoke of bondage (Galatians 3:24; Galatians 4:1-3, 9, 24, 31; Galatians 5:1, 13). In the Romans the moral aspect of the Law is mostly in view; in this Epistle its ceremonial aspect. The consideration of these distinctive features marking this Epistle will perhaps prepare us the more readily to apprehend the particular shade of meaning with which the apostle uses the words, "are under cursing." He means, not precisely that a curse has already been definitely pronounced upon them so that they now stand there condemned, but that the threatening of a curse is always sounding in their ears, filling them with uneasiness, with constant apprehension that they shall themselves fall under it. The noun κατάρα is thus used for malediction, cursing, in James 3:9, 10, "Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men;... out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing (εὐλογία καὶ κατάρα);" Deuteronomy 27:13 (Septuagint), "These shall stand (ἐπὶ τῆς κατάρας) for the cursing upon Mount Ebal" - that is, for the denouncement of the several curses with which they were to threaten different classes of transgressors. As many, says the apostle, as are of the works of the Law are under a black cloud of malediction, which is ready to flash forth in lightning wrath upon every failure in obedience. And what man of them all can hope not to merit that inexorable lighting down of judgment? Supposing them to be ever so exact and punctual in their observance of those ordinances of the flesh which certain of those Galatian Churchmen are hankering after, how will it fare with them in respect to those other weightier precepts of the Law which require spiritual obedience? For one single example, how will they be able to render unfailing obedience to the commandment, Thou shalt not covet? Beyond question, the apostle writes with the sense which he has so fully developed in his Epistle to the Romans (Romans 3:9-20; Romans 7:7-24; Romans 8:3), that no one under the economy of the Law ever did, or ever could, continue in all things which were written in the Law to do them; and that therefore they that forsook the gospel of Christ to look to the Law for acceptance with God would beyond doubt become, nay, taken as they were at any moment had already become, each individual, the specific object of malediction, a child of cursing, a child of wrath (2 Peter 2:14; Ephesians 2:3; Romans 4:15). Nevertheless, his purpose just here may be presumed to be, not to affirm this, but rather to point to the miserable state of apprehensiveness and fear of instant wrath which they who were of the works of the Law must needs be in bondage to. Most commentators, however, understand κατάρα as meaning, not "cursing" or uttering general sentences of cursing (maledictio), but "a curse" (maledictum), that is, a specific curse incurred already by each individual in consequence of his having of a certainty already sinned against some commandment of the Law; if not against some ceremonial commandment, at any rate against some moral precept. Whichever way we understand it, such (the apostle at all events means) was the condition into which those Judaizing Gentile converts were preparing to precipitate themselves. 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 (γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι [Receptus has γὰρ without ὅτι, which conjunction is according to the Greek usage introduced superfluously] Ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ο{ς οὐκ ἐμμένει ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά). The Septuagint (Deuteronomy 27:26) has Ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ [this of doubtful genuineness] ἄνθρωπος ὅστις οὐκ ἐμμενεῖ [or ἐμμένει] ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς λόγοις τοῦ νόμου τούτου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτούς. The Hebrew is correctly given in the Authorized Version, "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this Law to do them." The apostle, quoting the Septuagint apparently from memory, gives the general sense rather than the exact words. He that sins against a commandment, as (to use the Septuagint phrase) he does not "continue in" it, but departs from it, so also, he, as far as his action reaches, sets it aside or abrogates it instead of "confirming" it. The word "all," not found in our present Hebrew text, is stated by critics to be in the Samaritan as well as in the Septuagint. This is the last of the twelve several maledictions pronounced from Mount Ebal, and certainly includes in its scope the ceremonial as well as the moral precepts of the Law. But what did this malediction import? Certainly it expressed abhorrence - the Divine Author of the Law, and his ministers and people accepting, pronouncing, and ratifying the denunciation, all join in repudiating the offender, casting him out from among them with loathing: so much is clear. What practical effect was to be given to the malediction, even by men in this life, not to speak of the action of God hereafter in the life to come, is nowhere indicated; but all could see thus much - the offender, if dying unreconciled, would depart hence accursed of both man and God. The notion of guiltiness before God and accursedness incurred by transgression of merely ceremonial precepts has been so greatly effaced from men's consciousness by the teaching, direct and indirect, of Christ's gospel, that we find it hard to realize to our minds that there ever existed a posture of the spirit answering to such a notion, or. if such did exist, that it could be other than the fruit of an uninstructed, ill-trained state of the conscience. But it was not this, so long as the economy of Moses was in force. For these positive laws were laws of God, binding during his pleasure upon the conscience of every Israelite; and in proportion as an Israelite's consciousness of the existence of Jehovah and of his own covenant relation to Jehovah was real and vivid, in that proportion would he be careful, scrupulously careful even, in obeying those positive laws. He had, indeed, to duly estimate the comparative importance and obligation of positive and of moral precepts, especially when in actual practice they came into conflict, according to the principle laid down for example in Hosea 6:6; but it was at his peril that he at any time neglected the former, though still less might he dare to neglect the latter. For every Israelite, as long as the Law continued in force, that which was said by Christ was strictly true, and in both clauses meant to be taken in solemn earnest, "These latter ought he to do, and not to leave the other undone" (Matthew 23:23). It was, for instance, a matter of conscience for the truly conscientious Israelite to carefully purify himself from pollution incurred by contact with the dead, and to abstain from swine's flesh; he might not neglect such purifications or partake of such meat without breaking a commandment of God's, without therefore incurring God's displeasure; and it behoved him to feel that he could not, and in proportion to the sincerity and depth of his religious sentiment he did feel it. Now, even when Israelites lived in a world of their own, comparatively free from the presence of Gentiles, the observance of the Levitical Law must needs have been at times felt to be an irksome or even anxious obligation; but its irksomeness and anxiety must have been greatly increased when Gentiles were not merely brought into close contact with them, but were even their masters. St. Peter confessed how burdensome it was felt to be, when he pronounced it a yoke which neither they nor their fathers had been able to bear. The feeling of relief must therefore have been inexpressibly great when an Israelite could come to be assured that those positive laws had ceased to be obligatory; that even if from habit or from national or social sentiment he continued to observe them, yet his conscience was quite free to disregard them without fear of displeasing God; that God's covenanted mercy had no longer any reference whatever to such observances, and that he might worship him acceptably, and hold joyful communion with him (say) in the Lord's Supper, though he had just before been handling a corpse without being since purified, or eating "unclean" meats, or working on the sabbath day. This relief the gospel brought; God's servants learnt with joy that they were righteous and accepted before him simply through faith in Christ without those "works of the Law." The curse was reversed. Now it ran thus: "Anathema be he who doth not wholly trust in Christ crucified for righteousness! Anathema be he who brings dead ordinances of the Law to darken his brethren's joy!"
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Verse 11. - But that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God, it is evident (ὅτι δὲ ἐν νόμῳ οὐδεὶς δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ); but that in the Law no man is justified with God, is evident. To "be justified" means to be brought out of a state of guiltiness and cursedness into a state of acceptance. The apostle, assuming that every one is guilty and under a curse, now shows that the Law offers no means of justification. "But." The apostle is meeting the notion that, though one who is of works of the Law is evermore threatened with a curse ready to light down upon him, and though the curse has been, as it cannot but have been, actually incurred, yet, by setting himself afresh to the endeavour and thenceforward continuing steadfast in all things written in the Law, he may thus win pardon and righteousness with God. To obviate this conception, without stopping to insist upon the fact that through indwelling sin no man possibly can continue in all the things written in the Law, he puts the notion aside by stating that this is not the method of justification which Scripture recognizes. This he shows by adducing that cardinal aphorism of Habakkuk, by which, as it should seem, the apostle was wont to substantiate the doctrine of justification by faith (comp. Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38). The way in which the passage is here introduced, almost as an obiter dictum, and as if not needing a formal indication of its coming out of Scripture, suggests the feeling that the passage, as taken in the sense in which the apostle reads it, was one already familiar to his readers, no doubt through his own former teaching. When in the Acts (Acts 13:39-41) we read that in the synagogue at the Pisidian Antioch, in close connection with the statement that through believing in Christ a man is justified, he cited another passage of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:5), denouncing unbelieving despisers, we cannot doubt that he had made good his statement about justification by alleging this same probative text. "In the Law;" that is, as being it. the sphere and domain of the Law. Compare the use of the same preposition: Romans 2:12, "As many as have sinned under [Greek, 'in'] the Law;" 3:19, "It saith to them that are under [Greek, 'in'] the Law." An exactly parallel construction is found in Acts 13:39, "From all things from which ye could not by [Greek, 'in'] the Law be justified." They could not as being in the Law find therein any means of gaining acceptance. "Is justified with God;" comes to be accounted righteous with him. "With God;" not merely outwardly, Levitically, in the judgment of a Levitical priest - but inwardly and in reality, in God's estimation. The preposition "with" (παρά) is used similarly in Romans 2:13, "For not the hearers of the Law are righteous with God;" 1 Corinthians 3:19, "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." It is God himself that justifies the sinner (Romans 3:30; Romans 4:5); but the apostle does not write "is justified by God," because he is confronting the notion so natural to man, and above all, to the Judaizing legalist, that a man is to make himself righteous by doings - ceremonial or moral - of his own. For, The just shall live by faith (ὁ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται); the righteous by faith shall live. The apostle is not weaving the prophet's words into his own sentence simply as aptly expressing his own thought, but is citing them probatively as words of Scripture; as if he had said, "As Scripture saith, The righteous," etc. The same is the case with the words introduced in the next verse out of Leviticus; so Romans 9:7. In Romans 15:3 and 1 Corinthians 2:9 the apostle inserts, "according as it is written," as in parenthesis, before adding the words of Scripture in such a way as to form a continuation of his own sentence. "The righteous by faith shall live;" that is, the righteous man shall draw his life from his faith. It is generally agreed upon by Hebrew scholars that in the original passage (Habakkuk 2:4) the words, "by his faith" (or possibly, adopting another reading of the Hebrew text, "by my faith," that is, by faith in me) belong to "shall live," rather than to "the righteous" (see on this point Delitzsch on Hebrews 10:38, and Canon Cook on Habakkuk 2:4, in 'Speaker's Commentary'). And that St. Paul so understood it is made probable by the contrasted citation of" shall live in them "in the next verse. With this conjunction of the words, the passage suits the apostle's purpose perfect]y; for if it is by or from his faith that the righteous man lives, then it is by or from his faith that he gets to be accepted by God as righteous. The "faith" spoken of is shown by the context in Habakkuk to mean such reliance upon God as is of a steadfast character, and not a mere fleeting or occasional acceptance of God's promises as true. This is plainly the view of the passage which is taken by the Pauline writer of the Hebrews in Hebrews 10:38.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Verse 12. - And the Law is not of faith ( δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως); but the Law is not "by faith." This is closely connected with the latter part of the preceding verse, as forming another portion of the proof which is there introduced by "for." Ver. 11 should end with a semicolon, not with a full stop. The δὲ at the beginning of this verse is slightly adversative, setting "the Law" in contrast with the notion of "living by or from faith." These words, "by or from faith" (ἐκ πίστεως), are borrowed from the preceding citation. We may paraphrase thus: The Law does not put forward as its characteristic principle, "by faith;" the characteristic principle of the Law is rather that which we read in the third book of Moses (Leviticus 18:5)," The man who hath actually done them shall live by them." But, The man that doeth them shall live in them (ἀλλ Ὁ ποιήσασ αὐτὰ [ἄνθρωπος] ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς: (the word ἄνθρωπος is omitted by the recent editors, as having crept into the text from the Septuagint); but, He that doeth them shall live in them. The whole verse (Leviticus 18:5) in the Authorized Version, following the Hebrew, stands thus: "And ye shall keep my statutes and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord." The Septuagint runs thus: "And ye shall keep [or, 'and keep ye'] all my statutes and all my judgments, and ye shall do them [or, 'and do ye them']: the man that doeth them shall live in them (ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ἄνθρωπος ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς) I am the Lord your God." It thus appears that the pronoun "them" recites "my statutes and my judgments." But this the apostle is not at present particularly concerned to specify; his main point here is that the Law requires such and such things to be actually done, before it holds out the prospect of life to be gained thereby. Those under the Law were bound to render strict obedience to all its requirements, whether moral or ceremonial; and whosoever set aside any of whichever class was constituted by the Law a "transgressor" and a man "accursed." As it stands in the passage of Leviticus referred to, the clause which is cited bears not so much the aspect of a promise as of a restrictive statement implying a threatening or warning, and is therefore its harmony with the commination quoted in ver. 10. The "doing" here spoken of differs essentially from evangelical obedience. Comprising as it did its very large proportion the observance of the ceremonial prescriptions (προστάγματα) of the Law, it points to a course of conduct in which a man, striving to earn pardon and acceptance by a meritorious life, had continually to be turning his eye, slavishly and under fear of the "curse" in case of failure, towards an external Law, whose detail of positive enactments, in addition to the regulation of his moral conduct and inward spirit, he was bound with scrupulous exactness to copy in his life. The spiritual obedience of "faith," on the other hand, evolves itself (in the apostle's view) freely and spontaneously from the inward teaching and prompting of God's Spirit, of which it is the natural product or "fruit" (ch. Galatians 5:22). Such are these two forms of religious life when viewed each in its idea. When, however, we compare the spiritual state of many even sincere believers in Christ, so far as we can estimate it, with the spiritual state of (say) the marvellous author of Psalm 119. or of David and other pious Israelites, as disclosed in the exercises of pious feeling garnered in that same devotional book, we cannot fail to perceive that an Israelite under the Law might yet be not "of the works of the Law," but in no small degree qualified to teach the Christian believer himself, even in the life which is "of faith." "Shall live in them;" that is, shall find in them a fountain, as it were, of life. The Targums, Bishop Lightfoot observes, define the meaning of "living" by "life eternal."
