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Romans 4


 1 What (1) shall we say then, that Abraham our father hath found concerning the (a) flesh?


(1) A new argument of great weight, taken from the example of Abraham the father of all believers; And this is the proposition; if Abraham be considered in himself by his works, he hath deserved nothing wherein to rejoice with God.
(a) By works, as appeareth in the next verse.


 2  (2) For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath wherein to (*) rejoice, but not with God.


(2) A preventing of an objection; Abraham may well rejoice and extol himself amongst men, but not with God.

(*) He might pretend some merit or work worthy to be recompensed.


 3  (3) For what saith the Scripture? (*) Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.


(3) A confirmation of the proposition; Abraham was justified by imputation of faith, therefore freely without any respect of his works.

(*) Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23 .


 4  (4) Now to him that (b) worketh, the wages is not (c) counted by favor, but by debt;


(4) The first proof of the confirmation, taken of contraries; to him that deserveth anything by his labor, the wages is not counted by favor, but by debt; but to him that hath done nothing, but believeth in him which promiseth freely, faith is imputed.
(b) To him that hath deserved anything by his work.
(c) Is not reckoned nor given him.


 5 But to him that (*) worketh not, but believeth in him that (d) justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


(*) That dependeth not on his works, neither thinketh to merit by them.

(d) That maketh him which is wicked in himself, just in Christ.


 6  (5) Even as David declareth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying,


(5) Another proof of the same confirmation; David putteth blessedness in free pardon of sins, therefore justification also.


 7  (*) Blessed are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.


(*) Psalm 32:1 .


 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin.


 9  (6) Came this (e) blessedness then upon the (*) circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say, that faith was imputed unto Abraham for righteousness.


(6) A new proposition; that this manner of justification belongeth both to the uncircumcised, and also to the circumcised; as is declared in the person of Abraham.
(e) This saying of David, wherein he pronounceth them blessed.

(*) Under this excellent sacrament he comprehendeth the whole Law.


 10  (7) How was it then imputed? When he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not when he was circumcised, but when he was uncircumcised.


(7) He proveth that it belongeth to the uncircumcised (for there was no doubt of the circumcised) in this sort; Abraham was justified in uncircumcision, therefore this justification belongeth also to the uncircumcised. Nay, it doth not appertain to the circumcised in respect of the circumcision, much less are the uncircumcised shut out for their uncircumcision.


 11  (8) (*) After, he received the (f) sign of circumcision, as the (g) seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, when he was uncircumcised, (9) that he should be the father of all them that believe, not being circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,


(8) A preventing of an objection; why then was Abraham circumcised, if he were already justified? That the gift of righteousness (saith he) might be confirmed in him.

(*) Genesis 17:18 .
(f) Circumcision, which is a sign; as we say, the Sacrament of Baptism, for Baptism which is a Sacrament.
(g) Circumcision was called before a sign, in respect of the outward ceremony; now Paul sheweth the force and substance of that sign, that is, to what end it is used, to wit, not only to signify, but also to seal up the righteousness of faith, whereby we come to possess Christ himself; for the holy Ghost worketh that inwardly indeed, which the Sacraments being joined with the word, do represent.
(9) An applying of the example of Abraham to the uncircumcised believers, whose father also he maketh Abraham.


 12  (10) And the father of circumcision, not unto them only which are of the circumcision, but unto them also that walk in the (*) steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had when he was uncircumcised.


(10) And applying of the same example, to the circumcised believers, whose father Abraham is, but yet by faith.

(*) This may not be understood of the fruits of faith; (for thereof the Apostle doeth hereafter expressly entreat) but of the faith itself.


 13  (11) For the promise that he should be the (h) heir of the world, was not given to Abraham, or to his seed, through the (i) (*) Law, but through the righteousness of faith.


