Ver. 39-41. The apostle Paul giveth the best exposition upon this text, Rom_7:17-19,21, Recompense to no man evil for evil. Ifit be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with allmen. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give placeunto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. —Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil withgood. The general scope of our Saviour is that which they must observe, who would understand the sense of these words; they must not think that the particular things mentioned are their duty, but,
1. That it is the will of their Lord that they should not take any private revenge, but leave the avenging of their injuries unto God, and to the public magistrate, who is God’s viceregent, before whom, notwithstanding any thing here said, they may seek a just satisfaction.
2. That in lighter cases we should rather remit the wrong done to us for peace’ sake than stand upon a rigour of justice; rather overcome evil with good, than suffer ourselves to be overcome by the evil of others; rather suffer a blow on the other cheek, than with our own hands revenge the blow which is given thus on our cheek; rather lose our cloak also, than contend for our coat, taken away in judgment from us, though we be in that judgment oppressed. No injury can deserve a private revenge. Light injuries are not of that nature that we should contend for a public revenge of them.