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Verse 13. - Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Ξριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου); Christ bought us off from the curse of the Law. The position of the word "Christ" in the Greek, heading the sentence, makes it emphatic - Christ; he alone; no means offered by the Law hath procured justification for the sinner. "Us;" not merely the Israelites after the flesh, who were visibly under the Law: but either all mankind, Gentiles as well as Israelites, being declared by the Law unclean and unholy, both ceremonially and morally, and thus under its curse (comp. "for us," 2 Corinthians 5:21); or God's people, the children of Abraham, prospective as well as present (comp. John 11:50-52 and Galatians 4:5). "Redeemed," or "bought us off." The same compound Greek verb occurs Galatians 4:5, "That he might redeem [buy off] them who were under the Law;" obviously, buy off from being under it. Another Greek verb, λυτρόω, ransom, is rendered "redeem" in Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18; whence the compound verbal noun ἀπλούτρωσις, redemption, in Romans 3:24; Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 1:30, etc. The apostle may be supposed to have preferred to use ἐξαγοράζω here, as pointing more definitely to the price which the Redeemer paid; for in λυτρόω, redeem, this notion of a price paid often lies so far in the background as to leave the verb to denote simply "deliver." The un-compounded verb ἀγοράζω, buy, is found with reference to Christ's death in 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 1 Cor 7:23, "Ye were bought with a price;" 2 Peter 2:1, "The Master that bought them;" Revelation 5:9, "Didst purchase unto God with thy blood." In the present passage it is not the blood of Christ, as in 1 Peter 1:18, that is regarded as the purchase money, - for the notion of expiation with blood of sacrifice is not even glanced at; but rather, as the next words show, his taking upon him the accursedness and pollution which by the Law attached to every one crucified. "From the curse of the Law;" its cursing affects us no more. God's people are, in Christ. no longer, as they were before, subject to his disapproval or abhorrence, in consequence of transgressing the positive, ceremonial enactments of the Law of Moses. In respect to that class of transgressions, its cursing expended itself, and perished, upon the crucified body of the Son of God. Being made a curse for us (γενόμενος ὐπὲρ ἡμ῀ν κατάρα); having become on our behalf a curse. The position of κατάρα makes it emphatic. The form of expression, "become a curse," instead of "become accursed," is chosen to mark the intense degree in which the Law's curse fastened upon the Lord Jesus. Compare the expression, "made him on our behalf sin," in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Probably the form of expression was suggested to the apostle by that found in the Hebrew of the passage of Deuteronomy which he proceeds to cite (see next note but one). The preposition ὑπέρ, "for,... . on behalf of," may possibly mean "in place of," as (perhaps) in Philemon 1:13; but this idea would have been more distinctly expressed by ἀντί: and the strict notion of substitution is not necessary to the line of argument here pursued. For it is written (γέγραπται γὰρ). But the more approved reading is ὅτι γέγραπται, because it is written; which more definitely marks the writer's purpose of vindicating the propriety of his using so strong an expression as "becoming a curse." Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree (ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου); or, upon wood (Deuteronomy 21:23). The Septuagint has Κεκατηραμένος [or, Κατηραμένος] ὑπὸ Θεοῦ πᾶς κρεμάμενος [or, πᾶς ὁ κρ.] ξύλου, "Cursed by God is every one hanging on a tree." The Hebrew is qillath elohim talui, "a curse of God is he that is hanged." The words, "every one" and "on a tree," are additions made by the Septuagint; the latter expression, however, is found in the preceding clause, as also in the preceding verse; so that the sense is given rightly. The apostle departs from the Septuagintal rendering of the Hebrew phrase, "a curse of God," probably because he regarded the rendering as inaccurate; for the phrase, "curse of God," is probably a strongly intensive form of expression, like "wrestlings of God," in Genesis 30:8 ("great wrestlings," Authorized Version). See note on "exceeding great city" (Hebrew, "a city great unto God") in Jonah 3:3, in 'Speaker's Commentary.' According to this view, ἐπικατάρατος, in which the element ἐπὶ is intensive, is a just interpretation; while it also makes the clause more striking as an antithesis to the ἐπικατάρατος, etc., in ver. 10. We are, per haps, justified in adding that it would not have exactly suited the apostle's purpose to admit the words," by God;" for, though the Law pronounced the crucified Jesus a "curse," God, in the apostle's feeling, did not in this case ratify the Law's malediction. To understand the bearing of the verse rightly it is necessary to be quite clear as to the sense in which Christ is here said to have become a curse. The context shows that he became a curse simply by hanging upon a tree. No spiritual trans action, such as that of our guilt being laid upon him, comes into view here at all. It was simply the suspension upon a cross that imparted to him, in the eye of the Law, this character of accursedness, of extreme abhorrent defilement. In other words, the accursedness was the extreme of ceremonial pollutedness - ceremonial, with no admixture of guilt or spiritual pollution. It has, indeed, been attempted by critics, Jewish as well as Christian, as Bishop Lightfoot has shown, to justify this aphorism of the Law, by the plea that one thus punished might inferentially be supposed to have merited this form of execution by some especial enormity of guilt. But, plainly, such previous guiltiness might not have been present; the man crucified, or impaled, or hung might have suffered upon a false accusation. But though he bad suffered unjustly, his being gibbeted would, notwithstanding his innocence, constitute him "a curse of God" all the same. Ceremonial pollutedness, as well as ceremonial purity, was altogether independent of moral considerations. And at present the line of thought which the apostle is following relates simply to questions of Levitical or ceremonial purity or defilement. Have Christian believers as such anything to do with these matters? This is the point at issue. The apostle proves that they have nothing to do with them, upon the ground that the crucifixion of Christ did away wholly with the ceremonial Law. It will only confuse the reader if he supposes that the apostle means here to embody the whole doctrine of Christ's sacrificial atonement; he is at present concerned with stating the relation which his passion bore to the Law. The passage before us illustrates the meaning of the words in Galatians 2:19, "I through the Law died unto the Law:" he felt himself disconnected from the ceremonial Law, in consequence of that Law pronouncing Christ crucified "a curse of God." A question arises, how far the crucifixion of Christ, viewed in this particular aspect of its constituting him in the eye of the ceremonial Law an accursed thing, modified for those who believe on him the effect of the malediction which the Law pronounced upon such as violated its moral precepts. The following observations are offered for the reader's consideration. The Law given in the Pentateuch is uniformly spoken of in Scripture as forming one whole. Composed of precepts, some moral, some ceremonial, some partaking mixedly of both qualities, it constituted, however, one entire coherent system. If a part of it was destroyed, the whole Law as such itself perished. If so, then the cross of Christ, by annihilating its ceremonial enactments, shattered in pieces the whole legislation, so that the disciples of Christ are no longer at all under its dominion, or subjects jurisprudentially (so to speak) to its coercive punitive power. Yet its moral precepts, so far as they embodied the eternal principles of rectitude, would, so far, and because they do so, and not because they were part of the Law given through Moses, continue to express the will of God concerning us. Being, however, "letter" and not "spirit," they were always altogether inadequate expressions of that Divine will - a will which is spiritual, 'which is evermore changing its form and aspect towards each human soul, according to the ever-varying conditions of its spiritual position. The moral precepts of the Law are for us no more than types or figures, mere hints or suggestions of the spiritual duties which they refer to; they cannot be regarded as definitively regulative laws at all. Thus they appear to be treated by Christ and his apostles; as e.g. Matthew 5:21-37; 1 Corinthians 9:8-10; and it is in this light that the Church of England regards them, in reciting the Decalogue in her Pre-Communion Office. And, analogously, the curse which the Law pronounces upon those who set any of its precepts at nought, whether moral or ceremonial, may be regarded as a mere type, revealing, or rather giving a slightest most imperfect glimpse of, the wrath with which the Divine justice burns against wilful transgressors of the eternal Law; a hint or suggestion, again, and not its direct denouncement. God's people, however, by being through faith united to the crucified and risen Christ, become through his cross dead to the whole Law of Hoses, both as regulative and as punitive, - freed from it absolutely; not, however, to be without Law unto God; only, the Law they are now under is a spiritual Law, one conformable to the nature of that dispensation of life and of the Spirit, to which through the Risen One they belong. With this view it agrees that the execration which the Law pronounced upon the Son of God as crucified, and by pronouncing which the Law itself perished, is to be regarded as a most significant and impressive symbol of the spiritual import of our Lord's death. It pronounces to the universe that, for those who by faith are one with Christ, the wrath of Divine justice against them as sinners is quenched - quenched in the infinite, Divine love and righteousness of Christ.
