That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
That being justified by his grace,.... This is another way and means, as well as regeneration, by which God saves his people; for he saves no unjustified ones; no unrighteous persons shall inherit the kingdom of heaven; such as are without the wedding garment, and robe of Christ's righteousness, shall be cast into outer darkness: whom God saves, he justifies by the righteousness of his Son; and whomsoever he justifies, them he saves. The justification here spoken of is a declarative one, which takes place in regeneration; and which that is in order to, as here expressed, "that being justified": regeneration does not justify any, but makes the justified to appear to be such; justification is an act of God's gracious will conceived in his mind from eternity, by which he wills not to impute sin to his people, but to Christ their surety; and that they should be accounted righteous through the righteousness of his Son; in which act of his will the whole essence of justification in his sight lies: this was pronounced on Christ, as their head and representative at his resurrection, when he, as such, was justified, acquitted, and discharged, and they in him; and this is declared in the conscience of a sinner, by the Spirit of God, at his regeneration, when he passes from death to life; and this declaration is here intended, and which is the same with justification by faith; and is here said to be by the grace of God, as justification in every view is, and stands opposed to works of righteousness done by men, by which no man can be justified in the sight of God; in what sense justification is by the free grace of God, See Gill on "Romans 3:24".
we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life; or "according to hope we should be made heirs of eternal life". Eternal life is an inheritance, and so is not acquired by labour and industry, nor purchased, but is a free gift; it is a bequest of God the Father to his children, of his own free good will and pleasure; and it belongs only to children; they only are heirs, and they become such by adopting grace; neither regeneration, nor justification, make them the children of God, and heirs of the grace of life, but make them appear to be so: God, by his gracious act of adoption puts them among the children, and gives them the goodly heritage; and this adoption lies in eternal predestination in Christ, in whom the inheritance is obtained on that account, Ephesians 1:5. Regeneration shows them to be the adopted ones, and gives them the nature of children, and a meetness for the inheritance; and justification gives them a right unto it, upon the foot of justice, and opens a way for their enjoyment of it, consistent with the justice and holiness of God; see Galatians 4:4, wherefore such as are washed with the washing of regeneration, and are renewed in the spirit of their minds, and justified by the grace of God; these are manifestly heirs of eternal life, of salvation, of a kingdom and glory, of all things, even of God himself, who is their portion, and exceeding great reward; and such in regeneration are begotten to a lively hope of it, and by this they are saved, Romans 8:24. And thus the apostle makes regeneration by the free mercy of God, and justification by his grace, and special adoption, and heirship, with a good hope through grace, the way and means in which God saves his people, who were like others by nature, and brings them to the enjoyment of eternal happiness.