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Barnabas and Saul Commissioned


Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

The Apostles Preach in Cyprus

4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John also to assist them. 6When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. 7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8But the magician Elymas (for that is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now listen—the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind for a while, unable to see the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he went about groping for someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia

13 Then Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem; 14but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it.” 16So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:

“You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. 17The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18For about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance 20for about four hundred fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ 23Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised; 24before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25And as John was finishing his work, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.’

26 “My brothers, you descendants of Abraham’s family, and others who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. 27Because the residents of Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize him or understand the words of the prophets that are read every sabbath, they fulfilled those words by condemning him. 28Even though they found no cause for a sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him killed. 29When they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead; 31and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses to the people. 32And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors 33he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm,

‘You are my Son;

today I have begotten you.’

34 As to his raising him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

‘I will give you the holy promises made to David.’

35 Therefore he has also said in another psalm,

‘You will not let your Holy One experience corruption.’

36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was laid beside his ancestors, and experienced corruption; 37but he whom God raised up experienced no corruption. 38Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; 39by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40Beware, therefore, that what the prophets said does not happen to you:


‘Look, you scoffers!

Be amazed and perish,

for in your days I am doing a work,

a work that you will never believe, even if someone tells you.’ ”

42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people urged them to speak about these things again the next sabbath. 43When the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. 46Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. 47For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles,

so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. 49Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. 50But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. 51So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

32. We preach to you glad tidings. He doth now challenge to himself the office and honor of an apostle, that he may be heard as a lawful minister of God. And he saith the sum of the embassage enjoined him is, that that is revealed and given in their time which was promised in times past. And in few words doth he comprehend many and great matters. First, he giveth them to understand that he bringeth in nothing which is new, or contrary to the law and prophets, but that he did reveal the fulfilling of that doctrine which they themselves did confess, and were persuaded to have been delivered by God. Whereupon it followeth that they cannot refuse that which he offereth them, but they shall break the covenant made with the fathers by God, so much as in them shall lie; secondly, he commandeth the faithfulness of God, because it doth now in very deed appear that there was nothing promised in times past unadvisedly or in vain; but he doth chiefly extol the greatness of the grace given at length in Christ. For we must note the comparison between them and the fathers, when he saith, that they had gotten that which was promised to the fathers. For the more liberally the grace of God is poured out upon them, the more filthy shall their unthankfulness be, if they shall despise or loathe that inestimable good thing. For what else were this, but to cast down at their feet a treasure even reached out to them, that they might take hold thereof, and so consequently laid in their lap, the hope whereof was reverently embraced by the fathers, when it was showed them afar off, and which they did foster 811811     “Patienter foverint,” patiently foster. during their whole life.

But some man may ask this question concerning those who lived under the law, whether even they were not made partakers of the promises? I answer, that there is such a society of the same grace among us which doth not hinder the long distance. But this was Paul’s meaning, that their faith stood, as it were, in doubt until Christ appeared, in whom all the promises of God are yea and amen; as he teacheth, (2 Corinthians 1:19, 20.) Therefore we be the heirs of the same kingdom of heaven, and partakers of the same spiritual good things, which God bestoweth upon his children; also, God gave to them some taste of his love in this life, as we taste him now. But Christ, who is the substance of all good things and of eternal life, was only promised to them, but he is given to us; and they desired him, as being far off; we enjoy him, being present.

33. To their children, namely, to us. It is certain that Paul speaketh of natural children, who had their beginning of the holy fathers, which we must therefore note, because certain brain-sick men, drawing all things unto allegories, dream that there is no respect to be had in this place of kindred, but only of faith. And with such an invention they make the holy covenant of God of none effect, where it is said,

“I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed,”
(Genesis 17:7.)

It is faith (say they) alone which maketh us the children of Abraham. But I say, on the other side, that even those who are born the children of Abraham according to the flesh, are also counted the spiritual children of God, unless they grow out of kind through unbelief 812812     “Nisi sua infidelitate degenerent.” unless they degenerate through their own infidelity. For the boughs be naturally holy, because they spring from a holy root, until they become profane through their own fault, (Romans 11:16.) And assuredly it is Paul’s drift to allure the Jews unto Christ; and that he may do this, they must be distinguished from the common sort by some privilege. And yet it followeth not thereupon (which these knaves do odiously object) that the grace of God is tied to the carnal seed; because, though the promise of life came by inheritance to the posterity of Abraham, yet many were deprived by their unbelief. Therefore faith is the cause, that of a great multitude only a few are counted children. And that is the double election whereof I spake before. The one common to the whole nation alike; because the first adoption of God containeth the whole family of Abraham. The other, which is restrained unto the secret counsel of God, and is at length established by faith, that it may be confirmed to men.

Therefore Paul doth well and truly affirm that that was performed to the Jews which God had promised to the fathers. For it was promised to them also, as Zacharias saith in his song, “The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would give himself for us,” etc. And yet the worthiness of that nation doth not hinder but that the grace of Christ may also spread itself throughout the whole world; because the first-begotten hath the first degree of honor, so that he doth, notwithstanding, leave the second place to his brethren. For in that after the old people were cast off, the possession of the church was left empty for strangers, it began to be a new occasion of gathering the Church of the Gentiles; but and if that people had stood in the faith, the Gentiles had been joined into the common society of honor.

After that he had raised Christ. The word raised, in my judgment reacheth farther than it doth where it is shortly after repeated. For he doth not only say that Christ rose from the dead, but that he was appointed of God, and, as it were, brought to light by the hand of God, that he might fulfill the office of the Messiah, as the Scripture teacheth everywhere that kings and prophets are raised up. 813813     “A Domino,” by the Lord, omitted. For the word αναστησαι is sometimes taken in this sense: And this reason moveth me thus to think, because God, by sending his Son into the world, did fulfill his promise made to his servants in times past, by the effect itself.

Likeas, in the second Psalm. Though the Greek books, 814814     “Codices,” manuscripts. agree in the number, yet we must not pass over that which Erasmus saith, that many of the old writers read the first Psalm. And it may be that Luke wrote so; for that which at this day is counted the second Psalm, might have been called the first not without reason, seeing that it is likely that the first Psalm was added instead of a proem by the scribes and priests, by whose industry the Psalms were gathered into one body. For the name of the author is not set to it, and it doth only exhort to meditate upon the law of God. But there is no great weight in that matter. 815815     “Sed in ea re non est multum momenti,” but the point is not of much importance. For this is the chiefest thing, that we know how properly and how well Paul applieth the testimony taken out of the Psalm unto the matter which he hath in hand. We do not deny that David, when he saw that he was on every side assailed by his enemies, and that they were of greater power and might than that he was able to resist them, doth set against them God’s aid, who he knew was the author of his kingdom and reign. But forasmuch as he was a figure of the true Messiah, we know that those things were shadowed in his person, which do appertain, wholly and perfectly to the Messiah alone. And the text itself doth prove sufficiently that there is not only a simple and bare thanksgiving contained there, agreeable to David’s kingdom, but it is a higher prophecy. For it is well known that David did in his life scarce taste of the hundredth part of the glory which is spoken of in this place, concerning which we have spoken more at large, chapter 4.

Now let us look higher into the words: Kings are indeed called sons of God, (Psalm 82:6.) But seeing that God doth intend to prefer David before all other kings, and to exempt him out of the number of them, this title of honor is given to him principally above all other; not because so great honor resteth in his person, because by this means he should pass 816816     “Praestantior esset,” be more excellent than. the angels, as it is in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1st chapter. Therefore he is thus gorgeously set out in respect of Christ, whose image he was, that God doth not take him for one of the common sort, or for some one of a great multitude, but he doth, as it were, acknowledge him to be his only begotten Son. The proof followeth, because God did beget him when he established the kingdom in his hand. For that was not done by man’s industry, but God showed from heaven the invincible power of his hand, whereby it might plainly appear that he reigned according to God’s counsel. Therefore this begetting, by him mentioned, must be referred unto the understanding of knowledge of men; to wit, because it was then openly known that he was begotten of God, when as he was set upon the throne of the kingdom wonderfully, contrary to the hope of all men, and did, by the heavenly power of the Spirit, break infinite conspiracies; because he could not reign until he had brought all nations round about him in subjection, as if a certain world were subdued.