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Verse 14. - Two results are here stated as having flowed from the abrogation of the Mosaic Law which was effected by the crucifixion of Jesus: one, the participation of Gentiles in "Abraham's blessing," to which they could not have been admitted as long as the Law was authorized to shut them out from God's covenant as unclean; the other, the impartation to God's people, upon their faith only, apart from acts of ceremonial obedience, of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. Are these stated as co-ordinate results, in the same way as a repeated ἵνα ("in order that") introduces co-ordinate results in Romans 7:13; 2 Corinthians 9:2; Ephesians 6:19, 20? Or is the second a consequence of the first? In favour of the first view, it may be said that, in point of fact, Gentiles, as such, were not admitted into a participation in Abraham's blessing till some time after the day of Pentecost. But on the other hand, it may be urged

(1) that, though not as yet actually admitted, yet in the Divine purpose, and in the ordering of the conditions of the case, they might have come in, - the door was open, though the threshold not actually crossed; and

(2) that their admissibility may be supposed to have been in the Divine counsels the prerequisite condition of the Holy Spirit being imparted, it not being fitting that the Spirit should be given so long as the Law was, so to speak, standing there, authorized to debar from this, the most essential portion of "Abraham's blessing," any who were partakers of Abraham's blessing. In the three passages referred to as favouring the construing of the two clauses as co-ordinate, we have not as here two different results, but one and the same, only in the second clause more fully described. The second view seems, therefore, the more probable one. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ (ἵνα εἰς τὰ ἔθνη ἡ εὐλογία τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ γένηται ἐν Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: so most recent editors read, in place of Ἰησοῦ Ξριστῷ); that upon "the nations" might crone the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus. The phrase, εἰς τὰ ἔθνη... γένητα, is illustrated by the use of γίγνεσθαι εἰς, "arrive at," or "accrue to," in Acts 21:17; Acts 25:15; Revelation 16:2. For the preposition εἰς we may also comp. Romans 3:22, "Unto (εἰς) all and upon (έπὶ) all." By τὰ ἔθνη, as the whole context shows, the apostle means in particular "the Gentiles," the non-Jews, as such. At the same time, the phrase is evidently used, as found ready at hand in the passage cited by him in ver. 8, "In thee shall all the nations (ἔθνη) be blessed," which passage also suggested the notion of "the blessing of Abraham." It had therein been foretold that all the nations should, by exercising the faith of Abraham, obtain the same blessing; and (says the apostle) we see now by what method the benefit has been brought to them. "In Christ Jesus;" not merely by him; the blessing is, so to speak, immanent in Christ. both procured by him and obtained by the nations through their coming by faith into union with him. Comp. Ephesians 1:6, 7, "His grace which he freely bestowed upon us in the Beloved; in whom we have our redemption;" Colossians 2:10, "In him ye are made full;" and the like. "The blessing of Abraham." The expression, being drawn from the passages in Genesis in which the Lord assures Abraham that "he would bless him," and that "in him all nations should be blessed," must be taken to import the Divine good will and whatever benefits would therefrom result. Men arrive at t is "benediction" by being justified; but justification is only the entrance into it, and not the whole blessing itself. It is styled Abraham's blessing, as having been emphatically declared to have been possessed by the patriarch, "the father" of all who should thereafter receive it. That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (ἵνα τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ Πνεύματος λάβωμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως). The pronoun "we" points, not to the Israelites as such, nor to Israelite believers in particular, but to those who were viewed as God's covenant people. These had hitherto been Abraham's natural seed only; and had also hitherto been under the Law. But the time had come when they were to receive the full "adoption of sons," and therewith the Spirit of God's Son (Galatians 4:5, 6); which, however, could not come to pass until the Law, "the yoke of slavery," had been cleared out of the way, opening the gate to God's benediction to all believers, whether Jews or Gentiles. The Law and the Spirit could not coexist. Where the Law had sway, there was tutor-ship (παιδαγωγία) and slavery. Such, it is true, was needed, so long as the Spirit was not there; for moral beings, forming a people of God's, must be under some Law; and, if there was not a law written on the "fleshy tables of the heart" by God's Spirit, there behoved to be one embodied in an outward code of ordinances, which should coerce men's frowardness and keep them under discipline. But when this outward code had been taken out of the way," nailed to Christ's cross," then the people of God could not be left without the Spirit - the Spirit of holiness, as well as, or rather, because also, the Spirit of adoption; which accordingly was forthwith imparted, the sole condition of the bestowment being their living obedient faith, felt and by baptism professed, in Christ and in God. Comp. Ephesians 4:13-18, as containing a full presentment of these facts relative to the introduction of the new covenant, and in the same order of sequence. Thus the apostle has triumphantly returned to the thesis from which he had started in the two first verses of the chapter - Christ crucified, and the receiving of the Spirit without works of the Law. "The promise of the Spirit" is the Spirit which had been promised; the word "promise" here denoting, not as in Hebrews 11:33, the word assuring a subsequent bestowment, but as in Luke 24:49 and Hebrews 11:39, the bestowment itself. The apostle points not merely to such passages of the Old Testament as had definitely fore-announced the outpouring of God's Spirit (Joel 2:38; Isaiah 44:3; and the like), but the whole "kingdom of God," or "world to come," whose blessedness therewith came.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Verse 15. - Brethren, I speak after the manner of men (ἀδελφοί κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω). "Brethren." The tone of indignant reproach with which the chapter opened has gradually subsided in the course of the apostle's argument; so that here he appeals to the Galatian Churchmen as "brethren; ' as if to bespeak their candid attention to the consideration he is about to allege. "I speak after the manner of men." I say it as stating a principle commonly recognized in human life, in respect to contracts between man and man (see note on the phrase, Galatians 1:11). In a similar manner, in Hebrews 6:16, 17 the writer refers to human methods of ratifying solemn engagements, in order to illustrate a course of proceeding on another occasion condescendingly adopted by God. Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be (when it hath been) confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto (ὅμως ἀνθρώπου κεκυρωμένην διαθήκην οὐδεὶς ἀθετεῖ η} ἐπιδιατάσσεται). The Authorized Version has thus happily rendered the ὅμως, which is here transposed cut of its logical position, as it is also in 1 Corinthians 14:7, and as ἔτι is in Romans 5:6. The apostle's meaning is that, if even men are constrained by their sense of justice to abide by this rule, much more may the All-righteous One be expected to do so. This a fortiori suggestion (for St. Paul only hints this consideration by introducing the word ὅμως without explicitly developing it) is similar to the afortiori argument more explicitly stated by our Lord with reference to God's justice, in Luke 18:6, 7; and to his fatherliness, in Luke 11:13. "Covenant." The word διαθήκη, properly "disposition," which, in classical Greek, generally means "will," "testament," is used in the Septuagint to render the Hebrew berith, covenant, in which sense it occurs once in Aristophanes, 'Ayes,' 439; and it appears to denote "covenant" in all the thirty-three places in which it is found in the New Testament; for even Hebrews 9:17 can hardly be allowed to be an exception. Bishop Lightfoot observes that the Septuagint translators and the New Testament writers probably preferred διαθήκη to συνθήκη, the ordinary Greek word for "covenant," when speaking of a Divine dispensation, because, like "promise," it better expresses the free grace of God. Perhaps the terms appeared to them more suitable also in this application, because one of the parties to the engagement was no other than the supreme sovereign Disposer of all things. "Confirmed;" ratified; as it were, signed, sealed, and delivered. "No one;" meaning neither of the two covenanting parties. "Addeth thereto;" addeth any fresh condition, such as would clog the action of the previous engagement. The apostle adds this with reference to the supposition that the Law of Moses might have qualified the Abrahamic covenant by limiting its benefits to persons ceremonially clean.
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Verse 16. - Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made (τῷ δὲ Ἀβραὰμ ἐῥῤήθησαν [or, ἐῥῤέθησαν] αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ); now to Abraham were the promises made (Greek, spoken) and to his seed. The question now to be determined is, who the parties were that were concerned in the covenant made with Abraham, and with respect to whom the principle just stated must be taken to apply. Of course, God is himself one of the two parties. This the apostle assumes without specific mention in this verse, though he refers to it in the next. On the other side, he discerns "Abraham and his seed;" for the form of the sentence, we feel, lays emphatic stress upon the latter copartner. He has in view, apparently, in part, the promise recorded in Genesis 13:15, "All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever;" perhaps in part the vision related in Genesis 15, wherein (ver. 18) "the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land," etc.; but most particularly, since on this occasion circumcision was appointed as the "sign of the covenant," the words in Genesis 17:7, 8, "I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee: and I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." In the present connection the reference is not so obvious to the important promise in Genesis 22:17, 18, on which such stress is laid in Hebrews 6:13-18. These passages, in their primary and plain obvious sense, point to a covenant established by the Lord between himself on the one hand, and Abraham and Abraham's natural seed on the other; ratified on the persons of Abraham and his offspring by the seal of circumcision, and collating to them the gift of the laud of Canaan. But the apostle teaches us to read these passages mystically: in place of Abraham's natural seed substituting "Christ," a spiritual seed; and in place of the land of Canaan substituting a spiritual inheritance. For "covenant," to which term the apostle reverts in the next verse, we have here "promises;" thus also in Hebrews 7:6, Abraham is described as "he that had the promises." He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed (οὐ λέγει Καὶ τοῖς σπέρμασιν ὡς ἐπὶ πολλῶν ἀλλ ὡς ἐφ ἑνός Καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου). The use of the preposition ἐπὶ with λέγει, as meaning "of," not found elsewhere in the New Testament, occurs repeatedly in Plato (see Ellicott and Alford, and Winer's 'Gram.,' 47, g). With "many" and "one," we are, of course, to supply "seeds" and "seed." It has been questioned whether such a form of expression as "to thy seeds" would have been possible in the Hebrew. Certainly we do not in the Hebrew Bible find a plural of the noun zera when used for "offspring," but only when used for a grain of seed. But still, such a plural may not have been unknown to St. Paul in the Hebrew spoken in his time; for it occurs, De Wette tells us, in the Chaldee Paraphrast for "races" in Joshua 7:14; Jeremiah 33:24; Genesis 10:18. Such a grammatical cavil to his observation, however, the apostle might well have brushed aside by giving his objector to understand that it was not upon a nicety of lingual criticism that he was taking his stand, but upon a fact which was not to be called in question; namely, that of the many branches of descendants owning Abraham as their progenitor, there was only one contemplated by the Almighty as destined to inherit the promise. This principle of discrimination among several lines of descendants he has himself drawn marked attention to in Romans 9:7, 8, by quoting the words, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called," and adding the gloss, "That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed." And so here. Among Abraham's descendants one particular head of a race was beforehand selected in the counsels of God, whose issue alone should inherit. As the principle of discriminative predestination was applied with respect to the inheriting of the promises viewed in their secular meaning, so also was it applied with respect to the inheriting of them spiritually: to only one branch of Abraham's descendants did the Divine Disposer guarantee the promised grant; that which should originate from Abraham's great Descendant, Christ, and which was to be in him and by his name to be called. Which is Christ (ὅς ἐστι Ξριστός); that is, which seed is Christ; the gender of the relative pronoun, which logically, as reciting a neuter noun, σπέρμα, should be neuter, being according to a very common usage of the language made masculine by the attraction of the predicate Ξριστός. The word "seed" still retains its signification of a collective noun, and does not even here denote a single descendant - a sense which usage would not justify us in assigning to it; for even in Genesis 4:25 zera acher means "other offspring," and not "another offspring." The word "Christ" is itself employed by the apostle as a collective, as in 1 Corinthians 1:13, "Christ is divided!" or, "Is Christ divided?" 1 Corinthians 12:12, "As the body is one, and hath many members... . so also is Christ." It is usual in the Hebrew idiom to apply to a people the very name, unmodified, of the head from which they derive; as "Israel," "Jacob," "Ephraim," "Judah," and a large multitude of instances. It is certain from vers. 27-29 that St. Paul has in view those who are "in Christ" as being in and with him the "seed" to whom the "inheritance" was by that covenant given. Jesus, viewed in his own solitary personality, has no place in the apostle's present argument: he it was not that was to inherit the blessing, save only with, or rather in, that multitude of human beings for whose sake he is there at all. Perhaps it is on that account that his official title "Christ" is alone named, in preference to "Jesus" his appellation as an individual man. Having thus ascertained as definitely as we may what it is that the apostle here states, we are naturally led to consider on what grounds he is justified in affixing to the passage or passages of the Old Testament which he refers to, the sense that he does; both as to the import of the gift which the covenant guaranteed to Abraham's seed and as to the specific seed itself as being" Christ." The answer to such questioning is, for us, at once in a great measure determined by our belief in the claims which St. Paul makes to be regarded as an inspired teacher. With this belief, we do not wait first to ascertain that his exposition is warranted by linguistic or historical reasoning before we will give it our assent. We accept his exposition as one imparted to himself by heavenly teaching, and as the result of inspired spiritual insight gazing into the oracles of God. We refuse to regard it, as some would fain persuade us to do, as mere midrash of unscientific rabbinism. Perhaps, indeed, rabbinism itself in its better schools - and in such St. Paul had himself in his earlier years been trained - was often far more profound and scientific in its scriptural exegesis than many who have not been conversant with Jewish commentators are disposed to imagine. His exposition is, therefore, not at once and of course condemned, because, if indeed it be the fact, its method seems to bear upon it the brand of being rabbinical. Thus much is clear - its substance was beyond all question not drawn from rabbinism, but learnt from higher teaching. If at first it arouses in our minds a feeling of surprise, and even a degree of hesitation in accepting it as it lies there before us, we may have good grounds for suspecting that this is owing, not to our superior wisdom, but to the superficiality of the views which we are in the habit of taking of the histories and utterances found in the Old Testament. Fuller and clearer insight into the depths of inspired teaching will perhaps enable us by-and-by to grasp with a firmer hold than now the veritable reasonableness and certainty of this apostolic word, and to discern its coherency with other portions of revealed truth. Meanwhile it may conciliate our judgment to a more unfaltering acceptance at once of what we here read, if we will consider how transcendently great is the glory of the personage whose Name is here attached to Abraham's spiritual seed, and how transcendent too is the corresponding glory of that economy of benediction which that august Being has brought in. The infinite grandeur of "God manifest in the flesh" imparts its magnificence both to the community which he graciously takes into union with him, and to the "kingdom of God" which through him they inherit. The glory of Christ fills the whole Church, which, resplendent therewith, eclipses into utter obscurity all other communities heretofore promised to be recipient of Divine blessing: those, feeble types of her, fade away at her coming, their glory and very being absorbed in hers. We need, then, not hesitate to believe that she with her Lord was from the beginning contemplated by the Almighty in the revelations of future benediction which he accorded to men, certainly with a view ultimately to this crowning dispensation; and that anterior dispensations of benediction were symbolically predictive of this.
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Verse 17. - And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ (τοῦτο δὲ λέγω διαθήκην προκεκυρωμένην ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ [Receptus adds, εἰς Ξριστόν]); and I say this: a covenant confirmed before of God. We have here the application of the aphorism laid down in ver. 15. "And I say this;" that is," And what I have to say is this." As God had already before made a solemn covenant with Abraham and his seed, the Law given so long after cannot have been intended to do away with it; fundamental principles of even human civil equity disallow of any such procedure. "Confirmed before." If the confirmation or ratification is to be distinguished as additional to the solemn announcement, we may find it either in the "seal" of circumcision (Romans 4:11), or in the oath "with which God interposed" (Hebrews 6:17) after the sacrifice of Isaac. The words εἰς Ξειστόν, "with reference to Christ," are expunged from the text by most recent editors. If genuine, they would seem intended to emphasize that position of "Christ" (i.e. in effect his Church) as future copartner with Abraham, which has been already affirmed in the preceding verse. The Law, which was four hundred and thirty years after ( μετὰ τετρακόσια καὶ τριάκοντα ἔτη [Receptus reads ἔτη before τετρακόσια, instead of here, with no difference to the sense] εγεονὼς νόμος); the Law, having come into existence four hundred and thirty years after. This number of years the apostle finds in Exodus 12:40, 41. In the Hebrew text of that passage this term of four hundred and thirty years defines the stay of the Israelites" in Egypt." But in the Septuagint, as well as in the Samaritan text, the term defines the sojourn of the Israelites ("themselves and their fathers" is, according to Tischendorf, added in the Alexandrian manuscript) "in the laud of Egypt and in the land of Canaan." With the view presented by this Septuagintal version agrees a definite statement of Josephus ('Ant.,' 2:15, 2), "They left Egypt... four hundred and thirty years after our forefather Abraham came into Canaan, but two hundred and fifteen years only after Jacob removed into Egypt." In two other passages, however ('Ant.,' 2:09, 1; 'Bell. Jud.,' 5:09, 4), Josephus speaks of the affliction in Egypt as lasting "four hundred years;" probably following in this computation the period mentioned in the Divine communication recorded in Genesis 15:13, and cited by St. Stephen (Acts 7:6) in his defence. It is unnecessary here to attempt to determine the chronological question, which is one not free from difficulty. Our readers are referred to some valuable observations of Canon Cook's, in his note on Exodus 12:40; who on apparently strong grounds considers that a longer period than two hundred and fifteen years must be allowed for the sojourn in Egypt (see, however, Mr. Reginald S. Peele's article, "Chronology," in 'Dictionary of the Bible,' vol. 1. pp. 321,322). If the Hebrew text of Exodus 12:40 as we have it is correct, and if the Septuagintal version of it errs in including the sojourn of the patriarchs in Canoan in the there mentioned period of four hundred and thirty years, then the number of years which the apostle here specifies, counting apparently from Abraham's arrival in Canaan when he received the first of the promises cited above in the note on ver. 16, is less than he would have been justified in stating by the interval between Abraham's arrival in Canaan and Jacob's going down into Egypt. But, however, even if the apostle's mind adverted to this particular point at all, which may or may not have been the case, it plainly would not have been worth his while to surprise and perplex his readers by specifying a number of years different from that which they found in the Greek Bible, which both he and they were accustomed to use, even though the greater number would have in a slight degree added to the force of his argument. Cannot dis-annul (οὐκ ἀκυροῖ); doth not disannul. The present tense is used, because the apostle is describing the present position. That it should make the promise of none effect (εἰς τὸ καταργῆσαι τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν). The "covenant" is here to a certain degree distinguished from "the promise." The latter, being the fundamental and characteristic portion of the former, is brought prominently forward, for the purpose of illustrating the character of the Christian economy as being above all things one of grace and gratuitous bestowment. The feeling also, perhaps, underlies the words that with one of generous spirit - and who so large-hearted and munificent as God? - in proportion as a promise which he has given is large and spontaneous, and the expectation raised by it eager and joyous, in that proportion is it impossible for him to baulk the promisee of his hope. The "promise" was "To thee and to thy seed will I give this land;" the "covenant," that Jehovah would be their God, and that they should recognize him as such.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Verse 18. - For if the inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of promise (εἰ γὰρ ἐκ νόμου ἡ κληρονομία [or, οὐκ ἔτι] ἐξ ἐπαγγελίας); for if from a Law the inheritance accrues, it accrues no longer from a promise. The two nouns "Law" and "promise" have no article, being regarded here in their several characteristic principles, which were not only diverse, but contrary. The Law says, "The man that doeth these things shall live by them;" and this while enforcing a great variety of minute positive principles by severe threats and penalties. The promise bestows of free grace without works. The promised bestowment is here styled "inheritance," because received by Abraham's seed as his heirs (see ver. 29 and Galatians 4:1). In the Old Testament it is a favourite designation of the land of Canaan; as e.g. in Psalm 105:11. Here it relates to a spiritual possession. Οὐκέτι seems preferred by editors of the text, when used logically, as if it were, It no longer appears to be (so Romans 7:17; Romans 11:6); whereas οὐκ ἔτι might be referred to a change which took place at the time when the Law was given. But God gave it to Abraham by promise (τῷ δὲ Ἀβραὰμ δι ἐπαγγελίας κεχάρισται ὁ Θεός); but God hath freely given it to Abraham by promise. The verb χαρίζομαι emphatically marks a gilt as freely and lavishly bestowed (compare its use in Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 2:12). The perfect tense points to the now and evermore enduring effect of the promise. The position of ὁ Θεὸς is emphatic - God, no less than he! (comp. Romans 8:31). The march of this sentence, with which the apostle closes up this paragraph of the discussion, gives, as it stands in the Greek, the reader to feel the apostle's soul dilating with wonder cud delight as he gives expression to the two notions - the gracious freeness of the gift, and the Divine personality of the Giver. The mention here of Abraham alone, without "his seed," is perhaps due to the apostle's sense of the long priority of this guaranteed bestowment to the giving of the Law. In appreciating the tone of the passage, we must not lose sight of the venerableness of this personage, the primordial father, not only of the Hebrew race, but of all believers in Christ to the end of the world.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Verse 19. - Wherefore then serveth the Law? (τί οϋν ὁ νόμος;); what then (or, why then) is the Law? The apostle is wont thus to introduce the statement of some objection or some question relative to the point in hand which requires consideration (cf. Romans 3:1; Romans 4:1). He wishes now to show that, while the Law was a Divine ordinance, it was yet not intended to supersede the previously ratified covenant, but rather to prepare for its being completely carried out. It was added because of transgressions (tw = n παραβάσεων χάριν προσετέθη); on account of transgressions it was superadded. As χάριν denotes that so-and-so is done in consideration of this or that; this latter may be either some antecedent fact furnishing ground for subsequent action, as in 1 John 3:12; Ephesians 3:1; Luke 7:47, or some prospective result, which the action signified in the verb is intended to forward, as Jude 1:16. Here it intimates that the Law was given from a regard to men's sinful actions, with an implied contrast with the covenant of Christ's gospel, which was concerned with men's justification and benediction. The province of the Law is to expose sins, rebuke them, pronounce God's curse upon them, coerce and restrain them by the discipline of a system of outward rites and ceremonies. The office of the Law, as dealing with sinners as continuing sinful, while unable to make them new creatures, is indicated by St. Paul in 1 Timothy 1:9, where, after saying, "The Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners," he proceeds to add a catalogue of offenders chargeable with the grossest form of criminality; which furnishes a most apt illustration of the word παραβάσεις ("transgressions") which he here uses, and which marks sins in their most wilful and most condemnable character. What was spiritually the outcome of the Law's action upon men's sinful nature, in making their "sin exceeding sinful," the apostle has vividly portrayed in the seventh chapter of the Romans. This last point, however, is probably not even glanced at here; and it is only by straining the sense of χάριν, that some commentators, notably Meyer, find the apostle to be here stating that the Law was added for the behoof of transgressions, as it were in their interest, to increase and intensify them, as in Romans 5:20, that the trespass might abound. This, however, is not naturally found in the present passage. All that the apostle here states is that the Law merely dealt with sins, having no function in relation to life and righteousness. The article before παραβάσεων indicates the whole class of objects referred to, as e.g. in τοῖς ἀνθρώποις (Hebrews 9:27). This" superadded" (προσετίθη) is not inconsistent with the οὐδ ἐπιδιατάσσεται, "nor addeth thereto," of ver. 15; inasmuch as it points to a Divine ordinance, which stood, so to speak, in a different plane from the covenant of grace, and in no way interfered with it. Till the seed should come (ἄχρις οῦ ἔλθῃ τὸ σπέρμα). The form of expression indicates the purpose of him who arranged it all, that the Law should last only so long, and was to come to an end when the seed came. To whom the promise was made (ῷ ἐπήγγελται); to whom the promise hath been made. The perfect tense of the verb, as in the case of κεχάρισται, in ver. 18, points to the still continuing validity of the promise. The "seed" is "Christ;" the historical Christ, indeed, but still viewed collectively as summing up in himself all who should be united to him. And it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (διαταγεὶς δἰ ἀγγέλων ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου); being ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. The verb "ordain" (διατάσσειν), being most commonly used for "command," "order," as Luke 8:55; 1 Corinthians 7:17, is introduced in preference to δοθείς (comp. ver. 20 and John 1:17; John 7:19), as making more prominent the notion of imperative action on the part of the Divine Lawgiver. The whole passage is tinctured with the feeling that the giving of the Law, as contrasted with the dispensation of the Messiah, was marked by distance, sternness, alienation. This is the meaning of the mention of "angels" as the medium of communication on the side of Heaven, and of "a mediator" as the selected medium of reception on the side of Israel (compare the contrast between the two dispensations in Hebrews 12:18-24). This representation of the Law as given through angels is unmistakably made again in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in the words, "The word spoken through angels" (Hebrews 2:2), where also it is placed in the same contrast with the gospel as spoken by the Lord Jesus, which here is plainly implied, if indeed it is not expressly alluded to, in the enigmatic words, "but God is one," in the next verse. This view of the Law as communicated through the medium of angels is