The union between Christ and his people is compared to that between the vine and its branches John 15:1-6, and hence, believers are said to be in him in a similar sense, as deriving their support from him, and as united in feeling, in purpose, and destiny. cannot please God; men, whilst unregenerate, and as such, cannot please God; for though the persons of God's elect are wellpleasing to him always, as considered in Christ, in whom they are loved with an everlasting love, and were chosen in him, and all provisions grace and glory made for them in him; yet as considered in themselves, and whilst in the flesh, do not please him; for they are straying from him, are alienated from his life, are destitute of all grace, and particularly faith, without which it is impossible to please him; are filthy and unclean, and hence, whilst such have no enjoyment of him, or communion with him; wherefore he sends his Spirit to work in them that which is wellpleasing in his sight: but this is not to be understood so much of persons, and their non-acceptableness to God, as of the inability of unregenerate men to obtain the good will of God, or make their peace with him; which they have no inclination to, being enmity against him; and were they inclined to it, know not how to go about it; nor can they draw nigh to God to treat with him about terms of peace; nor can they do that which can procure peace; Christ is the only person that can, make peace, and has done it: or rather, of the impotency of natural men to do anything which pleasing in the sight of God. "Owe no man anything"-"Leave no debt unpaid" (Wey). This is its first and its glorious announcement, that it frees lost and ruined people from a most fearful and terrible condemnation. But this affirms nothing respecting their ability to turn from this course, and to pursue a different mode of life. the flesh cannot please God—having no obediential principle, no desire to please Him. There is therefore no condemnation, &c. Condemnation.âThe condemnation which in the present and final judgment of God impends over the sinner, is removed by the intervention of Christ, and by the union of the believer with Him. Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. A child may be obstinate, proud, and disobedient; and while in this state, it may be affirmed of him that he cannot please his parent. Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. It is to regulate and order the whole conversation according to the rule of the new creature, or according to the line and square of Godâs word and Spirit. But after the Spirit - As the Holy Spirit would lead or prompt. View Romans 8. The design of Paul is not so much to assert the different functions of the Law and the gospel, as simply to state the fact in regard to the condition of a certain class, namely, those who are in Christ. It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit: this clause describes the persons who are united to Christ, or who are exempted from condemnation; they are such as walk not, & c. By flesh understand the corrupt nature that is in man: see Romans 7:18,25 Joh 3:6 Galatians 5:17: to walk after it, is to be led and guided by the motions of it. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. God, in his foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest of a family of many brothers. (3) that those who are in this state should turn from it without delay; as it is desirable that every man should please God. Cannot please God - That is, while they are thus in the flesh; while they thus pursue the desires of their corrupt nature, they cannot please God. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers. which are in Christ Jesus; not as mere professors are in Christ, who may be lost and damned: but this being in Christ, respects either that union and interest which the elect of God have in Christ, from everlasting: being loved by him with an everlasting love; betrothed to him in a conjugal relation; chosen in him before the foundation of the world; united to him as members to an head; considered in him in the covenant of grace, when he engaged for them as their surety; and so they were preserved in him, notwithstanding their fall in Adam; in time he took upon him their nature, and represented them in it; they were reckoned in him when he hung upon the cross, was buried, rose again, and sat down in heavenly places; in consequence of which union to Christ, and being in him, they are secure from all condemnation: or this may respect an open and manifestative being in Christ at conversion, when they become new creatures, pass from death to life, and so shall never enter into condemnation: hence they stand further described, as such. That is, it is not their principle and guide, there is another nature or principle in them, by which they are guided and acted; and what that is the next words tell you. By the Spirit some understand the person of the Spirit; others, the grace of the Spirit, the new or divine nature (as it is called) which is implanted in the soul in the work of regeneration: this is called the Spirit, Matthew 26:41 John 3:6 Galatians 5:17. But this is no mere legal arrangement: it is a union in life; believers, through the indwelling of Christ's Spirit in them, having one life with Him, as truly as the head and the members of the same body have one life. To walk after the Spirit, is to be led and guided by the counsels and motions thereof. and peace. Commentaries. 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