(11) A reason why the seed of Abraham is to be esteemed by faith, because that Abraham himself through faith was made partaker of that promise, whereby he was made the father of all nations.
(h) That all the nations of the world should be his children; or by the world may be understood the land of Canaan.
(i) For works that he had done, or upon this condition that he should fulfill the Law.

(*) In fulfilling the works thereof.


 14  (12) For if they which (*) are of the (k) Law, be (♣) heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect.


(12) A double confirmation of that reason; the one is, that the promise cannot be apprehended by the Law, and therefore it should be frustrate; the other, that the condition of faith should be joined in vain to that promise which should be apprehended by works.

(*) And think to perform the same by works.
(k) If they be heirs which have fulfilled the Law.

(♣) If it be requisite to fulfill the Law for him that shall be of Abrahamís inheritance, then it is in vain to believe the promise; for it serveth to no use.


 15  (13) For the Law causeth (*) wrath, for where no Law is, there is no (♣) transgression.


(13) A reason of the first confirmation, why the promise cannot be apprehended by the Law; because that the Law doth not reconcile God and us, but rather denounceth his anger against us, for so much as no man can observe it.

(*) Throughout default, and not of itself.

(♣) That is, no breach of commandment.


 16  (14) Therefore it is by faith, that it might come by grace, and the promise might be sure to all the (l) seed, (15) not to that only which is of the Law, but also to that which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,


(14) The conclusion of this argument. The salvation and justification of all the posterity of Abraham (that is, of the Church which is gathered together of all people) proceedeth of faith, which layeth hold on the promise made unto Abraham, and which promise Abraham himself first of all laid hold on.
(l) To all the believers.
(15) That is to say, not only of them which believe and are also circumcised according to the Law, but of them also which without circumcision, and in respect of faith only, are counted amongst the children of Abraham.


 17 (As it is written, (*) I have made thee a (16) father of many nations) even (*) before (m) God whom he believed, who (n) quickeneth the (♣) dead, and (o) calleth those things which be not, as though they were.


(*) Genesis 17:4 .

(16) This fatherhood is spiritual, depending only upon the virtue of God, who made the promise.

(*) By a spiritual kindred which God chiefly accepteth.
(m) Before God, that is, by spiritual kindred, which had place before God, and maketh us acceptable to God.
(n) Who restoreth to life.

(♣) Abraham begat the circumcised even by the virtue of faith and not by the power of nature, which was extinguished; so the Gentiles which were nothing, are called by the power of God to be of the number of the faithful.
(o) With whom these things are already, which as yet are not indeed, as he that can with a word make what he will of nothing.


 18  (17) Which Abraham above hope, believed under hope, that he should be the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken to him, (*) So shall thy seed be.


(17) A description of true faith, wholly resting in the power of God, and his good will, set forth in the example of Abraham.

(*) Genesis 15:5 .


 19 And he (p) not weak in the faith, considered not his own body, which was now (q) dead, being almost a hundred years old, neither (*) the deadness of Sarahís womb;


(p) Very strong and constant.
(q) Void of strength, and unmeet to get children.

(*) In that she was past child bearing.


 20 Neither did he doubt of the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in the faith, and gave (r) (*) glory to God,


(r) Acknowledged and praised God, as most gracious and true.

(*) For his mercy and truth.


 21 Being (s) fully assured that he which had promised, was also able to do it.


(s) A description of true faith.


 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.


 23  (18) Now it is not written for him only, that it was imputed to him for righteousness,


(18) The rule of justification is always one, both in Abraham and in all the faithful; that is to say, faith in God, who after that there was made a full satisfaction for our sins in Christ our mediator, raised him from the dead, that we also being justified, might be saved in him.


 24 But also (*) for us, to whom it shall be imputed for righteousness, which believe in him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,


(*) For our instructions; for we shall be justified by the same means.


 25 Who was delivered to death for our (t) sins, and (*) is risen again for our justification.


(t) To pay the ransom for our sins.

(*) To accomplish and make perfect our justification.




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