distinctly referred to by St. Stephen as the accepted belief of the Jewish theologians before whom he spoke: "Ye who received the Law as the ordinances of angels" (Acts 7:53), where the phrase, διαταγὰς ἀγγέλων, forms a remarkable parallel to the words, διαταγεὶς δι ἀγγέλων, now before us. The same view is put forth by Josephus ('Ant.,' 15:05, 3), "We having learned the most excellent of our doctrines and the most holy part of our Law through angels from God." Such, then, was incontestably the current belief of the Jewish people, both Christian and non-Christian. The Hebrew theologians directed a great deal of attention upon the doctrine of angels, of which the "boundless genealogies" spoken of by St. Paul (1 Timothy 1:4; comp. Colossians 2:18) was certainly one diseased branch. We may without improbability suppose that their exegetical sagacity, not unaided by the Spirit of God promised by him to his people upon their restoration from Captivity, detected the particular fact here indicated in Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Exodus 19:16, 19. The countless hosts of his "saints" who attended upon the Lord on that occasion were not surely mere spectators; and to their intervention acting out the volitions of God might be most reasonably ascribed all the physical sights and sounds which gave to the giving of the Law its sensible awfulness (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16). "They raised the fire and smoke; they shook and rent the rock; they framed the sound of the trumpet; they effected the articulate voices which conveyed the words of the Law to the ears of the people, and therein proclaimed and published the Law; whereby it became ' the word spoken by angels'" (Owen, 'Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews,' 2:2). In the hand of a mediator (ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου); by the hand of a mediator. Ἐν χειρί, in or by the hand, is unquestionably a Hebraism, being in the Septuagint the ordinary literal rendering of the Hebrew beyad; see e.g. Numbers 4:37, 45; which passages likewise show us whom the apostle means to designate as the mediator; in reference to which comp. also Deuteronomy 5:5, "I stood between (ἀνάμεσον) the Lord and you at that time [i.e. at the giving of the Law], to show you the word of the Lord." So Philo ('Vit. Mos.,' 678) speaks of Hoses as acting like a μεσίτης καὶ διαλλάκτης, "mediator and reconciler." Schottgen ('Hor. Hebr.') gives numerous examples from the rabbinical books of this application of the term "mediator "to Moses. This conception of Moses as a mediator seems implied also in the words, "Mediator of a better covenant" and "Mediator of a new covenant," which we have in Hebrews 8:6 and Hebrews 12:24, with reference to Christ. Evidently the mention of a mediator in the present passage is intended to point to the relations between the Lord and Israel as being those of distance and estrangement. If it be objected that the same inference would be deducible from the description of Christ as "Mediator between God and men," in 1 Timothy 2:5, we have it to say, in answer, that Christ, being in his nature both God and man, not only mediates between God and men, having made atonement or reconciliation by his cross, but in his own being unites God and man, abolishing actually that state of mutual alienation which the mediation of Moses by figure implied but could not in reality do away. We, too, were enemies to God before we were reconciled by the death of his Son (Romans 5:10); but now, being reconciled, we are at one with God in Christ: Christ's life in our nature both guaranteeing and effectuating our continued state of reconciliation with the Father as well as our own spiritual and eternal life.
Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Verse 20. - This verse, closing the short paragraph commencing the verse which precedes it, appears designed to mark the difference of the relations which subsisted between the Lord and Israel at the time of the giving of the Law, compared with those which subsist between God and Abraham's seed in the covenant of grace. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one (ὁ δὲ μεσίτης ἑνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν). The article with μεσίτης, literally, "the mediator," marks the noun as a class noun, giving it the sense, "a mediator as such." Compare the use of the article in τοῦ ἀποστόλου, in "the signs of an apostle" (2 Corinthians 12:12); in ὁ ἀγαθὸς ἄνθρωπος, "a good man" (Matthew 12:25); in ὁ ἐργάτης, "the labourer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7). The clause means this: a mediator implies the existence of more than one party, of two parties at least, for him to mediate between; of two parties not at one, but standing on such terms towards each other as make his intervention necessary. So far as it characterized the giving of the Law viewed in contrast with the establishment of the covenant of grace, the mediation of Moses, as has been already observed, did not put an end to the estrangement between the Lord and Israel: the estrangement went on throughout Moses' life; throughout, the Israelites stand marked with the brand of "transgression." The genitive ἑνός, "of one," is the same as the genitive in μεσίτης Θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπων, literally, "Mediator of God and men," in 1 Timothy 2:5: it marks the party or parties towards whom the function of mediation is exercised; so that what the apostle here affirms is that there cannot be only one such party. But God is one (ὁ δὲ Θεὸς εῖς ἔστιν). When we consider the number of interpretations given of this clause in connection with the preceding, which have literally been computed by hundreds (the reader will find a spieilegium of some sixty or eighty of them in Meyer), we may infer with certainty that the sense which the apostle intended to convey is not an obvious one - not one which lies near the surface. So much appears, however, in the highest degree probable, that he refers either to some disadvantageous circumstance attaching to the Law or to some advantageous circumstance attaching to the covenant of promise, and is viewing the two in contrast the one with the other. On these grounds the present writer has long since acquiesced in the view propounded by Windischmann in his Commentary on this Epistle, and which is accepted by Bishop Ellicott, that the unity here predicated of God is the oneness subsisting between the Father and the Son. God is one in the Father and in his Son - Christ our Lord. The fact is now present to the apostle's mind, and is presently after stated by him (Galatians 4:4), that the Son has been "sent forth" by God to redeem us and make us sons, and has thus become the "Christ," that "Seed of Abraham" to which the promises had been made (ver. 29 of this chapter). Hereby the most perfect oneness is established between God and the heirs of the promise; for these are "clothed with Christ" (ver. 27) the Son of God; and he being one with the Father, they in and through him are really and permanently "reconciled into God," as the apostle writes in Colossians 1:20. Compare our Lord's words in his intercessory prayer (John 17:21, 23), "That they all may be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us. I in them, and thou in me; that they may be perfected into one." That this sense lies deep down in the apostle's words and would not have readily been presented by them to the minds of his readers, forms no valid objection to this interpretation; for the history of the exegesis of the passage proves that this must have been the case with the sense which the apostle really designed to indicate, whatever that was. On the other hand, it is a sense which perfectly suits the requirement of the context; for it illustrates the superiority of the covenant of the promise to the covenant of the Law in the strongest manner possible. The nut has a very hard shell, but it yields a delicious kernel.
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Verse 21. - Is the Law then against the promises of God? (ὁ οϋν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ;). "Against" (κατά), as Galatians 5:23; Romans 8:31; Matthew 12:30. Since the apostle has already (vers. 15-18) disposed of the notion that the Law may have superseded or essentially qualified the promise, this word "against" can hardly intend adverse action of that kind, but rather imports simply contrariety of spirit or purpose. This objection the apostle meets by stating that the spirit and purpose of the Law were not contrary to the promises, inasmuch as the Law did not offer to interfere with the work which the promises were to do, but was designed, to be auxiliary to their function by preparing the way for its discharge. God forbid (μὴ γένοιτο). The tone of abhorrence with which the apostle negatives the inference (see note on Galatians 2:17) is due, not so much to its mere unreasonableness, as to the almost blasphemous character which he feels to attach to the notion. To think that one unquestionable revelation of the faithful, unchangeable God can be contrary in spirit or purpose to another equally unquestionable revelation of his! For if there had been a Law given which could have given life (εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος ζωοποιῆσαι,); for if a Law had been given such as could make alive. The construction of the article in the phrase, νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος, is similar to that in ἔθνη τὰ μὴ ἔχοντα (Romans 2:14); μάρτυσι τοῖς προκεχειροτονημένοις (Acts 10:41). The noun is first put undetermined, a narrowing determination with the article being then added: "If [in the Law of Moses] had been given a Law such as," etc. By fastening attention upon the Law as unable "to make alive," the apostle marks its character as contrasted with the new covenant, the characteristic function of which is that of imparting a life-giving Spirit. The Law made men feel their sin, their spiritual incapacitation, "the body of death" which enthralled them (Romans 7.); but the grace which should instil into their souls the life of love which they lacked, it had not to bestow. So far only reaches the unfavourable estimate of the Law's function given here: it was not "able to make alive." Verily righteousness should have been by the Law (ὄντως α}ν ἐκ νόμου η΅ν ἡ δικαιοσύνη); in very deed then from the Law would have accrued righteousness. "In very deed then." But as the case now stands, it is a delusion to think it can, as the unbelieving Jews do, and as some of you seem minded to do. Ὄντως, as Luke 23:47; 1 Corinthians 14:25. If the Law could have quickened men with spiritual life it would have brought them justification. This is what the apostle here affirms. But why so? That in the economy of grace there is no justification without spiritual quickening, nor spiritual life without justification, we are clearly apprised by many passages of St. Paul's own writings, notably by Romans 8:1-10. The explanation, however, is probably this: in the apostle's view, the gift of the indwelling Spirit, to sanctify us and enable us for living a spiritual life, is conditioned by a state of acceptableness with God; until we have been brought into a state of grace, we are not qualified to receive this the supreme proof of Divine love. It is "because we are sons that God sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6). If, then, the Law can be supposed capable of imparting the Spirit of life, it must be supposed capable of antecedently imparting righteousness. The "inheritance" of Abraham's seed includes both, both accruing to them from faith. So far was the Law from having these gifts to bestrew, that on the one hand, Moses' ministering of the Law to the people was a ministration of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:6-9), and on the other, it brought quickening, indeed, but not to the sinner's spirit, but to his sin (Romans 7:9). intensifying its malignity and working death (ibid., vers. 10-13). These views, so explicitly expressed by the apostle in the two nearly contemporaneous Epistles just cited, reveal to us what was in his mind when writing, the words before us, and may be properly adduced to explain them.
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Verse 22. - But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin (ἀλλὰ συνέκλεισεν ἡ γραφὴ τὰ πάντα ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν); on the contrary, the Scripture hath shut it all up under sin. On the sense which the phrase, "the Scripture," sometimes bears, denoting the sacred writings collectively and not one particular passage, see note on ver. 8. Here, as in ver. 8, we feel ourselves at liberty not to limit the apostle's reference to one passage, as that cited in Galatians 2:16 or ver. 23 of this chapter, but to understand him as including in his scope the teaching of Holy Scripture in both these and other places; having probably in view some such general summary of the contents of God's Word as bearing upon the subject, as he has alleged in Romans 3. It is highly probable that some such summary, very possibly this identical one with variations, he was wont frequently to employ, as he certainly had constant occasion to do, in reasoning with his fellow-Jews and others, in synagogues and elsewhere. As in ver. 8, so here, the term "Scripture" is so applied as to invest Scripture with a sort of personal agency, which in stricter propriety would be predicated of its Divine Author. We have, in fact, presented to us the action of God himself in his ordering of that older economy, and not merely the statement of Scripture describing the condition of things under it. "Shut it all up under sin;" leaving no loop-hole of escape. The sense of the verb is illustrated by its use in the Septuagint (Joshua 6:1), "Jericho was (συγκεκλεισμένη) straitly shut up." God, in the appointments and revelations of the Law, found and pointedly left his people, so to speak, under the operation and overmastering of sin, providing for them therein, and as yet, no such outlet from either its condemnation or its power ("the law of sin," Romans) as he purposed in after times to open for them. The description stands in marked contrast with the blessed liberty predicated in the next chapter of the children of "Jerusalem which is above." This condition of things under the old economy is represented as being only a provisional ordering of the Divine Disposer, made with a view to a perfect manifestation of delivering goodness to come by-and-by. "Shut up... that," etc. We have a remarkable parallel to this twofold significance of "shut up," both as present and as prospective, in Romans 11:32," God hath shut up all men unto disobedience (συνέκλεισεν ὁ Θεὸς τοὺς πάντας εἰς ἀπείθειαν), that he might have mercy upon all;" where likewise the providential ordering of God is spoken of, and not the description of Scripture only. There we read τοὺς πάντας, here τὰ πάντα, with an evident propriety in the choice of gender; for there St. Paul is thinking of Jews and of Gentiles as severally coming under the operation of the Divine "shutting up;" here he is not thinking of varied personalities, but rather of the entire circumstances of men under the legal economy. That the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe (ἵνα ἡ ἐπαγγελία ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ δοθῇ τοῖς πιστεύουσι). The term "promise," as connected with the verb "might be given," denotes beyond doubt the thing promised, as in ver. 14, "the promise of the Spirit:" this is "the promise" meant here. Now, if we were to join the words, "by faith of Jesus Christ," with the noun "promise," we should have to understand the two together as meaning," the promise which was made to Abraham because of his faith in Jesus Christ;" and this would be attended with a twofold inconvenience:

(1) the term would have to be taken in two senses in the same sentence; it would first mean here, "the word of promise spoken to Abraham," and then, when immediately after taken with the verb "might be given," it would change its sense into that of "the thing promised;"

(2) this method of construing the sentence would import a new thought, one which did not, so far as we know - it may have done so, perhaps, but there is no proof of it - belong to St. Paul's views of the subject; namely, that "Jesus Christ" - not merely "Christ," but "Jesus Christ" the historical Son of David - was believed in by Abraham. It appears safer, therefore, to connect the words, "by faith of Jesus Christ," with the verb; thus: "that the promise might by faith, as a consequence of faith, of Jesus Christ be given to them that believe." The apostle redoubles the mention of "faith" as the qualification for receiving the gift. "Faith! Faith! with none of your wretched works of ceremonialism! Compare for this iteration of faith, vers. 2-7. He adds, "of Jesus Christ," to "by faith," to mark that the bestowment of the blessing was delayed till Christ should have actually come, to whose line amongst Abraham's posterity the promise had been made. The apostle intimates that the ulterior purpose which God had in view in then "shutting it all up under sin," the purpose which is described in this last sentence, was likewise signified by "Scripture," as well as the condition of comparative helplessness and condemnation, under which those subject to the Law were detained. The participle τοῖς πιστευουσι is either a class substantive (as Acts 2:44; 1 Corinthians 14:22), "to believers," or the present tense of the participle points to action contemporaneous with that expressed by the verb, "to them that should believe."
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Verse 23. - The feature which distinguishes this new paragraph (vers. 23, 24) from the preceding (vers. 21, 22) is the more distinct statement of the paedagogic function of the Law as preparatory to that economy of grace which was the ulterior purpose of the Lawgiver. In the meanwhile (the apostle here says) we were committed to the custody of the Law. But before faith came (πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν). The "but" is an-tithetic to the closing clause of ver. 22, from which is taken up afresh the notion of faith, there spoken of as of old destined to become at the proper time the qualifier for the receiving of the promise. "Faith" denotes, not objectively, "the faith," that is, the gospel, as Galatians 1:23, a sense in which it is seldom used, and which is repelled here by the whole context; but subjectively, the principle of belief in One who gives of mere grace. This, by a bold and surely jubilant figure of speech, is personified as "coming" for men's deliverance, while the "Law" is also personified as the stern custodian under whose charge till then men were detained. Compare the frequent references in the Psalms to "light," "truth," "righteousness," "word," etc., being" sent," "commanded," by the Lord, as in angels, despatched for the help of his saints (Psalm 43:3; Psalm 40:11; Psalm 57:3; Psalm 107:20, etc.). We were kept under the Law, shut up (ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα συγκεκλεισμένοι [συγκλειόμενοι, Revised Text; so, according to Scrivener, L. T. Tr.]); we were kept in ward under the Law. shut up. The "we" recites, not exactly Jewish Christians or Jews, except per accidens, but God's people. The verb φρουρεῖν, keep carefully guarded, is used with a prominent notion of protection in Philippians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:5; whilst in 2 Corinthians 11:32, as here, the more prominent idea is that of preventing egress. Comp. Romans 7:6, "The Law wherein we were holden (κατειχόμεθα)." So Wisd. 17:16, of Egyptians, in the plague of miraculous darkness, as it were imprisoned, unable to move, Ἐφρουρεῖτο εἰς τὴν ἀσίδηρον εἱρκτὴν κατακλεισθείς, "Was kept ill ward, having been shut up into the prison which had no iron bars." The reading συγκλειόμενοι or συνκλειόμενοι, although highly witnessed to by uncial manuscripts, appears to be accounted for by the reading in B, συγκλεισμένοι (very probably a clerical blunder for συγκεκλεισμένοι), which may have given it vogue. The perfect participle seems alone suitable to the passage, q.d. shut up for good and all. The present participle would require to be understood of the repression of a constantly repeated endeavour to escape (or, what?). As the verb συνέκλεισεν occurs in the preceding verse, συγκεκλεισμένοι takes the shade of meaning, "shut up as I said." Unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed (εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι). "Unto;" with reference to, with an eye to, the coming economy of free grace, to which they were then to be transferred. The same preposition (εἰς) is used in the same manner in the next verse," unto Christ." In the words, τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι, we have the same form of sentence as in Romans 8:18, Πρὸς τὴν μέλλουσαν δόξαν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι, "For the glory which shall hereafter be revealed." In both cases, the emphatic position of μέλλουσαν appears to indicate, not merely that the manifestation was future, but that the future would be sure to bring it; the predetermining purpose of God made it certain. "Revealed:" the principle of faith as accepting a gift bestowed of free grace, though not unknown to the pious of former ages (Romans 3:21) - for how in any age could one con-scions of sin look for any gift at the hands of the Almighty except thus? - was destined, under the "gospel of the grace of God," to come forth into conspicuous prominence as the one supremely commanding element of religious sentiment.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Verse 24. - Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ (ὥστε ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν εἰς Ξριστόν) wherefore the Law hath been the keeper of our childhood to keep us unto Christ. With St. Paul, ὥστε, so that, frequently is used to introduce a sentence which is not dependent in construction on the preceding words, but is one which makes a fresh departure as if with the adverbial conjunction "wherefore," or "so then." Thus ver. 9; Galatians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:18, in which last passage it is even followed by an imperative, Γέγονεν differs from η΅ν or ἐγένετο by describing, past action as ending in a result which still continues. The verb γίγνεσθαι frequently denotes "prove one's self, ... act as" (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:7; Acts 1:16; Acts 7:52). The Law hath done with us (says the apostle) the work of a child's caretaker (paedagogus), with an eye to Christ, to whom we have now been banded over. (For the use of εἰς, see note on ver. 23.) Paedagogus has no equivalent in the English language; "pedagogue," "schoolmaster," "tutor," "guardian," are all inadequate, covering each one an area of thought more or less quite different. "Tutor," as the masculine of "governess," comes perhaps nearest; but a tutor to a gentleman's children is generally an educated man, and often of like rank in life with those he is with; whereas a paedagogus was usually a slave - an element of thought probably very near to the apostle's consciousness in his present use of the term. In illustration of this and other points bearing upon this subject, the reader will be interested by a passage cited by Bishop Lightfoot out of Plato's 'Lysis' (p. 208, C). Socrates is questioning a young friend. "' They let you have your own ruling of yourself: or do they not trust you with this, either?' 'Trust me with it, indeed!' he said. 'But as to this, who has the ruling of you?' 'This man here,' he said, 'a tutor. 'Being a slave, eh?' 'But what of that?' said he; 'yes; only, a slave of our own.' 'An awfully strange thing this,' I said, 'that you, freeman that you are, should be under the ruling of a slave. But further, what does this tutor of yours, as your ruler, do with you?' 'He takes me,' said he, 'to a teacher's house, of course.' 'Do they rule you too, the teachers?' ' Certainly, of course.' 'A mighty number it seems of masters and rulers does your father think proper to set over you.'" Teaching, except possibly of the very first rudiments, was not the padagogus's business, but only the general care and superintendence of his charge - taking him to and back from his teachers' houses or the schools of physical training, looking after him in his play hours, and the like. In applying to the Law the figure of a paedagogus, the features which the apostle had in view were probably these: the childhood or non-age of those under its tutelage; their withdrawal from free parental intercourse; their degraded condition probably as being under servile management; the exercise over dram of unsympathizing hardness (comp. 1 Corinthians 4:15, "Though ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers"); coercive discipline; the rudimentary character of their instruction (this particular, however, is likewise of questionable application); the temporary and purely provisional nature of the condition under which they were placed; its termination in the full enjoyment of freedom and of participation in their father's inheritance. The clause, "unto Christ," can hardly mean "to bring us to Christ," tempting as this interpretation may seem, in view of the verbal constituent (ἄγω)" bring" in παιδαγωγός, and of the fact that it was one part of the duty of the child's keeper to take him to his school. For there are the following objections to taking it so:

(1) The child-keeper's relation to his charge did not end with his taking him to school, but continued on throughout his non-age;

(2) the function of Christ is not viewed here as instruction;

