9:1 I say 1 the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
(1) The third part of this epistle, which goes to
the twelfth chapter, in which Paul ascends to the higher causes of faith: and
first of all, because he purposed to speak much of the casting off of the
Jews, he uses a declaration, saying by a double or triple oath, and by
witnessing of his great desire towards their salvation, his singular love
towards them, and in addition granting to them all their privileges.
9:3 For I could wish that myself
were a accursed from Christ for my
brethren, my kinsmen according to the b
(a) The apostle loved his brethren so completely
that if it had been possible he would have been ready to have redeemed the
castaways of the Israelites with the loss of his own soul forever: for this
word "accursed" signifies as much in this place.
(b) Being brethren by flesh, as from one nation
9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the
adoption, and the c glory, and the d
covenants, and the giving of the e law,
and the f service [of God], and the g
(c) The ark of the covenant, which was a token of
(d) The tables of the covenant, and this is
spoken by the figure of speech metonymy.
(e) Of the judicial law.
(f) The ceremonial law.
(g) Which were made to Abraham and to his
9:5 Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as
concerning the flesh Christ [came], 2
who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
(2) Or, "who is God over all, blessed for
ever." A most manifest testimony of the Godhead and divinity of Christ.
9:6 3 Not as
though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all h
Israel, which are of Israel:
(3) He enters into the handling of
predestination, by means of presenting an objection: How may it be that Israel
is cast off, and that in addition we must also make the covenant which God
made with Abraham and his seed, frustrated and void? He answers therefore that
God's word is true, although Israel is cast off: for the election of the
people of Israel is so general and common, that nonetheless the same God
chooses by his secret council those as it pleases him. So then this is the
proposition and state of this treatise: the grace of salvation is offered
generally in such a way, that in spite of how it is offered, the efficacy of
it pertains only to the elect.
(h) Israel in the first place, is taken for
Jacob: and in the second, for the Israelites.
9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham,
[are they] all children: 4 but, In i
Isaac shall thy seed be called.
(4) The first proof is taken from the example of
Abraham's own house, in which Isaac only was considered the son, and that by
God's ordinance: although Ishmael also was born of Abraham, and circumcised
(i) Isaac will be your true and natural son, and
therefore heir of the blessing.
9:8 5 That
is, They which are the children of the k
flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the l
promise are counted for the seed.
(5) A general application of the former proof or
(k) Who are born of Abraham by the course of
(l) Who are born by virtue of the promise.
9:9 6 For
this [is] the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a
(6) A reason of that application: because Isaac
was born by the power of the promise, and therefore he was not chosen, no, he
was not at all, except by the free will of God: by which it follows that the
promise is the fountain of predestination, and not the flesh, from which
promise the particular election proceeds, that is, that the elect are born
elect, and not that they are first born, and then after elected, by God who
9:10 7 And
not only [this]; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, [even] by our
(7) Another strong and persuasive proof taken
from the example of Esau and Jacob, who were both born of the same Isaac, who
was the son of promise of one mother, and were born at the same time, and not
at different times as Ishmael and Isaac were: and yet nonetheless, as Esau was
cast off, only Jacob was chosen: and that before their birth, that neither any
goodness of Jacob's might be thought to be the cause of his election,
neither any wickedness of Esau to be the cause of his casting away.
9:11 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither
having done any good or evil, that the m
purpose of God according to election might 8
stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
(m) God's decree which proceeds from only his
good will, by which it pleases him to choose one, and refuse the other. (8)
Paul does not say, "might be made", but "being made might
remain". Therefore they are deceived who make foreseen faith the cause of
election, and foreknown infidelity the cause of reprobation.
9:12 9 It
was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
(9) He proves the casting away of Esau in that he
was made servant to his brother: and proves the choosing of Jacob in that he
was made lord of his brother, although his brother was the first begotten. And
in order that no man might take what God had said, and refer it to external
things, the apostle shows out of Malachi, who is a good interpreter of Moses,
that the servitude of Esau was joined with the hatred of God, and the lordship
of Jacob with the love of God.
What shall we say then? [Is there] n
unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
(10) The first objection: if God loves or hates
without any consideration of worthiness or unworthiness, then is he unjust,
because he may love those who are unworthy, and hate those who are worthy? The
apostle detests this blasphemy, and afterward responds to it in depth, point
(n) Man knows no other causes of love or hatred,
but those that are in the persons, and thereupon this objection arises.
