he apostle recommends Phebe to the church at Rome, and greets
several friends there. (1-16) Cautions the church against such
as made divisions. (17-20) Christian salutations. (21-24) The
epistle concludes with ascribing glory to God. (25-27)
Verses 1-16: Paul recommends Phebe to the Christians at Rome. It
becomes Christians to help one another in their affairs,
especially strangers; we know not what help we may need
ourselves. Paul asks help for one that had been helpful to many;
he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Though the care
of all the churches came upon him daily, yet he could remember
many persons, and send salutations to each, with particular
characters of them, and express concern for them. Lest any
should feel themselves hurt, as if Paul had forgotten them, he
sends his remembrances to the rest, as brethren and saints,
though not named. He adds, in the close, a general salutation to
them all, in the name of the churches of Christ.
Verses 17-20: How earnest, how endearing are these exhortations!
Whatever differs from the sound doctrine of the Scriptures,
opens a door to divisions and offences. If truth be forsaken,
unity and peace will not last long. Many call Christ, Master and
Lord, who are far from serving him. But they serve their carnal,
sensual, worldly interests. They corrupt the head by deceiving
the heart; perverting the judgments by winding themselves into
the affections. We have great need to keep our hearts with all
diligence. It has been the common policy of seducers to set upon
those who are softened by convictions. A pliable temper is good
when under good guidance, otherwise it may be easily led astray.
Be so wise as not to be deceived, yet so simple as not to be
deceivers. The blessing the apostle expects from God, is victory
over Satan. This includes all designs and devices of Satan
against souls, to defile, disturb, and destroy them; all his
attempts to keep us from the peace of heaven here, and the
possession of heaven hereafter. When Satan seems to prevail, and
we are ready to give up all as lost, then will the God of peace
interpose in our behalf. Hold out therefore, faith and patience,
yet a little while. If the grace of Christ be with us, who can
prevail against us?
Verses 21-24: The apostle adds affectionate remembrances from persons
with him, known to the Roman Christians. It is a great comfort
to see the holiness and usefulness of our kindred. Not many
mighty, not many noble are called, but some are. It is lawful
for believers to bear civil offices; and it were to be wished
that all offices in Christian states, and in the church, were
bestowed upon prudent and steady Christians.
Verses 25-27: That which establishes souls, is, the plain preaching of
Jesus Christ. Our redemption and salvation by our Lord Jesus
Christ, are, without controversy, a great mystery of godliness.
And yet, blessed be God, there is as much of this mystery made
plain as will bring us to heaven, if we do not wilfully neglect
so great salvation. Life and immortality are brought to light by
the gospel, and the Sun of Righteousness is risen on the world.
The Scriptures of the prophets, what they left in writing, is
not only made plain in itself, but by it this mystery is made
known to all nations. Christ is salvation to all nations. And
the gospel is revealed, not to be talked of and disputed about,
but to be submitted to. The obedience of faith is that obedience
which is paid to the word of faith, and which comes by the grace
of faith. All the glory that passes from fallen man to God, so
as to be accepted of him, must go through the Lord Jesus, in
whom alone our persons and doings are, or can be, pleasing to
God. Of his righteousness we must make mention, even of his
only; who, as he is the Mediator of all our prayers, so he is,
and will be, to eternity, the Mediator of all our praises.
Remembering that we are called to the obedience of faith, and
that every degree of wisdom is from the only wise God, we
should, by word and deed, render glory to him through Jesus
Christ; that so the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with
us for ever.