(3) if this construction had been in the apostle's view, he would have written πρὸς Ξριστὸν or εἰς Ξριστοῦ, as in the εἰς διδασκάλου ("to the teacher's house") of the passage above cited from Plato. We must, therefore, understand the preposition as in the preceding verse, "with a view to." The next clause is the explanation. That we might be justified by faith (ἵνα ἐκ πίστρεως δικαιωθῶμεν); in order that by faith we might get justified. This clause is the most important part of the sentence. Not from the Law was to come righteousness; the Law was no more than introductory or preparatory; righteousness (once more the apostle reminds the Galatians) was to come to us as a free gift through Christ, upon simply our faith, the Law having now nothing to do with us. Hence the emphatic position of the words ἐκ πίστεως. The apostle does not, in the present connection, make it his business to explain in what way the Law was preparatory, which he does in Romans 7; his purpose at present is to insist upon its purely provisional character. What we have here is a description of the relation of the Law to God's people viewed collectively; but we can hardly fail to be reminded, that this experience of the collective people of God very commonly finds its counterpart in respect to the ethical bearing of the Law in the experience of each individual believer. Only, we have still to bear in mind that the apostle is thinking of the Law just now more in its ceremonial aspect than its ethical.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Verse 25. - But after that faith is come (ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς πίστεως); but now that Faith hath come; this white-robed, joy-bringing angel of deliverance! (see note on the words, in ver. 23, "before faith came"). We are no longer under a schoolmaster (οὐκέτι ὐπὸ παιδαγωγόν ἐσμεν); we are no longer under a keeper of our childhood. When a child becomes of age, as determined by his father's arrangement, the paedagogus's function, of course, ceases; so also when we(God's collective people)became believers in Christ, we had reached the era appointed by our Father for our coming of age, and the Law lost all hold upon us. This triumphant conclusion is based upon the premiss that the Law was the paeda-gogus of God's people, and nothing more. This premiss is itself proved true to the apostle's conviction, by the very nature of the case.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Verse 26. - For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (πάντες γὰρ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ ἐστὲ διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ) for sons of God are ye all through faith in Christ Jesus. "For;" that is, what is just affirmed (ver. 25) is true, because ye are "sons" and no longer "children." "Ye are;" in ver. 25 it is "we are." The whole course of the argument, however, shows that the persons recited by each of the personal pronouns are in effect the same, namely, the people of God; otherwise this verse would not furnish proof, as by the "for" it professes to do, of the statement of ver. 25. The change from "we" to "ye" has by some been explained as due to the writer's wish to preclude the supposition that the "we' in ver. 25 applied to Jewish believers only. A more satisfactory explanation is that he wishes to give the statement in vers. 22-25, which is general, a more trenchant force as applying to those whose spiritual difficulties he is now dealing with. In 1 Thessalonians 5:5, "Ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness," we have the converse transition. There likewise the persons recited are in effect the same; and the change of person in the pronoun, making the discourse, from exhortation addressed to others, pass into a form of cohortation applying to all Christians alike, including the writer himself, is dictated by the apostle's sympathetic kindness for especially his Thessalonian converts. "Ye are." The fact that faith is the sole and sufficient ground of qualification eliminates all those distinctions by which the Law has heretofore fenced off Gentiles, pronouncing them "separated as aliens," "strangers to the covenants," and "without God" (cf. Ephesians 2:12). In the sequel (ver. 28) the apostle passes on from the thought of this particular outward distinction of Jew and Gentile to the thought of all other purely external distinctions. "In Christ Jesus." It is debated whether this clause should be connected with "faith," as if it were πίστεως τῆς ἐν Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, the article being omitted, as in Colossians 1:4; Ephesians 1:15, and often; or with the words, "ye are sons of God," with a comma following the word "faith." Both modes of construing find in the sentence at last the same contents of thought; for each of the two propositions thus severally formed contains by implication the other. It probably suits the connection best to take the apostle as at once affirming that it is in Christ Jesus that we are God's sons through faith, rather than as leaving this to be inferred from the fact of our being sons through faith in Christ. "In Christ" is, with St. Paul, a very favourite form of indicating the channel through which the great blessings of the gospel are realized (cf. Ephesians 1:3, 6, 7, 11; Ephesians 2:6, 7, 10, 13, 21, 22; Ephesians 3:12, etc.). "Sons of God." It is quite clear that the term "sons" (υἱοὶ) denotes those who have come into the full enjoyment, so far as the present life is concerned, of the position Which their birth had entitled them to; and that it stands in contrast with their earlier position when children in years under a paedagogus. The noun υἱός, son, itself, however, while it is never used as synonymous with νήπιος to describe one as a child in years, yet, like τέκνον, child, does not ordinarily betoken more than simple relationship as the correlative with "father;" for which reason υἱός (as well as τέκνον) is used in such phrases as "children of disobedience," "of Israel," of light," "of the day," "of the devil," "of perdition." In Hebrews 12:6-8 υἱὸς is applied in the case of one who is as yet under the discipline of the rod; but even there υἱὸς of itself immediately designates his filial relation only. St. Paul never uses the word παῖς at all, though he has παιδία in 1 Corinthians 14:20 for children in years, in place of the word νήπιος which he ordinarily employs (Romans 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:1; 1 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:14; Hebrews 5:13), and which we find presently after in vers. I and 3 of the next chapter. The particular modification of meaning in which the apostle here uses the term is justified by the consideration which he presently puts forward, that a son of even an opulent or high-born parent, while a mere child, possesses no more freedom than if he were the child of any other person; his heirship or distinction of birth is for so long more or less veiled; it is not until he passes out of his nonage that he appears in his proper character.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Verse 27. - For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ (ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Ξριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε); for all ye who were baptized into Christ. "For;" pointing back to the whole preceding verse, but especially to the words," in Christ Jesus." "All ye who were baptized;" more literally, "ye, as many as were," etc. The rendering in our Authorized Version, "as many of you as have been baptized," allows of, if it does not suggest, the surmise that the apostle was aware of there being those among the Christians he was writing to who had not been "baptized into Christ." But the context proves the fallacy of this surmise; for the baptism of a part of their body, whatever its consequences to those particular individuals, would have furnished no proof of the foregoing statement, that "all" of those whom he was addressing were "sons of God." The class marked out by the ὅσοι is clearly coextensive with the "ye all" of ver. 26. The fact is that this ὅσοι marks out a distinct class, not taken out from amongst Christians, but from amongst mankind at large. As compared with οἵτινες, which the apostle might have written instead, it may be regarded as affirming with greater positiveness than οἵτινες would have done, that what is predicated in the subsequent clause is predicated of every individual belonging to the class defined in this. It may be paraphrased thus: As surely as ever any one of you was baptized into Christ, so surely did he become clothed with Christ. Precisely the same considerations apply to the clause in Romans 6:3, "All we who were baptized (ὅσοι, ἐβαπτίσθημεν) into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death." A similar paraphrase may be given in ver. 10 of this chapter: So surely as any are of the works of the Law, so surely are they under a curse; and in Romans 8:14, So surely as any are led by the Spirit of God, so surely are these sons of God. Below, in Galatians 6:16, "As many as shall walk by this rule," the ὅσοι does mark out a class from among the general body of Christians, who were not all acting thus. So also Philippians 3:15, "As many as be perfect." Were baptized into Christ (εἰς Ξριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε). So Romans 6:3, "Baptized into Christ Jesus, baptized into his death." The question arises - What is the precise force of the preposition "into" as thus employed with relation to baptism? With the present passage we have to group the following: "Baptizing them into (εἰς) the Name of the Father. and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19); "Were all baptized into (εἰς) Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Corinthians 10:2); "In (ἐν) one Spirit were we all baptized into (εἰς) one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13), which statement, we must observe, is preceded by the apologue of a body with many members ending with "so also is Christ" (ver. 13). With reference to these passages we may observe that, since in 1 Corinthians 12:13 ("We were baptized into one body") the preposition retains its strict sense of "into," and since "Christ" is perpetually set forth as for Christians the sphere of their very existence, in whom they are that which distinctively they are, it is reasonable to conclude that, when the apostle here and in Romans 6:3 uses the expression, "baptized into Christ," he uses the preposition in its strict sense; that is, meaning that Christians are in their baptism brought into that union with, in-being in, Christ which constitutes their life. Nor does 1 Corinthians 10:2, "were baptized into Moses" (where both the Authorized an d the Revised Versions render, "unto," the latter adding in the margin, "Greek, into"), present any real objection to this view. For in comparing objects together, the apostle not unfrequently puts a very considerable strain upon a phrase when he wishes to bring the two several objects under one category, using it alike of that to which it is most strictly applicable, and of that to which it is not applicable strictly, but only in a very qualified sense. Compare, as a very noteworthy instance of this, his application of the words (κοινωνία κοινωνός), "communion," "having communion," in 1 Corinthians 10:16-20 (Revised Version); in which the expression, "having communion with devils (κοινωνοὺς τῶν δαιμονίων γίγνεσθαι," is, surely with considerable violence, applied to the case of persons eating things sacrificed to idols; but is applied thus by the apostle because he wishes to present a parallel to that real "communion of the blood, of the body, of Christ," which Christians are privileged to have in the Lord's Supper. Similarly, in vers. 2-4 of the same chapter, for the purpose of exhibiting a parallelism, he strains the expressions," spiritual meat," "spiritual drink," justly and precisely applicable to the Lord's Supper, to apply them to the manna and water from the rock, the meat and drink of the Israelites in the wilderness, although the only justification of their being thus designated consists in their having been supernaturally supplied, and perhaps also that they had a typical meaning. We can thus, then, understand how, with reference to the other sacrament in ver. 2 of the same chapter, he strains the expression, "baptized into," justly descriptive of Christian baptism, by applying it to that quasi-immersion of the Israelites in passing "through the midst of the Red Sea and under the cloud," which he construes into a "baptism" which made them over to a sort of union with, in-being in, Moses, thenceforward their lawgiver and leader. The import of the expression, "baptized into Moses," is to be estimated in the light thrown upon it by the more certain import of the expression, "baptized into Christ;" not this latter to be explained down for the purpose of making it correspond with the other. This view of the clause before us helps us to understand the words in Matthew 28:19, "Baptizing them into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" in the comprehension of which we are further assisted by the very remarkable, pregnant use sometimes made in the Old Testament of the word "Name," when it is employed to designate that presence of Divine power and grace which is the security of God's people and the confusion of their enemies (see Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 20:1, 7; Psalm 75:1; Isaiah 30:27, etc.). For the baptism which brings men "into Christ" brings them into the Name of the triune God as manifested to us in the gospel. Such an interpretation of these words approves itself fully with reference to their use in the supremely solemn hour of spirit-fraught utterance recorded in Matthew 28:19; notwithstanding that in other passages, of plain historical narrative, such as Acts 8:16 and Acts 19:5, it may be more natural to take the preposition in the phrase, "baptize into the Name of Christ," in a lower and less determinate sense - either as "unto," "with reference to," or, which seems more probable, as pointing to that professed connection with Christ as his people ("Ye are Christ's," 1 Corinthians 3:23), into which the sacrament brings men. But this lower interpretation, if admitted in those passages, has no claim to dominate our minds when endeavouring to apprehend the full import of the passage now before us, and of Romans 6:3. In these the apostle is evidently penetrating into the inmost significance and operation