Now, let us come unto Christ. He came not into the world without testimony, whereby he did prove that he was the Son of God. For his glory did appear as became the only begotten Son of God, as it is written, John 1:14, and he saith everywhere that he hath God for the witness and maintainer of this honor. Therefore God begat Christ, when he gave him certain marks, whereby he might be known to be his true and lively image and Son. And yet this doth not let but that Christ is the Wisdom begotten of the Eternal Father before time. But that is the secret generation; and now David declareth that it was revealed to men; so that the relation is, as we have said, unto men and not unto God; because that which was hidden in the heart of God was make known to men. And it is a very fine figure, because Christ’s divinity was no less declared and established, than if he had been begotten of God before the eyes of men. I know that Augustine’s deep sight 817817     “Augustini argutiam,” the subtlety of Augustine. doth please some, that by today is meant perpetuity. But when as the Spirit of God himself is his own interpreter, and whereas he doth expound that by the mouth of Paul which he had said by David, we must not invent any other sense. And forasmuch (as the same Paul doth witness) that Christ was declared to be the Son of God in power when he rose from the dead, (Romans 1:4,) we gather that this was the principal token of celestial excellency, and that the Father did then bring him truly to light, that the world might know that he was begotten of him. Therefore, though God began to raise Christ when he came into the world, yet his raising was then, as it were, perfect and full; because whereas he was humbled before, having taken, as it were, the form of a servant, (Philippians 2:7,) he did then appear to be the conqueror of death and the Lord of life; so that he wanted nothing of that majesty which was meet for the Son of God, and that for the only begotten Son.

34. That he should not return. He addeth now the other member, that Christ was once raised from death that he may live for ever, as Paul teacheth, Romans 6:10,

“He dieth no more, neither shall death have dominion over him any more; because he liveth to God.”

For the hope conceived of Christ’s resurrection should be slender and cold, if he were yet subject to destruction, or to any change. Therefore he is said to be entered into the kingdom of God, that he may also give to his [people] eternal felicity, living for ever. For because Christ rose rather for our sake than for himself, the perpetuity of life which the Father hath given him reacheth unto us all, and is ours. Notwithstanding the place of Isaiah which is here cited, seemeth to make but a little for proof of Christ’s immortality, I will give you the holy things of David, (Isaiah 55:3.) But it is not so. For seeing Isaiah speaketh of the redemption promised to David, and affirmeth that the same shall be firm and stable, we do well gather by this the immortal kingdom of Christ, wherein the eternity of salvation is grounded. And Paul followed the Greek interpreters when he put holy things for mercies. Chessed, which signifieth meek, merciful, and gentle, is wont by the Grecians to be translated holy. Therefore they translated הסדי of David, the holy things of David, whereas the prophet meaneth rather the grace promised to David. But Paul granted this to the ignorant and weak, who were better acquainted with the Greek reading, especially forasmuch as the force of the testimony consisteth in another point. For this is Paul’s meaning in sum, If the grace be eternal which God saith he will give in his Son, the life of his Son must be eternal, and not subject to corruption. 818818     “Mutationi,” change. For we must hold this rule, that all the promises of God are in Christ yea and amen, (2 Corinthians 1:20;) and that therefore they cannot be of any force unless he do quicken them.

35. Thou shalt not suffer thy Holy One. This place was likewise cited by Peter in the first sermon, set down by Luke in the second chapter, (Acts 2:27,) where I expounded the same; therefore, let the readers repair thither. Only I will touch this briefly, that David putteth two Hebrew words for the grave, as he useth repetitions commonly; the former whereof is derived of desiring or lusting, because the grave devoureth all things as an insatiable gulf; and the other of corruption. According to this etymology David’s meaning is faithfully expressed in Greek; for the quality of the grave is noted, when as it receiveth the corpse, and doth, as it were, swallow it up, that it may rot there, and may at length perish when it is consumed. Paul affirmeth that that belongeth to Christ alone, that he was free and saved from corruption; for though his body was laid in the grave, corruption had, notwithstanding, no title to it, seeing that it lay there whole, as in a bed, until the day of the resurrection.

36. When David had served his time. Lest any man should think that that place intreateth of David, Paul showeth briefly that this agreeth not to David in all points, whose corpse was rotten in the grave. Therefore it remaineth, that because this was a privilege belonging to Christ alone, that David prophesied of him in spirit. Nevertheless, we must note the proportion between the members and the head; for as the truth of this prophecy was found whole and perfect in Christ alone, as in the head, so it taketh place in all the members according to the measure and order of every man. And forasmuch as Christ rose to this end, that he may fashion and make our base body like to his glorious body, (Philippians 3:21;) upon this condition do the godly go down into the pit, that rottenness may not [finally] consume their bodies. Therefore, according to the hope of the resurrection to come, David saith by good right that he shall not see corruption; for that ought not altogether to be counted corruption for which there is a better restoring prepared; for the bodies of the faithful corrupt to this end, that they may put on blessed incorruption in their time. Yet this is no let but that the estate of the head and members may be far unlike, and that we may follow the Son of God afar off and lazily. 819819     “Lente,” slowly.

Now we see that both things are true and fitly said, that David and the rest of the faithful, inasmuch as they shall be like to their head, shall not see corruption, and yet the Son of God alone shall be free from corruption wholly. We must note the phrase, when he saith, that David served his age, or the men of his time.

The old interpreter distinguisheth it otherwise, and certain Greek copies agree thereto, to wit, that David served the will of God in his time; which reading, though it is to be allowed, 820820     “Tametsi probabilis est,” though it is probable. yet it doth not cause me to mislike the other. For it is neither superfluous nor cold, that he slept by the will of God, or the counsel of God; because the meaning thereof is, that God, in the death of David, did not forget that prophecy; as if he should say that the body of David lay in the grave not without the counsel or purpose of God, until it should rise again, that the effect of the prophecy might be extended unto Christ. If no man mislike that which I say, we are taught hereby to what end men live in the world, to wit, that one man may help another. For every man doth not live, neither is born, for himself, but mankind is knit together with a holy knot. Therefore, unless we be disposed to overthrow the laws of nature, let us remember that we must not live for ourselves, but for our neighbors.

But here may a question be asked, whether we ought not also to care for our posterity? I answer, that the ministry of the godly is also profitable for the posterity, as we see that David, being dead, doth profit us more at this day than a great part of those which live with us; but Paul meaneth simply, that the faithful during their whole life employ themselves and their offices to help their neighbors, and that death is unto them as a goal, because they have made an end then, when the Lord calleth them out of the world. The sum is, that we must have respect first to our time, that we may serve our brethren, with whom and among whom we lead our life; and, secondly, we must do our endeavor that the fruit of our ministry may redound unto our posterity. Seeing that God prescribeth his servants this law, their rashness cannot be excused who feign that the dead pray for us, and that they do no less serve the Church than whilst they lived.

By the counsel of God he fell on sleep. Paul might have said simply that David died; he addeth by the counsel of God, that we may know that that was not fulfilled in the person of the prophet which is read in the Psalm. Notwithstanding, we are taught that the bond of life and death is in like sort appointed for us by God, as it is Psalm 90:3,

“Thou sendest out men, and makest them to pass over; again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.”

Yea, Plato setteth down this very eloquently, that it is meet that men pass out of the world not without the leave and pleasure of God, by whose hand they are placed there as a standing for a time. 821821     “Cujus manu in ea, tanquam in statione, ad tempus locati sunt,” by whose hand they are placed in it for a time, as at a station. And for this cause, when he speaketh of David’s death, he maketh mention of the counsel of God, that we may know that corruption did not happen to him by chance, as if God had forgotten his promise; but that it came to pass by God’s providence, that the faithful might know that the prophecy was to be referred unto another. To sleep, and to be laid unto the fathers, are forms of speech so well known and so common, that they need no exposition.

38. Therefore, be it known unto you. After that he hath declared the mean whereby salvation is purchased through Christ, he doth now intreat of his office and power. And this is the principal point, to know what good things we have by the coming of Christ, and what we are to hope for at his hands. And although Luke setteth down in a word that Paul preached of the benefits of Christ, yet there is no cause why any man should doubt but that so great matters were handled weightily, and only according as their dignity did require. By this word, Be it known unto you, Paul meaneth that nothing should hinder them from knowing such an excellent and plain matter, save only sloth; and that, therefore, it was an absurd thing that those benefits of God should be hidden from the faithful which were offered by Christ. For he was sent with the shrill preaching of the gospel, which our faith ought to hear, that it may enter into the sure possession of his good things; for we must know what he is, that we may enjoy him truly. Forgiveness of sins is set first, whereby God doth reconcile us unto himself. That which God will have preached to all his people doth he show to be necessary for all men; for Paul speaketh not to one or two, but to all the Jews which were at Antioch.

Therefore, we must first mark that we be all enemies to God through sin, (Colossians 2:13.) Whereupon it followeth that we are all excluded from the kingdom of God, and are given over to eternal death, until God receive us to favor by the free forgiveness of sins. We must also note this, that God doth pardon to us our sins, and that he is reconciled through the Mediator, because like as without him there is no satisfaction, so neither is there any pardon or forgiveness of guiltiness. These be principles of our faith which are not learned in the schools of the philosophers, that all mankind is condemned and drowned in sin, that there is in us no righteousness which is able to reconcile us to God; that the only hope of salvation resteth in his mercy, whilst that he doth freely forgive us; and that those remain under the guilt which fly not unto Christ, and seek not forgiveness 823823     “Expiationem... peccati,” expiation of sin. in his death.

