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Romans, may be summarily expressed in the following order,
1. That all the children of men, whether Gentiles or Jews, are guilty before God.
2. That no works of man, whether ceremonial or moral, can justify a sinner in the sight of God.
3. That Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by the unspotted holiness of the human nature which he assumed, by his perfect obedience in heart and life, and by the propitiatory sacrifice of his death, is become the Saviour of all who trust in his name.
4. That true faith in Jesus Christ is necessarily connected with the sanctification of the soul, and its reality is demonstrated by the life being consecrated to the service of God.
5. That the mission of the Son of God to our world, to be made man, that he might become the Redeemer and Saviour of sinners, and the gift of all the blessings of the gospel to believers, are the fruits of the sovereign love of God to mankind.
6. That in the last days, the Jews and all the Gentile nations, shall be effectually called to embrace the gospel of Christ, and be brought into his church.
These divine principles are stated and proved, illustrated, defended, and enforced, in a manner singularly edifying in this extended part of the epistle. The plan of the apostle, in the several steps of his developement of the gospel, is very remarkable. An outline of his method is contained in twelve sections.
Section 1. The apostle's declaration of the gospel of Christ, ch. i. 16, 17.
Sec. 2. The awful criminality of all mankind, proved from the atheistical wickedness of the Gentiles, and from the infidel wickedness of the Jews, ch. i. 18—32. ii. iii. 1-20.
Sec. 3. The gospel method of divine grace more fully stated, as necessary for the redemption and salvation of both Jews and Gentiles, ch. iii. 21-28.
Sec. 4. The universality of this salvation by grace through faith: Abraham, David, and all believers, being
saved only by grace, through faith, their minds being led to the promises of God in Christ, ch. iii. 29-31. iv.
Sec. 5. The elevated privileges and blessed experience of believers, ch. v. 1—11.
Sec. 6. As all mankind are involved in sin and death by virtue of their natural relation to Adam, so all believers are interested in the Redeemer's righteousness, and the eternal blessings of abounding grace, by virtue of their spiritual relation to Christ, the Surety of the new covenant, ch. v. 12-21.
Sec. 7. The recovery of sinners from a state of aliena tion of heart, to a state of grace, is necessarily produc tive of a life of holiness, and inseparably connected with eternal life, ch. vi.
Sec. 8. The renewal of the mind to a state of fruitfulness to God, which renders it alive to the spirituality and holiness of his law, and deeply sensible of the more secret sins of the heart; thus, while grieved with a consciousness of the radical corruption of nature, and from principles of grace delighting in the law after the inner man, the believing soul anticipates full salvation through Jesus Christ, ch. vii.
Sec. 9. The christian's triumph of faith, from the completeness of the mediatorial work of Christ,-from his possession of the Spirit of God,-from his privilege of divine adoption,-from the co-operation of all things in favour of those who love God, according to the eternal purpose of mercy in Christ Jesus, by which the calling, justification, glorification, and salvation of the people of God are effectually secured, ch. viii.
Sec. 10. The righteous sovereignty of God vindicated from Jewish cavils, which were raised against the admission of the Gentiles into the church of Christ, ch.ix.1 -24.
Sec. 11. The calling of the Gentiles a subject of ancient prophecy; as also the rejection of the Jews on account of their unbelieving self-righteousness, ch. ix. 25-33. x.
Sec. 12. Further illustration concerning the partial rejection of the infidel Israelites, and the partial incorporation of the Gentiles into the church, with a view to
engage all believers to cherish a spirit of faith, humility and gratitude, ch. xi.
Part III. Contains the application of the doctrinal part, in various exhortations to believers, ch. xii.—xv. 1-14. In this part there are four sections.
Section 1. Exhortations to devote themselves to God in all the duties of a holy life, as members of Christ, from a consideration of the sovereign mercies of God, ch. xii. Sec. 2. Exhortations to obey rulers and the magistrates, as the appointed ordinances of God, ch. xiii.