of the rite; and therefore beyond question means to indicate its function, as verily blessed by God for the translation of its faithful recipients into vital union with Christ. For the just comprehension of the apostle's meaning, it is of the utmost consequence to note that he introduces this reference to baptism for the purpose of justifying his affirmation in ver. 26, that in Christ Jesus those whom he is addressing were all sons of God through faith. This consideration makes it clear that he viewed their baptism as connected with faith. If there was any reality in their action in it at all, if they were not acting an unreal part, their coming to baptism was an outcome of faith on their part in Christ. By voluntarily offering themselves to be baptized into his Name, they were consciously obeying his own instructions: they were manifesting their desire and their resolve to attach themselves to his discipleship and service; to be thenceforth people of his, as by him redeemed, and as expecting at his hands spiritual life here and perfected salvation hereafter. Therefore it was thai they were in their baptism translated "into Christ;" their voluntary act of faith brought them under such operation of Divine grace as made the rite effectual for the transcendent change which the expression indicates; for it is abundantly apparent that a spiritual transition such as this cannot be wrought by a man's own volition or action, but only by the hand of God; as St. John testifies (John 1:13). Have put on Christ (Ξριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε); did put on Christ. In Romans 13:14 we find the imperative used, "Put ye on (ἐνδύσασθε) the Lord Jesus Christ." There the phrase has an ethical application, denoting the adoption of that whole system of habits which characterized the Lord Jesus, and presents in a more definite form that "putting on" of "the new man" which is insisted upon in Ephesians 4:24. This can hardly be its meaning here; rather it is to be regarded as a more determinate form of the notion of" being justified." The penitent convert, by that decisive action of his faith which by seeking "baptism into Christ" put forth his hand to lay hold of the righteousness which is by faith, became invested with this particular form of "righteousness," namely, that very acceptableness, in the sight of God, which shone in Christ himself. In that hour God "made him acceptable in the Beloved" (cf. Ephesians 1:6, ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ); endued this poor guilty creature with the loving-kindness with which he regarded his own Son. The middle voice of the Greek verb, though it denotes in Romans 13:14 action of the Christian's own, is not to be so far pressed as to exclude the notion of our having in this case been subjected to the action of another. Comp. Luke 24:49, "Until ye be clothed (ἐνδύσησθε) with power from on high;" 1 Corinthians 15:53, "This mortal must put on (ἐνδύσασθαι) immortality;" so 2 Corinthians 5:3. It is the exclusive prerogative of God to justify the sinner; and therefore it must have been by him that the believer became clothed with Christ, not by himself, though it was by his own voluntary act that he came under this operation of the Divine grace. It is, perhaps, impossible more strongly to express the intense character (so to speak) which belongs to the righteousness which comes to us through faith in Christ, than by the form in which it is here exhibited. The apostle, however, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, uses an expression which may be put by the side of it: "That we might become the righteousness of God in him." It is now clear how completely this verse makes good the affirmation in the preceding one. We have indeed been made sons of God in Christ Jesus if we have become clothed with Christ. For what other in this relation does the phrase, "sons of God," denote as applied to ourselves, than the intense love into the bosom of which God has received us? No higher degree of adoption to be sons is conceivable; though the complete manifestation of this adoption still remains in the future (Romans 8:19).
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Verse 28. - There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female (οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ); there is no dew here nor Gentile (literally, Greek), there is no bond man here nor freeman, there is not here male and female. The word ἔνι, occurring also in 1 Corinthians 6:5 (according to the now accepted reading); James 1:17; Ecclus. 37:2; and very noticeably in Colossians 3:11, is probably (see Winer's 'Gram. N. T.,' § 14, 2, 'Anm.') an adverbialized form of the preposition ἐν, of the same description as the thus accented πάρα and ἔπι. The prepositional element implies a somewhat indefinite indication of a sphere in which the statement of the clause holds good. The Revised Version renders, "there can be," and Bishop Lightfoot, "there is no room for;" but Ecclus. 37:2 and 1 Corinthians 6:5 do not much favour this particular modification. In Colossians 3:11 we have a very similar passage; there, after describing Christians as "having put on (ἐνδυσάμενοι) the new man, which is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him," the apostle adds, "Where there is not Gentile [Greek, 'Greek'] and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all [literally, 'all things'] and in all." We may group with them also 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, "So also is Christ; for in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews, whether Gentiles [literally, 'Greeks'], whether bondmen, whether freemen." In all three of these passages we see the reference both to "Jew and Gentile" and to "bondman and freeman." The particular mention of these two forms of outward classification was suggested by the circumstances of the Christian Church generally at that time. Wherever the apostles went, they were sure to be confronted by questions and difficulties arising both from the one and from the other. In the kingdom of God were Jew and Gentile, were circumcised and uncircumcised, to stand on the same footing? Should believers as such be concerned to vary their treatment of one another or to modify their own condition from regard to these circumstances? Questionings of this description were being agitated everywhere, and most especially just now in the Galatian Churches. And, on the other point, the universal existence of slavery more or less throughout the civilized world would necessarily give occasion to a variety of questions relative to the position which bondmen should hold in the Christian community; how a bondman on becoming a Christian should stand, or what he should do, in respect to obedience to his owner or to seeking a change in his condition. St. Paul, in his Epistles, has briefly discussed some of these points, as in 1 Corinthians 7:20-24; Ephesians 6:5-9. So often had the apostle occasion to affirm the perfect identity of Christian privilege possessed by all believers in Christ, that the statement would naturally mould itself into a sort of formula. In Colossians he varies the form by inserting "barbarian, Scythian;" degrees of national civilization made no difference. In place of this, he here adds the particular, that diversity of sex made no difference. We cannot tell what especial reason he had for introducing these modifications in writing to the Colossians and the Galatians respectively. Possibly he had none beyond the pleasure which he felt in dilating on the large catholicity of the Divine grace. In the clause, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ, "there is here no male and female," the neuter is used (remarks Alford) as being the only gender which will express both. The change of form, "male and female," from "no Jew nor Gentile," "no bondman nor freeman," was perhaps suggested by the passage in Genesis 1:27 (ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ), "male and female created he them," which is quoted in Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6. If so, the clause may be regarded (as Bishop Lightfoot says) as forming a climax: "even the primeval distinction of male and female." But perhaps the change is simply made for the sake of variety; as in the way in which several of the classes are introduced in the Colossians. For ye are all one in Christ Jesus (pa/nte ga\r u(mei = ei = ἐστὲ ἐν Ξριστῷ Ἰησοῦ); for all ye are one and the same man in Christ Jesus. The pronoun ὑμεῖς, ye, is inserted to recite emphatically the qualification already expressed; as if it were, "ye being what ye are, believers baptized into Christ." The apostle's object here is not, as in 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 3:11-15, to exhort to the performance of certain mutual duties on the ground of the unity which in Christ is established among all believers, but to enforce the view that each individual's title to the inheritance is altogether irrespective of external distinctions, and is based entirely, in one case as well as in another, upon his being clothed with Christ. The word εῖς is "one and the same," as in τὸ ε{ν φρονοῦντες, "of one mind" (Philippians 2:2); and in εῖς Θεός, εῖς μεσίτης, "One and the same God, one and the same Mediator" (1 Timothy 2:5). So Chrysostom: "That is, we have all one form and one mould, even Christ's. What," he adds, "can be more awful than these words? He that was a Greek, or Jew, or bondman yesterday, carries about with him the form, not of an angel or archangel, but of the Lord of all, yea, displays in his own person the Christ." The distribution of the universal quality to each individual, so far as the grammar of the sentence is concerned, is imperfectly expressed. But the grammatical inadequacy of the verbal exposition is not greater than in 1 Corinthians 6:5, "Decide (ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ) between his brethren," literally, "between his brother;" and in vers. 19, 20 of the same chapter, σῶμα ὑμῶν, "your body;" not "thy body," nor "your bodies." The apostle has in view the subjective application only of the principle here stated; each was to feel that, having the qualification which he has explained, he himself is a son of God and full inheritor, without casting about for any further qualification, as, for example, from ceremonial Judaism. The principle plainly is pregnant with an objective application also; namely, as to the manner in which they were to estimate and treat each other and every baptized believer, notwithstanding any circumstances of extrinsic diversity whatever.
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Verse 29. - And if ye be Christ's (εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Ξριστοῦ); and if ye are Christ's. The δὲ simply marks a fresh stage in the argument, as e.g. Romans 8:17, εἰ δὲ τέκνα καὶ κληρονόμοι. For the preceding verse is no digression, requiring us to render this δὲ "but," but simply an amplification of the notion of putting on Christ in ver. 27; and the present clause recites that previous conclusion, to serve for a premiss to a further conclusion. "Are Christ's;" comp. 1 Corinthians 3:23, "And ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." This genitive here, as also there, denotes the closest and most intimate approximation conceivable, "Christ's own;" covering, in fact, the notion of being clothed with Christ; and expresses what that "one and the same man" is, which according to ver. 28 in Christ Jesus all had become. Comp. Titus 2:14, λαὸν περιούσιον, "a people of his very own." Then are ye Abraham's seed (ἄρα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ σπέρμα ἐστέ); then seed of Abraham are ye. "Ye,' Gentiles though ye be. In ver. 7 the apostle has affirmed that they who are of faith are sons of Abraham; in ver. 16, that the promises were made to Abraham and "his seed, which is Christ." We have seen that in that ver. 16 "Christ" appears to mean that branch of Abraham's offspring which was, so to speak, to proceed from Christ and was to be called by his name. If, however, "Christ" be there taken to mean the individual Son of Abraham, Jesus, then those who believe in him and have been baptized into him are to be understood as here affirmed to be "Abraham's seed," because, being clothed with Christ. they share his position. The same result is arrived at either way. And heirs according to the promise (καὶ [which word is rejected by recent editors] κατ ἐπαγγελίαν κληρονόμοι; heirs in pursuance of a promise. "Heirs," not of Abraham, but of God; for the notion connects itself with that of the sonship to God, which has been predicated in ver. 26 of believers in Christ; and these two united conceptions form the topic of the first seven verses of the next chapter. This is in accordance with Romans 8:16, 17, "We are children of God; and if children, also heirs; heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ." It goes upon the same lines of thought as the statement made above in ver. 16, that the promises were spoken, not to Abraham only, but also to his seed as well; the seed being conceived of by the apostle, not as inheriting from Abraham, but as holding an independent position of their own at his side. The benefits accruing to them have been styled "the inheritance" in ver. 18, which verse also serves to illustrate the spirit of the clause now before us, by affirming that the inheritance was a free gift of God conveyed by a promise, and not one to be either gained or made sure by obedience to a ceremonial law as the Galatians were in danger of supposing. The article is wanting before "promise' here, as it was also in ver. 18; because the apostle is not thinking immediately of the terms of the promise, but rather of its distinctive character as a promise, betokening a free gift of God. The inheritance is no doubt the adoption of sons, both in its firstfruits in this life and in its complete manifestation hereafter in the bliss and glory of heaven (cf. Romans 8:23, 30; 1 Peter 1:4).

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