|ROMANS COMMENTARIES - PART 1
|ROMANS COMMENTARIES - PART 2
|ROMANS ILLUSTRATIONS - PART 2
"I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."—Hosea 2:23.
"As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."—see notes Romans 9:25; 26
We accept the supreme authority of Holy Scripture: every word of it is truth to us.
Yet we attach special weight to words which are the personal utterance of the Lord God; as in this case, where God himself is the Speaker, in the first person.
Still more are we impressed when a divine message is repeated; as in this instance, where Paul writes:— "As he saith also in Osee."
God "saith" still what he said long ago.
Come then, anxious souls, and hear the story of God's grace to his chosen, in the hope that he may do the like for you.
Observe with attention, concerning the Lord's people,—
I. Their original state: "not obtained mercy,—not my people."
1. They not only were not "beloved," but they were expressly disowned. "It was said unto them, ye are not my people." Their claim, if they made any, was negatived.
This is the worst that can be: worse than to be left alone.
This, conscience, providence, and the Word of God all appear to say to men who persist in sin.
2. They had no approval of God.
They were not numbered with his people.
They were not "beloved," in the sense of the love of complacency.
3. They had not in the highest sense "obtained mercy."
For they were under providential judgment.
That judgment had not become a blessing to them.
They had not even sought for mercy.
4. They were the types of a people who as yet— Have felt no application of the blood of Jesus; Have known no renewing work of the Spirit.
Have obtained no relief by prayer; perhaps have not prayed;
Have enjoyed no comfort of the promises;
Have known no communion with God;
And possess no hope of heaven, or preparation for it.
It is a terrible description, including all the unsaved.
It is concerning certain of such that the unconditional promise is made in the text: "I will call them my people." Who these are shall be seen in due time by their repentance and faith, which shall be wrought in them by the Spirit of of God. There are such people, and this fact is our encouragement in preaching the gospel, for we perceive that our labor will not be in vain.
II. Their new condition.
"Thou art my people."
1. Mercy is promised: "I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy." This is absolutely free.
2. A divine revelation is pronounced: "I will say, Thou art my people."
This is done by the Spirit of God in the heart.
This is supported by gracious dealings in the life.
3. A hearty response shall be given: "they shall say, Thou art my God." The Holy Ghost will lead them to this free acceptance.
As a whole, they will say this with one voice.
Each individual will say it for himself in the singular, "Thou."
4. A declaration of love shall be made: "I will call her beloved, which was not beloved." (see note Romans 9:25) Love shall be enjoyed.
5. This shall be perceived by others: "There shall they be called the children of the living God."
Their likeness to God shall make them to be called the children of God, even as the peacemakers in Matthew 5:9 (note).
Thus every blessing shall be theirs, surely, personally, everlastingly.
Reflections arising from all this: —
We must give up none as hopeless; even though they be marked out by terrible evidence to be not the people of God.
None may give up themselves in despair.
Sovereign grace is the ultimate hope of the fallen.
Let them trust in a God so freely gracious, so omnipotent to save, so determined to bring in those whom it seemed that even he, himself, had disowned, whom everybody had abandoned as not the people of God.
"Have you ever heard the gospel before?" asked an Englishman, at Ningpo, of a respectable Chinaman, whom he had not seen in his mission-room before.
"No," he replied, "but I have seen it. I know a man who used to be the terror of his neighborhood. If you gave him a hard word, he would shout at you, and curse you for two days and nights without ceasing. He was as dangerous as a wild beast, and a bad opium-smoker; but when the religion of Jesus took hold of him, he became wholly changed. He is gentle, moral, not soon angry, and has left off opium. Truly, the teaching is good!"—Word and Work.
It will give a kind of exaltation to the saint's happiness to look down upon that moral depth from which he was taken. A man on the edge of a precipice, at night, cannot clearly see it; but when the morning dawns, he will be able to see the danger he has been in. So the saint cannot, while on earth, conceive the depth of sin from which he has been raised; but he will be able to measure it by the light of heaven, and he may go down ages before he comes to the place where he once was: and then to think what he is—how deep once, but how high now—it will augment the sense of happiness and glory:—and then to recollect who has been the cause—and every time he looks down at what he was, it will give greater emphasis to the ascription, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father: to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." —John Foster.
The announcement made by Brownlow North to his old friends of his sudden change, whether orally or in writing, created no small sensation among them. Some thought he had gone out of his mind, others thought it was a temporary impression or excitement, and that it would soon pass off; and this was specially the case with those of them who were acquainted with his previous convictions, and temporary reformation, while in some of the newspapers it was even said after he began his public work, that the whole thing was done for a wager, and that he had taken a bet to gather a certain number of thousands or tens of thousands of hearers in a given time. So little do carnal men understand the workings of the Spirit of God, even when they see the most striking and manifest proofs of it.—From Brownlow North's Life-story, by Rev. K. Moody-Stuart, M. A.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice. — see note Romans 12:15
It is supposed that some are rejoicing, and this is a happy supposition.
You are invited to sympathize with them, and this is a happy duty.
