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Commentary On Romans by Jean Calvin

Romans 15:7-12

7. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

7. Itaque suscipite vos mutuo, quemadmodum Christus vos suscepit, in gloriam Dei.

8. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

8. Dico autem Iesum Christum ministerium fuisse circumcisionis super veritate Dei ad promissiones Patrum confirmandas:

9. And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

9. Gentes autem pro misericordia glorificare debent Deum; quemadmodum scriptum est, Propter hoc confitebor tibi inter Gentes et nomini tuo psallam:

10. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

10. Et rursum dicit, Exultate Gentes cum populo ejus;

11. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

11. Et rursum, Laudate Dominum omnes Gentes, et collaudate eum omnes populi.

12. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

12. Et rursum Iesaias dicit, Erit radix Jesse, et qui exurget ad imperandum Gentibus; in ipso Gentes sperabunt.

7. Receive ye then, etc. He returns to exhortation; and to strengthen this he still retains the example of Christ. For he, having received, not one or two of us, but all together, has thus connected us, so that we ought to cherish one another, if we would indeed continue in his bosom. Only thus then shall we confirm our calling, that is, if we separate not ourselves from those whom the Lord has bound together.

The words, to the glory of God, may be applied to us only, or to Christ, or to him and us together: of the last I mostly approve, and according to this import, -- |As Christ has made known the glory of the Father in receiving us into favor, when we stood in need of mercy; so it behooves us, in order to make known also the glory of the same God, to establish and confirm this union which we have in Christ.|

8. Now I say, that Jesus Christ, etc. He now shows that Christ has embraced us all, so that he leaves no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, except that in the first place he was promised to the Jewish nation, and was in a manner peculiarly destined for them, before he was revealed to the Gentiles. But he shows, that with respect to that which was the seed of all contentions, there was no difference between them; for he had gathered them both from a miserable dispersion, and brought them, when gathered, into the Father's kingdom, that they might be one flock, in one sheepfold, under one shepherd. It is hence right, he declares, that they should continue united together, and not despise one another; for Christ despised neither of them.

He then speaks first of the Jews, and says, that Christ was sent to them, in order to accomplish the truth of God by performing the promises given to the Fathers: and it was no common honor, that Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, put on flesh, that he might procure salvation for them; for the more he humbled himself for their sake, the greater was the honor he conferred on them. But this point he evidently assumes as a thing indubitable. The more strange it is, that there is such effrontery in some fanatical heads, that they hesitate not to regard the promises of the Old Testament as temporal, and to confine them to the present world. And lest the Gentiles should claim any excellency above the Jews, Paul expressly declares, that the salvation which Christ has brought belonged by covenant to the Jews; for by his coming he fulfilled what the Father had formerly promised to Abraham, and thus he became the minister of that people. It hence follows that the old covenant was in reality spiritual, though it was annexed to earthly types; for the fulfillment, of which Paul now speaks, must necessarily relate to eternal salvation. And further, lest any one should cavil, and say, that so great a salvation was promised to posterity, when the covenant was deposited in the hand of Abraham, he expressly declares that the promises were made to the Fathers. Either then the benefits of Christ must be confined to temporal things, or the covenant made with Abraham must be extended beyond the things of this world.

9. The Gentiles also, etc. This is the second point, on proving which he dwells longer, because it was not so evident. The first testimony he quotes is taken from Psalm 18; which psalm is recorded also in 2 Samuel 22, where no doubt a prophecy is mentioned concerning the kingdom of Christ; and from it Paul proves the calling of the Gentiles, because it is there promised, that a confession to the glory of God should be made among the Gentiles; for we cannot really make God known, except among those who hear his praises while they are sung by us. Hence that God's name may be known among the Gentiles, they must be favored with the knowledge of him, and come into communion with his people: for you may observe this everywhere in Scripture, that God's praises cannot be declared, except in the assembly of the faithful, who have ears capable of hearing his praise.

10 Exult, ye Gentiles, with his people This verse is commonly considered as if it was taken from the song of Moses; but with this I cannot agree; for Moses' design there was to terrify the adversaries of Israel by setting forth his greatness, rather than to invite them to a common joy. I hence think that this is quoted from Psalm 47:5, where it is written, |Exult and rejoice let the Gentiles, because thou judgest the nations in equity, and the Gentiles on the earth thou guidest.| And Paul adds, with his people, and he did this by way of explanation; for the Prophet in that psalm no doubt connects the Gentiles with Israel, and invites both alike to rejoice; and there is no joy without the knowledge of God.

11. Praise God, all ye Gentiles, etc. This passage is not inaptly applied; for how can they, who know not God's greatness, praise him? They could no more do this than to call on his name, when unknown. It is then a prophecy most suitable to prove the calling of the Gentiles; and this appears still more evident from the reason which is there added; for he bids them to give thanks for God's truth and mercy. (Psalm 117:1.)

12. And again, Isaiah, etc., This prophecy is the most illustrious of them all: for in that passage, the Prophet, when things were almost past hope, comforted the small remnant of the faithful, even by this, -- that there would arise a shoot from the dry and the dying trunk of David's family, and that a branch would flourish from his despised root, which would restore to God's people their pristine glory. It is clear from the account there given, that this shoot was Christ, the Redeemer of the world. And then, he added, that he would be raised for a sign to the Gentiles, that might be to them for salvation. The words do indeed differ a little from the Hebrew text; for we read here, arise, while in Hebrew it is stand for a sign, which is the same; for he was to appear conspicuous like a sign. What is here hope, is in Hebrew seek; but according to the most common usage of Scripture, to seek God is nothing else but to hope in him.

But twice in this prophecy is the calling of the Gentiles confirmed, -- by the expression, that Christ was to be raised up as a sign, and he reigns among the faithful alone, -- and by the declaration, that they shall hope in Christ, which cannot take place without the preaching of the word and illumination of the Spirit. With these things corresponds the song of Simeon. It may be further added, that hope in Christ is an evidence of his divinity.

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