And from all things. He doth secretly prevent that which might seem contrary to the former doctrine. For look how many ceremonies of the law there were, so many exercises were there to obtain remission of sins. Therefore, the Jews might readily object, If he alone do reconcile God to us, our sins being done away, to what end serve so many washings and sacrifices, which we have hitherto used according to the prescript of the law? Therefore, lest the ceremonies of the law hinder the Jews, Paul teacheth that Christ doth that which they were not able to do. Not that Paul spake so briefly and compendiously, (for he did not hope that the Jews would at the first come unto Christ, casting from them suddenly the affiance which they had in the righteousness of the law;) but it was sufficient for Luke briefly to collect 824824     “Perstringere,” glance at. the sum of those things which he then taught in just and due order. His meaning is, that the Mediator took away that let from the Jews wherein they did stick. The ceremonial law ought indeed to have been a schoolmaster to lead them by the hand unto Christ; all rites commanded by God were helps to help and further their faith; but as men use preposterously to corrupt the holy ordinances of God, they stop the way before themselves by their ceremonies, and they shut the gate of faith, that they could not come to Christ. They thought they had righteousness in sacrifices; that by washings was gotten true cleanness; that God was pleased with them so soon as they had ended their external pomp: in sum, forsaking the body, they laid hold upon vain shadows. God did indeed appoint no unprofitable or vain thing in the law; wherefore ceremonies were sure and undoubted testimonies of remission of sins. For God did not lie in these words, Let the sinner do sacrifice, and his iniquity shall be purged. But as Christ was the end of the law, and the heavenly pattern of the tabernacle, so the force and effect of all ceremonies did depend upon him; whereby it is proved that they were vain shadows, when he was set aside, (Hebrews 8:5.) Now we see Paul’s drift and purpose; to wit, that he meant to draw away the Jews from the false and perverse confidence which they reposed in the law; lest being puffed up, they should think that they had no need of Christ’s help, or lest they should seek only external felicity in him.

Be justified in the law. This place doth plainly show what the word justified doth import in all other places where it is used; to wit, to be delivered and acquitted. There was mention made of remission of sins; Paul affirmeth that there is no other way whereby we can obtain the same but the grace of Christ. Lest any man should object that there be remedies to be found in the law, he answereth that there was in them no force. Therefore the sense is plain, that they cannot be justified from sin in the law, because the rites of the law were neither just nor lawful prices to remove guiltiness; they were nothing worth of themselves to deserve righteousness, neither were they sufficient recompenses to appease God. Certainly, it cannot be denied (but wickedly) that that justification annexed to remission of sins is, as it were, the means and way to obtain the same. For what else doth Paul go about but to confirm that saying, that our sins are forgiven us through the benefit of Christ, by answering contrary objections? And he proveth it, because neither satisfactions, neither all the rites of the law, call justify us from sin. Therefore he is justified by Christ, who is freely loosed from the guilt and judgment of eternal death to which he was subject. This is the righteousness of faith, whilst that God counteth us just, by not imputing our sins.

This only propriety of the word is sufficient to refute the cavils of the Papists, who hold that we are not justified by pardon or by free accepting, but by habit and infused righteousness. Therefore, let us not suffer them to rend in pieces unworthily and wickedly this text of Paul, when he saith that they are justified from all things, that we may be assured of remission of sins. And now we must know that the law of Moses is set against Christ, as the principal mean to obtain righteousness, if there had been any besides Christ. Paul disputeth, indeed, of ceremonies; but we must note that there was nothing omitted in them which might serve to purge sins and to appease God. Yet there was not one of all the ceremonies of the law which did not make man guilty, as a new handwriting; as Paul teacheth, Colossians 2:14. What then? Assuredly God meant to testify that men are justified by the death of his Son alone, because he made him sin for us who did [knew] no sin, that we might have righteousness in him, (2 Corinthians 5:21.) Whereupon it followeth that whatsoever satisfactions are invented by men, they tend to rob Christ of his honor. In the law and in Christ signify as much as by the law and by Christ, according to the Hebrew phrase.