Sympathy is a duty of our common humanity, but far more of our regenerated manhood. Those who are one in the higher life should show their holy unity by true fellow feeling.
Joyful sympathy is doubly due when the joy is spiritual and eternal.
I invite you to this joy because of those who have lately been brought to Jesus and are now to be added to the church. The occasion is joyous. Let the joy spread all around.
I. REJOICE WITH THE CONVERTS.
1. Some delivered from lives of grievous sin. All saved from that which would have ruined them eternally, but certain of them from faults which injure men in society.
2. Some of them rescued from agonizing fear and deep despair. Could you have seen them under conviction, you would indeed rejoice to behold them free and happy.
3. Some of them have been brought into great peace and joy. The blissful experience of their first love should charm us into sympathetic delight.
4. Some of them are aged. These are called at the eleventh hour. Rejoice that they are saved from imminent peril.
5. Some of them are young with years of happy service before them.
6. Each case is special. In some we think of what they would have been and in others of what they will be.
There is great gladness in these newborn ones, and shall we be indifferent?
Let us welcome them with hearty joy.
II. REJOICE WITH THEIR FRIENDS.
1. Some have prayed long for them, and now their prayers are heard.
2. Some have been very anxious, have seen much to mourn over in the past, and feared much of evil in the future.
3. Some are relatives with a peculiar interest in these saved ones, parents, children, brothers, etc.
4. Some are expecting, and in certain cases already receiving, much comfort from these newly saved ones. They have already brightened family circles and made heavy hearts glad.
Holy parents have no greater joy than to see their children walking in the truth. Do we not share their joy?
III. REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO BROUGHT THEM TO JESUS.
The spiritual parents of these converts are glad.
The pastor, evangelist, missionary, author.
The parent, elder sister, or other loving relation.
The teacher in the Sunday school or Bible class.
The friend who wrote or spoke to them of Jesus.
What a joy belongs to those who by personal effort win souls!
Endeavor to win the same joy for yourself, and meanwhile be glad that others have it.
IV. REJOICE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
1. He sees his strivings successful.
2. He sees his instructions accepted.
3. He sees his quickening power operating in new life.
4. He sees the renewed mind yielding to his divine guidance.
5. He sees the heart comforted by his grace.
Let us rejoice in the love of the Spirit.
V. REJOICE WITH THE ANGELS.
They have noted the repentance of the returning sinner.
They will henceforth joyfully guard the footsteps of the pilgrim.
They expect his lifelong perseverance or their joy would be premature. He is and will be forever their fellow servant.
They look one day to bear him home to glory.
The evil angels make us groan. Should not the joy of good angels make us sing in harmony with their delight?
VI. REJOICE WITH THE LORD JESUS.
1. His joy is proportioned to the ruin from which he has saved his redeemed ones.
2. His joy is proportioned to the cost of their redemption.
3. His joy is proportioned to the love, which he bears to them.
4. His joy is proportioned to their future happiness and to the glory which their salvation will bring to him.
Do you find it hard to rejoice with these newly baptized believers? Let me urge you to do so, for—
You have your own sorrows, and this communion of joy will prevent brooding too much over them.
You will renew the love of your espousals by communion with these young ones.
It will comfort you for your own erring ones if you rejoice with the friends of converts.
It will forbid envy if you rejoice with workers who are successful.
It will elevate your spirit if you endeavor to rejoice with the Holy Spirit and the angels.
It will fit you to partake in a like success if you rejoice with Jesus, the sinners friend.
About three hundred years after the time of the apostles, Caius Marius Victonus, an old pagan, was converted from his impiety and brought over to the Christian faith. When the people of God heard this, there was a wonderful rejoicing and shouting and leaping for gladness, and psalms were sung in every church, while the people joyously said one to another, "Caius Marius Victorius is become a Christian! Caius Marius Victorius is become a Christian!"
Mr. Haslam, telling the story of his conversion, says: "I do not remember all I said, but I felt a wonderful light and joy coming into my soul. Whether it was something in my words, or my manner, or my look, I know not; but all of a sudden a local preacher, who happened to be in the congregation, stood up, and putting up his arms, shouted out in Cornish manner, "The parson is converted! The parson is converted! Hallelujah!" And in another, his voice was lost in the shouts and praises of three or four hundred of the congregation. Instead of rebuking this extraordinary 'brawling,' as I should have done in a former time, I joined in the outburst of praise and to make it more orderly, I gave out the Doxology, 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow,' which the people sung with heart and voice, over and over again."
An ungodly youth accompanied his parents to hear a certain minister. The subject of the discourse was the heavenly state. On returning home, the young man expressed his admiration of the preacher's talents. "But," said he turning to his mother, "I was surprised that you and my father were in tears." "Ah, my son!" replied the anxious mother, "I did weep, not because I feared my own personal interest in the subject or that of your father; but I wept for fear that you, my beloved child, would be forever banished from the blessedness of heaven." "I supposed," said the father, turning to his wife, "that those were your reflections, the same concern for our dear son made me weep also." These tender remarks found their way to the young man's heart and led him to repentance. — Arvine
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. — see note Romans 15:4
THIS is the text from which old Hugh Latimer preached continually in his latter days. Certainly, it gave him plenty of sea room. The apostle declares that the Old Testament Scriptures are meant to teach New Testament believers. Things written aforetime were written for our time.