Sec. 3. Exhortations to cultivate a tender spirit towards those brethren who are weaker in the faith, ch. xiv. xv. 7. Sec. 4. Exhortations and prayers that even as Gentile believers they may cherish and express habitual joyfulness in God their Saviour, ch. xv. 8-14.
Part IV. Contains the conclusion of the epistle, in which the apostle notices various particulars relating to his labours and his delay in visiting Rome, and sends salutations to many persons, ch. xv. 15. xvi.
Corinth was the capital of Achaia, a province of ancient Greece, and the most celebrated of all its cities; exceeding every other in the magnificence of its public
buildings, the extent of its commerce, and the opulence of its inhabitants. Their learning and ingenuity were equally celebrated, and the city was called, "The Light of all Greece," and "The Ornament of Greece." The Corinthians were no less distinguished for the corruption of their morals, and their licentious profligacy was proverbial; yet a gospel church was collected among them by the ministry of Paul, who laboured among them with considerable success for nearly two years, Acts xviii. This church appears to have been numerous, and remarkably distinguished for spiritual endowments: yet, through the shocking impurity of manners in their city, and the ambition of some erroneous teacher, the Corinthian professors were led into many disorders. This epistle was written A. D. 57, about two years after the apostle left them; the design of it was twofold. First, to correct their improprieties, by healing their divisions, by engaging them to gospel holiness, and by establishing the doctrine of the resurrection. Second, to satisfy their inquiries on several points concerning which they had written to the apostle; especially respecting marriage, meats offered to idols, and spiritual gifts.
The epistle is divided into sixteen chapters, and contains six principal sections.
Section I. Contains an introduction to the epistle, with a general review of the doctrines and privileges of the gospel, as it had been embraced by the Corinthians, stated with a view to their edification, ch. i.-iv. In this section we should remark,
1. The estimation in which the apostle declares the gospel of salvation by the sacrifice of Christ, was held by different characters-by unbelievers it was regarded as foolishness, by believers it was esteemed as the wis dom and the power of God, ch. i.
2. The declared necessity of the Holy Spirit's illuminating and sanctifying influences, to prepare the heart of man to receive with enlightened affection the things of God, ch. ii.
Sec. II. Contains reproofs and instructions for the removal of the various scandals and corruptions, with
which some of the members of this church were disgra cing it, ch. iii.-vi. The more remarkable points in this section are, the admonitions relating to incest, fornication, and litigiousness, ch. v. vi.
Sec. III. Embraces the consideration of the questions proposed by the Corinthians to the apostle, ch. vii.-x. The things more particularly remarkable
1. The instructions concerning marriage, and the influence of christianity on the civil condition of believers, ch. vii.
2. Concerning the flesh of animals which had been offered to idols, ch. viii.
3. The right of ministers of the gospel to a liberal maintenance for their labours, ch. ix.
4. The review which the apostle takes of the rebellions of Israel, with their punishment as a warning to christians generally, ch. x.
Sec. IV. Contains instructions concerning the manner of women worshipping in public, the decent and profitable reception of the Lord's supper, and the design and exercise of spiritual gifts, ch. xi.-xiv. In this section the most remarkable things are,
1. The directions for the proper and intelligent commemoration of our blessed Redeemer's sacrifice, in the ordinance of the Lord's supper, ch. xi.
2. Instructions concerning the desiring and using the extraordinary spiritual gifts, for the establishment of the first christian churches, ch. xii. xiv.
3. The surpassing excellence of the christian graces, faith, hope, and especially charity, above all miraculous gifts, ch. xii.
Sec. V. Treats at large on the doctrine of the resurrection of believers in Christ, ch. xv. In this section the things most remarkable are,
1. The various and abundant proofs of the resurrection of Christ, as the first fruits and security of the resurrection of believers, ver. 1-34.
2. The manner of the resurrection of believers, ver. 35-49.