From all things. By this member is refuted the wicked invention of the Papists, who teach that only original sin and actual sins committed before baptism are clearly and freely forgiven by Christ, and that others are redeemed by satisfactions. But Paul saith plainly that we are justified from sins by Christ throughout the whole course of our life. For we must remember that the ceremonies [rites] of the law were committed to the Jews, that as well the profit as the use thereof might flourish daily in the Church; that is, that the Jews might indeed understand that their sacrifices and washings were not continually reiterated in vain. If the truth and substance of them be found in Christ, it followeth that there is no other satisfaction or sacrifice to put away sins but his death; otherwise there should be no analogy or proportion between this and the old figures. The Papists call us back unto repentance and the keys, as if the ceremonies of the law were not exercises to think upon repentance, and as if the power of the keys were not annexed unto them. But the faith of the godly was holpen by such helps, that they might fly unto the grace of the Mediator alone. Therefore, let this remain sure and certain that the righteousness which we have in Christ is not for one day or a moment, but it is everlasting, as the sacrifice of his death doth daily reconcile us to God.

39. Every one that believeth. Paul showeth how men obtain the righteousness of Christ; to wit, when they receive it by faith; and that which faith doth obtain is not obtained by any merits of works. Wherefore, Paul’s opinion is plain, that we are justified by faith alone, which, notwithstanding the Papists oppugn [oppose] and strive against no less obstinately than bitterly, nevertheless, it is requisite that we know what the word believe doth import, which is made unsavory to the Papists through ignorance. There be also other benefits of Christ which we reap by faith; for when he regenerateth us by his Spirit, he restoreth in us the image of God; and after that the old man is crucified he fashioneth us unto newness of life. But it was enough for Luke to express this one thing, how men return into favor with God, from whom they be estranged by sin, because we may easily pass thence unto the residue.

40. Take heed that that come not upon you. Because he had to do with stiff-necked men, or at least there were diverse in the company which were stiff-necked (as if he meant with a hammer to soften their stubbornnesses) he addeth a chiding unto doctrine. For if the Jews had been obedient and willing to obey, undoubtedly he would have sought sweetly to allure them unto Christ. But it was either their sluggishness, or else their willfulness, that caused him to be more angry; like as all those must be cited to appear before God’s judgment-seat who contemn the grace of Christ and the horrible judgment of eternal death must be denounced to those. He signifieth, indeed, that there is yet place left for repentance, when he willeth 825825     “Hortatur,” exhorteth. them to take heed; yet, notwithstanding, he telleth them therewithal, that unless they beware in time, the horrible vengeance of God is not far off.

Which is said in the prophets. The place which is cited is taken out of the first chapter of Habakkuk, (Habakkuk 1:5;) but because all prophecies were gathered into one volume or body, Paul saith that it is written in the prophets.

41. And yet he doth not recite word for word the words of Habakkuk, which go thus, “Behold, ye Gentiles, and see and wonder, and be astonished; because a work shall be done in your days which no man shall believe when it shall be told him.” Paul saith, “Behold, ye despisers,” that the Jews may know that the vengeance which was once brought upon their fathers is common to the despisers of the word; as if he should say, God doth at this day make no less account of his word, the contempt whereof he did once punish so sharply. Therefore, the prophet’s denunciation doth appertain unto all ages, so that the despisers cannot hope that they can escape that vengeance now whereof others have tasted. They boasted of the temple; they vaunted that they were the people of God; being puffed up with wicked pride, they despised all threatenings. Therefore Paul putteth them in mind of that which God by his prophets doth threaten to the despisers.

A work in your days. The sense is, Those who refuse to believe the word of God shall feel his hand, that being at length with plagues convicted, they may know that he spake in earnest. It is a common proverb, that experience is the mistress of fools. So the Lord doth indeed punish the wicked, 826826     “Re ipsa impios coarguit,” convicts the wicked by the reality. that being tamed with miseries, they may begin to confess his power. And what manner [of] punishment doth he denounce? Because you (saith he) do not believe my word, I will show an example among you which no man will believe; by which words he meaneth, that he will punish them, so that the world shall be afraid to see it. For as rebellion against God is a detestable monster, so it is no marvel if of itself it beget monsters of punishments. Therefore, we must beware, lest, if we cease to give credence to God’s word, we feel his hand more mighty than all our senses do comprehend, and even unto the astonying [astonishment] of all the whole world; and lest even we be made astounded through fear. Habakkuk prophesieth of the destruction brought upon them by the Chaldeans; but the punishment whereby God revenged the contempt of his gospel was more cruel, [severe.] Therefore, let us accustom ourselves to fear God and reverently embrace his word, lest some such things befall us.

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