The Old Testament is not outworn; the apostles learned from it.
Nor has its authority ceased; it still teaches with certainty.
Nor has its divine power departed, for it works the graces of the Spirit in those who receive it: patience, comfort, hope.
In this verse, the Holy Ghost sets his seal upon the Old Testament and forever enters his protest against all undervaluing of that sacred volume.
I. THE PATIENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
1. Such as they inculcate.
Patience under every appointment of the divine will.
Patience under human persecution and satanic opposition.
Patience under brotherly burdens (Gal. 6:2).
Patience in waiting for divine promises to be fulfilled.
2. Such as they exhibit in examples:
Job under many afflictions triumphantly patient.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob patiently waiting as sojourners with God, embracing the covenant promise in a strange land.
Joseph patiently forgiving the unkindness of his brethren and bearing the false accusation of his master.
David in many trials and under many reproaches, patiently waiting for the crown and refusing to injure his persecutor.
Our Savior patient under all the many forms of trial.
3. Such as they produce by their influence.
By calling us to the holiness which involves trial.
By revealing the design of God in our tribulations, and so sustaining the soul in steadfast resolve.
By declaring to us promises as to the future which make us cheerfully endure present griefs.
II. THE COMFORT Of THE SCRIPTURES.
1. Such as they inculcate:
They bid us rise above fear (Ps. 46:1-3).
They urge us to think little of all transient things.
They command us to find our joy in God.
They stimulate us to rejoice under tribulations because they make us like the prophets of old.
2. Such as they exhibit:
Enoch walking with God.
Abraham finding God his shield and exceeding great reward.
David strengthening himself in God.
Hezekiah spreading his letter before the Lord.
Many other cases are recorded, and these stimulate our courage.
3. Such as they produce:
The Holy Spirit as the Comforter uses them to that end.
Their own character adapts them to that end.
They comfort us by their gentleness, certainty, fullness, graciousness, adaptation, personality.
Our joyous experience is the best testimony to the consoling power of the Holy Scriptures.
III. THE HOPE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
Scripture is intended to work in us a good hope.
A people with a hope will purify themselves and will in many other ways rise to a high and noble character.
By the hope of the Scriptures we understand—
1. Such a hope as they hold forth:
The hope of salvation (see note 1 Thessalonians 5:8).
"The blessed hope, and the appearing of our Lord" (see note Titus 2:13).
The hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6).
The hope of glory (see note Colossians 1:27).
This is a good hope, a lively hope, the hope set before us in the gospel.
2. Such a hope as they exhibit in the lives of saints. A whole martyrology will be found in Hebrews eleven.
3. Such a hope as they produce:
We see what God has done for his people and therefore hope.
We believe the promises through the word and therefore hope.
We enjoy present blessing and therefore hope.
Let us hold constant fellowship with the God of patience and consolation, who is also the God of hope. And let us rise from stage to stage of joy as the order of the words suggests.
How much important matter do we find condensed in this single verse! What a light and glory does it throw on the Word of God! It has been well noted that we have here its authority, as it is a written word; its antiquity, as it was written aforetime; its utility, as it is written for our learning. We may also infer from what immediately follows, its Divine origin; for, if by means of the Holy Scriptures, and the accompanying lively power of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 59:21), God imparts to our soul patience, and comfort, and hope, it is because he is himself, as the apostle here expressly teaches, the God of patience and comfort, and the God of hope (verse 13). He is the fountain of these gifts and graces, which by the channel of his inspired Word, flow down into our hearts and lives, to strengthen them for his service. Nor must we fail to notice the gracious method of their communication, their regular development within us, as we find this to be the order of their course: (1) patience; (2) comfort; (3) hope. From a calm sense of inward peace and comfort, we are led by the same Spirit to feel a blessed and, it may be, a joyous hope. But, in order to this, there must always be in us the groundwork of patience in our suffering or doing the will of God. — James Ford
Oliver Cromwell once read aloud Philippians 4:11-13 (note), and then remarked, "There, in the day when my poor child died, this Scripture did go nigh to save my life;'
When George Peabody was staying at Sir Charles Reed's house, he saw the youngest child bringing to his father a large Bible for family prayers. Mr. Peabody said, "Ah! my boy, you carry the Bible now; but the time is coming when you will find that the Bible must carry you."
"Speak to me now in Scripture language alone? said a dying Christian. "I can trust the words of God; but when they are the words of man, it costs me an effort to think whether I may trust them." — G. S. Bowes
As an instance of the patience, comfort, and hope which come from the gospel, note the following from Dr. Payson: "Christians might avoid much trouble if they would believe that God is able to make them happy without anything else. God has been depriving me of one blessing after another; but as every one was removed, he has come in and filled up its place. Now when I am a cripple and not able to move, I am happier, than ever I was in my life before or ever expected to be. If I had believed this twenty years ago, I might have been spared much anxiety."