The Berean Expositor
Volume 8 - Page 40 of 141
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and the ordaining by God of the Gentile, the apostle uses the symbol of the Olive Tree.
Some of the branches were broken off; this is parallel with the attitude of the Jews at
Antioch. The Wild Olive is grafted in; this is parallel with the ordaining of the Gentiles.
There is no need to commence a discussion regarding free-will and electing grace, such
doctrines do not come within the scope of this paper. God ordained that the aionian life
forfeited by the Jews should be received by the Gentiles, and as many therefore as were
ordained unto aionian life believed.
Further light upon this complex subject will be received from the passages where the
words aionian life occur in the Epistles, which we must reserve for another occasion.
The chief point of importance that should not be missed regarding this particular section
is the connection that is observable between the occurrences of aionian life in the Acts,
and Rom. 2:, for there are few students of the Epistles who will not value the smallest
help in arriving at the true meaning of that confessedly difficult passage.
Romans and Galatians.
pp. 73-77
The apostle Paul in his epistles uses the words aionian life ten times, and of this
number four occur in the epistle to the Romans. It may be remembered that we found
that the passage in the Acts (13: 46), where aionian life occurs, threw a little light upon
that difficult chapter Rom. 2: In the Acts the Jews judged themselves unworthy of
aionian life, and we observed by way of illustration the words of the apostle to the Jews
in Rom. 2:
The context of the first occurrence (Rom. 2: 7) is most difficult of interpretation, and
not until we have seen the true place that this passage has in the apostle's argument can
we hope correctly to interpret its details. We might notice, however, that the apostle
speaks in verse 6 of judgment according to works:--
"Who will render to every man according to his works: to those who indeed by patient
continuance of good works, are seeking glory and honour and incorruptibility, aionian
Here it will be seen that this aionian life, as it were, a summary of glory and honour
and incorruptibility, and is awarded to those who patiently continue good work. The
question here does not appear to be whether righteousness is attainable by good works,
but rather that of impartial judgment as opposed to privilege, which idea of privilege was
so ensnaring to the Jew. Whatever we may have to leave uninterpreted in this second
chapter, we cannot avoid noting the fact that aionian life as it first occurs in this epistle is
set before us in the light of a reward for good works rather than as an unmerited gift in
grace to the undeserving.
If the context of the first occurrence of the words is one that is difficult of
interpretation, that of the second cannot be said to be simple. It is not a question in this