14. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
14. Mihi antem absit gloriari, nisi in truce Domini nostri Iesu Christi, per quam mundus mihi crucifixus est, et ego mundo.
15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
15. Nam in Christo neque circumcisio quicquam valet, neque praeputium; sed nova creatura.
16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
16. Et quicunque hac regula ambulabunt, pax super eos et misericordia, et super Israelem Dei.
17. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
17. In reliquis nemo facessat mihi molestiam; ego enim stigmata Domini Iesu in corpore meo porto.
18. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
18. Gratia Domini nostri Iesu Christi cum spiritu vestro, fratres. Amen.
To the Galatians written from Rome.
Ad Galatas missa fuit e Roma.
14. But God forbid that I should glory. The designs of the false apostles are here contrasted with his own sincerity. As if he had said, |To avoid being compelled to bear a cross, they deny the cross of Christ, purchase with your flesh the applause of men, and end by triumphing over you. But my triumph and my glory are in the cross of the Son of God.| If the Galatians had not been utterly destitute of common sense, ought they not to have held in abhorrence the men whom they beheld making sport of their dangerous condition.
To glory in the cross of Christ, is to glory in Christ crucified. But something more is implied. In that death, -- so full of disgrace and ignominy, which God himself has pronounced to be accursed, and which men are wont to view with abhorrence and shame, -- in that death he will glory, because he obtains in it perfect happiness. Where man's highest good exists, there is his glory. But why does not Paul seek it elsewhere? Though salvation is held out to us in the cross of Christ, what does he think of his resurrection? I answer, in the cross redemption in all its parts is found, but the resurrection of Christ does not lead us away from the cross. And let it be carefully observed, that every other kind of glorying is rejected by him as nothing short of a capital offense. |May God protect us from such a fearful calamity!| Such is the import of the phrase which Paul constantly employs, God forbid
BY WHICH the world is crucified. As the Greek word for cross, stauros, is masculine, the relative pronoun may be either rendered by whom, or by which, according as we refer it to Christ or to the cross. In my opinion, however, it is more proper to apply it to the cross; for by it strictly we die to the world. But what is the meaning of the world? It is unquestionably contrasted with the new creature. Whatever is opposed to the spiritual kingdom of Christ is the world, because it belongs to the old man; or, in a word, the world is the object and aim of the old man.
The world is crucified to me. This exactly agrees with the language which he employs on another occasion.
|But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ| (Philippians 3:7, 8.)
To crucify the world is to treat it with contempt and disdain.
He adds, and I unto the world. By this he means that he regarded himself as unworthy to be taken into the account, and indeed as utterly annihilated; because this was a matter with which a dead man had nothing to do. At all events, he means, that by the mortification of the old man he had renounced the world. Some take his meaning to be, |If the world looks upon me as abhorred and excommunicated, I consider the world to be condemned and accursed.| This appears to me to be overstrained, but I leave my readers to judge.
15. For in Christ Jesus. The reason why he is crucified to the world, and the world to him, is, that in Christ, to whom he is spiritually united, nothing but a new creature is of any avail. Everything else must be dismissed, must perish. I refer to those things which hinder the renewing of the Spirit. |If any man be in Christ| says he, |let him be a new creature.| (2 Corinthians 5:17.) That is, if any man wishes to be considered as belonging to the kingdom of Christ, let him be created anew by the Spirit of God; let him not live any longer to himself or to the world, but let him be raised up to |newness of life.| (Romans 6:4.) His reasons for concluding that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any importance, have been already considered. The truth of the gospel swallows up, and brings to nought, all the shadows of the law.
16. And as many as walk according to this rule. |May they enjoy all prosperity and happiness!| This is not merely a prayer in their behalf, but a token of approbation. His meaning therefore is, that those who teach this doctrine are worthy of all esteem and regard, and those who reject it do not deserve to be heard. The word rule denotes the regular and habitual course which all godly ministers of the gospel ought to pursue. Architects employ a model in the erection of buildings, to assist them in preserving the proper form and just proportions. Such a model (kanona) does the apostle prescribe to the ministers of the word, who are to build the church |according to the pattern shewn to them.| (Hebrews 8:5.)
Faithful and upright teachers, and all who allow themselves to conform to this rule, must derive singular encouragement from this passage, in which God, by the mouth of Paul, pronounces on them a blessing. We have no cause to dread the thunders of the Pope, if God promises to us from heaven peace and mercy. The word walk may apply both to a minister and to his people, though it refers chiefly to ministers. The future tense of the verb, (hosoi stoichesousin,) as many as shall walk, is intended to express perseverance.
And upon the Israel of God This is an indirect ridicule of the vain boasting of the false apostles, who vaunted of being the descendants of Abraham according to the flesh. There are two classes who bear this name, a pretended Israel, which appears to be so in the sight of men, -- and the Israel of God. Circumcision was a disguise before men, but regeneration is a truth before God. In a word, he gives the appellation of the Israel of God to those whom he formerly denominated the children of Abraham by faith, (Galatians 3:29,) and thus includes all believers, whether Jews or Gentiles, who were united into one church. On the contrary, the name and lineage are the sole boast of Israel according to the flesh; and this led the apostle to argue in the Epistle to the Romans, that |they are not all Israel which are of Israel, neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.| (Romans 9:6, 7.)
17. Let no man trouble me. He now speaks with the voice of authority for restraining his adversaries, and employs language which his high rank fully authorized. |Let them cease to throw hinderances in the course of my preaching.| He was prepared, for the sake of the church, to encounter difficulties, but does not choose to be interrupted by contradiction. Let no man trouble me. Let no man make opposition to obstruct the progress of my work.
As to everything else, (tou loipou,) that is, as to everything besides the new creature. |This one thing is enough for me. Other matters are of no importance, and give me no concern. Let no man question me about them.| He thus places himself above all men, and allows to none the power of attacking his ministry. Literally, the phrase signifies, as to the rest or the remainder, which Erasmus, in my opinion, has improperly applied to time.
For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. This accounts for his bold, authoritative language. And what were those marks? Imprisonment, chains, scourging, blows, stoning, and every kind of injurious treatment which he had incurred in bearing testimony to the gospel. Earthly warfare has its honors, in conferring which a general holds out to public view the bravery of a soldier. So Christ our leader has his own marks, of which he makes abundant use, for conferring on some of his followers a high distinction. These marks, however, differ from the other in one important respect, that they partake of the nature of the cross, and in the sight of the world are disgraceful. This is suggested by the word translated marks, (stigmata,) for it literally denotes the marks with which barbarian slaves, or fugitives, or malefactors, were usually branded. Paul, therefore, can hardly be said to use a figure, when he boasts of shining in those marks with which Christ is accustomed to honor his most distinguished soldiers, which in the eye of the world were attended by shame and disgrace, but which before God and the angels surpass all the honors of the world.
18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. His prayer is not only that God may bestow upon them his grace in large measure, but that they may have a proper feeling of it in their hearts. Then only is it truly enjoyed by us, when it comes to our spirit. We ought therefore to entreat that God would prepare in our souls a habitation for his grace. Amen.
END OF THE COMMENTARIES ON THE
EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS.