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Commentary On Romans by Jean Calvin

Romans 16:21-27

21. Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.

21. Salutant vos Timotheus, cooperarins meus, et Lucius et lason et Sosipater, cognati mei.

22. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

22. Saluto ego vos Tertius, qui scripsi epistolam, in Domino.

23. Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

23. Salutat vos Gaius, hospes meus et Ecclesiae totius. Salutat vos Erastus, quaestor aerarius urbis, et Quartus frater.

24. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

24. Gratia Domini nostri Iesu Christi sit cure omnibus vobis. Amen.

25. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

25. Ei vero qui potens est vos confirmare secundum evangelium meum, et praeconium scilicet Iesu Christi, secundum revelationem mysterii, quod temporibus secularibus taciturn,

26. But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

26. Manifestatum nunc fuit, et per scripturas propheticas, secundum aeterni Dei ordinationem, in obedientiam fidel ad omnes gentes promulgatum, --

27. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.

27. Soli sapienti Deo per Iesum Christum gloria in secula. Amen.

Ad Romanos missa fuit a Corinthe per Phoeben, ministram Cenchreensis ecclesiae.

21. Timothy, etc. The salutations which he records, served in part to foster union between those who were far asunder, and in part to make the Romans know that their brethren subscribed to the Epistle; not that Paul had need of the testimony of others, but because the consent of the godly is not of small importance.

The Epistle closes, as we see, with praise and thanksgiving to God. It indeed records the remarkable kindness of God in favoring the Gentiles with the light of the gospel, by which his infinite and unspeakable goodness has been made evident. The conclusion has, at the same time, this to recommend it, -- that it serves to raise up and strengthen the confidence of the godly, so that with hearts lifted up to God they may fully expect all those things which are here ascribed to him, and may also confirm their hope as to what is to come by considering his former benefits. But as he has made a long period, by collecting many things into one passage, the different clauses, implicated by being transposed, must be considered apart.

He ascribes first all the glory to God alone; and then, in order to show that it is rightly due to him, he by the way mentions some of his attributes; whence it appears that he alone is worthy of all praise. He says that he only is wise; which praise, being claimed for him alone, is taken away from all creatures. Paul, at the same time, after having spoken of the secret counsel of God, seems to have designedly annexed this eulogy, in order that he might draw all men to reverence and adore the wisdom of God: for we know how inclined men are to raise a clamor, when they can find out no reason for the works of God.

By adding, that God was able to confirm the Romans, he made them more certain of their final perseverance. And that they might acquiesce more fully in his power, he adds, that a testimony is borne to it in the gospel. Here you see, that the gospel not only promises to us present grace, but also brings to us an assurance of that grace which is to endure for ever; for God declares in it that he is our Father, not only at present, but that he will be so to the end: nay, his adoption extends beyond death, for it will conduct us to an eternal inheritance.

The other things are mentioned to commend the power and dignity of the gospel. He calls the gospel the preaching of Jesus Christ; inasmuch as the whole sum and substance of it is no doubt included in the knowledge of Christ. Its doctrine is the revelation of the mystery; and this its character ought not only to make us more attentive to hear it, but also to impress on our minds the highest veneration for it: and he intimates how sublime a secret it is, by adding that it was hid for many ages, from the beginning of the world.

It does not indeed contain a turgid and proud wisdom, such as the children of this world seek; and by whom it is held on this account in contempt: but it unfolds the ineffable treasures of celestial wisdom, much higher than all human learning; and since the very angels regard them with wonder, surely none of us can sufficiently admire them. But this wisdom ought not to be less esteemed, because it is conveyed in an humble, plain, and simple style; for thus it has pleased the Lord to bring down the arrogance of the flesh.

And as it might have created some doubt how this mystery, concealed for so many ages, could have so suddenly emerged, he teaches us, that this has not happened through the hasty doings of men, or through chance, but through the eternal ordination of God. Here, also, he closes up the door against all those curious questions which the waywardness of the human mind is wont to raise; for whatever happens suddenly and unexpectedly, they think, happens at random; and hence they absurdly conclude, that the works of God are unreasonable; or at least they entangle themselves in many perplexing doubts. Paul therefore reminds us, that what appeared then suddenly had been decreed by God before the foundation of the world.

But that no one might raise a dispute on the subject, and charge the gospel with being a new thing, and thus defame it, he refers to the prophetic Scriptures, in which we now see, that what is fulfilled had been foretold; for all the Prophets have rendered to the gospel so clear a testimony, that it can in no other way be so fully confirmed. And God thus duly prepared the minds of his people, lest the novelty of what they were not accustomed to should too much astonish them.

If any one objects and says, that there is an inconsistency in the words of Paul, because he says that the mystery, of which God had testified by his Prophets, was hid throughout all the ages; -- the solution of this knot is plainly given by Peter, -- that the Prophets, when they sedulously inquired of the salvation made known to us, ministered, not to themselves, but to us. (1 Peter 1:12.) God then was at that time silent, though he spoke; for he held in suspense the revelation of those things concerning which he designed that his servants should prophesy.

Though it is not agreed among the learned in what sense he calls the gospel a hidden mystery in this place, and in Ephesians 3:9, and in Colossians 1:26; yet their opinion has most in its favor, who apply it to the calling of the Gentiles, to which Paul himself expressly refers in his Epistle to the Colossians. Now, though I allow this to be one reason, I yet cannot be brought to believe that it is the only reason. It seems to me more probable that Paul had also a regard to some other differences between the Old and the New Testament. For though the Prophets formerly taught all those things which have been explained by Christ and his Apostles, yet they taught them with so much obscurity, that in comparison with the clear brightness of gospel light, it is no wonder that those things are said to have been hidden which are now made manifest. Nor was it indeed to no purpose that Malachi declared that the Sun of righteousness would arise, (Malachi 4:2;) or that Isaiah had beforehand so highly eulogized the embassy of the Messiah. And lastly, it is not without reason that the gospel is called the kingdom of God: but we may conclude from the event itself, that then only were opened the treasures of celestial wisdom, when God appeared to his ancient people through his only-begotten Son, as it were face to face, all shadows having been done away. He again refers to the end, mentioned at the beginning of the first chapter, for which the gospel is to be preached, -- that God may lead all nations to the obedience of faith

PRAISE FOR EVER TO

THE ONLY WISE GOD:

AMEN.

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