9:15 11 For
he saith to Moses, I will o have mercy
on whom I will have mercy, and I will have p
compassion on whom I will have compassion.
(11) He answers first with regard to those who
are chosen to salvation, in the choosing of whom he denies that God may seem
unjust, although he chooses and predestinates to salvation those that are not
yet born, without any respect of worthiness: because he does not bring the
chosen to the appointed end except by the means of his mercy, which is a cause
discussed under predestination. Now mercy presupposes misery, and again,
misery presupposes sin or voluntary corruption of mankind, and corruption
presupposes a pure and perfect creation. Moreover, mercy is shown by her
degrees: that is, by calling, by faith, by justification and sanctification,
so that at length we come to glorification, as the apostle will show
afterwards. Now all these things orderly following the purpose of God, do
clearly prove that he can by no means seem unjust in loving and saving his.
(o) I will be merciful and favourable to whom I
wish to be favourable.
(p) I will have compassion on whoever I wish to
9:16 12 So
then [it is] not of him that q willeth,
nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
(12) The conclusion of the answer: therefore God
is not unjust in choosing and saving from his free goodness, such as it
pleases him: as he also answered Moses when he prayed for all of the people.
(q) By "will" he means the thought and
endeavour of heart, and by "running", good works, to neither of
which he gives the praise, but only to the mercy of God.
9:17 13 For
the r scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even
for this same purpose have I s raised
thee up, that I might 14 shew my power
in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
(13) Now he answers concerning the reprobate, or
those whom God hates who are not yet born, and has appointed to destruction,
without any respect of unworthiness. And first of all he proves this to be
true, by alleging the testimony of God himself concerning Pharaoh, whom he
stirred up to this purpose, that he might be glorified in Pharaoh's
hardening and just punishing.
(r) God speaks unto Pharaoh in the scripture, or,
the scripture in talking about God, in this way talks to Pharaoh.
(s) Brought you into this world.
(14) Secondly, he brings the goal of God's
counsel, to show that there is no unrighteousness in him. Now the main goal is
not properly and simply the destruction of the wicked, but God's glory which
appears in their rightful punishment.
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he t
will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.
(15) A conclusion of the full answer to the first
objection: therefore seeing that God does not save those whom he freely chose
according to his good will and pleasure, but by justifying and sanctifying
them by his grace, his counsels in saving them cannot seem unjust. And again,
there is not injustice in the everlasting counsel of God, with regard to the
destruction of those whom he lifts to destroy, because he hardens before he
destroys: therefore the third answer for the maintenance of God's justice in
the everlasting counsel of reprobation, consists in this word
"hardening": which nonetheless he concealed in the former verse,
because the history of Pharaoh was well known. But the force of the word is
great, for hardening, which is set against "mercy", presupposes the
same things that mercy did, that is, a voluntary corruption, in which the
reprobate are hardened: and again, corruption presupposes a perfect state of
creation. Moreover, this hardening also is voluntary, for God hardens in such
a way, being offended with corruption, that he uses their own will whom he
hardens, for the executing of that judgment. Then follow the fruits of
hardening, that is, unbelief and sin, which are the true and proper causes of
the condemnation of the reprobate. Why does he then appoint to destruction?
Because he wishes: why does he harden? Because they are corrupt: why does he
condemn? Because they are sinners. Where then is unrighteousness? Nay, if he
would destroy all after this manner, to whom would he do injury?
(t) Whom it pleased him to appoint, to show his
9:19 16 Thou
wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his
(16) Another objection, but only for the
reprobate, rising upon the former answer. If God appoints to everlasting
destruction, such as he wishes, and if that which he has decreed cannot be
hindered nor withstood, how does he justly condemn those who perish by his
9:20 17 Nay
but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? 18
Shall the thing u formed say to him that
formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
(17) The apostle does not answer that it is not
God's will, or that God does not either reject or elect according to his
pleasure, which thing the wicked call blasphemy, but he rather grants his
adversary both the antecedents, that is, that it is God's will, and that is
must of necessity so happen, yet he denies that God is therefore to be thought
an unjust avenger of the wicked: for seeing that it appears by manifest proof
that this is the will of God, and his doing, what impudency is it for man, who
is but dust and ashes, to dispute with God, and as it were to call him into
judgment? Now if any man say that the doubt is not so dissolved and answered,
I answer, that there is no surer demonstration in any matter, because it is
grounded upon this principle, that the will of God is the rule of
(18) An amplification of the former answer, taken
from a comparison, by which it also appears that God's determinate counsel
is set by Paul as the highest of all causes: so that it depends not in any way
on the second causes, but rather shapes and directs them.
(u) This similitude agrees very properly to the
first creation of mankind.
9:21 19 Hath
not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one 20
vessel unto x honour, and another unto 21
(19) Alluding to the creation of Adam, he
compares mankind not yet made (but who are in the creators mind) to a lump of
clay: who afterwards God made, and daily makes, according as he purposed from
everlasting, both such as should be elect, and such as should be reprobate, as
also this word "make" declares.
(20) Whereas in the objection propounded, mention
was only made of vessels to dishonour, yet he speaks of the others also in
this answer, because he proves the Creator to be just in either of them.
(x) To honest uses.
(21) Seeing then, that in the name of dishonour
the shame of everlasting death is signified, those agree with Paul, who say
that some are made by God for most just destruction: and they that are
offended with this kind of speech betray their own folly.
[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured
with much longsuffering the y vessels of
wrath fitted to 23 destruction:
(22) The second answer is this, that God,
moreover and besides that he justly decrees whatever he decrees, uses that
moderation in executing his decrees, as is declared his singular mercifulness
even in the reprobate, in that he endures them a long time, and permits them
to enjoy many and singular benefits, until at length he justly condemns them:
and that to good end and purpose, that is, to show himself to be an enemy and
avenger of wickedness, that it may appear what power he has by these severe
judgments, and finally by comparison of contraries to set forth indeed, how
great his mercy is towards the elect.
(y) By vessels, the Hebrews understand all types
(23) Therefore again, we may say with Paul, that
some men are made by God the creator for destruction.
9:23 And that he might make known the z
riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto
(z) The unmeasurable and marvellous greatness.
9:24 24 Even
us, whom he hath called, not of the a
Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
(24) Having established the doctrine of the
eternal predestination of God on both parts, that is, on the part of the
reprobate as well as of the elect, he comes now to show its use, teaching us
that we ought not to seek its testimony in the secret counsel of God, but by
the calling which is made manifest, and set forth in the Church, propounding
to us the example of the Jews and Gentiles, that the doctrine may be better
(a) He does not say that each and every one of
the Jews are called, but some of the Jews, and some of the Gentiles.
9:25 25 As
he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and
her beloved, which was not beloved.
(25) Our vocation or calling is free, and of
grace, even as our predestination is: and therefore there is no reason why
either our own unworthiness, or the unworthiness of our ancestors should cause
us to think that we are not the elect and chosen of God, if we are called by
him, and so embrace through faith the salvation that is offered us.
Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of
Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
(26) Contrary to this, neither any outward
general calling, neither any worthiness of our ancestors, is a sufficient
witness of election, unless by faith and belief we answer God's calling:
which thing came to pass in the Jews, as the Lord had foretold.
9:28 For he will finish the work, and cut [it] b
short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
(b) God chooses and goes about to reduce the
unkind and unthankful people to a very small number.
9:29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of c
Sabaoth had left us a d seed, we had
been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
(c) Armies, by which word the greatest power that
exists is attributed to God.
(d) Even as very few.
9:30 27 What
shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed e
not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness
which is of faith.
(27) The declaration and manifestation of our
election is our calling apprehended by faith, as it came to pass in the
(e) So then, the Gentiles had no works to prepare
and procure God's mercy before hand: and that the Gentiles attained to that
which they did not seek, the mercy of God is to be thanked for it: and in that
the Jews did not attain that which they sought after, they can only thank
themselves, because they did not seek for it in the proper way.
9:31 28 But
Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the
law of righteousness.
(28) The pride of men is the reason that they
reject their calling, so that the cause of their damnation need not to be
sought for in any other place but themselves.
9:32 Wherefore? Because [they sought it] not by
faith, but as it were by the s works of
the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
(s) Seeking to attain righteousness, they followed the law of righteousness.